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Thread: TDP20AC Mission ó Station to Station (11/30/2018)

  1. #26
    Registered: Feb 2018
    ^ Yeah, as a bowie fan the title got me excited. And the opening felt promising, but as soon as I got into the barebones, empty maze, I was like, what happened?

    Well, now it makes sense. The opening was interesting because it was copied.

    My advice to the author is this: making good thief maps takes time. Like, I made a map that most people take an hour to beat, and I spent probably 200 hours making it, over the course of four months. This is common. People spend hundreds of hours on their missions, actually working. Not thinking of ideas, but physically working with their hands.

    Lots of people have done it and you can too, you just have to be willing to do the work. It's not as bad as it sounds. It's actually pretty rewarding. That's why we all keep doing it for the past 20 years.

  2. #27
    There is an unreachable scroll with some of my thoughts. One of the things I wrote down was this: "I guess everyone's first FM is also the first lesson: talking about games is easier compared to making them yourself". This is such a general statement I need to elaborate on it. The explanation I gave in the scroll is insufficient. It is too superficial. I need to go into detail about the mistakes I made, why they were made and how to avoid them next time.

    While I can finish this FM within 3 minutes, others are struggling and they spent a lot more time solving this maze. Some didn't finish it. It comes down to not making things clear to the player. Players were lost. They didn't know what to do down there. The lack of a compass was a decision made in 30 seconds. At that moment, a week before the deadline, I thought having the compass made things a bit too easy. The hallways look all the same. There are no distinguishing features. No unique landmarks to help you create a mental map. I saw a map someone drew, the proportions were off and he missed part of the places he could visit. The FM is very dark. I copied Sperry's ambient light setting, three times eight. I didn't take in account that missions look a bit brighter in Dromed. Oh, I know the fact that it does, but not how much brighter. The little reach of your portable lantern does not help you find your way. It barely shows you what is in front of you. You may miss hallways because of that. To get to the end, you need to open a gate. There are various control panels scattered around the map, but you can't know which control panel controls which gate. Some of the panels are dummies. They do nothing. Some gates can never be opened. I should have given every gate a number, corresponding with a control panel, so you know which panel controls which gate. Between the gate and the control panel you need to deal with a trap. You could evade that trap by taking a detour. However, to gain access to that route you need to find your way to a control panel that opens a gate. If you stumble upon the gate from the other direction, you can't open it. The trap is very punishing. You need to angle jump. One mistake and you will drown. This trap was copied from 'Trial by Night', made by Skarza. In that FM you also had access to a rope arrow. In my FM you do not. You should have been given a chance to try again without reloading an earlier save. I should have changed the 'z change/sec' to zero and add a ladder. You will only hear your footsteps. I did not know how to implement ambience. I opened up FMs and I saw these brushes, but I didn't know how to edit them. I assumed there was such a thing as ambient brushes. It wasnít the thing I should be looking at. Now I know itís called an ambientSound. How simple.

    These mistakes could have been repaired, if others playtested it. I did not have the time. I finished it on the final day of the deadline. I started too late. There was no structure, no planning.

    I had this three part assassination FM in mind. I spent a lot of time on some introduction mission. It was just a room where you could read some scrolls. I tried to make it look 'beautiful'. For whatever reason I managed to make a patrolling guard work. You could stare at it through a window. After a while I started with the main mission. After months of thinking about a floor plan that made sense and measuring every nook and cranny of an air brush to see if everything fitted, it looked like a giant block. Approximately 217 x 145 x 30, excluding the basement. I threw it away. This was 3 months before the deadline. I always liked sewers. I made up a little story of a guy caught in the underground trade of magical items. Not a thief, just a hapless guy out for money in over his head. You can kind of see it. The scroll warning you. The two thieves waiting for you in the sewer. I couldn't get their patrol routes to work. I gave them a light property, instead of the emergency ground light they are carrying. I tried to give the lantern a property, but I had to click some options and saw some lines in the output screen I didnít quite understand. There is a dead homeless guy found in a room with two control panels. He is not really dead, throw him in the water and he will moan. You can also find a dead unarmed thief somewhere and if you look closely, you can see the remains of a crate. It doesn't really add to the enjoyment of this attempt. I had some more in mind. More climbing, more crouching and more swimming. As you would go to even lower depths of the sewer system, you would see that parts of the sewer are broken down. Other beings have taken up residence here. Slug monsters with a moving mesh texture or something. An offshoot of the Kurshok? I do not know how to make a new skin and implement it.

