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Thread: General Fan Mission Review And Discussion Megathread

  1. #2276
    Member
    Registered: May 2005
    Location: Full on Kevel's mom
    Quote Originally Posted by The Mike View Post
    That said, I have to give a shout out to two new factions that fit right in and didn’t crash the party with a 24 pack of disgusting light beer and an Ipod full of dubstep (you know who you are).
    LMAO! That had me rolling! I'm going to have steal this, I hope you know.

    Also, thanks for the favorable review!

  2. #2277
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    NP man, thanks for reading!
    ...and this seems as tactful a time as any to ask...are you still working on the sequel to Vagabond? Please say yes, over a year later and the cliffhanger you ended on is still killing me.

  3. #2278
    Desperately Dodgy Moderator
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Fields of bluegrass
    Funny you should ask that question today.

  4. #2279
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    ...Very cryptic Yandros...

  5. #2280
    Member
    Registered: May 2005
    Location: Full on Kevel's mom
    Quote Originally Posted by The Mike View Post
    are you still working on the sequel to Vagabond?
    Yes.

  6. #2281
    Desperately Dodgy Moderator
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Fields of bluegrass
    Quote Originally Posted by The Mike View Post
    ...Very cryptic Yandros...
    I happened to know the answer because he told me yesterday.

  7. #2282
    Moderator
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: Wales
    Haven't you gone yet? Too much nudge nudge, wink wink going on here at the moment.








  8. #2283
    Desperately Dodgy Moderator
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Fields of bluegrass
    Gone? If you mean my mind, it was gone years ago.

    If you mean on vacation, well, yes, I'm there now. Just a quick weekend trip to the mountains. Still got internet.

  9. #2284
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Quote Originally Posted by Yandros View Post
    If you mean on vacation, well, yes, I'm there now. Just a quick weekend trip to the mountains. Still got internet.
    It's a vacation. You're supposed to get away from that shit.

  10. #2285
    Member
    Registered: May 2002
    Location: The Netherlands
    Quote Originally Posted by Brethren View Post
    It's a vacation. You're supposed to get away from that shit.
    You don't get it Brethren, being away from this forum, just for one single day, gets a real Taffer into a lot of problems: one can get nasty dreams, disturbing swingmotions with a nonexcisting sword, severe headaches from all the hits on the head from a Hammerite, hidden in a dark corner of a hallway, and a low bloodsugar level, from not eating all of Christine's donuts and cakes and last but not least: a lack of Benny's liquoir!

    Just kidding .... I forgot all the good stuff .... carrots, cucumbers, cheese, bread and tomatoes ...... for some reason the fish mostly isn't available one could use more of Christine's sushi

    There're angels who playThief and angels who don't ........ both go to heaven ............
    Dare to join .............

  11. #2286
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2009
    Location: UK
    Nice list, The Mike. It finally tempted me to check out some of those missions I've been holding off for some reason, Abominable Dr. Dragon being one of those.

  12. #2287
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Thanks Qakis! Dr. Dragon is one of those long-forgotten FMs that everyone should play- in fact, I may just go around the community breaking knee caps until everyone agrees to give it a try. I love the classic Universal Studios horror movie feel it has going, what with the stone spiral staircases leading to underground laboratories (also, as I mentioned, Boris Karlof's frankenstein monster shows up at one point). When you play it, do yourself a favor, break one of the stained glass windows with a picture of a haunt on it at least once. Trust me.

  13. #2288
    Archivist
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Museum of the Ancients

    Fortress by the Sea Version 2

    Mission title: Fortress By the Sea Version 2 (for Thief 2)
    Author: Jason Otto (Ottoj55)
    Release: September 2003 - October 2005 (V2)




    Fortress by the Sea is Jason Otto's (Ottoj55) debut fan mission and first arrived back in 2003. An updated version with better graphics was released three years ago, but the following review is about the classic austere version, that still appeals to me.

