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


The Phrase Book  

52 members have voted

  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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I should be clearer..

.I did walk the tightrope and went through the building with the two thugs.  But on the other side I've tried multiple ways to get down to the city, including shooting a rope arrow into different awnings and climbing down.

Yet about six feet above the ground I instantly die no matter how I try to get down. Is this a bug? I don't recall any kind of instructions saying the streets were out of bounds for the mission.

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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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It says on the briefing:

This won't be easy. The manor is located on the Old Hill of Bridgeport. Old noble manors, palaces and castles litter the area, with narrow, easily guarded street in the between. Recently, a Gas Factory has been opened in the district and new kind of bright unextinguishable lights are located everywhere on the street level. Luckily for me, the lights are only on the ground level. My plan is to sneak in the Old Bell Tower during the day. Once the sun sets, I should make my way above the ground to the Manor Woodworth.

Main idea: lots of guards, and lights on the street: use the rooftops.

 

I chose poorly when I decided the player falling down should die so that they won't get stuck if they are out of rope arrows. For some reason, I did not take into account that the player could descend safely down with the rope arrows. :wacko:<_< I admit it was a stupid design blunder. Just don't try to go to the street level if the drop looks very long. Hopefully your experience isn't too crappy beceause of this.

 

Lesson to other mappers doing rooftop missions: don't make insta-death walls. Just put some stairs somewhere the player can use to reach the top level again.

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Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Finished the mission with some mixed feelings.

 

 

 

 

I'll state first that I'm not a huge fan of jumping and climbing missions in general, and I know this mission is designed with that in mind, so I can appreciate that I wasn't the target audience. I did a lot of falling and reloading, which made immersion somewhat difficult.

 

I'm pretty sure my impression of the mission also suffered somewhat because it was the first one I played after In the North. That's a damn hard map to follow.

 

 

 

 

I think I had a few unlucky experiences as well that weren't really the fault of the mission. First, the water trap did not work for me...I fell into it, and the water started to rise, but I swam to the top of the water and then suddenly I found myself standing back on the top of the closed trapdoor that I presumably fell into. I was stuck and couldn't move anywhere without noclipping. It all happened so fast I didn't even realize there was a different way out of the trap, and I couldn't get it to open again. That would have been a pretty compelling experience if it had worked as intended.

 

I also had one of the tower archers get stuck circling in front of a door for some reason, which made my way back to the bell-tower more difficult than it should have been.

 

The crying guy was a nice touch, and I was all ready to immerse myself in the moment and try to do a sympathy KO.... when he spotted me, aborted his crying and instantly tried to kill me. That kind of killed the immersion, as I couldn't even decide to grant his wish and kill him (I was playing on expert) and I had to run for my life instead. Never found the other journal and don't know if I would have risked going back even if I did.

 

I enjoyed the mansion part the most...it made me think of Knighton Manor again, where I felt like I was genuinely planning a heist. I didn't find it particularly difficult though...there were plenty of shadows and corners where I seemed completely safe. The book was relatively easy to find. I also didn't feel like there was much story involved in the mansion, unlike elsewhere. I may have missed some things, but I had no real sense of who the people were who lived there or why the book was special (other than what I had read in the briefing). The burned scroll was cool but I had no idea what it meant. I enjoyed finding the secret room...I had no clue to look there, but my thiefy senses tingled going into that room so I felt compelled to search. Then I saw the skid marks on the floor, which was a nice touch.

 

The end of the mission was a bit of a let-down, in story terms. After finding mines and fire arrows that I couldn't use on anyone, I was pretty sure I was going to see the Hag again. But the mission just ended somewhat abruptly leaving lots of questions. Was the book worthwhile? Does it actually have any information about the Hag?

 

Overall I had fun in the mission, and I can appreciate many of the technical achievements, like the RITs. I think perhaps the format of the rooftop mission is just not to my personal taste. It seems to force you into getting glimpses of multiple stories, but consequently never getting fully immersed in any of them.

 

 

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I think I had a few unlucky experiences as well that weren't really the fault of the mission. First, the water trap did not work for me...I fell into it, and the water started to rise, but I swam to the top of the water and then suddenly I found myself standing back on the top of the closed trapdoor that I presumably fell into. I was stuck and couldn't move anywhere without noclipping. It all happened so fast I didn't even realize there was a different way out of the trap, and I couldn't get it to open again. That would have been a pretty compelling experience if it had worked as intended.

