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Everything posted by peter_spy

  1. Oh yeah, this has been brought up as a point several times already, but I don't really think graphical complexity is a problem. First off, TDM doesn't look that modern in comparison to other games. And, newest titles have been managing this quite well, with just being selective (and consistent) with objects that are within player agency. You can do the same in TDM: just place static models, or turn off frob for junk models, so they'll react to physics and weapon hits without being pickable.
  2. I believe there's no symmetry here. I think addressing problems at its source (asset design) would be a better option. As I mentioned, there are talks underway, and from what I've seen in DR viewers, there aren't that many core loot models there; quite a few are just variants of one model. So a rework project might be more feasible than you think.
  3. Okay, so let's get down to some details. Imagine a new FM, player walks into a room there's a table and a few brand-new custom objects: goblets, plates, and cutlery. There's a stationary/sitting guard next to a well-lit exit. All interactive objects have proper materials, most look plain and wooden, but there a few that look like silver. All are highlighted by the frob outline when up close, but with no additional info. Player scans the objects and thinks, "okay, silver is probably loot, and there are a few wooden items, so I'll pick up that wooden goblet last, and throw it a bit away from that guard, so I'll distract him and make for the exit." It's a fun mini-game of scanning the environment, trying to guess the rules, and then planning and executing the your plan. Player walks up to a new silver goblet, frobs it, and has a pleasant "yup, I was right, this is loot" moment, and a similar one for the wooden utensils. These small moments of uncertainty and risk vs reward planning are also part of a bigger theme, which Thief series always had, namely the idea of doing all kinds of stuff in a place that that you're not supposed to be in, which is both uncertain/scary and exciting. Now imagine player's thoughts in the same situation when the frob is gold for loot and blue for junk: "okay, objects on the table, blue, blue, blue, gold! press RMB!, blue, blue, blue, next room please." At some point you stop seeing objects, you just look for outline color as it does the job the fastest.
  4. It sure can, and I actually have a recent experience with that, as I've been playing Nier: Automata lately. It was like "Wait a minute, I'm being manipulated here: this absolutely gorgeous music feels elevating and emotional, but the actual gameplay is fairly meh." Seems like they had a great composer, but not so great quest designers. Well, at least boss fights were awesome. So you risk a similar sentiment, plus you'll have to do several people's work yourself. Again, I have nothing against crap missions, we all need to start somewhere, it also shows us our progress. Nothing wrong with that. But trying to correct bad design is designer's choice. Plus I'm concerned about gameplay as it is a bigger change than you think, and it will have consequences, see my previous post. I'd have to post recommended frob shader settings, once I find values that I like. The list already includes stuff like bloom and 64-bit color, and the mission is optimized for stencil shadows + soft shadow quality set to low. It will probably work fine on higher settings and shadowmaps, but this is the setting I find most consistent, performance analysis-wise. I also have a draft of TDM menu rework for the mission, so I need guis to be editable, although this might be too time-consuming to be taken as far as I'd like to. It might end with just custom replacements for current low res backgrounds and effects.
  5. But you're not improving anything per se with it, you're obfuscating bad design with an interface helper. And not only that: by making this option on by default, you're also conditioning old and new players to switch off their brains when exploring your world, and in a way you're making it a less immersive experience by interface taking over. And it's only natural that first maps are worse than subsequent ones. Some mappers like to go back to their first missions and do remakes or makeovers, now that they have enough experience now to accomplish what they wanted to do back then. I keep most of my progress screenshots to be aware how far I've gone. I don't want to deny that quite a lot of stuff I did looks like crap in comparison to my latest work, it really does Without spoiling too much, let's say that there are talks underway
  6. Again, no disagreement from me here on the quote, this is something I realized as a kid, when I compiled my map draft in first Unreal editor. But that doesn't exclude anything I said above either. Making that stuff is hard, and making levels for stealth games is especially hard, as opposed to e.g. shooters. You can read more on that in pdf presentations from LGS folks in the Level design thread. Exactly, and finding a way to do it is very important aspect too. In your example, you're introducing a huge potential point of failure between you and making music. This will be time-consuming as well, and it's a time you could spend on just making music or learning how to do it better. If your music is great, and the map turns out not so, it will distract people from the former. Not to mention that there are more efficient ways to learn how to write score for video games. You can team up with a mapper and create music for their work. You can record a play-through of your favorite game with bg music off and try to score it. Or you can just take a playthrough from YT and mute it, if you can't be bothered with recording that stuff yourself. That reminds me I had a similar idea for my body of work in photography, to create a "walking simulator gallery" that would showcase my work, at the same time it was supposed to be a space that connects all of them thematically and tells a certain story. Kind of like walking inside a sculpture that tries to be an artwork itself, with photos plastered all over it Yeah, it sounded great in my head, otherwise it was super time-consuming, never worked out as I intended, and I did better off by creating a portfolio website In retrospect, I think I did this as a pleasant distraction, something to delay the process of getting down to actual work and selecting the most significant photos from a 5-year period of my work, which turned out pretty hard as well.
