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View Full Version : How the game can improve AI and the way to upgrade your Assassin



MikeFNY
07-30-2016, 09:37 AM
I have finally uploaded an article explaining how the game can improve in respect to AI and character upgrade.

As it's pretty long I preferred to upload it elsewhere and to open a new thread rather than posting it in the already-available suggestions thread just in case some of you may have questions to ask.

https://mikefny.github.io/ac

Ureh
07-31-2016, 02:12 PM
Hey thanks for taking the time to write this. Some of these ideas sound like they have a larger focus on the rpg aspect of the games. And some of these ideas sound really nice (like instead of buying an upgrade, or crafting it, we practice our ranged weapons in a special mission). Most of these seem to force players into being more stealthy (ex: Being underleveled means we can't assassinate them... or at the very least can't assassinate without rousing everyone's attention.).

Prob 1
I've no idea if more archetypes will somehow improve the overall game. If you look at ACS's archetypes, there's hardly any notable differences between - as you mentioned in your article. The first step is probably fewer, but more unique archetypes and/or smarter enemies (or at least enemies with more skillsets like in AC1). ACU probably takes second place after AC1 in terms of combat... I think there were only 6 archetypes, but only 5 of them were regularly seen in battle and 2 of those 5 were almost identical (seekers / officers). As for stealth, they're trying to give all of the enemies equal footing, I think, because now it isn't only seekers who can break apart crowds or search hiding spots. Only problem is that escape is too easy especially paired with smoke bombs, rope launchers, carriages, sharp alleyways, etc. In time what you seek may be possible... where dozens of archetypes all feel unique and have a purpose.

Prob 2
I think it makes sense that each archetype has different levels (ex: a lvl 4 enforcer, a lvl 10 enforcer, lvl 4 brute, lvl 10 brute). You mentioned that all members of a single archetype - let's use enforcer as an example - should have equal combat/anti-stealth prowess. But here's how I see it: Let's say you were trained by Mr. Miyagi and you earn a black belt, and let's say I'm trained by Bruce Lee and I've earned a black belt as well. Both of us having black belt doesn't mean we're equally matched. That's how I see a lvl 4 enforcer and a lvl 10 enforcer can both exist in the same city (though in ACS, not in the same district).

Prob 4
You specifically mentioned the "multi-kill" skill. I'm assuming you're talking about the one that heals a % of your health based on the type of multi-kill. The main use for this is for players that are about to fail a fight club - since medicine isn't available during a club - so a multi-kill will heal them. I can see players who don't take (enough) damage during the fight clubs will find this skill pretty useless. The thing about the skill systems in ACU and ACS is that we're supposed to reach the master assassin status - at that point all skills are supposed to be unlocked. So we're all eventually gonna unlock everything unless a player chooses not to get it. One thing about the skills, when considering my playstyle and how long I've been playing AC games, is that a lot of the skills/upgrade didn't feel like they had much of an effect because the game was already easy so they couldn't make it easier even if they tried. They'd have to make the game more challenge to turn the skills into something more meaningful, I feel. Also you said that you didn't want to pick a combat skill if you were focused solely on stealth, this makes sense. I think a possible idea would be to ignore the "master assassin" concept and just include multiple skill trees or professions for players to specialise in (ie let's say there are 50 skills in the game, but even if a player does everything and reaches the maximum level, it's only possible to get... 30 of them?). That way, if there is a maximum level in the next game, a player can completely focus on only the skills they want and ignore the rest. There's ups and downs to this but it's probably something the devs have already thought about.
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As for your ideas concerning the throwing knives ideas: It comes down to our preferences, playstyle. Personally I don't want to be throwing 5 daggers at an enemy even if they're the highest level in the game and my daggers have the lowest upgrades. It's already a bit weird, imo, when we're underleveled and a single headshot from a gun/dagger doesn't kill (instead they just shake it off or get stunned). That's probably why they try give the first few knife upgrades more freely, in ACS, and the last ones are a bit harder to get. And ontop of that they have to consider that lots of players might not want to upgrade their gear and just want proceed with the story, in which case the guaranteed, silent assassinations are a must.
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I'll read your article again later. I'm hoping responses made sense for the most part, and hopefully it didn't sound like I was dismissing some of your ideas. Gotta go!

RobertMcSassin
07-31-2016, 02:54 PM
An excellent, well written and thought out article that I very much enjoyed reading... :) ...

Hell, as they say elsewhere than where I am, "I'd buy that for a dollar!"...Well, maybe even two!... ;) ...

