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Thread: TDP20AC Mission The Whistling of the Gears (11/30/2018)

  1. #151
    New Member
    Registered: Oct 2006
    i gotta give a hard disagree on dirk n fire's comments....this is why this community has arguments about being critical of fan missions...

    it is evident from each mission's thread AND the contest voting that a significant percentage of experienced thief players found Rose Cottage and Whistling of Gears to be tedious and annoying.

    in scope 'n ambition they are arguably the grandest missions in the entire contest. the atmosfear in Whistling is second to none. incredible. had these mission provided more polished and balanced play, they could have run away with the contest.

    that neither mission made the top 5 was unbelievably telling... and both mission threads have the kind of annoyed, frustrated discussion you rarely see in this forum. that too is telling...

    seeing a couple of authors defend this with shallow, pretentious dismissives like "gameplay preferences of individual players are not the author's responsibility" only highlights the stubborn insularity of a small group of players and authors in this forum... it is sad.

    again, look at contest results and look at the mission threads... the evidence is in plain sight... these missions could have been "best ever" type missions, but they're not.

    the authors and the community would be better served if an exclusive insular few DIDNT excuse and rationalize the failings of missions by people they know well and respect just because they know them well and respect those authors.

  2. #152
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2018
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    I'm not saying anything out of loyalty to FireMage, or snobbish contempt for other players -- I apologise if it came across that way. But I really don't see how an author can cater to everybody. Some players found Whistling of The Gears too convoluted, some players found it easy, some found it just right. I personally found the core objective frustrating, but Melan thought it was perfect. Others think the navigation is dreadful, I found it rewarding.

    This is subjective. What other explanation is there, other than some players are lying or wrong about their experience? I wouldn't dare to claim that players are wrong, but I think we need to be clear about what the author can be blamed for, and what is simply a matter of taste. FireMage seems quite sensitive to faults that can be improved in a patch (e.g. clarity of objectives), but he also seems satisfied that he achieved what he wanted with the level design.

  3. #153
    While opinions can vary from player to player, I think its a bit of a stretch to think that missions like Rose Garden and Whistling of the Gears are not strictly for hardcore Thief players. They are nothing like the OMs and any new or casual player would very likely quit out of frustration and confusion. To say "some find them easy and some find them hard" as if it was some random thing based on individual player taste is, let's be honest here, just not accurate.

    Not that they're bad missions, quite the opposite, they're fantastic. But the appeal is going to be limited to a special group of elite Thief players (maybe 25% of the fanbase?) and that's why they didn't score as well in the contest.

  4. #154
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2018
    Location: Ukraine
    Quote Originally Posted by Brethren View Post
    is going to be limited to a special group of elite Thief players
    Oh, so some players are "elite" and others are just puny taffers who somehow dare to express their primitive unwanted non-elite thoughts about FM?

  5. #155
    DromEd Archmage
    Registered: Nov 2010
    Location: Returned to the eternal labor
    Errr... Elite players? How about no?

    If my mission was really that hard, I don't think the ratings of the mission would have been that high, and the same goes for Melan's Rose Garden:
    the stats document they published at the end of the contest spoke by itself.

    Also, TafferCat, no, it's not a question of deny since if I was denying I would not even accept to see the mistakes about the shards and objectives which is not the case. It's the reason, I've started to create a patch because I listened at the players and these two things has been reported by almost all players. But about difficulty, it's not 25% who enjoyed it like Brethren said, it's more like 60% at worst.
    Still not an absolute majority but according to the comments, the frustration is more due to the things I planned to fix than navigation nor difficulty.

    So I reiterate : there are objective problems and subjective problems. No mission can please everyone as there will always be something that won't 100% satisfy us in a mission even in the legendary ones.

    The maze-like shape of the mission was seen as a rewarding challenge for many players, instead of a limit. Add to that the fact there is almost no AIs in the mission to stop you, sounds is forgiving and shadow spots are numerous, so I think it's not 100% honnest to claim my mission is that hard and frustrating without a clear description.
    I really want to hear it : how is it hard? Because at the moment -and there is no offense in my message- all the ones who said it was too hard to be finished just said "Too hard, I give up" but there are no other arguments. So I have no idea if it's because there is an AI with a bad position, if it's because of something too hard to mantle, etc.

    If you want to convince me on that thing, I want the facts in details not a one-line comment.

  6. #156
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2018
    Location: Ukraine
    Quote Originally Posted by FireMage View Post
    So I have no idea if it's because there is an AI with a bad position, if it's because of something too hard to mantle, etc.
    In my case the main (and, actually, the only) problem was not an exploration (exploration was easy and rather interesting) but returning to places where I've already been. A most painful example is flat with a quarreling couple.
    I haven't found any way to remember routes. Because of constant jumping and mantling, I'm not even sure if I have got to some places in an adequate way. So to find any place I just go along a wall until eventually I found myself near the wanted destination. It is not fun.

  7. #157
    DromEd Archmage
    Registered: Nov 2010
    Location: Returned to the eternal labor
    Ho! So you mean the backtracking ! Yeah, on that point I agree, backtracking is something more annoying than anything else and it's a weak point in my map that I havn't thought at first about since I thought players would rush at the goals first before exploring around. My beta-testers has pointed this out but the damage was done so I unfortunately had to keep it like this. :/
    The patch will change some things about the shards and the map to make it less painful tho!

    For the way to reach a point, you don't have to worry about it, there is no official ways.
    For the quarreling couple, I've got three pathes in mind (I don't count the teleport thingy but there are certainly more ways).

