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Petike the Taffer

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About Petike the Taffer

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  • Birthday November 17

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    Gothic clockpunk shire of Zemplín
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    Tiff-taffin' around...

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  1. If you go this category, all missions currently listed on the wiki are listed there: https://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=Category:Official_FMs With the exception of one mission I still need to add, all of them should already be there, up to the present. The new database is nice, but linking to missions there is basically impossible.
  2. I think it would be good if the dragon, along with animations, could be resized to two or even three different sizes. One representing an infant (smaller than a player character), one a typical adult (big, but not bigger in body-size than an elephant or two horses), and one being basically a scenery-only dragon, a very old and long-lived specimen (your comparison to Smaug in that huge treasure chamber being apt). Even if the completed model has thousands of polys less than the original version, I don't really mind. Graphics are secondary to me.
  3. It's a fine enough dragon model. As long as it's public domain and you can make the creature reasonably smaller and avoid any clipping through brushes while its animations are working, maybe there could be some uses for it in missions. I suspect they'd have to be rural missions, set in some mountainous wilderness or something, or maybe the dragon would be locked up in some pen of a rich aristocratic collector of strange and rare beasts. (You could even crack a joke about him wanting to create a "Dragon Park" theme park.) Lore-wise, here's a possible explanation: Dragons had long since been extinguished throughout the civilized world, but in some distant corners of the Empire and outside of it, in the most remote wilderness areas, dragons might still be surviving in very low populations. Treat them as a near-extinct species of monster, on the verge of extinction and on their way out, and it would fit TDM's more urban, industrial, less primeval take on a fantasy world. Then there's the aforementioned "mad rich collector had this dragon captured" scenario. You could also use the dragon as a pattern to make a separate set of static 3D models depicting the skull and skeleton of a dragon. Then players could put these in some natural history museum in Bridgeport or Sancta Civitas in some museum-themed mission. Description in museum: Skeleton of the last known dragon killed in the vicinity of Bridgeport, in year such and such... (I"ll confess, I got this idea from Arcanum, where they have an archaeological site with the skeletal remains of the last known dragon in that game's world.)
  4. I'll confess that me and Epifire discussed a project to include more usable one-handed sword types and prop melee weapons in TDM, based on historical specimens. From what Epifire showed me and explained to me, rigging usable weapons by swapping the sword for them is certainly possible.
  5. I am rather fascinated that this discussion has suddenly taken off this much. Thank you all, I'm pleased there's some degree of interest in debating this. Thank you, this is a very well-worded and concise post on the whole matter. The Star Trek canon issues analogy is rather fitting. I agree that trying to fit in everything with everything or being detailed to the point of stifling potential creativity would be a bad approach. We need different levels of being specific with setting elements, to keep things creatively flexible. After all, I've already talked about this in my opening post.
  6. I actually wholeheartedly agree with your point of view. The only reason I did some canon theorizing in the opening post was to show that I'm not going to charge into this willy-nilly, with no consideration payed to at least rough consistency. Like you said, the important thing at this stage is filling in the blanks. The theoretical aspects of approaching any lore compilation or expansion have been covered plenty of times, including in my opening post here, so getting down to business should be no issue. As for contributions, while I like the idea that people would just chime into this thread and propose ideas to fill in the white spaces (IMHO, they should feel free to do so), I also think the best way to add stuff to the setting is to first work with what various authors have already added to it, via the backstories and narratives of their own missions. Some touch upon the wider history of the setting only very minimally or not at all, but some have done pretty good work at filling in some of the blanks about various aspects of the setting. Not just its history, but all the social, cultural, economic and military aspects that hadn't been covered yet, or only briefly. Sure, there's always the risk of contradiction, but honestly, I haven't seen any blatant contradictions yet. I think there would be plenty of stuff to pick and choose from, particularly if the authors and contributors agree with making some elements of their fiction "more official" in some way. I like the fact that TDM has flexible canon and I wouldn't like if the lore for the setting was far too rigid. It should always allow mission makers