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Thread: General Fan Mission Review And Discussion Megathread

  1. #1401
    Thanks for the support, right now I'm going to relax and do some other things right now-I've learned to only build when I have some specific inspiration otherwise I just sit and spin my wheels without accomplishing much. Depending on how the new character is received I can go in a number of directions but I'm considering making some missions set prior to 4th planet to give some more depth to the character before proceeding. Plus Cold Feet is kind of open ended when you finish it so I could do some things with that as well. After some rest I'll see what I can come up with.

  2. #1402
    Me and SneakyJack are on a roll with reviews recently. Here's another two from me for the collection;

    The Tower
    & Broken Triad

    I'd also like to mention that I've given out a Silver Hammer Award to Hammerite Imperium and two Gold Hammer Awards to T2X / CoSaS2. They were originally planned to at first, but I decided to hold back a bit until I had more reviews in the database. They're just special awards, a little different than the cogs.

  3. #1403
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: behind your eyeball
    At last, some justice!

    I was worried, that you put some missions I thought were, well, mediocre with MX and T2X on 1 line, it was unfair. :P

    Great to see more reviews, a silver cog for BT seems appropriate. It's just not good enough for a gold in my eyes. The beginning was very tedius in comparison to what's coming aswell. Though it is an outstanding mission.

  4. #1404
    I really appreciate that, quakis.

  5. #1405
    A Friend In Need By Slyfoxx
    Released: 2005

    By now you all pretty well know that though Basso can be quite the ally but when the rubber meets the road he can also become quite the pain in the ol' loot sack. After being nabbed in mid lock-pick at a local law firm's door trying to nab a certain document Basso has once again found himself in trouble - and because he was filling in for you, guilt takes over and you find yourself thrust into a rescue mission.

    At the beginning of the mission Slyfoxx has opted to leave you a little note and some choices as to how you'd like to play the mission. Garrett as usual has a bit of a tool stash - and the author has decided to let you determine what type of thief you'd like to be and choose your own equipment. I found this a novel idea and if you are anything like me (apparently a bumbling thief) you'll snatch every bit of gear you can.

    Once the mission gets started you'll discover that the gameplay itself is very well done and alot of fun. Though the mission is littered with 'doors to nowhere' (textured doors that could have just as well just been a solid wall) you'll travel on a fairly linear path to your end destination avoiding a good bit of guards and light sources along the way.

    While Slyfoxx doesn't break the mold in this mission he certainly does nail the core thief gameplay for quite a fun experience. You'll put your rope arrows to great use, so be sure to always have at least two of them on you at any given time. They are plentiful in the mission but retrieving them as you go is probably your safest bet.

    After moving your way through the entire mission you are presented with what amounts to a dead end and must backtrack through the entire mission carrying Basso - and we all know how painfully slow that experience can be. Looking past that design descision however finds a mission full of fun, great rope arrow possibilities and classic thief gameplay.

    Overall the mission looks great with well chosen textures all around and everything is well put together. If you are a fan of thief gameplay in its most basic form, this mission is definitely for you. Recommended!



    Making my way through the city.




    This could get tricky!



    Very atmospheric lighting.




    Dont be alarmed lady, just passing through.




    Partnering guards adds to the challenge.




    Gotta love doubled up archers.




    Hold tight Basso, I'm on my way.

  6. #1406
    A Friend In Need 2: Unnecessary Risk By Slyfoxx
    Released: 2007

    After rescuing Basso and dragging his heavy behind back to safety - you now also find yourself with the location to Bafford's summer residence. What is a good thief to do other than pay the good Lord a visit? Sure you might not absolutely need the money right now - but any chance to make Bafford a little grumpy is a chance you are willing to take.

    You'll notice a few familiar areas in this mission from another recent review I have posted - Slyfoxx's contest mission "Bafford's Bone Collection". It seems the author has used that mission as a base for Bafford's residence (which makes sense and saves time) and has expanded on it quite a bit. The textures are redone here and look much better than the previous incarnation of the base mission and overall everything looks great.