    -From the side street with the Brute with the shrimp voice by climbing the scalfholder with the gears on it in order to reach the vents in the museum.
    -From pipes in a corner in the upper streets nearby the church, these are close to a watertank which receive the porcel vase thrown from the window.
    -From the archer-hobo's place (present in hard and expert) who can be reached from the upper streets with about three simple mantling, or the metal beams above the starting point which can be reached with a rope arrow or mantling on machines.

    Anyway, it's more clear now and I think the best way to counterbalance this shall be a more accurate map with the location coloring so you will see where you are and find your way more easily. Perhaps adding one or two more rope arrow spots to increase the amount of available path? Thank you for your feedback!

  8. #158
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinque Ecclesiae HU
    To put it simply (and I have said as much in my review in more words), I consider Whistling of the Gears one of the finest fan missions made for Thief. It is visionary, complex, and very well made. It is also intentional (this is something it shares with Rose Garden, on which I will not otherwise be the judge). That is, it is not a botched attempt at making a fan mission, it is a successful one at making a particular experience. It has a purpose.

    Is it a challenging fan mission? Yes, very much so! It is a full-length experience with a lot of difficult situations. It needs skill and patience to succeed at, but if you make an effort to play it, you will find that it is fair, and does not pull arbitrary bullshit. I believe that there is room for similar Thief missions, just like there is room for more casual experiences. I will mention two reasons here.
    1) It is not 2001 anymore. We have been playing Thief for over 20 years now. We have gotten fairly good at it. (No judgement of character there - I started barely scraping by in OMs on Normal, I sucked at FPS games so bad!) It is fine to make a mission with a higher difficulty level.
    2) Sometimes, we play games to occupy ourselves, or for comfort. But sometimes, it is satisfying to play something that pushes us, where victories are earned and take effort. Whistling is one of these missions, and I can compare the experience with the Calendra FMs - they are above OM and baseline FM difficulty, and they are big. But when you complete them, it is an experience. Whistling is one such mission. It takes a dedicated effort to finish, and gives you a nice sense of satisfaction when you're done - not to mention the sense of mystery and depth it has. I can't help but guess a lot of bad experiences stem from trying to treat it as a much shorter mission (which, arguably, most contest missions are).

  9. #159
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2001
    Location: OldDark Detox Clinic
    Man, just the way Melan worded that last post has me curious to play this FM.....

    Gotta get TDP installed......

  10. #160
    Member
    Registered: May 2005
    Lost Among The Forsaken, also from TDP20AC, is an example of a challenging mission that features a very complex map, requires skill and patience to succeed at, and feels like an accomplishment when you complete it. It is similar in complexity and difficulty level to The Whistling Of The Gears, but got much higher ratings. It even came very close to winning the contest. Why?

    My feeling is, it was better received because DrK, the author of Lost Among The Forsaken, avoided the #1 pitfall of Thief fan missions: putting a mission-critical object hidden at an arbitrary, easy-to-miss location, with insufficient hints for the player on where to find it. I tried hard to finish The Whistling of the Gears without hints, but got to a point where I had no idea where to go next, and after one or two hours of searching every nook and cranny, the fun I initially had exploring turned into frustration. As usual, at a certain point I decided to stop, went to the forums and started looking for hints.

    Every time I have to do this for a mission, I feel defeated. When I then read on the forums have failed to look up at a specific spot in a very large map or missed a tiny switch hidden on the underside of a table in a dark room, I feel disappointed with myself. But I also start to hate the author a tiny bit.

    There is a subset of the community who perceive "mission-critical object hidden at an arbitrary, easy-to-miss location" as a welcome challenge. I personally don't. I would prefer authors would limit something like this to the Hard or Expert difficulty levels.

  11. #161
    DromEd Archmage
    Registered: Nov 2010
    Location: Returned to the eternal labor
    I don't know what mission you are talking about... but my mission is not a very large map and has no tiny switch hidden under a table in a dark room...
    There are two secret switches only and they have their normal size and are in bright light... And they are also optionnal since their only purpose is extra-loot...and if you played the mission, you know that completing the loot goal, even in expert, is very easy almost reproached sometimes.

    About the goals-related items, the hidden ones's location are mentionned in readables, there's only the secret document which can be missed if you just pass and don't really pay attention but it's an expert only goal so I think it's obvious this one requires more attention from the player, a bit like the items to find in Forsaken : you don't pay attention, you miss.

    Shards are the only ones you need in Normal and they are exposed, you just have to explore until you see them.

    Anyway :
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...#gid=527395352

    I base most of my thought from this document and as you will see, if some missions like Forsaken pleased everyone, it's not because my mission was overall worse, it's because Forsaken was better and convinced most of players while mine didn't enjoyed a minority who didn't found in Whistling the kind of challenges and gameplay they were looking for... or were just annoyed by the things I already mentionned in this thread and planned to fix.

    So, Username, if you want to point something wrong with my mission, please, give me what I want : facts.

    Philosophy, feelings toward fms in general or what others did won't make me a better mapper because all of these have absolutely nothing related to my work.
    If something was too hard to find, I want a name and an accurate one so I'll know what you're talking about and know if it was a good idea or not in my further project.

  12. #162
    Member
    Registered: May 2005
    I already did. Go back to page 5 of this thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Username View Post
    I enjoyed The Whistling of the Gears up until the core explosion. Searching the whole map to find the four core parts randomly scattered around was the most frustrating thing in the whole contest.

  13. #163
    DromEd Archmage
    Registered: Nov 2010
    Location: Returned to the eternal labor
    Oh ! That !
    It's not an easy-miss thing then ! Just a little help to know where to go !
    Well, in that case wait for the end of T2 Contest and let me a few weeks, this is one the things many asked for and that the patch will fix !
    The location of the shards will be shown on the map and Garrett will notice you to check it !

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