and players plenty of freedom, rather than being prescriptive about every little historical or cultural detail. I think a lot depends on whether the TDM community want to bother with sitting down and discussing the background of the setting in this thread or another thread, or whether they just prefer to be creative in mission making and have the overall setting evolve from various written or physically present elements of existing missions. I don't doubt there would be an interest in both, though I wonder whether the former wouldn't be seen more as a "Eh, we discussed these sorts of things in the early years, why even bother now ?" matter, with the preferred lore focus being on the latter, i.e. lore as part of creating new missions. Personally, I am actually not all that bothered by Bridgeport's geographical location or the exact climate it lies in. Yes, we use some northern and western European conventions when portraying Bridgeport and its vicinity, but I consider that 1.) a homage to the style of Thief, and 2.) a bit of stylistic translation, as the game's voice acting is all in English. I really, really like this summary, though plenty of it was apparent to me already from reading the various universe articles on the wiki, I like the comparison to the Carolignian empire, despite the late-medieval and Renaissance tech level (taking the "Carolignian Renaissance" of the early Middle Ages a little too literally ?). I had no idea about the theological tension between Bridgeport and Sancta Civitas, thank you for pointing that out. As for Ghazi, is that meant to be a nation or region, or a city state ? A New Job, the first mission of the official mini-campaign, also mentions an "Arabia" to the south (rather too close in terms of name, I suppose), with a city or polity of Aqaba. What about those ? Menoa I've often associated with Genoa, based purely on the name. Though it's a kingdom, maybe it made its fortune based on naval and overland trade, much like Genoa was a prototypical merchant republic in the Italian Middle Ages. Genoans had some small colonies in the Meditteranean and the Black Sea, so one would wonder whether Menoa doesn't have similar trade outposts too. The in-universe starting date, at least according to A New Job, is 1631. Saint Lucia takes place relatively shortly afterward, a few days or weeks at most, and it seems ANJ is set in the fall (autumn) months, based on the newspapers you can find throughout that mission. One interesting question to me is: Though we know some 1630 years have gone by since the founding of the Builder Church, how long ago was the faith first being preached by "the prophet Amos", as mentioned in some religious texts in Saint Lucia ? The only thing I can discern is that it was before the founding of the Church, but that's about it. I'm also not sure whether the Church was already the Imperial Church back then, or if it was only accepted later, á la Christianity in antiquity. I don't know. The pope equivalent is the Patriarch in Sancta Civitas. There are archbishops overseeing bishoprics and dioeceses. What do we know about the secular power behind the Empire ? Menoa broke away some time ago from the western Empire. There is probably no mention of any specific emperor, so maybe we should think about those, and what dynasties have ruled until now ? And what the balance of power is between the Patriatch and the emperor ? One has to wonder if the TDM world's empire ever had an equivalent of Henry IV going to Canossa in the 11th century, after the Pope had excommunicated him for Henry getting too uppitty in the whole fight for investiture. That would be interesting to explore briefly, whether there is any tension between the emperor and the Patriarch. Given the Carolignian influences, I would like to lobby for including elements similar to the rise of the maiordomos in the pre-Carolignian era of the Frankish Empire. As an influence behind the throne, eventually wielding more practical power than the emperors, and then becoming the new imperial dynasty themselves. And, in the "late antiquity" precursor to the Empire of the current TDM present, maybe you could have a period of rule based on our history's Tetrarchy of late Roman antiquity. Little things like this could help shake up the earlier history of the setting and make it feel less straightforward and more lived-in. I've decided to dub the reckoning "DME" = "Dark Mod Era". Something of an in-joke, sure, but works for the setting. Aside from this wider history, one thing I would like to focus on and cover would be the rough geography and history of Bridgeport. Somewhat similar to the Mapping The City thread at TTLG.com, and having people contribute to that would be lovely. Though, of course, it once again depends on whether there'd be interest. Merely compiling some list of known wards/quarters, streets and locations/institutions in Bridgeport is one thing. Doing something deeper with it is another. Additionally, if we map out our fictional metropolis in too great a detail, I think it might lead to a situation where the city starts feeling limited. Personally, I think that it's still worthwhile, but only if we keep the perspective on the city being "flexible" as a setting. Sure, all of these streets or places exist, but if new ones are further added, that doesn't mean they automatically don't fit within the City. I'd prefer if mission makers were aided by background notes and background lore, rather than hampered by it.
