Posts posted by Oktokolo
For me The Darkmod really is even better than the originals (and of course better than the new "Thief" too). So it did not went that wrong in the end i think.
I once was disappointed by the loss of that nice studio (also missed Bullfrog Productions) too. And it really is sad how it happened. But as time flew by The Darkmod raised and it maybe would not have got enough sun in the shadow of a commercial corporation pushing out one quality title after the other causing modders to constantly having to adopt to new engines and tools - maybe even having to open them for modding first.
LGS did define the genre and implemented the reference titles. Now others adopt it and do variations on it like the great mappers here do in their FMs. We already have so much more different deviations from the original theme than LGS could have provided.
As a blackjack-centric player i really would love selected AI detecting missing comrades as a new spice enriching my gaming experience.
I would also abuse that behaviour to lure guards away from their routes when it makes sense to do so. So it would probably not always make missions just harder but could also be used to provide another way for distracting guards otherwise really hard to distract without raising the alarm.
The implementation should be bound to the vigilant AI that could notice other AI missing. That AI would at least need a variable for each tracked other AI containing the count of missed detections in a row. Depending on implementation of the detection algorithm more variables may be needed.
Reactions of the detecting AI could range from sometimes barking over becomming more alert and even searching for the comrade to raising the alarm. Most often a missing guard should neither instantly trigger searching nor finally result in raising the alarm.
Typical reactions for the common low-life guard would likely be to only bark for two or three non-ecounters, starting to search for the missing AI after that (not the player, but that does not matter when player gets spotted in the process) - maybe getting other AIs to search too (but they would not raise to the same alert level as when searching for an intruder as they only search for a comrade maybe sleeping at work). But after a while all AI would just go back to regular patrolling patterns.
Reactions might also get less intense when AIs get missing but then be detected again to lessen the increase of annoyingness of path-finding-bugs as they are still common enough even in recent missions.
Because of the same issue most AI-missing detection implementations should always treat AIs as non-missing when hearing their voice or seeing them - regardless of the comrade beeing on the right patrol route or spot to guard.
The detection of missing AI could be implemented in different ways depending on the expected movement pattern of the other AI:
- Not seeing the other AI when visiting specific places
- Completing own patrol N times without seeing the other AI even once.
- Same as obove but based on not hearing a response for saying something like "everything okay there?" (normally answered by something like "everything okay."). That would obviously need additional voice recordings.
- Checking an automaton (or beeing that automaton) regularly to be used with a special token or combination by other AI (dead-man switch). That token (maybe a key) or combination could also be used by the player but would involve regularly comming back to operate the device. The player coukld also maybe able to rig (pick) that device up, so it never goes into alert state.
- Like the dead-man-switch above but one AI sets it while other resets it and one or both detect missing counterparts by missing status changes. Straight forward ingame implementation would be a locked switch controlling an electric light.
Hmm, no harm done without harming someone who actually is alive. Beware of the implications of equalizing doing something in a game to a virtual person and doing something in physical space to real humans.
Even the character is a much more morally upstanding person than the player: they don't want to steal, don't want to rob the dead, but the player's like "oo! easy gratification!", and obviously booted up the game to get their fix of shiny stealing in the first place.
But as you can read in my review: i nevertheless liked watching this art-house film.
Would like to hunt some bugs too.
Just replayed this on hardest and
also got some drunk peasant to notice the difference of plague mask blood versus that of the hammerites at the body pile in the church (that really looks like an intuitive spot to broadhead villians). But that guy eventually forgot about it after some rather limited searching.
Regarding the armored leader: I broadheaded him right through the mask in his face. Broadhead + water arrow seems to be a nice routine when it comes to killing.
Also one can silently and safely kill the plague mask visiting the wine barrel in the starting area and just drop it behind the crates. No one else seems to visit that location and the wandering torchlight's illumination does not reach that far.
As this time i had to watch my knockout count and felt like visiting an ant hill. All that restless people constantly doing their rounds and getting blisters on their feet. I freed stuck AI by door opening multiple times.
Was a bit odd to free hostages without properly clearing the escape routes first too - last time on medium i blackjacked and stashed every wandering person in the area before freeing the first hostage.
I also was shocked about the instant failure as i killed that sellsword with the scimitar and golden ear ring (that i just could not manage to seperate from his ear). Surely this guy is not a peasant and should have been fair game.
I just replayed the mission on hardest and feel a strong urge to vote against the
dumbing down of traps. I had forgotten that trap's existance, was not exploring as carefull as i should, and triggered it. But:
It was labeled! Okay i too did not read that note because i was in a hurry and way too careless. But i should have read it and the FM designer should expect me to do that.
