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Thread: General Fan Mission Review And Discussion Megathread

  1. #1476
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2009
    Location: UK
    @The Mike: Funny review, got some chuckles out of me. The 'Dark Zone' in Rocksbourg 3, is probably one of the most scariest moments I've had in a game, I hope DrK keeps this up in the last three.

    @SneakyJack: Getting screenshots for me is a similar story, finding a good angle and location to grab that would present well in a review. Sometimes they come out a bit too dark though and hard to adjust them without looking bad. I get very fustrated when I can't find good places to take screenshots, CoSaS1 is probably a good example where I had a little bit of trouble, and a few for other games.

    Infact, while I'm on the subject - How did you take effective screenshots of Rocksbourg 3 without them appearing too dark? The best example is in the large library; mine for an upcoming review barely shows anything no matter how I tweak them.

  2. #1477
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Quote Originally Posted by quakis View Post
    Infact, while I'm on the subject - How did you take effective screenshots of Rocksbourg 3 without them appearing too dark? The best example is in the large library; mine for an upcoming review barely shows anything no matter how I tweak them.
    One of the biggest problems with answering that question is the all the variables involved. I'm on an older CRT monitor, so automatically I sometimes brighten images too much just to try to get the black levels looking right on my monitor. You also have the video card factor, as I don't know if all video cards take thief screenshots at the same brightness levels (I highly doubt it) so you and I could take the same exact shot of the same mission on two different systems, and when we pop it into photoshop they could be at completely different brightness levels.

    I normally pop the image into photoshop and depending on how bright it is by default (some missions for some reason 'photograph' far better than others as I'm sure you've found on your own) I normally only do two things - play with the sliders for "Brightness" and "Contrast" in photoshops image --> adjust menu. I've found that (I'm on Photoshop CS4 Extended) often times you can crank up the brightness quite a bit while lowering the contrast slightly to achieve maximum results.

    Unfortunately every screenshot is different so you cant just create a photoshop action that auto adjusts them or they will turn out looking like.. well, something bad. I may still do a tutorial on it after I finish a few more reviews I have lined up and a few upcoming features I have planned but tutorials are so much work (ones that require taking this many variables into account) and for me not alot of fun to do so I'll have to get myself motivated for the task

    So long story short - there is no easy way to determine how to get it just bright enough - I normally adjust my shots until things like fire and electric lights begin getting a little 'too bright' and then dial it back just a bit and it seems to work well enough. I think the way Photoshop CS4 handles brightness and contrast differently than in older versions of photoshop makes it far easier to make screens look good. You can see that by looking at my first reviews here and then my newest ones - some of the earlier ones look awful

  3. #1478
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2006
    Location: Great. Now I can't get back in
    ......if only The Mike's cat could talk......

  4. #1479
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sticky Fingers View Post
    ......if only The Mike's cat could talk......
    ...If I were to say "he does" would that be concerning?

  5. #1480
    NewDark 64³ Contest Winner
    Registered: Jul 2005
    Location: Locked Inside Dromed
    One of OttoJ's best missions that is less spoken of is A Debt Repaid. To me, that is honestly one of the top 10 missions that I've yet played. I love the intricate design of that level, especially the third lockpick.

    I like those missions where you know the place you have to get to, but you end up having to take a completely round-about way to get there, solving puzzles and crawling all over the map just to get where you need to be. It reminds me of levels like Forgotten Forest 2 and Lord Alan's Factory. Also the OM First City Bank and Trust was alot like that. I remember playing that for the first time and being totally confused as to where to go.

  6. #1481
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinque Ecclesiae HU
    Augustine’s Revenge by bbb

    Brought to you by the creator of Three Crowns, which was reviewed here recently, Augustine’s Revenge is a tremendous city and mansion type mission for Thief: the Dark Project. I do not often call missions tremendous, but here, I must make an exception – not because Augustine’s Revenge is flawless, but rather because it presents a triumph of gameplay and ambience over technology.

    Why do I claim this? Because it is a great Thief mission that is very unlike most other great Thief missions. They – like Saturnine’s recently released Rose Cottage, or Mission X – are heavily customised technological masterpieces that push the Dark Engine beyond all conceivable limits, using textures, sounds and procedures beyond the wildest ambitions of Looking Glass Studios. Augustine’s Revenge is the polar opposite. It is restricted to stock TDP resources, using no custom sounds, textures or objects (take care that you will need Thief Gold or the correct patch to play, though). The level geometry is simple, even simplistic: architecture is a succession of simple shapes; a house is a cube with a prism on the top, a tower is a cylinder with window textures and some basic crenellations, nothing more complex.

