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Fan Mission: Shadows of Northdale ACT I - A Curious Mind by Goldwell (2018/03/23)

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Contract: These Numbers....

 

 

I notice that fulfilling a contract requires that the contract be selected, otherwise the game crashes. It took me multiple attempts before I realized this. When scribbling in Garrett's Ledger to alter the numbers, the game would keep crashing because I had lockpicks selected (broke into his store). Once I scrolled to the specific contract, THEN frobbed his ledger, the game carried on and I was given the credits for completing the contract.

 

 

I guess I forgot how to complete these contracts properly, or is this a bug?

I've just had the exact same issue running TDM 2.06/64 linux-x86_64. The game crashed twice in a row when one of the lockpicks was selected and tried frobbing the ledger. (The second time, I had to force quit the game by bringing up a terminal prompt (Ctrl+Alt+F2 under Linux) and kill it in htop.)

 

On the other hand, after I found your post and tried frobbing the ledger while the contract was selected, the game proceeded normally.

 

I don't know if it helps with the debugging, but I've posted the terminal output that appeared when I launched the game the second time, loaded a quick save right in front of the print door, picked it, and frobbed the ledger:

https://privatebin.net/?c73bef8f7e2439fe#C6jFFWzNrzxR121VydY/QRZJaYxCZz2JO3ZRa+9g+kY=

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Disclaimer: I know I am quite late to the party, but I haven't played TDM in a while, so expect more of these suprisingly late comments from my side. ;-)

 

Wow, what an awesome free-roaming "Life of the Party"-Style FM. Excellent work! The level design is just superb, as you feel like going through a living and breathing city the whole time: So much attention to detail. The atmosphere was dense, especially when playing with the new HRTF-3D-Audio because of the many interesting sound-sources you placed around the map. I will definitely replay this once as I have missed quite a bit of loot and I am looking forward to your next entries in the series.

 

I really had only one issue with the map, which is basically a general issue that Dark Mod and the original Thief titles share:

In Wivertons Appartment,

 

I could not find the frobable book in the bookcase, even after reading up on the solution in this forum.

 

 

The reason for that is that the frob highlight in bright places is hardly or not at all perceivable. As noted before, this is a general Dark Mod issue and, for quite some time, I have been planning to raise a discussion on possible solutions to this problem (I already have a few in mind). For the time being, a mapper can circumvent this issue by not placing mission critical objects in very bright direct light, which you correctly did, but, apparently, I had used the lantern the whole time. ;D

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Wow I've been playing Thief for 20 years and yet I cannot for the life of me make some of the jumps in these missions. For some reason it just seems so difficult compared to the actual game.

 

I find it ruins otherwise wonderful missions (see my other post about another jump-related problem) I'm seeing balconies that would be totally reachable in Thief but for some reason I can't get to them. Jump/fall. Repeat ad nauseum till I get too frustrated to go on. I feel like I ought to be playing Tomb Raider, not Thief, with some of these jumps.

 

Is there a secret to jumping in The Dark Mod that I haven't learned yet? I'm hardly a noob, so this is frustrating.

Edited by Hagatha

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Is there a secret to jumping in The Dark Mod that I haven't learned yet? I'm hardly a noob, so this is frustrating.

I think the only secret is that it depends on player speed and ledge distance, but it's mapper's duty to study this relationship and adjust ledge positions to design jumping difficulty in a conscious fashion.

I don't have my notes in front of me, but the longest distance I was able to jump was 192 units. It was while running and jumping just before the ledge ended. It required some trial and error though, so it ultimately wasn't very fun thing to do.

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Wow I've been playing Thief for 20 years and yet I cannot for the life of me make some of the jumps in these missions. For some reason it just seems so difficult compared to the actual game.

 

I find it ruins otherwise wonderful missions (see my other post about another jump-related problem) I'm seeing balconies that would be totally reachable in Thief but for some reason I can't get to them. Jump/fall. Repeat ad nauseum till I get too frustrated to go on. I feel like I ought to be playing Tomb Raider, not Thief, with some of these jumps.

 

Is there a secret to jumping in The Dark Mod that I haven't learned yet? I'm hardly a noob, so this is frustrating.

All of the jumps should be very achievable. When beta testing and constructing the map I tested all areas that the player needs to jump and balanced them so that even inexperienced jumpers could make it.

 

Could you please show a screenshot or video of the area youre trying to reach? Perhaps I overlooked something but everywhere youre meant to be able to reach you can with ease.

 

I didnt want it to feel like a tomb raider mission (thats why I always erred on the side of caution with jumping distances). On some ledges that are tricky there are invisible brushes to help the player reach too.

 

Sorry that you have had this negative experience. But I would like to resolve it if you can provide data of where this is happening.

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Hey, thanks for the reply. In this mission, my problems were all my own! :blush: I had neglected to go to the Thieves Guild shop so I had no rope arrows. :rolleyes:

 

Your missions are truly wonderful, by the way.