    One thing you'll notice right away in the mission is that it is not only packed with custom conversations recorded by Slyfoxx himself - but the dialog and voice acting are very high quality and quite amusing to listen to. I found myself walking around standing next to guards hoping to trigger new conversations, and alot of the time it will indeed happen.

    After using some jumping tactics to make your way up the cliffside and into the residence you'll find that the mission once again relies on the very basic thief gameplay mechanics - something I certainly appreciate. You'll sneak, douse torches and pickpocket.. all the while having great fun appreciating the simple fun factor of a well designed mission.

    Though the mission may not break any new ground it certainly does entertain - and the voice acting and dialog alone are enough to warrant a playthrough, though you'll find many more rewards once you give it a shot. Recommended!

    Screens:



    Incredibly entertaining guard conversations with the always great voice acting of Slyfoxx give this mission its charm.




    This would be a good place to setup shop - I could annoy Bafford from right outside his own walls.




    Your mission, if you choose to accept it...




    Surveying the land.




    Long distance staring contest winner, '09.




    Inside the estate.




    Burricks!

  7. #1407
    Looking back on my previous review screens of the fantastic looking Night In Rocksbourg 3: Ink And Dust I felt really unhappy with how badly they looked due to my old graphics card and computer and having to lighten them up so much just to have them visible so I made some more screens for the mission that I'll be swapping out from the original review.

























    I'm planning a few things for the upcoming 100,000 views milestone that I hope you folks will like - and for any of you still following along thank you and I hope you still enjoy reading our reviews and looking at the screens we've been posting.

    Edit: The difference between viewing screens in the blue/black dark forum theme and the white theme is pretty staggering, haha.
    Last edited by SneakyJack; 11th Nov 2009 at 15:14.

  8. #1408
    Well its been nearly two weeks now since release, the help thread is over 20 pages long with most of the regulars to this forum having already played and commented on the mission and I've seen screens posted elsewhere and on other websites dealing with Thief so I think the embargo should probably be lifted by this point. On with the show!

    Rose Cottage By Saturnine (With help from CaffeinatedZombeh, Yandros, Slyfoxx, Shadow Creepr, Nickie, BrokenArts, Nightwalker and Peter Smith.)
    Released: October 2009

    From the moment you load up Rose Cottage you know that you are in for quite the treat. To begin with such an incredible opening movie with an art style (apparently done by the author's daughter which certainly adds to the cuteness factor) that is unique yet haunting and funny at the same time.. you know that great care has been taken to make sure this mission is a complete package sure to entertain. The opening movie for this mission is far and away the best I've seen for a thief mission up to this point.

    The basic premise of this mission without giving too much away finds you taking the role of someone other than Garrett armed only with your wits and cunning - something that normally puts me off from a mission but here is actually done strikingly well. You are given the task of ridding an estate of a certain group of unwanted visitors and are given the means to do so, everything after that being left in your hands to work out.

    Part of the charm of Rose Cottage is that moreso than just a Haunted House type feel you really are left not knowing for the most part what to expect. The foes you discover are unexpected for this type of mission as is the method in which you dispatch them. There are a few jump scare moments that go for the cheap heart-attack inducing fright but they are not overused to the point of being predictable. The true scares lie in the more clever moments where you see a certain setup to a scare but have no idea when it is actually coming.. and when it does you'll be thinking "I should have known that was coming" but by then it is already too late.

    The story here is very well done with the story being told more visually than with readables. Another wise use of the art style here is leaving drawings by the child of the house strewn throughout, some more ominous than others but all of them entertaining - much moreso than just a typed scroll. From the way the story is told to the locations to the goals of the mission, everything fits together very nicely into one cohesive package.

    On to the visual aspect - this mission is simply stunning. From the objects to the textures to the house (and other areas I won't spoil here) architecture this could quite possibly be the best looking mission ever created. You'll see things you didn't think were possible in dromed and in a quality we've only imagined to this point... It seems painstaking care was taken in making every inch of this mission look incredible.

    The sound aspect of this mission is also done very well. This is one area that is hard to comment on without spoiling a few well done parts - so I'll leave the sound section to be experienced on your own. Needless to say this is one mission where you'll want to shut out the lights, throw on some quality headphones and scare yourself out of your socks.

