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View Full Version : A lot of babbling about stealth and things



Ygdrasel
11-26-2014, 08:43 AM
AC1 guards picked out the assassin like it was their job (and it was) but it's been watered down in every game since. Templars would spot Altair if he was just walking down the street, courtesy of his distinctive uniform. A serious pain for explorers though, and very tedious to shake off that attention all the time...

AC2 and up introduced the notoriety system (with 3 improving it slightly) but stealth was still pretty bad.

I haven't played Black Flag so if it added anything to stealth, I can't say.

Unity (thank god) added a crouch button, and axed that let's-make-the-stealth-worthlessly-easy whistle button. So stealth became a degree more difficult...But still not great.


The addition of light and sound as stealth factors would be of much benefit but I have little idea how to implement that in AC's world (it not being a very shadowy one) so I found myself thinking more about consequences, I.E. notoriety, and considering a percentage-based notoriety system with consequences varying based on it (similar to 3, but not), rather than AC2's "It's either 100% full or effectively empty" approach, in addition to guard AI varying as well with higher notoriety making stealthy movements and blending in progressively more difficult.


1-10%: May provoke idle chatter of 'criminals' in the area from civilian NPCs. Guards just harass and pester you similar to the beggars or bards in AC1 and 2, shoving you about and mouthing off if you get close.

11-20%: Civilians begin to harass as well in addition to guards, and may pickpocket you or assault you (unarmed).

21-30%: Guards follow you if they spot you, harassing and can turn (non-lethally, unarmed combat) hostile if provoked.

31-40%: Guards will attempt to restrain you on sight (via chase-and-tackle) and take a fine of 500 whatever-monies if they succeed. All guards may fine you separately, stacking this cost if you are caught often.

41-50%: Guards will chase down, tackle and arrest you. Player position will reset (via fade-to-black) at a random guarded 'jail' area with a degree of missing health and armor damage (from jail tussles). Perhaps an actual jail, if the setting historically contains one. The $500 fine will be deducted from your pockets as well.

51-60%: Civilians will call the guards to your location, gameplay-wise spawning a set number off-screen to rush in. Benches will be searched, no longer effective hiding spots. Guards will use lethal force.

41-50%: Civilians will call the guards and restrain you for them, akin to how they sometimes did to enemies in earlier titles. Benches and hay will be searched. Guards will use lethal force.

51-60%: Civilians will call the guards and restrain you for them. 'Called' guards will be more heavily armored and aggressive. Benches and hay will be searched. Guards will use lethal force.

61-70%: Civilians will call the guards and restrain you for them. All guards will be more heavily armored and aggressive. Benches and hay will be searched. Guards will use lethal force.

71%-80%: Civilians will call the guards and restrain you for them. Civilians will occasionally spawn as "deputies", serving as disguised-but-lethal lesser-equipped forces to apprehend you. All guards will be more heavily armored and aggressive. Benches and hay will be searched. Small (4-5) crowds will be ineffective as hiding spots. Guards will use lethal force. Detection meters will fill faster.

81%-89%: Civilians will occasionally spawn as "deputies", serving as disguised-but-lethal lesser-equipped forces to apprehend you. All guards will be hyper-attentive, noticing any move regardless of high or low profile. Deputies and guards will be more heavily armored and aggressive, appearing in greater numbers and frequency. Guards will use lethal force. Benches and hay will be searched. Guards will be stationed on rooftops. Small (4-5) crowds will be ineffective as hiding spots. Larger crowds will be searched, requiring the player to continuously move through or between them rather than just popping between some guys at the back and becoming invisible. Detection meters will fill faster, skipping the yellow 'suspicious' stage immediately to the red 'alert' stage.

90-100%: All guards will be hyper-attentive, noticing any move regardless of high or low profile. In attention to the usual, guards will begin wandering the streets alongside civilians, further preventing easy travel. Guards will be more heavily armored and aggressive, appearing in greater numbers and frequency. Deputies and guards will incorporate harsher weaponry (ala firearms or poisoned blades, perhaps causing a standard 'drunk' effect to disorient the player). Guards will use lethal force. Benches and hay will be searched. Guards will be stationed on rooftops with better weaponry. All clustered civilians/crowds will disperse and flee upon your arrival, after calling for guards. Detection meters will fill instantaneously, defaulting to the red 'alert' stage.

Notoriety will reset instantly to zero upon death. Arrest and fines taken by hostile guards will leave them passive for a short time but not reduce notoriety. Designated 'general' guards, visually distinct and decorated, may be tracked down and bribed to lower notoriety (must be anonymous to do this), starting at $500 to cut 10% with the price increasing by 500 for each successive notoriety level (making this a suitably expensive option for more notorious fugitives).

