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Thief revisited and compared


Fidcal
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There was a moment in Glenham Tower where I tried to use the old busted machine and it broke apart and the thief said something like "hmm" and I just LOLed because it was so perfect for the moment, the wry consternation :)

 

Hey, nice you noticed that one! When I browsed the sounds and spotted that I just *had* to use it in the broken portcullis lever. Little bit of detail...

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Hmmmmm, sorry, either my TV won´t let me 'hear' it or I got it wrong. Is that the are at the beginning and where later the alternate exit is? My old savegames are not working anymore, always I´m at the beginning with the stock items but no weapons and a decreased HP-bar.

The only machine I remember is the one on that alternate exit. Hmm, more clearance please. :rolleyes:

-> Crisis of Capitalism

-> 9/11 Truth

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(hard stuff), more
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Just started Rose Cottage and frankly I think it is visually better than anything I've seen in Dark Mod. Yes, probably technically you can point out things that can be surpassed in more modern engines but the author has avoided and side stepped these, focusing on the strengths rather than the weaknesses of the Dark engine.

 

My jaw dropped and remained dropped which along with the tension and fear evoked in this FM I didn't realize how dry my mouth was until I had to quit for the day. It's Thief 2 alright, but not as we know it. No Garrett in this one; you are a Victorian paranormal investigator. Sensational. Unendurably atmospheric. Glorious.

 

post-400-128471501951_thumb.jpg post-400-128471503227_thumb.jpg

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Saturnine is indisputable a true artist genius-style. What he did in Rose Cottage visually is worth an Oscar!! A true masterpiece. I simply loved the moment when that huge gate opens slowly supported by a moody ambient sound, which raises curiosity and tension, and then you see that huge fantastic house. You'll get some even better shots of it in the later game. There also are some very nice shock effects...

 

I had some technical issues with this FM though. Some textures didn't seem to support proper mip-mapping resulting in very strong alias resulting in rather poor performance(Especially the kitchen floor as can be seen in the screenshot).

post-684-128471664566_thumb.jpg

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My jaw dropped and remained dropped which along with the tension and fear evoked in this FM I didn't realize how dry my mouth was until I had to quit for the day. It's Thief 2 alright, but not as we know it. No Garrett in this one; you are a Victorian paranormal investigator. Sensational. Unendurably atmospheric. Glorious.

 

Boohoo! How utterly demoralizing to see such a magnificent attention to detail on such an old engine. :(

 

I'm currently struggling with my mansion exterior. It either looks like doom 1 without much detail, or then it is one way trip to choppyland. Too much ground to cover, too difficult portalizing..

 

I'll hope the gameplay makes up the lack of details..

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Not sure why such masters hesitate to step up and create such an impact with a more capable and flexible engine. Is it a matter of "good enough?" Doubtful that, but then why not? Any of a number of big names in the Thief FMing community seem poised and waiting, but why the wait? (For the case of Gaetane, we know the reason as stated by her -- she wants to finish Black Frog before diving in.)

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Saturnine is indisputable a true artist genius-style.

 

I think it is a bit pointless to compare the "technical" aspects of Thief 1/2 against the technical aspects from TDM, and then mixing in the "artistic" capabilities of mappers into this discussion.

 

TDM is definitely technical better. However, that doesn't mean that someone will be able to do "artistically" better in one or the other engine. To think so is thinking that someone will be "artistically" better with photography than with water colors, just because the photography is technologically better able to depict real scenes... Treu artists will do things with a bit of string, a rock and a piece of paper that people like me can't even think of doing with any support whatsoever.

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

 

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

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@Sneaksie

 

Well, Saturnine said he was done with his first map (forgot the name). Then we had like 2 years before he announced work on this, then another what, 3+ years before he got help and released it?

 

He is good, so it doesn't suprise me this one looks good.

 

But this one was in the works long before TDM was released. Don't know if he'll ever even make another map so that's probably as big a reason for him not to come over as any.

 

Alot of the other authors have WIPs thatthey don't want to abandon. I know Yandros has stated he might try TDM, but he has like 4 unfinished projects going...

 

Alot of those authors too have been Dromeding for along time, they know it like the back of their hand, they know tricks around all the limitations, etc..

