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Opinions on St. Lucia Demo


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#76 woah

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Posted 02 November 2008 - 03:03 PM

I just got a chance to play the mod. I bit the bullet and installed windows, but only after it decided to overwrite '/' (when I instructed it to write over the area that was once a fat partition. Luckily, I had my home files on a separate partition) and then refused to install because I had "too many partitions" (I had only 2 other partitions, so I'm assuming "too many partitions" just means "too many non-windows partitions"). So then I installed an old harddrive and figured I'd just write it to that, but it then complained that the other drive had non-windows partitions, and I'd have to either remove what was on the other and write windows to it before I could write windows to the blank hd, or write nothing at all (so I disconnected the hd with linux on it, installed windows, reconnected the hd, and--of course--everything works fine now (after writing grub back to the mbr, of course)). So on to my impressions...


The team has come a long, long way. I really enjoyed the demo. I particularly enjoyed the puzzle solving instances. At times, they brought me back to my Thief 2 days. The readables interaction is a key element of this. One thing I would recommend is to remove any music and play an ambient sound similar to the sound played in Thief when viewing readables. I think this allows the player to better focus and absorb the information; the stimulation on the periphery can be a distraction to one's mental visualization of what they are reading. I don't recall if the outer edges of the screen are dimmed when viewing readables (I think they are), but this is also something to take into consideration.

The light gem is flawless from what I've experienced, as is mantling (though mappers must be careful, as it is very powerful), and it's also great to see shouldering in. I must say, though, that the ragdoll physics are quite dispiriting, and, whenever I see them, the game's aura--that which permits the mind to, at least partially, unfix itself from the knowledge that what you are currently experiencing is a simulation--is curtailed. I understand this is an area of the game that can only be modified to a limited extent with your resources, but I would even go so far as to say that ragdolls should be completely removed, and death animations be implemented. But again, with your resources, this doesn't seem feasible, and it's not even that big of a deal.

There are only two things that really caught my scrutiny, the foremost of which is the nature of sounds. I understand that the sounds used are currently placeholders, but I found that it was not so much the particular noises used to pose, but the believability of their interaction that detracted from the experience. Adjusting things such as sound attenuation, echo (in hallyways), muffling/soft-pedaling (when on the other side of doors), and the intensity of the sounds could really change the experience (and I understand a lot of this is either up to the mapper or can be changed through the doom 3 configuration files). This also made it quite difficult to tell where AI are coming from, whether or not the guard you're sneaking up on is going to hear you, or even whether or not that which was making a noise was your own boots or the guard's way down the hall. I understand this is one of those areas that may be reserved for "finishing touches," though.

The other thing that really stood out to me is the level of ambient light. I had turned the brightness way down, both on my monitor and in the game, yet I could not produce a convincing effect. Passage ways that would have been devoid of any light could still be navigated quite easily and without the lantern, and dark corners where the light gem goes completely black are really not that black at all. In my experience with other engines, this is something that is modified from the mapper's level, though, and I'm not sure what the trade off would be (perhaps the dynamic shadows are too hard).

Overall, it is great to see this team continue to progress, and I hope my comments will be of some help.

#77 Fidcal

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Posted 02 November 2008 - 05:03 PM

That's interesting about the ambient light because if I turn down the game menu bright and gamma sliders I can easily get the shadows completely black. On both of my PCs and with three different monitors. So it's not inherent in Dark Mod - we've taken a lot of care to adjust the ambient light to satisfy everyone who's tested it. I can't think what could cause this problem on your system if you've adjusted everything.

I should clarify that the darkest passageways are never intended to be as black as Doom 3 but just enough light to navigate and see a little texture.

Glad you enjoyed it anyway and thanks for the feedback.

#78 Ishtvan

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Posted 02 November 2008 - 08:52 PM

I must say, though, that the ragdoll physics are quite dispiriting, and, whenever I see them, the game's aura--that which permits the mind to, at least partially, unfix itself from the knowledge that what you are currently experiencing is a simulation--is curtailed. I understand this is an area of the game that can only be modified to a limited extent with your resources, but I would even go so far as to say that ragdolls should be completely removed, and death animations be implemented. But again, with your resources, this doesn't seem feasible, and it's not even that big of a deal.

What problems exactly are you experiencing with the ragdolls?

If we removed ragdolls and had only death animations, you'd be back to the days of corpses with half of them sticking out completely rigidly over ledges, or sticking up at an angle on hills, or corpses hovering in midair if they died while standing on a crate and you later move the crate away. I don't see how that would be more immersive? Are you saying it would be closer to Thief because they didn't have ragdoll physics? Or do you mean something else when you say remove ragdoll physics?

#79 Mortem Desino

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Posted 02 November 2008 - 10:04 PM

I think what he means is that, when a human is knocked out, he or she doesn't instantly collapse, but rather haphazardly stands for a second and kind of topples over, not straight down instantly.

Besides, the natural human reaction to any kind of shock is to tense up muscles, not suddenly and totally relax them all.

Review those Thief 1/2 animations and you'll see that their deaths are so much more natural-looking than instantly ragdoll at 0-health.