    So why ‘tremendous’? Because all the effort that was not spent on visual polish and customisation has been spent instead on building a huge exploration-oriented level that takes hours to finish, and features impeccably designed gameplay. To get to your main objective, a rich lord’s mansion, you will first have to navigate the streets of a city, then take to the rooftops to reach your destination. What starts out as a distinctly small-townish environment with one or two-story buildings shortly becomes a vertigo-inducing sequence of towering construction, where you have to hop from apartment to apartment and from ledge to ledge over immense chasms to progress. All of this is a remarkably smooth experience: the difficulty is just right to challenge but not to intimidate; hidden places are just devilish enough to pose a challenge but not to cause frustration. This is exploration-oriented gameplay as it should be. (Designers, take note: hiding places here are mainly hidden in the environment, not with annoying and hard to locate mini-switches.) Then, after you have had your fill of rooftopping, play moves on to the mansion, where evading tight interlocking patrols and discovering the clues to your ultimate goals are your objective. Again, the setup works: it is almost optimally designed. (Ghosting is possible throughout the mission, although I failed at one point where I had to bash down a barrier to proceed – it seems there might have been another way to my goal, so others may fare better.)

    Then, a few words have to be dedicated to ambience. There have been many attempts to reinvent the look and feel of Thief from the faithful to the utterly unconventional. Augustine’s Revenge is, perhaps, notable for evoking a certain mystique of the City – it is just elegant somehow, and the simple architecture eventually becomes comfortable – instead of fighting against the limitations of 11-years-old technology, the author has used it to capture something iconic, dark and subtle. It may be in the application of the textures and lights and the sharp contrasts of shadow and illumination; it may be in the music, or the way the simple architecture is allusive of dense and complex urban architecture instead of directly simulating it. It is a curious and very non-obvious way to achieve something great, but it works.

    It is unlikely that Augustine’s Revenge will be considered one of the ‘star’ fan missions in Dromed history. Nonetheless, it should be tried and enjoyed, because in a very peculiar way, it is very much their equal.










  7. #1482
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Fantastic review and screens Melan! As clunky as I found Thief 1 to be - after reading your review I may very well Re-install the game just to play this one! I really enjoy your writing style.

  8. #1483
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Wow, really well written review man! Smart almost to the point of being over my head (I actually had to look up what crenelation meant). DUDE...write more! Reading that was extremely interesting.

    By the way, I'm playing this FM also and I completely agree with everything that was said. Excellent...uh...crenelations.

  9. #1484
    Member
    Registered: May 2008

  10. #1485
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinque Ecclesiae HU
    The downside to writing these reviews is that I rarely have thoughts original enough to make me motivated. On the other hand, I have an old unsubmitted mega-review of sperry's Shadows of Doubt campaign, which is genius for completely different reasons - I may have to dig that up some day and type it up (I wrote that on paper while on a computer-free holiday, completely from memory ).

  11. #1486
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids

    Reviewing "Augustine's Revenge" by bbb

    ***Note of frustration: ARGH! Melan beat me to it. Oh well, gonna post it anyway, since I wrote it before Melan posted his. Oh well, at least this one will be different. I think it contrasts pretty good. SJ should be excited.***


    Released in late 2009 by bbb for Thief I!

    Augustine's Revenge (download here!)

    The title pretty much tells the story's idea. Many years ago there was a duel between two princes - Augustine and Robert. Robert won, bigtime. Augustine was left with a messed up body and somehow after all these years he decided he wants revenge. By you. Get Robert's stash, expose his affair and get paid by everyone. A dream come true... For a more detailed description read the FM's readme file.


    This is a big city mission, with lots of exploring to do! Be sure to search for climing opportunities as well as rope arrow using. This mission has a fantastic gameplay - open windows in random places in any (though not every) house or ledge and yet still linear enough to not get TOTALLY lost. Actually, the map isn't totally big, but there's a decent amount of gameplay packed in every corner so it never gave player a break from good thieving. It's an adventure that will distract you from life for a good 2 or 3 hours of mixed atmosphere with the game and your thoughts. At least it did so with me.

    One thing that definitely stands out about this mission is that it is Thief I - ergo crazy jumping time! It is the one thing that I just like so much better about Thief I than Thief II. Unfortunately it also means older graphics and other technological degradements. Then again, the author usually prefers to stick with the original textures, so it doesn't make much of a difference.

    The author of this mission loves loot and puts it everywhere, which, as I said, makes the gameplay aspect the winning one. It wasn't all loot though, as there were some (personally I caught 2) messages throughout the map signed by the author himself, which was a nice touch. Some may argue it kills the atmoshpere, but at least I'm taking those messages more as an encouragement to go on. It's like someone wants Garrett to succeed. It's a minor touch, but it's interesting stuff like this that makes a mission memorable.

    I loved the few conversations with some good, appropriate voice acting. The lowest point of this map was the lack of custom resources and mine and author's tastes are different, as I would've liked different background themes. The map uses default textures too, so that in one point brings you closer to the FM, but from another point it's the same, old, boring textures, that you've seen so many times in so many places. I'll be honest though, my problem with the questionable looks on some parts of the city were the choice of textures and lack of design. Since I'm making complaints in this pargraph, I'll add, that I wished for less metal, cause I simply don't like how it sounds. Honestly, soon enough I was starting to look forward to some tile, strangely enough.