    About the plagiarism. Yes, I did it. There is no justification, just explanation. How could I have done this? It is a two part answer.
    First, why did I copy? I didnít copy it because I wanted to cut corners and hoped nobody would notice. I open up FMs to see how others do things. There is nothing wrong with that. Others do it too. I kept opening up specific FMs and wrote down specifications and measurements. I was tired of switching between files. Why didnít I put it in my project? Itís easier that way. As if you are building a movie set based on a location found in real life. I traced the multibrushes to see how things were made. Iím not sure others do that. I doubt it. To see how things were made. What does that mean? It refers to brushes, textures, light, ambience and objects. Each of them separately and all of them together. I have this mentality that what others have done is good. I have to surpass it, or at least I have to be good too. The mentality is a sense of competition and it creates frustration. You canít figure out something to top these missions. You hold them as the standard and you canít reach it. By tracing it you think you can figure out what makes them good. However, I still donít really know why I like the sewer from ĎShadow of Doubtí and ĎTrial by Nightí or the service tower from ĎUnbidden Guestí. Iím none the wiser. IĎm looking for something in the wrong way. Perhaps I need to rephrase the question. Instead of: 'what makes this good?', maybe: 'why do I like it?'. Instead of copying I have to try to explain it to myself by writing it down, or at least try to.
    Second, why did it stay in? When copying the multibrushes, I put the service tower on top of the sewer and I thought it was a nice remix. Maybe put a bedroom on top with a window looking out on a street. This looks nice! My attention shifted from the copied multibrushes to creating a satisfying configuration of a maze. You only have a few weeks! It has to be good! Can you finish it? Building the maze wasn't that easy either. I spent weeks wondering if I should place the rectangle here or there. Did it feel right or not? If it didn't, I deleted it all. I started again a couple of times, while the deadline was getting closer. At that moment I should have taken a step back and asked myself: What are you doing here? Is it right what you are doing? Are you still figuring out what makes them good? I donít think asking myself these questions would have mattered much. I donít think if I was able to ask them. I wanted to move on with the hallways. There was so little time. I needed to make the distance. I needed to beat Dromed. I needed to finish a FM. When somebody gets this focused on a goal, they forget. They donít look back. You can say this is tunnel vision. They canít be critical. I canít be critical. There is no one to be critical to me, because Iím not reaching out to people. The past months I isolated myself. I don't like to talk about ideas or possible projects when there is a chance it will never be realized. I feel like an ideas guy, and those guys are worthless. Talk the talk, but donít walk the walk. You can start talking when you finished something. Talking about it felt a bit like tempting fate. You give off the expectation that you are working on something and that you may finish it. It creates an obligation. I did ask some questions about editing properties anonymously, but there was no heart to heart talk. Since I didnít talk to anyone about my Ďprogressí, nobody was there to point out the wrongfulness of my behaviour. I put myself in a situation where the antisocial aspect of the behaviour was neutralized. I forgot that I based my FM entirely on the work of others I copied, I forgot it was wrong and I made sure there wasnít a way to stop it. Thatís why I committed plagiarism.

    To Melan. To Sperry. To Skarza. I have offended you because of carelessness. I am sorry.

    How can I avoid letting all the work pile up at the last moment? I need planning. I need structure. That was the main cause of all my troubles. I canít go ahead and play around in Dromed. For the first step I need a piece of paper and a pen. Just write. I have to ask myself a couple of questions. What story do I want to tell? What is the background? Who is the main character? Where does he need to go and what is he going to do in this FM? What do I like about the FMs/books/comics/movies/music I like? Why do I like it? How can I use the explanation? I have to write it all down. To make things clear to myself. To get it all out of my head, so I don't have to remember it all. To have something to consult. The second step, I don't know. I'm stumped on what to do next. Maybe now I can create a rough outline of brushes in Dromed, in which the story takes place.
    I also need to suppress the frustrating mentality of competition. I need to trust my own creativity. How to convince myself? I see something in a FM and I say to myself: 'damn, why didnít I think of that? That looks good!'. Maybe it helps, whenever I get a moment like that, to say that trying to match others is causing me distress. It is not worth it. It is fruitless. Stop it. Maybe it is not enough.
    I need to log my decisions, because I canít remember everything. What have you done today, and why have you done this? I need to keep track of the thought process. If I come up with a new idea, I can compare it. If anything goes wrong again, I know my reasoning at the time. In addition, I need to open up to people about my project, but I donít like that. I prefer to keep these things to myself. Talking about it creates expectations and in turn obligations. This way I have no obligation to others, just to myself. But I guess I can sometimes post a screenshot of my progress.

    The last days before the contest I knew this FM wasn't going to be great. It wasnít what I had in mind, how vague it may be, but I accepted it. Due to time constraints I created there were a lot of things not implemented, but I accepted it. I stopped trying to compete. I figured, it is like my first t shirt. You make it to get used to making the patterns, cutting the fabric and using the sewing machine. You will probably never wear your first attempt ever again. Mine discoloured in the washing machine. I chose the wrong fabrics. Threw it away. I am the only one who intended to wear it, thus it is only me who was frustrated about it. However, I did not consider seriously other people would play it. I did not consider other people would be frustrated. I did not consider people would be offended. I was far more occupied in going the distance. I beat Dromed! I finished a FM! In the end, reaching that goal didn't feel satisfying. It feels bitter. I feel I put a stain on the legacy of this game. I am a plagiarist. I am the party pooper of the 20 year anniversary. What was I thinking? No, I wasn't thinking at all.

