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Ferett
12th Jun 2004, 20:05
Personally, I kind of liked the openness of the city area, though it would be nice to have it just a tad bigger, perhaps with a few more walls to scale/roofs to climb etc. But overall, it gave the game more of a feel outside just regular missions.

tootired
12th Jun 2004, 20:23
It needed to be bigger, have more access (I hate fake doors -- every building should have something inside), but mainly, you should have full access to the entire city from the start. And there were too many stores and fences.

The good thing about the city is that sometimes I just have a minute and I just need a Thief atmosphere fix. Just load a city save and pick a pocket.

PublicGadfly
12th Jun 2004, 20:28
Originally posted by tootired
It needed to be bigger, have more access (I hate fake doors -- every building should have something inside), but mainly, you should have full access to the entire city from the start. <snip>
The good thing about the city is that sometimes I just have a minute and I just need a Thief atmosphere fix. Just load a city save and pick a pocket.


The city is great. Zones are O.K. too.

Best game cities I've ever been in are Anarchy Online-
large,
lots of peeps
various stores

Speesh
12th Jun 2004, 20:39
I hated all of the fake doors also. There was a lot of freedom, and I thought it was a great idea, but I think there needed to be more freedom. Maybe more side quests and more accessable areas.

Invid
13th Jun 2004, 05:59
I liked the open hub also but the thieves highway should have been more involved. Perhaps likened to Angel Loft from T2 where you can go from one end of the city to the other without stepping foot on the streets.

Seribicus
13th Jun 2004, 07:09
I liked the freedom to roam even though you couldn't roam very far
But they left out the 'Thieves Highway', one of the greatest things in T2, that REALLY sucks


and so did the deficiency of shops and homes to loot. It really needs to be a bigger.
I mean look at how HUGE the city is durring the movies, and how little you can actually go to

It definitely needs some more work

MrWynd
13th Jun 2004, 07:31
they really should do more with the open-ended style of gameplay. the possibilities of FM's getting added onto parts of an open city has my mouth watering.

Seribicus
13th Jun 2004, 07:35
hey MrWynd

Whats up with the bright yellow numbers in the upperleft corner of the screen on your screenshots

ringo380
13th Jun 2004, 08:40
I believe that is from Fraps (http://www.fraps.com/), if I recognize it correctly.

Tin Star
13th Jun 2004, 11:29
Could have had more doors or windows that you could enter a building by and should have had the secret areas that you could look for like what was in the first two games.

:cool: Tin Star

littlek
13th Jun 2004, 12:31
I was confused at first when I finished a mission and ended up back in Garrett's apartment only to rob the landlord and neighbors again. I wouldn't mind it that much if it seemed necessary for the next mission. After awhile I found myself thinking "not here again." But I did enjoy reading the notices that a thief was about.

To have made each trip in the city more interesting, different doors to access could have been made available and crucial hints could have been in these new areas that I would have had to figure out needed breaking into. It seems that the developers were being too kind in making the game easier to navigate. Part of the fun was exploring everywhere and everything to see if it was loot worthy. Also, where are all the secret doors? I miss yanking on coat hook.

But I really like this game and it is unfair to compare it to the previous games. I am trying to play it the way it was designed to be played and so far....it is worthy. bows I just finished cowering through the Abysmal Gale. shudder

Lake
13th Jun 2004, 13:34
Too small and confining. Not enough to explore or secrets.

ringo380
14th Jun 2004, 16:44
The open-hub idea was fantastic in concept. They screwed it up by, in fact, NOT making it an open-hub. The devs referred to it as a "Freeplay" section, which it most certainly does not feel like.

FrozenNorth
14th Jun 2004, 16:51
I was exited when I heard about this free-form city and thought that it would be something like Thief2 with the city accessible all the time.
When I got the game and played 'til the first time you get to the streets, I got disappointed quite badly. It is too small and the rooftops are gone and the places repeat each other too much...

I can understand this 'cos console-platforms can't handle very much data in their memory but they DID have separate teams making the game to different platforms so it would not have been so much trouble/timetaking to expand the city for the PC-version a bit. I would have liked to see the old locations from the two other games :(

Heero
14th Jun 2004, 17:43
actually, they didn't have separate teams...
I was under the impression that the game was done by one development team who relied on the fact that the Unreal engine used was just so emminently port-able to get it between systems...

this does explain why the difficulty bug is in both versions, if you think about it

grafixmonkey
15th Jun 2004, 07:05
There are people wanting every single door and window to lead to an explorable room? What kind of computer do you want to have to buy to run this? The minimum requirements would be an overclocked Geforce 6800 Ultra, 2 gigs of RAM, and quad Xeon processors! Not that I'm not drooling over the idea of quad Xeons and a 6800, but I sure won't be buying that hardware any time soon. :(

I think the hub is great for those times when I just want to taff around for a while without the commitment of a real level. Just bum around, piss off the guards, have some fun with peoples' pockets. I keep finding new areas too. There's a lot of detail in the town that's easy to miss, especially in the upward direction!

Degineth
15th Jun 2004, 07:47
The city is a great ideea, but if i was Eidos i would've made it somewhat different: All the missions in the game should be in town and around town, as they are now, but now you must have permision to go to the missione and only then you can see the glyph to the mission if some1 pointed it out to you.

