Jump to content


Photo

What type of short FMs (in terms of tone and setting) could we make more often ?

shorter fms shorter fan missions fan mission fan missions fms fm discussion fm making fan mission making

  • Please log in to reply
47 replies to this topic

#1 Petike the Taffer

Petike the Taffer

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 375 posts

Posted 16 June 2018 - 05:30 AM

A pleasant weekend to all. :)

 

I have currently gone back to working on the layout, structural and plot design for the FMs I am making. Nothing to do with DarkRadiant, a basic prototype of a mission I have is currently on hold while I plan out more of the specifics. As I was thinking about the mission I plan to finish and release first, all that pondering brought me to the following questions:

 

What sort of plots, themes and settings could we feature more often in shorter fan missions ?

 

Are there any elements in shorter FMs that repeat a little too often and could be replaced with something less well-trodden ? (Not necessarily original, there isn't much new stuff under the sun.)

 

Creating short or shorter FMs is often encouraged in our community, especially for newbie authors (for practice reasons) and to the benefit of newbie players (a shorter mission can still be complex and also provide a bite-sized experience to an inexperienced player, before they try the longer and harder stuff). As a newbie author, I'd like to know what sort of elements could help a shorter FM stand out, and still remain a coherent, more accessible FM, even for someone totally new to playing TDM.

 

Thank you kindly, all of you, for any advice on this.



#2 Filizitas

Filizitas

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 51 posts

Posted 16 June 2018 - 05:33 AM

I want to see more crypt stuff and Puzzles.

And i like this city climbing where you can visit the flats inside through the window.

Or and maybe a parkour map?

What about an underwater temple map?
More creative stuff overall would be nice :c mansions are overdone by now...


Can we have more scary Zombie Horror maps?


#3 Anderson

Anderson

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 1094 posts

Posted 16 June 2018 - 05:48 AM

As Filizitas pointed out - underwater maps have a great feeling to them. Reminds of all those crypts in Prince of Persia or in Daggerfall with labyrinths and convoluted hidden passages.

It is a nice twist from the usual tidy dungeons and provides for more imagination within not necesarilly the largest landscapes.


  • Filizitas likes this

 "I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

 

 

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

 


#4 Judith

Judith

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 1635 posts

Posted 16 June 2018 - 06:07 AM

*
POPULAR

IMO, we need better motivated and more relatable characters and more original stories/loot ideas. A bored thief looking for a challenge, or the-rent-is-due scenario has been exhausted hundreds of times already.

 

TDM has the advantage of not having one canon player character, and yet it hasn't been explored much. A disgruntled employee with shady past, trying to steal factory secrets, and sell it to the competition. A beggar trying to get very expensive cure for a friend without fighting chance. Once a common burglar, now a head of a loving but poor family, planning one last job to get out of poverty, and be able to afford treatment for one of his kids. That kind of relevant, interesting, humane stuff. There was this one GDC presentation about creating compelling characters, and the basic premise was this: a character is someone, who wants something, badly. And, he has hard time getting it – that's a story.

 

Even reversing the existing thief world tropes would be a bit more interesting: not stealing – giving something back. Or, taking something back for someone, who has been robbed (that's the easiest one, you just change context without even changing game mechanics). A City where Guards are decent, and Builders are more of "compassionate architects" rather than torturing fanatics with knack for buliding stuff. Even if that's more in the exposition and readables, rather than actual game mechanics, it already feels more interesting than the usual "this summer, in a cruel steampunk world..."

 

As for the gameplay, short maps can be smaller, and more focused on things authors choose.

Parkour maps will work, I already tested that myself. It just needs a lot of discipline to create the feeling of flow. Basically, you need to figure out the "optimal running distance", i.e. the amount in game units before running starts to feel monotonous, and you have to put obstacles.

