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Thread: [DISC] Stealth Games... or the waiting is the hardest part

  1. #1
    Patron Saint of Beatings WilloughbyJackson's Avatar
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    [DISC] Stealth Games... or the waiting is the hardest part

    It's been awhile since I attempted a discussion thread, focusing most of my freetime towards game creation and reviewing (and clients and chipmunk catching and tree destruction and house repairs and house guests...)

    ANYHOW...

    Seeing the MGS thread while playing MGS2 - S has turned my thoughts to stealth games. I remember several were being developed in Flash a long time ago, but I'm not sure how far they got. Does anyone remember them?

    As you can tell by the title, my problem with some stealth games is the related to the amount of real world time I spend waiting for the right moment to sneak by/kill the guards. In the old days, I could get into it but since I have little freetime, I can't spend that much time waiting for that right moment anymore. (Yep, no Siren for me However, MGS2 - S's save anywhere CODEC calling really helps...Of course the 30 minute cut-scenes really bum me out sometimes.)

    My questions for you-all are:
    1) What do you think of the stealth game genre?
    2) What's good about it?
    3) What's bad about it?
    4) Could it be developed in Flash nicely considering the potentially complex AI routines, and sensors and such?
    5) Could it be side-scrolling?

    -pXw
    Last edited by WilloughbyJackson; 06-07-2004 at 04:06 PM.

  2. #2
    you manky scots git!!! Flashlor's Avatar
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    hi. i thought id add to this thread since my game has partially inspired it...and i have not much else to do.

    im not a big fan of stealth games, just MGS. i tried playing splinter cell but the whole "gritty political" plot really put me off. i like how MGS is just totally OTT with its story, ie cyborg ninjas and really, REALLY big walking tanks. also the gameplay jsut seems a whole lot more natural in mgs, i felt splinter cell was a bit clumsy and...just not right.

    so, thats why i tried a flash version. if youve seen it, the main complaint/problem is that the AI isnt good. actually there IS no AI, which is obviously a huge part of a stealth game - you get caught, you have to hide while the guards actively search for you. you make too much noise, they come and investigate. theres nothing like that in my game, basiclly because i dont have the know-how to do it.

    but im sure theres someone out there who could make a really great stealth game, and i hope they do.

    as for side scrolling....wasnt splinter cell released on the GBA? did it not suck?? i dont know, i never played it...

    later all.
    We're all here to do what we're all here to do.

  3. #3
    Flashoholic OneMrBean's Avatar
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    This was a type of game I was seriously planning on doing. The idea around it was going to be in a realm between the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time part where you have to sneak into Hyrule Castle and the Commandos RTS games.

    1. I think the stealth game genre is very entertaining, given you have patience. WIthout patience, you'll want to blast through the game and not worry about the most efficient way to get through a given level.

    2. What's good about it is that there isn't one set way to complete a level. With guards walking in paths and security cameras rotating back and forth, there's multiple ways to literally walk to the exit. You also have the choice of making contact or simply walking by unnoticed. Also, it's very exhilerating and really gets your adrenaline going, expecially in those tense moments where you worked so hard to perfect your timing.

    3. What's bad about it is that the enemy AI needs more attention than anything else. They need to react as realistically as possible, and not be predictable based on what's happening. They need to be able to grasp their surroundings and know when to scout around or when to continue on their post. This is probably the reason I haven't started this game yet, because developing a superior AI for stealth is quite difficult, given they are supposed to react in an intelligble manner.

    4. Theoretically, yes, it could very well be created in Flash, despite the AI problem. Just some of the AI features that are absolutely necessary are:
    - set paths (routes)
    - attention to sound
    - attention to altered surroundings (visual)
    - path finding to find the source of the alteration
    - reaction to seeing a dead body, destroyed camera, open door, etc
    - reaction to seeing nothing wrong (path finding back to regular route)

    5. Could it be sidescrolling... Well, I suppose that's doable. I've never seen a true side-scrolling stealth game, but I can safely assume it wouldn't be too complex, since you can only move in one dimension.
    However, the viewpoint I've been thinking about is top-down. This lets you see the surrounding environments, and sneek around corners more fluidly. If you ever played Commandos, then you'd know that the enemies had literal fields of vision that they could see you in. If you stepped into that field, they would react accordingly. Here's a picture of it. The middle enemy's field of vision is the green hilighted area. Other than the AI, the rest is quite simple (well, compared to the AI ).

    Very interesting discussion!

    - Bean

  4. #4
    .: Weirded Out :. The_Xell's Avatar
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    I have splinter cell for my mobile..... quite fun actually (anyone wanting the file just pm me as i'm not sure you should upload such things)

    Anyway, it was fun on my nokia, it could be made into flash quite well.

    There was a jailbreak game or something, it was a stealth iso in flash and it was actually pretty awesom!

  5. #5
    Senior Member random10122's Avatar
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    Xell, your not thinking of this game by any chance are you? If so, its shockwave:

    http://www.setpixel.com/data/php/vie...ze=same&ID=112


    I also had a little think the other day about how a game like this could be done, after seeing that MGS Beta on here. Although i wasnt concentrating on the AI, i was, however thinking about dynamic fields of vision - drawn with the API in flash. If you built it in a Tilebased environment it is entirly possible and would look very nice...


