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Fan Mission: Briarwood Manor by NeonsStyle - First Mission (14/08/2018) UPDATE 1.70

Poll: Mission Rating  

30 members have voted

  1. 1. Gameplay:

    • Poor
      0
    • Good
    • Great
    • Excellent
    • Near Perfect
      0
  2. 2. Story & Text: story telling, briefing

  3. 3. Design: Aesthetics



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Congrats, NeonStyle, downloading now! I tend to just skim these threads just in case of unintended spoilers, but couldn't help but notice raymeld and Oldjim's comments.

raymeld 75, and Oldjim I'm guessing 65ish? Nice to hear, I'm 52 and I have lately often wondered if I will still be enjoying tdm in the future. I hope I will be able to keep up with you!

Cheers to you both, and to Neon!

 

I'm sure you will.


I have an eclectic YouTube channel making videos on a variety of games. Come and have look here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/NeonsStyleHD

 

Dark Mod Missions: Briarwood Manor - available here or in game

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18980-fan-mission-briarwood-manor-by-neonsstyle-first-mission-6082017-update-16/

 

 

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I'm enjoying this mission. I'm still looking for the way forward after reading the clues - but that's par for the course so I'll give it some time and a bit of searching.

 

My PC is an i5, with a 1060 GPU and 3840 x 2160 resolution, and at stock settings, normal LOD, I get lowest 33fps in the front yard. When I max absolutely everything out the lowest is 29fps. This is not only acceptable to me but I wouldn't know that there was something to complain about if I didn't have the fps showing in the upper right corner.

 

Anyway, thanks for the new mission!

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That is really good to hear. :) Thanks for the info Geyser.


I have an eclectic YouTube channel making videos on a variety of games. Come and have look here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/NeonsStyleHD

 

Dark Mod Missions: Briarwood Manor - available here or in game

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18980-fan-mission-briarwood-manor-by-neonsstyle-first-mission-6082017-update-16/

 

 

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Just completed this fan mission. Not bad, but has some cons.

 

While I can praise visuals for interiors, outside of the house is not that good in terms of details.

 

The mission is pretty linear and doesn't offer many possibilities for alternative routes.

 

What I really didn't like is the idea of a switch in the dining room. That was really hard to find and the clue doesn't help that much.

 

But the main point for disappointment is scripting. Just take a look my gameplay part about steward:

 

50:54

 

Oh, he dropped the key, i should probably follow him.

 

 

WAT? What key did he drop, where is it? Why is he walking only when I'm not around? If he closed the upstairs door in front of me, how can I get there? Also, this battle scene happened for me with an open door and second time it happened even without dude entering the room.

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In regards to scripting I have to defend neon. If you are unexperienced it is pretty easy to create a setup that can be broken by the player actions. There are just too much things the player can potentially do that might cause an issue for a novice to consider. I have encountered this myself on my FM "The Builder Roads".

 

I do understand that this is frustrating, though.

 

Personally I neither had any issues with the key drop nor with the battle. :)

  • Like 1

FM's: Builder Roads, Old Habits, Old Habits Rebuild

WIP's: Several. Although after playing Thief 4 I really wanna make a city mission.

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

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I don't get about key drop. I was looking for a key on a floor at first :)

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I played through this last weekend and the weekend before - on my 1st try I rushed things, on the 2nd I attempted ghosting.

I enjoyed many aspects of the mission; right from the beginning I fell in love with the exterior which I found so moody I just

enjoyed the atmosphere out there for some minutes - the plants and fog made me feel well-hidden and all mysterious which

produced nice immersion right from the beginning.

Ghosting was very hard and I could not manage to achieve a perfect stealth score; I had some difficulty with the group sitting

on the table and the guard in the entry hall. But the challenge was welcome and I managed somehow, yet imperfectly.

I happened to find the

secret switch

quickly because I wondered why there was a room I seemingly could not

access from the inside, but which was clearly there when looking from outside the house - I feel like this was enough of a hint,

at least in the hard difficulty setting.

All in all a very solid mission, and doubly so for a 1st mission.

 

Thank you for a very nice experience.

