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Tips for finding loot


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I used to be good at this game, but I took a break to play other games exclusively for a while and after coming back to it, I realise I've become crap at detecting loot. I'm good at dealing with the AI and navigating areas for the most part, but in some recent attempts at new missions I've noticed myself missing far too much loot. So of course I use the tdm_show_loot command to see what I missed, at which point I embarrass myself given how in so many cases I went to a room, looked "carefully" but didn't see anything of value, then the command reveals that there was loot in plain bloody sight!

It's been a... tiring year so I wonder if perhaps my concentration just isn't high enough right now, but I also wonder if I've been ruined by newer games. The loot in TDM doesn't do any tricks to make it visible - there's no "shining" effect animation to show me it's something to pick up, there's no X-ray ability to highlight items, and yet so many games have those features that I think I've become soft. What tactics do you folks do when searching for loot? Especially in large city levels where it could be everywhere?

A word of warning, Agent Denton. This was a simulated experience; real LAMs will not be so forgiving.

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Depends on the mapper really. Some are really sneaky. However here are some of the traditional places to find loot. 

Desks that open - one has a secret slider in the middle compartment that nearly always has loot in it. 
On top of desks, often you'll find a gold builders icon, or some jewels. 
In Inns, you'll find a coin box usually behind the bar. 
Think of all the places you'd drop stuff as you came home. 
Bookcases, fireplaces, picture frames are commonly used to hide secret switches. Or it might be a discoloured bit of wall. 
Kitchens often contain a health potion
Barracks always have chests, and they usually contain either loot or equipment. 
Always good to check all paintings, some are lootable. 
In my Briarwood Manor mission, I hid some loot in a rat hole. Usualyl readables (notes) will give you a clue to loot. ie in that same mission,
a note above the stable, referred to the rat problem. So that tells you to look around a place that has rats. In the kitchen in teh same mission
A servant girl mentions a diamond. Any readable you can carry, is worth keeping, as it contains a clue to something, otherwise the mapper 
wouldn't have made it carryable. :)

I"m sure others will come up with other ideas :) Think like the owner of the place (because that's how a mapper thinks). :)

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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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Loot glint gets a lot of hate. It's basically antithetical to the whole ethos of our design philosophy going back to the TDS days. But honestly, I bet it wouldn't be hard to set up a system where, when you push a button, loot in the visible screen will show an outline or glint or whatever, in a visually pleasing way. There's lots of reasons a player may want it.

BTW, to back up a second, in the console you can already set up a keybind to a console command, so you could have a key that toggles the console command to show loot. That would solve your issue right away. The only thing is that's not very stylish. If you want it as part of the game, it should be done properly to look good and fit the game's aesthetic.

If someone were to look into it, they could start by looking at how frobbable objects highlight by proximity, and then just build off that kind of system where you swap frobbable with loot and swap the proximity check with a key-press check.

Like I said, I don't think it fits our game's ethos, so might not make a great standard feature, but it'd be a great patch feature for fans that want it.

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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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21 hours ago, Xolvix said:

It's been a... tiring year so I wonder if perhaps my concentration just isn't high enough right now, but I also wonder if I've been ruined by newer games.

It's not only that. Some mappers like to place a single coin here, another coin there, often in places lit only by ambient light (so mostly in darkness). And it doesn't have to be a loot glint right away. Many loot objects need better materials too, e.g. silver and gold loot should have both some specularity and a bit of a cubemap reflection to look right. If that's not enough, you can slightly brighten the material, using the blend add stage, so the object stands out from the environment just a tiny bit, so it draws player attention on almost subliminal level.

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2 hours ago, demagogue said:

 There's lots of reasons a player may want it.

One very good reason would be accessibility! I would say our game is already pretty accessible (aside from the steep learning curve), with scalable UIs and finely tunable difficulty settings, but a feature like this would increase accessibility even further. I wouldn't even make it a loot glint, but rather a highlight for all interactive objects that are not junk: Doors, candles and loot should all light up on the press of a button.

However, as noble as our motivation might be here, there is quite a risk involved in adding such a feature. Take Witcher 3 for example, where you have the witcher-vision, which highlights quest-related things in red and interactive objects in orange. Many players end up enabling witcher-vision almost all the time, rather than enjoying the scenery and actually looking at things. So, a feature like this might even take away from the imagined experience, as the player will "optimize the fun ouf of the game" [Sid Meier, Soren Johnson]. So, if we end up implementing such a feature, we should clearly label it as an accessibility feature and not a core game feature.

By the way, even worse than the witcher-vision is the navigation breadcrumbs on the minimap. You end up looking at the minimap sooo damn often, that you miss the whole journey. I love W3, but you can't help but think back to the good old days of Elder Scrolls 3 - Morrowind where you actually had to look at fucking signposts to find your way around.

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That's a perfect occasion to paste Mark Brown video here ;) But yeah, location markers and mini-map dots are driving you away from the game world, and make the whole thing more shallow. It's even worse when a game is designed around quest markers, i.e. there are no directions in quest descriptions or dialogue that would minimize the guesswork.