    Tricky though.
    Last edited by random10122; 06-07-2004 at 05:59 PM.

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  6. #6
    jtnw's Avatar
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    I had started a side-scroller stealth game a while ago, but I never finished it. When I was developing it, I though of how the AI could be done, and I think it's completely possible. The only reason I didn't finish it is because the engine was very sloppily coded, and art-based, so I couldn't have the AI interact with the environment too well.

    jtnw

  7. #7
    .: Weirded Out :. The_Xell's Avatar
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    Originally posted by random10122
    Xell, your not thinking of this game by any chance are you? If so, its shockwave:

    http://www.setpixel.com/data/php/vie...ze=same&ID=112


    I also had a little think the other day about how a game like this could be done, after seeing that MGS Beta on here. Although i wasnt concentrating on the AI, i was, however thinking about dynamic fields of vision - drawn with the API in flash. If you built it in a Tilebased environment it is entirly possible and would look very nice...


    Tricky though.
    No, it was much closer up..... i'm also pretty sure it was flash!

  8. #8
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    Take a look at Splinter Cell for the GBA. They did some really creative stuff with stealth action in 2D that you could emulate in Flash.

  9. #9
    Patron Saint of Beatings WilloughbyJackson's Avatar
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    LONG POST - BEWARE!

    Originally posted by OneMrBean
    What's good about it is that there isn't one set way to complete a level. With guards walking in paths and security cameras rotating back and forth, there's multiple ways to literally walk to the exit. You also have the choice of making contact or simply walking by unnoticed. Also, it's very exhilerating and really gets your adrenaline going, expecially in those tense moments where you worked so hard to perfect your timing.
    Atmosphere is one of the most important aspects to a good stealth game... IMHO... If you don't have a sense of panic or need to remain in the shadows or it falls flat.

    Another important element is variety.

    I really didn't like Manhunt, that much. The atmosphere is AMAZINGLY well done. It really keeps you on the edge of your seat, in a live or death situation. Sound is top notch, and the graphics were pretty good. However, I got bored by the lack of moves Cash had. You could walk, you could run, you could sneak, you could fight guys (bad choice most of the time), you could shoot them, or you could "Snuff" them with 3 different violent animations (and shoot on later levels). After awhile, I wanted to be able to jump over stuff, sneak around without killing anyone, roll, crawl, or even hide in a bloody cardboard box. I never really cared for Cash, which didn't help at all. I liked the nameless one from GTA 3 better than Cash :P.

    One of my favorite stealth games is still Tenchu (Japanese version).

    1) It gave you excellent reasons to be as stealthy as possible. Not because you had to kill everything in sight, but you got more points and more importantly BONUS ITEMS! Poison Riceballs and Sake ruled!

    2) The grappling hook ruled!

    3) It had a variety of objectives in the different missions. All stealth related but each had a different feel to it.

    What's bad about it is that the enemy AI needs more attention than anything else. They need to react as realistically as possible, and not be predictable based on what's happening. They need to be able to grasp their surroundings and know when to scout around or when to continue on their post. This is probably the reason I haven't started this game yet, because developing a superior AI for stealth is quite difficult, given they are supposed to react in an intelligble manner.
    Interestingly enough, I agree and disagree. AI should "appear" intelligent but should not be totally intellgent. When Hidei Kojima first did the AI for Metal Gear Solid for Playstation, he made it as realistic as possible. Unfortunately, because of that people were annoyed that it was much too hard of a game. And so he made it easier, and people complained it was much too easy. There should be a balance in there, where the AI does smart things but isn't uber intellgent.

    Personally, I would enjoy it if someone did something similar to Ape Escape (What!?! It's kind of a stealth game... ) Different monkeys had different levels of alertness, speed, intellgence, strength, aggression, etc..etc.. Most of the time, the stealth games I've played, the enemies are divided into different classes, and all enemies in X class share the same AI.

    It would be nice if they didn't all think the same way. Have one guard who often goes off his routed path and starts to wander. Have a guard who is very chatty with another guard, who really doesn't like him talking so much... little touches. Have a guard who gets bored easily and stops for a smoke but keeps radioing in that everything is fine.

    Of course, I like a "dumb AI". The original Japanese Tenchu AI was dumb as a rock in aspects. You could drop a bomb on a guard's head, they'd blow up, get back up and be none the wiser. Dumb.. Yes. Fun.. Hell Yes! Hours were spent trying to figure out ways to mess with the guards without being spotted or making them go on alert.

    Maybe it's just me though... :P

  10. #10
    Senior Member tonypa's Avatar
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    Originally posted by WilloughbyJackson
    When Hidei Kojima first did the AI for Metal Gear Solid for Playstation, he made it as realistic as possible. Unfortunately, because of that people were annoyed that it was much too hard of a game. And so he made it easier, and people complained it was much too easy.
    People always complain, always

  11. #11
    Patron Saint of Beatings WilloughbyJackson's Avatar
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    Of course, he responded in the latest MSG2-S with the special EXTREME EUROPE-MODE!

    Guards have LONG vision, guns do almost real damage to you... Bossse kill you in one hit...

    -pXw

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