    The war is not going well for the Baron. His navy is trapped at sea with no means to escape, unless a key enemy fortress is conquered. A captain of the Baron's Fleet has hired the best burglar in the city, Garrett, to infiltrate the fortress, find a way to open the gates so that the Baron's forces can take over and the fleet can escape to safety. One of the objective restrictions, "you can't leave these guys defenseless, no knockouts", which is typically Garrett, who doesn't care who dies as long as he get's his money.
    It's quite an interesting assignment and I love the references to the war and the Baron, as originally mentioned in the original T2 missions. I can't think of any other examples of FMs who used this concept . It's a straightforward story and no plot changes are implemented but several writings in the form of diaries are present, giving some background about the fortress, tell about the attempts to get some systems working and share a hint about a missing ring. Sadly no secrets are available, although a few hidden buttons and switches can be located for extra loot.



    A missing ring; it's up to Garrett to find it and save this marriage.

    No detailed map of the structure is attributed at the start or up for grabs during the game so navigating can be a bit confusing at first, before every room and corridor are charted. Some difficulty could surface in finding a way to the basement level of the fortress, but a diary proves helpful in finding a way down. Don't let the kill and knockout limitations discourage you, for the game isn't that hard to accomplish. Patrols can be easily circumvented, plenty of water arrows are at your disposal, and there are often multiple ways to reach your destination.
    The fortress is quite small, with long corridors, nicely decorated rooms and a large courtyard. It looks quite good in terms of textures and AI skins and the layout is convincing. A soft layer of fog is included in the mission and the sky is fully covered by clouds, making up for a sober atmosphere. The view on the courtyard and the water, seeing while standing on the walls, looks very appealing. Don't expect the most realistic fortress or castle mission out there however. Some elements to make it stand out more, like defense systems (catapults, ballista's) to use against the Baron's fleet for example when it sails by, or a large shed to withstand a long siege, are absent.


    The Fortress' courtyard; perfect for a walk although the guards won't let you.

    The AI battle at the end is the big climax, with each time it takes place a different outcome is possible. The slaughter between both troops makes up for a spectacular watch (popcorn anyone?). Too bad the Baron's troops refrain from patrolling the inside of the fortress for remaining defenders, to deal with remaining archers on the walls, but stick to the inner grounds instead. Prior to opening the gate (or afterwards, whatever your preference) an unfortunate pagan can be released from his cell to cause some disturbance and act as a decoy . Watching the AI fight reminded me once again of how ingenious the AI system in the Thief games is. Drawing your sword at one injured guard prompts him to fly but attack two injured guards combined and they'll launch a joint attack ("come on, together we'll take him").


    Blue leads!; the Baron's forces did a poor job.

    Most apparent flaw in Fortress v2 is about the Generator Shut Down scroll that displays only a blank page once opened, the same problem I had years ago . This leaves the player ignorant about the correct order to shut the generators down and open the gate, unless he consults this thread or opens the text through explorer. Maybe you can fix this in a potential 2.1 release, Jason?
    Other (minor) flaws involve a rat that can be picked up and displays a carry-body icon (humorous ), some sound issues, a few errors in in-game texts, a patrolling guard that walks over the wall onto a lower cliff, and a 'return to your rowboat-objective' that completes before Garrett's returns at his starting point.

    But despite the above though, there's nothing actually wrong with Fortress by the Sea version 2 and the flaws can easily be attributed to first-time mistakes by an author who would deliver us with many high-quality FMs in the future. People will undoubtedly enjoy the infiltration of the fortress, finding a way to open the gates while staying undetected, and watching the spectacular AI battle at the end . The fortress itself is nicely designed and decorated, with a convincing layout. Some aspects could be worked out a bit better or more realistically, and the blank scroll bug is a let down, but those fancying a relatively short, small mission involving a fortress exploration with restricted killing/blackjacking, and fans of bloody AI battles, like myself, will no doubt be entertained. Definitely worth it a try.


    The Office of Captain Hanover; real classy.

    Stats
    Difficulty: Expert
    Time: 1 hour 19 minutes 7 seconds
    Loot: 1914 / 2114
    Secrets: N/A
    Last edited by The Phantom; 29th Sep 2012 at 10:02.

