Choose Your Language

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Alternative Lock Picking

I have had a little time to look at Kamal's latest module, "Crimmor" in the last week. Kamal never ceases to amaze me with his excellent area designs - and this time, I was also intrigued to see a new lock picking system in his work, courtesy of RWS. (And while I have not had as much time to actually play his module, first impressions look good.)

Followers of this blog will know how much I enjoy implementing mini-games for the player, and I already have a number of lock designs that the player can look forward to. However, inspired by the latest design I found in Kamal's module, I set about looking at adding another lock mini-game to my own module. To this end, I looked again at a released work by Little Baron. I had looked at Little Baron's work a while ago, but recognised it needed some script rewrites to work within my own module design, especially multiplayer gaming. However, inspired by what I had seen in Kamal's module, I decided to go ahead and adapt Little Baron's "Lock picking" system to work with my own. (I have not implemented the trap system at this stage, as I am not sure I will.)

Some of the changes are fairly simple, in that only PCs with any points in the Lock Pick skill can attempt to pick the lock. I have also changed much of the way the system works with reference to results that can occur. In my own system, here are some differences:-

1) Lock DC's altered to fit with my on system values.
2) Lock difficulty alters chance of pick breakage compared to quality of picks used.
3) No "special" picks means additional chance of DC increase on worked lock.
4) Permanent fail simply means a revert to the normal NWN2 lock pick system. (No jam.)

Not all doors and locks will use the system, only some. Those that do use the system offer the PC with the ability a slight advantage in that they can attempt to pick locks normally slightly higher than their ability. Of course, if they fail badly at the mini-game, then the lock reverts to a standard NWN2 lock pick requirement.

Gameplay: A lock can have 2, 4 or 8 barrels, each requiring 1-3 successful "picks" to disable. The higher the lock DC, the more barrels there are, and the more likely each barrel requires more clicks to disable. Therefore, the lowest DC locks will require at least 2 successful "picks" in sequence, whereas the most difficult locks, with the highest DCs, can require up to 24 successful sequential "picks".

Check out the screenshots below for what it looks like in game:

Feedback welcome.

This PC does not have any ability to pick the lock.
This PC has the skill and starts the lock pick. Note all the extra in game feedback.
If the PC fails by a large margin, then the lock will reset and the sequence has to be restarted.
Each barrel (this one has two) requires 1-3 pick attempts (3 in this case) to be successfully unlocked.


Kamal said...

24 picks for one lock? I haven't tried this system, but that sounds like it would take a long time to pick a single lock, which would likely frustrate people.

One thing I found in Crimmor is the system needed significant playtesting to adjust the difficulty of the locks, since the lockpicking isn't entirely based on character skill but adds some player skill. Locks that the pc could automatically pick via NWN2's take 20 for locks become not automatically pickable.

Lance Botelle (Bard of Althéa) said...

Hi Kamal,

Thanks for the feedback!

I suspect that anything above 12 "picks" will be very rare in my module. The only chance of having to do a 24 click lock would be a DC of around 65+. Furthermore, these mini-game locks only appear on some doors.

Also, bear in mind that this "lock picking" addition for the player allows an attempt at DCs lower than they might normally be allowed. And if they fail too many times, the lock system defaults to the standard NWN2 system, meaning the player simply has to meet the stats to work it.

That all said, I had considered a "Bypass Mini-Game" option for those who prefer just to stick to the original system. I will have to have the play testers let me know how it goes.

Thankfully, that last problem you mention (about Take Twenty locks), do not exist in my game. All locks require some skill to pick, and start from a minimum of around 31-40 for "Simple" locks. Although a lock can be "Failing", which is a DC of 21-30.