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Thread: Reloaded 2 Contest - Final Tally & Results - Update: Voter comments added

  1. #26
    Registered: Sep 2003
    Location: Cambridgeshire UK
    I reckon a realistic deadline should be set when the rules are initially agreed and then it should be adhered to. Extensions to deadlines are becoming too frequent imho.

    In this contest several of the authors over-estimated what they could achieve in the time available. Despite an extension to the deadline one mission didn't make it at all and another was subject to some game-breaking bugs. (Both those missions have the potential to be very good indeed when the problems are all sorted.)

    With reloaded missions the vast majority of building work is already complete so the authors have time to make more puzzles etc, and also make them more complicated; this increases the chances of unforeseen bugs cropping up during testing. A firm deadline would curb this over-complication to some extent.

    Perhaps, when the contestants declare themselves, ask what timeline they think they require, then take the longest and add 50%. Then stick to that deadline.

    btw, Haplo should possibly be awarded bonus points for producing an excellent mission with no serious bugs within the original time limit.

  2. #27
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: Kent, UK

    thief 2 mug

    Brethren won, totaly fixed :P, he could not win a spot the Brethren compo if he looked in a mirror .

    Well if you PM your address ill post a thief 2 mug to ya.

  3. #28
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    OK, no one asked, but I'll give you my opinion on the contest anyway.

    It's impossible to objectively judge your own mission, but that aside, I thought Pestis Cruenta was the best mission of the four entries, and deserved to win. Both Pestis and Dire were top notch, and both were virtually error free and had great stories and some nice scripting, but I found Pestis to be slightly more interesting. It could have gone either way, but in the end I thought that TDS City was a better base level (I may be a bit biased here!), and I've never been a fan of Running Interference. I know, I know, that was the point, to put a new twist on an old level, but still. Haplo did a great job with improving the looks of an already impressive TDS City, and then added a pretty unique story and some cool vator/flashback sequences, and overall just felt very polished. And it was eerie and a bit scary and had some cool puzzles, and I love that.

    Both my mission and FireMage's had their issues, no doubt about it. Hopefully we can both go back and come up with revised versions so that everyone can get a chance to finish them. That said, I really appreciate everyone who voted for my mission anyway, and maybe that says something (or maybe not!). I'm also very interested in Xorak's and Yandros' missions that didn't make the deadline, hopefully we'll see them soon.

    Seems like everyone is in favor of the abandoned/unfinished level contest - lots of possibilities there. I kind of had made up my mind that this would be the last contest I would host, but I might be tempted by this idea. Summer is pretty much a loss and people disappear, but maybe in the fall we could get something going. If someone else wants to do it sooner though, go for it.

  4. #29
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: Wales
    I'd love to see an unfinished/abandoned mission contest because it'd be great to have these missions see the light of day, but how/what would the contest be based on. We don't know what the missions are like so what would we judge them on?

  5. #30
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    It wouldn't be a reloaded contest, it would just be a regular old contest. Best mission wins, as simple as that. I like the idea of simplifying voting too, as several people mentioned. Maybe the best way is to just discard the categories, which are a bit limiting because a mission may shine in an area that isn't an official category. Ranking missions in order of overall excellence sounds best (and easiest).

    Edit: It's be cool too for an "abandoned" contest if the player could see the state of the mission as it was when it was originally abandoned, then they can compare it to the "finished" version. I suppose this could be done via camvator, or maybe a youtube vid.

  6. #31
    Registered: May 2009
    Location: Germany
    Quote Originally Posted by nickie View Post
    I'd love to see an unfinished/abandoned mission contest because it'd be great to have these missions see the light of day, but how/what would the contest be based on. We don't know what the missions are like so what would we judge them on?
    Good point. Since many abandoned missions would not even run from DarkLoader, I guess the authors would be obliged to add representative screenshots of the original state of the mission and some statement what was existing already (map complete but all textures still missing, architecture complete but no AI and furniture yet, ...) and what was added by them.

  7. #32
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: Wales
    Define regular old contest.

    Seems to me that most, if not all, contests have had a theme of some description.

    Edit. Seems also like there's been editing/posting going on.

  8. #33
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Well, here's basically two ways you could go:

    1) Regular old contest - People vote on which mission is the best. Simple as that. How they got there and how much they transformed the original abandoned mission is irrelevant.