 

Other things to short working time on a map and make things more focused would be limiting player tools. Like not allowing rope arrows, or the bow at all. Make players just rely on their observation skills, character movement abilities, and lockpicks, like traditional thieves would do. Or, on the contrary, making a few rooms, but as reactive to player input and arsenal as possible. Like more fantasy-like pagan worlds, with props reacting to different elemental arrows.


  • Moonbo, Anderson, Aosys and 6 others like this

#5 Petike the Taffer

Petike the Taffer

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 375 posts

Posted 16 June 2018 - 06:15 AM

I want to see more crypt stuff and Puzzles.
And i like this city climbing where you can visit the flats inside through the window.
Or and maybe a parkour map?
What about an underwater temple map?
More creative stuff overall would be nice :c mansions are overdone by now...

 
Mansion missions being too common I can understand (though I'd like to make a small one in the future), but what about short missions set in a city environment ?
 
Thief's Den was set at the titular hideout and literally has two streets and a small courtyard. Thieves was set near a larger thieves' den and was something of a vengeance piece too. Too Late was set at a hideout next to the docks, with boats and all. The In a Time of Need series had a fancy house and grounds, and a bank near the docks. The Parcel and The Bakery Job are mostly about two bigger houses and their immediate vicinity, nothing complicated size-wise. Solar Escape was basically one or two streets, and most of the thieving goes on in a single building on that street. A New Job is also still fairly small for a city mission. So, what's still missing in this type of urban setting ?
 
Outdoor missions in the woods and so on are better for medium-sized or large missions. A small mission with a setting like that would feel rather limited, and as a consequence, rather unconvincing, IMHO. So giving a hint of sprawling exteriors in an otherwise small mission is a bit counterproductive, I feel.
 
Not sure about crypts and underground temples for short missions. Those sorts of spaces generally conjure up thoughts of something at least medium-sized or even more expansive. Some lost shrine or something would be okay size-wise, but a whole temple ? I doubt it. The setting is at odds with the mission size and scope. Crypts can be fairly small, though. A few years ago, Airship Ballet made a pretty scary mission at a small haunted church and its equally small crypt, and that worked exceptionally well due to the details and the storytelling. So, size is not necessarily everything, but I feel some spaces depend on size more than others.
 
Before I ever make a supernatural mission, I'd like to start with more mundane-themed ones. The draw of The Dark Mod for me is being a skillful thief, not evading and fighting monsters. I think that a lot of supernatural missions (I have played at least 10, if not more) just throw in random undead, random skeletons and random horror work references and call it a day. If I ever do a horror/spooky mission, short or long, I'd prefer it to be rooted in a more psychological type of horror (the player not knowing what to do; fear of the unknown, etc.) and with relatively little conventional monsters. Not an easy thing to design, but I think it's just a lot more interesting, and can work well even in something as small as a house.
 

As Filizitas pointed out - underwater maps have a great feeling to them. Reminds of all those crypts in Prince of Persia or in Daggerfall with labyrinths and convoluted hidden passages.
It is a nice twist from the usual tidy dungeons and provides for more imagination within not necesarilly the largest landscapes.

 
I liked Mad's Mountain, back when I started trying out TDM in autumn 2014. Might be among the first five missions I've played. I chose it deliberately, to see if TDM can handle Thief-style diversity of environments. Technically, the setting of that mission is outdoors, but in a cave or mine system, and the lowest levels are flooded, with plenty of goodies. A good way to circumvent the engine limitations when it comes to outdoor environments. I don't remember too many similar missions since then, but I'll also admit I've played only about a third of all missions created to date (RL duties get in the way).
 

IMO, we need better motivated and more relatable characters and more original stories/loot ideas. A bored thief looking for a challenge, or the-rent-is-due scenario has been exhausted hundreds of times already.

TDM has the advantage of not having one canon player character, and yet it hasn't been explored much. A disgruntled employee with shady past, trying to steal factory secrets, and sell it to the competition. A beggar trying to get very expensive cure for a friend without fighting chance. Once a common burglar, now a head of a loving but poor family, planning one last job to get out of poverty, and be able to afford treatment for one of his kids. That kind of relevant, interesting, humane stuff. There was this one GDC presentation about creating compelling characters, and the basic premise was this: a character is someone, who wants something, badly. And, he has hard time getting it – that's a story.

