# Invisibility? Yeah, so what? Everybody's got that!

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"...even my gunrunnin' granny's freakin' genetically enhanced puma has it..." Scientific plausibility aside, what's your core reaction to a game (open ended RPG-like) where most intelligent enemies, including genetically modded creatures/animals, have limited-duration invisibility gear? I've been thinking about how a tiered invisibility system might work. It would allow NPC enemies and player / NPC allies (in coop situations) to become optically invisible for limited stretches of time. It would be a widespread wearable tech (saucer sized and somewhat heavy), and all warriors save rank & file or the weak would have it by default. The Principle The tech would be pure mumbo-jumbo involving something called an "electron shunt." E-shunts, in principle, would have the power to absorb most forms of visible spectrum radiation (infrared, UV, thermal, visible). The Catch The catch would be that, depending on quality, this shunting would have side effects. Chief among them would be that every electron shunt has a limited number of uses that last seconds, or days. (Depending on quality, there'd be other effects like lethal readiation buildup or thermal damage). Once depleted, the shunt would then be dead weight. Shunts would also voraciously consume power (not detectable while operating). This, combined with limited durability, would make them a highly tactical item not to be used constantly (in theory). A player could carry multiple, but that would be less inventory for something else. The shunt's invisibility would be separate from other forms of stealth/detection, such as tracking noise or seeing footprints or the opening of a door. The Counter By default, non-synchronized electron shunts disrupt each other. This makes every emitter a counter. The range and duration of the counter would depend on quality. This would, in theory, create a tiered system of measure / countermeasure. Allies would not disrupt allies, but invisibility would fail as they approached disrupters. Depending on quality, you'd also get a vague telltale indicating that you're about to be disrupted. This would give players time to take cover. Also, for the sake of balance there would be a hard visibility rule: No matter how high the stealth, at a default proximity to a jammer failure would be 100% failure for a minimum of a few seconds. The minimum proximity would be something like hand to hand range, giving everyone a last ditch chance to fight. Vehicles and buildings, in the beginning, would be too large to cloak. But over time, the tech would advance and spread.
Ultimately, I think games where you face down enemies on open terrain, or in a base/"dungeon" would play out like this: Your Jammer >= Enemy's Invisibility: Enemies generally begin "warping in" at a distance commensurate with the quality of your jammer. Once disrupted, they'd begin taking cover and standard gunplay takes over. Your Jammer < Enemies Invisibility: Given inference software as part of your armor or optical implants, you track enemies based on triangulation evidence. Or you employ tricks such as luring them into water (wake appears), activating sprinklers, or using smokebombs and watching for disruption. Stealthed Dungeon Parts: Traps, deadfalls and autoguns could pop out of nowhere. This is really no different from traps being a part of geometry. That's the general picture. Any thoughts on how this sytem might be abused, or whether it would be more frustrating than fun? If you've seen Ghost in the Shell, btw, invisibility is a default technology (but it somehow doesn't dominate).

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Unfortunately, I can't really consider whether your invisibility system will be good or bad isolation from the rest of your combat design. It will ultimately depend on all the other little details, particuarly the ways of detecting invisible enemies which you've hinted at in your post (footprints etc.)

One thing I'm not sure about is the wide-spread use of invisibility. If everyone has the ability to be invisible, wouldn't most battles go a bit like this:
- two opposing sides spot each other
- everyone turns on their invisibility
- everyone randomly walks about in order to try and find an enemy, or to escape
In gameplay terms, isn't this the same as if they were fighting in pitch black darkness?

I'm usually more interested in gameplay dynamics rather than the logical justifications for them here in the design forums, but how would dungeon parts or buildings stay stealthed using your electron shunt technology, if the shunts burn out? Wouldn't they be too difficult to replace?

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It sounds very, very cool. You seem to have covered most of the angles it's just a matter of balancing them.

But I wouldn't want every battle within the game to involve invisibility and counter measures, I think I'd get sick of that. If it's not completely prevalent and was balanced with other types of combat it would be good. Only a few races have the technology, so if you went into their space you know that you're going to have to deal with invisibility. Also some freelance mercenaries may get their hands on the device. I would want it balanced with other forms of combat.

