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Thread: *Possible* Thief-American Mcgee's Alice link

  1. #1
    New Member
    Registered: Sep 2003
    Location: India

    *Possible* Thief-American Mcgee's Alice link

    What follows is a description, reproduced here verbatim, of a possible easter egg in American Mcgee's Alice by some reader:

    ===========

    Whilst playing the level "Pool of Tears" In Alice, follow the flow of water UPSTREAM until you cant go any further (the river just disappears off the map, this is not visable without cheating). This is the stream that flows into the main pool (The one with the crying statue of Alice). Look around and you will see what looks like a stone slab carved into the following symbol, standing upright in the ground, like a tomb stone.

    __ __ __ __
    | |__| |__| |__| |
    |____ __ ____|
    | |__| |
    | _ _ |
    | |
    | |

    I have posted a screenshot at :

    http://homepage.mac.com/tom_roberts/...res/alice1.jpg

    The interesting thing about this is that the exact same object, in the exact same size, orientation texture etc. appears in the
    spoiler:
    first level of the game "Thief II : The Metal Age". It is located behind a wall of wooden crates, I forget exaclity where, and is next to a small, glowing, purple mushroom.
    The Thief games were published by Looking Glass software. The Symbol, Mushroom, and name of the publisher all seem to be references to Alice, even though the Thief games were published several years earlyer. I cant explain this but there is clearly to much here to be coinsidence.

    ============

    ??????? I'm going to check this out in Running Interference today...

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: House of Sand and Fog
    Sounds like a hoax to me. Also, this fellow seems to want us to think this is some kind of supernateral connection, that Thief and even LGS mystically pay homage to a game that came out years later. Thief has a connection to 'Alice', yes, but not the game 'American McGee's Alice' in the sense he speaks (at least you'll get a 'duh' response if you're pointing out what we already know: that LGS got their name from Carroll); if anything American McGee's Alice is paying homage to Thief with that symbol (assuming it appears in the game; purple mushrooms? I don't remember any purple mushrooms in the object hierarchy..) and maybe LGS because or in part by the fact they gleaned their name from "Lewis Carroll". I say he finds the symbol and posts a shot of that. Why make us do his dirty work for him when he conveniently can't remember?

    Ok, I'm a natural cynic. Now do you wonder why I'm an agnostic atheist?

    Let us know when you find it of course, Subrat *cough cough*.

    EDIT: Unless it's in the unpatched version, DromEd didn't find any mushrooms in my patched Running Interference. There may be a glyph somewhere or not; maybe he's remembering another level, or maybe he's just trying to pull a fast one on us After reading his words again, it is obvious he wanted us to think Thief was referencing the game Alice, which would be silly and mystical indeed. Some people just need some more self-esteem if the only way they can get attention is to write hoaxes.. At least tell us it's 'fanfiction', that way we can all say "Wow, that would be cool, wouldn't it!". I honestly had fun imagining all those easter eggs and super secrets were real in Mario 64.

    Unless there are more than two (well, three including the parent object) different lite mush's?

    deadman.
    Last edited by deadman; 16th Nov 2003 at 12:42.
    "I cannot see anything admirable in stupidity, injustice and sheer incompetence in high places, and there is too much of all three in the present administration." -M.M.Kaye, The Far Pavilions

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2003
    Location: Sweden
    I'm quite sure i've seen that symbol myself. It's in a room in the basement, behind a 'wall' of crates. The mushroom is a lightsource in the same place.

    The author doesn't seem to realize that 'Alice' is based on a classic book rather than being an original computer game idea though, wich would explain the odd conclusion.
    I'd say that both games are referring to the book (Or maybe the movie) rather than to eachother.
    Thief is full of references to 'Alice in wonderland', that symbol probably is too.

    Edit: I checked the room and there's a metal gear where that symbol used to be, it must have been removed with the patch. I think it's supposed to be a hidden shrine.
    It probably used to be a shrine to the trickster (The symbol was for 'wonderland' or 'the maw' ) but they changed it to a mechanist shrine.
    The glowing mushroom is still there though and you typically find those in the trickster's domain.
    Last edited by Ahris; 16th Nov 2003 at 17:00.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2003
    Location: /dev/null
    I've read "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" a couple times as well as "Through the Looking Glass" but off the top of my head, I can't think of any thief references from either of these books.

    Would you mind mentioning a few, please?

