Top Down Stealth Toolkit Tutorial: How to create a new custom Interest Stimulus

The following information is based on the v2.0 edition of Top Down Stealth Toolkit & hence may not remain entirely relevant in later versions. For more information about the toolkit, check out the official support thread in the Unreal Engine forums: https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?97156-Top-Down-Stealth-Toolkit]

The v2.0 update for Top Down Stealth Toolkit introduced a dedicated stimulus driven AI perception system. This tutorial will go over the process of using the aforementioned system to create a new Interest stimulus from scratch.


The base attributes for Interest stimuli are controlled through the 'InterestStimulusDataArray' in BP_AISensoryManager class. Each element of the struct array contains details about a specific type of Interest & hence provide an avenue for easily customizing it's properties. Before going into the actual process of creating a new Interest, I'll provide a brief description of the various parameters that control that control these stimuli.

1. InterestType: Determines the type of Interest associated with the array element.

2. PerceptionType: Determines the AI perception model that can detect this Interest.

3. ThreatClass: Determines the priority level of an Interest when it comes to override requests. For example, an Interest of lower threat class will not override one of higher threat class, thus making sure that the AI retains focus on the stimuli based on their relative importance. By default, all Interests have a threat class level of 1.

4. PerceivedThreatValue: Maintains a normalized [0.0 to 1.0] value of the threat rating of an Interest as perceived by AI agents. Higher values of this parameter will make AI bots go directly into a high alert level state. Within a single cycle of sensory evaluation, Interests with higher value of this parameter within a threat class, are evaluated first to ensure that the AI responds to the most immediate threat.

5. PerceptionRangeModifier: Controls the range at which an Interest can be perceived by adding a distance modifier to the agent's perception checks. For example, Alarm & Gunshot noises have a value of 2.0, thus ensuring that an AI agent possessing a hearing range of 500 m can perceive these stimuli up to double the said distance.

6. PerformRangeTestToInterestCreator: Determines if AI perception tests should conduct distance checks against the actual Interest location, or the entity that created it. For example, perception checks for alarm noises are conducted against the actual source of the noise itself, even though the Interest location would be set as the location of the entity that triggered the alarm.

7. TrackAlertedAgents?: Determines if the Interest object should keep track of agents that have been alerted to it's presence.

8. UseInterestCreatorLocation?: Controls whether the AI agents that detected this stimulus move towards the Interest location or the actor that created it.

9. AutoDeactivate?: Controls the active lifespan of the Interest. For example, noise stimuli have this parameter turned on, thus making them relevant only for a single evaluation cycle.

10. IsInteractive?: Determines if the AI agents can interact with the Interest. If turned off, the AI bots will only investigate the source location.

11. InteractionModel: Controls the manner in which an agent interacts with an interactive Interest. For example, patrol guards will use the 'Reactivate' interaction model to wake up any incapacitated allies they may come across.

12. SortedPriorityOrder: This parameter is set automatically at the start of a game based on the threat class & perceived threat value of the Interest. Ensures that AI Sensory Manager evaluates the Interests with higher priority order before moving on to the rest.


Now in order to create a new Interest, first add a new entry to the enum 'EInterestStimulusType'. All that's left is to add an element to the InterestTypeDataArray for this new type, & assign the parameters mentioned above as per the requirements.