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Thread: One Million Units Contest - PLAYER COMMENTS

  1. #1

    One Million Units Contest - PLAYER COMMENTS

    These are all the comments submitted during voting by players, separated per mission.

    I have not corrected any spelling mistakes or grammar errors, this is exactly how they were listed on the voting page.


    A Midsummer Night's Heist
    Recipe for Turmoil
    Sabotage in Eastport
    Sinister Night
    The Cinder Notes
    The Perdurance
    The Turning of the Leaves
    Last edited by Brethren; 2nd Mar 2021 at 23:27.

  2. #2

    Player comments for A Midsummer Night's Heist:

    Absolutely beautiful victorian mansion, probably the best I've seen in Thief. Solid gameplay and nicely written readables makes it very enjoyable experience, although I prefer spooky/magic stuff so it's not enteriely my cup of tea.
    Fantasic mission but the story absolutly left me cold, i cant even remember any names.
    A very nice little mansion heist - architecture was very well done and I appreciated the various readables adding a bit of atmosphere.
    Fantastic, classic mansion mission. Very beautiful and well-designed, fun to sneak through, and a well-balanced challenge. Nothing felt overly cramped despite the size limit. The only thing that marked it down for me was just that it didn't do anything we haven't seen before - it's "just" a mansion mission, but a very, very good one.
    + very beautiful and artistic architecture, many pathways enabled a non-linear approach
    Enjoyed it! Ghosting was hard for me (not a true master in this skill). Tried it on 2nd walkthrough, when I already figured out secret passages layout. Smartly planned When you use environment like that, ghosting becomes much easier.
    Very competent mansion mission with great optics - but for the most part a lousy place to live! ;-)
    This mission is probably the most beautiful one in this contest. It has a really well done briefing video and the story itself was very strong. Garrett's voice actor made a very good job! This mission has lots of alternative routes that the player can use to travel around the Sir Vasko's Manor. I liked those blue light beams that filtered through the windows! This mission felt quite big. I'd say the strongest points were: the story and definitely design/construction. There were a lot of cool details around the manor!
    It's astonishing that this submission manages to feel so expansive in such a limited area. Unlike Alcazar, which felt like the most optimal possible approach to space, A Midsummer Night's Heist goes straight ahead with creating a masterful, no compromises mansion.

    For what they provide, the sewers maybe take up a little too much of the limited space, but otherwise there's not a poor design choice or badly placed brush in the whole mission. The architecture, object decoration, and texturing is immaculate. The gameplay is pure, even simple, but not tedious. The story is stripped of any needless bloat and the mood is pitch perfect.

    For what it is, it is essentially flawless. A wonderful example of the maxim that an editor's work is not done when there is nothing more to add, but nothing more to take away. Anything additional would dilute the experience.
    A beautiful mansion that had a lot of very well hidden secrets, but gameplay was a little too easy to be awarded top marks.
    I had to give a lower score on the design, because one of the most important elements of the mission, the switchbox that turns off the security, can be frobbed through the window of the room it is housed in. Other than that, it was a nice little mission, I especially liked the slavic names of the characters .
    It was a great canals/mansion mission. The difficulty was medium, there were enough hints so that you could finish it without hours of backtracking and trying things, which is always great. There were no bugs to be withnessed in my playthrough.
    Good! A little too "clean" as a level, but lots of fun and challenging.
    Very nice mansion game. Well constructed and good design. I enjoyed it. Well tested. No problems. I‚€™m still about 400 short so plenty of game left. Congratulations and thank-you.
    This mission felt probably like the most polished of them all without making it too easy, had multiple entry points to let you play the mission how you wished.
    What touched me the most is how the Mansion is located within The City, the flat building bits around the mansion gives is extra life, but also contrast of standalone building around some tenements gives great feeling of how chaotic The City is with its form. I appreciate the mansion form, which is not closed to the square, and how navigating through upper level is possible thanks to the attic and ventilation.
    best looking mission in the contest by far!
    Interesting map. Not too constricted.
    The gorgeous design and the numerous passageways make this mission stand out well above other mansion heists.
    This mission perfectly fit in the frame.
    It respects perfectly the contest rule as the mansion looks huge. Really, it's the only which truly managed to make me forget I was playing a contest in which space was limited. And in such small space, what the author did? Adding full of tiny details here and there so the mission could feel beautiful.
    And yeah, maximum rating in Story because gosh, for once we don't have a cliché "mansion with dark secret" mission but a classic normal estates to rob.

    This mission is very refreshing and if someone dares to say it isn't, I would tell them to stop trying all the time to finish the missions as fast as possible and for once, take their time and look around because this mission really deserves it!
    Small tribute to Mystic Gems (in terms of difficulty and overall joy I would place it between Unlucky Soul and Heart of Bohn) series which turned out to be nice classic vertical mansion heist (I also recalled Transitions in the Dark for some reason) with some well hidden secrets and multiple exits to mansion and its surroundings. One of the most beautiful missions in contest. There's nothing wrong here. But... while providing enjoyable gameplay and visuals, it somehow less touched me than Alcazar, Eastport or Turning of the Leaves.
    Just generally good all round. Interesting design, good use of space (that's seriously only one million units?) and a great story / atmosphere all 'round.

    If you hadn't told me this was a contest mission to make a level with limited resources, I wouldn't have even thought of how small it really is.
    A surprising number of secrets.
    Welcome back to the Fan Mission Homage Contest! This mission is built in the style of Mystic Gems 2: Heart of Bohn, and is set in the same city instead of the default Thief setting. The mimicry is pulled off flawlessly ‚€“ this is an original mission, but the assets, brushwork, atmosphere and lore all connect it to its classic predecessor. The result is a very good-looking mansion heist with good gameplay, smooth puzzles, and decent storytelling. It kind of plays it safe, and does not stand out as a major fan mission, but that is the worst criticism we can level against it. It has the most beautiful round multi-level atriums committed to brushwork.
    A nice little mansion heist, although I personally didn't feel like it pushed the boundries of the small stucture much.
    Overall, great mission!

    Positives: Straightforward mission, fair challenge, objectives weren't too hard to figure out. Nice inclusion of secrets, beautiful architecture, good level design, and good use of decorative objects. Noticeable features I liked in particular was the ambient sound in the basement as well as the looping record player.

    Negatives: Nothing really stands out to me as bad in this mission. Well done!
    Masterfully constructed. Perhaps a little slim on story, but still a decent one. Very nice!
    Mansions are bread and butter of Thief, but once done properly, they become legendary and continue to be played years afterwards. AMNH is one of them: hidden attics, tons of loot and secrets, beautiful gardens... it all provides heaps of replayability and, once you get the loot - great satisfaction! Recommended to any Thief player, everyone should check it out at least.
    geat funmission=really cool
    This was a very traditional Thief 2 mission, but it carried that out perfectly! It reminded me of Christine's missions back in the day. I normally don't enjoy these types of missions too much, but this one was flawless!
    Last edited by Brethren; 2nd Mar 2021 at 23:17.

  3. #3

    Player comment for Alcazar:

    A Masterpiece. Great use of space, beautiful brushwork, use of ambience, texturework. Just can't say anything bad about it
    This was a fantastic mission that absolutely captured the feeling of Thief - in some ways better than the original missions did. It had a terrific retro aesthetic that is still able to really give you a feeling for these old, lived-in and worn down places, layers built one on top of the other. The amount of gameplay that was fit into such a small space was just terrific.
    Incredibly atmospheric with great use of space - it felt like an intricate puzzle with satisfying loops to the level design. In many ways this felt like Into the Odd, but leaner, more focussed and less frustrating. I loved all the surreal little touches at every turn.
    + this mission had a very diverse environment; space was extremely clever used
    + excellent gameplay on tight space
    * Design is great and slightly labirynth-like.
    * Enemies-Statues creeped me out in a good way
    * Liked loot placement.
    * 1 negative remark - no support for Akven's ESRGAN mod (game crashes), which is really unfortunate, and therefore I slightly lowered design score.
    Best of show for me. Nothing bothered me. Flawless mission, as far as I'm concerned.
    The author's imagination is so inventive - there is so much variety and detail! This mission feels like a dark dream (much like Into The Odd). There were a time when I thought that this is getting too strange (if that's possible with TG), but when I continued the following day I understood that this is just amazing! There's a lot of cool places but I'm gonna mention one that have stayed on my mind: the crypt where lies six 'heroes'. In this crypt, there's this great contrast - being in underground tombs and seeing the daylight through grating and there's that same guard above that you saw in the beginning! There was a very similar moment in Into the Odd. Quite a small detail like this can make a very big impression regarding atmosphere! Overall, just a very imaginative and extremely enjoyable mission and this mission felt big!
    Loved every minute of this mission, it had a brilliant map, multiple pathways to explore, custom enemies, well hidden loot and a fair bit of humour. What more could you want from a fan mission.
    My favourite Thief missions are the ones for Thief Gold, so this was a real treat for me. Very good work, I liked every second of the gameplay.
    Awesome! So many different environments jammed together!
    Playing on Normal I had no major problems just minor ones. On Normal, there were challenges trying to get the key from the merchant who comes into the pub. I could not take it, nor knock him out when he faced me so I left to explore. Later starting again I was able to get to the merchant before he reached the pub and again I couldn‚€™t knock him out when face to face nor (most of the time) take his key. The easiest was to knock him out from behind and then take the key.

    Nobody reacted when I knocked someone out in front of them, e.g. the couple talking in the pub. The guard outside the pub can be blackjacked from behind but when I stood in front of him with the blackjack and hit him 4 times, he only growled. Afterwhich I moved out of his way and he went on patrol as though nothing had happened. In the pub when I threw a bottle against a wall, my only misdemeanour at that point, I could hear him shouting ‚€œCome out here I dare you‚€. I went outside and stood in front of him but he ignored me while saying ‚€œAlright where are you?‚€ Even though earlier he made conversation with me by saying ‚€œLate night‚€ he does not appear to see me, only hear me.

