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plasticman

Opinions on St. Lucia Demo

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Hi everyone,

 

couldn't find the feedback & discussion thread mentioned in the wiki, so just start this one.

 

Thanks to the team for that enjoyable new demo. I just finished it and like to give some feedback. That would be 90 % positive, I apologize for focusing on the remaining 10 %:

 

I have issues with some of the dark mod features and feel a little restrained by some of them. Maybe it has to do something with frobbing. In Thief there are many things you can do with the frob-button. World interaction mainly. It is quick, fast and easy. Dark Mod introduces more complex things here, which require more buttons and thus take more time. Examples:

 

Object manipulation:

The way you can make objects float in front of you and rotate them freely is sure a nice feature for a mapper to place things -- but does it really add to gameplay?

I was fascinated by it at first, but when I had to move that pallet that was blocking my way to the sewers and I was supposed to carefully move it around the barrel and crate, whatever. Why not just frob it (pick up), walk to the window and frob it out?

I am a little frustrated about things colliding with world objects constantly since I think the purpose of the game is not to fiddle around with these.

 

Picking up bodys:

Imagine you blackjacked Brenard (the priest) in the hallway. You hear the footsteps of the guard coming closer. You quickly want to get Brenard in the privies and hide him in the darkness. You frob a random body part. Then you look at your keyboard and search for the appropriate button you need to press to pick him up . Then you put your hand back on the mouse, move to the privies and start to search for [r], that is, if you are still alive. Chances are the guard hammered you to death by then. Hope you know what I mean.

 

Readables:

Not a big issue. I usually have no trouble learning the right keys -- but I constantly try exiting readables by hitting [ESC].

 

Other things: blackjacking still seems too hard for me, but maybe that's just bad skill. The bow works fine since I got used to it.

 

Then we have the A.I.: same NPC talks in different voices, but I consider this beeing a work in progress. More important are exploits like the one where you can prevent the guards from opening a door by simply jamming it with broadhead arrows. I found they can not even pass an open door when you block their way with a candle since they try to walk around it. Maybe someone wants to teach them how to kick things.

 

The "missile mode" turns out to be really cool and somehow believable. I didn't expect that from the descriptions. Still I think the number of bottles should not be unlimited unless the guard is a drunk.

 

Technically everything worked fine for me. There are some framerate drops but that's okay considering my specs and the high resolution.

 

Congratulations to the team. Even in its unfinished state I think Dark Mod is one of the biggest things that ever happened to the Doom3-engine.

:rolleyes:

 

-

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Thanks for your feedback!

 

Some of your constructive comments are things that will be improved and worked on, a couple probably won't be changing (and you get used to them and see the benefits the more you play), and a couple will simply disappear as the mod gets finished (such as voice sets).

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Thanks for your feedback!

 

Some of your constructive comments are things that will be improved and worked on, a couple probably won't be changing (and you get used to them and see the benefits the more you play), and a couple will simply disappear as the mod gets finished (such as voice sets).

 

Yes, what Komag said :) We are sitll tweaking the UI and try to simplify things. The setup with the different use/frob button is not ideal, and the player can easily run out of keyboard buttons to map to esp. if you play with the mouse.

 

The thing about pressing "ESC" in readables, you are the third person to mention this (*tels raises hand*), maybe we can rethink this.

 

It is funny, some of the keyboard mappings like "CTRL to crouch" are so deeply ingrained that it starts to get on your nerves when you have CTRRL mapped to creep (because CTRL can act as a continues keypress) and INS on the numpad to crouch. Very often you start to creep when you want to crouch.

 

However, we are on it :)

 

As for the blocking arrows, yes, that is on my TODO list.

 

Thanx for the feedback! And glad you like it :blush:

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I can add a bit perhaps.

 

Re: manipulation: it might not have seemed useful from a single demo with limited use, but trust there is a lot of gameplay (physics, puzzles, complex grabs, etc) to be gotten from object manipulation, don't worry. :)

 

Re: use key: you should definitely re-bind it to somewhere more convenient than "u". That key will see a lot of Use (pun intended).

 

Re: ESC to close readables: for me, I'm simply getting used to clicking the mouse to close it (can also Use to close). I think it's just a matter of getting used to a different key, but I'm not firm on it either way. ESC goes to the menu, so this might not be an option. I played some Thief the other night and found myself using my TDM keys instead, oops!

