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Melan

Fan Mission: Return to the City by Melan (2010/01/10)

  

69 members have voted

  1. 1. Gameplay: Enjoyment. Fun duration. Smooth flow, ect. Versus Bugs. Frustration, Boredom, framelag

  2. 2. Appearance: Visual pleasure, lighting, visual style, deduct bad texturing ect.

    • Poor
      0
    • Tolerable
      0
    • Good
    • Excellent
    • Near Perfect. Outstanding
  3. 3. Story & Text: Story. Text. Briefing. Graphic storytelling



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Wow. Just finished a first run through of the map tonight. The words "instant classic" come to mind! So much good urban exploring to be done. I hadn't thought much about "roof sliding" manuevers before this. :) Great use of moveable objects. The Builder cloister was great fun, too. Ghosted in a little over 2 hours (not counting saves/loads), but only found 1345 loot, so cleary there are even more areas to be found.

Are there more than two white gemstones? The readable refereneces 4, but the Builders took the others I thought. I only found the 2 near the scaffholding.

 

 

Did notice a bug with our rope arrow deployment: The rope doesn't deploy properly in surfaces that are sloping away from you when you're looking up at them and firing straight in, such that the arrow is sloping downwards with respect to the surface. The rope deploys diagonally/sideways, clipping into the surface, uselessly. EDIT: Tracked here http://bugs.angua.at/view.php?id=2106 .

This rope issue became a problem when I was trying to climb those three boards lying parallel to the sloped roof up above the interesting gargoyle.

Eventually did get up there, but had to look slightly down, jump, and fire the rope arrow at the apex such that the arrow went in at a downward angle to the surface.

Unfortunately didn't find anything up there, but it did let me take a short cut to the district exit I was planning to use. :)

 

 

 

Also liked walking across high-up iron fences. Each spike-post pushes you a little to the side, so you actually have to pay attention and tap sideways to counteract it, and it's somewhat random, so it really feels like balancing, and is quite thrilling when a fatal drop is on either side.

 

The readables were well-done, too. I wasn't sure if the heinous acts against the Builder previously committed by the player-character were supposed to refer to St. Lucia or to an unreleased mission?

 

 

Performance dipped in a few places, and I hope Badcogg and Melan can get those portals further optimized so that the map can be enjoyed by a wider audience. :)

 

One particular area seems ripe for optimization:

The entrance separating the city from the Builder cloister with the doorway and iron fence across the top: Whenever you look over the top of that wall, from the city into the cloister or vice-versa, your'e rendering a lot of stuff. What if you put a distance-based portal there with an image snapshot of the other side, instead, that turns on when you get far enough away from it?

 

Not much is added by being able to see the guard patrols far below on the other side, so having a visportal there that closes and gets replaced by static images of the other side (one from either side) seems like it could help a lot.

 

Or, just modify the architecture a bit and build that wall up really high, if that wouldn't look too weird. Then you could just use a visportal at the door. The player being able to climb over that wall instead of using the door doesn't add that much, IMO.

 

 

 

EDIT: For got to mention, I really liked this little detail:

 

The crossed sword and hammer mounted on the wall in the little armory you could break into north of the cloister. For some reason, seeing the crossed hammer and sword symbols brought this district alive in my mind as a place where Builders and city-dwellers have coexisted for a long time.

 

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Thanks for your comments, Ishtvan!

The readables were well-done, too. I wasn't sure if the heinous acts against the Builder previously committed by the player-character were supposed to refer to St. Lucia or to an unreleased mission?

Neither of those; I am sure someone will guess the mission reference after a while. -_-


Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

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Hi Melan, considering your FM I have two issues to report. The first one is the torch in the room opposite the starting position. The flame is a lot higher than the base of the torch.

 

 

The second issue I have is the light in the little tunnel next to the generator, under that "church" or whatever it is. I mean the huge stairs. It's flickering in such a high speed that it's making me sick, and I'm not even an epileptic. So is there any way to make the flickering a bit less fast?

 

Also, the same (but to a much lesser extent) is true for the little tunnel that you can enter once you remove the crates in the room that can only be reached by using a rope arrow.

 

 

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post-3427-126355230651_thumb.jpg


My Eigenvalue is bigger than your Eigenvalue.

