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Thread: What if... Thief looked like this?

  1. #1

    What if... Thief looked like this?

    Greetings taffers!

    Some time ago I saw how people reworked the graphics of the old Doom and Hexen games. They used modern graphics features provided by the updated Doom engine (GZDoom). It was awesome. Some time after that the Diablo II remaster was released. Since Thief is one of my favourite games I then wondered how this game could look using modern graphics. At that time it was clear there would be no official update to the game in that regard.

    So while contemplating the feasibility of creating a fan-made update, I created a prototype to see what's possible with the tools that are publicly available. You can see a comparison here:

    Screenshots

    (The "old" screenshot is using an upscaled fan texture pack.)

    Please note that everything you see here is "work in progress". It's only intended to showcase what could be done with a more modern rendering engine. (Yes, model loading is broken.) I have no intention of creating a high-res texture pack.
    The textures you see were taken from the Hexen HD graphics pack. I am no texture artist. And this was my first real foray into 3D graphics programming, so I consider this as something of a learning project.

    Although they might share a similar goal, this project has nothing to do with Nvidia's recent announcement about "RTX Remix". However their new tech might make my project obsolete, so for the foreseeable future I will put this on ice.

    Should this project ever be finished, I would hope to offer a more modern graphics "engine" to the Thief community in the hope that some talented people would create a modern PBR texture pack (and maybe also updated models).

    Please tell me how you like the idea.

    Have a nice day!

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2011
    Location: Wild and Wooly West of Ireland


  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    maybe you can figure out a way to redo thief 3 movement,rtx remix cant do that,but as for the rest rtx remix seems pretty solid

  4. #4
    New Member
    Registered: Mar 2021
    Hi Sunbeam. I'm sorry you got such a negative feedback over on reddit, maybe explaining a bit more what it is would have prevented such a reaction.

    Anyway, I'm curious what you actually did. Did you write a model importer for a different game engine?

    The textures imo are not a good choice. Maybe you could try to add bump maps to the original textures, or to the AI upscaled ones you showed in the comparison screenshot. I'm really curious how that would look like.

    Keep at it!

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2007
    Location: US, New York State
    The cobble looked nice, but not sure about the others. They seem to be really dark too.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by big_M View Post
    Hi Sunbeam. I'm sorry you got such a negative feedback over on reddit, maybe explaining a bit more what it is would have prevented such a reaction.

    Anyway, I'm curious what you actually did. Did you write a model importer for a different game engine?
    Yes you are right. So here is what I did:

    I heard of the graphical limitations the Dark engine has - even the updated NewDark. And (as I said before) I really liked the way some of the graphical mods for other games looked. So I thought about ways to give modders access to enhanced and more modern graphical features without recreating the whole engine (see OpenDarkEngine and its difficulties).
    So I searched for ways to interact with the engine - and found a way by creating a custom "script" (which are really C++ coded DLLs). Using this I created a custom renderer created from the ground up, running in parallel directly in the Thief engine. So what you see in the screenshot is the renderer running in the game.

    What I really wanted to show were the new possibilities with this renderer. But since I am no texture artist I used textures found elsewhere ONLY for demo purposes. I should have communicated that more clearly.

    The textures imo are not a good choice. Maybe you could try to add bump maps to the original textures, or to the AI upscaled ones you showed in the comparison screenshot. I'm really curious how that would look like.
    This may be true and many people share your perception on this. However I need to stress that these are just textures. A modder could replace those just like in the normal game. And being a renderer with support for PBR textures one could simply use another texture if A) the colours should be different or B) the displacement needs to be toned down (the cobblestone was somewhat extreme to show off the effect) or C) there is too much light reflection on surfaces.

    Also nearly everything that can be seen in the screenshot is still work in progress and could be fine tuned with enough time and effort. For me getting the base working was the most important part.


    TLDR: I created a custom renderer for Thief and wanted to show the possible new effects. However people made it clear that this is not what they want for this game and I accept that.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2004
    Location: Ireland/Poland
    Using this I created a custom renderer created from the ground up, running in parallel directly in the Thief engine. So what you see in the screenshot is the renderer running in the game.
    Hold on - are you saying, that with your modification you are able to run original Thief game, but with just the renderer replaced? If that's the case, it sounds really impressive. Maybe your screenshot does not sell that idea, as visually it's not as balanced, but I'm guessing that with more features implemented and finetuning done, it could work. The displacement might be a bit OTT for such a simplistic overall terrain geometry, but normal maps with glossiness - why not? If you could do reflective water, realtime shadows and a couple of other more modern techniques, I'd be interested to see the progress.