Even reversing the existing thief world tropes would be a bit more interesting: not stealing – giving something back. Or, taking something back for someone, who has been robbed (that's the easiest one, you just change context without even changing game mechanics). A City where Guards are decent, and Builders are more of "compassionate architects" rather than torturing fanatics with knack for buliding stuff. Even if that's more in the exposition and readables, rather than actual game mechanics, it already feels more interesting than the usual "this summer, in a cruel steampunk world..."


Well, it seems I'm probably on the right track, then. Some three years ago, when I first started thinking about the characters for a series of missions (including the protagonist), I went down a few of these avenues. No master thief (how many of them are there, anyway ?), just an inexperienced young guy trying to make ends meet and impress a girl. It's actually a bit like you can read my mind, because the basic plot of the first mission will be about returning a lost item to a friend, rather than stealing it. Though besides that, the protagonist will get to steal a few things on the side ("Might as well, since I'll be making my way through town."). :D

 

Concerning longer-term motivation, one of the character's dreams is to start over. Eventually move away to a different town or city, get a job and some housing of his own, maybe start a family. In the long term, I'd like to make that series of FMs have two protagonists: The aforementioned guy, and his significant other. She might not do any direct standing-in for the guy, but she will be a bit of an accomplice or aide in crime (and later, in him trying to leave behind a life of crime).

As for moral ambiguity, that I am a fan of. The "everyone's a cruel bastard" thing is overused, especially if you can instead employ some nuanse in the characters, despite them living in a tough and often unforgiving world.
 

As for the gameplay, short maps can be smaller, and more focused on things authors choose. Parkour maps will work, I already tested that myself. It just needs a lot of discipline to create the feeling of flow. Basically, you need to figure out the "optimal running distance", i.e. the amount in game units before running starts to feel monotonous, and you have to put obstacles.

 

Cool. :) I've always wondered about parkour on small maps. Never seemed that doable to me, at least not without breaking suspension of disbelief. Glad to hear it can work. Then again, Thief's Den did demonstrate some of it already years ago.
 

Other things to short working time on a map and make things more focused would be limiting player tools. Like not allowing rope arrows, or the bow at all. Make players just rely on their observation skills, character movement abilities, and lockpicks, like traditional thieves would do. Or, on the contrary, making a few rooms, but as reactive to player input and arsenal as possible. Like more fantasy-like pagan worlds, with props reacting to different elemental arrows.


As long as it's not too contrived, exploring a scenario like this every now and again can be fun. I think there is at least one FM that starts you off in prison, and it takes a while until you reacquire the blackjack.


Edited by Petike the Taffer, 16 June 2018 - 06:42 AM.

  • Judith, Moonbo and Filizitas like this

#6 Judith

Judith

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 1635 posts

Posted 16 June 2018 - 06:17 AM

Btw. If anything has been overdone by now IMO, it's the citysections, not mansions ;)


  • Filizitas and Petike the Taffer like this

#7 Anderson

Anderson

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 1094 posts

Posted 16 June 2018 - 06:25 AM

Airship Ballet did a sort of a small chapel. RPGista also did something similar if you look at the chapel and the crypt as isolated entities.


  • Filizitas and Petike the Taffer like this

 "I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

 

 

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

 


#8 Filizitas

Filizitas

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 51 posts

Posted 16 June 2018 - 06:59 AM

The thing is: The general thief receipt is extremly blend left alone. 

Thats why thief 3 was so extremly great.

 

It took the entire thing to a detective crime scene level. Stealing is not important, but a very exciting side quest and something that gives purpose.

 

Explain the main character and then set her on a huge quest, a huge quest the player herself has interest in.

I usually get bored with a mission very fastwhen there is no detail to things and i dont know who i am.