 

Thanks for the comments about AI exploits, they're very useful. I've done the arrow block myself (seems to be a popular one) so it probably needs some solution, and the kicking already works, but might need tweaking.

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I felt the same way about some of the issues when I started playing it, but found the correct way to do things in time and prefer some of these over the original Thief games.

 

Object manipulation: I do like this, and though it seems unnecessary at first, it is something that can be utilized by mappers. It is more realistic, and can add to the immersion, though it is again up to the mappers to keep it that way. Practice makes perfect - I was able to drop the pallet out of the window, and that isn't an easy task. Using Shift with the Manipulate key can help.

 

Picking up bodies: Right mouse button (frob) works for me, no complaints with that. The Use key (u or enter by default, I mapped mine to middle-mouse) doesn't work with bodies for me. Is the Use key supposed to work? Are we supposed to be able to carry the bodies as well as drag? The only problem I have is how the arms or legs get stuck on the door frame when dragging. That can be difficult to deal with sometimes. 

 

Readables: Right mouse (frob) to read, Left mouse (attack) to clear. Took a bit to figure it out, but it's easy. Also, I mapped my Next/Previous Item key to the mousewheel, so mousewheel works for multi-page readables as well.

 

Blackjacking is more difficult, but I understand it's intended to be more difficult (no more frontal KOs, for one thing). I also understand it will be tweaked some more.

 

I mapped CTRL to crouch, ALT to creep. It's not like I'll be jumping while creeping, so using my thumb to creep is easier for me while not losing CTRL for crouching.

 

Guards throwing bottles when I am out of reach is awesome. Guards having an infinite supply of bottles doesn't bother me because I know I wouldn't exactly sit around taunting them anyway. Get out of sight!

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LeatherMan: Yep, frob of a body followed by Use will shoulder it. Use again to drop.

 

Blackjacking has some special rules. Devs please correct me if any of this is wrong:

 

-Non-combatants are always KO'd from anywhere on the head.

-Those who are not alert and have no head protection can be KO'd from anywhere on the head (bash to the face works).

-Once alerted, the area where an AI can be KO'd shrinks, though it is still possible. No more bash to the face.

-Those with head protection like a full helm and visor, forget it, no KO.

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LeatherMan: Yep, frob of a body followed by Use will shoulder it. Use again to drop.

 

I didn't know that, and it is good to know. :)  

 

EDIT > Just tried it and it is nice. With my current key binds it's easy to do: Right mouse (Frob) to grab the body, Middle mouse (Use) to shoulder the body, Middle mouse again to drop the body.

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We thought the separate "use item" key was one of the things TDS actually got right. That way you can't be trying to open a door with the health potion selected in your inventory, and accidentally drink a health potion because you look too far past the door. I didn't see many complaints that it was too hard to hit a separate "use" key when TDS came out. That being said, there are plans to make objects that can be used on the world be used with the "frob" key as well.

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If it's defaulting to "U" though that may not be very playable for most people to reach way over to the U key with their left hand finger.

 

So maybe the default setup just needs to be tweaked a bit better (since a lot of players prefer to jump right in and play rather than figure out a good keyboard configuration first)

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I didn't even know it was possible to shoulder bodies (oops...) I just dragged all of them in a dark corner after they were KO. By the way, I don't think blackjacking was so hard after all. Maybe the distance you have to be from the victim is a little too close to bumping in it, but it just makes it more difficult when AIs are walking. And anyway that's what quicksave's for.

 

One think I really didn't like was the walking/running speed. The player just runs too slowly, when you are trying to figure out how to break that statue ( I tried smashing it with my sword but it didn't work ^^) or when you are looking for that hammer shard and everyone is already KO in the church, you don't care how much noise you make so why do you have to jog instead of running?? I'm sorry, it really bugged me.

 

Oh and why is the key to the priest room called "The old room key" (or something like that) lol I tried to used it to open the door downstairs which dosen't have a key anyway and cannot be opened... And why put a door there if you can't open it anyway?? It's like the lit room in the tavern in front of where you start that can't be accessed because the doorway is blocked by a hemmm door to old to open I suppose. Or the room with the hole in the wall where you get into the sewers. there's a door in it that can,t be opened so why even put a door there!? I understand for the doors in the streets, but I've tried to find the keys for those doors lol

 

I was sad because I couldn't kill the rat in the streets ;_;

 

Now let's be positive :)

 

I like the rotating objects function, at first I didn't think I would even use it, but I did and it works well for me.It's true that some readables are difficult to understand, but i managed to read them all and I like the way every piece of paper doesn't have the same writing on it.

