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Deus Ex: Human Revolution

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Yeah, but a big thing in Deus Ex and in most modern stealth games is if you fuck up and get spotted you can just play it like a shooter, which makes the need for stuff like this seem odd. If you get caught and play the rest of the level like an action level - what's punitive about that? Shooters seem plenty accessible?

You might well run into difficulties if you'd been playing the game stealthily, and specced out your character accordingly, then tried to shoot your way through the rest of the level. I'm sure it would be doable, but clearly Eidos want to avoid that sort of situation.

I remember when Deus Ex was new and felt like something with incredible potential for the future, and now a decade later it hasn't been built on at all, and we've just got a shinier version that's no more ambitious at best. Same shit different decade, eh?

Frankly, I think it's a miracle that it's happened at all. Glass half full and all that. And who knows, maybe the game will be a big success and they can use it as a stepping stone towards something more ambitious.

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Jesus. Fuck the mission design, story, dialogue, locations, atmosphere, variety of approach. The game has lost any chance for greatness because guard alert states reset when you move from the first floor to the second floor. What a drama queen.

All the things you refer to are tied to the game's world one way or another. Alert states in an RPG that relies on stealth is very important to me.

If it was difficult to do something or come up with a solution I would just accept it as a barrier we have not yet overcome.

DX3 just didn't bother with it as there were many easy solutions for this.

Again, this is my opinion. I'm not so gullible anymore to forgive the shit a game developer does for no apparent reason. He's not giving me the game for free you know.

If you are fine with it be fine with it. I'm not, so deal with it.

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Personally, I will always choose to play games stealthily if at all possible. If I lose the option to play an entire level stealthily, or playing stealthily becomes much more difficult, because of a mistake I made 5 minutes into a level I'd be a bit pissed off to be honest. Now if every level had an alert state which persisted across the whole level, that would basically mean that every level would have a 'one mistake and you're out' approach to playing stealthily, which is rubbish. I'm ok with the idea of a mistake during stealth leading to action within a confined area but not across the whole level if I can help it.

Yeah, I agree with that. I want to use stealth as much as possible in this game, not just the first minute of each level. I get far more pleasure from sneaking around than I do from constant gun battles.

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There were many ways to deal with this without making the game stupid or unbalanced. They just didn't go for it due to time/budget restraints.

If it was difficult to do something or come up with a solution I would just accept it as a barrier we have not yet overcome.

DX3 just didn't bother with it as there were many easy solutions for this.

Again, this is my opinion. I'm not so gullible anymore to forgive the shit a game developer does for no apparent reason.

So which is it? They didn't do it because it was impossible to achieve with the resources they had, or they didn't do it because they're too dim to think of a solution that meets your personal requirements, or that there is no reason for it, and it's utterly arbitrary?

You could do the MGS2-and-later thing of having certain areas pass alert states across, so if I go from room A to room B at alert level 2 room B is at alert level 1 before transitioning to alert level 0. But what's the point of that? Guards magically get "more guardy"? Then you run into the problem of having stealth players navigate a totally unfamiliar space with no idea where they can hide, up against a pre-warned enemy who should, by rights, know from the previous troupe of guards to be aiming a gun at the door/ vent/ whatever before you've even come through it and shot you dead in an instant.

Plus it's a long-established stealth-game convention (I'm talking back to the original Metal Gear games) that your reward for surviving a botch sneak long enough to escape the area is an area with a neutral alert state that takes the pressure off.

To call it stupid game design/ the result of rushed or underfunded development/ arbitrary is pretty ignorant. As it stands I totally get where they're coming from- by having discrete per-region AI states you streamline level design a hell of a lot, and you can break the level design into discrete gameplay units that you can actually make and test easier. It's easy enough to write off in terms of the way buildings are guarded. You set up patrols, each patrol's job is to guard the floor they're on from intruders, even if a patrol in a different area is aware of a problem (ie you triggered an alert) they're already doing their job- looking about the area for you.

There are lots of other ways of doing it, but they all have their own unique problems and stupid, inexplicable quirks (the omniscient multi-bodied Godguard, all of its bodies aware of your last seen location via radio and capable of coordinating a withering an inescapable attack; the amnesiac scout troupe who gives up looking for you after arbitrary time X), that they went for the option that lots of people are familiar with is no surprise.

