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Thread: OLD COMRADES, OLD DEBTS (C3 winner) - comments

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: Tatry Mountains, Poland

    OLD COMRADES, OLD DEBTS (C3 winner) - comments

    If I am reading all these tables at the Keep correctly,
    "OCOD" is a winner of 3rd Komag's contest!

    WOW!

    Thanks everyone for voting on "Old Comrades, Old Debts"!
    And thank you, Komag, for hosting another contest!

    Now, when everything is over, I would like to explain myself and tell you a little bit about basis of the creation of OCOD.

    The mission area (40x40x40) is VERY small. --- Curse you, Komag! ---
    And that's why I had some problems with:
    A) story,
    B) architecture,
    C) AIs.

    A) I wanted OCOD to be a 'classic' mission with OBJECTIVES. Yes, objectives.
    In other words, the player MUST have had something to do...
    Therefore in OCOD Garrett has to get out of the cell, escape from the haunted area, find some keys etc.
    I also wanted to have 'about-turn' in the middle of the story.
    So in order to get out of the chapel Garrett (after reading ringleader's journal) has to RETURN to the chapel. And he gets back to the place where he started (basement).
    Furthermore, this had to be THIEF fan mission.
    And that is why I wanted Garrett to sneak past few guards, read some books and steal some items (keys, equipment and loot).
    Unfortunately, I couldn't avoid key-hunting. Sorry for that. But I suceeded (I hope!) in allowing player to SNEAK. And that means: to be a THIEF.

    B) Sneaking. That is the reason for excluding blackjack from this misssion.
    And that is the reason for such architectural shape of OCOD.
    To recompense the lack of bj I placed some water (bassin and well) in my level. If the guards chase the player, there's always a possibility of jumping into the well or bassin.
    I also designed alternative routes between chapel areas (stairs<->hatch, doors<->well/bassin) for better, varied sneaking and allowed player to open small outside gates with lockpicks.
    There's always some place (and shadow) to hide, wait and listen.
    On the other hand, this couldn't be too easy.
    That is why I placed glowing spider (dynamic light/shadow) in the attic, used tile floor in the very important room with Vilmor's ghost and changed ice texture properties.
    Obviously, I also tried to make sneaking more difficult by setting AIs' behaviors and patrol routes.

    C) I must admit that finishing alpha version of OCOD was almost impossible: all thieves had standard above-average hearing and ringleader was walking around the attic! Considering size of the chapel area, they could hear every Garrett's step.
    I had to completely rebuild my room brushes. And this was the hardest part of building this mission.
    40x40x40 - it's the size of two or three rooms! And I had 12 rooms and outside area. And the sound should travel between them in a very specyfic way.
    For example: when Garrett is upstairs, the guard from downstairs should not be able to hear his steps. Furthermore: when Garrett is in the explosives room
    (basement), the guard in storeroom (basement) should not be able to hear him too. Etc.
    I must say that I did not fully suceeded in changing sound travel routes. And I also had to change guards' hearing abilities and patrol routes.
    But right now the player can fully ghost this level. It just requires timing and observation.
    There'a always a place (shadow) from where you can observe the guard's patrol route and plan your move.
    Of course, I tried to make Garrett's life a bit harder and suprise him sometimes, therefore - for example - the basement guard ocasionally goes (a little bit) up the stairs, the chapel guard does not walk in the straight line (outside) and "visits" the pond and the ringleader turns "randomly"...

