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Mshade
11th May 2009, 22:29
A big part of any mission in Thief is the plan. It was usually presented in the cutscene and then shown in the map (showing the entrance, possibly guard routes, exit, and major loot). But seeing as this one will probably have an open-world free-roaming city like in Deadly Shadows but bigger it would be cool if you could just walk down the street, see a mansion, look for possible entry points, overhear conversations, and then map this out on your own and follow your own map based on your own observations.

randomtaffer
11th May 2009, 22:36
Interesting idea, but would probably be pretty tough to execute and, surely, one wouldn't want all missions to be this way...

fayfuya
23rd Aug 2009, 12:51
That's a good idea, but It's also hard to execute it as it's said already...but in my opinion, I really don't care to have Thief 4 without a story, just go here and ther and break into here and there, rob that mansion, steal some equipment from the armory and so, I really don't care to ahve Thief 4 without real missions.
The thing I enjoyed most is exploring the city and breaking into the armory and houses, and overhear things and stories of other ppl, like the gem cutter in TDS and so.

Hamadriyad
23rd Aug 2009, 16:04
...but in my opinion, I really don't care to have Thief 4 without a story, just go here and ther and break into here and there, rob that mansion, steal some equipment from the armory and so, I really don't care to ahve Thief 4 without real missions.
The thing I enjoyed most is exploring the city and breaking into the armory and houses, and overhear things and stories of other ppl, like the gem cutter in TDS and so.

I hope EM don't share your opinion..

Davehall380
24th Aug 2009, 13:49
In terms of planning, the missions need to have an element of linearity to them before the player begins to select there prefered options (all thief missions have done this, even TDS forced you to 'enter' the mission). A free-roaming, open ended city like the GTA series might seem appealing to thoose that enjoyed the TDS experience, but it would loose all the feeling of the previous Thief games in implementing this.

The storyline in thief is from the old-school, 'gather round kids whilst I tell you a story' system of plot progression, meaning that each mission was relevant and closely related to the story. The random city exploration in TDS served only as a side-distraction, and enjoyable as it may have been, to reject missions altogether is seriously flawed (but no-one would agree with that statement anyway, would they?)

On the topic of planning, I cant see why some levels couldn't require Garrett to 'case out' missing details - in fact, isnt the player forced to do this in most of the TDP and TMA levels anyway? (a VERY basic map to start with anyway, you had to explore your own entrances etc most of the time anway (e.g. First City Bank and Trust)

Secondary
25th Aug 2009, 23:14
i like the idea that the City is the hub you return to in between individual missions, but the entire game should not be that way, not by any means.

in EM can get the City hub feature bigger and better (more accesible buildings, more sidequests, dynamic crowds, larger areas, etc) than that would be excellent but the missions themsleves should remain quite seperate

Davehall380
27th Aug 2009, 12:15
in EM can get the City hub feature bigger and better (more accesible buildings, more sidequests, dynamic crowds, larger areas, etc) than that would be excellent but the missions themsleves should remain quite seperate

Would you really want dynamic crowds? it seems to me that in most of Thief crowds were no existent (partly because of game mechanics) and partly because a master thief would attempt to avoid confrontation and 'crowds'. Most missions are at night, trypically after kicking out time at the inn and thus the streets are sparse with a few drunks, guards and a few servants/nobles heading home.

I think missions should stay seperate to the city areas - these were a nice touch but they soon got very repetitive and just seemed to slow the momentum down of the storyline. TDP and TMA threw you alond from mission to the next, whilst TDS took the foot of the peddle and said "help yourself to respawning gold, stock up with maximum armaments and start the level when ever you like, its your game".

oO_ShadowFox_Oo
27th Aug 2009, 16:00
Would you really want dynamic crowds? it seems to me that in most of Thief crowds were no existent (partly because of game mechanics) and partly because a master thief would attempt to avoid confrontation and 'crowds'. Most missions are at night, trypically after kicking out time at the inn and thus the streets are sparse with a few drunks, guards and a few servants/nobles heading home.

