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Thread: Thief Revisited: Lord Bafford's Manor

  1. #1
    New Member
    Registered: Mar 2012

    Thief Revisited: Lord Bafford's Manor

    Been a few good years since I played Thief Gold in its entirety, so decided to give it another shot. This time around I'm in no hurry - if I'm in the mood, I'm willing to explore vast maps for a couple of hours, looking for loot, checking if memory serves me well. It's a relaxed playthrough, and I'd like to share some observations. Not hating, not adoring, halfway between sober and sentimental.

    Since it's not a proper review, I'll present it as a list.

    1. It wasn't my first Thief mission, historically; started with Running Interference, a long time ago. That must be part of the reason I've never been particularly impressed with Bafford's. I think the biggest drawback is very strange layout of the residence. It looks as if 80% of the area consists of halls, corridors, staircases and foyers. Tiny mezzanines between 1st and 2nd floor are the weirdest: I don't know what's the purpose, it's usually a chair, table and a bookshelf or two; a huge waste of space really. Some of them have a small amount of loot, but that's it really. It seems that 10+ guards are patrolling a dozen of empty rooms, and one might ask a question: where are all the bedrooms, where is a dining hall, a ballroom, a cloak room, a study? I think it leaves too much for our imagination to fill.

    2. On the other hand, the first level already has signs of good things to come. Guards talk about the bear pits (one of all time faves), drunk Benny near the well, a small portion of streets and sewers with not-so-obvious loot, love all of it. I also like the secret passage leading to Bafford's throne room, and that small counting cell in the basement, really nifty stuff. Interesting, hard to reach places, alternative ways and readables are always welcome, so there is a couple of things to like here.

    3. Looking at my latest mission ranking (~2015), Lord Bafford's Manor is losing some of its appeal, but I agree with consensus: we can't expect too much from introductory missions. They need to be easy to explore, not complex, but full of atmosphere... and that's where Bafford succeeds. It ranks below average for Thief TDP/Gold, but it's hard to dislike, and I see where the sentiments come from.

    Grade: C
    (Tiers: S / A / B / C / D / F)

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Lost in the BSP...
    Interesting.. I know what you're referring to, about it being the first mission. The devs kinda felt like they had to take it fairly easy on us? Other than the Demo mission for Thief Gold, there wasn't much of a "learning period" for the player. They're just thrown into the mix and expected to sink or swim. It's fairly obvious even in T2 with Running Interference, with a super-simple layout designed with tons of hiding places, enough to explore, but nothing crazy tricky with multiple guards covering each other. In RI, they're so spread out and there are long dark hallways with lots of opportunity to sneak up on them from behind, or lie in wait for them to pass your hiding spot, and then konk them over the head. Simple patrol routes that are quickly and easily learned. But in the next mission, things really ramp up with Shipping & Receiving, with all those locked areas and keys...

    Bafford's was sorta like that, but I don't remember a lot of it either, it's been too many years. I seem to remember it being quite a bit tougher than Running Interference, though, with all the tiled floors and twisty turny passages that, like you said, just seem to be there for the sake of being there, logic be damned.

  3. #3
    New Member
    Registered: Jan 2015
    The maps comprised of corridors and empty rooms are a recurring theme even in T2: Take First City Bank and Trust. The upper floor is almost entirely long winding corridors that don't particularly lead anywhere, but a few purposeless rooms and the director's office. The truth is, real, logical buildings rarely make for good stealth environments. Real buildings tend to be boxy, quick and easy to navigate, and sadly devoid of conveniently dark corners. I've found this myself when I tried recreating some real historic buildings in Dromed from floorplans. They tend not to be hugely interesting, unless you start adding artificial barriers and obstacles to make them more challenging.

    But even so, I think it should be possible to make winding, chaotic buildings that are suitable for stealth, while still at least looking like humans might logically live there, and Thief sometimes doesn't quite meet that standard - but it's a very small gripe in an otherwise wonderful series of games.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: College Place, WA
    A couple of fun things about Bafford's; Most of the level is created inside of a large fill air brush. But the SE corner is filled back in with solid, and the the streets are hollowed out with air brushes again. There are also a lot of solid brushes placed throughout the city portion and above the manor to reduce poly and cell counts. The manor itself is made out of fill solid brushes, but all of the inside is then hollowed out, so if you walked inside, it would be one large open space, like a sports gymnasium. Portions of a floor are then filled back in with solid, and from this solid, have rooms and hallways carved out of them. It also means that there are large sections of open areas between the playable areas you can never get to. You can view SOME of that area through the secret passage from the courtyard to the throne room foyer. There are even some remnants of a 3rd floor that was either never created, or cut from the mission.

    Here's an old video I did, of Bafford's with all of the fill solid brushes in the city portion removed:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNbZ...ature=youtu.be

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2016
    Location: Strawberry Fields
    I think it's a 10/10 mission and easily the best introductory mission in the series as it holds up to the very best missions. I think it's flawless, but that's just me

  6. #6
    New Member
    Registered: Mar 2012
    I agree that Bafford is a bit more tricky than Interference. Honestly, I'm so thankful these games exist that I only complain about D grade (or worse) missions. With that said, Bafford is okay-ish, I can play that once in a blue moon and I know I'll revisit it again in the future.

    Quote Originally Posted by AntiMatter_16 View Post
    A couple of fun things about Bafford's; Most of the level is created inside of a large fill air brush. But the SE corner is filled back in with solid, and the the streets are hollowed out with air brushes again. There are also a lot of solid brushes placed throughout the city portion and above the manor to reduce poly and cell counts. The manor itself is made out of fill solid brushes, but all of the inside is then hollowed out, so if you walked inside, it would be one large open space, like a sports gymnasium. Portions of a floor are then filled back in with solid, and from this solid, have rooms and hallways carved out of them. It also means that there are large sections of open areas between the playable areas you can never get to. You can view SOME of that area through the secret passage from the courtyard to the throne room foyer. There are even some remnants of a 3rd floor that was either never created, or cut from the mission.

    Here's an old video I did, of Bafford's with all of the fill solid brushes in the city portion removed:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNbZ...ature=youtu.be
    Didn't know about the third floor. That might've been fun - I imagine only the closest relatives of Lord Bafford could enter there. Potential for really high-end interiors.

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