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Thread: General Fan Mission Review And Discussion Megathread

  1. #1726
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: The Inverted Manse

    Acid Trip Difficulty 101

    Ok here's the beef:

    - On 'Normal', there are only two haunts patrolling the hallways. That makes it really easy; it is practically possible to finish the mission without having to wait for the haunts to pass by or even seeing them from the front.
    - 'Hard' is more difficult than 'Normal', but significantly easier than 'Expert'. There is one extra haunt, but he follows the same patrol route.
    - There is yet another haunt on 'Expert', but what makes it evil is the fact that he patrols the hallways in the opposit direction. Still, as long as you always have a rough idea where he is at that moment, it is easy to pass all of them without being noticed. Believe me, I have done it many times (way too many times).

    Actually due to my lack of knowledge at the time, the mission turned out easier than it could have been. I did not disable the efficiency setting of the two haunts patroling the big nature room (because I was unaware of such feature). As a result by the time you get there they would be patrolling very close to each others making it very easy to avoid them. My intention was for them to be on the oppsoite sides of the room at any given time.


    As for the UVI name meaning, you are actually quite close!

  2. #1727
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Whatever happened with the server move has now renamed every single link and has turned my index post that I worked hard on to link to every single review (that I was going to update momentarily to catch it up) to dust and rendered it completely useless..

    Damn

    I think its a temporary thing as expressed in the server move thread, so I hope it goes back to the old way of indexing. I'm not gonna redo hundreds of links again

  3. #1728
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Damn man, that REALLY sucks.
    I just double checked and...yeah...it's pretty broken. If I could help out in reassembling it I would, I use that index all the time! For now, let's just hope that if we ignore it for long enough it will quietly fix itself (stranger things have happened right? ....Right?).

  4. #1729
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Yes, if you notice the url, everything is running through ttlg.mobi (the mobile version of ttlg) right now, just until the DNS updates. Then everything should be back to normal. Details here, if anyone cares.

  5. #1730
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Tannar Appreciation Society HQ
    If you'll end up having to change all the links you can edit the first post, put it in a word processor and do a find + replace on all the URL mentions.

  6. #1731
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2009
    Location: UK
    Time to revive this topic. At long last I've made another update to my site;

    Forgotten Forest

  7. #1732
    Moderator
    Registered: Jul 2008
    Nice review, quakis. And nice site.

  8. #1733
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Hey, awesome- the megathread is back! I was getting concerned for a minute there...I was worried I was going to have to write something.

    Great review Quakis, Forgotten Forest is one I've been meaning to replay for a while. I remember playing it and liking it, but I must have walked into a wall really hard or something immediately after finishing it because I don't remember any details about it...

  9. #1734
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    If you thought uvi was wacky before, then wait til you read this:

    The whole guardian don't stare thing was a total ruse. You can look at them all day and they don't do squat (at least on normal). So the mission was made to feel larger purely by a trick. Nice one haplo.

    Btw haplo, did you get your username from death's gate?

    Oh and you know you don't have to ghost acid trip the whole way, you can run those guards into a room and lock them in...not easy unless you luck out and they get stuck on something.
    Last edited by Iceblade; 30th Mar 2010 at 05:17.

  10. #1735
    Moderator
    Registered: May 2000
    Location: Thunder Bay, On., Canada
    What you said about UVI isn't true. You should be taking damage so something isn't working right for you.

  11. #1736
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinque Ecclesiae HU
    The Heart of Lone Salvation by Fidcal

    After a string of initial missions demonstrating the potential of The Dark Mod, and an early contest to get new builders interested and help get the word out, The Heart of Lone Salvation is the first feature-length mission released for TDM. Those that became available before were small- or medium-sized, and usually fairly straightforward – heists, exploration, loot hunting and in one case, escape. Fidcal’s FM breaks with this early phase of experimentation to bring us something that’s huge, complex and right up there with T1–T2 greats like Transitions in Chaos: Conspiracies in the Dark, Rowena’s Curse and The Seventh Crystal.

