|You will find here the news posts
that contain our exclusive information. Most of there were taked from our
own Thief forum. |
Dark Engine AI - 1:30pm EST - the spy
The AI is a signficant step up from Shock 1. We are
using an enhanced version of Thief's AI. I've been playing the
beta, and it does things I've never seen before. An example:
A guard was walking down a corridor. I closed a door so he
couldn't see me. He said "Hey, what was that?". I heard him
approach the door from the other side and he said "Hey, you, come
out of there..."
I almost had a stroke. Thief is a pretty amazing game. And we
get to use their goodies plus all the stuff we're developing on
top of it. Ah, life can be good.
I can't wait to play this game.. 8-D
What is a Burrick? - 1:30pm EST - the spy
What is a Burrik?
Well, we're spelling it What is a "Burrick,"
though I don't know if that word actually gets used in the game.
is something like a Wumpus. Of course.
Oh, that doesn't explain it? A Burrick is something like a
dinosaur, and something like a frog, and something like a mole,
and something like a dragon with stinking, noxious breath. They're
easily fascinated by certain sounds. Err... and they're sorta
Ah, heck. Play the game. Wait and see.
Thanx for clearin that up Tim. I have a sneaky feeling you guys
made it up after a frenzied weekend of pizza and cherry cola
binging.You tell everybody it came to all of you in a group
vision. No more anchovie pizzas for you guys. -talon 54
Well I know what a wumpus is. I used to hunt them in the
moutains. Anyone else know?
More and More Detials - 9:40pm EST - the
this time answering the questions of Tristan
:Some of the things I want to know are:
did the idea of this game come from – I play some RPG’s,
all computer based, and would like to know where the
:designers got the idea.
It evolved over the course of many months. Originally, we
were thinking of concentrating mainly on swordfighting as our core
gameplay. We toyed with a "Dark Camelot" idea where Arthur was the
bad guy and you played Modred. And Modred was this kinda sneaky
little guy. Interest in the Camelot theme didn't take off, but by
the time we bagged it the Modred concept had evolved into such a
rogue that we went straight from there into the Thief game. A lot
of this, of course, came from System Shock, where it's all pretty
hairy, and you aren't really a killing machine, so you have to do
a lot of ducking around and playing it tactically kind of
:2)Do they have poison
No poison. It was on our long list but didn't make our short
list. We have an idea or two that might make it into Thief 2, if
there is one.
:and can you buy stuff
Yes, you can buy stuff. It's sort of a hybrid between the
RPG approach (where there's this whole big economy) and the more
traditional mission-based action or strategy game (where
everything is generally very self-contained within a mission).
Call it a "spendthrift economy," I guess.
You get a standardized mission loadout, but there's also
in-mission loot which is basically credit towards powerups in your
next mission's loadout. So in your loadout screen, you can spend
the loot from your previous mission. But your money and your
loadout aren't persistent beyond that.
It's a bit abstract, and (admittedly) not anything we attempt
to fictionally support, but it's simpler than the whole-hog RPG
thing, and your decisions in each mission become more
straightforward: buy as many toys as you can, and don't be afraid
to use them.
So, it's an unusual approach, really, but in practice it's
pretty fun. We expect that some people will bristle at not being
able to hoard stuff like you do in an RPG, but we're going for a
more mission-based action thing than that, and hopefully people
will like the overall gameplay that spendthrift economy gets us.
:is the environment
:interactive, can you pick stuff up and
push stuff around, can
:you climb, crawl, and jump.
All of the above.
And then on the question of framerates:
Still optimizing, so it's too early to say. The
current big performance suspect on our optimization list is our
memory footprint: machines over the minimum 32 meg will currently
get much better performance, and we're working to close that gap.
