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Fan Mission: Patently Dangerous (2009/10/31)

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Poll: FM Rating (17 member(s) have cast votes)

Story

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  2. 2 (0 votes [0.00%])

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  3. 3 (1 votes [5.88%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 5.88%

  4. 4 (7 votes [41.18%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 41.18%

  5. 5 (9 votes [52.94%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 52.94%

Gameplay

  1. 1 (0 votes [0.00%])

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  2. 2 (1 votes [5.88%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 5.88%

  3. 3 (4 votes [23.53%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 23.53%

  4. 4 (7 votes [41.18%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 41.18%

  5. 5 (5 votes [29.41%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 29.41%

Aesthetics

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  2. 2 (1 votes [5.88%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 5.88%

  3. 3 (12 votes [70.59%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 70.59%

  4. 4 (3 votes [17.65%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 17.65%

  5. 5 (1 votes [5.88%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 5.88%

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#51 demagogue

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 12:20 AM

I might be alone in this, but I didn't really like this mission. It's extremely difficult to figure out what to do next, and it just seemed so... linear. I spent about an hour and a half walking around the streets before I got fed up and turned notarget on and found the window like 20 seconds later. Some of the scenes were great though, very... unsettling.


I didn't want to close all the windows, but performance was becoming a big issue for some systems, and that was one of the few things I could really do to shore that up, since that cuts off rendering the entire inside of buildings. You're always balancing so many things when you do these things.
Spoiler


And I realize it comes across as linear, there's a perception there, but it's not the absolute worst ...
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Thanks for sharing your comments, though... I like to know what people are thinking and how I can make missions better in the future.
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#52 digaphobia

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 12:52 AM

I agree that the map was annoyingly linear, but it is very difficult to tell a cohesive story when the audience will be experiencing it at random. I think Patently Dangerous is, if nothing else, an exercise in that very difficult balance of storytelling vs. gameplay.

I also agree that the windows/doors/objects not highlighting, or explorable and static objects just looking the same, is pretty confusing. I've been playing through T2X for the last few days and there is certainly a shift in thinking when going from one game to the other.

But if you're spending that much time and not exploring the rooftops, perhaps you need a refresher course on vertical space... Granted, 95% of first and third person games don't make good (or any) use of vertical space. Even those that do (Assassin's Creed, for example) don't prepare players for a game like Thief, because no effort is required to reach and traverse rooftops, and there are no interior spaces to explore.

What bothers me about most game maps, but Thief(ish) ones in particular is that there are tons of doors and windows, but only a few are actually usable. Ideally we should be able to make maps where all doors and windows are explorable, but obviously a game engine can only handle so much, and D3 wasn't really designed for sprawling complexes of rooms with hundreds of dynamic objects. Regardless, I personally appreciate Looking Glass for making it fairly easy to distinguish useful objects from scenery. Several of the TDM missions I have played so far have been frustrating to navigate, as they have no such distinction. I totally understand Fidcal's point -- that a static door would look silly with just a texture, but at least I wouldn't spend ten minutes trying to get up there to figure that out.

#53 LeatherMan

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 01:27 AM

I didn't want to close all the windows, but performance was becoming a big issue for some systems, and that was one of the few things I could really do to shore that up, since that cuts off rendering the entire inside of buildings.  You're always balancing so many things when you do these things.


Would adding a door + visportal to
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have allowed you to leave the window open?


@Springheel, after all the times I betatested this mission, it was only last night I got that scare.   :blush: I had simply never triggered that "entrance" before...

#54 Springheel

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 09:06 AM

@Springheel, after all the times I betatested this mission, it was only last night I got that scare. I had simply never triggered that "entrance" before...


Really? Wow. I'm glad I triggered it somehow, then, because it was my favourite point in the mission. :)

Also, a funny moment: I KO'd the guards next to
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#55 Stardog

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 09:46 AM

What bothers me about most game maps, but Thief(ish) ones in particular is that there are tons of doors and windows, but only a few are actually usable. Ideally we should be able to make maps where all doors and windows are explorable

Another issue that I'm finding with my map is that if every door is useable then the mission can become a little bit easy.

Although, maybe it's just because I made the map and know the layout.

Edited by Stardog, 02 November 2009 - 09:47 AM.


