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zergrush

Doing away with torches indoors: an appeal to mission designers

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Braveheart was a superb movie at the time, a great drama that nailed down all the highs and lows leading up to its finale. All the history nerds and nitpickers who expected realistic Scottish accent from Mel Gibson (just listen how ridiculous that demand sounds), or pin-point historical accuracy should have stayed at home and watch a documentary.

Well, there's such a thing as taking creative liberties in order to tell a good story, and completely misrepresent historical events, characters, and setting. Braveheart does the latter and not in a light way. The problem with this particular type of media phenomena is that it doesn't coexist with the study of history or historically correct entertainment, but rather overwrites and casts a shadow of ignorance upon them. While the film certainly generated interest in Scotland and Scottish history, it did so wrapped in a veil of stereotypes and misconceptions that last to this day, and is damaging to Scottish culture, while feeding perception of the middle ages as backwards era.

 

This is especially relevant in a time where people are once again heavily debating cultural and social values, and the political discourse is infested by fake news. We take most of our lessons from history, so it's important for it to be represented with at least a certain degree of fidelity. Perhaps it is something to ponder, before telling nerds to shut it and go watch documentaries, when the issue lies almost exclusively on the low standards and wide appeal of the entertainment industry.

 

But going back to topic:

 

Same goes with games, if you can't see bigger picture or enjoy a setting or atmosphere because of the nitpicks, then you are one of those few people who have a problem. Calling it better level design or mixing it up with any other terminology doesn't make it more important to anyone but you :)

I have repeatedly said and quoted many times on this thread, that this has nothing to do with being unable to enjoy a level due to a so-called "nitpicky" detail, to the point I reaffirmed my deepest respect for all FM designers work, and that they should not go back and remove all the torches from their previous FMs. Only that maps can be made even better and more interesting by paying attention to this sort of detail, while losing absolutely nothing in the process. All the feedback given in this thread was of constructive nature, starting with the first post. If for some reason suggesting having accurate placement of torches adds to immersion insults you, then it is you who has a problem.

Edited by zergrush

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Only that maps can be made even better and more interesting by paying attention to this sort of detail,

 

 

They might be better and more interesting for you, in the same way an architect might find missions that have ultra-realistic ceiling supports "better" and a plumber might find ultra-realistic pipes "better". The vast majority of people wouldn't notice or care about those details, so the mission isn't actually any better for most people.

 

The reason you might be getting some pushback is because it sounds a lot like you're trying to tell everyone that they should care about the same thing you care about, as opposed to dozens of other issues they could (and maybe already do) care about.

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What I've been trying to say is that details such as this add to the whole, much like you exemplified with the pipes or the ceiling architecture or even the electrical wiring other people were discussing in this same thread. They might not be individually noticed but in the end they will contribute towards consistency and help flesh out the looks of a mission. If this was not the case mappers would have not equally spent hours analyzing real life buildings to use as references for their missions. All I am doing is suggesting another one of these details to be added to consideration, the same way that if a plumber joined the forums and provided pictures of ancient sewers and explained how they worked, mappers would certainly appreciate the feedback, because it would allow them to map sewer sections in greater detail, and less arbitrarily. Now most people might not notice the details on these hypothetical sewers, but the same way buildings inspired by real architecture will feel better and more consistent, the same applies to interiors, objects, and other elements seemingly non-discernible to the average player.

 

I've only learned about the whole torch issue myself fairly recently, hence why I decided to share it. However, I was also aware this would be challenging a common Thief-inherited trope, so I felt I had to make a better case.

Edited by zergrush

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the same way that if a plumber joined the forums and provided pictures of ancient sewers and explained how they worked, mappers would certainly appreciate the feedback,

 

 

Yes they would.

 

However, if a plumber joined the forum and posted a lengthy post about ancient sewers and how sewers you could walk through were completely unrealistic and there were an unholy amount of poorly-created sewers in TDM missions, and that his goal was to do away with such sewers in future TDM missions because it was important for mappers to make their sewers "grounded in actual reality" so that players didn't mistakenly assume they were historical....he'd probably face the same kind of response you're getting.

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medieval sewers are either an open chanel down the middle of the street, or something the romans left and is still in use, something like a box sewer underground with water running through it.. Sewers in tdm look more like modern sewers, which there are loads of different design's depends on who designed them. there are 3 types of drain, sewage, storm, french. french drains of filled with diffent sizes of gravel with a concrete base, get rid of ground water without you seeing it, storm drains are big pipes big enough to stand up in, usually square at the begining where they remove a lot of water during heavy downpours from streets or roads quickly, usually when you have a storm. sewage takes poo and wee to your local sewage farm where it gets processed into water or biofuel. for a village these pipes are usually only big enough for a single rat to walk along, it cities they are a lot bigger. usually look like medieval sewers but underground, chanel down the middle, for low usage, On heavy use the two side above the middle chanel get use, a lot of these sewers have an arched ceiling, so on a heavy load the whole pipe gets filled, there will be pipes exiting into the sewer from the walls and ceiling . Box drains are usualy used in storm drains, or cheap bridges for small streams.

 

sewage and storm drains are different, depends on which country you live in and what ever waste water standards they have. or not.

 

anyway whatever drain you've seen in tdm there's a chance it exists somewhere in the world, or did exists at some time.

