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Version 3.0 release date update


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#41 Qwinn

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 10:11 AM

Additional note: Sybil is a thief running around the place. Why couldn't she find it? (remember, this whole thing is based on the fact that all thieves automatically detect all secret doors). Why does she basically set up the "either fight through or get the key from upstairs" challenges? Why isn't she even aware of the secret door -after you use it yourself- and follow you out, unless none of this was as intended?

My job here is to divine the actual intent behind this stuff. Looking at it, it seems... very difficult to believe that this was intended to be this way, and I kinda think the protests are more about "I don't wanna have to make any effort, I -like- that there's an easy way to cheat through it" than "I really think you were meant to be able to just walk in one end and out the other without even needing to stealth.".

You're repeatedly told the place is dangerous as hell. Is it?

Note: I -really do- appreciate the input. If I sound testy, I don't mean to... I'm just seriously trying to glean whether the objections are genuinely based on "Yes, I really think it was -meant- to be the way it is" or is it based on "I think the Tenement is boring and would rather just skip it". Both may be valid to an individual player, but as the guy making the decisions here, intent has got to outweigh convenience. Especially when I've got multiple threads popping up with people asking for the game to be more challenging. If you -don't- have that secret door so readily available, the Tenement is one of the most challenging areas in the game. Frankly, I'd be just as happy removing the secret door altogether towards that end.

To me, this is one of those happy coincidences where the way a bug points to me deserving a fix is the same direction that most players seem to want the game to go - towards more challenge. The same sort of logic that makes me want to make this particular place more challenging also often makes me make the game easier/better for the player (see Alley of Dangerous Angles, with all paths giving good rewards now). If I start using that logic only to make things easier/better for the player, and get picky when the logic suggests taking the "IWIN" button out of this building, well....

Qwinn

Edited by Qwinn, 25 November 2008 - 10:43 AM.


#42 Qwinn

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 11:13 AM

As for the hidden door, I'm not sure if making it that hard to open is the best option. Using stealth with Annah and reaching the exit must isn't that difficult either.


If you can't open the hidden door, then you pretty much have to get the key from the mage on the 3rd floor. Unless you just want to open the main door, but it's pretty hard for the person opening that door to not be seen, and I think that unstealths Annah if she does it. Or am I missing something?

The one thing that really needs fixing is the fact that when one of your party memebers goes through an area exit the rest of the party magically follows. It would be more logical if only the said party member walked through the exit or if you had to "gather your party before venturing forth" , without the famous annoying voice of course...


I think I'd be crucified if I did this, heh, I think it's one of the most popular features of PS:T over the BG games. You're right that it's not logical, but, well, it's hard to argue that they -wanted- it to be this way, after all, the Infinity Engine very obviously came that way, they had to have changed it intentionally I'd think.

And also enemies should follow you if you leave the area.


Well, that I -could- do (not in all instances, but for this one situation). But that only makes sense if you're seen. It's so easy to get a guy through the secret door and out of the building without being seen even -without- stealth, what's the point of doing that (it would be a lot of work) without doing something about the IWIN button that is that secret door? Actually, even if we did the "gather your party" bit, with that secret door I don't think it'd even be hard to get all 4 through without being seen, you just need to time it around the patrolling sentry.

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#43 Qwinn

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 11:32 AM

*shrug* Alright, no one besides me seems to think it's a good change, I'll yank it. The dangerous Tenement of Thugs will continue to be the least dangerous corner of the Hive.

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#44 ghostdog

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 12:42 PM

I'll have to agree that it feels more like a tweak than a fix, anyway didn't you say you were going to put it with the lockfix? Isn't that a new component for your tweakmod? Having an option or not to use it is the best idea I think.

#45 Qwinn

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 12:48 PM

No, the lock fixes are and have always been a part of the Fixpack, and yes, I was thinking that adding a lock to the secret door fix should be part of it, but whatever.

This thread was a poll asking the question, do you consider the locks to be broken, laying out the reasons why. Broken means Fixpack.

http://www.shsforums...showtopic=36610


Qwinn

P.S. Four consecutive times, I just got all 4 - not just one stealthed character, but all 4 members of my party - to the exit via the secret door without being seen by any thug except for two weak ones in a middle room that can be smacked down in seconds, less than 40 seconds after entering the area. It is an "IWIN" button for the Tenement. It would be simpler and more honest to add a dialogue option when you open the Painted Door to say "Nah, I don't want to bother with this supposedly really dangerous obstacle to my goals, just teleport me to the other side please". Apparently, it's a matter of opinion as to whether or not that's broken. Same as 70% of the locks in game being bashable by a mage with 9 strength. They meant to do that. Mkay.