    Whilst exploring, I swam under water upstream against the current but found nothing and my health suffered due to oxygen shortage. Later to regain health I ate 12 apples, 2 pieces of cheese and a loaf of bread, all of which raised my health score by zero. Only later still by eating a "fruit" did health go up by 2.

    In the area above the East Gate is a wooden window-cover you can open and inside is a swarm of buzzing flies. I shot a fire arrow at them and, as usual, they all disappeared seemingly dead, but the sound of them buzzing continued.

    I thought the mission is very well laid out and it‚€™s a good game. Thank you!!!
    design is not rated higher due to the rather easy ghosting.
    Personal winner. I am absolutely in love with collaboration of the authors. Together they create amazing surreal (by form of the space, and breaking or questioning player expectations) missions with goofy and spooky hints here and there.
    The mission within space contains abandoned mines, spooky haunted (ancient) mage house, elemental themed dungeons, sewers, street level, inner jokes, that all go well together and it is easily to make a circle.
    a masterpiece... can't think of any flaws!
    I love missions like this that appear simple and straightforward, but turn out to have so much more under the surface. Can't believe you fit so much gameplay into these size constraints!
    Haven't been this creeped out playing a mission in a long time! Well done!
    Speaking as someone who doesn't like pagan/undead and tomb-raiding missions, I really liked this one. Which speaks to how good it is.
    The mission is huge, and it really makes us feel like there were no size limit apart at some very rare spots.

    This is a great adventure, maybe a little cliché, but the execution and use of space are top tier! A welldone job!
    Absolutely amazing.
    Alcazar is another excellent example of clever using of limited space: I spent almost 2 hours and didn't gather all the loot scattered on the layout. Practically you will have several (sometimes well-hidden) ways to almost every location and you often will find yourself wandering in circles each above each.

    The story itself is more environmental that textual: you will not only read but see the contrast between simple life-and-times of small local tavern with usual pleasures of locals and the the half-ruined remains of ancient keep on which the tavern is built, you will visit seemingly abandoned mines, and of course, tombs. There's strange sense of sleeping threat, spilled throughout the entire location. Also it feels almost like Quake 1 levels (I recalled the 3rd and 4th episodes) but with stealthing rather than shooting.

    I have only one real nitpick, about sound propagation - like you don't hear the sounds of water staying in the room nearby (for example, in merchant's manor). Despite this, Alcazar is memorable vertical open adventure into the depths of unknown.
    In one word: amazing.
    every inch packed with atmosphere!
    Like many others I can't believe how much got packed into this mission. The attention to detail--the little things occupying space and providing a beautiful sense of place--is impressive.
    It's almost impossible to imagine a theoretical submission that could be better than Alcazar, given the constraints of the contest. There is not a single wasted brush or cell, and this mission uses almost all of the latter.

    It manages a full sized FM's worth of content within a million units. It is so dense with brush details, small stories, and vivid tableaux of grime and evil. It is labyrinthine without ever being confusing or tedious. There is not a single boring or forgettable spot in the entire mission.

    The layout is quite porous, but unlike a flat city with buildings placed randomly, the directionality is clearly built into the environment. Everything encourages you to progress downward, no matter what paths you take. There is no bloat in the objectives or the story, nothing spreading the content thin or backtracking to make it repetitive.

    It's also just technically perfect. None of the geometry has gaps or bad edges. None of the sounds are badly placed, or bleed through walls. It's complex and detailed without being messy. There are few T1 missions with this mood (OM or FM), and none are this well constructed.

    I'm struggling to explain how good this mission is. Nothing is bad and everything is good, and uniquely so. Unbeatable.
    ‚€œStrange things lurking underfoot‚€ is the basic idea behind this sequel to last year‚€™s Into the Odd, by the same two-author team. ItO was a rambling masterpiece and a punch to the face difficulty-wise; Alcazar is more player-friendly, and its constraints give it a more precise focus. Staying at a local tavern, you notice something interesting in plain sight beneath a courtyard grating, and set out to find a way to grab whatever may be resting there, almost within reach... This task proves to be surprisingly complicated.

    The mission‚€™s greatest trick is colonising every spare bit of space available within the contest boundaries for gameplay purposes. With clever twists and turns, Alcazar packs about three missions‚€™ worth of content into the framework of one. A complicated network of passageways, secret access points, and conduits lead ever deeper into the Underworld, and it all gets weirder as you progress. Every corner yields some new detail or site to explore, or at least marvel at. (The level of detail is confounding, and relies heavily on creative resource use, including some really fine-scale brushwork to ‚€œbuild‚€ mundane items.) At the same time, the mission never gets contrived or needlessly punishing: you will find a way forward; it is just that three players might find five or six completely different ones. The flow is excellent in this one, with nary a dull moment or wasted location.

    The atmosphere of weirdness and menace is pitch perfect. The readables are limited in quantity and written in some strange never-ever idiom, but it works, and it is all just as mysterious as THE ABYSM OF TYME. The lighting is great ‚€“ as much as you need and no more ‚€“ and the sounds atmospheric. The custom monsters ‚€“ no spoilers here ‚€“ are creepy. The mission draws you in and lets you wonder, or make your conclusions about what you have just seen mainly based on the environmental storytelling. It is a genuine mystery, and that‚€™s great.

    The gameplay is polished, with a few glitches (like a guard who got stuck on geometry each time I played, ruining ghosting). It is not as savagely hard as ItO could be; it is just a decent challenge. Some of the complex scenery is not well suited for AI patrols, so a lot of the mission passes without much in the way of AI encounters. This is fine for pacing, alternating between exploratory and sneaking sections. There are a few unfair gotchas, and a few ledges which seems just barely possible, but aren‚€™t.

    All in all, very well made, and magical ‚€“ it rarely gets any better than this.
    Right up my alley this! Excellent use of space and non-linear gameplay with a very abstract vibe to it. Obvious Schlock entry, in the same vein as Into the Odd. Wanna replay this one soon.
    Alcazar is one of these missions that just effortlessly tramples the competition. Everything in it is top notch. Every location in this mission has incredible attention to detail: the narrow interiors of the seedy tavern where some interesting and dark things are going on in the upper floor, Mosult's manor with its very iconic throne room, the deserted and rundown streets that look incredibly sinister even in broad daylight, the mines populated by what remains of the unfortunate workers and of course the titular Alcazar that looks straight out of some madman's nightmare. This is what The Dark Project is all about and this peculiar atmosphere of anguish and isolation can only be found in a very select few FMs.

    The storytelling is very minimalist, as usual with Schlock, and it truly works in the mission's favor. You just never really know what the hell this is all about, you must instead piece everything together by analyzing your surroundings to try to understand what's going on. In a sense, it feels like a fever dream and is very similar to StinkyKitty's Gems of Provenance campaign.

    I will admit that the only negative I have for this mission is that it feels a bit *too* compact at times hence why I did not rate it 10 on the use of space, even if it is clearly the winner of this contest in that regard as far as I'm concerned. That being said, Alcazar is a masterpiece and a mission I will never not recommend.

    Use of space: 9
    Design/Construction: 10
    Atmosphere/Story: 10
    I keep losing my comments! In any case, Alcazar is very hard to rate. Some moments I found frustrating, not all rooms clicked with me and it was really hard to navigate, I remember backtracking a couple of times... But we also get a mission with very original, fantastic feel, extremely EFFICIENT use of space and, at times, stunning visuals. I think this mission will be a grower for me, turning out to be even better on every run.
    Last edited by Brethren; 2nd Mar 2021 at 23:20.

  4. #4

    Player comments for Nightwalk:

    Solid first FM, very simple and easy, but with good flow and charming early FM vibe.
    A perfectly fine little city mission, basically just a block to play around in. I look forward to watching this author grow and see what they do next.
    Not bad for a beginner. With more time/experience, I'm sure this would have been something really special. As it is, it's fun, but over in five minutes. Shows promise though - I hope the author keeps polishing their Dromed skills and we see some more accomplished work from them in the future.
    + very simple, straightforward gameplay
    - weak story; gameplay athmosphere was average
    It's an OK quickie mission (less than a quarter of an hour with 90+% loot) with no terrible mistakes but no standouts either. Also: A guard was stuck inside a big crate. That made it even easier.
    If it is the first effort, then ... it's OK.
    From the standpoints of graphics or design mission is not nice (contrary to what people have written in the thread), but it is not very bad either.
    As an example of not nice, I will show just 2 things, which are out of place:
    * Long Wooden beam went from guard tower almost directly to the roof of fortune teller place, looked quite unrealistic.
    * Inn's merchant room with plenty of riches is not locked, that's inexcusable even for beginner.
    Overall, quality is lower than average.
    Alexey, You have potential and I have 146% certainty that you can do better, much better.
    "Recipe for Turmoil" might help you learn, what can be improved in a small scale mission of the same style.
    Enjoyed this city mission as a short and sweet experience, overall it was well made but relatively basic in style and decor which is no bad thing but I couldn't rate it highly when comparing it with other contest missions.
    Sorry, I found this mission boring - I feel it was a poor use of the space, everyone was very easily blackjacked and there were _no_ readables! There was also a minor objective problem on the "return to start" objective - doing it ended the mission, but it didn't check off.
    Early on I wondered why my health was down until I realised Normal Difficulty had started me on Expert. I don't normally play on Expert so it made me a bit more lively which must be a good thing. The rooms were sparsely furnished but I enjoyed the game a lot and thought it was very well constructed. Thank you very much. Well done. Good job!
    Nice, quick mission
    Short but nice debut: small city mission with many rooms and compartments. I can't say much of it, except that Nightwalk reminded me of some old Thief 1 missions, despite being on very easy side. I rated it not that high, but I hope that Pookaball would not stop and will learn from his 1st work.
    This was a nice and straightforward first time FM. There were some good chances to climb up from the streets to avoid guards. The streets were a bit empty looking but I still liked the overall atmosphere in this FM. Loot placements were quite nice at times. Looking forward to seeing more FMs from the author!
    A nice, simple mission that seems either the work of a new author or made quickly. More open than a lot of the other city mission entries, but that does work in its favour for that classic feeling. Use of space could be better but that point gets it a bit more.

