Yes, I agree with Nicked on that point.
As for polishing contest missions after completion, I think that the main problem is burnout. Contests have time limits, and sticking to those time limits means that many authors will be sick of the sight of their mission by the release date. The last thing they want to do is go back to it for tedious bug fixes! Can't speak for everyone of course, but I've certainly felt like that after a mission release, and contest time limits just exacerbate the feeling.
Yes, I agree with Nicked on that point.
I spotted a thread here on TLLG on a mission called Durant, and thought I'd give it a go.
What I could see of the mission was pretty good. It really felt like an OM, with great attention to detail everywhere, multiple paths through the areas and some real challenges due to well-placed guards. This mission is said to have an enhanced aI, but the only critter I noticed that seemed to benefit from it was the "UnderTow" bloke, who seemed to sprout eyes in the back of his head!
Unfortunately, the mission caused far too many CTD's for me, and the culprit seemed to be something in or around the Rammstein manor. This bug rendered the FM unplayable to me, so I eventually gave up and deleted the whole thing. A real pity.
I had a few issues with that mission as well - If I remember correctly the mission causes you to go through a stretch of it without anything at all to defend yourself and I can't ghost worth a darn - so it was usually a situation where I was chased through the mission until I could locate the blackjack. I really wish mission authors would stop doing the whole "oh you've lost all your gear and now need to find it!" gimmick on the lowest difficulty levels in their missions. It does cause a sense of dread and urgency for me - but not in a way that I like. I can see this being an objective on a higher difficulty, but folks are playing a lower difficulty for a reason - be it that they arent good at ghosting or whatever. That falls under "forced ghosting" for me, really. Even my favorite fan mission thus far (Obligatory Pirates Ahoy! plug here) caused you to ghost the beginning until you find a suitable weapon. Granted, it wasnt long at all - but at least start us with the blackjack and make us find the sword or lockpicks in the lowest difficulty.
I know I'm probably the only one that feels that way in a community full of folks that could ghost circles around me - but everyone has those things that ruin/make a mission for them.
In regards to Durant, the "get your stuffz!" part was done rather nicely in my opinion. You only really have to evade one copper, as the other one is too drunk to care.
I've only had a handful of FM's be uppity with me in regards to crashes, but in all the other cases the cause was a memory leak of some sorts which was foretold by the game slowing down. Not in Durant. This had something to do with the guards (or something the guards interact with) close to the Rammstein manor, most likely between the hotel and the manor.
Also, restoring a saved game seems to have something to do with it.
There is nothing more satisfying then to hear a Hammerite hear moaning 'Builder' and falling down, after you whacked him on the head.
I used to blackjack as many AI as I could throughout a level, but in the last year or so, I've started ghosting. It's a huge rush, and kind of a complete re-imagining of the game for me. I've gone back through some older missions, and everything's entirely fresh and new because I'm using a different playing style than I originally did.
Problem is, there's no going back. Blackjacking AI just seems too easy now.
I'd much rather ghost some areas, blackjack in others or just go all out and leave everyone napping by the time I fill my loot sack and leave the mission.
Needed to take a short break due to busy personal life things but I still wanted to update the thread - so I ran though a couple of missions from the past Dromed Beauty contest to show off a little of what the dark engine could do. Not gonna post em all (mainly because photoshop chewed them up and spit them out when I tried adjusting them like I always do for some reason) but I'll throw a few up just for eye candy. Each mission really does need to be seen for yourself as screenshots don't do them justice. I wont be posting a full review or anything due to them being very small missions with no objectives just for visuals. Hope you enjoy.
The Cloister Of Lazarius By Alexius
Mission Thoughts: This was my favorite mission from the dromed beauty contest. The setting was great, (A Hammer cathedral) the visuals were stunning, (with a ton of custom artwork) and the epic chanting and music used for the sounds really immersed me into the setting. I just wish this mission was expanded to a multi-level mission with patrols and objectives along with a story.
Loved the custom stained glass windows. I dont know if they were pictures of the author and his friends or what - but they looked great.
For being in a relatively small space, the place still felt huge.
I really enjoyed the artwork on the walls as well.
I believe this is the starting area, if memory serves.
More fantasy artwork.
I think a sharper texture could have been used for the walls for maximum effect, but the mission still looks incredible.
Warning: Cover your eyes if you are easily offended by fantasy artwork nudity!
The Clocktower By Ottoj55
Mission Thoughts: Coming in a close second for me was The Clocktower. Ottoj55 did a fantastic job with textures and objects as he always does - and I really liked the architecture of the tower. The sound of the thunder and the bright flashes of lightning added a ton to the already great atmosphere. Truly great work - everyone should give this a play through at least once.
Welcome to The Clocktower.
A lightning flash caught in screenshot form. You really do need to see this to do it justice, its a great effect.
