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.").
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.