I would make all the missions in the street and accesable at any point, if you find their hidden location. For example somewhere in the sewers on of the bricks from the wall opens up the mission door. Now, if u wait for a NPC to point uot the brick for you it will be easy, as the glyphs are, BUT if you find it yourself before the NPC points it out and you finish the mission, aquiring everything would give yuou a greater feeling. And when you come to the point when the keepers need object "x" you just say, heh, i allready got it. :P

Seribicus
15th Jun 2004, 07:48
every door and window would be a bit excessive
but maybe more than 2 or 3 places would be nice

You can only taff a section of the city once a night
I mean you should be able to taff more in 1 place in 1 section in 1 night

like in South Quarter there's like only the 1 store, and the landlord's office that you can loot every night

not much is left after the first night in almost all sections of the city

ringo380
15th Jun 2004, 07:51
If I were the project manager of the team responsible for the development, I would have to insist that, as you're developing the city, every building be created with a real interior, from the ground up. From the first building you make while mapping, to the last one, they should be made with fully-realized interiors, particularly if city districts are going to be as small as they are in Thief:DS.

grafixmonkey
17th Jun 2004, 05:29
That would take an insane amount of computer power to draw and keep track of in memory, and an even more insane amount of dev time to model and texture. Sorry, but keep dreaming. You just can't do it. Maybe if the whole game looked like Thief 1 you could, with the lower poly counts and lower texture sizes. But not with the graphics detail they used in Thief 3.

Seribicus
17th Jun 2004, 07:49
Well, they could have made each building with an interior
and then decided which ones would be the best to use

but that would still take a lot of time and man power to do...

every building would be a bit much

UniTom
17th Jun 2004, 09:26
I like the idea of it, walking to your missions makes it more immersive but that is ruined by the size and abundance of fake doors.

Blue Ghost
17th Jun 2004, 19:26
I was mildly dissapointed, but not so much with the concept so much as its execution. For myself this was reminiscent of Quake-2 where the designers hacked up the maps into sectors because at the time first generation pentiums couldn't handle such large levels.

Invid echos my point, and that is I also was looking forward to revisiting the large city from the Angel Loft level in Thief-2. I was very dissapointed that I couldn't explore the entire city in Thief-2 because of the mission paramters, and I was hoping I could in Thief-3. But I couldn't.

Then Thief-3 comes, and the levels are forshortened because of more detailed models and textures. I like the detailed models, but I didn't need all the textures, and I'm somewhat dissapointed that this decision was made at the cost of larger levels.

In Thief some of the levels were broken up, but in a linear format where once you completed one stage you then moved onto the next section of the map which was a level unto itself. In Thief-2 the maps increased in size and scope because PC power had gone up. Hence the huge levels. I was hoping for something on par with Thief-2, or even larger, but I kind of knew what was in store for Thief-3 (though I was hoping I was wrong).

The Hub concept doesn't bother me, but I would've liked larger hubs. As it stands now, in terms of raw physical game space, I think all the hubs combined would barely be larger than the Angel Loft map (Thieve's Highway). And that's what's most dissapointing to me about Thief-3.

The thing I liked about the hubs were the fences. I thought that was an interesting idea, and I enjoyed it. But like I say, I would've preferred larger maps over more detailed maps.

*edited by author*

Seribicus
18th Jun 2004, 02:19
Originally posted by Blue Ghost
In Thief some of the levels were broken up, but in a linear format where once you completed one stage you then moved onto the next section of the map which was a level unto itself. In Thief-2 the maps increased in size and scope because PC power had gone up. Hence the huge levels. I was hoping for something on par with Thief-2, or even larger, but I kind of knew what was in store for Thief-3 (though I was hoping I was wrong).

It seems like the length of games has shortend recently
Many good games have been released where their only bad feature is that the game is way too short
i.e. Max Payne 2, Call of Duty, Panzer Dragoon Orta, Thief 3(of course), and others...

if cutting the size of the texture/detail modles a little would lengthen the missions
or increase something somewhere else
It wouldn't be too much of a price to pay

but that's just me

OzzMiester
18th Jun 2004, 14:56
You know what?I liked the open play city quaters.But as its been said before all the doors should be useable.

Fake doors are just a cheep way of adding atmosphere but if Garret was being chased by the law no door would bar his escape be it a vault or a peasent's bolt-locked home.So BOO's and HISS's to poor level characteristics.But CHEER's and WHISTLE's to the flow of exploration.The way the game wind's you throught the city is quite direct and not too time consumining.

grafixmonkey
18th Jun 2004, 16:31
You know what? You guys are a total logic meltdown. That or you don't read.

The game already requires 512 MB or more of RAM, one of the four highest-end video cards that existed when it came out, and a fairly beefy processor to match. Even if someone could wave a wand and make all the interiors pop into existence without months of work, I have a hard time imagining any gaming machine that would be capable of handling that amount of information. No game I can think of has ever done what you are asking for.

But, I give up, so go ahead and compare Thief 3 to Quake 2 just because the levels are divided in half, and beg for them to model the cellular structure of the arrows and add a microscope to the game for you to look through. If you want what you're asking to happen, go get PHD's in processor design, join the Intel and nVidia design teams, and invent processors that can handle five times the data that the current lines can, and then it might happen.

Blue Ghost
18th Jun 2004, 19:22
What I said was that level size was cut down at the cost of adding texture and model detail. I'm not sure what post you read, but it certainly wasn't mine.

Visually there're two direction you can go in designing an FPS. One is going to cost the other no matter what you do. You either dedicate resources to rendering models and textures, or you allocate resources to creating the playing area and various things in it (AI, objects, logics, etc.).

The key is balance the the two so that one doesn't feel like it's taking over the other.

And I never said everydoor should lead someplace. For a game to do that you'd need something like a Cray supercomputer. I only advocated larger hubs.

It helps to know something about design before replying.

u5ndh
19th Jun 2004, 17:47
I liked the hub idea but it didn't quite work aswell as i expected it to. I wanted to go climbing on the roofs to get to places and things like that.

