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Petike the Taffer

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Posts posted by Petike the Taffer

  1. 17 hours ago, darksilence said:

    Thanks @Bienie for checking this out and for pointing out those issues!

    Great catch about the screenshots by the way. These were automatically retrieved from thedarkmod.com, but with the order being ignored. I'll fix this in the next update.

    By the way, I just added undead and ghosts to Langhorne Lodge :) 

    Also, spoiler for Chronicles of Skulduggery 3: Sacricide:

      Hide contents

    For this mission you'll also see Undead = No, as the undead that appear in the catacombs are not too relevant, and the wiki also ignores them (only "guards" appear under "threats", here: https://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=Chronicles_of_Skulduggery_3:_Sacricide_(FM))

    This made me think that maybe instead of Undead = Yes or No, in the future this could be something like Undead = Important or None/Irrelevant. Not the best wording, but something along those lines.

    And yes, linking up with @Petike the Taffer to connect the wiki and tdmdb.com sounds great too!

    At the moment, each FM entry displays links to its forum thread and to its page on thedarkmod.com, since those were easy to be automatically retrieved, based on the information on this wiki table: https://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=Fan_Missions_for_The_Dark_Mod. This table doesn't include links to the wiki pages of each FM though, making that harder to automate (although such information may be somewhere else and I just missed it).

    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.

    • Like 1
  2. On 8/26/2020 at 8:16 PM, Jetrell said:

    I can think of many great ways to include a dragon into a mission but the first thing that comes to mind is the encounter with Smaug from The Hobbit. I really hope this dragon asset gets finished, I've been hoping for a dragon for years and years.

    @ MirceaKitsune: I know you're stuck but please don't give up on your dragon, it's beautiful!

    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.

    • Like 1
  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.)

    • Like 1
  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.

    • Like 2
  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.

    23 hours ago, Springheel said:

    I'm of the opinion that the correct approach is: the bigger the scope, the lower the resolution.  In other words, the description of a single block can be quite detailed; the description of an entire city less so, and the description of the entire empire should be intentionally fuzzy and indistinct.  The same applies to timescales.

    Otherwise, it would be like trying to create a coherent canon out of the various Star Trek series and movies.  If you zoom in too closely, you're just going to wind up with a mess of contradictions and disjointed trivia that interferes with the ability to enjoy each episode for what it is.

    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.

    • Like 2
  6. On 8/20/2020 at 5:34 AM, demagogue said:

    Just to add a few cents, since I recognize what you're saying.

    I had a few things in mind in the quote of mine that you're referring to.

    First is that I actually scripted a full campaign the purpose of which was to introduce our world and some evocative lore, The Dark Campaign. It treads a fine line between the two poles you're talking about. It doesn't introduce much more lore than it needs to for the story and leaves lots of things open, or hints at larger things, but the story is also intentionally scripted to give FM makers a base in lore to make their own FMs from. So I was first talking about getting out this big cache of lore I'd already compiled & extended for that project.

    Second, my mind about canon is that it organically grows from FMs in a way ... how to explain it ... sort of like the way the Bible was constructed. There were a lot of texts saying a lot of things, but the generally recognized community leaders recognized the texts and facts that had the most authenticity and authority and canonized them. FM stories are like folk legends then. An FM should feel free to come up with whatever lore it wants for itself. So now it has a kind of folk lore status. But it doesn't become canon unless it's recognized, so that you can keep the good stuff and throw out the slush.

    Third, the context of what you were directly quoting wasn't me proposing an official declaration of canon like a Lore Bible. What I had in mind there was a coffee table lore book as its own stand-alone art project, where the same rules above apply. It's lore, but only what's recognized as canon from it should deserve any status of canon. (Another wrinkle, people can disagree, and you can have schools of thought, which I like the idea of.)

    Fourth, maybe most important, all of this meta-talk doesn't really mean much. What matters is having texts right in front of you (I'm using the term "text" as a shorthand for any artifact, a readable, a map, a convo, etc.) and going piece by piece and having a discussion, well, does this deserve to be canon, all of it or part of it or it needs to be translated. The best example in our community for this kind of thing is the Thief Mapping Project and the canon debates involved in that.

    A Dark Mod Lore Project might look something like that thread with one major difference, which is that it wouldn't only be debating canon out of existing texts, it would be debating canon in the creation of the texts themselves. So there has to be an inspiration element to it. Somebody is going to have to tap into the spirit of the world and get some kind of inspiration from it, write out what that inspiration tells them, and then it will be up to others, the recognized canon gatekeepers, to recognize if it's the "true inspiration" of a prophet or the ramblings of a false prophet or some of it looks inspired and some of it looks false. And then the debates can go from there.

