Fair enough my friend, fair enough.
Thanks again to everyone that continues to post reviews, post in and read the thread.
Well, sure, but here, et least I know people are reading this thread and updating it frequently. If you don't even have an idea if people are reading a site (and it was not obvious), you may as well keep your thoughts to yourself.
Fair enough my friend, fair enough.
Thanks again to everyone that continues to post reviews, post in and read the thread.
Last edited by SneakyJack; 10th Dec 2009 at 16:16.
For me, feedback from readers are the "instant gratification" part of the job that I need to keep me inspired. As much as I love writing, it's kinda hard to work feverishly over something you get the feeling no one is enjoying. Another reason I keep doing this though is because I've realized that if I ever wanted a job in writing, I'm building up a nice big portfolio of material here. When you think about it that way, writing this stuff is never for absolutely nothing, comments or no comments.
That said, I certainly prefer "comments" to "no comments" being as I'm an incurable attention whore.
Wait we could use all this as part of a writing portfolio? Thats news to me
El Kabong wasn't an original creation!? MY WHOLE WORLD HAS BEEN TURNED UPSIDE DOWN.
EDIT: After seeing the ages old "origins of El Kabong" link on the first page of this thread, I still stand by my world upside-down statement.
Just keep on walkin'.
By using the only climbable barrel in the west outdoor area that could be pushed and bumped after some time to an archway, then jump on the barrel and mantle onto the fence nearby the west gate then walk along the fence to jump down behind the west gate; but I still have no idea what the large explosives mines are for. I blew my self up using 5 of them at the west gate, apparently, you have to be very far from them to not blow yourself up, but it will not do anything to the gate.
Very nice little mission with some textures from TG and T2.
Last edited by OldMeat; 19th Dec 2009 at 21:06. Reason: referencing the title of a FM on an old post
Too Late By Nielson74
Released: Christmas Eve 2009 For The Dark Mod
Too Late finds you playing catch up after a caper gone wrong that has left the antique scepter you were sent to steal in the hands of thieves that unfortunately were quicker with nabbing the loot than you were - and now you've tracked them to their warehouse to reclaim what was rightfully yours.. err.. was rightfully meant to be stolen by you. The story in the mission is a little thin with only one or two total readables, and the missions objectives are very simple and straightforward in a basic "find x item and steal it, return to start" sort of way. The difficulty level on expert not only gives you the challenge of not killing anyone - but also limits your number of knockouts.. so those of you who do not enjoy KO limits be aware of this ahead of time and crank that difficulty down a bit.
The mission looks very good for the most part - one thing in particular I did notice that seemed to stand out was just how dark this mission was overall. I found myself lighting up entire rooms just to get screenshots or turning on my lamp (which I see will get alot of use in TDM) just to make sure I wasn't missing loot tucked away in any corners in these pitch black rooms. Electric lights for some reason seemed to only light themselves and none of the room around them, and though in story form it makes sense due to a broken generator it still looked as though the light was on and lit but was not illuminating any of its surrounding area. This could be an issue with the dark mod, however - so I'll reserve judgment on any bugs as the mod is still only in beta.
The darkness that this mission presents is not only atmospheric and shows off shadows and gives plenty of places to hide, but also gives TDM a chance to really show off its lighting and object handling. I joyfully went around certain rooms with a candle and lit all the candles in the room not only because I needed to, but because I can. A few of the rooms could double as an extended "Light sources" tech demo for the mod itself, and I found it to be alot of fun. The warehouse area is stocked well and stacked with lots of boxes, barrels and other objects to really give the mantling mechanics a chance to shine.
Gameplay wise the mission is really hitting on all cylinders. The dock area outside the warehouse leads to a little fun taking a dip in the water, and TDM's excellent mantling mechanics make it super easy to dive in and climb back out without the use of a ladder and without any frustration. I look forward to larger dock missions to really show off what the engine can do with water and with physics.
Inside the warehouse you are presented with excellent patrols by the guards (some carrying torches which leads to a bit of challenge) but multiple ways to get from place to place for the most part, leading to lots of tense "did I see something there?" moments where you find that last bit of shadow just in time. Crates that can be opened are hard to differentiate from ones that cannot, so you'll find yourself checking every light colored crate just in case. You'll have a blast hopping from a group of boxes to the rafters and back again, taking long leaps of faith knowing finally that you don't have to deal with dodgy mantling that plagued the thief series. Most of the fun in the mission for me was hopping around above the eyeline of the thieves and hearing them mumble about possible noticing something, only to mention that it was nothing while I loot their footlockers. There is alot of fun to be had in this mission, the only shame is that it wasnt a bigger and longer experience.