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, there is a rare physics problem. In water, swimming upwards, the player can occasionally pass through geometry above them, the trap door in this case. I have no idea why. I tried various things to remove the possibility and in the end I got it to work in my tests. Apparently it still occurs and you got unlucky.

 

 

 

 

I also had one of the tower archers get stuck circling in front of a door for some reason, which made my way back to the bell-tower more difficult than it should have been.

Can you tell me which door and where? I'll check if there is problematic monster_clip in that area. If the area is fine, it must be an AI bug?

 

 

 

 

The crying guy was a nice touch, and I was all ready to immerse myself in the moment and try to do a sympathy KO.... when he spotted me, aborted his crying and instantly tried to kill me. That kind of killed the immersion, as I couldn't even decide to grant his wish and kill him (I was playing on expert) and I had to run for my life instead.

 

 

I balanced between the AI running away or fighting to the death and decided he was drunk/desperate enough to fight to the death. There was no viable option actually, since the area he was in was completely separate and there was no place to run to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I enjoyed the mansion part the most...it made me think of Knighton Manor again, where I felt like I was genuinely planning a heist. I didn't find it particularly difficult though...there were plenty of shadows and corners where I seemed completely safe. The book was relatively easy to find. I also didn't feel like there was much story involved in the mansion, unlike elsewhere. I may have missed some things, but I had no real sense of who the people were who lived there or why the book was special (other than what I had read in the briefing). The burned scroll was cool but I had no idea what it meant. I enjoyed finding the secret room...I had no clue to look there, but my thiefy senses tingled going into that room so I felt compelled to search. Then I saw the skid marks on the floor, which was a nice touch.

 

 

 

 

 

There are a few books and documents lying around the place which detail what is going on in the mansion. One of them even changes a bit upon each replay.

The overall amount of readables in this mission is not even near to the the extent of the documents present in "In the North." This was also a conscious decision of my part due to my impression of communities' view of the amount of readables: few punctual documents that are directly related to the task at hand and just a few flavour documents to enrich the world and it's inhabitants. The problem with the low amount of readables, it seems, is that the readable content seem very hollow if the player does not happen to find the documents.

 

This suggests that it is a good idea to

1) populate the mission with things and events

2) for each thing/event, add multiple low-info level documents written by multiple people which cover the same topic but a bit from a different angle.

 

 

 

 

 

The end of the mission was a bit of a let-down, in story terms. After finding mines and fire arrows that I couldn't use on anyone, I was pretty sure I was going to see the Hag again. But the mission just ended somewhat abruptly leaving lots of questions. Was the book worthwhile? Does it actually have any information about the Hag?

 

 

 

 

 

The problem in building a campaign with separate missions released consequently is that the author should avoid making big decisions about the next mission (that hasn't been built yet) in the current mission. This information will be presented in the beginning of the next TP mission if/when I get it done. As for a hag boss fight, I can't have one in every TP mission as it would get old ultra-fast.

 

 

 

Overall I had fun in the mission, and I can appreciate many of the technical achievements, like the RITs. I think perhaps the format of the rooftop mission is just not to my personal taste. It seems to force you into getting glimpses of multiple stories, but consequently never getting fully immersed in any of them.

 

Very unfortunate that the mission fell short for you in particular as I find your views in high regard. Since the mission was designed to be replayable, hopefully a replay at a later time will give you a more bug-free / enjoyable experience.

 

Thanks for playing and thanks for the review: I think I picked up some new pointers how to design things in the future.

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Can you tell me which door and where? I'll check if there is problematic monster_clip in that area. If the area is fine, it must be an AI bug?

 

 

<p>It was the archer directly opposite the suicidal guy.  He was outside on rooftop, walking a tight circle right in front of the door.  <br></p><p><br></p><p>

. As for a hag boss fight, I can't have one in every TP mission as it would get old ultra-fast.
</p><p><br></p><p>Yes, that's a valid point.  I think even a ten second video, or a voice-over, or something, that got across the point that the book is going to be important ("Now to settle in and see what I can learn about this creature....") or something would have added a bit more of a sense of satisfaction.

 

I forgot to mention that I thought the flame jets were very clever, and the slow fade-out of the glow when you turn off the generator was a very nice touch that stood out.  The lock-picking guy was also nice (hit me up for specialized animations next time if you like).

 

Maybe I'll go the other way next time...I get the sense I missed some good conversations.  In fact, I think I only heard one.  The two thugs in the first room played the first time I played (though I missed most of it because I was too far away to hear).  I had to restart after dying in the street, and the second time I played I didn't hear that conversation.