    My point there is, the debate is probably more important and interesting, as an artistic and fun project in itself, than the answer. But the nice thing is it also ends up with an (evolving) answer that we can use as lore. Like with the Thief Mapping Project. The great achievement of that isn't so much the map itself, but the 100 page thread debating why it looks like it looks, and then the map is just the final form of all that debate.

    This shows one of the major differences, by the way, between a company just tossing out lore for entertainment sake (which probably doesn't mean much to us, since we can't trust they really love their own world) and a community pounding out the lore based on discussion, shared understandings, and mutual love for this world and this game (which really means something to us). I agree it shouldn't be the kind of project that crushes a world's mystery with the blazing antiseptic and unforgiving light of reason. But it should also try to come up with the "right" answer. The Mapping Project is a good reference again. Another good reference is the kind of debates medieval scholars had for that matter. They weren't doing real "science" like we think of it today. They were trying to be precise, but mysticism was built right into the middle of it as well. And again, there can be different schools that take different tacks, and that's great.

    tl;dr: Less meta-talk, more lore debate. We can talk forever about the theory of it until we're blue in the face, and it still doesn't matter. Let's just start laying out proposed lore and start talking about it and see where it takes us. That's my proposal for this thread.

    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.

    On 8/20/2020 at 10:36 AM, wesp5 said:

    Speaking of maps, what often annoys me in fan missions is to see an old map of central Europe with Bridgeport being somewhere on the southern coast of France. This doesn't make much sense regarding language and climate unless you can explain somehow that in the TDM universe the English conquered France and not the other way around ;).

    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.

    On 8/20/2020 at 11:26 AM, demagogue said:

    As I understand it, Bridgeport is on the southern coast of a high latitude continent on the western edge closeish to a Spain / Anatolia-like mixed Ghazi-Builder region, Menoa, Ghazi being the Islam-counterpart. To the direct south is moorish territory, which can be like traditional Ghazi territory (Iraq), and the Baghdad equivalent should be down there, or more like North Africa and the Ghazi center is much further ... east? Edit: Probably west makes more sense.

    The role of Bridgeport is roughly equivalent to Constantinople (because of the proximity to Menoa), but it has some London flavor. It's still Builder, but a more orthodox brand and it's inflected with the Asiatic-equivalent influence compared to Catholic-like Builderism. To the far east also on the coast is the capital of the Empire, both the political and religious center, Sancta Civitas. There should be a political and theological tension between Bridgeport and S.C., and it's moving towards a break, but currently it's still one unified Empire. Bridgeport is still very much a commercial hub of the Empire. To the north are the Germanic/Baltic-like pagan tribes that are on a spectrum of less Empire influenced as you move north. Edit: I think of the empire more like the Carolingians than anything else, a few major urban centers claiming control over a the whole eastern side of the continent, but really diffuse and fragmented, less than what the HRE was, but more than whatever Germany was after 1600. XD

    In my reading, the world takes flavors from medieval European and Middle Eastern / North African history, but it mixes them up a bit.

    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.

    • Like 1
  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.

    • Like 1
  8.  

    On 8/19/2020 at 10:00 PM, SeriousToni said:

    Very nice collection. Thank you for posting this. Everytime I play a new FM that looks fresh and stunning I hear the same vibes I heard years and years ago which kind of diminishes the "new adventure" feelings for me. I hope mappers will recognize your list, since I guess most of them just pick music from the standard list that opens in Dark Radiant.

    Hopefully, hopefully these tracks will be put to use! Again, thank you!

    My pleasure ! I wanted to do something like this for a long time.

     

    On 8/19/2020 at 10:26 PM, OrbWeaver said:

    I listened to a few and while they are very well produced and good quality, I feel that they are not really "ambient" enough for TDM background music. There's too much going on; too much melodic and harmonic development, dynamic contrasts and the like. Thieflike ambients are much more homogeneous — short loops of 30-60s which form a continous background which doesn't really change much (until you move into a new area and get a different ambient).

    Maybe some mappers will find a use for these (perhaps as viktrola recordings or the music behind a briefing video), but of the few I tried, I couldn't really hear them as ongoing area-based background loops.

    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.

    • Like 2
  9. On 8/5/2020 at 2:38 PM, Micropoint said:

    Any missions recomendations ? Will there be news missions in the future also ? 

