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Shadows & Line of Sight

Brass_Nova

FNG / Fresh Meat
Nov 22, 2019
4
2
3
A lot of players on the discord are having a hissy fit about not being able to hide in shadows. Their primary argument is that it's "unrealistic". I plead you to not reject this concern just because that argument is bad, I think there is a design problem with how the game communicates some rules to players.

Humans instinctively understand line-of-sight, apparent size, speed of movement, and light/dark as the primary ways that they can hide. This is instinctual, so If a game has a pitch black corner, it is communicating (whether intended or not) "hide here" to the player.

Additionally, stealth games are about the control of information, you want to have more information about the position of an enemy than they have about you. That means it's doubly frustrating for players for the game to have shadows that make it more difficult for them to see, but have no impact on enemies.

I have 3 different suggestions to solve this problem. I don't know enough about your game to know which is easier:

A: Make shadows decrease enemy awareness. (this is what most people are asking for)
B: Remove dark areas from the game. (By adding lights).
C: Make the player a light source. (a low intensity point light with fall-off to 1 meter)

I like option C, for a few reasons.

1: I'm pretty sure it would be the simplest to implement.
2: It communicates to the player that they are easy to spot, that shadows won't help them.
3: It would illuminate adjacent dark objects for the players, reducing some players frustration with low visibility of geometry in some areas.
4: The player is a robot, so people won't think it's crazy.
 
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Brass_Nova

FNG / Fresh Meat
Nov 22, 2019
4
2
3
Also, I want to say I'm communicating this not to harass, but because I like this game a lot. I've recommended this game to all my VR friends because it's already the best stealth game in VR. I think with very minor changes it could be one of the best stealth games period.
 
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Yoshiro

In Soviet Russia, Yoshiro is a cake
Staff member
Oct 10, 2005
12,393
3,504
113
This is an area the team is looking into.
 

CallMeJay360

FNG / Fresh Meat
Nov 22, 2019
3
0
1
This is exactly what I'm talking about, I love most of what this game brings to the table, but the fact you can't hide in the shadows, there's no light and darkness meter and the enemies can spot you really fast turns me off, I don't want to play it until it gets addressed.

Look at Unknightly and how they do it, having a system like that would make this game 10x better, nearly perfect for me as a stealth junkie. As it stands now, I cannot do a ghost playstyle in this game, I am forced to take down, shoot to kill or constantly distract enemies with stuff, instead of going in and out without anyone knowing I was there (not counting the missions where you trigger something that gets enemies to show up there, which I say just hide it off, or take them out if you need to go back there and they aren't moving out)

Please address these issues Devs, please!

Cheers!
 

Brass_Nova

FNG / Fresh Meat
Nov 22, 2019
4
2
3
Yoshiro, I'm so happy to see in the trello that the team is working on this. :)

I wanted to add that visibility in dark areas is still an issue even if you fix this via guard AI. A brightness slider, flashlight, or nightvision would help alot.
 

RobCram

FNG / Fresh Meat
Nov 28, 2019
3
0
1
London UK
cramgaming.com
I agree with all of this. Hopefully it's patched soon. That said, the game is quite fun when you just stealth shoot/KO your way through the missions. I believe that's a Panther playstyle rather than Ghost.
 
Thanks for all the suggestions. We've released 3 updates on PC and Quest that make some incremental improvements to the AI. We definitely know there's more work to do.

We're currently working on a 1st AI Patch which has some critical updates.
We are also working on a true light/shadow system! This wont be live until early next year. It will fundamentally change the game.

For this light and shadow system, we're making use of the "Volumetric Lightmaps" feature added to Unreal Engine about a year ago. This system records lighting samples in a volumetric grid. You can choose how dense or sparse the grid is. You could take a sample every 1 metre for example. We're now hooking into this to get the current light level of the player. It's an awesome feature because it gives you lighting data in 3D space, so if a really long shadow is cast, the player will be in shadow if crouching, but exposed if standing up.

It will take us time to get a system that's working (and performant, because it needs to run on Oculus Quest). We also need a lot of play-testing so that this data is used in a way that gives consistent behavior to the AI and feedback to the player. Once we have a nice prototype to share, we'll release some videos and we hope to get some feedback.

The Light/shadow system was originally out of scope of the title, We have instead used a system of blocking volumes that have been hand-placed around the environment to adjust guard's line of sight if the player is being stealthy. These volumes are disabled during combat or if the player shoots near them. There are clearly areas where we haven't placed volumes or it's not placed consistently enough. We're really listened to everyone's feedback, we've pushed hard on this since release based on player's feedback. Can't wait to get it up and running early next year!