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View Poll Results: How much do you use the compass while playing a single mission in Thief?

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  • Constantly, or almost constantly

    5 9.80%
  • Many times

    8 15.69%
  • Quite often

    12 23.53%
  • Rarely

    17 33.33%
  • Never

    9 17.65%
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Thread: How often do you use the compass?

  1. #1
    Registered: Apr 2011

    How often do you use the compass?

    I have a concept for my upcoming fm that relates to the compass (sorry, not ready to reveal it yet), and it'd be useful to get an idea of how it's likely to affect players before I start building it. To that end, one question:

    How much do you use the compass in Thief?

  2. #2
    Registered: Oct 2012
    When playing I hardly ever use my compass but they are almost essential for accurate lootlists and walkthroughs, so please all authors carry on including compasses in your missions.

  3. #3
    Registered: Apr 2007
    Location: USA
    Rarely, but it is used if there are readables or goals that state you need to go a certain cardinal direction to reach a goal or find an item.

  4. #4
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Lille, France
    Rarely and for the same reasons mentioned above.

    But I don't mind if there's one. Garrett's gear is always sparse.

  5. #5
    Registered: May 2004
    Always for big/outdoor/city levels. Almost never for short/indoor levels.

    I think with big/outdoor maps it's easier to make a mental note that a building or a place was in the southwest corner of the map and with shorter/indoor levels it's easier to remember the route you took to get somewhere (go up the stairs, follow the corridor, turn left, etc).

  6. #6
    Registered: Nov 2019
    Location: Restaurant at end of universe


    - A map with a red dot of Garrett's current location would be nice.
    - Compass is often times pointless with no map
    - Replacing the compass with a gps is the way to go. PokeGarrettGo....weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee !!!!

  7. #7
    Registered: Aug 2003
    Location: Phoenix, AZ, USA, Earth
    I check the compass many times per mission, especially for new ones. Less if i know the mission well.

  8. #8
    I use the compass as a "meta" tool constantly.

    Its main uses in this direction are as follows:

    • It provides a way to instantly deselect a lockpick.
      Imagine I'm unlocking a chest. I switch to my lockpick (F4 or F5). After I'm done lockpicking, I need to switch off my lockpick or the chest won't open. I have a few options to be able to open the chest:
      • I could use the mousewheel to scroll to another inventory item. However, there's some problems with this:
        • If this inventory item happens to be a key, then it will just try to use the key on the chest and fail.
        • There are almost always TWO lockpicks in a given FM, and the lock might end on either one. I would then have to remember to scroll in the direction AWAY from the second pick, which will be different for each pick. If I scroll off one pick and onto another, then I have the same problem as if I scrolled onto a key: frobbing the chest will simply try to use the other pick and fail.
        • If it's a very small thing you're unlocking (a cashbox, say), then if your next item happens to be a consumable AND you happen to move the mouse just slightly while moving the scroll wheel, then you might accidentally de-highlight the box and end up using your consumable instead.
        • That's not even to mention if you're using a mouse with an imperfect scroll wheel where it might scroll back one notch on you even though it didn't physically and all that junk, but even ignoring that, the above points are enough to make it an annoying option.
      • I could hit the "clear inventory" key. However, if you hit that key while a lockpick is in the middle of the screen, it will merely make the pick slide back to the corner of the screen. You have to hit the key AGAIN to make it actually disappear. So every time I want to simply open a chest, I have to hit the "clear inventory" key twice. Alternatively, I could release the right mouse button, wait for the pick to slide all the way back to the corner, then hit the "clear inventory" key once. That's even more annoying, because while if you simply look at the lockpick movement animation it may not look like a big deal, in the course of normal gameplay it feels like agency has been ripped from you for what feels like an eternity, and you feel like Fumbling Jack The Clumsiest Bumbler In The World. Super annoying.
      • I could try to hit the shortcut key of another item. But that item might very well not be in my inventory (or indeed not even exist in the mission), and besides the compass there's no one item that you can ever just trust to nearly always be there. Well, other than perhaps the lockpicks, but those are exactly the items that don't help us. Also, the item shortcut keys are likely to require a long hand movement to get to them, because they can't all be right next to the lockpick keys.
      • I could hit the compass key (bound to both F6 and C for me). My lockpick is INSTANTLY deselected - no waiting for it to slide to the corner and no having to hit the key twice - and I open the chest. Bam. Done.
    • It provides a way to instantly reset to a known point in the inventory.
      I can memorize that keys, for example, are "three notches from the compass" to get to them quickly. Maybe I could use another item (lockpicks for example) as that base, but some FMs don't have those or give them to you later, and there's not really any other item that's as reliably present most of the time as the compass. Note that the "clear inventory" key only clears your selection, but does NOT move you back to the start of your inventory. You're still wherever you were. So when you next select an item, it's just whatever was next from the point you were, which is basically never useful because you will have forgotten where you were by that time anyway.