    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

    • Like 2
  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.

    • Like 2
  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.

    2 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

    But I have built the castle in the image posted. Took me something in between 10 and 20 hours. It is actually quiet a relaxing hobby. :)

    Based on my own paper model building experience, I concur. :)

  12. 8 hours ago, freyk said:

    If  this to fill in your free time, why not.
    Others created concept art, 3d printed things, etc.
    I tried to make a DVD. (front-cover, back-cover)

     

    7 hours ago, demagogue said:

    I really love papercraft projects, so I love the idea.

    Like any fan project, you'll usually get a better reaction just doing it because you want to, and then posting images or videos of your work that people will react to and give you a motivation boost, as opposed to having people weigh in on whether the project is worth doing in advance, much less recruiting people without having done any work yourself on it or any indication that you're committed to the project. I think a general rule of thumb is, if it's really interesting to you, there are bound to be other like-minded people that will also think it's interesting. So if you stay true to your instinct, other people will be into it for the same reason.

    I don't think promotion is the right framing though. If you do it at all, I think you should do it as its own stand-alone project you share with people, like fan fic or fan art, which I'm surprised we don't have more of.

    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.

    "Promotion" by itself  is kind of a narrow view of the point of doing something like this I think. If it's really honestly only promotion that you care about, you don't personally care if it's papercraft or fridge magnets or whatever, then I think things like Twitch streams, podcasts and gaming music videos are better for actual promotion. I'd like you or someone to do the papercraft project because they want to do a cool art project on its own terms.

     

    6 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

    I agree with demagogue that you should just do it if you like the idea and than post the results here. People who like it will adopt to it and maybe start creating their own papercraft.

    In terms of motives I guess that buildings are a good starting point, as their are compareably easy to build (mostly right angles and rectangle surfaces). When posting the pdf it would probably be adviseable to post some recommendations for the type of paper to use for those without any experience in papercraft to avoid frustration.

    An appetizer :)

    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. :D 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. 10 hours ago, demagogue said:

    As a community mod, I think one of the jobs of FMs is to help develop the lore.

    So make something up, and if it's good enough it will become part of the canon.

    Indeed. I personally want to expand some stuff for the setting in the missions I'm slowly working on, while referencing existing things.

    • Like 1
  15. On 5/2/2020 at 7:56 AM, NeonsStyle said:

    So I'm working on my next level. I'd like a female religous figure in he vein of the Virgin Mary, however I'd like it to

    remain within the lore of the game. Clearly the Virgin Mary isn't a part of the Builder lore, so I'm wondering, if any

    of you have come across any reference to a female related to the Builder religion.

    You could always come up with a great Builder saint or several saints who were women, in the more ancient or more recent history of the church.

    Maybe the Builder faith has some great female "Mothers of the Church", though lesser in numbers than the "Fathers of the Church".

    Despite the setting obviously being quite sexist and women not being all that emancipated in any part of society, maybe there were some more educated female representatives of the church, like abesses or nuns or devout noblewomen or peasant women who devoted their lives to religious philosophy, or science (naturalists, herbalists, women researching humanities), teaching (churchly schools), and various charity work and social activism (hospitals, tending to the poor and sickly and homeless, helping during epidemics, etc., etc.). I'm thinking of educated women like Hildegarde von Bingen, or queens declared saints (e.g. Elisabeth of Hungary, Hedwig of Poland, etc.).

    Maybe you also had great female saints who helped coordinate missionary efforts in the early centuries of the church, or were martyred for their devotion to the faith and spreading its ideals/teachings when it was looked down upon.

    Loads of possibilities. You don't necessarily need a Virgin Mary analogue, as the Builder faith apparently lacks a Christ-like figure anyway, so you can do a lot with more mundane female saints.

    Fun fact: In the real world, Saint Clare is, among other things, the patron saint of television, telecommunications and the Internet. Sounds like it could gel quite well with a techno-religion like the Builder Church, doesn't it ? :D Just go through a list of various Roman Catholic or non-Catholic female saints and church personalities and read up on their lives and accomplishments. You're bound to find some inspiration sooner or later.

    Here's some stuff that might help:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Late_Ancient_Christian_female_saints

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Christian_female_saints_of_the_Middle_Ages

    https://www.catholic.org/saints/female.php

    • Like 1
  16. On 3/27/2020 at 4:12 AM, Kurshok said:

    In the wiki, there is talk about a "potential" lore creature called Strigis, a mixture between the European Striga and the Mexican Owl Woman from the description. Would this be a species proper or another example of transformed human like Werebeasts?

