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Fan Mission: Away 1 - Air Pocket, by Geep (2020/02/07)

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BTW, it's not the optional jewelry objective that kept your mission from ending successfully.

Spoiler

After spotting Emily, even if you have located an escape boat earlier, you have to return to and climb aboard an escape boat for the mission to end.

 

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A interesting FM, loved the challenge of escaping the ship.  I was relieved that Emily was not a horse, I was heading in the right direction and found her eventually.  Looking forward to how this adventure pans out from here.  Nice work!

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Just chuckling over that again. Maybe do a future episode where everyone is a horse? Call it Red Dead Redemption 3: After the Rapture?

Neigh, maybe not.

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You may have intended it to be a feature, but it's a game breaker, that makes it a bug. You're a thief, 

you have the key to the safe, the valuables in the safe. You're going to steal them, n u punish the player

for doing what he's there to do.  Sorry, but that was as far as I went with that. That 'feature' just pisses

the player off.  It was really good up to that point. 

Edited by NeonsStyle

I have an eclectic YouTube channel making videos on a variety of games. Come and have look here:

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Dark Mod Missions: Briarwood Manor - available here or in game

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18980-fan-mission-briarwood-manor-by-neonsstyle-first-mission-6082017-update-16/

 

 

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It does set up a tension between a thief's "inherent nature" and "what's safe for me given the circumstances". I thought my particular embodiment of that tension was interesting, but you found it aggravating. So it goes. It's still a feature for me, but my future episodes will go in other directions (though never promising not to aggravate some of the people some of the time.)

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You can't make an objective of getting the jewels from the safe, then have the mission fail because the player does it. 

#1 Rule in game design, don't fuck with the player. 

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I have an eclectic YouTube channel making videos on a variety of games. Come and have look here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/NeonsStyleHD

 

Dark Mod Missions: Briarwood Manor - available here or in game

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18980-fan-mission-briarwood-manor-by-neonsstyle-first-mission-6082017-update-16/

 

 

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I would like to bring another argument in, in regards to my poster above about the safe objective.

There is nothing wrong with the objective until the moment where it fails the game.
This clearly is sending confusing messages but the more heavy issue is that this is arcady or artificially constructed.

The mission starts really cool but then as soon as you get out it explodes into bits.
There is just too much going on and not enough player guidance.

I didnt finish this mission because i feel like i am in a movie and i MUST follow instructions perfectly.
That is not playworthy to me 😕 i am sorry


Can we have more scary Zombie Horror maps?

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Abusimplea, my bad! I've overlooked the fairytale-gold-compulsive community.

NeonsStyle, the mission fails not because of the objective to get the jewels, but because of getting something else adjoining the jewels that the player was warned against getting. I admit that's a close and perhaps narrow parsing of the objective, which may tie into Filizitas's points.

Filizatas, I don't know if the objective in question - and its fail trap - is any more "artificially constructed" than those in many FMs; all I can say is that it (and the warning) made sense to me in context. It certainly is true that the game overall is thick with objectives. That, and the sense of prescriptiveness you felt, is something I regret a bit, and that I will swerve away from in the future. As you noted, the second half is much more open-ended, with less (you would say insufficient) guidance. I might add that in the first beta of the game, you could spot Emily right away once you got to the surface, so at least some of what-to-do was more immediately clear. However, testers wanted more playtime, challenges, looting. They also wanted access to the spyglass, which I thought conceptually conflicted with distance-based-triggering unless Emily was a bit secluded. Those reasonable suggestions to improve the FM led to my changes in response - for which I take full responsibility - and to where we are today.

All grist for thought for the next FM. Thanks for feedback.

 

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Look, Geep. I get what your trying to do, but what good is it if people are not finishing the mission? I tried

twice, and first time I gave up after I got out of the sunken boat (which was awesome), and the 2nd you

killed me before I got out. The point is this is not good level design. Your job as creator is to lead, or guide

your player, not grab him by the hand and force him to do it exactly as you imagined and punish him if he doesn't

do it. Players will never do it the way you want. So you have to design for that, by implementing flexability.  I won't

play this again, I gave it two goes, but that's it for me.  This is not meant to critique you as just having a go,

but hopefully so your next mission will take these things into consideration.  