Nah, seriously though, they do sound like decent ideas and ones which I'd give a go to...The spies/informers thing was a brilliant idea!...I would use that loads...Especially if repeated use levelled them up...As in, logically, the more they do, the better they get/easier it is for them...

And as for that bit at the end...


I'm not forgetting those who want the game to be as easy as Syndicate....

:o :D ...

As I keep saying, I'm all for trying your new way first - (Actress/Bishop) - so long as there's the old standby to fall-back on, should I prove far too Muppet-like at the rest of it...

And with that adaptive AI, my Assassin would likely read as the shoulder down/Charge blindly whilst swinging a Spadone around his head yelling "Spooooon!!" at the top of his lungs...Yep, I'm that stealthy...Considering how long I've been playing these bloody games, you'd think I'd have gotten a bit better by now...But no, Muppetry of the highest (Templar) order...

I enjoy - repeatedly - doing all the investigation stuff in AC1...If only as it adds to that total that ends up with me getting much much tougher to kill in the end... :D ...I do so enjoy being - by far - the hardest sprite in the game... :cool: ...

Anyways...Yeah, thanks for that...Very much enjoyed it!...

MikeFNY
07-31-2016, 08:23 PM
Like instead of buying an upgrade, or crafting it, we practice our ranged weapons in a special mission.

Good point, I will have to think about it. The throwing knife damage, yes, will determine the type of throwing knife you will carry but it doesn't necessarily mean that it will be upgraded at the end of the training mission. I would prefer a system where training enables you to use a specific type of knife but you still have to craft it.


Most of these seem to force players into being more stealthy (ex: Being underleveled means we can't assassinate them... or at the very least can't assassinate without rousing everyone's attention.).

Yes, I admit that I'm more of a stealth type of player but maybe the "combat" attribute could be split in attributes like the throwing knife.


AC1 in terms of combat

Those tough templar guards in AC1 is one of the reasons that made it think about the whole system. I remember how I used to avoid them the first time I played the game. Only after playing the game for many hours I was confident enough to approach and kill them.[/QUOTE]


Only problem is that escape is too easy especially paired with smoke bombs, rope launchers, carriages, sharp alleyways, etc. In time what you seek may be possible... where dozens of archetypes all feel unique and have a purpose.

Exactly. But using the rope launcher to escape Batman-style will no longer be required after you analyse and plan your moves accordingly. I mean let's face it, when you escape it's because you failed in whatever you tried to do and in most cases that's because the game doesn't ask you to plan.


Both of us having black belt doesn't mean we're equally matched.

I understand what you mean, enemies are human beings not robots cloned in a factory. The problem with having two similar enemies with different levels is that it kills the concept of research and the informer :)

To expand a little on this, what I'm looking at is that whenever you encounter a new enemy, you tag him and a new section will be added to your enemy log with the page on the left showing a picture of the enemy and an empty page on the right. After you or the informer complete the analysis part, the page on the right will be available with details such as "enemy name", "enemy level", "areas of the map where this enemy is usually found", etc.

If same type of enemies can have different levels, all this will be useless because we would go back to square one and do it the Syndicate way, use Eagle Vision and have a number of the enemy's head.

Having said that, I agree with this point so maybe the best of both worlds would be that an enemy can wear a belt, or a ring or a necklace which would mean that he is upgraded, hence, his level is the usual level of this type of enemy +1. So a simple guard whose level is 2, if he is wearing this accessory you will know from your log that his level is 2 (+1).


That's how I see a lvl 4 enforcer and a lvl 10 enforcer can both exist in the same city (though in ACS, not in the same district).

I actually agree with this. A problem with Syndicate is that in certain parts of the map you only see L1/L2/L3 enemies yet in other areas of the map you see >L8 ones. I believe that tough enemies should be everywhere, regardless where you are on the map. Granted, there should still be a balance such as the first cities you visit will only have a couple of L10 enemies but they should still be there.


You specifically mentioned the "multi-kill" skill. I'm assuming you're talking about the one that heals a % of your health based on the type of multi-kill. The main use for this is for players that are about to fail a fight club - since medicine isn't available during a club - so a multi-kill will heal them. I can see players who don't take (enough) damage during the fight clubs will find this skill pretty useless.

The part about the multi-finisher skill? No, there I was explaining that it makes little or no sense at all to spend hours completing missions in stealth mode to then use experience points to unlock a combat-related skill.

But are you sure health regenerates during fight clubs? I could swear that it never does in Syndicate.


I think a possible idea would be to ignore the "master assassin" concept and just include multiple skill trees or professions for players to specialise in (ie let's say there are 50 skills in the game, but even if a player does everything and reaches the maximum level, it's only possible to get... 30 of them?). That way, if there is a maximum level in the next game, a player can completely focus on only the skills they want and ignore the rest. There's ups and downs to this but it's probably something the devs have already thought about.