 

 

 

  • Like 1

"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly while bad people will find a way around the laws." - Plato

"When outmatched... cheat."— Batman

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@Outlooker, dealing the card players around the table is not that hard. In fact I thought it the easiest part, but a lot

of people seem to be having difficulty with it lol

 

Here's how to do it: (Warning: This contains a loot spoiler.)

 

 

 

 

 

Douse the candles below, climb the ladder. When you get to the top, shoot a water arrow at the cross beam directly above the table to put out the table candle,

do the same for the wall candle if you want to read the readable (provides a loot hint), Creep to the carpet, then walk to the other side of the carpet (bed side)

being careful not to bump Toby (the pagan). Get to the window side of the table (crouched obviously lol). Lift the wooden tankard off the table quietly so you

don't bump it (I put it under the table), then mantle onto the table, snatch the loot and you're done. Later in the game, there is a loot hint for this room, so if you're

pushed for time, or you're the type that doesn't want to redo a room, you might want to explore further.

 

 

 

  • Like 1

I have an eclectic YouTube channel making videos on a variety of games. Come and have look here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/NeonsStyleHD

 

Dark Mod Missions: Briarwood Manor - available here or in game

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18980-fan-mission-briarwood-manor-by-neonsstyle-first-mission-6082017-update-16/

 

 

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@Outlooker, dealing the card players around the table is not that hard. In fact I thought it the easiest part, but a lot

of people seem to be having difficulty with it lol

 

Here's how to do it: (Warning: This contains a loot spoiler.)

 

Thank you for that guide - I will check this out just to prove to myself I can do it as soon I have some cozy-time for myself and TDM.

The

diamond in the rafters I found right at my 1st playthrough - caring to look and go high up (or deep down) comes with the experience of thieving around a lot, it seems.

I just wondered why it laid so plainly in the open on the wooden beam, I'd expected some recess in the wood or sth. like that.

 

Anyway, I feel you hit proper difficulty mission and loot quite well.


"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly while bad people will find a way around the laws." - Plato

"When outmatched... cheat."— Batman

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Thank you for that guide - I will check this out just to prove to myself I can do it as soon I have some cozy-time for myself and TDM.

The Diamond

Anyway, I feel you hit proper difficulty mission and loot quite well.

 

The reason it wasn't hidden, is it was stolen by Toby from somewhere, and Pagans aren't that bright it seems lol

 

Thank you. :)

Edited by NeonsStyle

I have an eclectic YouTube channel making videos on a variety of games. Come and have look here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/NeonsStyleHD

 

Dark Mod Missions: Briarwood Manor - available here or in game

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18980-fan-mission-briarwood-manor-by-neonsstyle-first-mission-6082017-update-16/

 

 

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It's been months in the making, but here's a playthrough video:

 

 

I found it by pure accident, saw you pop up on the activity list, n was a nice little surprise. I'm watching it now. :) Thanks


I have an eclectic YouTube channel making videos on a variety of games. Come and have look here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/NeonsStyleHD

 

Dark Mod Missions: Briarwood Manor - available here or in game

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18980-fan-mission-briarwood-manor-by-neonsstyle-first-mission-6082017-update-16/

 

 

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The serious issues have already been mentioned. I liked blackjacking my way through the manor regardless.
A hint for the next betatest: Walk through the entire level always crouched and look for levitating things - there are a lot of them and they are most visible when playing crouched.

 

I liked the story and how it did not boil down to some necromancer and the undead. I wonder how the child molester managed to not getting eaten by that huge spider that guards his body disposal well.

I also wonder what the rope arrows where for. I climbed to the roof and only found missing parts of geometry only to be noticed from above. Also the visual artifacts resulting from the fog interacting with the skybox are much more visible there than at ground level.

Also disliked the keyhunt aspect and think it would have been perfectly fine if we just could have freed the child and placed that diary anywhere in the stewards room.

 

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Quite a nicely polished mission, I don't have much else to add to what's already been posted, however,

 

 

The coal chute seemed unreasonably difficult to climb back out of again, not sure if this was done on purpose.
The key drop was also confusing as has been mentioned a number of times.
There was definitely something weird with the wall between the dining room and lobby, apart from anything else, you can hear the voice of the guard much too clearly while in the dining room (at least at the wall part).