Storytelling here got to a point where every new mission is like a book... I hate reading long everlasting books :c 

I am playing a game here.

 

Short FMs can really deliver on action here, like short 3 act stories that just have one goal: Give the player a feeling, something to think about in a mystical way


  • Moonbo likes this

Can we have more scary Zombie Horror maps?


#9 Petike the Taffer

Petike the Taffer

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 375 posts

Posted 16 June 2018 - 07:00 AM

Btw. If anything has been overdone by now IMO, it's the citysections, not mansions ;)

 
You mean streets, quarters, etc. ?
 

The thing is: The general thief receipt is extremly blend left alone.
Thats why thief 3 was so extremly great.


I'm not quite sure I understand what you're saying here. If you mean the basic formula and how it can devolve into blandness, I can agree on that. More about those thoughts below.

(I'll agree that Thief Deadly Shadows was very good, to me at least.)
 

It took the entire thing to a detective crime scene level. Stealing is not important, but a very exciting side quest and something that gives purpose.


Stealing has always been a game mechanic in stealth games of this type. It's there to achieve a goal, or gain additional resources, but you don't necessarily play to find all the loot or whatnot (self-imposed challenges notwithstanding). Most people play TDM and its relatives for the exploration, immersion, suspense, sense of adventure. The stuff imagination is made off, to put it a bit too poetically.
 

Explain the main character and then set her on a huge quest, a huge quest the player herself has interest in.
I usually get bored with a mission very fastwhen there is no detail to things and i dont know who i am.
Storytelling here got to a point where every new mission is like a book... I hate reading long everlasting books :c
I am playing a game here.

Short FMs can really deliver on action here, like short 3 act stories that just have one goal: Give the player a feeling, something to think about in a mystical way.


Mystical ? Personally, I wouldn't call it mystical, but if a mission can include some thought-provoking detail in whatever sparse story it has, that's certainly a good bonus. One thing I'm wary of in any interactive story is pretention and preachiness. The player can take away certain things from a mission, but you shouldn't tell them exactly what those things are. It's also a bit of a responsibility to avoid melodramatic clichés in a story that could be potentially emotionally affecting.

 

Readables that run for a relentless 20 pages, even if they are diaries, are not something I'm too fond of. And I'll admit I'm still figuring out ways to impart some backstory information on the player, without the main character writing or reading overly long paragraphs about their past life. You're always struggling to be as economical as possible. Impart the most needed and least inconsequential info, and keep chopping it on the chopping block until it's short enough, but still understandable and concise.


Edited by Petike the Taffer, 16 June 2018 - 10:29 AM.

  • Tarhiel likes this

#10 Judith

Judith

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 1635 posts

Posted 16 June 2018 - 07:43 AM

Yup. It's very hard to make something more in such setting, other than a set of fairly indistinguishable mazes and fetch quests.

#11 grayman

grayman

    Master Builder, Coder

  • Active Developer
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 12700 posts

Posted 16 June 2018 - 08:17 AM

The William Steele series is set in stone (mansion/rooftop/prison/city/bank/museum/church/mansion). Once it's finished, I plan to make smaller missions in odd places.

 

The WS series is a bit different in storyline because it's about a man seeking vengeance for his parents' murders. (Not the rent-is-due variety.)

 

My (non-WS) mission currently in beta test is a church where you steal from under the thieves' noses and give everything back to the brothers. That's a bit different. It's also the church that appears in WS1, but hundreds of years earlier, so that's a twist.)

 

I have another thieves' highway in planning, but I don't know the story yet.

 

I'd like to do an underwater mission. WS4 was intended to be one, but somehow morphed into a "ruined city" mission. So I think I owe myself the challenge of basing things underwater.

 

I think there are folks who like each type of mission style, and others who dislike them. As long as we create an environment where the story 'fits', then we're giving most of the players what they're looking for.

 

The other benefit to short missions is that there's less chance of author burnout. That might be the most important aspect of short missions, because the more missions we have, the more players we'll keep and the more players who come sniffing around will stick around.


