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Thread: Filcher

  1. #1

    Filcher

    Sorry for the shameless plug, but you taffers might be interested in my sneaky imm-sim "Filcher".

    Filcher is a first-person 2.5D noir stealth game. As Sporey the master thief, you'll infiltrate guarded buildings to steal from the wealthy and corrupt, using only your senses, your wits, and a handful of tools and gadgets.



    There is a free demo if you wanna try it out!

    Website: http://filchergame.com
    Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1355650/Filcher/
    Itch.io: https://johan-hjarpe.itch.io/filcher
    Last edited by Hjarpe; 22nd Sep 2021 at 09:11.

  2. #2
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    This is definitely the right forum to be shamelessly plugging this! Some folks in the "What are you playing" thread have been playing it, and it's gotten a few mentions previously as well.

    I'm playing Deathloop right now so I've got my fill of immsim/stealth, but I wanna play this eventually. Actually I gotta say, kinda ballsy releasing this on the same day as Deathloop, since there's a good bit of audience-overlap.

  3. #3
    Nice to see the 451 :)

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    Location: Los Santos
    Clearly Thief 1 with retro spinning sprites.

    Looks good I'll add it to my list.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Is anyone else playing this yet? It's really good. Don't miss it if you love Thief!

    The focused mechanics, clean art direction, and atmospheric sound designs are intentionally restrained, likely resulting from the game being made by a single person with a limited budget. But that narrow scope, coupled with consistently disciplined decisions, results in a highly effective design.

    The aesthetic makes simplicity and restraint a compelling feature, with bold shapes and high contrast lighting providing a distinct visual style and clear gameplay readability. The ambient score is often repetitive and straightforward, yet it manages to feel evocative in a similar way Thief and System Shock 2's often simple ambients feel so evocative.

    I'm so impressed with the restraint, precision, and consideration of Hjarpe's design work I found myself curious about his previous games. While I found a couple things, there must be something more I'm not seeing because Filcher seems like the work of someone much more experienced.

    This is core Thief gameplay distilled into a precise and carefully considered new and original game. When I have the time and will I'd like to write more about it.

    It's also generously priced (US$9.99). I've happily paid twice this for games that were less polished and less substantial.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Here's an excellent and relatively short (15 minute) video review of Filcher:



    It's pretty free of spoilers and by the end of it you'll likely know whether or not this game's for you.

    The one thing I'd add is that the game does a better job than Thief at avoiding cascading failure, which makes the (I'll admit) controversial lack of in-mission saves more tolerable. Also, its definition of Ghost -- which is the top rank you can get for a mission -- is looser than the Thief community definition. You can get a first or even second alert and still not "fail" a ghost run.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: The Plateaux Of Mirror
    Does it have NPC banter? The omission of that is one of the reasons Neon Struct was kind of boring (that, and the AI not hearing the noise you made when you were crouched).

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    Location: Los Santos
    TBH Neon Struct's issues are way more than just a lack of npc banter, it's an overly-simplified demake of deus ex and therefore the systemic interactions found in an i-sim (that makes i-sim, i-sim) really don't exist in it.

    I really like Eldritch, its systems somehow came together, reinforced each other and deepened the atmosphere AND gameplay. But unfortunately it's been downhill ever since for Minor Key.


    Quote Originally Posted by Twist View Post
    Here's an excellent and relatively short (15 minute) video review of Filcher:

    It's pretty free of spoilers and by the end of it you'll likely know whether or not this game's for you.