    ***Now... what did I miss? Sounds, visuals - check. Story - check. Gameplay - check. Design and architecture... ok, time for those, then.***

    Architecturally (yup, starting with the keyword) this mission checks as good. It stands out in the aspect, that it makes the gameplay vary and some places are just plain interesting. Some places in the early stages of the map got me nostalgic at something for some reason. Maybe it's the seen influence from other old games. Jedi Knight, maybe? Maybe not... Though I did want some more detail into Robert's mansion from outside and the main hall. Throughout the map I managed to climb out of the map several times. It was about as difficult as reaching the author's messages, but a little bit harder.


    Overall, this was a great mission, that probably aimed to give the player a classic Thief experience. And so it did, all classic elements were there. What I missed from this mission was a bit more of a story, some side stories, that would keep you more immersed etc. Hmm, rereading these few sentences makes me realise I've been spoiled by those big titles everyone holds closer than... god? Back on track. I felt that this mission was rushed towards the end and by the end I was more obsessed to simply finish it, which is fine too, because it gave me a distinct satisfaction and no regrets. Please, don't think this mission is not worth playing, as it sure is. I was merely trying to be a bit more harsh towards it then some other FMs.

    For a change, just for the fun of it, I'm gonna share my more important mission stats with you.

    Difficutly: Expert
    Total Time: 2h 11min 56s
    Found 13392 Loot out of 14482
    Locks picked: 18
    Knock Outs: 46


    And now, see the mission for itself!

    *5 minutes in sorting out screens and Thor comes to a strange piece of conclusion - he loves the screens and finds the mission beautiful and doesn't understand why he even complained about it and takes it all back*


    Just to give you the wrong first impression.


    Typical bar. Oh, it really IS a typical bar.


    His lordship's mighty mansion.


    Why hello there, stranger!


    There's a lot of loot stashes around the city. This one I liked best.


    His lordship's basement. One of my favorite places in the map, for some reason. It's probably the textures.


    It's a long way down...


    Another one of my favorite places in the map. Honestly, these sewers got me nostalgic.

  12. #1487
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Great stuff Thor! Thank you for another great contribution

    Your screenshots (in my opinion) are looking much better as well - I can actually tell whats going on in the scene I'm trying to find my Thief: Gold disks wherever they may be - the next step will be fighting with vista to get Thief: Gold running.

    We are nearing the 100k views mark along with the 1500 replies mark and I think that is fantastic for a thread that is all discussion and content and not just hints or a forum game. Well done to everyone and thank you for all of your contributions.

  13. #1488
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2006
    Location: Great. Now I can't get back in
    Those are 2 great reviews of Augustine's Revenge - a real feast of exploration reminiscent, in different ways, of such FMs as Greenbay, Keeper Investigations pt 5 & Bad Debts: yep, I really think it's that good!

    Melan - I particularly liked your point about fundamentally absorbing & immersive design / gameplay over polish & customisation; "the basics" are, I feel, still the most important qualities of FMs. However, maybe there's room for both as in your Disorientation

    Quote Originally Posted by The Mike View Post
    ...If I were to say "he does" would that be concerning?
    I think what he said would be much more concerning

  14. #1489
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids
    Yay, we've stepped over the 100k views milestone and just 3 posts till 1500 replies.

    Generally I agree with the gameplay-over-looks thing, but somehow I just felt different.about it in this one. Like Sticky Fingers, I think it could have done both like in Bad Debts. Still, it's a great mission.

    Thanks for liking my screens, SJ. I generally set the gamma a bit higher (at least for T2, but I guess for T1 too) and photoshopped some brightness altering curves, generally just so the screens looks more "alive". The light sources get brighter, for example. It's just a small and probably unnoticable effect, but I like to think it affects the screenshot quality.

  15. #1490
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2009
    Location: UK
    +1 to the replies.

    Once I finished up with Augustine's Revenge, I plan to give it, The Hand of Glory and another TDP mission a review. It's a good thing TDP isn't crashing anymore! I can finally start filling up that section of my site - its... empty.

  16. #1491
    Quote Originally Posted by The Mike View Post

    What I think I like most about this mission's story is how much controversy and debate it caused among thief fans. All of it centered around the fact that Garrett isn't really his somber anti-hero self and is more of a...well...a total douchebag, honestly. Okay, starting here, HUGE SPOILER ALERT FOR THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH AND THE NEXT; if all you want to know about the story is what you already read at this point, stop reading now and just skip a couple paragraphs ahead. So basically, at about the halfway point of this mission, Garrett has seen 0 demons (well okay, HALF a demon, tops) and has acquired enough loot to leave the town happily. However, he has read about powerful relics buried underground that are used in some way to keep the demons out of our world, and yeah, sure it would be a good idea to leave them there but have you SEEN how much those things are going for on E-bay?! So he goes underground into a Silent Hill-esque rusty walled demon menagerie and steals these relics only to find, not so surprisingly, that doing so re-released all of the demons on the town. He then skips through town passing out "How to Serve Man" cookbooks to the head demons and opens the town's main gates while yelling out all the names and locations of earth's major cities and how full of fresh meat they are (more or less). When a keeper asks him why he did all this douche-baggery he responds with "BECAUSE I'M A SURVIVOR, NOT A MARTYR. AND YOU'RE A BIG DOODY HEAD! insert childish pouting noise here". Anyway, back to the debate, some people are saying that this doesn't come off as heroic. Go figure, right?!

