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Posts posted by Doc_Brown

  1. Late to the party, I know, but I don't get 'round to these parts too often these days. Anyway, I was watching some of the Dark Mod videos showcasing rope arrows the other day when something occured to me. We've seen how the player's weight actually affects what the rope is attached to, and now we've seen rope arrows being attached to moving objects, so my question is this:


    Is it possible for rope arrows to be used on NPCs? Dead or unconcious ones, let's assume, for the sake of simplicity.


    Let me give you two examples as to why this could be useful. In the first, let's say there's a guard on a ledge above you that has a key you need. You kill the guard with a rope arrow (or shoot the corpse with a rope arrow), which then unfurls below. Jumping on the rope, the player's body weight pulls the corpse off the ledge, allowing you to retrieve the key.


    Second example. There's a guard patrolling a battlement. The same situation as before plays out, but this time the player's weight wedges the guard's body into the space between crenels rather than pulling it down. This allows the player to climb up the rope and thus reach the otherwise inaccessible battlements.


    The idea's not without its merits, but I understand from a technical/coding standpoint it may be out o the question. Still, I figured I'd bounce it off the boards if nothing else and see what anybody thought.

  2. Here's a quick pose with the morphing aspect of the belcher's rigging:


    I knew when I started these things that they'd be cute but I wanted a secret, fiercer side to them :ph34r:

    Ah, now I am comforted. So long as you're going for the "Dilophosaurus Effect," wherein it looks cute and cuddly and harmless but can turn vicious (visually) at the drop of a hat, then I'm find with it. Tell me, as it's kind of hard to see in that image, but does the mouth stretch wider and the eyes distort as well? I really hope so, because that would address all three issues I have with the model.

  3. Fine <_< Just can't leave it alone, can't you ;)

    Constructive cristicism, my Corvallis cohort. :P


    I actually rigged him so he can distort his shape: the neck inflates, the "eyebrows" raise higher, the stomach swells . . .

    Well, consider me somewhat comforted, then. ;)


    Somewhat. :angry:


    j/k :laugh:


    Or am I? :huh:

  4. Hey guys.


    I know it's been a very, very long time since my last post here, but I just had to voice my opinion on the Belcher model. Frankly? I'm not a big fan.


    Don't get me wrong, everything I've seen you guys put out so far has been outstanding, simply top notch. But the Belcher just seems so far removed from that. Mostly it's a matter of body shape, though I do have a few issues with the face as well. Here, it's probably best if I use visuals for this...


    Now, this here is the Belcher model in question:



    And this here is the original concept art:



    See the differences? The concept art, which I really do like, has a much more rounded body at the back and stomach, whereas with the actual model the body is very nearly the same dimensions as the head and tail. Also notice in the concept art the larger, more imposing size of the mouth, and the rounded eyes, both of which the model lacks. The concept art has character; the model is... well, bland.


    Granted, I've read the other Belcher posts on these boards, and it's been said that they look far better in motion, but until such a movie is released to the public I have to base my opinion on these still images. In the very least, please tell me they blow up like croaking frogs when they use their breath attack, as that would do something to break up the body shape and make it more interesting.

  5. Problem is, the Eliza trick only works up to a certain threshold. Past that point, the very fact that the AI is acting realistically clues you into the fact that it is, in fact, artificial.


    Case in point: you're playing deathmatch. With good bots, you usually can't tell whether or not you're up against a human or the computer. Therefore, it passes the Eliza test. But take it further. During the match, one opponent stops, shrugs, tosses down his weapon, puts his hands in his pockets, and walks off whistling. Unless these have been coded in for the player to do beforehand, you know it's AI. The irony is, within the virtual world, its actions are entirely realistic.


    The beauty of it all is that, one day, our current situation will reverse itself: single-player gaming will surpass multiplayer gaming in terms of realism.

  6. And I'm not saying they weren't. I'm saying, as shown on the site, the Builder Guard, Elite Builder, and Builder Priest are wielding them and them alone, while no one else is. It would appear inclusive to them and exclusive to everyone else, and now we've got implication.