It did however help with the transistions between levels as you felt like it been continuous rather than just a series of seperate missions like previous thief games.

neil

MrWynd
20th Jun 2004, 08:13
the open area environments could have been 5 times as big as they were and I'd be happy. I'd even be happy with an entire thief game that was open ended even if it suffered from less storyline.

grafixmonkey
20th Jun 2004, 09:29
re: Blue Ghost

I'm not talking to you, I'm talking to the broken records who keep saying "Model every single room of every building! Make every door lead to an interior!" even though we've already covered that it's just not possible.

rob444
21st Jun 2004, 18:35
The open city was a great idea, it was like you could go shopping whenever you wanted. I didnt find shops that usual though. I hope they have the same in the next game if there is one, hopefully a much larger city to explore, preferably make rooftops more accessible and much more secrets, I love secrets :D

OliverReed
21st Jun 2004, 18:40
I think it's great and works really well - expands the game beyond being just "a game" and makes it feel more like a "way of living" - you truely are a thief and people react accordingly.

The Thief series has always painted a rich back-drop to its stories (i.e. the Hammerite and Pagan factions) - so anything which gets you more involved in the world/story is a good thing.

Okay, it's a pain to be chased by the Watch/Hammerites/Pagans when all you want to do is get on with the next mission, but if (in their world) you are a thief then you should be hunted down and killed. It makes sense and makes it less of a "game" and more of of an "experience".

I think that to enjoy Thief to it's fullest - you must forget the strict format of many mainstream PC games that we've been acustomed to so far (i.e. accomplish this task and it will give you this weapon and permit this next task) and embrace this "open hub" method. Thief is not so much a game, but an experience. Be the Thief.

My only complaint is minor - and it is sooo minor - and is this; why do some shopkeepers pace to and fro while talking to you? If they know you they would (in real life) stand still, wouldn't they?

Pathetic isn't it? - but it annoys me.
Ollie.

uberam
21st Jun 2004, 19:17
I thought it was o.k., was just too small, didn't feel like the big sprawling city the ads alluded to. I think it could have been done without a big hit on performance (or without being a resource hog) by use of strategically placed no draw/portal brushes. That's if the engine uses such components. But I'm no expert.

grafixmonkey
21st Jun 2004, 20:50
The pacing and the shop dialogue I agree isn't very good. Some of them kind of ramble on and sound really awkward, especially the one fangirl shopkeeper who wants to be a "Garrett Groupie", lol. "So Garrett, I hear your place isn't far from here... Do you think I could see it sometime? Specifically the bed? I can bring an oil potion and... oh you probably just want to shop."

I also wish the shops were different in some way other than each one only carrying one kind of elemental arrow. All of them should have healing potions and water arrows, but other than that the items should really vary more. Like one shop might carry gas arrows and gas bombs and oil potions, another might have flashbombs and broadhead arrows and explosive mines, but you'd have to go all the way to Auldale to get fire arrows or something. (though, I still have yet to find a use for fire arrows?)

I like how no shops sell Holy Water, but they put a certain place in where you can get a few each day of the game if you've made friends. Speaking of which, I think next time through, just to make things interesting, I'm going to leave my faction status down so I have to sneak through territories. I dunno, I just feel dirty being friendly with the Hammers.

BMKane
21st Jun 2004, 21:49
Err... just a second here. How, exactly, would making all the doors lead to a building cause the game to need 2 gigs of RAM? Not all of this stuff is visible by the player at all times. If I'm standing in a street, and all the doors are closed, it doesn't much matter how many interiors there are around me, if I can't see them, the engine doesn't have to draw them. You could double or triple the number of interiors without increasing the system requirements, I imagine. As it is, it's kinda rediculous. Take Auldale, for example. I thought it'd be a thieves' paradise, with lots of rich homes to rob, but instead, there's just the Museum and one merchant. Not a single home in the whole district.

And, yea, the fact that it's being produced for X-Box and PC is somewhat limiting. Hopefully, a new generation of consoles will come out before Thief 4, so that might not be a problem. The only thing that bothered me about the City was that nothing ever changed. I mean, it appears that it's a new map for every day (since the positioning of the guards changes), so, the could have mixed it up a bit. Like, having those three coins on the bakers' shop in South Quarters in the same place every day's kinda absurd. They could have added a locked chest with the money inside on the second day (since someone would have stolen the coins if they were out in the open). Or, change the way stuff is arranged on the bar in the Tavern in Stonemarket. Add a bottle of wine and remove a couple plates, and such, so that it actually seems like the city's being used.

MrWynd, that free-form Thief game sounds really cool. If they ever release any modding tools, someone should try that. You wouldn't need a big epic storyline like you have in Thief 3, just several simple ones. Like, how stealing the velvet bag in the Training Mission leads to stealing the Opal from the Rutherford Manor. Just expand that a little, to the conclusion of Lady Elizabeth's plot. If there were a number of those sorts of mini-storylines going on, you wouldn't get bored. The City is supposed to be filled with intrigue, isn't it?

And if you wanted a larger storyline, it could be to steal a certain amount of money. Like, maybe Mr. Wickett finally can't handle the financial strain of his blackmailer, and puts his apartment building up for sale, and Garrett decides to buy it so he wont have to move.

uberam
21st Jun 2004, 22:08
Originally posted by BMKane
Err... just a second here. How, exactly, would making all the doors lead to a building cause the game to need 2 gigs of RAM? Not all of this stuff is visible by the player at all times. If I'm standing in a street, and all the doors are closed, it doesn't much matter how many interiors there are around me, if I can't see them, the engine doesn't have to draw them. Exactly, but that's only if the level design (or the engine) utilizes no draw/portal brushes. The AI might could still be running in the background, but you could limit/control that by using trigger brushes and scripts.


And, yea, the fact that it's being produced for X-Box and PC is somewhat limiting.I think so too.