Edited by Mortem Desino, 02 November 2008 - 10:09 PM.

yay seuss crease touss dome in ouss nose tair

#80 Ishtvan

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Posted 02 November 2008 - 10:17 PM

Oh. We can tweak some of those setting still. For example, there is an initial "slow motion ragdoll" phase that's not really set up right now. With that enabled, they wobble around a bit and don't appear to drop down quite so instantly.

Death animations are possible, but we ran into some problems with them such as parts of the AI clipping into solids during the animation, which leads to screwed up ragdoll physics when the ragdoll finally takes over. Also, because death animations always put the body in the same initial position before starting the ragdoll, when AI play the same death animation, you end up with different bodies in the same exact pose on flat ground, which looks weird. We would have to have a lot of random ones to choose from, and right now we're struggling to get just basic animations ingame. You'd probably also have to randomize the time at which you drop into ragdoll physics to add a little more variation.

#81 Diego

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 08:43 PM

Bummer.. I really want to play this!
But until next year I have to concentrate on my stuff.. Any video of the map on the way?? :D

#82 trousermonkey

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 01:27 AM

I just registered so I could congratulate the team on an awesome job.

I just installed doom and the mod ran without problems* on linux. The game ran great and it looks really polished. I haven't had time to run through the level yet but the stuff I saw looked wonderful

I can't wait to see the official release.


* actually there was one minor issue:
I installed 1.3.1.1304 and the default link to the binary was
/usr/local/games/doom3/doom3

instead of
/usr/local/games/doom3/doom.x86
as mentioned in the wiki

#83 Tels

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 09:58 AM

I just registered so I could congratulate the team on an awesome job.

I just installed doom and the mod ran without problems* on linux. The game ran great and it looks really polished. I haven't had time to run through the level yet but the stuff I saw looked wonderful

I can't wait to see the official release.


:blush:

* actually there was one minor issue:
I installed 1.3.1.1304 and the default link to the binary was
/usr/local/games/doom3/doom3

instead of
/usr/local/games/doom3/doom.x86
as mentioned in the wiki


I fixed the wiki article, thanx!
"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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#84 Silencium18

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 10:50 AM

After playing the Demo numerous times and also testing some maps in DarkRadiant, Ive one or two complains, which are hopefully already fixed ^^

1) The AI keeps getting stuck at barrels or crates. For example when I make a noice and there`s a barrel between me and the AI, the AI goes not around the barrel and gets stuck in it. But then again, I think that this is just a beta-issue Im complaining about ;)
2) When the AI gets alert and investigates the area, it is impossible to sneak up behind her and knock them out. Sure, you can sneak-crawling behind her (but in this position you can`t hit their head), so you have to stand and sneak behind them BUT in this walk mode the AI hears you and turns around. The only way to knock out an alert enemy is sneak-crawl behind him until he stops moving for a second AND THEN immediately stand up and hope that youre close enough to knock them out. My suggestion is to make the time the AI uses to just stand there and look into shadows longer than 1 1/2 seconds (maybe 5 seconds or so).

Dont get me wrong here, you guys really do a great job with the DarkMode and I really hope that the DarkMode gets released this year (as a christmas present for the community :D ), but I highly doubt that. Keep up the great work, it can only get better than it already is!

#85 Fidcal

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 11:01 AM

Thanks for feedback Silencium18. I think what you say about the KO is a viewpoint. For me it seems about right that if an enemy is alert then it should be hard to creep up behind them. They'd be a bit dumb if when already alert, worried, anxious, and investigating they were to stand still and not notice someone creep up behind them. But that's my view.

What surface was this on? Stone?

#86 Silencium18

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 12:08 PM

Thanks for feedback Silencium18. I think what you say about the KO is a viewpoint. For me it seems about right that if an enemy is alert then it should be hard to creep up behind them. They'd be a bit dumb if when already alert, worried, anxious, and investigating they were to stand still and not notice someone creep up behind them. But that's my view.

Yeah, its good that they react to every movement you make (despite the sneak-crawl), but it would help a little bit if they stop here and there like in Thief1 or Thief2 when theyre searching after you. But overall the AI is perfect as it is, a little bit more challenging than the AI in Thief1/Thief2
Oh, and about the blackjacking-problem some of here discussed before: It would be useful when , while you have the blackjack in the hand and go near the AI, a transparent symbol pops up (in form of a blackjack etc...) telling you that youre now close enough to the guard to knock them out.

#87 Fidcal

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 05:53 PM

I'm confident that will never happen. Most of us would hate that sort of cue. I guess it's just a matter of learning to judge that distance with practice. :)

#88 Crispy

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 06:10 PM

I also find the blackjack distance quite difficult to judge. Perhaps I just need more practice. ^_^
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#89 HappyCheeze

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 06:11 PM

You get used to it after a while.
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#90 Ishtvan

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 06:26 PM

@Silencium: You shouldn't have to crouch to move silently near the AI, you can also hold down "creep" to move slowly/silently while standing. So at least you won't have to worry about crouching and standing back up while trying to blackjack.