The switch for disabling the trap is really not that hard to find when exploring carefully.
I was not harmed by the trap because of opening the desk from the side while crouching. I never operate anything while standing in front of it if avoidable.
I would expect the mission to fail if getting hit by it. Its a small cannon after all. That beast should decorate the whole room with your insides if it hits. It should be deadly.
The trap in question is an excellent example of a trap to expect from an inventor. It is effective against a normal person opening the desk while standing infront of it like a nosy servant or one of the guards probably would do it. It is easily disarmable and does not hurt a carefull explorer even if not disarmed. It also works to get the expectations right for opening the safe later on (the code could have been harder - i expected to have to find out the first name of the guard captain)...
I would love to see more of this sort of traps: Traps that fit the surrounding and owner's character. Traps that are deadly but detectable and avoidable - maybe even useable to the sneaks advantage.
Please don't omit them. Please don't dumb them down. Please give me more!
This is an arthouse film implemented as a TDM mission...
The audience finds itself in the role of a casual thief who is tested by a paranormal entity. That could have been the recipe for the common action and popcorn experience. But instead the viewer gets to explore a series of well-composed surreal scenes that make sense but feel wrong at the same time. The interactive movie features light decision making but always manages to enforce a clear understanding of what answear is expected to be given...
The main character - the casual thief impersonated by the audience - is born into the harsh social climate of a medievalesque society where economical failure means death by starvation. He (or she?) regularly robs crypts to secure the own life month for month. As the story unfolds it is revealed that our thief never actually resorted to force to avoid final failure. The plot starts just after the thief entered a crypt in search for something valuable to grab. But just after the first scene the antagonist is introduced. A supernatural being featuring the mindset of a classic Disney christmas story shocks us with the rather bizarre request to let the dead's belongings rest by their bodies and starve to death instead. Of course the protagonist drops the loot instantly and hastes in panic to get out. Finding the exit gate locked he searches for another path and in bitter irony finds one by removing some ornamental plate from the tomb he just tried to rob. As he advances further into the labyrinth of the twisted mind of that paranormal entity he has to symbolically undo some of the thefts of his past to prove his insight and change to the perverse mindset forced on him. Powerlessly he complies, is naively tested and finally rewarded with the classic groteskly huge cache of riches.
Its not the plot itself that is remarkable but its presentation, its orchestration, the insane naivity of the overpowered opressor featuring the mindset of a child and a dictator. Almost hurting lights and absolute blackness dominate a lot of the scenes not missing their target. Without any violence does the author realizes the cruelty of a world without choice. It is a world where the censor is in your head - installed by the certainty of punishment enforced by an overseer with unsupervised power. As such it is also a classic orwellian piece that keeps being current regardless of the political and societal progress of the last centuries...
Regardless of the novell use of interactivity this is one of the short films actually worth watching - but be sure to do so undistracted.
Technically there could be some improvements:
After the cuts i often had to juggle around my pointing device to find the narrow viewport where i can actually see something. This was pretty irritating at first (i even suspected a freeze).
I was able to see through the gold pile in the final scene while being able to move only left and right but neither forward nor back.
The chosen medium is not the best-suited for a movie. I realized that i am watching a visual book after the second cut (pretty late - i know). But it kept feeling linear. It likely does so not in spite but because having the choices and technical controll over the protagonist. I think, it would have been a better experience if presented as an actual movie.
Of course this type of work immensly profits by voice acting - too bad there was no time for that (why the hell had it to be a speed build contest - one has to give the artists time to work, damn it)...
P.S.: I could not resist to try the other endings and found
- "He calmly placed the crown on the sarcophagus and was granted a lantern to light the way back. But after leaving the crypt he did not manage to get an income otherwise and freezed to death while begging on the streets"
- "At the end he was tested but could not resist the urge to be strong. He stuffed his pockets with the shiny stuff obviously worth more than a human's life to his oppressor. He knew he would be punished. And so he was. But he stays upright as an unbroken human - eternally imprisoned in emptiness..."
Also found a bug where one may snatch a candle holder (40 loot) at the book burning test but gets rewareded regardless.
How to get the fourth ending?
A classic Halloween mission with the expected scary things inside but a bit linear and somewhat feeling empty gameplay-wise.
The intro was overkill for such a short mission and work would have been better invested into making the furniture look as rotten as the house itself. But it added to the mood and almost made me vote a point higher for "appearance".
