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Thread: Level Editing Across Game Titles

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2014
    Location: Asia

    Level Editing Across Game Titles

    Hello Everyone, currently I'm building a fan mission for Thief 2: The Metal Age. The sequel will be a campaign mission with a series of mountainous landscapes. Due to the size of the campaign, I'm considering switching over to an Elder Scrolls title (maybe Skyrim) in order to include more creatures and dynamic effects. I have not played any of the Elder Scrolls titles, merely looked at videos about them.

    There is a Thieves Guild in Elder Scrolls, but there are not certain things that I know of (rope arrows, for example) that exist there. I'm wondering if there would be much controversy (or incompatibility) by having two fan missions/mods between two different games. This fan mission will occur before the time of Garrett, when there is no electricity or really sophisticated equipment. The thief will be under a sort of "apprenticeship" by mages whereby he can use spells. If one is in the Thieves Guild, are they excluded from being a novice spellcaster?

    I'm interested to hear thoughts about this. All in favor? All opposed? How are the Elder Scrolls mods in comparison to Thief fan missions?
    Last edited by Derspegn; 29th Aug 2017 at 12:13.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: Netherlands
    Have you considered The Dark Mod? If you want the Thief mechanics already in place, that seems like a no-brainer. Spells would be very doable in the Doom 3 engine too.

  3. #3
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    TDM is a good suggestion, but I dunno how good it's gonna be for mountains, plus those amazing shadow volumes mean all dynamic lights are gonna cast pitch black shadows, which would be a bit odd on a mountainscape unless the mission was set in a mine or during the night time.

    Thief's mechanics in Skyrim aren't gonna be seamless at all, but it's the spirit of the thing that wins, I suppose. We've had several Ultima fan projects on various engines, and those didn't suffer all that much for it.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    You should probably have actually played the games before you consider making mods for them.

    The Elder Scrolls' stealth mechanics are fairly limited. Even with heavy modding, you will have a hard time getting it to feel "Thiefy". It has built-in scripting which is reasonably powerful, but doesn't really expose the fundamental parts of the game engine.

    Things such as the existence of a thieves/bandit's guild shouldn't matter to you, since I'd assume your mission would be fully self-contained, not a part of the main game world.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    The other thing is to examine the level editors provided for said games, before you even begin to think about making mods/content for them.

    I've seen people promise the high heavens for FMs done for SS2. Then they try making a room in Dromed, then shortly after complain about it being too hard and then quit. Doing your research is key.

  6. #6
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Skyrim mods are awesome, but not for the gameplay, and definitely not Thief-like gameplay. You'd pick Skyrim for the style, for the setting, for the story-telling, and for really simple scripting kinds of mechanics, gamplay like talking to a guy or grabbing a widget. Nothing even near Thief FMs. You also can't make your own setting (easily) but you can just use its existing world, although that would solidly put the game in the Skyrim world and not Thief world. You may as well do a Minecraft mod before a Skyrim mod.

    The Dark Mod is great if you want a Thief-like FM with more effects and eye-candy. And there's a lot more control with the scripts and crazy mechanics. You can make a mountainous-like setting the same way you do for T2. And as for splitting a campaign across T2 and TDM, people have done that many times and it's no problem. I'd say the great majority of people that have TDM installed also have T2 installed, and play FMs for both. (But you can't say the same about T2 and Skyrim.) The editor (Dark Radiant) is also a joy to work with. Anyway, my vote is to split and do a T2 & TDM campaign.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    If you want incredible freedom (to a point) and ability to do it within a shorter time frame, do it in the Doom 1/2 engine. Preferably ZDoom or GZDoom. Compared to the standard Doom engine it has full support for scripting (which was carried over from Strife), hub-levels (brought over from Hexen/Strife) and inventory systems (Heretic, Hexen, Strife), also the ability to have enemies / npcs with completely new behaviors. Some damn fine efforts by modders over the decades in what they've been able to do for a game released in 94.

  8. #8
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Maybe I'm wrong, but using any kind of Doom engine sounds like a terrible option for a Thief themed mission. The engine isn't even true 3D, is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    And as for splitting a campaign across T2 and TDM, people have done that many times and it's no problem.
    I don't doubt it, but who would that have been? I can't think of anything.

    TDM does sound like a great option for the OP's project though, you'd have all the mechanics, tools, and assets you'd need, plus an awesome level editor.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2014
    Location: Asia
    I won't rule the Dark Mod out, but when I played it previously I felt boxed-in by limitations. For instance, I only heard one ambient music track for all the FMs I played, so I'm not sure that can be modified. And being a mod for Doom 3, a game with mutants, I was surprised to see none of the creatures from the Thief series, only a stationary horse. Personally, I don't like the mod because it puts me into a bad mood when I play it. I'm grumpy enough to begin with! Thief 2 has a great balance of environmental settings, whereas IMHO the Dark Mod is all "doom and gloom". If Thief 2 had more creatures I would consider completing the campaign with it. In the TDM FM "St. Alberic's Curse" I saw some impressive land features and hammer haunts. But I have yet to see any real spellcasting. If the scripts are indeed variable and I can actually change the ambient music, it may be a good alternative. I've looked at Dark Radiant tutorial as well.