Hopefully, a new generation of consoles will come out before Thief 4, so that might not be a problem.Aah.. One can only hope

grafixmonkey
21st Jun 2004, 23:57
If the game didn't store and keep track of all those interiors, then when you enter the area how is it going to draw it? And if there's someone inside one of those interiors, how is the game going to calculate its AI response? If the information is there, it either has to be in RAM or it has to be on disk and loaded into RAM when it's needed. What you're proposing is having all the interiors modeled, but having a loading scene whenever you enter any building in town. Besides, the way the game currently keeps track of interiors is not what you're suggesting. If a door to an interior location is open, or if there's a window you can see through, then you can see all the objects inside the interior. i.e. Currently, if you're in the Docks, then every model and texture for everything in the Docks is in RAM and either being drawn or ready to be drawn. But, Old Quarter and Stonebridge are not in RAM, they are on disk waiting to be loaded.


The only thing that bothered me about the City was that nothing ever changed. I mean, it appears that it's a new map for every day (since the positioning of the guards changes), so, the could have mixed it up a bit. Just because the guards' starting positions and routes change, doesn't mean it's a whole new map. The map is the same, it's just the spawning positions of some objects that's different. Could easily be as simple as "if(beginning day 1) {spawn day 1 obj's); else if (beginning day 2) {spawn day 2 obj's);".


If I'm standing in a street, and all the doors are closed, it doesn't much matter how many interiors there are around me, if I can't see them, the engine doesn't have to draw them.They don't have to be drawn... IF their doors and windows are closed... but they do have to be remembered, because if you open a door then it does have to be drawn. But think about all the other interiors in the game. Most of them have multiple entrances and windows, and many of them have doors that have a window in them. You do NOT want your computer to be deciding, each frame of the game, which interiors in the immediate area are and are not visible, and swapping stuff to and from disk to minimize memory usage. That's what they did in Halo, and you know how that turned out - you get a huge 'hiccup' every time a new area has to be displayed, and if you were moving or turning you end up in some wacky position in the corner and have to get your bearings again. And Halo only did it with one area at a time - if you crossed a boundary, it knew the old area was no longer visible and the new one was, and loaded.

Now, even given that there is somehow a way for the computer to figure out which interiors need to be in ram and which don't, what happens if you leave all the doors open? All interiors are being displayed right?

I'm sorry people, in an ideal universe maybe it could work, but you can't both have the best graphics that maximize the capabilities of your computer, AND have the amount of stuff in the levels that you're asking for. You'd have to drop a lot of texture quality and model detail to get this to work.

Ardent
22nd Jun 2004, 00:33
My computer wouldn't slowdown much at all if every interior were rendered. What does slow it down is all the guard, peasant and passerby models and their scripts. I get slowdown when I get 5+ models on my screen...but I can render terrain at 1600x1200 resolution all day long.

Basically put, I run FarCry at 1600x1200 and I'm not running anything terribly significant, just an ASUS nVIDIA GeForce 4200 AGP8X w/128mb and a gig of Samsung PC3200 RAM (when I bought it well over a year ago, this set cost me a little less than $500 -- I'd wager it's closer to $300-400 these days).

What I'd honestly like is, if we're stuck with the load zones, that we at least get more terrain within each load zone to explore. Or maybe more side missions.

rob444
22nd Jun 2004, 00:33
It's as grafixmonkey says, it will still give you less performance even if you cant see the objects.

Blower20
22nd Jun 2004, 01:33
I keep having to take a step back - I think we expect new gen games to answer everything thats ever been mentioned, after all why shouldnt they listen - but if you step back and look at the game - its just superb - better than alot of stuff on the market and FAR FAR better than the wave of first person shooters.

The city feels good - I loved picking the initial 3 locks out of garrets appartment without the guard seing, waking the guy or being caught. I enjoyed noting where stuff spawns daily so I harvested the city daily (i consider note taking something he would do anyway). I liked diving onto a balcony I thought looked a little low... etc etc

I agree with alot of comments - and as ive not played thief/thief2 I guess im fortunate since I wont miss any features from those.

Im yet to complete the game and a friend has said I missed something in the city right at the beggining - and with my cought count getting a little silly im sure to replay the game as a Pro thief :)

If we get thief 4 in 2 years maybe it should use thief 3s engine and be as big as a real city - 300 houses 50 shops etc :) Im sure you guys could write a hard back book about what you would love to see in thief 4 :) so I wont go on about should haves

Ardent
22nd Jun 2004, 01:36
Originally posted by rob444
It's as grafixmonkey says, it will still give you less performance even if you cant see the objects.

My point is that even a behind-the-curve system can render TERRAIN all day long (which is what interiors are). Most of them hit slowdown around model scripts and the like. If the terrain was setup properly, very few systems would have problems with slowdown when rendered at an appropriate resolution.

uberam
22nd Jun 2004, 02:09
Originally posted by grafixmonkey
Now, even given that there is somehow a way for the computer to figure out which interiors need to be in ram and which don't, what happens if you leave all the doors open? All interiors are being displayed right?

O.K., granted that I don't know how Thief's engine works. In fact, I've only dabbled in modding CoD. The way their engine worked, in regards to using no draw/portal brushes (it's not a loading scene), if you weren't looking in the direction of or at something on the other side of this said brush, it wasn't drawn, even if you left the doors open. Let's take the example of a simple house with a door and a window, window is open, in the windows opening is a no draw/portal brush - if the window is not visible to you (obscured by a corner, or you have your back turned to it) nothing inside is drawn. But once you look into the window, everthing inside is drawn. Now let's take the door - in the opening there is a no draw/portal brush, door closed, nothing inside is drawn, door opens everthing inside is drawn, turn around - leave the door open, with the brush behind you - nothing behind the brush is drawn. Clear as Mud? works the same with blind corners.