    I've previously referred to overly selfless characterizations of Garrett as "Saint Garrett". Well this is "Danger Junkie Asshole Garrett", and you know what? I like this guy more. "WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOU EVIL EVIL MAN!?" you shout at me, tears streaming down your face as you clutch your homemade Garrett plushie. Why? Because this guy is interesting! This Garrett is in it for the thrills, only he has seen and survived so much, the thrill is starting to wear thin. So he takes on a job that has "guaranteed death and dismemberment" stamped all over it, just for the challenge. A lot of people have complained about the fact that Garrett doesn't just turn back when he accomplishes his loot goal. I thought the reasoning was pretty obvious: he's not in it for the money, he's in it for the danger and he hasn't seen a damn thing yet. To put it frankly, it's not always easy to watch and probably isn't even true to the character that was established in the official Thief games, but this guy has been in hundreds of missions and when was the last time he had a friggen character arch? Exactly. Basically, I really liked it because I'm a bitter person who despises all that is good and cheery and will never, EVER give Bob Cratchet Christmas day off. Now if you will excuse me, I have to go chase some happily playing children off my front lawn.

    I had something to say to this, but after I wrote it all down I found out that ttlg logged me out before I hit the "submit reply" button and everything I wrote was lost. So now there's nothing but screams of "YOU *&%$#*@!!!!!" from my end.




    Part of my former reply, though, expressed in me a wish to make sweet love to your reviews if it were physically possible, Mike.
    Last edited by Nightwalker; 23rd Nov 2009 at 11:26.

  17. #1492
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids

    Reviewing "The Seventh Crystal" by Saturnine

    Time for the 1500th post to this thread, time to steal it from anyone else. Sorry, if I stole your post, SJ. As a compensation, I've reviewed a mission that should've been reviewed a long time ago. By anyone. Admittedly, I did slightly rush this review, but I hope it's still readable. Mhh, this review is a bit chaotic.


    Released in late 2001 by Saturnine for Thief II

    The Seventh Crystal (download from one one these sites)


    I'll go ahead and quote Purah's introduction to this wonderful mission.

    Purah here, that's Pur (like a cat) ah! (like a good idea). I'm at the Saturnine Mansion this evening and let me tell you, the circumstances of my inevitable leaving are indeed bittersweet.I'm afraid I've just run through the place and made quite a mess (boots tracking snowmelt and such)—and its probably best if I'm not here when the lord of the house gets home. Hence I'm going to be quick about this here introduction.
    The Seventh Crystal has finally arrived. And yes, I'm a happy beta tester.I won't be giving much away if I say its a cold winter's night in the city. And I'll only be telling the truth if I say you haven't played a dark and forbidding mission until you've played the 7th Crystal.
    "Yeah, yeah," you say. "I've heard that before."
    I smile and recall my time on the Saturnine grounds. The lush reds and purples of the rooms seem a blur now. The gold I stole is inconsequential. And it certainly feels like something more (something I never even saw) still haunts this house of many gables. You see there's a secret left untold and its still here—hanging in the air.
    After my moment of surprise, when my fingers left the keyboard and my heart stood still, I gazed in wonder andswallowed with difficulty. A whispered explicative of disbelief left my lips and then a faint smile replaced it.
    Now I am left to ponder whether anything that really happened tonight will ever come to light. I wonder if Saturnine or the police or anyone else will ever know the truth. I wonder if I will ever know the truth of the whole story.
    Yes I was there, in Lord Saturnine's room. But what I am left with after the fact is nothing but a dark empty pit in my stomach and the knowledge that it would have been better to stay home tonight than creep through the snow and into the warm indigo parlors of Lord Saturnine.
    Good luck taffers. And welcome to the Alfred Hitchcock thriller of all Fan Made Missions: the 7th Crystal.

    -Purah, Nov. 1st 2001
    Now that that's done, I hope I've escaped the need to tell the story myself. I played this FM a while ago, but I'm not much of a replayer, although it does sound tempting. Still, I don't have much time for that just now.


    The Seventh Crystal is a very, very unique mission, that serves multiple purpuses - lets the player live through a most immersive and atmoshperic story, that takes you away to another place, distracts for a few hours and gives a sweet aftertaste.

    The Seventh Crystal gives you an insight of a dramatic story, great twists and overall maps, that is are joy to look at. Yes, maps. This FM is divided into 4 acts - 2 for intro, outro and 2 for playing. It's like a theatrical Thief mission and this is a lovely, original touch.