Thief Music - 9:00pm EST - the spy
Here's a cool ingame music clip sent
to me by ROBOTKID
Details - 9:0pm EST
- the spy
Also more/fewer items in your loadout, certain
powerups to be found in the mission area, location of some pieces
of loot, opening or closing certain routes through the area...
several of the missions are really pretty different experiences on
different difficulty levels due to the presence or absence of some
More Details - 11:15pm EST - the spy
Check out these tasty tid-bits of
For the most part, we're trying to keep ammo to places
where it makes sense to be found, e.g. armories and such. Arrows
will be destroyed if they hit a creature. If they hit the terrain,
they'll stick into wood or earth, but be destroyed if they hit
other materials (like stone or tile). Arrows that stick can be
recovered for later re-use.
The terrain distinction becomes especially important with rope
arrows, which unreel a rope downwards if they stick in the
terrain. So, that determines where you can and cannot place ropes.
From ROBOTKID, answering the questions of Talon54:
:Will the magazines coming
:out at the beginning
of November have different avis or the
There is a short version and a long version (5min) I'm glad
you liked that movie! It took a LONG TIME TO MAKE!!!
:I thought you mentioned something about a rope arrow in
:one of the movies but I did not see that in this one.
The long version has 2 shots where the player shoots a rope
arrow. The 1st he uses it to climb up to a balcony, the 2nd to get
down from the rafters...
:many levels of difficulty are there, and what
makes them more
:difficult besides not killing any servants?
Do the levels really
:test your skill as a thief in order to
3 levels of difficulty. Each difficulty level has its own
set of objectives, plus harder guards, etc. This way, if you only
play THIEF on it's first difficulty setting, you will actually be
missing a whole bunch of different stuff in each level.
And yes,the levels really test your skill as a thief in order
to survive. If you ain't stealthy, you ain't breathin'!
It's almost done!!!!!
In Depth Details - 9:30pm EST - the spy
Tim Stellmach has gone more in-depth
on the details of certain features, at the request of Talon54
:I am going to list several things about Thief that I have
:from various sources. Can someone confirm or deny these?
Sure, I'm someone.
:1. No multiplayer but maybe in an expansion pack.
No multiplayer mode. System Shock 2 will have multiplayer.
:2. Arrows will not move in a straight line but curve like
:arrows. Does this affect aiming at all?
Oh, yes. Not tremendously, but you do have to be aware of
range to your target, and correct for it. There's a target range in
the training level to help you get the knack.
Actually, a couple of the arrow types are gravity-free, which I
find makes them much easier to aim, but many of our playtesters say
that makes them _harder_ because now they're so trained on doing the
ballistic trajectory correction.
:3.Wood will burn,water freeze, and things will float
:water. (Any other environmental affects?)
No freezing water, sadly. Only certain things will burn when
hit with fire, a plan which we had to cut back on mainly (as it
turns out) because of the special-FX problem of showing acceptible
fire FX on arbitrary objects.
:4. Bodies will stay where they are, and will leave
:stains. (What happens when a body is discovered? Do the
:organize a search for you?)
When guards see a body, or bloodstain, they become more alert
and start searching around. They remember the experience and never
drop to their "unsuspecting" alertness mode again. You can carry
bodies around (slowly) and dump them in a shadow somewhere, to avoid
this, or use water arrows to wash away bloodstains (which would
otherwise soak away after a minute or two).
Generally, when suspicious or alarming things happen, guards will
talk about it, and other nearby guards can hear them and get some
shared information about what's going on. Sometimes this turns out
to be a more organized affair than others.
: (How long are the levels going to be?)
Varies widely. Most of them are pretty big, I guess.
: 6.3dfx support?
: 7. You can pickpocket guards for keys.
Yep. Or healing potions, or gold, or whatever happens to be on
their belt. Of course, in the healing potion case, the guard will
use the potion if he gets out of combat and needs it, so
pickpocketing it becomes an even better idea.
: 8.You can move furniture around to block doors.
Yep. Just been ironing some bugs out of that one lately, in
terms of how the AI's react to such a setback.
: Release date? latest I heard was around Thanksgiving.
Yep, around Thanksgiving.