Yes, that's one of the objectives of what I've written. If you want your assassin to be focused on stealth and you know that you will never engage in combat, then ignore the combat attribute. The game should NOT force you to unlock something just because it has to be done to reach the next level. This is one of the failures of Syndicate.


Personally I don't want to be throwing 5 daggers at an enemy even if they're the highest level in the game and my daggers have the lowest upgrades.

You will not :)

If you believe it makes no sense to throw five daggers to kill an enemy then you would train your assassin to reach level 10 in respect to throwing knife damage.

The nice thing about all this is that we decide how the game will evolve, not the system.


Hopefully it didn't sound like I was dismissing some of your ideas. Gotta go!

You HAVE to dismiss my ideas :)

When I write something I tend to overlook some problems so criticism is more than welcome!


An excellent, well written and thought out article that I very much enjoyed reading... :) ...

Cheers :)


Especially if repeated use levelled them up...As in, logically, the more they do, the better they get/easier it is for them...

This is interesting. Instead of levelling them up only through training, they level up through experience, like the recruits in ACIII who gain experience when they are sent out on missions.



As I keep saying, I'm all for trying your new way first - (Actress/Bishop) - so long as there's the old standby to fall-back on, should I prove far too Muppet-like at the rest of it...

Exactly, this system allows you to decide how you want to progress in the game and as I said in the article, you may play the game by upgrading your assassin through coins, hence the easy way, yet after completing it you realise that it would have been more fun to do it the hard way.

And that's when you decide to go for a second playthrough.

Ureh
08-01-2016, 08:56 AM
1. But are you sure health regenerates during fight clubs? I could swear that it never does in Syndicate.

2. You will not :)

If you believe it makes no sense to throw five daggers to kill an enemy then you would train your assassin to reach level 10 in respect to throwing knife damage.

The nice thing about all this is that we decide how the game will evolve, not the system.

3. You HAVE to dismiss my ideas :)

When I write something I tend to overlook some problems so criticism is more than welcome!

1. Not sure yet. Based on its description it should Hopefully confirm it later today.

2. I thought throwing knives were pretty overpowered, which I'm guessing is why you're making them less powerful until they're upgraded. You mentioned in your article that we have to rely on "luck" or "clearing a particular area in the city" or "collecting coins to earn the books of books" to obtain throwing knife damage upgrades. But if they did all this, it would limit the number of tools/options that a player would have at their disposal, potentially depriving them of a tool entirely (when they find out to their dismay that 5 throwing knives to the head can't even kill a single guy). Let me clarify. On one hand it would convince players to explore the district/city until they found the desired upgrade, but what about those that want reliable knives but don't want to depend on luck or grinding? I would prefer what ACU did with the phantom blade: limited number of phantom blades, if you want to increase the capacity you know exactly which bracer to buy and/or where to get it, it required us to aim for the head of certain enemies, moderate risk of getting detected when poking out of cover to aim, and maximum of two blades before reloading (after you get the upgrade skill). In some ways, I don't mind what ACS did either. The bonuses of the upgrades are clear... so there's no confusion as to what a player is getting if they buy the upgrade. Even if we do get all the overpowered upgrades, players can still set rules on themselves (ex: no ranged weapons on this run, or only permitted to use 4 knives in a mission). Since item upgrades don't contribute to our level, it should be no problem leaving it up to the player on whether or not they want to upgrade the capacity of their knives or increase the damage. On top of all of this, most of the capacity/dmg upgrades in ACS don't require too much grinding or luck - which I like. However I'm still quite interested in the idea of practicing to improve our accuracy.

3. Well, by "dismissive" I meant along the lines of disrespectful or flippant. I just hope that I never come across as that, and it's certainly not my intention.

MikeFNY
08-01-2016, 09:25 AM
You mentioned in your article that we have to rely on "luck" or "clearing a particular area in the city" or "collecting coins to earn the books of books" to obtain throwing knife damage upgrades. But if they did all this, it would limit the number of tools/options that a player would have at their disposal, potentially depriving them of a tool entirely (when they find out to their dismay that 5 throwing knives to the head can't even kill a single guy).

Yes, again you raise a very valid point and I admit this part is a little confusing for me as well :)

What I mean is this:

One cannot improve the power of a throwing knife just by completing a training session, there must be an additional step.

