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Opinions on St. Lucia Demo


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#51 Tels

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 05:19 PM

I'm just trying to be helpful... :rolleyes:

I wouldn't want y'all to get bored! :laugh:


I didn't complain (sorry if you got the wrong impression). But I just remembered, you can't read the internal forums yet :P

Also, ideas are cheap, but we have a really really big heap of bugs and missing features, and getting sidetracked with more "optional stuff" is, well, bad for finishing v1.0. And I am notoriously bad at focusing :D
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

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#52 Fidcal

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 05:48 PM

But many of the crates and barrels are already moveable. When i take a broom and  push it against a barrel the barrel will move or even tilt over. It would just be nice if i could pull and push it without taking a broom, beating it with my blackjack or running against it.  :blush:

That particular barrel I added so it could be pushed up to the window. I had it working good a month or two ago. For some reason it stopped being easily pushable even though I adjusted it a couple of times. Well, you can imagine with such a huge project things are dynamic and frequently changing so maybe some barrel property got changed - needs looking into. Then the deadline looming it had to be left as it was. So what I'm saying is, it is not intended that the barrel can only be pushed by the broom; it should have been pushable anyway. Incidentally, while I was testing before release, straining to push that damn barrel, a rat came up and bumped it along nicely! Clearly there are lots of adjustments to be made.

#53 plasticman

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 08:26 PM

Thanks for all the replies so far.

(I answered this just so I could say the word "frobability" smile.gif )

...that would be frob-babble.
(Just couldn't resist...)

In any event; you cannot stop mappers doing it any which way they like because they can change the property or even type definitions from the default or create new ones fairly easily exclusively for their map just as they could in Thief.

I see that. Technically anything can be turned into a func_static.
I have to admit I only played very few Fan Missions, so I don't know what people are used to expect right now.
But IIRC in the original games these nice small crates were always frobs (I can say "frob", can I?).

@plasticman: I hear what you say about standards so players always know what to expect but my own view . . . is either architectural decoration else maybe opened by a lever or switch elsewhere.

I wish I had the words to make myself clearer on that(not a native speaker). I see when something is frobable it isn't necessarily meant to be used in a mission. I referred to concepts a player uses (without knowing about them) to navigate in and interact with the game world.
I didn't compare the two pallets in detail, but to me as a player they looked pretty much the same. The visual representation is the major way to identify objects in the game world (allthough sounds are also vital to a thief-like game). When you get used to such a world, you learn to connect the objects with their charecteristics.
It doesn't have to be realistic. If you knock down a builder guard for example you can pick up his hammer and do things with it, but you cannot use it as a meele weapon. It's an easy concept you get used to and forget about. Same with doors (in OMs). The bad looking ones can't be opened, the metal ones can't be smashed.

So the rule "if it highlights, it can be used" is sure simple and easy to learn. But it requires the player to activily go to a certain object and check it's characteristics. The visual representation of an object becomes neglected, you can no longer determine the behaviour of things by just looking at them.

In case of two identical looking pallets it leads you to the question "But why me can pick up the one but not them other one?" -- and the answer to the question is clearly outside the game world (immersion break).

If small crates always highlighted then in mappers would be unable to use them as decoration in places where they don't want the player to climb up.

That was my point. When I play a mission I don't want to be reminded of what the builder wants me to do and what not. I'm not much in relegion anyways. Though I admit the demo's map-layout sure is heavenly.
On topic: I'm not asking the team to simply make two sorts of small crates: one that can be frobbed and another one with a different texture that usually will be used as a static object. I'm just asking to consider it for the reasons stated. -_-

Once the mod is released people will be able to do with it whatever they like anyhow. But maybe there could be something like general mission design guidelines, so players won't suffer from incoherencies between or in missions.

It's as yet unrealistic, and there are trade-offs in design and development. A map where everything is moveable/destructable would be great, but it would be a monumental task and a slide show if it worked at all, and then you'd hear the non-stop chorus of bitching from your downloaders.

Is that true? Are there technical limits for movables or frobables? I know there's an entity limit, but do they hit performance as long as they remain untouched?