  • RPGista and Petike the Taffer like this

#12 Springheel

Springheel

    Creative Director (retired)

  • Admin
  • 37406 posts

Posted 16 June 2018 - 08:19 AM

A small mission has a very difficult time creating much of a story, unless you load it with exposition (and most players have a low threshold for readables per area).

 

You also don't have much time for secrets or plot twists.  They're best for straightforward, but challenging, quests, where your goal is pretty clear.


  • Petike the Taffer and Spooks like this
TDM Missions:   A Score to Settle   *   A Reputation to Uphold   *   A New Job   *    A Matter of Hours
 
Video Series:   Springheel's Modules   *   Speedbuild Challenge   *   New Mappers Workshop  *   Building Traps

#13 stumpy

stumpy

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 1855 posts

Posted 16 June 2018 - 08:30 AM

am working on a puzzle based map, but its isn't short, you don't play as a thief but a failed thief, who only has stealth, the puzzles make the map rather large, and at one point rather linear, or a lot of back tracking due to the way certain puzzles work, its also taking a long time due to working out the puzzles to be unique, or dissimilar to puzzles in other games.


  • grayman likes this

#14 Judith

Judith

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 1635 posts

Posted 16 June 2018 - 11:05 AM

For short missions you might want to avoid explain stuff directly to the player. There are entire small games that do that succesfully. One of my favorites, Pyre, just throws you into a colorful and weird world, full of factions, creatures, and lands that just are there. The world doesn't exist for the player, it just is. Nothing is directly explained, characters just talk about different aspects of the world, and treat you as if you knew what's going on. There's one lore book that gets updated during your adventures, but it's not an encyclopedia, more like narrative poem, which you may skip entirely.

 

There's definitely a higher quality in a world and characters, which look like they were not created for the player, and the player has to keep up and develop interest himself.


Edited by Judith, 16 June 2018 - 11:06 AM.


#15 Petike the Taffer

Petike the Taffer

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 375 posts

Posted 16 June 2018 - 04:02 PM

For short missions you might want to avoid explain stuff directly to the player. There are entire small games that do that succesfully. One of my favorites, Pyre, just throws you into a colorful and weird world, full of factions, creatures, and lands that just are there. The world doesn't exist for the player, it just is. Nothing is directly explained, characters just talk about different aspects of the world, and treat you as if you knew what's going on. There's one lore book that gets updated during your adventures, but it's not an encyclopedia, more like narrative poem, which you may skip entirely.

 

There's definitely a higher quality in a world and characters, which look like they were not created for the player, and the player has to keep up and develop interest himself.

 

True, true. :) And on that note, I've always been pretty keen on visual storytelling, whenever it could be implemented.

 

About the only time one can receive an "exposition away, amigo" card is when you're designing the briefing. The catch is, of course, that even that has to be brief. That's what it was named after, for better or worse.


Edited by Petike the Taffer, 10 October 2018 - 07:57 PM.


#16 Judith

Judith

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 1635 posts

Posted 17 June 2018 - 05:03 AM

Explain the main character and then set her on a huge quest.

 

Actually that's pretty much impossible for short missions without splitting them into parts. And I must say, I'd rather experience a standalone short-story that has a beginning, middle, and ending. Not everything has to be a first part of a trilogy or a cycle (and that's often the trend these days).


  • Petike the Taffer likes this

#17 chakkman

chakkman

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 1026 posts

Posted 17 June 2018 - 08:43 AM

Not specific to short missions, but, i always thought that the whole pagan thing is way too under represented in TDM. I'm aware that there aren't many assets available, but, i found the pagans to be one of the most interesting factions, and i loved the forest (like) levels in Thief 2 and 3. Wished there was more of that in TDM. At least as a theme. Some missions have a bit of a pagan side theme, but, there's no FM i'm aware of which really features the pagan stuff.



