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Thread: Such a shame there wasn't enough interest to attempt some community modding tools.

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2004
    Location: Prince Edward Island, Canada

    Such a shame there wasn't enough interest to attempt some community modding tools.

    I was just thinking about all the wasted potential in the game. It's certainly a nice looking game...and there is certainly a decent enough foundation to work from.

    Such a shame the developers locked it down so tight and didn't put the effort into releasing a level editor...or even a limited SDK.

    I often wondered if the community could have found a way to reverse engineer the core files and open it up a little more. Would have been interesting to see if the core game could have been expanded for a better Thief experience.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    It's a shame indeed, but that's how most of the big studios work these days. I can't think of any modern FPS or a similar game that comes with a proper level editor. I suppose it would take quite a lot of effort from the studio to deliver such an editor, and I doubt that many people would be interested. Games today aren't supposed to last anyway or meant to be replayed time after time. You complete a game, maybe give it one more play through, and then you forget it and move on to the next game. Of course there are exceptions, as always.

    But yeah, it's a nice thought. With some tweaks Thi4f could have been a foundation for something great indeed. But since they never even released any more DLC after the Bank Heist mission, I guess it's clear that Squeenix had no further plans for the game. The Bank Heist was such a good mission though, better than most of the missions in the actual game. I would have been happy to pay a few bucks for more missions like that.

  3. #3
    FKA Buccura
    Registered: Mar 2014
    Location: 20X6
    It's something of a miracle we got tools for TDS, and that was when level editors were still somewhat common in PC games.

    That will always be the biggest tragedy of Thief 4, how it really wasn't as far as some people think from being something special. Sadly, it will never reach that potential.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2004
    Location: Prince Edward Island, Canada
    Quote Originally Posted by Bucky Seifert View Post
    It's something of a miracle we got tools for TDS, and that was when level editors were still somewhat common in PC games.
    Yes, the TDS editor was a gift to the community. A single programmer tasked with decoupling it from the Ion Storm internal server dependencies and if I recall, secretly tested by GBM. That relationship with the community was completely lacking with Eidos Montreal. Their community management or lack of community management completely destroyed any sense of connection to the new Thief game.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2004
    Location: Prince Edward Island, Canada
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomi View Post

    But yeah, it's a nice thought. With some tweaks Thi4f could have been a foundation for something great indeed. But since they never even released any more DLC after the Bank Heist mission, I guess it's clear that Squeenix had no further plans for the game. The Bank Heist was such a good mission though, better than most of the missions in the actual game. I would have been happy to pay a few bucks for more missions like that.
    Truly could have been something great had the community been able to make some adjustments. Even leaving some settings open in the config files like the devs did with TDS would have done wonders.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    I agree, an opportunity to make some minor tweaks would have been welcome, and would have made Thi4f more accessible for more people. However I think that without new content the game would have been forgotten in any case.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2004
    Location: Prince Edward Island, Canada
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomi View Post
    I agree, an opportunity to make some minor tweaks would have been welcome, and would have made Thi4f more accessible for more people. However I think that without new content the game would have been forgotten in any case.

    The core game was very forgettable to be sure. With fan made missions designed to play more like the originals, it could have had a longer life. Shame Eidos Montreal wasn't invested in making something memorable.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2001
    Location: Marlboro, MA, USA
    I bet it has a lot to do with the tools being more of a spaghetti inter-dependent mess, PLUS licensing issues with that said mess
    The Keep for Thief 1 and 2 FMs, Shadowdark for Thief 3 and Dark Mod FMs

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2004
    Location: Prince Edward Island, Canada
    Quote Originally Posted by Komag View Post
    I bet it has a lot to do with the tools being more of a spaghetti inter-dependent mess, PLUS licensing issues with that said mess
    I recall reading a Thief 2014 related article years ago that said it would essentially require planning from day 1 to put their development together in such a way that it could later be decoupled and made available in some form. Considering that Square Enix / Eidos Montreal held a modding competition which included not only all the official Thief Games but welcomed Dark Mod missions as well, it's baffling that there wasn't more thought and care put into making at least a bare bones level editor available. Then again, looking at the care and attention that went into the game...perhaps not so baffling. lol

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2020
    Location: London, UK
    Thinking outside the box, as T4 is based on a version of the unreal engine, would it be even possible to import all the maps/assets into the latest (and free to non-commercial) unreal engine..? Or did Eidos make sure that door was also firmly blocked?

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by New Horizon View Post
    Considering that Square Enix / Eidos Montreal held a modding competition which included not only all the official Thief Games but welcomed Dark Mod missions as well
    I remember that contest, it was the strangest thing at the time. Did they ever release any kind of results?

