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Thread: Absolute Beginner's Guide to Creating a Mission for Thief 2

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2006
    Location: On the tip of your tongue.

    Absolute Beginner's Guide to Creating a Mission for Thief 2

    I've just created a new in-depth beginner's tutorial that takes you from installation of Dromed through to publishing a mission.

    Part One here: http://nickdablin.wordpress.com/2014...sion-part-one/ with links to the next parts at the bottom.

    I'd love to hear some feedback, both from veterans who may spot something I've failed to mention, or from anyone following the tutorial - was it all clear? Any parts that don't make sense?

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2002
    Thanks. I'd like to have this as a pdf.

  3. #3
    Desperately Dodgy Moderator
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Fields of bluegrass
    If you go to the webpage in Chrome, just go to print it (Ctrl-P) and it will offer to let you save as PDF as one of the Destination options.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2012
    Location: Gèrmany
    Ok I'm right reading through the text and just write down the thought that came up. They are just my thought and you can follow them or not.

    Page 1

    - Great a tutorial Your so cool
    - Really dark screenshot. I don't mind if it's dark it's thief but it would be cool if you could see a bit more details.
    - Link to the Editors guild
    - Toolkit 1.10!
    - Good that you go through the config settings.
    - In the TP's dromed.cfg there are 4 afterdigits standard. In my opinion 3 are more than enough. 4 is extremely tiny. Don't know what others think about it
    - There are other things to tweq the interface maybe leave a line that they should feel free to test the others out as well.

    Page 2


    - Keyboard: There is a key missing the 2 it unrolls the camera. Maybe with the hint: Use it when anything feels strange about the camera movement.
    - Adding textures:
    - I think: Textures > Add Thief 2 Family A-N > Core 1 is the easiest and the standard way to add families and should be mentioned first.
    - There is a another option: right clicking in the texture palette: Load > Family. Advantage is that it lists every folder inside fam and you don't need custom menu
    - Think if you really want to mention the console command option since add family is exactly this. I'm not sure what I would do but it's just a thought.

    - Maybe mention that you can also select the default texture by right clicking on the texture > Assign as Brush Default

    - Saving It's important
    Make sure you’re saving it into the same folder that Thief is installed to.
    hmm. Can not really agree with that because it doesn't matter as long the normal gamesys is used. A new folder for maps would keep the root folder clean. When you change the gamesys later .cow format should be used (if you do it at all if not maybe mention it.) and then the root folder is obsolute anyway. Only when you go for real mission testing (without fmsel) you need the root.


    It’s a good idea to save regularly, and under different filenames
    Saving often and under different filenames must become ingrained. I can't remember how often I had to look back at older saves or dromed crashed. I would formulate it much stronger.
    It's important to save regularly do it every 15 minutes and always under different filenames for example with consecutive numbers yourmap1.mis, yourmap2.mis....

    Remember the reader about saving like you did on page 3. Do it one every page at least once. At the start 15min might be a bit much. The crashing chance is pretty close to 0 but anyway later you will be grateful if you have lots of points you can jump back to because something went wrong.

    Page 3
    Nothing to say here.

    Page 4

    More Objects
    Go to Editors > Object Hierarchy
    Go to Editors > Object Hierarchy (F5)

    Click the Console and type find_obj sword guard then press Enter.
    Use F3 much faster.

    ___

    Suggestion: Add arrows, lockpick, zulz as well. Explain the StackCount property and let the player save the progress twice. One standard one and one as template when he then starts to build his own mission(s) he just have to load this template.mis.
    ___

    The U and V boxes control the placement of the texture on the face – you can either type in a number, use the < and > arrow buttons for precision adjustments, or slide the texture by clicking and dragging the U or V buttons themselves.
    Using mousewheel is also an option and it's good for fine tuning for example when placing the moneybox on the next page.

    Page 5
    When making the TrolPoints you could explain the feature Tool>Link Group AiPatrol. Note after using it the last selected Marker get's normally selected and can be used straight away to link with the next TrolPoint which makes Paths very fast to link.

    Page 6
    I couldn't open TOW with Windows 8. Did others experience the same? At least my Windows 8 lacked some VisualStudio files which I downloaded from microsoft and then could use it. (was not so easy than this sounds).
    I could write a short troubleshooting if it's wished for.

    Page 7
    I don't know what the guys at windows think about removing the extensions by default. Windows 8 it's View: file extension (not sure whats the exact english text)

    Consider non english users they have to make a different folder in their language.