  7. First off, as far as I know, TDM team intended this thread for the new frob feedback, so mods feel free to separate the meta discussion into another thread. IMO it's kinda like trying to have a cake and eat it too. By analogy, are there any tools for writers that would like "just to tell a story" without becoming good writers? Even phrasing a question this way feels weird to me (maybe because I belong to the first of the aforementioned camps). I mean sure, there's spellchecker and thesaurus, but none of that will make you a good writer by default. Same goes for level design, you got debugging tools for technical stuff, but that's it. There's no magic trick, this stuff is hard. And perhaps, if you just want to tell a story, why not focus on writing something instead of creating a map? As a player, sure, I can just switch it off. As a designer, I know how to make objects so they look valuable or more interesting than the background, and I can teach players to recognize them. So instead of adding yet another item to the list of things players would have to change for the "intended experience", I might as well "fork" the 2.08 and distribute the whole thing as standalone package.
  8. In short, IMO gameplay is king, not realism. You can make every object in your environment interactive, but it's kinda meaningless. IMO fun in im-sims stems from having just a few types of objects and their properties, and looking for fun ways to use them. And in general in games, most of the environments are static for a reason – to focus on core gameplay loops. What is believable is another question IMO; you don't need every object to be interactive for a location to feel believable. E.g. in the 90-degree-dungeon-crawler era, everything was a set of corridors, but we were all felt like we were in villages, cities, snowy mountains, or jungles It's mostly the matter of convention (and how picky you are with your suspension of disbelief).
  9. That's a good question. I think that on one end, there are people who are naturally curious and research their hobby as much as they can, because it's what makes them tick. On the other, there are those who just want to have fun, and talk with friends who are interested in the same subject. No group is really better than the other; there's no obligation to "git gud" at level design. It's your hobby, you can do whatever the hell you want. You can post tutorials, point out to knowledge bases, something like we have here for example: But otherwise I don't think you can force anything.
  10. You missed the point, that is a tutorial. Perhaps not the best one, because of how chests work in T1-2, but these objects are used in consistent manner. And there's no point in that exaggeration either, you can do it without alerting all the guards No, there are player abilities, like walking, running, jumping, picking up objects, but it's the mapper who puts that in context. All of these abilities. By making level geometry that conforms to jumping distances, they can make you feel like an athlete, and not a clumsy thief. By making meaningful objects pickable, and not placing dozens of stupid bottles and parchments everywhere, they can make the gameplay meaningful and not random. This is not UI oddity; it's the end result you focus on, but the source of a problem is bad design. It definitely is a problem, but as above, you ignore the source and look for quick fix. If you're 100% sure about introducing this system, the question is more about whether the option will be on or off by default. If it's going to be on, I'll have another important reason to stick with 2.08.
  11. Sorry, missed this one. You can try to teach mappers via tutorials to use interactive objects in more intentional manner, and how to teach players which objects are which (and you can do the latter without super explicit tutorial section). But obviously mappers will do whatever they wish, and why not have a right to fail? In a sense, this is is not a problem to be solved in any forcible manner.
  12. Why protagonist and not player? Why adding a superficial layer here? Mappers can establish consistent set of objects and they can teach players to use them. Plus none of this is what Thief was. Garrett was a master thief as a story character, but player could be anyone they wanted to be, as long as they could deal with the consequences. If you're going to go down this route and you want to be consistent, then next up should be automatic jumping from one ledge to another. Our nameless protagonist is a master thief and an able athlete. He should be able to nagivate rooftops like it's nothing, right?
  13. Again, that's up to the mapper to establish what should be interactive or not, loot junk or otherwise. You're trying to 'fix' bad design with UI.
  14. You don't seem to care that you're trading off quite important gameplay element, basically switching off player's brain when it comes to interacting and experimenting with the environment (which is one of the pillars of im-sims). Sure, there are perfectionists and save scummers who will reload anytime anything goes wrong, but that's a corner case that can't be helped with any design (except removing saving entirely ). Killing risk vs reward when reaching out for an item won't automatically make any bad map better. Also, it would be much more interesting to see a loot asset revamp project, even if the scope was as small as adding specular texture or a cubemap to their materials.