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2004
    Location: Prince Edward Island, Canada
    Quote Originally Posted by Brethren View Post
    I remember that contest, it was the strangest thing at the time. Did they ever release any kind of results?
    Yes, they announced winners. One of the TDM missions won. I think Goldwell won a new computer for the TDM mission he submitted.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2020
    Location: London, UK
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomi View Post
    It's a shame indeed, but that's how most of the big studios work these days. I can't think of any modern FPS or a similar game that comes with a proper level editor.
    Er Cyberpunk 2077 does - https://www.cyberpunk.net/en/modding-support

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2020
    Location: London, UK
    Quote Originally Posted by New Horizon View Post
    Yes, they announced winners. One of the TDM missions won. I think Goldwell won a new computer for the TDM mission he submitted.
    I think you mean Moonbo Fleisher, I dont beleive Goldwell had not created any FMs at that point in time.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2020
    Location: London, UK
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomi View Post
    I agree, an opportunity to make some minor tweaks would have been welcome, and would have made Thi4f more accessible for more people. However I think that without new content the game would have been forgotten in any case.
    Yeah like allowing the player to jump down from or mantle onto any surface, or shoot a rope arrow into onto any surface they choose too. The aformention manteling off/on to surfaces really ruined that game for me.

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    Quote Originally Posted by Bikerdude View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that just some modding tool, and not a "proper level editor"? I mean, you can modify parameters and stuff which is nice obviously, but you can't actually edit levels, let alone create new ones.

  17. #17
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Valve provided proper level editing tools for Half Life Alyx, but yeah that's the only one I can think of, and obviously it's a VR-only game. Even other series with historially strong modding communities seem to be pulling back on the modding tools. Like DOOM 2016 had those "Snapmaps", but those tools were quite limited compared to the modding tools or yore. Far Cry 5 also had a level editor, but it only allowed for quite small maps. I made a Interstate 77 level in that one.

    I think a large part of why modding is dying off is the emergence of free game creation tools like Unity and UE4. If you're gonna put a lot of effort into making something, why not make it something that's truly yours, and which you can sell, once it's done.
    Last edited by henke; 7th Jan 2023 at 10:26.

  18. #18
    ZylonBane
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: ZylonBane
    Quote Originally Posted by henke View Post
    I think a large part of why modding is dying off is the emergence of free game creation tools like Unity and UE4
    Yeah no. Free game creation tools have existed since BASIC. Modding has always been popular because it's easier to tweak an existing thing than to create an entire new thing from scratch.

    The real reason is that modern AAA game development has become very "enterprisey," with workflows designed around hundred-person teams, middleware that requires expensive licenses, corporate bean-counters who only see fan content as competition for their own DLC, and game engines themselves simply becoming exponentially more complex.

  19. #19
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    That too.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    Quote Originally Posted by ZylonBane View Post
    Yeah no. Free game creation tools have existed since BASIC.
    True, but making your own games has never been as easy as it is now. Unity and UE4 have lowered the bar so that even people who don't have much skills or time can make a game of their own, and publishing it is also a little bit less complicated than in the days of BASIC. There are tons of free tutorials, easy-to-use tools, and ready-made assets available for everyone. With some tools making games is almost so easy that you practically just use Unity or whatever as a level editor to slap together your own levels, and your game is done. How good those games are, that's another question...

    What you say is also true though, of course.

  21. #21
    ZylonBane
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: ZylonBane
    There's also the fact that making a mod for a popular game is far more likely to be noticed, and hence more psychologically rewarding, than making some little indie game and hoping anyone cares.

    That's why I think the only thing that will ever hold back the popularity of modding is the actual capacity of games to be modded. Throughout the years modders have even gone to extraordinary lengths to make games moddable that weren't even designed to be.

  22. #22
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    What that weird contest taught me, having followed their internal emails to the TDM team, is that the marketing and community-engagement people at SqEx US were on another planet in terms of the way they thought compared to the actual Thief community that's been around since the early LGS days. I think they literally wouldn't understand, or anyway be in a frame of mind for understanding, what it means to us no matter how much you tried to explain it to them.

    And that's before we even get to the fact it'd probably be SqEx Japan's call, and in Japanese gaming culture modding is just not a thing. (That shouldn't be true because some of the most imaginative FMs we've ever gotten were from Japanese authors. But I don't think the companies see it that way.) And then I also think the technical challenges would have been significant for reasons already given.

    All that said, I've always thought the assets and art direction for Thief 4 were top notch, and I would have really loved the chance to make and see levels made with them. We still have Darkmod though, which can also still look very nice, and the gameplay is better. So it's alright.

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Lost in the BSP...
    Quote Originally Posted by Bikerdude View Post
    Yeah like allowing the player to jump down from or mantle onto any surface, or shoot a rope arrow into onto any surface they choose too. The aformention manteling off/on to surfaces really ruined that game for me.
    Oh.. good ol' Thorf as I sometimes refer to it. Or, "you mean the one with Snidely Whiplash in it?" when someone mentions it after I've said "There have only been 3 Thief games that I consider to have existed.." or something like that.

    When I first started playing it, I didn't even realize what I was doing... and my wife said, "What are you growling at?" I realized I was making a loud noise of disgust every time I was doing that in the game. She told me I wasn't allowed to play that game if it made me mad. It was a rule that had been in place in our household since the kids were young.

    Good memory now. Annoying game tho.

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