The drawback is, the more of these brushes you use, the more calculations the engine has to make in deciding what to and what not to render. So it has to used judiciously. IIRC, the limit was pretty high before you see any significant performance hit.

As far as the NPC/AI script and trigger. The script doesn't have to be running unless it's triggered.

Arkive
22nd Jun 2004, 03:31
I see quite a few folks complaining about the city not being big enough, and not everything being explorable. I can sympathize with that to a degree, however, if the city was four times it's size and complexity, and every building was explorable, it would be madness, especially since the map is so pitifully vague. I imagine I'm like most folks and want to explore *every* nook and cranny, however, once an area gets too large and complex, it gets annoying trying to explore *everything*. While I would liked to have seen more rooftop/window exploration and access, given the limited usefullness of the map and your ability to use to track your whereabouts or where you have been on it, I have been generally pleased with the city's overall balance.

grafixmonkey
22nd Jun 2004, 04:45
My point is that even a behind-the-curve system can render TERRAIN all day long (which is what interiors are). Most of them hit slowdown around model scripts and the like. If the terrain was setup properly, very few systems would have problems with slowdown when rendered at an appropriate resolution.What exactly are you thinking the difference between these two is? Because there isn't any, as far as the graphics card is concerned. Let's take a look at this for a minute:

Terrain: Runs just fine. Polygon count = X.
Terrain plus four/five characters: doesn't run so hot. Polygon count = Y.

This doesn't mean that your computer can render an infinite amount of terrain without slowing down, it means that your system starts to crunch itself when the polygon count on screen gets to Y. That could be due to your processor not being able to compute the transformations and deformations for all the polygons, or it could be due to the graphics card not having enough juice to draw them. Whichever it is, it doesn't mean that if you went absolutely nuts with the amount of static mesh in the scene your system would still perform the same. More likely, it would be crunching even before one NPC walked into view.

re: uberam
That technique used in Call Of Duty is one of the intelligent ways of lessening the amount of data sent to the graphics card to be drawn. It increases processor workload and increases memory usage, but decreases the use of the AGP bus and decreases the number of polygons that the video card has to draw. It does not remove those objects or their textures from memory when they're not in view, and the processor still has to compute all of the objects' transformations through the view matrix, and if there are NPC's involved they still have to interact with the polygons themselves - the graphics card just doesn't have to draw those polygons or the NPC meshes. So basically these "brushes" as you call them only decrease the workload of the graphics card, not the rest of the system. (actually they increase the workload for the rest.)

As for AI triggering... so you want this scenario:

You walk into a house and an NPC sees you. You dash out the front door and close it, and never have to worry about that NPC again. Their AI isn't being calculated. In fact, you can shoot fire arrows at a building's front door for hours, and explode mines, and an NPC will never wake up from his nap just inside that door. Twenty minutes later, you come back to the building you ran out of, and the NPC is in exactly the same spot he was, running towards you and screaming for guards and/or firing arrows at you. (much the same as traveling between sections of the city - dash through a portal to Auldale to avoid a guard, and the next time you come back to Old Quarter he's right back on you.) That's what you get if the AI isn't "triggering" inside rooms that aren't visible. Might work in a first person shooter like Call Of Duty where the AI just has to shoot at you if it sees you and run its patrol pattern if it doesn't, but it does not work in Thief. Any AI present in the town section you're in has to be running at all times, even if not visible, or things like guards' patrol routes wouldn't work and all you'd get is randomly spawning people with no way to predict their movements.


I think it might help if you knew a little more about what the computer has to do to run this game. Every frame that displays in Thief 3, the game engine has to do these things, probably not necessarily in that order (and this may be a little off here and there but it should give a good general idea):
* Rotate all static objects in the world matrix such that when they are drawn, they will be drawn as if you were looking through the camera (partly handled by Transform & Lighting, introduced with Riva TNT chip, but still a lot by the processor). This means every point in every polygon gets multiplied by at least one matrix, sometimes more.
* Rotate and place all dynamic objects based on the physics engine controlling them, again every point of every polygon X at least one matrix.
* Calculate deformations on the NPC meshes according to their current stages in their animations to give them their proper pose and facial features, and then rotate and place them in the scene (every point X at least one matrix)

- by the way one NPC probably has at least as many polygons as an entire room -

* probably at this point tosses out polygons that are not in the "view frustrum" and shouldn't be drawn
* Calculate the lighting of all these polygons based on the light sources close to them
* Send all that to the graphics card to be displayed
* Based on NPC and physics engines, determine if any sounds began anywhere in the vicinity, calculate and position their EAX environments and send the events to the sound card
* Use the physics engine to calculate new positions for all the dynamic objects
* Use the AI engine to calculate behavior for the next frame for all the NPC

And probably more that I don't know about because I'm not an expert on game engines. I know there will be a bunch of tricks in there to lessen the workload where possible, but don't forget that any existing tricks will already be there working on the existing game, so if you add a bunch of stuff you can expect it to take that much more work to keep track of. Basically, if you put in those interiors, you increase everything the game has to do. More rooms means more AI work, even if you don't add more NPC to the game, because the existing NPC now have to take those rooms into account in their pathing, and the guards have to be able to look for you in those rooms if you run off. Realistically, there would be more NPC added to those rooms though, which means much much more work. There are ways of reducing the load of the graphics card, but not many ways of reducing the load to the RAM and processor, and any ways that exist of making less work for the graphics card are thwarted if the doors open or if you put something as simple as a window that looks into the room, or a door with a window in it. (How often do you close your doors?) All that is in addition to having to store the extra models' geometry and textures in RAM, and if the rest of the game is any indication, the textures are very rich - each different interior in town tends to have a completely different look to it - which means the number of textures is going to skyrocket. Having more textures in a scene means those textures have to be stored in your Video RAM as well as main memory, so the card can call upon them when drawing polygons. You can say goodbye to any video card with less than 128 MB of texture memory, and you'll probably need 256.