    I think that OCOD is very similar to previous contest winners: "The Blackstone Crypt" and "The Hightown Museum". All those missions have something in common: they are... MISSIONS (with story, objectives, classic gameplay).
    I don't know why, but you, PLAYERS, seem to be quite conservative... You prefere "predictability" from "experimentation". You have chosen "The Blackstone Crypt" (not for example "The Turtle On Its Back"), "The Hightown Museum" (not "The Wickerman"), "Old Comrades, Old Debts" (not "The Fireshadow's Barrow"). Perhaps this is some kind of tip for future contest participants.
    And I must say that I REALLY LIKED "The Turtle", "The Wickerman", "The Barrow" and ALL other contest missions.
    And that is why I am so suprised that in your opinion OCOD deserved to be a winner in four categories (best use of space, architecture, story, gameplay)...
    I thought that "The Fireshadow's Barrow" (or "Deceptive Perception") will win this contest and "OCOD" will only score in architecture or use of space...

    "OCOD" was the first thing I did in DromEd (I was learning everything along the way). Therefore I am so happy now!
    I also want to thank ERNIE for great custom stuff (skins, some textures, movie etc)! He is co-author of this mission.
    And - thank you, AGNIESZKA! Sorry that you had to suffer two months with DromEd.
    Special thanks to: PiotrS, Nightwalker, Hit Deity, Timon, Edward Vaillancourt, MsLedd, Saturnine, SilentSleep, schwaa, telliamed, Yametha.
    As you can see, there were many people that helped me in many ways.

    You can visit OCOD webpage now, see some nice screenshots, 'read' the making of OCOD history and try to answer some questions for observant players.

    This webpage is part of THE MASTER GUILD site. (See this thread for more info about the Guild).
    You can also download UPDATED version (1.1) of OCOD from this site.

    Thank you once again!

    Please post any comments on OCOD in this thread.
    I would like to know what you think about this mission and its webpage.
    I would like to hear any negative comments too. In other words, I want to know what you did not like in OCOD. This will allow me to avoid mistakes in the future.
    Last edited by bukary; 15th Aug 2002 at 20:52.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2001
    Location: Southern California
    Congrats, Bukary! I loved this mission. Can't believe it's your first. I hope to see more like this from you, please! It was very well done. I am using some of the screenshots for my wallpaper.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: Tatry Mountains, Poland
    Originally posted by Spiderkat
    Congrats, Bukary! I loved this mission. Can't believe it's your first.
    Yes, it is my first serious FM...
    I also made some demos...

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Feb 1999

    Whee, congrats, bukary!

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Australia
    Well done!
    I'm curious, why is my name on the credits list? I don't remember helping...
    Just a girl wishing for the old days

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Jul 1999
    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    Great job bukary!
    Yes, it is very surprising that the most normal and OM-like missions seem to win. Perhaps it is because they tend to score more points in many areas rather than just in one area (creativity, humor, etc.)

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: Tatry Mountains, Poland
    Originally posted by Yametha
    Well done!
    I'm curious, why is my name on the credits list? I don't remember helping...
    He, he... Don't you remember our PM and e-mail exchange about frozen breath effect? You helped me to figure out how to make Garrett emit SFXs.
    And there was frozen breath effect in the first, alpha version of OCOD!

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Australia
    Ahh... I remember that!
    Just a girl wishing for the old days

  9. #9
    BANNED
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: California, USA, Earth
    Great mission, a little small... but.. the
    spoiler:
    key near the overturned shrine I accualy couldn't find, so I had Nightwalker tell me.
    Very good for a first mission, most firsts have no texture on some walls, alot of doors that are off hinges have no hinges or seem to be floating, yours was great, no empty rooms and the theme was great, the only thing that I personaly don't like is the fact of - this is a haunted pagan place, so shouldn't their be some hostile pagan zombies or something?
    No empty rooms, texture galore and I liked to watch the stupid ringleader run around when I run the bell, LOL. Fun mission, the atmosphere is great

    Pros-
    Overall great mission, great texturing, great atmosphere, no floating doors

    Cons-

    Small, no undead to fit the whole haunted plot

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Lost in the BSP...

    This mission was just gorgeous. All-out, hands down my favorite one of the Contest 3 entries, by far. Then Deceptive Perceptions and Mind Master tied for my second place, although for different reasons (even though I still haven't beaten Mind Master).