That book's texture is so sharp you can nearly read what it says.
From another angle.
Tools and a smaller clock inside a larger clock.
A little rope action.
The clock face on the building lights up with the lightning flashes - it looks fantastic.
Hazelshade Cemetery By Nameless Voice
Mission Thoughts: This is another mission that I wish had been made with objectives - the atmosphere is fantastic. I really like the fog effect that stays low to the ground - and since my video card makes it impossible for me to see normal fog I'm glad to see some sort of weather effect. Also liked the rain mixed in. Great looking mission!
Screens: (apologies if the mission is supposed to have normal fog, my video card will not allow it even with fixes)
Welcome to Hazelshade.
Inside here you'll find a great reflective floor effect.
Another corner of the cemetery.
The area is small - so its hard to get alot of different shots!
Wonder who is resting for eternity here?
As I recall (haven't looked at it again in a while), the gloom helped everything in the distance to not seem quite as sharp and hard-edged as it does in your screenshots... made it a little less clear that the world ends just outside the graveyard walls.
Cool screenshots, NV
aaarrrgh there really needs to be a fog fix for Vista! At this rate I'm gonna have to buy an old XP computer just for playing Thief 2...
Fair enough. I find the fog contributes a huge amount to the atmosphere of some missions. For example Precious Cargo - without fog, it's a simple island, lighthouse, piratey exploring mission. With fog, it suddenly becomes this truly damp place that you can almost feel the rain trickling down the back of your neck, and smell the mould growing in the rotten lighthouse.
After I post the new Thief: TIS thread I'll have at least four more missions to add to this thread!
Last edited by SneakyJack; 27th Mar 2009 at 03:56.
What graphics card do you have SneakyJack? Only GPUs I know that can't render fog are some integrated Intel series.
It's not a graphics card thing, it's Vista. The only people I know of who've got fog to work on Vista have ATI cards, and even then it's a stretch and you end up with the old wall of fog problem.
Ack! There's A Zombie In The Basement! By Polygon
Released: 2004 Updated: 2005
What is the story?: What starts out as a routine cash grab on one of the nicer houses in the area becomes a bit more complicated after you find out about a mysterious guest in the house you chose. Shenanigans ensue.
How does it play?: Though part of a small thief mission series by Polygon that won't take you more than a half hour or 45 minutes to complete - this mission was still alot of fun. You won't encounter a ton of guards or servants but the ones you do are well placed and lend to maximum gameplay enjoyment for the time you spend with the mission. There are interesting things to see and do - and I guess my only complaint is the size of the mission - a much larger mission with a fleshed out story and more objectives from this author would have been fantastic.
How does it look?: Everything looks great. The architecture of the house is interesting, the textures are really well done and the interior is well let and decorated. Everything looks good.
How does it sound?: From the minute you start the mission you'll hear - surprise! The zombie in the basement. You knew it was coming though, didn't you? Everything sounds good and I didn't notice any problematic areas for sound.
So what is the verdict?: Even though it doesn't require a large time investment and there arent a ton of objectives, this one is still a great mission and worth a playthrough if you want a mansion mission and are on a time budget. Recommended!
You even get a little bit of snow before you enter - a nice touch.
Inside the home - great architecture for such a small space.
Creeping through the halls.
That looks like a fire hazard.
Don't mess with this fellow's teddy bear.
Getting warm near the fire.
Interesting table design to say the least!
The kitchen area.. soon there be zombies!!
Sinful Opportunities By Polygon
What is the story?: The 'somewhat' sequel to Ack! finds you coming across a note belonging to rival thieves who are planning a job in the very building in which you reside. Can't let them get away with getting there first, now can we?
How does it play?: This mission is a bit larger (at least it feels like it was) than Ack! with a bit more to do, and this made the experience more enjoyable for me. There are a few small scenes here and there that tell a bit more story this time, though a more fleshed out story again would have made the mission feel a bit more complete. I did like Garrett's motivation for why he was pulling off the job - and I always enjoy going head to head with rival thieves. Another fun mission that won't take more than a half hour or so to complete, but you'll have alot of fun during that time.
How does it look?: This mission looks fantastic. From the texturing to the architecture and lighting - it is definitely easy on the eyes. I really liked the little touches here and there (don't want to name too many in a smaller mission to leave some for you to see on a playthrough) but the patrolling guard outside was one example - small touches like that make you feel like you are playing a smaller part of a much bigger area.
How does it sound?: Other than one door that can have a bit of sound trouble everything sounded good and I didn't notice any other problems.
So whats the verdict?: I enjoyed this mission even more than the previous installment in Polygon's small mission series, and I hope that there are more installments to come. Recommended!
Dark and ominous stairway.
This is going to be fun!
No need for alarm lady, just passin' through. - Garrett
A brief glimpse at the outside.
Patrollin' and lovin' it.
What's going on here?!?!