It just goes up, and up, and up. I've mentioned the man-hours of work required to model it all before. You are talking about adding, to the city section alone, at least as much model/texture work as it took to model and texture the rest of the entire game, all the rooms of all the levels. It could be done if you doubled the artwork team, but I'm wondering what you would think if the game cost $85 instead of $50? And I haven't even talked about the effect this would have on gameplay yet. What would it do to the game if you had soooo many places to hide? It would trash it, is what it would do. There would be no sneaking, just duck into any door and you've only got a 1-in-15 chance the guard would even pick the right building to look in.

It's just not a feasible thing to do. They might have been able to do a few more interiors, but not all of them. Maybe if we get an editor, people will start making add-on interiors for the city for those of us who have high-end machines, that would be great. But not in the official game release. We've already got a plague of MX owners complaining that the game won't run without pixel shaders, we don't need everybody with less than a Radeon 9800 unable to run the game.

Seribicus
22nd Jun 2004, 05:30
What are you?
Some kind of Hacker Type??

Appriciate the education though
but the main thing we have to remember here is that the city has already been designed
and it really can't be changed without mod tools, and I don't think Ion Storm is going to redesign the city for future releases of the game

Could they even patch new parts of the city to the game?
you know, add more roof tops etc. They'd have to completely redesign the maps of the city. Right?

Ardent
22nd Jun 2004, 05:31
Originally posted by grafixmonkey
What exactly are you thinking the difference between these two is? Because there isn't any, as far as the graphics card is concerned. Let's take a look at this for a minute:

Terrain: Runs just fine. Polygon count = X.
Terrain plus four/five characters: doesn't run so hot. Polygon count = Y.

This doesn't mean that your computer can render an infinite amount of terrain without slowing down, it means that your system starts to crunch itself when the polygon count on screen gets to Y. That could be due to your processor not being able to compute the transformations and deformations for all the polygons, or it could be due to the graphics card not having enough juice to draw them. Whichever it is, it doesn't mean that if you went absolutely nuts with the amount of static mesh in the scene your system would still perform the same. More likely, it would be crunching even before one NPC walked into view.

Actually it means exactly what I said. The scripts attached to the model, which are a function of the CPU, not the gfx card, are what cause my computer to slow down. I don't get much slowdown when everyone's doing their default thing and I haven't got more than a few of them on screen at the same time. Once I do, and especially if I've alerted one, my CPU begins to have trouble handling all the scripting.

I can render a monstrous terrain all day long with my gfx card (considering I work as a draftsman, my computer is designed to handle all sorts of rendering from architectural to structural to terrain). I can't have too many enemies within triggering range or my CPU slows the game down.

uberam
22nd Jun 2004, 06:28
Originally posted by grafixmonkey
re: uberam
I think it might help if you knew a little more about what the computer has to do to run this game.

You mean T3? You're right, I barely know CoDs engine. That's why we need the tools. Inquiring minds want to study the engine.

Also, remember Operation:Flashpoint? Remember how you could pretty much go anywhere on the island and run across NPCs and Enemy AIs? Granted it wasn't the best looking game but man, was it huge.

O.K., done with this. I'm going to sign that petition for the tools.

dogsolitude_uk
22nd Jun 2004, 20:54
Just for the record, I'd have liked:

Larger levels, though not necessarily with any more interior parts.

Rooftops, a popular request from what I can gather. It would have been great to climb up in to a roof and see a city sprawling all around you... :)

Again, like most of you guys, more window access, secrets and general creeping about...

The great thing about Thief games is that they capture that feeling I used to get when I was a kid mucking around in a 'forbidden' area, such as a derelict house, or sneaking into a friend's garden in the middle of the night :)

Rambis
22nd Jun 2004, 21:37
I just added some processor fluid to my graphics engine, and everything runs just fine...

what the heck are we all taffin' around about?

Azzer
23rd Jun 2004, 00:26
The open-hub layout was a nice way to bring the "story missions together"... but nothing more.

It actually still somehow felt very "linear" even when you got to (Old Quarter was it, with the 4/5 portals to different sections?). I still felt like I was following straight lines back and forth.

If modding tools were to come out, then ideally I'd love somebody to spend some time on a huge mod and let us have "Thief 3 a'la GTA Vice City" - a lovely big open-ended city, try to mod in "passing days" that reset/randomise loot & people, various shops in certain places, and maybe a fun collection of "side-quests" that could actually randomise/re-order every few days. Lot's of people walking around, not such a linear-feeling city etc. (2 different ways leading to the same place is linear, no matter what you may like to argue).

As for all this "What a game can and can't render" - these loading "zones" were made small enough to fit smoothly in to an X-Box. I'm sure most of the die-hard fans here with decent PC's could load zones 7 or 8 times larger than those in the game (my own PC has 2GB PC3700 ECC Ram, an AMD FX-51 CPU, Radeon X800 card etc.). I mean take a look at the likes of Far Cry - sure totally different engine with some tricks like turning distant trees in to sprites, and then polygonising them as you zoom in/get closer - but hell, even then look at how huge one mission area is, all the AI's/patrol zones, the incredibly advanced physics engine all running lovely & smooth... I'm fully confident we could have, perhaps even 10 times larger zone areas within the Thief 3 engine... then when you consider it was clearly written as a "Generic game for XBox and PC" - I'd bet a fiver that if some *real* dedicated time had gone in to the PC version there would have been plenty of PC optimisations to speed it up even further.

grafixmonkey
23rd Jun 2004, 02:52
Originally posted by Ardent
Actually it means exactly what I said. The scripts attached to the model, which are a function of the CPU, not the gfx card, are what cause my computer to slow down. I don't get much slowdown when everyone's doing their default thing and I haven't got more than a few of them on screen at the same time. Once I do, and especially if I've alerted one, my CPU begins to have trouble handling all the scripting.