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Hey, thanks for the reply. In this mission, my problems were all my own! :blush: I had neglected to go to the Thieves Guild shop so I had no rope arrows. :rolleyes:

 

Your missions are truly wonderful, by the way.

 

Thank you! Glad you got it all sorted ;)

 

I might give the player a couple of rope arrows to start with in Act 3 to avoid these problems haha :)

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Man, I absolutely love the first half of this mission, it's a dead ringer to T3 city sections. I'm not sure if I'm alone with this but those were some of the most fun I ever had in a Thief game, the way it evolved over time based on and also independently of your actions, had many passive NPCs, self-contained stories, extra objectives, fences&shops. This had many of those elements so it was a true hit for me. And well, there was also the voice acting. The obvious homage to Garrett was cool, obviously, but imo the Fence took the palm, the way he comments on all of your actions really made me smile.

I found the Thieves' highway portion a tad awkward, architecturally speaking. On one side your apartment right down by the canal but on the other side there's a bottomless chasm. Or at least your first floor apartment is suddenly on like the 5th floor. And overall the layout doesn't feel like an Upper Northdale, kind of cramped which gives it a more commoner district feel. Which is fine I guess if that's what you were going for.

There was also this one room with an empty wardrobe that seemed to be the perfect place for a secret but all it had was one random book, that really made me scratch my head.

Storywise it was pretty pleasant but unless I missed something I don't see why Corbin assumes that the key and the stone belonged to Jordan. That kind of felt like a big leap of logic.

Some kinks with the passive AI that could use some ironing out for Part 3 or if/whenever you reuse the mechanic:

 

Spoiler

(Tested with the hallway guard in front of Corbin's apartment)

  • Even a Tier 1 alert (aka when they do the line 'Noise?' or 'Did I... see something?' without stopping) turns a guard permanently hostile and will attack the moment they next see you even if you aren't doing anything illegal at that point. Feels kind of ridiculous and immersion breaking. (I personally already find it ridiculous that guards can differentiate between the footsteps of a thief and Jeffrey, the stable boy, but that's a conversation for another time) I personally think they shouldn't turn permanently hostile until a Tier 4 alert.
  • Dropping and repicking up something stolen (like a health potion or a key) in front of a passive guard will aggro him even tho he should not know it was stolen to begin with.
  • Firing arrows into surfaces will not aggro a guard but retrieveing them will. (could be related to the previous part, aka retriving stolen property?)
  • Interestingly firing a water arrow into a guard will aggro him but he will not consider you the culprit and will just randomly search around
  • Guards won't be alerted by an unconscious or dead body, even if you are standing over the body with sword drawn, unless they already turned hostile thank to previous actions. (They will turn hostile if you are carrying a body tho)
  • Using a key to open a door won't aggro a guard even if it's clearly illegal for you to do so. Aka opening Lady Bella's room with the landlord's key. (Lockpicking yields the correct behaviour tho)
  • The maid AI inside Lady Bella's apartment doesn't start out as passive but her path allows her to see you outside of the apartment which means she can start panicking and calling you an intruder without you ever entering her lady's place. Kinda silly, but I could see it be a storytelling tool, making her the Paranoid Maid.
  • Bumping into a guard for too long will turn him hostile, which is perfectly fine and what I expected but maybe that action could use different voicelines, hearing 'Do my eyes deceive me' after dryhumping a guard is just a little bit silly. Tho that's more of a general dark mod request.

Also, I quite liked the candleshop, that was a quaint little spook. 😄

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On 10/2/2019 at 10:41 PM, phantasmald said:

Man, I absolutely love the first half of this mission, it's a dead ringer to T3 city sections. I'm not sure if I'm alone with this but those were some of the most fun I ever had in a Thief game, the way it evolved over time based on and also independently of your actions, had many passive NPCs, self-contained stories, extra objectives, fences&shops. This had many of those elements so it was a true hit for me. And well, there was also the voice acting. The obvious homage to Garrett was cool, obviously, but imo the Fence took the palm, the way he comments on all of your actions really made me smile.

I found the Thieves' highway portion a tad awkward, architecturally speaking. On one side your apartment right down by the canal but on the other side there's a bottomless chasm. Or at least your first floor apartment is suddenly on like the 5th floor. And overall the layout doesn't feel like an Upper Northdale, kind of cramped which gives it a more commoner district feel. Which is fine I guess if that's what you were going for.

There was also this one room with an empty wardrobe that seemed to be the perfect place for a secret but all it had was one random book, that really made me scratch my head.

Storywise it was pretty pleasant but unless I missed something I don't see why Corbin assumes that the key and the stone belonged to Jordan. That kind of felt like a big leap of logic.

