Knowing the Enemy - Arachnologia

Arachnology, arachnologia (you get the idea.) ;)


A very angry Moo - This is what you want to avoid

So. The problem AIs are spiders, and spiders behave oddly in Thief. Sometimes, they are just plain blind, sometimes, they jump into your face at the slightest flickering of the lightgem. Are they aliens? What causes the same spider to be sometimes blind, and in the next moment extremely aggressive?

*puts on the doctor hat*

Spiders are in truth extremely predictable. All the following is for unalerted, stationary spiders - when they are alerted or when they are patroling around, their abilities are different.

The stationary, unalerted spider in Thief has the following habit: It faces one direction for something between 5-10 seconds, then it quickly turns approximately 180 for about 1 second (or less), and then it rotates back to the preferred direction. Lets call the preferred direction "0 direction", the other one "1 direction".

Is that behaviour similar to the idling directions of human AI (like: a hammer in Cragscleft first faces the buttons, then the back wall, then the area infront of his balcony)?

The answer is: NO!

The rotation of the spider is nothing more than the stretching, yawning, looking idly around a bit, shaking the legs a bit what the human AI does when it is idle. And, similar to the "human AI looks around a little bit", the camera of the spider does not change during the rotation.

And that means, that we can basically ignore the "1 direction" of the spider and concentrate on the "0 direction" from now on. On the following screenshots, the spider will be (or should be) in the "0 direction".

Now, what about the odd switches of the vision abilities of the spiders?

Moo (the spider farthest away from the waterfall) is jumpy at weird times, but very tame in other moments.


Friendly Moo: That's how we like him!

Well, I had a blast there with him and his friends, and then I had a vague idea about the solution. I went then to other missions with stationary spiders and verified it, and here is an image that I took in Baffords, it has the solution already on it.

Lets go directly to the solution of this alien behaviour.


Arachnoids

Notice that I was unsure of the biology of the spiders when I made this image, now I am sure of it. Ignore the questions and remarks. The thing that is interesting you are the green and the red areas and the borderlines.

This spider is one of Bafford's spiders. I went from Lost City to Baffords and verified my assumptions there. I have the assumptions verified in various FMs now, both for Thief 1, Gold, and Thief 2. The essential line is:

The Stationary, Unalerted Spider Sees With The Butt!


This is the first puzzle clue that made my way past the problematic Spiders of Lost City; it was also the clue for the Ghosting of Escape, and it made my life easier in many a FM.



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