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Thanks for your comments, Ishtvan!

 

Neither of those; I am sure someone will guess the mission reference after a while. -_-

 

The skull of Herzeloyde? It's been years since I played it but I remember it being quite challenging near the end.

 

 

 

The second issue I have is the light in the little tunnel next to the generator, under that "church" or whatever it is. I mean the huge stairs. It's flickering in such a high speed that it's making me sick, and I'm not even an epileptic. So is there any way to make the flickering a bit less fast?

 

 

 

 

I've got to agree here. I used to have Epilepsy when I was younger and that type of lighting situation could previously have caused a seizure of sorts. If the rate of flicker was lowered to something like 2 flicker states a second it should be okay.

 

Just wanted to add my thanks for this mission. The design and gameplay reminded me of Calendra's Cistern, which I hope you take as a very good compliment. I loved the bits of loot that were out of sight up on a ledge somewhere, and exploring the different rooftop areas was very well done. I did manage to get to somewhere I shouldn't have though.

 

 

 

When you climb up the vine towards the clock tower, if you go towards the right instead of to the clock tower, you can (carefully) walk around the ledges until you get out of the level.

 

 

 

I wouldn't suggest you change this though, some of us like breaking through to the other side :D

Edited by Midnight

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Played it tonight, wow, lots of good things.

 

Only two major complaints:

 

* not optimized enough, it slows to a crawl on my system quite often (must be CPU limited)

* not long enough (although it seems I was not patient enough to explore more :)

 

A few minor nitpickings:

 

* inside the cloister, there are some hallways missing support beams (staircase going down into basement f.i.), as well as the attic (the tiles would simply fall down. We do have a tile+horizontal support bars texture, you could use that and then use some slanted bars holding up the roof.

* also found one z-fighting issue

* a few steps on staircases have their texture just copy-pasted, meaning they look all alike when viewed from front

 

(Can send screenshots of the locations if you are interested)

 

But that is he most polished FM I have seen so far, so don't take this to your heart! :wub:

 

 

I'd also offer a few ideas how to improve the visuals and the performance:

 

* use different lighting textures. For instance we have some called "_4fold" and "_8fold":

 

lights/biground1_streetlamp_4fold

lights/biground1_streetlamp_4fold_snd

lights/biground1_streetlamp_8fold

lights/biground1_streetlamp_8fold_snd

 

The snd variant changes color in sync with the sound played by the light.

 

These produce a much more realistic and nice looking texture on the ground and walls than the standard biground1.

 

Edit: Currently created pre-made combo entities for streetlamps, these will be in v1.01. But I can send you details on what spawnargs to set to achive the effect.

 

* use more grime decals, esp. the big walls look a bit too uniform. Our grime_corner decals would add a lot and almost not affect performance.

 

* quite a lot of the lights should be more orange (f.i. the streetlamps' glass looks very orangish, but their emited light is more whitish). Likewise for the filler lights put on windows panes. We have a skin for streetlamps called "colorme", it changes the color of the lampglass matching the light emitted. Great in combination with "8fold_snd" above, because the lampglass will flicker in sync with the hum :)

 

One thing for performance: All the filler lights on the window panes do cast shadow. However, the light that "leaks" out of a lit window wouldn't get reflected back to the wall and then cast a (strong) shadow of the window frame.

 

So, I'd set them to noshadow, and then draw a new grime decal that has a "window-shaped" hole, and put that there, It would simulate dirt accumulated in the edge between window frame and wall, as well as ambient occlusion.

 

Putting all these lights to non-shadow might improve performance quite a bit (less shadow tris to render, these are expensive).

 

* Also, quite a few of these window lights seem to be quite big, hitting a lot of triangles. Reducing them in size might also help. (put putting them to "noshadows" "1" might have the bigger impact)

 

* Have you looked at the distance think settings for the AI?


"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

 

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

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Kinda lost, found the explosives but no idea what to do with it:

 

 

 

According to the note 3 things need to be done:

 

1. open the gate (that got workarounded)

 

2. put explosives in the liquid (nothing happens)

 

3. stop the liquid from escaping (I suppose it's about the mist that's getting out of the box). Tried to cover the box with something but without any luck. The original cover is not interactive, boxes and those white pack have no effect.

