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What do you think of this minor proposal for ancilliary promo materials ?  

6 members have voted

  1. 1. What's your opinion on this idea for promotional materials ?

    • Yeah, this is a really cool idea ! If you can work on it in your free time, do it !
      2
    • Interesting idea, but I don't know if the effort is worth it. You can try, but don't expect any support.
      2
    • An uttely pointless idea ! What were you thinking ? Please don't bother with this effort, at all.
      0
    • I honestly don't know what to think of this idea.
      1
    • Bow Upgrade option ;-)
      1

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  • Poll closed on 08/04/20 at 06:00 PM

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Obviously, the main way to contribute to TDM is to contribute work and expertise. FMs, tech improvements, every little helps...

I've been thinking about whether, besides general TDM trailers, previews, FM briefings, wallpapers, promo images, and so on and so forth, we could drum up a little amount of extra publicity for TDM via more physically tangible, but financially permissible promotional materials.

As I note in the title of this thread, how about using a few select paper models, each with a The Dark Mod theme (and the associated stylistics), as something of a fan keepsake new or old fans of our freeware game could build and keep ? I'm under no illussions it would be amazing or anything. However, as a bit of a feelie, done in free time as simple promotion by some members of what is essentially a hobbyist freeware dev team, I think it would be an aptly humble, but still original bit of extra promotion. Everyone expects wallpapers, screenshots, promo videos, and so on, but some papercraft promo could help add a little bit of different flair to that more conventional promotion we already have covered.

You might think "Okay, a few people will build those paper models, but how effective could this promo be, anyway ?". Well, as much as I don't have any illussions... Imagine if someone puts a building from Bridgeport paper model on their desk, next to their computer, at their own apartment/house or at their dorm room, and someone eventually asks: "Nice ! Is that a real building ? What's that from ?". The owner, who also plays TDM in their free time and is already a fan, can say: "Well, it's from this and that stealth game with this and that style setting. Want to see it ?" Then he can show the curious guy or gal this site, a trailer or two, start up the game and show some gameplay from a mission or two, the training mission... Who knows, maybe he'll get that other person interested, maybe even hooked. And it all starts with a simple paper model of some building from the TDM world.

Now, playing the game in front of them could achieve a similar result. Having a TDM wallpaper as the background on the screen, or being caught watching a trailer video or Let's Play video of TDM could achieve similar results too. In the end, though, those things are wholly digital. They're not as immediate and tangible in the same manner as a paper model can be. Yes, at the end of the day, it's just card paper with textured surfaces printed on one side, skillfully cut out, assembled and glued together. But it's still a physical object, giving you more of a 3D feel than just a 2D screen (and not necessitating any VR equipment for greater immersion, beyond the limitations of that on-screen imagery).

Now, concerning what the paper models would encompass, how they'd be constructed and look, I think we have to be realistic about it: Most people can bother with a paper model of a simple enough building or object, but they won't be assembling detailed paper models of, e.g. a City Watch guard. Ergo, the TDM promotional paper models we could have should focus on two areas: 1.) architecture from the setting, primarily that of The City and other urban environments (clocktower, medieval townhouses, some castle or manor house, etc., you name it); 2.) gadgets and items carried by the player character thieves in the game (a paper model of a mine or even a flashbomb, a paper model of a potion bottle or of the small hooded lantern, etc.).

The surface and details should be based on textures we assign to their models directly in the game. This is obvious in the case of the gadgets and items. In the case of buildings, they could either recreate an iconic building from some FM's scenery, or they could just as easily depict a generic building, but with the same combination of building textures as you see on buildings in TDM missions. The same stone textures on the outer walls, the typical late-medieval/early modern style windows, with their metal grills and glass panes, etc. Having the paper models designed and textured in such a way that they'd reflect TDM's predominantly night time setting (including dimly lit windows on buildings) would be a pretty cool move, IMHO. It would also be accurate to the atmosphere of the game.

Distribution method... Could be available for download among the promo materials section on the site, either in .pdf format or some image format (.jpg or .png).

Should I take a stab at designing some basic model concepts in my free time, if I'm ever bored ? Just as a test whether we could create TDM paper models in the first place. I think there is some merit to using paper models as an inexpensive and entirely ancilliary, but still useful promotional item. Especially for a freeware labour of love like this one, tirelessly being worked on for over 16 years. Sixteen years of this much patient fan devotion is nothing to sneeze at.

Edited by Petike the Taffer
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I really love papercraft projects, so I love the idea.

Like any fan project, you'll usually get a better reaction just doing it because you want to, and then posting images or videos of your work that people will react to and give you a motivation boost, as opposed to having people weigh in on whether the project is worth doing in advance, much less recruiting people without having done any work yourself on it or any indication that you're committed to the project. I think a general rule of thumb is, if it's really interesting to you, there are bound to be other like-minded people that will also think it's interesting. So if you stay true to your instinct, other people will be into it for the same reason.

