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View Full Version : If Deus Ex 2 is anything to go by, Thief 3 will be fantastic!



RiCh
7th Jul 2002, 14:16
Below are some snip bits from a preview of DX2 in PC gamer UK! All I can say is that DX2 sounds great, which can only be good news for T3!

One of those tools is the state-of-the-art DX2 physics engine. Ion Storm have licensed the havok SDK ( www.havok.com), a highly advanced piece of maths middleware that deals with everything from collision detection to deformable bodies and which has, of course been thoroughly customised by the studio. The aim is to create a totally believable, thoroughly immersive environment where elements such as light, shadow and sound act exactly as they do in the real world and can exploited accordingly.

“All of out lights are completely dynamic,” explains project Director Harvey Smith. “Everything in the world casts shadows. Our shadows are really amazing. The guards will hear a noise and come and investigate, but if you then go quiet and turn off the lights, the guard will be like ‘Oh it must have been a rat’ and they go away. If you’re going down a hall and you see the shadow of someone around the corner – he might be standing in front of a torch or a lamp, or whatever – you know there’s a guard there before you see him, because of his shadow.”

Smith takes us on a tour around one location; some sort of dingy subterranean factory with pipes running along the ceilings and steam pumping from mysterious machinery. He points out the way the pipes cast real shadows onto the walls, based on a single lamp hanging from the ceiling in the centre of the room. When he fires a shot at the lamp, it swings wildly, and all the shadows in the room distort accordingly. In real-time. In another room there’s a free-standing lamp in one corner. He gets the on-screen character to kick it over, instantly darkening the room and creating shadowy areas to hide in.

But if you’re going to start kicking things around in a high-security area, shut the door behind you. The sound system in Deus Ex was pretty basic. Objects didn’t muffle sound, so if you were searching a hotel room, closing the door wouldn’t make any difference. Now, according to Spector, it does. “we have created our own sound propagation system so it’s not just as you get further away from the sound that the volume level drops. You’re going to be able to close a door and make as much noise as you want and the sound will be muffled on the other side of the door. You’ll be able to hear the direction from which a conversation is coming and know that there at least two people around the corner before you see them and they see you. Sound, for us, is critical.”

Artists are currently putting the finishing touches to dozens of in-game locations, including bars, labs, factories and so on, often using up to 25,000 polygons to build a scene. To add depth and sensuality to objects in the world, the artists are also making enthusiastic use multi-pass texturing. They’re adding layer upon layer of texture maps to furniture, characters and objects so that every detail, every hair, every zip, every design aspect is picked out and looks solid. This method allows them to virtually triple the detail of a model. On top of this is a specularity layer; a special effect texture that reflects dynamic lighting, giving leather sofas a sexy sheen, or even picking out the sweat on someone’s forehead.

The character detail has been improved enormously. Faces are now structured with polygon ‘bones’, giving them realistic shape. Noses, mouths and eyebrows move independently, so people are able to show a huge range of emotions. Specialist lip-syncing software has also been brought in so the expressions fit perfectly with the words. Finally, the artists have used motion-capturing, abandoning the hand-drawn animation which they felt just didn’t work in the original game. This has lead to the lead character developing new moves – like the ability to pull him of herself up onto objects, as in Thief and System Shock 2. Yet another subtle shift toward realism.

One of the things we’re doing differently is that, if you play a game like Thief, you’ll notice that the AIs don’t really have a sense of the context of where you are. You could be walking down a city street or be in some bank vault and the guard is going to treat you in the same way. Whereas really, if you’re in a city street he should just pass you by, because he doesn’t know you from some other pedestrian. So we’re giving the designers the flexibility to actually mark different kinds of spaces with what I call social contexts. Currently this means that if you’re in a public place AIs generally ignore you, but if you’re in a high security area they’ll shoot you on sight.

This idea of contexts works with sound too. One of the things you notice in Thief is that AI guards can be patrolling in a busy area, but suddenly they hear your footstep and they automatically assume it’s an intruder. With Thief 3 and Deus Ex 2 we’re allowing designers to set down a ‘busy’ context which tells AIs that things like footsteps and random shadows are less important than they are normally would be in a high security area, because it’s a busy place and so it’s probably another guard. Again, a realistic touch that gives you more of a chance against gangs of latterly psychic NPCs.

Later, Tozour will begin to build in more gradients. There will be ‘no trespassing’ areas where, if you’re seen or heard, you will be politely asked to leave. Only if you fail to comply will you be attacked. Which is firm but fair. He’s also given AI characters the ability to distinguish between different stimuli. Each person has a kind of emotional gauge, which rises depending on what they see or hear. A footstep in the darkness might only make them mildly curious – enough perhaps to have a quick look around. They soon lose interest. However, if they find a dead body lying in a bloody pool, or if you smack them round the back of the head with a wooden crate, the gauge goes to maximum and they’ll hunt you down for several minutes.