    Possibly the weakest (but by no means is it bad) area of the mission is the gameplay. You'll have a blast being scared out of your wits and taking in the beautiful sights that rose cottage has to offer but may find yourself enjoying less the mechanic of eliminating the enemies. Your only defense more or less is how fast you are on your feet - and it would have been nice in such a fantastic mission to be given more options to dispatch your foes where here we are more or less left with "anger them and run" as our only method. A few more creative ways to clear the house and surrounding areas would have been very welcome as the current method grows stale after the third or so enemy.

    After the main gameplay goals are finished you'll find yourself engaged in a collect-a-thon of sorts that I rather enjoyed and would like to see more of in future missions. Being completely optional gave me the sense that I wanted to continue collecting in order to see if something happens when finished and I was not disappointed. I was also left with a laugh, and thought it was a clever way to get everyone to comb every inch of this beautiful mission.

    Rose Cottage truly is a complete package in terms of looking, sounding and playing amazing - it truly has to be experienced to be believed that such a creation could be brought to us on the same engine that has aged over a decade. In an era of fan missions that still regularly stun us with their quality - missions like this certainly rise to the top of the pile. If you like a good scare, enjoy collecting or just taking in a feast for the eyes, you'll have a great time with this one. Highly Recommended!



    IF YOU HAVE NOT YET PLAYED ROSE COTTAGE AND DONT WANT YOUR "FIRST TIME" EXPERIENCE SPOILED VISUALLY - DO NOT SCROLL FURTHER DOWN THIS PAGE - GO PLAY THE DARN MISSION!





    You know you're in for a spooky mission when it begins like this.




    Wow.




    Wandering the grounds in the moonlight.




    Home sweet home indeed.




    I thought this was brilliant.




    Looks cozy.




    Something tells me I shouldnt be here.




    Oh boy.. don't want to spend too long here.
    Last edited by SneakyJack; 13th Nov 2009 at 19:32.

  9. #1409
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: behind your eyeball
    I guess I should really play this one then.

    There, the first person, who's seen some of the areas before playing through them. Now I feel special.

  10. #1410
    Quote Originally Posted by Thor02 View Post
    I guess I should really play this one then.

    There, the first person, who's seen some of the areas before playing through them. Now I feel special.
    If you are trying to open a can of worms blame yourself for ignoring the giant sized bolded warning text
    Last edited by SneakyJack; 11th Nov 2009 at 17:07.

  11. #1411
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: behind your eyeball
    Nah, it was more of a laugh at myself. Somehow I keep bursting out laughing each time I think about this.

  12. #1412
    Quote Originally Posted by Thor02 View Post
    Nah, it was more of a laugh at myself. Somehow I keep bursting out laughing each time I think about this.
    Laughing when you think about what?

  13. #1413
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: behind your eyeball
    About how I stalled to play it and waited for a night when I could and then I didn't want to and all kind of stupid excuses. And my post. It's no big deal, just a think, that probably I alone can laugh at.

    Edit: Actually, I don't think I reasoned it well. I can't really explain it. I pushed myself to something bad and... yawn, I'm going to bed.

  14. #1414
    You're certainly doing a good job of talking in circles and confusing me I thought you were making a comment about me spoiling the mission for you after I left one smaller warning and one GIANT warning in the review.

    Lost in translation I guess

    I'd love for others to post reviews of Rose Cottage to see what you thought - even if your review is similar I'd like to read more about different playstyles, moreso if you are normally a ghoster what you throught of the mission as a whole.

  15. #1415
    Quote Originally Posted by SneakyJack View Post
    The opening movie for this mission is far and away the best I've seen for a thief mission up to this point.
    Interesting. I hope this comment doesn't rub people the wrong way, or sound too nitpicky. I thought as a piece of artwork, the intro was fantastic. Very creative, unique and professional (although I did find the music a bit cheesy). However, as a Thief intro movie, it really felt it was kind of lacking. Usually an intro movie will set the stage and mood for a mission, either with a voiceover and/or images, and give the player a sense of what's to come, hopefully blending right into the mission itself. This movie didn't do any of that, in fact, it's difficult to even tell it's a Thief movie at all, given the content. It almost seemed more suited to be played at the end after mission completion, especially with the list of credits.