After recovering the scepter you'll basically be presented with the "alright, now how do I get out of here" backtracking event - if you use your wits (and perhaps the rafters) you should make it out quite easily. Water arrows will be your best friend in a mission like this with so few light sources, so I'd recommend that you purchase them from the shop before the mission. A mission like this seems meant to be ghosted, otherwise players may find it a bit on the easy side.
Overall the mission is very strong and showcases what can be done in a short period of time using TDM's editor. Tons of atmosphere, lots of tension and quite a bit of fun - Too Late definitely showcases alot of what is great about the future of Thief style fan missions. Recommended!
I'm always a sucker for the moonlight shot.
The interiors are all well decorated and 'homey'.
Important meeting or roasting marshmallows? You decide.
I see an unwanted nap in his future.
Thats one intimidating shadow.
The lack of alot of light sources definitely leads to some interesting atmosphere and visuals.
Obviously in a situation like this you'd want to choose the "up and around" route rather than a head on battle. That is, unless you are me and are certain you have a deathwish.
Last edited by SneakyJack; 24th Dec 2009 at 14:26.
The Parcel By Xonze
Released: December 24th 2009 For The Dark Mod
The Parcel is one of those missions that although it itself is not as ground-breakingly profound as missions that will come after it - you can tell that it is definitely laying the groundwork and setting an example for something bigger to come.
The author has stated in the release thread that the mission only took two weeks to create - which in ways will show (the small size of the mission) but in others will astound (how great the mission looks, how tight the gameplay is) and overall will send your mind off wondering just how incredible these missions will get.
The author of this mission got so many things right that its really hard to find alot of faults with the mission other than its length. The look of the mission calls back to the golden age of thief mansion missions - with the great looking Dark Mod textures on the walls (I'm a big fan particularly of the red texture used to great effect in this mission) and the way everything is fully decorated - for a mission so early into the life of TDM you can definitely see that we are in for visual feasts in the future if the base missions are any indication. In many ways, for me at least, this mission is one of the most 'Thief' feeling missions to date.
We also see the first (I think) instance of snow in a Dark Mod mission to date, and it looks great. The ground outside the estate is covered in areas and the winter atmosphere really works in favor of the overall feel of the mission. The outside is cold and unforgiving, and the inside is warm and feels lived in. Overall everything looks very strong.
The story this time around is a little more creative and appealing than some of the previous missions released up to this point - you've been tasked not only with recovering a stolen package that was being delivered to you (a fun twist on the usual bit of you intercepting a package belonging to someone else) and along with the package is your delivery person being held captive as well. I liked the tables being turned on the player character for once, it makes for a nice change and breathes a little life and sense of urgency into the old "break in and steal this item" formula.
The gameplay here is solid - I've always been a fan of mansion style missions and this one is no exception. You'll creep around well lit halls while avoiding the inhabitants who routinely peek out of their rooms just long enough to make your heart race or to catch you red handed. The challenge is pretty moderate here as long as you stick to the well placed shadows - the author has very nicely spaced out wall lights and candles and you'll find yourself using the "run through light source and hide against wall" method we all know and love quite often.
A solid (if not short) mission on its own - this is the mission that has given me great hope for the larger mansion missions that will follow it in fan mission development for The Dark Mod - I recommend this mission and recommend that if you are not playing The Dark Mod or are still skeptical - now is the time to start getting in on the action. It's getting to be alot of fun.
"Oh the weather outside..."
Lovin' this wall texture.
All the indoor areas are very well decorated and feel realistic and lived in.
Now thats a dinner table.
Creepin' and stealin'
"Book?" - Brooks, Shawshank Redemption
I love being able to extinguish every candle.
Peekin' down the halls.
I like to read your short comments for each picture, and thanks for the TDM reviews.
Trapped! By Railgun
Released: December 30th 2009 For The Dark Mod
Although the story for "Trapped!" may seem a bit implausible (not only were you, a thief, hired to catch some other thieves by the wealthy nobles you normally steal blind but you were also out-thieved by this merry band of misfits and locked in their makeshift jail) its also somewhat new and a nice twist from the usual smash and grab story of most of the previous Dark Mod missions.