    Design needs some work - ambient loops are a bit dramatic and jarring at times, and some textures seem a bit odd in their placement.

    Story - pretty simple, even weak, but despite the complete absence of readables, there's some pretty good environmental storytelling. I was able to sort of put together what was going on in my head a bit. Still, I think a couple of readables might have helped this mission a lot.

    It's still a good mission - just got some strong competition.
    Pretty basic, but there are signs of a great level designer to come. I look forward to seeing your skills grow!
    I love Thief Gold FMs a lot. This was a real treat to play. I guess the author is a newcomer to DromEd, but he/she really outdid him/herself. The planks across the tower and the room above the astrologists shop was a nice touch. Design was simple and straightforward, maybe a bit too much. There are also too many water arrows lying around and the difficulty is also very low (even on expert). I think more action and more buildings to visit could have been included, felt a bit too open for me, with a lot of space wasted.
    It is feels like a beginner work, or its still work in progress. Very simple with every aspect that really feels like a (night)walk.

    I must admit there is some home sweet home central/east europe charm in it. Like I took a night walk to nearest liquor store to buy "emergency" alcohol with snacks or walking drunkily with friends to fast food place. Personally I would expand that feeling.
    It's a simple mission. Its design is good but it remains a little too simple and the limit of space is unfortunately noticeable.
    For a first mission, I must admit it's impressive and can't do anything but encourage the author to keep going, to learn and improve because it really seems like the author understood a few rules in level design which smells great for their future missions!
    Don't give up pooka, keep dromeding and you might be among the greatest authors in no time!
    A good mission for a beginner!
    It really just feels like someone's first mission. A good first mission! But could be better.
    no problems, but not very interesting
    Pleasant and simple exploration but I kept expecting a twist--a surprise--that never came.
    Clearly a first time attempt. All the problems with this mission will be improved with experience. The basic flow is decent.

    Areas for improvement:
    --Don't make the environment a big cube with flat ground. Add lots of stairs, terraces, hills, any way you can break up the space around the buildings is good.
    --You can make ambient transitions sound better if you put 'non-environmental' ambients between the environmental ones, to blur the cut between different music. E.g. a low hum in a window, to hide the inside and outside music change.
    --Make sure to texture surfaces consistently. Don't have cobblestones inside window frames, or wood on one side of a brush and stone on others.
    --Avoid making really thin stone walls and ledges.
    --Try to make the areas for rope arrows or mantling more natural. Rather than wooden beams everywhere, try adding smaller buildings or features to jump over.
    --Good roombrushing it tricky, but it makes all the difference to a polished experience. Sound coming through walls is noticeable.

    Your architecture is decent already, the brush details like tables and furniture were great, and you have all the basics for good gameplay. This submission is much better than another one in this contest by an established author. Practice makes perfect!
    This is an obvious newbie city mission that reminds me of very early 2000s design efforts ‚€“ the good ones. For all its mistakes and rough edges, it is a good promise, showing imagination and design talent. Sure, the brushwork is blocky and sometimes badly constructed, but there is a willingness to experiment with unusual shapes and shape combinations. There are fun ways to get into buildings and pass through a series of apartments into entirely different places. Gameplay is rudimentary, but there is playful experimentation there ‚€“ ledges, balconies, observation points, windows to look through or get spotted through, dark corners and ruined stonework. It is lit up in nice ways. There is a variety of environments. It has flaws, too: no readables, a bare minimum of a story, there is not much challenge (the guards are too easy to avoid), and the soundscape/sound propagation is flawed. But the spark is there, and through improvement, the author could create some damn good missions. Onwards!
    For what this was I genuinely had fun with it. Sure its lacking intricate secrets and pathways, readables and story, but it was a simple little thieving mission and I liked that. Assuming that this is a first for the author its actually pretty good! Over time I can see better and better missions coming from this author.
    Very basic. Reminded me of early T1 fan missions. Lack of detail throughout, but had some interesting parts to it. First time entry? Don't remember if the info file said so.
    This mission could use a bit more polish (especially with ambience walking in & out of buildings), but it succeeded in recreating the City's atmosphere in TDP era, which is important to me. Exploration with rope arrows is also a bonus. I'd like to see author's future project(s) set in Thief Gold surroundings because there is good potential.
    Cute fmka
    Last edited by Brethren; 2nd Mar 2021 at 23:21.

  5. #5

    Player comments for Recipe for Turmoil:

    Great Thief Gold city mission. Very nice layout, good brushwork/visuals and solid gameplay. The only thing that lacked for me was better ambience which would make the mission stand out a little bit more.
    An very well designed small city segment with a tell-tale style. It's short, but I very much enjoyed my time with it.
    Classic Thief cityscape that didn't feel cramped despite the space limitations. Atmospheric and fun to explore. My only complaint is it was very straightforward and could be finished in about 15 minutes. I wanted more!
    + athmosphere was very well
    + excellent gameplay due to a strong vertical design
    Nothing special, but for "speedbuild in 10 days" I am impressed with the result. 1 or 2 additional house secrets and mission would be even higher in scorings.
    This is also one of the "small area with a central building"-missions - very well made, but not quite as good as "The Tower" from Lady Rowena. But then again: What is?
    Great little city mission with a bit of thieves highway, all a bit too easy for giving maximum points but it was very well made but I enjoyed it immensely.
    Not bad! Some of the buildings weren't logical in terms of their layout, but they made for good gameplay.
    I thought the mission was straightforward with good design and architecture. There was nothing outstanding but nothing to criticise. I liked the game. Nice atmosphere. In fact with 10 days build-time it was very impressive and as you intended it‚€™s quick and enjoyable. And I did enjoy! Much appreciated. Thank-you.
    Really good mission with variety of "tools" to make different routes. I am glad the end point isn't also starting point, yet it manages to make a cycle through whole map. I find the "gargoyles" on some of the buildings and use of lantern model adorable.
    Nicely built tight city mission with interesting angles between buildings and streets. The atmosphere is excellent and the ambients were just in the right place. Only thing that really separates this FM from the contest's top missions are the fact that it just feels smaller. The style of this FM is quite familiar and the author must be very experienced. Especially taking into consideration that it was built in 10 days, according to readme file. I've gotta say, it's an incredible accomplishment!
    A well-constructed mission with several fun climbing opportunities, though I wish it didn't have to end so soon.
    Thief Gold missions are my favorite, but this one was quite exquisite. Reminded me of a small Melan map. Must include some well hidden loot and places because I finished 500 gold short, so I've got to get back to it some time. Nice work, one of the best in the contest!
    Too many annoying jokes.
    A mission with a weird name, eh?
    But what a content behind such a title! Great visuals, excellent use of space and a city that offers a lot.
    The plot not the gameplay are not the most original ones but it's certainly not a thing that would change the fact it's a great mission! Good job author!
    The inspirations mentioned in the readme are noticeable. Very good atmosphere, I hope to see more of this author.
    Felt like once I got into the F-guy's manor, I was set from there. Just needed some more challenge.
    nice little district, good sneaking between windows, fun reading gossip
    Good use of guards, particularly the timing. I was forced to be patient throughout.
    Love the atmosphere in this mission!
    The mission opted for a traditional sort of cityscape, one full of empty air and inaccessible towers. As a result of this and the amount of door textures, the size limitations were more salient than most other submissions.

    The mood is classic TG, though the brushwork ranges from excellent to somewhat messy. The texturing seems haphazard, not taking materials, patterns or colours into account. However, it's the product of a hasty speed build, and most authors would not manage a complete experience in this time.

    The story is a banal affair. Steal a thing. No special conceit, few environmental details or side stories to add a bit more depth to the already restricted space. However, it also did nothing to waste time or trip over itself with laborious fluff.

    That being said, it's a solid experience to play. There are no real gameplay sins, and the flow is decent.

    Some general advice: your porous, open-ended approach to level design is great, in the right level. Here, it makes the limited space feel like a directionless sponge. Troubling Transitions' city also had this problem to a lesser extent. Where that approach shines and produces top-tier content is with interiors/locations. The cathedral in TT had the same style, and it was the clear highlight. My Favourite Year uses the same method, and it's easily your best work and one of my personal favourite 'pure T2' missions. It also allowed you to focus on fleshing out the fantastic unique style of that mission, vs. trying to come up with a whole variety of forgettable ones that a city forces.

    I don't know what you plan to build in future, but I think your absolute strength is building single locations. I would love to see a Psych0sis church, or tomb, or bank. City missions are overdone, and few people lay out complete interiors as well as you.
    At first sight, this is a fan mission whose provenance looks clear: its style is similar to multiple well-known FMs set in dark city districts with a strong vertical element, and using assets which might as well be an author‚€™s signature. However, the signature is false, and the mission isn‚€™t built by the first person you might think of ‚€“ and there are tell-tale signs which point in this direction.

    The mission ‚€“ focused on retrieving a valuable, proprietary recipe ‚€“ is set in a small city block featuring a street winding its way among towering buildings, and spiralling upwards and downwards. Construction is tight and used inventively ‚€“ there are interconnections, rope arrow spots, good challenges involving tricky patrol routes, observation spots to plan your next move from the shadows or ledges, the works. The polished gameplay is a crucial aspect of the mission‚€™s success: it is tough but fair, and always has something new to show in its limited area. As the use of space goes, this is as close as a normal mission gets to exploiting the building space without involving unnatural wizardry. It is atmospheric, too, with moody lighting and well-placed ambients.
    My second favorite of the contest overall. Very tightly packed while also feeling varied and interesting, and any mission where its raining is nice.
    Recipe for Turmoil is one of these missions I know I will like as soon as I hear good old keehit_s.wav. What we have here is a dark and miserable looking cityscape in which you can feel every rain drop falling on your black cloak. The construction is superb and overall very well done, with interesting passageways and a lot of vertical navigation. I also greatly enjoyed the rather peculiar task of having to steal a recipe; that's not something you often see in Thief!