  15. That removes the pleasure of doing it yourself. Stating the obvious here, but one of the cool things that design can do is that it can make you feel smart, even if you're just being guided by developers. Separate loot highlight is another in-your-face solution, while distinct materials for loot items (d/n/s + cubemap for silver, gold, etc.) as opposed to duller ones for e.g. wooden goblets would be more subtle and less hand-holding. I have no problem with it being an optional thing and off by default, but it also kinda looks like you're trying to compensate for poor asset design with the UI.
  16. You can also modify the r_frobHighlightColorAddR/G/B values for the blend add highlight, so you can make it stronger, change its color or make it disappear completely and use the outline alone. Also a strong vote on NO on needlessly overcomplicating things and introducing different color highlights per object type. IMO big part of im-sims is player experimentation and discovering things for yourself, the look of the items alone should let you gauge whether something is loot or just a bg object. That should be systemic and the responsibility falls on mappers and content creators, not on UI auto-hinting you that.
  17. That's a bummer, and a no-go. I wouldn't want to mess up anyone's config file. So the only right way would be to post the cvar values in the readme, with a note that this what you need to do to experience the FM the way author intended. No disagreement from me here, although it's hard to draw a distinctive line here when it comes to all the graphics features. Motion blur, brightness settings, sure. Interface elements? Toggling on and off, why not, although if you have a diegetic interface, that's a nope. And the interactive object highlight is kinda 'in the world', but also an artificial construct. And it is a part of art direction, I have no doubts about it, just look at all the games from Bioshocks to the aforementioned DXHR or MD. Bloom settings are also kinda hard to gauge, like I can 100% assure you that if you turn the bloom and 64-bit color off, you'll be missing out on the intended look of the assets I make. I'm not saying that you shouldn't be able to turn it off though. I know that flashing lights can lead to epilepsy, but I think this is mostly not applicable to TDM due to slow gameplay. Although I understand that flickering electric lights will give some people hell. I don't like them myself tbh, and I only use them in low contrast situations. At the same time, I wouldn't want to take that feature away from mappers.
  18. I think I read about it somewhere (either TDM or modwiki), that you can basically set up a custom-named autocommands.cfg file for your .pk file/mod, so it should be possible to overwrite anything set up in the darkmod.cfg when you start the game. Not sure if or when the original settings are restored (after uninstalling or switching to another mission?) but that would be an important thing too.
  19. That's great to hear. My general stance on this is that it's a bit weird that on one hand you're trying so hard to have the engine compatible with every fan mission ever released, but on the other you're quick to restrict things that are relatively easier to mod, and which can have impact on unique character of a mission. Until recently, you could basically mod the whole GUI, if you felt that it could help match the art style of your mission. Answer to all these question is yes. I have certain glowing materials that require bloom to be on, otherwise they look much worse than I intended. Same goes for stuff like darkness, we can already control it with ambient light, and while I wouldn't recommend having no ambient light for main mission, I can see it being useful for stuff like dream sequences, alternate magic worlds etc. It's been done in countless games already, and original Doom3 used complete darkness across the whole game. Whatever goes with gameplay and artistic intent. Obviously, players may tweak things to their liking, but I'd always post recommended settings for a mission, if I have certain things to achieve with that.
  20. Open console and paste this: r_frobOutlineColorA .5
  21. Mine is still more like TDS tribute, but more subtle, with a certain pattern and a pulse table + shaderparm3 multiplier, so I boost in in more lit environment if I need to. You have a straight on full-white color, which is as crude and in-your-face as you can get. And it enhances aliasing for straight lines. Still a lot of work needs to be done to make it look unobtrusive.
  22. Except TDS had cubemap frob highlight and the outline is more like a Dishonored 2 thing. Although here it's as subtle as a fart joke. You don't have to be an art graduate to know that extreme color values work only in particular situations, and this is definitely not one of those. Setting outline alpha to something like .5 should help in making it a bit less jarring.
  23. You might want to take a look at more modern games like Deus Ex Human Revolution, where both the world and UI are driven by a certain art style and aesthetics, so there's no any particular divide between them, and looks more coherent this way. TDM assets are not coherent, and there's no one art style everyone has to adhere to, and so even UI is moddable. Well, was.
  24. Why is that? I have a solution that looks way better, aesthetics-wise, with my assets, than what you came up with in 2.09. Is there no way to leave the option to customize this for someone who really knows what they're doing? Otherwise, that effectively locks me with 2.08.
  25. So there will be no way to have a custom look in materials?
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