    That aside though, I thought the mission itself was great. I was a bit surprised by some of the criticism in the mission thread, I'm thinking to myself - if you guys are criticizing this mission, I'd hate to think of what people would say about one of my missions! In any case, an incredibly memorable FM and definitely one of the best overall missions ever created. I just wish we could get more from the guy...

  16. #1416
    I definitely understand what you mean by how you viewed the opening cinematic and I agree that it may not be for some - I too am a fan of the more traditional thief mission briefing movies but for some reason this one just really clicked with me.

    I found myself in just the right "B-Movie Horror" mindset after watching the movie with the artwork and the music (that you said was a little over the top for your tastes, and that too is understandable) that I think it really elevated the amount of enjoyment I got out of the mission overall. Thanks for posting your viewpoint

    All in all I thought it did a great job of saying "Hey, this mission is going to be dark and scary but also don't take it too seriously" and it really grabbed me.

  17. #1417
    Hmm even if you put warning text up about the screenshots, the way the page loads (atleast here) shoots toward the most early recent post before the images have loaded, and then as they do, the post itself is pushed upwards leaving the images in plain sight.

    Though I'm personally not too bothered myself, and currently playing through it now. I really should be holding back though until I've reviewed some more FM's to cut the list back, otherwise it'll keep growing at this rate.

  18. #1418
    Quote Originally Posted by quakis View Post
    Hmm even if you put warning text up about the screenshots, the way the page loads (atleast here) shoots toward the most early recent post before the images have loaded, and then as they do, the post itself is pushed upwards leaving the images in plain sight.

    Though I'm personally not too bothered myself, and currently playing through it now. I really should be holding back though until I've reviewed some more FM's to cut the list back, otherwise it'll keep growing at this rate.
    This entire thread can be called a spoiler thread really. Whether a mission is released today or three years ago doesn't make any difference if someone hasn't played it I suppose. I purposefully left out screens from most of the mission so that there are still tons of things to see and do that hasn't been shown just in case - including some of my favorite areas. Thanks for the info about how the screens load - With my connection they basically are loaded in an instant and I dont know why it jumps around for others.

    If it bothers people that much I can take my review down. I certainly wasn't the first one to put screens up of this mission, trust me on that

  19. #1419
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2009
    Location: Situation's changed, Tom.
    You're quite posty these days, SJ!

    Everything good in real life again?

  20. #1420
    I don't think you should take down the review really. If you want to keep the screenshots, but leave them a surprise for people, you could probably just link to them rather than use the image tag I suppose. But yes, this thread is technically a spoiler thread concerning images and such for FM's despite when they were released. Kinda like my Broken Triad review.

  21. #1421
    Quote Originally Posted by PotatoGuy View Post
    You're quite posty these days, SJ!

    Everything good in real life again?
    Wouldn't say its 'good'. My time away is/was due to my younger sister having cancer (that she'll still have to have more surgeries for in the near future) and needing me to help her around (had large amounts of her thigh and leg removed from advanced stage melanoma) but for now she's feeling alright after recovering from the most recent one so I should have a bit more time to myself. Thanks for asking

    Quote Originally Posted by quakis View Post
    I don't think you should take down the review really. If you want to keep the screenshots, but leave them a surprise for people, you could probably just link to them rather than use the image tag I suppose. But yes, this thread is technically a spoiler thread concerning images and such for FM's despite when they were released. Kinda like my Broken Triad review.
    I modified them into clickable links for now and when another week or so passes I'll put them back up. Anyone offended by screenshots really shouldnt be in this thread at all, though

    Thanks for the suggestion.

  22. #1422
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: The Inverted Manse
    Quote Originally Posted by SneakyJack View Post
    The Acid Trip By Haplo
    Released: November 2009

    I can't believe I actually manged to miss this review up until now...
    An unconventional review for an unconventional mission indeed!