#56 killhour

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 10:32 AM

But if you're spending that much time and not exploring the rooftops, perhaps you need a refresher course on vertical space... Granted, 95% of first and third person games don't make good (or any) use of vertical space. Even those that do (Assassin's Creed, for example) don't prepare players for a game like Thief, because no effort is required to reach and traverse rooftops, and there are no interior spaces to explore.


That's the problem. I read the thing about leaving the lab window open, so spent ages looking for a way to get up there. Why would I think "Oh, I have to climb this seemingly pointless wall that I've been trying to jump up onto from the dark side, but can't because of this tiny ledge, so that I can get into a window of a house I really don't care about, since that will OBVIOUSLY give me a way to get on the rooftops to get into the lab"?

See where I'm coming from?

#57 SiyahParsomen

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 10:43 AM

The thing is, when you leave a window open a little, have a gap, or have it transparent, it renders everything inside and slows performance.


yes, you are absolutely right on this point. I agree with you and Fidcal.
Spoiler

Spoiler


Yes, there are a few non-key places that makes me think this mission isn't linear. I belive it's ok.

#58 Diego

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 11:15 AM

I felt the mission a little linear too, as I said before, but I didn't have that much trouble..
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About the non frobable doors, linearity, and that stuff. All that can be different if you make missions that aren't based in a single item, so the player can travel through the whole mission through any path looking for the items. That is not easy!

Also,
Spoiler

Edited by Diego, 02 November 2009 - 11:17 AM.


#59 nobody

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 12:42 PM

When it comes to non-functional doors I really don't mind them looking the same as functional ones. sure it makes more work since I have to take the time to sneak up to it and try it but I always hated in the old games that I could look at a door from across the street and know it wasn't a real door. before long I just started seeing them as funky looking walls. TDM's non-frob doors look to me like what I always imagined they should = a jammed door or perhaps one barred from the opposite side so there is just no way to open it. I like that frobable and non-frobable stuff looks the same. well maybe not the small bottles and glasses and things, I'd like to be able to shuffle those around. but doors and windows don't bother me.

#60 Baddcog

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 01:00 PM

The doors thing has always been personal preference. With T2 most authors seemed to like putting in the 'fake door textures' which I always thought were ugly and just a way to dumb down the experience.
I made a pack of textures of all the doors in T2 with handles (that way they look very similar but their handles were painted on, obviously not useable) and I don't think anyone ever used them.

To me it looked alot better to have matching doors, also gives player more to do, I hate looking at a door at long distance and just knowing it's fake.

Either way, an author is free to use dummy doors if they are so inclined.
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As for optimizing, it just has to be done. Most players want rooftop exploration and demagouge delivered on that.

I prefer missions that aren't nessecarily every house is enterable. Sure it's possible to do with DR if optimized correctly. Doesn't matter how many physics objects are used. They are mainly not used just so performance doesn't get killed when a bunch are flying about. If they are at rest there is no extra cost.

But it's more about being spread out in a large city. Fun to have paths through buildings on the way to a goal. But if you have to search every house, every bathroom, every kitchen, every bedroom on the way to a goal you'll never get there.

Plus it also takes a ton more time to detail every building and that'll take away from covering a larger area of streets in a city.

I'm derailing the topic though...
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#61 SiyahParsomen

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 01:13 PM

btw. I think with this fm, first female model(s) are released to public, but I have a suspicion about their usability. Are they able to walk, run as normal AI or only play dead? :)

#62 demagogue

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 01:31 PM

Well it's interesting that this little mission is generating some discussion about different things.

Really? Wow. I'm glad I triggered it somehow, then, because it was my favourite point in the mission. :)


Heh, he discovered something that you haven't seen yet (I don't think). :ph34r:

Spoiler


btw. I think with this fm, first female model(s) are released to public, but I have a suspicion about their usability. Are they able to walk, run as normal AI or only play dead? :)


I believe they still need a good number of female animations and voice-set barks before they're able to fully "come to life". They'll be available in a future update as normal AI, but for now we just get the ragdolls.
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#63 Flanders

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 01:54 PM

I recall from TDS that only open books could be read and closed books were for throwing around. If you went in a room and saw some closed books on a table you immediately knew you didn't had to read anything. What if you put a door handle only on doors can be opened? That way you can see from a distance that a door is open-able or not as in t1/t2.