    Nothing thats addressed to you but the menu.cfg from the tookit 1.10 should have a NVDebug Menu like 1.0 had.

    Page 8

    I just nor realized that you didn't mention the toolkit or is it in TPatch. Well I would guess it's so but I'm not sure but it should really be used.

    I have seen nothing more. Really great job and Thank you very much.
    Last edited by Daraan; 13th Jan 2014 at 10:22.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2011
    Location: Montpellier, France
    I don't know if you mentioned it (or I didn't see it) but you can resize DromEd's window so you don't have to squint your eyes on big monitors with the edit_screen_size command in dromed.cfg.

  6. #6
    I haven't read the whole thing (yet), but from what I've read (mostly the first two pages and then I skimmed the rest) I can say that I like your style; it reminds me of Komag's tutorial and I think your tutorial will inspire a lot of new authors, just as Komag's inspired me when I got started years ago.

    This may be for the next level, but you might want to mention that FMSel can also be used together with DromEd through the whole process of development to organize things and keep FM specific files (and folders) separated from the original files, which makes it a lot easier when it's time to publish one's work, since it eliminates the "guesswork" of which files to extract. Using FMSel one can also easily switch between different development projects while still using the same Thief install and the files won't get mixed up.

    Another thing you might want to mention is that most (if not all?) things can be done via a keyboard shortcut (instead of clicking in the GFH or using the menus) (for example cloning a brush can be done by pressing "Insert", which I think is standard). I hesitate on mentioning any specific ones, because I don't remember right now which are standard and which came in the DromEd Toolkit (old or new) (I've also added a few personal ones to further confuse the matter). Those new to DromEd and who want to know more can take a look at "Default.bnd" for the whole list (and maybe add the usual disclaimer of making a backup before editing it and that any editing is done at your own risk etc...).

    Edit:
    The most important thing to remember is that if when you fall asleep on your keyboard with DromEd loaded, things may have gone awry when you wake up.
    Last edited by qolelis; 13th Jan 2014 at 11:36.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2002
    I'd like to see a chapter about custom scripts (tnh/NV/KD-Scripts). At least, it should be mentioned as an alternative way to get things done.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2006
    Location: On the tip of your tongue.
    Thanks everyone - a lot of good feedback here, especially the keyboard shortcuts. I tend to use the mouse menus for most things just out of force of habit, so there's a lot of shortcuts I'm not aware of or barely use, so I'll be adding them in for sure. I will look through it properly and update the tutorial as soon as I can.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Formby, NW England
    Very good tutorial. I have some comments:

    1
    I think there should be a brief explanation of NVDebug. Something like:
    "This allows you to test the three difficulty levels. More on this later."

    2
    When you mention Portalize, I think you should mention Optimize too. "Portalize is fine for quickly checking simple architecture. Optimizing is better when things are more complex because you'll need to keep the polygon count down."

    3
    Komag put a useful tip in his tutorial about creating objects. This is it in my own words: "If you create the object in the Top view, it'll have the same Z coordinate as the currently selected brush. In the Right view it will have the same Y coordinate, and in the Front view it will have the same X coordinate. This is most useful with the Top view."

    You mention zooming in to place the torch. "It's much easier to place the torch on the wall by using Edit > Wall Object. This command depends on the object's 'wall side' facing north by default. For an ElecWallLight, you have to spin it round by 180, use Wall Object, then un-spin it."

    4
    For finding archetypes, you should mention the new Filter box. It's easier because you don't have to know the exact name of what you're looking for.

    The door frame would look better if there was a horizontal piece of wood across the top.

    I don't think it's a good idea to use light brushes. They have no radius, and they shine through closed doors. OmniLightPoints are better. If they have radii. You should mention that a radius is a good idea for all lights. A value of 60 stops the light calculations getting out of hand without visibly cutting off the light.

    5
    Patrol Points: You mention reportalizing and rebuilding the rooms database. The latter should be 'Compute Pathfinding Database' because the terrain has been changed.

    7
    Instead of modifying an UnrolledScroll, it's easier to create a PosterScroll and add Book > Art: Parch if you want to go into book mode.
    edit: But the other, longer, way might be better in this case because it introduces certain properties and scripts.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: May 2002
    Location: Between dreams and shadows...
    I've only skimmed it so far, but it looks like it'll be a good resource.