    Quote Originally Posted by The Mike View Post
    Verdict: It makes you want to sit in a hovering chair over a flooded room with horrible wallpaper.
    The horrible wallpaper is Magritte's Golconda: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golconda_(painting)
    The sitting man is an AI mesh marukpa made based on Magritte's The Son of Man: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Son_of_Man

    So basically you are looking through a window, which is supposed to represent Magritte's "view". You see The Son of Man himself sitting and pondering about the images of himself incarnated as rain drops. He does realize that those are just images and not real rain, he is indeed aware of the falsity of representation...but, then again, why is the room flooded?! Where did the water come from?!


    I wonder how many of the players actually slowed down and thought about what they saw in the mission. I wanted to make a mission about symbolism and philosophical content. I did get some great feedback about this from some of the players.

    Or for example why you had to use a dead body to be able to get intimate with the god.
    Last edited by Haplo; 12th Nov 2009 at 01:07. Reason: Fixed the url, added another one.

  23. #1423
    Thank you for the background info on that image Haplo!

    I had the enhancement pack on while playing it since, being a man of the blu-ray age, seeing low res textures causes my eyes to burst into flames
    This quote from The Mike's review of Wicked Relics made me laugh far harder than it probably should have.

  24. #1424
    After finally managing to score a copy of Doom 3 just to play the dark mod (as I found Doom 3 to basically be Half Life: Rehashed) and after some tweaking (That puppy wont bark very easily on Vista 64bit and an ATI Card) I finally bring you:



    I am one of the doubters of the dark mod I'll glady admit up front. After Thief 3 and its 'updated' engine (at the time) left me feeling like a battered and abused (but unfortunately still faithful) wife I really didn't know if I'd be able to follow the Thief franchise beyond Thief 2 and its fan missions.

    Disclaimer: I played very little of Doom 3's missions as it isnt my type of game so I am not really aware of how many things I'm about to mention are basic engine bugs, features already included in Doom 3 by default or what have you. I also really did not enjoy Thief: Deadly Shadows and don't really remember alot from it (still trying to forget) so I may mention certain features in The Dark Mod as "new" that were in TDS - consider me speaking from a "new to me" perspective before you get all 'historically factual' on me.

    I found myself wanting to give The Dark Mod a shot and wanting badly to like it - So I tracked down a copy of Doom 3, installed the Mod and loaded up all the missions to give it a go. After spending many hours with it playing through the training mission and the small handful of available missions thus far, here is what I found:



    The Great: What The Dark Mod Does Excellently

    The Overall Feel: This modification unmistakeably feels like it is built around the world of Thief. The look, the feel, the sounds, the setting, the objects - everything feels fantastic. Its unfortunate that the actual names and assets from Thief cannot be used but the Dark Mod team has done a brilliant job of coming up with great alternatives. Never once did I think I was playing anything other than an extension of the Thief universe, and this made me very happy.

    The Mantling Mechanics: Nailed it. Completely nailed it. Hugely improved over the previous games in the series and just felt incredible. Never once did I misjudge a jump or fall to my death for some silly reason - and I very much enjoy the fact that the main player character is much more agile with mantling than in the Thief games. (You can mantle onto a ledge even if objects are present, finally!) Its also nice to see that the player character is able to climb onto bookshelves realistically and through smaller holes (its not like you'd have to be standing completely upright in real life anyway) instead of feeling like a brick being thrown toward a wall every time I jump or mantle. I was so impressed by how the mantling is handled that I honestly spent most of my time playing just climbing on things in awe of how easy it was to get from place to place without the annoyance of reloads from silly engine caused falls or fluke misses. All I can say is thank you Dark Mod Team - you've completely mastered this aspect of the engine and that is very nice to see.

    The Readables: As someone that constantly mentioned enjoying readables that are displayed on screen instead of changing to the typical book or scroll view I applaud this decision as well. It is a great feeling to be able to be so immersed in your surroundings knowing that you have to find a dark spot to check out any literature due to the game continuing on while you read - it added so much to my experience and I really liked how it worked overall.

