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Thread: 1 Million Units Contest - The Cinder Notes (Jan 8, 2021)

  1. #51
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: West Seattle
    I agree with the praise and criticisms already offered in the thread. I really liked the sun coming through the buildings at an angle, and using canals/tunnels to get around. The new textures help it feel like a more Mediterranean location that most FMs set in and around the City.
    Regarding the new footsteps specifically: the sound of stepping on wood is like old, weathered dock planks. The sound on stone is slightly sticky. Both sound like they are coming from behind/to the side of where I am, maybe due to a slight delay in playback? It was sometimes hard to tell where it was coming from/if it was me

  2. #52
    Registered: Oct 2018
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Nearing the deadline for this content, I'm still unsure about whether the author of this excellent submission is Sliptip or not. There are some exact replications of Ashen Age features, beyond the aesthetic choices in-game:
    --The titles.str file matches Sliptip's unique format of only including the FM titles, not the OM titles with skip flags.
    --The info file matches the format of Ashen Age perfectly.
    --The author misspelled 'accomplished' with only one 'c' in both.
    --Neither have bboxes corrected on similar custom objects.
    --The gridsize and roombrushing method are very similar between the two.
    --Would another author have the audacity to make a sequel to someone else's work?

    On the other hand, a few things might hint at a meticulous imitator:
    --The texture files are copied straight from Ashen Age, but they have an 8 hour timezone discrepancy... but this may be the result of filesystem changes over the past 15 years.
    --There is no map, something that Sliptip was always proud to provide and would have given away an imitator... but maybe he just didn't have time.
    --There are some obscure NewDark-only settings... but maybe Sliptip familiarised himself with engine updates?
    --A number of object textures were only used elsewhere in Yandros FMs... but some were also only used in nicked FMs... still others were only used in Godbreaker...

    Many of these discrepancies may well just be changes the author has made since 2006. Whether this is the long-awaited return of a beloved author, or a loving homage by a talented fan, The Cinder Notes is a beautiful and engaging experience. I expect it will do well in the scoring, and deservedly so.

  3. #53
    L'architecte de Rocksbourg
    Registered: Nov 2005
    Location: Narbonne, France
    Well, results are public and the cat is out of the bag. I am indeed the author of Cinder Notes.

    This mission was meant as a tribute to one of the greatest fm authors from the past, Sliptip.

    The idea of duplicating authors' styles is often mentionned in contest ideas, and one of the obvious target for such a theme would be Sliptip. He managed to create a unique visual style on par with the source engine back then, on olddark. People often joke that you slap some fancy textures in a daylight/sunset setting and it would do the trick. Let me tell you that even on newdark it wasn't an easy task to replicate his style, which shows how mental, talented and dedicated he was!

    Now, the project was completely secret to even my partners in crime on Black Parade. However I wish to thank 3 people who helped me out at the very the end. The deadline was brutal to me, I would have needed an extra month, I barely made it in time thanks to them :

    - Brethren, who was aware of the project since the beginning and kept the secret. He helped me betatest the mission and flesh out details. Kudos for the contest too.
    - Squada, who kept pestering me about Rocksbourg so I had to let him know about the mission... He helped me a lot to decorate the mission, betatest it, and kept me in check to make sure my own style didn't leak in the design.
    - Sliptip, the man himself, who was with me on the joke from the very beginning! He allowed me to use ressources from First Project, followed the evolution of the mission, betatested it and proofread my readables. Every single custom ressource was from him, I only added a couple objects from TDS made by ChildofKarras.

    Thanks a lot to everyone who voted, and I hope you enjoyed the mission.

  4. #54
    Registered: Oct 2012
    You did a grand job there Dr K, had everyone guessing whether it was Sliptip or not, but don’t think anyone guessed you were a possible author. Personally I loved the mission mainly because of the Mediterranean look and feel which has been done in other missions and always looks good, just a pity you didn’t have an extra month, I’d love to see what more you could have done with The Cinder Notes.