 

The map is very well done, the background in the streets made me want to climb the walls and rob the houses before I went into the sewers. The flies in the churche attic are annoying (which is good because that's how they're supposed to be) and the water effects are amazing.

 

Guess that's all, overall, I enjoyed the mission, and I will surely keep playing TDM ;) I really had great expectations for this mod since I learned that there wouldn't be a 4th official thief game adn you really match them all. Thanks guys ;P

 

Goodnight everyone!!

Edited by Selestrielle

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Thanks for feedback Selestrielle. I agree about the run speed - it could be a bit faster.

 

About the door - there will always be FMs with some unopenable doors that are just architectural decoration. Imagine that room without a door. How could such a room exist in real life? And I would be answering a question about how could there be this room without any door? And if you make the door openable then it would need another room behind it. That might need a back door, which in turn would need a backyard. That would have to have a gate. That would lead to the backstreet. etc. Every single door in the street would need to be openable with a complete house behind it else no doors at all. So there will always be some working and some non-working doors that are just for appearances (same as windows.) In Thief these doors were indicated by low quality painted on doors that looked like wallpaper. The much increased visual quality in Dark Mod makes those rather absurd looking. The true way to determine a working, useable door (or anything else for that matter) is if it highlights to be frobbed. Alternately, a lever, switch nearby that highlights to frob and open it.

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A very, very, good demo map. The architecture was very impressive, and the layout of the church seemed very natural (no unexpected turns or rooms that you didn't expect to exist) The township had an excellent 'living' atmosphere. Not once did I get the feeling of a ghost town (despite not meeting any inhabitants). I especially enjoyed how exploration and experimentation is rewarded by either loot or humorous readables.

 

The only real annoyances I had was clipping into geometry and the 3-second pauses as I moved between visleafs (you can blame my low-end system which only ran thief's den comfortably)

 

Concerning the "floating man" error where the player clips into the geometry: Forgive me if this does not apply (Being an HL2 mapper myself, I'd hate having to give a D3 mapper more work) In the more intricate and detailed parts of geometry, playerclip brushes could be added to simplify how the player can collide with "The world."

 

For example, in the rafters of the church, where the floor is made up of planks, make a playerclip "floor overlay" so that the player is not skipping up and down 1 unit unnecessarily between overlapping planks. And in the same way, the inside rooftop can be simplified into two angled playerclip brushes.

 

 

By the way, I edited the voice resources (like I did before with thief's den) to use the same voices as T1/2. Just for fun, I changed the builders' conversation to be T1's "Bear Pits" conversation. As I fell out of my chair laughing, my character was hammered to death. (No paw hooks? What'd they do? Just...bump into each other?"

Edited by Mortem Desino

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Great looking demo with immersive atmosphere. Until they start throwing bottles at you. Please make them stop. It's just stupid and doesn't make sense. Of course AI could have some kind of ranged attack but bottles, and an endless supply of them? A bow or a cross bow perhaps? Magic? Or even a knife or two?

 

Also please consider not making all AI default to have a ranged attack. If you look at the game that inspired you this was really a special case and for good reason. The ones with ranged attacks were generally the stronger and rarer characters e.g. magicians and the green bug things. Not counting the odd archer among the guards. Now imagine this in TDM. You are chased by a pack of guards, rope arrow to safety up on a ledge or something. Suddenly all the guards seem to have brought an entire brewery with them and start hurling glass projectiles at you. Harder for the player? Yes. "Realistic" and/or enjoyable gameplay? No.

 

Anyway, thanks for an awesome peek of what's to come.

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I remapped 'USE' to T and it works great. I can reach it with my hands ready to control player. No reason to let go of mouse for that.

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I use mouse3 for my use key.

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Although I know about remapping I didn't consider it yet. Remapping "use" to something I am used to might be useful. Usually that would be "f", so I will have to remap "lean forward" as well.

But non the less I felt the frob button to be underused -- so it's good to hear that will be tweaked. I want to frob doors open with the key in my hand. :)

 

Exiting readables with the left mouse button is new to me -- I'll try that later.

 

I remember the walking and running speed were set up to match the ones in Thief. So I am a little surprised I agree on running speed beeing to slow. Maybe it's the different environment or the field of vision has been wider in Thief. Dunno.