    Another thing the compass key can do is to let you make sure you always have an inert item selected when you go to try to pick up a bunch of consumables, because whenever you pick one up it gets selected and if you don't deselect it before trying to pick up another, your frob might de-highlight and then you'd use your current consumable instead of picking up the new one. However, for this case, the "clear inventory" key works just as well (requires only one press), so this one is really neither here nor there in terms of the argument, but thought I'd mention it.

    The above reasons are why I always bleat on and on about how missions should just give me the damn compass. But having said all the above, if there's an interesting gameplay purpose for refraining from giving the compass, then I'm willing to accept the tradeoff. But if it's just "well you shouldn't need directions and it doesn't do anything beyond that", I would implore authors to consider its usefulness as a meta tool. To me at least, it's nigh indispensable in that role.

  9. #9
    New Member
    Registered: Oct 2016
    it's been a while since i even opened thief 1 or 2 but i honestly forgot that either game even had a compass in the goddamn inventory before i saw this thread.

  10. #10
    Registered: Jun 2015
    Location: Hungary
    I use the compass exactly the same way as FenPhoenix said, to clear my inventory.

    I rarely use it as compass, because most missions can be easily navigated without using a compass and/or do not contain anything related to directions.
    It's mostly when something is hinted with a direction (or even requires the compass to navigation) where it gets into real use.

    I think if it's told you need to use your compass, or at least it can be guessed (without being a genius or possessing thought reading abilities) it's completely fine and a good idea. As far as I recall, a few missions require you to navigate yourself with your compass in a certain area.

  11. #11
    Registered: Apr 2011
    The meta usage is interesting! If an fm doesn't give you a compass, I suppose binding a key to loot_select would have a similar use—but I suppose only once you'd found some loot.

    Personally I use the compass fairly often, most usually if I find myself feeling lost in a mission, just to re-establish a sense of direction. And in this case, I wasn't thinking of removing the compass at all.

  12. #12
    Registered: Oct 2017
    Location: France
    I rarely use it, only when I read something (objective/readable) that says something of interest may be in a certain direction (puzzles like the one in Sepulchre of the Sinestral come to mind!). To me, having to hit clear inventory (after say, lockpicking something) twice is a non issue, as it takes maybe a tenth of a second to do so, so I don't feel a need to keybind it.

    If you're going to make it an important thing in your mission, you should either deliberately say it in the mission readme/thread OP or put a readable (make sure the player can carry it with them!) somewhere in the mission that the player would stumble upon easily explaining it.

  13. #13
    Registered: Oct 2016
    Location: The Mystic's Keep
    I use it quite a lot, but as others have mentioned above, I use it less often as a compass and more as a quick way to get keys/lockpicks/random junk I've picked up out of the way. I do actually use it for orienting myself relatively often, but generally I don't tend to get too lost. That said, it can be an invaluable resource in large scale missions or in ones that have either no map or no automap. Having no compass feels off to me, because it's so ingrained in my muscle memory for inventory clearing that I find myself constantly pressing the key whether it's actually there or not. Incidentally, I've found that most custom compasses don't work the same way because the game doesn't detect them as being a real compass for whatever reason. You can always see them in the inventory, but you can't bring them up with the keybinding.