    Atmosphere is, again, very well done overall with a great selection of sounds and very moody visuals. There are some bits that are very evocative of the dark mystique of The Dark Project in that mission and the rain amplifies this.

    So what is preventing this mission from having a higher score? Simply put, it is over *WAY* too soon, even by the standards of this contest. This is a 20 minute job on Expert, maybe 25-30 minutes if you look for secrets. I haven't seen the mission in DromEd but I would not be surprised if there was a lot of space that could have been used but isn't. As it is, Recipe for Turmoil is just too small and feels like it has too much unused/wasted space to have a higher score on the use of space. It's a shame too, because the rest is close to impeccable.

    Use of space: 7
    Design/Construction: 9
    Atmosphere/Story: 8
    In Recipe for Turmoil we should steal the recipe from a cook living in small and rainy part of Old Quarter. I cannot say much about this mission. It's vertical city mission, with some challenging sneaking and surprisingly complicated plot. The biggest nitpick I have is that it is quite typical and too short (I spent 20 min on it). In my opinion it feels like part of bigger picture that was not completed probably due to lack of time. Aside this, its quite fun and competently made work.
    Cool atmosphere, fun for the 25 minutes it takes to complete. The only real problem with this mission, like Fierce Competition from the previous contest, is that it feels like a smaller version of something I've already played before.
    Very nice city design, however I felt something was missing to make it a top level map. Didn't connect with the story, but the town looked awesome! Seemed on the smaller side compared to some of the other entries.
    Last edited by Brethren; 2nd Mar 2021 at 23:21.

  6. #6

    Player comments for Sabotage in Easport:

    Enjoyable Thief 2 city mission, good gameplay, good visuals, nice story. A solid FM that plays very nicely but unfortunetly isn't super memorable.
    I stopped playing this mission after 5 minutes.
    It absolutly lacks creativity in my mind and the added verticality feels completly artificial.
    This is not a top tier mission.
    This was a fun little mission. In some ways it's like a very miniaturized Life of the Party, which is no bad thing. Navigating some of the small eastern buildings with wood... balconies? was a bit of a chore.
    Very nice story that slots neatly into the original T2 canon - good premise and plot development. Unfortunately it's let down by poor use of space - every location feels unnaturally cramped and nowhere feels like a real place. The author would have been better to use a shorter, but wider area for the mission, allowing more horizontal freedom of movement.
    + a heavily vertical mission; I had fun roping up all these balconies
    Great vertical oriented mission, several entry points to buildings on different heights. Generally satisfied with design.
    (IMHO Lady's house to my taste could be better designed, where you have better detailed rooms, 1st floor divided in 2, having lower ceilings and possibly elevator or at least staircases which are not as steep. A small lever on Truart's painting looking at you from staircase is very smart)
    This is also one of the "small area with a central building"-missions - very well made, but not quite as good as "The Tower" from Lady Rowena. But then again: What is?
    Another great contest mission, well designed, clever objectives and some hard to find loot. I had a ball with this one.
    Very vertical mission, that at first I was afraid I will run out of health or rope arrows, but it wasn't an issue. Didn't had too much problem with navigating or getting the key items. Although with my casual looking for loot, I didn't manage to complete 1000g objective (9g left, so decided to leave at it is). Probably it will sound masochistic, but I enjoyed the jumping through tenements windowsill above the fence.
    Also I like the little bits of street-life, like the thugs chilling on the street, rats, homeless dude sleeping next to the air ventilation.
    It seemed that the author had problems to use the space efficently. Some of the buildings are in my opinion a litte bit messed up in case of dimensions (very long on the x axis but narrow at the y axis) like long corridors and thereby not very believable. But tbh im not a great fan of pure rooftop missions. But im interested to see future missions of this author, maybe without space limitations =)
    Well done; good challenge but not too hard. Would have liked more entrances to apartments on the west side of the map.
    Excellent. I enjoyed this mission very much. Lots to explore. Plenty to go back for. Clever invention of the prototype. A very satisfying mission. Thank you!!!
    Felt like story kept it most interesting for me, during playthrough I imagine with perhaps time constraints, it just felt like maybe more polishing would have made it felt more fun for beginners, because alert your enemy and you'd basically alert them all in a chain reaction felt like was very dense but not in the best way, design of it felt it would have felt similary to multiple entry points if it just had been more polished.
    A little cramped in parts. Got pinned by doors and stalled climbing stairs. But good atmosphere and story. Not too challenging. Surprising amount to explore.
    great story line and classic feel with lots of rooftop access!
    A fun Mechanist mission with some thieves' highway shenanigans, though the guards got stuck under the stairs a few times.
    Sorry to say, but I found this mission to be mediocre. The 1 million unit of space was mostly wasted on a big broad street area that contained nothing of interest and very steep staicases where I had to creep, otherwise I made noise by falling to the end of the stairs. In a rooftop-(ish) mission I'd have expected a more crammed approach. I also didn't like that you had to attract attention by destroying the metal beast. The mask was also too well hidden. I had to look up the forums to get the Truart reference because I didn't know that was him on the painting (I spent 20 minutes sweeping the mansion). All in all I had some fun, but the mission could use a bit more polish. It's not bad, it has the right touch to it but the above mentioned things made it a bit boring.
    This mission splitted my opinion in two.
    In one hand, the design and use of space are great, but in another hand, it's absolutely not fitting the ghosting playstyle which makes it hard to keep an objective point of view.

    So sticking to the use of space and design, let's say it's a good mission which use the space correctly. Though the plot could have been emphasized a little more with more readables or discussions. But all in all, it's a decent mission!
    Before his foray into the Angelwatch tower, Garrett recieves information about new type of robots Mechanists designing in their workshop in Eastport. So he should pay a visit to the workshop and in addition to it - "inspect the property" of local inhabitants. Some of them, albeit, have their own agenda in which Garrett plays important role...

    Sabotage in Eastport is fine example of small but extremely vertical city mission combined with themes of mechanist missions (and - despite menacing name - it is closer to Eavesdropping than to Sabotage in Soulforge). Intruder mastered Thief 2 aesthetics, and the mission really feels like forgotten chapter from second game. Posh mansion of Lady Valeria and sometimes poor surrounding locations and rental apartments nearby, small thieves' hideout, ascetic decorations of mechanists' workshop... Mission is quite non-linear wih several exits into the both workshop and mansion. There're some clever puzzles - with well-hidden Lady Valeria's relic and with the plans of Mechanists.

    The trade-off here is the crampedness of the level: the mission is overloaded with compartments, rooms, guards and robots and cameras per square meter (albeit not to ominous levels of crampedness of Zealot's Hollow). Some places like the mansion - felt too small - as it seems like the author in last moment "shortened" them to meet either deadline or the spatial requirement. Another nitpick is quite steep loot goals - especially the one on Expert difficulty, which will force you to explore the entire mission. As I said, I found puzzles clever and interesting, but some other people can find them too vague, and I can understand that. Overall, for me sabotaging in Eastport was quite the endeavor and challenge, and I like it.
    A classic intruder mission, always enjoyable!
    Nice and vertical. My kind of mission.
    good verticality with tall buildings
    I really enjoyed the balconies! While I noticed some complained that the prototype wasn't somehow clearly marked as such, I MUCH prefer your approach: If you build a robot that only has one serious weakness (water arrows) then that's all you change/fix. And the readables were quite clear. Lady's house seemed oddly designed, but was OK.
    A very vertical city mission centred around a towering Mechanist facility you must infiltrate, surrounded by equally towering high-rises you must plunder. The most successful aspect of the mission is how vertigo-inducing it is ‚€“ yes, it goes HIGH, and it is a long way down when you slip and fall. And fall you will: navigation can be tricky, and either due to innate issues introduced by the narrow and cramped vertical spaces, or a lack of sufficient playtesting, some of the jumps are fairly frustrating. AI also seem to be more aware than usual, and an unfortunate step can rile up the whole neighbourhood from top to bottom. Another thing which does not work out perfectly is that the structures surrounding the Mech tower are built on the perimeter of the mission, and do not offer sufficient place for interesting enterable places. So we have ‚€œcolumns‚€ of tiny rooms cramped on top of each other, or connected by impossibly tall stairs. This is one mission which could have been less vertical (some of the rooms are very tall) and have a larger footprint. The infiltration segment in the Mechanist facility is decent, as is the overall look and feel of the mission ‚€“ but something is missing here.
    Positives: Overall: good mission. Busy and active. Great use of space. Special mechanics featured in the mission were adequately explained by the level's readables. The apartment buildings outside the Mechanist tower were a nice touch. Enjoyed the busy industrial vibe of the Mechanist tower. Didn't get stuck on vague clues and hints and could complete the mission without the help of a walkthrough.

    Negatives: Bad platforming design. Had great difficulty navigating the rooftops. I kept slipping and falling all the time and I am usually decent at jumping and platforming. Two guards and the lady in the red dress kept getting bottlenecked on the stairs. Many surfaces were unsafe to land on while crouchjumping due to glitchy surfaces, such as metal pipes.

    Other Comments: Pretty good level. I enjoyed it overall, except for the bad platform design.
    Didn't really care for the square city layout, but the interior of the buildings were great. Loved the mechanist facility, and some of the loot were super cleverly hidden. Nice mission, though not fantastic.
    I enjoy intruder's missions a lot so when I saw that he was entering the contest, I was very eager to play the mission. I was however very disappointed with this mission as it feels like a worse A Theft In Hightowne in every aspect. The biggest problem I have with this mission is that it's very oversized, I think the streets are fine but the manor interior is far, far too big and it results in a ton of wasted space that could have easily been used in better ways. Some of the construction is also very odd and roombrushing is quite sloppy in certain spots.

    The story is adequate but doesn't make much sense in the context of Thief 2. The readables are all well written and the atmosphere is quite good overall. I think the combat bot prototype you have to destroy could have benefitted from having a special skin to differentiate it from regular combat bots. It's the only one in the mission but it looks exactly like the regular ones.