I have an eclectic YouTube channel making videos on a variety of games. Come and have look here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/NeonsStyleHD

 

Dark Mod Missions: Briarwood Manor - available here or in game

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18980-fan-mission-briarwood-manor-by-neonsstyle-first-mission-6082017-update-16/

 

 

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I think the main issue with that mission-failing gold bar is that it's strewn in along with numerous other loot pieces. That makes it easy to misclick onto the gold bar, or even just forget that the new objective forbids taking it, considering that players have been conditioned to quickly & thoroughly clean out safes in other missions. That all makes it possible to fail the mission without realising why because it all happens so fast. I think this is the key message to take onboard for future missions.

It could maybe have worked if the mission-failing loot had been more clearly demarcated, i.e. the safe contains nothing but these alluring heavy gold bars, while the much lighter real loot is scattered about the cabin (in fairly visible places). Though really I think there should be compelling story-driven reasons for a mission to fail, i.e. you can't afford the alarm going off if your mission is to rescue a hostage / you can't murder the person you're supposed to shadow etc. Even then, it'd probably be better to find a softer punishment than ending the mission, i.e. the abovementioned hostage gets moved to a heavily guarded location (similar to the Lord Regent in Dishonored).

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How about instead of abruptly ending the mission, the gold bar goes into your inventory and weighs you down so much that you can’t swim up. Now, you’re running out of air and need to quickly drop the bar so that you can surface. You could even give a hint to the user via pop up text or voice (maybe easier levels only?)

Edit: I have no idea if it is technically possible to keep the player from swimming up. 

Edited by joebarnin
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1 hour ago, joebarnin said:

How about instead of abruptly ending the mission, the gold bar goes into your inventory and weighs you down so much that you can’t swim up. Now, you’re running out of air and need to quickly drop the bar so that you can surface. You could even give a hint to the user via pop up text or voice (maybe easier levels only?)

Edit: I have no idea if it is technically possible to keep the player from swimming up. 

That'd also be a good idea - you could place a force field in the cabin that immobilises or pushes the player downwards and gets toggled on whenever the player has the gold bar in his inventory or is holding it.

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The most fun thing about this mission was

Spoiler

getting onto the other boat and fucking around with the AI, such as have them kill each other. Was quite sad there was nothing in the locked (captain's?) room, after I got in with the pilfered key.

As for this mission failing objective, I agree with joebarnin in terms of its implementation. Have them weigh you down and if you act quickly you can save yourself. I did fall into the trap my first time getting to that part, but I realized immediately what I had done wrong. And since I tend to save like a crazy person, it was what, a 5 second revert? So while, as it currently is, it's more than likely (a little) frustrating, I don't think it's worth losing your mind over.

Other than that, certainly for a first mission, it's a decent one. Short, and I really would've liked to have something there in regards to what I wrote in my spoiler, but at least it's a little different.

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@roygato

With respect to first point:
 

Spoiler

 

I was trying to prevent the player from getting on the attack ship, so kudos to you if you did anyway. Some other players also wished they could have gotten aboard. It's OK to think me stupid for trying to forbid it. My reasoning was -

- it's a pretty small ship, so play possibilities are limited.

- the ship had been used by others in previous FMs, and I didn't see much play possibilities that had not already been explored.

- it's the same ship model used for the attacked ship, and when starting the game, you're actually in the attacker ship's afloat galley, then teleported. So I was trying to keep things tractable for me (a struggle as it was with a crazy-tilted sunken ship) by not introducing a different ship for the attacker. And keep the player off the attacker ship would make it less obvious that these were both the same ship model.

- in a successor episode, I'll thinking of another on-board setting, but on a much larger ship belonging to the same brigands, presumably after Emily has been transferred there. Better play potential there, methinks.

