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View Full Version : Assassin's Creed Detection System needs to change :I



lukazdragon
11-29-2014, 03:28 PM
I liked every AC game until now and am yet to play Unity, but all along I have been enduring something that, in my opinion, needs to change in the series, which is the detection system. In an abbrangent way, I remember it always worked basically like this: When the guard sees you, he gets in a state of paying attention to you, never removing his eyes until you hide, blend or leave his line of sight. If you don't make one of these things, he starts investigating, a state where he goes in your search to chek you out. If you allow the new state to fill up, he detects you and enters combat. The speed at which this happens is changed by certain elements, and other elements completely spare the guards of the first step.

Thing is, while this is efficient in the social stealth area, once you enter a restricted area the entire system hurts the flow of the stealth:

1. In social stealth, you CAN be seen, you CAN have the guards start to investigate you. The point is just disappearing in the crowd and streets before they finally REALIZE who you are. In restricted areas, stealth means that, if you can make you way around without the guards ever looking at you, the better. You don't want to be seen. My first argument is: You get in a context that is so different, that a different system is required. This context, for instance, is the same of the majority of stealth games. AC only has it's DS because it has a context the others don't: The social stealth. But because of this, he fails at the standard stealth when trying to please another context.

1.1: To explain why it's a diffent context: In a restricte area, the guards have a simple point of view: If an unauthorized person appears, I must stop that person. They won't have the luxury of asking you to leave, they won't stick their eyes on you and keep looking, because it's obvious you are in the wrong place (something that happens in ST because you are one of very people walking on the street. You are allowed to walk the street). What will happen is: As soon as they see that someone is around, they will stop him.

2. My argument now is how it affects the gameplay. When you enter a restricted area, you try to keep low, to walk on the roofs and trees, to take cover. You need mobility to go around, and that mobility is harmed. There are certain moments where you need to move from point A to B. You know that you'll slightly get in the line of sight of one guard. But, if that guard is considerably far, if it seems dark, if you're not directly in front of him, or there are other aspects thay may difficult your detection, you hope that you'll get to pont B unnoticed if you're fast and furtive enough. In AC, the system makes it so that when you start that movement from A to B, the guard notices you, locks his Line of Sight on you, and in some AC's, he even starts walking in that direction, completely destroying your attempt at not causing changes in his position. In theory, you should be able to sneak to point B and get hidden again if you do it slow, crouched, using darkness and good angles, and the guard, if anything, would only thought having seen a shadow.

That's why I think this system needs changes. It creates frustration, as you don't have much flexibility on your stealth; and flexibility doesn't mean easier. I have two ideas to start fixing it:

*Detection system being different in and out of Restricted Areas. Outside them, the old DS would be the active one, and inside, the game would use the standard stealth of other ubisoft games, like Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Farcry: A single "bar"(which in both SC and FC are those half circular indicator that fill/disappear, it could be the same on AC) that fills as you are in the enemy line of sight, and fills faster or slower depending on if you're crouched, your speed, on lighting, on distance, on angle, etc. If that bar is filled, the enemy detects you and engages you, as it happens in most stealth games, but, until that bar is filled, the guard WON'T lock his sight on you, or notice that something's moving. Adding to that, if the bar is aaalllmost filled when the player hides, the guard will see that "something" moved, and THEN he'll check out.

*Changing both Social Stealth and restricted area's detection system to the one mentioned above, with one difference. In social stealth, the guard locks his line of sight on you after 1/4 of the bar is filled, starts investigating after 3/4 is filled(the bar turns red) and engages you if it's filled. Also, this social stealth bar fills at a much slower speed, as it did in previous games, since the guards are at a calmer context (more notoriety, of course, would make it faster). This one may be more indicated, since having two different detection systems may be complicated.

FatiguedEnigma
11-29-2014, 04:46 PM
Yes you have a valid point... You may like to also point out that somehow if one guard spots me. men if other rooms or maybe with their backs turned... Will somehow SEE me when theyre NOT in my room NOR would they be in sight (guys in the next room somehow spot you when you cant even see them)

guys with their backs turned will yell at me an the meter wll go up ..really confusing

lukazdragon
11-29-2014, 04:55 PM
Yes you have a valid point... You may like to also point out that somehow if one guard spots me. men if other rooms or maybe with their backs turned... Will somehow SEE me when theyre NOT in my room NOR would they be in sight (guys in the next room somehow spot you when you cant even see them)

guys with their backs turned will yell at me an the meter wll go up ..really confusing

Yes! I would mention that, but it's a problem that happened more in III. Yet, it repeats itself in other games, and I've heard people say that, after the patch, it happens in Unity as well! I liked ACIII, but when you mess up and a group of enemies sees you, you shouldn't be penalized with a whole fort being told about your presence through telepathy, but given a chance to eliminate them before they can warn the others :/

That system is very broken sometimes, and it stops AC from being as good as other games, like Dishonored, when it comes to stealth.