    2) Contest based on transformation - We could have "before" and "after" pics and/or vids showing how much the level changed from it's "abandoned" state to its "finished" state. Voting could be strictly based on that criteria.

  9. #34
    Registered: Jan 2007
    Location: Germany
    I would prefer option #1 as I don't see any reason why "many changes to an unfinished level" should be scored higher than "making an interesting mission based on an unfinished level".

    But I've got a simple idea to illustrate the before/after states of each mission:
    You can place a starting point etc. in every abandoned mission and get them DarkLoade-ready, once every author decided for a mission. So every player has to chance to walk through the original abandoned level.

  10. #35
    DromEd Archmage
    Registered: Nov 2010
    Location: Returned to the eternal labor
    Better, take the two options.
    The basical criteria + The transformation's quality

    Hum, about abandonned missions, could I submit mission in a phase of simple base, little, with texture and AIs: Few rooms, streets with a total of 35 brushes?
    Could I publish abandonned missions because of a "too many bugs"?

  11. #36
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    There would need to be some guidelines worked out for sure, maybe a minimum brush count, or using something from the existing abandoned archive at Weary Taffer, or something else publicly available (like the T2 Gold missions) to everyone, something like that. Otherwise anyone could just start from scratch, defeating the entire purpose of the contest.

  12. #37
    Master Builder 2018
    Registered: Jul 2008
    Are you going to be posting comments from voters? I'm curious to see what others thought of the missions.

  13. #38
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Siberia, Russia
    Congratulations Brethren and to all contestants!

  14. #39
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Quote Originally Posted by Tannar View Post
    Are you going to be posting comments from voters? I'm curious to see what others thought of the missions.
    Yep, and there are quite a few comments, more than last contest. But unfortunately I'm going out of town tonight after work, so I won't be able to get around to it until I get back on Monday. Sorry bout that.

  15. #40
    Registered: Jan 2007
    Location: Germany
    Do you mind if we post our own comments and remarks we sent to you?

  16. #41
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Actually, hold up on that if you don't mind, I'd kind of like to put all comments together on a per mission basis, that seemed to work well last time. I may take a shot at doing it sometime over the weekend if I have internet access where I'm going. Otherwise, I'll shoot for Monday for sure.

  17. #42
    Registered: Jan 2007
    Location: Germany
    Ok, that's fine with me.

  18. #43
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Museum of the Ancients
    Well done to all the participants and congratulations Brethren with the first place Judging by the scores, it seems like all four are a bunch of good solid missions to try out.

    I didn't had the time to play or vote any of the entries, but I'm glad this contest was a success, gathering a large number of votes. I too hope that the yet unreleased entries of Xorak and Yandros get finished, as I really admired their work in progress screens .

  19. #44
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    congrats to all

    would love to see a contest remaking "the cradle"from thief 3 in a thief 2 fan mission" ofcourse in the person's own style

  20. #45
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    OK, here are all the comments from voters - quite a few this time. Sorry for the delay, it just took a little time to put it all together. I didn't bother correcting any spelling/grammatical errors - since everything is anonymous that shouldn't be a big deal. I also left any reference to scores out of the comments, and just kept the text. I'm not exactly sure why I did this, but once I started, I figured I'd just leave it that way.

    So, here goes...! I did my best to include everything that was submitted to me.

  21. #46
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Voter comments for Bad Hangover, by Brethren:

    I started it on expert (Lots) because I always do even though there was a warning And I must say it's very hard to go through all of this zombies alive. A strategy to take them down by sword and avoid isn't a bad idea, but because of this bug(?) when after loading saved game they're floating around and changing positions it was a bit annoying (I checked readme file). So I've switched to hard and managed to finish this mission. And it was freakin' enjoyable in all ways Fantastic light effect (storm), and sound, great overall quality. I must confess I created shielded explosive before I found "recipe" for it, maybe because I like testing everything :P
    Overall very good, even though I was not able to finish it due to an NVScript problem.
    Would be pleased to see an updated version, where some bugs (endless food, money, see thread; if they are bugs) are fixed and ways out of the level will be blocked. These two points lead to one malus in category 1.
    Great. But a bit too difficult.
    Objects was very hard to find, but it is original.
    The mission I liked best was Bad Hangover. It was a little bit buggy, but kept me engrossed all through.
    This mission is exceptionally well done. The author used the city map to great effect and provided interesting and innovative avenues of gameplay. There were clever puzzles to solve and numerous items to find and the hunt was challenging and fun for the most part. If there was a fault at all in this respect it was the amount of running back and forth that was required to acquire necessary items. But this wasn't terribly overdone. There were a lot of undead, especially on Expert, but Brethren provided some clever means to deal with them if that was your choice. The story is well conceived and executed and the gameplay was story-driven for the most part. One of the more fun undead missions I've played. I suppose the most telling comment I can make is that I spent over 5 hours in-game and still didn't find and do all there was to find and do. And I'm looking forward to going back in and exploring some more.*
    The overall story was not that original in a direct comparison to Pestis Cruenta. However, it was equally well told by diaries and other readables. I liked all the minor sub-stories going on in the city which made the place very believable. One point which really stood out in this mission was the way how the technology in the city was intertwined in the story, e.g. the electrical network or the steam tunnels. What I really liked about the mission was its beginning and ending.