    This previous list is no accident, since Heart is built around a very similar theme: a large mansion mapped from servants’ quarters to noble halls, and featuring opulent decor, a glimpse into the daily goings on, as well as a lot of secret areas and dark family secrets. Here, the initial objectives require the player to break in and find the Heart of Lone Salvation, a valuable gemstone, bypass the clever security mechanisms and patrols that guard it, and leave with the gem and a bag of extra loot in your pockets. Of course, it isn’t so simple: as newer and newer areas of the mansion open up, there will be new objectives (many of them optional, so you aren’t required to complicate your agenda too much), hard but rewarding puzzles, and more complications. Ghosting adds an extra layer of complexity to the mix, and is really satisfying in its level of challenge (meaning you have to work for it, but it is never unrealistically hard).

    What makes Heart impress from the start is visuals: you start out in a fog-shrouded street with tall, ominous buildings looming before you, and later visit spartan cellars, storage areas, some really posh living quarters and abandoned locales that just feel properly abandoned. The mission never features an engine-pushing level of detail, but the architecture has a stark simplicity and sense of weight that makes it quite believable (the first outdoors segment, in particular, is a thing of simple beauty). The small architectural features, good use of texturing, grime and object placement produce spaces that are lived in, attractive and individualised enough not to get lost in them (the map helps a lot, though). Light is especially well placed in the mission, both from an aesthetic and a gameplay point of view – there are multiple interesting sneaking challenges throughout the mission.

    Another major feature is the way the engine’s new possibilities were incorporated into the action: there are multiple mechanical devices and object handling puzzles; hiding places for the loot also exercise your object manipulation skills. Thiefy and fun. Speaking of secrets, they are logically placed, largely optional and rather satisfactory to discover (there is a secrets counter you can either follow or disable).

    Heart of Lone Salvation is, at its heart (sorry), a keyhunt. You have to use clues hidden in the environment and interesting, well-crafted readables to open up new areas. Depending on your preferences, this may or may not be a good thing. I feel that the method works better in the initial stages where you usually have a good idea on where your next target is, and approximately where to look for the next key (not necessarily in the literal sense) to reach it. In the endgame, with information, keys and open areas piling up, it is easier to become stuck if you just miss one clue or fail to search a room properly (or even worse, come across a room where you find nothing but loot – did you miss something? Do you have to return later?). Still, for the large part, the puzzles have logical solutions, and the new things you find are almost always worth the price of admission (including a lot of smartly used background detail and a few genuinely unsettling segments).

    So how does the mission stack up? I wrote about early, experimental missions at the beginning of this review – these FMs may be a lot of fun, but tend to come with caveats like “I didn’t have too much time to learn everything about the editor yet” or “imagine what we will accomplish with the tools after a year or two has passed!” Heart doesn’t make these excuses, and that’s because it doesn’t need them. Measured against the great mansion missions produced for the previous Thief Games, it fits right in. My recommendations: get it, play it, let your friends know how much you liked it.

    Screens:








  12. #1737
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Dude, Melan, I'm going to capitalise this for emphasis (and add a few periods for extra impact):
    WRITE. MORE. REVIEWS.
    Seriously man, your reviews are great reads! Well-worded, and you actually take time to describe your favorite moments or point out little details that struck you as interesting instead of just settling into the whole trope of "The level design was blah blah blah, the sound effects were blah blah blah, the gameplay was blah BLAH blah", a mistake that I've realized through my own reviews is extremely easy to do.
    Also, this mission kicks all kinds of ass. (ALL kinds)

  13. #1738
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinque Ecclesiae HU
    Thank you! Will try.

