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Thread: The Feeling Something's Missing?

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2016
    Location: Appleton, WI

    The Feeling Something's Missing?

    Here's a weird question, but maybe I am not the only one. When your mission seems lacking or feels empty, do you normally add more or create more depth? I've been fiddling around with the idea for a few days now. I just feel like something's missing. Is it normal and can it be added in as an "afterthought" even when you've completed your initial blueprints?

    I ask because it's my first -actual- fan mission. I know to each their own to how a mission is built. However are there tips one is willing to share when it comes to adding more without it feeling "thrown in at the last minute" type deal?

    ~SilverJackal


  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: May 2001
    Location: Boston MA
    I feel that way every mission. Near the end I feel like the mission is boring and wonder if I should even have it tested. It is a natural feeling. I always use stock resources and don’t do anything flashy, but players seem to enjoy them.

    When you have the mission tested, your testers will make suggestions. Make sure you listen to them, making changes based on their observations will make the mission better and more playable.

    My guess is your mission will be fun and will be greatly appreciated. Even the authors of great missions (and I am certainly not in that category) are usually pretty humble about their great work.

    Just finish it, have it completely tested and issue it.


    BBB

    Ps: your missions will also get better each time you do one.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2008
    Location: Finland
    Quote Originally Posted by SilverJackal View Post
    When your mission seems lacking or feels empty, do you normally add more or create more depth?
    I have always recreated or scrapped the areas with which i've felt even the slightest unsurity with (which is possibly why i haven't released anything yet )

    few hints on what to do when places feel empty:
    - remember that lighting will change the looks of things alot
    - add objects, think what might be going on in the milieu, and make it look like that
    - the number of polygon faces and complexity in textures are what generates the overall complexity of the area. Brushes are there only to give the rough shape and gameplay mechanics.
    - think on how the player can move in the environment. For example; there is the city street, in which the player is expected to move around normally, but if you can create the sort of cracks and crevices within that city street where player can go, it will create a sense of intrest of the surroundings (..i have no idea how to explain this clearly )
    - Ambient sounds are a good way to make place feel less empty. a correctly made sound scheme for the place will work wonders.
    - a good way to make place look intresting, is to offer something never seen before. Stock resources, like textures, work against that. (stock resourse missions are a chapter of their own i know..)
    - practice and practice... with experience and experience...

    - Also something i've learned about the visuals over time.. when you use light_bright and you manage to make something look good, then you can be sure it will look good without the light_bright aswell. (but this might only apply to my way of making things)

  4. #4
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinque Ecclesiae HU
    That's all solid advice.

    Lighting, especially makes a hell of a difference. Flat, middle-strength lighting that covers a whole scene evenly brings attention to the low-poly engine and especially to regular, cubical builds. Things don't look properly three-dimensional. Looking at your previous screenshots, this looks like a problem you have in your mission. Dramatic lighting which creates stark contrasts divides scenes (and introduces interesting gameplay dilemmas).

    This also works with sound. Place sound spots which draw the player to them, or which fade as they move away. Sound can make things more 3d.

    You may also try dividing up things physically. You have rooms which are too large:



    Try breaking up things a little. Add support columns. A line of arches in the second shot to turn one room into a double complex. The trim is a good start, but evenly placed columns help. Read the Breaking the Cube tutorial (Unfortunately, the images are no longer there).

    WRT the city in your OP. Too many similarly coloured roofs, too many similarly textured fronts. A row of windows to the right that's too long. Break it up with towers, columns, chimneys, different textures and shapes, objects, and all kinds of odd touches which makes things irregular. The shots here are a good start.

    (There is also a phase in the building process where things are "not there yet". That's when things suck the worst. Keep chipping away at it and it will improve. Your work has good fundamentals. With a few strategic changes, it can shine.)

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2016
    Location: Appleton, WI
    Lighting isn't a problem and I am only in my skeleton phase. I think ahead. Way too ahead sometimes for my own good.



    Maybe I'm giving away a secret area by sharing this too, but I get the major construction out of the way first. Then add finer details down the line such as:



    I was just sitting down, looking at my objectives. I already have a small city area I am still crafting into, but my concern I think about is the length of the mission. I haven't carved into a LOT of this mission yet. I still have a lot of work ahead of me.




    ~SilverJackal

    P.S. This is Thief Gold. Not Thief II. Adding certain architectures to the City it being not exactly the Metal Age wouldn't make sense IMO.
    Last edited by SilverJackal; 28th Dec 2017 at 18:17.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2012
    Location: Gèrmany
    I kinda find some points in your screenshots I also have (building my first mission as well).

    So this might be more a list for myself as for you

    •Texture variety and substance. You said you're making it for thief gold but also for the contest?
    If it's the later your not allowed to add new ones but maybe try to build your own. Add a solid brush with wood texture, let it stick out a bit and the whole building will look different. Same goes for every other even if it might be random.
    Add some stone/wood/stuc trims to the bottom of the buildings, maybe to the windows too.

    •My city is as flat as yours. How about elevating parts of it, at some slopes and stairs. A flat big pyramid and a metal grid and you get a cool drainage into your big flat open spaces.
    Same goes for the inside of buildings simple divide long flat paths with a small step.

