1. #1

    School of Stealth

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  2. #2
    LuckyBide's Avatar Senior Member
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    I just watched it and was about to post it here on the forums. Interesting video.
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    SCAgent95's Avatar Senior Member
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    Well made video about basic stealth mechanics, nothing that experienced stealth players don't know but very interesting nonetheless.
    Thanks for posting this.
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  4. #4
    Here is the second part of the video
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  5. #5
    SCAgent95's Avatar Senior Member
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    The worst video in the series, in this its pretty obvious that he isn't a fan of actual stealth games, be warned, a fair number of stupidity is shown here,

    "quicksaving/loading sucks" he says, DONT USE IT! The game could give you a special difficulty option of limiting that, but its a staple of the genre, why complain about it? Idiot.

    "Waiting for guards to go back to patrol state is boring" Wow really? you are not supposed to get detected! You are being punished, hiding 1-2minutes is too much for you? get out of here.

    There are other things, but I'll stop here cause I might end up with brain damage

    Overall a pretty basic and uneducated look at the stealth genre. If you are a fan you are already familiar with the subject of these 3 episodes, better than him actually.
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  6. #6
    It's just his opinion, though he's not really presenting it that way.

    As a hardcore stealth player, I disagree with a lot of what he said. Obviously.

    Detection = fail is great. For me, no ideal gameplay loop includes being detected. It's all about being patient, observant, learning patrol patterns, and when to move. IMO, that type of gameplay has plenty of its own rewards, and there are lots of ways to increase tension and excitement without losing stealth.

    If you like the option of a detection loop that's fine, but it makes little sense from an intel gathering perspective. If they know you were there, most types of information gathered would be useless. They'd be sweeping the building for bugs you might have placed, changing meeting locations/dates, etc. I suppose you could incorporate those consequences into future missions, which could be an interesting way of handling different gameplay styles in a more rewarding way, but that probably wouldn't be an easy game to make.

    In any case, losing more stealth elements is not, IMO, a good solution to the accessibility problem.
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  7. #7
    LuckyBide's Avatar Senior Member
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    I agree with both of you and your arguments, I also disagree a lot with this video, the previous ones were more accurate in my opinion.

    I think it is okay and welcome to have an instant game over in stealth games when the context justifies it and when the game mechanics and tools are well enough designed so that the player does not feel frustrated when it happens. Instant game over is what bring real tension in stealth games for me so developers have to design the right tools to make sure to avoid frustration. And I'm not saying that all stealth games should have an instant game over mechanic or throughout all the game but sometimes in the narrative it seems logical and justified to have that mechanic and it can help to emphasis and support narration.

    Th mechanic of the icon starting to fill up is what in my opinion killed challenge in modern stealth games. They certainly make them more accessible to players who are not used to stealth but they ruin immersion and realism. And I personally think that it's ugly in terms of UI to have that icon.

    About the manual saving system, I think it definitively is a part of stealth games and it should never been removed. All the stealth or stealth/action games that I played and which didn't have that manual save system are actually the ones which sucked.
    Automatic checkpoints have a lot of disadvantages and are most of the time very badly designed by developers. Often in games they're not placed at the right locations or they're located too far from each other. Plus it can happen that the game saves at a moment you didn't want because you were not satisfied about what happened so the game is actually ruining your progression by saving without warning you.
    Or it can make you restart from the start a whole mission that you perfectly ghosted almost until the very end, ruining all your progression and a huge amount of your playing time. This is in my opinion more frustrating than anything.
    Without talking about the fact that this system doesn't allow the player to test and try things because it can save anywhere without warning you, so as a player who want to make a perfect run you are not prompted to explore all gameplay possibilities because you're constantly worrying if the game will suddenly save and ruin all your progression.

    I generally think that the less control you give to the player, the less fun and enjoyable the game becomes. And this is almost true for any existing game mechanic and it is true for the manual saving system. And limiting the amount of saves is not a viable solution imo, at least for nowadays games. With games becoming less and less linear but instead becoming more and more open and rich in possibilities, manual saves are also a tool to test different things in a single run without having to restart the mission or the whole game. At least it is for me because I hate and I don't have the time to restart a whole game to experience all gameplay possibilities.

    However I agree about NPCs not forgetting our presence and having remaining alarm states for a long period of time. I beg for more stealth games having a memory system where NPCs would never forget our presence and therefore gameplay would slightly change and it would become more difficult to progress.
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  8. #8
    Originally Posted by LuckyBide Go to original post
    Th mechanic of the icon starting to fill up is what in my opinion killed challenge in modern stealth games. They certainly make them more accessible to players who are not used to stealth but they ruin immersion and realism. And I personally think that it's ugly in terms of UI to have that icon.
    Agreed. I understand why they've become so popular, but those icons can be distracting. Audio indicators work fine, especially subtle ones. The Last of Us does that well, IMO.

    About the manual saving system, I think it definitively is a part of stealth games and it should never been removed.
    Yeah, that was another thing...I've certainly "abused" save systems...many times...but so what? If that's how I want to play, who's to say it's wrong?