Edited by Qwinn, 25 November 2008 - 01:17 PM.


#46 scient

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 01:54 PM

If this is the only place where there is a "secret" door I could add code to specifically handle it. I would have to look to see if this is possible or not. I'll do that once I've resolved some other issues. Still, even if it wasn't detected right away can't you still open it regardless whether it was detected or not?

Edited by scient, 25 November 2008 - 01:54 PM.

Those interested in the classic TBS game Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri / Alien Crossover should check out the unofficial patch I work on here.


#47 Qwinn

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 01:57 PM

No. As long as the door is undetected, it can't even be targeted.

Still. Extremely low priority. After all, I got the trap skill involved, which is really the main thing I wanted. But at least so far, everyone seems to feel that it is working precisely as it's supposed to.

Qwinn

#48 Daulmakan

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 02:16 PM

Additional note: Sybil is a thief running around the place. Why couldn't she find it? (remember, this whole thing is based on the fact that all thieves automatically detect all secret doors).

Beats me. Why don't NPCs check the containers lying around that have bandages and gold? There really isn't a meaningful answer to this, other than the previsible 'because they're NPCs'.

My job here is to divine the actual intent behind this stuff. Looking at it, it seems... very difficult to believe that this was intended to be this way, and I kinda think the protests are more about "I don't wanna have to make any effort, I -like- that there's an easy way to cheat through it" than "I really think you were meant to be able to just walk in one end and out the other without even needing to stealth.".

Divining intent is fine, I can't make the claim that the devs intented for this (nor the oppposite). But, it should only be that, and NOT because it's very easy/too comfortable. And I did say I always fight the entire guildhouse.

You're repeatedly told the place is dangerous as hell. Is it?

Well, Sigil and the planes too are supposed to be dangerous as hell, and there's only 4 unavoidable fights in the game, so.

Note: I -really do- appreciate the input. If I sound testy, I don't mean to... I'm just seriously trying to glean whether the objections are genuinely based on "Yes, I really think it was -meant- to be the way it is" or is it based on "I think the Tenement is boring and would rather just skip it". Both may be valid to an individual player, but as the guy making the decisions here, intent has got to outweigh convenience. Especially when I've got multiple threads popping up with people asking for the game to be more challenging. If you -don't- have that secret door so readily available, the Tenement is one of the most challenging areas in the game. Frankly, I'd be just as happy removing the secret door altogether towards that end.

No problem. But I think you should consider that the people asking for 'more challenge', which BTW, seems awfully out of place for this particular game, probably aren't even going to be fazed by having to spend extra thieving points on Annah to be able to use that door (they probably just kill everyone anyways).

To me, this is one of those happy coincidences where the way a bug points to me deserving a fix is the same direction that most players seem to want the game to go - towards more challenge. The same sort of logic that makes me want to make this particular place more challenging also often makes me make the game easier/better for the player (see Alley of Dangerous Angles, with all paths giving good rewards now). If I start using that logic only to make things easier/better for the player, and get picky when the logic suggests taking the "IWIN" button out of this building, well....

I'm just providing feedback on wether the change seems relevant useful. It doesn't change a thing for me, just as the door being that way in the vanilla game didn't reduce my enjoyment of the game one bit.

I think I'd be crucified if I did this, heh, I think it's one of the most popular features of PS:T over the BG games. You're right that it's not logical, but, well, it's hard to argue that they -wanted- it to be this way, after all, the Infinity Engine very obviously came that way, they had to have changed it intentionally I'd think.

I think that the party can transition to another area with just one character reaching the waypoint only helps making the game less annoying (what with Fedex quests and that kind of things).

Well, that I -could- do (not in all instances, but for this one situation). But that only makes sense if you're seen. It's so easy to get a guy through the secret door and out of the building without being seen even -without- stealth, what's the point of doing that (it would be a lot of work) without doing something about the IWIN button that is that secret door? Actually, even if we did the "gather your party" bit, with that secret door I don't think it'd even be hard to get all 4 through without being seen, you just need to time it around the patrolling sentry.

This just sounds unnecesary. I never escape areas with hostile enemies, but those that do aren't going to install such a component/a mod that includes it.

#49 ghostdog

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 04:19 PM

I don't mean to sound negative either :) it's just that bug fixes and tweaks are two different things. Unless we get feedback from the developers we cannot be sure if they intended to make it this way or if they just missed it. That is were the tweaks come in. The thing about making the whole party "venturing forth" was about making the game and combat a bit harder and should exist only as an optional tweak of course, and certainly enemies should follow you only if they have seen you. I'm a bit of a purist with bugfixes and I think having options is always better, but of course it's your call to make.

