View Full Version : New FM...Sort of...

6th Oct 2002, 14:07
I decided to fire up DromEd today for the first time in over a month to do a spot of building. I ended up clicking on the wrong .miss file and loaded up a mini mission I built while working on Run thief...RUN. This mission was an easter egg in the Directors Cut version, and I had planned to give it a propper release shortly after DC hit the shelves, but forgot.

The mission is loosely baised on the "Cistern" level from the original Tomb Raider, and was built purely to test out a little teleportation idea. It is a little rough around the edges, and the sparse loot and numerous drops that prevent the player from backtracking, means you can come up short on the loot objective if you are not careful - particularly on expert. But h3ll...it's another FM to play right?! :)

The .zip is a little over 7megs, and you can grab it here (http://bluntedtaffer.50megs.com/egg/cist.zip). Just try not to kill the server. :D

6th Oct 2002, 14:41
Hmmm...an underwater maze huh...not nice...not nice.. :p
I drowned trying to figure out where to go. :(

..well....back at it! :D

6th Oct 2002, 17:41
Hehe...Not to worry. The underwater section is very small and has a handy air pocket. Find that before tackling the gates and you should be out of there within two minutes. ;)

6th Oct 2002, 22:02
Played on Expert difficulty (while trying to ghost but that gets busted by the bugbeasts killed in the cistern and the damage from the following falls.)

Filled up the cistern, toted the rotted crates to the first fall, and managed to drop down without damage only if I manage to hit the side of a crate to slide off as it smashes into pieces. If I land on the crate's top, I incur damage. The crate damage busts a ghost of this mission, but then so does drowning the bugbeasts in the cistern.

The next fall is impossible to take with almost 100% damage. The rotted crates are obviously not going to survive being dropped from this height. If I drop off the end of the rope, the fall is too high and I die. If I grab the skull that washed into the cistern and drop it straight down from the rope and land on it, I have just 1 health point left. But ANY health damage is a ghost bust. Why is the rope so short? I searched around for a long time and found no way to lengthen the rope into the crypts.

So Garrett is now almost dead (even with taking the health potion after this fall *if* he survived the fall), in the crypts, and it's a dead end because there is no way out so he get the loot and the hand and dies there. NOT what a master thief - or any non-suicidal person - would do.

Below is a list of some defects or shortcomings of this mission:
<ul><li>If you are going to start Garrett nude of his base equipment, give a reason. Why is his blackjack missing? He did plan this excursion. It wasn't like he was chased here and lost some of his stuff along the way.</li>
<li>The pathing for the first bugbeasts is flawed. One ends up dropping off the ledge and drowns. I think this is because they move aside as they pass each other and one gets pushed out far enough to fall into the water. This puts the remaining bugbeast on full alert for awhile.</li>
<li>The texture for the beams across the cistern entrance is wrong. You used a metal texture but these are wood beams. I had to do a quicksave and keep trying the rope arrows to see where they might work because NOTHING here looks like wood.</li>
<li>Hitting the switch to fill the cistern results in killing the bugbeasts. Actually you switched to a different design since the cistern filled immediately and there was a jerk after flipping the switch when there was a switch to the "aftermath" environ. Killing the bugbeasts is a ghost bust.</li>
<li>The first fall after the cistern is also too high. I had to tote the rotted crates here but they will not pile up. The fall for the first one damages it so badly that the 2nd crate landing it will smash it to pieces. So I could never get more than a 1-high crate pile (i.e., no pile, just a crate). There's no reason the crates hiding the gem stones in the high-dive passage are rotted (supposedly the means to get the key from the center pillar in the cistern - although tossing a crate at the key will knock it off so you don't have to jump onto it and incur damage). These crates are not in the water and should be regular and stronger crates. These would then be stackable when dropping them down the first fall so the player can get down without incurring damage.</li>
<li>On Expert, even with full health, the drop from the rope into the crypts will KILL the player. On Hard, they *may* have enough health left, like 1 or 2 health points. It seems you only tested this FM on Normal difficulty because that's the only level where the player can continue the mission into the crypts.</li>
<li>You already provided the player with 6 fire arrows. I didn't see the point of now giving Garrett an oversized arsenal by having the holy water and water arrows available in the crypts. In Expert, only one or or the other arrows should be provided.</li>
<li>There needs to be an exit from the crypts. What's the point of getting all the loot if all Garrett does is get stuck forever in the crypts and die eventually of starvation? Otherwise, it's a midas suicide mission.</li></ul>