  7. Recently, about a month ago, @demagogue mentioned the following in another discussion: While we're at it, someone really needs to write an official history of the Empire and a lot of associated fanfic to give our world backstory. And someone ought to make an art book with screenshots across all our FMs and some story, as if it were like one of those travel photo books. Something people put on their coffee table for discussion and just to flip through for fun, or in your case actually make the things. I see the idea you're talking about as something along those lines. I even promised demagogue I might look into it in the future. All of this got me thinking... We know The Dark Mod does not have a strict canon, per se. There's Bridgeport and The Empire, a few other cities, there's notes on what technology, society and the fantastical elements of this setting are, what the various typical "factions" are and how they vary greatly, what the atmosphere and tone is like, and so on and so forth. However, the rest of the things are far more nebulous and are generally down to what an individual player or fan of TDM is willing to accept as potential canon. We had the references to cities (Braeden) or minor setting elements (the mandrasola drug, etc.) throghout multiple missions by unrelated authors, and those are just the simplest of examples. In short, what constitutes as TDM canon, beyond those fairly official basics, is quite maleable. With all of the above in mind, and taking demagogue's ideas into account, I think we could compile a rough, loose history of the overall setting. It doesn't need to be obsessively filled with details, but we could give people some vague idea of what happened in the last two thousand or so years before what we generally portray as the "present day" of the TDM setting. I think we already have plenty of interesting source material to work with, if our goal is to create a rough timeline/outline of The Empire's history, the Builder church's history, and hints at what the history of the world outside of The Empire has been like (also counting with possibly biased accounts, in-universe). Now, speaking about that source material, what do I actually consider as source material ? Technically, every mission or nearly every mission made for TDM could be potentially considered source material. However, I am a little bit more picky about this. I think the closest we have to an established, "hard canon" for the game's universe, is a lot of the above-mentioned source material, and that occurs primarily in two places: In the two or three official missions that come with the basic TDM install (Training Mission, A New Job, The Tears of St Lucia), and in the main Universe articles on the TDM wiki. These are going to be my primary source for compiling the history, chronologically and otherwise. In addition to the official-as-official-gets missions and official universe notes, I am also willing to include stuff from all fan missions, if it expands the history of the setting in interesting, but reasonable ways. If the premise of a mission clearly doesn't fit the rest of the setting directly or is quite jokey, then I won't consider it a reasonable enough source for a potential addition to "canon". Why would demagogue suggest we should compile such a more detailed background history ? Personally, while I don't mind the idea, I am also fine with keeping things as they currently are. At the same time, I have noticed the number of people who come to the forums, clamouring things like "Where's the sprawling story campaign ? Where's the sprawling background story of the setting ?". Less of the latter thankfully, more of the former, for understandable reasons. Still, it seems that a lot of newcomers to TDM, especially those with pre-conceived notions from their time playing Thief (or other fantasy games), seem to want more from the overall setting than just the missions and mission series we have. Honestly, I'm torn on this. I've always been an elliptical storytelling style guy. Less is more. A hint here, a hint there, a throw-away comment there... Some games try to overdo it with super-detailed lore and the results can be... questionable and grating. Part of why I'd prefer that, if we do compile more of a broadly accepted "canon" for TDM's setting, then it should still be accepted in that "broad" way. I.e. it is soft and maleable enough that it does not tie mission-maker's hands, with regards to missions and stories set in the past, present and potential future of the TDM setting. A lot of players think they know what they want if they want a detailed setting, but more often that not, it just ends up with things being overexplained and losing their "charm" and a reasonable degree of mystique. After all, even die-hard Thief fans should acknowledge one thing: Thief didn't try to explain everything. Far from it ! The entire trilogy was very fond of elliptical storytelling, with hinted-at stuff and loads of unexplained stuff and references. I think TDM should keep with that, even if we potentially expand the "hard canon" parts of TDM's canon. Not stuff like "in this or that year, William Steele was born", but certainly stuff like "from the 4th to 7th century of its existence, the Empire was ruled by this or that dynasty, in a unique tetrarchic set-up", and similar.
  8. My pleasure ! I wanted to do something like this for a long time. You make a lot of good points. That said, no one's required to use these, they can use or avoid them at their own leisure. Additionally, some of our members - e.g. Airship Ballet - also made and contributed several home-brewn ambients of their's to the community already a few years ago. One TDM contributor even made a fairly detailed tutorial at how you can mix your own convincing ambient with the use of readily available open-source software. So, if MacLeod's ambients don't suffice for a mission builder, they can always use other ambients we've made ourselves, or the advice in that tutorial. I try to keep the wiki updated and to always update useful info or list threads that can be useful to mission makers beyond the mere physical creation of the mission maps. I think I've covered the tutorial on the wiki as well. And if not, I can add it in the near future.