Oh yes: I just found out that you can use carryables to cast a shadow on yourself and avoid guards. You an also use them to push guards out of the way.

I tried to cover the unextinctable light near the "unpassable" front guard with the pallet. Not high enaugh, but maybe it works when I stack some planks on it.
I agree realistic object manipulation opens up new ways in gameplay. But it also introduces new exploits. The pallet can be used to climb up to locations, that look like I wasn't supposed to be there.
I like that, but it requires extra-suspicious beta-testers who try really hard to break the map.

...that damn barrel, a rat came up and bumped it along nicely! Clearly there are lots of adjustments to be made.

Simply call them Power-Rodents!
:D

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#54 KCat

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 09:49 PM

Is that true? Are there technical limits for movables or frobables? I know there's an entity limit, but do they hit performance as long as they remain untouched?

IIRC, near the release of Doom3 they mentioned that they could've made all objects moveable (eg. be knocked around, have physics applied to them), but they didn't do it for everything because it would've been too great of a drain on performance.

I do agree though, it's a bit immersion breaking when only specific objects are grabbable. It also feels a bit like cheating because the mapper is telling you "you need to use this." instead of either figuring it out on your own, or finding a completely different method to accomplish the goal.

#55 Dram

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 11:02 PM

IIRC, near the release of Doom3 they mentioned that they could've made all objects moveable (eg. be knocked around, have physics applied to them), but they didn't do it for everything because it would've been too great of a drain on performance.

I do agree though, it's a bit immersion breaking when only specific objects are grabbable. It also feels a bit like cheating because the mapper is telling you "you need to use this." instead of either figuring it out on your own, or finding a completely different method to accomplish the goal.


Having everything movable is not that big a performance issue actually, because physics are disabled until the object is touched, then the calculations start.

Well it really does depend on the mapper. I am one strongly for having the environment as interactive as possible, even if it means players can stack all the crates from the map and make a giant tower to get onto a part of the map where they were not supposed to. Others prefer to have it impossible (or at least very difficult) to get to unintended areas, so they will limit movables etc. In a mansion I'm working on, every crate, barrel, object, etc is movable, unless it is jammed in the floor (like sunken treasure etc), which means that if you shoot a fire arrow at a table with loot on top of it, the loot goes flying and you'll have to start searching ;) I tried this with a ring I made and it was almost impossible to find due to its small size, so I used wireframe view to find it, and sure enough it had gotten itself behind a table leg haha.

In general though, I enjoy being able to play around with objects in the environment after I have finished the mission correctly first. As with any game, a little self-restraint is required. Which means no blocking entire hallways with crates to stop AI, as that is an exploit as they cannot pick them up and move them out of the way etc.

#56 Fidcal

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 02:32 AM

@plasticman: I understand what you're saying and generally agree but in reality as a mapper one has to compromise sometimes. Firstly, I think you can expect that small crates in Dark Mod FMs will mostly be the grabbable sort - it was simply that SL was not designed for climbing so most such moveables not included. That simple.

The two pallettes is my 'fault'. The first one I set up was the window one. The idea of it highlighting to me just made it a silly "hey grab me and move me out of the way!" neon sign whereas the pushable was more interesting. Whereas the other one I put on the trapdoor would have been very awkward to push out of the way. We did have different junk there at different times and there were crates but it got too cluttered and tedious to move too much and the one pallette generally obscured the trapdoor better which was the game character's intent.

So, it's not some 'grand plan' to mix stuff up it's just the way this map worked out.

There is another problem with too much frobbable, moveable stuff imo. Some of it will be loot and some have some special purpose (eg, a shovel is secretly a lever that opens a secret door.) With hundreds of activable items the player is obliged to try every damn thing in the map. It's OK when you recognize a golden goblet from a pewter one but in game anything can be made anything so only one way to be sure.

Having said all that, yes, in principle I want everything to be interactive; in reality there is a downside. Plus all of this is academic because each FM maker will do it how they like it anyway. :laugh:

#57 STiFU

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 09:01 AM

There is another problem with too much frobbable, moveable stuff imo. Some of it will be loot and some have some special purpose.