As with light and sound, however, there are ways of using the advanced physics against non-player characters. Along with the stimuli gauge (or ‘alert level thermometer’ as Tozour calls it), AI characters also have a sound occlusion meter attached to their sensory input. This indicates how much the current noise level in the area is blocking the NPC’s hearing. All sounds the AI can hear – footsteps, humming machines, explosions, people talking – will cause this gauge to rise and make it more difficult for the NPC to hear things. So if you have an NPC standing in front of a noisy machine, and the machine is switched on, you’ll see the NPC’s audio occlusion bar rise, and this will make it more difficult for him to hear your footsteps.

Squid
7th Jul 2002, 19:49
We have stealth, we have stealth!

Wow, sounds like a bunch of the things that we asked for in the new game are actually being added to it! :D

Squid

Thorin Oakenshield
7th Jul 2002, 21:11
Thanks for this post Rich;)
This is another game that I'll HAVE to buy:D

ChowYunFat
7th Jul 2002, 23:29
Thank you for the post, RiCh. I'll now be looking forward to DX2 much much more than I had been. And the idea of these features appearing in T3 is fabulous. This is very exciting!!!

Munin the Raven
9th Jul 2002, 00:41
Wow, by the way that information reads there's little doubt in my mind that Deus Ex 2 and Thief III will be most awesome titles!:D

TRoosevelt_26
10th Jul 2002, 19:46
I agree. Now (and I am SERIOUS here!!) when are Thief III and Deus Ex II coming out? I mean, which quarters of which years. If anyone knows.

Munin the Raven
11th Jul 2002, 01:41
Deus Ex 2 is rumored to be coming out in the first or second quarter of 2003, with March/April being my best guess monthwise.

Thief III will definitely be released later, but how much later is beyond me and possibly beyond anyone who visits these forums. The problem with predicting its release is that very little information has been released, usually indicating that a game is still in early development. I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't hit store shelves until November/December 2003, possibly even later. Here's an interesting thought: it'd be cool if it was released in Novemeber 2003 for Thief TDP's five-year anniversary mark.:D

twisty
23rd Jul 2002, 11:08
Thanks for taking the time to type that up <b>RiCh</b>. I must admit that I savour every shred of info that I can get on those games.

Lake
23rd Jul 2002, 12:56
I read the entire post and all I could think about was the money I need to save for a CPU and video card upgrade.

Zaccheus
31st Jul 2002, 11:52
Have you guys seen the DeusEX II fullsize screen shots?



They are fantastic:

PC:
pcshot01 (http://www.deusex2.com/DX2/Screens/PC/05242002/fullsize/pcshot01.jpg)
pcshot02 (http://www.deusex2.com/DX2/Screens/PC/05242002/fullsize/pcshot02.jpg)
pcshot03 (http://www.deusex2.com/DX2/Screens/PC/05242002/fullsize/pcshot03.jpg)
pcshot04 (http://www.deusex2.com/DX2/Screens/PC/05242002/fullsize/pcshot04.jpg)
pcshot05 (http://www.deusex2.com/DX2/Screens/PC/05242002/fullsize/pcshot05.jpg)
pcshot06 (http://www.deusex2.com/DX2/Screens/PC/05242002/fullsize/pcshot06.jpg)

XBox:
xboxshot01 (http://www.deusex2.com/DX2/Screens/Xbox/05242002/fullsize/xboxshot01.jpg)
xboxshot02 (http://www.deusex2.com/DX2/Screens/Xbox/05242002/fullsize/xboxshot02.jpg)
xboxshot03 (http://www.deusex2.com/DX2/Screens/Xbox/05242002/fullsize/xboxshot03.jpg)
xboxshot04 (http://www.deusex2.com/DX2/Screens/Xbox/05242002/fullsize/xboxshot04.jpg)
xboxshot05 (http://www.deusex2.com/DX2/Screens/Xbox/05242002/fullsize/xboxshot05.jpg)
xboxshot06 (http://www.deusex2.com/DX2/Screens/Xbox/05242002/fullsize/xboxshot06.jpg)

RiCh
31st Jul 2002, 12:28
I liked Deus Ex, but didn’t love it like some people seem to do here! But I’ve read enough and seen enough to warrant the purchase of DX2! The game really looks like it could be called Thief ‘The Modern Age’ and this game will be the nearest we’ll get to T3 for sometime to come. I look at those screenshots and try and imagine what T3 will eventually look like? As good as those screenshots look! They don’t look anywhere as good as these two new screens of DOOM III (http://gamespydaily.com/news/screenshots.asp?id=3747) MAN! this looks like another essential gaming purchase!