 

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Thanks!

Hmm. I inspected the location but cannot find any reason for looping problems. The monsterclipping and overall geometry is very simple around that area.

Vvq22.png

 

Unless nearby waist-level mc-brushes can cause AI to get into a eternal loop, there may be a rare loop-bug still remaining.

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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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, and though the code contains checks for this, it sometimes has a problem "seeing" the door. I noticed this a couple times with the library door in ItN, but could never reproduce it when I went to fix it, and no players have mentioned it, so it's rare.

 

Here's a shot of the door in DR, with entities filtered out.

 

post-3633-0-92324000-1352660627_thumb.jpg

 

Here's a shot in the game, showing the AAS areas. As I said, there's plenty of room. Pathfinding uses those boxes on the floor.

 

post-3633-0-62308000-1352660639_thumb.jpg

 

And here's a shot showing AAS areas up off the floor, generated by the crosspiece of the door frame and the two monsterclip brushes. Pathfinding keeps tabs on all AAS areas, which means extraneous ones like these are consuming memory and CPU time. That's why I suggest bringing all clip brushes up until they're flush with a world brush or another clip brush. Then these extra boxes aren't created. It's real important that this not happen around elevators, because the extra boxes can screw up AIs being able to use elevators.

 

post-3633-0-81447700-1352660653_thumb.jpg

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what's the console command I have to enter to get this shown?

FM's: Builder Roads, Old Habits, Old Habits Rebuild

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

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I have this line in my Darkmod.cfg file:

 

bind "b" "_impulse27"

 

Then, when I hit the 'B' key in game, it toggles AAS drawing on and off. The AAS areas near you will light up as you wander around.

 

Add that line to your Darkmod.cfg file and bind it to whatever key you happen to have free.

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Finished it and liked it. Good work!

 

 

 

Liked the part with the suicidal guy and when I accidentally fell onto the bed of a sleeping guard through a hole in the floor :)

 

 

 

I'm not a fan of jumping and climbing, probably because I'm not very good at it. But for those who get a kick out of this, it is just a great and entertaining mission. At two points (e.g. after leaving the mansion) it was not entirely clear to me where to continue. For me that added to the atmosphere since it was always became evident after some searching. Could also happen in RL ;)

 

Thank you for this mission!

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  • 2 months later...

Well, I've just replayed this mission, my personal favorite by the way. Missed 440 loot and achieved a stealth score of 56 :laugh: (was seen by three or four guards and a civilian)

 

But that's not the reason of my post. Actually

 

 

I've found a way to bypass the trap in the mansion where you have to steal the phrase book. Don't know if anyone else ever noticed that as I didn't read all the post.

 

Well, I've planned to climb down that trap door, so I've shot a rope arrow into it. Than I've gone close enough to make it open. Well, the rope wont unroll but what was much more surprising was the fact that the door wont shut again. So I shot a second rope arrow into it and climbed down. I took all what was there and climbed up again while the water was raising. On my way up I took the first rope arrow on me again. As I was up again the door closed, although the second rope arrow I've used to climb down still stuck in there.

 

I guess this is a TDM issue.

 

Well, after I've arrived upwards a guard has seen me and attempt to attack me (stealth score +5, yippie). I flashed him, ran out and closed the door behind me. This idiot. :D

 

 

I think I like the same things at this mission as all the others so I wont repeat it here. The only thing that I "dislike" (this is far exaggerated): The standard prices for the player equipment is in some cases far too low. 5 bucks for a water arrow; I've extinguished every second light and still had some left at the end. The values can be changed via spawnargs IIRC.

FM's: Builder Roads, Old Habits, Old Habits Rebuild

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

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Thanks for playing!

 

Yep, this is the "moveables block doors" issue. I think I once saw a youtube video, where a guy sealed a door by firing some broadheads on it. Also doors can be blocked (at least last time I checked) by two moveables. Because of D3 borked physics I tend to avoid putting moveables in my missions.

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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  • 4 months later...

I played this mission under 2.0. Encountered the same circling problem with the guard I mentioned above.

 

I have to say I enjoyed the mission a great deal more this time around. I don't know if it was because I had to do less trial and error to find my way along, but I went a different way and had an entirely different experience.

Saw the conversation between the two guards (I love custom conversations) and then KO'd the guard when he went to take a leak (I presume).  The trap worked properly this time, and I realize how ingenious it was, allowing the AI to get around it realistically.  Had a number of very tight moments with AI relighting lights.  One thing I noticed, on Medium, was that I didn't have to go upstairs at all to meet my objectives.