    Please bear in mind, it was discussed in the past, and for archival purposes, I have mentioned it there.

    We never got too far with the Strigis concept, it was all fairly nebulous. We don't even have concept art for that particular monster.

    • Like 2
  17. On 7/26/2020 at 12:42 PM, thebigh said:

    I agree and disagree. It makes little sense to steal a bunch of money that you never get to spend, and it would give the hypothetical campaign some sense of continuity to have carryover loot. The problem is that DM missions are geared towards minimal use of tools. DM isn't like the original Thief duology where buying and using dozen water arrows makes sense. The engine, and the skills of most mappers, better fit the sparing and minimalist style.

    Yes, I think this makes a good deal of sense. Buying equipment in between missions isn't a must. Maybe a potential official campaign could use it a few times as a concept (some TDM mission series do it, if the package includes more than a single mission), but I don't think we should copy the Thief approach wholesale. Even Thief didn't have the shop menu before every single mission, if it made sense to omit it for the sake of the story.

    On 7/26/2020 at 12:42 PM, thebigh said:

    I agree and disagree. It makes little sense to steal a bunch of money that you never get to spend, and it would give the hypothetical campaign some sense of continuity to have carryover loot. The problem is that DM missions are geared towards minimal use of tools. DM isn't like the original Thief duology where buying and using dozen water arrows makes sense. The engine, and the skills of most mappers, better fit the sparing and minimalist style.

    I think a long campaign would only be good with some advance planning. Although divided into missions, the campaign would need to be a coherent whole. It wouldn't be enough to just take some random missions, slap them together, and call it a campaign. LGS may have gotten away with that in Thief 2, but they're just that good. No disrespect to the DM community, but we are not LGS.

    Did you ever play the fan campaign Shadows of the Metal Age? That was planned out from the beginning, and each level fit properly into that plan. A big glorious DM campaign would need that level of forethought and commitment.

    That's something missing from the DM universe right now. We've got the City Watch, the nobility,  the Pagans, and the Builders which are obviously inspired by organisations from the original Thief games. Even the mysterious Moors are reminiscent of the Hand Brotherhood in a way. But I haven't seen an analogue to the Keepers yet.

    Never got to playing T2X, because every install .exe I've downloaded, ever, has never worked on my computer. Not on XP, not on 7, nothing. I never could get the install .exe itself to work, despite it being straight off the mod site. I still don't understand where people got T2X from. As for the total conversion itself, I liked what they did with it, it was a fine fanfic expansion to TMA. So much so that, if there were to be a Thief series or film, I'd have Zaya made a canon recurring character that shows up occassionally during the events of TMA. We might get some lady thief characters sooner or later, I'm part of a minor audio project to enable the creation of a potential female player character in TDM.

    Concerning the Keepers or the Hand Brotherhood, we already have the Mages and the Hermetic Order in Bridgeport, potentially other cities in the Empire and setting as well. The setting also has necromancers, but they're described as scattered, individual dabblers in arcane or forbidden magic, rather than some highly organized order o

    To tell you the truth, I never fully got the appeal of "Ahhh, Thief needs to have loads of magic and mysticism...". They're good distractions, good extra material, but something seen as key to the setting ? Not so much, at least to me. And I say that as someone who regards the Keeper faction as his absolute favourite from the trilogy, so it's not me being a Negative Nelly about the Keepers. I just think that, like the Mechanists, the Keepers don't need a direct analogue in TDM. We're a Thief homage, not a wholesale plagiarising of Thief. LGS did the hard work over twenty years ago, we're doing our own thing and showing appreciation, but we shouldn't retread their ground. Certainly not in too similar a way, and not just for copyright reasons, but also creative reasons.

    • Like 2
  18. I've always found it amusing that a de facto interactive movie game, where the bad guys are either literal mushroom-zombies or your standard issue "tough post-apocalyptic survivors who 'did what it took to survive, rawr' and are now engaged in typical heartless post-apoc tough-guy buffoonery" villain types, is having any sort of pretentions to artistic and social profundity. Sure, games are art and all that, but a zombie game wouldn't be my first choice of game to search for this sort of profundity. Also, if someone is desperate enough to market their game by intentionally provoking potential controversies well in advance (poking the predictably behaving usual suspects, who go berserk at certain topics), then I'm afraid it might not be much of a game to begin with.