    Architectually it's actually pretty medium, good for those times, but where the map wins visually is lighting. It offers possibly the most beautiful lightening seen for those times.

    Another thing this mission stood out with was some beautiful artwork for it. The stained glass windows were my favorite. I'm not sure whether they were originals or custom made, but the way they were implemented at some places was amazing.

    There are some imperfections throughout the mission, that I consider were probably so because of engine limits or anticipation for release, but generally I found no real flaws to begin with.

    Like every epic story, there's also some mystical, unclear things going on, which gives you a little bit of fear, cause you're not sure what's going to happen behind the next door. I blame the lighting. I might be alone on this one...

    I called the story epic, but when I look on it, I think it could have been done more to that direction. Maybe the author didn't really intend it to be that way, since I saw more potential to it. I don't know, it may aswell be just me again... Though I did like the story. It's classic! Time to stop blathering and finish it up.

    The gameplay was alright, Act 2 was mansion mission. I could've asked for more secret, hidden areas, but I didn't. This mission was about something else. The catacombs were stunning, a bit lacking in architecture, the atmosphere was pretty strong, but I can't really describe how. I played this a while ago.

    I suppose that's it. The screens will tell more then I could, anyway.



    The catacombs. Notice the lighting?


    The middle of the mansion. Notice the artwork?


    Some porch or something. Notice the sky? Ok, I'll stop this.


    The attic... It's a natural


    Lovely artwork and the place where it's put!


    Dead Man's Chest?


    Possibly my most favorite place in the map.

    Then again...
    Last edited by Thor; 23rd Nov 2009 at 10:12.

  18. #1493
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Great review Thor, it's kinda crazy how Seventh Crystal was released so many years ago and it hasn't aged a friggen day. Awesome screenshots by the way!


    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Taffer View Post
    I had something to say to this, but after I wrote it all down I found out that ttlg logged me out before I hit the "submit reply" button and everything I wrote was lost. So now there's nothing but screams of "YOU *&%$#*@!!!!!" from my end.
    I sympathize, I've had the same crap happen to me so frequently on internet message boards I've made a habit of highlighting my entire post and copying it before submitting. Thanks for commenting though, anyway!


    Part of my former reply, though, expressed in me a wish to make sweet love to your reviews if it were physically possible, Mike.
    Oh it's very possible, you just have to get them drunk first.
    Last edited by Nightwalker; 23rd Nov 2009 at 11:26.

  19. #1494
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids

    Reviewing "The Hand Of Glory" by DarkThief

    ... by Darkthief, in late 2009, for Thief I - The Dark Project!

    The Hand Of Glory

    The name for the mission is quite repetetive and "casual", if I may say, but don't let that overlook this FM. It is quite a fine one.


    Story

    After all that trouble in Cragscleft, the catacombs and at Ramirez', I'm going to take care of business for myself for a while. The Hand of Glory, that magnificent specimen which is said to be a unique artifact, is rumored to be in this town somewhere. A good old buddy of Cutty, a guy named Gynni, helped me to learn of its whereabouts. Lord Gibson, a noble man who lives next to the Hammerite temple in town seems to be its current owner. The temple district is closed off all night and I must not be seen on the streets during that time. Problem is, Lord Gibson has got a well-guarded and locked entrance to his manor. Unfortunately there isn't a side entrance either but this won't stop me. Gynni has kept his ears open and managed to find out that there was recently a cave-in under the Hammerite temple and under Lord Gibsons estate too. I wonder if those holes are connected somehow. Well, seems like I'm going to find out. Tonight, I'm going to sneak into the Hammerite temple and take a look at this hole in the ground. This should be a good opportunity to take some valuables from my old friends, the Hammers, too. Finally I'll take the Hand and escape. Sounds like this is going to be a successful night. I should be going now.

    Sorry for the long intro, I just couldn't do it otherwise, somehow. The story is solid, has something slightly interesting in it, but overall it's nothing special. It's not bad either, generally. I just would've liked some more originality.


    Gameplay

    You start by the estate itself and it's badly guarded. Unfortunately you don't have the key, so you're gonna have to go all the long way around, through the mission. Luckily, it's an adventurous and fun way around. It is, for the most part, a classic hammerite mission, but has it's own nice touches and hints. Actually I found some of the hints driving me into frustration, but then again, I wasn't playing very carefully.

    Generally, this map included a little of nearly everything hammerite related and even some things unrelated. It makes it a great little mission. Nothing deep, but a nicely spent time. The ways to get to various places were often 2, which made the mission less difficult and more entertaining.

    What I liked from this particular mission were the maps and I think they were hand drawn. That was a good idea and it was also nice to navigate through them, once you just got tired of simply wandering around and getting bored with it. Almost forgot - the maps are in german, so you might want to use the almighty google's translator.


    It sounds like...

    This sounded very much like a TDP mission. Would've liked a conversation or two. I was surprised how little tile or metal grounds there were and that was one of the reasons I jumped so freely around the map.