Some kinks with the passive AI that could use some ironing out for Part 3 or if/whenever you reuse the mechanic:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

(Tested with the hallway guard in front of Corbin's apartment)

  • Even a Tier 1 alert (aka when they do the line 'Noise?' or 'Did I... see something?' without stopping) turns a guard permanently hostile and will attack the moment they next see you even if you aren't doing anything illegal at that point. Feels kind of ridiculous and immersion breaking. (I personally already find it ridiculous that guards can differentiate between the footsteps of a thief and Jeffrey, the stable boy, but that's a conversation for another time) I personally think they shouldn't turn permanently hostile until a Tier 4 alert.
  • Dropping and repicking up something stolen (like a health potion or a key) in front of a passive guard will aggro him even tho he should not know it was stolen to begin with.
  • Firing arrows into surfaces will not aggro a guard but retrieveing them will. (could be related to the previous part, aka retriving stolen property?)
  • Interestingly firing a water arrow into a guard will aggro him but he will not consider you the culprit and will just randomly search around
  • Guards won't be alerted by an unconscious or dead body, even if you are standing over the body with sword drawn, unless they already turned hostile thank to previous actions. (They will turn hostile if you are carrying a body tho)
  • Using a key to open a door won't aggro a guard even if it's clearly illegal for you to do so. Aka opening Lady Bella's room with the landlord's key. (Lockpicking yields the correct behaviour tho)
  • The maid AI inside Lady Bella's apartment doesn't start out as passive but her path allows her to see you outside of the apartment which means she can start panicking and calling you an intruder without you ever entering her lady's place. Kinda silly, but I could see it be a storytelling tool, making her the Paranoid Maid.
  • Bumping into a guard for too long will turn him hostile, which is perfectly fine and what I expected but maybe that action could use different voicelines, hearing 'Do my eyes deceive me' after dryhumping a guard is just a little bit silly. Tho that's more of a general dark mod request.

Also, I quite liked the candleshop, that was a quaint little spook. 😄

Thanks for the praise and feedback!

 

For the street section I was really going for that T3 vibe, so that makes me happy to hear.

Upper Northdale is probably stretching it a little bit, i'm unsure why I went with that route when yeah as you say it all feels like more of a commoner sort of place. With the bottomless chasm thing, I decided to do that as I was playing around with fog and found that the really dark look helps to accentuate the height difference. I guess it would have been more believable if I also made the buildings in the main city street super tall, and then had the entrance to your home be an elevator or something. Ah well, too late to change it now! :P

 

I admit my storytelling wasn't the best (but it's feedback i've taken onboard from Act 1 and Act 2) and so for Act 3 that is a main focal point for me, i'm focussing on my readables and proof reading them a lot more, as well as the main story and the flow. It's the reason why i've delayed Act 3 so much, as I keep refining and reiterating the story to try and get it making more sense.

The flow I was trying to go for in Act 1 was that you enter Wiverton's apartment to investigate any clues.. you find that readable about the connection to the thieves guild and so you think well it's all i've got.. maybe there's something going on there. Breaking into the thieves guild you find those two secure items in the safe, so my thinking was "hm.. I wonder if the thieves guild killed Wiverton and then stole these? or maybe they're connected to him". The tablet we learned about in Act 2 but it didn't really connect to his murder... however in Act 3 as we search for the deposit box that the key we stole from the thieves guild unlocks, we see more of a stronger connection from the thieves guild to Wiverton.

 

That was my logic with handling that scene at least, yes I could have done it better but i'm always trying to improve and learn :)

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1 hour ago, Goldwell said:

I admit my storytelling wasn't the best (but it's feedback i've taken onboard from Act 1 and Act 2) and so for Act 3 that is a main focal point for me, i'm focussing on my readables and proof reading them a lot more, as well as the main story and the flow. It's the reason why i've delayed Act 3 so much, as I keep refining and reiterating the story to try and get it making more sense.

 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

Thanks for the praise and feedback!

 

For the street section I was really going for that T3 vibe, so that makes me happy to hear.

Upper Northdale is probably stretching it a little bit, i'm unsure why I went with that route when yeah as you say it all feels like more of a commoner sort of place. With the bottomless chasm thing, I decided to do that as I was playing around with fog and found that the really dark look helps to accentuate the height difference. I guess it would have been more believable if I also made the buildings in the main city street super tall, and then had the entrance to your home be an elevator or something. Ah well, too late to change it now! :P


 

 

 

Just on that topic, I can concur that balancing the focus between the main plot and side threads when you also have a lot of them (like I tend to do have) is really hard. I also feel like the main plot of Chronicles of Skulduggery suffered a bit from a storytelling problem, and am also trying to focus it a bit more for my third installment without compromising on exploration and world-building. 

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My Fan Missions:

   Series:                                                                           Standalone:

Chronicles of Skulduggery 1: Pearls and Swine                     The Night of Reluctant Benefaction

Chronicles of Skulduggery 2: A Precarious Position              Langhorne Lodge

Chronicles of Skulduggery 3: Sacricide [WIP]

 

 

 

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