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Fort Division Silent Extermination

InTehVaria's picture
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dkdx4g9pToc
[Front-paged. -stabguy]

Assassin's Creed III - Silent Extermination - Fort Division

At last, the penultimate episode. It takes place in my absolute least favorite of the Forts, the only one I would describe as truly broken. It's a pity, since all of its broken elements could probably have been fixed fairly easily, and its double walled, super high security layout is interesting.

As for exactly why I call it broken, I've encountered stationary guards whose animation loops have them occasionally look behind them and whose sightlines are accurately modeled to that movement before, but never in such quantity and with such inconvenient placement. My other runs on this Fort made it possible to simply ignore them, but I can't here (except for the first instance, where I was just straight out dumb). To be clear, even if they're avoidable, this should never happen; an enemy suddenly turning completely about without warning is a cardinal sin in a stealth game.

The animation loops are clearly motion captured, I'm sure they were lovingly done, but I wonder whether sightline modeling based on those animations was done manually or automated in some way. It's obvious that either at no point did a game designer have a hand in them, or they were used against the protestations of a game designer. Since the point when animation loops begin is randomized each time an enemy spawns, there's no way to know when they'll look behind except to have them on camera, and this randomization can completely ruin even the most carefully laid plans. Of course, it also pretty much destroys the possibility of getting through unseen on the first try, which, while extremely difficult, should always be possible in theory. There is no defending this, and I can only hope it is stamped out completely in future games. When elements of this game are pointed out as broken, I rarely agree completely, but, to quote Haytham, "In this instance, I concur."

The other truly broken element in this Fort is the trio of soldiers patrolling the catwalk inside the inner wall. It's the only instance I've seen where walking AI will consistently fail to navigate a path not initiated by the player. Horse drawn vehicles are far worse, often to hilarious extremes. Having an enemy fall from his path is comical, but also extremely frustrating when it can't be predicted. I never had a run ruined by this occurance, but it also should never happen. That doesn't mean I don't understand why it does, but any level of playtesting would probably have recognized it as a problem. Eliminating one of the enemies from the patrol would likely have been an easy solution.

After these complaints, I must admit I made some real mistakes in this run. My original plan was to stay in the stalking zone I reach at 5:28 and kill both of the patrolling guards using it. I forgot that the trio on the catwalk would be looking in my direction at that point, so I was forced to retreat and improvise.

The only other thing in the run I don't cover in my annotations is that at 0:52 it looks like I come into the view of the Officer, but I'm actually out of his range, and by the time I get into it the wall on the hill occludes me. You probably won't notice this unless you turn annotations off.

Finally, the spin jump. I stumbled on this while playing around idly while thinking about my strategy for this Fort. It's done by jumping forward, then doing an about face and jumping again as soon as possible. Oddly, it only seems to work when you're jumping directly towards or away from the camera. It seems that something goes wrong with Connor reorienting himself while turning and jumping simultaneously, so instead of just doing the required 180 degrees, he does a full 540. It being tied to the camera may have to do with the fact that when using a controller, the control method the game was tested with the most, the camera automatically spins to be at Connor's back when you jump towards it. This isn't the case with mouse and keyboard, and this oddity never happened with a controller when I tested it. I'd like to see someone find some nice gaps to twirl across.

Next time: the final chapter.

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I enjoyed reading the article and watching the video as well. Continue on sharing more ideas here.

[Spammy links removed. -stabguy]

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I don't recall the AI being this flawed in the previous games, but then again it's been a while since I played some of them. And good use of annotations, that added enough humor to the video.

Forts are okay, but I wish they made more missions like some of the contracts in AC2, those were fun.

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aurllcooljay wrote:
Forts are okay, but I wish they made more missions like some of the contracts in AC2, those were fun.

Looks like the contracts are back for Black Flag, if you haven't seen the recent previews.

Also, the plantations (and maybe even all the forts) should provide ample opportunity for stealth.

“Force has no place where there is need of skill." Herodotus

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Double McStab with Cheese wrote:
aurllcooljay wrote:
Forts are okay, but I wish they made more missions like some of the contracts in AC2, those were fun.

Looks like the contracts are back for Black Flag, if you haven't seen the recent previews.

Also, the plantations (and maybe even all the forts) should provide ample opportunity for stealth.

The new forts are a lot like those from Far Cry 3. In a demo from Comic Con, or some recent one, there's a short clip of Edward sneaking into a camp of sorts of soldiers. Like FC3, he disables the alarm stealthily and can then take out all enemies at his leisure.

For those that didn't play FC3, they have these forts all over the island, all of them different involving different strategies to use if you wish. There are 1 or 2 alarms that the enemy can trip if they spot you, causing reinforcements to hurry to your location. They're perfect for stealthy players and one of my favorite parts of the game. If they take that template and put it into AC4, it'll be even better.

Oh, I'm pretty sure all the forts can be reset in FC3, so hopefully they allow that in AC4 as well.

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those aren't the forts. those are the plantations. and yes, they reset.

“Force has no place where there is need of skill." Herodotus

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I just noticed that signature of yours, McStab. If this actually works, I'm doing something big for this site. Not sure what, yet.

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Like I said, I do like its basic structure, it's some of the stuff in it that's deeply flawed. The animations for static guards need to be completely scrapped and replaced. AI navigation needs to be refined. I have little hope for either of those things in Black Flag, I just hope that the base level design will compensate like it usually does in this game.

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the most annoying thing in this fort is that fucking courier though...

“Force has no place where there is need of skill." Herodotus

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It's sad that this fort has so many problems to make you hate it so much. It is my favorite fort in the game (along with St. Mathieu). Perhaps it's because it was the only one I completed in my first playthrough without triggering open conflict... I didn't really care and loved the combat in the other forts, but this one had the water sneaky entrance begging to be done stealthily, so I did.

“Force has no place where there is need of skill." Herodotus