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The other thing with having harsh punishments for raising the alarm is it'll mean people will be constantly saving and reloading if they get busted, which is far worse for maintaining immersion. Far better to build in some leniency to help the game flow.

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Personally, I will always choose to play games stealthily if at all possible. If I lose the option to play an entire level stealthily, or playing stealthily becomes much more difficult, because of a mistake I made 5 minutes into a level I'd be a bit pissed off to be honest. Now if every level had an alert state which persisted across the whole level, that would basically mean that every level would have a 'one mistake and you're out' approach to playing stealthily, which is rubbish. I'm ok with the idea of a mistake during stealth leading to action within a confined area but not across the whole level if I can help it.

I think that's a very black and white view of the argument, I don't think (though am not sure) that anyone is arguing in favour of the 'make one mistake and then have to proceed like Arnie on a roid rampage throughout the rest of the level' scenario. But there are design choices that could be made to direct you into being more attentive and careful (which are the lynch pins of being stealthy, right?) on other floors/different parts of the same level.

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The other thing with having harsh punishments for raising the alarm is it'll mean people will be constantly saving and reloading if they get busted, which is far worse for maintaining immersion. Far better to build in some leniency to help the game flow.

Plus it's stupid to punish people for being bad at stealth with even harder stealth.

Also, the video that started this argument- I'm not seeing the bit where Jensen magically loses his alert level after being spotted. It's two runs of the same level isn't it?

Edit- actually, it isn't is it? Could I get the exact period when Jensen apparently loses his alert?

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Plus it's stupid to punish people for being bad at stealth with even harder stealth.

Also, the video that started this argument- I'm not seeing the bit where Jensen magically loses his alert level after being spotted. It's two runs of the same level isn't it?

Edit- actually, it isn't is it? Could I get the exact period when Jensen apparently loses his alert?

Near the end of the second video the IGN guy asks if the personnel in the second section would be more hostile towards Jensen if he had shot his way through the first section. The director says no because they're separate areas, and they wanted players to be able to recover from mistakes. I don't think he actually loses any alerts during the video.

Personally I'm not fussed, the game is looking pretty great. :)

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So which is it? They didn't do it because it was impossible to achieve with the resources they had, or they didn't do it because they're too dim to think of a solution that meets your personal requirements, or that there is no reason for it, and it's utterly arbitrary?

You could do the MGS2-and-later thing of having certain areas pass alert states across, so if I go from room A to room B at alert level 2 room B is at alert level 1 before transitioning to alert level 0. But what's the point of that? Guards magically get "more guardy"? Then you run into the problem of having stealth players navigate a totally unfamiliar space with no idea where they can hide, up against a pre-warned enemy who should, by rights, know from the previous troupe of guards to be aiming a gun at the door/ vent/ whatever before you've even come through it and shot you dead in an instant.

Plus it's a long-established stealth-game convention (I'm talking back to the original Metal Gear games) that your reward for surviving a botch sneak long enough to escape the area is an area with a neutral alert state that takes the pressure off.

To call it stupid game design/ the result of rushed or underfunded development/ arbitrary is pretty ignorant. As it stands I totally get where they're coming from- by having discrete per-region AI states you streamline level design a hell of a lot, and you can break the level design into discrete gameplay units that you can actually make and test easier. It's easy enough to write off in terms of the way buildings are guarded. You set up patrols, each patrol's job is to guard the floor they're on from intruders, even if a patrol in a different area is aware of a problem (ie you triggered an alert) they're already doing their job- looking about the area for you.

There are lots of other ways of doing it, but they all have their own unique problems and stupid, inexplicable quirks (the omniscient multi-bodied Godguard, all of its bodies aware of your last seen location via radio and capable of coordinating a withering an inescapable attack; the amnesiac scout troupe who gives up looking for you after arbitrary time X), that they went for the option that lots of people are familiar with is no surprise.

The fact that they chose to do this is a stupid design choice as it breaks immersion and believability in the world. They could avoid this by selecting certain areas where it makes sense for the A.I. to be alerted and others that doesn't. It's not the same to traverse a giant area with one or two security posts and to sneak in a high security lab with cameras everywhere. It just doesn't make sense.

