Jump to content
The Dark Mod Forums

Fan Mission : Hazard Pay by Kingsal 01/27/22


kingsal
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi!

Allow me to start by saying I played this mission a few months back in Normal mode and it left a lasting impression on me. The new items, the models, the scripts, the textures, the architecture... one of my favorite missions. I am here however, to review and provide feedback about the save room mechanic. I kind of remember the areas, the main goals and the story but I will try to pretend I don't.

Spoiler

Objectives screen.

I don't personally like that I am forced to have over powered AI to give the save room mechanics a go, much less that gear gets reduced as part of the whole deal. That's the reason, I think, I opted for Normal on my first run.

I would probably advise at this point players not to take ghosting too seriously, something like: this mission is about survival and it is perfectly fine if you are discovered, just run for your life!

The Mission.

I start with no save gears, and have to make my way through my first zombie "saveless". Masterfully crafted intro. The Zombie stays behind and I can calmly explore the next area.

Meeting the first gramophone: good on screen messages. Mechanic well explained. I grab the first two gears and since I am in no danger I move ahead without saving.

The only way forward is through the silo, apparently. I am given two fire arrows and hesitate. Do I save? Do I sneak through those guys below? Do I fire? I sneak, frob the silo door and get discovered. Run! I go through the door and luckily made a left turn, otherwise the mission would have ended. Ok, I need to save now but I am not sure I can make it back. Let's move ahead.

Large storage room leading to an open world, no sight of gramophones but pesky zombies. Many zombies. I progressed much without saving and I am getting nervous. It is at this point that I would have added another Gramophone and a couple of gears. Better to have plenty of it at the beginning, let players experiment with the feature and gain some confidence.

I think every time I approach a new large or challenging area a new save room is required. Even if I don't use it. Knowing it is there gives confidence: I can peek around and go back if required. I propose:

1) Test (first zombie) - save
2) Challenge (three zombies) - save

I move forward, and since I remember the area, I go and meet the guy. A gramophone, good. This should have been the third though, not the second.

And here things get complicated because I go down the quarry and I couldn't find any save point! I keep accumulating loot and going back and forth, up and down, and no checkpoints. Am I supposed to backtrack that much if I want to save? That elevator isn't precisely fast. What do I do now? This area is quite complex and I am not sure I explored it all already.

Ok, let's go for that cabin, there must be something valuable inside. I can see a gap up there and it looks like my way around the detectors. I find my way and land on the roof. Steady... steady... steady... Now! Didn't land right, the door is closed, I hear a beep shortly followed by an unsettling game-over sound. Food is on the table. RUN! I seek heights and darkness. I haven't saved for around 25 mins. I stay quiet and meditate.

Here are the main points I want to make:

1) I come to realize at this point that a big difference between Resident Evil and TDM is that in in RE you could not die from a bad move (fall) while in TDM you can, and the idea terrifies me more than the zombies. That's something to take into account in the future, I believe. See, I have fond memories of RE and kind of remember I got to trust the save mechanic and at some point I felt kind of in control. Here thought I know I can out run zombies but a bad move could have disastrous consequences.

2) Another point to keep in mind, I think, is that you can have a few gramophones but plenty of gears; or plenty of gramophones but few gears; but not few gramophones and few gears. One restriction, not two. Actually, plenty of gramophones and plenty of gears is a win-win. The introduction of this mechanic alone forces you to explore "naked" and the experience greatly improves but this doesn't necessarily mean players cannot save more often than not. The idea is that in order to save you have to backtrack to that "close by" location instead of simply pressing a key. I would have added at least one more gramophone at the center of the quarry. The stairs leading to the top of the temple is an excellent candidate, since the stairs are a prominent part of the area that players won't miss, and a good point of reference you can backtrack to easily. Perhaps a working table in the shadows, on the path zombies patrol for an extra challenge.

I go for a voluntary run, I outrun zombies easily and somehow I end up in water and shortly after, a gramophone, Lord be praised. The whole area feels save but I save without hesitation nevertheless.

I clearly remember what's ahead now and I Henry Jones Junior through the treasure room, get the required loot and get to the end of the mission.

At this point I noclip to check the map and found the "Supply room". I didn't recall it was there and didn't find it this time around.

 

Congratulations, @kingsal for a great mission and the new ideas. And thanks for sharing your work.

Edited by snatcher
  • Like 2

TDM Modpack v1.8 (25/09/2022) - Visit:

Snatcher's Workshop - Mods for The Dark Mod

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@McPhisto2051

Unfortunately there is nothing in the dumpfile that is of use. :(

Did you fell to death?

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

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know. Maybe your installation is broken (TDM or the FM). It doesn't explain the odd savegame file name, though. But as you are the only one reporting this is likely something on your end. Sorry. 😕

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

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@McPhisto2051Hmm I'm stumped tbh. I would suggest doing a clean install of TDM, delete it completely and reinstall just in case. 
@ObsttorteThanks for looking into this!

@snatcherThanks for giving it a try and giving notes on the save mechanic. I'm thinking of making a sequel someday where I refine and balance the idea :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, kingsal said:

Thanks for looking into this!