It works well in the Aliens vs Predator and Star Trek universes.

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Quote:
 Original post by WavinatorThe PrincipleThe tech would be pure mumbo-jumbo involving something called an "electron shunt." E-shunts, in principle, would have the power to absorb most forms of visible spectrum radiation (infrared, UV, thermal, visible).

That would make it appear black. It would be useful for hiding in shadows, but you'd stick out like a sore thumb in broad daylight. To be invisible, you need to be able to transmit light straight through.

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 The CounterBy default, non-synchronized electron shunts disrupt each other. This makes every emitter a counter. The range and duration of the counter would depend on quality. This would, in theory, create a tiered system of measure / countermeasure. Allies would not disrupt allies, but invisibility would fail as they approached disrupters.Depending on quality, you'd also get a vague telltale indicating that you're about to be disrupted. This would give players time to take cover.Also, for the sake of balance there would be a hard visibility rule: No matter how high the stealth, at a default proximity to a jammer failure would be 100% failure for a minimum of a few seconds. The minimum proximity would be something like hand to hand range, giving everyone a last ditch chance to fight.Vehicles and buildings, in the beginning, would be too large to cloak. But over time, the tech would advance and spread.

If the tech is as ubiquitous as you say, counters will be common. They don't even have to be particularly hi tech, which massively limits the usefulness of the invisibility device.

It would not be hard to develop a device capable of spraying the ground with dust, or filling the air with some kind of powder or gas that interferes with the devices operation. This would reveal all invisible creatures in that area in one fell swoop, either by ruining the invisibility effect or by making it impossible to avoid leaving footprints behind. You mention sprinklers and smoke bombs etc, but if the invisibility tech is widespread then specialist anti-invisibility devices are likely to be developed along similar lines, but more effective.

Sonar and other non-EM detection methods would also work, limiting the effectiveness of the tech in avoiding intrusion detection systems and so on. Furthermore if the wearer is only invisible to a range of wavelengths of light, then other wavelengths will become more useful for detectors and countermeasures.

Also, a truly invisible creature is also a blind creature - eyes, cameras and any other form of visible detection system have to be able to absorb light to detect it, and any light that's being absorbed is light that isn't being transmitted. You'd either need some other way of seeing where you're going (sonar, some form of vision goggles that operate on non-visible wavelengths that aren't covered by the cloak, etc) or the dark spots of the eyes would provide a clue that an invisible creature is nearby. (it would still be quite hard to spot though)

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Quote:
 Trapper Zoid:One thing I'm not sure about is the wide-spread use of invisibility. If everyone has the ability to be invisible, wouldn't most battles go a bit like this:- two opposing sides spot each other- everyone turns on their invisibility- everyone randomly walks about in order to try and find an enemy, or to escapeIn gameplay terms, isn't this the same as if they were fighting in pitch black darkness?

I was playing an RTS game recently (Populous:The Beginning) where you could cast a spell and make about 6 or so of your units invisible. Even though there weren't any counter measures to invisibility, it didn't really seem to create any real advantage in combat. Like most times invisibility seems to come into a game, when you engage your enemy your unit becomes visible. As soon as the unit becomes visible, they get rushed by all the near by units that are just sitting there waiting for something to happen. Any other invisible units in the area quickly get bumped into, discovered, and engaged. The invisibility would in theory give me a slight advantage in gaining position, but there were always other ways to get it. It might've been useful occasionally for exploring or to send in a spy, but in this particular game, I didn't really ever bother with invisibility.

On the other hand, in Fallout Tactics, I kept my characters in stealth mode whenever I could. Great for exploring and reconissance when you're just trying to see what's ahead of you using one guy. And occasionally if you have just one NPC standing by himself guarding something you need dealt with, it'd be useful. But having the entire unit in stealth mode trying to sneak up or around someone, never seemed to work. And it never seemed to be an advantage when taking on a large group of opponents unless you were going for a hit and run sort of thing.