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: House of Sand and Fog
    Interesting. When I opened up the mission in DromEd and did a search for all types of mushrooms (two, again, right?), I didn't find any. Also, I forgot about that hidden area in the basement, though I've been there before. Does anyone actually have an unpatched version they can verify or invalidate this claim? I was looking in my manuals for both games and found a symbol which could be what they were trying to emulate in Alice (I actually just got this game myself, though I'm horrible at it; too used to being stealthy in Thief).. Alice's symbol is all straight lines, while the one I saw had a more angled thing going on. Of course, even if it is the same symbol, that would mean either Alice is paying homage to Thief (as Ahris explains, the author of the easter egg probably doesn't even know of the book Alice was based on; he also has some twisted logic if it seems more realistic to him that Thief was referencing a game some years in the future rather than the other way around) .. Ahem, sorry about those long parenthesis .. Or both are paying homage to Alice in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass. I've read Lewis Carroll before, but I don't recall any glyphs in the illustrations. It does make sense though; video-game Alice definitely has a few 'magical'-esque symbols written on the front of her dress, at least on the cover. Or maybe it's mere coincidence? Alice has lots of magical weapons, and Wonderland is a magical place, plus this is supposed to be a twisted version of it, so scary-looking glyphs might be par for the course.

    Long paragraph, I know . At least we can be safe to say the mushroom isn't purple? Does anyone remember a purple mushroom in the unpatched version? I'd say he's stretching it with that..

    deadman.

  6. #6
    Here's the symbol (from the unpatched version of T2):


  7. #7
    New Member
    Registered: Sep 2003
    Ahh... thank you Eshaktaar.

    I've been trying for an hour to get that screenshot.
    I uninstalled my patched version of Thief, reinstalled the original, crashed my computer 3 times, and still couldn't load the first level.

    But yes, that's a remarkable coincidence.
    I remember the first time I played Thief 2, that little hidden place fascinated me. I always figured that Jenivere dabbled in pagan worship, and this must have been her trickster shrine that she was trying to hide from the master of the house.

    I was really disappointed when I replayed the patched version and they changed it to a mechanist gear. Did she convert? And if so, why would she have to continue to hide this from everyone else?

    Musitektus

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: House of Sand and Fog
    Another "thank you" to Eshaktaar for clearing that up. No purple mushroom, as I suspected, but that shrine/sculpture is obviously the same as the one in Alice. Here's a thought: this symbol appears somewhere in Wonderland or one of the illustration's originally commissioned by Carroll; a symbol that represented something important.. and LGS as well as Rogue Entertainment (they dev'ed Alice, right?) wanted to pay homage (there's that word again ) to the man by both portraying that symbol in their respective games.

    This should definitely be multibrushed by someone (Eshaktaar? ) and uploaded so we could all replace that stupid gear with the rightful symbol of servitude!

    Do we know this is in fact a shrine (noted in-game, comment from Garrett, etc.), or is it mere speculation and assumption on the player's part? If this is in fact a pagan symbol, it would probably be the one I saw (modified for the crude Dark engine, of course).. I could scan it if it interests others, or maybe someone has found a closer match..

    Eshaktaar et al., how do we know this is Jenivere's (I always forget the spelling) shrine? Couldn't it be Lady Rumsford's for all we know? And how does changing it from a supposed pagan symbol to a gear mean someone changed their religion? It could be some big conspiracy, or maybe they simply thought it was silly and decided to put a functioning gear (it isn't of the door-opener sort or loot; a gear as any other) in it's place? I think it's a bit extreme to speculate on it belonging to Jenivere and her becoming a mechanist just because of this .

    deadman.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: annarbah
    Could this be explained as a developer's signature?...

    from http://www.ttlg.com/forums/showthrea...threadid=38840 ...
    INTF: Tim Stellmach, Rich Carlson, Rick Ernst, Terri Brosius
    (from a list of developer credits for Thief 2)


    and this...

    from http://www.gamespy.com/devcorner/january01/carlson/ ...
    Rich "Zdim" Carlson, who just finished working on American McGee's Alice at Rogue Entertainment, has...

    Now maybe that's a coincidence. Or maybe i'm barking up the wrong tree (or aardvarking up the wrong tree)

  10. #10
    New Member
    Registered: Sep 2003
    Location: India
    So perhaps what we have here is just a case of a game paying homage to Thief. Nice. But as good as it feels, i can't help feeling that this symbol has some deeper meaning, like what led LGS put it there in the first place? But more surprising is why did the other game decided to use THIS particular symbol from a whole lot of other worth copying material in Thief? Well maybe Zdim has a fascination for this particular thing.. I don't think it in any way connected to the classic, never saw any such illustration anywhere in the book...Ahhh, The Thief world is indeed full of mysteries...