    However I agree about NPCs not forgetting our presence and having remaining alarm states for a long period of time. I beg for more stealth games having a memory system where NPCs would never forget our presence and therefore gameplay would slightly change and it would become more difficult to progress.
    AI has become a two-part issue for me. The first part revolves around those alert states. I agree with you, if you're detected, the AI shouldn't return to fully passive. They shouldn't stay on full-alert forever, either. I'd like a much more detailed middle ground (and yes, that has a lot to do with their memories).

    The second part is that, while we've definitely had improvements to AI over the years, most of that focuses on what happens after detection. AI regrouping, taking cover, waiting for backup, etc, etc. Don't get me wrong, that's great stuff, however, not much has been done for their passive states. I'd like to see more distinct personality types, and have those personalities affect that enemy's awareness of and reaction to different stimuli. That would add another layer of depth to a stealth-focused, methodical approach.

    So far, while we do have some different enemy types (shielded guards, dogs, drones, etc), they're there to hunt you and to keep you on your toes, not for you to manipulate them.
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  9. #9
    LuckyBide's Avatar Senior Member
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    Originally Posted by CoastalGirl Go to original post
    Agreed. I understand why they've become so popular, but those icons can be distracting. Audio indicators work fine, especially subtle ones. The Last of Us does that well, IMO.
    I didn't like The Last of Us ones and I didn't use them because they allow the player to see through walls. And I generally hate features that allow to see through walls when they're not justified like for examples the thermal vision or the smart vision in Deus Ex. Nowadays we can see through walls in almost all games and in my opinion it's ruining gameplay and immersion too much, and it's definitively a feature that don't help players to truly discover stealth.
    And I'd say that audio indicators are not even necessary when the sound design of the game is perfectly done.

    Originally Posted by CoastalGirl Go to original post
    Yeah, that was another thing...I've certainly "abused" save systems...many times...but so what? If that's how I want to play, who's to say it's wrong?
    Yeah all stealth gamers use that feature a lot and there's nothing wrong with it, but I wouldn't even call it like save sc*mming or save abusing. Like I said in my previous post it has more benefits than disadvantages and for me it helps to save my playing time (which is very limited). How many times did I have to restart a whole mission in MGS V because I got spotted at the very end and therefore I lost 30 minutes or 1 hour of my playing time. Or in Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts when during a mission the last checkpoint was badly placed and got me instantly spotted because enemies were popping right in front of me (which had ruined the 2 hours I spent on that mission)...
    Manual saves help to deal against all those problems as well. I can understand why some developers don't want to put them in their games but until now I've never seen a stealth game without saves that is more enjoyable to play than a stealth game with saves. Automatic checkpoints are definitively not a good solution imo, maybe another system needs to be tested (I don't know which one though).

    Originally Posted by CoastalGirl Go to original post
    AI has become a two-part issue for me. The first part revolves around those alert states. I agree with you, if you're detected, the AI shouldn't return to fully passive. They shouldn't stay on full-alert forever, either. I'd like a much more detailed middle ground (and yes, that has a lot to do with their memories).

    The second part is that, while we've definitely had improvements to AI over the years, most of that focuses on what happens after detection. AI regrouping, taking cover, waiting for backup, etc, etc. Don't get me wrong, that's great stuff, however, not much has been done for their passive states. I'd like to see more distinct personality types, and have those personalities affect that enemy's awareness of and reaction to different stimuli. That would add another layer of depth to a stealth-focused, methodical approach.

    So far, while we do have some different enemy types (shielded guards, dogs, drones, etc), they're there to hunt you and to keep you on your toes, not for you to manipulate them.
    I agree with you on both parts.
    MGS V alert system was great, I won't explain it since I guess you all played that game (and he even talks about it in the video). However in that game they return to normal mode after some time because the game is an open-world and it has a time cycle which moves quite fast (compared to real life). For Splinter Cell I'd love to see a system of nighttime missions in large open maps where the clock advances in real time. Therefore the AI should never forget. Most guards would return to their normal patrols after some time but the number of guards would be increased at strategic points of the compound. And if you get spotted a second time then guards will remain alerted and very cautious until the end of the mission. Anyway it depends on lot of factors and having huge open maps would definitively complexify the alarm system.