The classic drown trap was a bit too obvious and forced but matched the setting and it does not have to be a classic poltergeist every time. Visions, spooky sounds, cobwebs and even spiders fit well. So even without levitating or moving things, spectres walking around, and scary journals to be found - the Halloween theme gets the full score because the mood was unexpectedly immersive even though the clean furniture hit me hard multiple times...
The gameplay really missed some moar plot details and exploration. The mentioned journal would have helped. Less linearity too. The option to kill that spider or better shadows would have spared me some reloading. Also there was nothing to loot except the paintings. And i dont mind starting lightweight. But then i expect to find some tools while exploring. Would not be that odd to find a sword in the room with the head on a plate for example.
It somehow managed to be an immersive Halloween mission and somewhat empty at the same time...
This mission is beautiful and features a plot that feels fresh. And it really hits the Halloween bull's eye.
I liked the climbing but found it surprisingly difficult to mantle into the pagan's house because of the roof window's slippery frame.
I also experienced the bug where one has to use the padlock key once before beeing able to open the hatch by frobbing - had to come here to be able to progress (thanks Oldjim).
There is some texture missing on the district wall top visible from the belltower:
As always i wanted to use more of that doors, loot more of that buildings, uncover more of the truth™.
But as this mission ends like an Introduction, i now yearningly await the next episodes of the campaign it surely is the start of...
Trivial mansion heist mission playing in a crypt. Nice use of building blocks to create larger structures fast. I found no bugs.
I effortlessly found all but 2 gold coins of loot and the optional rug. The fully deterministic AI never posed any threat.
It really was an exceptionally easy mission that seems to be well-suited as one of the first missions to play just after discovering TDM. It may replace the tutorial teaching movement and interaction when extended.
Also the complete absence of any scaryness should make it enjoyable for people normally avoiding the undead even though it technically contains some.
Was a nice small mansion mission and i found no bugs. Only the player's voice was too loud.
I am once more impressed by the small amount of time it seems to take for an experienced mapper to make something enjoyable.
Played on hard (but guess by the time spent building that there is no difference between difficulties anyway):
I blackjacked my way to the dungeon (only left the eleet guard awake) and found emily without seeing her (stand in the shadow behind the opening door). As i realized that she is a zombie i decided to put her to rest for good and followed her upstairs where i killed her with two arrows before she could alert the eleet guard. Then i darkened the foyer with water arrows but decided the annoying eleet guard had to go regardless - so killed him by turning him into a hedgehog wasting a full clip of broadheads. Then i got the skull using the ornate key and some climbing and looted the remaining stuff (got it all).
By then i was sure that i have to behead the noble to prevent him from doing that evilness again. But i stored him right at the starting point with all the other people before entering the dungeon and so the mission ended as i approached him.
I liked the well-timed movement patterns of the maid and servant. It felt like they where triggered by approaching a position (but i don't think, they are) and i had difficulties to get em down silently at first. Missed the second story that ceiling suggested to be there. I searched for a stair case leading up but only found that one leading down into the dungeon.
Ups. Forgot about that copyright stuff that always hinders evolution of anything. Guess one would have to stick to fan missions and still would need to get permission from all the authors of each asset to be reused. Reinvention sadly could indeed be the easier path.
Just found this little unpolished gem and taffed through it on difficult. And surely it looks a little like a deathmatch level of a first person shooter (well, it is...), the textures are a bit blurry up close, the guards where easy to knock out despite almost the whole map consisting of metal surfaces, the architecture feeled oversized like originally beeing built for giants...
But it surely played surprisingly well for a concept. I can imagine finding a downscaled version of this in a bigger map. Also would love to encounter a mission that is basically this filled with a poor folk's town of wooden shacks on the various levels (with local leader's shack on top level) or a pagan settlement that reclaimed that ole part of a plague-hounted city.
The abandoned/repurposed factory style would be as fresh for a TDM mission now as it was four years ago. I think, recycling and polishing old geometry for new FMs has potential where old textures sadly often are just too low in resolution...
And: Is it possible to make maps from T1..3 playable in TDM as well?
I need help finding the evidence room in Part 2 of VFAT.
Search on the upper floor.
I played the old version a long time ago and somehow the new one feels much more immersive regardless of myself remembering some guard patterns and loot locations.
With the help of Xarg, nbhor, A-haste, Oldjim & others this map has now been updated to tdm 2.03. It has better textures, lighting and slightly increased gameplay difficulty.