D.I.D.
11-29-2014, 05:05 PM
Yes you have a valid point... You may like to also point out that somehow if one guard spots me. men if other rooms or maybe with their backs turned... Will somehow SEE me when theyre NOT in my room NOR would they be in sight (guys in the next room somehow spot you when you cant even see them)

guys with their backs turned will yell at me an the meter wll go up ..really confusing

I've said the same thing elsewhere, but I don't think this is necessarily all that bad. I think a more true-to-life detection system is possible, but it would be much more complicated and result in exactly the same kind of group reaction.

In real life, if you were spotted, a guard would cry out: "He's in the courtyard, hiding behind the carriage!", or "He's on the ironmonger's roof!", or "There! Climbing the wall! Third level!". The others would be on you in less than two seconds. However, data sizes and current AI programming don't allow for anything so sophisticated. You'd need a dialogue system that could construct sentences from words and phrases, and a much greater amount of audio data on the disc for every guard voice. Maybe we'll have that one day, but for now it's too costly and unnecessary. What we have is not necessarily reflected in what we see and hear, but if it was, the end result would be much the same.

They already do a little bit of this to create a little bit of that illusion, with more generalised phrases which sometimes sound like observations (or sometimes fall awkwardly flat, when they're just plain wrong for the context).

As for detection while someone's back is turned, we have line-of-sight detection and also an emanation from the player to represent audibility. You see that in the clothing stats, that some items affect certain amounts of audibility in different circumstances. I expect the system is some kind of invisible ring, a bit like the detection one. Again, the guards' audible reactions don't necessarily reflect what's really going on. They'll talk as if they've already spotted you, but in AI terms they haven't. The rising bar is not a measure of how much they've "noticed" you, but how close they are to doing so. Until you actually trip that limit, any aggressive phrases you hear or animations you see are not actually "real", so much as a warning to you that you're getting too close to the Alert trigger. Once you get used to that, the stealth becomes a lot easier.

lukazdragon
11-29-2014, 05:35 PM
I've said the same thing elsewhere, but I don't think this is necessarily all that bad. I think a more true-to-life detection system is possible, but it would be much more complicated and result in exactly the same kind of group reaction.

In real life, if you were spotted, a guard would cry out: "He's in the courtyard, hiding behind the carriage!", or "He's on the ironmonger's roof!", or "There! Climbing the wall! Third level!". The others would be on you in less than two seconds. However, data sizes and current AI programming don't allow for anything so sophisticated. You'd need a dialogue system that could construct sentences from words and phrases, and a much greater amount of audio data on the disc for every guard voice. Maybe we'll have that one day, but for now it's too costly and unnecessary. What we have is not necessarily reflected in what we see and hear, but if it was, the end result would be much the same.


I agree that they would do that, and it would be interesting as a realism tool, but the problem is: it shouldn't be instantaneous and one second after the detection as it is. In Splinter Cell, there's a time gap between the surprise of noticing you and the actual warning that you're present. In AC games I've played, everything comes right after the bar fills, giving you no reaction time, as sometimes the bar fills instantly without a fixed reason for doing so. First you should have the challenge of not being noticed, and then, if you fail, the chance to stop the one who saw you from warning others. If you fail again, combat is the punishment. And even then, the warning shouldn't warn all the guards like it does in ACIII, for example, considering they don't have communicators or such.



As for detection while someone's back is turned, we have line-of-sight detection and also an emanation from the player to represent audibility. You see that in the clothing stats, that some items affect certain amounts of audibility in different circumstances. I expect the system is some kind of invisible ring, a bit like the detection one. Again, the guards' audible reactions don't necessarily reflect what's really going on. They'll talk as if they've already spotted you, but in AI terms they haven't. The rising bar is not a measure of how much they've "noticed" you, but how close they are to doing so. Until you actually trip that limit, any aggressive phrases you hear or animations you see are not actually "real", so much as a warning to you that you're getting too close to the Alert trigger. Once you get used to that, the stealth becomes a lot easier.
I agree with this kind of detection through noise (I would only remove the guards warnings, because it breaks the immersion and what that detection should mean, making him turn around when the bar fills, and then proceed to detect you) but still, the detection regarding being seen still doesn't work as well. Problem is, I don't know how it works on Unity, as I only played Rogue. Does being even slightly spotted make the guards fixate their eyes on you as the red bar fills, as it did in other games?