 

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  • 4 months later...

This was a very enjoyable mission, Sotha, thanks for creating it.

 

 

I found the readables and sub-plots to be quite good. In an uncharacteristic moment of empathy and compassion, I was unwilling to KO the lady of the house after reading about her piano lessons. I didn't want a concussion to damage her talent.

 

I would also like to express my support of the use of red herring items in the store. In a short, somewhat undead-based campaign such as this, it's not unreasonable for there to be some mission-to-mission uncertainty about the presence of undead.

 

Edited by Jaynesc
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This was a very enjoyable mission, Sotha, thanks for creating it.

 

 

I found the readables and sub-plots to be quite good. In an uncharacteristic moment of empathy and compassion, I was unwilling to KO the lady of the house after reading about her piano lessons. I didn't want a concussion to damage her talent.

 

I would also like to express my support of the use of red herring items in the store. In a short, somewhat undead-based campaign such as this, it's not unreasonable for there to be some mission-to-mission uncertainty about the presence of undead.

 

 

 

The holy water distraction worked for me - I fully expected the flaming revenant to wait for me either after grabbing the book or inside the tower - but after its last appearance, I am a little paranoid while playing Sotha's missions. ;)

 

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  • 1 month later...

Never realized there was a death sentence for anyone who wanted to get down to the street. I tried various ways using ropes and scaling pipes, just thought the fall was too far. :-)

 

Not using moveable objects is a very good way to avoid clutter with the map.

 

I must say that I am the type of a puzzle solver and enjoy being able to manipulate the environment moving things/physics to reach a place that is off limits without figuring that type of stuff out.

 

These are some notes that I shared with Sotha regarding the mission.

 

I enjoyed having to rope arrow my way across the city, mounting onto ledges and pipes before getting access to the backyard area of the manor. The steam activating at certain points to cause damage to the player was a very nice touch.

 

Enjoyed the casual conversation between the guards too. The relighting of certain light sources adds such a nice challenge...seeing the player's craftiness get undone. On candles you can pinch them, but for the torches it's tough because the player has to decide whether or not to sacrifice a water arrow.

 

The manor was very well set up as well. I like that it included maps, just like the original Thief did. Although for me personally, I prefer less detail on the map pointing out areas, guards, etc. That way the player gets a basic idea, but not an actual blueprint. Makes it even more challenging. This is give or take, because for different maps different marks are intended to give the player direction.

 

There was one other remark, but I'm not sharing that because I don't want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn't played the mission.

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  • 2 months later...

That mission was nice, although for me it was definitly outshined by "The Transaction".

What I really liked were the maps. They are rare in TDM, and I am always happy when I have some.

 

 

For me the Holy water was really necessary at the beginning, to feel save throughout the mission - so i was glad to have it. I have a feeling Thomas Porter will never ever again go out without some of it. It would have been nice though, to have some already, after all that trouble to get some in the last mission.

 

I had the right instinct for the poor couple, but trying to throw that diary before his feet so that he doesn't kill himself before he reads - it was not quite the right solution. I had thought maybe he would take the gift from the "mysterious helper"

That guy also seemed stuck, he always went from the rope to the door behind him, made 5 (or so) rounds in front of it and went back to the rope. After what I read in the thread it seems he should walk somewhere else too.

It was definitly nice to have an official "solution" that is recognized by the mission.

 

Also the trap was a nice development.

 

What I found good was, that nearly all lights were lighted again when darkened. It meant I had much equipment, but I had to ust it maybe more than once on the same torch. I had a bit bad luck with those, as whenever I took a torch out, it seemed someone came in immediatly to light it again ;-)

 

Sadly I had limited knockouts and could't try the leadball.

 

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  • 2 months later...

This mission was great fun Sotha! You did a lot of cool new things and the experience was rather refreshing because of it.

 

 

 

Good:

All of the detail that you put into this map paid off very well, I thoroughly enjoyed all of the views from the roof tops down on the dirty streets. The custom candles you had in there which could be extinguished by frobbing was very nice as well. The power systems you added into the game also impressed me and helped add a little something different to the gameplay, the trap you had in the basement caught me a little off guard and the little trophies you put in the bottom to try and entice people was a rather good idea. When you get there and it starts filling up with water and you have to picklock the door to swim out in time was very cool as well. I loved exploring that mansion and navigating around to it through the city, felt like some good old classic thief.

