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Thread: General Fan Mission Review And Discussion Megathread

  1. #1901
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2009
    Location: Ultima Thule
    Dang... I crashed and burned...

  2. #1902
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2009
    Location: In your house, looting
    Don't worry. Next time's the charm. You are smart after all.

  3. #1903
    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 ?

  4. #1904
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2009
    Location: In your house, looting
    You are one of the few people who can use it perfectly.

  5. #1905
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2009
    Location: Ultima Thule
    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.

  6. #1906
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    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

  7. #1907
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids
    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.

  8. #1908
    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.

  9. #1909
    Desperately Dodgy Moderator
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Fields of bluegrass
    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.

  10. #1910
    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.

  11. #1911
    Moderator
    Registered: Jul 2008
    Summer, I enjoyed your review very much. Keep 'em coming!

  12. #1912
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids
    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.

  13. #1913
    Desperately Dodgy Moderator
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Fields of bluegrass
    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.

  14. #1914
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2009
    Location: Ultima Thule
    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.

  15. #1915
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2009
    Location: Ultima Thule
    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?

  16. #1916
    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.

  17. #1917
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2009
    Location: Ultima Thule
    Quote Originally Posted by clearing View Post
    F12. Screenshots will be in doom3/mission_name/screenshots.
    Thanks, clearing

  18. #1918
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Then you'll find a directory in your main darkmod folder with the missions name and the screenshots will be in their own folder there.

    Its really, really convenient in that way. You get a different screenshot folder for each mission and not just all of them tossed into one folder together regardless of mission like the Thief games do. You can play multiple missions and take screenshots and not have to sort them out later.

  19. #1919
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    I'm a bad, bad man.

    I promised Haplo this review in "a couple days" about a month ago. I should have known that whenever I promise to write something I have complete creative burn out. Ah well, it's done now. Hopefully Haplo still gives a damn. I have been keeping up with the thread though! Entertaining reviews all around, I enjoyed reading every one of them.
    Anyway, here it is, hopefully you all enjoy it!

    Insanity's Crescendo

    I was less liberal than usual with the written spoilers, but the screenshots are massive spoiler bombs. By reading this, looking at them and having your life ruined is now officially your fault.

    You know what's great? Expecting something to be excellent, and then that thing actually being excellent. This doesn't happen NEARLY often enough. Imagine watching Indiana Jones 4 if George Lucas hadn't attacked the script and crapped aliens all over it, or a version of Spiderman 3 where Venom was in it for more than three seconds and wasn't played by that guy from "That 70's show" who I always wanted to punch in the mouth. Why can't everything be as non-disappointing as "Insanity's Crescendo", the sequel to the trippy and extremely unnerving mind-bender "Unholy Vivid Innocence"? I'm not sure, but it probably has something to do with the Freemasons...lousy cult, not letting me in on their plans for world domination...I SENT YOU MY APPLICATION THREE TIMES ALREADY- I KNOW YOUR SECRET HAND-SHAKE! Call me dammit, I want in! ...Or at least a better parking space!*
    *You should probably forget everything you just read.

    But where was I? AH YES, "Insanity's Crescendo" by the local mad-genius Haplo. I've been a big fan of every mission this guy has done so far; "The Acid Trip" was an imaginative visual feast and so far the best Thief mission to play while intoxicated (I think I just stumbled upon an awesome idea for my next top ten) and "Unholy Vivid Innocence" is one of my new favorite contest missions thanks to it's terrifying atmosphere and ability to make me feel super-intelligent to an incredibly unjustifiable extent (after beating it I immediately went outside and unsuccessfully tried to kill someone with my brain). IC, as us acronym junkies have come to refer to it, has a storyline that takes place immediately after UVI; Garret's just come back from the OC with his CNS when suddenly some SOB robs him and he's all like WTF and goes off to a mysterious MIM with his BJ to find the MF who stole his CNS, then lots of WS happens*.
    *I'll give you CNS (Cool New Sword, and only because I'm hoping it catches on), the rest dies with me.