  9. We also have a steadily growing list of missions here, with further detailed information: https://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=Category:Official_FMs This article should also be useful, especially if you are a beginner: https://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=Mission_recommendation_discussions
  10. Sorry about the necro, but I found this video both hilarious and educational. While a lot of fantasy settings can mean well by taking inspiration from real history in various ways, there are always potential pitfalls. I think we should be mindful of this even when we make up backstories and plots for The Dark Mod's missions and the non-game fluff.
  11. Marktturm in Luckenwalde paper model This paper model of a German town's medieval tower (later modified into a clocktower) is close to what I have in mind when I mention paper models of the TDM setting's architecture. Imagine that particular paper model with the stylistics (surface textures) and proportions (roof shape, details, etc.) of some municipal tower in Bridgeport or another city from TDM missions, and you have a pretty good idea. This was one good-looking paper model of a real world urban medieval structure I had handy, so I'm using it as a quick example. I think it could serve as a good initial inspiration for a prototype of TDM urban monumental architecture. Based on my own paper model building experience, I concur.
  12. Thank you all for the supportive words ! I want to get one thing out of the way right now, if it wasn't clear yet: I honestly don't expect anyone to participate in this idea along with me. This is why I noted, in the poll answers and elsewhere, that this is a project I'll be working on alone, and in my free time. It's not a priority by any means, even with regards to TDM's promotion. Additionally, as noted by Demagogue as well, I definitely consider this an ancilliary and potential form of promotional materials, rather than a crucial one. You can think of these paper models in the same way as SeriousToni's fan-made wallpapers for TDM that he's made over the years. Not "official" stuff, but perfectly usable for some TDM promotion, if need be. Concerning the proportions, dimensions and scale requirements, and the paper type and size requirements, I will of course be paying close attention to those while designing any concepts. Same goes for the instructions of putting models together. Personally, I'd prefer to design relatively easy-to-put-together paper models, rather than overly elaborate ones. Yes, I could design a paper model of Bridgeport patrician house that's got all manner of fully three-dimensional window alcoves and windowsills and other attention to detail, but I'm a proponent of the motto "KISS" - "Keep It Simple, Stupid...". So, if any versions of these prototypes will get finished, most of them will be of a "flat surface" nature on the exterior, aside from a few exceptions. If people like them as they are, but might clamour for making their surface more detailed, I could rework the models later to include more of those 3D surface details and bits and bobs. The sky's the limit... But I prefer to start small and simple, and build upon that designing experience in later iterations. @Obsttorte Nice one ! Your own design, or some existing model ? ---- @demagogue I wholeheartedly agree we could use someone compiling the existing notes on The Empire and its history, and filling in the blanks in the polity's overall backstory (and that of the Builder faith). I I might take a stab at all of this, eventually. A more concise, timeline-style overview could be helpful, especially if people keep asking about background canon (or what could pass for it) in the future. Aside from stuff like church history or past imperial dynasties, or what the economy and commerce and crime in The Empire is like, one interesting aspect to cover would be the earlier industrial revolution of TDM. Some of it is straightforward and we also have plenty of it already covered in various notes. Some of it, in turn, would be admittedly trickier to explain. For example, the fact that, in a world of static steam engines, steamboats and no trains, one FM (Pandora's Box) already shows an archaic but functional airship ! But hey, I can try. I did read a particular alternate history work a while back, where a much longer surviving Byzantine Empire helped usher in a slightly earlier scientific revolution, complete with things like primitive, Giffard-style blimps in the 17th century (!), so I suppose we could explain it away in TDM, with a bit of creativity. I think most of the notes we already have for how mechanical, alchemical/chemistry-based and engine technology functions in the TDM setting are sufficient enough to build upon and extrapolate further, to get more of an idea how the earlier industrial tech got its start. Personally, I've long had the impression that the earlier industrialisation of TDM's setting isn't so much a full-on industrial revolution as we understand it, with regards to our 18th century and later. I think it's much closer to a scientific revolution first and foremost, with some of its byproducts secondarily affecting existing industries and transport. However, there's no true mass production yet, certainly nothing on the level of the 19th century. They might have some 15th-18th century forms of "pattern"-based goods production, a precursor to mass production as we understand it, but the industry is still overwhelmingly at a "workshop and craftsmen" level, not at a "factories and mills as far as the eye can see" level (at least not in the vast majority of locations that have industrialized already).