Since we are kinda on the loot-topic here, I found it really hard to tell the difference between loot and regular junk a couple of times, for instance the two greyish bottles in the Armory. I must admit though, that I always had this problem with the thief titles too, besides part 3 of course. Basically you had to learn what to loot by trial&error and that shouldn't be the main task of a stealthbased game. So it would be nice if you guys made it a little bit more obvious what kind of things are loot and which are not. I am not talking about a T3-glitter here, but either more specularity on loot or texturing consistancy(only gold,copper,silver,gems for loottextures) could be a solution. :)

#58 SneaksieDave

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 09:07 AM

This is one of the reasons we have lifting/manipulating/replacing junk items. ^_^

#59 Selestrielle

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 09:03 PM

Since we are kinda on the loot-topic here, I found it really hard to tell the difference between loot and regular junk a couple of times, for instance the two greyish bottles in the Armory. I must admit though, that I always had this problem with the thief titles too, besides part 3 of course. Basically you had to learn what to loot by trial&error and that shouldn't be the main task of a stealthbased game. So it would be nice if you guys made it a little bit more obvious what kind of things are loot and which are not. I am not talking about a T3-glitter here, but either more specularity on loot or texturing consistancy(only gold,copper,silver,gems for loottextures) could be a solution. :)



I liked the glitter thingie on the loot in T3, I was totally lost when I played the two first games (after the third...why not?). It was TOTALLY non-realistic, but it had the advantage of being clear on what you could steal and what not. With that you could even make paintings stealable, which I don't think would be possible without the glitter because you cannot estimate how much is a fictionnal painting worth (unless you're a fictionnal painting expert... which doesn't make much sense).

Or maybe there could be some kind of a list like in T3 that tells you how much what you steal is worth so you could pick anything to put in your inventory and just keep the valuables when you find a dark corner to sort everything out.

But that would mean there would probably be a limit of weight or space you could carry with you, and I wouldn't be very happy with that personally. I loved the way it was so funny that Garrett could carry a dozen dear legs in his backpack along with 3000 $ of loot and still not make any noise. Just like the apple sound when you eat, it's a Thief classic for me.

So, I suggest an on/off function for some kind of glitter thing to be able to find "hidden" loot (let's say it would be like a "thief's eye" thing) and still keep the game realistic when you turn the function off. And maybe that could allow mappers to place loot in more unsusuall places and/or make some more unusuall thing stealable (like the music instruments in St-Lucia, first time I saw them I thought "Why can't I steal those things, do the guys at BGS know how much those things are worth!?")

And anyway, I don't honestly see golden bottles of wine everyday (the same goes for tiny purple velvet bags of gold and Golden plates in the middle of nowhere).

Have a good night everyone ;)

Edited by Selestrielle, 29 October 2008 - 09:04 PM.

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#60 New Horizon

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 09:11 PM

So, I suggest an on/off function for some kind of glitter thing to be able to find "hidden" loot ...


Sorry, but that's not going to happen.

We can make loot look lootier with better specular perhaps, but there will be no T3 glitter nonsense. It wasn't a matter of whether or not loot glitter was realistic, it was a matter of loot glitter essentially playing the game for you. You played Deadly Shadows first, so no doubt that has influenced your preferences...but classic Thief was a higher level of game than Deadly Shadows.

Once you learn what is or isn't loot, it becomes easier...and you learn to appreciate the 'loot hunt'. The game should not be about having the prize handed to you.

As for a painting being loot? It would be up to the map author to set that up. Perhaps the painting is mentioned as part of the mission briefing...or is locked up in a safe. Aside from that, the loot painting would be frobbable...and the others would not.

#61 Selestrielle

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 09:45 PM

Sorry, but that's not going to happen.

We can make loot look lootier with better specular perhaps, but there will be no T3 glitter nonsense. It wasn't a matter of whether or not loot glitter was realistic, it was a matter of loot glitter essentially playing the game for you. You played Deadly Shadows first, so no doubt that has influenced your preferences...but classic Thief was a higher level of game than Deadly Shadows.

Once you learn what is or isn't loot, it becomes easier...and you learn to appreciate the 'loot hunt'. The game should not be about having the prize handed to you.