    TLoU no. 2 exists for a simple reason: The first game was quite popular, made a good deal of money, so they made another one. If you ask me, they didn't have that many places to go, considering the story of the first game (what I know of it), but they did it anyway, because it pays the bills and publishers care about banknotes first, good reviews second, and artistic integrity... maybe somewhere at place 412th.

    Kojima's Death Stranding, as silly and pretentious and goofily creative as it was, felt to me a bit closer to actually examining the negative and positive impulses that tend to guide human beings, for better or worse, than the Last of Us' n-millionth examination of the "Hey, zombies appeared, the world has gone to crap, and aren't humans now uniformly horrible and selfish, even if it's illogical ?" idea. Death Stranding felt like it has something more to say about humans and their complexities than the rote old messages paying lipservice to Thomas Hobbes. Ironically, DS has the far darker, far more insane setting, and it still felt like it's telling a more interesting story about loss, suffering, the lies we potentially tell ourselves, and the divisions and misunderstandings we create, or how we become prisoners to our own egos (if we're not careful). Creepy setting with some off-beat, rather silly worldbuilding, but I felt the game's narrative had its heart in the right place in a lot of both serious and amusing ways. I can respect that, even without thinking the game's some masterpiece. In contrast, zombies and post-apocalyptic assholery has been done to death, especially in the last decade alone. That alone makes this IMHO forced sequel to an okay but not really exceptional game feel already... well, dated.

    At least Death Stranding, somewhat like Thief, encourages you to avoid violence and killing if you can, rather than reward it. If all TLoU does to examine human frailty, physical, emotional and mental, in a world riven by catastrophe, is to have players smashing heads in, "making tough decisions who to kill or not kill" and then contemplating its navel about human nature, it doesn't really bring much new to the table. Every single zombie-themed game or work has done that, a million times over. It's almost as clichéd in games and other works as "you're a muscle-bound, grizzled space marine, so tough you shave yourself with a blowtorch, go kick alien/demon/evil corporation ass" being the basis for the whole premise and plot. It just... isn't novel. Not even in a reinvented way. If TLoU didn't have mushroom-zombies as its one claim to originality, then it would be basically like any other zombie work where the undead have collapsed the entirety of society and now everyone's an asshole to each other, because God forbid humans would actually think and cooperate, rather than try to murder each other for silly and petty reasons 100 % of the time. The whole "crazy nihilist warlords who stifle any attempt at rebuilding civilization and bringing human decency" plotting is as clichéd an idea as zombies, space marines, "tough moral choices" (that aren't, or are only false dichotomies), and I could go on. Yeah, there's nothing new under the sun, even Thief pilfered from film noir, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, The Name of the Rose, Thieves' World, and who knows what else, but there's more to making an original game or other artistic work, than just changing a few details, adding pointless trends ("press this to crack open a defenceless person's skull while doing overblown moves; press this to have characters lecture you with wannabe edgy profundity for over fifteen minutes straight, in a blandly staged cutscene") and throwing huge production values at everything. Inevitably, many of these will feel dated sooner or later.

    Any well-written game will leave you with something interesting to think about not because it told you "Here comes the profound bit, pay attention !", but because it executed its storytelling both verbally and non-verbally (visually, through audio, written content, etc.) in such a manner that it left you with stuff to ponder. Even if it didn't give you all the answers, but it also didn't chicken out by not giving you any either. We want a good game script/story to stimulate us in ways that might be uncomfortable and unusual, but not necessarily cynical and trite, and that have some added value, including in things like humour and levity. I think a lot of the most artistically accomplished games actually don't shy away from humour. Smart, maybe even cute humour, rather than the "I'm an edgy cynic who uses edgy ironic statements" school of thought. I could write hours upon hours on these topics, but I'll cut it short here.

    You know, with all this silliness around TLoU 2 and other zombie games and post-apocalyptic games, I'm tempted to write a script for a little indie adventure game with a more introspective story. The world is back to normal, but there was some standard issue zombie catastrophe a few years back. In it, your main character (either a guy or a lady, depends on the player's choice) was forced to fight and then kill a friend they really liked, because whatever caused things to go bananas and turn people into ISO standard zombies also affected their friend. They grappled with trying to just defend themselves, tried to capture their friend, then get help and find ways on how to save him or her. They didn't want to kill a good friend, as any decent human wouldn't want to, even if they had the impression their friend might be beyond help at that point. Unfortunately, something happened, the friend got lose, the protagonist was forced to kill them. The friend was killed, but rather than go "Yeah ! Got another one !", the protagonist understandably mourned that they've lost a good friend to such horrible circumstances. The vast majority of the game is set in the present, there's no zombie-killing, scavenging for resources, nothing. The world has gone back to normal, society's generally like before the mysterious catastrophe (you could reveal at the very end that it was some alien goo from a meteor or something similarly silly), but people are still emotionally and mentally scarred from the experience. Our protagonist is trying to cope with the fact they didn't kill some mindless monster, but their unlucky friend. They're trying to find a way forward, within themselves, also via counselling, and they might be thinking about finding a therapy group or similar group of equally affected people. Just to share their story, to cope with others, maybe even find new friends and bond over that awful experience they're trying to overcome.