    In this FM the city really looked like how I would imagine an outbreak of undeads. All the debris, raging fires, and bodies created tense feeling. Some kind of tense ambient music playing in the background might have helped to increase the feeling that something very bad is happening in the city. Although the visual effects were just perfect, some of them could have been much better when combined with proper ambients, e.g. I was expecting more sounds of screams or fires. Also, there are some places where some of the original sounds from TDS have not been removed, e.g. some kind of happy talking/gossip and other distant city sounds which didn't fit with the undead plague setting.

    I really liked the start of the mission. It was just like in the movie "The Hangover": the whole apartment destroyed, your best friend missing, and no clue what has happened at all. The mission also featured a lot of new ideas, i.e. the gates and the use of electricity or the player being able to manufacture his own weapons. The use of lockpicks and complex locks was also different compared to most other FMs. Only the overall atmosphere and setting were a bit too similar to the common "mysterious-undead-outbreak-stories".
    What I liked about this mission is that he gave the player the tools to deal with situation. I thought he food hunt was hardest thing to complete. Finally getting to a bunch of fire arrows giving me the tools to clear out the area was a rewarding relief. Clues made sense. The food hunt was silly. The lightning frequency was too much.*
    This was a great mission, I loved the linearity of it (had to figure out a way to break thru to Stonebridge - then had to figure out a way to break thru to the Docks) and the add-ons (new lockpick system, blowing up the debris to open a corridor, fire area to get to the docks). That said, this mission was a little too much of the "solve the puzzle" type (especially the code to overpower a gate) and the plot felt to me like "oh, the zombies have taken over the town, I must join the ship and escape, I'm not sure why".
    Also, the large number of zombies made it a little harder (I'm sure that was intentional).
    Wonderfully built-up from the original, with a well thought-out story, many clever effects / uses of objects (e.g. zombies temporarily blinded by lightning, the tunnel clearing, blue-coat zombies), loads of relevant detail & the need to thoroughly explore. Some very good ‘touches’ – the aloof Keeper, the Eye in the pawnshop, lock puzzles that had a good reason to exist (& restored my faith in Garrett’s abilities with “thief-proof” devices) , the mysterious ex-Admiral & even ‘setting off’ at the end.

    Really appreciated the many different-looking - & even different-sounding - zombies, the various ways of thinning out the huge numbers of them (forcing the player to plan the best approach to a problem) & the convincing storm effect – even if it got too frequent at times. However, the large number of tasks & the thorough hiding of some things enforced lots of pixel-hunting & made the mission almost too hard. And maybe a bit lean on sound effects overall.

    A zombie takeover of a town isn’t particularly new, but the combination of bleak, threatening atmosphere & practical objectives by which Garrett would not just get away from there but reach somewhere safe was well-done & increased immersion. Excellent readables, well-placed clues & some nice sub-plots rounded it out.
    Overall Originality: First of all, I love love LOOOOOOVE the idea of throwing an army of zombies into a city level and just giving the player the goal of surviving somehow. It's EXACTLY what I want from a setup. However, if I were to look at it as a serious critic with credentials and a monocle, there's not much to the idea of this mission besides "zombies attack", so I can't give it TOO high of a score. It gets an 11/10 in my heart though.

    Audio/visual enhancements: It looks so good. SO FREAKING GOOD. The original looked great, but this adds this stormy hopeless atmosphere that's just palpable throughout. Yeah, I climbed outside of the level maybe one too many times, but it looked so good I can't even knock it for that.