    Use of space: 6
    Design/Construction: 6
    Atmosphere/Story: 6
    Sabotage in Eastport could be one of the OMs. It has a very strong story (one of the best in the contest) and the objectives are interesting and challenging enough. This mission had most verticality and climbing opportunities from the contest missions I've played so far. The Mechanist workshop tower was well done and it has a nice variety in different floors. The loot placements were interesting and they seemed to be in a similar places like in the OMs. This mission didn't feel as big as the very best contest missions but was very enjoyable and loyal to OMs style and atmosphere!
    I enjoyed the Mechanists tower, especially the main objective and security system. Other pluses: "prototype bots" storyline and rooftop possibilities. Also, the loot hidden behind Truart's portrait was a nice touch! There are some iffy aspects to it (mansion could use a better floorplan and just more rooms/chambers/corridors etc.), but it's a solid mission nonetheless!
    Exterior city area was awkward to move around but the chapel itself was fun and I liked the super narrow half-timber tower.
    Last edited by Brethren; 3rd Mar 2021 at 22:59.

  7. #7

    Player comments for Sinister Night:

    (Awaiting approval from author before posting comments)
    Last edited by Brethren; 11th Mar 2021 at 11:52.

  8. #8

    Player comments for The Cinder Notes:

    I adore the outside visuals and vibe of this FM. Just extremaly cosy city section. I'm not huge fan of overuse of custom resources but this mission does it very well, although I have to say interiours aren't nearly as nice to look at as the outside. Everywhere you go there is very pretty lighting that unfortunetly is pretty glitchy with your lifegem, but other than that the gameplay is solid.
    There wasnt so much story, felt generic.
    The rest is the best it could get!
    Absolutely gorgeous daytime mission, with fantastic texturing and lighting. Gameplay was solid, to boot. The only miss would be the new footsteps when on wood - they were too loud and made me unsure how quiet I was being. But otherwise this was fantastic - I'd love to see an expanded version or more missions in this style. Very well done!
    Absolutely beautiful environment - stunning architecture and lovely early morning vibes. Loved the contrast between the sunlit upper areas and the grimy underground. Great use of 3D space. The challenge was a little bit lacking, but it was great fun while it lasted.
    + by design a beautiful piece of art
    + very clever hidden code hints
    + excellent gameplay, straightforward manor mission
    Sliptip reincarnation of Ashen Age, I presume?
    Floor shadows from window gate are breathtakingly realistic
    The lighting is incredibly beautiful but there is a bit too much decay for me. This cost a point in "atmosphere" and the top spot.
    Loved the look and feel of this mission, but as with other contest missions I felt the objectives were too easy to complete making this mission not much of a challenge.
    great beginning! love the boxes, and view of the buildings from the window. great use of light and brick facade, tunnels and trap doors. Stunning!
    In my oppinion this mission was great in case of design of props and architecture, I really enjoyed that. Maybe there was a bit overuse of equipment for Garrett find, that made it a little easy, therefore the more aware guards and the daylight made it a little more difficult, so all in all it was a good balance.
    Very well done! Multiple environment types; solving the gate puzzle; multiple enemies, and felt like a very good use of the space!
    I thought this was very stylish with bright attractive architecture. Walls, ceilings, everything was well designed and constructed. I would have preferred more colour and it was lovely when I found some, like the colourful sign of The Roebuck Hotel advertising Manchester‚€™s Finest Ales. It was something I could identify with, although sadly there were no beer barrels, bottles nor cans of the famous brew to be found anywhere and it definitely wasn't Manchester. HaHa!

    Regrettably there was a little too much lock-picking and with no secrets to find I was bored. I didn‚€™t feel drawn into the mission. That was a shame because I appreciate the hard work that‚€™s gone in. Well done. I may return to it but in the meantime Thank You Very Much!
    Beautiful Town.
    There were so many great missions in this contest and it was very hard to pick a winner. Visually this one is the best I have seen!!
    Very well polished and designed mission which felt like it had multiple entry points to choose from as well as having a very subtle but eerie atmosphere which complimented the horror aspect exactly in the way I wish to see in Thief games, mostly a psychological effect as in letting your fantasy carry away, the story of the closed off section primarily kept it very mysterious and has a good potential if ever expanded on a fully fledged no constraint type of design, overall this mission was so much fun the only drawback was the lack of color where everything felt so grey but it was nicely done since it felt like a design choice to have it all blended in grey and weary immersion for the player.
    I think it is among with Alcazar my favourite one! Mostly due to atmosphere and use of color and light.
    I love the early sunset skybox and very delicate fog that boost the colors, contrasted with eerie grays spaces, and muted colors nearly everywhere, it creates such intimidating atmosphere. I love how it is so strongly resembles small Italian old town, but it is not in kitschy way due to amount of stone, rust, with muted cold colors. The first impression of cold light grays with strong rust in first two rooms of warehouse greatly display the atmosphere, and the Monastery building itself is so horror like due to uncanny valley in nearly every room. The use of mechanists spider-bots gives great potential for further exploring the theme of such amount of light, colors and textures, and thrilling(!) silence. I am fan of "delicate" usage of sounds.
    Also congrats for using the custom textures, it is still crispy and clean, but also they blend together so well with the mission, that there's not too much contrast between "vanilla" textures and shapes. In general I noticed many authors use "too much" for my taste of custom, complicated objects. I have no issue like such at this mission.
    I always say that daylight missions don't go well with the Dark engine, but this time I have to change my opinion. The original Thief graphics don't look good in the Dark engine but the ones in this mission just look nice even in broad daylight. I really liked the layout of the map too, reminded me of old Venice. The only thing I missed in the abandoned seminary were some haunts or other horrors. I also wanted to access the walled up northern part of the seminary (the haunts would have been a nice addition to there) but didn't find any entry points. Left me with an empty feeling. Other than these nuisances I really enjoyed the mission. Thank you!
    Not too challenging. Seemed a familiar map. Expected slightly more from the creepy library though.
    I absolutely loved the daytime setting, the dusty atmosphere, and the various ways of progressing towards the main objective.
    A stunningly beautiful and atmospheric level.
    Really enjoyed this one!
    So what we've got here?
    A map using space greatly, puzzles here and there, also atypical gameplay elements.
    Sliptip could really be the author of this map. If it's not him, it's an outstanding hommage.
    There are some issues such as not telling more about the plot but it's still fine and fun to play
    Amazing texturing and architecture.
    If this is not Sliptip, it's the best Sliptip-imitation that is possible. The descent into the basement was one of the best atmospheric experiences of this contest.
    Just a generally good mission. Short 'n sweet.
    Cinder Notes is semi-sequel (or semi-spinoff) to Sliptip's Ashen Age: Part 1 (albeit I don't know whether Sliptip is the author of CN). Garrett seeks in sunny town for eponymous Cinder Notes, excerpt from Book of Ash (our mcguffin in Ashen Age 1). That is the setup of adventuring here.

    Let me start with good things. The high fidelity graphics here are amazing, and the mission really looks like some dream or fairy-tale city like Sliptip's co-project, Fables of the Penitent Thief, albeit more grounded in world of Thief 1-3. I always liked the vertical city exploration missions, and Cinder Notes delivers such an experience. It is not big, but is quite high. The seminary puzzle was balanced - not hard at all, but required some attention to details.

    The not so good stuff here is that mission contains almost no challenge - especially in city section. Something surely doesn't click with me also in underground parts: they are too small and also not that menacing or challenging. As for the plot - the mission's ending feels quite abrupt, looks like Ashen Age: Part 3 is something we now should wait for. Sometimes I had the overall feeling that mission was unfinished (I'm about you, seminary's basement) or "shortened" to satisfy the contest requirements.

    In any case, my judging might be too harsh and in comparison with many old missions from some old Komag's contests this one surely looks strong. It has redeeming qualities, and leaves lasting feeling.
    interesting Venetian feel to new textures and sounds, golden hour daylight; fun tunnel options
    I LOVED having to work in daytime. This was an interesting place. I'd like to go back there and discover more places.
    In what seems to be an unintended pattern for this contest, this FM is an homage to Sliptip‚€™s Ashen Age: a Mediterranean city at dusk (or dawn), a prominent use of waterways, and a very high-res aesthetic. This mission uses the available space well, seeming larger than it is. There are multiple ways to proceed and accomplish objectives, with sneaking just right ‚€“ neither terribly easy nor particularly hard. Likewise, the puzzles are logically built, and one of them is fairly original. The mission‚€™s main location, a decaying Hammerite church now used as mercenary barracks, is wonderfully derelict. Overall, it is aesthetics and an attention to story which distinguishes this one.
    I can't believe we actually got Ashen Age part 2!
    *Mostly negative review*

    Positives: Nice use of sound. Good use of space. Not too difficult in terms of enemies.

    Negatives: Very confusing to navigate. Mission gets boring after about 20 minutes. All the textures look similar and throw off my sense of direction. The bookshelf puzzle was annoying because the readable that contains crucial information relating to solving it could not be picked up, which is a major sin in level design. Took me 30 minutes to find the exit because all the rooms blend together. Was not very enjoyable overall.
    Beautiful looking mission, prettiest of the bunch I'd say. Not usually a big fan of custom textures, but this one looked great. Somewhat disappointed by the lackluster catacombs area towards the end. Was expecting a big finale but it wasn't to be. Would play this again definitely!
    I would be highly surprised if this mission wasn't made by the one and only Sliptip, because it emulates The Ashen Age so perfectly, down to the tiniest details, that I just don't believe anyone else but him could've made it. What we have here is a very cool daytime mission using the exact same textures, sounds and meshes as The Ashen Age. It looks and sounds gorgeous with great attention to detail and excellent architecture. Lighting is fantastic throughout with very nice colors and shadows. The mission, like some others in this contest, feels a lot bigger than it is, though the docks area at the start has a lot of wasted space.

