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Fan Mission: The Builder Roads by Obsttorte (2013/01/19)


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  1. 1. Gameplay

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  2. 2. Aesthetics

  3. 3. Story

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I guess I put 40-50 hours in it plus some extra hours for fixing issues reported by my beta testers. But this is only a rough guess as I didn't stop the time. ;)

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

WIP's: Several. Although after playing Thief 4 I really wanna make a city mission.

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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The Builder Roads     A Fan Mission by Obsttorte Betatested by Melan and Grayman   I'm quite happy to present my second Fan Mission for The Dark Mod.   You're slipping into the role of T

Great mission, although I had to come to the forums to figure out where to look for the code. Had a lot of good fun.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpGpBUmqIuQ

Someone ought to crosspost this to TTLG. [edit]and Moddb[/edit]   As one of the testers, I have been very impressed with the mission. On the highest difficulty, it is genuinely hard to ghost, and even

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I had one great moment where I was trying to figure out when guards would be coming towards a particular door, and I was actually able to see them walking through the windows and time when they would get there! :)

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It was very impressive for a only two weeks built map! :o I had fun sneaking around, looking through the windows and admite the nice brushwork! The story was generic but that's okay for me since the nice gameplay and visuals!

 

Good job! :)

"Einen giftigen Trank aus Kräutern und Wurzeln für die närrischen Städter wollen wir brauen." - Text aus einem verlassenen Heidenlager

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Having great fun with this one ! Putting boxes in front of the inn door and builder door opposite whilst the AI were inside. Moving around at my leisure now!

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Just ironmanned this in the easy setting ("do not get seen at all" -objective is a bit too harsh if you plan to play without saving.)

This mission was a very intense experience. It took me 1 hr to complete with a stealth score of 13. I was always peeking behind corners, holding my breath listening at doors because of the bright lights everywhere and no tools. Good stuff! I had fun. Intense sneaking experience. Now I'm totally exhausted after being on my toes and extra careful for one hour. Gotta have some cookies and cheese before going to sleep.

 

Anyhow.

 

 

Mission geometry was simple and not much to look at, but I don't mind. Gameplay was rock solid gold. The amount of AI and their patrols were carefully matched with the lack of gear. Perfect balance.

 

The AI had really hard time occasionally with the geometry. The thug going to the inn toilet was amusing, though. He got to the privy and got stuck into something and circled like hell and said "Bollocks! Not again!" Earned a snicker from me. Luckily no AI got permanently stuck, but I could see some struggling in varying places.

 

Moveables tended to fall partially into the ground or object they were standing on. You seem to be routinely placing them too close to the surfaces.

 

Windows... Mappers should avoid see-through glass windows as long as the open-visportal problem is there. I was walking alone in a corridor and suddenly someone speaks loud as hell, like they were right on top of me. Then I realize it came from the outside, AI walking near the window. Very immersion breaking due to the expectation of sound getting muffled by the window.

 

After this mission, I promise to highlight important ordinary-looking objects with a faint glow or similar in all my future maps. I visited the orderly room, but did not pick up the Important Book in my first visit. It was awful to bump into the numberwheel and realize I have to go find something which I missed when I had explored everywhere. Luckily I used my intellect and realized the orderly room was locked and there was only one key and I had not found anything useful in there. I concluded I missed something in there, and there it was. An ordinary-looking book among other ordinary-looking books. People say highlighting is "dumbing down." I say it is "frustration control."

 

After I got the book everything was a breeze. Readables were good. Few conversations would have really brought this to life.

 

If this mission would have had a map, I would have had nice possibility of prioritizing which entries I would like to get in first. Also I was a bit confused in the first moments which building is which: a map would have eliminated this initial confusion.

 

 

 

Gameplay: Good. (Without the book incident, lack of gear and AI navigation problems it would have certainly been excellent!)

Aesthetics: Moderate

Story: Good. (Well written documents cross the board, perfect amount of readables: not too few, not too much.)

 

Very nice mission. Thanks! It is clear you have a lot of mapping/gameplay talent!

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Finished this last night - initially I managed to miss the priest's room which held things up a bit, but once I got in there, the rest of the mission unfolded fairly straightforwardly. Some general comments in no particular order: -

1. Liked the use of a caption appearing to give helpful info (re the two guys in the bar area). I wonder if captions could be used more often as a way of the character commenting on particular situations/problems (like Garrett's voice-overs in Thief, but you can imagine whatever voice you want :) ).

2. The mist effect in the cellar was absolutely beautiful and the screenshot doesn't do it justice.

3. I hate forced ghosting. Hate not having a blackjack. Hate it. So please consider it a great compliment that I enjoyed this mission so much I'm actually trying it in Thief mode. (I guess that being "seen" means alert level 5 - yes? I've already survived an alert level 2 anyway.)