All true, but with current gen games coming out, crowd is becoming more of a factor and beneficial gameplay mechanic. Now the crowds/population doesn't have to be the size of Assassin's Creed, for example, and it shouldn't be, based simply on the facts you've stated about the streets being empty, but I think the people of The City always add to the immersion and character of the world you inhabit and the more the merrier, especially in busy parts of town. Crowded streets would make for plenty of pickpocketing oppurtunities and eavesdropping amongst the crowds could give the player leads to bonus/side missions. If detection/recognition would be an issue (which it should IMO) from city watch, Hammerites etc.., this would give the player even more reason to use the Thieves' Highway, assuming it will be implemented on the scale we're hoping for.

It could also be possible to lose guards in a crowded street as if they lose sight of you, you could possibly be any one of the local riff raff wandering the streets.


I think missions should stay seperate to the city areas - these were a nice touch but they soon got very repetitive and just seemed to slow the momentum down of the storyline. TDP and TMA threw you alond from mission to the next, whilst TDS took the foot of the peddle and said "help yourself to respawning gold, stock up with maximum armaments and start the level when ever you like, its your game".

Well that all depends on the player. If you wish to keep the story of the game moving at a fast pace, that's your prerogative. But some folk I'm sure, myself included, are very content to wander the streets looking for any opportunity to slip into unguarded houses/businesses and fleece them blind. The problem with TDS was that it was very easy to load up on coinage by pilfering from the same spots over and over and it led to money quickly becoming a non-issue for players. I think it would be fantastic if shopkeepers/houses were aware of when they had been robbed and increase security in their establishment according to how frequently they're having their goods snatched.

I also agree that missions should be kept separate from the city itself, simply because I love to watch and listen Garrett giving the mission briefings as he speaks his mind and the fabulous illustrations paint a picture for us. But I still think that it would be best served that you must insert into these missions from The City scape, after scoping the place out to learn what you can, with the option of several insertion points from outside, and once the mission loads/briefs, you start the mission from one of several locations inside the mission map, based on your insertion point.

Ikana
27th Aug 2009, 17:39
That's a good idea, but It's also hard to execute it as it's said already...but in my opinion, I really don't care to have Thief 4 without a story, just go here and ther and break into here and there, rob that mansion, steal some equipment from the armory and so, I really don't care to ahve Thief 4 without real missions.
The thing I enjoyed most is exploring the city and breaking into the armory and houses, and overhear things and stories of other ppl, like the gem cutter in TDS and so.

Ow dude.. That would suck so badly..

I got the feeling (and this isn't meant to be derogatory or offensive) that you played Thief DS first, and maybe messed around with 1 and 2 (or didn't play them at all) but never got sucked into the stories.

1 and 2 had amazing storylines, 1 being the best. Learning about Thief lore and the trickster and all of that jazz..

If the devs took out the story I don't know how long it would be until I touched the game out of rage.

xDarknessFallsx
27th Aug 2009, 17:53
I prefer sticking to the T1/T2 roots in terms of a story and individual missions that may span many locations or years. I like that T1/T2 makes you feel alone and that you're in a mansion or on the streets "past bed-time hours" since not many people are around. A lack of crowds helps accentuate this feeling. Sure, I'd be okay with one or two missions with more population, but wouldn't want it going overboard with some new game mechanic for Thief where every level allows you to 'lose yourself in the crowd,' as if it's attempting to be Assassin's Creed. Also, I wish T3 had never done the city hub idea, and dont' want to see future iterations of it trying to 'enhance' it. I think I'm slowly realizing in games that I don't really like open worlds. Burnout Paradise racing game has a whole city open from the start. That ruins some of the fun for me.

I'm not a fan of the city hub idea, and I've never seen a game pull off crowds very well. Assassin's Creed's crowds were bad; Morrowind and Oblivion crowds were bad; Fallout 3's crowds were bad; Thief 3's crowds were bad; MMORPG crowds are bad; etc. All just my opinion, of course.

If you have one game where crowds are actually fun to see and interact with, I'm all ears. In my experience, they're always boring, annoying with their repetitive and incessant comments, aimlessly wandering about like robots, etc. Even if there is one game where they're good, I personally don't want to see them in T4.

