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Thread: General Fan Mission Review And Discussion Megathread

  1. #1901
    Melan, I played Bad Debts again recently and actually tried to explore more thoroughly. I had so much fun, and after a few hours you wonder when you'll get around to starting the mission proper. I found the bow upgrade IOU.

    Disorientation was a little more lenient with health potions I think. Bad debts just picks away slowly at your health as you progress and take falling damage. It's like death by a thousand cuts. I actually finished the mission dead! I was on two shields, I darted out to open the gate, was fired at, and zig-zagged back into safety. I took a deep breath and charged out again to freedom, jumped into the air towards the opening and a broadhead took me out mid-air. I sailed through the opening, hit the ground - fade to black - mission complete. I can't bring myself to do it again just yet because that was perfect in a tragic way.

    This is why regenerating health would suck if Thief 4 ever implemented it. There would be no consequence for non-fatal falling damage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thor View Post
    Neb - great to know you like KotP too. It's just always felt like a campaign that's been overlooked for some reasons (probably cause it's not classic Thief action).
    I'm not sure I know exactly what you mean by not classic. It is pretty strange though, but damn - does it tick. I especially love the feeling of claustrophobia in the wide open spaces, like the world itself could just swallow you whole at any second. Love the atmosphere.

  2. #1902
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinqueecclesiensis HU
    The missions will make sense without Return to the City, so don't sweat it. I am sorry for its performance-related problems, but it was built with methods that work in Dromed and don't work in DarkRadiant. (In short, you have to watch for polygon count in your direct view in Dromed, while the Doom 3 engine renders every polygon in every "area" that's in your view - so if there is a rooftop blocking your view, the engine still renders every poly on the opposed side.)

    I have learned my lessons, though, and my next FM will run better and look better.

    [edit]Thanks for your comment, Neb! [/edit]

  3. #1903
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2009
    Location: Ultima Thule i.e. Finland
    Quote Originally Posted by Neb
    This is why regenerating health would suck if Thief 4 ever implemented it. There would be no consequence for non-fatal falling damage.
    OMG, I do hope that's a joke Regenerating health?! What the heck is that?! So out of place for Thief! They aren't actually considering this, are they...?


    Quote Originally Posted by Melan
    The missions will make sense without Return to the City, so don't sweat it.
    Huh, that's good to know. Thanks, Melan


    Quote Originally Posted by Melan
    my next FM will run better and look better.
    So... where and when is it coming out then?

  4. #1904
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinqueecclesiensis HU
    I haven't even started. Sorry.

  5. #1905
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2006
    Location: On the tip of your tongue.
    Quote Originally Posted by Summer View Post
    OMG, I do hope that's a joke Regenerating health?! What the heck is that?! So out of place for Thief! They aren't actually considering this, are they...?
    Certainly possible; Deus Ex 3 will have regenerating health last I heard. But hopefully even a cretin can see that regenerating health in any stealth game is about as sensible as a concrete parachute.

  6. #1906
    Member
    Registered: May 2005
    Location: Full on Kevel's mom
    I don't mind regenerating health...

    as long as it's regenerated between missions.

  7. #1907
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2009
    Location: Ultima Thule i.e. Finland
    City Conflict series (missions 1–5) by Silencium18.

    This series hasn’t been reviewed yet so I tackled into it. The story arc for this FM series is about the conflict between the Hammerites and the Mechanists taking place within the City. Each separate mission involves an event or task related to this conflict to which you take part on the side of the Hammerites or the Keepers. You are not one of them, but a thief hired to do a job for them – which escalates into a greater involvement into the conflict.

    The story is simple and the gameplay straightforward. No custom music or conversations. Just basic thiefy gameplay. Apart from the main task to perform in each mission there are some optional tasks and gathering of some loot for your troubles (hey, you ARE the one taking all the risks, aren’t you?). Apparently Silencium18 built each of these missions in a week. Nice job for such a small build-time. You can finish all missions in half an hour or less. No change in objectives in different difficulties – just the loot requirement going up. And funny little observation: Every mission starts with a drunk

    Mission 1: Your task is to find a missing Hammerite spy in a Mechanist embassy with the information he has gathered. One thing I noticed in this and all subsequent missions are the super-sensitive guards: No matter if he’s aware of you or not, whether you are in total darkness or fully lit, whether you sneak or walk – the end result is the same: A wailing from him on you. Tried about a dozen times each time before I got them so be warned. All in all, not a superb mission, but no major complaints either. Lunch-time mission if there ever was one.