I tried to look for quirks but found only minor ones:
Right at the start the skybox is visible through a small gap between the two wings of the gate to the streets:
The lack of ground outside the building is visible through the Windows in the armory (stars where ground should be are not visible due to reduced image size):
I got stuck at a chest and had to noclip away:
The chalice was not frobable from any direction at first. After lowering and raising the cage again, frobbing worked.
The ambient sound in the chalice room is a bit loud (EAX 4.0 HD is off).
I missed the objective with the busts, I had thought I looked everywhere - how do I trigger it so that it shows up?
(And where are those Rope arrows that seem to be hidden in the mission?)
Take the bust right next to the huge painting in the Gallery.
Myself and then Baal spent a lot of time making sure all the texture's were aligned realistically, so its nice to see its being noticed
Its so common to see odd texture alignments, texture fights and just plain wrong architecture in fan missions that i did not even knew what was "odd" with this mission until i entered the cellar. There it instantly broke my immersion because i realized that it is the absence of all that little immersion breakers, that caused that strange feeling. After that insight i was able to fully enjoy the mission till the end.
I tried Dark Radiant to become a mapper myself years ago. But that beast is as good an example of unusability as the other 3D-editing tools i tried even longer time ago before completely giving up on the idea to make anything involving 3D models.
Since the encounter with the beast i took it for granted that the available tooling would limit the quality of the missions regardless how good and experienced the mappers become. I seem to have erred - and am happy about that.
I really enjoyed this near perfect mission. What really took me by surprise was the incredible detail on the architecture and texturing. Cant remember seeing details like the realistic brickwork in the cellar or that roof framework in other missions. There are other really beautyfull and detailed missions out there. But this one is a step further.
Played it on medium because i just cant resist blackjacking (almost) all te people.
Only the one guard patroling the stairs had its weapon already drawn when i came along - so i just let him be unharmed.
Also found no rope arrows but wished for one when i saw the light shaft (now after reading the comments i know that there are at least two of em in the mission).
Couldn't steal any picture. There where tons of em and i expected to be able to take at least one as a souvenier.
I turned the picture and exchanged the busts.
Are there more hidden optional goals?
Am not much a seafarer myself. But
the ship part was superbly made, immersive and convincing.
Made it at hardest with all objectives checked. I liked the cramped belly of the ship. Found loads of hidden and well placed loot (and still missed 516). Readables told a rich story of the ship and its voyages from construction to the bitter end.
The beach part was somewhat dull (except the very detailed cabin interior) and misleading. The book told me to hide while exploring the cabin. Tried at least four places to literally wait for another scripting event. Tried killing all the bandits. Tried going back to my ship or their boats. And then tried to climb that mountains looking like a generic level boundary. Then walked a bit. Walked another bit. End.
Most disappointing end ever. There is a followup mission in the pipeline to complete the story i guess...
Whole mission would be near perfect if it would end when returning to the bunk. There was the natural split point - like the end of a chapter. And nothing wrong with reworking that beach part into a followup mission. Make it a series and continue the story mission by mission until it includes a real end - whether it is being eaten by the giant worm, seizing/sneaking aboard another ship sailing home, really becoming a pirate, or something completely different!
Random stuff follows.
Is there a key to this unpickable chest?:
Could not frob that loot:
Nice Mission with some odd architecture but good play flow.
I found a ton of arrows of all kinds but didn't need any at hardest difficulty. So it feels a bit like it was too easy to blackjack my way through (well, i left alone the that three elite ones inside the manor as their routes are not that troubling anyway). Five gas arrows?! WTF!
To find all that required loot was harder. But i always overlook things like vases in kegs and the like. So that really is not your fault.
Really like the friendly tavern folk and the machinist lab (but i just had to "kill" the "bot" regardless).
Expected to be able to use the rope arrow from the start area somewhere - like there:
Encountered no nasty bugs, so i fill the remaining space with some nitpicking:
Really wanted to steal that coins - but they are not frobbable:
There is not only an extra banister but after that follows an invisible wall somewhere by the red line:
That rat and its sister in the sewers are the most tame rats i ever saw (this one will stand its ground even when opening or closing the trap door it is standing on):
Some object placement:
That basket makes a metal noise when stepped on:
And there are at least two odd candles in the hotel that expose some candle texture shining through the metal candle holder and are unfrobbable (did not test water arrows on them). The forum software does not like the image even after bringing it down to 61 kiB.
After trying that new and shiny game they call "Thief", i really enjoyed playing the real thing again. This mission is not a consolified shadow of the past like what Square Enix and Eidos came up with. It truly extended my Darkmod experience again.