4. The grass looks nice but is a bit weird to walk through - more like walking on top it, and sometimes I get stuck. A TDM issue I guess. Looks good though.

5. I had one of the best "Can't believe I didn't just get busted" moments ever: -

 

I was in the store room (? - the room with the ladder going up to the weapons stash) after reading the diary. This elite guard suddenly appeared out of nowhere - I managed to quickly scamper behind some barrels with no more than a "Was that something there?" comment. Then peering between the barrels I saw - he had a key! I scuttled back out to grab it, expecting him to walk out the way he had come in. Just as I snatched the key, crouching next to him, he turned and started walking right into me. I just panicked, turned and crouch-walked away from him, totally expecting to get whacked - he was right on top of me - but somehow he must have just missed me. Watched him go out the room and then just sat there for two minutes waiting for my heart rate to subside. :)

It's moments like that that make Thief/TDM my favourite game ever.

6. Playing in Taffer mode, I wondered if the guys in the bar were on some sort of 'slow alert' mode. Reason I wondered is that

I decided to try snatching the key from the guy's belt, not expecting to succeed; but, even though I got within frobbing distance and my light gem was fairly bright, I managed it with no more than an alert level 3 (actually, may have been 4 - can't remember if he drew a weapon or not).

 

7. Just on its own, it's a really good mission. As a two-week build, it's pretty awesome. Well done, Obsttorte, and many thanks.

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In the inn, as long as you just wanna go downstairs on the privys, the AI is neutral to you. So if you alert the AI but get back to "neutral area" before the AI sees you, it will go to neutral again. That's why I've added the in-game text hint thingy whatever ...

 

I have done this because I thoufht it would be strange if an inn guest would not be allowed to go on the privys :D

 

 

Windows...

I'm sorry for that. I didn't knew of that problem before I've released the mission. :blush:

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

WIP's: Several. Although after playing Thief 4 I really wanna make a city mission.

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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Is the grass non-solid? If not that should fix any issues. I didn't really play in it, walked through a little but that was all.

 

--@Sotha, i don't particularly like the idea of object highlights. Seems kind of cheap to me. Better just to have thing not placed in impossible places. Just because you missed one book that was clearly on top of a desk doesn't mean you should nerf your maps for all players.

Dark is the sway that mows like a harvest

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I just finished this yesterday on Expert, Stealth score of 4 and like 98% loot, I couldn't for the life of me get into the priests locked table. I even tried cheating at one point and used the console to show entities and all sorts of stuff but couldn't figure it out.

 

Great mission btw.

I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

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--@Sotha, i don't particularly like the idea of object highlights. Seems kind of cheap to me. Better just to have thing not placed in impossible places. Just because you missed one book that was clearly on top of a desk doesn't mean you should nerf your maps for all players.

Loot glint in Thief 3 was one of the reasons we have TDM in the first place, so yeah, usually not a great idea. If mappers really want to draw attention to an item, there are other, more immersive ways to do it - even blunt methods like "place it on a pedestal and shine a spotlight on it" are legit.

Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

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Loot glint in Thief 3 was one of the reasons we have TDM in the first place, so yeah, usually not a great idea. If mappers really want to draw attention to an item, there are other, more immersive ways to do it - even blunt methods like "place it on a pedestal and shine a spotlight on it" are legit.

 

Important objects should somehow be different from others. In this mission, there were a lot of moveables. They are frobable. They frob-highlight. If an important ordinary-looking object is buried among other similar looking items, it should be discernible somehow.

Either the item is on a pedestal, or it is distinctively different from the others. In the dark, a different skin is not enough.

 

In Glenham Tower, there was a toppled down bookcase and toppled books on the floor. Among them was the book the player was looking for. I placed a tiny light on the book so it looked important. Nobody complained. It was a better design decision than to make the player miss the important book scattered around the prop books and force them into a book hunt after they've been everywhere.

 

I'm not talking about flashing big red arrows here. A subtle dim light, which could just be some moonlight seeping through a crack or something will help a lot.

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Just finished the mission and enjoyed it! :rolleyes: Even thought it is not huge and with impressive graphics, it has fine gameplay. This is something I like on TDM in general. One can do great missions, but also those which look "average" are often highly enjoyable.

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Thanks again for all the warm words (and for any criticism, it will be acknoledged :smile:.

 

@Sotha & In reference to object/loot highlighting: I'm not a foe to this approach in general. The problem in TDS was that it was just a bit too exegerrated. Anyways, I didn't get negative response from my beta testers according

 

 

the book in the orderly. I guess mainly because the key to it is in the same room as the diary, in which that specific book is mentioned.

 

 

This is really something player-dependent. It also happened to me that I've overseen something and it got me frustrated (a bit). But actually when looking in the specific FM threads I often must see that I'm the only one who suffered from this specific problem (but therefore other peoples had problems where I didn't).