No Multiplay- An End
to the Confusion -
9:30pm EST - the spy
Just in case some people were still wondering.. Josh Randall
tells how it is.
There is no multiplayer in Thief.
The guy who interviewed me asked me about this, and I told him
there was no multiplayer. Imagine my susprise when I read his
article which quotes me several times...and I never said any of his
quotes! He fabricated half the article! People tell me that happens
a lot in this industry. Ug! (It's very weird to read yourself saying
things that you never said...It makes you feel like you are going
crazy or something...)
Anyways, there is no multiplayer in Thief, but the single player
experience is awesome. The AI is just nuts.
It's really getting good now...I played a bunch last night.
Ok, back to work for me...sorry for the confusion, everyone. We
kindly asked the article(s) to be changed to say that we don't have
multiplayer, but they have not updated them yet...boo!
Stellmach explanes why the choice to remove multiplay was made....
[Is there multiplayer?] Nope. Sorry. If Deathmatch is what
you're looking for, you're kinda barking up the wrong gameplay tree,
anyway. Any game which concentrates on run-n'-gun combat is going to
do deathmatch a whole lot better than a game which concentrates on
sneaking around and stealing stuff. Doing Thief deathmatch just
because it was "the thing to do" and not because it would be a fun
game would be like showing up to a gunfight with a knife: better to
not show up at all.
Look at it this way: Thief is an action/adventure game, not a
shoot-em-up. How many people are out there crying out for internet
deathmatch Tomb Raider?
Now, that said, we did originally have multiplayer plans for
Thief, which is a plan that's still being quoted in the press by
people with some outdated information. We made that plan because
multiplayer play _was_ such a big selling point. For a while there,
if you didn't have a multiplayer mode (whether it really worked or
made sense or not) you'd get pilloried by the press, and that's the
environment in which we made our initial plans. That no longer seems
to be the case, and we didn't want to take development effort away
from our single-player game to support multiplayer. We _certainly_
didn't want to risk coming out with a half-baked multiplayer mode
just to put a bullet item on the box, the way we had seen in some
games out there.
Thief is, in many ways, a big experiment. It plays like no game I
know of, and it's been a big challenge to break that new ground. We
do think that the ideas we had for multiplayer play were good ideas,
but ultimately decided that trying to develop _two_ brand-new styles
of gameplay was just too much.
I'm sorry if that means we've lost a customer. I really am. But I
figure we'd lose a whole lot of 'em if our core gameplay didn't get
the attention it needed because we were dividing our efforts.
Stellmach Speaks! - 1:30pm EST - the
Lead Designer, dropped by our Thief forum the other day. This is
what he had to say.
On the Demos:
There's a CD cover-mount coming out on magazines right about
now with a non-interactive demo including sequences captured from
gameplay, with the intention that you can get a better sense of how
the thing plays than from our previous, more stylistic promotional
The interactive (and downloadable) demo is scheduled to
be released at about the same time as the game hits shelves.
Basically, cutting the schedule so close to Christmas, we had to
decide whether to take time away from the game development for the
demo. So, we're starting the demo when we go to press, and counting
on the faster distribution channel over the 'net to get it out in a
timely fashion for buyers to check it out."
Well, the ratings make the distinction along the "animated
blood and gore" vs. "realistic blood and gore" lines, as I recall.
Thief's stuff is about par for the course, I'd say. There's blood
splashes (mainly to make it clear that you hit the guy), and
bloodstains left behind by combat can be seen by AI's, who will
become more alert. So, there's some blood, but it's not like a
Mortal Kombat kind of thing where that's the point.
whatever it's worth, on the highest difficulty settings, your
mission goals start requiring "clean" jobs, where you either can't
kill non-combatants (servants and such) or "ultra-clean" jobs where
you're not allowed to kill anyone at all. That's really at odds with
a lot of convention, I know, but it sure does make the job harder,
and there are still non-lethal "pacification" techniques available
(like the blackjack and knockout gas). So, Lord knows if that
answers your question, but we're certainly trying not to be
Updated - 1:20pm
EST - the spy
getting the idea that it was just too redundant to have two Thief
download sites on TTLG, I removed this site's download page, and
linked to The
Stash on ShockData
instead. Less work for me now! Note that all (I think) of the new
files are now available for download- new images, voice clips, and
the movie, 'Tools of the Trade'.
