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Stealthy enemies.

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In response to a response by Wavinator to a manifesto (from PointlessWasteofTime) where one of the points asks 'where are the enemies that sneak up on you like Solid Snake and are as silent as a church mouse's fart'. Wavinator quite rightly pointed out that that would be pretty aggravating as you would spend an hour looking for the enemy and then be shot in the back when you give up! So I think the answer to this is "mock" stealthy enemies, ie. enemies that are stealthier than usual, but can still be seen and found fairly easily. Like the guards in stealth games, they would give away their presence through audio clues, such as soft footsteps and muttering to themselves. The enemies would think that they were stealthy, and they would be a little stealthy but not stealthy enough.

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No, it's great to have stealthy enemies, just don't give them the Solid Snake/Sam Fisher "deathblow".

Think of AvP. Those critters can come down walls, or out of pipes, or from right-behind-you and attack. It's scary as all get out (and mostly fudged with floor triggers and such) but it's okay because they can't just walk up and eat your head (except on high difficulty settings, but then you remember where the floor triggers are).

I find that perfectly acceptable. Let them sneak up and take a shot at me. If I'm not using my motion sensor and flashlight properly, then I am penalized for my error by losing some health and maybe wasting some ammo. If I have my eyes on the dark and my ear on the sonar, I should be able to handle it.

By the way, it was "the silence of a ninja's churchfart."

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You know, thinking about this in a bit more detail, I think the problem (for me, anyway) would be the game's speed.

I don't think I'd mind an utterly stealthy NPC Sam Fischer blowing me away if and only if the game's pacing was fast. ICC's example of AvP made me remember a few 2 marines vs. 1 predator online matches I had which were just a blast. The games were fun, even though the predator was completely invisible and we had to search the level for him, because the tension of the hunt was very quickly realized. There was going to be a death or fight at least every 3 to 5 minutes, no matter what.

But the pacing of most stealth games is meant to be deliberative. In this case, the problem I think is long stretches of time investment which can potentially lead to nowhere. I can spend 20 minutes working my way down a corridoor only to find that there's absolutely nothing there. In this case, I think having clues, be it shadows or distant footsteps, is vital. Even the aliens in AvP would hiss and scream before they pounced-- which when mixed with all the other ambient steampipe and metal creaking sounds made for perfect paranoia.

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Ooh, yeah, here's a game concepts: You play a guard, your standard "patrolling grunt" type walking up and down a corridor. When you reach the end you pause briefly and look both ways, then spin on your heel and walk slowly back the other way, never looking anywhere except forwards. Occasionally, though, The Bad Guy will come into your line of sight and you'll be able to run after him and attack him. Of course, if he's out of sight for more than 30 seconds or so, you'll abruptly forget what you were doing, and go back to pacing the corridor.

[grin]

Seriously, though, the problem as I see it is that the primary enjoyment of stealth stems from the suspense while it is happening. Other than a general atmosphere of dread, however, the only time the player experiences stealth directed towards him is when the attack actually comes. I definitely think that stealthy enemies can be a great element to a game, in the form that you suggest. But I don't think it should be as simple as listening for muttering and turning around. Audio clues should be extremely sparse, and fairly unhelpful. That sound.... was it a footfall from around the corner? or just a trick of the ventilation system? a minute goes by, two minutes, and still no more sounds.... does that mean it's safe? The key, I think, is to not give the player enough help to allow him to "game" the stealth system.

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1. Dungeon Crawl has invisible enemies. One of these is a very fast aggressive monster that attacks and the runs away. Since DC is a turn-based game, you would get a "hit by something" message that would reduce your life a lot, and be left wondering what to do: zap a wand in a direction where you suspect the monster to be (unlikely to hit, unless in a corridor), teleport away, attempt to swing in a direction (most unlikely, unless you suppose the monster was cornered). You'd be afraid of something you cannot see, but at the same time feel safe because it's not going to hurt you until you move (this is great for a deadly ghost-like monster, for instance).

2. Natural Selection is a multiplayer game where players can cloak. Since it's team-based, it often happens that one of the cloakers nibbles at one of your teammates, killing him, and leaving the rest of the team shooting around at random trying to guess where the enemy disappeared. Also, it is very interesting to note that cloakers are, in fact, only 99% invisible, so it is possible to see them move if you look hard enough. You usually end up being completely paranoid trying to check if the shadows are moving or not.

Combine the two, and you get a monster that attacks you when you're moving and reduces you to a very low amount of HP, but does not attack you if you don't move. Also, it's not fully invisible, so once hit you'd be slowly peeking around trying to see where it is (and at the same time you might hear it moaning or whispering, and suddenly become silent as if it were gone) and shoot it once you think where it is.

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Simply dying or taking damage shouldn't be the first sign that you're being attacked. I'd suggest doing it the "movie way"... A critter (or assassin) could be near perfectly stealthy and cannot be found by searching, but when it (for example) drops off the ceiling and lands behind you it makes a sound, giving you a half-second warning. It's more interesting/dramatic if you have time to think "oh crap, what's that?" just before you get hit. The timing is very important here, you need enough time to realize you're in danger but not so long that it takes the surprise away.

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Quote:
Original post by Fingers_
Simply dying or taking damage shouldn't be the first sign that you're being attacked. I'd suggest doing it the "movie way"... A critter (or assassin) could be near perfectly stealthy and cannot be found by searching, but when it (for example) drops off the ceiling and lands behind you it makes a sound, giving you a half-second warning. It's more interesting/dramatic if you have time to think "oh crap, what's that?" just before you get hit. The timing is very important here, you need enough time to realize you're in danger but not so long that it takes the surprise away.



Having a (computer-controlled) teammate die a messy death all of a sudden is also going to enforce this.

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