  5. #55
    It was fun being on the "in" on this one. I was really surprised that no one guessed that DrK was the author, especially after the 72 hours contest a few years back, when skacky and DrK did an amazing job of switching to each other's styles with Vanishing Point and Dirty Money. I think most people guessed that AMNH was skacky (who was also imitating someone else), so that should have put some focus on the other potential author.

    It's going to be pretty difficult to fool anyone in the future though, so good luck with that. Nice job, DrK.

  6. #56
    Registered: Dec 2006
    Well, I was completely fooled. I would have sworn Sliptip was the author. Great job, DrK!

  7. #57
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Twist View Post
    I very much enjoyed The Cinder Notes. It's a polished, well-paced and good-looking mission. The assets and style are so obviously Sliptip I can't help but wonder if it's a deliberate misdirect by somebody other than him. But maybe I'm getting too into the guessing game. Regardless, it's clearly someone who knows their way around Dromed.
    Do I get a small part of a cookie?

    DrK, if you ever find the time, I'd be curious to hear if you learned anything from studying and imitating Sliptip's work that you might now use in your own work going forward. Just curious.

  8. #58
    L'architecte de Rocksbourg
    Registered: Nov 2005
    Location: Narbonne, France
    Well, I'd say it's mostly about lighting and proportions in architecture, with an amazing yet subtle attention to detail.

    The way Sliptip uses his textures is very similar to me, in a sense that it is very cohesive overall. While my textures are mostly dark and stylized, his are brighter and realistic, but nothing looks jarring unless if it's on purpose to make people notice something specific in our level designs. The fact they are almost monochromatic helps a lot, the same way I used to desaturate a bit my textures. There's a real science behind his choice of textures, it's really smart.

    However, I've learned a few cool tricks with lighting to make everything seem believable. Obviously it's the way he casts shadows, but also his settings regarding light radius, the brightness and color saturation. The way he uses fog and its contrast with the bright lighting makes it look like ambiant occlusion.

    His proportions in architecture are also very interesting, extremely realistic. Everything has a weight, the walls look thick and heavy, the arches pillars and wooden beams seem like real structural elements rather than some cool looking dromed brushes. It feels like they're actually made of stone and wood. It does look closer to the Source Engine rather than Dark.

    His metalwork is brilliant with custom objects, it's very realistic and refined, nothing looks heavier or fatter than it should be. It's very easy to create something that looks cartoonish because the proportions or the thickness are slightly off, and that's cool it's how the original thief games look like, but his objects look perfect in that regard. It's almost as if he actually took measurements from real objects IRL.

    Btw, I had access to much more custom ressources that I didn't release as they remained unused, but I feel like I've only used 1/3 of what I had at my disposal, and not one them felt out of place. It's impressive to think about the time he must have spent building his ressources.

  9. #59
    L'architecte de Rocksbourg
    Registered: Nov 2005
    Location: Narbonne, France
    Btw, remember that everything about his design was made on olddark, which is NUTS.

  10. #60
    Registered: Nov 2018
    I'm kind of intrigued by this Sliptip character...I don't believe I've played any of his\her FMs...guess I must be a complete FM amateur...could you recommend a couple of your favorite FMs by Slip? : )

  11. #61
    Registered: Aug 2003
    Location: Phoenix, AZ, USA, Earth
    The Ashen Age is his most well known mission, though I haven't played it myself.

  12. #62
    L'architecte de Rocksbourg
    Registered: Nov 2005
    Location: Narbonne, France
    He didn't release much unfortunately, as it's been about 10 years since he pretty much stopped dromed.

    His most well known work is indeed Ashen Age part 1, but he also released Kill Factory 1 & 2 (the first one being mostly a joke), and Fable of the Penitent Thief as a collab with Digital Nightfall. He's had a lot of unreleased projects though, and he really pushed the limits of what olddark could do.

  13. #63
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Poland
    Excellent stuff. Definitely gave me pleasant Ashen Age flashbacks.
    So... now that you've warmed up, Rocksbourg 4 pls?

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