    Uh-oh…



    Mission 2: The task is to find information about Mechanist spies in an abandoned church in another part of town. What you will notice about these missions in general are the very alert guards and the distinct lack of equipment. Neither will hinder your gameplay, but both are worth noting. No optional tasks here and the loot requirement is easy to meet. Also, no maps here, but the areas are relatively small, so there is little chance of getting lost. In the first mission you don’t mind that you have no compass, here I personally would’ve like to have had it – especially in the sewers. In all of the small city sections in these missions – except the last – there are few other townspeople about other than the Hammerites and the Mechanists, but the town areas are really small anyway.

    Your target – got to love the ominous Hammerite architecture



    Mission 3: This time you work for the Keepers to get a so-called cursed mask from a new collector in town. As a side note, the Hammers are not your friends anymore: They think that you are working for the Mechanists because Hammerite spies are being murdered – so a little twist there. Another twist comes from the fact that the Hammers now have the mask and you have to confront them anyway to get it. There is also a third twist, but I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t yet played this. This time there is a map of the city and a compass. Either the guards are less acute now, or I’m getting better, don’t know. Throughout these missions almost everyone is carrying something – loot or keys – so pick-pocketing serves you well here. The sound propagation is a little off sometimes: You can hear guards really well through walls so that confuses a bit when trying to figure out where they are.

    Hammerite theme continues, but a surprise is just to your left…



    Mission 4: Apparently there is another one of those cursed masks so the Keepers have tasked you to enter a noble mansion to retrieve it – and whatever else might end up in your pocket. Map is gone again, but at least the compass is still here. Not much equipment, as usual. Getting in to the mansion can be difficult, especially for ghosters: No matter how you do it (read: jump), someone will notice. And unless you’re really fast and invisible taking out both the stationary and patrolling guards in the garden maze you’re gonna use up a lot of water arrows – which you will need inside the mansion which is packed with guards and well-lit hallways.

    The mission in a single shot: Guards, lights and puzzles.



    Mission 5: After recovering the two masks the Keepers came up with a plan: To stop the conflict between the Hammers and the Mechanists you have to travel back in time to the past, as the Mechanists aren’t so strong then, and kill their leader. Firstly, I’ve never been a fan of Thief FMs where you are supposed to kill someone: This is Thief, not Assassin. But since this is integral to the plot and the story arc, it makes sense I guess. As an added twist, the City Watch is not hostile towards you, but the local jackablades are: The Mechanists have hired to them to kill you on sight. Same as before, texture work could be better (but I have been spoiled by fancy FMs like Broken Triad, Mission X, etc.), no custom sounds or music, few readables if any, no conversations, no scripted events: Like I’ve said it before, just basic thief gameplay – which pretty much sums up the whole series up to now. This latest mission just came out in May 2010. Texture work has improved from before, the sky looks great, but texture doors-to-nowhere still don’t. The sounds work a little better and in some areas you can’t alert guards or hear them through the walls – but only in some places. In the beginning there is a decent city section, then you get to the Mechanist chapel where you will need lots of moss arrows. Bonus: A bit of a scare in a secret area of the city.

    This is only one point of entry and only a small section of this mission.



    So, that’s the City Conflict series. The same problems plague each one of the five missions, but I still enjoyed myself. Personally I fancied the last mission the most, but they all feel pretty much the same: Nothing groundbreaking, just the basics – but that’s just fine, too, especially for quickies where you don’t really have the time to involve yourself in a deep plot or lose yourself in a large game map. After so many elaborate missions this might seem like a bore to some, but it’s still worth a playthrough – especially for the last mission. Mission 4 was IMO the toughest, even more than mission 5. Still, all missions are lunch-break missions: Won’t take you long at all. I recommend you give this series at least a once over.

  8. #1908
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2009
    Location: Ultima Thule i.e. Finland
    This time I’m going to do something radically and drastically different in terms of reviews so here it is – OTOR (Disclaimer: The similar pronunciation between OTOR and the animal otter is purely coincidental and should in no way be regarded as an endorsement of the otter swimming style).

    So, what is Summer’s copyrighted OTOR, you ask. *audience sits at the edges of their seats holding their breaths*

    OTOR – Oppositional Theme Oriented Review. *audience relaxes with a noticeable ahh sound*

    Basically, you pick a couple of FMs (an even number ‘cos it makes more sense and ‘cos I’m a nitpicker) and a theme, such as story, gameplay, music, faction, camvator/intro/briefing, etc. you know, whatever aspect of the game really. The point is to compare the theme of your choice in FMs, and here – in my first OTOR, or my last if this crashes and sinks like a Mechanist submarine after the fall of Karras – I have chosen textures.