    Implication: bad. :lol:

  7. The thing is, despite the fact that you guys don't intend to imply the use of the content, in a way you are. While a guard in blue with an eagle symbol is too general to infringe on, you are referring to him as City Watch on your site. Well, City Watch is the name given to a class of guards in TDS who wear blue and have that symbol. Likewise, while the Builders aren't Hammers, you are showing them only with warhammers, bearing the symbol of the Hammerite order, and calling them a name the Hammers are strongly associated with.


    The way I look at it, here are your options to ensure you've got your bases covered:


    1) Avoid using specifics associated with the character types. This means not using things like the symbol of the Hammers, or naming the characters anything similar to their Thief counterparts. They're just different styles of guards with red clothing and blue clothing then, totally up to the end user's discretion for use. It would also help to make clear that what weapons they wield is up to the individual modders too. Showing a Builder with a sword, mace, or bow, for instance, takes away the implication that they only wield warhammers... just like the Hammerites.


    2) Provide a setting framework from the beginning to gently dissuade modders from using the Thief world. The immediate option of an alternative should ensure that most modders don't use your tools to infringe on copyright, not to mention lessening the workload on their end so they don't have to come up with an entire world history themselves. I understand your core team doesn't have the time to dedicate to this task, but I've noticed several other talented writers have graced this board... who's to say they couldn't be grouped together to brainstorm ideas while the rest of you work? Final decisions, of course, are in your hands, but the actual time-consuming process would be delegated elsewhere.


    3) Include a stipulation in the installation process that says something to this effect: "In order to use this toolset (the Dark Mod), you (the modder) must agree to avoid infringing on copyrighted material such as the Thief games with your creation(s). If you still choose to do so, you agree to accept full responsibility for any potential repurcussions and recognize that we (the developers) do not in any way support such an endeavor."


    Personally, I'd recommend all three. The last one (#3) is the best bet, though it would help to remove any bad temptation (#1) and provide some of your own (#2).

  8. Excellent post, Ombrenuit, but I must caution you there are differences between the MUD world and the mod world when it comes to copyright law, historically speaking. Unfortunate to say, but I too have acquired much experience on this issue. While you've given excellent reasons for why they wouldn't shut down the project, there are many legally strong reasons why they would. To cite one example, you said yourself SOE shut down the Star Wars MUDs to protect the success of their own game. I wouldn't put it past EIDOS to shut down a too similar set of mod tools for another game to protect their own (eventually released) editor. Irrational? You and I would probably agree on that, but there are far too many examples of companies shutting down mods that treaded on their copyrights without, to us at least, good reason. Sapphire Scar, anyone?


    But getting back to the issue I raised, I think you guys are underestimating your influence on FMs, even when you're specifically trying not to influence them. Can I make the religious order I mentioned in my last post? Of course I can, there's nothing stopping me. But do you believe the FM makers who come to use your tools will look at those models, characters wielding warhammers, dressed in red, and bearing the symbol of the Hammerite order, and not use them as Hammerites? I don't believe every single designer will go to the efforts of coming up with their own backstory for them when they can use what's immediately obvious to them. And although I know you guys are striving to not infringe on EIDOS' rights yourself, I do not think a flurry of Dark Mod Hammerite FMs is exactly going to endear them to your cause. Need I point out the file sharing program parallels?


    In truth, if you really want to give the FM designers a blank slate from which to work, you would have to release what are essentially nondescript models for use. Guards, for instance, without any immediately obvious Thief insignia, and so forth. In creating content that too obviously matches concepts unique to the Thief world, you're unintentionally slanting the potential use of said content in the direction of a literal interpretation. Don't get me wrong, guys, I'm behind you 100%. I just don't want to see you hit any snags along the way that could derail the project. A corporate entity's legal department is a powerful foe, believe me.


    THey can even call him Nazara and give him a blowgun;)

    Quite right, but you of all people should know Naraza needs his mouth uncovered. Hard to use a blowgun when you look like this --> :ph34r:


    Let's face it though, the majority of people will want a world that's as close to Thief as possible.

    Aye, and like I've said, that may very well be the problem. What I'm suggesting is cutting them off at the pass and providing an alternative that won't risk legal endangerment.


    And since you reminded me of it, considering some of your TTLG Dark Mod idea posts, let me sort of combine it with one of my own. You'll recall your mention of elite guards appearing in place of regular ones on harder difficulty settings? Taking an aspect of my Haunt idea, specifically the lock on a character model, imagine if Dark Mod steam beasts could have doors on their boilers. On the easiest setting there are none, so a simple water arrow will shut them down. On the medium setting doors are closed over the boilers, but you can dash up and open them. On the hardest setting, these doors would be locked, requiring you to pick the lock to open them before even thinking of shutting them down.


