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Sushiglutton
04-14-2013, 11:46 AM
Social stealth has been an important feature of the franchise since AC1 and something the devs have talked about for every upcoming game. Imo social stealth has been pretty shakey so far. In AC1 there were a couple of techniques to use. Sit on a bench, or walk among a group of monks. Visually both of them are super unrealistic. Altair stood out like a sore thumb in both scenarios. In later games more factions were added (hiding among courtesans looked even more ridiculous) along with other crowd hiding techniques like for example just standing between any two persons (AC3).

The missions that uses social stealth are typically stalking missions. You follow a guy through town and try to blend in the crowd whenever he turns his head. Why standing between two guys would make you less visible than standing next to them is not clear. These missions tend to be tedious rather than fun. Another type of social stealth missions are the party missions (like the one in Venice or the art exchibition in Brotherhood). These make no sense whatsoever to me. The tradional sneaking missions works much better imo.

So the questions are: Have you enjoyed social stealth thus far? Do you think social stealth is a failed concept that Ubi should just give up on? What improvements/new features could save social stealth?

Edit: Lol I messed up the headline

Sushiglutton
04-14-2013, 12:22 PM
Let me explain what I think is one of the biggest challenges for social stealth. The best way to hide in a crowd, is to act and look like the crowd. But how can this ever be made into a fun gameplay experience? Since the crowd is just casually walking, or standing so should you. Social stealth is about being ordinary, but the fun and draw of video games is to do extraordinary things!

Farlander1991
04-14-2013, 12:24 PM
(hiding among courtesans looked even more ridiculous)

Ironically enough, I never thought of hiding among courtesans as looking more ridiculous than among monks, because for some reason I always thought that everybody just viewed Ezio as their pimp :)

On a side note, the mission where we have to tail Hickey's mercenary in AC3 is one of my favourite missions in the game. It had a nice change of pace, from stalking the mercenary on rooftops, to having go on the ground and use the social stealth techniques to follow the mercenaries and eavesdrop them.

The 'why standing between two guys would make you less visible' also makes more sense in AC3 due to additional animations, i.e. Connor is not just standing there, he's sitting, resting, looking what he can buy, engaging in an awkward conversation with a stranger who doesn't know why the hell he's standing there :D So it's actually less conspicuous. You know, it's more 'socially acceptable' than walking behind a paranoid person. Which kinda is a nice nod to AC1's 'socially acceptable action' system without actually changing the AC2 notoriety/detection system that much.

Social stealth is a tricky beast, to be honest. It has to have an understandable ruleset, but at the same time look believable.

But, in short: I have enjoyed social stealth. I don't think it's a failed concept Ubi should give up on. I do think there's room for improvement, but, honestly, I want to see first how they're gonna handle social stealth in AC4, because as far as I understand they're getting rid of the notoriety system there (which has been present in AC from AC2 to AC3). I honestly think that it should be a mix of AC1's system and the sequels system, i.e. the more socially unacceptable actions you do in plain sight, the more suspicious NPCs become (which would include being constantly behind the NPC every time he turns around, like, if he sees you just standing there the first time he turns around, it's fine, if he sees you the second time, he's more suspicious, if he sees him the third time, he's alert because clearly you must be following him), at the same time, the more known criminal you are (i.e. the bigger notoriety level is), the more recognizable you are. I don't think outfits should factor in. I haven't played Liberations, and it's been a long time since I've played Hitman (and I haven't tried Absolution yet), and I know that it may be 'less believable' without outfits, but... I just don't think it's a system that should be really introduced to AC. At least not until they figure out the social stealth concepts without any outfit system.

EDIT:

Let me explain what I think is one of the biggest challenges for social stealth. The best way to hide in a crowd, is to act and look like the crowd. But how can this ever be made into a fun gameplay experience? Since the crowd is just casually walking, or standing so should you. Social stealth is about being ordinary, but the fun and draw of video games is to do extraordinary things!

Then why do people play Sims a lot? ;) :p

Ironically enough, btw, AC multiplayer has long since figured out the social stealth aspect, because you have to act and look like the NPC crowd to get the best approaches and kills. Because that's essentially what it is there: if you do socially unacceptable actions, you're kinda in trouble.

silvermercy
04-14-2013, 12:35 PM
Ironically enough, I never thought of hiding among courtesans as looking more ridiculous than among monks, because for some reason I always thought that everybody just viewed Ezio as their pimp :)
ahaha! This made me chuckle! Agreed!

Personally, yes, I have enjoyed social stealth so far. The improvement I would suggest would be for the future assassin to run and try to find a certain garment after an assassination and THEN blend with the civilians. Then he wouldn't look out of place. The clothes would have to match the group he's joining, too. He could steal it from a laundry basket or knock out another civilian.

(So basically, kinda like Superman changes clothes in telephone booths lol).

AjinkyaParuleka
04-14-2013, 12:38 PM
Social stealth in groups was revised though.As Ezio we used to just walk without any actions..Altair atleast mimicked the monk's but Connor mimicked,acted and did exactly what the crowd did,for example if you go to a group sitting on the ground,he too will sit and do an action of talking.When hiding in market places he talks and does some action,also corner hiding was awesome,added point to social stealth.But Stalkers from ACR were much more better lol,they no get detected.
In AC4 there won't be any social stealth...eddie with 4 guns,2 sword,1 blowpipe,a cool outfit....target "Who's that??"Edward blends with a group.Target,"Some lowlifer citizen maybe".