 

One of things that attracted me to TDM was the player-controlled save system. Like you, I try to save periodically. I just assume getting killed/failing the mission is gonna happen, so no big deal when it does. But I can see if someone's playing style is to avoid saving, then mission-fail becomes a much bigger issue. (The FMs I personally give up on are ones that I can't crack no matter how many times I reload and retry. Ones that require feats of manual dexterity beyond me... running around a table in a tight loop with a demon chasing me while trying to fire 2 arrows backwards at it, for instance.)

In any case, there was a bit of discussion with @Dragofer during the Air Pocket betatest about replacing the specific mission-fail with essentially what @joebarnin proposed. As joe notes, is this technically possible? At the time, I was thinking about paralyzing the player's movements, while still allowing the bar to be dropped. Best idea I could come up at that time was enclosing the player momentarily in a dynamically-placed box. Revisiting that now, other possibilities would be: just a momentarily-present playerclip ceiling; a force field as Dragofer suggested; or a script that continually repositions the player to a fixed location.

But still, no matter the implementation, for that to be of any help to players at the end of their air gulp, they would have to quickly diagnose the problem, find the bar in their inventory (it may not be the last thing they picked up), put it in their hands and drop it. I dunno, still seems like a bit much to do in a great hurry, when they can just replay it and be careful not trigger the problem in the first place. Could've dropped this trap entirely, of course, but, well, then we couldn't have this fun discussion!

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@Geep

Spoiler

Funnily enough, it didn't actually take much time to get onto the attacking ship. I think I first tried to get on from the back (where the little boat is being towed), by tightrope-walking, but there seemed to be an invisible wall blocking me. Afterwards, I found a way to wiggle myself up on one specific spot on the side facing the ship you start on.

You can get on top of this here rope.

JL9Vfzp.jpg

 

Here's me standing on it. You can then jump and climb up that netting.

7l2CVFq.jpg

 

For a bonus, here's me overlooking the mission from atop the ship.

E7HAlv5.jpg

It was only AFTER I had done just about everything on the ship I went to FAQ for the mission where it is stated that you cannot get on the ship. Which did explain why there was nothing to find.

You are correct that it would likely be confusing for a player to suddenly be unable to do anything and then quickly have to figure out what's wrong. Suppose you could throw a big "Watch out moron, you're carrying too much stuff and drowning!" message on the screen, but I doubt many would be happy with that either.

And it's not like I have the technical solutions at hand myself either, as I've only ever played TDM. I haven't personally given up on any mission (I've played all of them), there just hasn't been a compelling enough reason to do so in the TDM catalogue.

Edited by roygato
Fixed the @ ping.
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I think the idea of the player not able to swim with the gold bar is a good idea, and a better way to do it. Though

you'd have to tell the player why he can't swim, otherwise it feels heavy handed. Personally, I think the better way

would be to just not fail the mission, or just remove the problem altogether. Up to that point, I was really getting

into this mission, and the design of getting out of that sunken boat was so good. I wrote a story once about a 

guy escaping a sinking ship, and this brought it all back. 


I have an eclectic YouTube channel making videos on a variety of games. Come and have look here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/NeonsStyleHD

 

Dark Mod Missions: Briarwood Manor - available here or in game

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18980-fan-mission-briarwood-manor-by-neonsstyle-first-mission-6082017-update-16/

 

 

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OK so I've tried to play this a couple of times and had to give up.  I like that it's unique and the sense of claustrophobia at the start is real, so although I didn't really enjoy it I think it's intentional and achieved its design goal.

However the tight spaces and all the junk floating around just makes it painful to navigate.  For whatever reason every time I picked something up it would get thrown instead of holding on to it (maybe because I'm in the water?).  Also when I submerge it's difficult to see anything, even if I increase the gamma/brightness.  I've also got a weird issue: when I got to the mess cabin, whenever I submerge my perspective totally changes - it's like when I go underwater everything seems like it's zoomed in like 4x. I lose all sense of perspective and can't orientate myself.  It's hard to explain unless you see it.  It was fine before that point - not sure what's happening.  I experienced this in another mission as well (think is was William Steele: The Barrens, in the canals).