 

Bad:

The ambient music wasn't really all that good to be honest (with the exception of the basement), i'm a bit of an ambient-music-whore myself so I found it jarring in most places I was sneaking through and distracting plus whilst on the roof you hear the constant whirl of wind which didn't feel right and also random people talking even though no one was there.

There were also a couple of misplaced textures here and there in obvious places and a couple of noticeable slowdowns but nothing too major.

 

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed your FM and I hope your new FM has new features as well :)

 

 

Edited by Goldwell
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  • 1 month later...

Another solid mission, and I'm that much closer to finishing your epic series!

 

The mansion, while not quite the inspired creation that Knighton Manor was nor quite as complex as the Beleaguered Fence, was visually stunning at times. The furtherance of the Inventor's Guild devices was cool as well. You always find some sort of puzzle or surprise to add in. This time, for me, it was

the floor trap near the mechanical device. The electrical security itself is also an awesome addition.

 

 

I would have liked to see the Thieves Highway portion go on for longer. But it may be a playstyle thing...I tend to go toward my objectives rather than being a completionist. I know many players like to explore every nook and cranny, but that feels unrealistic to me. Thomas Porter wouldn't worry about getting up onto an obscure ledge; his life is in danger! He needs some cash, and the book, and then needs to get back out. Unless you're on the hardest difficulty setting and need to find all kinds of loot (for this playthrough, I wasn't), there was little need to stay on the rooftops for long. As such, there's probably more Highway exploring I could have done, but my experience with it was woefully short, and the mansion portion took up the vast majority of the time.

 

There's no real criticism in there, though. It may only seem that way because you've set the bar so high with your other amazing missions and unexpected storytelling moments.

 

Can't wait to finish the TP series! Thanks as always for your work!

Edited by Digi

"Fancy burricks are afraid of dogs, if they encounter each other the dog barks and the burricks poop." - Thief: Deadly Shadows Game Designer

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  • 1 year later...

Well, I'm very glad that I didn't let the last mission disuade me from continuing. This was absolutely amazing. Top marks in all categories.

 

Full review follows in spoilers:

 

 

First, a few very minor quibbles:

I'm not a fan of the "fake frobables" that litter the place. A lot of those books, notes, and doors look like I should be able to interact with them, and it drove me crazy when I couldn't. I know there's no way you could write text for all of those books, or have that many doors, but I'd rather it if those things didn't look usable.

 

There's a spot early on where it's possible to get stuck, on a pipe shortly after the hotel room with the two incompetent thiefs. If you jump to it from the last platform, and land wrong, you get stuck "inside" of the geometry and can't move. Screenshot here: http://imgur.com/MTQqg29

 

Also, nearby, there's a spot where you can see over the hotel and into the void. Screenshot: http://imgur.com/jUDwMwM (copy and paste this link, I have no idea why the forum software is adding extra characters to the end of the hyperlink) (hard to see with no gamma correction, look at the top-right side of the image)

 

Anyways, that's all of the bad. The rest? Amazing. The first section, over the city streets, gave me a strong Dishonored vibe. I'm always a sucker for "rooftop stealth", and this delivered in spades. The archers on the balconies and the hanging gas-lamps that kept it from being a straight platforming-puzzle and turned it into a combination of stealth and platforming. Excellent. The two castles creating two possible paths was a cool bit of non-linearity (I took the Quinsbury route). The mansion itself was a nice bit of sneaking in a very crowded area, and made me very glad for the flashbombs I had bought at the equip screen.

 

But the highlight was that basement. Especially that trap.

 

When I first saw the setup with the secret door, I figured "oh damn, maybe I shouldn't have been so bold in not buying any holy water at the equip screen". What I got was sooooo much more terrifying than any undead would have ever been. When I first saw the underwater lockpicking I was sorta nonchalant, figuring "oh, I just need to surface from time to time"... then a ceiling lowered to stop me, and I pretty much immediately started panicking. I survived it on my first try, but only barely -- I expended the breath potion, and both health potions I had while nearly drowning under-water, and finished with the absolute tiniest sliver of health left.

 

Atmosphere was excellent. And I couldn't help but laugh at the two idiot thieves still arguing about the locked door when I was on my way back to the bell tower.

 

 

EDIT: After reading more of this thread, it seems that depending on where the book is placed, you might not have to go to the basement? Eh, maybe it's just me, but IMO the book should either be in a display case or somewhere in the basement for everyone. Everyone should have to go down there; that trap is too amazing, and had it not been required for me (it was in a display case in my game), I'd have probably never seen that trap.

 

 

Edited by Cynical
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