I think invisibility can be a fun element to include in a game and could certainly be spread widely through the game. But personally, I don't think it's much of an advantage in larger battles. For defense, I'd make my guards on patrol invisible and keep the soldiers standing by without the shunt so that they move faster or could carry heavier weapons. For attack, I'd make a transport invisible and again, keep soldiers without the shunt and outfit them with other gear.

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I like ught your design would incorporate this, but I imagined it being ships in space with "cloaking devices". The mechanics work out to be just about the same.

I'd add that most actions, like firing or communicating or operating a vehicle, would give away your position rather quickly, so there's a sort of continuum between visible technowarrior and invisible zulu warrior. Both can get kills, but neither is always the right choice.

You have to good fortune to be fudging the technology, so you can play around with ranges and triggers and types of interference without worrying about feasibility. Good choice.

If you decide to introduce some kind of detection gear, you might want to look at the visor system the mercenaries use in Splinter Cell's multiplayer mode. You have one filter that detects body heat, one that detects electronic signatures, and one that tracks movement. I think. SInce the spies have clever ways to hide and some active camo like what you describe, these have to be cycled through almost constantly to catch the little buggers.

If a detection visor was the anti-invisibility loadout, and there was some way to transmit enemy locations to allies, then one guy with detection could spot for all the shooters. Now that I think of it, it would be like a Science Vessel in StarCraft when you're fighting Dark Templars. Of course, the guy with the big glasses would be the natural target, and the tactical consequences progress from there. Just a thought. You don't seem to be going the route of detection.

But... if you do, you might want to also look at the system used in Deus Ex. There was a camoflage upgrade and a vision upgrade. If your camo was higher than another guy's vision, you could vanish completely. If you vision was equal to or great than that guy's camo, you could turn on your super-eyes to spot him even when he was cloaked. Both were prohibitively expensive, energy-wise, which made it an underused tech.

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Hmmm... so "invisibility fields" counter eachother depending on their power?

When I read this, it sounded kind of like invisible people can see eachother because they are invisible except the more invisible you are the harder it is for other people to see you.

===

Red (with Level 1 invisibility): Haha... now that I'm invisible I can just sneak into the blue teams base and steal their flag... I am Soo l33t!

Blue (with Level 3 invisibility): Hands up sucker.

Red: What? How did you sneak up on me like that?

Blue: Because I'm invisible too! I can see you just fine.

Red: But... why can't I see you?

Blue: Obviously because I'm more invisible than you are!

Just then two sniper shots ring out and both Red and Blue drop dead.

Purple (standing on a nearbye hill with a sniper rifle): Noobs... they never learn. Why bother with invisibility when I can just use a sniper scope to follow their footprints?

===

Anyway, when I saw the title of the post I got a crazy idea for invisibility.

What if the cloaking devise is basically a wall or a disk-shaped shield like thing where, on one side is a holographic display that shows the other side without the hidden object?

So if a player goes into battle and wants to stay hidden, he can carry a device which looks kind of like a gladiator shield. Then, when he activates it, it projects a large ultra-realistic holographic screen in front of him that shows the area behind him.

Basically, it provides complete and unfailable invisibility... as long as you are pointing it at whoever you want to be invisible to... and don't have any reflective surfaces behind you that are out of the cloaking shields range.

The good thing about this is that multiple people can hide behind a "cloaking shield". And you can also set up larger ones that basically act as camoflage-like walls where tanks and infantry can hide behind.

I also think it would look kind of cool. Imagine looking at a perfectly pristine field and then noticing a foot sticking out of thin air. You move silently to the side and see the edge of the invisibility field slowly recede until you see the intruder crouched behind his cloaking shield.

Also, you could sneak into an area and set up a large cloaking shield (or cloaking wall) to provide cover for others. And since it's a flat hologram then you can have characters moving in and out of it, becoming visible and invisible.

And with the holographic thing... you could have the hologram replace certain objects with illusions. For example, when invading an enemy area you could make it disguise you as a regualar soldier (as long as you face the camera or person you are trying to fool) or you could set one next to a box of valuables, set the shield to "record", set it to "repeat play", then steal the box and the shield will keep displaying a hologram of the box.