  14. #2289
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Missed this when it was first posted.
    Great review Phantom! I suddenly want to play this one, missed it way back when it was released. I love me some AI battles (if you love these things too, you should check out "A Brawl in the Tombs" if you haven't yet. AI on AI fights friggen ERY'WHERE!).

  15. #2290
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Fortress by the Sea was an excellent debut mission. I loved it when it came out. I hope Jason does some more full sized FMs someday.

  16. #2291
    Desperately Dodgy Moderator
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Fields of bluegrass
    Good news is Otto's back at it finally, he posted a screenshot of a mission on Facebook today. I don't think it's END, but it might be.

  17. #2292
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Is "END" an acronym for his mission's title? If so, THAT SHI- IS OMINOUS.

  18. #2293
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Yup, Evil Never Dies.

  19. #2294
    Archivist
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Museum of the Ancients
    It would rock in case it's END but any mission by Jason would do . Glad he's still building.

  20. #2295
    Desperately Dodgy Moderator
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Fields of bluegrass
    It's actually the mission the community voted on.

  21. #2296
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    I said I'd review the late Reloaded Contest 2 missions when they came out, so to avoid being shot out of a canon for lying, I done gone and reviewed the new one.


    "What’ve You Found, Little Fly?" By Xorak

    The second “Thief Reloaded Contest” is just the gift that keeps on giving, isn’t it? Even when it’s over and a victor has been decided, new missions keep getting released for it! It’s like the Jason Vorhees of FM contests, no matter how many flights of stairs we shove it down it just won’t stay dead. Not that I’m complaining, of course. I love contest missions to the same extent (50 cent has led me to believe, anyway) fat kids love cake. And this contest has been continuously great so far, even over-coming the hurdle of having one mission based on “Running Interference”, an OM that I consider about as exciting as watching a slideshow about Grandma’s bunions. What mission does this FM use as a base again? No…NO…NOOOoooOOOoooOO---!

    Yes, RI gets another rebuild here; fortunately, it’s practically unrecognizable. Where once there was a boring grass texture, there is now a twisted pagan forest. Where once there was a courtyard that had like 200 feet of empty space for some reason, there is now a huge skull stuck in a crater with a portal to hell in its cranium. Where once there was nothing at all interesting, there is now an enchanted rat taking on the form of a gorilla playing piano. In other words, where once there was aggressive blandness, there is now awesome.


    Dick Cheney's summer home is pretty nice actually...

    “What’ve You Found, Little Fly?”* keeps its story simple, yet wide open for wacky gameplay possibilities. I don’t just throw around words like “wacky” either, but when you have magic ape-men and puzzles based around feeding a werewolf some sausage, the W-bomb must be dropped. So basically, Garrett is out to find what happened to Shardhang, his only contact who has insights into the exciting echoey-voiced fireball-hurling world of mages. Old Shardy, or Mr. Hang by his adult-film name, seems to have been captured by the mages living in old Rumford manor. Unfortunately, they’ve gone all “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” on it since his last visit, and Ty Pennington and the gang were apparently going for a “Hell” motif. Also someone may be summoning a demon in the center of the living room, which if you ask me is just rude.
    *A title which essentially NEEDS to be said while sitting in a high-backed revolving chair while slowly spinning around to reveal yourself and stroking a white cat.

    I love any story where the criminally underused mage faction is involved, because they instantly make the gameplay open to so many possibilities. With the keepers you’re going to get libraries, with the Hammerites you can expect churches and crypts, but with mages? Anything goes. Including piano playing apes (I know I keep coming back to that, but for f**k’s sake, can you blame me?). Most of the gameplay revolves around puzzles, and for the most part, they’re spectacularly weird. I can tell you I never expected to play a game where the central puzzle was based around giving a demon food poisoning. Keep in mind though that “adventure game logic” is in full force here. Garrett will pick up things that will definitely make you raise an eyebrow (I’m still not sure why a thief would lug around a five foot tall strobe light on his back “just in case”), and because of that puzzles sometimes boil down to rubbing two things together and hoping something happens*. Still though, while it’s not always clear how the various puzzle pieces are supposed to fit together, whenever you see a solution play out it always seems to have some kind of bizarre logic behind it that’s pretty damn clever.
    *Yes, I saw the innuendo too. Just move along and don’t make eye contact.