Like many of the prison break missions before it, you'll find yourself locked in a cell at the onset of the mission looking for a way out. In somewhat of a clever spin on the usual "wait for the guard to get close enough to steal the key from his belt" mechanic of most prison break missions you'll find yourself utilizing TDM's excellent object mechanics to find your way out and into the next room where tools of your trade await you. It is from here that the mission really takes off and becomes the groundwork (hopefully) for the many (I'm sure) prison break missions to come in the future.
You'll outwit plenty of thieves trying to keep you captive, you'll find plenty of treasure and you'll drag, drop and mantle on many objects along the way. The gameplay here is very solid and classic thief style sneak and snatch - and though the mission may not be particularly difficult there is a ton of fun to be had here.
The mission looks brilliant. From the boarded up doors and windows with light shining through to the knocked over columns, piles of damaged bricks and boxes of shadow creating weapons - the atmosphere here is definitely well done. Not only do you feel as if you are really locked up in some sort of reclaimed dungeon but you can see things everywhere that really flesh out the feeling of the thieves using the place to traffic weapons and valuables. I was very much immersed in the environment the entire time, and it seemed like the author put great care into creating each room for maximum visual impact with lighting and object arrangement. Very well done. This mission definitely shows off the object handling, lighting and overall look of The Dark Mod really well.
The patrol patterns of the thieves overall were pretty strong - they move from room to room convincingly. There was one instance on the top floor that saw two thieves get stuck on each other in a doorway, though I couldn't reproduce it with a reload so it must have just been a random pathfinding issue.
Overall the mission not only looked great, but was alot of fun for me personally, and I've never been a fan of previous prison break missions. From the way the weapons and tools were spaced out to the care taken in the decoration of each room to the lighting and patrols -this mission is very solid. Highly recommended!
Here we see one of my favorite parts of TDM: The rat. The little guy is just awesome.
Time to pick up your tools and get to work.
This area added some much needed color to the otherwise drab and dreary dungeon area.
All the objects look really worn in and used, and I really enjoy that.
You can see the debris on the floor along with the tipped over columns that really add to the broken down feel of the area.
The atmosphere in the mission really is well one.
Mr. Squeeks has somehow led me to the weapons stash.
Left foot right foot left foot right foot
The boarded up windows and doors really add alot to the look of the place.
Last edited by SneakyJack; 30th Dec 2009 at 16:49.
Living Expenses By Sonosuke
Released: January 2nd 2010 For The Dark Mod
By now my Dark Mod reviews are seemingly entering broken record territory (repeating myself) for a certain sentence but as it must be said again about the mission Living Expenses - it still rings completely true: Each mission for TDM is seemingly better and more Thief-like than the last.
Living Expenses is very much a Thief style mansion mission, and up to this point is by far the best mission at recreating the style of mansions we are accustomed to. You'll have more than one way to get into the mansion (with the return of the always loved vent systems of old) and you'll have multiple ways to approach the many rooms inside once you make your way into the main estate. Will you storm the front door? Unlikely. Will you take the sneaky route of least resistance? Most likely, but the option is there, and that is the kind of thing we've taken for granted in missions in the past. This mission shows us that multiple playstyles are finally being embraced in TDM.
The story told here has a bit more meat to it than in many of the previous Dark Mod offerings - you'll find more readables this time around that give a bit more atmosphere and background to not only further the main plot of the mission but to give you the much needed insight of the non-essential characters who are also inside the estate. This adds more mystery and intrigue to your main objective and makes finding it feel that much more important.
Visually this mission for the most part is very strong, and other than the occasional room feeling a bit too empty the mission is very pleasing to the eyes. The rooms here are more wide open and on a grander scale than previous dark mod offerings - and I for one enjoyed the extra space. Excellent lighting and object placement also add quite a bit of visual appeal and atmosphere as well.
One of the more particularly striking elements I found in this mission was the detail and thought put into the placement of the rooms and their location within the environment and how everything just made sense. Weapons and armor were stored near the guard sleeping areas which would allow for quick suiting up or weapon gathering should the place be broken into or attacked. The drinking area was very near the guard sleeping area (complete with a bathroom that sees much use from a drunken archer, a detail that I found hilarious) and would allow for the guards to get some rest following an after-patrol drink. Everything seemed to fit very well and just felt correct on how a real estate would be laid out, and it really helped immerse me in the missions environment.