Davehall380
27th Aug 2009, 18:07
The city hub idea is obviously quite popular with alot of fans, and I can understand why. For me, it kind of destroyed the claustraphobia of the previous two games. I think it would be very odd that after the relativley empty streets of Thief DP, TMA and some extent TDS, to have bustling crowds all of sudden would raise the question "where were they before then?".

Back to the original arguement over planning, it may be possible for players to have a greater say in the missions by using a city hub. this is the one positive I can see from this. However, in TMA and TDP the missions could jump from one place the next quite quickly - insertion points and mission start glyphs like in TDS mean that all missions have to physical within the city - though that is not neccessrarily a problem.

oO_ShadowFox_Oo
28th Aug 2009, 00:18
The city hub idea is obviously quite popular with alot of fans, and I can understand why. For me, it kind of destroyed the claustraphobia of the previous two games. I think it would be very odd that after the relativley empty streets of Thief DP, TMA and some extent TDS, to have bustling crowds all of sudden would raise the question "where were they before then?".

Back to the original arguement over planning, it may be possible for players to have a greater say in the missions by using a city hub. this is the one positive I can see from this. However, in TMA and TDP the missions could jump from one place the next quite quickly - insertion points and mission start glyphs like in TDS mean that all missions have to physical within the city - though that is not neccessrarily a problem.

You have to look at it from a different perspective. The claustraphobia that you feel during missions is what Garrett experiences when he's after inserting into an area where he's operating. He wouldn't feel so vulnerable when he's out on open streets and not trespassing on someone's property, trying to rob them of all their worldly possessions.

Your point on the continuation of what TDS presented us with regards to The City may be valid, but from my point of view, what the developers put forward at the time (and the same also applies to TDP and TMA) was the best they could accomplish with the technology that was available to them. To frown upon EM creating a grander and more elaborate city scape simply because it doesn't have proper continuation with the previous titles, that were hampered by the lack of current generation development possibilities, is selling this game a little short, IMO.

The original Thief games were very effective at pushing the limitations of the technology available at the time to present games that enveloped you totally into the universe that the developers wanted to convey.

Completely separate and (somewhat) linear levels, for a universe as elaborate and engaging as Thief, is not taking advantage of what this franchise has to offer.

Herr_Garrett
28th Aug 2009, 06:03
The City is huge. We never see the end of it (haha...), so it must have at least a million people in it.

Where are they? How about curfew? In the first two games I always convinced myself that the ratio of AI on the streets (approx 80% guards, 20% or less civilians) has to do with curfew.

Actually, in MA it would be most logical to have one, since it's a war situation.

DS screwed this up as 90% of the other stuff. I'm not a fan of this open-world silliness. In other games it's OK, Morrowind for instance pulled it off pretty well, but it ruined DS for me. 'Course, I can see that the Artefacts and the Final Glyphs necessiated that we see a larger section and multiple districts of the City at laest once, but it was really cheesy.

If EM cannot make a city at least as huge as the City should be (which is pretty impossible), then they should abandon the idea. Hopefully, they will.

Davehall380
28th Aug 2009, 11:21
You have to look at it from a different perspective. The claustraphobia that you feel during missions is what Garrett experiences when he's after inserting into an area where he's operating. He wouldn't feel so vulnerable when he's out on open streets and not trespassing on someone's property, trying to rob them of all their worldly possessions.

Your point on the continuation of what TDS presented us with regards to The City may be valid, but from my point of view, what the developers put forward at the time (and the same also applies to TDP and TMA) was the best they could accomplish with the technology that was available to them. To frown upon EM creating a grander and more elaborate city scape simply because it doesn't have proper continuation with the previous titles, that were hampered by the lack of current generation development possibilities, is selling this game a little short, IMO.

The original Thief games were very effective at pushing the limitations of the technology available at the time to present games that enveloped you totally into the universe that the developers wanted to convey.

Completely separate and (somewhat) linear levels, for a universe as elaborate and engaging as Thief, is not taking advantage of what this franchise has to offer.

There are some very good points here. I will accept that Thief 4 shouldnt be sold short - with new generation engines etc almost anything is possible. Going on the idea discussed about a curfew above, it did seem to me that in TDP we didnt see much of the city. In TMA, the city watch were almost everywhere on street level (thinking of Ambush!, Life at the Party, etc). this suggested a curfew. In TDS it opened up alot, and the City Watch would watch over a number of denizens. For continuity's sake, I suppose crowds could be explaine either way.