Tools of the
Trade - 12:30am EST
- the spy
Thief movie, Tools of the Trade, is now available from The Stash
It is recommened downloading from here, rather then from the Lglass Thief site. For one
thing, they have a fancy quicktime viewing thing, rather then a
straight-forward download. Besides, why download a 6 meg *.mov file,
when you can get a 2.6 meg *.zip?
Interview with MAHK - 5:50am EST - the
I asked MAHK a few
questions on behalf of Dan Paul (and a few for myself), who seemed
very curious and very excited! I hope he is pleased with the
1) Is Thief going to be a game where you can scale any part of
the level; be it roof-top or ceiling, with no boundries? Will we be
able to climb over walls and fences? Will rope use be limited to
rope-arrows? What about hopping from roof-top to roof-top?
|You'll have a fair degree of
mobility, but not total. You won't stick to walls or ceilings
like a fly. But you will be able to mantel and climb, much
like Lara Croft. Jumping from rooftop to rooftop will vary
based on the availability of rooftops in the particular
mission. :) There will be ladders and ropes in the world, as
well as rope arrows. Sometimes getting where you want to be
will be a challenge, and we've carefully chosen our mobility
constraints to allow our designers to create interesting
spatial puzzles and
2) Will the enemys die different ways depending on how you kill
them or where you hit them; such as a shot to the neck which would
result in immediate death, but a shot to the stomach would cause
them to squrim in agony?
(are we sadists or what?)
|There are a number of different
ways that guys can get killed. It won't in general be based on
hit location. And yes, you are
3) When you 'knock out' guards with your black-jack, will they
wake up? What happens when the wake up? If then never saw you, will
they just be disoriented and think that they dozed off, or if they
saw you, will they remember?
|Guys won't in general wake up
in the scale of time that a mission takes. Basically, we
decided that most of the time guys would wake up when you
weren't around and it would be confusing. There may be
sleeping guys who will wake up if you make too much noise,
4) When you kill an enemy, will the body stay there forever?
|Yes, and live NPCs that notice
the body will react appropriately. Also, blood stains may give
you away if you're not careful.
5) If you thow a dead body down a stream, will it float or sink?
Can you find the body downstream somewhere later? If you just
knocked them out, and threw them in water, would they just drown, or
will they wake up and try to swim? Can healthy guards swim, for that
|Guards don't swim. They drown.
Some objects float, and all objects are affected by river
current in a way that you'd expect. Whether bodies float may
depend on the body in
6) When's the Demo coming?
|Pretty much simultaneous with
ship, so you can try before you buy.
7) The music- is the stuff on the webpages the game music? How
about the Trailer?
|I can't say for sure whether
it's the same music. It's similar.
8) What about stealing a guard uniform, and walking around
|No in general, but yes in
specific. :) |
9) What kind of inventory system will there be?
|Fairly simple. No ultima-style
bags within bags or anything. You'll have a wide variety of
nifty arrows, and a small inventory of other useful tools
(lock picks, healing potions, flash bombs, etc.), that you can
cycle through. You can also pick up random junk if you really
want. If for example, you wanted to pick up a skull or a piece
of debris and throw it at a button, far be it from us to stop
you. We do keep you from accumulating piles of random junk in
your inventory though.
10) What are those symbols we see on the pages and advertisments?
|Secret mystical Keeper stuff
from Garrett's dark past.
11) Do you support the PowerVR chipset? (What I happen to be
stuck with at the moment.. *grinz*)
|All our hardware support is
through DirectX 6. In the short term we don't have plans to
support any other APIs.