#50 Qwinn

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 05:03 PM

Okay, I just discovered some more information that sheds new light.

There's another guy in there, Tiresias, who DOES tell you about the secret door IF and only if you are a Xaositect.

The old chaosman pauses for a moment, his sightless gaze fixed on empty space. "Many, they are... strong and vicious. But another way, there is. A secret way known only to I and me. A safe way through to the Alley beyond."


You hand the old man the coins and he quickly deposits them in his pocket. "Find you the door which is hidden in the southwestern chamber. Opens does it on the far side of the main hall, near the exit to the Alley."


This makes me lean strongly toward the idea that that door was only supposed to become visible/accessible if you are a Xaositect and are told about it. It should certainly -not- display itself instantly to anyone and everyone who walks by it.

The bolded bit does make the "Annah probably knew about the secret door" theory rather hard to support, one would think she'd say something at that point in the Tiresias dialogue so you didn't have to pay the guy to find the location (and, of course, to make herself look awesome and useful).

The problem is, the engine isn't capable of doing this. Secret doors simply aren't secret, at all, and there's nowhere one can put a script to tell it "Only show the door if you've been told about it.". Clearly the designers thought there was a way to do that, and my guess is they were pretty annoyed when they found out it wasn't possible, but at that point it was all in and too late.

I can't keep the door from showing up, but I -can- make it impassable, locking the door firmly, and open it from Tiresias's dialogue when he tells you about it, to sort of mimic what seems clear to me was the intent. It's that, or someday if scient ever gets a break he can maybe make a variable check ("Know_Tiresias" gets set to 2 when he tells you where the door is) a condition of revealing that door.

That's probably more effort than it's worth to put our poor engine guru through, though. I think the gist is pretty clear - there was a definite condition to that door being revealed, but the engine simply wasn't capable of accommodating that. (Remember: They didn't create the Infinity Engine, they just licensed it). We can come pretty close though, letting those who were supposed to pass through it (Xaositects) do so, and -not- obsoleting the entire rest of the content and challenge in the building for everyone else.

So, it wasn't meant to be a secret stealth route - even though I think that would be a good idea - it was a secret Xaositect route. I can accept that, and come as close to that as the engine will allow. Anyone still have a problem with that change, given this new information?

Qwinn

EDIT: Dangnabbit. I briefly nursed the wild hope that setting the "door detection difficulty" to 100 would make the door unable to be detected no matter what, in the same way a 100 lock difficulty makes the door unable to be opened without a key no matter what, regardless of thief skill. I could've done everything I want, if that were the case. Nope. That field is apparently totally useless, just a big fat old tease.

Edited by Qwinn, 25 November 2008 - 05:31 PM.


#51 scient

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 05:50 PM

Well, couldn't you set the door to 100 difficulty so it can't be opened through picking/forcing then in dialog use OpenDoor? Or similar to how other impassible doors work without valid key. This isn't the same as not being able to detect it but it's a close compromise. It is conceivable to patch the function that handles finding traps/doors to do a check if it's this one and then call the global look up function. The issue isn't accessing the global but whether identifiable info about each trap/door is passed to the function so I can make it code specific.

Edited by scient, 25 November 2008 - 05:52 PM.

Those interested in the classic TBS game Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri / Alien Crossover should check out the unofficial patch I work on here.


#52 ghostdog

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 05:51 PM

I just replayed this part. Sybil also tells you about how "she knows a way out", but it's behind a locked door. If you get the key of that door (the key to the room where the "secret door" is) , then she says that you can all safely sneak out.

Edited by ghostdog, 25 November 2008 - 05:52 PM.


#53 Qwinn

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 06:14 PM

scient:

Well, couldn't you set the door to 100 difficulty so it can't be opened through picking/forcing then in dialog use OpenDoor? Or similar to how other impassible doors work without valid key. This isn't the same as not being able to detect it but it's a close compromise.


Yup, this is what I was suggesting in my post. Barring any other solution, it's what I'm inclined to go with.

Again, I'm actually kinda thinking that this is the only secret door in the game. I may write some code to run through all the doors and verify that, I had a similar test script set up when doing my lock fixes. I'll report. If that winds up being the case, then I may just ask you to turn off the detection altogether, so that the door simply never appears, and then see what happens if I do Open and then Close door in the dialogue, if that makes it no longer secret, I'm betting it would. That would achieve -exactly- the effect I'd like to see.

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#54 Qwinn

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 06:17 PM

ghostdog:

I just replayed this part. Sybil also tells you about how "she knows a way out", but it's behind a locked door. If you get the key of that door (the key to the room where the "secret door" is) , then she says that you can all safely sneak out.