    Before I talk about the gameplay, I have to make an additional comment about the storyline. It creates an explanation for the Thief universe and the nature of its "gods" that is seriously compelling! There was a readable near the end which pretty much wraps up the nature of the Thief universe mythology in a way that had me geeking out so hard I swear I woke up the next day with a hangover*. I always appreciate it when an FMs story reaches beyond the mission itself and actually attempts to add something to the source material. I wouldn't even mind if it was decided that it was official canon from this point on. How do we go about "officially deciding" that sort of thing anyway? Do all of us on the nerd-council have to simultaneously raise our tricorders into the air in agreement or something?
    *If you've never had a geek-out hangover, it's a terrifying thing. There's nothing worse than waking up wondering why you smell like nachos and old Star Trek episodes.

    But as much as I enjoyed the clever and surreal fourth-wall breaking storyline, the gameplay is really where it's at here. Once again it's heavily puzzle based, and once again, these puzzles are simply brilliant. Mind you, they don't start out quite as great as the original. The part of this mission that takes place in a mansion environment features puzzles that are definitely interesting and unique, but the solutions tend to be overly obvious or easy to stumble on by just using whatever you have in your inventory on anything that highlights until you seem to trigger an effect. I didn't really feel smart at this point, I just felt like a lucky bastard with the unsettling habit of rubbing things down with sponges. Also, the design of this area leaves something to be desired. Though the individual rooms are detailed nicely, while in big open areas it's hard to shake the feeling that you're essentially in a giant box. The room with the main staircase especially suffers from Big Empty Square syndrome.

    But much like a date with a husky voiced woman who repeatedly makes reference to a "large surprise" she has for you, half-way through, things get weird. Of course in this case they get weird in a good way, and not in a oh-God-why-can't-I-drink-away-the-memories-of-friday-night kinda way. The puzzles suddenly get more devious and clever, the atmosphere becomes oppressive and frightening, the level design starts to show more of the usual Haplo imagination, haunts are in bountiful supply...it's just fantastic. The puzzles here are about the most perfect I've ever seen in a Thief mission; they require some serious outside-the-box thinking, but are perfectly fair and logical. If you're pulling your hair out and wandering around in confused circles, you're most likely thinking way too hard about something when the solution is right in front of your face. I don't think I've ever had more forehead-slapping "DOY!" moments than in this mission. One puzzle I was hopelessly stuck on for about an hour even had a hint on the wall near it that practically spelled out the solution with a big capital DO *THIS* DUMBASS. Of course, that's the key to a great puzzle mission: it should make you feel like the dean of Harvard University one minute and the town drunk of Stupidsville the next.

    The centerpiece of the mission's second half is a maze in the style of "Sepulcher of the Sinistral". While figuring out how to navigate it was an ingenious over-arching puzzle, I was a little disappointed by how small it actually was. Of course, that was before I had to run through it backwards, trying to remember the order of each turn in reverse with a invincible pissed off demigod chasing after me with fiery hatred in his eyes like I just drank all his booze and cleared the series finale of "Lost" off his DVR. There were more than a few "I think I lost him OH SHI-" moments here, and the fact that it ends with you jumping over a large gap to safety and turning around to see him shaking his fist at you in a hilarious "OOOoooOO you'll pay for that!" school bully rage is just the icing on the cake*. This is one of my favorite FM moments in a long time, and worth playing the mission just to experience. Of course, this isn't the last great moment of the FM. There's a new gameplay element added later which is not only an impressive bit of technical wizardry, but also so much fun to play around with you will wish it had been introduced much earlier. And then there's the ending- Thief rarely forces me into a burst of uncontrollable air guitaring, but I couldn't help myself here. It was just too much RAWK.
    *The only thing that would have made it better would have been him throwing down his hat and jumping on it repeatedly while shouting "YOU VARMANT!"- the full Yosemite Sam, if you will.


    "As soon as I hire a contractor to build a bridge over that small gap you are SO dead!"