    It looks like...

    Again, it looks very much like a Hammerite TDP mission, with less tile floor and a gigantic garden in the middle, which made this mission quite memorable. Otherwise, it's all normal textures, but quite well placed textures. Architecture was one of the strong points of this mission. I found it feeling like a "realistic" hammerite temple, with pretty much everything in the place, like it belongs. I felt like I was robbing a familiar temple. Indeed, that was the feeling that followed me throughout the mission.

    Well, until I got to the manor. The manor part was short and felt a little more rushed, the architecture wasn't as polished either. It didn't spoil the overall fun and quality, since it wasn't that bad, but I would've wanted more into it.


    Verdict, conclusion, anything???

    Indeed, my friend. It's an instant classic and with a bit of a story fix, it could very well succeed in being one of TDP's missions. It's not the advancements and new stuff this FM was aiming for - it tried to give you another OM. I'll like this mission, as it is.



    3 guesses about what will you see in this mission.


    My favorite area of the map. It has the most open space and it's still not blocky.


    Atmospheric, but it's a bit lacking in logic, when you keep discovering it.


    One of the only apartments in this map, but it was lmost creepy how atmoshperic I found it.


    A Thief Gold element. Any idea which one is it?


    Spiral stairs. Plus with the textures this felt like one of the most atmoshperic places of the map. It was totally contrasted with the environment before and especially after. I was somehow wanting daylight mountains, caves, medieval. Imagination let loose!


    Shhh, keep cooking ye ol' geezer.


    Inside the mansion. It's the darkest place in the mansion, but also the most beautiful. On the first floor anyway.

  20. #1495
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids

    Reviewing "Bane I - Keep Of Deceit"

    Made and released by theImmortalThief, in mid 2007, for Thief II!

    Bane I - Keep Of Deceit (click here for decent, working links)

    Keep of Deceit is one of my favorites. I just like the author and his creations.


    Description

    Two nights ago, I received a letter from Keeper Troy, a friend of mine from my training days as a Keeper acolyte. He had written of some alarming incidents in Daleville's Keeper Compound where he serves. He sounded almost desperate. As much as I hate to get involved in the matters of the Keepers, I decided to look into it for the sake of an old favor I owe him. He set a meeting place at the Daleville docks but once I got there, I found that the City Watch had gotten there first. I fear the worst for Troy. Tonight I must find out what happened to him. If there is to be any hope of me finding out whats going on, I must find him. I somehow feel like this is about to become a lot more complicated. I smell trouble. A lot of it.


    Insight

    This is a very colorful mission. The first part of it is set in the city, but it still varies a lot in environment - mechanist's area, city watch, neutral houes, docks, sewers. And everything was well connected and there were various ways for to get to one place. It was also filled with several secrets, mostly quite easily found, which gets your self esteem as a Thief player a little higher.

    What I particularily loved about this mission was how well everything was connected storywise as well. You read the journals of all main and minor plot characters and they speak about their thoughts of other plot characters, besides some casual or plot stuff. While I'm still talking about story, I'd like to say, that everything added up well and you could see right through what's happening and why. Story is surely the highlight of this mission. There's also one slippery attribute to the whole thing - you have to explore everything yourself, cause there ain't much hints of how to go to that place you're seeking. You can get lost and wander a bit frustrated, so like I said - it's a slippery thing. Despite the various mission areas, it is actually a very Keeper orientated mission. The story turns pretty epic and the idea of a Keeper's betrayal felt quite refreshing and maybe even original. Also, the mechanist involvement with the City Watch envolvement was a brilliant idea.

    The author knows what a mission occasionally needs and what architecture makes it look good. The architecture varies and has some nice touches, that make you go creative, which some missions lack in. Never underestimate the fun of climbing through fun architecture. Without good texturing, architecture wouldn't save the mission. What I found particularily interesting is that the author has a distinct like for orange color. I don't quite like orange metal, but it was nice to have something fresh and, as I said, different. The author uses just the standart textures from what I've noticed, though he used them with high variety and good choices.

    Notes (with 99% of personal assurance):
    - I'm pretty sure this mission can be ghosted.
    - I'm pretty sure this is a remake of author's previously released mission "Aa Keeper's Betrayal"


    Verdict

    Basicly, this mission combines classic thief experience + a little bit of everything principle + great story, that makes you wish for more.

    Fortunately there is Bane II - Cult of the Damned as well, though I haven't heard news of the third part for over a year whatsoever.


    Tried to take a screenshot from each area. I think I've done a decent job at it, surprisingly enough. Nah, just kidding. I just happened to get every area's screens.


    At least this guard has a nice view.


    The sewers.


    Mechanists like to show off.


    The docks.


    See the dirty, yet transpartent windows? These are not the only ones. This author is the individual.


    Keeper's Compound. Maybe a little too wide and fancy for Keepers, but they gotta look all serious and mysterious somehow.