For them, who may find it hard to find places for stashing unconcious/dead people: First, secure the lab. Then clean the captain's room, knock out the steamworker and proceed to the first floor. There, be patient. Always wait by the entrance in the first room until someone enters through one of the three doors. Then knock em down, carry the body all the way down and store it in the lab. If for some long time no one dares to enter, search for prey in adjacent rooms.
If the captain enters, quickly drop a gas mine in his path (he will go straight towards the window), but far enough from the door to not interrupt his open/close routine, and wait for him to kiss the floor...
I had no problems past the lab. In the lab, it was quite hard to get the timing and mine throwing distances right, though.
I also experienced one (non-repeatable) safegame corruption and some lockups when dropping bodies in the lab in tight corridors.
And i also vote for stealable paintings!11
I don't know whether there are numbers available from individual mirrors, but even if there are we'd have no idea how much they understate by, what with TDM and mission packs being available via torrents or even magazine cover disks.
I would assume, that only a minority is not using the ingame downloader to get their supply of missions. Whatever source feeds that ingame downloader should therefore be able to count nearly all downloads (minus a tiny and most likely fixed amount of well-informed betatesters and forum dwellers).
A well done mission.
It was a bit of a key hunt for me but it well fit the scenario and i liked to sneak around collecting all that valuables, keys and equipment. Was a good idea to provide multiple places to find basic tools. I missed the lockpicking a lot (i know, it's story-related).
I purposedly let the vineseller's door open and "his" spiders attacked a guard. After killing the spiders, the guard switched into frency mode (maybe he got poisoned) and either killed or got killed by another guard. Nice idea to provide that sort of use-once "weapon" to the player.
The geometry really looked realistic and there where loads of persons with logically sound backgrounds.
But guards did the weirdest of things on patrol. Sometimes i saw three of them piling up behind the kitchen's door in the tower with that bridge. Often guards collided and got stuck on each other for some time. But i updated to 2.02 just before i started this mission, so that could be the reason for the unexpected AI behaviour.
Got three minor graphic glitches:
Transparent wall in the small guard house:
Missing mortar in arch near beggar:
Wall part not reaching the floor near spawn point:
And i really need to know: Where are the keys for the armory and the mansion with the well lit guarded entrance and garden?
Completet the mission accidently by visiting a gate in the bridge tower but got a save near that temporal location to try any hints about that keys...
But with such a small mission, I had to get creative in amping the difficulty a couple places.
For a harder challenge:
# Make the guard inside use a less predictive route.
# Add a moving butler, maid, chef or wife to the inside.
# Give the patroling guards outside and in the garden torches.
# Use some noisy materials and clutter to cover appropriate places.
# Add some movable cover in front of that hole in the garden and light the place to make the entrance harder.
Ya may also open a "how to beef it up"-thread to get loads of other suggestions from all sides
Nice Mission. Played it on hardest with stealth score 1 and some coins missing.
+ Innocent hungry man and his outdoor "home" (doused his candle but didn't harm him).
+ Walled off room and backstory of the poet forced to visit the builder's collegue (took his two builder crosses and rope arrows).
+ Two side uses for the rope arrows (switched off the generator even if useless and took the coins at the balkony).
+ No keyhunting / spawns / overly complex scripting or other annoying "creative" stuff - just a good ole thieving mission.
+ No bugs (i did not stumble upon any).
I did not like that much:
- Rather obvious hole in the wall that none could ever miss when looking at at daylight. There needs to be more cover.
- A guard i can't blackjack. I am not a ghoster, prefer blackjacking everyone standing between me and my loot. (doused the candle and took the two golden plates from the table to make him get fired).
- Upper floor room looked rather empty.
Overall there is room for more clutter / ambient / open windows / pickable doors. As it looks like there are no bugs to fix, i hope for a version containing the tavern and collegue interiors.
Guards noticing missing patrols
in The Dark Mod
Beeing yourself the noble owning the place and not seeing some guard on his post could also make ya tell the captain to go look for and boot that guard immediately.
A gang member might notice the sudden disappearance of his buddy when coming back from taking a piss.
There are countless possible settings that might profit from using (different) missing AI detection algorithms and reacting in some (situation-dependent) ways. Reaction would not always have to include searching, drawing the sword
or alerting the surroundings. Even when alerting the surrounding it would most often not be logical to search for the player but for the missing AI or checking some spot or that some item is still where it should be.
It is a little like having traps in missions. We got way to few of them too. But AI even just reacting in any way to not seeing anyone in a house that felt like an ant hill before i was going full blackjacking berserk would really add something to the experience.