===

Anyway, this would be a pain to implement and I'm not sure if it would be any fun... but there's an idea if you want it ;)

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Quote:
 Original post by The Shadow NoseHmmm... so "invisibility fields" counter eachother depending on their power?When I read this, it sounded kind of like invisible people can see eachother because they are invisible except the more invisible you are the harder it is for other people to see you.

I think he means that they interfear with eachother when they get too close. I.e. both invisable people are 50 feet away, neither can see the other one. The get within 10 feet and suddenly the invisibility shields distort and they (as well as everyone else) can now see the two now visable people.

I like the shield idea, it could double as a real shield when they go into hand to hand combat.

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Well, if 2 shunts can't get near each other because they will be disrupted, it means that anyone with invisibility will *always* have to work solo!

Or at least with all the other stealth operatives in different places of the infiltrated base.

The argument that if you're invisible, you're blind because no light can get to you is valid. Your eyes will have to remain visible so that they can be hit by light. But this can give you a new, insanely cool form of gameplay!
If you have in place a "hide in the shadows" system similar to the ones in Thief or Splinter Cell, consider this:

When invisible, your eyes can still be seen floating in the air. So from any angle except your front, you're effectively invisible; from the front, you're considered "barely visible". This means that in this situation, you can be easily spotted from a medium to short distance, especially if you're moving.

But wait - your invisibility device can detect when you close your eyes, so since you don't need to see, it can render you *completely* invisible! There's a special key that does exactly this, it fades the screen to black while you hold it, and then back to normal when you release it.

You can use it to cross a corridor full of guards, which would be impossible in any other way. The catch is that you can't see anything, so you have to do it sparingly and with a lot of planning! I think it would definitely create interesting gameplay and moments of tension during base infiltrations and in many combat situations.

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Quote:
 Original post by Trapper ZoidOne thing I'm not sure about is the wide-spread use of invisibility. If everyone has the ability to be invisible, wouldn't most battles go a bit like this:- two opposing sides spot each other- everyone turns on their invisibility- everyone randomly walks about in order to try and find an enemy, or to escapeIn gameplay terms, isn't this the same as if they were fighting in pitch black darkness?

It's not what I had in mind, but didn't this work for just fine for Doom 3? [grin]

You're right that two opposing sides would activate their invisibility on sight, but I think the difference would be made by inference and countermeasures. I see you trying to deploy defensive screens of nanofog ("popping smoke"), watching for the activation of doors, and using things like sonar or spread fire. IOW, you fighting becomes a little more tactical, like submarines duking it out.

Because the units are power hungry, balance wise I see two scenarios: One is defending against hit and run attackers. I think it would be like some of the missions in Half-Life or Return to Castle Wolfenstein, both of which having you battling fast moving ninja-like enemies (both females, oddly enough). As the slower player, you'd be forced to use traps, area of effect weapons and dispersal fire. (I found this to be really intense and really fun because I had to infer where the enemy was.)

OTOH, another scenario is the standard gunfight with lots of surprises. Units would tend to position themselves then turn off the unit (because their fire would give them away anyway). Giveaways would be things like blood trails or footfalls, but invisibility would only be a part of the opening phase of the game.

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 I'm usually more interested in gameplay dynamics rather than the logical justifications for them here in the design forums, but how would dungeon parts or buildings stay stealthed using your electron shunt technology, if the shunts burn out? Wouldn't they be too difficult to replace?

I'd thought bases would cloak a deadfall or gun or whatever when they detected an intrusion. It would be expensive over time, but the concern for defense often outweighs price unless it's a constant, ongoing situation (like deploying troops in the field)

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 Original post by SandmanThat would make it appear black. It would be useful for hiding in shadows, but you'd stick out like a sore thumb in broad daylight. To be invisible, you need to be able to transmit light straight through.

D'oh! I knew that... rookie mistake, consider this amended. I more had Predator or Ghost in the Shell gear in mind.

EDIT: Actually, maybe this should be two systems? Maybe there's the reflective cloak, which can be seen thermally, and the shunt, which sucks in light. This gives armors that have dual modes.