    Simple enough. Textures may not be as important as gameplay or story, but it has a massive effect on immersion and the overall feel of a mission as well as the replay value. My oppositional FMs here are the clean, smooth, highly polished textures in FMs like (and here are just a few) Mission X, Broken Triad, Pirates Ahoy! Mission 1: Cast Off, Heist Society and the Mystic Gems series vs. the grim, gritty, unnervingly filthy, photorealistic and scary textures of FMs such as the Night in Rocksbourg series and Eclipsed. May the bloodbath begin…

    I thought up OTOR when I was thinking about trying some undead missions – which I usually don’t play because I’m not Alice from Resident Evil. It occurred to me that the look of a mission has an enormous impact on the impression of a FM. The clean textures are the equivalent of sunny meadows full of flowers and young girls with silk satin saches singing “the hills are alive with the sound of music”, while the gritty textures are a cemetery a la Silent Hill in stormy night with monsters lurking in the shadows and they aren’t singing – but if they were, it would be more along the lines of “the hills are undead with the moan of zombies” (See how well the new lyrics – trademarked by yours truly – coincide with the melody, so go ahead and try it out yourself, no-one will hear, I promise… *Summer prepares to turn on secret spyware webcams*).

    Moving on. Undoubtedly most of the people who are a part of this fan mission community either know all these missions mentioned or have played them a dozen times over so I won’t go into specific details here. The point of OTOR is comparison and thus the best way to achieve this (at least with my choice of theme) is with pictures worth a thousand words, so below are some screens. Keep in mind that these FM authors are masters of texture work so this is purely a matter of personal preference – so no fair saying “My view is best, yours blows” and running for the hills so as not to hear counter arguments (No, not the same hills with the singing girls or moaning zombies, I’m not that cruel). And after you’ve done that: Opinions, arguments, ideas, debates – or more OTORs from you

    Pictures:

    CoSaS: Mission X (yep, as you might have already noticed from my previous reviews I have a thing for artsy windows).





    Heist Society (almost took a picture of the chapel windows, but then I thought… Well, I didn’t think anything, I just took a different shot).



    Broken Triad (the picture absolutely speaks for itself!)



    Mystic Gems II – the Heart of Bohn (should I serenade the moon or howl at it? hmm…)



    A Night in Rocksbourg 1: A New Beginning (city missions – what’s not to love).



    A Night in Rocksbourg 2: Discovery (zombie missions – what’s not to fight?)



    A Night in Rocksbourg 3: Ink and Dust (Keeper missions – what’s not to… ehm… fear…? Drk, the Dark Zone is your first class ticket to Hades, courtesy of every Thief fan who now has to suffer with irreversible brain damage (read: pants-shitting fear with capital S and F (but not capital P ‘cos pants aren’t that important so it would just be silly) for the rest of their lives thanks to you.)



    And now, a word from our sponsor:
    *Insert individual opinion and/or personal preference here*

    Summer (done with the voice of Paris Hilton): Ok, well, I personally like the polished ones more than the gritty ones, ‘cos they make me feel safer and like I have more space around me. The gritty stuff is scary and claustrophobic – and I hate being scared ‘cos I’m just a ninny girl.

    *audience sniggers less than politely and quite loudly at the speaker*

    Digital Nightfall (done with the voice of Kermit the Frog): Ahh, shucks, Summer

    DrK (done with the voice of Darth Vader): Ouch, that sucks, Summer

    (The above is a totally imaginary conversation I had in my head – should I be worried? … what? … Oh, never mind: The voices said I have nothing to worry about… so there.)

    As a final note, if you were wondering, I was sick last weekend with the flu (yeah, warm sunny days and naturally I get the sniffles…), so I had a lot of time on my hands – that’s why there are so many reviews (not the top 10 of something, of course, ‘cos that’s the Mike’s department – I wouldn’t want to step on any toes… or in his case mummified toes or tentacles).

  9. #1909
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2009
    Location: In your house, looting
    Can't say that I am wild about your reviews. I respect your initiative but you jump from a matter to another in a matter of a sentence, some jokes are out of context, when you involve the laughing audience you are supposed to actually say something funny. Also, the images are supposed to be more close as representatives to the general feeling of the mission. I give them 2 thumbs up out of 5 for effort.

  10. #1910
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2009
    Location: Ultima Thule i.e. Finland
    Dang... I crashed and burned...