    The Overall Physics: Not being a mapper or coder myself I'm not sure how much of this has to do with the Doom 3 engine and how much the Dark Mod Team had to do themselves - but the physics of the mod feel great. Objects feel like they have actual 'weight' to them and everything felt basically like it would if someone of the player characters size were trying to move them around. Bodies fell pretty realistically and overall everything behaved just as you'd expect it to in the real world (other than a few instances of objects zooming across the room when kicked) and I was really surprised. I tossed a body down the stairs just to see a hilarious ragdoll effect and was quite happy that it slid down the stairs more realistically than in other games I've played.

    Object Handling: The way this was handled for the most part was pretty stunning. Being able to have a choice of dragging a body or throwing it over your shoulder with the touch of an extra key was great. Being able to knock things off shelves and objects reacting realistically to force was quite a change for me as I was used to the 'sometimes' physics of the previous thief games. I loved being able to drag a candle around lighting torches and other candles with relative ease and thought it was really clever that some food items left behind bits (like an apple core) when eaten. And just thinking about being able to press a key to put a candle out while I'm holding it frankly makes me want to load the Dark Mod up immediately. Object handling was done extremely well and is probably my second favorite bit other than mantling in the engine.

    Chests And Drawers:
    One of the biggest things that always bothered me about the thief games previously is that most of the time you'll find yourself opening a chest only to have to check your inventory to see what you actually picked up as alot of the time there were no visually displays inside to let you know. In The Dark Mod you will open a chest and see each individual item inside it, not only allowing you to pick and choose what you want to take along with you, but ending the old "junk object that you now have to somehow toss without alerting the guard in the next room" annoyance that we all knew and loved. Just opening a chest to see the treasures inside made me quite happy, frankly. I'm not hard to please.

    Item Stacking: While playing one of the fan missions already released for TDM I had opened a chest to find what I thought was a worthless chess board inside. Something told me to pick it up anyway (mainly just for fun as I was still getting used to the object handling) and underneath was a coin purse. Not only did this make me smile - but reminded me that with new technology comes new ways to be sneaky. I loved seeing items inside other items and stacked realistically around the areas in the missions.

    Swimmable Water: Again I don't know if this was something from the original engine or something modded onto it but the water looks and feels amazing. Watching the realistic water ripple in a 'thief' game was great fun, and after diving in I really enjoyed how swimming was handled. The time you can stay underwater seems somewhat short but I'm sure breath potions (or air potions?) are there for a reason. Again, the water looks very good.

    The Rat: In one fan mission in particular I came across these little furry guys running around - and though I don't know if it was fan mission specific or another bit of AI programmed into TDM I was really impressed. The rat ran around very realistically and was actually quite charming. Just that little touch added so much to the mission for me that its really funny to look back on. I hope to see more little AI additions like this in future missions.

    Vial Design: Whoever designed the vials for the different potions (including the stunning swirling effect within) should get a huge pat on the back - those things are like mini works of art and are borderline beautiful visually. The orange one is particularly striking and had me sitting there for a good minute or two just admiring the subtle swirling effect.

    Object Design:
    The vials, the flash bombs, the mines, the lantern and on and on - all of them look great. Its great to see such care taken for the design of the most basic items in the game - we'll be seeing alot of them and they all look really well done.

    Return Of The Rope Arrows: I don't think I have to explain this one. They never should have left the Thief series and its great to see them back. Thank you again, Dark Mod Team.

    Screenshot Handling: This may mean more to someone like me (that posts tons of reviews with screenshots) than the average player but this really floored me. I had been playing the training mission and was taking screens for the future review (that you are reading now) and was curious as to which folder all the screenshots were saved after taking them in-game. I combed the main directory looking for the image files thinking they'd get tossed in there together - lo and behold but what did I see? That's right, the screens were saved in their own named folder for each mission. Incredible, and saves me alot of time not having to sort through a giant stack of screens all in the same folder to decide which ones go to which mission. Whoever made this decision if it wasn't already built into the engine.. thank you. Seriously, thank you.



    The Good: Things That Are Well Done But Still Need A Bit Of Tweaking

    Blackjacking: Perhaps the most important gameplay mechanic for me - the blackjacking in TDM is pretty well done for the most part. Hitting someone feels like it has much more weight behind it than in Thief: Deadly Shadows and overall feels far more satisfying. So far I have not found a way to successfully blackjack a foe walking toward you (normally while in total darkness you can lean forward to hit them head on for the KO) without alerting them and getting my loot sack sliced in two (see the melee combat section a few paragraphs down) so I really hope this gets tweaked a bit as well. Overall though its quite solid.