    Don't mess with the trees!


    Magnificent.
    Last edited by Thor; 26th Nov 2009 at 07:50.

  21. #1496
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids

    Reviewing "Bane II - Cult Of The Damned

    Made and released by theImmortalThief, in mid 2007, for Thief II!

    Bane II - Cult Of The Damned (download links)


    Description

    Note: You should really play the sequel before you get on to this one.

    It's been 6 days since the night you escaped the Keeper Compound of the nearby city of Daleville, with the Sea Bane. Your search for a way to destroy the Sea Bane for good has lead you to a certain Lord Hasaan, a wealthy historian with a passion for the Damnation Era, the era of the Necromancer King's tyranny. His estate is located outside the city in a historic region near ancient ruins. Lord Hasaan has recently finished writing a paper regarding the Damnation Era and the Sea bane. The paper is unpublished, so he has the only copy. Acquiring it may be very useful in ending this madness.
    Four nights ago, Salfatora, the antique dealer who sold First Keeper Bouran the ancient scroll regarding the Sea Bane, showed up at the estate and remains there. Last night the gates to the estate were suddenly closed and the whole estate was put under security lock down. Strange things are afoot in Lord Hasaan's estate. Tonight you shall enter and investigate the situation. It seems that food is the only thing allowed through the gates, so you shall hide in a crate and enter with tonight's delivery of goods.



    Insight

    This mission is pretty impressive. The length of the mission is medium, but the environment is very different. It is, for the most part, a mansion mission, but it was much more than that. The environment doesn't vary as much, but the author kept concentrated on 2-3 things in this mission. There were several classic, but quite well hidden secrets, but not really as hard, if you'd look around carefully.

    This mission presented itself quite nicely with various options how to get from one place to another. Although what makes them get overlooked is that it isn't difficult do it the normal way.

    Storywise the mission keeps progressing and reveals more about the Bane series, even though, if the author is skilled enough (and I believe he is), he could make even more "revealed mysteries" in the following missions, if there will be any.
    Readables are still well connected, but same as with the environments, there aren't as much characters in this one and there's not a lot of side stories. In a way, it helps you keep immersed, connected, concentrated to the big plot picture.

    In the beginning of the mission I noticed some pretty retarded guards, that wouldn't care about your presense or one of his comrades sleeping. Makes me think they've been listening to a lot of Pink Floyd on iPods,that they've smuggled in the mansion. I'm pretty sure I sat on, thus broke one of them in my crate.

    ...Did I make a joke? Anyways... Towards the end of this mission it made you go through several challenges of your acrobatic skills. Unfortunately the engine hates this map and I died way too many times through trial and error or whatever they call it nowadays.

    Speaking of that leads me to architecture. Overall it's well done and I can't find any big complaints, except that you can often die because of it.
    The mission was beautiful, though. Great use of texture, lights and dromed itself, obviously.

    Maybe getting repetetive, but I'd like to mention again, that this mission makes good use of ambients and other little touches like some extra detail in walls and some design fixes, that people tend not to notice, yet they keep their spirits on higher grounds.



    Verdict

    A well worthy followup to it's prequel in every aspect - story, visuals, everything! Both parts are highly recommended. Ha, ain't gonna write anything long this time!


    Notes (which I am sure of this time):
    - This map is ghostable
    - I will have (surprise, surprise!) screenshots!
    - ... and YES, I tried colors. I'm a very colorful person after all! *laughing crowd* Thank you, thank you, you are too good.


    Here's where you got shipped...


    The hallways. It doesn't look very fancy yet, but it's made like that on purpuse. You can tll that by the neat walls.


    Just another great view.


    Creepy.


    Maybe I should've took the screenshot from another place. He looks fatter than he really is!


    It's both pathetic and humoring how many times I died in this place.


    Now THIS is the fancy house.


    Just another epic theImmortalThief moment.

  22. #1497
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Great stuff Thor!

    I'm working on a few things of my own as well.. think of this as the calm before the storm

  23. #1498
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    The Thieves By Silencium, Railgun, Fidcal and Springheel
    Released: November 2009 For The Dark Mod

    The Thieves comes to us with help from a number of different authors contributing work in different areas - and though a solid mission overall - The Thieves demonstrates everything that is right with The Dark Mod.. and everything that still needs work.

    In The Thieves you are basically tasked with an assassination with some loot gathering along the way. The target is the leader of a group of thieves in a nearby hideout - and you'll need to steal a prized trophy while getting your hands dirty. (and bloody, for that matter.)

    I've decided to divide this review into more of a mission/mod format - giving my thoughts on the mission itself and then going into the issues still present in The Dark Mod as to not take away from the mission itself.

    The mission is well built for the most part and interesting in both design, sound and visuals. For the most part the mission feels fairly small as very few buildings are enterable and you'll only find yourself needing to explore two or so major locations. Though it would have been nice to see more buildings to poke around in and more to do - as far as smaller missions go this one is pretty solid.