    There was one Skyrim video where the player AI was creeping about in a forest. I saw some potential there, but perhaps the game is really quite different from Thief. I was impressed by the number of monsters and undead spellcasters.

  10. #10
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Well, if you haven't actually played Skyrim, it's probably best that you do that first. It's enormously different from Thief, and like most built-for-multiple-approaches RPGs, there's no one thing it does particularly well, and its stealth is particularly uninspired. Thief's laser focus on mechanics simply won't be there unless you can overhaul the way the gameplay works, and that is most probably not possible via the Creation Kit, at any rate.

    If your mission doesn't lean on Thief-y design so much as it requires a sense of place and exploration, I don't see a problem if you're interested in doing a mission in spirit; you're just going to have your work cut out for you. I took a bit of a root around the Creation Kit docs for Skyrim, and you can create your own new worldspace, so it's not necessary to wedge your mission into a pre-existing Skyrim landmass.

  11. #11
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    What Sulp said. Stealth in Skyrim is all about stats and direct line of sight. If you're a high enough level and so far away, the monsters won't see you. Light, shadows, floor types, and whatnot don't even come into consideration with it.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Brethren View Post
    Maybe I'm wrong, but using any kind of Doom engine sounds like a terrible option for a Thief themed mission. The engine isn't even true 3D, is it?
    Sorry was talking more generally.

  13. #13
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Quote Originally Posted by Brethren View Post
    I don't doubt it, but who would that have been? I can't think of anything.
    This is by old memory, but IIRC it's either Fidcal or Melan or both that either carried on or made references in their Dark Mod FMs to situations and characters from their T2 FMs.

    And there could have been some nuances in there, like the TDM FM was originally planned as a T2 sequel but then tweaked with a new player character, or maybe it was basically a sequel, or maybe it was just set in the same world and referenced things in the T2 FM. Now I can't remember all the details, but it was things like that.

    Anyway, campaign may be too strong a word in any event. More like the same world has been spread across T2 and TDM FMs before.

    One could look at other authors that have built both T2 and TDM FMs and see if they haven't also made cross references across the games too: Baddcog/Schwaa, Nielsen74, Silencium18, Jesps, Shawdowhide (that show up on Thiefmissions).

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2014
    Location: Asia
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post

    Anyway, campaign may be too strong a word in any event. More like the same world has been spread across T2 and TDM FMs before.
    More specifically, "campaign" or "campaign mission" refers to bundled levels within the same FM release. One area is completed at a time in a self-contained series. Examples of Thief 2 campaign FMs include Sturmdrang Peak and All Torc.

  15. #15
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    About rope arrows, etc, I just did a bit of googling and stumbled across this mod.



    Enables stealth kills/knockouts, water arrows, noise arrows, even some (quite buggy) rope arrows.

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    You can definitely make the game feel more Thief, but what it lacks, even with mods, is a stealth system that doesn't feel driven by stats first and foremost. While you're hidden, it feels Thiefy enough, but then you're detected and you have no idea why, other than stats.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2014
    Creativity comes from embracing limitations. Stick with Dromed if you want the game to feel like Thief.

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2014
    Location: Asia
    Quote Originally Posted by TannisRoot View Post
    Creativity comes from embracing limitations. Stick with Dromed if you want the game to feel like Thief.
    These are all some interesting suggestions. I will experiment over time with gameplay and editing to reach my decision.

    I've thought about balancing the AI factor with collapsing rock bridges and transparent "magic" bridges that form when you step in the right place. There's all sorts of possibilities.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    Of course, the other option is to make your own game using a modern engine (Unreal / Unity).
    You "just" need to implement all the unique systems (such as stealth) that you need in the new game.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Or make your own engine.

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Build your own hardware cabinet!

  22. #22
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Quote Originally Posted by Derspegn View Post
    More specifically, "campaign" or "campaign mission" refers to bundled levels within the same FM release. One area is completed at a time in a self-contained series. Examples of Thief 2 campaign FMs include Sturmdrang Peak and All Torc.
    Not always true though. Some campaigns have been released in alternative kinds of packages, some on staggered releases, some like whatever you'd call Keeper of the Prophecies... Some semi-detached like Rowena's Curse to 7 Sisters, or Ominous Bequest to Broken Triad, or Christine's series, or the Gem Mine series, or the Rocksbourg series, or Gaetane's Arsene series, or the Lord Alan series, or actually a lot of series now that I think about it. There's a blurry line between series, campaign, or even just dividing what's supposed to be one FM into two or three.

    So having a campaign staggered and across even multiple engines is within the realm of possibility IMO.

  23. #23
    Just a general advice, if you don't want to be making this for next 15 years: set your goals small and remember that more modern engines require a lot more knowledge and practice in creating assets. In Dromed, you need one texture image to define how a surface looks; in TES, TDM or more modern engines, you need at least three images and a material definition. You can have more complex stuff, but it will also impact your scope and time you need to get things done.

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