    Story/plot/narrative quality: Again, zombies attack is basically the story. I have to give extra points though for how well presented this simple storyline was. The readables were excellent; extremely literate and presented the steadily building dread in the various citizens flawlessly. An example of a simple concept pulled off perfectly.
    Difficult to make a decision between the three which were playable. All were*
    really good but I gave Bad Hangover extra points to reflect that I found it the most fun.
    My frustration with this mission was that it would freeze and crash my computer and did so repeatedly. Also, some of the plot points were a bit heavy handed or overly complex.
    Awesome all about. It's full of zombies! I realised quickly that I won't be sneaking this one, since it's nigh impossible. So for some glorious zombie destruction this is a great mission, but it's also great for some puzzle solving. Multiple times did I have the nice feeling of figuring sometihng out by myself, though sometimes I also couldn't figure something out. That was the annoying part about it, due to some lack of hints and a proper map. I just couldn't find a certain place or two described.

    Loved the story told by the visuals (architecture, dead bodies, even the weather in an atmospheric sense) and readables (containing both flavour and hints). The character and the whole place felt real and I actually felt the emotion of empathy for some of the characters and the whole situation in general.

    Overall Originality - (Interesting puzzles like the voltage one in the beginning gave the map a different vibe, and on the story factor it was shocking that the city was actually overrun by undead made the whole place harder to recognize as the old City.)

    Visual/Audio enhancements - (The thunderstorm and chaos really did it for me, but I found the thunder ringing a bit too often and too easy to climb out of maps to ruin some immersion, but those are fairly minor things.)

    Story/narrative - (Really, the way this story was told was great. It got me emotionally invested and that's something.)
    This mission has very good design - due to all the puzzles set before you, but perhaps relies a bit too much on having to read a lot to be able to work out what to do and where to go next. Also very high levels of interactivity, the bucket of water to put out the fire, etc, but perhaps needs more indicators that certain things are interactive like the lifting of the gate to get to Stonemarket (i know this may not have been possible in DromEd and also time constraint to submit FM in time), i frobbed it by accident. Also right at the start i found the mission quite hard, usually missions increase in hardness over time, but this threw you in at the deep end, but once i got going i did really enjoy the mission.

    I noticed new textures used, new weapons, so points to that.
    Pros: First time I'd seen T2 "TDS City" by Child Of Karras - loved this. Engaging story/plot.
    Cons: Undead. Don't care for undead missions - personal preference.
    Brilliant first(?) FM from Brethren - ticked many boxes. Didn't see any build time stats but quite an ambitious mission for a contest entry - very nicely done.
    Bad Hangover had interesting new equipment and challenging gameplay (good) coupled with too much back and forth travelling (bad).
    I found this to be an excellent mission in many ways. The storyline was creative and interesting and for the most part it was fun to play. Things like the flaming barrier to the docks were very creative and added a lot to the mission. The one drawback for me was not enough information was provided for me to figure out what to do and where to go without repeatedly asking for help. A more detailed map would probably have made a difference as well as having more of the important readables go into inventory.
    Quite a difficult mission, but very well done! I liked that the zombies are blinded by the flash of the thunderbolt.

    A bug: after a while some thunderbolts are *static* (after save/reload ?) and I ran into a lucky incident: The zombies were gathering in front of the place where you get to Stonemarket. There, they obviously got attrackted by the static thunderbolt and did explode one after each other if they got too close to it.

  22. #47
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Voter comments for A Dire Return, by intruder:

    One word - AMAZING. I played (on expert level) this mission twice already. I love that girl's voice haha Great cliffhanger at the end of the mission. I was stunned but I think it could last a little longer when everything was on fire because she says run and you run to the end... of the mission. I'm compaining I know :P Superb work! Maybe this story could be somehow continued? Oh, and seriously this map was extended very well in comparison to orginal one.
    Another good mission.
    Oh nostalgie :-) My very first step into Thief world. Good story! :-)
    These dromed's deluxe's skeletons get on my nerves, to many times used. Very Odd story
    I quite liked A Dire Return, but it was the smallest of the four and the gameplay seemed a little humdrum.
    This mission is a lot of fun! The remake of the Rumford manor is very well executed and fits very well with the new story. I liked that fact that intruder kept the original textures and maintained the OM feel of the manor. This adds a lot in terms of nostalgia. And the original textures and architecture coupled with his renovations make it simultaneously familiar and a new experience. The story itself is well thought out and well told and it is fun trying to find out what happened. The only real criticism I have is that I think the mission could have been improved by somewhat shorter conversations and interactions with*the ghost.*The special effects are well done and add to the ambience and gameplay in realistic ways. The ambience was quite scary and thrilling and the ending sequence has to be one of the best I've ever seen. All in all, an exceptionally well done mission!
    Originality - The burning building finish was original.
    Audio Video - The burning building in the end worked well. The girls pleas were good.