    Overall AI Behavior: Though I saw the AI stuck on objects once in a while during my mission playthroughs I must say that their overall behavior is pretty remarkable. I loved seeing them turn their head toward noises before muttering something about what they heard - just a little touch that adds so much to every situation. One of the biggest things I've noticed about the AI is that they will actually notice when an item goes missing near their patrol route. Running down a dark hallway after filling my loot sack only to hear something along the lines of "We've been robbed!" and looking back to see the guards going into search mode because of what I had just stolen was excellent and quite exciting. It really feels for the first time in a Thief style game that your actions actually make a difference and that the AI wont just walk blindly past as you empty out the place. This is destined to add extra challenge to ghosters, so it will be interesting to see how this affects people with that playstyle. The search paths are pretty well done and I really enjoy how most of the AI in the missions I played were not static and were roaming around here and there or on their patrol routes. I'm very excited to see what the community does with the AI in future missions and how complicated their behavior, actions and interactions with each other will become.

    Voice Acting: I really enjoyed the voice acting overall that was present by default in The Dark Mod. Sure, it could be stronger - but I'm really impressed with the work that was done thus far. Some of the accents were rather hilarious and overall the team did an excellent job of getting quality voice acting for the characters. That being said I hope that more lines are added in the future and are more varied in tone - Alot of the time I felt that there was more mumbling than anything and a bit more of the comedic lines couldnt hurt. I'm excited to see what kind of voicework comes out of the community for the mod as well.

    Rope Swinging: Perhaps its my lack of thiefy grace but I never could seem to get the rope swinging to work the way it was intended. During the training area I had to use the noclip cheat to get across the water after falling about a dozen times and getting frustrated with the mechanic of it. With a mantling mechanic that is so very strong its strange to see the rope swinging aspect so difficult - but I am still impressed that it was put into the Mod at all. Hopefully it gets tweaked a bit to make using it a bit easier, as for now I'm going to have to pass on its use when I play.

    Lockpicking: Lockpicking for me is one aspect of the Thief games that has always bored me regardless of how its handled. I do like the method employed in TDM (by using sound rather than playing a silly mini-game that gets old quickly) much better than the previous games but lockpicking to me still serves only to bring the mission to a grinding halt every couple of minutes. I understand that its a big part of thief gameplay - but my personal preference is for missions that are low on lockpicking and higher on key use or unlocked doors. I'd like to see more use of lockpicking for things like exterior doors and footlockers and less on EVERY DOOR INSIDE THE PLACE. Sorry, I get worked up when thinking about some of the missions we've been made to lockpick our way through. All that being said - the way it is handled here is a step above and it works much better.




    The Not So Good: The Not So Enjoyable Side


    Melee Combat Is Broken: Let me be blunt - Melee combat is too god damn hard. I found in TDM that I was discovered more easily than in previous games (or so it seemed) which led me to more Melee combat than I am used to - and it is really a pain to deal with. I found myself striking the same opponent dozens of times and still causing no damage even when a hit registered as a hit. Circle strafing (one of my favorite methods from the previous games) is impossible here as the enemy moves just as fast as you do and is always focused on you directly front and center. Opponents have the uncanny ability to block everything you throw at them regardless of how you swing - so being thrust into battle is not only a penalty for being caught but simply makes the game unplayable until you see the death animation play. Granted, difficulty of the AI may be controlled on a mission to mission basis (again, I'm not a mission author) but I found myself hitting the quickload button whenever combat was the only option. Really disappointing and hopefully this can be tweaked in the future.

    Load Times: Again, possibly the fault of the Doom 3 engine but holy smokes. For a game engine released in 2004 to cause my Quad Core Phenom with 4 GB of ram to take many minutes to load each mission (though reloads are much faster) seems very odd. Games released in 2008-2009 that are much more graphics intensive (ATI Radeon HD 4850 1 GB card) take a fraction of that time to load. Obviously I do counter this with the fact that the entire mission loads without loading zones, thank goodness - so there is an extreme upside to the downside on this one.