Solutions? Aplenty. And much less stupid than the seperate A.I. alert states. Have them use bulletproof vests, put another gaurd on the patrols, lock one door which could give you access to some e-mails, make the items more sparse, etc. All discretely done so it doesn't upset the balance into an unplayble state.

Really not that difficult in this day and age.

They just picked the easiest solution and I think that you' re the one who's ignorant if you believe otherwise.

But there's no point in discussing this any more. I'm sure the game will be good, I'm just not very excited about it any more.

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The other thing with having harsh punishments for raising the alarm is it'll mean people will be constantly saving and reloading if they get busted, which is far worse for maintaining immersion. Far better to build in some leniency to help the game flow.

Again though, what harsh punishments? In every modern game you can play it as a shooter once you fuck up, so there's your leniency and helping game flow without breaking immersion. This just seems like an unnecessary extra layer that doesn't add anything to the game, and actually detracts from the stealth gameplay by trivialising it.

I mean maybe the game could kill off all enemies in other sections of the map when you run low on health or ammo so we don't break immersion and game flow while providing leniency rather than having the harsh punishments of having to kill all those other people- oh wait, we only trivialise the non-shooter mechanics, sorry.

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The fact that they chose to do this is a stupid design choice as it breaks immersion and believability in the world. They could avoid this by selecting certain areas where it makes sense for the A.I. to be alerted and others that doesn't. It's not the same to traverse a giant area with one or two security posts and to sneak in a high security lab with cameras everywhere. It just doesn't make sense.

Solutions? Aplenty. And much less stupid than the seperate A.I. alert states. Have them use bulletproof vests, put another gaurd on the patrols, lock one door which could give you access to some e-mails, make the items more sparse, etc. All discretely done so it doesn't upset the balance into an unplayble state.

Problem comes when you have to manage AI states across those multiple discrete areas. You have guards who are aware that you, in fact, tripped the alarm in a previous area. Why don't they bother going to the area where you are to kick your ass? Do they reinforce their position? If so, how long does it take? If I get seen at the very end of area A, do I walk into Area B to find a suddenly perfectly set-up ambush that couldn't have possibly be arranged in time, or guards positioning themselves differently? If I've already been to section B, walk into section A, get spotted and go back to B, and there's suddenly more heavily-armed guards, how did that happen? Did they have time to put on bullet-proof vests? They're already in head-to-toe body armour, why would they were a vest on that? Where did the extra guard that suddenly appeared in B come from? Should the game run an AI sim on section B when I create an alert in section A, so that given enough time the enemies will have gotten ready, but I can interrupt them mid-prep if I'm quick enough? Why would guards on-duty stop to rearm with an intruder about? Why would they move someone from one section to another, thus decreasing its guard amount? Or would you arbitrarily instantiate a guard from nothing? If I've never been to section B and am punished for a mistake I made in section A and essentially told, "you should've thought about being stealthy before you wanted to get that item", would players not then carry on on the assumption that the game will always punish me in a totally unpredictable way for my behaviour? Why would items suddenly vanish from later sections as a result of an alert?

Really not that difficult in this day and age.

They just picked the easiest solution and I think that you' re the one who's ignorant if you believe otherwise.

But there's no point in discussing this any more. I'm sure the game will be good, I'm just not very excited about it any more.

None of your suggestions are difficult, some of them may well be in the game already, but when you start building a game around the idea that the player, after triggering an alert, will wind up playing the game through with a seriously different set of problems to face you're essentially building multiple levels that you have to test. And these changes can't be arbitrary for individual levels or a couple of levels; you need to have them happen consistently across the entire structure the AI is meant to be guarding, or you might as well limit the effect to one floor anyway, otherwise the player has no idea what effect his actions are having. The player makes one mistake on level 1, or, God forbid, the game makes them do a mistake as a result of a game design bug, and they've got an entire building full of extra-armoured baddies, less items and lots of locked doors.

Keeping AI sandboxed to floors isn't an easy fix, it's an elegant solution to a major problem.

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Again though, what harsh punishments? In every modern game you can play it as a shooter once you fuck up, so there's your leniency and helping game flow without breaking immersion. This just seems like an unnecessary extra layer that doesn't add anything to the game, and actually detracts from the stealth gameplay by trivialising it.