    The one thing I'd add is that the game does a better job than Thief at avoiding cascading failure, which makes the (I'll admit) controversial lack of in-mission saves more tolerable. Also, its definition of Ghost -- which is the top rank you can get for a mission -- is looser than the Thief community definition. You can get a first or even second alert and still not "fail" a ghost run.
    Good video this.
    Last edited by Jashin; 1st Oct 2021 at 13:48.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Moyer View Post
    Does it have NPC banter? The omission of that is one of the reasons Neon Struct was kind of boring (that, and the AI not hearing the noise you made when you were crouched).
    Well, there's some scripted banter, but it isn't voiced. So you might enter an area and a character might say something, but it's communicated with text hovering over or near them. I know this sounds odd, but the overall design -- the 2D sprite models plus the comic panel style of the cutscenes with text narration rather than voiced narration -- helps it integrate into the world better than it sounds. But regardless, there isn't much banter on the whole, anyways.

    IF you're a Thief fan, I seriously doubt you'd find yourself bored in Filcher. The excellent scale and pacing of the gamespace keeps you engaged. I know there are some who came to TTLG via Deus Ex or System Shock and have never been big Thief fans, so maybe those players might find the quiet patience required in Filcher to be boring, so Filcher probably isn't for them, and that's okay. This is pretty strictly a Thief-like for Thief fans. It doesn't just bear some influence from Thief, like Dishonored or Gloomwood, it is very much a pure Thief-like.

    Comparing to Neon Struct can be useful, though. Similarly to how Warren Spector once compared Thief and Deus Ex, Filcher tries to be a scalpel where Neon Struct tried to be a swiss army knife. Which approach do think is more likely to succeed with a limited budget?

    Because of its broader scope, I found many of Neon Struct's features underbaked. With Filcher, because of its disciplined, narrow scope, the features it does have are much better developed and much more polished.

  10. #10
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    I'm playing this now, on mission 3. There are times when this really does bring back the ol' Thief vibes, but a lot of the time it's also just really frustrating. The lack of Quicksave really does hurt it. And the sliding mechanic is just a clunkier version of Thief 4's swoop. This last run I failed because I too ended up sliding into the back of a guard when I was just trying to crouch. This would play better with a separate swoop-button and having the crouch just work like regular crouch.

    Also, while I'm suggesting things:
    -some voice acting would go a long way towards making this better, seeing how much story is in it. There's tons of voice actors down in the Thief editing forum that might do something like this at an affordable price, ask around!
    -low res textures are all the rage these days, but the texture filtering here is not doing these any favors. Set em to Point/Nearest Neighbor, not Bilinear, PLEASE! Now they look less "COOL RETRO" and more "SMUDGY MESS".

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2010
    Location: Switzerland
    we had the pleasure to talk about Filcher with its developer Johan Hjärpe, also StealthDocs joined the discussion


  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by henke View Post
    I'm playing this now, on mission 3. There are times when this really does bring back the ol' Thief vibes, but a lot of the time it's also just really frustrating. The lack of Quicksave really does hurt it. And the sliding mechanic is just a clunkier version of Thief 4's swoop. This last run I failed because I too ended up sliding into the back of a guard when I was just trying to crouch. This would play better with a separate swoop-button and having the crouch just work like regular crouch.
    I hope you stick with it a little longer, because you really do acclimate. I had the same complaints, and in fact, early in my playing I posted about them in the Steam forum. I even created autohotkey scripts to invert run/walk and create a separate key for slide vs crouch-only.

    But honestly, I found that as I played and learned the timing and feel of the different movement, I not only stopped using my autohotkey scripts, I started really loving the movement. When you get a feel for the sliding and how useful it can be, it starts to feel really slick.

    But there is a little bit of a learning curve, and at first it did feel counterintuitive to me to have run as the default and instead of walk. (For people who haven't played: this matters because you only slide if you're running. If the default was set to Walk, you wouldn't accidentally slide as much because you'd have to press a key to Run before the crouch button would trigger sliding.)

    Regarding saving: I know this is just a straight up disqualifier for some immersive sim fans and I doubt I can say anything to persuade them. And yeah, I can't deny the game would better if some kind of save system was available. But I've come to understand that creating an accurate save system in 3D immersive sims with a range of interactive objects in the level is much more difficult than players realize. I've seen a few indie developers struggle with it.