Or is that overly complicated?

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 It would not be hard to develop a device capable of spraying the ground with dust, or filling the air with some kind of powder or gas that interferes with the devices operation. This would reveal all invisible creatures in that area in one fell swoop, either by ruining the invisibility effect or by making it impossible to avoid leaving footprints behind. You mention sprinklers and smoke bombs etc, but if the invisibility tech is widespread then specialist anti-invisibility devices are likely to be developed along similar lines, but more effective.

I agree with (in fact, am counting on) this sort of countermeasure. However, countermeasures themselves do not exist in a vacuum, as there are "counter-countermeasures." Consider that first you have to know where your enemy is in order to use a countermeasure. For instance, with dust:

• Will it blow away naturally?
• Can it be eroded or altered with nanotech?
• Can it be fixed in place or removed by electrostatic means?
• How much area do you have to cover?
• When is the enemy attacking, and from what direction?

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 Sonar and other non-EM detection methods would also work, limiting the effectiveness of the tech in avoiding intrusion detection systems and so on. Furthermore if the wearer is only invisible to a range of wavelengths of light, then other wavelengths will become more useful for detectors and countermeasures.

Yes, I can see more exotic vision systems coming online, such as those that use low-energy X-ray scattering like those new airport security stations. This is a good thing for creativity, I think.

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 Also, a truly invisible creature is also a blind creature - eyes, cameras and any other form of visible detection system have to be able to absorb light to detect it, and any light that's being absorbed is light that isn't being transmitted. You'd either need some other way of seeing where you're going (sonar, some form of vision goggles that operate on non-visible wavelengths that aren't covered by the cloak, etc) or the dark spots of the eyes would provide a clue that an invisible creature is nearby. (it would still be quite hard to spot though)

Okay, it's almost cliche, but I think it might be cool to consider this as a tell-tale of your enemy moving about, along with reflective image distortion.

[Edited by - Wavinator on September 2, 2005 11:09:20 PM]

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 Original post by Iron Chef CarnageI'd add that most actions, like firing or communicating or operating a vehicle, would give away your position rather quickly, so there's a sort of continuum between visible technowarrior and invisible zulu warrior. Both can get kills, but neither is always the right choice.

You're right. If stealth detection is a matter of catching things like comm bursts and heat signatures on door panels, I think there's an additional dividend: You get more stuff to buy (quantum walkie talkies? heat-sink gloves?[grin]) and it enhances any gameplay involving HUDs because they'll be less artsy and more functional. (Eh, in theory, anyway).

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 You have one filter that detects body heat, one that detects electronic signatures, and one that tracks movement. I think. SInce the spies have clever ways to hide and some active camo like what you describe, these have to be cycled through almost constantly to catch the little buggers.

Predator's vision in the AvP games is like this (and you can be blind to warning signs if you stay in one mode too long).

I have mixed feelings about view switching. On the one hand, choice is always good. But sometimes I've wished for a user controlled cycling mode. That mode, however, would relieve the player of some of the risk of managing how they use a resource.

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 If a detection visor was the anti-invisibility loadout, and there was some way to transmit enemy locations to allies, then one guy with detection could spot for all the shooters. Now that I think of it, it would be like a Science Vessel in StarCraft when you're fighting Dark Templars. Of course, the guy with the big glasses would be the natural target, and the tactical consequences progress from there. Just a thought. You don't seem to be going the route of detection.

I do see what you mean, but I think that works in Starcraft because you're expected to have multiple points of tactical interest. What if it's just you versus an army, Rambo style?

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 But... if you do, you might want to also look at the system used in Deus Ex.

Stupid #$*$*@! game won't install on my machine, but I have this. Thanks, I'll give it another shot when I get more time.

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Quote:
 Original post by The Shadow NosePurple (standing on a nearbye hill with a sniper rifle): Noobs... they never learn. Why bother with invisibility when I can just use a sniper scope to follow their footprints?

[lol] (Seriously, this cracked me up!)

Thanks, that vignette would illustrate that invisibility should not be a dominating strategy if there's enough inference evidence.