Farlander1991
04-14-2013, 12:45 PM
Which, btw, the amount of weapons you've got on hand should directly relate to how socially acceptable and suspicious you are (like, having a single weapon and a gun, for example, wouldn't be deemed as too relevant, but being loaded with weaponry wouldn't be socially acceptable). But UbiSoft has to implement an ability to DE-EQUIP FREAKIN' WEAPONS to actually do that. :D

Sushiglutton
04-14-2013, 01:23 PM
Ironically enough, I never thought of hiding among courtesans as looking more ridiculous than among monks, because for some reason I always thought that everybody just viewed Ezio as their pimp :)

On a side note, the mission where we have to tail Hickey's mercenary in AC3 is one of my favourite missions in the game. It had a nice change of pace, from stalking the mercenary on rooftops, to having go on the ground and use the social stealth techniques to follow the mercenaries and eavesdrop them.

The 'why standing between two guys would make you less visible' also makes more sense in AC3 due to additional animations, i.e. Connor is not just standing there, he's sitting, resting, looking what he can buy, engaging in an awkward conversation with a stranger who doesn't know why the hell he's standing there :D So it's actually less conspicuous. You know, it's more 'socially acceptable' than walking behind a paranoid person. Which kinda is a nice nod to AC1's 'socially acceptable action' system without actually changing the AC2 notoriety/detection system that much.

Social stealth is a tricky beast, to be honest. It has to have an understandable ruleset, but at the same time look believable.

But, in short: I have enjoyed social stealth. I don't think it's a failed concept Ubi should give up on. I do think there's room for improvement, but, honestly, I want to see first how they're gonna handle social stealth in AC4, because as far as I understand they're getting rid of the notoriety system there (which has been present in AC from AC2 to AC3). I honestly think that it should be a mix of AC1's system and the sequels system, i.e. the more socially unacceptable actions you do in plain sight, the more suspicious NPCs become (which would include being constantly behind the NPC every time he turns around, like, if he sees you just standing there the first time he turns around, it's fine, if he sees you the second time, he's more suspicious, if he sees him the third time, he's alert because clearly you must be following him), at the same time, the more known criminal you are (i.e. the bigger notoriety level is), the more recognizable you are. I don't think outfits should factor in. I haven't played Liberations, and it's been a long time since I've played Hitman (and I haven't tried Absolution yet), and I know that it may be 'less believable' without outfits, but... I just don't think it's a system that should be really introduced to AC. At least not until they figure out the social stealth concepts without any outfit system.

EDIT:


Then why do people play Sims a lot? ;) :p

Ironically enough, btw, AC multiplayer has long since figured out the social stealth aspect, because you have to act and look like the NPC crowd to get the best approaches and kills. Because that's essentially what it is there: if you do socially unacceptable actions, you're kinda in trouble.


First I want to clarify that I don't think Ubi has done a poor job. I just think social stealth is super hard, near impossible, to do well.

Ezio is one odd looking pimp lol. The templars and assassins have been enemies since the start of time. One would think a general "look for white-hooded guys" order could be given. I mean especially in the American setting when Connor was the only person who dressed like that. And even if Connor looks carefully at some fruit stand he's kind of noticeable.

Problem with the assassins is that they are always Batman, never Bruce Wayne. But if you introduced a Bruce Wayne system (aka dress normally) then you would run into all kinds of other problems. Like it being tedious to switch between costumes, not having the proper gear with you and so on. It would add a lot of tedious walking back and forth and inventory management. Like you I don't really want an outfit system.

Instead I think stalking missions should be about staying totally out of site. I have always enjoyed stalking from the rooftops a lot more than doing it from the street as the challenge to quickly find a route across the street works much better than to quickly find a bench. Also it reminds me of that superb scene in the Godfather: Part 2 :D. I would prefer if the social stealth missions (like infiltrating a party) did not have any challenge component to them at all. That could work as an experience kind of mission.

SixKeys
04-14-2013, 01:50 PM
I disagree that stalking missions should be about staying completely out of sight. It's much more fun to pretend you're so good at blending in your target doesn't even realize he's being followed. One change I wouldn't mind seeing implemented in stalking missions is that if your target does spot you, instead of just standing there for a while with the arrow filling up above his head, he should actively start walking towards you saying stuff like "hey you! I would like a word with you!". Then you would quickly have to duck behind a corner and disappear from view before his suspicions were fully raised.

I agree with Farlander about Ezio and the courtesans. It's not odd because the point was not to blend in among the courtesans, but to hide in plain sight, as the creed says. Anyone who saw this extravagantly dressed nobleman surrounded by a group of courtesans would think he's just a harmless fool showing off. It subverts the usual expectations that an assassin is supposed to stay out of sight. By making a show of himself in the most obvious way, Ezio was sending the message "would I do this if I were an assassin? Of course not!".

In AC3 I liked the idea of Connor adopting the mannerisms of the crowd when blending, but he only did this at very specific spots. I have a feeling more blending actions were planned but the devs ran out of time. In one pre-release interview they gave an example that you'd be able to run up to a group of painters and pretend you were painting with them, but we never saw anything like this in the final game. And yes, Connor stands out way more than Ezio or AltaÔr ever did, not just because he's the only hooded person in all of America apparently but also because of his heritage. That's why I wish outfits would have played a bigger part in AC3. I prefer wearing the Aquila uniform in the cities because at least it makes Connor fit in a little better.