    I think Thief fans could adapt and enjoy the high wire tension if they approached situations deliberately planning their actions with the understanding that they don't have a save to fall back on. When you enter an area or try something daring, have a backup plan! Don't default to giving up or panicking just because you've been seen or you've taken damage.

    Filcher's tools and AI make the game much more forgiving, and thus much easier to recover from mistakes. Unlike in Thief, you can basically just break line of sight, then hide and wait a bit. The AI will completely reset to their default patrols and alert levels and you can try again.

    For planning: where will you run and hide if you make a mistake? What tool will you use? Make sure you have your keybinds straight so you can quickly drop a flashbang or shoot a tranq dart when in a panic.

    Anyways, I hope you stick with it, because I really think it'll grow on you.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2010
    Location: Switzerland
    Quote Originally Posted by Twist View Post
    I hope you stick with it a little longer, because you really do acclimate. I had the same complaints, and in fact, early in my playing I posted about them in the Steam forum. I even created autohotkey scripts to invert run/walk and create a separate key for slide vs crouch-only.

    But honestly, I found that as I played and learned the timing and feel of the different movement, I not only stopped using my autohotkey scripts, I started really loving the movement. When you get a feel for the sliding and how useful it can be, it starts to feel really slick.

    But there is a little bit of a learning curve, and at first it did feel counterintuitive to me to have run as the default and instead of walk. (For people who haven't played: this matters because you only slide if you're running. If the default was set to Walk, you wouldn't accidentally slide as much because you'd have to press a key to Run before the crouch button would trigger sliding.)

    Regarding saving: I know this is just a straight up disqualifier for some immersive sim fans and I doubt I can say anything to persuade them. And yeah, I can't deny the game would better if some kind of save system was available. But I've come to understand that creating an accurate save system in 3D immersive sims with a range of interactive objects in the level is much more difficult than players realize. I've seen a few indie developers struggle with it.

    I think Thief fans could adapt and enjoy the high wire tension if they approached situations deliberately planning their actions with the understanding that they don't have a save to fall back on. When you enter an area or try something daring, have a backup plan! Don't default to giving up or panicking just because you've been seen or you've taken damage.

    Filcher's tools and AI make the game much more forgiving, and thus much easier to recover from mistakes. Unlike in Thief, you can basically just break line of sight, then hide and wait a bit. The AI will completely reset to their default patrols and alert levels and you can try again.

    For planning: where will you run and hide if you make a mistake? What tool will you use? Make sure you have your keybinds straight so you can quickly drop a flashbang or shoot a tranq dart when in a panic.

    Anyways, I hope you stick with it, because I really think it'll grow on you.
    I totally agree with this one! It took me a bit getting used to things but after you come over that - the game develops this addictive spiral and feels really great. I'm now finally close to the end and am pretty sad that its already over

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    Location: Los Santos
    Ran the tutorial, the feel is on point. There's a lot of nuance to the game.

    I'll be picking it up.

  15. #15
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Ok, finished it! Some of these later missions are pretty big. Took me 1h 7m to finish the last one, but I made it through on the first try. The previous one I died ~45min in and that kinda stung, manage to beat it on the 3rd try tho, which took me 23min. The lack of saves is really a double edged sword. It is annoying when you slip up and have to redo the whole thing, but it certainly makes things feel a lot more dangerous and thrilling on the other hand. And even if you don't make it through on the first try, each attempt you do learn something about the map layout and how to accomplish your objectives, which makes subsequent runs more focused.

    I liked the story a lot! The comic-book cutscenes are very nice too.

    The whole game took me 8.5h to play through, aaaand I guess I gotta recommend it! It sure feels a lot like Thief, but a few new twists keep it fresh.

    edit: wrote a Steam review and I'd encourage anyone else who kinda liked it to do the same! Getting to 50 Steam reviews would get this a "Very Positive" rating, and get it more visibility in the Steam algorithm.
    Last edited by henke; 10th Oct 2021 at 12:25.

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