#64 digaphobia

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 01:56 PM

Another issue that I'm finding with my map is that if every door is useable then the mission can become a little bit easy.

Although, maybe it's just because I made the map and know the layout.

Well, more what I am saying is that the primary joy for me in (re)playing Thief and Deus Ex is exploration. It seems to me that ten years out, we should be able to play a game where nothing which should open doesn't. If that makes sense. I'm fine finding a key, door code, or whatever to get into something, but I want to get into it somehow. That can be made as difficult or easy as one wants to make it. But that's what is wonderful and fun and makes this sneaking genre so unique.
Most missions (esp. FMs) seem to have plot/task essential doors and windows and maybe one or two superfluous places to break into. That's fine, obviously it takes a lot of effort to create that much. But I would love to spend an hour or two searching an entire neighborhood, with NPCs and guards walking about dynamically. Not a set number of guards patrolling and a couple people asleep in their beds and one standing still just waiting to be knocked out. There can still be a mission or a goal, but it doesn't have to overwhelm the entire map.
This is off topic, and obviously not a reality with TDM (at least not at this point), but I can't help myself.

Anyway, demagogue, I really enjoyed your map. It was not a typical Thiefish endeavor and I applaud that.
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#65 Baddcog

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 02:18 PM

I think using a door with no handle is an OK indicator. But some FM's also use that (Chalice-safe room) as a way to make lockpicking a little more difficult for key locations.
(in which case use a door MODEL, not a door entity, as AI still seem to want to try entity doors in weird circumstances - ie the one un-openable door in this mission- a guard looking for me tried to open it, obviously he sees door entity, not model or unfrobbabe door.)

But there is one underlying factor that tells you if a door can or can't be used. It highlights. If you can't pick it you need a key. If you don't have a key it may be a lockbox. But if it highlights it is useable somehow.
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@ dig,

I understand the want of a free based kindof play area. A 'live' neighborhood. But I don't know of any game that pulls that off well. Some try, Oblivion has people walking around, but that's all scripted. Same with DR, patrols don't have to be a circular loop but they still need to be placed.

The rats were programed for this type of motion. They wander randomly around and cycle through a few anims randomly. But I think it's based on some radius thing and would be weird to have people just roam in a small radius randomly.


I also found making maps for T2 that people don't want a mission to roam with no goal. People generally wnat a specific goal set to progress through a mission. Something to follow. Some fun paths along the way, but not just an open fairly random area to wander.

The cool thing about paths in DR is you can have a base loop, then have 'random paths' off of the loop that an AI may or may not choose each time around. And off of the random spur you can have another random spur... Alot easier than T2. So a guard may patrol back and forth 3 times, then decide to go to the pub, the go back and patrol or decide to go to the market...
You can literally have 20 random loops tied together.
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#66 Springheel

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 04:06 PM

I recall from TDS that only open books could be read and closed books were for throwing around. If you went in a room and saw some closed books on a table you immediately knew you didn't had to read anything. What if you put a door handle only on doors can be opened? That way you can see from a distance that a door is open-able or not as in t1/t2.


That's the convention I'm using in my map. I think it makes a lot of sense. Not frobbing is fine, but when I can't frob a door it always leaves me wondering if something went wrong. Also, I don't like having to actually approach each door (possibly taking a risk of being caught) just to find out it's not really part of the mission.

#67 Fidcal

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 04:29 PM

I never have any problem with these doors. I don't see them as 'dummy' doors but as real doors that I (the player character) can't get through. I regard them as part of the many things I investigate in every scene. I don't think I'd be too disappointed even if I saw a door up high somewhere and had a difficult climb only to find it was unfrobable. Seems natural to me that some doors I just can't crack; some objects are of no use; some walls I can't climb, and so on. Marking doors in some way to indicate they are 'dummies' is one step away from loot glint imo or glowing footprints. Might as well paint a red arrow on all the 'real' doors. That's my feeling anyway but I appreciate others see it differently. :)

#68 demagogue

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 06:10 PM

Also, I don't like having to actually approach each door (possibly taking a risk of being caught) just to find out it's not really part of the mission.