    There's your profound, more psychological zombie game. Not the n-millionth "who do we kill or be killed" and "survival of the fittest" nonsense that the prepper-crowd jerks off to. Also, why set it in the US, always the US ? Because markets ? Maybe our story happened in France. Or Kenya. Or Chile. Or South Korea. Or Estonia. You can be plenty more creative than making slightly different variations on "Gun-toting Prepper Simulator 2020: When the Zombies Come, They Ain't Gonna Git Me !", LOL. :P

    P.S. If the first game was about the last of them, then who the hell is still running around in the sequel ? I hope this doesn't become some endless series like Assassin's Creed or Final Fantasy, otherwise the TLoU series' title will become increasingly inaccurate, just like the title of the Final Fantasy series. I am actually kind of disappointed TLoU is a series now, to begin with. One game, leave it at that. It ain't no sin, developers and publishers...

    • Like 2
  19. On 5/10/2020 at 10:45 PM, ricon said:

    What I enjoyed the most in the Thief games was the hiding/sneaking idea with a great story behind.

    Having a line of continuity in a game, brings more realism. In The Dark Mod it seems that there is not that. I played some missions some years ago. Then I left, now I am back and I would like to know if there is any kind of story mod, or lits of missions with continuity that brings the sense of realism and immersion in the TDM world, as Thief did.

    So, what do you think?

     

    Thank you!

    You have plenty of missions that weave together a continuing or otherwise interconnected story: https://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=Fan_Mission_Series

    I think the lack of a campaign is, strangely, a bit of a benefit. Yes, we could make a whole official campaign or keep extending the existing one with Corbin (he's the closest we have to a Garrett figure), but I actually prefer the more "shared universe", anthology approach of mission authors. Mission series have been a thing since the earliest days of this projects and have only been getting more common, not less common, precisely because mission authors see the benefit of a continuing storyline with some main and recurring characters.

    Also, people crying that "lacking a campaign means TDM is not a real game" is really getting on my nerves at this point. This game is in development and available online for free. We don't, can't and wouldn't want to make any money off of it. Financial donations are also pointless. Talent donations, tangible contributions, is how this game can keep on moving forward.

     

    Speaking entirely for myself, and anyone can disagree with my opinion, extending the campaign we already have - the mission at the inn, then at St. Lucia's church, then some further missions after that - would be the best way to create an official campaign for TDM. I think that past efforts, with the idea that we need to have this stupendously impressive campaign, where every single mission is going to be a blow-your-socks-off affair, is part of why we haven't created such a campaign until now. The man hours needed and the sheer ambition are just overblown. The perfect is the enemy of the good. I feel that, contrary to what some Thief veterans might think, having a game that has an official campaign welcoming to both complete newbies and old pros is a far better route than a monumentally ambitious and impressive campaign that satisfies only a few die-hards, and frustrates others due to its length, scope, and sheer over-indulgence. If we strive for overly lofty heights, we'll end up with a game equivalent of Cimino's Heaven's Gate. Bloated, self-indulgent, potentially incomprehensible and irritating.

    I'm a "less is more" kind of guy. No hand-holding beyond the training mission, but start the players off easily enough, with the inn mission we have, then it gets a little harder at St. Lucia's, then we create a similarly small-in-scope and once again slightly more difficult, but entertaining and pretty-looking mission. And then another, and another. Gradually expand the campaign to some 10 or 12 missions, and you have an official campaign that'll entertain newcomers and veterans alike. And then they can play all the other mission series or one-off episodic mission, whatever they like. By that, I don't mean finishing the official campaign would be compulsory. No. It's just that it will serve as a natural introductory point for most new players of The Dark Mod. The more incentive we give players to have fun and finish the official campaign, the better. Make the missions bite-sized, not technically overdone, and make them fun, and we might have a real Keeper (Thief pun intended).

