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Written in Stone [TDM 2.10 ONLY] [2022/01/28]


Amadeus
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I have returned to TheDarkMod after a few years (I played it a lot around 2015-16, even tried making a map, it did not go anywhere so I donated those few assets).
The missions are great. In this one in particular, the navigation is awesome. The city is very good.

I have noticed a trend though: the puzzles are more complicated; a lever may open something *somewhere*. 
Do you think that large TDM missions are suffering from "puzzle creep", that the veteran and in-community players do not notice?

[/spoiler]
So you have to go *all the way back* to use the crystal key on the teleporter thingy? And I don't know how to deal with the burning crystals either. 
I ended up killing nearly all enemies in the mages' place, with sword and holy water, because, yeah, I need to figure things out and I can't be bothered to stealth from one place to another anymore, lol.
I will try checking the readables and environment with a bit more patience and see.
[spoiler]

The old format for spoiler tags does not work, not does changing the '/'.
Wow, what a way to advertise "I am dumb" XD

IMO the best way is to place gradual spoilers in the forum thread. I know it's a bit of a burden on the authors but answering 20 questions disjointly from different users is one as well.

Edited by Netos
spoiler tags
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1 hour ago, Netos said:

I ended up killing nearly all enemies in the [spoiler] place, [...] because, yeah, I need to figure things out and I can't be bothered to stealth from one place to another anymore, lol.

Yes! Written in Stone is/was one of the missions I am currently playing, and this was the conclusion I came to as well. I think the story (what I have found of it) even supports this course of action. These are clearly not happy people. Killing them is a mercy.

However it seems I am just not good enough at combat to kill all the enemies with the resources I had collected to that point, so I ended up putting Written in Stone on the back burner in favor of other FMs.☹️ At some point I'll return to it and most likely finish it up using notarget. The world geometry itself is lovely and I want to take my time to admire it without having to worry about enemies.

In terms of trying to diagnose what made the balance between exploration, puzzle solving, and enemy presence not work for me in this mission I'd draw a comparison to Iris and Hazard Pay, which presented similar challenges for exploration and puzzles but did not make me want to genocide the entire map.
The first useful thing they did was prominently signpost important locations for the player, often with actual sign posts in the game world, and in Iris's case with markers on the map.
Secondly they provided lots of safe corridors (that were easy to find) for efficient traversal between key locations. These safe spaces also often included overlooks or vantage points with clear views of the hostile areas so they player can get an understanding of the layout and plan their next moves without time pressure.
And lastly in places where the player does not have the benefit of signage, maps, or prior visual scouting, these FMs revert to a much more linear level design. (Like a vine with side branches, instead of a spider's web or tree like labyrinth.)

Now that I think of it, a lot of my most favorite TDM FMs follow these rules: Requiem, William Steel In the North and Home Again, Volta 1 and 2... That's not to say I think being lost or needing to make your own safety (Rambo style) have no place in TDM. (Perversely, Down in the Bonehoard has become my favorite T:TDP mission, and it breaks almost all these rules at various points.) But in those cases where being lost or ultra-violent is the intent, I believe the change in playstyle should be supported by tailored story beats and a generous equipment loadout. 

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I'm done the main objectives, but missing a ton of loot.

I can't get in here: 

Spoiler

written-2022-05-17-10-22-32.png


In desperation, I used the show key commands, which revealed 2 key locations:

Spoiler

One on a guy's belt at the pub, the other on a desk in the Lich compound,

but neither actually have any keys

Spoiler

(I used the glasses too)

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
16 minutes ago, Nikita Menkovich said:
  Hide contents

How do you open display cases with crystal sword and hammer? Looked everywhere but could not find the key

Spoiler

The lock is hidden on the pedestal base and can be picked. Alternatively you can smash the glass with something.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
4 hours ago, marbleman said:

Is there a way to open the big gate between the starting area and market square?

Yep!

Spoiler

Check the nearby pipes leading up to a window. there is a mechanism on the top floor next to the two poker-playin guards

 

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13 minutes ago, marbleman said:

I can't believe I missed that. 😑

 

Eh, don't feel too bad about this particular spot. This was a troublesome area when it came to beta testing that's been tweaked and retweaked a few times, but since this was a contest mission with a deadline, there is only so much you can do

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The main thing is that it can be opened. :) If it wasn't possible, it'd be my biggest criticism of the mission.