    I liked the story, the architecture, the textures, the COLD, the scripting, the AI - everything a great mission should have, it was here, in full force.

    **sniff** Great job, bukary, you're going to go far I hope.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: May 2001
    Location: earth?
    wow, bukary! amazing job on a first mission!!
    this was definitely one of my favourites.
    it is odd how the winners end up "regular" missions like that, but i do think it has to do with them ending up applying to more categories like Sharga said.
    again, great job bukary!!!

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Feb 1999
    Originally posted by Haunt-of-DOOM
    Great mission, a little small...
    Hehe, this is cool. You didn't realize that these missions were made for a 64x64x64 contest?


    I wondered for a while if I was the only one who liked this mission most, especially since most of the enjoyability came for me during the replays, and everyone else seemed to be in love with Decep.Percep (that was my #2, too)

    Again, bukary: *thumbs up!*

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: Tatry Mountains, Poland
    Originally posted by Haunt-of-DOOM
    Cons-
    Small, no undead to fit the whole haunted plot
    Thanks for finding CONS! I really need to know what I did wrong.

    Well, I couldn't place "live" undeads (zombies), because the area was too small.
    AIs (thieves nad zombies) would have killed eachother! That could be funny, though...
    Instead of zombies I created four (six) changing-shape-ghosts that appear in various places in and around the chapel. I think this was the only way to have "horror" effect here...
    Of course, I should have used more creepy ambients... But I simply had no time to learn schemas then...

    PLEASE, DO POST MORE CONS!
    I would like to know what mistakes avoid in the future....

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Australia
    *Yametha ponders the question*

    I can think of a con! I see it quite a lot.
    As you live in Poland, I'm sure you're aware of how long a soaking wet person is expected to survive in sub-zero temperatures.

    I think... that's what I've heard anyway.
    Just a girl wishing for the old days

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: Tatry Mountains, Poland
    Originally posted by Yametha
    As you live in Poland, I'm sure you're aware of how long a soaking wet person is expected to survive in sub-zero temperatures.
    Haven't you seen movies with Sylvester Stallone?
    In one of them he jumped into the frozen mountain river, got badly hurt and survived!

    Seriously, I am always amused when I hear that Poland is COLD country...
    Well, it's as cold as - for example - Germany or Danmark. We have all seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter.
    Of course, Yametha, you have the right to say that Poland is cold country. You are from WARM, SUNNY Australia! And I envy you!
    But yes: I know what you mean, because I live in Tatra mountains.
    And you're right. This water should be COLD (like in frobber's "Hallucinations").
    Thank for drawing my attention to this!

    More cons, please!

    Originally posted by Lytha
    You didn't realize that these missions were made for a 64x64x64 contest?
    WOW! If I had 64x64x64 area brush, I would have created chapel two times bigger!
    But Komag only gave me 40x40x40 cube...

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Feb 1999
    Originally posted by bukary
    WOW! If I had 64x64x64 area brush, I would have created chapel two times bigger!
    But Komag only gave me 40x40x40 cube...
    Be kind, my caffeine level was below the minimum when I posted this, and then a "64x64x64" looks just like a "40x40x40"

    I am still amused about this comment though that OCOD is too tiny.

  17. #17
    Sneaky1Kenobi
    Guest
    Wow! First mission for you Bukary? Gulp.....Now I know for sure that I will never publish a fan mission at all. I would be just too embarrassed by my pitiful efforts over the last 2-3 weeks of learning DromEd. I salute you! Cons? What cons? I don't see any cons! None to post from me at least!

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2001
    Location: Marlboro, MA, USA
    I agree that a 64cube looks similar at first glance to a 40cube, but as it turns out when you calculate the volume, the 64cube is actually FOUR TIMES AS BIG! Seriously, you can have FOUR 40cubes to equal the same amount of space, and that was actually one of the space options authors had in Contest 2.
    The Keep for Thief 1 and 2 FMs, Shadowdark for Thief 3 and Dark Mod FMs

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2000
    Location: Oregon
    Originally posted by bukary
    PLEASE, DO POST MORE CONS!
    The only con I can think of is that I haven't had a chance to play it yet!