As for a painting being loot? It would be up to the map author to set that up. Perhaps the painting is mentioned as part of the mission briefing...or is locked up in a safe. Aside from that, the loot painting would be frobbable...and the others would not.


You sound like my post was an insult to you.

I am sorry, but I do not think the glitter was there to hand the loot to you, and that's why I suggested to make it on/off. It's more for me a level difficulty feature. You can set the game to "Easy" and make it ridiculously easy, so why wouldn't it be possible to find the loot in a easier way?

I know I wouldn't set that function on unless I really had difficulties to find something important in the game and didn't want to spend 5 hours looking for it or to flood a forum like this one with a stupid question.

But for me (and I thought I wasn't the only one), Thief ain't about finding loot. It ain't about killing guards or piling up boxes. The main thing that makes me like this game is stealth. It's not a kill-every-moving-monster game, you have to be patient enough to wait for the guard to pass by you and to find the hidden trap that leads to the secret vault. After that whether there is a flashy yellow-gold object that screams at you STEAL MEEE!! or if it's a common object with a stupid-looking glitter flashing every 2 seconds, I really, really don't care. And I talked about stealable paintings in T3 thinking of the one in the first mission up a balcony. It didn't made the game easier, it was just trickier to find the way to get up there by pushing a crate and getting in a secret passage. And even if it wasn't very complicated at the end, I'm sure you get my point that it would allow more possibilities, and more stealables than the usual golden-glass/wine bottle/crown/ring/plate/candlestick/name it.

Again, this is my personnal opinion, I never meant to insult you in any way and you are of course totally free of rejecting my suggestion, but after reading your answer, I felt like I had to explain myself.

Edited by Selestrielle, 29 October 2008 - 09:53 PM.

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#62 New Horizon

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 10:09 PM

You sound like my post was an insult to you.


Not an insult, no worries, I simply find the entire concept extremely frustrating.

I am sorry, but I do not think the glitter was there to hand the loot to you, and that's why I suggested to make it on/off. It's more for me a level difficulty feature. You can set the game to "Easy" and make it ridiculously easy, so why wouldn't it be possible to find the loot in a easier way?


In 99% of the cases in T3, it did hand the loot to you. As I said earlier, part of the challenge of the original games was 'learning' what was loot and what wasn't. The concept behind loot glint, and a lot of other features in T3, was to make the game 'casual'...so you didn't actually have to try that hard to win it, things were given to the player.

I know I wouldn't set that function on unless I really had difficulties to find something important in the game and didn't want to spend 5 hours looking for it or to flood a forum like this one with a stupid question.


If it takes five hours to find something, it's either going to be very bad level design by the mapper, or the player hasn't paid attention somewhere along the line.

But for me (and I thought I wasn't the only one), Thief ain't about finding loot. It ain't about killing guards or piling up boxes. The main thing that makes me like this game is stealth. It's not a kill-every-moving-monster game, you have to be patient enough to wait for the guard to pass by you and to find the hidden trap that leads to the secret vault. After that whether there is a flashy yellow-gold object that screams at you STEAL MEEE!! or if it's a common object with a stupid-looking glitter flashing every 2 seconds, I really, really don't care.


...but Thief IS about stealing, that's the whole point of the game. :laugh: It's called Thief! The purpose is to steal valuables without getting caught. It's a huge part of the motivation. You're not just some voyeur who likes to tiptoe around noble's houses and watch people sleep, you're motivation is to steal.

And I talked about stealable paintings in T3 thinking of the one in the first mission up a balcony. It didn't made the game easier, it was just trickier to find the way to get up there by puching a crate and getting in a secret passage. And even if it wasn't very complicated at the end, I'm sure you get my point that it would allow more possibilities, and more stealables than the usual golden-glass/wine bottle/crown/ring/plate/candlestick/name it.


It wouldn't allow any more possibilities than making the loot painting stand out with a special gold frame...where as the rest of the paintings are in cheap wooden frames.