The social stealth still needs some tweaking. I especially didn't like how in AC3 you could "hide" among just two random people. There should be two types of blend crowds: the bigger groups like in the Ezio games and specific action-based crowd animations, like hiding between two painters and adopting their movements. The existing ones in AC3 (sitting on a fence, looking at fruit) were far too subtle.

Maybe the main AC games could also benefit from a disguise system similar to Liberation. Aveline could disguise herself as a slave and could move around freely in restricted areas by pretending to be a servant (carrying boxes etc.). The downside was that as soon as she entered an area where workers were not expected (like a fancy ball), people would grow suspicious. I would love to see something similar in the main series. We've had short experimental missions like the one in ACB where you dress as one of the guards for the Banker's party, I just wish there were more opportunities like that where you could disguise yourself on the fly. It should be like in the ACR Janissary mission where elite guards could still be suspicious of you, so you would have to be quick and clever when infiltrating a base.

shobhit7777777
04-14-2013, 01:59 PM
Excellent question

I think Social Stealth is an infinitely interesting concept to play around with...

The reason why Social Stealth is a ***** to get right is because as a gameplay feature it relies heavily on believable AI responses, interactions and consequences.

Social Stealth works when the AI is "human"

Its a concept revolving around remaining inconspicuous while in plain sight....problem is for that to work..you need an appropriately intelligent AI to react to your actions otherwise it is basically no different from Splinter Cell's "hiding in shadow" mechanic

Assassin's Creed has a dilemma.....the thing is while Social Stealth is one of the important aspects (core pillar IMO) it needs to be accessible, simple and not overshadow the other systems....it can't be a sim
However for it to grow beyond a simple frogger stealth lite game...it needs to make some additions, tweaks, jumps and improvements...because right now it is not very engaging...you just need to walk into things...it is very automated and one dimensional


Overall, the concept in the game is solid.....being in a group of people does indeed allow you to blend in..it works...it is simple, effective and easy to understand

What they need to work is the NPC AI

Social stealth should expand on the idea of crowd manipulation. Sam Fisher can switch off lights and shoot bulbs to create oppurtunities for sneaking around.....the next Assassin should be able to do the same with crowds..manipulate them. Crowds should respond to your actions in a more believable manner

How would you react if a guy just ran up the side of a building and started climbing it? How many people would a street performer like that pull? A lot. This should factor into how and where you start free-running. It should allow you to build up a crowd and hence a commotion...a distraction perhaps...or a giveaway

Similarly, the ability to cause stampedes by overtly hostile actions. It goes out in a ripple. Higher crowd densities lead to more chaotic stampedes....allowing you to escape in the chaos or block the guards from chasing you. Hitman Absolution does it well..kinda.

Socially Unaccaptable reactions need to make a comeback....mucking about should draw heat and the ire of the civillian populace

The Assassin should be more interactive with the NPCs....options like "Engage NPC" should be there..where you can go upto and talk to certain NPCs...start off with a dialogue like - "Uhm Excuse Me sir, ma'am..could you help me out here" and have a quick chat. Certain archetypes might not entertain you for long....have subtle differences between these types....each has a different response to your request in terms of how long you can actually converse and blend with them.
No need for audio dialogue or anything...bare minimum would do...just your two characters nodding and looking around for directions..or going "Hmm...Lemme see" and end it with a thank you or a sorry.
This would enable you to quickly engage into a blend and would make the process of identifying the right archetype for the blend a more interesting social stealth mechanic
AC3 is on the right path thanks to the animations...but it still feels very static...one should be able to interact with anyone and consequentially appear as part of the scenery


Your player character should have a personal SSI indicator showcasing how noticeable he is depending on appearance and behaviour. This 'Attention' meter should not affect your level of 'Incognito' BUT should manage how quickly the NPCs notice you
Actions like running, walking fast etc. in LOS of NPCs should INCREASE the range at which they spot you and their SSI lights up. Having a lot of armour and weapons and walking in open areas would increase your noticeability.....on full...the guards would be able to see you at longer distances
Blending into groups wouldn't foolproof since the noticeabiltiy meter would come into play and a very high level might enable the guards to see through your blending efforts


Stalking and following can be made more challenging and interesting by having the target NPC 'recognize' you over several sightings. Suppose you're following someone....you mess up and his SSI pops in...thats strike 1. He now has noticed you and lets face it...you seem odd.
Suppose you get spotted again...the NPC sees you the second time...he'll be more aware and cautious now...checking his six more frequently and adopt a route which is through busier areas and passes through open areas to get rid of you
Strike three and he bolts

Each strike should increase the attention meter and force you to be more careful, drop back and use the thicker crowds and not get spotted. By the second sighting the social stealth - hide in plain sight wouldn't work...UNLESS you find a group to blend in and always maintain 0 LOS. The attention meter should be used to convey how noticeable you are. Breaking LOS using crowds would be trickier..but since its a solitary NPC...I don't think it would be too hard.
The orientation of your character within the group, the position, the actual percentage visible would all be factored in during the stalking sequences and conveyed via the attention meter


/rant

I wouldn't mess much with the current system though...not everyone is a hardcore stealth fan and some of the above might be a little too much...besides I'm on painkillers right now..so theres that

Legendz54
04-14-2013, 02:14 PM
I think they should put that "gentle push" button to use, I would like a mechanic that while running away from guards you must break the line of sight first.. Then add these hugely dense crowds that you have to push your way through while trying to avoid the guards pushing through the same crowd to find you. Make the social stealth more fun and challenging.

pacmanate
04-14-2013, 03:33 PM
Social Stealth is hard to do, especially when every assassin is obviously an assassin.