 

anyway for the torches in england they used to fill the houses with candles with a naked flame, those that could afford candles, or they used to go to sleep when it got dark, or have a big flaming fire in the middle of their house.

although when they started to use gas lamps in the begining they were a naked flame, its only after a time that they got curved glass tops that would spread the light out.

although technically the crystal with the water in it that attaches to the arrow don't exist in the real world, nor do the moss crystals, or the gas crystals nor would a rope arrow be able to not fall out of a wooden beam if the weight of a human pulled on it

fire arrows existed, probably soaked in alcohol, or sometype of animal fat, and not tar like the movies use, not actually easy to get hold of unless you live near a tar pit and know that it burns. not actually sure there are tar pits in the uk even though they seem to be putting tar on arrows in movies supposily set in the uk.

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One of the wrong assumptions here is that all mappers care to have realistic maps. At the same time, if every member of a specialist group, like architects, historians, interior decorators etc. joined the forums, wrote a lengthy essay about how knowledge of their field could be used while mapping, and mappers would actually adhere to every one of those essays... We'd have one release per 10 years.

 

Besides, we already have examples in the video game history. There are games that aim for realism in both gameplay and environment, like Kingdom Come Deliverance, and they are enjoyed only by a small subset of players, if at all. Not that the voice of majority should be used as a superior argument here, because the majority prefers something on the other end of the spectrum, i.e. Assassins' Creed games, which I never understood either. But these games do have very realistic graphics, and artists do tons of research and use tools like photogrammetry to faithfully recreate historic locales. Yet the gameplay is sort of open-world Prince of Persia with tons of busywork.

 

And yet we have games like Thief, Dishonored, or Mark of the Ninja. Not striving for realism, supernatural even, but with interesting gameplay. All have been critically praised, and are cult classics at this point.

 

We all have our pet peeves, and we're passionate about different things, but not being able to distance yourself from your preferences, or trying to picture them as objective is self-deception. In TDM, water arrow douses a torch, if aimed correctly – that's an objective thing.

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As a side note:

This is especially relevant in a time where people are once again heavily debating cultural and social values, and the political discourse is infested by fake news. We take most of our lessons from history, so it's important for it to be represented with at least a certain degree of fidelity. Perhaps it is something to ponder, before telling nerds to shut it and go watch documentaries, when the issue lies almost exclusively on the low standards and wide appeal of the entertainment industry.

 

Braveheart is a 1995 movie, so the fake news argument doesn't make any sense here. We do take lessons mostly from history books, and we do have proper higher-education structures, where experts in their respective fields work on validating documents, testimonies, or even rumors/legends. Applying the same or even similar amount of scrutiny to an entertainment industry is the issue of not understanding the language of the medium. There would have been a problem with Braveheart, if it had been the only source of knowledge on that period available, or if it had been allowed to enter the history movies/documentaries contests.

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Personally I find torches to be a crude form of lighting that would feel overwhelming in places where people live and work, with their bright light, crackling sound and open flames. That's a matter of aesthetics, so there'll surely also be mappers to whose taste it would be to employ torches in a more versatile way.

 

What I wouldn't do - anymore - would be to let realism be a major factor in the decision. In my early days I went to some lengths to ensure my map was realistic enough, for example only adding moonlight to rooms which had windows actually facing the moon. At some point I realised that such striving got into the way of building my maps in the best possible way, seen from the gameplay, aesthetics and time-efficiency perspectives. In that particular example, the poor lighting in the non-facing rooms would be much likelier to be noticed than the more realistic portrayal of the moon's lighting.

 

Realism does do a lot of good - TDM and Thief arguably simulate stealth and industrial society fairly realistically - but it can be taken past a certain point where small improvements come at a cost in other areas. Thus, if a mapper's intuition is that a torch would fit best in a certain locale, then I wouldn't want to interfere with that.

Edited by Dragofer
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Personally I find torches to be a crude form of lighting that would feel overwhelming in places where people live and work, with their bright light, crackling sound and open flames. That's a matter of aesthetics, so there'll surely also be mappers to whose taste it would be to employ torches in a more versatile way.

 

What I wouldn't do - anymore - would be to let realism be a major factor in the decision. In my early days I went to some lengths to ensure my map was realistic enough, for example only adding moonlight to rooms which had windows actually facing the moon. At some point I realised that such striving got into the way of building my maps in the best possible way, seen from the gameplay, aesthetics and time-efficiency perspectives. In that particular example, the poor lighting in the non-facing rooms would be much likelier to be noticed than the more realistic portrayal of the moon's lighting.

 

Realism does do a lot of good - TDM and Thief arguably simulate stealth and industrial society fairly realistically - but it can be taken past a certain point where small improvements come at a cost in other areas. Thus, if a mapper's intuition is that a torch would fit best in a certain locale, then I wouldn't want to interfere with that.

 

This is a fair post and I agree with it wholeheartedly. In the end the purpose of this thread was to inform those who prefer a bit more realism in interior decoration and to give another view to those who don't. While I think replacing torches indoors comes at no cost, it was never my intention to be dogmatic on realism as I stated on my first post, and my apologies if I offended someone along the way.

Edited by zergrush

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Braveheart, the scottish did not paint themselves blue before going into battle, wrong celts, its the celts at around the time of the romans coming to Britain for the tin who would get naked and paint themselves blue before going into battle with stone axes, and slings. Whats left of these celts now live in Wales.

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