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 So if a player goes into battle and wants to stay hidden, he can carry a device which looks kind of like a gladiator shield. Then, when he activates it, it projects a large ultra-realistic holographic screen in front of him that shows the area behind him.

I have no logical excuse why you couldn't cloak 360, but this is too dang cool an idea to pass up. It reminds me tactically of siege towers, except for stealth. (Okay, need a good reason why it can't be 360... maybe something bad happens if you're completely surrounded? I always resort to "alien artifact" btw, if I can't figure out the tech, so the tech's not a problem, just the gameplay limitation)

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 And with the holographic thing... you could have the hologram replace certain objects with illusions.

I think holograms in general make for some good stealth / theiveing opportunities, but with certain specific limits, such as giving themselves away in low light conditions or as an ambient power source.

Holograms might be deployed in large scale (battlefield?) conditions where you can't get close enough to use corroborating sensors. I think they work best to disguise things in limited ways, like making a field of tanks look more numerous than it actually is. But they're pretty limited if the enemy is reading heat, or radar return, etc.

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 Original post by JotafWell, if 2 shunts can't get near each other because they will be disrupted, it means that anyone with invisibility will *always* have to work solo!

No, this is what I meant by "non-synchronized." Basically, there'd be some sort of way of putting them in synch so that you could see your allies and not cancel one another out.

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 When invisible, your eyes can still be seen floating in the air. So from any angle except your front, you're effectively invisible; from the front, you're considered "barely visible". This means that in this situation, you can be easily spotted from a medium to short distance, especially if you're moving.

I'm starting to like this. Keep in mind, though, there could be suits in the game world with pinprick cameras. This would mean that fighting against an SAS squad would involve looking for pixels! (?!)

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 But wait - your invisibility device can detect when you close your eyes, so since you don't need to see, it can render you *completely* invisible! There's a special key that does exactly this, it fades the screen to black while you hold it, and then back to normal when you release it.

Hmmm... you've got not smell or touch, some I'm reluctant to do this.

What about this: What if you could snapshot an area and project it like some sort of Matrix-like VR hologram. When you enter this mode, you're completely invisible, but you're working off of old level information?

I'd just hate for you to be staring at a blank screen.

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Follow up question: Blundering into an army

What would your reaction be to the possibility of walking into a battalion of invisibility-cloaked troops and having to fight your way out?

Consider that...

• It's an open-ended game, so you don't have to be there
• You can't die, but you can't also quickload (so you'd be captured upon defeat and have to escape)
• You probably did so as a result of ignoring evidence (footprints, moving shrubs, fleeing animals, etc.)
• You probably did so as a result of not gathering intel about the area, or as a result of a rare story event (a secret invasion)
• You yourself weren't using adequate cloaking technology

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Quote:
 Original post by WavinatorFollow up question: Blundering into an armyWhat would your reaction be to the possibility of walking into a battalion of invisibility-cloaked troops and having to fight your way out?

If I understand the concept and use of invisibility in your game, it would be acceptable if it made sense. There'd have to be the following conditions:

• There has to be a reason for the army to be invisible. If the technology is expensive, I doubt an army would cloak itself just because a small party of adventurers walked by. So there would need to be another reason for them to be there and invisible.
• If the army is on the way somewhere for a secret invasion, they are unlikely to stop the attack or blow their cover just to fight little ol' you. It's possible that they'd just ignore you if they think you hadn't spotted them.
• I'm not entirely sure how something as large as an army could be moving around, even while invisible, and not be fairly obvious to detect (unless they are in some exotic craft like hoverships)

Oh, and one other thing I thought of: if invisibilty technology is very wide spread, wouldn't soldiers be expecting people to use it? If so, then wouldn't low-tech stealth technology, such as ordinary camoflage, or just hiding behind things and sticking to the shadows, be unexpected? This is assuming that people don't have infra-red or other methods of seeing people.