Farlander1991
04-14-2013, 05:17 PM
One would think a general "look for white-hooded guys" order could be given. I mean especially in the American setting when Connor was the only person who dressed like that. And even if Connor looks carefully at some fruit stand he's kind of noticeable.

Well... Rule of Cool plus iconic look. Truth be told, there are a LOT of unhooded Assassins post AC1. All of AC2 mentors (well, La Volpe is hooded, but his garb is very unassassiny), Yusuf, all of Connor's recruits... Oh, and Aveline. But in the main series the assassin robes and white hood are really just an iconic look that ties all the protagonists and time periods together, and it's not like EVERY assassin in the universe is hooded (and if he is, it's not white all the time), so... I'm personally willing to suspend my disbelief when it comes to not paying attention to a hooded figure buying fruits :) I can see why people can be appalled by that too, though.


Instead I think stalking missions should be about staying totally out of site. I have always enjoyed stalking from the rooftops a lot more than doing it from the street as the challenge to quickly find a route across the street works much better than to quickly find a bench.

Ditto on what SixKeys said about target not realizing it's followed. I personally think that, quoting Altair, being 'but a blade in the crowd' is one of the things that makes the social stealth fun. You may feel frustrated, but I enjoy the satisfaction of sitting on the bench, then going to pick some fruits, then talking to a few people, while all this time the target didn't even see me move from position to position, it just saw a bunch of people doing their thing.

Gi1t
04-14-2013, 05:34 PM
Let me explain what I think is one of the biggest challenges for social stealth. The best way to hide in a crowd, is to act and look like the crowd. But how can this ever be made into a fun gameplay experience? Since the crowd is just casually walking, or standing so should you. Social stealth is about being ordinary, but the fun and draw of video games is to do extraordinary things!

Social Stealth is a very complex thing. I think the way the games have been utilizing it as time goes on has caused it to feel more gimmicky than it should by highlighting specific deceptive actions and ignoring others. The draw of social stealth in the first game, for me, was that you were always suspected; always being hunted and acting like a normal person was the way to stay under the radar. How you did that was a choice you made. You didn't just have the 'social stealth moves' of blending and sitting on benches, you also had a lot of options that were simply responsible use of your normal controls. Not running everywhere like you were on crack that way to do in most every other game; choosing your paths carefully, and not climbing buildings in plain view of the people, using ladders to get up to the roof when you need to; staying out of peoples' way; doing what guards say for the time being; anything you did, you had a choice to be more discreet about it. Hiding in plain sight is fun. Instead of crouching behind some random obstruction waiting for your time to run to the next obstruction, you're actively moving around all the time, using your brain rather than your reflexes to remain hidden. I think it can be just as tense to be hiding in plain view of the people who are looking for you as it is to be hiding behind a wall.

As for making it work, I think Farlander hit it on the nail. The more ways in which the Assassin can interact with the environment in a socially acceptable way, the more convincing it will feel. Like I said, a lot of missions in later games tend to highlight one particular aspect of the system and have you use that over and over which makes it feel like a gimmick and breaks down the illusion that you're acting like a normal person, because what normal person would switch between these activities in such an absurd manner. NPCS interacting more with you would help a lot too. for example, the way courtesans just sort of go brain-dead when dismissed and walk away is pretty silly. Having more greetings/farewells between interacting characters would really help the illusion.

With stalking, I think having more parallel paths would be cooler than tagging along behind them all the time. Say you have two streets side by side separated by market stalls, you could follow them from the side instead. You might be more visible to the target should you do something odd, but when they look behind them, they'd see nothing, which would be cool It's more or less the way I think of an Assassin stalking someone. They look behind them and the Assassin isn't even in their field of view. He's looking at them from the side, calmly following along; not tagging along after them like a curious dog.

AjinkyaParuleka
04-14-2013, 05:44 PM
Social stealth was acceptable in modern gameplay,almost every guys outthere use a hoodie,desmond was no exception.

Soulid_Snake
04-14-2013, 11:45 PM
@OP: AC does it pretty unrealistically, the only good example I can think of is when Ezio had to use a guard's clothing and armor, in order to deliver the Apple of Eden to Rodrigo Borgia.

Deus Ex:HR does social stealth nicely.

Assassin_M
04-14-2013, 11:55 PM
Excellent question

I think Social Stealth is an infinitely interesting concept to play around with...

The reason why Social Stealth is a ***** to get right is because as a gameplay feature it relies heavily on believable AI responses, interactions and consequences.

Social Stealth works when the AI is "human"

Its a concept revolving around remaining inconspicuous while in plain sight....problem is for that to work..you need an appropriately intelligent AI to react to your actions otherwise it is basically no different from Splinter Cell's "hiding in shadow" mechanic

Assassin's Creed has a dilemma.....the thing is while Social Stealth is one of the important aspects (core pillar IMO) it needs to be accessible, simple and not overshadow the other systems....it can't be a sim
However for it to grow beyond a simple frogger stealth lite game...it needs to make some additions, tweaks, jumps and improvements...because right now it is not very engaging...you just need to walk into things...it is very automated and one dimensional


Overall, the concept in the game is solid.....being in a group of people does indeed allow you to blend in..it works...it is simple, effective and easy to understand

What they need to work is the NPC AI

Social stealth should expand on the idea of crowd manipulation. Sam Fisher can switch off lights and shoot bulbs to create oppurtunities for sneaking around.....the next Assassin should be able to do the same with crowds..manipulate them. Crowds should respond to your actions in a more believable manner

How would you react if a guy just ran up the side of a building and started climbing it? How many people would a street performer like that pull? A lot. This should factor into how and where you start free-running. It should allow you to build up a crowd and hence a commotion...a distraction perhaps...or a giveaway

Similarly, the ability to cause stampedes by overtly hostile actions. It goes out in a ripple. Higher crowd densities lead to more chaotic stampedes....allowing you to escape in the chaos or block the guards from chasing you. Hitman Absolution does it well..kinda.