I don't think promotion is the right framing though. If you do it at all, I think you should do it as its own stand-alone project you share with people, like fan fic or fan art, which I'm surprised we don't have more of.

While we're at it, someone really needs to write an official history of the Empire and a lot of associated fanfic to give our world backstory. And someone ought to make an art book with screenshots across all our FMs and some story, as if it were like one of those travel photo books. Something people put on their coffee table for discussion and just to flip through for fun, or in your case actually make the things. I see the idea you're talking about as something along those lines.

"Promotion" by itself  is kind of a narrow view of the point of doing something like this I think. If it's really honestly only promotion that you care about, you don't personally care if it's papercraft or fridge magnets or whatever, then I think things like Twitch streams, podcasts and gaming music videos are better for actual promotion. I'd like you or someone to do the papercraft project because they want to do a cool art project on its own terms.

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What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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8 hours ago, freyk said:

If  this to fill in your free time, why not.
Others created concept art, 3d printed things, etc.
I tried to make a DVD. (front-cover, back-cover)

 

7 hours ago, demagogue said:

I really love papercraft projects, so I love the idea.

Like any fan project, you'll usually get a better reaction just doing it because you want to, and then posting images or videos of your work that people will react to and give you a motivation boost, as opposed to having people weigh in on whether the project is worth doing in advance, much less recruiting people without having done any work yourself on it or any indication that you're committed to the project. I think a general rule of thumb is, if it's really interesting to you, there are bound to be other like-minded people that will also think it's interesting. So if you stay true to your instinct, other people will be into it for the same reason.

I don't think promotion is the right framing though. If you do it at all, I think you should do it as its own stand-alone project you share with people, like fan fic or fan art, which I'm surprised we don't have more of.

While we're at it, someone really needs to write an official history of the Empire and a lot of associated fanfic to give our world backstory. And someone ought to make an art book with screenshots across all our FMs and some story, as if it were like one of those travel photo books. Something people put on their coffee table for discussion and just to flip through for fun, or in your case actually make the things. I see the idea you're talking about as something along those lines.

"Promotion" by itself  is kind of a narrow view of the point of doing something like this I think. If it's really honestly only promotion that you care about, you don't personally care if it's papercraft or fridge magnets or whatever, then I think things like Twitch streams, podcasts and gaming music videos are better for actual promotion. I'd like you or someone to do the papercraft project because they want to do a cool art project on its own terms.

 

6 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

I agree with demagogue that you should just do it if you like the idea and than post the results here. People who like it will adopt to it and maybe start creating their own papercraft.

In terms of motives I guess that buildings are a good starting point, as their are compareably easy to build (mostly right angles and rectangle surfaces). When posting the pdf it would probably be adviseable to post some recommendations for the type of paper to use for those without any experience in papercraft to avoid frustration.

An appetizer :)

Thank you all for the supportive words ! :)

I want to get one thing out of the way right now, if it wasn't clear yet: I honestly don't expect anyone to participate in this idea along with me. This is why I noted, in the poll answers and elsewhere, that this is a project I'll be working on alone, and in my free time. It's not a priority by any means, even with regards to TDM's promotion.

Additionally, as noted by Demagogue as well, I definitely consider this an ancilliary and potential form of promotional materials, rather than a crucial one. You can think of these paper models in the same way as SeriousToni's fan-made wallpapers for TDM that he's made over the years. Not "official" stuff, but perfectly usable for some TDM promotion, if need be.

Concerning the proportions, dimensions and scale requirements, and the paper type and size requirements, I will of course be paying close attention to those while designing any concepts. Same goes for the instructions of putting models together. Personally, I'd prefer to design relatively easy-to-put-together paper models, rather than overly elaborate ones. Yes, I could design a paper model of Bridgeport patrician house that's got all manner of fully three-dimensional window alcoves and windowsills and other attention to detail, but I'm a proponent of the motto "KISS" - "Keep It Simple, Stupid...". So, if any versions of these prototypes will get finished, most of them will be of a "flat surface" nature on the exterior, aside from a few exceptions. If people like them as they are, but might clamour for making their surface more detailed, I could rework the models later to include more of those 3D surface details and bits and bobs. The sky's the limit... But I prefer to start small and simple, and build upon that designing experience in later iterations.

@Obsttorte Nice one ! Your own design, or some existing model ?