    Breaking the cube is really a nice little guide.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2016
    Location: Appleton, WI
    Rope Arrows are to be in this mission, so it's not a big deal. Sewage System is also there. What you can't see is what the mission and getting to the tower hasn't been planted yet. There was a screw up in my notes and I had to rearrange a few things. Not everything is exactly textured to what I wanted yet. I just have a mindset of getting a better idea of what area is what.

    And as for the Thief Anniversary. I'm unsure if I will be adding it to the contest. It's not contest material I don't think.

    https://imgur.com/a/xcFT0

  8. #8
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinque Ecclesiae HU
    There is nothing wrong with that Keeper screenshot (except minor texture alignment issues). If the rest of the mission will follow that level of detail, you've got something good on your hands. A few things:
    • Height variations in your city section would help. Don't have to overdo it, but try adding some overlapping pyramids, corner-apex pyramids and wedges with a height of 1-6 and see how much it changes things. Maybe some dirt piles in the corners to break up the cobbles (the grassy areas are good!).
    • Try narrowing down the streets a little with side buildings, towers, walled yards and such. If you want something in the Thief 1 style, use more overhanging structures (I see you already do, but there is always room for more).
    • Use a few more trim textures. Those tend to spice up plain construction significantly, and create memorable landmarks for your players. Likewise, machinery, a small marketplace, a well, drainage, a saint's statue or an abandoned cart... just build.
    • And things will look much better with final light in place (which is why I do this early on, and iterate a lot with light placement/radius - but your mileage may vary).

    But all in all, if you are still in an early "rough cut" phase, there is no need to panic. It is a draft, and the details will fall into their place later.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2016
    Location: Appleton, WI
    Today I got around to detailing a little more. I was going to add another City Section, but it was never originally planned to be "long". So adding more in was scrapped. Already I've changed a few rooms making them more suitable. Crypts too have a little more detail. I know as time goes along I will add more. I've been working on this everyday for the past few weeks. Don't get me wrong when I say I feel a bit strained as I continue working.





    Last edited by SilverJackal; 29th Dec 2017 at 07:25.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: May 2002
    Location: Texas
    I would like to suggest that adjacent textures be the same. Most players might not notice or care, but it looks more realistic if for example in the last screenshot the ceiling in the hallway is one type of stone whereas the adjacent part just outside the hallway is another. I see the same with the fourth from the bottom screenshot & the bases of the columns. Also I typically don't use stone as a ceiling texture because its not feasible to do so in RL unless there is some sort of structure to make it look possible.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2015
    Location: Germany
    P.S. This is Thief Gold. Not Thief II. Adding certain architectures to the City it being not exactly the Metal Age wouldn't make sense IMO.
    Why No? Thief 1G have some great Textures and good combines, it isn really hard to create a good looking city and good stuff, you can play other FMs from Thief to become some inspiration, or ideas. Or you look in the OMs to find some interesting Points, here is a little example for some Architecture and Idea.



  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2016
    Location: Appleton, WI
    @Terra What missions do you think I should replay? I have a few in mind. Cragscleft and Assassins come to mind.... Maybe Undercover to observe more stable Hammerite Design. What do you have in mind for Fan Missions? Maybe I have them archived somewhere and I can give them another play.

    @John9818a I'm a bit OCD when it comes to colors and matching them. I don't see the texture as a "stone" knowing it is. I see a scheme I am matching with the surrounding area. It's weird I know. In reality though. You're not going to use colors that stand out from the others unless it serves a purpose. Like changing the texture's flooring in the Main Chapel. Maybe I'm just weird like that. I also have a tendency if players can't find the object; the texture changes.
    Secrets are not included.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2015
    Location: Germany
    Quote Originally Posted by SilverJackal View Post
    @Terra What missions do you think I should replay? I have a few in mind. Cragscleft and Assassins come to mind.... Maybe Undercover to observe more stable Hammerite Design. What do you have in mind for Fan Missions? Maybe I have them archived somewhere and I can give them another play.

    @John9818a I'm a bit OCD when it comes to colors and matching them. I don't see the texture as a "stone" knowing it is. I see a scheme I am matching with the surrounding area. It's weird I know. In reality though. You're not going to use colors that stand out from the others unless it serves a purpose. Like changing the texture's flooring in the Main Chapel. Maybe I'm just weird like that. I also have a tendency if players can't find the object; the texture changes.
    Secrets are not included.


    All skacky FMs for Thief 1, also Calendras Cistern and Events in Highrock. You can learn many from this FMs.

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2016
    Location: Appleton, WI
    @Terra I suppose after awhile you begin to blend Fan Missions. Don't get me wrong. I've played so many. Maybe it would be a good idea to pay more attention to the architecture. Thank you.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2016
    Location: Appleton, WI
    I know this is a double post, but after taking several of your guy's advice. I expanded and added. To make things simpler. I will be working from underground proceeding upwords. Just taking what I continued working on from December 13th (about two weeks maybe more) I've compared the progress. However with the additions I will be stating I won't be adding more to major additions to this mission. Overall its doubled in size. It's not a bad thing. It give me more to work with. Thank you all for pointing me in the right direction. It's just going to take time to bring this mission to life.

    What I had waiting for me when I picked up the project again:


    Current/December 30th (what I am currently working with:

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