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Fidcal

Thief revisited and compared

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I think the issue with "closed" FMs isn't about blocking rooms per se, but that a lot of FMs, story-based ones, like to lead up to some climax so get really get a sense of build-up over the mission, and it gives you a real feeling of accomplishment when you complete it. If you could walk straight from the beginning to the climax in 30 seconds, everything else would be sort of anti-climactic and you'd have to justify an extra hour of playing and the whole rest of the mission when you already finished off the big climax in 30 seconds.

 

There are a few ways around this issue. One is to mix open-play with linear "story" sequences, like Ominous Bequest or Gaetane's FMs do well. (Or linear side-shows, sometimes optional). Or make some complex layering of glorified-keyhunts: different things that open up different areas in different ways and that could be done in different orders, like a lot of FMs do.

 

Another is to have a series of scenes that the player can do in any order, but they have to do all of them to get to the climax. This is like Equilibrium or Rowena's Curse, or any type where you have to get all the "key-pieces" to get the master key (people seem to be a fan of them being elemental)... Or a variation on that is to set up some puzzle over the whole field that you can do in any order, like what Ottoj55 likes to do (Way of the Sword, Fortress by the Sea).

 

Another way to do it is just have a lot of mini-climaxes, for whichever way you want to go, where the FM seems to just keep outdoing itself. So you still feel like you're getting climaxes even if you go in different orders. This is what Lord Alan did with Lord Alan's Fortress & especially Lord Alan's Factory, though those are still not entirely open.

 

The most *open* types you can get I think are like that, but where you really can run anywhere in a few minutes and it's all open, but there are just a lot of different scenes ... And it's not the "closed" part that draws the mission out, but just finding your way around. In this vein, I think an FM like Relic: Left for Dead is the most open style of FM -- there's just this massive mazy swamp, you could go any way and find things to do -- but can still have a good feeling of sequence and story and accomplishment.


What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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My favorite is a variation on layers, but with mental layers rather than physical. The mission builds up your understanding of it, and the climax comes when you have a revelation which spurs you to action. It's also one of the hardest types of storytelling to pull off, and not always appropriate.

 

There's nothing wrong with chokepoints for linear storylines though. You just have to sneakily merge the player's previous choices (e.g. all roads lead to Rome Angelwatch). Naturally, more parallel chokepoints give choices more meaning, which in turn leads to more investment from the player. It also adds replay value to the mission.

 

 

I played Lord Alan's Factory, and found it excellent up to a certain point. But the lack of a choice at that point just killed it for me. Objectives slavery is much worse than physical restaint; it disassociates you from your player character.

Edited by Mortal Monkey

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I can't help but think some of the Thief models would be useful to Dark Mod. Take a look at this bookcase. Imo it is better than our own. If that is too low poly then me wants low poly! The books are dull and dusty and mouldy. The whole thing looks completely believable.

 

post-400-128438057632_thumb.jpg post-400-128438059098_thumb.jpg

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Wow, I can instantly tell those books are from a law library. I think someone could make a Dark Mod equivalent easily enough using that as inspiration, with that look of age and dust.


What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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I was thinking less of inspiring a TDM model and more a direct export/conversion using the same textures. And what else is there. Anyone who can make models like this would probably be pleased to make them available to TDM. Maybe he only needs to save them out as .ase or whatever.

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I can't help but think some of the Thief models would be useful to Dark Mod. Take a look at this bookcase. Imo it is better than our own. If that is too low poly then me wants low poly! The books are dull and dusty and mouldy. The whole thing looks completely believable.

 

It's a nice shelf alright, but as said, very very low poly and low res.

 

I'm thinking that could it be that low-poly low-res leaves the player more room for imagination, filling the gaps in texture and model quality. When a book case is of high quality it just what it is, there is no room for imagination to fill it with mystery.

 

Just a thought.


Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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It's a nice shelf alright, but as said, very very low poly and low res.

 

I'm thinking that could it be that low-poly low-res leaves the player more room for imagination, filling the gaps in texture and model quality. When a book case is of high quality it just what it is, there is no room for imagination to fill it with mystery.

 

Just a thought.

 

But I don´t see much room for more polies on that shelf, it´s just a simple shelf, but every book seems touchable. Well, I don´t see it with your "eyes". :)


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Well, that MAY be a T2 object, but those are William the Taffers custom book skins.

 

He also released them for Morrowind (Better Books mod) I believe, and if we can get ahold of him I bet he'd let us use the books. It's a pretty large pack of textures if I remember correctly. The books/shelves themselves can be remodelled easy enough.

 

And better yet, would be good to make a few books with the skins. Then make stacks of books and rows of books. Then authors can choose an empty bookshelf and different groups of books/single books to put on shelfs.

 

I think right now that's the biggst thing, we have like 2 bookshelf variations but that doesn't go as far as more modular pieces would.


Dark is the sway that mows like a harvest

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I agree with that idea of making rows of books so the mapper can make different looking bookcases. This T2 one there are three of those bookcases in that one room. At first you don't notice unless you specifically look for it. But there are others in other rooms. They work pretty well but would be better with rows and half-rows and quarter-rows of books and blank shelves to fill

 

Definitely this does not replace our existing book cases - impossible because it would break existing maps unless they were identical in size, rows and positions of books because we already FMs with special items on those shelves which would be lost if obscured by books in new positions.