  14. #1739
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2009
    Location: UK
    you actually take time to describe your favorite moments or point out little details that struck you as interesting instead of just settling into the whole trope of "The level design was blah blah blah, the sound effects were blah blah blah, the gameplay was blah BLAH blah", a mistake that I've realized through my own reviews is extremely easy to do.
    Something I get very annoyed about in my own reviews, to be honest. Even causing me to lose motivation to write them, since they really are blah blah blah sounding.

    I recently played this and read through some of the comments about the second mission. It kind of inspired me to do a series of walkthrough videos of that mission, since I personally didn't have too much problem with it. I'm not sure if anyone is really interested, but here's the first part;

    Video: Calendra's Legacy - Mission 2: Midnight in Murkbell | pt.1

  15. #1740
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2009
    Location: Situation's changed, Tom.
    Nice, quakis! Especially the bonus clips. Looking forward for more.

  16. #1741

  17. #1742
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    And out of nowhere, he STRIKES, with a new review! I wrote this one amazingly fast considering that...y'know...I'm me. Normally it takes me a week to write a review and get to a point where I'm happy with it, but I wanted to write this one while my experience with the FM was still fresh in my mind. As a result, I'm letting this one out of the oven a little early. I think it turned out pretty good, but then, I think the movie "Transformers 2" turned out pretty good also.

    "King's Story" review

    Spoilers ahead, if you haven't played the mission yet, beware your virgin eyes.

    Imagine if you would, a woman (stop with the weird looks, I'm going somewhere with this). She's insanely beautiful and incredibly fun to be around. Only, this woman has a problem. Every half hour or so, she has to punch you in the face. It's not her fault, it's nothing she can control, she is just compelled by some outside force to punch you in the face really f**king hard once every 30 minutes. Now, imagine being in a long term relationship with this woman: this is what it's like to play the FM "King's Story" by Zontik. You like what you see, you're having a good time, only every now and then it causes blood to come gushing out of your nose (in this case, because of all the time you will spend slamming your face against your keyboard). Opinions on whether or not it's worth the commitment will vary from person to person, but I personally think it's worth the face-abuse. Why? A cheesier reviewer would say something like "Read on!", but I consider myself above that, so instead I'll just say "Make me a sammich"....oh, and also "I'm about to explain, dear reader. Please proceed onward with the reading!".

    First of all, let's talk about the story. I was actually surprised by the time I finished the second half of this mission pack by how much story there actually was here, and how coherent it turned out to be. I was surprised because the first half features random ghost sightings, a werewolf for seemingly no apparent reason, and Garrett suddenly gaining the ability to fly. Okay, I realize the whole "Garrett flying" moment was suppose to be a cutscene showing an overhead view of the level as we followed a certain character...but near the end of it, the floating camera just sorta drops to the ground and puts you in control again with no transition whatsoever. So, what exactly just happened? Did Garrett have an out of body experience? Anti-gravity boots? Is he a Kryptonian*?
    *For those of you who don't speak nerd, that's the name of Superman's race. Normally I'd try to disguise my nerdiness, but I just spent $80 on a Lord of the Rings blu-ray because it came with a letter opener shaped like Isildur's sword (which I promptly swung around like a jedi)....at this point I might as well just let it all hang out.

    In the second mission though, the pieces really start coming together, and all of the craziness from the first mission suddenly starts to make a surprising amount of sense. The story is mostly moved forward by overheard conversations, and for the most part this works well. For the most part. There's at least one area where it's clear that a bunch of characters who are gathered together and staring longingly into each other's eyes are suppose to be having a conversation, but are just waiting for you to find the proper place from which to "overhear" them. This is made especially irritating in one room where you have to first crawl inside of a well-hidden secret area in order to get things moving. Then there's one cutscene that won't start until you mantle up onto a balcony, unfortunately this ALWAYS results in Garrett losing his footing and slamming into marble flooring, alerting everyone and their deaf grandmother that you're a Thief. Hope you like the "loading" screen, because you're about to have a long and torrid relationship with it! Mostly though, I really did like how the storyline was presented. There were a few moments where I wandered seamlessly into a scene of storyline progression that really caught me off guard, in a good way.