 

Apart from that... I think it's always interesting to see a FM author to go outside the norms in terms of storytelling and gameplay, so that was cool (verk dark though), however it felt a bit like the story was handed over a little too much to the NPC elements after the dungeon discovery.

Normally you would expect the player character to get a bit more involved at that stage, e.g. freeing the prisoner, taking the body from the well upstairs etc., so it was a bit confusing to have these parts of the mission setting mostly created for the sake of an NPC to deal with later. It makes you question exactly what you're supposed to be doing to progress if the game doesn't let you interact with the story at that point beyond the diary drop. (I mean, of course the objectives update, it's reasonable in terms of the story that you use the diary, but it still feels a little odd).

Perhaps exploring this aspect more openly would have been quite interesting, i.e. the conflict between the mercenary/thieving aspect of the player character and any humanist/sympathetic side to his character, although may be too much for a short mission.


I did struggle with the outside framerate (Intel integrated gfx ftw) but it was just a case of getting past it on to the main game. If it had been more than like 10-20% of the gameplay, I might have easily got bored though and quit. Having said that, the outside ground level foliage especially was quite nice, and I don't think replacing the volumetric style fog with something more fps friendly would have given quite the same effect.

I think the ambient music location effects in this mission were very effective and contributed a lot to the atmosphere.

 

Very impressive for a first mission!

Edited by Peanut

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@Abusimplea, I crouched walked the level countless times lol... I've never seen any floating objects. I went through it with

a fine tooth comb to find just that, and fixed all the ones I found. If you could list what is floating, I'll fix it in the next update.

 

 

 

 

The spider is tame to Crowley :P lol. I always like to have a rope arrow, regardless of the mission. I just like them. I always felt as a

thief when you get a rope arrow in a mission, it's like a little present to explore, so I gave it for the same reason, though the ammo count I think was a problem. The keyhunt has been removed in the latest version, and replaced with pickable doors. :)

 

 

 

 

@Peanut, The coal shute is easily climbable, if you climb the rails, rather than the shute. :)

 

 

 

 

You're dead right about the wall between Dining room and Lobby, as well as the Stewards room, and the corridor and room next to it. I tried and tried and tried to fix the visportal issue with those rooms, but nothing would solve it. I even had others look at it who are more experienced, and no solution. It was really annoying.

 

Peanut:

Normally you would expect the player character to get a bit more involved at that stage, e.g. freeing the prisoner, taking the body from the well upstairs etc., so it was a bit confusing to have these parts of the mission setting mostly created for the sake of an NPC to deal with later. It makes you question exactly what you're supposed to be doing to progress if the game doesn't let you interact with the story at that point beyond the diary drop. (I mean, of course the objectives update, it's reasonable in terms of the story that you use the diary, but it still feels a little odd).

[/quote[

This is a really good point, especially the body part. To be honest, I never once thought about that. I should've. You're dead right, the body should've been recovered by the player. I can see your point of view, how you feel you're not part of the story. In my defence, I can only say it's the first time I'd constructed a story to be played out by a player. It was very linear, which I did know about, but really didn't know how not to make it linear. One of the things I wanted to do, was to try to make the player feel something, which I think I worked out. Most seemed to come away with a feeling of distaste, which is exactly what you should after this.

 

 

 

 

Now I do. I really like that comment, there's some good lessons in there.So thank you both.

Edited by NeonsStyle
  • Like 2

I have an eclectic YouTube channel making videos on a variety of games. Come and have look here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/NeonsStyleHD

 

Dark Mod Missions: Briarwood Manor - available here or in game

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18980-fan-mission-briarwood-manor-by-neonsstyle-first-mission-6082017-update-16/

 

 

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@Abusimplea, I crouched walked the level countless times lol... I've never seen any floating objects. I went through it with

a fine tooth comb to find just that, and fixed all the ones I found. If you could list what is floating, I'll fix it in the next update.