    Story/Plot - It has been done before.
    This was an awesome mission. This was just about right in terms of puzzle solving vs. exploration. The plot was absolutely scary (an intelligent house that wants to keep you in its clutches) and the ending was very scary! I wish Garrett was given a way to destroy (or at least make non-sentient) the house permanently rather than simply escape, but it's still great. Awesome plot, and nice use of the ghost to provide hints!
    In some ways it didn’t seem like this built all that much on the OM. The “Deceptive Perceptions” effects & magic maze were great & access to the upper floors (although somewhat repetitive) was a good addition, but the lowest 2 floors & the outdoors seemed barely touched – a few hidden areas or a smashed-up, blood-stained, locked off room (warning us of bad things here) would have added much.

    The poltergeist activities gave many surprises, & a few genuine shocks, whilst the ghostly ambient was a great choice – although more occasional use would have been better. Still, that incredible ending made up considerable ground.

    I thought the narrative let it down a bit: hints of strange sounds & servants too scared to go into the new parts, plus references to the nobleman creeping everyone out seemed to come to nothing, ultimately. The new area was just a big dome (albeit with a lovely fountain) & the one who brought the curse back was just another noble walking around. Also, the idea that a big mansion in the city burnt to the ground every night, but was intact again the following day - with nobody apparently noticing this – stretched credibility too far.
    Overall Originality: Though it wears it's "Robbing the Cradle" influence on its sleeves (to the point where some objectives are nearly identical), the idea of turning the ultra dull "Running Interference" into a thrill-ride horror mission was bold and extremely clever.

    Audio/visual enhancements: The original areas weren't touched up*too*much, but a lot was added, and it looks fantastic. Just the fact that you can walk completely around the mansion now is impressive, but the entirely new 3rd floor, terrifying well area, and crazy haunted hedge-maze-of-death all make this a vast improvement on the original design. Also, the poltergeist activity was so very entertaining (even if I did wish they would shut up every now and then).

    Story/plot/narrative quality: Maybe a few too many exact plot points from "Robbing the Cradle" found their way in here, but I can appreciate a good homage. The plot kept me hooked, though I have to say, I wish all hell had broken loose a bit earlier than the final two minutes (though when it does, it's predictably awesome).
    A fun mission that had surprising twists. A bit tedious at times, though.
    I thought the game play was a little lacking.
    Epic. Who would've thought that the casual slightly spooky Rumford'd Manor could actually be transformed to such a deeply mystical story. The whole thing may have raised more questions than answer, but that's just the style this mission is in. Some of the rooms may have been a little emptier than I'd like and a key may have been hard to find but the overall quality of this mission is just inspiring. The thunder adding to gameplay, casual tools becoming useful, nicely scripted scary things and more. Loved it.

    Overall Originality - it was there

    Audio/visual enhancements - (Thank thee glorious dome)

    Story/narrative quality - (flawless, I say!)
    Very good atmosphere in this mission, you feel like something bad is going to happen to you and for most of the mission, nothing really bad happens, but then at the end, bam! and suddenly you i find myself in hell and panicking because i am not sure how to escape. I can tell the author loves the dramatic as evidenced by the ending.
    The story adds to the creepiness, also that constant voice wherever you go in the mansion, really creeped me out.
    Pros: Highly enjoyable. Revisited a TMA mission I know well but with some interesting changes. Ending to die for (literally).

    Cons: Key to main dome took some hunting for me. Death By Books (or is that a pro?).
    Great to see a new take on the first TMA mission! Nice sinister atmosphere.
    A Dire Return did an excellent job of spicing up an old level.
    I really enjoyed the creepy music and all those little things happening when you enter some of the rooms.

    The final scene was epic, but maybe a little short - compared to the game it was inspired from.*

    The only thing I could imagine to improve would be that the music should not be so creepy at the beginning already. Instead it should turn darker and creepier as you find out more of the dirty secrets here.