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Saving on art assets? :)

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Quote:
 Original post by KetchavalSaving on art assets? :)

LOL the thought just crossed my mind that Wav could use this feature so much that he wouldn't need any 3D models at all ;)

Seriously though, it's true that microcameras replacing floating eyes would be a very good idea. But looking for pixels is not fun at all; you might as well say that the cameras are so tiny that they are impossible to see, so effectively the user is completely hidden.

I think that invisibility is so powerful that it should come with a catch.
It makes sense, not to mention it's cool, to make someone who is invisible stay on his toes -- after all, he's on an infiltration or preying in on someone. It should have the same feeling as "staying in the shadows".
If you have to face the wall every time you encounter a guard, or "close your eyes", and suddenly you lose a degree of control and are forced to rely primarily on your hearing (try to picture that in your head), THAT's a nice catch.
You know you're invisible, but also that it's not 100% guaranteed and you have to deal with all that tension. It relies less on your opponent's ability to deliver counters, something that is out of your control, and more on your mistakes, on human error. Hence the additional tension. Of course, that's just how I'd do it :)

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If you are talking about enemies having invisibility, i personally dont find a lot of enjoyment in suddenly dying, and seeing that there was an invisible enemy there the whole time. Rather, the better alternative IMO would be a sort of electronic camoflauge device that imitated the enviroment around it. That way, you might be able to catch incoming invisible enemies if you are alert. This could also mean that better devices would be harder to see.

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When I thought of the holographic "invisibility shield" I figured it would basically work by having cameras on the back (sort of lining the rim) take a 3-D anoramic picture of the area behind the user.

Then the shield processes the info to create a holographic projection of the background and simply edits out the user and any footprints or whatnot from the image.

so it basically consists of

1. cameras or sensors
2. processors to deal with the image
3. an array of projectors to make the holographic cover

However, if these are "Star wars" holograms (where you just have a little projector that beams a seemingly solid image into thin air) then the user would also be hampered by the projection because he would be seeing the area behind him projected in front of him. Data from the standard processor could be used along with glasses or something so that the user can see through the projection.

I suppose a 360- degree invisibility device using this technology would consist of a ring of sensors and projectors (possibly stationed on hat-like array) and then it would need additional processors to cancel out the holograms interfering with the sensors. These would have to be exponentially more powerful than those used with the shield because while the Shield just needs to allow the user to see through it, the Hat has to incorporate that into its own processes.

Basically, the "Invisibility Shield" could be a reliable and relativly inexpensive cloaking system that provides up to 180-degrees of invisibility (because that's the maximum you can have without hologram-sensor overlap).

The "Invisibility Hat" would be more expensive because it requires costly image processing to cancel out the overlaping sensor images and holograms. It provides up to 360-degrees of invisibility.

However- with 360 invisibility fields being so expensive due to the processing needs, some budget models have been made.

1. The StillLife- Allows total invisibility while the user stands stationary, they can look around and fire weapons but when they walk or run the time-lag of their field looks like a big moving transperant bubble (its great as long as nobody is facing you while you move).

2. The MoonWalker- Makes you totally invisible even at great speed. However, the user can't see out of the field in the normal manner. Ouside of a certain radius, what they see infront of them is actually what is behind them (its similar to being a vampire with mirrors placed over your glasses). As a result, when you try walking forward you see the area behind you moving away. So, people using this often walk around backwards, staring at the sky to look down at their feet.

Studies have shown that people who use the MoonWalker either die from useing it, die from getting used to walking like that and then walking into traffic, or are drug addicts who think the effect is "groovey".

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On another note, how about having a device that makes the user inaudible instead of invisible. So instead of having an army of tanks, infantry and aircrafts driving through town while invisible and making noise like no tomorrow, how about having them just become ultra-silent.

Characters with "silencers" would have devices that cancel out sounds that happen near them, so they can march through a hallway and attack people witout making sound (some Silencers might even cancel out the screams of their victims , gunshots, or breaking glass).

It could also have a pretty eerie effect for the player to run into a character whos presence cancels out the sounds of gunfire and explosions (even the game music) that they have gotten used to. Especially if they are used to the sound of footsteps or hovering noises and suddenly those sounds go away.