I left dummy doors out of Benson's & Damuddy's houses for this reason ... even at the risk of the inevitable "Benson doesn't have a bathroom or kitchen! What kind of trick are you trying to pull here?!" I (tried to) only put them in places like separated rooms where I thought it wouldn't throw the player off from gameplay (except for that first door on the street, which was a last minute addition and actually did mess with the AI and gameplay ... just goes to show you about adding stuff towards the end ... although it's still probably better than an empty wall there).
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#69 STiFU

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 06:27 PM

Marking doors in some way to indicate they are 'dummies' is one step away from loot glint imo or glowing footprints. Might as well paint a red arrow on all the 'real' doors.

Haha nice! I couldn't have said it any better... :D It is just a question of consistency. If there are unpickable doors, for whom you need a key, there also gotta be unpickable doors, for whom there is no key. And making them unfrobable is already a big help for the player, because he knows at once, that he cannot directly interact with that door. It'd be only possible via a switch.

The times of sprites as substitutes for actual meshes are over. Most of the T2 FMs also use doormeshes instead of those uggly lowres textures, because today we can afford a few extra polys for a doorhandle! And I guess I would actually start crying if anyone used a door texture for a dummy door in TDM. :D

But that window in this FM is a totally different topic. There should have been at least one indicator that it can be opened. Such an indicator could have been a slightly opened window, some sort of readable or a big ass red arrow, like Fidcal suggested... :-P I prefer the 2nd over all others, because I like to be rewarded for gathering information from readables and it is also better for the performance, like it's already been said. I only overcame this obstacle by randomly climbing up everywhere and wild frobing, so this is not optimal. I must admit though, that I felt pretty satisfied after finally finding the actual entrypoint to this mission.

Edited by STiFU, 02 November 2009 - 06:38 PM.


#70 Springheel

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 06:47 PM

Seems natural to me that some doors I just can't crack; some objects are of no use; some walls I can't climb, and so on. Marking doors in some way to indicate they are 'dummies' is one step away from loot glint imo or glowing footprints.


If it's really just a matter of some doors not being 'crackable', then those doors should froblight like any other, but you shouldn't be able to open them. Why don't we do that? Because it would frustrate players to no end to have doors that look like they should be openable, even though there's no way to open them. Players could spend hours looking for keys that they missed. So instead, we make them non-frobbable, which is a "gamey" way of communicating that they aren't part of the map. Not putting handles on them is also a "gamey" way of communicating that. However, it has the benefit of not requiring the player to risk getting caught just to find that out.

#71 kaldor

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 07:32 PM

Hi there,

I just finished the map and I liked it. Time was 1 hour and 20 Minutes at "hard" (never tried the other difficulties).

What I liked:

- Especially the atmosphere in the ending,
Spoiler

- Lots of readables, that also deepen the story.
- Detailed work, e.g. in Sorens lab. Really liked that.


What I didnīt like:

- Lots of items that canīt be used.
- At the very last place,
Spoiler

- So many electrical lamps, that cannot be turned off. I feel forced by that. Donīt use them so often!
- The use of
Spoiler

- The architecture on the streets. It felt a little squeezed, like you had not enough space to build the map. Also, the houses have different architecture styles, which is not that probable in a medieval city. You try to create the illusion that this is a part of a larger city, but I did not feel that way. Instead, I kept wondering how I can open those gates ;)
- Mentioned by others: The wall
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Maybe all that sounds a little negative, but I really liked playing the map. It is challenging, in many places detailed. I canīt imagine how much work you put in there, but I guess a lot. Thank you for making it and keep up making such missions, I will be looking for them!


There is one thing I like to add about the ending:
Spoiler


cheers,
kaldor

#72 Mortem Desino

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 07:48 PM

Spoiler

That's probably the most clever way to do it. :laugh: I guess you could also drag some crates up there to cast shadows to hide in.
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#73 STiFU

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 08:01 PM

Spoiler
So this FM is completely supreme-ghostable, as well as all other TDM maps so far...

Edited by STiFU, 02 November 2009 - 08:03 PM.


#74 Diego

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 08:27 PM

Spoiler



Yes, there is :ph34r:
Spoiler


#75 demagogue

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 10:42 PM

You guys beat me to it.
Yes, the FM is completely ghostable, including at this part in just the way you just mentioned.

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