  23. #48
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Voter comments for The Overlord's Ending, by FireMage:

    I must say that choosing between two characters at start of teh mission was great idea. I love when there is something unusual in FMs. It reminds me of playing mission where you were able to switch between Garrett and the other thief through whole mission to be able to complete (cant remember title though). Map is huge which for me it's not always an advantage, although I knew that mission from orginal Thief so it was fun There are many characters, sometimes it was little bit crowded there when they started to fight and you can also get stuck in narrow passageways. On a whole, this mission for me is little bit chaotic. It took me a while to figure out everything in the beginning, having all this guards on my back (as a thief). Played on expert.
    Overall it was ok mission and was nothing similar to the other 3 three FM’s.
    Good idear. :-) But it doesn't work. There are multible ways to corrupt this mission. Tried to complete 2 times on each selection. Onlt succeeded ones. :-( And the votes will have to show that. :-(
    I spent a long time trying to finish Overlord's Ending, but keep getting thwarted by bugs and the direness of the chosen map, so eventually it a day. Also, I wasn't too keen on the fact that I had to use my sword a lot in order to make progress at a reasonable rate. There was a lot of work put into the mission, but I can't score it higher than I did.
    There were a few minor bugs and I think the mission would have benefited from some beta testing by experienced testers. It would also have benefited from a few more clues as to how to proceed. It is difficult to find your way around the map and even more difficult to figure out where to go and what to do next. A few texts with some clear info would have helped. But overall it was an impressive endeavor and the author provided two very different experiences by allowing the player to choose whether to play as a cop or a thief. This also adds greatly to the replayability of the mission. This is a huge undertaking if for no other reason than the sheer size of the map but the author did a very good job of creating a new and unique experience and the mission is much more fun than the OM was. There were also some clever additions which made the experience more rich and rewarding. All in all, a solid achievement.
    The never ending battle between the thieves of the city and the city watch is not that original and surprising. On the other hand, the cutscenes and readables allowed the story to unfold in a convincing way. I was a bit disappointed when playing as a guard that the mission consisted of nothing else but having to kill thieves. I would rather have played as some kind of special agent sealing off all escape routes of the thieves or really having to arrest thieves. At first I expected some kind of additional reward for every thief captured alive...

    I'm getting into some kind of conflict concerning the sound in this mission. On the one hand there are interesting and well-designed conversations and cutscenes throughout the entire mission, on the other hand there are many problems with ambient sounds and the overall sound propagation. Some music had way too much noise in it (e.g. the one playing after entering Reuben's mansion), other music was too loud. A lot of ambient music also lacked a fluent transition from one track to the other, especially when moving between certain areas. I don't recall the original mission that good, but it seemed to me that the overall appearance of the Thieves' Guild hasn't changed much. Thus there's nothing to blame regarding the visuals of the mission.

    While playing as a Thief is not really new, playing as a guard is. The different objectives made the mission really interesting and fun to play.
    Originality - Original enough I suppose, Was it a Thief game or a shooter?

    Audio/Video - Okay I never got past the crash bugs.

    Story/Plot - It doesn't work for a Thief game.*
    A huge area to explore (you tell me these are Thief Gold missions, I believe you, even though I've previously played Thief Gold, I've naturally forgotten all the OMs so it might as well be new to me). Certainly a good attempt, and when I got it to work, it worked beautifully, but rather buggy, unfortunately. (This is the dark side of contests with deadlines, I'm sure the author can fix the bugs given enough time.) Also, the idea of a big battle between different groups has been done in other FMs, so that's why I didn't give it the highest marks for plot or originality.
    After some thought, I don’t feel it would be appropriate for me to vote on this one – having never played Thieves’ Guild, I have no way to make any comparison. But just one comment -
    I think it’s a shame the author apparently felt it was more important to rush this out by the deadline than to do much more to fully beta-test it & at least get rid of the most serious bugs (crashes, objective failures the player had no control over), as, apparently, Xorak & Yandros’ Team are doing. Had it not been a contest entry, I feel sure most people would have wanted it withdrawn & fixed before re-releasing it.
    Overall Originality: I wish more originality went into actually changing the design of the level itself (maybe just because I think I'd enjoy a century or so in pergatory more than the design of "Thieve's Guild"), but the "choose your own adventure" style was pretty damn clever. I like every now and then being on the right side of the law.*

    Audio/visual enhancements: It's "Thieve's Guild" and it looks like "Thieve's Guild". Ugh. The new conversations were entertaining though, something about my character's accent made me feel like an insta-badass.