Socially Unaccaptable reactions need to make a comeback....mucking about should draw heat and the ire of the civillian populace

The Assassin should be more interactive with the NPCs....options like "Engage NPC" should be there..where you can go upto and talk to certain NPCs...start off with a dialogue like - "Uhm Excuse Me sir, ma'am..could you help me out here" and have a quick chat. Certain archetypes might not entertain you for long....have subtle differences between these types....each has a different response to your request in terms of how long you can actually converse and blend with them.
No need for audio dialogue or anything...bare minimum would do...just your two characters nodding and looking around for directions..or going "Hmm...Lemme see" and end it with a thank you or a sorry.
This would enable you to quickly engage into a blend and would make the process of identifying the right archetype for the blend a more interesting social stealth mechanic
AC3 is on the right path thanks to the animations...but it still feels very static...one should be able to interact with anyone and consequentially appear as part of the scenery


Your player character should have a personal SSI indicator showcasing how noticeable he is depending on appearance and behaviour. This 'Attention' meter should not affect your level of 'Incognito' BUT should manage how quickly the NPCs notice you
Actions like running, walking fast etc. in LOS of NPCs should INCREASE the range at which they spot you and their SSI lights up. Having a lot of armour and weapons and walking in open areas would increase your noticeability.....on full...the guards would be able to see you at longer distances
Blending into groups wouldn't foolproof since the noticeabiltiy meter would come into play and a very high level might enable the guards to see through your blending efforts


Stalking and following can be made more challenging and interesting by having the target NPC 'recognize' you over several sightings. Suppose you're following someone....you mess up and his SSI pops in...thats strike 1. He now has noticed you and lets face it...you seem odd.
Suppose you get spotted again...the NPC sees you the second time...he'll be more aware and cautious now...checking his six more frequently and adopt a route which is through busier areas and passes through open areas to get rid of you
Strike three and he bolts

Each strike should increase the attention meter and force you to be more careful, drop back and use the thicker crowds and not get spotted. By the second sighting the social stealth - hide in plain sight wouldn't work...UNLESS you find a group to blend in and always maintain 0 LOS. The attention meter should be used to convey how noticeable you are. Breaking LOS using crowds would be trickier..but since its a solitary NPC...I don't think it would be too hard.
The orientation of your character within the group, the position, the actual percentage visible would all be factored in during the stalking sequences and conveyed via the attention meter


/rant

I wouldn't mess much with the current system though...not everyone is a hardcore stealth fan and some of the above might be a little too much...besides I'm on painkillers right now..so theres that
I like this human

Soulid_Snake
04-15-2013, 12:20 AM
I like this human

Do you also like reading essays?

Assassin_M
04-15-2013, 12:27 AM
Do you also like reading essays?
It`s precisely why I like that human, I figured no body probably would read it and he usually puts in a lot of effort in much of his posts, so I said why not ?? I didn't regret it fortunately

Soulid_Snake
04-15-2013, 12:36 AM
It`s precisely why I like that human, I figured no body probably would read it and he usually puts in a lot of effort in much of his posts, so I said why not ?? I didn't regret it fortunately

Fair play to you, for reading it.

Assassin_M
04-15-2013, 12:52 AM
Fair play to you, for reading it.
Thanks :D

and I know it`s random, but sorry....I become such a **** sometimes, so there...

SixKeys
04-15-2013, 01:42 AM
Stalking and following can be made more challenging and interesting by having the target NPC 'recognize' you over several sightings. Suppose you're following someone....you mess up and his SSI pops in...thats strike 1. He now has noticed you and lets face it...you seem odd.
Suppose you get spotted again...the NPC sees you the second time...he'll be more aware and cautious now...checking his six more frequently and adopt a route which is through busier areas and passes through open areas to get rid of you
Strike three and he bolts

I like this idea. This is how the stalking missions should have been done from the start. And if the target bolts, that shouldn't mean instant desynch for the player but adapting to the situation. You were discovered, now deal with the consequences. Like in the AC2 tombs where you sometimes had two alternative scenarios depending on whether you caught up to the running guard or not. If you caught him in time, you could sneak past his mates unnoticed. If he got to his friends first, he would alert them that you were coming and you would have to fight them. That's how it should be with stalking missions. If you get discovered, your target should run and alert his bodyguards and you would be forced to fight them.

Soulid_Snake
04-15-2013, 02:00 AM
Thanks :D

and I know it`s random, but sorry....I become such a **** sometimes, so there...

I'm sorry to for being a ****, it's all water under the bridge now! :cool:

AssassinGame1
04-15-2013, 03:45 AM
I like the blending between two people thing (AC3), it actually looked like you are trying to hide or be stealthy, sitting on a bench seemed like the assassin was just resting.