 

There are several book models in this same style in this FM. One is a pile of books. OK but you start to notice the same pile appearing in different places. Another pile has one book leaning against the pile. Again you start to notice the coincidence. But quite a few single books. There is also a rather nice half open book that is face down (if you can imagine an inverted V or A shape) as though the book had been carelessly dropped. But again, I've seen it several times in this FM; it should only be used once.

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Just finished playing "Returning a Favor" for T1. I still find myself whistling along with the guards and Hammerites while playing the game. After I get used to how the TDM guards whistle, I'll probably do the same thing while playing TDM. :)


--- War does not decide who is right, war decides who is left.

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One day we'll have audio input then you won't dare even cough. That might be quite tense with a guard searching close and holding your breathe in case he hears you...

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Yes, hold your breath or he'll hear you. :ph34r:

 

But slam all the doors you want, because you're the only one who can hear them anyways. :laugh:


yay seuss crease touss dome in ouss nose tair

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I did an experiment and set the sound of doors to alert AI. Unfortunately they get alerted by the sound regardless of who opens the door, including themselves. We need some code support before we can add that feature.

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Not sure if I like the idea of loud door closes alerting AI, but maybe. Of course it would require giving us a method of quiet door closing, but that might just be a pain in the butt to do so often. Yeah, sometimes I KNOW the area is pretty deserted and would feel free to just let the door slam normally, but most of the time I would feel compelled to do whatever controls required and close it quietly, and I think that would get old, but I'm not sure unless I tried it for a couple missions or so. It might be good for immersion after all, I'd have to give it a fair try.


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From a common sense standpoint, what precisely differentiates the sound of a builder closing a door, a thief closing a door, and a guard closing a door? The only time that a door close sound might be suspicious is if a AI is all alone in a place.

 

But that's still a stretch. So far the only game in which door open/close speed makes any practical difference is in the Penumbra series and the new Amnesia: The Dark Descent.


yay seuss crease touss dome in ouss nose tair

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The best way to look at this is the same as with the clickity-clack shoes, sorta: Assume that the thief in you is always closing the door quietly (maybe actually implement this by taking the sound way down for player door closings, maybe not). But, as for having it alert guards and such? No. 'Twoud be as wrong as having the clickity-clacks manifest in "reality" as they do in the players "head".


"A Rhapsody Of Feigned And Ill-Invented Nonsense" - Thomas Aikenhead, On Theology, ca. 1696

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The sound would be propagated so distance is a factor just as with dropping an object. If the value is set well then an AI very close to the door will go to full alert but one some distance away will just mutter or not notice. If this value is a spawnarg on the door with a decent default then for special cases like a deserted warehouse or a very busy street the mapper might change the value.

 

The player would normally open a door and generally be quickly aware who is around before closing a door. Mostly he can just close it normally as now. If an AI is close he would need to leave it open or close it quietly. The only method I can think of for that is for a special inventory 'tool' on a hotkey (so one key 'uses' it even if it is not selected.) The player uses it like a key, just highlights the door and presses the hotkey instead of the frob or use key. Hard to think what it might be named though as it makes no sense in the game universe. Perhaps the code can add an option to skip over an inventory object so even though it is in the inventory it is never seen so does not need a visible name, it's just a way of getting an extra key control.

 

Problems:

 

auto-close doors

 

big heavy portcullises with loud shut sounds v tiny teapot lids. Probably just set the spawnarg suitably I guess.

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Isn't there a CVar that makes it possible to open/close doors the same way you do in Penumbra present? One sec... yes, tdm_door_control although it doesn't appear to have all the bugs worked out.

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Yes, experimental but seems to work reasonably well. That might be the answer if it was integrated with some other method. Well I guess one could just toggle that cvar on another key just before using it but it needs some indication of the mode else frob closes the door normally.

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Originally it was part of the design documents for AI to notice doors that open in their line of sight, not so much the sound of it. It's awfully hard to suspend disbelief when you swing open a door right in front of a guard and he doesn't even blink. It was going to be a low level alert only--the kind of thing that would make a guard look at the spot for a moment, but that's it. And it would happen regardless of who opened the door (it's realistic for a guard to look over even if it's a friend coming through)

 

We don't have the code to support a visual alert at the moment though, which is why I tried an audio alert. It actually works rather well--if the AI is a few feet away they'll give a small mutter, "Hmm?" but won't turn their head. Any further away and they won't notice at all.

 

There are two problems though. AI alert themselves by opening and closing doors as they walk, which sounds silly. Further, because they're momentarily alert, their close door routine gets interrupted, so they never close doors after going through them.

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Guard opens door, says to self 'what are you born in a barn?', gets aggiated with self and leaves door open for spite. lol.


Dark is the sway that mows like a harvest

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It's awfully hard to suspend disbelief when you swing open a door right in front of a guard and he doesn't even blink.

 

Yeah, I agree with this. I tried once to brainstorm how it would be possible -from mapper point of view- to get an AI to deviate from normal path to check a room if he sees a door mysteriously open. I thought that if we had some kind of general purpose suspicion marker, similar to absence markers, except it would not provoke 'something is missing' -barks.

 

When the door is opened it would trigger a set of triggers, which place this suspicion marker in the doorway and then remove it. If the AI saw the marker, he would go to high enough alert level to make the AI to walk to the marker and look around a bit, like checking the room.

 

But yeah. There is no such marker, and I'm not sure how to prevent AI from agitating themselves with it. The door should somehow detect that it is the *player* opening it before triggering the marker on-marker off show.

 

Difficult stuff. :(


Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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