6th Oct 2002, 23:49
Wow...I musta really missed something here..
I haven't been back since I drowned.....maybe I should go back? Sounds interesting! :D

7th Oct 2002, 00:07
drowned 4 times in a row now
Found the air pocket....that makes all the difference ;)

I just dropped 3 keys to jump onto and only lost like 2 shields ;)
I think it helps if you crouch when walking off long drops too.

7th Oct 2002, 00:49

Are you playing on Expert difficulty level (where you have far fewer health points and injury takes them away much faster)? On Normal difficulty, you have a lot more health points and either because of that or because you don't incure as much damage per incident, you end up keeping more health. I can't see how 3 keys could be taller than a crate, or a skull. When ghosting, or trying to ghost, you don't take damage. You're supposed to be a master thief, not a clumsy one.

7th Oct 2002, 01:05
No Vanguard.....you missed my point....
By dropping the 3 keys, I became lighter, and fell slower. ;) :p

I played on "normal" (which is normal for me). True, you have much more health to lose and all..... but I still think maybe objects like keys and potions would work better to fall on than crates would. I dunno, I could be wrong.

I was talking about the first drop in my previous post. I didn't know about the "rope drop" at that time. I just finished the mission..... By dropping onto keys from the "rope drop", I lost 6 health shields (on normal) which would prolly be about 50% or so of your shields if you were on expert.

Anyways...Just finished it up. Good little mission Gumdrop. Thanks

7th Oct 2002, 15:08
Originally posted by Vanguard
...although tossing a crate at the key will knock it off so you don't have to jump onto it and incur damage...

Haha...I must say that is very inventive. I don't think I have ever used that particular technique. :)

As I said, the mission was just something I tagged onto the end after trying out the teleportation idea. I couldn't figure out how to make the flooding reversable so gave up. Yes it does have many flaws, but I can't understand why you were unable to finish it on Expert.

There are only two drops that cause loss of health, and one can be minimised by crouching and walking off. You don't even need the health potions to finish.

Would you be interested in beta testing my current project when the time comes? You seem to be good at finding ways to break the design. :D

Oh...And the bars are wooden. They use the plain dark wood from the city texture set...A favorite of mine. ;)

8th Oct 2002, 03:48
I've done software QA for a number of years. My job is to break whatever the developers come up with, or make it easier to use for the customer. I'm always game to beta test a new FM; however, it is always advisable to get several volunteers to test your FM so you get more than one viewpoint, along with finding bugs that another might miss.

8th Oct 2002, 15:23
You fiendish devil Gumdrop :D this FM’s a killer! I must admit it brought back many good memories of the original Tombraider thanks m8! NOW you taffer!! :D I must of spent at least an hour playing on expert, trying to get down them damn holes without dying :D I tried shooting a rope arrow on a crate, but unfortunately The rope doesn’t come out…bah! Tried object stacking the crates but they kept breaking :( So in the end I managed to get down the first hole by jumping on 1 crate I’d thrown down while carrying another box in my hands. Took the health potion, reached the end of the rope and dropped down and just before I hit the ground I threw the box down and landed on it, surprisingly I didn’t sustain too much damage :)

I collected all the loot down there, and can you guess how much I come up short? Flipping 20!! 20!! Aaaaaggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! This level WILL not beat me :D I’m off to find the rest of the loot on another run! Love to see this FM mature into a bigger version? I might even install the original Tombraider, it’s got me in the mood for a little raiding myself!

8th Oct 2002, 15:30
Originally posted by Vanguard

<li>On Expert, even with full health, the drop from the rope into the crypts will KILL the player. On Hard, they *may* have enough health left, like 1 or 2 health points. It seems you only tested this FM on Normal difficulty because that's the only level where the player can continue the mission into the crypts.</li>

Sorry Vanguard but you're wrong! I reached the Crypt while playing on expert with still 5 hit points! I did take a health potion but I did survive both drops nevertheless.