Do they want to relearn everything all over, most don't.

TDM is pretty easy to dive in and get the basics done, it's even not bad with more complicated stuff, but it's a new learning curve either way.

Dark is the sway that mows like a harvest

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I think it is a bit pointless to compare the "technical" aspects of Thief 1/2 against the technical aspects from TDM, and then mixing in the "artistic" capabilities of mappers into this discussion.

Which is why I didn't do that. :D I was just commenting on Fidcal's post about how great looking "Rose Cottage" is and wanted to pay my respect to the Author of the FM, by the name of Saturnine. I would love to see some DR-work by him too, as well as Eshaktaar. I believe the latter even commented on TTLG, that he might try it eventually. So let's hope for the best.

 

By the way, I just today checked out Sikkmod, the graphictweak D3-mod of the upper thread of Sikkpin at doom3world posted by rich. The Screen Space Ambient Occlusion does manage to impress quite a BYTE (Yes, 8 times as much as a bit ;) )! It would improve TDM soooo much really. The framerate drop was very noticeable on my machine though. Would definitely need to upgrade to run it smoothly in TDM. The soft-shadow implementation does look rather chubby in some cases though.

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I released my FM on the same day as Rose Cottage, Halloween last year. Actually 4 FMs got released that day (not counting HappyCheese's TDM internal halloween FM; so 5 for some of us). Quite a special day. I couldn't mind my FM getting overshadowed because I felt more like it was in such awesome company.

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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Had to leave RC for a while because no matter how great it looks I got stuck and don't see how to proceed and anyway I can't resist looking at another FM.

 

I got Rocksburg 1, 2, and 3 - disappointed to see 4 is still not finished. This guy has been working on this 6 mission campaign since about 2004 I think (1 was released in 2005.) It was the one I remember. 1 has the glorious cramped city and starts overlooking some roof and chimney smoke and lovely city sounds which, as I've said, was the inspiration for the sounds in Thief's Den. They really add life to an FM.

 

I'm not one for replaying FMs especially since there are so many I've not played so I skipped forward after 20 minutes to 2. Again, it's one I played before so after a while I skipped to 3.

 

This has a keeper compound which 'feels' and looks better to me than the one in TDS. It is dark and grimy and strange. Huge library and desks everywhere. It's kind of a cross between a Victorian 1984 and Harry Potter feel to me.

 

The lighting in Thief interests me because it looks good but even with dark textures I can clearly see all the main details around an area. Yet there is good contrast so it's not that the ambient light is too high. In Dark Mod I wonder if some of this dark detail would be lost at this level of ambient. Well, I'm looking at a well lit Thief FM, I certainly remember ones that were flat and too high an ambient.

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Which is why I didn't do that. :D I was just commenting on Fidcal's post about how great looking "Rose Cottage" is and wanted to pay my respect to the Author of the FM, by the name of Saturnine. I would love to see some DR-work by him too, as well as Eshaktaar. I believe the latter even commented on TTLG, that he might try it eventually. So let's hope for the best.

 

By the way, I just today checked out Sikkmod, the graphictweak D3-mod of the upper thread of Sikkpin at doom3world posted by rich. The Screen Space Ambient Occlusion does manage to impress quite a BYTE (Yes, 8 times as much as a bit ;) )! It would improve TDM soooo much really. The framerate drop was very noticeable on my machine though. Would definitely need to upgrade to run it smoothly in TDM. The soft-shadow implementation does look rather chubby in some cases though.

 

SSAO is a great visual improvement but... Currently two "modes" can be selected for an active "vfp" so it would have to be weighed against HDR or added to HDR (very costly) for the high-end mode. When Doom 3 goes open source then it may be possible to have more diverse settings available so that (for example) you could enable HDR without SSAO if your system cant handle it. I do agree that SSAO is one of the better options as things like Parallax mapping are a bit more gimmicky (but could have their uses...). JC Denton actually was advocating that AO maps be created for all the texture assets as that would take less of a toll than calculating AO in real-time (but then you have a ton of assets to create or remake...)...

 

 

What the hell? More info please! Next halloween is ahead, so... :rolleyes:

 

Yeah HappyCheeze, what's the score on this FM :)

Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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Had to leave RC for a while because no matter how great it looks I got stuck and don't see how to proceed and anyway I can't resist looking at another FM.