I'm excited, are you excited? yeah....
No External Camera - 2:30pm EST - the
That fact, as well
as a few others, are discussed in this little email interview with
Me- "Say Mahk... in case you haven't noticed, on my Thief page
i've raised a ruccus about the exsistence of an external cammera...
sparked by screenshot.. "Time for a
swim".... Am I right or wrong?
MAHK- "You're wrong. No external camera.
Me- "Ah Drat... 8-D So who's that man in black in that
MAHK- "An assassin. One of the crime lord Ramirez'
henchmen. There's more to the story than that, but I won't spoil
Me- "Hmmm.. pretty cool all the same.. Any reason why he's
MAHK- "Garrett isn't a particular reference to anything.
We made a big list of names and liked Garrett best. Apparently Glen
Cook as a sort of noir fantasy series with a Garrett in it.
But that's just coincidence."
Musicology - 12:20pm EST - the spy
LGS's games have all had great music,
and Thief will be no exception. Here are some words about the music
Q: I would really love to hear some facts about the
music in Thief. I very much liked the music in Underworlds and, as a
classical oriented amateur musician and composer, I am also
professionally intrested in this field. I'm sure the music engine
won't cause me any major disappointments, but what will the music
itself be like? I have seen one of your trailers, and it had, I'm
sorry to say, e. guitars and a bit teknoish sounds. In some other
environment it would had been ok, but in such a middle-age and
fantasy oriented game as Thief it was a bit out of place. So, some
questions to the musician(s): How would you define the style of
music in Thief? I would also like to know what are your personal
favourites in the classical field (composers, works). How about the
movie composers? Will the music be in general midi -format or will
it come straight form CD? And finaly, what software do you use
(sequencers etc). I'm eagerly waiting for Your answer. Thank you. -Ville Komppa
couldn't help noticing a minute ago surfing in the Thief homepage,
that The Band in fact doesn't HAVE a musician. So who will it be...
You know, it's a poor band that ain't got players. Do you perhaps
use a free-lancer..? (Here would be one very much interested ;-)
A: You might want to take another look, because the
band has a GREAT musician named Eric
Brosius. (He also did the music for Terra Nova, so if you
liked that game's music [i did] you should be happy. -the spy) Thief is NOT a
straight fantasy game but a game where aspects of the medieval world
are sometimes uncomfortably melded with those of the industrial age;
our goal is not to rehash fantasy cliches, but rather to create an
eerily unfamiliar setting. Most of the game will have moody
atmospheric music although it will also incorporate a more
techno/industrial sound at certain points. -Daniel and
Thieves Can Swim - 10:40am EST - the spy
I have eavesdropped on a brief
interview on swimming in Thief
:How is swimming going to work in Thief?
:Will you have 360
degree freedom, like a real swimmer?
:Will sound behave diffrently under water?
At the very least, it will be muffled.
Yes. Arrows entering water
will be subject to buoyancy and drag.
:What kind of breath meter will there be?
currently a bubbly-looking breath meter at the bottom of the
display, analogous to the health meter. I don't know if it's
going to be the shipping breath meter, but I personally like it.
:How much will it be like Underworld's swimming?
*much* more realistic than Underworld's swimming. Without
going back and looking at Underworld's swimming, I can't do a more
accurate comparison than that. :)
:Am i asking too many questions?
Dark Engine and Lighting - 11:00pm EST - the
Although this does
not clearly explane any features of Thief, it does shed some light
(pun intended) on the working of the dark engine, and how it deals
with light... (am I sensing a paradox here?)
::Tim, what are the main features of the Dark Engine?
::allow for HUGE enviroments, like the Jedi Knight
::worry, I'm not even comparing SS2 or Dark to
Jedi Knight) :)
:"HUGE" environments are definitely possible
in the Dark Engine,
:depending on what you mean by
:There's some cost for sizeable areas based on the
:size of a light map, but you can change ...[the]
:in the editor so you can trade off size for lighting and
Gee, I hope I don't give away any company secrets here.
