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Fan Mission: The Phrase Book by Sotha (2012/05/12)


The Phrase Book  

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  1. 1. Gameplay: Enjoyment. Fun duration. Smooth flow, ect. Versus Bugs. Frustration, Boredom, framelag

  2. 2. Appearance: Visual pleasure, lighting, visual style, deduct bad texturing etc.

  3. 3. Story & Text: Story. Text. Briefing. Graphic storytelling



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It has to be said...

The AI feels very "alive" on this mission. They have complex patrol routes, interract with eachother more than in other missions (like the conversation near the start), and are generally unpredictable.

I saw the nobleman walking around downstairs. He sat at a desk, went and sat at the piano, went upstairs into the bedroom, went to the bathroom, and so fourth. I saw the noblewoman sleeping, then later she was going down the hall (I hadn't woken her up). The nobleman also busted me later in the basement when I came out of the water.

 

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

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Thomas Porter is back in a TDM FM called...   The Phrase Book by Sotha     Release notes: If you find something called "softened lead ball" do note that it will not KO AI in TDM 1.07. Once 1.08 comes

RITs are a network of path nodes the mapper places in his mission. There are decision making nodes and normal path_nodes. The AI targets a decision making node, which sends the AI to any normal node

There's plenty of room for the guard to get through the door safely.   Could the door have been partially open when this happened? There's a problem with partially-opened doors that causes circling, a

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I just LOVE the patrols in this mission!

 

I've probably said this before, but I very much enjoy gameplay that rewards methods and tactics rather than memorization, and I feel that this mission does that. The more complicated patrols with random elements encourage you to stay cautious and prepare for the unexpected rather than let yourself fall into a sense of security once you've figured out how the AI patrol.

 

After playing this mission I really wish more FMs worked this way. This felt "right" to me in so many ways.

 

Congrats! :D

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Haven't gotten back to the tower yet but completed everything else. (Guess I'll have to go through the front door?)

 

Good:

Maps overlaid in the briefing.

Custom music, sounds.

Great looking rooftop cityscape.

Conversation right off the bat.

Lockpicking thief was a nice touch.

The gas leak traps were great. It tied in with the reason for using rooftops.

Burnt scroll in fireplace.

Electric generator and display cases.

Water trapdoor. I don't know what the switch did though.

Not too much lockpicking needed for most cabinets and chests.

RITs and lots of relights. Including the one in the backyard.

Large rooms that felt natural.

 

Bugs?

10 of everything in the shop necessary? Holy water for instance. You decide.

Possible unpickupable loot bag near sleeping guard, 2nd floor.

2nd floor bathtub water was a bit wonky.

 

 

Edited by jaxa
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Great mission - completed on medium difficulty - now to do it on hard and find all the areas I missed as I didn't explore the castles much.

 

The gas arrow etc. were an interesting find and I assumed that was the thief's cache

 

There was a bit of stuttering including sound in the study/library but that may have been my computer doing something else in the background as I had no problems elsewhere

I must admit I wasted quite a bit of time

trying to get into the locked door at the beginning - looked for a key which the burglar seemed to be trying to pick up and waiting to see if he would open it

 

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I'm just sad that I couldn't cause a nuclear explosion by firing a gas arrow at the fire spouts. Maybe I should have used a fire arrow?

 

Refer to T2X combustion arrows.

Edited by jaxa
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Pretty nice classical mission. And it shows that the mod has some legs to do larger spaces if ruthlessly optimized (still want to see something like little-big world or the larger dracula fm-series levels though)

 

Was there only the one secret or are there more?

 

I'd like to see more

 

traps!

 

on other FMs. Is there anything that could be bundled on the dark mod to encourage that?

 

The way the AI pathfinded most places was nice too. I read they're somewhat directed-random Is that something general (a framework usable by other fm's) or the result of intensive tweaking and custom code?

Edited by i30817
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RITs are a network of path nodes the mapper places in his mission. There are decision making nodes and normal path_nodes. The AI targets a decision making node, which sends the AI to any normal node the decision making node targets.

 

The mapper can even influence the chance the AI have for doing things. For example the main door guard has orders something like "75% of the RITs cycle, guard the door. 25% do something else: take a walk, have a piss, ponder the philosophical essence of the street generator, warm hands in the nearby fire.

 

So no coding, just designing and placement of the node network. You can read more about them in the path node wiki article. It's under "random interesting things,RITs."

It is not complicated but needs some planning to make it right. Also, testing the network is more time consuming than the static patrols.

 

Maybe I should write a wiki article on the subject to share my knowledge on how to design and implement them.

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Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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The RITs are transformational to the experience. I played on expert (3 ko limit), and having less predictable AI made the whole mission very intense (not done, still working my way back to the starting area). It is never safe! I had many moments where I was sure I was going to be spotted but managed to inch away just in time.

Nearly knocked over my coffee when I was hiding next to a sofa in the ballroom and the lady of the house took a seat!

I suspect RITs could be handled very badly, but you have utilized that system to superb effect. This is definitely the route I will take in my mission. There are several places I know of, and undoubtedly several more I don't know of, that I have not yet visited, due to this difficulty of exploring. I think overall that is a good thing.

 

The RITs tended to push me into "opportunity" decisions rather than "planned" decisions. I had planned to take the route that would lead me toward the back entrance of the mansion, but the way the patrols lined up, I made a dash for what was available, and that took me the other way....to the front door. I confess my entrance there was based on luck and a reload. :) Inside the house, this changed me from my typical style of "thoroughly check this area before moving on to the next" into "get where you can get when you can get there...and hope for a chance later to see the rest." I suspect some players would be dismayed by this, but I loved it. Very intense, especially on expert, when you can't do much to reduce the number of patrols. (In fact, I haven't knocked anyone out.)