 

I got Rocksburg 1, 2, and 3 - disappointed to see 4 is still not finished. This guy has been working on this 6 mission campaign since about 2004 I think (1 was released in 2005.) It was the one I remember. 1 has the glorious cramped city and starts overlooking some roof and chimney smoke and lovely city sounds which, as I've said, was the inspiration for the sounds in Thief's Den. They really add life to an FM.

 

I'm not one for replaying FMs especially since there are so many I've not played so I skipped forward after 20 minutes to 2. Again, it's one I played before so after a while I skipped to 3.

 

This has a keeper compound which 'feels' and looks better to me than the one in TDS. It is dark and grimy and strange. Huge library and desks everywhere. It's kind of a cross between a Victorian 1984 and Harry Potter feel to me.

 

The lighting in Thief interests me because it looks good but even with dark textures I can clearly see all the main details around an area. Yet there is good contrast so it's not that the ambient light is too high. In Dark Mod I wonder if some of this dark detail would be lost at this level of ambient. Well, I'm looking at a well lit Thief FM, I certainly remember ones that were flat and too high an ambient.

 

I adore DrK's work, he is superb, and a great story teller. I helped test his last mission, that for me was like testing a fine wine. I had so much fun testing that mission. He was so open to suggestions, we had some really WEIRD bugs to deal with. Nothing like testing for a great author, it was a privilege.

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When Doom 3 goes open source then it may be possible to have more diverse settings available so that (for example) you could enable HDR without SSAO if your system cant handle it.

Oh man, and why would that be necessary? You can just add both techniques and include toggle cvars, just like it is down in Sikkmod. No problem!! When activating SSAO, fps went down by 25. At a lower resolution (1280x800 instead of 1680x1050) it didn't even have an effect on fps anymore. And I must say, I'd be willing to play TDM on lower resolution if I get this effect in return. It raises visual quality sooooo much. No more hard edges!!

 

JC Denton actually was advocating that AO maps be created for all the texture assets as that would take less of a toll than calculating AO in real-time (but then you have a ton of assets to create or remake...)...

That's a totally different matter the AO will be only on texture-basis then, but the global Scene won't get any AO.

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The "only two" vfp option restriction is something I gathered from one of the other forum threads here but it may no longer be a restriction with JC Denton on the team so there ya go... The team is conservative about these types of changes for the sake of stability and to ensure that the existing art is compatible.

 

If you are really ambitious, nothing would stop you from looking at the TDM source code and figuring out how to apply Sikkmod to TDM (many of Sikkpin's vfp elements may be compatible with JC Denton's, there are tons of multi-mod packs out there that do this very thing for Doom 3...).

 

If everything in the environment has a texture then baking AO into every texture would have the affect of applying AO to the whole environment. I agree, however, that calculating AO in real-time would be more accurate. Is that quality difference worth the FPS drop? If Sikkpin or JC Denton (or TRSGM) figures out a less taxing way to do SSAO before Doom 3 goes open source then maybe it might be considered for inclusion in a new release but (now) that's less than a year away at which time the Z-Buffer will be accessible. It'll be an interesting race anyway.

 

SSAO won't stifle all the howls from Thief 2 fans who like the look of Light Maps because it's just one component of the GI used that can be baked into a light map. I know I sound like a broken record but the Strombine technique is the best chance to out-do light maps because you can bake as many GI effects into the projection image as you want. It's flexible because it's emitted via a real light source. If you wanted to get crazy you could project multiple overlapping Strombine images and do hollywood style light-composites.

 

Keep in perspective too that lighting techniques are dwarfed by the impact of texture quality. With Melan and Serpentine on the case, we are already seeing huge visual jumps.

 

Then, finally, without any major changes to anything an artist that is adapted to the look of Doom 3 can blow away all the lighting tricks we can imagine. Just look at Arcturus's map in the Upcoming Fan Missions area. The look is perfectly pitched for Doom 3's strengths. It's not immediately comparable to Thief 1/2 but instead clearly shows that this type of comparison is "Apples and Oranges" because the engines offer resources that appeal to different art-styles. If you don't like Arcturus's taste then you probably wont be convinced but I would certainly love to see more artists who know how to carve a niche style from this engine... I think Bikerdude, Melan, and Baddcog have all shown similar specialized aptitudes.

Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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If you are really ambitious, nothing would stop you from looking at the TDM source code and figuring out how to apply Sikkmod to TDM

Let's just leave posting statements like that to actual team members, shall we?! ;)

 

If everything in the environment has a texture then baking AO into every texture would have the affect of applying AO to the whole environment.

...which is only possible with lightmaps, unless you want to create dozens of instances of the same diffusemap with different AO maps baked on it. You know, the results of AO are mainly dependent of the scenestructure and not the texture, so e.g. every square-meter of texture would need it's own dedicated diffusemap with baked AO on it. That's simply nonsense, I am sorry.

 

I agree, however, that calculating AO in real-time would be more accurate.

It is impossible with the PCs of today to render real-time Ambient Occlusion in a decent quality and SSAO is by far not as accurate. So A lightmap would always be preferable, BUT we can't do anything about lightmaps (as long as D3 is closed) besides faking the whole charade with the time-consuming Strombine-approach. There is also the problem that a lightmap does not react to complex light changes or moving objects, SSAO on the contrary can obviously do both and yes, it is worth the fps drop. You should really check it out first and play a little with the settings before arguing any further. To me, it poses an even bigger improvement than the current HDR works, because everything looks much less like a synthesized scene and even a scene with great textures can profit from a less artificial look.

 

 

I know I sound like a broken record

Yes, you do. :P

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name='STiFU' date='19 September 2010 - 01:08 PM' timestamp='1284916126' post='232114']

Let's just leave posting statements like that to actual team members, shall we?! ;)

 

 

I wasn't talking about modifying the SVN source. Just make your own personal build.

 

I have seen some fairly rough replies when folks ask the devs for graphic tweaks so I figured I'd pre-emptively offer a diplomatic "community member" answer. Feel free to ask any Dev whatever you want and however you want...

 

 

...which is only possible with lightmaps, unless you want to create dozens of instances of the same diffusemap with different AO maps baked on it. You know, the results of AO are mainly dependent of the scenestructure and not the texture, so e.g. every square-meter of texture would need it's own dedicated diffusemap with baked AO on it. That's simply nonsense, I am sorry.

 

AO, as currently implemented is dependent on your view of the scene. It merely means that as a surface faces away from you or is farther from you the ambient gets darker. This behavior can be approximated in a number of ways. The more accurate the approximation the bigger the toll on performance...

 

It is impossible with the PCs of today to render real-time Ambient Occlusion in a decent quality and SSAO is by far not as accurate. So A lightmap would always be preferable, BUT we can't do anything about lightmaps (as long as D3 is closed) besides faking the whole charade with the time-consuming Strombine-approach. There is also the problem that a lightmap does not react to complex light changes or moving objects, SSAO on the contrary can obviously do both and yes, it is worth the fps drop. You should really check it out first and play a little with the settings before arguing any further. To me, it poses an even bigger improvement than the current HDR works, because everything looks much less like a synthesized scene and even a scene with great textures can profit from a less artificial look.

 

 

The Strombine approach has the additional advantage that the whole projection image can be modified in real-time. If you created a specific ambient projection for each light source then the the ambient could react on a per-projection image basis. Whether this would be more expensive than SSAO is a tough one and would have to be tested. That does not say that you couldn't go crazy and have SSAO and multiple dynamic projection images (if you have absolutely no mercy on the low-enders).

 

I will give Sikkmod a go anyway to see the SSAO in action (screen-shots don't always tell the whole story).

 

Yes, you do. :P

 

 

We are kindred here I think because you bring up AO as often as I do Strombine :laugh:

Edited by nbohr1more

Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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I have seen some fairly rough replies when folks ask the devs for graphic tweaks so I figured I'd pre-emptively offer a diplomatic "community member" answer. Feel free to ask any Dev whatever you want and however you want...

Yeah, I guess I'll start a thread in the internal forums soonish. This discussion is too easy to miss. :) I've already taken a couple of screenshots demonstrating the technique and some problems with it. However, since the cold I am dealing with since quite some time now has gotten worse today, I am not in the mood to write a detailed report...

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