  11. #1911
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2009
    Location: In your house, looting
    Don't worry. Next time's the charm. You are smart after all.

  12. #1912
    L'architecte de Rocksbourg
    Registered: Nov 2005
    Location: Narbonne, France
    Quote Originally Posted by Summer View Post
    A Night in Rocksbourg 3: Ink and Dust (Keeper missions – what’s not to… ehm… fear…? Drk, the Dark Zone is your first class ticket to Hades, courtesy of every Thief fan who now has to suffer with irreversible brain damage (read: pants-shitting fear with capital S and F (but not capital P ‘cos pants aren’t that important so it would just be silly) for the rest of their lives thanks to you.)
    You're welcome.

    Why am I the only one representing dark and gritty textures ? Am I that good to face many authors just by myself ?

  13. #1913
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2009
    Location: In your house, looting
    You are one of the few people who can use it perfectly.

  14. #1914
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2009
    Location: Ultima Thule i.e. Finland
    Quote Originally Posted by DrK View Post
    You're welcome.

    Why am I the only one representing dark and gritty textures ? Am I that good to face many authors just by myself ?
    Your textures are by far the grittiest, it's true - at least as far as I've seen. I was supposed to add some images from Eclipsed, too, but when I looked for them on my computer, I couldn't find them. Don't know ehre they disappeared to...

    But I don't think that I'm going too far if I say that you certainly have left a very distinct mark on your missions. Your touch with not just textures, but atmosphere and plot are pretty damn good. Scary, but good. Definitely ok to stand against - and with - many other authors for comparison.

  15. #1915
    I like your reviews, and though kabatta does make a good point about you jumping around a bit too much from one sentence to the next with no real connection - I think over time your style will flesh itself out and get better and better. I definitely hope you continue.

    Also - I really liked your idea about comparing things over the course of a few missions - by choosing textures you could have compared probably a hundred top shelf fan missions so that is a very broad topic. Luckily, that leaves it open to more folks if they want to compare textures in other missions.

    I applaud the amount of work you put into the setup and the screens you took - if you are doing those yourself you have already gotten pretty good at getting screenshots to look good when posted (although the black bars at the bottom are kinda puzzling) and thats a hard thing to do! Please continue with your ideas, and though kabatta was trying to give you constructive criticism (and did so in a well written way) you definitely did not crash and burn

  16. #1916
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: behind your eyeball
    Okay, finally sorted out the pics, made some brighter, but still not sure, if it will please every monitor.

    This is the Enterprise. It's all about green.


    I only chose this pic cause it shows the wall perfectly beautiful. The color, the depth of the texture... I just love it.


    This one shows how fog makes things that much more atmoshperic. One might not like it or not, I mostly stayed with fog on though. Plus, good area anyway.


    This also shows the same texture that pleases my eye so very much, plus that whole area is shaped in a weird way and didn't make much sense. Guess there was a story behind it, but I got half through to undesrtanding it.


    There were prettier cave areas, but because of this place it was the most memorable cave experience I've had. I'm on some mountain, the weather is dark, heck, it's night. And here I stand on a natural edge of a mountain, but it's still a cave. I dunno, there's just something quite appealing about it.


    Next up - Hallucinations.


    Aw, this is a chilly one, but also a good graveyard by itself.


    Probably the best clocktower I've ever seen. It's not trying that hard to be beutiful, it's just giving some melancholy to the whole mission, if there wasn't enough already.


    Did I mention the green tone got lost completely in this mission? It's a nice relief, actually, and makes the first mission even more special, but at least this one still keeps the fog.


    And then there's The Insurrection. I regret leaving the fog on in this one, as I couldn't see in the distance too well anymore, so I mostly chose the screens where I had no fog. Anyway...


    Yea... it's big


    Still big


    Was neat to climb up here, don't even remember how anymore. Didn't take much indoors screens, since the ones I took kinda sucked.


    Now for the final mission, which I STILL haven't finished. My burnouts are getting worse and worse... I'm getting old.
    Btw, it's called Oracle of the Prophets.


    Quite a normal area for this mission, there are some crazier areas too, not to mention the whole atmosphere.


    I found this quite big, when I first got here. Ah, I was so young.

  17. #1917
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2006
    Location: Great. Now I can't get back in
    Since you're already suffering burnout Thor (& I'm in the same boat), I hate to make you feel worse - but Oracle of the Prophets is not the last mission of KotP: there's 3 more

    Excellent screens - but I still find them a bit dark. Maybe just my monitor though.