However, it depends on the size of the crowds. The huge dynamic crowds in Assasins Creed were impressive, but were mainly there because of the day setting. The fact that Thief is predominatley set at night needs to be taken into account.

Other considerations are mass interaction - how would a huge crowd react to a flashbomb? Would it break immersion to see 50 (a conservative estimate) people in a street blinded, holding there faces and stumbling around? How would they all react to finding a body? (In the original game this was usually met with syncronised, one voice "a body! Help! Help!) The programmers would need at the very least a dozen voice actors and mutliple animations/reactions to prevent strange occurances. This is achievable.

As for the city, so long as the missions retain the original (TDP and TMA) intros and level design, then im all for it. One consideration could be the way that GTA IV's city scape works. Long draw distances for effect, but localised processing and spawning. This is an alternative to localised 'quaters'. Sidemissions could be a mixture of spontaneous and set (like the random street corner missions in GTA and various others), whilst missions were location specific and spawned the right actors at the start of the mission. this is just an idea and not one that im praticulary in favor off, but it helps to keep the discussions going!

Crowds could work, it would seem strange at first but its not impossible to get it right, and could offer plenty to the experience. The cityscape needs to be spot on IMO - there needs to be a balance between the first two games closed levels and maps and TDS premise of an interactive city hub.

Phew that was long, time for a cup of tea

oO_ShadowFox_Oo
28th Aug 2009, 14:16
There are some very good points here. I will accept that Thief 4 shouldnt be sold short - with new generation engines etc almost anything is possible. Going on the idea discussed about a curfew above, it did seem to me that in TDP we didnt see much of the city. In TMA, the city watch were almost everywhere on street level (thinking of Ambush!, Life at the Party, etc). this suggested a curfew. In TDS it opened up alot, and the City Watch would watch over a number of denizens. For continuity's sake, I suppose crowds could be explaine either way.

However, it depends on the size of the crowds. The huge dynamic crowds in Assasins Creed were impressive, but were mainly there because of the day setting. The fact that Thief is predominatley set at night needs to be taken into account.

Other considerations are mass interaction - how would a huge crowd react to a flashbomb? Would it break immersion to see 50 (a conservative estimate) people in a street blinded, holding there faces and stumbling around? How would they all react to finding a body? (In the original game this was usually met with syncronised, one voice "a body! Help! Help!) The programmers would need at the very least a dozen voice actors and mutliple animations/reactions to prevent strange occurances. This is achievable.

As for the city, so long as the missions retain the original (TDP and TMA) intros and level design, then im all for it. One consideration could be the way that GTA IV's city scape works. Long draw distances for effect, but localised processing and spawning. This is an alternative to localised 'quaters'. Sidemissions could be a mixture of spontaneous and set (like the random street corner missions in GTA and various others), whilst missions were location specific and spawned the right actors at the start of the mission. this is just an idea and not one that im praticulary in favor off, but it helps to keep the discussions going!

Crowds could work, it would seem strange at first but its not impossible to get it right, and could offer plenty to the experience. The cityscape needs to be spot on IMO - there needs to be a balance between the first two games closed levels and maps and TDS premise of an interactive city hub.

Phew that was long, time for a cup of tea

All good points also. Seeing as the game is going to be set at night there is no need to have the streets filled completely. There would be areas such as taverns, pubs, inns etc... that would be social hubs and would make for where the majority of the crowds congregate. This would also make for interesting times when certain customers leave the pub and begin to stagger home, or else head to the pub for a late night tipple.

It's more of the AI interactions of the crowd with Garrett, The City itself and each other that I think would be the advancement in crowd mechanics here, rather than having huge numbers of people wandering the streets just for the sake doing it.

But having large numbers of certain folk that have specific roles within the city, I think, could bring a massive amount of depth to the game. Like Sally the chambermaid, who makes her way to her night shift at Lord Craven's mansion every night at a certain time and whom the guards get distracted with, for several minutes, as she stops to talk to them at the gate before she heading inside to work.