For example:

1. From Level 0 to 5 - you complete a training mission and as a reward you get the needed material to craft a more powerful throwing knife

2. From Level 6 to 10 - you complete a training mission and as a reward the mentor gives you the location of where to find the required material to upgrade your knife. So for the tough training missions there is an additional step where you have to go in a specific location (where it would make sense that enemies guarding the zone are of the same level you are about to reach minus 1) to find the material.

3. You find the location of point #2 by pure luck, where by luck I mean by roaming the map

4. You use coins to buy the required material, this is the easy way out

I made it sound as if luck is an important factor for this attribute, hope this clears things out.

Remember, the player will know that if the throwing knife attribute is set to 2, he will need 5 knives to kill a L10 enemy, the mentor or the log will explain that straight away.

And again, what I like about this system is that when you kill an enemy with a throwing knife - if we are to keep using this example - you know that you killed him because you trained, because you found material and because you crafted the knife you used. In Syndicate it's done through experience points, it's not gratifying.

In respect to how many knives you can carry, that's something completely different, that is something related to crafting not the assassin's attribute.

But I see no reason why crafting should not use a similar approach where the player will decide how many knives to carry. If you want five you will craft a 5-knife belt, if you want 35 you will craft a 35-knife one.

PS: The book of books gives you information on all enemies in the game, it will not help you to upgrade the assassin

MikeFNY
08-03-2016, 08:49 AM
3. Well, by "dismissive" I meant along the lines of disrespectful or flippant. I just hope that I never come across as that, and it's certainly not my intention.
Not at all, don't worry, in fact I have just applied some changes to the article to reflect the points you raised.

RobertMcSassin
08-03-2016, 10:02 AM
But I see no reason why crafting should not use a similar approach where the player will decide how many knives to carry. If you want five you will craft a 5-knife belt, if you want 35 you will craft a 35-knife one.

Dunno about that...Even I think there should be some limit to things like that...

While I really really have issues with the whole crying out for the ultimate "Immersion" thing...(Calm yerself Robert, think of your blood pressure!)...I just finished Revelations, where you could carry something like 30 crossbow bolts, 20 throwing knives, 10 poison darts, 12 bullets, 16 bombs (the Bomb Challenge thing was glitched so I was never able to get the upgrade...Else I would have had more...)...Now, I'm not sure exactly how much that sort of load would weigh, but combine it with the armour, sword and crossbow...Plus the hidden blade/hookblade/gun...

Eeeeermmmmm...

Oh yeah...Even I was wondering if they'd taken it - the capacity for running/climbing and all that - a tad too far towards taking the whole game out of the vague pseudo-reality they'd been striving for...Well...I say that and think of haystacks and Eagle Vision and all that...But you know what I mean?...

Perhaps 35 knives, even through choice, would be excessive...Even for me!... :D ...

(I appreciate that you may have only been using that as an example for the sake of the discussion...)...




PS: The book of books gives you information on all enemies in the game, it will not help you to upgrade the assassin


Awwwww... :( ...Dammiiiiitttt!!... ;) ....

MikeFNY
08-03-2016, 11:35 AM
Dunno about that...Even I think there should be some limit to things like that...
Interesting, maybe if you carry too much your agility attribute will suffer :)

But again, remember it's up to you, I also believe 35 throwing knives are way too much, no way I would carry that much, it's unrealistic.

RobertMcSassin
08-03-2016, 12:08 PM
That's one thing to consider, yeah... :) ...Would stop those others like me, who tend towards the Tank-characters anyways, still managing to fly about the rooftops like cats...Um...That...fly...Um...

Yes, I'm looking at you Arno Victor Dorian... :D ...

Oh aye...Totally all for the choice element of things...That's why Unity's customisation thing was actually properly cool...I very much enjoyed finding out what the toppermost stuff was and then going about doing the Citizen Events while the cash rolled into the Café to pay for said stuffs...Which wasn't for everyone, 'tis true... :) ....

Ureh
08-04-2016, 08:15 PM
But are you sure health regenerates during fight clubs? I could swear that it never does in Syndicate.

I had time to play yesterday. Can confirm that Multi-kill Stamina skill allows you to heal in the fight club as well.

Ureh
08-06-2016, 09:26 PM
Hey,

I'm sorry for my late reply. Just finished reading the changes, and all I can say is that it looks like you put a lot of thought and love into this. If they do keep going further down the rpg-rabbit-hole then I wouldn't be surprised if they implement something similar to what you described. I like making our own knives (remind me of the shivs from Last of Us).

Thanks for sharing with us Mike.

MikeFNY
08-09-2016, 10:22 AM
No worries mate, I appreciated your feedback, very kind.

I might add an article or two on other subjects if I find the right inspiration :)