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Thread: Making a mod. Stealth take downs, best tools for the job, opinion?

  1. #1
    New Member
    Registered: Dec 2022

    Making a mod. Stealth take downs, best tools for the job, opinion?

    Hi, I'm making a science fiction/fantasy mod for TESIV Oblivion. Sorry in advance for the huge pile of text that follow below

    Part of the mod is supposed to play out like some kind of a Thief Fanmission but Oblivion is not right out of the box very Thief"like".

    When you enter sneakmode in TESIV an eye icon appears surrounding the crosshair.
    If an NPC notices you the Eye icon lights up, and if the NPC starts turning on you and decides to search for you or chase you then battle music starts to play.

    Because these two indicators are signaling different NPC behaviors you can frequently when in sneakmode after being discovered and found a place to hide, experience that the eye icon goes dark (indicating that no NPC is aware of you anymore) and still hear the battlemusic playing (indicating that an aggressive NPC is trying to find you) and you can also experience that the eye icon is fully lit (indicating that an NPC is still aware of you, even if the NPC can no longer see you it will stay lit untill sufficient time has passed) when there is no battlemusic at all (indicating that no NPC is searching for you)

    So to deal with troublesome NPCs in my mod I've made a few tools that will get the job done somewhat, but I haven't yet decided which ones to keep and which ones to scrap
    here is the basis behind them
    to render an NPC helpless in TESIV you need to strike them with "drain fatigue" for an X amount of seconds
    this can be done with an enchanted arrow, a magicscroll, a spell, a staff or an enchanted handweapon like a blackjack or a sword

    I decided to go for arrow, blackjack and scroll

    problem is when it comes to arrows for example, you can shot the enchanted arrow at a NPC and knock him/her out but the battlemusic will play because you hit him with a weapon and the eye icon will light up as well because he certainly noticed you

    So you might try add another enchantment to the arrow like "calm" for X amount of seconds but you're still not in the clear. To make sure the battlemusic does not play when you hit the NPC with that arrow you want to attach a script to the arrow that shuts down the NPC

    But TESIV won't allow scripts directly on arrows... So to get around this you make a poison that have the abilities you need instead. The poison has drain fatigue, calm, and the script, so that when you apply this poison to the arrow ingame you have successfully applied a script to the arrow.
    Thus now you can shoot the NPC and knock it out, the battlemusic does not play, no other NPC closeby has been alerted so you're in the clear... but.. there is a catch
    This still leads to the eye icon being lit up like 4th of July, because the NPC noticed you when the arrow hit him/her and it will stay lit quite some time before it turns off again.

    So how does one get rid of the annoying bright lit eye icon, well the way to do that is to make sure that your character is invisible before and during the moment your poisoned weapon hits the NPC. He/she fails to notice you, the drain fatigue feature knock him down and the script stops him sounding any alarm.

    OK so how make sure that everytime you shoot this type of arrow you are A) invisible and B) have a bottle of poison in your inventory
    My solution to this is stupid but effective, I developed a potion that does the following when consumed: adds to your inventory (and automatically equips) an arrow that will last for 6 seconds, adds a bottle of poison to your inventory, makes you invisible for 6 seconds
    As for blackjacks, I developed a potion that does similar when consumed: adds to your inventory (and automatically equips) a blackjack that will last for 4 seconds, adds a bottle of poison to your inventory, makes you invisible for 4 seconds

    The scroll needs no poison to work, it already comes with drain fatigue, calm, and scripeffect + invisibility for 3 seconds (enough time for the slow moving spells to hit their target)

    For the record, when I say invisible I mean I use the Chameleon spell, not the invisibility spell

    So there are two solutions to stealthily take down guards that I can use in my mod
    1. have a blackjack/arrows in inventory and apply the poison before whacking/shooting some NPC with it. Huge downside to this: although this attack does not alert anyone and the battlemusic does not start, the silly eye icon round the crosshair goes full xmastree for quite a long time which breaks immersion
    2. have potions in inventory which add blackjack/arrow/poison to inventory when consumed and renders player invisible for a very short period of time. Huge downside, allthough this attack does not alert anyone, battlemusic does not start and eye icon stays dark, its difficult to aim when body and weapon are invisible