 

Concerning NPCs throwing bottels Morre has a point. I love the feature but facing three guards with an unlimited bottle supply is not exactly balanced.

Best would be to give them a limited amount of stuff they have in their pockets and when that's empty let them pick up a stone and throw it. The stone does not have to be there before and it requires only one extra animation. And of course, they should vary their behavior a bit randomly and not constantly pick up stones and throw them.

 

On rats: You can kill rats. Just shoot them. They don't look exactly dead afterwards, they just stop moving. But that can be easily tweaked with an additional bloody texture.

 

Oh, and: will food be edible one day? The stuff looks delicous in game, I'd like to taste it. Or is it already there and I missed the right button?

:rolleyes:

 

-

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Well, first of all, I have to say great work guys! Its better already than many professional games, and I really have never seen this level of quality from an independent mod team before.

 

I think the map is really well designed and I like many of the features this mod has that Thief did not. The object manipulation is great, I really don't understand what anyone has against being able to do more realistic things in a game. I think the only issue here is that it is so easy to have an object you're holding collide with the world, and when it does it makes the collision sound effect repeatedly. I think maybe a good solution is to maybe have the object orient itself a little bit automatically to achieve what the player wants to do. (For example, if holding a candle stick sideways and its smacking into a wall, it would rotate from hitting the wall so you would be able to move it normally)

 

I enjoy lighting candles myself by spinning them around and holding them to other flames. Is this behavior not applicable to torches? I noticed I wasn't able to light torches with a candle. With so many candles in this mission though the inability to pinch them out was sorely missed. (I know you've implemented it since then.) More along this line, will the player be able to light candles and other light sources with his torch (or maybe a flint) at some point? I always thought it was ridiculous in Thief how the only way you could light anything was by wasting a fire arrow. Seriously, was Garrett unable to just carry a flint around? :rolleyes:

 

Now for the things that could use improvement...

 

As you guys are already aware I'm sure, the animations really need some work. I also noticed that the water in the beginning of the level in the streets did not make any splashes (visual or audio) when the player stepped through it. It also was a little bit too reflective looking almost like a mirror (not to mention it should be muddy street water).

 

I also want to ask about the way breaking wooden objects is going to be handled. In Thief, you could break wooden planks covering doorways, and break wooden crates. Do you plan on implementing these behaviors? I found it very annoying at the beginning of the level to walk into the house and have the doorways covered with just wood, which is completely impervious to my sword or blackjack. And since I'm talking about crates I'd like to know if you plan on making small crates able to be picked up by the player? I found it strange that they are in the game and are perfect for stacking, but you can't pick them up as of now.

 

In regards to blackjacking- I think it's been improved since Thief's Den, but it still has some problems. It seemed to me that the guards would ragdoll as soon as I hit the attack key, before the animation connected with their heads and before the sound effect even played. I think there maybe should be a small pause (less than a second) even after your blackjack connects before the guards ragdoll, otherwise it just feels fake.

 

I also did not like (as a previous poster mentioned) how the door to the crypt was not only not openable but was not even "frobable". It breaks the immersion to have a "background door" in the middle of an otherwise completely accessable area.

 

One last point- I noticed you guys are using a self extracting rar file for this mission as you did with Thief's Den. There are some really nice free installation programs you can use which are professional looking and could take care of making the proper shortcut with the right information in it and everything so the end user does not have to worry about that. The only thing it would require is that the user knows what directory they have Doom 3 installed in. Personally, I have used Inno Setup 5 before and it's really simply to use and works great. If no one on the team has the time to fool around with it and you guys would like it done, I'll offer to help out with that as it's very simple to do.

 

Great work guys, I can't wait to see what the finished product is like!

(I hope you guys decide to make a campaign at some point as it would be a shame in my opinion for you to have invested years of work into this and not at some point have a true "game" people can point to and say look what they accomplished.)

 

 

 

EDIT: I forgot to mention that I noticed a few bugs as well. When carrying a guard over my shoulder, I was still able to pick up loot, which made the guards body icon disappear and be replaced with the newly collected loot. It was then impossible to either drop the guard or move through the inventory.

 

A separate bug I noticed was that after dropped a guard's body, my inventory opened and went to the last item, even though it had been closed before picking the guard up.