#18 Snehk

Snehk

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 56 posts

Posted 17 June 2018 - 08:58 AM

While I'm busy working with other stuff, I'm definitely going to finish my FM some day (this take with much more modeling, I highly prefer modeling and modular level design over brushes).

After years of writing experience, I think that a good plot will definitely help shorter missions. It doesn't have to be a long spanning story, but either a complete chapter, or something bringing just a notion of a theme or motif. It doesn't have to be over the top, or completely delving into steampunk cruel world. Subtle touches of different themes and ideas are definitely more welcome than something literally shouting "I am an evil thief in a cruel world stealing from bad people!"

Let's take the plot of my FM as an example. The story is rather simple: someone wants you to steal a valuable gem from docks. Next, a direct reference to the series: a ship comes to the port, full of undead and disease (Thief 3), and is matched with Darkmod's inquisition (mentioned in several FMs). The quarantine is put up (Thief 1 - Old Quarter). Now the player has to get into dock area, do what the client wants to, optionally check what the hell happened on the ship, and leave.

That's it, the basis for a short/medium length FM is there. What's left is to flesh it out with details, nuances and subtle references.
  • Petike the Taffer likes this

#19 chakkman

chakkman

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 1026 posts

Posted 17 June 2018 - 11:46 AM

Let's take the plot of my FM as an example. The story is rather simple: someone wants you to steal a valuable gem from docks. Next, a direct reference to the series: a ship comes to the port, full of undead and disease (Thief 3), and is matched with Darkmod's inquisition (mentioned in several FMs). The quarantine is put up (Thief 1 - Old Quarter). Now the player has to get into dock area, do what the client wants to, optionally check what the hell happened on the ship, and leave.

 

That sounds great, looking forward to that. :) I loved the Abysmal Gale mission in TDS.



#20 ERH+

ERH+

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 739 posts

Posted 18 June 2018 - 05:46 AM

I was wondering if you could change easly player's size and play i.e. as a rat. Master thief rat if you like, but the point is to avoid giants and eat or spy. Or something like facehugger missions in Alien vs Predator 2 game.

S2wtMNl.gif


#21 Destined

Destined

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 1595 posts

Posted 18 June 2018 - 06:14 AM

Oh, I loved being a facehugger in AvP2 :D

The player size and camera position should all be found in the definition of the player. If you like, I can look the respective spawnargs up, when I get home this evening. I think, it would also need some tweaking of other spawnargs like jump height, mantling height etc, but it should be doable.



#22 ERH+

ERH+

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 739 posts

Posted 18 June 2018 - 11:05 AM

@Destined, sure it is worth a try. Different types of player characters is something worth exploring for sure. It could be fun even as a demo map.

Another idea would be floating soul that can possess different persons. Every one of them have a special ability: guard can kill monsters, thief can use lockpick, priest can perform rituals like burial ceremony, mason can open hidden passages, rat can go through pipes, swim and fetch.

Yet another idea is just changing player"s "lenses" and try to find invisible traces (i.e. in heat vision) - player's character is a detective inventor like CSI. Transparent textures working as color filters were covered in various threads, I recall Obsttorte and RPGista were working on them.

Another idea I had was a mirrored map, two altered versions of same environment - I remember it was done before as time travel, but you could make literally up side down map under palace's mirror floor, or something more crazy like same dream city map upside down below water surface. Shifting between two versions of reality was done many times but it have still a lot of potential.


Edited by ERH+, 18 June 2018 - 11:06 AM.

S2wtMNl.gif


#23 kingsal

kingsal

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 355 posts

Posted 19 June 2018 - 01:28 AM

This is an interesting question and I agree with a lot that's been said. 

 

I'm a pretty big fan of the Dark Souls/ Bloodborne games. It's cool how they rely mostly on tone and setting to weave in this greater narrative (with the help of a sparse NPCs and stuff like item names, ect) It's by and large esoteric and obscure, but it does a great job at communicating simple emotions and themes. 