    Story/plot/narrative quality: Pretty much either- "You're a guard, kill thieves!" or "You're a thief, kill guards!". Still, I did like the way the story was presented. Moments where you would chase a thief through a foggy tunnel while dodging arrows, or report to your commander, or watch a target escape on a row boat were cool as hell.
    Unfortunately Overlord's Ending was too buggy and I got lost too often. I don't like arbitrary timed things where I fail the mission because I didn't know that. Like the last contest mission, I wish this had had more testing by a wider group of people because I would have really enjoyed it I think.*
    I got bored near the beginning. I"m not a fan of fan missions that have me as someone other than Garrett. If you're going to go in that direction it better be really really good. Too often I had to search the forum thread for hints. Too much of that and you lose the immersion aspect. I did not complete this mission.
    This was such a wacky mission. Quake meets Thief, or something like that! It had moving doorhandles, that was great! It had some nice but not flawless scripting - very ambitious considering he tried to script a war, basically. The additions were cool to explore and the whole place was even harder to navigate through than in the original! Eventually the bugs took over, but other than that it was quite an extraordinary experience I liked that I had.

    Overall Originality – (Perfect) 'nuff said

    Audio/visual enhancements - it still looked a bit ugly, being thieves guild, but otherwise it had some nice additions in both departments!

    Story/narrative quality - The bugs ruined it a bit so 2 stars or w/e off, but otherwise it would've been perfect)
    I didn't get to finish this mission cause i didn't know how. I played as a thief but didn't get to try out as a cop. A fairly straight forward mission. Has replay value and allows the player to play as someone else other then Garrett, so this makes it unique.
    Pros: Some extremely entertaining passages of play, especially as 'Thief' trying to wipe out all the guards.

    Cons: Uncompleted for me in both Thief and Guard modes. Too much "where the hell do I go now?"
    (too overcrowded for some places, I couldn´t get through, I didn´t finish this mission I gave up short before the end, it crashed repeatedly, but a lot of fun)
    Novel mission (unfortunately didn't have time to play the cop version) and I really like FireMage's style and imagination to find something new with his missions. Ambitious entry where more beta testing could possibly improve further.
    The Overlord`s Ending had 2 play modes for increased replay value.
    Quite an interesting concept : the police is raiding the thiefs den and it is up to you to choose your team and get 2 almost completely different gameplays.*
    Some tip : when playing as policemen, don't use the blackjack ! The blackjack perfectly destroys the gameplay in my opinion, since you can easily avoid the fights that way.
    Once a version comes out with the bugs fixed, I will defintely give it another try. I was not able to complete the mission in any mode.

  24. #49
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Voter comments for Pestis Cruenta by Haplo:

    Released first, and so played first. The City was brilliant, and the story there also. Great cutscenes, and enjoyable objectives. But I was missing something in this FM. I don't know what it is, it could be more absorbing. Ended too fast :P Played on expert.
    This mission was very close to my number one (Bad Hangover):
    Nice quick undeads! :-)
    Next would be Pestis Cruenta. It was the most technically accomplished, but not quite so gripping.
    I'm not sure how to put it into words but there is something about this mission that is very appealing. Even though it is all undead, it has a very classic Thief feel to it. The first time I played this mission I ghosted it and it was one of the more rewarding ghosting experiences I have had. The story may be a bit on the simplistic side (not quite on a par with his previous missions, imho) but it is a good enough story, told well and backed up with in-game visuals and events that lend it credence. But the choices Haplo made in terms of gameplay, how he allows the player to proceed, AI patrols, music and overall ambiance all conspire to make an experience that is greater than the sum of its parts.
    At the beginning I thought "ok, another one of these mysterious-undead-outbreak-stories" but I was really surprised by the twists and turns of the plot and the revelation of the source of the plague. The excellent readables did a great job of story telling and the whole story developed nicely while proceeding further during the game.

    The whole city felt "lived in", just as ordinary people would actually live and work there. The well chosen sounds and ambient music further added to the immersion and atmosphere of the mission, there is actually nothing to criticize about the sound in this FM at all. However (and to be honest), I expected much more chaos and destruction in the city, as if the people actually fled in a hurry. The city looks to "clean", almost some kind of sterile, in a direct comparison to a "Bad Hangover". I understand that all those zombie-workers continued their assigned jobs after all inhabitants fled, but still: the exodus of the cities' population should have left some destruction/damage behind. Also, the whole place looked a bit too "bright" and not as dark as I had expected.