    Which brings me to the point of posting here

    I actually prefer solution nr two because the lit up eye icon always reminds me that the takedown however low profile and successful was for a split second noticed by the victim
    But what would you prefer? The mod is nowhere near finished and I could go for method nr 1 or 2 or include even two versions of the mod, I don't know yet Or perhaps it's not such a big deal after all
    But you who frequent ttlg's forums are as much experts on stealth gameplay as anyone could be so I'd be interested in hearing some thoughts on this

    So I put together a short video to show off the different versions
    beginning with the arrowpotion and how the take down goes completely unnoticed, then an arrow from the inventory which leads to the eye icon lighting up, then I show the scroll in action, then the blackjack potion, the blackjack from inventory

    I know there's TA out there and some blackjack mods sure, but I went my own way on this as I did with water and fire arrows
    here's the movie link

    For those who are a bit curious abouit the mod and don't mind huge spoilers, here is a video I put together in 2021 to show off a few pieces of the mod, it's close to 40 minutes long but it's a massive mod (to me it feels like that at least as I 've been working my *** off for a long time developing it)
    I still have a lot of work left before I can release the mod, it's heavily inspired by a whole lot of popculture like games and movies, both science fiction and fantasy

    Oh and happy new year everyone!

  2. #2
    New Member
    Registered: Dec 2022

    so the potions variant is fine, yes?

    So I gather the potion/invisible takedown method that absolutely lets you get away (totally unnoticed) with shooting arrows into people or hitting them over the head with a blunt object is the way to move forward.
    I did some adaptations to the potion approach to make it easier to use. No longer do you have to ready your bow, drink the potion, chose the poison and then apply it to the weapon. Now you just drink the potion, the bow and arrow and poison equips automatically, leaving you to just drink the potion, then confirming that you're going to poison the next arrow, and you're all set, and ready to shoot and knock out your victim.

    I also made a version were you apply holy water to the arrow (as there should be in any Theif'ish gameplay )

    A major problem with zombies in Oblivion is that they have the resist magic, poison, fire, frost, disease, ... ability
    so right off the bat holy water arrows, where the scripted effect (holy water) is applied as poison on an arrow don't do a whole lot of good. So all the Zombies in my Thief "fan mission" unfortunately has to to be without this protection in order for the holy water arrows to have any effect.

    ok so no biggie, but the zombies should be uneffected by the regular "knockout" poison and only vulnerable to the Holy water variety. So to ensure this, I gave the Zombies a much higher fatigue value then the knockout poison script takes away. Problem solved.
    Well Ok so then normal NPC should be equally unharmed by the Holy Water arrows, how then do this? The script that the poison delivers to the holy water arrows must only apply to undead, so there has to be a check for creature type in the script. Undead beings in Oblivion are numbered as creature type 1 so that is a good thing to check for.. Daedra are creature type 2 etc. Next the script has to kill the undead because that is what is expected of the holy water, right. So that should now work accordingly to expectation and since the poison can be (in principle) applied to any weapon, I decided to make a blackjack variant of the potion as well. Well so much for Holy Water then

    So last night I decided to complement the tools available in my mod with a FlashBomb, and I think I got as close to the Thief original as I can hope to get in Oblivion. You can drop it close to those chasing you and activate it and it will strike you both down but I make sure that the player can get up first so you get 5-7 seconds to hide in a safe location or run away before your opponent regains his/her senses. The FlashBomb does not damage the undead other than knock them off their feet for 7 seconds though so if you knock them down with a flashbomb you still have to finish the job with a holy water carrying weapon.

    Now the mod at its' core is a science fiction fantasy mod and so I have a training section for players to go through at the beginning. I updated the training mission today to include the latest tools

    Now many here on TTLG has experience in either playing such training levels or making them in actual Thief fan missions so I taped playing through the entire training level, start to finish and would like some feedback if you could be so kind, now I wonder is it somewhat ok as far as training levels
    are concerned/goes?

    Does it explain what and how to do things the right way or is something way off, is there something I could/must clarify more/better..

    I know Oblivion and the Dark engine are totally different beasts but I try to make the best of what I got to work with here
    here's the video of the training level in it's current incarnation (don't be surprised that the beginning of the training mission has you entering a modern aircraft/spacecraft, this will come in handy to the player quite a few times in my mod :

  3. #3
    New Member
    Registered: Dec 2022

    new stealth indicator

    So I decided yesterday to exchange oblivions stealth indicator with one more inspired by Thief. It should have no practical impact, I just felt like doing it because it was relatively easy to do and the vanilla version kinda sucked anyways

    so feel free to comment on this radical change

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