    But allow me to take off my reviewer cap for a minute and put on my raving lunatic jacket. This mission looks freaking PHENOMENAL. I mean HOLY MOTHER OF GOD. This is the best looking Thief 2 mission I have ever played! Not only does it take that crown from "Rose Cottage", it takes it, puts it on top of a flag pole, and sits in a lawn chair in front of that flag pole cradling a shotgun to ward off any intruders who might try to take it back. Every room doesn't just "look good", every room is jaw droppingly incredible! From what I gathered, this mission is a pain-stakingly detailed representation of a real life location. I can safely say I never have to visit there now. Not only have I already been there, I robbed the place, jumped on all the nice furniture, and knocked out the head chef and locked him in the freezer*.
    *And that's not even mentioning what I did to the wedding cake. I wouldn't eat it.


    Actual golden castles look like crap compared to this FM.

    But I mentioned earlier that playing this is often a painful experience, and that wasn't all just reader-hooking razzmatazz. This mission is difficult. Not "throw your keyboard out your window" difficult either, it's "you might go crazy and burn your house down and be found living in a cave in the woods now more beast than man" difficult. There's a moment at the end of the first level where you have to pick a lock with about 6 different stages while two security cameras look directly at you...and using the wrong lockpick at any point resets it. This is just the beginning though; what follows is a walk through a castle full of tile floor and narrow passage-ways and spiral staircases where you will find yourself defenseless and face to face with a guard you couldn't possibly see coming once every three-quarters of a second. The stealth in this mission is BRUTAL. Very few lights can be put out, and the ones that can often don't do much in concealing you (at one point I turned off a gas lamp as a guard entered a room, only to learn this was the thief equivalent of closing your eyes and yelling "I'M INVISIBLE!!"). You will have to peak around corners regularly, use that oft-forgotten "creep" key, and yes...memorize patrol patterns (OH GOD IT BURNS!). As if all this wasn't difficult enough, you can't allow any bodies to be seen or it's instant fail. Oddly though, the mission doesn't fail if you alert guards. So in other words, it's fine if they know a thief is there, as long as they don't know he's knocking people out (because I guess they figure you could always be that other type of thief- the friendly kind that if they catch, has to lead them to your magical pot o' gold).

    And then there's the puzzles. I might be in the minority here, but I really dug the puzzles for the most part. They made sense in that "adventure game logic" kinda way. There were a couple I found myself hopelessly stumped on, but for the most part as long as you pay attention and read everything you find very carefully, they're pretty fun to figure out on your own. There was the occasional reflective moment when I realized how preposterous some of the puzzle solutions were even as I was solving them (such as when I was rubbing shoe polish on a horse*), but HEY, that's half the fun of adventure games! What I did find frustrating though was finding my way TOO the next puzzle I had to solve. About half way through the second mission, the progression through the level loses a lot of forward momentum and instead relies heavily upon backtracking to areas you've been in before. At this point, figuring out which room you're suppose to stand in next to get things going again is a pain. It's not always presented clearly and you will frequently find yourself in "aimless wandering" mode. The storyline and gameplay both have some great moments when they really get going (frantically climbing a rope arrow as a huge explosion rises under you comes immediately to mind; I always like moments like these being as I'm desperately trying to catch up to Bruce Willis in my "explosions I've jumped away from while not looking at them" count), the unfortunate thing is that things keep petering out, leaving you to find the next room to give it another kick-start. Ultimately though, if you have to wander around a level in a lost daze, there are worse places to do that than in one that looks this socks-rockingly amazing.
    *On the other hand, a moment where I had to put on ballerina shoes felt frighteningly natural.