#91 Stormbringer951

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 05:47 AM

Just played through Saint Lucia twice. It's so good I've got to register and post feedback here. Overall, I love the game so far. Missed rope arrows in this installment. I quite liked the fact that there was a lot more to discover if you looked around (flowerpot key, mantle up to upper window to find the wine bottle note). The first time I rushed through and got around 500 loot, the second time I think I got it all (around 2200 IIRC).

The mission was well designed. I had a little chuckle when I stole the relic and the bottles of wine that the Reverend was stashing (tut tut tut...). I also had a shiver go down my spine when I looked up and around, and realised that the place that I was raiding was the crypt. I slowly walked away there.

Main Menu & UI: Some problems here? Sometimes when I go to main menu [ESC], there is no text on the main menu. I don't know what the problem is. Also, switching inventory groups is slightly broken...

On the subject of inventory objects, if you pick up loot while carrying a corpse, you can't drop it again afterwards. Also, the handwriting on some of the notes are illegible to me, although I like the touch of having different handwritings. Could the notes and keys be droppable to reduce clutter, or can more notes be static ones that you can read but not pick up?

Physics: It's possible to jam doors by shooting with broadhead arrows and candles in the way. Also, on the subject of candles, please let us extinguish them with pinching.

Water: Splashes emit brightly coloured bloom that blinds the player. Can this be toned down slightly? Also, I had a small bug when I tried to surface, it kept on emerging then immediately submerging again, so i couldn't get to the surface. The only way to cure this problem was to mantle up or I'd stay submerged for ever.

Arrows: Is it intentional for them to go upwards after being fired?

Blackjacking: I didn't like it to begin with, but I like it now. It's now a lot more risky, you have to get up a bit closer, and I like the annoying aspect of not being able to blackjack helmeted guards

Overall, though, I really enjoyed it. A big improvement over Thief's Den, and a very enjoyable mission. This is the best thing that has ever happened to Doom.

-Stormbringer

Edited by Stormbringer951, 13 November 2008 - 05:51 AM.

Ha! So what if I am, huh? Anyways, I work better when I'm drunk. It makes me fearless! If I see a bad guy, I'll just point my sword at him. And saaaaaay "HEY! Bad guy! You're not s'pposed to be here! Go home or I'll stick you with my sword...'til you go...'Ouch I'm dead!' Ahahahah (hic) See? Ain't no one gonna be messin with old Benny."


#92 Fidcal

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 07:28 AM

Glad to hear you enjoyed the mission SB. All those issues are known and being reviewed and discussed so thanks for feedback to add to our considerations.

#93 Springheel

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 11:46 AM

Thanks for the constructive feedback. :) As Fidcal said, we're aware of the issues you've raised, and they're actually all on our list of things to fix.
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#94 Sgt Pinback

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 09:20 AM

I'd like to congratulate everyone who has been involved in the making of this demo. I was extremely impressed by the game play and the look & feel; it was more fun than a lot of the Thief fan missions I played. I'm looking forward to further missions based on the Dark Mod.

Minor glitches I ran into:
  • The disappearing menu items bug
  • The libboost dependency on Linux
  • Near the end, it crashed while saving and corrupted the save file so I haven't finished the mission yet.
  • Sometimes, mantling does not terminate and I continue to float steadily upwards, even through ceilings.
  • Using flash bombs seems harder than in Thief. Didn't manage to knock out anyone after blinding them.


#95 Fidcal

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 09:52 AM

Thanks Sgt.P. I think we have the floating bug fixed now and the menus will be overhauled.

#96 TheDorkProject

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 03:28 AM

I just tried it out for the first time a little bit ago, seems like things have progressed a lot since the other demo in terms of basic mechanics, it plays very smoothly, I like it a lot. Very good Thiefy feel, I think it's a real achievement, well done. Excellent job.

#97 Fidcal

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 09:20 AM

Thanks TDP - yes we're aiming for the Thiefy feel and glad you can see the progress. And we're already pushing it further since Saint Lucia.

#98 Silencium18

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 02:33 PM

And we're already pushing it further since Saint Lucia.

Im looking forward to every little (or big) progress you make, guys! Hope we can see some new stuff at the main page :wub:

#99 Crispy

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 08:01 PM

Near the end, it crashed while saving and corrupted the save file so I haven't finished the mission yet.

That's no good, never heard of that one before. :mellow:

I'd ask you for a copy of the corrupted savefile but I'm not entirely sure it would be very useful for debugging purposes (the crash might have occurred in another thread, some data might have been buffered but not written to disk yet, and in any case trying to use a hex editor to figure out where it crashed would be very painful). Let us know if you can reliably reproduce it though, and then we'll be able to use a debugger and track it down.
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#100 Stormbringer951

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 01:47 PM

Also, can you update the front page screenshots with some nice ones from St Lucia? The ones you have look quite old...

Ha! So what if I am, huh? Anyways, I work better when I'm drunk. It makes me fearless! If I see a bad guy, I'll just point my sword at him. And saaaaaay "HEY! Bad guy! You're not s'pposed to be here! Go home or I'll stick you with my sword...'til you go...'Ouch I'm dead!' Ahahahah (hic) See? Ain't no one gonna be messin with old Benny."





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