 

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I would hate to see any sort of loot glint added to the game just to pander to lazy players. Once you start playing

you quickly learn where mappers tend to put loot. A few missions under your belt and it won't be an issue anymore.

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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43 minutes ago, peter_spy said:

That's a perfect occasion to paste Mark Brown video here ;) But yeah, location markers and mini-map dots are driving you away from the game world, and make the whole thing more shallow. It's even worse when a game is designed around quest markers, i.e. there are no directions in quest descriptions or dialogue that would minimize the guesswork.

 

Mark brown with his Game Maker's Toolkit is utterly brilliant! Love that channel and can't get enough of it! He also has an interesting series on accessibility, which really opened my eyes on this mostly overseen issue in game-design.

A very good recent counter-example to the dotted line is "Zelda - Breath of the Wild" by the way. That game is oh so relaxing, because it doesn't overload the interface with quest pointers and dispensable things to do. You just go out and explore the world which honestly feels like a holiday trip compared to massively overcamped games like AssCreed! In BOTW, you usually climb up high buildings or mountains and just look with your binocular where interesting places could be. Then you can set a marker via the binoculars (that can only be seen through the binoculars, if I remember correctly) and start traveling to that location. So, you actually do all the work yourself instead of being spoon-feeded.

The psychological explanation why BOTW works so well can be found here! 🙂

 

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Lots of good discussion here, much appreciated.

I would consider myself reasonably a seasoned TDM player (not a mapper unfortunately, nothing more than a few test maps but who knows what the future will bring), but I think I just got bad luck having recently returned to TDM and one of the first "new" missions I chose to play was "Dragon's Claw". Figured the hard difficulty would be fine, and it was... apart from the loot requirement. Used the console command to reveal loot and it was in so many areas I passed but just didn't see.

Having had the benefit of time I think I was being a bit unreasonable, since it turns out a lot of the loot was in very dark or out of the way areas (especially areas you wouldn't be able to see well without the lantern which with ghostly patrols is a bad idea). Additionally some loot was in dark houses with lots of pale wood that the loot happened to blend in with, or was half-buried in dirt. Part of the problem is that if you're dealing with enemies you can't easily dispatch to provide the ability to search for loot with lots of time and light, it's quite difficult, so you miss shit. But said shit is needed for mission objectives, so woe is me.

As a side note, I did enjoy that "Little Dotted Line" video posted above, which was great timing since I was doing a replay of Witcher 3 and was thinking about that exact same issue. Problem is, I generally do not disable HUDs or even customize them when such options are provided, because I honestly don't trust the developers to properly develop the game in such a way that I won't get lost. Additionally, too many games provide information that's actually quite important (key popups, or some other HUD info) but if hidden will really mess with your enjoyment, but you won't necessarily know if this is the case when playing a new game. This is why I like TDM - there's none of that, so the mapper, if they want the player to empower the considerate player, has to create landmarks and possibly a map (detailed or incomplete) to compensate.

EDIT: Well, well, the video also pointed out the issue with disabling HUD elements in modern games. Glad I'm not alone in this concern. :)

Edited by Xolvix

A word of warning, Agent Denton. This was a simulated experience; real LAMs will not be so forgiving.

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41 minutes ago, Xolvix said:

Figured the hard difficulty would be fine, and it was... apart from the loot requirement.

Some mappers have their own idea on how loot goals should be set, and these can be needlessly high. When in doubt, it's always worth referring to Thief trilogy and adjusting these values, if necessary. When you examine Thief 1-3 loot values/percentages, you'll see that these are actually fairly low, because dev team understood that grabbing loot is just one gameplay component.

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On 11/19/2020 at 2:45 PM, NeonsStyle said:

I would hate to see any sort of loot glint added to the game just to pander to lazy players.

Me too. Not so much about lazy players, rather about the whole philosophy of the Thief games. The games are meant to make looting more difficult than your modern "blinky blinky look blind player here I am!" games which show everything which is interactive in the game world from a mile (that's the whole thing, isn't it? How much fun is it to break into a house, and get everything served on a silver platter, and, how realistic is that anyway.). I think TDM already does it perfectly, no loot glint, just a hint when something is frobbable.

That said, I agree that some mappers do it better than others. 

BTW, I'm getting worse and worse at spotting stuff in games as well, especially when I play on my Xbox... guess it's something you have to accept when you're getting older, hehe.

Edited by chakkman
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@chakkman Agree completely. I hate it when games spoon feed you, or have mechanics that hand hold you like in Call of Duty games, 
where you've always got a guide telling you what to do, where to do and when to do it. Games are about free play. Anyway I don't
want to get into a COD rant lol. I think TDM is great as it is regarding loot. It's down to mappers to give players clues. 

There are still no no's There shouldn't be loot in unreasonable places, that you'd never find it, like in lights or hidden in out of the way

corners no one would ever go. It has to be real, as if someone has put it there, or dropped it there. 

