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Everything posted by Melan

  1. Melan

    Thank you.

    Yeah, great job! I believe the only way to properly reciprocate is to build something enjoyable with the mod, so expect something a few months down the line. Until then, I will be pestering you with questions I am afraid.
  2. Thanks. I will wait with AI until I get my PC in repair, then. (And a new VG card) [edit] Fidcal: The render mode is 'Textured'; I get better frame rate if I exit Doom (although not radically); I doubt the third tip would help, since I am still in the one-room-and-a-corridor phase.
  3. Since it seems there is not much until the mod's release, I might as well ask. While going through the A-Z tutorial, I am at the segment where it discusses placing an AI in the map. However, whenever the AI is selected, everything slows down to a crawl; manipulating the AI (moving it in the game-space, rotation etc.) is just about impossible by hand. Is this normal? For reference, I am on a laptop with an Intel Core 2 Duo T5670, 2 x 1024MB DDR-II RAM and an Intel X3100 video card. I experienced considerable slowdowns with the Saint Lucia demo on higher resolutions when in the proximity of multiple (torches), but not with AI. I didn't think this was a particularly weak HW configuration, but if it can't handle this stuff, I may have to stick to architecture for the time being and wait until my PC is repaired.
  4. Hm, it is starting to come together. Thanks.
  5. Thanks for your rapid responses! So, it looks like the amount of non-architectural work is comparable to Dromed - that's pretty good actually, and as long as no complex scriptwork is required of users, it should be all right. I am afraid I still don't understand the whole way of building, even though I have read and reread those pages including the A-Z tutorial - but I am sure trying it out in practice will clear it up, as others have managed to create some impressive terrain without difficulty. There is no question about going through the basic tutorials, but there are still philosophical things I am wrapping my head about. I will leave you to your work now; people will lynch me if they think I am delaying the mod.
  6. That's beautiful. I have been thinking about learning level building in TDM (although I am also yearning for starting a new Dromed project now that I have submitted my final PhD), and a starter kit would be a godsend to learn the ropes, just like Tim Stellmach's Dromed Principles map was a godsend for getting the philosophy of Dromed. I am still not entirely sure I understand the whole additive geometry paradigm. In Dromed, you would build interesting architecture via a succession of solid and air brushes - i.e. a house would be built as basic shape (S) --> facade (A+S) --> windows (A) --> interior (A) --> interior decor (A+S) etc. Do I understand correctly that this is not the desirable way in TDM/DR, and instead, I should be thinking in terms of solids only? I have read the tutorials, but I am still not sure about it. There is another thing that makes me curious - I have read in a number of posts that architecture is only half of the work. Do I assume correctly that the non-building phase of TDM is more involved than in Dromed, or am I off base with this assumption?
  7. One suggestion I would make - not specific to The Dark Mod - would be to build less regular spaces. The charm of old cities often lies in their irregularities: buildings that have odd little outcroppings, a few secluded stairs with a wall niche, a house that has been partially rebuilt... Sloping terrain or other height differences also add to the experience. Look at how Assassins handled the city - not necessarily technically, but in feel, ambience and the variability of terrain. Otherwise, looks nice... although in your first post, there is a screen where the whole building should logically be on fire.
  8. I finally got to play the alpha on another PC. The overall ambience of the game is impressive, and I love the new mantling - it is perfectly fluid and smooth, just like a master thief should do it. Unfortunately, I seem to have bad luck with the technical side: at home, the game just produced a runtime error (everything was patched and correctly installed, the video card's drivers refreshed, etc.); at my brother's, it ran well, but the shadows were so dark that anything in them was completely invisible. I can hardly believe it was intentional. Maybe it is the LCD screen? Anyway, hope the final release will have fewer troubles. This glimpse shows a lot of promise already.
  9. Let us not get into outlying cases. In most T2 FMs, normal cycling worked just fine. If a designer has several items in his mission, it is his responsibility to label them appropriately.
  10. It seems likely to me that the first people to create levels with TDM will be veteran Dromeders well steeped in Thief mythology, and their creations will reflect this background. There is simply no way around it. Of course, what is there in the toolset will be influential; a lot of a level's feel comes from textures and objects. The resulting shared world will be precisely as distant from The City as TDM is distant from TDP and TMA. As for canon, it works best when it is vague and allows considerable leeway in authorial vision. Worldbuilding for its own sake is subordinate to a level which plays well, and unless provided in moderation, it can become limiting. What is there on the Wiki is about enough; when we see the game, we will also know how it works in practice.
  11. Sotha, I will debate two of your points. This can be rewarding, but there is a lot to be said for presenting a few unexplained mysteries that make the player's imagination go. A certain level of ambiguity is beneficial for a thiefy game, contributing to the mysterious ambience of a location. Also, suggesting something is a very good way of presenting non-vital information. Unlike traditional shooters, the Thief series and TDM offer a less frantic kind of gameplay, where similar nuances are easier to give to the player - especially with the need to be observant. This ties nicely into your next idea: What is realism? In my opinion, it should be avoided in its traditional meaning! Players often expect a wish to have, say, a "realistic" city district where they could "break into every house". But a mission like that would be very boring: most realistic houses aren't too interesting. Realistic mediaeval/Victorian cities or mansions don't let you do all that fun climbing. What we need, instead, is maybe a suggestion of reality, but always filtered through the lens of interesting.
  12. Something that came up in a discussion about designing dungeons for fantasy roleplaying games and which I also enjoy tremendously in Thief maps: a certain kind of structure to a level involving the common use of interlocked loops or circular routes. There is something magical to me about climbing up to a ledge, going through an apartment in a house into an inner courtyard, and carefully jumping down to a ledge that takes you through a small garden back to your starting point. Constructing levels that conform to these specifics is one of my design goals with Dromed. My favourite example from well known missions is the area in the second half of The Haunted Cathedral, where you have a street patrolled by zombies with ledges on the side and various areas these venues lead to. During your explorations, you can "experience" the same place from multiple perspectives; sometimes from below, sometimes from above. Calendra's Legacy features a similar idea with its city, where you have to retread the same ground under different circumstances. The mission is also clever in that it combines freedom of movement with subtly restricting it - e.g. you can use canals as a convenient escape route, but they channel you to a small number of exit points. If you want to get ahead, you need to navigate on ground. In a more abstract sense, this comes back to reuse of space as proposed by Gaylesaver's short but excellent design tutorial. I also think story is a bit of a red herring; in any case, it is a term often meant too literally and restrictively to a game scenario.
  13. That's a very good point. I recall first playing missions like the Bonehoard or Life of the Party. Now that I've seen them several times, know them inside out and have almost nine years of Thief experience under my belt (wow, has it really been that long? ), they seem much shorter than on the first encounter, when I was lost in the burrick tunnels and didn't dare to move lest these creepy things kill me. So what a level needs isn't limitless choice; just the illusion of limitless choice. This is best achieved through complex non-linear level design with side-areas that are of variable difficulty to discover... so you may find two or three easier ones if you breeze through, more if you are committed to exporation, and rewarded with a few extras if you are really thorough and resourceful. LotP worked magnificiently in this regard; what with the inventor's attic or the sunburst device, for example. Finding that place without walkthroughs was just way too cool. (The other moral of my post: the mission would have been much less fun if it forced me to find all secrets, and disguised them behind those annoying mini-swithces.)
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