    The layout is very well done overall with several paths you can take and several points of entry to the main area where your primary objective is located. One puzzle required to proceed isn't too hard but the way forward can be tricky to find. Unfortunately, the very last part of the mission is quite underwhelming and offers little to no challenge. I also wish the story had more substance to it, as it feels a bit undercooked.

    Overall, The Cinder Notes is a worthy contender for first place. It doesn't reach Alcazar's brilliance but it is a damn fine mission if I do say so myself.

    Use of space: 9
    Design/Construction: 10
    Atmosphere/Story: 8
    Nice looking mission with interesting story. I liked the daylight but at first it was a bit hard to
    tell where were the proper shadows to hide in. So, shadows might have been a bit darker to show the player clearly where to hide. The atmosphere was strong and especially in the old seminary, there was a feeling of tension and terror (I was a bit surprised that there wasn't anything sinister down there). I think, some of the ambients were slightly too loud: Garrett's footsteps and other AIs footsteps, also iron doors opening and shutting noices were quite loud. This mission didn't feel as big as the best ones in this contest but in my notes this FM is definitely closer to the top than the bottom. Overall, very good looking FM and nicely balanced gameplay and story. Good job!
    Basically anything with 24-25 rating deserves to win and Cinder Notes are no different. I don't even remember when was the last time I played a mission so beautiful, but TCN delivers the goods right from the start. Clever waterways, nice little mysteries, possibility to turn off the electricity - it's among the best small FMs I ever witnessed. Ale praise is deserved, if you ask me!
    Last edited by Brethren; 2nd Mar 2021 at 23:22.

  9. #9
    Registered: May 2004
    * 1 negative remark - no support for Akven's ESRGAN mod (game crashes), which is really unfortunate, and therefore I slightly lowered design score.

  10. #10
    Registered: Feb 2021
    Pookaball, if you're reading this, keep up the great work! I can't wait to see what else you might contribute to the Thief community. Your first contest go (if I understand correctly that it is your first go) holds much promise and potential. I suggest getting in touch with some of the more experienced modders for your next venture to get some tips on polish. I hope to see an entry from you in the next contest, or at least another FM release soon!

  11. #11

    Player comments for The Perdurance:

    It was cleverly made and very very tense.
    Thief systems fantasticly well used.
    Wished for a bit more story overall.
    I loved the atmosphere and the environmental storytelling. The cramped quarters worked great given the setting of a ship. I didn't care so much for the invincible mummies given said cramped quarters; it kinda forces a play style, and not one of my favorites.
    Really good, spooky atmosphere with great use of environmental storytelling, in an enjoyably non-conventional Mechanist setting. The monsters were not much fun to ghost around, but the mission was short enough that they didn't outstay their welcome. After a very strong start, the story seemed to run out of steam and didn't really go anywhere in the end.
    + great athmosphere; rich in details; overall a good horror mission

    (probably heavily inspired from the FM M.S. Gold - Rust (Thief 2), many parallels, like a tiny version of it.)
    I had goosebumps, hopefully no nightmares!
    But the ship interior could be bigger, no?
    Fun little mission, heavy on atmosphere (not because of the fog), but very short and pretty linear.
    This mission has a nice mystical feeling! The story enhances this feeling more. The ship itself is a dark and somewhat a frightening place. I'd say the only thing I found frustrating, was those fast creatures. At first, I tried to avoid them and by doing this, I had to move very slowly (slower than I can ever remember moving in a FM). Also there was used very much loud floor materials (metal and marble) and this made it even harder to move around. This just took away so much from the gameplay that it was hard to enjoy the mission fully. Eventually I just started running around since I noticed that I could outrun the creatures. Overall this mission has a lot of cool things, but it didn't feel very big compared to some of the other contest missions.
    Cool concept.
    Not that scary but enough shocks and scares to satisfy most horror fans. The design/construction I felt was spot on and I enjoyed this mission from start to finish.
    I had a long date with one of the mummies, in the dumbwaiter before I could proceed further with the mission.

    Little classic horror story - that's what happens, when you open the sarcophagus. The first exposition to the mission is amazing, and set atmosphere of dread greatly that sticked with me until the end. The mission is tight, and my coward ass is glad there are safe spaces, and the upper floor isn't filled with enemies too.
    Just what I needed, an excellent horror themed mission... and one completely made with Thief 2 assets, only mechanist ones, I presume. I adore horror FMs in Thief, but I think this was the first one with mechanists elements. You managed to show that horror missions are not necessarily crypts with zombies, but they can also be ships with mummies. Fantastic work, hats off
    Good mission, I think its a long time since I played the last mechanist-ship-horrormission ("MS Gold Rust" ist the last I remember) The mission show that the key to high tension in horrormissions is to give the player some disturbing scenes at first, and a frightening threat later. This goal the author indeed achieved. For the contest rules the mission seemed to be a bit small, in comparison to to its competitors. But nevertheless, great mission.
    Nice architecture, but I _hate_ unkillable high-speed enemies forcing me to ghost!
    With some missions I‚€™m satisfied to have played and don‚€™t want it to end. Others I feel relieved to have finished and have no sense of achievement. This has a good storyline and atmosphere but I was quickly out of my comfort zone.

    I liked the sets of double doors that moved slightly with accompanying sound but did not open. And realistic temporary staggering of a foe when blinded by Flash Bomb or Mine.

    I‚€™m not sure if it was by design but I had problems with the dumb-waiter at the top. I could get in but not get out at the top nor lean out to hit the controls. On one occasion I managed to hit the down button but I gave up using that mode of transport after that.

    For a very long time I was stuck inside a large side-opened crate of sarcophagus's but I‚€™m always getting stuck in places that I shouldn‚€™t be and stubborn persistence got me free after many minutes, in between the constant mummy patrols.

    Dealing with their strange cross-over patrol routes was certainly challenging and I spent much effort trying to take them on including 50 sword strikes ‚€˜til my button finger tired and (s)he was at me in a fraction of a second. Standing on a raised area where I could hit it, and it couldn‚€™t hit me I persevered by striking 100 times. It shed blood (or something) but never weakened.

    I appreciated sneaky placements like the flute and there were lots of things that you are sure are not useable and will only make a noise alerting the enemy when you place them down again, but I still felt obliged to pick up just in case they are part of the plot. They never were. And I know that mechanist mace is no use, but there are 4 of them so perhaps ... And hitting the thing with a sword 50 times didn't work either. The blackness in the distance that promised refuge but brightens when you get there ...

    The cruelty that the gear I found is only loot after I‚€™d foolishly relaxed and gone back to the safe. I looked up the author as I always feel missions tell a lot about him/her and how they feel about society. Not much love here. I found 1430/1600 but no bronze gear and resorted to the forum. The fact that it was in open sight and I didn‚€™t see it no doubt shows how disturbed I was. I ended on 1530/1600. It was certainly an endurance test and I mused what the Per was in Perdurance. Several contenders for that word came to mind as I played. It's clever. Well done. A lot of work has gone into it and I'm sure many will enjoy it a lot. It‚€™s not for me.
    Ship felt like a nice design to explore with just few paths to choose from once you get inside it with a surprise to keep you on the edge but somehow it lacked atmosphere once you got deeper into the mission but its not easy to craft an atmosphere in my opinion but had best ideas for fog usage which helped keep it fun!
    I feel like this mission's design it at odds with itself. It pretty much forces you to ghost it, but because the place is pretty cramped and the fog stops you from seeing very far, you can't observe and devise a plan to get through anywhere. It made the level feel more like a bunch of jumpscares rather than a place I'm trying to sneak through and steal things from.
    Good creepy mission, despite ships being one of my least favourite environments.
    For such a short mission, it completely nails the sense of dread and danger, with superb architecture and destruction to match.
    A scary mission, and a good one.
    The place is beautiful. The build-up is intense. The atmosphere is amazing!
    The author gave a real attention to detail and decorations.
    This is how a mission looks like when someone passionnated has decided to do his best to show his love in the game and community. It definitely worth playing!
    It's a shame though it's smaller than it should have been. Hopefuly the author will do an extended version out of the contest so we could see more of this magnificient ship!
    One of two horror missions in contest. The basic premise of Perdurance is simple: you go to the seemingly empty Mechanists' ghost ship to steal some precious artefact. But, as usual in horror missions, getting inside is much easier than getting outside, and the ship is clearly not abandoned.

    The main strength of Perdurance is thick and gloomy atmosphere of loneliness, dread and mystery. The fog which surrounds ship, the quiet but unnerving music, the gears, which are still working and turning, and quietly rumble. You would not immediately get acquaintance with new inhabitants of the ship, but clearly you won't forget the first meet with them. The story itself is not much detailed but I think that in this case the less is better. In lower sections of ship the mission turns into survival horror which will require some quick thinking and attentiveness in studying routes of enemies and in seeking places to hide and also alternative ways that are not numerous, but can save you some time and unpleasant exchanges. It's pleasure not for everyone since you cannot do anything with your opponents except for ghosting them. I liked the challenge but can understand if others won't.

    The mission (too) quickly ends: I spent 30 min, and I am not fast player. Overall, from Skejven's works I personally slightly prefer Where the Unknown Lurks, which was bigger and more open, but Perdurance is more challenging, unique in premise, and will keep you in strain till the very end.
    VERY atmospheric. A little too short. But considering I don't like horror missions, short enough to where I could just sprint upstairs once I finished all the goals is actually pretty great.
    very spooky darkness trick, interesting setting (luxury cruise ship); disliked the fast and near-silent enemies
    Claustrophobic in a good way. And creepy.
    A great mission. The feeling of descending into the depths of a vessel was well captured. It was well-paced, with a variety of rooms to explore and a good balance of isolated and hostile-AI gameplay.

    The mood and details were fantastic. Skejven has a great ability to make creative use of brushwork, whether developing his own ideas or expanding on an established style (as in the case of Builder's Paradise here).