I can render a monstrous terrain all day long with my gfx card (considering I work as a draftsman, my computer is designed to handle all sorts of rendering from architectural to structural to terrain). I can't have too many enemies within triggering range or my CPU slows the game down.

What kind of CPU do you have that's unable to process AI scripts? Those should be the easiest thing for the PC to run. My computer doesn't slow down even with 8 to 12 AI on the screen (Stonemarket Proper, war zone) and all the CPU it has is an overclocked Athlon Mobile at 2.25 ghz.

If your computer is built to handle professional graphics, I take that to mean it has some kind of Quadro or FireGL or 3DLabs or other "pro OpenGL" graphics card, right? If that's the case, I'd bet money that it's not the scripting but the graphics. Pro GL cards are much, much worse at game playing, but much, much faster at displaying high counts of simply-shaded polygons, openGL primitive shapes, lines and points. They rock in any GL app, but feed them a high-end DirectX game and they just chug along like a much older card. (I've got a Quadro 4 750xgl, I can tell you games don't do the card justice. It's a mid-high-end quadro-4, but plays games like a geforce 3.)

Ardent
23rd Jun 2004, 03:07
Originally posted by grafixmonkey
What kind of CPU do you have that's unable to process AI scripts? Those should be the easiest thing for the PC to run. My computer doesn't slow down even with 8 to 12 AI on the screen (Stonemarket Proper, war zone) and all the CPU it has is an overclocked Athlon Mobile at 2.25 ghz.

If your computer is built to handle professional graphics, I take that to mean it has some kind of Quadro or FireGL or 3DLabs or other "pro OpenGL" graphics card, right? If that's the case, I'd bet money that it's not the scripting but the graphics. Pro GL cards are much, much worse at game playing, but much, much faster at displaying high counts of simply-shaded polygons, openGL primitive shapes, lines and points. They rock in any GL app, but feed them a high-end DirectX game and they just chug along like a much older card. (I've got a Quadro 4 750xgl, I can tell you games don't do the card justice. It's a mid-high-end quadro-4, but plays games like a geforce 3.)

My CPU is pitiably slow thanks to some overheating problems I've only barely managed to stave off. I have two graphics cards...the one I use for gaming is just an ASUS Ti 4200 AGP8X...a lil' bit behind the curve. The graphics card I use for AutoCAD is an older 3DLabs...I may actually render faster with the Ti...just haven't tried since I still render an entire floorplan or part in a little under twenty minutes (aka the perfect nap).

grafixmonkey
23rd Jun 2004, 18:11
My Quadro 4 750 still gives far better framerate in Maya than my new Radeon 9800 Pro does, so your 3DLabs card has a pretty good chance of being the better choice unless it's really old.

If you really think it's the scripting, then I've run across some settings in the INI that might help. Under the [Physics] section, there are these settings:
AIControllerFPSrate_Running=30.0
AIControllerFPSrate_Basic=15.0
AIControllerFPSrate_Minimal=5.0
AIControllerFPSrate_Off=2.0

I'm guessing you could drastically reduce the rate at which the AI scripts run by reducing those. 0.0 might cause a crash, but you could try setting them all to 0.1 or 1.0. If these settings do what they sound like they do, it would reduce the AI script calculations to 1/5 to 1/15 their previous processor consumption. (but the AI won't really run right... might run themselves into walls and never find you)

And check out ThermalRight heatsinks. They are not terribly expensive, and you can use an 80mm or 92mm fan on them. One of those and an Antec or Vantec fan (probably not Stealth) would probably solve your heat problem. They might only make them for AMD though. heatsinkfactory.com sells them.

Ardent
23rd Jun 2004, 18:39
Thanks for the tips, I'll look into 'em (as I am running an AMD...the ASUS card should have been a big tip off ;) )


The only weak point on my comp is the processor and as soon as I have money to spare it'll probably be swapped out.

grafixmonkey
23rd Jun 2004, 20:11
Athlon XP Mobile 2600+. Bring it up to 2.2 ghz plus. That's what I'm doing on the game machine, works awesome, very cheap, got mine up to 12.5 multiplier and 178 fsb, and that's currently limited by my old mobo's inability to handle 200 fsb. I hear it's not unusual to get 2.4 to 2.5 ghz out of one of those.

Ardent
24th Jun 2004, 01:54
Originally posted by grafixmonkey
Athlon XP Mobile 2600+. Bring it up to 2.2 ghz plus. That's what I'm doing on the game machine, works awesome, very cheap, got mine up to 12.5 multiplier and 178 fsb, and that's currently limited by my old mobo's inability to handle 200 fsb. I hear it's not unusual to get 2.4 to 2.5 ghz out of one of those.

I burnt out part of my chipset by overclocking it (there was a faulty BIOS for my board early on), so I only get 1.5ghz out of it these days. :( I'm just happy that it still works, frankly. Buying a new one isn't in my budget in the near future.