I don't understand your point. To use Splinter Cell Conviction as an example of a game in which you can resort to shooting once you get into trouble, it doesn't affect the whole level, or even a large chunk of the level. It generally just affects the room you are in at that time. Because no-one who wants to play stealthily wants to shoot their way through a whole level, it's a last resort. You're just punishing the player by forcing them to play a shooter when they want to play a stealth game. In Assassin's Creed, you don't have the whole city on high alert for half an hour every time the player gets caught doing something naughty. You get seen, you escape and hide, the alert state resets. It doesn't trivialise the stealth gameplay, stealth gameplay doesn't mean getting irreversibly punished, in whatever form, for the next 20 minutes the first time you get seen or make a mistake. There's a very good reason most stealth games break the levels up into discrete chunks and have amnesiac guards who forget about you after hiding for a minute and I don't think it's because they're lazy or incompetent, it's because at some point the player just wants to get back to having fun being silent again. The punishment is when you get seen and have to deal with the situation that arises there and then and maybe for a few minutes afterwards, not 20 minutes down the line. Realistic? No, but if this were about realism then the guards should probably have their guns pointed at every entrance to the room once the alarm goes off. Realism is a weak argument against the system.

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Which is a pretty good sign as the leaked version seemed almost feature complete. I really do hope the part at the end of the leak has been changed, really put a damper on such a fantastic experience and wonderfully balanced challenge. I think that's the best thing I liked about the game, it was damn hard in places and it wasn't down to enemies having large health bars, nor was it about needing stellar aim. More use your brain or die which a lot of modern games shy away from for fear of alienating the fuckwit generation.

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The stealth discussion is really interesting. In my opinion the latest generation of stealth games is a big improvement over the glut of stealth games that came out last generation. I'm sure purists would disagree, but I much prefer the stealthy approach when it's forgiving and empowering. I also think recent games like Conviction and Arkham Asylum do a great job of making the direct confrontation gameplay feel as natural as the sneaking around.

As much as I loved MGS3, I spent a lot of time taking the suicide pill and waiting for the checkpoint to reload because I'd been spotted. Yes, you can shoot your way through a section, but it just feels wrong, and like you're missing out on doing it properly. For me, there is nothing more immersion-breaking than re-attempting a segment over and over again until you get through it unseen via trial and error. I much, much prefer games that let you get out of a tight spot and carry on. The last generation of stealth games didn't really do that. Only Manhunt springs to mind.

I can't think of many examples of stealth games where going loud at the start of a level means the rest of the level becomes more difficult. Splinter Cell upgrades the guards after a certain amount of alarms, and Hitman has proper sandboxes where the AI is all present and correct soon as the level starts, and is persistently 'alert' if you've messed up. Most games tend to break things up into chunks to keep things manageable, though.

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Thing is, Talk Show Host and Smitty will now go through the game thinking about the guards alert level and break the immersion themselves! Ho hum.

Of course, i'm no-where near perceptive enough to pick up on that sort of thing regardless.

This is something has bothered me in games before. Which isn't to say it can ruin my enjoyment significantly, but it is something I do notice.

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Keeping AI sandboxed to floors isn't an easy fix, it's an elegant solution to a major problem.

Or it's simply sidestepping tackling that major problem. At the very least i'd call it unambitious.

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I'll be there with you with the petrol bombs if it isn't, needless to say.

That reminds me, some moons ago I played the rather forgotten Operation Snowblind, which started off as a planned Deus Ex multiplayer mode before ballooning into a somewhat unconventional if rather B-movie standalone title. I remember liking it rather a lot. I wonder if it ever hit Steam...

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I'd just like to point out again that a) I've played it and the whole stealth system seemed brilliant to me and I never once noticed a jarring 'reset' of alert status; and b) there's a police station, four floors high early in the game - if they catch you breaking in, chaos ensues across the whole building.. it was super tense sneaking about with them all looking for me.

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Slightly hammy acting but I like! :D It says at the end that they've hacked the sarif industries website.. going to it i see no difference, save for an occasional strange login box appearing at the top right of the screen - where's the secrets?!

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It is very story-based from the chunk I've played. It's a bit strange that, as you wander around future Detroit, literally EVERYONE is talking about augmentations.. but I found the world very interesting to be in. There are awesome touches like news reports on TVs, emails to read and conversations to eavesdrop which really make the atmosphere, imo :)

Not long now! :D

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