    The clear shortcoming was use of space. A large amount of the play area was dedicated to open ocean, which limited how much space could actually be used. The use of 'blocked' doors often made the limitations inside more obvious too.
    In the Thief mission ecosystem, Mechanists occupy the same evolutionary niche as Nazis do in film: they build elaborate facilities where something goes wrong, and they mess with forces that are not to be messed with. They are, also, not particularly missed when something inexplicably starts massacring them. This makes Mechanist missions great for survival horror, and survival horror rarely gets better than this small Mechanist-themed mission set on a derelict steamship, which gets everything right.

    We must mention the atmosphere above all: with similarities to Brainchild, System Shock 2, and The Builder‚€™s Paradise from the TMA contest, the level offers a cramped, exquisitely detailed mechanical environment. The Mech assets are not easy to work with properly, but in this mission, the author brings out their best. The attention to fine detail and scene composition is exquisite: here are rooms full of whirring machinery, retro-futuristic lounges with Art Deco interior decor, and hellish steam tunnels that lead to horrible nightmares. Scenes of upheaval, devastation and carnage are constructed with a sure hand. Flickering lights and the glow of consoles barely illuminates the surroundings, but there is enough to find your way and explore the ship interior and witness its horrors. It is show, not tell ‚€“ indeed, the mission probably has about one or two readables at all, but the environment tells the story quite well. All this is rounded out with well-picked ambients, constantly good throughout. You will have to listen to the noises to survive (no spoilers here).

    There is nothing particularly revolutionary about the stealth gameplay. It is just polished and properly tense, with the right amount of metal and softer surfaces. There is a loot hunting element, which is not too hard if you pay attention, and an objective that is fairly simple. This is quite right for a small mission ‚€“ as is everything else. Well, almost everything: the particle effect at the beginning/end can produce a terrible slowdown in even a strong PC. But that is all. This mission looks well, sounds well and plays well. It understands survival horror and excels at it. Well worth playing.
    I wish there were more scary short missions like this.
    Amazing atmosphere! Loved the smoke and darkness. Great use of flashing lights and sounds also. Didn't care much for the mummies with no way to kill them. Nice premise but seemed rather small in the end.
    Skejven is a very promising author every FM player should be on the lookout for. Where the Unknown Lurks for the Thief 2 20th Anniversary Contest was a solid mission and The Perdurance shows the author steadily improving in terms of construction, scope and atmosphere. The setting is very interesting and isn't seen too often, taking pretty obvious cues from FireMage's The Builder's Paradise while having its own spin on it. It is overall a very pretty if downright scary Mechanist ship on foggy waters that is completely deserted... or is it?

    The atmosphere of this mission is, along with the construction, the best aspect of the mission. Sounds are very well chosen and the creatures you'll have to evade are quite effective at scaring you. Furthermore, the mission uses black fog to simulate darkness to great effect.

    The main problem with the Perdurance is the same as with Recipe for Turmoil: it's over too soon because the mission is simply too small, and that is mostly due to the fact that the ship's deck occupies roughly a quarter of the available space and there is no gameplay in it at all. It's empty space. It looks great, don't get me wrong, but at the end of the day it's empty space, and I cannot possibly give it a very high score in that regard. That, however, doesn't change the fact that The Perdurance is a very nice mission every horror afficionado should play.

    Use of space: 7
    Design/Construction: 9
    Atmosphere/Story: 8
    I wrote such a long comment and lost it, due to a logout! Anyways, a quick recap: I really enjoy smart use of gore (we get bloodied corpses as well as more nuanced hangman in a dark room) and scary enemies that kept me on my toes. Also, the opportunity to see Mechanists art, stained glasses or shrines in this nasty, hostile environment makes for some powerful imagery that will stuck in my mind. Some rooms felt a bit too dark and lacking, but as I said: the idea behind this mission (system Shock meets Abysmal Gale meets Cetus Project) feels very fresh so this mission is going to be replayed in the future!
    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea FM by skebvjen when?
    Last edited by Brethren; 2nd Mar 2021 at 23:23.

  12. #12

    Player comments for The Turning of the Leaves:

    --Impressive scripting (AI dropping frobbable lanterns, sketched automap, flowers that regrow, owl keys etc.)
    --despite narrow view distances, the exterior framerate was subpar but not awful. Inefficient use of nature objects and transparencies, especially since the blocky geo was still obvious.
    --Great atmosphere, the world felt truly wet and cold, with beacons of warmth.
    --The space felt more expansive than you would expect from the contest limits, but a lot of it was empty and functionally identical to a much more compact space. However, being a natural setting this isn't unreasonable.
    --Sound design was great, with very smooth transitions.
    --A lot of the gameplay comprised a hedge/cave maze. At least there was an excellent map.
    --Progression was Metroid-style, with backtracking that felt rewarding through additional equipment.
    --Added content by way of busywork, though that is a nicked staple.
    --A few technical niggles like the rare leaky roombrush, but nothing severe.
    --Some really creative choices. The skeleton monster and the thieves' den were a standout (despite a big old exposition dump explaining something that every player will clearly understood).
    --Given the smaller scale, more of the cell/brush budget could have been committed to granular details.
    --Way too many of the invisible flame eye creatures, especially given the dearth of health items.
    This felt the most like a thief mission.
    The enemies in the temple felt really scary and creative.
    I loved alot of this.
    Sadly i feel like it wasnt polished enough, suffers beneath its own scale.

    Certainly a top tier mission!
    I love Nicked FMs, but this was a little bit of a letdown. I'm not sure why, maybe not really interesting visuals (very primitive brushwork and texturework imo)? The atmosphere is there but idk this definetly is not even close for me to other recent Nicked FMs.
    This was a fantastic mission, and barely felt space limited at all. There were several very clever elements and a variety of things to do. Loved the rogues in disguise!
    Well done and I can't wait to see more from this author!
    + a very well executed woodland mission
    + in comparison to all other mission longest gameplay by time needed
    + great story, excellent gameplay
    This is the most conflicted scoring I had and it could've scored a bit higher.
    - Absolutely brilliant in places and while the mission isn't short I desperately wanted it to be longer.
    - The cave area felt tagged on and unnecessary. I mean there is the hideout and that brilliant temple...
    - The machine in the hideout was unnecessary, as was the flower picking, but some players may like it so it had no effect on the score.
    - Finally, I wished I could've return to the cabin, put the logs into the fireplace and ended the mission with that. Instead it ended when I went through the door...
    Overall this mission is very enjoyable and the story is very strong. The beginning was interesting too: Garrett has just escaped and thieves are looking for him in the forest. Also, the strong point was the gameplay - just enough challenge and lots of bonus objectives and one optional objective. I have no real viewpoint of missions that are 1 million units maximum (this mission was my first 1 million unit FM), but this mission felt quite big and there are lots of things to do. The atmosphere was very nice - the sound of rain, nicely created outdoors, interesting and scary enemies: especially those that were invisible except their eyes. I liked the cultists and their evil intentions. I'd like to see another mission one day, that has these cultists part of the story.
    I can¬īt even believe it was a limited unit mission, it was so time-consuming and well done.
    I realised this is IMHO, the winner, when I was in a cabin, looking at animal trophies and heard realistic sounds of rain hitting the wooden beams of the roof. Also I really appreciate:
    * Attention to details in hideout construction
    * Fake zombies and haunt laughs
    * Crafting, which is not only optional, but necessary for completing bonus objectives
    * Plenty of custom high quality graphics assets (I wish more authors would use it more frequently instead of choosing low pixel textures and objects, even if custom. It's 2021 lol)
    Loved every minute of this mission so gave it maximum points. There is so much to see and do that of all the contest missions this one has the greatest replay factor.
    My absolute favorite mission of this contest. I have to say, that I'm a huge fan of nicked's missions so i was really excited about the release. I was not disappointed. The mission was, as expected, shipped in great quality. The design of props and architecture was just excellent, and the mission just felt HUGE for just one million dromed feet. The tension was slowly rising, from me asking myself "what are all these flowers for?" to "damn, how much content is included in this mission?". There are various settings to find from just a chilling walk in the forest, to an underground downwinder base to some kind of crazy canibal cultists. And every new place was just believable and athmospheric. The mission had a little bit of backtracking for me, but that is always the case in a non-linear and open setting. As I praise this mission as I do the builder, I still have to criticise two points: at the end of the mission, when the blood projectiles were flying around, the mission crashed for me a couple of times. This is nothing dramatic, because of modern hardware you are back in game immediately and I'm sure this can be fixed with a patch in the future. The other problem was, that when everything else is finished, I found no solution to finish the bonus quest in Garretts place for the night. Maybe you could put the "mission complete" script just in the upper room, then everything would be great. Because of these two issues i have to remove one point from the otherwise excellent Design / Construction rating, but as already said, the rest of the mission was just perfect and completely my taste. If you had a Patreon account this great experience would be worth 5 bucks to me, thanks for the great time =)
    Very well done despite mostly being on one level. Multiple area types and multiple enemy types.
    Excellent atmosphere, great new monsters.
    The way this mission starts kept it very unique to me and it felt very dense and so easy to get lost, it also felt like there was just so much attention put to everything with a subtle story which increased replayability for me, has just tons of secrets to be discovered so overall a very typical keep you busy mission with a story that kept it fun for hours.
    Love the raining sounds, and the thieves hideout "phonograph" soundscape
    Very nicely laid out mission. Not a single inch of space wasted. However, I had to give a bit lower score on design, because of two things. First, when you open the gate to the thieves' hideout if you shut the gate behind you it pushes the cut-off padlock and it alerts the nearby zombie-thief and the frogbeast. I had to restart the game because of this because I couldn't get past the zombie-thief after he became alerted. The other thing is that the last bonus objective is located in the same area as the exit point, namely the hut with the unlit fireplace. This made me unable to score the last bonus objective and I didn' want to start the game again, so I gave a pass on that one.
    This mission is pure gold and I think it deserves to get 10+ (if only that were possible). Though I don't want to rate other missions worse to emphasize the gap. They are all either excellent or at least moderately good.
    Maybe that would be a nice idea to introduce some badge we can give to the outstanding missions, "our choice" or "best experience" or something. Not too many, like one from every voter in each contest. And not obligatory that as there may be several great missions with 9-10 in all stats but none of them giving that feeling. Or otherwise, some might lack in some parts and as such in the rating yet still be super exciting. Overall rating addresses these problems although not the "10+" one I think.
    Plenty to explore. My favourite of the bunch.
    Excellent FM. My favourite entry (though there were 3 close runners up!). The rain, the variety of enemies, the gameplay, making shit - very impressed but I wouldn't expect anything less from nicked TBH.
    Great characters, lots of exploration, gorgeous scenery, fun puzzles, clever secrets, and even a crafting station with unique items...all the qualities of a truly fantastic mission!
    Great atmosphere and excellent mission given the limitations!
    Apart from a frog, a lone spider which was good as a place marker, and a swarm of flies that didn‚€™t bite I don't think there were any of the old foe, none of the old treacherous places. This game was fresh, generous and satisfying with a good map that developed as you progressed and at the start I was able to use the first two unconscious thieves and their lanterns as 4 place-markers to leave a trail back.

