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kingsal

Fan Mission: Volta and the Stone by Kingsal (05/26/2016) (UPDATED V1.2)

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It does not work for me

 

Try clicking the "Special BBCode" (3rd icon from the upper left corner) then select "Spoiler" from the drop-down list then enter your text in the entry box and submit.


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Excellent work - for some reason I was expecting more, but that could just be cause the last two missions I've played have spoiled me rotten as far as mid-game plot twists go. By no means take that as a critique; straightforward missions are usually pretty satisfying to play, and this was no exception. This is a mission I can see myself playing again, if only for the wealth of options we have in breaking into the manor and the various secrets I'm certain I missed.

 

 

I found a hidden key at one point and for the life of me could not find whatever lock it was meant for. I thought it might be the locked chamber with the golden sword, which I never managed to open, but no dice. Clearly I'll have to go over this again with a fine tooth comb!

 

 

It also struck me by how quiet it was - you put some of the best ambient TDM tracks to great use here, creating a suitably low-key, yet menacing atmosphere.

 

Another thing I liked was that the City Watch outside aren't automatically hostile to the player. It's one of those niggling details that always rubbed me the wrong way about Thief and many FMs for the Dark Mod - I assume the player character doesn't look terribly different in full darkness from your average peasant, so why all the chasing me around with your sword, dude? Lay off.

 

If I could levy one critique, it's that perhaps the mission isn't challenging enough. YMMV, obviously. I never felt like I had to resort to blackjacking any guards, and their patrol routes were so generously spaced out that I often had the run of the place. Sprinkling in a few more AI patrols might up the tension a little bit.

 

One other thing: the lighting in the streets section is a little too dark. I had to pump up the brightness just to see anything. It's a lot better within the manor itself, but I often found myself bumping into things outside.

 

But I digress; I'm eager to see whatever you do next with this plot line. Great job! :)

Edited by Ryan101
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1 hour and 5 minutes.

 

In the best traditions of a Thief Dark Project esoteric mission - loved it through and through.

Will be anxiously following the follow up to this. Very well done.

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"I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

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A very fun and solid mission. I'm going to be a bit critical in my review, but that's only because this was a very good mission and so I thought about it a lot. Don't take any of this the wrong way, it was a job very well done:

 

Visuals

Overall the visuals were great to look at, and the whole mission ran very smoothly on my less-than-powerful rig (which really impressed me in some scenes!). Especially the use of the skybox geometry made the city section feel much larger and interconnected than it really was. The scale of the mansion was also just right - I noticed in my missions that I tended to err too much on the side of making things too small, but no problems with that here. Everything was large, impressive, but also believable.

 

Now, onto my critiques. The very pronounced use of strong ambient light colors (and their sharp swings as you moved into new areas) served to almost act like the post-processing filters you see in modern games. For me, this was a bad thing that detracted from the visuals. I've always felt that in modern AAA games (or Thief Deadly Shadow for that matter) all these sorts of filters serve to do is to wash out the colors from the scene. All the natural highlighting and texture detail of objects gets covered over by this omnipresent color scheme, which reduced contrast and made the in-level lighting more flat. Art is subjective, and part of that critique is just preference, but I wanted to mention it.

 

I also noticed quite a few spots where the visual quality of the level took a noticeable drop (overly blocky chunks of geometry (especially on the ceilings), tiling textures, sudden texture cut-offs, and a little bit of z-fighting) . No-one else has mentioned this, so this could just be me being picky and looking at things too closely, but given the really high visual quality of most of the level, running into these sections pulled me out of the experience.

 

Did not get any performance issues here.

Only at the top of the tower some FPS drops are noticeable, but for me those are never a problem if doesn't go below 30 FPS.

The visuals were great from what saw. Maybe just a subjective thing here, but I liked the style and the colour changing (even if it serves an aesthetic purpose and not a realism thing).

But perhaps you were right in that the mission would've been better if there wasn't this sudden switch from blue/green, I see how it would fit very well for areas such as the Botanical Garden - why not? In other areas it was odd. I fully enjoyed the blue pallete as it reminded of Thief: DS. It's also nice with the moon lighting over the sky.

Edited by Anderson

"I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

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Thanks everyone for the praise and feedback!

 

I hope to address some of the bugs in an updated version. Hopefully within the next week or two.