The point is...there are far better ways to signify loot than with an easy cop out approach like loot glimmer. Part of the reason they did that in T3 is because many models in the game shared textures, so everything blended together. We won't have that problem when we're finished because we will have distinct loot textures. It's simply a matter of implementation....do you put some kind of effect on loot items to go 'wink wink' hey, I'm loot...or do you put the extra time and effort into making physical loot textures? We're going with option number 2.

The driving inspiration behind our mod is T1 and T2. With that knowledge, you must now understand why we will not be implementing such a feature.

#63 Selestrielle

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 10:24 PM

[...]
...but Thief IS about stealing, that's the whole point of the game. :laugh: It's called Thief! The purpose is to steal valuables without getting caught. It's a huge part of the motivation. You're not just some voyeur who likes to tiptoe around noble's houses and watch people sleep, you're motivation is to steal.

[...]


Lol if I wanted to make money I'd play GTA. Let's say theft is about getting precious things from rich aristocrats WHILE being hiding in the shadows. Now you can like one side better, doesn't mean you forget about the other :laugh: anyway lol I wake up in 5 hours so goodnight!
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#64 Komag

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 10:41 PM

I think you have some good points Selestrielle, and you are pretty well spoken and write good posts, so thank you for that :).

Most of us involved with the Dark Mod are "old school" hardcore Thief fans who pretty much universally hate loot glint. "Loot Glint" - it's like that one thing sort of sums up all the bad aspects of TDS.

So while I can see where you're coming from (and certainly the Thief Deadly Shadows developers thought more along those lines as well), you have to realize that by casually suggesting we add loot glint it's like casually suggesting to Leonardo da Vinci to make the Mona Lisa have a big cheesy smile. :laugh:
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#65 Selestrielle

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 11:25 PM

I think you have some good points Selestrielle, and you are pretty well spoken and write good posts, so thank you for that :) .


*Blushing* You're welcome :laugh:

Most of us involved with the Dark Mod are "old school" hardcore Thief fans who pretty much universally hate loot glint. "Loot Glint" - it's like that one thing sort of sums up all the bad aspects of TDS.

So while I can see where you're coming from (and certainly the Thief Deadly Shadows developers thought more along those lines as well), you have to realize that by casually suggesting we add loot glint it's like casually suggesting to Leonardo da Vinci to make the Mona Lisa have a big cheesy smile. :laugh:



LOLLLLL I see your point. I've been a thief fan for some years now, only from the french community.

Anyway, forget about the "loot glint", but in link with my previous posts, will mappers be able to set any object they want to be loot objects? By any, I mean even a crate or a flower pot (even if it would require an incredibly good plot around a mission to make anyone believe that a crate can be considered as valuable).
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#66 Crispy

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 11:46 PM

The toolkit is sufficiently flexible for that, yes. Whether it's a good idea to make objects that look like junk into loot is another matter. :)

Mappers will have to be careful to make it clear whether an object is loot or junk, using either appearance or context, otherwise they'll frustrate their players. Of course, we will do our best while building the toolkit to reasonably distinguish loot and non-loot entities, and our advanced object manipulation lessens the penalty of guessing wrongly anyway; if you accidentally pick up a junk item, you can easily place it down quietly exactly where it was.

No loot glint under any circumstances though. Sorry. ;)
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#67 Vadrosaul

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 02:18 AM

I found the only problem in the LGS Thief's with distinguishing loot, is that when you picked up what you thought was loot, and it turned out to be worthless, you had to drop it from arm height, possibly making sound loud enough to alert any nearby guards.

Dark Mod has the best of both worlds IMO, with loot that looks distinguishable enough (grats to the object graphic designer!), and object manipulation to allow a gentle drop of non-loot items, likely the best possible option to place junk back given the Doom3 engine.

Unless it is possible to code the mod to remember the location a junk item was at before it was picked up, and bind a key for returning it to it's origin :mellow: It would immediately disappear from the center of screen, which would visually be unrealistic, yet kinda gets around unrealistic limitations from keyb/mouse interface placed on a player character that is suppose to have full faculties inside his game world.
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#68 DrSpock

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 02:52 AM

...but Thief IS about stealing, that's the whole point of the game. :laugh: It's called Thief! The purpose is to steal valuables without getting caught. It's a huge part of the motivation. You're not just some voyeur who likes to tiptoe around noble's houses and watch people sleep, you're motivation is to steal.