    I think it's telling that, over the years, far more people new to TDM have asked "What missions would be good for a newbie ? Which do you recommend ?", rather than "Where's the big blockbuster official campaign that will bring me into pure gaming ecstasy ?". Tellingly, already a while back, I compiled a whole wiki article just about these recommendations, because people were asking them so frequently: https://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=Mission_recommendation_discussions

    Including a recommended list of simple enough, shorter missions, to start them off with something smaller, simple, but entertaining. The fans, especially new ones, want more accessible things before they can move on to the more demanding missions. More accessible isn't about dumbing down, it's about respecting the natural need for a learning curve. :)

    • Like 3
  20. Hello, all.

    This thread is meant as a follow-up companion piece to my previous thread listing royalty-free music by Kevin MacLeod that could be usable for new missions for The Dark Mod.

    In this thread, I take a slightly different approach. Instead of focusing on one author and his royalty-free music, I'll be writing an ever-expanding list of songs, compositions tracks and ambients by various musical artists that could come in useful for mission makers working on FMs for TDM.

    Aside from ambient music for background atmosphere, I'll also be listing some historical music and compositions from the real world's ca 14th-17th century that are in the public domain and could be used as background music in your missions, provided that someone does a royalty-free recording of them (i.e. not released on some payed-for album, but at most a royalty-free album or online collection/archive).

    Please note that, though I will try to provide you with links to royalty-free versions of historical compositions in particular, I sometimes might not be sure of the status of some of these recreations/recordings and you'll have to snoop around for their royalty-free status on your own. However, if you do confirm that, e.g. some freelance artist recorded a well-known 16th century piece of music, and is giving it away royalty-free, possibly with the only necessity being attribution, then please let me know and I'll include any download links and the details concerning necessary attribution. Thank you !

    And now, it's time to begin...

     

    Royalty-free ambients

    As in "free to distribute and use (though possibly with attribution)", not necessarily "free of the TDM universe royalty". 😉

    List currently To be added (TBA)

     

    Historical background music - lute and similar string instruments

    La Rossignol ("The Nightingale"} - a Renaissance era piece, anonymous composer. This one was written as an instrumental duet for two musicians. So, if you'd use this for a scene of AI characters playing their instruments, you should use two such characters for added believability.

    Here's what the composition sounds like when played as a duet on:

    - lute (obviously the most medieval/Renaissance instrumentation)

    - acoustic guitar (example 1) and acoustic guitar (example 2)

    - 11-string guitar what it sounds when played as a duet on an 11-string guitar

    - licensed album version (presumably lute)

    If you find any royalty-free version in good quality, let me know.

     

    Lachrimae ("Tears", sometimes known as "Seven Teares") by John Dowland - another Elizabethan era piece, by a 16th-17th century composer. Various reconstructions:

    - on lute (example solo performance at the Metropolitan Museum)

    - on lute, with vocal accompaniment (lutist and female soprano)

    on lute, violas, and other (six musician ensemble performance)

    - on viola da gamba (five musician ensemble performance)

     

    Lachrimae Pavan ("Teary Pavane / Pavane of the Tears") by John Dowland - a variation on the previous composition, for the Renaissance pavane style dance. Various reconstructions:

    - on lute

    - on acoustic guitar (example 1), (example 2), (example 3)

    Again, I'd like to find a royalty-free version of these two compositions.

     

    Frog Galliard - one more by Dowland, for now. Another composition for a Renaissance dance style, the galliard. Reconstructions:

    - on lute (solo performance)

    - on lute, deeper sound (solo performance)

    - on acoustic guitar (example 1), (example 2), (example 3)

    Royalty-free version would be appreciated.

     

    Greensleeves - by an anonymous 16th century author, quite possibly a folk song of the era. Trust me, you know this one, even if you don't know the name. It's one of the most well-known bits of Renaissance secular and courtly music in the popular imagination. (Trust me, it's been referenced in everything. Even the first Stronghold game from the early 2000s had an in-game character sing a made-up ditty to the tune/melody of this song.)

    Reconstructions:

    - on lute (solo performance)

    - classical guitar (solo performance)

    - acoustic guitar (solo performance)

    I bet there's a royalty-free version of this one somewhere. I'll snoop around, and if you find one before I do, let me know.

     

    In taberna quando sumus ("When we are at the tavern") - anonymous period song from the 14th century, of Goliard origin. Written and sung entirely in Latin (so if you can explain Latin within the TDM setting or use only an instrumental version, go for it). An unabashed drinking song, you could use this for more rascally Builder priests/monks or for various commoners and lower-ranking noblemen while they're having a good time at the inn. A pretty well-known song even nowadays (though the most famous melody for it might be the more recent arrangement). Reconstructions:

    - example performance 1

    - example performance 2

    Again, an entirely royalty-free version of this one could come in handy.