Here are some of the more common questions and concerns:

 

Difficulty

 

This mission is intended to be easy, but perhaps its a little too easy for hard/ expert players. I'll try to address this in an update. Until then if you are looking for a challenge I would suggest playing on expert with AI vision and hearing cranked up.

 

 

Lighting issues, too dark too bright.

 

This seems to be pretty divisive depending up people's gamma set up and personal preference. At the very least, I'll try to balance the ambient lighting to prevent hiccups when crossing between certain areas.

 

 

Story

 

I intend to carry the story across multiple missions and hopefully pick up some of the dead-ends left behind. However, some might stand as they are.. crappy dead-ends with nowhere to go :blink:

 

 

Hidden keys...

 

I've gotten a lot of messages about the hidden key(s)... Their names should probably be changed to "secret key" and maybe tucked away a little more. If you're dying to know, PM me.

 

 

Visuals

 

Lots of misaligned textures and visual bugs here and there. I'll fix as many as I can in the update.

 

Thanks everyone!

 

 

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Hi, thanks for this master piece, I loved everything.

 

 

Is it mandatory to activate the three hidden switches ? I've activated only two (library and steward's room), after that I've opened the tower control door with hidden key, I've activated tower switch, and tower objective got tick off.

 

Otherwise the spirit effect in the tower is very well done, it's always a pleasant surprise to discover something new in TDM

 

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I didn't experience any fps hiccups and my hardware is pretty much crap. Everything ran smoothly considering the map seems pretty big and elaborated. In regards to lighting the good thing about this mission is that it provides all sort of visual lighting effects, some direct very bright lights, some washed out by the fog and some areas with just hints of indirect light. All in all, everything well balanced between light and dark areas, compared with other missions which seems to have an obtuse concept of dark (too bright). This is the reason I think this deserves a 10 out of 10 in terms of lighting.

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Where is this hidden key that people keep on talking about?

 

 

I activated 2 of the "switches"; one in Percy's room and the other in the Bath. Where is the 3rd one in the Library?

 

 

In addition, how do I pick the tower gate control locks?

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Regarding the switches the easy way is to follow the maintenance man and see what he does

I knocked him out. :(

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Not a good idea - here is a more exact hint

you need to frob a book in the library

and even more specific

to the left right of the fireplace

 

Edited by Oldjim

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Not a good idea - here is a more exact hint

you need to frob a book in the library

and even more specific

to the left right of the fireplace

 

Hmmm...

 

 

I noticed that book but could not frob it. Had to "noclip" inside the bookcase tower.

 

 

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Hmmm...

 

 

I noticed that book but could not frob it. Had to "noclip" inside the bookcase tower.

 

 

Garette- In regards to your problem:

That's a pretty serious bug if you can't frob the book. If you reload a saved game is the book still un-frobable? Does it highlight when you look at it?

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Amazing mission, love the level design, seems totally made by pro game designer.

 

Found an issue with the map:

 

WARNING:file materials/volta_decals.mtr, line 86: Type without definition at end of file

 

In that mtr file you have an extra close bracket at the end.


I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

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Garette- In regards to your problem:

That's a pretty serious bug if you can't frob the book. If you reload a saved game is the book still un-frobable? Does it highlight when you look at it?

 

 

 

I cannot frob the book even after reloading the saved game. It just does not highlight. I can see the switch (through the gap between the book and its neighbors) but cannot do anything to activate it.

 

 

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Re the book

Something is adrift as checking carefully I can't see a switch between the book and the adjoining ones in fact clipping into it there isn't a switch there

This is what I see

post-8491-0-92933300-1465320692_thumb.jpg

 

Edited by Oldjim

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Garette-

Hmm, that seems like a bug. I'm not sure if it's a TDM thing or a something on the part of the map. I will PM you with a solution.

 

1.1 Update:

I've updated the mission to 1.1 which fixes some minor bugs and difficulty balancing. Hard and expert are now slightly more challenging.

The in-game downloader is currently not working for the new version. You can download the .pk4 from the link on the first post. I'll update once this is fixed.

Fixed

Edited by Bikerdude
fixed mirror links
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Super mission , really enjoying it.

Can someone give me a hint please.

I found the note about the switches and activated two of them. Regarding the one in the bath house however all I can find is a frobable lion's head when I duck under the water. Is the switch behind there and if so , do I need to find a key as lock picks won't frob it.

 

Thanks!

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Thanks yet again Oldjim !

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