    But I'm rambling now. I do that. Hope it doesn't lessen the importance of the rest of my post.

  9. I've voiced this concern in the past, but I thought it worth repeating here a bit more in depth. The short of it is I'm worried about how closely the world of the Dark Mod will be to that of Thief. There are, of course, legal issues to deal with if the line is toed too strongly. Naturally, the desire is to make the design close enough to be familiar to the fans, and to allow FM designers to easily port over projects originally intended for TDS. It is possible to make the Dark Mod world similar to TDS' and yet still make it interesting and original on its own account, and to be perfectly honest I'd be less interested if it matches Thief too closely.


    At this point, early though it is in the development cycle, I'm concerned over some of the character designs being almost carbon copies of their Thief counterpoints. Consider the Builders. Outside of the name (which is itself that of the Hammers' god) and the slightly different visual direction, they seem practically identical to the Hammerites. Consider: their primary color is red, they wield warhammers, their symbol is a short-handled hammer in profile, they're a harsh and industrious religious order, etc. This isn't limited to just them, either. The city's own guards are called City Watch, they wear blue, and their symbol is a falcon with its wings spread.


    Some aspects of the Dark Mod can't help but be identical, such as the elemental arrows, while others are general enough to not be an issue. The thief design, for instance, will likely not be a sticking point. While I'm on that point, by the way, I must say I approve the decision to mask the character, as this makes it easier for FM designers to use the same model but claim him to be a different character. But to get back to the matter at hand, I really do think something needs to be done to further differentiate the characters/factions of the Dark Mod from those of Thief. Some visual changes, I think, should be considered.


    Something I haven't gotten into yet, but relevant to this discussion, is the backstory of the world you're creating. Admittedly, I do not know what you've got in store, but this is the one area, even more than in the visual designs, where you can make some fascinating changes to the Thief formula. In doing something interesting here, you can open up a world of possibilities not available to Thief FM designers. And like I said earlier, in doing so, in making the Dark Mod unique from Thief, it becomes more interesting to fans and FM makers.


    What if, say, this industrious order was based on a non-diety religious system? Consider the implications. Creation, then, goes solely into the hands of man, compelling the order to build as a manner of ascending themselves to a state of divinity. This gives them a holier-than-thou personality, looking down their noses at those who do not create. Think about how this could turn the Pagan concept on its head. What if Pagans believed in a creator god, and that He was the only one who should create. The natural world reigns supreme, for to build structures is to attempt to compare yourself to God. Look at the dynamic this creates, how it is similar to Thief but unique in its own ways. Consider the possibilities it opens up.


    Let me give you another example, a suggestion for the Dark Mod equivalent to Haunts. Let's say that when a truly vile crime is committed in the eyes of this industrious religious order, one which no earthly, mortal punishment is appropriate for, a special ritual is enacted. The guilty party has chains wrapped around their torso, chains blessed with an enchantment that traps soul in body of whoever is bound in them. The condemned is then cast into a body of water, drowning from the weight. With the soul unable to leave the body, they rise again and walk out of the water. The process drives them mad, inflicting them with the desire to make any living being they see suffer as they have suffered.


    Now, think about this in comparison to a Haunt. You've got a skeletal, decompsed body distinct from a zombie, one which moves with the rattling of chains, which wishes to inflict great torment on the living, torment like it feels ("Join us!"). Essentially a Haunt, but unique. In turn, the actual gameplay experience is uniquely distinct from Thief's. In order to fell this creature, it is the chains you must target. Either break them, or, if possible, sneak up behind one while it's stationary and pick the lock holding the chains together. Just don't screw up, lest you want to alert it.


    I'm rambling now, but I think I got across the point I was trying to make. From what I can tell, as an outsider not privy to the specific goings on within the project, it appears to me that the Dark Mod is currently too close for comfort to Thief as regards these factions. As I have stated and hopefully demonstrated, however, I believe a further distance can be devised, one that maintains the basic connection while opening up unique possibilities inherent to the Dark Mod alone. I believe it at least merits consideration.

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