    One thing though; I can't recommend advising the use of FMsel during mission development enough, even right from the beginning. It really helps keep your FM-specific content cleanly separated from the main install.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2003
    Location: Nampa, Idaho
    Yeah, that screenshot is way too dark.

    If you want to finalize your document into a PDF, use this site. It's what I use on my walkthroughs. Using the converter in Open Office always screws up the formatting.

    I'd also enlist a couple of experts to edit parts you're not comfortable with--scripts, particles, whatever it may be.

  12. #12
    ZylonBane
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: ZylonBane
    Quote Originally Posted by fibanocci View Post
    I'd like to see a chapter about custom scripts (tnh/NV/KD-Scripts).
    That doesn't sound like a topic for absolute beginners. That's more of an intermediate topic.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2006
    Location: On the tip of your tongue.
    Had to look up some of these suggestions myself - Tools > Link Group was a new one on me.

    I have now added and changed a few bits here and there to take most of your suggestions into account. The biggest change was adding a whole bit about OmniLightPoints.

    I haven't put anything about using FMSel from the beginning; not sure if that counts as a beginner topic? Related, I think it's simpler for a beginner to just use the root directory for saving the mission. It's how it needs to be packaged later, so it seems like a pretty sensible place to me, at least for learning the ropes.

    Thanks for all the suggestions and corrections!

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2007
    Location: LosAngeles: Between Amusements
    Quote Originally Posted by nicked View Post
    I haven't put anything about using FMSel from the beginning; not sure if that counts as a beginner topic? Related, I think it's simpler for a beginner to just use the root directory for saving the mission. It's how it needs to be packaged later, so it seems like a pretty sensible place to me, at least for learning the ropes.
    Simpler, maybe, but a horrible development practice. Please don't even suggest that.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2003
    Location: Nampa, Idaho
    Only about 900 FMs were made doing it this way and no one had any trouble. Now, it's pooh-poohed as a bad practice?

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: May 2002
    Location: Between dreams and shadows...
    Thousands of operations were performed without anaesthetics before they were available. Doesn't mean you still want to do them that way, unless you like screaming and flailing.

    Or, put less facetiously: sure, it's possible to make missions without it, but using FMsel to keep your mission-specific stuff out of the main tree makes life so much cleaner and easier, and less likely to accidentally screw something up.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2007
    Location: LosAngeles: Between Amusements
    Quote Originally Posted by Ricebug View Post
    Only about 900 FMs were made doing it this way and no one had any trouble. Now, it's pooh-poohed as a bad practice?
    Actually you have no idea where folk stored their in-process work. They probably didn't use a CM tool to help them, but those that didn't use proper CM practices very likely got into lots of trouble with OldDark breaking their missions and them not being able to backtrack effectively. Just a quick look at posts about lost / broken missions should give you an idea that maybe there is a better way to organize the work than just dumping stuff into the Thief root. I, for one, never stored my in-process stuff in the root. I have everything organized into development folders for easy back-up and recovery.

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2006
    Location: On the tip of your tongue.
    I'll be honest - until you guys started talking about it here, I had no idea you could store missions anywhere else but the root. Never did me any harm.

    Still, if this is considered a Bad Idea™ I shall take steps to adjust the tutorial. Might take me a bit longer though as I'll need to 1) figure out how to store missions elsewhere and still be able to use gamesys, custom files etc. and 2) have enough free time to go through and update the tutorial.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Formby, NW England
    It's very simple. You enable FMSel (open cam_mod.ini, remove the ; from the ;fm line), then you create a folder called FMs in your T2 root folder. In there you create one folder for each fan mission.

  20. #20
    Well, using FMSel for administration might actually be too advanced and even dangerous for newbies (see the last paragraph in my rant).

    The way I set it up was something like this:
    1. Create a Thief install just for my FM projects.
    2. Edit cam_mod.ini and set fm_path (FMSel's install folder) to point to let's say "X:\Thief\MyMissions".
      Make sure that FMSel is always started as you would usually do.
    3. Manually create one folder for each FM project inside "X:\Thief\MyMissions".
      You would then have for example "X:\Thief\MyMissions\MissionA", "X:\Thief\MyMissions\MissionB" and "X:\Thief\MyMissions\MissionC".
    4. Create all the necessary resource folders (books, fam, intrface etc...) inside each FM folder and also store your mission and gamesys files here. It's the same structure as always. So you would have for example "X:\Thief\MyMissions\MissionA\books", "X:\Thief\MyMissions\MissionA\fam", "X:\Thief\MyMissions\MissionA\intrface" etc...
    5. Start DromEd and FMSel will now list the manually created FM folders as installed FMs and you can choose which one to work with (Select an FM and click on "Edit FM" and DromEd will be able to find the necessary files).