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Black Squadron
    Rich Carlson is our very own aardvark who used to moderate our Gen Gaming forum and now works for Digital Eel.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2003
    Location: Sweden
    It could of course just be a level designer's signature, but i think it's a bit too obvious for that.
    Lewis Carroll was a master of logic and mathematics, the books 'Alice in wonderland' and 'Through the looking glass' are basically compendiums of logic puzzles and examples.
    Maybe that symbol is a visual model of one of those examples, computer games and programming in general has a lot to do with logic after all. Maybe it's from a particular event in one of the books that's related to the game.
    The shape sort of reminds me of a logic puzzle.

    By the way, i think it's a shrine because a plate with some food was standing next to it (a sacrifice) and in the pre-patch version there was some treasure in the symbol.
    It's also hidden behind that wall of crates, i can't see a reason to hide anything but pagan-worship hehe.
    Last edited by Ahris; 17th Nov 2003 at 08:31.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: uk
    it's something aardvark puts in all his levels

    here it is in a quake2 level

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2003
    Location: Sweden
    That's probably why they removed it from Thief2 then
    The mechanists exterminated designer-worship so they could focus on pagans

    The question now is: Did he do any other signed levels for Thief? hehe

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: House of Sand and Fog
    Originally posted by Ahris
    By the way, i think it's a shrine because a plate with some food was standing next to it (a sacrifice) and in the pre-patch version there was some treasure in the symbol.
    It's also hidden behind that wall of crates, i can't see a reason to hide anything but pagan-worship hehe.
    Point well-taken. And yet this isn't anything I haven't known (there is still treasure and crates in the patched version). I'm merely asking why this is specifically slated as Jenivere's pagan worship place, and why, for the patched version, we're thinking this person switched over to the Mechs. If anything, it's merely a replacement item; again, this isn't any special kind of gear, and there was still some loot here, so it still makes sense to have crates cover it up.

    Now why can't I find that symbol in Alice? . I did just get it, after seeing the really nice trailer and playing the demo. I admit I have to turn on god mode every once in a while; I definitely wasn't made for (well, I used to play games like Doom, Quake, early and later Duke Nukems, etc.) fast-paced action games. It gets annoying after so many baddies keep spawning and my magic energy keeps getting drained. Plus, no block! Anyway, has anyone found this other than the original Mac user who posted the screen? I went to the area he spoke about with the 'crying Alice statue' and weird-looking turtle, looked around (I even turned off clipping and 'flew' around) but didn't find a thing. Maybe this was removed with a patched version of Alice that I have too? Not that I know whether this is patched or not, I'm just guessing if this is a pattern or not with putting in symbols and removing them with patches .

    This is quite interesting; I had no idea devs left behind symbolic "Kilroy was here" insignias or sculptures to put their mark on the place. Is it possible there are other examples we just didn't know were developer 'Easter Eggs'? Right now I can only think of the "W" holding the torches with the bit of loot underwater, though I thought someone already attributed that to a movie.

    Boy, now I'm wondering if there will be any of these (dev's symbols) in Thief III! I hope I hope they include some Easter Eggs (in addition to all the cool stuff)!

    deadman.
    "I cannot see anything admirable in stupidity, injustice and sheer incompetence in high places, and there is too much of all three in the present administration." -M.M.Kaye, The Far Pavilions

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: England
    Originally posted by Eshaktaar
    (from the unpatched version of T2):

    That would be the reason i have no idea what you are on about

  17. #17
    New Member
    Registered: Sep 2003

    Originally posted by deadman
    I'm merely asking why this is specifically slated as Jenivere's pagan worship place, and why, for the patched version, we're thinking this person switched over to the Mechs.
    deadman.
    I'm not saying that Jenivere *did* worship here specifically. I just mean that it makes sense that she may have since it is basically the next room down across the hall from her room (and the other servants' areas are immediately next door to it).

    I was just being silly saying that the game patch made Jenivere change religions.

    It's cool that we figured out from whom this symbol orginated
    Last edited by Musitektus; 20th Nov 2003 at 20:46.

  18. #18
    TTLG Server Goddess
    Gone, but not forgotten

    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: Out of my mind...
    Aha, now someone will have to comb Half-Life: Blue Shift for aardvark's (a.k.a Zdim/Rich Carlson) signature symbol, as he also worked on that game.


  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2000
    Location: Kirkland, WA USA
    This symbol has been around a long time.

    Quite a few years ago, I drew it on graph paper for a D&D campaign I was running. If you look at it you can tell it's just made of squares.

    When I started making Quake level mods the symbol came back to haunt me. I put two of them in a Quake level called Fane of the Diabolist. (I don't have a screen shot, sorry.) This "icon" became sort of my generic symbol for "the local dark cult" in levels I made after this point, although I didn't always use it.