The "dark renderer" was originally being written before Quake
came out, using the traditional computer graphics way of doing
lighting, called "vertex lighting". Jedi Knight uses "vertex
lighting", and it seems like the big advantage to vertex lighting as
opposed to what Quake does is that you can make really big spaces.
Quake came out, and had these incredible shadows. While it might
be possible to do shadows somewhat in a vertex-lighting game (heck,
you can even see fake ones in Duke3d), it's nothing like the quality
that "light mapping" (what Quake does) can give you.
So, we looked at the engine and said, "would we rather beable to
do big spaces but no shadows, or not be as effectivefor big spaces
but do really good shadows"? Well, we were doing a stealthy thieving
game. So shadows it was. Out went the vertex-lighting code, and in
went Quake-style light mapping.
System Shock 2 is inheriting this same engine, with that decision
already having been made for Thief. However, one of the changes that
I made to the renderer for Shock 2 is to allow for larger lightmaps,
which means larger polygons, which means larger spaces. So... we'll
New info from Forum - 3:55pm EST - the
Dan Todd has been asking some
really good questions in our forum, another one was answered today.
:But what about stone, or rock surfaces? Will you be
:climb shear stone if the surface is rough enough?
:brick walls, utilizing the cracks between
bricks. What about
:other rope climbing devices? such as a
hook for grabbing onto
There are a number of attributes that can be specified on a
per-texture basis. "Climbability" is among them.
More Exclusive Info - 10:41pm EST - the
I have more
exclusive info for all you anxious gamers, this time from our own Thief
Discussion Page, directly from Chris Carollo
"You will be able to lean, crawl, jump, and pull yourself up onto
ledges, just off the top of my head. And any other things we
decide to add. :)
Separate head movement is kind of a control
nightmare...I wouldn't bet on it."
Info - 12:00pm EST
- the spy
spotted some exclusive thief info on the System
Shock 2 wishlist, which I have been "observing". Here it is, in
:Tim, what are the main features of the Dark Engine?
:allow for HUGE enviroments, like the Jedi Knight
:worry, I'm not even comparing SS2 or Dark to
Jedi Knight) :)
Wow. That's a big question. I'll anser your specific
"HUGE" environments are definitely possible in the Dark Engine,
depending on what you mean by "HUGE." The two measures you
might apply are sheer physical size and actual complexity of the
space (in terms of poly count, number of portals, and such).
There's some cost for sizeable areas based on the maximum size
of a light map, but you can change texture map (and hence, light
map) scale in the editor so you can trade off size for lighting and
texture resolution. One prototype level (which, sadly, we're
not doing in the final game for reasons not relating to the size of
the space) included a canyon about 200' deep and 500' long.
I'd have to say, though, that the main features of the Dark
Engine are not in the renderer, but in the AI and object behavior
system (act/react, physics, our scripting infrastructure, and our
property system... usually in our marketing materials we just use
the term "act/react" to refer to the whole shebang). We want
our renderer to be competetive with other products on the market,
obviously, but object behaviors are where the gameplay is.
Like the example that started this thread, where sound travels
from room to room (instead of in straight lines) and sounds can
carry information content with them that the AI's know how to
interpret. That gets us AI's hearing footsteps, plus alarm
bells, distracting noisemaker arrows, etc.
Or take the rope arrow, for example: when you shoot it into wood,
it sticks and deploys a rope from the nock of the arrow. It
won't stick into other materials. Given the scripting and
property systems, once we'd implemented ropes in the first place, it
was literally only about half an hour's work for me to do rope
arrows. It was all basically about a dozen lines of script
It took us a lot of work to get the system up to the point where
the designer has this kind of expressive power, but now that we've
got it we can implement all sorts of behaviors really easily.
It's lots of fun to work with, which in this business is the
way you get really good work done.
- Tim Stellmach