 

The following is a dump of what i and my screenshot folder remembers:

 

Outside:

Near the spawn point, there are multiple patches of floating dead leafs (best seen when moving because of the parallax effect). One of the standing torches in front of the new part of the manor also floats (easy to see because of the shadow, that looks somewhat displaced).

Also the brick support near the lobby entrance is displaced or has broken geometry as it looks "detached" from the wall.

 

Stables:

In the corner with the ladder, there is barrel hovering over a pile of straw. There is also a zfight at the dirt patch directly under the hatch.

 

Chute and official cellar:

There is a geometry leak at the outer ramp visible when exiting the official cellar. The lower board of the chute hatch frame is partially transparent from the outside and misses the upper geometry surface.

When sliding down the chute at the left is a support beam that is stone from two and wood from the other side.

In the cellar there are some hovering boards leaning against the wall. There is also a seemingly water-filled barrel you can get in but you do not get the oxygen bar if crouching down inside that barrel. The wall below the stairs is stone from the one and wood from the other side.

 

In the servant's bathroom is a hovering bowl slightly above the dresser.

 

I forgot where that was, but it was a room containing a lit fireplace and it was not in the last part of the manor. There is a stone bowl containing pears. Some of that pears defy gravity (or have been pinned to other pears somehow). In the same room is a cup slightly above a small round table (found it because the shadow was detached from that of the table).

 

In the floor leading to the lobby the wall panels look like there should be some railing on top of them (geometry and textures are technically fine but it looks odd).

 

The red lobby guard's key was floating infront of him (but he also had his sword drawn, so maybe the floating has to be triggered by raising the alertness level first).

 

In the private amusement room there are a candle that keeps looking like it is lit when doused and one that can not be doused.

 

In a room with tile flooring and red wallpaper the burning wood in the fireplace seems to float a bit over the ash pile.

 

In the family bathroom there is a candleholder sinking through the board its standing on when doused.

 

In the library there is a golden candle holder that can not be looted.

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@Abusimplea, Thanks for listing all that out. I'll work through it in a day or so after I finish rebuilding my system. Appreciate it. :)

  • Like 1

I have an eclectic YouTube channel making videos on a variety of games. Come and have look here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/NeonsStyleHD

 

Dark Mod Missions: Briarwood Manor - available here or in game

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18980-fan-mission-briarwood-manor-by-neonsstyle-first-mission-6082017-update-16/

 

 

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I'm thinking of trying this mission.

 

(Or should I wait for another update?)

 

In any event, I'm wondering about difficulty level, especially the complexity of the map.

 

How would this compare to The Ravine by Spoonman, for instance? That was a great map but I got lost too many times to count ^_^

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You definitely will not get lost in this mission.

Difficulty-wise it is extremely hard if you are going for a ghost run. But blackjacking your way through is rather easy. There are enough good places to stash bodies and only one non-patrolling guard on noisy surface in a well lit room that might be difficult to blackjack. You also start with much more equipment than you will probably need.

 

Waiting for an update would not hurt. But if you safe before entering the Steward's room, the only possibly game-breaking bug can't ruin your playthrough. If you get stuck, try rereading the readables and/or the appropriate spoiler in this thread.

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I'm thinking of trying this mission.

 

(Or should I wait for another update?)

 

In any event, I'm wondering about difficulty level, especially the complexity of the map.

 

How would this compare to The Ravine by Spoonman, for instance? That was a great map but I got lost too many times to count ^_^

 

I don't think there will be any more updates, as any remaining issues are pretty much not solveable by me. Just remember

to save before going into the Stewards room the 2nd time.

 

Cancel that

 

I forgot to fix the things Abusimplea mentioned above. It should be out tomorrow on the forum, and not sure when in game

 

So I am working on an update at the moment, this should be the last one. I'm also going to try to

fix the visportal issue. The key issue, all I can say is save save save before entering Stewards room the 2nd time.

Edited by NeonsStyle
  • Like 1

I have an eclectic YouTube channel making videos on a variety of games. Come and have look here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/NeonsStyleHD

 

Dark Mod Missions: Briarwood Manor - available here or in game

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18980-fan-mission-briarwood-manor-by-neonsstyle-first-mission-6082017-update-16/

 

 

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@Abusimplea. I went right through your list. Wow, you're pretty thorough. No one else picked up any of those. As for the lobby guards key floating,

I think you are working with version 1.2 rather than current 1.3.