BMKane
2nd Jul 2004, 15:39
Originally posted by Azzer
I mean take a look at the likes of Far Cry

For that matter, look at Morrowind. A whole continent is one map. Granted, the interiors are each on a different map, but still. It's not that people don't have a fast enough computer to handle this, it's just that the design decision was made to give the game depth, rather than breadth. You could do both, but it'd take a lot more time and effort. It'd be nice to have a bigger hub, though. Once the modding tools come out, we might actually see that. I expect at least one person will try to make the whole City.

dogsolitude_uk
2nd Jul 2004, 16:02
The only problem with Morrowind is that it's difficult to leg it out a window.

njcl
2nd Jul 2004, 17:47
hey people i think that the developers hands were tied as they had to produce a city for the xbox as well,hence the claustophobic city and the sector portals,im not complaining i would have hated it to be too big,it would have took to long to get from southern quater to old quater,lets see it for what it is,its a unique addition to a 1st person/stealth shooting game,it adds depth/immersion/interest/........great i thought

grafixmonkey
3rd Jul 2004, 02:56
Originally posted by BMKane
For that matter, look at Morrowind. A whole continent is one map. Granted, the interiors are each on a different map, but still.

You can't be serious, can you? Morrowind gets on average lower framerate on my PC than Thief 3 does, after installing all the visual improvement mods that make me able to stand looking at it for any period of time. (ugh, those default NPC models....) Also, that whole continent isn't loaded all at once. There are loading scenes set up in a grid pattern and when you cross a grid line you have to wait for the map for the next grid cell to load. Fine in an RPG where nothing really happens all that fast, but I wouldn't like it in Thief.

Plus the Morrowind terrain is handled in a completely different way than Thief. Morrowind terrain is a regular grid of sampled height data. This makes it much simpler to keep in memory and much faster for the graphics card to draw. They don't even have to store full {x,y,z} point data for the terrain, just a 2D array of numbers. Morrowind terrain drawing can be heavily optimized because it's known to be a regular grid of sample points. (i.e. no holes, overhangs, or caves.) This allows the renderer to pass the terrain polygons to the vid card as special structures like "triangle strips" which use fewer draw commands than multiple individual polygons and draw much faster. Thief maps are not regular, and must be drawn one polygon at a time with an algorithm that can handle arbitrary topologies. The structures that you see in Morrowind that have overhangs, arches, and shapes other than 'flat hilly ground' are all individual models drawn by a separate arbitrary algorithm, and you'll notice there aren't very many of these objects and they are pretty low polygon count.

What I'm trying to say, buried in all this technical detail, is that square-foot by square-foot Morrowind level area is nowhere close to the same as Thief level area. You just can't say "they did it in Morrowind so they can do it in Thief". (besides the fact that they *didn't* do it in Morrowind.) There's more data packed into a single City section than two or three grid squares of Morrowind terrain, complete with all the models and towns and everything. Plus you'll notice if you do enter a town or castle where the detail even begins to approach Thief (apart from the very low number of textures, and lack of any decent lighting) the Morrowind framerate really starts to chug. Try walking around in Vivec sometime. If anything, the detail level and framerates in Morrowind are just further proof that the Thief 3 engine is doing a great job at pushing the limits of what you see in games.

EDIT: Didn't mean it to sound like a flame - fixed some wording - And don't get me wrong, I love Morrowind. But the two don't translate well into each other... To get that expansive terrain, you lose everything that would make a Thief game work.

De2nis
3rd Jul 2004, 03:10
I loved the city. All the different ways to rob people, it was great. It also allowed a serious extension in game time and you got more of a sense of Garrett's personal life.

tealsmith
5th Jul 2004, 21:30
Originally posted by De2nis
I loved the city. All the different ways to rob people, it was great. It also allowed a serious extension in game time and you got more of a sense of Garrett's personal life.

Or lack-therefore-of. The man steals day-in and day-out. Jeez, settle down Garrett. With all that money, you should be able to buy yourself a better apartment.

Dragonscale
7th Jul 2004, 13:49
Things I would like to see:

1.Every building has interiors
2.Real thieves higway, and possibility to get (almost) everywhere in the city on it
3.Sewer routes, a bit like TH (Thieves Highway)

Read those Raymond E. Feist:s books, Krondor is city I would like to see in Thief. Hidden places in sewers with lanters, for example.

kusemono
9th Jul 2004, 14:40
I loved it...

If I made games I'd make them like big maps where all areas are accessible once you've done a few missions, more open access buildings, rob anytime you like, anywhere you like (at your own risk as the city watch/police would possibly catch on and patrol heavily in one area forcing you to move on).

And also, the fence shops could be hideouts as they seem to be garretts only permanent allies...

And not wanting to turn this game into tenchu or anything but DAMN BOY! You need a grappling hook! And while i'm on the subject, easier thief highways!

AI is something EVERY game developer needs to work on... AI, say it with me... AI.

It is good in this game, I was pleased.

Um so that's a yes on open hub thing, definately.

Speesh
9th Jul 2004, 17:38
I wish you didn't have to load areas almost every 5 minutes in the city.

Blower20
23rd Jul 2004, 16:58
I laughed like a geek when I played thief 3's *open hub* - I knew as soon as I tried to go through this hub some Bull S story would be apparent - storms stopping you crossing the bridge in grand theft auto 3 - Blue key needed for zone x - low and behold "Quarantine in effect" how sad - they could have used imagination to restrict this sort of thing - perhaps there wasnt much to do in the other areas, cept rob a few houses or explore - but oh no - the 90's 3ft high brick wall u cant jump etc. Unless there was something limiting the staff such as cost to make the game or home pc power I see no excuse for these kind of set backs.
Amazing game but jesus christ give geeks like me a survey to fill in now and then. You wanna see the complaining that goes on at MMORPG forums - the same goes for them, if 10,000 geeks want something done why not just do it?, however to be honest the silent treatment works after a while - you just give up *****ing and pay the money, If I was a business I'd probably do the same - too bad they arent bound to anything due to their "if you install this game we own your house" style terms + conditions.

The_Insane
23rd Jul 2004, 20:55
like the gate to stonemarket, first it's closed, then 2 minutes later, it open again:confused: :confused: thet should have taken more time to finish the city zones