    I'll give 'er a spin this weekend.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Rhode Island, USA
    I agree with the rest of em', your mission was slamming. So small, yet it took me so long to beat. Praise is what you deserve, but if faults are what you're looking for I can give you a couple...
    TOO SMALL, I know, I know, you were following the contest rules and all, but it's really the only main problem. There were a couple of places where I kept getting stuck (mainly getting into the attick). You did make the mission seem a whole hell of a lot larger then it was though, so while navigation could be tough at times, your size management was very well done.
    The only other problem I had might give a little too much away, so....
    [SPOILER]There was no blackjack!
    I know a blackjack wasn't necessarry, but I spent soooo long trying to sneak by that guard in the attick. Tossing the shovel, then trying to sneak by the bastard's back while avoiding that friggin' glowing spider. Only to pick the chest for a lousy ring, or what ever the hell that goddamn treasure was.
    I was counting on it being a blackjack so I could finally knockout those wandering pricks with there stupid shining lanterns and explore your beautiful level without the fear of being spotted and charged by a sword weilding guard, and having no way to defend myself.
    P.S. I wouldn't of minded a bow with a few arrows either. I grew to really hate those spiders by the end of the mission [SPOILER][SPOILER]
    spoiler:
    There was no blackjack!
    Last edited by Lobster; 17th Aug 2002 at 03:59.

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2002
    Ok, a con from me (although when posting cons I always feel like I'm only picking on a mission, but I don't! OCOD was great!):

    I didn't like being forced to get out of the hatch by stacking crates. I was never able to figure that stacking thing out and having to do it in such a narrow place made it even harder. I was more than once detected by both guards, not because they saw me, but because I made so much noise.

    Otherwise it was a great mission! Somehow the atmosphrere reminded me a bit of T7C, and it felt much bigger than it really was.

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Rhode Island, USA

    Hey Bumbleson.
    I didn't stack the crates, or even open the hatch for that matter, and I still beat the mission.
    I forgot all about that hatch...
    It seems that things could of been a lot easier for me

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: Feb 1999
    There was no blackjack, and the mission was quite ghostable. That was most of the fun and one of the many parts for why I loved the mission..

    How to stack crates *silently*:

    (a) Method 1:
    - first, drop a healing potion&jump. (stacking a healing potion)
    - Now drop the crate&jump - the crate will not make ANY sound when it hits the potion. Ideal to stack crates right behind someone in Thief 2 (in Thief 1, they usually did not care about the noise made by stacking the crates)

    (b) Method 2:
    - crouch.
    - drop the crate&jump (ducking-stacking of the crate). Since the crate has only a short way from your hands while you're crouched, it will barely make a noise. I would *not* do this right behind the back of someone, but it cuts down the noise level a lot



    Concerning the "the mission should've been easier for the newbies"... I don't think so, really. There is nothing wrong with making a mission that requires the player to be already an expert Thief. If the newbie finds the mission too hard, he might return once he is an expert. More than that, this mission might give him the nudge that is needed to make the newbie put in the efford to learn how to stop being a newbie, but instead an expert. Especially if the mission is such a gem as this one. *


    * with "newbie" I don't mean to be insulting at all. Newbie = someone who is new or a bit unexperienced at something. I could have used the word "novice" instead, but in the Thief context, this is so much associated with "hammerite novice" that it would cause wrong ideas.

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: Tatry Mountains, Poland
    Originally posted by Lobster:
    So small, yet it took me so long to beat.
    WOW! You hit the nail on the head! That's what I was aiming for!
    I wanted to make this mission LONGER that it should be considering area size. I achieved this by forcing player to visit the same places twice, use different routes between the same areas and, of course, by setting high (expert) difficulty (AIs' patrol routes, short pick distances for the doors, slippery outside stairs, glowing spiders, tile floor, no blackjack etc).