 

As for the bottom of the basement stairs walls being wood vs stone, I did that deliberately, as the house gets more expensive as you move through it, which

it should do. This is the same reason as the comment you made about the wall panels in the corridor next to lobby.

 

All those issues are now fixed. You should ask for access to the beta test forum, ur really good at it, though it would be a spoiler though. Probably Bikerdude, or grayman is

the one to ask.


I have an eclectic YouTube channel making videos on a variety of games. Come and have look here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/NeonsStyleHD

 

Dark Mod Missions: Briarwood Manor - available here or in game

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18980-fan-mission-briarwood-manor-by-neonsstyle-first-mission-6082017-update-16/

 

 

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I think you are working with version 1.2 rather than current 1.3.

The darkmod.txt claims to be version 1.3.

 

As for the bottom of the basement stairs walls being wood vs stone, I did that deliberately, as the house gets more expensive as you move through it, which it should do.

I meant the lower part of the wall that is wood at the corridor side and stone on the side below the stairs.

 

You should ask for access to the beta test forum, ur really good at it, though it would be a spoiler though. Probably Bikerdude, or grayman is

the one to ask.

Already got access to that forum of course. But i did not visit it for some months ;)

 

 

I installed Dark Radiant and inspected the steward's AI settings. He has an audio acuity of 0 but a visual one of 100. I changed that to 0 and that stopped him reacting to the presence of a visible player character. That also stops him interrupting his schedule because of seeing the player. As he is not able to react to player presence in a meaningfull way anyway it should be ok to reduce bug-out potential that way.

 

He still stops for a while after colliding with the player though. That might happen but is not as probable as seeing a player. I managed to reproduce the bug where the key drops with a crazy velocity that sends it flying through the room by delaying the stewards movement a few seconds by exploiting that behaviour.

It seems like that the interruption changes the further movement of the AI in subtle ways leading to the key overlapping the body as it gets dropped. I replaced "keyDropOrigin_x = keyDropOrigin_x - 24;" with "keyDropOrigin_y = keyDropOrigin_y + 24;" and that seems to fix it by ensuring, that the key drops behind the AI instead of to the right.

 

I did not know where to look for the hardcoded delay between dropping the book and playing of the voice acting. But that voice acting should probably be triggered by the same trigger that triggers the actual key drop instead.

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Ahh thank you Abusimplea, I've been trying to fix both of those for ages. I'm no scripter, but I tried ur values for dropOrigin, and with a little

tweaking it seemed to work most of the time with +24 on both z & x. At least it more consistantly drops, but it still flies around at times even

though bounciness is set. Thanks Abusimplea, you found quite a few problems, and fixed two tricky ones. Much appreciated.

 

So my advice is to anyone playing the mission, before you go into stewards room save!


I have an eclectic YouTube channel making videos on a variety of games. Come and have look here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/NeonsStyleHD

 

Dark Mod Missions: Briarwood Manor - available here or in game

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18980-fan-mission-briarwood-manor-by-neonsstyle-first-mission-6082017-update-16/

 

 

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As stated, my assumption is, that the flying effect is caused by the physics engine when the key's geometry somehow collides or overlaps with the steward's. That should never be the case with your original, my tweaked or your tweaked values. So we might have found a bug in the engine. But it could also be caused by overly spacious hitboxes around either the AI or the key - or other things i do not even know about (i started using Dark Radiant yesterday and have no experience in engine dev or the 3D arts).

 

There also has to be a better (more reliable and better reusable) method for implementing the dropping of an item by an AI than empirically measuring "safe" offsets for a given drop point in the editor and confirming them with extensive ingame testing.

I played most of the released fan missions and AIs dropping items are indeed a rare case (i can't remeber another case so maybe you are the first to do that). And maybe we just found the cause for that. But if we find a reliable solution that might change...

 

I suggest further investigation and will also do so myself to find a more generic way of dropping an item regardless of environment and AI or player positioning. I am a coder and the generic solution for that problem is likely a script.

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