    So right now you're probably thinking "Mike, I'm torn. I like things that are insanely beautiful but I hate the feeling of being punched in the face. Should I download it or just eat a whole bowl of ice cream?". Well, that depends. Think of this mission as a giant, even more delicious bowl of ice cream, only it's surrounded by mouse traps and guarded by snipers in the tree-line. Does it sound worth it to you? Some will say yes, some will say no, but I say you should at least give it up until the end of the first mission. If it seems like it's all too much for you at that point, well...there's always that bowl of ice cream...


    ...you big quitter.

    SCREENSHOTS, now in "actually good":


    "Yes, thank you. That was 'Down With the Sickness'. We will now serenade you with 'Cryin' like a b**ch', by Godsmack."


    Why do the Priests always get the best hats?


    Just another reminder that this mission looks effin' amazing.


    Ah what the hell, one more.
    Last edited by The Mike; 10th Apr 2010 at 23:56.

  18. #1743
    Clearinghouse
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Siberia, Russia
    Great review as always, The Mike
    Quote Originally Posted by The Mike View Post
    This is made especially irritating in one room where you have to first crawl inside of a well-hidden secret area in order to get things moving.
    There is no need to be in a well-hidden secret area. This just one of the variant. You can just read book in Valet's room and wait for the Valet to appear (Hallway/Pool near kitchen)

  19. #1744
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    It seems like, whenever I complain about something being far too difficult, someone lets me know that I was just going about things ass-backwards and making life difficult for myself. I'm incredibly awesome in that way (Oh, and thanks for reading dude ).

    One other thing I didn't get around to mentioning about this FM:
    I loved that there was this guard decked out in gold armor (who also happened to have entirely new voice files...curiously, in english) that you could never knock out or deal with in any way- he just was always there to make your life a living hell. You couldn't blackjack him and you had no other means of defending yourself, so you just basically had to outrun him if he saw you (and he was a persistant bastard). He keeps changing position throughout the mission, and I kept wandering right into his line of sight on accident, making for several great "OH SHI" moments. He really became my arch nemesis. And if the mission hadn't ended first, I would have definately hunted him down in werewolf form and given him a well-deserved mauling. No-KO helmet huh? Too bad it's not a No-get-eaten-by-werewolf helmet! OM NOM NOM

    Anyway, my point is that more missions need one extra-badass enemy that just sort of hunts you the whole time. That would please me, and when I'm pleased, it's proven that the world becomes a happier place.

  20. #1745
    Member
    Registered: May 2006
    Location: Russia
    Your review made me laugh aloud several times. Gods, I would never think it could be so... SO difficult!
    Well, you didn't need to pick lock in two security cameras view... you could solve one back door puzzle instead... but I doubt it would be any better choice. Maybe that puzzle was one of the most illogical puzzles in the campaign, but you was absolutely right: anyone who managed to finish mission 1, got his eyes open to make a choice - to quit or to continue.
    And it was intentional.
    As for that cursed noKO guard... he is Earl Durkheim, King's aide, and he just does his job well. VERY well.
    (But I think if you manage to find the only gas arrow in the mission, it would be REVENGE.)

  21. #1746
    Moderator
    Registered: Jul 2008
    Another excellent review, The Mike! And spot on accurate. It was as if you were reading my thoughts about the mission.

    I'll add my 2 cents worth...go for the giant bowl of ice cream, mouse traps and snipers be damned.

  22. #1747
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    I'm quoting this here because its honest - something somewhat lacking nowadays. Well that and its an alternate viewpoint and we need more of those. An alternate review of King's Story - with my own to follow soon

    Quote Originally Posted by Unkillable Cat View Post
    Zontik wants some (short) feedback for his efforts? Here's mine:

    This FM is the biggest blunder in Thief FM history in many years. Sure, it may be the most beautiful FM to be released in many years, but the sad fact is that many players will never get to see the beautiful parts of this due to horrible design decisions and rampant doses of frustrating game elements.