D.I.D.
11-29-2014, 06:33 PM
I agree that they would do that, and it would be interesting as a realism tool, but the problem is: it shouldn't be instantaneous and one second after the detection as it is. In Splinter Cell, there's a time gap between the surprise of noticing you and the actual warning that you're present. In AC games I've played, everything comes right after the bar fills, giving you no reaction time, as sometimes the bar fills instantly without a fixed reason for doing so. First you should have the challenge of not being noticed, and then, if you fail, the chance to stop the one who saw you from warning others. If you fail again, combat is the punishment. And even then, the warning shouldn't warn all the guards like it does in ACIII, for example, considering they don't have communicators or such.

Well, if you're worried about the future, I can set your mind at rest about that. I haven't played Rogue, but I'd assumed they'd at least share the AI, but apparently not. In Unity, yes you do have the opportunity to silence the guard who spots you. You often kill them while they're in the middle of calling out to the others, and killing them prevents the others becoming alarmed. On the negative side, the guards often begin an aggressive threat when you slit their throats right at the beginning of the sentence, which gets very weird. Sometimes, you'll be spooked and looking around for the guard who made the threat, and then realise that yet again, it was the one you killed who roared that he was "gonna kill yew slooooow" as he was falling to the ground with 6 litres of blood spraying out of his neck.



I agree with this kind of detection through noise (I would only remove the guards warnings, because it breaks the immersion and what that detection should mean, making him turn around when the bar fills, and then proceed to detect you) but still, the detection regarding being seen still doesn't work as well. Problem is, I don't know how it works on Unity, as I only played Rogue. Does being even slightly spotted make the guards fixate their eyes on you as the red bar fills, as it did in other games?

It does in some cases, yes. Most of the time it looks more natural than past games, but sometimes a guard is shown to turn towards you and watch you when, in real terms, he's not truly aware of you. I guess you could say it helps with the tension, since it certainly makes you more jumpy, but as you say it messes with the immersion a bit.

It's a give-and-take thing, because sometimes it's that twitch of fake alert movement or speech that draws your attention to an enemy that you hadn't previously spotted, because they were standing still in an idle state in a scene featuring tons of non-enemy NPCs. You already have to use Eagle Sense quite a lot to pick out enemy positions, but the game is at its best when you don't do that. Perhaps a more gentle change in the Idle state from neutral motions to something conspicuous but not aggressive would be the answer, like the guard suddenly coughs or sneezes, or calls out to his friends to save him a beer, or starts telling a knock-knock joke to another guard or something.

lukazdragon
11-29-2014, 09:37 PM
Well, if you're worried about the future, I can set your mind at rest about that. I haven't played Rogue, but I'd assumed they'd at least share the AI, but apparently not. In Unity, yes you do have the opportunity to silence the guard who spots you. You often kill them while they're in the middle of calling out to the others, and killing them prevents the others becoming alarmed. On the negative side, the guards often begin an aggressive threat when you slit their throats right at the beginning of the sentence, which gets very weird. Sometimes, you'll be spooked and looking around for the guard who made the threat, and then realise that yet again, it was the one you killed who roared that he was "gonna kill yew slooooow" as he was falling to the ground with 6 litres of blood spraying out of his neck.

Oh, that's an improvement, then ^^. In splinter cell, while the guard is in the state of surprise, he's still susceptible to a takedown, and I think that would fit AC well.


It does in some cases, yes. Most of the time it looks more natural than past games, but sometimes a guard is shown to turn towards you and watch you when, in real terms, he's not truly aware of you. I guess you could say it helps with the tension, since it certainly makes you more jumpy, but as you say it messes with the immersion a bit.

It's a give-and-take thing, because sometimes it's that twitch of fake alert movement or speech that draws your attention to an enemy that you hadn't previously spotted, because they were standing still in an idle state in a scene featuring tons of non-enemy NPCs. You already have to use Eagle Sense quite a lot to pick out enemy positions, but the game is at its best when you don't do that. Perhaps a more gentle change in the Idle state from neutral motions to something conspicuous but not aggressive would be the answer, like the guard suddenly coughs or sneezes, or calls out to his friends to save him a beer, or starts telling a knock-knock joke to another guard or something.

Hm... that's the main problem, the watching thing, that starts as soon as you are not hidden. I've been watching gameplays, and it looks too similar to what I've criticised. But at least it seems more natural. But I still think this DS won't achieve the true potential for stealth, because of the way it works. I still need to play the game for solid conclusions, though.

I also liked your ideas for changes in the idle states.