Your welcome. Didn't help much, though.

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

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

But as you are the only one reporting this is likely something on your end. Sorry

I did report the save crash before, you can read it in this thread. On that occasion a reinstall had no effect.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, datiswous said:

I did report the save crash before, you can read it in this thread. On that occasion a reinstall had no effect.

You're on Linux though. So they could be two unrelated issues. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, datiswous said:

I did report the save crash before, you can read it in this thread. On that occasion a reinstall had no effect.

Ok. Didn't notice that. But yes, as kingsal wrote it may be a different issue. It's hard to judge from the distance, but it doesn't sound like an issue with the FM or TDM to me.

Did your savegames had the wrong naming, too?

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

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Obsttorte said:

Did your savegames had the wrong naming, too?

How are they normally called? Since this is a specially made save by the fm.

L1_Control.save ?

 

Edit:

I tried on a different Linux system and it saves just fine. Save name = Save 0

Edited by datiswous
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, the naming is specified by the saving entities. It should neither be Save_0 or Save 0 as in your case, which is an oddity considering I couldn't find anything in the code that would cause such naming. May have to take a second look.

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

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 EDIT - If anyone wants to discuss this particular subject, there is a dedicated topic here.

--------------------------------------------------

REGARDING HEADSHOTS (and insta-kills by extension)

I don't know who pioneered the headshot idea in TDM (would like to know) but I noticed it is implemented in a few missions, including this one. I will post this here and see what happens.

Disclaimer: I, by no means, am criticizing Youtube content creator "Boy Lag", or his content, or his play style. On the contrary, I am grateful people create all kind of content for us to consume and discuss. I truly hope "Boy Lag" doesn't take it personally, if he ever notices this post.

Warning: the video contains parts of Kingsal's Hazard Pay mission! If you haven't played the mission and watch the video, you will be spoiled. If you haven't played the mission and read this post, you may be spoiled.

--------------------------------------------------

Check the below video (minutes 12 to 15). By this time in the mission the player has learned that headshots are a thing. Have a look to what happens:

 

There are plenty of moments like this in his play-through and I wonder whether the player is (consciously or unconsciously) having an engaging, frustrating or simply an uninteresting experience. Because rules allow for it, the player is applying the best strategy there is, and he is exploiting the mechanic to have it all: an insta-kill, a cool head shoot, and his arrow back. You can notice he is not trying to go through the challenge fast, he's got all the time in the world.

How can this be any fun? No sense of risk or loss, no chance of failure, but a constant trial and error. The problem has nothing to do with the player or his play style but with the mechanic itself: the lack of limits or restrictions to be precise.

Headshots (insta-kills / fatalities / you name it) are extremely satisfying features in any commercial game. But here is the thing: the less control the player has over these features and the more rarely they happen, the more satisfying the experience is when it happens. Hardly the case here, in my opinion.

-----

I can think of a couple of ways headshots / insta-kills could be more engaging and satisfying.

Hardened arrows (--- insert your fancy arrow name here ---)

Hardened arrows are made with a rare, strong but lightweight metal that dissolve when in contact with liquid and soft tissue (--- insert your fancy story here ---)

Rules: only hardened arrows can get you a headshot and you only get to have a handful of them throughout a mission. A hardened arrow always gets you an insta-kill, regardless of where it hits in the body, and if aimed to the head, you might get a headshot. Hardened arrows cannot be recovered.

By limiting the options players would be challenged to apply different strategies, instead of the same tactic over and over again. Besides, insta-kills are guaranteed 90% of the time (no punishment / no reloads).

Broadhead arrows - New rules

If hardened arrows cannot be implemented for whatever reason, an alternative to allow for headshots / insta-kills without overpowering and/or frustrating players too much would be:

You get your headshot / insta-kill but only if the player is in close range of the subject, and aiming directly to the head. Sword-fight range, I would say. You can attack from behind or from a height, but you must be very very close.

This way the author/dev/modder can be sure 90% of the times players won't miss the shot, will get the headshot / insta-kill and will prevent the many reloads but still, the new dynamic remains challenging since it includes some risk (get close to the enemy to get your cool reward).

EDIT - Another idea is the introduction of "Hardening potions" which would work similarly to the Holy Water: you can get insta-kills with Broadhead arrows but for a limited time.

Cheers!

Edited by snatcher

TDM Modpack v1.8 (25/09/2022) - Visit:

Snatcher's Workshop - Mods for The Dark Mod

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, snatcher said:

How can this be any fun? No sense of risk or loss, no chance of failure, but a constant trial and error. The problem has nothing to do with the player or his play style but with the mechanic itself: the lack of limits or restrictions to be precise.

Welcome to The Dark Mod. :)

Oh, and better don't mention restrictions, it's ... delicate. 🙄

  • Like 1

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

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are lots of downsides with killing people. It's loud, other guards are likely to come running, and to discover the corpses (and get alert for ages), and I think (correct me if I'm wrong) the AI will spot the blood as well.

I haven't played this mission yet, but, usually, you won't be able to kill undead that way either.