     

    Historical background music - by Jon Sayles

    Jon Sayles is a musician who runs the Free Early and Renaissance Music website. His recordings are in .mp3 format (so you will need a conversion to .ogg and he's made them all freely available. The instrument he used for his musical reconstructions is the classical guitar. Some examples of Sayles' reconstructions of period music by anonymous or known authors:

    Saltarello, based on the late-medieval and Renaissance dance tune from Italy

    Madrigal by Anthony Holborne

    Al fonsina by Johannes Ghiselin

    Ich weiss nit by Ludwig Senfl

    So ys emprentid by John Bedyngham, mid-1400s

    Riu, riu, chiu, famous 15th century Spanish Christmas carol

    Fantasia, by Orlando Gibbons, late 16th and early 17th century

    Die Katzenpfote, German-speaking lands, anonymous author, 15th century

    A gre d'amors, 14th century, anonymous French author

    Nightengale (unrelated to La Rossignol), by Thomas Weelkes

    El Grillo, 15th to early 16th century composition by Josquin des Prez

    The Witches' Dance, by anonymous, Renaissance English composition

    Ma fin est mon comencement, by 14th century composer Guillame de Machaut

    In Nomine, late 15th and early 16th century composition by John Taverner

    Ricercare ("ricker-caré", nothing to do with rice or care), by Adrian Willaert

    Fantasia by Thomas Lupo, 16th-17th century English composer

    The Nite Watch, composed by Anthony Holborne - appropriate for TDM :D

    Plenty more where these came from...

     

    Historical background music - from the A-M Classical website

    This website offers plenty of freely available, royalty-free .mp3s of early and classical musical compositions and instrumental songs.

    The only thing you need to do is provide attribution, as everything on the site is via a Creative Commons license (this is noted on every page).

    Counting Christmas songs from the Middle Ages and Renaissance alone, I was able to download loads of them already years and years ago.

    Though they're far from epic recordings, if you're just looking for a competently done free version of these compositions, this is an excellent site.

    A few examples of medieval music from the A-M Classical site: Angelus ad Virginem (played quietly on organ), Diex soit en cheste maison by Adam de la Halle (organ and other instruments), Greensleeves (this is for a carol version of the lyrics, but the melody is the same as standard Greensleeves)

     

    Historical background music - by Vox Vulgaris

    The Swedish band/ensemble Vox Vulgaris aren't very active nowadays, but they did plenty of early music recording in the early-to-mid 2000s. From what I've read about their song releases, they're okay with others using the songs from their 2003 album and other material they've done. I don't know if their website is still around (there's an archived version) and whether you can still contact the band members, but if you'd like to be extra sure and ask, go ahead. I don't think they've changed their copyleft stance to their own works, but it pays off to be sure.

    So, here are some of VV's own takes on period music:

    Cantiga 166 - based on the eponymous song (full title "Cantiga 166 - Como póden per sas culpas (os homés seer contreitos)"), by Spanish composer Alphonso X from the 13th century (yes, king Alphonso X ! They didn't call him Alphonso the Learned for nothing). To provide you with a point of comparison, here, here and here are versions by other artists. (If I remember correctly, this particular VV song was also used by moonbo in his Requiem FM, as part of an inn's muffled background music. I did a real double-take when I played the mission for the first time and recognised it.)

    Cantiga 213 - based on the eponymous song (full title "Cantiga 213 - Quen sérve Santa María, a Sennor mui verdadeira"), again by Spanish composer, king Alphonso X from the 13th century. To provide you with a point of comparison, here and here are versions by other artists. 

    Saltarello - based on the well-known melody for the Italian late-medieval Renaissance dance, the saltarello (also the saltarello trotto specifically in this case). To provide you a point of comparison, here and here are versions by other artists.

    La Suite Meurtrière - I can't quite source this one, it might be their own original composition, though "in the style of" some particular period music.

    Rókatánc (Fox Dance) - this is a really wild bit of period dance and festive music, possibly Hungarian-inspired, given the name. I think this would fit both a tavern environment or some public event for the nobility and patricians, including an armed sparring tournament or similar.

     

    Final note from me

    New suggestions are always welcome as I expand this thread. For any suggestions concerning Kevin MacLeod's royalty-free music, please use the other thread I've already made, purely for listing MacLeod's stuff.

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