Anyways - not sure if it's Dark Mod issues or something with the mission itself.  I don't mean to criticize the mission design, I would love to play it as intended, and would like to try and finish this if anyone has any tips.

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I got out of the ship, but:

Spoiler

I found Emily in the boat, and it says 'just follow her ship'.  But it doesn't move. What am I missing here?

 

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...the sense of claustrophobia at the start is real.... However the tight spaces and all the junk floating around just makes it painful to navigate.

@demilich666, all true, and I bet pretty much like it would be if you were in that situation IRL. Early on, there was even more floating junk, that I had to scale back.

 

For whatever reason every time I picked something up it would get thrown instead of holding on to it (maybe because I'm in the water?).

Yeah, welcome to the weird, wonderful world of the physics engine with water. When you first bump into and/or frob a "moveable" like the crates floating in the galley, it activates the physics engine on that object. And, depending on object location relative to the surface, object density, wave action, and player force, the object can get a pretty fierce initial force vector. If an object explodes out of the water, then relands in the water and is still moving, you should be able to frob it okay if you need to move it further.

(Outside the ship, most of the floating debris are "bobbers", not "moveables". BTW, I just posted a TDM wiki article about that difference:

Objects Floating in Water

It's mainly for the benefit of FM creators, of course.)

 

Also when I submerge it's difficult to see anything, even if I increase the gamma/brightness.

Underwater viewing is diminished by the murk, and cabin lighting - as befits the circumstances - is limited, but the only time I couldn't see things close at hand is when I forgot to turn on my lantern.

 

I've also got a weird issue: when I got to the mess cabin, whenever I submerge my perspective totally changes - it's like when I go underwater everything seems like it's zoomed in like 4x. I lose all sense of perspective and can't orientate myself.  It's hard to explain unless you see it.  It was fine before that point - not sure what's happening.  I experienced this in another mission as well (think is was William Steele: The Barrens, in the canals).

I haven't seen the 4x zoom experience (maybe a specific video driver issue?) but for sure the mess is a close and quite disorienting space. I find it helps to look for the two yellow light sources at opposite ends of the mess, to tell you which way is up. Even so, it's easy to think you're heading for one door and end up at the other.

 

I got out of the ship, but....

Sounds like good progress.

Spoiler

You need another boat to "follow the ship"... just get into one (not the tethered archer's, though, and *after* you've seen Emily) and you should be a success.

 

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Hey @Geep thanks for the detailed reply. It helps to know what's going on behind the scene for sure.  And thanks for the hint - will be trying again, not giving up on this one!

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Just finished it.  I didn't

Spoiler

encounter the gold bar or whatever everyone was talking about, I guess because I didn't make it into all the cabins on the sunken ship. 

The underwater zoom issue makes the sunken ship unplayable for me (which is looking like it's something to do with my setup, and not the mission itself).  I may try to put together some screenshots and ask about it in the tech support section.

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Just played: congratulation Geep!

It's a tiny mission, but very original, I really like when something happens on the game that change direction and objectives (It reminded me a lot Glenam Tower by Sotha, another beautiful mission).

Spoiler

Really good idea to change the paradigma, and make the claustrophobic escape on the ship

, the beginning was really a gem. The rest of the mission, not at the same level, IMHO, but I ejoyed 🙂  Thanks!

 

Edited by Ladro

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Just playing this for the first time, cool so far.

I'm playing on hardest difficulty but

Spoiler

The sword was in the bed not the alcove. According to your word document, I should have found it in the alcove.

 


I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

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Just finished it, is that the whole thing? Mission ends at escape point?

For some reason I was expecting a mission part 2, but if this is just mission 1 for now that's fine.


I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

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