    Here's the only shot I have from an Anachronox level I made in 1997, long lost to the mists of time, unfortunately. You can barely see the symbol in this tiny pic. It's surrounded by torches on a floating islet among islands suspended in a black void. Lots of little firsts in that level. It never made it into the game (it was made in Quake and I didn't have time to port it to Quake 2 when we switched engines) so I wish I could find it!


    (I just found this on the old Quakelab sigs page which, surprisingly, is still up.)

    Can you find the symbol in this shot from my "surreal sanctum" area of The Doom That Came To Dunwich (Q3A mod)?



    Can you find it in this eeeeaaarrly test level shot from Anachronox?



    This icon/symbol did become my "author sig," although somewhat unintentionally. And yeah, it was a "Kilroy was here" that I placed in mods I was happy with and certain games I've worked on. When I work on an area in a game I really do feel like I'm there. Sometimes, if it's special, I want to leave my signature behind, like Slartibartfast. It's my way of saying "I think this level's cool." or "I, one of the authors, endorse it."

    Here's the real reason that it appeared in Tim's Thief 2 mission. We were all very hard-pressed for time and there was a lot of task sharing and switching things around going on. Near the end of the project I took on the role of doing touch up work on a few of the levels that needed one last aesthetic pass (because the due date was looming!). This primarily involved adding or aligning textures and some, not much, light duty building and item placement.

    When I started working on the basement of Mission 1, there were a lot of petty things to do. The basic encounters were set up but it needed finishing in lots of ways that you would typically think about. Details. There were also several areas and rooms left undefined and empty. Too many, I thought, so I picked the room you've all noticed, and added some things to (hopefully) make it a fun place to find while exploring or hiding.

    I started playing with the crates and decided to make a kind of wall of crates hiding a "secret area." I tweaked and prodded them until the stack looked and felt right, but then...what to put behind them? Right away I thought of that symbol. It's kind of mysterious -that seemed appropriate, and I thought that it would surprise people visually and really make the area unique without having to use any of the stock items from the main list. It was brush-built, not a prefab model.

    And, I hoped that gamers would interpret it in their own ways.

    It was also my sig, intentionally placed, because I suspected by then that LGS would not last to release another game. It's like a historical thing. If you were an Apollo astronaut on the moon (and you knew that the mission you were on would be the last one before NASA shut down the moon program) wouldn't you write your name in the dust?

    The mistake I made, and the primary reason it was changed for the patch, was that it was a symbol unrelated to the Thief universe. Also, some of the team simply didn't like the idea of someone putting their sig in the game. Either is reason enough to consider a change.

    As to the appearance of this symbol in Alice, that is another story to be told another time.

    Did I tell you about the giant giraffe Iikka Keranen hid in Daikatana? The third design team found it and removed it. Dang! (It might have helped. )

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: May 2002
    Originally posted by aardvark
    Can you find the symbol in this shot from my "surreal sanctum" area of The Doom That Came To Dunwich (Q3A mod)?

    It's in the keystone in the archway?

    Originally posted by aardvark
    Can you find it in this eeeeaaarrly test level shot from Anachronox?

    It's on the far-right distant shelf, top space?

    Originally posted by aardvark
    It was also my sig, intentionally placed, because I suspected by then that LGS would not last to release another game. It's like a historical thing. If you were an Apollo astronaut on the moon (and you knew that the mission you were on would be the last one before NASA shut down the moon program) wouldn't you write your name in the dust?
    Hell, I would piss it into the dust if I could.

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2000
    Location: Kirkland, WA USA
    Spot on, Randalor. You can also find a "Simon" game in the Anachronox pic. For those who care, the "backwards mermaid" is a painting by Magritte.

    Btw, when I said this:

    "I just found this on the old Quakelab sigs page which, surprisingly, is still up."

    I meant that I found the little picture, not the level files.

  22. #22
    jtr7
    Guest
    Are there any other noteworthy design stories like this, aardvark?

    I thank you for your contributions to the Thief world!

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2000
    Location: Kirkland, WA USA
    At your service, jtr7.

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: House of Sand and Fog

    Likewise, aardvark. It's amazing to think there are still old devs about, creeping amonst the shadows and perhaps waiting for some glorious return (unofficially official FMs, anyone? aardvark? ). Anyway, I was away for the weekend, and just got back. Glad we could get some closure on this . And I still didn't find this in Alice. Care to share?

    deadman.
    "I cannot see anything admirable in stupidity, injustice and sheer incompetence in high places, and there is too much of all three in the present administration." -M.M.Kaye, The Far Pavilions

  25. #25
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2000
    Location: Kirkland, WA USA
    Alice story coming soon. Meanwhile, I found it...

    O B L I V I O N: The Lost Secret Level
    http://digital-eel.com/blog/ob.htm

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