Oh, another question. What's the intended way of getting the factory secret, just jumping to it? I activated some mechanism, but it wasn't very useful.

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12 minutes ago, marbleman said:

Oh, another question. What's the intended way of getting the factory secret, just jumping to it? I activated some mechanism, but it wasn't very useful.

Spoiler

the mechanism should bring over a climbable chainlink crane that you use

 

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I can't climb it. The chain doesn't have any collision. Or am I supposed to do something else with it?

It's not a problem, I've found a way of getting it, which I'm really proud of. 😏

Edited by marbleman
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Just now, marbleman said:

I can't climb it. The chain doesn't have any collision.

hmm, this sounds like a bug then unfortunately. Strange, because other players have gotten all the secrets, not sure why the chain is suddenly nonsolid now... Sorry about that

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  • 3 weeks later...

I finally got around to playing and finishing this mission. Lovely mission, I really liked it.

I missed a lot of loot though (over 50%), and barely made the 3.000 gold requirement of the expert difficulty. No idea where all that loot was supposed to be hidden. Fortunately, there was some loot at the end. 

Spoiler

I also missed the key holes of the cases in the library, the ones with the sword key etc. I hardly ever dared to activate the lantern, because, in almost every room, there were balconies. I had to search in this thread for a way to open them. I thought the glass doors were unlockable with a key I never found, because they reacted to the lock picks. 

I also found the library pretty darn hard. At first, I also didn't know that there are actual mages running around which can be KO'd. I thought they were all undead which only could be defeated using holy water or fire arrows. That could have been more obvious, to be honest.

All in all, a great mission, which is right up there with the best in terms of visuals, story, readables, and atmosphere. Well done.

One small niggle: I didn't like the voice acting too much. No offense meant, but, the protagonist sounded a bit too nice and well mannered for a thief. Guess I'm spoiled from a couple of other missions where the voice acting is really top notch.

Edited by chakkman
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There's a difference between tone and voice acting being top notch.

The voice acting was top notch, you just didn't like the tone, but that's either done at the direction of the mission author, or the voice actor didn't get proper direction.

Either way, the technical aspects of the VO were good, the acting was well done.

I also found it a little jarring to have the protagonist be so chipper but it was a nice change of pace.

I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 months later...

A truly amazing FM and another among the top best. Love the city design, so detailed and cozy... complex and full of secret areas too. Normally I post after finishing a FM but this is one I've been stuck on for several days.

Spoiler

I couldn't find how to get to the library. After hours of wandering around and checking everything, I decided to noclip and look where it connects, then I finally saw it was the sewers! However there's another problem: You need a key to open a locked door and I can't find that either. I tried tdm_show_keys and it revealed a key I missed on the belt of the guy drinking in the tavern, however it seems to have sunk into his body and is impossible to frob... only if I knock him out I can see a tiny piece of key sticking out but can't grab that either. Hopefully that's not the one I need, will keep looking tonight. Figured I'd mention this important bug none the less as it seemed run-breaking.

1473508872_written(2022-11-2404-32-00)(-385.87633_8272.25).thumb.jpg.d5e911edb5c7fc05fb273a146423c4d6.jpg

Speaking of bugs another one I should point out before I forget:

Spoiler

The sewer manhole inside the large warehouse opens in the wrong direction. Instead of going up it will rotate down and clip through everything in the process. Doesn't break gameplay just looks broken.

1183383435_written(2022-11-2104-02-59)(-274.03-1600_6334.25).thumb.jpg.2b51b2a45d32d06e25a663262d27fd25.jpg

 

Edited by MirceaKitsune
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@MirceaKitsune About that key...

Spoiler
20 minutes ago, MirceaKitsune said:

I missed on the belt of the guy drinking in the tavern, however it seems to have sunk into his body and is impossible to frob

Working as intended. :)

There's a hint in the mission about that guy swallowing the key.

Solution

Spoiler

Use the magic glasses instead. ;)

 

Edited by Daft Mugi
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16 minutes ago, Daft Mugi said:

@MirceaKitsune About that key...

  Reveal hidden contents

Working as intended. :)

There's a hint in the mission about that guy swallowing the key.

Solution

  Reveal hidden contents

Use the magic glasses instead. ;)

 

Ooooh! Thanks! I must have missed that hint, and that's not something I'd have thought about on my own, very clever. I'll do that tonight when I get back to playing :)

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