Anyway, as has been pointed out, the game lets you play it in multiple ways, and that's good. Restrictions restrict the way you want to play the game, which is bad. If you don't want to play the way which is shown in the video (which is not the normal way you can deal with the undead anyway), then just don't do it. Case solved. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the game in this regard, so why fix something which isn't broken?

Edited by chakkman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Obsttorte I reinstalled my display drivers and made a fresh clean install of the game (and mission), no crash has happend during the complete mission 🙂

@kingsalits a very nice mission, cool looking, nice atmosphere, different stimulus to get the money, nice new undead and cool features (e.g. burning the chains)
After I had to start so many times over, I just slaughtered my way through on hardest difficulty in around 45 mins 😆.
 

Spoiler

I even killed the evil guy before I gave him the money, just because I found the key 😅

Overall a really nice mission! I'll play it again to find the missing secrets! And I love the ending which reminded me a lot of the beginning of half life.

Edited by McPhisto2051
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Headshots are a staple of many games these days, aka Assassins Creed, Far Cry, etc. If you are precise enough to be able to shoot into a much smaller window that is the enemy's head area, then why not have it be a one-shot kill. It's a harder thing to do, and maybe that as a reward is acceptable. As others have said, this is not required, and Thief offshoots like TDM are shadow hiding and stealth-based first games. I always felt like weapons (other than blackjack and maybe water arrows) are usually not necessary to complete most missions, and sometimes they are necessary (ever try to get past some of those pesky spiders)?

BTW Hazard Pay is a beautiful mission, and really vertical as well.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, headshots, especially from a bigger distance, require a lot of skill, especially as TDM's archery is actually very nice and realistic.

I've been killing a few guards recently as well. Usually I'm a KO player who doesn't want to kill anyone, but, it's much more relaxed picking off guards which you aren't able to KO, when exploring the map.

Don't get me started about elite guards though. ;) There are missions where 3 or 4 of those guard sewers (which doesn't make sense at all). I think those should be restriced to the most maximum security areas, not just guarding streets or sewers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On restrictions,

"At the beginning of time there was the void. And the Master Builder created TDM for his own enjoyment. And other creatures were allowed to exist to praise the creation of the Master Builder."

Players against restrictions don't realize how restricted they already are in TDM. As a matter of fact everything is restricted, but you are allowed to do few things. Speaking of the core design and new features the problem lies in giving too-much-too-soon because it is very difficult to take away what was already given.

There's a good example in this very mission: the blowtorch.

Good Kingsal could have given us a permanent blowtorch that opens all padlocks. Players get used to what they were given and find it perfectly fine. Somebody then suggests blowtorches should perhaps have a single use and players must find blowtorches to open extra doors. "No restriction" advocates would then raise their voices: "Leave my blowtorch alone, nothing forces you to use it".

I hope I made my point clear, regardless of whether we agree or disagree.

Cheers!

TDM Modpack v1.8 (25/09/2022) - Visit:

Snatcher's Workshop - Mods for The Dark Mod

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, snatcher said:

Players against restrictions don't realize how restricted they already are in TDM.

To be honest, I doubt that you realize how much missions are optimized for multiple ways of playing them. There are merely a handful ways you can play this game, of course. But, it's still a lot more than in other games. You can ghost a mission, you can KO guards, you can kill guards, you can cause a lot of mess, or try not to alert anyone. Or anything inbetween.

Let's also not forget that we're talking about a game here which is trying to stay as close to the game it was originally built to emulate. Everything you suggest to be implemented has to be considered in that regard. Of course, there weren't headshots in the original Thief's, but, I consider it a great enhancement, just like other great enhancements in this mod like object handling, or the enhanced AI behavior. The thing is, I think everything which was built on top of it was carefully considered and thought through thoroughly. I can't see how restricting people not to do headshots and take out the arrows afterwards is an enhancement in any way. On the contrary, you're talking about headshots only working in close range, which is quite paradox, as it takes a lot of skills to do a headshot on long range.

Frankly, I think your taking issue is more related to this mission than anything else.

Edited by chakkman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can't really kill undead with headshots in regular missions anyways, this is something that the mission author modified.

If this suggestion is for the mission author of this particular mission, that's fine, it's his choice.

 

I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


  • Recent Status Updates

    • nbohr1more

      Anyone have any luck with light.setShader( string ) ? It seems to make whichever light you apply it to full-bright on the initial invoke?
      · 0 replies
    • thebigh

      I'm starting to think we need another mapping contest.
      · 9 replies
    • kano

      Don't you hate it when there's a quality discussion on a forum somewhere online about something, but then two disagreeing users derail and transform it into a back-and-forth poo slinging competition at one another?
      · 9 replies
    • Diego

      Oh look the status updates are back! 
      · 2 replies
    • JackFarmer

      After watching the first three and a half episodes of "The Sandman" last night, I realize once again that overly imaginative narratives are not for me. Also, the main actor looks like he has a toothache.
      Which makes me wonder, is there a Dark Mod mission with a medieval dentist?
      · 4 replies
×
×
  • Create New...