 

Additionally I've found there is a handle and a key hole near the gate one room before the torture room, near the gate with some kind of vase, but they are not interactive as well.

 

 

 

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Kinda lost, found the explosives but no idea what to do with it:

 

 

 

Hm, I crouched with them on top of the box, got hurt by the fumes, dropped it in, and then couldn't get it out, so I frobbed it through the side-wall.

 

 

 

I have no idea if that is what I was supposed to do, but it worked :)


"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

 

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

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Kinda lost, found the explosives but no idea what to do with it:

 

 

 

According to the note 3 things need to be done:

 

1. open the gate (that got workarounded)

 

2. put explosives in the liquid (nothing happens)

 

3. stop the liquid from escaping (I suppose it's about the mist that's getting out of the box). Tried to cover the box with something but without any luck. The original cover is not interactive, boxes and those white pack have no effect.

 

Additionally I've found there is a handle and a key hole near the gate one room before the torture room, near the gate with some kind of vase, but they are not interactive as well.

 

 

 

 

Re : what to do with explosives

 

 

Saw this problem last night, the explosive in its unreacted form is the 'rock' thing that the note was attached to, that needs to be dropped into the liquid in the vat, make sure it sits right at the bottom for a while, if it lands vertically it does not seem to be converted, once it has been converted it will go to inventory once frobbed. Just keep droppign it in at different angles etc :)

 

 

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The problem for me was not getting it converted but getting it out once it's done, can't frob it from above the container, need to do it through it's wall as Tels suggested. Is it supposed to be like that?

 

 

Edited by Havner

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I will echo some of the things that have been said by others:

 

This map is absolutely beautiful! By far the most visually appealing map to date. :wub:

 

I loved the ability to climb all over the place; great use of vertical space. And the sound of the wind as you get higher was such a subtle, but amazing detail.

 

Lots of movables in interesting places...I actually almost got caught by accidently knocking a plate off a ledge, which was awesome.

 

The sound was extremely well-used. Loved the chanting ambience near the church.

 

Some great use of brushwork to create your own props...the broken door was especially cool.

 

I'm definitely going to go back and play around this map some more, just to enjoy the

beauty of it, and I haven't felt that way about any other map to date. :)

 

(Oh, for the record, my framerates were fine the whole time)

 

I did have a couple nitpicks, but some might be related to the mod as a whole rather than the particular map.

 

I had an extremely difficult time getting past the

standing builder guard near the church entrance. I got up onto the roof and was heading along the ledge that would eventually lead to the attic (though I didn't know it) but I was unable to get across it without him seeing me.

In fact, even the act of leaning out to check whether or not he was looking my direction got me busted multiple times.

 

I then tried to go along the ground, shooting arrows to distract him...that almost worked, but then I got busted again trying to get

around the generator into the shadows by the door (I kept going anyway as they didn't catch me).

Maybe there was another way in I didn't notice, but that one seemed extremely difficult and started to get frustrating.

 

I got stuck on the

wooden platform with the ladder. Had to noclip out, but also had great trouble getting on and off that ladder,

resulting in my getting caught by the nearby guard.

 

A minor thing, but it really bugged me...why were the builder necks so long? :) It looked like their heads were floating above the neckguard. Is that a bug I haven't noticed yet or did you do something specific to cause that?

 

And finally, I was totally stuck at the end. At first I headed off

looking for the priest to get the keys.

Obviously I didn't get far with that, so I scanned the forum and saw that I should

examine the cage, which I did. First I looked around for a canister of acid to burn through the bars. Then I saw the broken bars, so I stacked crates and tried to crawl through, and then tried to pick up a crate (thinking it might contain explosives) inside and pull it outside (it wouldn't fit). It never occurred to me that the rock was the material, until coming back and reading through the forum in detail. Even if I'd figured that out, I don't know that I would have known to put it in the acid--if the objectives said that I had to 'arm' it, I missed that part.

Maybe I'm just out of practice, but I did get frustrated at the end trying to figure out what to do.