 

I also appreciated the many well implemented conversations between AI. I particularly liked

the interaction between the noble's house guard and the city watch in the marketplace

I have a feeling that some parts of the story will make more sense if I manage to access areas I haven't yet seen. For instance, the fellow

about to hang himself

though I confess that I only today have remembered how to turn pages in the books. I will need to get back in game and see if I missed things that way.

 

I did not realize the candles were one-action-to-extinguish until very late in the mission

the first candle I even tried to extinguish was the one down in the secret part of the cellar

.

 

I did

get on a rooftop early on which I believe was meant to be inaccessible...I see from this thread someone else got to the same spot.

I also see from this thread that you have randomized some of the elements of gameplay, and I look forward to playing this one again.

 

The layout and architecture are quite simply extraordinary and remind me of Melan's work. There is a distinct ebb/flow to the progress through the mission, and I appreciate the evident thought you gave to the matter.

 

Such a high bar!

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One of the aspects of RIT is that you can stay in a room for a long time and see no one.

 

And at another time, you could come back to the same room to find it bustling with characters.

 

It all depends on where the randomness of RIT sends them.

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Maybe I should write a wiki article on the subject to share my knowledge on how to design and implement them.

 

That would be awesome. I'd love to see more missions feature these kinds of patrols (and if I can ever get anything done I'd love to give this a try this as well).

 

 

On somewhat of a side note, an amusing side-effect of this is that stuffing unconscious victims into latrines is no longer a safe method of concealing them. :D

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Quick question about the basement

 

according to the diary it looks as though that is where the book is this time however I can't find the hidden switch to open the door behind the tapestry in the cellar Is there a readable giving more information

 

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Oldjim:

I learned what to do by watching the master of the house go through

 

 

Non-hint answer to Oldjim:

click the button on the light next to the tapestry. A similar button on the light inside the next area will close/open it as well

 

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Finished on hardest setting - I tried to avoid any knockouts but had to do one

to save the poor would be suicide

and all the loot (I admit to cheating to find one on top of a wardrobe)

Really enjoyable mission and a bit of a challenge with the random guard movements and the fact that they kept relighting everything

The method re basement suggested by ithel above was a really good idea even if I needed a bit of patience waiting for it to happen

One suggestion - make finding the thief's cache an objective at least on the hardest setting

Edited by Oldjim
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You want to wait 2-3 months for 1.08 to play Phrase Book, instead of playing it now and then again with 1.08?

Intel Sandy Bridge i7 2600K @ 3.4ghz stock clocks
8gb Kingston 1600mhz CL8 XMP RAM stock frequency
Sapphire Radeon HD7870 2GB FLeX GHz Edition @ stock @ 1920x1080

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Almost finished (I guess) and enjoyed the Mission very much (although I died some times due to experimental jumping - that way I learned that the FLOOR IS LAVA! and must not be touched). I actually did not realize the RIT-random-pathing-thing until I read about it here. In game I just wondered why I had to wait so long for an AI to come around... it felt better though, so this is the future!

Since it was mentioned: I fully approve that you can buy everything in the shop, although you will not need everything. Feels more realistic to me. I will always trust the mapper to provide a minimum of essential arrows and flasks in game... and if not... a restart is always possible.

I didn't like the KO-limit, but that's only because I like clubbing.

In short: very good mission and will be re-played for sure!

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I know it has been said over and over, but this mission is probably the only mission I have played where the whole mission feels like it is living and breathing!

 

The conversations between NPC's, the story telling -

The guy about to hang himself is a good example, the fact he looks like he is really contemplating killing himself.. walking randomly between the noose room and the bedroom to get another bottle to pluck up his courage - then loosing his nerve and weeping - the behaviour was priceless

. It was all superbly executed, and really showcased what options are now available to mappers to make a more immersive experience compared to what we had say 2-3 years ago.

 

I knew there was some random loot placement with the objective item moving around on playthroughs, but I had NO IDEA that guard patrols now had a random element until I was in the mission - and it led to some TRUELY TENSE moments.

 

 

I was trying to figure out the patrol path of the lord of the manor, I noticed he had been walking between rooms for some time, but just couldn't time how long he took to get full circle back to the cellar near the stairs... he didn't come for a LONG time. so when he did finally go downstair's to the cellar and resurfaced a few minutes later I thought I would have plenty of time to loot and get back up the well lit staircase again before he came back... WRONG. On my way up I had not extinguished the lamps as I wanted to save water arrows.... I got back to the top of the stairs and there he was turning the corner towards me! I literally jumped in surprise as he almost spotted me... I U-turned back into a semi-shadow behind me on the staircase a few feet away and extinguished the torch... he was coming towards me the whole time and if he caught up I would have been spotted. I had to run down to the bottom while he relit the torch - go back into the cellar and hide behind the door - a close call!

 

 

The fact it was truely unexpected meant I had to improvise a lot, and it really tested my taffing skills rather than my ability to remember a patrol path!

 

There is so much replay value in this I finished on the hardest difficulty without being spotted but I noticed there was at least another 2k loot to find - going for my second run through now :)

 

Cheers Sotha, your a legend.

 

P.S - I turned off the generator outside... does this stop me opening display cases?

Edited by Scope
-Scope
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Thanks for the heart warming feedback! I'm glad you have enjoyed the mission so much.

 

 

 

The outside generator controls only the lights nearby. It is good for distraction & easyish entrance via the front door.

 

 

 

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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