CORRECTION! I just went back to my saved game and I still have 9!! Count em! hit points left! So the 2nd fall couldn’t have done any damage to me what’s so ever? Damn I’m GOOD (if you kind of overlook the missing 20 loot to make the loot objective of course :) )

8th Oct 2002, 18:45

If you didn't sustain ANY further damage from the 2nd fall down the rope into the crypt - a fall that is much greater than twice the 1st fall after the cistern - then you got lucky with a game or design bug that cropped up when you played. I restarted this game 4 times (and once in Hard and another time in Normal for a total of 6 times), and I ALWAYS sustained damage from both falls.

I tried the crouch and creep over the edge in the 1st fall to slightly reduce my altitude. Sometimes this helps to eliminate or reduce damage. Also sliding against a wall can reduce damage. Not here for me. Landing *on* a crate top (that survived the drop) would still incur damage. I had to hit the top side edge of the crate so I would slide off at an angle as the crate smashed. I did not try carrying a crate on the fall to see if I might get a double crate pile to land on.

Even when I managed to not take any damage on the 1st fall, the fall from the rope took ALL of my health points and I died. I think once I managed to keep 1 health point. Again, I did not carry a crate on the fall (which presumably you would need to look straight down to emulate the stack-em-method so the crate would be underneath you). However, the smashing noise of the crate alerts the zombies so even if I survived the ghost would be busted (but then it was already busted by killing the bugbeasts in the cistern when you filled it up, and all the crate smashing is a ghost bust, too).

Even when not ghosting, this FM looks nearly impossible to complete on Expert since, to me, it is extremely likely that you will die on the last rope fall into the crypts. Getting lucky because of a defect in the game engine and so you happen not to die is not something that is intrinsic to the FM. Neither is happening to wiggle through a wall after you got snagged on it. An arrow happening to pass right through an AI but all other incurring a damage hit is also a fluke. And we all know of the sudden heart attack syndrome (SHAS) which is obviously not a designed-in feature of an FM (and it happened in this FM, too, when I crept off the corner of the ledge around the central room where the 1st bugbeasts roam).

8th Oct 2002, 19:49
Vanguard, agreed 10% skill 90% luck/fluke/design fault. I was sure I sustained damage on the 2nd fall? But when I load up my save game later, sure enough I now had 9 hit points? Maybe the health potion carried on to kick in after I landed? Who knows? It didn’t matter how many hit points I had in the end, as I couldn’t finish the high loot objective :( Like I said Gumdrop, I’d love to see you carry this mission on to a bigger user-friendlier version ;) I personally don’t like sustaining damage when I play Thief but that’s just the way I’ve always played Thief. I tried my hardest on this mission, but I always sustained damage on the 1st drop, the lowest damage I received was 4 hit points. I never managed ‘no damage’ on the first drop. Definitely going to give this FM another blast some time so I can put my ‘C’ for complete stamp on this mission.

8th Oct 2002, 20:22
Originally posted by Vanguard
If you ......

Close Vanguard....but not quite. ;)
Twasn't me who failed to sustain any damage from the rope drop. It was Rich :D

Although..... Now my curiosity has been tickled.....and I feel the urge to find a way to drop without damage...or very little damage. Hopefully tonight I'll be able to tinker.

8th Oct 2002, 21:30
Hmm...Well I wasn't planning on touching this thing again, as I thaught a few people will play it for a laugh and that would be that. But it appears that once something is available at "Cheap Missions", everyone and his dog download it. So I guess I had better fix it up a little and make it more playable.

As for a larger version...Well I have sort of done all I wanted to do with the Cistern, but I'm working on a three part story at the moment, and the final mission combines bits from St Francis Folly and Palace Midas. Building hasn't begun on this part yet ( :( ) but the plans are pinned to my wall. :D

Vanguard - I already have Peter, Broken and Nightwalker down for beta duties, but I think your way of tackling things would be very useful. At my current speed though, nothing will be ready until early December.