Jack-Reacher
04-15-2013, 05:42 AM
There just aren't enough opportunities to implement this stuff though, many a time I wonder who or what is to blame for such arrogance.

pirate1802
04-15-2013, 06:10 AM
Ironically enough, btw, AC multiplayer has long since figured out the social stealth aspect, because you have to act and look like the NPC crowd to get the best approaches and kills. Because that's essentially what it is there: if you do socially unacceptable actions, you're kinda in trouble.

Lol true. The MP has the social stealth aspect bang on. When playing MP I'm always trying my best to act and look like an NPC while keeping an eye out for anyone behaving out of the ordinary. Its a great experience really, the way the SP social stealth should have been. Its ironic and sad, that nowadays AC's MP has more stealth than SP..

Sushiglutton
04-15-2013, 01:45 PM
Thanks for all the awesome replies ! I hope to address as many as possible of your points below :D!

Iím usually not picky at all about things looking perfectly realistic. In most cases I would choose cool over realistic. However, when it comes to social stealth I feel like the believability of how it looks is very important. It doesnít have to be perfect, but the assassin stands out like a marshmallow in a chocolate bowl, which kills the immersion for me. Ezio as a pimp at the Bankerís orgy didnít work at all for me. Ezio was armed to the teeth with a freaking crossbow on his back lol. Walking from courtesan group, to courtesan group felt very gamey.

The most straightforward way to address this is to add some kind of disguise, or civilian outfit and to add an option to remove gear. However, like discussed above, that introduces a bunch of other issues. Specifically it adds inventory management, walking from A to B etc which is kind of tedious. There is also the problem that we as the player donít really know what to expect, so itís hard to choose the right outfit for a mission. AC3 solved this by handing you a disguise for some missions, which I think is ok, but it doesnít work in the sandbox gameplay and it adds no strategy or option for the player.

Adopting the mannerism of the crowd is a cool idea, but in practice I just donít think it works. I mean say we stand between two painters and Connor starts to mimic their motions. To me a hooded guy armed with a bow and a sword would be even more suspicious if he pretended to be a painter than if he just leaned against a wall.

The best blend in franchise history imo is the recruit one in AC3 where Connor pretends to be captured. That was a brilliant twist to an old system. Even though I dislike the recruits in general, I think involving them more into social stealth would be one idea to bring new life into it.

I agree that a human AI is really key to make social stealth feel right, but Iím not convinced this is feasible atm. A believable AI may also be a frustrating one. For example by punishing the player for climbing in open view (as would be realistic) players will stay more on the ground. But the climbable city is the most unique feature in AC, so by teaching the players to not take advantage of it the devs kind of shoot themselves in the foot. Similarly Iím not sure punishing the player for carrying all tools with him is such a smart idea. The result may be players simply wonít use tools as much which would lead to a less varied experience.

I like the idea of being able to interact more with the NPCs. Obv this is a resource problem as that would mean adding a ton of dialogue and animations to sell, but if anyone can do it, itís Ubi as they seem to have an endless amount of people to work on stuff like that.

As for making the stalker missions more challenging, Iím not sure if that is the right way. Personally Iím leaning more towards just ripping out the challenge component of those missions entirely. Slowly walking behind someone for five minutes is not something I want to ever replay. Itís the kind of mission that needs to be virtually impossible to fail imo.

I think that the key to social stealth may not be what socially acceptable actions you have to choose from, but rather what social unacceptable you are forced to do. Because the catalyst for the gameplay is that you need to perform some unacceptable task (like following a character) and designing a varied set of such actions could also add more meat to social stealth.

Iím convinced that social stealth is actually very interesting so it needs to stay J. But it really is super hard to design well as there are so many conflicting goals and both the visuals and AI need to be of top quality to make it work. Donít envy the poor chaps at Ubi who have to do this lol.

shobhit7777777
04-15-2013, 02:36 PM
Lol true. The MP has the social stealth aspect bang on. When playing MP I'm always trying my best to act and look like an NPC while keeping an eye out for anyone behaving out of the ordinary. Its a great experience really, the way the SP social stealth should have been. Its ironic and sad, that nowadays AC's MP has more stealth than SP..

Because of Human opponents - Social Stealth is only fun when the opponent is able to pick up on the nuances and subtleties attached to such a feature


I like this human

I'm Batman


I like this idea. This is how the stalking missions should have been done from the start. And if the target bolts, that shouldn't mean instant desynch for the player but adapting to the situation. You were discovered, now deal with the consequences. Like in the AC2 tombs where you sometimes had two alternative scenarios depending on whether you caught up to the running guard or not. If you caught him in time, you could sneak past his mates unnoticed. If he got to his friends first, he would alert them that you were coming and you would have to fight them. That's how it should be with stalking missions. If you get discovered, your target should run and alert his bodyguards and you would be forced to fight them.

Yup. No fail condition..chase that ****er or fight him....I hate insta-fails



I agree that a human AI is really key to make social stealth feel right, but I’m not convinced this is feasible atm. A believable AI may also be a frustrating one. For example by punishing the player for climbing in open view (as would be realistic) players will stay more on the ground. But the climbable city is the most unique feature in AC, so by teaching the players to not take advantage of it the devs kind of shoot themselves in the foot. Similarly I’m not sure punishing the player for carrying all tools with him is such a smart idea. The result may be players simply won’t use tools as much which would lead to a less varied experience.