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Must be the poorest Thief around ! Used the rope arrows on just about everything to get up high , checked builders' hq from top to bottom and still only come up with 600 loot ! I've bumped everyone off so can wander about at my leisure but still can't find more. Must be a hidden area(s) I've not found. Is it possible

to get through the iron gate for example at the start of the mission? I've opened the door near it and found the note saying the door won't work and to ask in the cloister for help. Also , is the note on the builder h.q door relevant? Can that door be got through? It's the door note that mentions being careful because there is a way out through the loft area) I've found the door under the steps at the start of the mission , tunnel from the room where the explosive cage is etc. Now all I seem to be doing is wandering around trying to get into areas where I obviously can't go. I must seriously be missing a large cache somewhere or a hidden area!

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the door with the note can´t bee opende!

you could use the consol (ctrl/alt + tab) command tdm_show_loot that´l giv you 5 seconds to look around and see where the loot is, to giv you an idé where too go!

Edited by Nielsen74

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Is it possible

to get through the iron gate for example at the start of the mission? I've opened the door near it and found the note saying the door won't work and to ask in the cloister for help. Also , is the note on the builder h.q door relevant? Can that door be got through? It's the door note that mentions being careful because there is a way out through the loft area) I've found the door under the steps at the start of the mission , tunnel from the room where the explosive cage is etc. Now all I seem to be doing is wandering around trying to get into areas where I obviously can't go. I must seriously be missing a large cache somewhere or a hidden area!

 

 

Doors:

 

You can't get through either of them.

 

Possible loot locations:

 

Over the main street, in an apartment

 

 

Under a long set of stairs...

 

 

...and over them

 

 

In a high tower...

 

 

...and a secluded corner of the attic

 

 

Under a kitchen...

 

 

...and over it.

 

That should set you up well.

 

There is a precise lootlist on TTLG if you are still stuck.


Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

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Thank you both Nielsen74 and Melan for your helpful replies. Can someone give me a small hint regarding exit from the area to see me on my way . Is it

across the chain and up over the roofs and railings? I've been across there but couldn't pull myself over the roof! Edit again ! Come to think of it I remember finding a sewer or something you get at from the builder attic that didn't seem to go anywhere which may be exit (?) , but I didn't have enough loot then which is why it may not have flagged as the mission exit out of the area. Yes , I see now this is the way out.

Thank you for a beautiful and satisfying mission Melan

Edited by raymeld

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Oh Lord, bless the builder ... of this map. :laugh:

Performance may be very poor on older PCs, and occasionally, a freeze of up to half a minute or so may be experienced. I apologise for the possible inconvenience.

Thanks for the info. I was wondering why the city guards move in slow motion. :D

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So how is the update coming along, Melan? Were you able to squeeze out some extra chunks of fps? =)

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Not much work since early last week. And this weekend, I am focusing on my other hobby (that is, roleplaying games). The answer is the ominous "when it's done". ;)


Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

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I must be dense, cuz even though I got a good amount of loot over the expert objective, I can't seem to get outta dodge. I went back to my starting location, tried to navigate the upper story ledges. Still can't find my way out to complete the mission. Help Me :unsure:


Loose BOWELS are the first sign of THE CHOLERA MORBUS!

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As far as I know there are two possible exit routes.

 

  1. In the attic of the chapel is a window that leads down into a new section.
  2. In the room with the explosives is also a secret passage behind some stuff, which eventually leads you to an exit too. You can also reach this exit with some ropearrow-action right next to the door by which you enter the chapel-grounds.

 

Edited by STiFU

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Melan, is there supposed to be a

stationary guard at the foot of the stairs leading to the church?

My first playthrough there was, and I think I commented that it was pretty harsh trying to get past him. But I ran through again and there was a patrolling guard instead, which was much easier. Are there different patrol routes on different difficulty levels?

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I experienced the same there. On expert he was standing there all the time and on normal he was moving around. Good thing there are so many ways into the place... :)

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I can only say that I had two guards, one standing there permanently (I got him to turn around by shooting an arrow into the wall next to him, so I could sneak around him), and one patrolling from the cloister gate to the stairs and back. I think I played on Expert.


My Eigenvalue is bigger than your Eigenvalue.

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I experienced the same there. On expert he was standing there all the time and on normal he was moving around. Good thing there are so many ways into the place..

 

Weird, I had the reverse...standing there on hard, patrolling on expert. I noticed a bit of a bug where alerted AI sometimes don't go back to their patrol, so that's why I was wondering if it was intentional.

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