    Overall Stability:
    Again, this one is probably based on specific machines and configurations - but I had an extreme crash to desktop problem with all the missions before making a ton of tweaks, rolling back drivers to less than current ones and so forth. Seeing the posts in the official forum lets me know that it was not just me - so stability issues may need to be addressed in the future. Once I did a ton of searching around for tweaks and ways to patch up the problems it was smooth sailing, but it was a rocky road to get there.

    Storable Food: Let me admit up front that this is a silly personal nitpick and isnt to be taken that seriously - but I do miss being able to store up food to be used later for a few bits of emergency health regeneration. I could be wrong, but I noticed no way to "pocket" food that is picked up in TDM and though I enjoy the cool effects like apple cores being left behind - I'm a sucker for the nostalgic ability of using food to regain health. You could probably blame Christine for packing her excellent Thief 2 missions with edible goodies - but I think it adds a little something to the experience. Now that I think about it... does food even give health in TDM? Apparently I've got more research to do.

    The Dark Mod Logo Video:
    Again a smaller nitpick - but do we need to be reminded that we're playing THE DARK MOD *WOOOOOSH NOISE* every time we load up every fan mission? Sure, the mod is brilliant and I want the creators to get all the credit they deserve but does anyone forget what mod they are playing in the time it takes to get from the menu screen to playing the mission? Seems a bit overkill, really.



    So What Is The Verdict, You Long Winded Fool?

    Though The Dark Mod is very strong and solid the very moment that I'm typing this to be posted - the potential I feel it has after the hours I've spent playing it and the handful of missions I've seen is simply staggering.

    What The Dark Mod Team has done here is to give each and every one of us the tools to create missions that are good now but will become incredible later. Imagine back to the time when you loaded up Thief 2 for the first time and took a stroll through its boxy simplistic missions thinking "wow, this is amazing and even better than the first game!" Now imagine your reaction to playing missions like Broken Triad, Pirates Ahoy, Rose Cottage, The Seven Sisters and many more for the first time and compare how far apart in quality the original missions are from those...

    Right now The Dark Mod is in the "Original Missions" stage my friends - so imagine where we'll be a few years from now if it really catches on and gets support from quality map makers and the folks that have the desire needed to make that spark turn into a forest fire.

    I, for one, am sold. My thanks to the Dark Mod Team and to those that will pick up the project to create a mission in the future.

    Last edited by SneakyJack; 15th Nov 2009 at 14:30.

  25. #1425
    The Outpost By Angua And Greebo
    Released For The Dark Mod: 2009

    According to the readable in the mission package this mission was built as a speed building exercise to show was could be done with The Dark Mod in about a week. The mission authors noted that 60 hours was spent on the mission (which is much more than most mission builders will probably spend in a single week obviously) but if the mission was really built in a weeks time it is an impressive display of how much can be done in TDM in such a short time period.

    The mission is a pretty basic "find and steal" affair that has you locating a special item, filling up your loot sack and getting the hell out of dodge before the locals make mince meat out of you - very basic thief gameplay and if we're being honest that's all most missions need to be.

    You find yourself up against a faction similar to the Hammerites (Cleverly renamed "Builders" if I remember correctly) that seem to be a mix of the Mechanist and Hammer factions. The new faction looks fantastic and I really enjoyed playing a mission based around them. Though their voice acting could use a bit of a kick they make very good foes.

    The gameplay was well done with patrol routes and light sources being spaced pretty evenly - mission design helps immensely with the gameplay due to most areas having more than one entrance or exit. Visually the mission seems fairly plain - but taking into account the amount of time available for its creation and what the authors were trying to accomplish it still looks solid.

    Overall an enjoyable mission with some fun gameplay - if you are a fan of the Hammerite faction from the Thief series you'll feel very much at home here.

    Screens:



    Praise the builder!




    In close pursuit.




    Fancy clothes indeed.




    Avoiding patrols.




    Might grab a bite to eat.




    This will not end well.




    Food is plentiful, but eat up because you can't take it with you!




    I really enjoy the look of the "Builders".

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