Human AI =/= "Human" AI

The AI needs to appear to be smart. Human like reactions and behaviours

As for climbing in open sight - yes it could be quite annoying to have a crowd gather the moment you climb up...but if consider the other variables at play it doesn't seem that harsh -

1. Crowd would gather if you're climbing a taller building or a special one....longer time spent climbing = more attention
2. They'll stand and gawk....luring in Guards (If any are patrolling that is)...who themselves will only berate you but let you go IF you're Incognito..if you're notorious...prepare to get chased (fair IMO)
3. It falls into the whole theme of "not attracting attention" which is the point of Social Stealth


As for making the stalker missions more challenging, I’m not sure if that is the right way. Personally I’m leaning more towards just ripping out the challenge component of those missions entirely. Slowly walking behind someone for five minutes is not something I want to ever replay. It’s the kind of mission that needs to be virtually impossible to fail imo.

IDK man....following someone is the bread and butter of espionage operations and are some of the most complex tactical operations that can be carried out. It can be an engaging exercise of using cunning, crowd and the environment to achieve and objective

And lets not forget the power trip fantasy of observing your target like a bird of prey...that is 'assassin' as ****....

rob.davies2014
04-15-2013, 02:38 PM
A possible solution for the problem of not knowing what outfit to wear, you could have different, distinct areas of the map where you need to get certain outfits to blend in.
E.g. if you need to assassinate someone in a military area, you need to get a guard's outfit. If it's on a rich district, dress like a noble, in a poor district, dress like a beggar. Or something like that.

This was sort of present in the other games but it was completely scripted. You HAD to invade the Arsenal dressed as a Janissary in Revelations. It would be better if it was up to us to do this when we wanted.

Another idea that would effect stealth could be blood stains. It would make it more realistic and would encourage more stealthy navigation. If you were covered in blood it would be like being highly notorious, people would react with fear and guards would confront you. You'd have to get to a shop to buy new clothes or a water source to wash it off maybe.

pacmanate
04-15-2013, 02:53 PM
Thanks :D

and I know it`s random, but sorry....I become such a **** sometimes, so there...

You are not forgiven.

AjinkyaParuleka
04-15-2013, 07:48 PM
I like Hitman Absolution's social stealth or stealth..or whatever you wanna call it.47 wore a suit all the time,ALL the time.There are disguises in it adding to social stealth.But you can complete the whole game without a disguise.For eg.in the Run for your life mission,in the end you are in the police station and the police suspect you all the time,you gotta use instinct to reach the donut to mix into the crowd.Even when ACIII's AnvilNext boasted about 2000 npc animation at the same time,it is useless unless they are packed AND crowded and not walking like a gang.There should be an option on what weapons you want to use and what not.If you are going for stealth,I'd prefer the Hidden Blade,the darts.If you see the AC1 trailer where Altair has a crossbow,he has only 1 arrow and assassinates the target as well as his guard,escapes from there and mingle with a huge crowd of white dressed monks.In first,you won't be able to detect Altair in it,but if you watch closely he is the one moving faster than others.There should be a crowd,not a group of 4 people.

SixKeys
04-15-2013, 08:31 PM
A possible solution for the problem of not knowing what outfit to wear, you could have different, distinct areas of the map where you need to get certain outfits to blend in.
E.g. if you need to assassinate someone in a military area, you need to get a guard's outfit. If it's on a rich district, dress like a noble, in a poor district, dress like a beggar. Or something like that.

On the one hand I like this idea, on the other I find it limiting. I think special outfits should be tied to special missions or mission types. I would hate having to change outfits whenever the game requires me to, as opposed to being able to wear what I think looks coolest.


Another idea that would effect stealth could be blood stains. It would make it more realistic and would encourage more stealthy navigation. If you were covered in blood it would be like being highly notorious, people would react with fear and guards would confront you. You'd have to get to a shop to buy new clothes or a water source to wash it off maybe.

This I disagree with. Simply because it would get really tiresome to have to run off after each confrontation to find water or a tailor. I'm willing to suspend my disbelief in this part of the games for the sake of the "fun" component.

Soulid_Snake
04-16-2013, 12:16 AM
Lol, Russell Sparrow! :)

rob.davies2014
04-16-2013, 03:23 PM
On the one hand I like this idea, on the other I find it limiting. I think special outfits should be tied to special missions or mission types. I would hate having to change outfits whenever the game requires me to, as opposed to being able to wear what I think looks coolest.

The way I see it, it would be an optional approach to a target, you wouldn't have to do it. You could go in Rambo style, or over the roofs or stealthy from hiding spot to hiding spot. But if you want to use the crowd to cover your approach you'd have to look like you were part of it.



This I disagree with. Simply because it would get really tiresome to have to run off after each confrontation to find water or a tailor. I'm willing to suspend my disbelief in this part of the games for the sake of the "fun" component.

I suppose it comes down to where your threshold is. Personally, I find it stupid how the blood stains just magically vanish in the game.
But if they were permanent, it would be more realistic AND they could make it so that it effects notoriety and forces us to be stealthy.


Lol, Russell Sparrow! :)

:o

Bastiaen
04-16-2013, 05:31 PM
Let me explain what I think is one of the biggest challenges for social stealth. The best way to hide in a crowd, is to act and look like the crowd. But how can this ever be made into a fun gameplay experience? Since the crowd is just casually walking, or standing so should you. Social stealth is about being ordinary, but the fun and draw of video games is to do extraordinary things!

It works in multiplayer. Why not have our assassin smile, chat and try to actually look like a part of the crowd. It would add that much more immersion.