    I guess this stunt provided me with a good plot for an assassination FM and some material for readables.

  3. #28
    Registered: Nov 2018
    I can't speak too seriously to the plagiarism aspect since it wasn't my work being copied, but personally I think it seems forgivable since there was at least an acknowledgement in the FM files, and you withdrew from the competition. Aside from that, I think that if you're still interested in making FMs, it's worth focusing on what's next rather than getting hung up on a bad release. People make mistakes and I can see how you'd get swept up simply trying to get something out the door in order to pay tribute to a game you love, without giving proper consideration to the FM's actual quality.

    I think the original concept of an ordinary guy caught up in the black market and the assassination sounds interesting and worth returning to. You had a lot of trouble planning your mission, and that's something I had trouble with too. There are a lot of technical tutorials, but not so much on the higher level planning and design side of things.

    Coincidentally, the first part of Shadow Play that I built was the entrance hall, which was a rough reconstruction of those first halls from Sperry's Nightcrawler. It seems we have similar taste in FMs.

  4. #29
    Registered: Feb 2000
    Location: Paris, France
    Quote Originally Posted by DarkMax View Post
    It's cool to use other people's work for your mission but at least change it up a bit more! Especially when it's multibrushes.

    Unbidden Guest by Melan

    Station to Station

    Walking the Edge by Sperry

    Station to Station

    I personally am flattered. Explicit mention or recognition would have been nice, but I have absolutely no problem if someone finds inspiration in my work. I'm am happy my sewers please you, Murderer's Thumb. I haven't played this Station to Station fan mission yet, but am quite amused. It may be argued that such events help keep older fms alive. :-)

    Building a proper and original fm takes a lot of time (this is essentially why I have not released anything in over a decade now), and one does indeed have to start somewhere. That said, the place of such experiments should perhaps not be in a fm contest.

    Of course, if this had had a negative impact on my revenue and quality of life, I'd be forced to react otherwise. But fortunately, this is not the case. Hence, except for it being an inappropriate submission in a fm contest, I personally see no reason why this Station to Station fan mission should be condemned. Rather, what I'd especially like to say is: thank you Murderer's Thumb for putting a smile on my face!

    (And likewise thank you Schlock for Shadow Play )
    Last edited by Sperry; 30th Dec 2018 at 18:04.

  5. #30
    Schlock, how did you plan out your submission, what problems did you encounter and how did you solve them?

    Sperry, I'm not sure if you are still amused after you play it. It has frustrating gameplay. Is it really inspiration? I copied parts of your FM and I did not add anything of my own. I am relieved you are not angry at me. I am surprised I made you smile.

  6. #31
    Registered: Nov 2018
    Quote Originally Posted by Murderer’s thumb View Post
    Schlock, how did you plan out your submission, what problems did you encounter and how did you solve them?
    Unfortunately I don't have much advice because my own mission was not very meticulously planned out. I mostly just tried to mimic what worked in missions like Lord Bafford's Manor, and the only other guidelines I kept in mind were that I wanted to create a more or less asymmetrical manor layout, and that I wanted to avoid long hallways lined with doors (a pattern that I find repetitive and boring in other missions). As far as actually designing the mission layout, I started by building the mansion interior room-by-room without thinking far ahead about what the complete layout would look like, which worked but made for slow progress.

    Most of the problems I encountered were small technical ones which I won't get into the details of. I did originally plan for a more involved storyline, featuring a scripted sequence and a much larger city area surrounding the manor. I quickly realized that I wouldn't be able to produce these by the contest deadline (or before I burnt out). So rather than solving that problem, I sidestepped it entirely by simply cutting those parts out from my plans and focused on the meat of the mission (the manor).

  7. #32
    Registered: May 2002
    Location: Texas
    Those pictures look to have pretty simple architecture so why copy them? I know some people have made decent missions in a short amount of time, but good missions take months if not a year or so to really produce and polish. Personally with my missions I could never come up with most of any one of them in a few weeks, but rather over time my building sometimes purposely and sometimes incidental spawns new ideas, and I would be too stressed to try to dish out a competition worth mission at the last minute while knowing that most of the other contestants probably used the entire build time to their advantage. I just downloaded this mission and I have yet to see what it is like.

  8. #33
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: The Inverted Manse
    On the subject of planning, while it is good, it is not essential. My own contest submission "Darkness Walk With Us!" was 100% improvised on the spot. No planning beforehand whatsoever. I just opened DromEd and built what I felt like at that moment.
    If you do plan before starting to build, make sure you don't fall victim to "analysis paralysis".

  9. #34
    Schlock, thanks anyway for your response.

    Haplo, what do you mean with 'analysis paralysis'?

  10. #35
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: The Inverted Manse
    Quote Originally Posted by Murderer’s thumb View Post
    Haplo, what do you mean with 'analysis paralysis'?
    From Wikipedia: Analysis paralysis describes a moment where over-analyzing or over-thinking a situation can cause it to become 'paralyzed', meaning that no action was taken therefore a solution is not reached.

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