    This FM starts with the player travelling through...mountains, I guess, to reach a castle. First design failure can be seen the moment the FM starts: Every visible surface uses the same texture. That single mistake makes navigating the area much harder than it should be, not to mention making it all look bloody hideous. It's hard enough already to know where you're supposed to go, with punishing leaps of faith, insanely well hidden pathways and almost no hints to tell you you're on the right track. Early on I saw a ghost standing on a rock (I actually missed him the first time round) shaking his head. I had no way to know if he was telling me "This is the right way to go" or "This is the wrong way to go", so I wasted time looking for other paths.

    30 minutes into this FM I'm stuck at a cave with a rope arrow in a chest, a suspicious looking tree nearby located too far up to be of any use to me (yes, I checked) and no apparent way to proceed, so I logged into this forum to see how other people were doing with this FM. It confirmed my suspicions: You screwed up. Badly. How this FM got through the testing phase is a mystery to me.

    I'm not going to wait for a walkthrough, I'm just not going to bother playing this any longer. It's not worth it. Congratulations, you created the Daikatana of Thief FM's.
    Last edited by SneakyJack; 13th Apr 2010 at 14:02.

  23. #1748
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    I was going to comment on that quote in the original thread, but decided not to as I didn't want to turn the whole thing into a giant debate. However, being as this is the loudmouth opinions thread I'll take the opportunity to rant about it here a little:

    Let me get something important out of the way first and foremost, I believe that negative criticism is important. However, I also think that without positive reinforcement, it's all but useless. Yeah, it's true that Unkillable Cat does say in his opening "This may be the most beautiful FM released in many years" but what follows is just a mean-spirited rant that seems more like it's trying to get a reaction out of someone than actually provide helpful criticism. Phrases like "it looks bloody hideous" and "You screwed up, badly" and worst of all "Congratulations, you've made the FM equivalent of Daikatana!" should have no place in a review on this forum.

    I mean, I understand being extremely pissed off because you spent 60, 50 or even 20 dollars on a game that turned out to be totally unplayable to you, BUT THIS S**T IS FREE. No one forced you to download it or put a gun to your head forcing you to play it. The author isn't some faceless corporate entity like "Electronic Arts" or some overpaid self proclaimed "Gaming God" who needs to be taken down a notch (in the case of the previously mentioned "Daikatana"), it's a guy who worked hard for years ALONE & UNPAID to make something he hoped you would enjoy. And yes, you are entitled to give your honest opinion on how much you enjoyed it or didn't enjoy it- and most authors consider it extremely helpful if you write down why you thought this way. What you aren't entitled to do is to be completely mindless of their feelings. Well...okay...maybe you're entitled to that also, what with free speech and all, but let's all be friggen human beings here.

  24. #1749
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2009
    Location: UK
    I agree with The Mike, the comment for me sounded very dickish. It might be honest, but it's not very constructive - not an attitude I'd like to see continued on these boards.

  25. #1750
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    As frustrated as I was with the mission in question I probably would have posted worse had I not took the time to cool off. I'm sure that post was made in frustration during a peak of it and perhaps Unkillable Cat will make a follow up post that is a bit more level headed. I'm not speaking in behalf of UC or for him/her - Just citing that as an example of the very rare and fabled unicorn that is a blunt and honest opinion in the thief community.

    It wasn't the content of the post I was praising, (which admittedly is a bit harsh, but again, think of the mindset it was written in and its understandable) it was the brutal honesty. So many times we're expected to tiptoe around the worst parts about a fan mission and act like we've been blessed every time one is released - and while I agree that each fan mission really is a gift - we're kidding ourselves by saying every one is perfect and frowning on each and every negative opinion. The whole "its free!" thing doesn't help authors get better or replace the hours we wasted playing a poor mission that could have been much better with some good tips from players.

    I wish I had a better example to cite and put in this thread than a frustrated rant, but the fact is people are so afraid to post what they really feel in fear of being jumped by half the community alot of times differing opinions get buried or are discouraged so much they aren't posted at all.

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