    It felt creative, imaginative and organised and I love the real-time grandfather clock at the cabin which as far as I can tell is at 12:15 am at mission start. So often in FMs clocks have a fixed time with the two hands in unrealistic position even for a stopped clock. The majority of stuff was new to me, and at one stage I was more enthusiastic collecting flowers and mushrooms (for what purpose I had no idea) rather than loot but there were rewarding challenges if you chose to go for them. With hindsight I saw how even the most difficult tasks could be done with minimum fuss, showing how clever the design is and attention to detail is much in evidence (just look how meticulous the credit references are).

    Subtle joke placements (like a knitting basket in the thieves' hideout and a pair of bunny slippers) were brilliant although I didn‚€™t understand the significance of the piles of boots and hats(?) in the village which struck unfortunate associations in my mind. The sound of rain on different surfaces, like on a roof when you‚€™re underneath it, were perfect. Ditto all sounds. I loved finding the bolt cutters and had bad feelings taking them from a gentleman whose workshop was so neat. My father taught me you should never take another workman‚€™s tools without permission but I was very pleased to later repay him and his wife. It was a shame Garrett couldn‚€™t have knitted a shawl for her when she most needed one.

    It‚€™s a very attractive mission with little to criticise.
    By way of hopefully constructive feedback:
    In Fingol‚€™s Room I hit the wall covering with a sword and it gave off ‚€œdust‚€ in the way that sometimes a wooden door does. So I hit it 3 or 4 times and it opened revealing the secret room which was good but I still had to find the switch for the Number of Secrets discovered to increase.

    Bizarrely on one occasion when I played again from the start there was a servant (Kevel type) standing whistling near where the two thieves were having their first conversation. When the thieves resumed searching I quickly ran down past him and he said hello who are you?

    Once there was a misplaced sound of ‚€œfootstep on an inside wooden floor‚€ when I was outside stepping on a tree trunk (I believe) and unfortunately the quick lighting of the fire in the hut was beyond the ability of my old laptop touchpad. I tried doing it faster, jettisoning all other inventory, taking a speed potion, even trying to destroy the front door to cut out the awkward direction of approach. Never mind that it would no longer be cosy inside without a door Ideally I needed ‚€œMission Complete‚€ only when Garrett went upstairs.

    Everything was quality, even the title. For me a good game is one I don‚€™t want to leave. This is it. Thank you.
    Brave take to make forest mission, due to fact how its hard to make one in Thief. Since it rely on player imagination. The results of forest is really good. While technically the mission is good, and it allows for player to experience different situation, although personally isn't my cup of tea, but I appreciate how it is advanced on technical side.

    I think my dislike comes from mixing the complicated shaped objects, with thief vanilla ones. I must admit once I saw the cultist, which I can't help but think about Mystery of the Droods. Also fact the cultist has guards voicelines, it just puts me off and couldn't immerse within the game. While I like visually and as in general the idea of the thieves hideout and how they hide themselves, the cultist "chapel" ends up very meh for me. I did not bothered myself with doing the hidden objectives (like helping the lycanthropy cursed guy), or exploring the cultist place further than necessary.

    Oh btw. the mushroom and flower picking? BEST FEATURE!!! Even if I gathered them for no purpose, I loved that!
    It was a pleasure to play this mission.
    Maybe the one which is the most vast of all the entries.
    It design rocks and it gives something interesting, something more RPG-like.
    Though it have a few flaws and some tasks which sounds like forced extended playtime.
    But overall, it's definitely a good mission that worth being played!
    After successful small robbing, Garrett was unexpectedly kidnapped by other thieves, but happily managed to escape and now he is in the middle of mysterious rainy forest filled with dangers and... with possibilities (especially, in version 1.2 which included all needed scripts). So begins his another journey.

    It may be my subjective issue, but really for me the forest here feels more like a dungeon which is just above and not below ground. The sense of mystery, different settlements, forest walls that create corridors and big rooms with green "ceiling", several puzzles, some of which are clever (gathering flowers and mashrooms), and some are annoying (secret with rotating figures). Different inhabitants - thieves, cultists, and even more ominous creatures that better-not-be-disturbed... The overall sense of interconnected place and ecosystem with the some history - which develops till the end of mission.

    This mission is essentially a sandbox with lots of interesting things to do: you can craft potions and weapons using the machine "with no necromancy involved" - all you need is to find this machine and components of possible creations (which is not easy); you can rob the local temple with lots of clever traps; or save the werewolf from his curse (crafting, again); you can try to find the thieves' hideout and ghost it... And most of those activities are not mandatory. Overall, the good sides of this adventure outweigh the less good sides: some aforementioned annoying puzzles, and too obscure places (including one with the machine I mentioned before).
    A typical nicked mission, in all the right ways.
    While some of the actual gameplay was kinda dumb (frying pan, insanely observant cultists), the atmosphere and everything else was good.
    masterful rainy forest; basic thieves hideout hidden under Scooby-Doo graveyard; gross cultists & scary temple; innovative crafting mechanic
    This mission seemed HUGE. I enjoyed the mix of places yet moving from one to the other seemed natural, not jarring, so that "Why, of course these places could be near each other." I enjoyed the continuing appearance of surprises.
    Thief is not well suited for building forest missions, and most previous attempts have created what seem to be forest-textured corridors with the odd cylindrical tree stuck in to liven things up. This FM is one of those which come close ‚€“ but if you look behind the fa√ßade, the paths still look like corridors. If you accept this (a fault of the engine, not the level designer), you get an atmospheric mission filled with mist, rain, and the mysteries of a forest environment. It also leans on high-resolution assets. These are often used in a clumsy way, but here, everything is tasteful and in place, and as cohesive as the technology allows.

    Unlike other contest missions which sought to build upwards, this one is almost curiously flat (which enhances the artificial feeling ‚€“ I believe it would have been better off as a non-contest release). As a tradeoff, it is sprawling, and features multiple fairly large sites to plunder, any of which could have made for its own mini-mission. The attention to detail, and the range of things you can do, is impressive, with good writing throughout. Some of the gameplay is not entirely fair; this would be a very hard mission to ghost (if it is at all possible), and the cramped, tunnel-like building style is responsible. However, it solves a challenge which most FMs fail at, and makes for a large, satisfying mission in the bargain.
    Atmosphere and setting was great, the rainy forest and cultists were really immersive. That is until I ran into the unfrobbable lockpicks and had to restart, I can hardly blame the author given that a patched, fixed, version of the fm exists but the original contest post still only has 1.1, and it wasn't until after this bug that I checked the actual FM's forum dicussion. Oh well, overall a good mission, I really liked the amalgamator.
    My favorite mission in the contest! I can't believe this was made within 1 million units. Seemed twice as big as any of the other entries. Fantastic story with the thieves and the cult, plus lots of little side stories. Loved the werewolf curing and the difficult hidden objective at the end. The woods were a bit tough to navigate at times, so that's where I docked a point. Thank you Nicked!!
    Making a forest in old games is never an easy task, especially in the Dark Engine and its fairly limited CSG tools. Unfortunately it shows and while a mission like Impious Pilgrimage or the first mission in The Scarlet Cascabel are more or less believable, this one isn't. The forest here is made of narrow tunnels painted with trees and the illusion is shattered instantaneously. In addition, while the challenge of making an almost entirely horizontal mission is commendable WRT the units limit and the mission does feel a lot bigger than it is, the mission suffers tremendously from that with fairly mundane one dimensional layouts especially in the hideout.

    Still, it is very well built and lit, with a great selection of textures and meshes. The atmosphere is very good and the selection of sounds very appropriate. The story is pretty good though I would have preferred if the author did not spell out that the thieves are disguising themselves as Haunts, the victrola is more than enough for the player to understand that. I wasn't a big fan of the crafting element in the mission because I was under the impression it was mandatory to finish the mission while it's not, and I just really don't like that stuff in Thief.

    Use of space: 7
    Design/Construction: 8
    Atmosphere/Story: 7
    My favorite for now. The rogues secret base (and their plot) are definitely highlights of this mission, but really, all places add something significant. Ruined towers, cultists village, werewolf's in the basement - there is so much to talk about and explore. I will definitely come back at some point, despite the horror and invisible enemies!
    From the perspective of an old T2 player who's new to FMs: The forest and caves were hecking confusing; which serves their purpose, but becomes frustrating at the same time. The "blackjack" was easy to miss, as where hints about how to avoid dangers and solve puzzles (How do I avoid the invisible skeletons suddenly patroling the whole temple? What's Emberglow Crystal now?! Did I miss the werewolf with that granade or is there just no feedback of success? etc.) - The secrets were will hidden and fun to find. The guards were well placed and the environmental storytelling was intriguing.
    Last edited by Brethren; 2nd Mar 2021 at 23:23.

  13. #13
    Registered: Apr 2016
    Location: France
    Plenty of custom high quality graphics assets (I wish more authors would use it more frequently instead of choosing low pixel textures and objects, even if custom. It's 2021 lol)
    I, too, like when the game from 1998 starts looking like a game from 2004 thanks to new high quality assets.

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