    About second part, it would be great to have that and it would highly increase immersion.
    SCAgent95 was recently talking about guards starting to look for missing patrols in Desperados 3 (in the "E3 2019 Stealth Action Games" thread), that's something we need to see in more games !
    I'm also thinking about that feature in MGS V Ground Zeroes where if the player shoots a camera then the closest guard receives a radio call asking him to go check the camera. That could be a great way to manipulate guards by attracting a distant guard closer to you, or maybe even to manipulate the CCTV operator in some ways.
    Another idea that I thought about a while ago: why not having in some missions a technician who won't have any weapon but his job would be to repair lights and cameras that have been broken by the player. Because that's simply what happens in real life. When a light or a camera doesn't work, we first call a technician and we don't suspect that an intruder shot at them. So in some circumstances and if he doesn't directly suspect an intrusion, a guard discovering a broken light would call a technician who would come with his ladder and his tools to fix the light, of course it would take some time in game (and it would be longer to repair a camera or something else). Therefore the player would not be able to take so easily the same path to extract the mission and he would have to be careful until the very end.
    And why not adding to that an extreme difficulty mode where AI would start to suspect something wrong if too many lights and cameras are broken ? And where the technician would replace the broken equipment by something more solid like bulletproof lamps, cameras,... or by something more efficient equipment ?
    I'd love to see features like that, features that would be common sense and realistic in these kinds of situations.
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  10. #10
    Originally Posted by LuckyBide Go to original post
    I didn't like The Last of Us ones and I didn't use them because they allow the player to see through walls.
    Oh, I just meant the subtle sound that plays when you're in an enemy's line of sight (quiet and gets louder the longer they have eyes on you). It serves the same basic purpose as the arrow filling in, but to me it's far less distracting/hand-holding.
    The sonar/x-ray vision thing is another deal entirely. While I don't mind them as an option, some games rely so heavily on them that gameplay doesn't flow well if you don't use them. And then there's the issue of if you do use them, you might end up spending most of your play time in a weird vision mode...that was me in those early Batman games. lol
    The one in The Last of Us was a little better in one way because you can only see enemies if they're making noise, which to me is less weird, but at the same time all normal sounds are muffled (like dialogue I want to hear).


    And I'd say that audio indicators are not even necessary when the sound design of the game is perfectly done.
    I think it depends on the situation. Sometimes, the guards are going to tell you themselves that they see you - the "what was that?" kind of thing. But we've had the audio indicator in Splinter Cells since the beginning, too...it's fine with me as long as it's not immersion-breaking.


    Yeah all stealth gamers use that feature a lot and there's nothing wrong with it, but I wouldn't even call it like save sc*mming or save abusing. Like I said in my previous post it has more benefits than disadvantages and for me it helps to save my playing time (which is very limited). How many times did I have to restart a whole mission in MGS V because I got spotted at the very end and therefore I lost 30 minutes or 1 hour of my playing time. Or in Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts when during a mission the last checkpoint was badly placed and got me instantly spotted because enemies were popping right in front of me (which had ruined the 2 hours I spent on that mission)...
    Yep, and it also encourages players to try new approaches because they aren't risking everything.


    I agree with you on both parts.
    MGS V alert system was great, I won't explain it since I guess you all played that game (and he even talks about it in the video). However in that game they return to normal mode after some time because the game is an open-world and it has a time cycle which moves quite fast (compared to real life). For Splinter Cell I'd love to see a system of nighttime missions in large open maps where the clock advances in real time. Therefore the AI should never forget. Most guards would return to their normal patrols after some time but the number of guards would be increased at strategic points of the compound. And if you get spotted a second time then guards will remain alerted and very cautious until the end of the mission. Anyway it depends on lot of factors and having huge open maps would definitively complexify the alarm system.
    I've wanted that for a while, too. I think it would be interesting with a larger map, too, if the zones weren't so independent. In some games you can have all the guards in freakout mode, walk through a door, and it's dead quiet again. The lack of communication between areas doesn't make much sense.

    About second part, it would be great to have that and it would highly increase immersion.
    SCAgent95 was recently talking about guards starting to look for missing patrols in Desperados 3 (in the "E3 2019 Stealth Action Games" thread), that's something we need to see in more games !
    I'm also thinking about that feature in MGS V Ground Zeroes where if the player shoots a camera then the closest guard receives a radio call asking him to go check the camera. That could be a great way to manipulate guards by attracting a distant guard closer to you, or maybe even to manipulate the CCTV operator in some ways.
    Another idea that I thought about a while ago: why not having in some missions a technician who won't have any weapon but his job would be to repair lights and cameras that have been broken by the player. Because that's simply what happens in real life. When a light or a camera doesn't work, we first call a technician and we don't suspect that an intruder shot at them. So in some circumstances and if he doesn't directly suspect an intrusion, a guard discovering a broken light would call a technician who would come with his ladder and his tools to fix the light, of course it would take some time in game (and it would be longer to repair a camera or something else). Therefore the player would not be able to take so easily the same path to extract the mission and he would have to be careful until the very end.
    And why not adding to that an extreme difficulty mode where AI would start to suspect something wrong if too many lights and cameras are broken ? And where the technician would replace the broken equipment by something more solid like bulletproof lamps, cameras,... or by something more efficient equipment ?
    I'd love to see features like that, features that would be common sense and realistic in these kinds of situations.
    That could definitely add to the stealth experience. As a ghoster, I still want options in gameplay, I just want them to make sense. Being able to manipulate AI without them immediately becoming suspicious should certainly be a thing, and I like the idea of technicians.


    In this genre we have many areas of untapped potential, it'd be nice to see a focus on those at some point.
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