    Note that FMSel now has no option for uninstalling an FM - which wouldn't make much sense, anyway. If there actually is an option to uninstall, then you have done it the wrong way (see the last paragraph below).

    When it's time for distribution/release the process isn't very different from how it was done before FMSel, but this time you know that every file and folder stored in the FM folder is related to your FM, so it's a lot easier to copy what you want and you also just need one Thief install.

    The way FMSel would normally do things is listing all the FM zip files (found in the FM zip folder (not the same as the install folder that we used above)) as uninstalled FMs. Then you choose to install one of them and FMSel unzips all files into the install folder (set above). Above we skipped the zip file and bypassed the install step and did that manually instead.

    [rant]
    The way I did it before FMSel was keeping one FM install for each FM project I was working on (so that I could keep the files separated and easily switch between projects), which meant a lot of unnecessary redundancy and it was harder to find the necessary files because they were mixed up with a lot of other, unneeded files.

    I wouldn't say that doing it the old way is a lot worse than doing it the new way, but FMSel makes administration your projects slightly easier.

    Unfortunately you cannot just zip up the FM folder and be done with it, because, if you do it like I do it, you have a lot of mission file (and gamesys) incarnations that you of course don't want to distribute, so you still have to remember which incarnation was the latest and save that with a suitable filename and then copy only that together with the resource folders. I would still say that the new way is easier, though.

    If you started with a zip file for a new project (let's call it "MissionA.zip"), let FMSel install it, edit the mission file and save it with a new name, and then let FMSel uninstall it, FMSel would zip up the new mission file into "MissionA.FMSelBak.zip" and store that in the same folder as "MissionA.zip" - but, and this is important, only if you answer "Yes" when FMSel asks about it. If you answer "No", FMSel will ignore any new/edited files and delete them - and we don't want that. So, there are some caveats if you're not careful and do exactly what you're told to do, so maybe using FMSel is really too advanced and risky for a newbie!? (This gives me an idea on how to make things even cleaner and more streamlined (for advanced users), though, but I will have to experiment more and it might not be as useful as I think (it probably isn't).)
    [/rant]
    Last edited by qolelis; 16th Jan 2014 at 11:16. Reason: stupid typo

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Formby, NW England
    I don't see that as an argument against using FMSel. No-one has suggested starting with an empty zip file. "Make a folder... etc" is a clear set of instructions, and someone incapable of following them would no doubt struggle with lots of other instructions.

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2003
    Location: Nampa, Idaho
    You guys have certainly made a convincing argument on using FMSel for modding. The concept of having a dedicated folder for each project under ONE INSTALL is very attractive. Currently, I have SIX installs of Thief, one for each project. Sloppy and inefficient.

    I'm converted.

  23. #23
    un-lurking...

    I might become potential user of this tutorial if I decide to come back to FM editing. I would then need some source covering old basics, how to establish T2 install for editing at the beginning etc. (I only built 2 FMs and always worked witk Komag Tut printed for reference waiting on my desk. Step by step.) but also taking under consideration that this time I would definitely use NewDark. What I've read about it when it shown up was amazing. All those limits extended/removed. Exciting!

    As for the discussion about good practices of keeping resources separate - i think it should definitely be covered from the start if there are good methods of keeping things in order.

    Those are basic good practices.
    I was very new to game editing at all when starting with Komag Tutorial, but the need of keeping things separated for future convenience came very early. Both my little missions were edited in directories organised as separate repositories, but I also had separate T2 installs, one for testing, one for editing and maybe even more.

    If there is good way of running those things which reduces the redundancy of instals etc. I would tell people from start. Even if at that point I will see it as not-so-basic stuff I would put it as an bonus advice at least, mentioning, that this will help in the future when peoples work grow and get more custom-resource

    So good luck with this project nicked! I will remember about this thread and thank you in advance for your effort

    re-lurking...
    "Reliance upon others is weakness for the strong, but strength for the weak. Wisdom and balance lie in knowing your own nature over time"
    The Box, WL

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2014
    Location: Scotland
    Also want to say thanks and expressmy interest in this as a pdf file.Also wouldlike a link to kromags tutorial.

  25. #25
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2007
    Location: LosAngeles: Between Amusements

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