At 81% and above, designated 'overseer' guards, responsible for information flow regarding wanted men and suitably accompanied by a heavy guard force within fortified areas, may be hunted and killed in the world. Success will cut notoriety by a mere 10% if detected or 100% if completely undetected.

Different customization gear will provide different notoriety ratings, with brighter/flashier/showier options causing actions (low and high profile) to fill the meter faster and/or boosting the chance of a search uncovering you, thus demanding more careful movements and actions from the more ostentatious Assassin. Notoriety effects, when possible, would persist in and out of missions.

The overall effect would, ideally, at least make being a high-profile mass murderer more consequential, ultimately culminating in a brutal manhunt that, while eliminating much chance of blending in, would necessitate very careful stealth to reach the appropriate target (whether a bribeable general or killable overseer) and restore anonymity.

wvstolzing
11-26-2014, 02:04 PM
In addition to all that, I'd still think that the character would need to use the environment well, for the effort to play stealthily to make sense, and be rewarding in the end. AC's stealth has always been a matter of 'don't stay in enemy's field of vision for more than 2 seconds'; so there's been no use of hiding in the shadows, or of *sound*. The ability to crouch makes it a *little* less clunky to cut the enemy's line of sight, but the overall approach is still clunky, I'd think.

... not that I have a good idea as to how stealth should work in a 3rd person action game. The best examples I can think of are the Arkham series (which obviously rely heavily on gadgetry, and very specific environmental features), and The Last of Us (despite its inconsistencies -- e.g., thugs would hear your footsteps, but not the sound of someone being strangled right behind their back).

I wonder if there's any 3rd person action game that does stealth really well, without relying too much on gadgetry (and silenced guns, etc.)

Speaking of silenced guns: I thought the phantom blade would be silent (you know, 'phantom'); but the mere use of it (regardless whom you actually shoot) *immediately* alerts all guards in the vicinity. Not sure if that's not a bug.

VestigialLlama4
11-26-2014, 02:39 PM
The addition of light and sound as stealth factors would be of much benefit but I have little idea how to implement that in AC's world (it not being a very shadowy one) so I found myself thinking more about consequences, I.E. notoriety, and considering a percentage-based notoriety system with consequences varying based on it (similar to 3, but not), rather than AC2's "It's either 100% full or effectively empty" approach, in addition to guard AI varying as well with higher notoriety making stealthy movements and blending in progressively more difficult.

That would work if Assassin's Creed was a pure stealth game. It is not a pure stealth game and never has been, it always was and intended to be a stealth/action-adventure/hack-and-slash/sandbox game. The metaphor of Assassin's Creed right in the original is operating in plain sight and being audacious and gutsy. That's why most of the action in the games take place in broad daylight. If this was a pure stealth game. The metaphor for the Animus is to justify video-game playing objectives. The whole point of the games is that the characters you play as, story missions notwithstanding, were super-competent and never got into needless fights, were stealthy at all times in traversal(s) and missions, and only killed when they had to.

The reasons why there was no crouch button was simply that it would look odd in an open world game, but it works in UNITY since a lot of action happens indoors, so they bring in more stealth options. But there's no point trying to guilt the developers into making this a pure stealth game, the only way you can do a pure stealth game is you have the option to do a total pacifist and ghost run, and that's never a possibility in these games(aside from certain missions where you do it for Synchronization objectives).

Pr0metheus 1962
11-26-2014, 03:55 PM
Stealth as a 100% strategy is not difficult in this game - it's impossible. We can't effectively use stealth as a strategy throughout the game because guards respond too arbitrarily to Arno's appearance. Sometimes they react slowly, sometimes they immediately go into "kill" mode - and how this reaction happens does not seem to be based on the player's skill or on how he has outfitted Arno. Also, the cover system doesn't work except in a few particular story missions - and then it only works poorly. Finally, the hiding spot system does not work without the whistle to lure guards to you - you can stay in most hiding spots forever and no guard will come by, which kinda defeats the purpose of hiding spots even existing in the game. After all, if you can get to a hiding spot without being seen, why have it there in the first place if no guards ever patrol there and if there's no way to lure a guard there?