  18. #1918
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Drinking baby lemonade!
    Quote Originally Posted by Sticky Fingers View Post
    Since you're already suffering burnout Thor (& I'm in the same boat), I hate to make you feel worse - but Oracle of the Prophets is not the last mission of KotP: there's 3 more
    Er, uhm... Sticky... "I hate to make you feel worse" - but there are 5 more missions after Oracle, not 3.

  19. #1919
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2006
    Location: Great. Now I can't get back in
    I meant that there are 3 more full / actual missions that take time to play - in view of Thor suffering burnout. According to my brief notes pt 7 is a small linking piece & pt 9 is a (brilliant) camvator - but it's been a while since I played this.

  20. #1920
    Moderator
    Registered: Jul 2008
    Location: shalebridgecradle.co.uk
    Summer, I enjoyed your review very much. Keep 'em coming!

  21. #1921
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: behind your eyeball
    Ah sh... Already wrote a reply, didfn't post for some reason and then impulsively closed the tab along with several others. ><

    When I'm gonna play KotP next time, I'll finish it all at once. That's how things go best. The rest is willpower gathering lazy period.

    As for the dark screens - it's an old habbit of trying to keep 'em more realistic/faithful to the game, since that's the brightness I played them in.

  22. #1922
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Drinking baby lemonade!
    Quote Originally Posted by Sticky Fingers View Post
    I meant that there are 3 more full / actual missions that take time to play - in view of Thor suffering burnout. According to my brief notes pt 7 is a small linking piece & pt 9 is a (brilliant) camvator - but it's been a while since I played this.
    Yah, I realized after posting that that's probably what you meant. You're right about 7 and 9 to the best of my recollection.

  23. #1923
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2009
    Location: Ultima Thule i.e. Finland
    With the City Conflict review, it's true, I tried to input every observation in one paragraph per mission. Should've separated the tidbits better for clearer reading. SneakyJack's way is still the most sensible one, it seems: Each topic in their own paragraph. Hmmm... I just find it difficult sometimes to find a whole paragraph worth of saying something about lighting or music, etc., so I stick to one sentence to cover the topic, and move on from there. Doesn't work, though, not for clarity anyway.

    As for OTOR, you can file it under the category of "The things that you believe are funnier than anything in the world while you're actually having a bad trip in feverish delirium for a week". Just stick it way, way down the bottom of a pile somewhere.

    SJ, Tannar, thanks for your nice feedback, and thanks, kabatta, for your direct criticism - both are important if one hopes to find the motivation to continue and to get any better

    And Drk, it's not just your gritty textures alone, it's them combined with the chilling atmosphere and the echoing soundscape that freakes me out - every time.

  24. #1924
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2009
    Location: Ultima Thule i.e. Finland
    I was playing TDM FM Business as Usual yesterday for, like, the third or fourth time. For some reason I really like it. It has a very nostalgic, almost OM-like feel to me. And the wintery setting never hurts an FM - it's snowing, but not all the way to the ground.

    Narrow alleyways, non-linear approach to moving about, rewarding secrets - this mission has it all. The story involves some thieves encroaching on your territory and some irritating nobles who should be taught a lesson - both of which can be accomplished by robbing them blind. And since they are living in the same neighborhood as you at the moment, this section of the city is yours for the taking.

    The city section is actually quite small, but Bikerdude has certainly packed it full of places to go from the oh-so-thiefy sewers to high-up towers and roofs. There are a variety of places to go: From a tavern and a hotel to a city watch station and a thieves' hideout.

    Where, for example, Melan's city missions are huge and complex, this one is sort of nice and snug, like a pair of your favorite slippers that you like to wear while sitting in front of the fireplace and reading a good book. This old part of town isn't vast, but it stretches from the high to the low making it feel bigger than it is. Always a good accomplishment IMO.

    There is some keyhunting, but if you're careful and look everywhere, then you're good to go.

    For a first time mission by the author this one is an excellent start. I can't wait for a sequel. For a more indepth take on this I suggest SneakyJack's detailed review on this thread.

    I was going to add some of my favorite screenshots, but I've become so used to taking screenshots with DDFix and Print Screen that I got confused as to how to take them in the Dark Mod. I was a bit worried about pressing the function keys at random... Anybody know the key-combo for TDM screenshotting?

  25. #1925
    Clearinghouse
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Siberia, Russia
    Quote Originally Posted by Summer View Post
    Anybody know the key-combo for TDM screenshotting?
    F12. Screenshots will be in doom3/mission_name/screenshots.

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