 

Lastly, I also forgot to mention that currently when you pick up an arrow, you have no idea what arrow you just picked up. I think Thief's solution of making the arrow you pick up make that type of arrow active as a weapon was a bad one, but there has to be a better way than not giving the player any type of notice at all as to what he just collected.

Edited by DrSpock

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Thanks DrSpock - some good points there. Some are mapping issues done and dusted but the Dark Mod issues I'll add to our bugtracker to be worked on some time. Of course we're undermanned so what can get done is another matter. :) Other issues have opposite viewpoints so it's hard to satisfy everyone.

 

Glad you enjoyed it anyway.

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I should add in answer to your query about crates - yes, we do have frobbable, moveable, stackable crates (amazingly good - far far better than Thief) but this mission was not initially designed or optimised for climbing hence stackable crates and rope arrows were left out so players didn't end up in unrendered areas etc.

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Working through your notes a third time I can also add the relightable candles were a late development and added to the map at the last minute as I recall so I'm sure torches will be made that way too as this is given more thought and time.

 

The inability to smash down boarded up doorways etc I'd probably put down to a mapping issue rather than a Dark Mod one. It is possible to set up (see the window elsewhere in the map) although that does not splinter. Mmmm... needs more thought. I recall that actually smashing down normal wooden doors as in Thief 2 was not to be implemented but 'flinderising' board ups I suppose might be made as a special entity. But then all board ups would look the same. This will probably end up as an individual mapping decision I guess.

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Wow, I wonder, why there is no such big hype as there was, when you guys released the first demo. This new one is just so much bigger, better, faster... Absolutely loving it! The Object rotation is (still) really good too. These days you just can't pull it off to make stuff like boxes etc a hud-item after you frobbed it, like the first post seemed to suggest. Realistic object manipulation was born in Trespasser and needs to live on. ;)

 

There is just one aspect, that no thief-title managed to succeed in so far and I hope you guys eventually will: The Inventory management. The Player's Invetory always ends up cluttered which consumes an unnecessary amount of playtime. Because of this, I always try to keep my Inventory as clean as possible and so I noticed that you can't drop any keys. This is just a minor issue, but I can't see any reason why TDM should disallow it. Also, the switching of inventory groups isn't working properly. Sometimes you still have the none-moving compass on the screen when browsing through your other items. The problem is gone after you browsed to the "hung up" item (the compass in this example).

 

Anyway, the map was designed really well featuring an oblivion-like visual quality, but with better textures of course. I guess only HDR-rendering is missing now... :) (On this concern: What was the general deal about r_bloom again here?)

 

Edit: Anyone got all the loot? I am still missing 500...

Edited by STiFU

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I always try to keep my Inventory as clean as possible and so I noticed that you can't drop any keys. This is just a minor issue, but I can't see any reason why TDM should disallow it.

 

Yes, keys were set to undroppable by default originally, but we've since discussed it and agreed that they should not be.

 

Also, the switching of inventory groups isn't working properly.

 

Yep. Our inventory code is the work of several people across three years and needs to be revisited and revised.

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Great Work Guys. I could write an whole book about how much i loved playing this demo, but i think it's more productive telling you what could be improved.  :blush:

 

Object manipulation: It works great for frobable objects, but i'd like to be able to push and pull crates and other stuff standing around more easy. Would be nice if you could center a barrel, press the frob button and pull or push it somewhere else. Don't know if this is already possible, but it would make a few things more comfortable, for e.g. pushing the hammer down on the statue. I dont like the idea of running against the hammer to push it.

 

A.I. should react to openend doors.

 

Sound from behind doors should be quiet down, except when you're leaning against the door, like in the Thief games. 

 

When the A.I. opens a door and i stand in front of it, the door closes again. The door should just stop and the A.I. should become suspicious.

 

Flash-Bombs should have a shortkey :laugh: .

 

Guards should try to relight torches if they are distrustful.

 

The statue should have cried  :laugh: .

 

 

 

Btw, i really love the own ideas you brought into the game. Carrying Bodies works perfect, object manipulation adds some new possibilities to map design, and the new blackjacking rules are great, even though i think blackjacking an unsuspicious guard from behind should be easier.  :rolleyes: And the best is the new extra mantling button "c"! I totally love this feature!  :laugh:

Edited by Land-Vogt

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Flash-Bombs should have a shortkey laugh.gif .

 

You can set shortcut keys for that, although you have to do it manually (not in the menu yet).

Guards should try to relight torches if they are distrustful.

 

They sometimes do! :)

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