Social stealth works in multiplayer really well, at least partly because of the better blending. Of course, having lookalikes helps, but in the single player context, there is a psychological component, that the AI don't expect you to be hiding in plain sight, they expect you to keep running, or hide somewhere less open. I really wish that our protagonist would blend more like the multiplayer characters do. I think that social stealth can provide a lot of tension. I really wish that guards wouldn't automatically go up to any crowd you were hiding in and detect you, it's one of the things that has made crowd blenging useless.

Bastiaen
04-16-2013, 05:47 PM
Which, btw, the amount of weapons you've got on hand should directly relate to how socially acceptable and suspicious you are (like, having a single weapon and a gun, for example, wouldn't be deemed as too relevant, but being loaded with weaponry wouldn't be socially acceptable). But UbiSoft has to implement an ability to DE-EQUIP FREAKIN' WEAPONS to actually do that. :D

I like this thought.

Bastiaen
04-16-2013, 06:42 PM
@OP: AC does it pretty unrealistically, the only good example I can think of is when Ezio had to use a guard's clothing and armor, in order to deliver the Apple of Eden to Rodrigo Borgia.

Deus Ex:HR does social stealth nicely.

DX:HR didn't really have social stealth. You could hide around town, blocking line of sight, but that's just plain old stealth, not social stealth.

SpiritMuse
04-16-2013, 11:16 PM
And yes, Connor stands out way more than Ezio or AltaÔr ever did, not just because he's the only hooded person in all of America apparently but also because of his heritage. That's why I wish outfits would have played a bigger part in AC3. I prefer wearing the Aquila uniform in the cities because at least it makes Connor fit in a little better.

Really? I always felt Connor stood out less than any of the others. Yes, he's Native American, but the whole point of changing his name (well, apart from the unpronouncability of it) was so he'd pass more easily as someone of Southern European origin, so I'm guessing that anyone seeing a tan-skinned guy *not* wearing obviously Native American garb would on first glance assume he was Spanish or another kind of Southern European. Besides that, I felt he had the least obvious Assassin outfit. Apart from the hood, it looked mostly like some kind of worn out uniform coat, and with the weapons he'd end up looking like some kind of Spanish mercenary (Ezio, by the way, was in the guard chatter often referred to as "just another sellsword" if you walked by them closely). With Ezio I always walked around in a dyed outfit so I'd feel like I was actually blending in. With Connor I never felt that need.

By the way, someone else mentioned this, but Ezio with the courtesanes? I always just assumed that everyone was so distracted by the pretty girls that they didn't notice the random dude standing in the middle. xD But I also like the explanation of pretending to be a rich idiot showing off his entourage of pretty girls.

SixKeys
04-16-2013, 11:58 PM
Really? I always felt Connor stood out less than any of the others. Yes, he's Native American, but the whole point of changing his name (well, apart from the unpronouncability of it) was so he'd pass more easily as someone of Southern European origin, so I'm guessing that anyone seeing a tan-skinned guy *not* wearing obviously Native American garb would on first glance assume he was Spanish or another kind of Southern European. Besides that, I felt he had the least obvious Assassin outfit. Apart from the hood, it looked mostly like some kind of worn out uniform coat, and with the weapons he'd end up looking like some kind of Spanish mercenary (Ezio, by the way, was in the guard chatter often referred to as "just another sellsword" if you walked by them closely). With Ezio I always walked around in a dyed outfit so I'd feel like I was actually blending in. With Connor I never felt that need.

I totally disagree with this. Connor's outfit screams native American. The feathers, the snakeskins, the unequippable bow, the boots....Heck, at the end of the game he even walks out in the open wearing a Mohawk hairstyle. That's why Achilles' strategy of trying to persuade Connor to convince people he was Spanish never made sense to me. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck.... I usually ended up dyeing Connor's outfit brown so I could pretend people might mistake him for a hunter from the wild. He would never pass for an urban citizen, though.

Eternal Reward
04-17-2013, 12:11 AM
Lol true. The MP has the social stealth aspect bang on. When playing MP I'm always trying my best to act and look like an NPC while keeping an eye out for anyone behaving out of the ordinary. Its a great experience really, the way the SP social stealth should have been. Its ironic and sad, that nowadays AC's MP has more stealth than SP..

Well, it helps when the people your trying to fool are smart, thinking human beings. But thats the reason I love the MP so much. It's like a assassination mission in AC, with a smart thinking opponent, a smart thinking enemy, and limited tools on everyone's part.

SpiritMuse
04-17-2013, 03:40 AM
I totally disagree with this. Connor's outfit screams native American. The feathers, the snakeskins, the unequippable bow, the boots....Heck, at the end of the game he even walks out in the open wearing a Mohawk hairstyle. That's why Achilles' strategy of trying to persuade Connor to convince people he was Spanish never made sense to me. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck.... I usually ended up dyeing Connor's outfit brown so I could pretend people might mistake him for a hunter from the wild. He would never pass for an urban citizen, though.

True, he totally gives up all pretense at the end, going with the war paint and everything. And also, Achilles could have picked a more Spanish sounding name than "Connor" if he really wanted it to be convincing (my guess is that Achilles doesn't actually know all that much about Spanish people). But his outfit didn't strike me as particularly native american. I never noticed any feathers, and snakeskins? Yeah, he probably wouldn't pass as an urban citizen. But a frontier-based hunter/mercenary, easy.

SixKeys
04-17-2013, 03:02 PM
But his outfit didn't strike me as particularly native american. I never noticed any feathers, and snakeskins?


http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y200/JessKat/assassins-creed-3-iii-connor-bow-600x300_zpsfb061244.jpg