 

I think its a good goal for small FMs to weave in tone and simple themes into their settings. There are a ton of great FMs that do this well and I think a big part of their success is picking locations and themes that are fairly explicit and sort of work on their own without a ton of explanation.  

 

That being said, I'd love to see more missions outside the city  - Investigating a murder in a  hamlet or even a farm house just outside town, a highway robbery gone wrong,  stealing from a sorcerer's hide out in the swamps, or even a mission about finding a pirate's treasure on some remote island. Something that play's heavy into the setting and creates a compelling reason for our thief to go there without a ton of set-up or readables to do it.

 

Anyhow- just my two cents.


Edited by kingsal, 19 June 2018 - 01:44 AM.

  • Judith and The Dark One like this

#24 Destined

Destined

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 1595 posts

Posted 19 June 2018 - 04:16 AM

@Destined, sure it is worth a try. Different types of player characters is something worth exploring for sure. It could be fun even as a demo map.

Another idea would be floating soul that can possess different persons. Every one of them have a special ability: guard can kill monsters, thief can use lockpick, priest can perform rituals like burial ceremony, mason can open hidden passages, rat can go through pipes, swim and fetch.

Yet another idea is just changing player"s "lenses" and try to find invisible traces (i.e. in heat vision) - player's character is a detective inventor like CSI. Transparent textures working as color filters were covered in various threads, I recall Obsttorte and RPGista were working on them.

Another idea I had was a mirrored map, two altered versions of same environment - I remember it was done before as time travel, but you could make literally up side down map under palace's mirror floor, or something more crazy like same dream city map upside down below water surface. Shifting between two versions of reality was done many times but it have still a lot of potential.

Ok, I will have a go at it, when I find the time.

 

The idea of "lenses" might be even easier to achieve with the lantern. If I remember correctly, there is the option of objects being visible only under specific light. If you give the lantern this specific light property, it would illuminate the invisible objects. Additionally, this would mean that the player gets highly visisble whenever he does this. The lantern is an item that has too little use anyway as many players simply crank up gamma correction instead of using the lantern.



#25 Obsttorte

Obsttorte

    Scripting guru, Mapper

  • Active Developer
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5695 posts

Posted 19 June 2018 - 05:00 AM

After several suggestions have been made on what type, setting or focus a short mission should or could have, I would like to introduce my very own point of view. :)

 

I don't think that the quality of a mission depends on any of those attributes. It doesn't play a role where the mission is set, or to which degrees it incorporates things like extensive story-telling. Stating that there should be less city missions for example just because they make up a big part of the (normally not short) missions is like telling a Jazz band to play Rock'n'Roll instead, because Jazz is overrepresented in their music.

 

I think that a mission author, independent from whether the mission is going to be short or long, small or big, should have a clear idea of what he is actually aiming for. What kind of feelings or thoughts should arise in the player when playing his mission? How could this be achieved? How did other games or FM's he has played achieve this goal? And, most important, how did other games and missions manage to mess things up? :D

 

If you are focusing on the one major goal that is important for you and spend enough thought in the mechanics that will help you achieving it, then you will most probably create something good. The setting etc. only plays a minor role than.

 

To underline what I am trying to say I will refer to AAA-gaming. A good example on how things should NOT be done are open world games. There were a few of them to begin with (mainly Elder Scrolls), then everyone thought it would be cool, and now those "worlds" get bigger and bigger but provide less and less content, just because the crowd says that they like big open worlds.

 

If you are asking questions like you did you will most likely get some feedback on what a part of the community (those who are responding here) would like to see. But following their suggestions won't let you create something good.

 

So even though the discussions that follow such questions might be interesting, I would suggest that you create something you like, and don't care much about what others say until you enter the beta testing phase.


  • RPGista and Dyger like this
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
Let's Map TDM YouTube playlist: ObstlerTube
Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

End of shameless self promotion.





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: shorter fms, shorter fan missions, fan mission, fan missions, fms, fm discussion, fm making, fan mission making

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users