    There was no blackjack!
    Well, there was a blackjack... in the alpha version of OCOD.
    But some of my great beta-testers reported that this mission is too easy with blackjack.
    Should I 'publish' new version of OCOD with VERY well hidden blackjack (easter egg)?

    I spent soooo long trying to sneak by that guard in the attick. Tossing the shovel, then trying to sneak by the bastard's back while avoiding that friggin' glowing spider. Only to pick the chest for a lousy ring, or what ever the hell that goddamn treasure was.
    Sorry for being such a sadist ("goddamn treasure")! In alpha version there was a blackjack in this chest.
    And as far as the reason of placing the shovel in the attic is concerned, I can say: I did it in purpose! It is very easy to pick the shovel instead ot the belt key and make a lot of noise, isn't it? And that's what I wanted!
    Once again, sorry for ill-treatment, players...

    I wouldn't of minded a bow with a few arrows either.
    Yes, you're absolutely right. And I was considering another entrance to the chapel with use of arrows: via the hole in the chapel roof.
    Now I think it was a good idea. Am I right?

    Originally posted by Bumbleson:
    I didn't like being forced to get out of the hatch...
    Yes. You've got the point. And I already heard this from my beta-testers!
    In alpha version there was no other way out except through the hatch. You couldn't get out by sneaking past the guard in the basement. No way.
    But my beta-tester (thanks, Piorze) "ordered" me to create such a possibility.
    Now you can get out using hatch or try to beat the guard (both require timing).

    ...by stacking crates.
    Thanks, Lytha, for stacking methods!
    It is also possible (but not easy) to get out of the hatch not stacking any crates! Have you tried that?

    Thanks for all the cons! But I need more, more of them...

    Originally posted by Lytha:
    Concerning the "the mission should've been easier for the newbies"... I don't think so, really.
    There is nothing wrong with making a mission that requires the player to be already an expert Thief.
    I agree. I wanted to implement three levels of difficulty (the newbies would have blackjack), but I simply run out of time.

    All those difficulty cons remind me of a day when I sent alpha version of OCOD to Ernie (co-author).
    He was playing OCOD for the first time and simultaneously we were talking on GG (kind of Polish ICQ).
    Every few seconds he was sending me a message: 'O shit!...', 'I got killed!', 'I have to reload!', 'Goddamn spider! It's too bright!', 'They killed me again!', 'I can't get out of this f****** hatch!', 'The edge of the bassin is too high. I can't get out!', 'They heard me again!' and finally 'That's enough! I won't play this. I'll open DromEd and give myself a blackjack!'... And Ernie certainly is expert player.
    You can imagine now what changes I had to make before beta version release! And OCOD is still quite difficult FM.
    Neverthless, it took me more than a week to get rid of some bugs and make gameplay easier.
    And the fact that you can play OCOD is mostly my beta-testers' credit.
    In my first post in this thread I forgot to mention one of them: Silent_Warrior. That's because he beta-tested my mission after sending it to Komag. Sorry, Silent. And thank you!

    MORE CONS, PLEASE...

  25. #25
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Rhode Island, USA
    "Should I 'publish' new version of OCOD with VERY well hidden blackjack (easter egg)?"

    If you do decide to do this I think it should be more than just very well hidden. It should be impossible to obtain until after every objective is complete (except for leaving of course). I think Lytha was right in saying that ghosting the mission had a lot to do with what made it so great. Since the level is so small with so few guards a blackjack early on would easily ruin it. The blackjack shouldn't be a tool to help you beat the mission, but a reward for after it's already completed.
    I mean, those guards went through all that trouble of locking you up and starving you and planning to kill you and what not, a swift crack to the skull is the least you can do to return the favor.

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