 

As you are a mapper yourself you may have already noticed that it is impossible to make it perfect to everyone. But I will keep in mind what you've said when updating the map. The little light thingy is definetily a good idea.

 

A map: I definetily thought about making one. But then I thought that due to the size it may not be worth the effort. (Actually I only had that idea in mind as I thought it could add a bit to immersion).

 

Even thought it is not [...] with impressive graphics, it has fine gameplay.

Guessing from the replies I had on this and my first FM, and also taking my personal opinion in consideration, it seems that making good gameplay is something that I am definetily more skilled in then graphics. This may be caused by the fact that I prefer the first over the second; maybe because most modern games tend to make it the opposite way, who knoes.

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

WIP's: Several. Although after playing Thief 4 I really wanna make a city mission.

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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^ to the last statement... everyone loves great graphics no doubt. The problem it takes so much time to fine tune and detail everything. I'd rather play decent looking maps with good gameplay then never play maps because they are being visually tweaked for ages.

 

Most of us were happy with T2 anyway, and now we have bump,spec maps, real time lighting and patches. that's quite a bump up in graphics without much more work on the mappers side for a decent looking map.

 

I think this map looks quite nice, the outside gives the impression of being wide open, there are nice details everywhere. As i mentioned before my only nitpick visually was that the stair railings were a bit rough. Certainly not a map breaker.

Dark is the sway that mows like a harvest

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it seems that making good gameplay is something that I am definetily more skilled in then graphics.

Another +1 from me (but that isn't to say your graphics are poor). Both your missions have hit the "Wow-I-only-just-escaped-by-the-skin-of-my-teeth" sweet spot for me. B)
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^ to the last statement... everyone loves great graphics no doubt. The problem it takes so much time to fine tune and detail everything. I'd rather play decent looking maps with good gameplay then never play maps because they are being visually tweaked for ages.

 

Yes.

For me the story and gameplay choices are way more important than if the lighting is perfect or the architecture is super good looking. The architecture has to be convincing enough though. As in big enough walls but not too big, stuff like that. Or some support beams instead of magic ceilings. Or those attics with no access door big enough to haul all that old furniture in there to rot. Hehe, but even those... mistakes are not real 'mapbreakers' for me if it has enough other good things.

 

Recently i played some T2 maps again to see what i liked about them and if i still like them after all this time. What i saw was 2d windows, 2d bookshelves, 'fake arches', no doorhandles, and i loved it most of the time. Instead of concentrating on the visuals i just had to accept that 2d pixel-collection to be a 'real window' or closed door, not because it looked so convincing but because i wanted to believe it. Instead of crystal clear textures i had to believe those blurry pixels to be real, and i did.

When not focusing on the visual aspects too much, the game world gets so much more immersive by that gray mass that makes up it's own reality. Some young players that never enjoyed older 3d or even 2d or maybe text-based games, might not understand this immediately. Same goes if one never enjoyed reading an exciting book. But instead such person might be used to reading comic books only. It's the old original games vs new crap3dshootergenericgore thing. It's the great indie-game made by one person thing vs the commercial console zombie game that looks so good. It's the radio vs television thing also...

 

I enjoy a map because i want to believe it because i read it and because i hear it and not only because i see it.

 

So another point of interest for me for a good game/map are the sounds. Music and vocals, effects. Thief 1&2 is excellent in this area. I really miss those familiar thief sounds in TDM. Although i am happy to hear many many good new ones.

 

Oh and to say something thats more on topic: this map i enjoyed most because of convincing architecture and an original story/environment. Played it on shadow and had a good time. Of course i am a 'quick save, quick load' kind of player most of the time, so a forced ghosting playthrough will not frustrate me.

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As usual , completely lost the plot. I've

worked the safe code out to be 1419. But nothing .... Where am I going wrong apart from being completely useless!

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Thanks Oldjim , will do !

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Finished , very neat little mission and many thanks to the 'builder'. I added my own style to it by

putting boxes in front of key doors to foil the AI to ensure I had a clear run at times.After breaking the code , imagine my surprise to find the patrolling builder waiting for me on the edge of the lift shaft and guarding the metal door. Tried waiting him out but each time he insisted on locking me in by closing the door. I ended up firing an arrow behind him causing a diversion and then making a run for it to the shadows on the right. Even then he insisted on waiting at the top of the steps. I pumped two arrows into his leg which caused him to run amok outside rousing the elite guard and inmates of the inn.Then I made a run for my room , most unorthodox!

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:smile:

Very shadowish.

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

WIP's: Several. Although after playing Thief 4 I really wanna make a city mission.

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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One thing I disliked a bit:

 

 

the guards inside the tavern. It just isn't intuitive that they are going to attack someone taking a stroll at night in the main lounge of the place (whatever it's called).

 

 

 

PS: I just made this comment in the wrong thread :blush:

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