    The sound design in the mission shines brighter than loot glint in The Thieves - you'll enjoy not only tension building ambient music but sound effects sprinkled here and there to give you an extra bit of chill while carrying out your dirty deeds. Visually the mission is strong with stacks of crates and barrels littering the city along with minor details like rats and broken machinery - all adding to an excellent overall atmosphere. TDM's lighting abilities are also on display here with both candles and torches that are carried by the AI, and you'll marvel at the shadows cascading off nearby objects.

    Gameplay can be a bit of a challenge if you have yet to work yourself into TDM's 'sweet spot' for combat or blackjacking - I myself am still trying to find my feet in this area and I do believe that it still needs alot of work. I'll touch on that further later in this very review. Another new 'feature' I noticed in this mission that may be mission specific is that guards will now throw an object at you when you are an a higher level that they cannot reach - essentially turning them into archer/melee combination attackers. This not only adds quite a bit of challenge, but can also feel a bit cheap at times - you'll have to be extra careful around your foes this time around. They can attack you from land and from air.. so to speak.

    The Thieves will not take you more than a half hour or so to complete if you are a seasoned thief, but for a small dose of what the dark mod can do and a little bit of fun, you should definitely give it a try. It's a solid mission that is more than worth your time. Recommended!

    Screens:



    A guard carrying a torch looks brilliant in The Dark Mod.




    Screw the loot, I'm just here for the arrows!




    Lets find out what's inside this chest.




    Though short, this mission has a solid story.




    Time to raid some boxes.




    Normally this is where I make some snarky comment about "this guy will never know what hit him" - but blackjacking is quite a bit more difficult in TDM.




    Ahhhh, the city streets. Feels like home.

    ------

    Now onto my issues with TDM and where they come into play for The Thieves:

    Blackjacking and melee combat in a mission like The Thieves is quite the challenge for me and moreso to the point of frustration than fun. I've determined that forward blackjacking (one of my favorite methods of knocking AI out in the first two games) is impossible in The Dark Mod and I really feel that it takes away from a major part of the player characters defensive abilities. Well, that and blackjacking being a major challenge in general it seems. Even on the lowest difficulty I still find the blackjack distance far too close and the hitbox far too small - I cant count the number of times on two hands that I required a reload for each and every NPC.

    Missions such as this one (where a kill is required) add to the mess in that combat cannot be avoided - and in a close quarters mission where many NPCs are in a very small area, the player character certainly has their work cut out for them and may be in for a hopeless situation at some points.

    Another issue I had is with the player character's "tap shoes" being seemingly worse in The Dark Mod than Thief: Deadly Shadows. Every step I took in the mission felt as if I was walking on a marble floor - so loud that I had to turn my sound down as it was beginning to grate on me. I'm not sure if it was completely mission specific this time - but a thief should not sound as if he's auditioning for riverdance with every step, its quite ridiculous. Overall I think the footstep volume level and AI sensitivity to it both need to be tweaked quite a bit.

    The Dark Mod is definitely showing great promise and I am thankful that it exists - I just hope the creators intend to tweak both Blackjacking/Melee Combat and AI sensitivity to footstep sounds and the sounds themselves. With mechanics such as mantling and object handling being completely incredible its a shame for a few other core gameplay 'musts' to be rather broken. I look forward to future updates!

  24. #1499
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2008
    Quote Originally Posted by SneakyJack View Post
    Well, that and blackjacking being a major challenge in general it seems. Even on the lowest difficulty I still find the blackjack distance far too close and the hitbox far too small - I cant count the number of times on two hands that I required a reload for each and every NPC.
    Agreed. I find myself 'button-bashing'. Because you can usually only get away with walking while close to an enemy it turns into a slow-speed chase and I click multiple times until I'm in range.

    One thing though: Check that your monitor isn't lower than eye level. Back when I was playing Counter Strike, if my monitor was too low I found that my aim would 'droop' so that the top portion of the screen was at my character's eye level. If you keep your vision level then the blackjacks aren't too bad, (but the range is definitely too short).

    Quote Originally Posted by SneakyJack View Post
    The Dark Mod is definitely showing great promise and I am thankful that it exists - I just hope the creators intend to tweak both Blackjacking/Melee Combat and AI sensitivity to footstep sounds and the sounds themselves.
    I like the footstep sounds (and their volume) but the AI sensitivity to them needs a tweak, along with a bit of the AI in general. The way that they can instantly react makes it feel like they don't have a normal working nervous system.

  25. #1500
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Thank you for your feedback on my review Neb, and for the tip about being at eye level. Though it didn't help in this case I definitely gave it a shot

    I appreciate you taking the time to post your thoughts as well! I'm not sure if the makers of The Dark Mod are reading reviews before their next release - but blackjacking difficulty, combat difficulty and AI sensitivity seem to be the main issues that myself and many others are experiencing - so I'm hoping it gets tweaked. If that would be the case, The Dark Mod would then be my choice for the Thief engine of the future, for sure.

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