    Although the basic storyline and overall setting is not that unique or original, the story developed in a surprising and original manner. A lot of creativity was also invested in the many in-built "ghost-appearances/ghost-cutscenes" and of course the ending sequence. All objectives and puzzles were on similar creative level as you would expect in a mission made by Haplo*
    There is only one aspect in the mission where I expected a bit more creativity: the enemies. Those zombies where just too easy targets as you could even pick them apart with your sword.
    Originality - A great prequel to Bad hangover

    Audio Video - No problems

    Story/Plot - It was good
    I love the idea of townspeople creating their own zombie problem - that's definitely new! Also, this had puzzles but not too many puzzles, I felt this was "about right" in terms of puzzles. Also, a few zombies but not too many (I was able to kill them all in Pestis Cruenta whereas there was no chance I could do that in Bad Hangover).
    Very good adaption of the orginal map, particularly the story implementation, along with the Sleeper’s area & the children’s ‘hideaway’. Could have used more detail & 1 or 2 more interiors opened up.

    The use of ghostly cut-scenes was superb, whilst the zombie skins were well-selected, with those in the richer areas being better dressed. Maybe my imagination, but I thought they even sounded sad, as befitted the story. The music & ambients were just right to set atmosphere & support the story - & ‘Linda Blair’s uncle’ provided a truly hair-raising moment!

    But it’s the story, the sub-plots & their realization – as mainly told through cut-scenes & readables – that is this mission’s strongest aspect: sad, melancholy & truly involving, I really felt for these people (but once they’re zombies, all bets are off!) .Great puzzles too.
    Overall Originality: Haplo's missions are never lacking for originality. While turning a mission that originally had humans enemies into an undead mission isn't exactly "WILD AND CRAZY" the puzzles are extremely clever, and the story put a unique (and kind of depressing) spin on the usual zombie invasion idea.
    Audio/visual enhancements: Rather than actually "enhancing" the visuals of the original mission, I feel Haplo just filled it with a bunch of cool stuff (which isn't exactly a terrible idea). The actual level design and texture work looks basically the same as the original "TDS City Project" but the scripted events placed into it are SOOOO entertaining! The exorcist zombie? GENIUS. I feel I can't give this a huge enhancement score, but it definitely is more fun to walk around in than the original.

    Story/plot/narrative quality: I loved the twists Haplo put on the stereotypical zombie invasion plot. The fact that the zombies actually AREN'T the reason the living people are no longer there was something I never would have seen coming. The ending (after a great visual reveal) was a bit disappointing, but there isn't much else to complain about here.
    I really enjoyed the story here. It started slow and I was a bit frustrated and bored. But then the story began to unfold. There were limited readables--a good thing, in my opinion--because the best story telling is often via what you see and experience. The ending was a bit anti-climatic.
    Great mission, what can I say. This is my classic Thief experience with a nice, deep story. The puzzles had an originality to them, I'll give ya that. The objectives were fun to do and the ambience that the music gave was perfect. And the sky was beautiful, ofcourse.
    All the following verdicts are pointing out that each aspect was well done, but comparing to the other aspects it didn't supersurprise me in any department, but at the same time it was executed quite flawlessly.

    Audio/visual enhancements - (not that much seemed to be done visually)
    A very good story in this one. a sad ending unfortunately. Good textures, design with puzzles. I did enjoy playing this mission.
    Pros: Uses "TDS City" - very nice! Killable undead. Good plot/story. Decent amount of secrets. Some great set-piece "haunting echoes".

    Cons: Erm...let me think of something...erm...too short!
    (I missed a happy end,very good mysterious mission)
    You can always rely on great gameplay, story and tricky puzzles from Haplo. Quality mission shame in a way on the early release timing and sharing the same TDS City map with Brethren. May be better to have all contest missions released at the same time so everyone doesn't tend to play them in a particular order.
    Pestis Cruenta did a good job of telling a mystery although the story itself seemed a bit impractical.
    This was the overall winner for me but just by a hair and to be honest, some of that could be because I betatested it and know it inside out. It has a good storyline, excellent puzzles and enough clues to finish it without too much difficulty.
    A rock solid mission. These fast zombies gave me the creeps like hell - and the one waiting near Garretts home was not a pleasant change either !

  25. #50
    Master Builder 2018
    Registered: Jul 2008
    Thanks for putting all these together, Brethren! Much appreciated.

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