    While the puzzle difficulty in this mission is pretty up there at times, the stealth is absolutely punishing. Hardcore ghosters are going to be grinding their teeth in anguish, but then, that's what they get for liking anything that doesn't involve violence. Personally, I read the line in the readme file which basically said "This wasn't meant to be stealthed, let your blackjack fly" and took that as my cue to be the Earthly vessel of the vengeful god of head-trauma. Despite being extremely difficult, playing the mission like this wasn't so much frustrating as therapeutic. I suggest you take the author's advice and skip the extra-sneaky stuff this time, it makes things considerably more bearable and really, it's how it was meant to be played. I do however have to call shenanigans on a certain room in the mansion where you get gunned down by canons as soon as you enter without so much as a word of warning*. However, stumbling upon this room after a long and malicious knock-out spree, it was hard to not see it as cosmic realignment. Well played Karma...well played.
    *I have a room like this in my house too, but I at least have a note outside of it: "Warning canons AND CANDY MOUNTAINS OF CANDY!"

    When considering whether or not this mission will be one you enjoy, it basically comes down to one thing: how much do you enjoy thinking? Is it something you enjoy doing a lot of in your free time or is it just that annoying thing that happens between 'sleep' and 'more sleep'? Make no mistake, this is an adventure game translated into Thief, and probably better than it's ever been done before. The puzzles are logical, immensely clever, and often result in some extremely satisfying payoff. On the other hand, the stealth element doesn't seem to have received much thought in favor of a "seriously, just knock the bastards out" disclaimer, and the level design often feels like being trapped in a series of cubes of varying size. The best compliment I can give it though is this: some of the puzzles in this mission are the most perfectly designed any Thief FM has ever presented us with, and that is REALLY saying something. Also, there's a giant monster fight set to death metal, because too much thinking is bad for the brain...it's science.

    SCREENSHOTS, now in spoiler-vision!


    Little known fact: Garrett doesn't always go on jobs when there's a full moon- the moon is just stalking him.


    Shout "WHERE DAH BEERS AT!" just as you enter this room. It makes the reaction priceless.


    "We represent the lollipop Guild mother f**ker."


    Well yeah it's a good painting, but is it "I won't stab you in the spine" good?

  20. #1920
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2009
    Location: Ultima Thule
    Another excellent review, The Mike LMAO

  21. #1921
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Great review Mike! And as you mentioned - a "Top 10 Thief Missions To Play While Drunk" is a great idea for a list

  22. #1922
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: The Inverted Manse
    Thanks for another great review. I'm really glad you liked the story and the puzzles.

    And I agree with you that the architecture is simple. It is no secret that I really dislike doing architecture-design/decoration, so I take a minimalistic approach in all my levels. Just open any of them in DromEd and you'll see how simple they are. In return, I try to compensate this by smarter use of textures and lights. Also by adding new game play elements, like the unholy guardians, the magic potion or the teleporter.

    I really love doing puzzles, but my dislike for architecture/decoration is why I probably won't be doing any more FMs.

  23. #1923
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Quote Originally Posted by Haplo View Post
    I really love doing puzzles, but my dislike for architecture/decoration is why I probably won't be doing any more FMs.
    AW...AWWww...
    This is some of the crappiest news I've heard in a long time. COME ON DUDE! Your missions kick serious ass! If you do quit now though (don't) at least you had a really great run. At least give us an "Acid Trip 2" before you go.

    And thanks to everyone who read/commented! I'll try to write another one soonish. I actually did start reviews for both "Mirror of Return" and "Down with the Mechanists" since the authors requested reviews in this thread, which frankly, is awesome. One of those will probably be next.

  24. #1924
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2006
    Location: Great. Now I can't get back in
    Quote Originally Posted by Haplo View Post
    I really love doing puzzles, but my dislike for architecture/decoration is why I probably won't be doing any more FMs.
    Fully respect this being your decision to make - but I really wish you'd change your mind. Unholy Vivid Innocence & Insanity's Crescendo are top-notch FMs & The Acid Trip was heaps of fun.

    Have you considered any abandoned FMs where the architecture is fully / mostly done? Just a thought.

    Either way, hope you stick around!

  25. #1925
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: The Inverted Manse
    Thanks for the encouraging words guys. Well I said "probably", let me take a break first and we will see.

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