I was kinda looking forward to stealth in Unity. It seemed like they were going to bring back a stealth system similar to the one they used in the original Assassin's Creed. They promised us that the stealth system was to be beefed up, but the reality is that it doesn't work if players want to use it as a consistent strategy: you cannot maximize your stealth attributes and play through the whole game that way, because sometimes guards see you and go into attack mode no matter what you do.

hi2ukindsir
11-26-2014, 04:47 PM
Stealth as a 100% strategy is not difficult in this game - it's impossible. We can't effectively use stealth as a strategy throughout the game because guards respond too arbitrarily to Arno's appearance. Sometimes they react slowly, sometimes they immediately go into "kill" mode - and how this reaction happens does not seem to be based on the player's skill or on how he has outfitted Arno. Also, the cover system doesn't work except in a few particular story missions - and then it only works poorly. Finally, the hiding spot system does not work without the whistle to lure guards to you - you can stay in most hiding spots forever and no guard will come by, which kinda defeats the purpose of hiding spots even existing in the game. After all, if you can get to a hiding spot without being seen, why have it there in the first place if no guards ever patrol there and if there's no way to lure a guard there?

I was kinda looking forward to stealth in Unity. It seemed like they were going to bring back a stealth system similar to the one they used in the original Assassin's Creed. They promised us that the stealth system was to be beefed up, but the reality is that it doesn't work if players want to use it as a consistent strategy: you cannot maximize your stealth attributes and play through the whole game that way, because sometimes guards see you and go into attack mode no matter what you do.

I'm glad i'm not the only one who is pretty disappointed with the stealth side of this game. While I understand AC games have never been pure stealth, it was always an option. In Unity it seems fairly useless most of the time. Add that to the overall combat system where you can only parry and no counter-kill like previous games. Even when I use a smoke bomb I can't assassinate people. All of things combined makes this feel like the weakest assassin we've controlled yet.

At first I was very disappointed with this game (between the above and all the companion app/initiates issues), however now that I have my full legendary gear, the game has gotten slightly better since one ranged shot no longer kills me.

Pr0metheus 1962
11-26-2014, 05:57 PM
Add that to the overall combat system where you can only parry and no counter-kill like previous games...

The ironic thing, I think, is that they said the new system was going to be more like real fencing, yet the basis of real fencing is to deflect the opponent's blade and thereby open your opponent up to a counter-hit.

So in trying to get closer to real swordfighting they actually deleted the most realistic part of the Assassin's Creed melee combat system. I suspect it's because they got their ideas from stage swordplay (which is all about edge-on-edge parry and riposte, because the last thing you want on stage is for someone to get stabbed) rather than actual fencing combat manuals from the time period which are all about deflect-thrust.

As usual, Ubisoft shows they don't have a clue. Never mind, it's just a game, I guess. A game with a stunningly well researched realistic settings and strong adult themes undermined by ridiculously effete outfits and combat out of a kiddies' cartoon show. It's like they hired the art director of Les Miserables, the costume designer of Zoolander and the fight coordinator of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.

Rafe Harwood
11-26-2014, 06:12 PM
Although I see a lot of people talking about the lack of stealth or the game not being about stealth, it seems as though a lot of the views here are for a violent conclusion.

The one tihng that has always bugged me about the games is the errors it makes with regards to what is a non-lethal take down.

It is entirely possible to go through the entire game using the non-lethal options (choking out), with the exception of named targets and that's the way I prefer to play. In AC4 when you first meet the templers and get your wrist blade, simply going through and having no option but to take out the straw dummies actually resulted in kills being registered. Like, they are straw dummies for lord sakes, how can you kill sometihng that isn't alive?!

Anyway, my point is over the series, the non-lethal aspect has slowly been removed as more and more people want the darn kills.

The leaderboards actually work towards getting the most kills too, which I always thought was ridonkulous!

In my mind, killing is not the point of the game and is not necessary. Non-lethal is always more of a challenge/fun.

Pr0metheus 1962
11-26-2014, 06:28 PM
In my mind, killing is not the point of the game and is not necessary. Non-lethal is always more of a challenge/fun.

I agree, and I was happy to see that they even had a bunch of non-lethal weapons to choose from. Unfortunately, none of them are as effective in battle as the lethal weapons.

guest-0VWo3kY1
11-27-2014, 06:16 PM
Assassin's Creed can easily implement things such as light and sound features, by having the environment count for something. At night, guards should be able to identify you as easily unless you are wearing noticeable attire. Nothing to extreme, rather just have them have a shorter range of vision and detect more slowly. Also, the OP's ideas of notoriety doesn't fit with many of the time period. Like, why would anyone use poison to rightfully kill a mass murderer. Or during the Revolution, when it's hectic, guards should be lethal to anyone showing resistance or the extremists should also be lethal to anyone who's resistance since they don't follow laws. With that said, do I think that guards should immediately start firing guns and painting the floor with the blood of a suspected assassin. No, but I do believe that the environment should mean something in situations.