Which I suppose could work, some bad guys would have Silencers to hide their presence while they sneak, and naturally if your footsteps suddenly stop making noise you'll have to wonder is a Silencer is nearbye.

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Though... what if there are invisibility fields that make total invisibility and the only way for the user to see the outside world is through a sonar device. They become invisible but all the in-game texture is removed so they could see objects but wouldn't be able to tell Red characters from Blue characters and wouldn't be able to read written words on a screen or paper.

Then, it would be very difficult for someone to combine Invisibility with Silence. They would either have to toggle or go around blind if they had both.

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You're obvioulsy working on this from a technological angle, but I'm going to deviate slightly and mention Second Sight. It used a psionic power for invisibility, called "Charm". It was a psychic interference thing that kept enemies from noticing your character. You could walk right past guards and civilians without being acknowledged. But light still bounced off of you, so cameras or laser grids or whatever could in fact detect you.

Limitted duration, linked to your stamina, and the neat "feedback" problem (if you tried to charm someone that already knew you were there, it wouldn't take and you'd get a massive jolt of psionic feedback) made it a surprisingly deep and useful, but not all-powerful, ability.

I remember you talking about psionic systems playing a role in your game world, so I thought I'd throw this out. It could cover the "allies can see each other" feature more elegantly than cloaking fields would, and offers a number of workarounds in the form of non-neural detectors, psionic overrides (If you concentrate really, really hard, you can see them) and straight-up booby traps.

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Iron Chef's suggestion made me remember an episode of the X-Files where this guy could become invisible by temporarily disabling just the exact spot of a person's eyes that was seing him. People wouldn't notice because the brain can make up for small pieces of missing information from the eyes without even a hint of warning.
This was of course a kind of psionic power.
I think it might fit well into a game because you have to aim the power at someone to make them unable to see you, and aiming it at multiple targets might be difficult. You might be concentrating on a guard, and then another one suddenly walks by.
You'll also alarm people if you get too close, because they will become temporarily blind: when a whole eye can't see because you had to disrupt it entirely, not just a small spot, you *do* notice it.

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 Original post by KetchavalSaving on art assets? :)

They have to appear some time, wise guy. :P Could have lots more enemies than the level's poly limit would smoothly allow, though...

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 Original post by JotafIf you have to face the wall every time you encounter a guard, or "close your eyes", and suddenly you lose a degree of control and are forced to rely primarily on your hearing (try to picture that in your head), THAT's a nice catch.

Hmmm... I just don't see this playing out all that well. You end up with two experiences. Either you stare at the wall for awhile, turn around, and are lucky enough for the guy to have passed, or you don't do it well enough and get wacked... while staring at a wall. Hide in shadows works in the stealth games because at least you can see the bad guy.

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 Original post by UltimakingIf you are talking about enemies having invisibility, i personally dont find a lot of enjoyment in suddenly dying, and seeing that there was an invisible enemy there the whole time.

Have you ever played Halo with all players invisible? It can be really fun and suspenseful. However, I have to admit that one big drawback to the idea would be eye strain in trying to suss out where the enemy is, and death by sudden strike.

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Original post by Wavinator
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 Original post by Iron Chef CarnageYou have one filter that detects body heat, one that detects electronic signatures, and one that tracks movement. I think. SInce the spies have clever ways to hide and some active camo like what you describe, these have to be cycled through almost constantly to catch the little buggers.

Predator's vision in the AvP games is like this (and you can be blind to warning signs if you stay in one mode too long).

I have mixed feelings about view switching. On the one hand, choice is always good. But sometimes I've wished for a user controlled cycling mode. That mode, however, would relieve the player of some of the risk of managing how they use a resource.

If this is hi-tech, why bother with the whole cycling thing? Your onboard computer can monitor the inputs for all filters simultaneously and hilight the interesting stuff. There's no real work involved for the user (other than acquiring the filters).

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 Original post by DobbsIf this is hi-tech, why bother with the whole cycling thing?

There's actually no good reason other than to create a tactical vulnerability. The idea is to give an option to the player so that they feel like they have choice in the world. Here it again becomes a question of "is it better to be realistic or fantastical?"