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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To play the devils advocate for a bit, you could say that there is no reason to pander to elitist players either. This is just a game, not a dick-waving contest :) There's nothing wrong with feeling lazy during your time spent on entertainment. Obviously, I wouldn't want to force any loot highlight on everyone, but having it as a toggled option wouldn't hurt.

Edited by peter_spy
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Regarding elitist players: I would much rather have mappers avoid placing elite guards in places which are really not worth guarding... I played a map, for example, where 3 or 4 of them guard some sewers. Or, where 7, 8, 9 guards enter a kitchen one after the other, making gameplay a complete mess, as they even enter a closet where I piled up the bodies. In general, a bit more common sense in mapping. TDM mappers are fantastic with architectures and models, but, the gameplay often lacks a bit.

Not meaning to be a harsh critic, it's just something I often noticed. :) It's also off-putting for new players if the difficulty is uber hardcore, and the AI is all over the place. The original Thief's weren't like that.

Edited by chakkman
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The thing is, the same map can be played in different moods, or put the other way around, maps cater to different moods more or less. I personally think it's important the first time I play a map that I play it both the intended way of the mapper, and basically following the philosophy of our genre -- slower, more methodical, thinking through your approach, anti-shooter, anti-hand holding, minimal, clean & functional UI, immersive sim, air of mystery to the world, non-linear, legitimate challenge, etc., and the game doesn't compromise with these things, even if it may be annoying for a moment, holding the line is more important in the grander scheme.

But as for once one has finished a map, I also take the open source ethos of Dark Mod (which we picked up from Thief modding), which is to say a kind of irreverence to the game. That's when you can go in and toy around with it, break the game, find all the loot and secrets, toy with the AI, and I don' t know if anyone else has ever done this, but I've been known on occasion to actually mod other people's maps to change a few things to my style, or more often to experiment with some crazy idea I have, make AI fight, or making some contraption, or some new function, etc. I would never really advertise it, for one thing because it could be seen as kind of disrespectful to the author to talk about how you've changed their map. That said, I haven't done that in probably over a decade by now. Now I'll just do my experimenting in my own maps made for the purpose.

But the beauty of the open source ethos is that, at the end of the day, I feel free to do what I want with the game, and that can be a really empowering feeling sometimes.  😎 The whole point of an open source game is to really make the game one's own on one's hard drive, I think. That's why I very often distinguish what's interesting for someone to do on their local version versus what's good to do for the core mod. For the core mod, I'm on board with keeping a strict line with our basic ethos, and I don't want just anything thrown in that could water it down. But then I often think the sky's the limit for what you do to it locally, and you even learn the most about coding the game by experimenting in the craziest ways, so a little irreverence is actually encouraged then. Anyway, long story short (too late), loot glint is a perfect example of something that would straddle that line for me, bad for the core mod, but interesting for one's local game when one is in the mood for it. 

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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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21 hours ago, chakkman said:

I think TDM already does it perfectly, no loot glint, just a hint when something is frobbable.

But you still can't distinguish loot from junk this way, which is a frequent criticism of TDM. The solution is right in front of us, 'though: Have a special frob-highlight for loot. This would be a clear improvement over the current system, as it would communicate clearly, what objects are loot, without actually nuding the players nose in it (like a global loot-glint).

Once we have a separate GLSL-Shader for Frob-Highlight instead of the currently used hack, it will be rather easy to implement the loot-highlight.

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15 minutes ago, STiFU said:

But you still can't distinguish loot from junk this way, which is a frequent criticism of TDM.

Is it? Hmm... should be obvious though. And if it isn't, it's obvious when you actually pick it up.

Frankly, I don't see any call for action in that regard, but that's just my opinion.

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37 minutes ago, chakkman said:

Is it? Hmm... should be obvious though. And if it isn't, it's obvious when you actually pick it up.

I agree, the sound alone makes it clear and I can't remember much junk in TDM missions anyway.

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IMO there's no fun in trial and error grabbing stuff to see which one is valuable. The player should be able to distinguish e.g. wooden goblets from golden ones. You could solve it with better materials or at least placing loot in better lit areas. Different color of the frob highlight would free mappers of these constraints, and it's actually more subtle than a permanent loot highlight. I like it :)

Edited by peter_spy
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12 hours ago, peter_spy said:

The player should be able to distinguish e.g. wooden goblets from golden ones.

Ah yes, this is a case where I agree. There are some goblets that look to similar. Maybe I can add this in my Unofficial Patch? Have to figure out how it is done first...

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14 hours ago, peter_spy said:

IMO there's no fun in trial and error grabbing stuff to see which one is valuable. The player should be able to distinguish e.g. wooden goblets from golden ones. You could solve it with better materials or at least placing loot in better lit areas. 

.. or simply by not making everything frobbable.

Even though I do like it when mission makers make stuff frobbable. But, I never had an issue distinguishing valuable and not valuable stuff anyway.

Edited by chakkman
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True, that's actually one the few examples where I browse through the scrolls to find out if there might be one which is actually readable. :) Those really shouldn't be made frobbable, if there's nothing interesting anyway.

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