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City Hub and how it could have been


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I'm playing "Need For Speed - Most Wanted" at the moment, and even though I think that, from the car handling perspective, "NFS Hot Pursuit 2" is still the best, NFS-MW has a rather good environment. Didn't like NFS Underground so mutch, and haven't tried Underground 2 or Carbon, so far.

Anyway, what I really like about Most Wanted is, that you also have this city hub, where you have your hideout and you can cruise around at leisure. It's pretty similar to T3 in that regard, as you can also drive around to go to some shopws (which are also menu driven, similar like T3).

The really cool thing though is, that you can engage into the mission events either directly from a menu or you can drive around and find the places where action is happening. This really gives you the feeling that you are living in that city, because you can engage any time you want. Once you engage, then you also have to load the actual mission, because the city will become a little bit different, from the cruising one. It's only barricades though, so the actual city layout always stays the same.

I think that was what I epxected when I first heard about the city hub in T3, and I think it can be done similarily for a thief style campaign.

Gerhard

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I was actually working with a team: NV, Shadowspawn, Telliamed and others for a T2 campaign that would've been based out of a city base. I think it would have worked and should be doable with DarkRadiant for sure. We had some cool stuff going, unfortunately everyone on the team also had their own side projects, RL, ect...

I started it but had a hard time motivating everyone...

 

Anyway, I haven't played need for speed but I do have Midnight Club (rockstar)(Dub remix has extra city), it is much the same, you can drive around each city level unrestricted, look for secrets (some are very hard to find), go off jumps, ect... Visit the shop, pimp your ride, change cars...

It's a sweet game, most fun racing game I've played so far. You race all kinds of cars, SUVs, ricers, bikes... each vehicle type has a race series plus city races you can do in any car. (Only problem is there are something like 14 courses per city, so you do the same courses for each car)

Dark is the sway that mows like a harvest

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The problem with city hubs for thief is either: 1) it taks a huge (and boring) amount of time to travel from one place to another (since you are walking, not driving), or 2) the city is made ridiculously small to compensate.

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I thought about this as well. Of course the point of a driving game is to drive. But on the other, hand, you don't have to. You can select the one of the next missions anytime you want, from the menu. So if you don't feel like driving over, just click a button and run an event.

Finding an event by driving yourself gives a rather good immersion IMO, though, because you really feel like you were lving in that town. I think it might be pretty cool to have something like this in a campaign as well, with a day/night cycle during the free city hub, and normal gameplay during a mission.

Gerhard

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NFS: Most Wanted is a good game with the city hub aspect. It's also found in NFS: Underground 2. Thief 3 was pretty cool since you had a living breathing city. The developers were limited due to poor choice and engine creation of a programmer. They were too far into development to go back so they build quite a game with limited resources/engine.

 

However Thief and The City is supposed to be mysterious. That's why there wasn't a hub for it in Thief 1 or Thief 2. Thief 3 is sort of the conclusion for the series and the end of the mystery all at the same time. I really liked Thief 3 despite what anyone said about it. ^_^

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You know, one way I figured would be a good way to keep the mystery of the city would be to procedurally generate it. You keep a vague outline of the city constant, such as which district is which, but you generate streets procedurally. Of course, the key is to make it so that you can drop in pre-made mission areas and either keep them locked in position (generating around their location) or allow the generator to set its final location.

 

Of course, then you have the problem that it would be impossible for gamers to give each other good directions, and some gamers still get lost with a prominent "you are here" tagged on a map.

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The problem with city hubs for thief is either: 1) it taks a huge (and boring) amount of time to travel from one place to another (since you are walking, not driving), or 2) the city is made ridiculously small to compensate.

 

This is of course why you (eventually) need horses, when you just want to "cruise" to some further part of the map, then you leave/tie it up somewhere (and know it can't disappear), and off you go to your mission.

Edited by demagogue

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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Eh, I like the focus to be on the actual heists, not the downtime in between. Sure, it was loads of fun your first few hours in T:DS breaking and entering into any house in sight, but cleaning out the entire town got a little redundant and boring in comparison to the actual missions. Plus a bit unrealistic. It would be like a burglar hitting up an entire street--and considering there is no way to make the player feel the long-term consequences of that or an aversion (to choose his targets wisely) it just broke the immersion some for me, or rather, made me acutely aware that I was playing a game.

 

I don't mind cleaning house on a Cathedral etc. but an entire City stretches the limits for me. City missions are cool, because they make you feel how enormous the actual City is, but With all the little districts etc. it makes the City feel downright small in Thief 3.

 

I actually had loads of fun being a Thief in Oblivion for a while, as I wasn't so great with the lockpicking and there were places too risky for me to attempt at times. But of course Oblivion wasn't Thief, and was rather limited when it came to this type of gameplay. Not to mention that there wasn't anything to buy from merchants in that game, and the fact that backstab can't get you anywhere in the end. You just can't beat that game as a thief and I felt cheated (at least where I was).

Edited by Ombrenuit
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I think what would be really cool in terms of a city hub in TDM would be to have the entire menu intractable through GUIs in your player's house. So when you finish a mission, your brought back to your hide-out/house, and perhaps this place can also be a tutorial of sorts to introduce the player to the game, like an area to show off how to climb rope arrows or to practice archery. An outside wouldn't even be necessary. But I think it would be really cool if you accessed options, save/load and new game ect ect by clicking on it on a piece of paper on a desk in-game as a player.

 

Of course we could always add onto it by adding an outdoor area later if we felt this was necessary. By doing this setup we would allow those that hate the go-to-mission type gameplay, as in T3 to simply click a paper and go to the next mission, while those that like to spend time preparing in-between missions to be able to do so. [perhaps a merchant could be accessed outside]

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Actually, that was my idea as well. I think this could work pretty good, as long as you include options to shortcut it. I think a city hub can definitely be made more believable then TDS did.

This would not really be in the scope of TDM though. It would make more sense to do this kind of thing in the coruse of a campaign. I have some ideas how this could also be done with arbitrary missions, but it would still be quite a seperate project.

Gerhard

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Well it is a great idea I think we should attempt. The nice thing about it is that every mission will be different as expected so individual mapper styles will not matter. Perhaps if everyone likes this idea, I can work on it and when we release the mod, we can use it as a hub for all the mission we release in the mod :)

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So when you finish a mission, your brought back to your hide-out/house,

 

The problem with hub ideas like this is that it doesn't fit all types of missions. What if it's a mission like Pavelock, where you start by being captured? What if it is supposed to take place in a monastary along the Builder Road that you've been staying in under cover for weeks? You're also not going to be the same character in every mission, so it would be a little strange to be living in the same house.

 

This kind of thing could be interesting for a campaign or a series of linked missions, but not for a general toolset.

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Wait, I assume you mean something along the lines of the player's apartment, with, say, a journal to represent the menu and mission selector?

yes

 

@ Springheel

Yes I guess it seems that way, we could attempt this for a mini-mission set from the betamappers. The menu of course would be a level which the mapper would have the option to go to at the end, or have go to a different level.

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