This actually brings up a good criticism of all of the Thief games: that the main plot of the game ultimately resulting in you having an objective that had absolutely nothing to do with stealing. In fact in the final levels there was not even any loot for you to steal at all. I always thought this was really immersion breaking and really cheapened the final levels for me. I hope if you guys decide to make a campaign eventually that you wouldn't do something similar.

I actually got to ask Emil Pagliarulo about that decision they made for the final levels, and they thought that because you couldn't use the loot for anything after the final levels there was not much purpose in putting it in.

#69 STiFU

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 03:37 AM

I also started with Thief 3, but I hated the default loot glint, whereas it was acceptable with John P.'s Texture pack. It was a little more subtle then... But I agree that it is not an option for The Dark Mod. After all, it's a PC game and let's just leave all that highlighting crap to the consoles.

But I must say, that the frob highlight was very nice in T3. Sure, the color needed adjustment and toning down, what John P. also accomplished, but the idea was nice and it looks a little less boring than just lighting the whole object up. Why not put the normals to some use here? :)

Edited by STiFU, 30 October 2008 - 03:39 AM.


#70 sparhawk

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 03:52 AM

I don't know how a Thief game can NOT be about stealing. :blink: Of course it is about stealing. Getting to the loot is part of that. And a thief also has to identify what is valuable or not. If a thief brakes into a house and takes everything with him that looks like value, he will most likely end up with a lot of junk and not making much money from it. In that regard TDS *IS* playing the game for you with the loot glint, because it's part of the job to find out what you should take and what you should leave.

I don't know anything about painting. If I would walk into a house with a very rare and expensive painting I probably wouldn't even notice it. However, if the owner would put a sign next to it saying "This painting is really expensive. The other one next to it is just a cheap imitation." I would know which one to take. That's TDS loot glint for you.
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#71 New Horizon

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 08:16 AM

But I must say, that the frob highlight was very nice in T3. Sure, the color needed adjustment and toning down, what John P. also accomplished, but the idea was nice and it looks a little less boring than just lighting the whole object up. Why not put the normals to some use here? :)


Haha, there is another one where we'll disagree on. :) The way TDS did frob highlighting created problems though. It used a flat colour that masked whatever it was you were frobbing. In the original games, the frob highlight was very useful for inspecting what it was you were about to pickup...and also made it easier to distinguish junk from loot. I suspect their approach to frobhighlighting was a time saving measure. They hard coded a single texture set that was used over top of any object...the alternative, which we have chosen...is the original concept of blending a higher value on the diffuse texture so it stands out more...it's slightly more time consuming because it has to be setup on every texture, but in the end...it allows more flexibility.

#72 SneaksieDave

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 08:36 AM

It used a flat colour that masked whatever it was you were frobbing.

Exactly; part of the problem with determining what was loot and what wasn't (glint removed) was that everything you frobbed became this indistinguishable blurry, bumpy, blue blob.

#73 STiFU

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 12:13 PM

Yeah, you're right, the oldschool highlight is more powerfull, but if I were to choose, I'd still pick the (greyish-tweaked) TDS-method just for the visual effect... :) It looks awesome on unconscious/dead bodies and doors etc.

#74 New Horizon

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 12:41 PM

Yeah, you're right, the oldschool highlight is more powerfull, but if I were to choose, I'd still pick the (greyish-tweaked) TDS-method just for the visual effect... :) It looks awesome on unconscious/dead bodies and doors etc.


I can't remember for sure, but I think that might be the one I setup in the Minimalist project. lol I was actually pretty close to hacking in some type of fullbright shader effect by replacing the frob shader with an ambient light shader of some sort...but it was glitchy as hell and only worked from certain angles.

#75 ZylonBane

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 07:20 PM

Yeah, you're right, the oldschool highlight is more powerfull, but if I were to choose, I'd still pick the (greyish-tweaked) TDS-method just for the visual effect... :) It looks awesome on unconscious/dead bodies and doors etc.

Get out.




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