  14. #14
    Registered: Apr 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by McTaffer View Post
    Incidentally, I've found that most custom compasses don't work the same way because the game doesn't detect them as being a real compass for whatever reason. You can always see them in the inventory, but you can't bring them up with the keybinding.
    The inventory and weapon hotkeys work on the object's name, so that happens when the fm author has created a new object or archetype for the compass with a new name instead of replacing Compass2.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by vfig View Post
    The meta usage is interesting! If an fm doesn't give you a compass, I suppose binding a key to loot_select would have a similar use—but I suppose only once you'd found some loot.
    You can bind a key to the loot item?!?!

  16. #16
    Registered: Apr 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by FenPhoenix View Post
    You can bind a key to the loot item?!?!
    Yup. Just edit user.bnd and put it in.

  17. #17
    Registered: Mar 2013
    Location: Finland

    Quite often

    I use compass quite a lot in big missions (big city missions). For example, in Feast of Pilgrims, I found compass useful when trying get to a certain area or building.

  18. #18
    Registered: Jul 2012
    Location: Slovenia
    I started to use it quite often, and Feast of Pilgrims was probably the mission in which I used it for the longest time in any (fan) mission. And for the first time I invented a keyboard shortcut for it! That is why I am prepared to play FMs which would use compass to even greater extent.

  19. #19
    New Member
    Registered: Mar 2020
    I use the compass all the time, and I'm always surprised, when I watch live streams of first time Thief players, to see it so neglected, and they talk about how confusing Thieves Guild is. I think it's especially useful for that mission, such as the number 66 sewer passage.

    I personally have it bound to x. The meta usage of clearing item from the lockpicks which FenPhoenix mentioned is really interesting, I should do that from now on.

  20. #20
    Registered: Aug 2003
    Location: Phoenix, AZ, USA, Earth
    Quote Originally Posted by vfig View Post
    Yup. Just edit user.bnd and put it in.
    Wow, after 20 years of Thief, my world just turned upside down!!

  21. #21
    Because of how vague Thief maps are, I find the compass much less useful than in other games. Whenever I try to use the compass, I normally just get frustrated because I normally cannot tie a landmark to a direction very well. Not being able to see your current location on the maps limits the compass use imo. But on the other hand, having directions in the game vague forces you to manually explore the game - which is a large part of what Thief is. If we had a "mini map" with a blinking you are here (like every MMO) would basically ruin the game. Also for some reason, I find first person perspective does not condone itself to a compass very well in many games.

  22. #22
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: The Plateaux Of Mirror
    I have it bound to C and I keep it on all the time unless I'm using another tool. I guess it's not quite as necessary as it used to be in TDP since Newdark will highlight which area you're in on the map, but I still like being able to estimate where I am quickly.

  23. #23
    Registered: Oct 2001
    Location: 0x0x0
    What's a compass?

  24. #24
    Registered: Oct 2013
    Like others I used to use the compass to switch my currently selected item to something neutral, when, for example, I went to open an unlocked door only to find myself raising the lockpicks.

    This became less necessary once I had discovered Luthien's method for creating a dedicated "use environment" key., separate from your "use inventory" key. Now I just open the door and it doesn't matter what's in my inventory slot.

    I still think a compass is essential for new maps. For example, I wil see that there is a security office at the North-East corner of the map, decide I want to hit it up first, and out will come the compass.

  25. #25
    Registered: Oct 2018
    Location: Ukraine
    Quote Originally Posted by Cigam View Post
    For example, I wil see that there is a security office at the North-East corner of the map, decide I want to hit it up first, and out will come the compass.
    How often do we have maps where you should move to NE to get to the NE corner of the map? In most cases, we're going to a random direction to get to the random place because of MAZES! You can't seriously use a compass in the maze.

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