----

@demagogue I wholeheartedly agree we could use someone compiling the existing notes on The Empire and its history, and filling in the blanks in the polity's overall backstory (and that of the Builder faith). I  I might take a stab at all of this, eventually. A more concise, timeline-style overview could be helpful, especially if people keep asking about background canon (or what could pass for it) in the future.

Aside from stuff like church history or past imperial dynasties, or what the economy and commerce and crime in The Empire is like, one interesting aspect to cover would be the earlier industrial revolution of TDM. Some of it is straightforward and we also have plenty of it already covered in various notes. Some of it, in turn, would be admittedly trickier to explain. For example, the fact that, in a world of static steam engines, steamboats and no trains, one FM (Pandora's Box) already shows an archaic but functional airship ! But hey, I can try. :D I did read a particular alternate history work a while back, where a much longer surviving Byzantine Empire helped usher in a slightly earlier scientific revolution, complete with things like primitive, Giffard-style blimps in the 17th century (!), so I suppose we could explain it away in TDM, with a bit of creativity. I think most of the notes we already have for how mechanical, alchemical/chemistry-based and engine technology functions in the TDM setting are sufficient enough to build upon and extrapolate further, to get more of an idea how the earlier industrial tech got its start.

Personally, I've long had the impression that the earlier industrialisation of TDM's setting isn't so much a full-on industrial revolution as we understand it, with regards to our 18th century and later. I think it's much closer to a scientific revolution first and foremost, with some of its byproducts secondarily affecting existing industries and transport. However, there's no true mass production yet, certainly nothing on the level of the 19th century. They might have some 15th-18th century forms of "pattern"-based goods production, a precursor to mass production as we understand it, but the industry is still overwhelmingly at a "workshop and craftsmen" level, not at a "factories and mills as far as the eye can see" level (at least not in the vast majority of locations that have industrialized already).

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48 minutes ago, Petike the Taffer said:

@Obsttorte Nice one ! Your own design, or some existing model ?

 

3 hours ago, esme said:

WOW! did you do that @Obsttorte?

I bought this once in a museum here in the city I live. It is called "Romantical Knight's Castle" (the castle is romantic, not the knight :) ), so it is fictive and roughly scale 1:120. I have never designed such thing myself, but I knew a guy who did this, designing and building them. I never saw them in real but he has shown me fotographs: Gothic Cathredals, a Version of Versailles (two meters long or so, no kidding). But I have built the castle in the image posted. Took me something in between 10 and 20 hours. It is actually quiet a relaxing hobby. :)

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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

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Posted (edited)

Marktturm in Luckenwalde paper model

This paper model of a German town's medieval tower (later modified into a clocktower) is close to what I have in mind when I mention paper models of the TDM setting's architecture. Imagine that particular paper model with the stylistics (surface textures) and proportions (roof shape, details, etc.) of some municipal tower in Bridgeport or another city from TDM missions, and you have a pretty good idea. This was one good-looking paper model of a real world urban medieval structure I had handy, so I'm using it as a quick example. I think it could serve as a good initial inspiration for a prototype of TDM urban monumental architecture.

2 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

But I have built the castle in the image posted. Took me something in between 10 and 20 hours. It is actually quiet a relaxing hobby. :)

Based on my own paper model building experience, I concur. :)

Edited by Petike the Taffer
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I am more the Origami type, but I don't thinkt there are models that would fit TDM (at least I don't know any). I wich I could design them myself, but never giot into it... Anyway, this looks really nice. When you come up with something, I might actually try it.

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I used to make these in my youth. Well, I have one of those mini-sets you can buy sitting right next to me now of a music room. So obviously I still do. But when I was younger I was more ambitious.

I remember making a village from a book. But a few I made from scratch by hand. The one I remember, probably late-80s, was the mansion from the interactive fiction Deadline, with the roof off and the rooms modeled. See I was mapping long before game editors were around. So it's apparent why I picked up dromeding right at the start. Me & my brother used to have epic wars in our house where each side had a castle in one room, but those weren't made by papercraft.

SeriousToni's fan-made wallpapers is a good reference. I can see how they were kind of promotion oriented, but they were fantastic just as fan art on their own merits. I remember using them as desktop backgrounds or something like that at times. Well whatever you want to call it, it'll be fun to see.

The other cool projects I've really liked are when people made costumes or props or wearable props inspired by Thief. That'd be cool to see for TDM. And speaking of the game Deadline, games used to have what they call "feelies" (I believe Deadline was the first game that did that), gizmos they'd package with the game. That would be really cool to see too, like an old parchment map of Bridgeport, or a water arrowhead, or a lockpick set, things like that.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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Is there room for clay-craft in this discussion? I like to make my models from the good old earth 🙂

This one is about 2 feet in height and weights in at about 50 lbs...

Clay-Castle-02.jpg

 

Edited by Jetrell
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