Different door. That door is firmly locked and requires a key. It actually represents most of the intended challenge that I'm saying the secret door obviates. The secret door is in the room to the west of the room with that locked door.

Sybil will actually only reward you if you get the key and open that locked door... if you sneak out via the other method, she doesn't appear or give you the prize. However, her prize is truly crappy, and as far as I'm concerned of no real consequence.

Qwinn

Edited by Qwinn, 25 November 2008 - 06:18 PM.


#55 Qwinn

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 06:30 PM

Yup. Confirmed. It is definitely the only secret door in the game.

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#56 -BLA-

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 02:50 AM

Well, if that's the only secret door in the entire game, then it certainly deserves special attention. You should add a monument to commemorate it. Once it's open, you should be able to scribble Secret Door on the Death-of-names wall.

#57 Qwinn

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 03:21 AM

Heh!

Ok, the following is really really awesome. As noted previously, the new information made me rethink the path thieves were supposed to take in this place. And then when I saw that the secret door was meant for Xaositects, well, that left the thief path back in limbo again.

So I kept digging around. And now I've got even -better- news for thieves.

I tried stealthing around and pickpocketing, but it didn't work because you can't pickpocket hostile mobs. Poking around the files, it occurred to me to check as to -why- all the thugs are hostile even though they don't know you're there. That's actually exceedingly rare... almost all mobs you can potentially fight in the game (other than animalish ones) are neutral until they see you, and then their scripts instruct them to go "enemy" on you.

I looked around, and saw that even though pretty much every thug in the Tenement has -extensive- aggro handling in their scripts, it's all a complete waste because the creature files (probably copies from a template) are already set to Enemy. I did some experiments, and changed them from initially hostile to initially neutral, just to see if the tons and tons and tons of aggro scripting all those thugs have attached to them worked properly.

Guess what? They work -flawlessly-. It's really awesome. Every thug still goes hostile when they see you, with one exception (near the entrance), and that thug does have a dialogue file that makes sense attached.

People who choose not to do the stealth route won't note any difference apart from that one guy near the entrance and the fact that you can now save your game pretty much anywhere you want to (a major bonus, IMO). The difference for thieves is huge, though, and a lot lot lot lot more fun than just having to unlock and disarm a door. Stealth is worth using now! Pickpocket the thugs to your heart's content... if you can get away with it! And yes, it is entirely possible now to sneak stealthily up to the mage on the 3rd floor and, if you're very careful, pickpocket the key off him :D (The fact that he has the key in a quick item slot virtually screams that this was intentional). And he's not the only one worth doing it to :D

(Annah can do most stuff that a thief TNO can do, but not quite as well as a thief TNO can. A thief TNO can drop his party members to do all this and be a virtual ghost in the place, it rocks. If you do it with Annah, there will still be a couple thugs you'll have to aggro on your way back down because she has to drag you and the rest of your party with her).

Anyways - can't wait till you thief players (and non-thieves who like to... *cough*... play with Annah) get to play with this. Once you see it in action, it becomes very clear that all that tons of very deliberate aggro scripting was intentional, and meant to achieve this effect. Woot :)

Seriously, I'm actually going to finally play a thief character after I'm done with this test run, if I ever get the chance. Never thought I'd want to before, but between this, and the locks stuff, yeah, thief characters are worth playing now, just for the fun factor.

Qwinn

Edited by Qwinn, 26 November 2008 - 03:51 AM.


#58 -BLA-

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 04:12 AM

just for the fun factor.

And that's the only factor that matters. Great news indeed. I'm playing thief too, once I get hold of this. Your fix is my fix.

#59 Qwinn

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 04:25 AM

Glad to hear :) Yeah, looking at it now, this place is clearly -meant- to be a Thief's Playground. Coming as it does immediately after you pick up Annah, that makes perfect sense. But that entire purpose was undone by - and here's my guess - someone redoing the sprites/creature files right before the game was released, and erroneously setting all the Tenement creatures to Enemy. The hostility made it impossible to pickpocket, which pretty much destroyed the whole point of the place.

Well, that and the fact that the stupid secret door... isn't.

With those two fixes, it is my opinion that most people will no longer view the Tenement as a pain in the ass grind or an area best simply skipped. It is a Thief's Playground, enjoy it for what it is :) And even if one doesn't want to bother with all that, it's still so so nice not to have to squeeze the party up against walls in order to be able to save the game in the place because there's a nearby "hostile creature" that doesn't even know you're there.

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#60 ghostdog

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 04:39 AM

This is a good find indeed! It sure makes things more interesting