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This may seem like a silly question, but let me explain this further.

Consider a common stealth situation where the player is hidden from the enemy AI. The AI has vision and hearing and if they either see or hear the player they will move towards the player's last known position. However if the player is behind cover (therefore the enemy cannot see them) and they attack with a silent weapon (therefore the enemy cannot hear them either), how should the enemy react?

Realistically, the enemy should have an idea of the direction from which the attack struck them and therefore start moving in that direction. But I am wondering if this then would be detrimental to taking a stealth as oppose to offensive approach. If the enemy turns around when hit irrespective of whether they were hit with a loud or silent weapon, there is little benefit to using a silent weapon, since the loud ones will have more power anyway. On the other hand, if the enemy simply stands their while being hit several times by a silent pistol, it may make the AI seem a little stupid.

I suppose it comes down to balancing between rewarding stealth gameplay in a stealth game, but not making the AI seem silly at the same time. What should I do to balance this?

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    \$\begingroup\$ As a player, I would expect the stealth weapon to be silent; in a crowded area, a stealth weapon would hit/alert just the guy being hit. In the same crowded area, a normal weapon would attract the group of enemies. The way an 'alerted' enemy reacts it up to you- he may start wandering or alert other guards. They might be 'searching' while a loud weapon would immediate attack the position the noise came from. \$\endgroup\$ – Felsir Mar 8 '16 at 15:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ The alerting single enemy vs a larger crowd is actually a good point I hadn't considered. Thanks for the tip. \$\endgroup\$ – FrontEnd Mar 8 '16 at 15:44
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They solved this problem quite easily in the latest iterations of the Far Cry series:

If you can one-shot an enemy with a silent weapon, you succeeded at a stealth-kill (head-shot with a silenced gun, bow), and no one will know where you are. If you aim badly (e.g. the chest or lower body), or the enemy has too much defense (aim for the head with a silenced small gun on a heavily armoured guy) and you're not able to one-shot him, he'll know for sure where you are and come hunt you (with his friends).

Not knowing what is exactly right for you and your game, I suggest to list all the options available, architect your game code around the fact that you'll have to try all those different things, and then test the many things that could make the game fun.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I like that idea as well. I think that I can combine what Felsir mentioned above with your suggestion and achieve the balance that I need. Thanks a lot \$\endgroup\$ – FrontEnd Mar 8 '16 at 15:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ Another interesting point of the Far Cry gameplay is that, once a base is on alert, reinforcement is called after xxx minutes : this way you can't just hide and wait to kill enemies one by one : you have to kill them fast before being overwhelmed by the new troops. \$\endgroup\$ – GameAlchemist Mar 8 '16 at 16:14

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