    While the puzzles are fun and lovably nuts, I have to be honest- for me the leading reason to play this FM is the visuals. First time author Xorak has turned “Running Interference” into this crazy funhouse of a level where there’s a visual surprise at virtually every turn. He may very well be Kfort’s spiritual protégé. The forest at the start of the mission alone has some totally out-of-left-field surprises and is beautifully constructed. Unfortunately, whatever sorcery the author used behind the scenes to make all of these crazy visuals and technical feats possible comes at a cost. To put it bluntly, this thing crashes a lot. It first crashed to the desktop when I pressed my map key, which at the time I saw as a punishment from the man gods for asking for directions, but this then continued to happen when accessing the menu and, most buzzkill-ey of all, during gameplay. It’s never unplayable, and quicksaves and loads always worked fine, but it’s an unfortunate black mark on an otherwise top quality FM. Here’s hoping for a “version 2” so less patient players can see it through to the end, because holy hell is every second of this worth seeing.

    Overall, while some of you might want to wait for a cleaner, more bug free version of this one to be released, I say just go play it now. Mind you I’m also a man born without patience, but the truth is nothing in this FM is outright “broken” to the point where you can’t enjoy it as a whole. If looking at your desktop fills you with white-hot rage you should hold off, but for everyone else this is just too entertaining to wait around for a hypothetical version 2.0. And I mean…an ape playing piano. Where has this mission been all my life?

    SCREENSHOTS! SCREENSHOTS EVERYWHERE! THEY’RE COMING OUT OF THE DAMN WALLS! WE NEED BACKUP!


    Here's some nightmare fuel, kids!


    Soon.


    "I've been inside too long. I'm a different person now. Also, a crab."


    SING US A SONG/ YOU'RE THE PIANO APE/ SING US A SONG TONIGHT

    Thanks for reading guys. Be back whenever Yandros finishes his Reloaded mission (GLARE. )
    Last edited by The Mike; 8th Jul 2012 at 11:12. Reason: Y'know when spellcheck autocorrects something to the wrong word? Yeah...

  22. #2297
    NewDark 64ł Contest Winner
    Registered: Jul 2005
    Location: Locked Inside Dromed
    Thanks for reviewing my little mission Mike. I laughed quite a few times. Especially when reading, "Mr. Hang by his adult-film name". I thought I was the only one who saw that movie.

    That first screenshot in the review looks awesome, as does the demon walking in front of the player, as if you're spying on it from behind the curtains.

  23. #2298
    Archivist
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Museum of the Ancients
    Interesting and entertaining read, The Mike. Nice review I love those screens.



    I've got another review ready myself.

    Mission title: Just Take A Look (for Thief 2)
    Author: Don "uncadonego" Adams
    Release: December 2003



    Just Take A Look by Don "uncadonego" Adam is not among the other's most well-known fan mission releases. A status undeserved as this 2003 mission, that uses a base mission made by Komag, is a enjoyable mansion infiltration that offers plenty of elements that make it worth your time. I decided to re-play it and write the following review.