    I would imagine however, that certain things like lights could do with some radius and intensity adjustments to look good with new lighting model, so it may not look the best with the original missions. But still I could see this working when either released with amended original maps - as a new way of experiencing original Thief games. Or as a mod for fanmission makers - certain fanmissions could just be made from start to use this look.

    However people made it clear that this is not what they want for this game and I accept that.
    Not sure what kind of reaction you got outside of this thread (I'm guessing you posted the above on Reddit too?). It is fact, that Thief community, while friendly overall etc.. is very conservative in certain aspects - the visual look in particular. There are people who accept nothing else but the original '96 look - unfiltered, low-res textures, crude, low-poly models and banding in light-maps due to 16-bit color depth and other artefacts and indeed can become almost aggressive towards those who try to modernize the game. But there are also other folks who would be very interested in refreshing the experience, myself included. So, if you still consider working on your mod, I suggest you don't worry too much about the criticism and just focus on doing what you enjoy and what you feel is good.

    Refreshing the visual look of this game (if it retains the gameplay aspects like light gem etc..) can only bring new fans to the community and prolong the life of the game.

  8. #8
    New Member
    Registered: Mar 2021
    Quote Originally Posted by SunbeamX11 View Post
    Yes you are right. So here is what I did:

    I heard of the graphical limitations the Dark engine has - even the updated NewDark. And (as I said before) I really liked the way some of the graphical mods for other games looked. So I thought about ways to give modders access to enhanced and more modern graphical features without recreating the whole engine (see OpenDarkEngine and its difficulties).
    So I searched for ways to interact with the engine - and found a way by creating a custom "script" (which are really C++ coded DLLs). Using this I created a custom renderer created from the ground up, running in parallel directly in the Thief engine. So what you see in the screenshot is the renderer running in the game.

    What I really wanted to show were the new possibilities with this renderer. But since I am no texture artist I used textures found elsewhere ONLY for demo purposes. I should have communicated that more clearly.


    This may be true and many people share your perception on this. However I need to stress that these are just textures. A modder could replace those just like in the normal game. And being a renderer with support for PBR textures one could simply use another texture if A) the colours should be different or B) the displacement needs to be toned down (the cobblestone was somewhat extreme to show off the effect) or C) there is too much light reflection on surfaces.

    Also nearly everything that can be seen in the screenshot is still work in progress and could be fine tuned with enough time and effort. For me getting the base working was the most important part.
    Oh, forget about the stupid textures, this is absolutely incredible!! I had no idea this was even possible. I thought it must be something along these lines because I saw that the models are identical, not just a recreation. I'm not sure what the limitations are, or if your renderer could be a full replacement for the original one as far as playability goes, but I think it's super interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by SunbeamX11 View Post
    However people made it clear that this is not what they want for this game and I accept that.
    Oh, I wouldn't say that is necessarily true, I just don't think most people were aware of what they were looking at, but they were also a bit mean nonetheless.

    Quote Originally Posted by PinkDot View Post
    Not sure what kind of reaction you got outside of this thread (I'm guessing you posted the above on Reddit too?)
    https://www.reddit.com/r/Thief/comme...h_more_modern/
    Probably the same folks who never create something on their own... I mean, make a joke about something, fine, everybody can have a laugh, but 30 comments? I find that just awful

  9. #9
    ZylonBane
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: ZylonBane
    Quote Originally Posted by SunbeamX11 View Post
    TLDR: I created a custom renderer for Thief and wanted to show the possible new effects. However people made it clear that this is not what they want for this game and I accept that.
    No, what you should accept is that you presented your work in the dumbest possible way. Instead of announcing "Hey, I created a wrapper for Thief's renderer that allows all kinds of modern effects", you didn't even mention it. You didn't just bury the lede, you incinerated it and cast the ashes into the sea.

    Instead, all you did was post a single comparison screenshot with WIP textures and partially-functional lighting that looked objectively worse. No context given, no explanation. Your post got exactly the reaction it deserved. People are not mind-readers.

    Maybe try again, but this time post a video and include an actual explanation of what it's depicting.
    Last edited by ZylonBane; 16th Oct 2022 at 19:55.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2004
    Location: Prince Edward Island, Canada
    Quote Originally Posted by ZylonBane View Post
    Maybe try again, but this time post a video and include an actual explanation of what it's depicting.
    I agree with Zylon.

    If you're going to present something like this, be VERY clear about what it is you have done. If I hadn't read the explanations in this thread, I would have had no idea what was going on.

    I think it's a very promising project and if you can present it clearly with a better demonstration, I see no reason to put it on ice.

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