  13. Obviously, the main way to contribute to TDM is to contribute work and expertise. FMs, tech improvements, every little helps... I've been thinking about whether, besides general TDM trailers, previews, FM briefings, wallpapers, promo images, and so on and so forth, we could drum up a little amount of extra publicity for TDM via more physically tangible, but financially permissible promotional materials. As I note in the title of this thread, how about using a few select paper models, each with a The Dark Mod theme (and the associated stylistics), as something of a fan keepsake new or old fans of our freeware game could build and keep ? I'm under no illussions it would be amazing or anything. However, as a bit of a feelie, done in free time as simple promotion by some members of what is essentially a hobbyist freeware dev team, I think it would be an aptly humble, but still original bit of extra promotion. Everyone expects wallpapers, screenshots, promo videos, and so on, but some papercraft promo could help add a little bit of different flair to that more conventional promotion we already have covered. You might think "Okay, a few people will build those paper models, but how effective could this promo be, anyway ?". Well, as much as I don't have any illussions... Imagine if someone puts a building from Bridgeport paper model on their desk, next to their computer, at their own apartment/house or at their dorm room, and someone eventually asks: "Nice ! Is that a real building ? What's that from ?". The owner, who also plays TDM in their free time and is already a fan, can say: "Well, it's from this and that stealth game with this and that style setting. Want to see it ?" Then he can show the curious guy or gal this site, a trailer or two, start up the game and show some gameplay from a mission or two, the training mission... Who knows, maybe he'll get that other person interested, maybe even hooked. And it all starts with a simple paper model of some building from the TDM world. Now, playing the game in front of them could achieve a similar result. Having a TDM wallpaper as the background on the screen, or being caught watching a trailer video or Let's Play video of TDM could achieve similar results too. In the end, though, those things are wholly digital. They're not as immediate and tangible in the same manner as a paper model can be. Yes, at the end of the day, it's just card paper with textured surfaces printed on one side, skillfully cut out, assembled and glued together. But it's still a physical object, giving you more of a 3D feel than just a 2D screen (and not necessitating any VR equipment for greater immersion, beyond the limitations of that on-screen imagery). Now, concerning what the paper models would encompass, how they'd be constructed and look, I think we have to be realistic about it: Most people can bother with a paper model of a simple enough building or object, but they won't be assembling detailed paper models of, e.g. a City Watch guard. Ergo, the TDM promotional paper models we could have should focus on two areas: 1.) architecture from the setting, primarily that of The City and other urban environments (clocktower, medieval townhouses, some castle or manor house, etc., you name it); 2.) gadgets and items carried by the player character thieves in the game (a paper model of a mine or even a flashbomb, a paper model of a potion bottle or of the small hooded lantern, etc.). The surface and details should be based on textures we assign to their models directly in the game. This is obvious in the case of the gadgets and items. In the case of buildings, they could either recreate an iconic building from some FM's scenery, or they could just as easily depict a generic building, but with the same combination of building textures as you see on buildings in TDM missions. The same stone textures on the outer walls, the typical late-medieval/early modern style windows, with their metal grills and glass panes, etc. Having the paper models designed and textured in such a way that they'd reflect TDM's predominantly night time setting (including dimly lit windows on buildings) would be a pretty cool move, IMHO. It would also be accurate to the atmosphere of the game. Distribution method... Could be available for download among the promo materials section on the site, either in .pdf format or some image format (.jpg or .png). Should I take a stab at designing some basic model concepts in my free time, if I'm ever bored ? Just as a test whether we could create TDM paper models in the first place. I think there is some merit to using paper models as an inexpensive and entirely ancilliary, but still useful promotional item. Especially for a freeware labour of love like this one, tirelessly being worked on for over 16 years. Sixteen years of this much patient fan devotion is nothing to sneeze at.
  14. Also try thalers and florins, they're appropriate currency names for a medieval or early modern setting.
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