Or Arthur the blacksmith who leaves to deposit his weekly earnings to some shady partner of his rather than First City Bank and Trust, since he doesn't trust that they can maintain security, since a certain break in occurred.

All these minor roles in the city, which could be somewhat interchangeable and would require extra voice acting to keep things fresh, but could all add to the ability of the player to successfully plan a mission out within the City walls. And I'm not just talking about city folk here. These AI, crowd like interactions could apply also to Hammerites in their compound or the Pagans in their woodsie realm etc.. There would obviously be simple patrol guards, but certain characters would have their own roles within their area that would not immediately become obvious. It's this sort of AI outlook that will break away from simple and predictable patrol patterns and really add some panache to inhabiting the realm of Thief 4

One of my main problems/concerns with games that mass produce crowds is that the voice acting duties are severely limited. This leads quickly to many repetitions of dialogue, that can very quickly start drawing the player out of the immersion that other parts of the game have been so successful in creating. But if there are only small crowds, but large amounts of dialogue reflecting where the player spends most of their time, then I can't see it being such a problem.

Davehall380
28th Aug 2009, 17:11
All good points also. Seeing as the game is going to be set at night there is no need to have the streets filled completely. There would be areas such as taverns, pubs, inns etc... that would be social hubs and would make for where the majority of the crowds congregate. This would also make for interesting times when certain customers leave the pub and begin to stagger home, or else head to the pub for a late night tipple.

It's more of the AI interactions of the crowd with Garrett, The City itself and each other that I think would be the advancement in crowd mechanics here, rather than having huge numbers of people wandering the streets just for the sake doing it.

But having large numbers of certain folk that have specific roles within the city, I think, could bring a massive amount of depth to the game. Like Sally the chambermaid, who makes her way to her night shift at Lord Craven's mansion every night at a certain time and whom the guards get distracted with, for several minutes, as she stops to talk to them at the gate before she heading inside to work.

Or Arthur the blacksmith who leaves to deposit his weekly earnings to some shady partner of his rather than First City Bank and Trust, since he doesn't trust that they can maintain security, since a certain break in occurred.

All these minor roles in the city, which could be somewhat interchangeable and would require extra voice acting to keep things fresh, but could all add to the ability of the player to successfully plan a mission out within the City walls. And I'm not just talking about city folk here. These AI, crowd like interactions could apply also to Hammerites in their compound or the Pagans in their woodsie realm etc.. There would obviously be simple patrol guards, but certain characters would have their own roles within their area that would not immediately become obvious. It's this sort of AI outlook that will break away from simple and predictable patrol patterns and really add some panache to inhabiting the realm of Thief 4

One of my main problems/concerns with games that mass produce crowds is that the voice acting duties are severely limited. This leads quickly to many repetitions of dialogue, that can very quickly start drawing the player out of the immersion that other parts of the game have been so successful in creating. But if there are only small crowds, but large amounts of dialogue reflecting where the player spends most of their time, then I can't see it being such a problem.

Thoose points are very well made. I praticulary like the idea of specific indivduals within the city. Reading diary entries to how there lives have been affected by the player would add alot of immersion. For example, if you rob the blacksmith, he writes how he is being chased by loan sharks etc. Next chance of interaction Garrett knocks these sharks out, and the blacksmith is free. Or alternativley, Garrett ruins the business of a rival and the blacksmith prospers, hiring guards, thus making it harder to steal from. The options are endless.

Maybe the emphasis should shift from large, default crowds (with about 20 people in one street speaking with the same voice) to specific individuals with habbits? This would assume that the city section has a time progress mechanic very similair to TDS (which as i detailed in a previous thread, im not a praticular fan of in regards to the city hub). Cool ideas though

xDarknessFallsx
28th Aug 2009, 22:33
First off, you guys are cracking me up quoting the entire post above you when replying :)


The city hub idea is obviously quite popular with alot of fans, and I can understand why. For me, it kind of destroyed the claustraphobia of the previous two games.
That's interesting. For me, the reverse is true. TDS gives me the most claustrophic feeling of all three games. With its small levels that seem even smaller because they're chopped up into load zones; with relatively more linear gameplay; with a lack of swimming and climbing gloves that worked in very few places -- I definitely felt more restricted and claustrophobic in TDS.