    Karras; a keen fan of vegetation

    Just Take A Look takes place one day after the events in the T2 mission Life of the Party. Garrett decides to infiltrate one of Karrass' guest homes to find out why he's given the nobles these Servants and to fill his pockets. Your main goals are to grab 3000 loot and to "Find a connection between the Servants and their owners". It's a nice idea to create a FM set between the events in the Original Missions, in the form of a guest home Garrett has to ransack while a ceremony attended by many nobles is in progress. In a few writings the player reads about how glad the nobles are with their new servants and there is also one Mechanist conversation implemented (well recorded by, supposedly, the author itself) that refers to vegetation needed for the rust gas to work. It completes the main objective although the connection between the Servants and their owners doesn't exactly becomes clear just by listening to it. Not entirely convincing therefore, but well recorded nonetheless by the actor, who speaks clearly and manages to mimic the tone of the Mechanists quite well. Do you still voice act these days, Don?
    After this objective is triggered, no new objectives open up and during the rest of your stay it's about exploring the building for loot while listening to the beautiful melodies of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, reverberating through a large part of the mansion . Not a difficult task, especially not on Normal difficulty when there are scarcely any guards present.


    The prominent portrait of Karras overlooking his visitors in the main hall

    Unfortunately, Just take a Look isn't ghostable. Unaware of this, I gave it a try and it went pretty well at first (many rooms can be explored by dimming lights or dousing torches) until I came across some areas that are virtually impossible to pass while staying undetected, like the library, the kitchen and the main hall . So what started as a "leave as many unharmed as possible" attitude resulted into "bonk everyone who starts screaming" play style. I wish there was some way to turn off the main power to darken the house, there were more water and moss arrows around, and that the Mechanist mage in the library walks away when their conversation ends (to make it easier to pass by). A missed opportunity but I guess the author can't be blamed, as ghosting wasn't widely taken into consideration back in 2003 when building a mission.


    The Master bedroom; lovely decorated

    Something that the mission doesn't lack is a good attention to detail. The guest home, consisting of a basement and two floors, has the characteristics of a roman villa (with it's columns and typical facade), and is lovely designed and furnished . The selection of stock textures used to decorate the interior looks excellent and each room has it's own feel and design. I also like the abundance of plants in and around the building, the art and glass windows build in the ceilings. Also very appealing is the sunset, visible by the red/purple colors that illuminate the plants and walls in the gardens around the building. Something I'd really love to see more commonly used .
    Furthermore the guest home has plenty of secrets to be found, in the form of several tiny switches (similar as in the author's "A Thief Nonetheless"), a rotating torch and hook, or a frobbable book , revealing large collections of valuables, a secret passage or a compromising letter. I especially liked the original lowering staircase-secret. Lucikly uncadonego included a lootlist (available on Thiefmissions) as one of the secrets is virtually impossible to find unless you know where to look.


    Conversation under an appealing sunset

    Visually Just Take a Look does a great job in providing beautiful interiors (filled with plants, art and displaying a clever use of stock textures) and a pretty design of the mansion. It also convinces in creating a pleasant ambience, thanks to the beautiful supporting grammaphone music by Vivaldi and the sunset that covers many surfaces in red shades. Plenty of secrets can be located, of which the lowering staircase is quite special. While not so strong on the story element and sadly not ghostable, it offers a welcome and entertaining interlude between two original T2 missions, taking place right after Garrett's visit to Angelwatch.
    The mission thread doesn't show up in a keyword search (probably explaining the lack of replies since 2006) but a tag search for 'uncadonego' or 'just take a look' will work.

    Stats
    Difficulty: Expert
    Time: 1 hour 15 minutes 9 seconds
    Loot: 3338 out of 3639
    Secrets: 5 / 9
    Last edited by nickie; 9th Jul 2012 at 02:22. Reason: Finished off the word 'present'

  24. #2299
    Desperately Dodgy Moderator
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Fields of bluegrass
    Quote Originally Posted by The Mike View Post
    Thanks for reading guys. Be back whenever Yandros finishes his Reloaded mission (GLARE. )
    Hey, the mission is a team effort, so I will gladly place all the blame on Random_Taffer and Tannar!


    In the interests of appeasing you, good sir, I humbly offer up a new screenshot.
    Although it's not new to my friends on Facebook.

  25. #2300
    Moderator
    Registered: Jul 2008
    Nice reviews, The Mike and The Phantom! I enjoyed reading them.

    @ The Mike: You know the old saying, "Good things come to those who wait."

    @ Yandros: OK, I see how it is.

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