In the technical department this mission showed bits of brilliance as well. One area holds secrets of a very dramatic magnitude complete with lighting and music that was very impressive (though frustrating if you aren't aware that you need to 'close the door behind you', so to speak when entering the area) and overall there is alot of switch clicking and secret finding that definitely feels just right in the Thief emulation department.
There were a few small nagging issues with the mission that stood out to me - I did enjoy how you picked up most of your gear as you went, but the area in which you discover your blackjack did seem far too deep into the mission. If you are not a fan of ghosting a good part of a mission this one may pose a bit of a challenge. The other thing that comes to mind is a very nasty bit of lockpicking that had me clicking away at a multiple stage lock (I think there were what, NINE stages?) for what seemed like a very long time, and it really took me out of the mission and nearly put me into a "please let this be over already" state of mind... never a good thing I would guess.
Those very small issues aside, what we've been given here is a fantastic mansion style mission that brings us ever closer to silencing the critics of The Dark Mod and showing once again what is possible with those that embrace it. If you are one of the few holdouts that has been waiting for "That one mission that really feels like the Thief I remember", this just may be it. A mansion mission with multiple entry routes, solid patrols, a few secrets, an interesting story, a bit of challenge and tons of atmosphere - this definitely feels the part. I had a blast with this one, and will be replaying it sooner than later. Recommended!
Throw on your boots and grab that blackjack, its time for work.
Then again who needs work when you can drink?
Though I better get a bite to eat before I drink.. I'm getting horribly off track!
Now im drunk with a full belly, time to sleep.
You always enter the rooms guarded by angry mini-lions. Always.
Is it sad that I fear guards with torches more than the Thief 2 combat bots?
Benny: "She wasn't impressed by my uniform so I says to her, I says: But what if I walk like THIS? Does that do something for ya?"
Henry: "Sure you did, Taffer. You'd have enough trouble putting one foot in front of the other from what I see."
Thanks for your nice review SneakyJack! I am glad you liked it
Thank you for putting the time and effort into a very good mission! Hopefully this is only the first of many that you create for us.
Wow Sonosuke, those pics look great. I see you used the door skins
That might be a first (so everyone knows there are like 25+ available with the click of a button).
I'm starting to lose track, I still have to play yours and Nielson74's. Once I get my new vid card this week I'm really gonna dig these!
having a computer that can't play tdm missions i can't say for sure, but the look in the screens bothers me. the textures are very clean, the objects very tidy, and the shadowing very "binary", its either well lit or deeply shadowed. the design echos many things i remember from early thief missions. big big rooms, lots and lots of crates/barrels. with the higher polygon limits, high quality models, and bump mapping of textures the scenes should blow my mind a lot more. i hope to be able to play these missions some day, see if they are really great or not. and maybe this is just me, but this is a thief series fan mission discussion board. tdm missions are not part of that lineage, really not at all appropriate to this forum. they should have a separate forum.
While I don't disagree that TTLG should have a separate subforum for TDM it really doesn't warrant one just yet - I don't think the activity would be high enough for it.
That, and its giving the missions more exposure to the people they are meant for - Thief fan mission fans. Unfortunately it seems you've made up your mind about the dark mod before you've even played it, and thats a shame. You could make some amazing missions for it and major authors such as yourself really need to adopt it to give it the push it needs to be even better in the future. Being only a platform - if you don't like the objects or textures you can change all of it just as you do in dromed for your missions.
i haven't made my mind up on it, but based on the screen shots, i'd rather play highly polished thief 2 missions for a while longer. some of the screenshots are so strange to me. the guards are really highly detailed, and the scenes seem ripped from a dark project mission with low details and low res textures. the windows are bright yellow. it looks cartoony at times. i really hope the stories are engaging when i do have a pc capable of playing them.
These are the very first wave of missions - think of the first wave of missions for Thief 2 and then think of things like Rose Cottage, Pirates Ahoy, Broken Triad and so on.
If you think something is too cartoony or low res, change it. I can tell by your missions that you are a perfectionist about textures and whatnot, so I'm not surprised that you are being overly critical about the first wave of creations
Wait until someone spends an entire year or more on a mission and replaces alot of the textures and models and so forth like they do with thief missions now - then you'll notice some changes.
I hope that thief missions for TDP and TMA don't stop being produced any time soon and I know we have a ton of blockbuster missions coming out in the future - but I'm alright with embracing both.. and I have. There is nothing wrong with enjoying Thief and TDM.