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Platinumoxicity
24th May 2009, 15:34
The majority of the fans of Thief loved "The Sword". There is no question about it. The level designers used every strange idea and DromEd gimmick they could come up with to create a very weird and crazy environment. Now that the restrictions of the Dark engine have been left behind, a level like The Sword could be taken to a whole new level. The designers could use all the modern day technology to make the most disorienting and confusing level ever, but still maintain a sufficient amount of logic and playability. The player would really have to think what they might be seeing instead of just thinking what they're seeing. They would have to write notes to the map to know where they are going.

Some examples:
-Portal technology

Using the same portal technology that Valve introduced in "Portal", level designers can seamlessly interconnect doors that lead to different locations in the level. The player could walk through what seems to be an ordinary door, but would never have any idea that they've just walked through a portal that takes them to a different place. In this picture, the player can walk "across" the hallway on the right and wonder where the hallway went. Also the player can see himself going through the door in the northern end of the hallway while simultaneously coming out of the southern end.
http://img196.imageshack.us/img196/4448/portal1.png

Using portals you can also make small buildings that have large indoor environments that otherwise wouldn't fit. These areas can also have additional doors that don't lead outside the building even though they should. You can also make normal, horizontal doors that lead to vertical areas, thus creating "varying gravity areas". You can even make doors that somehow lead upstairs without using any stairs. :)
http://img193.imageshack.us/img193/857/portal2p.png (http://img193.imageshack.us/my.php?image=portal2p.png)

Gameplay: An idea stolen from "Matrix: Reloaded", doors that lead to different places depending on what key you use when opening them. Guards could choose which doors lead to where when in pursuit and that would make the player's escape very difficult.

I'm not a level designer but these are just a few of my ideas about creating a very confusing level. And these ideas are all based on only the portal technology. What do you think? Should EM make a "Return to Constantine's mansion" and make it even more confusing than before?

Herr_Garrett
24th May 2009, 16:14
This rocks. The key-thing would make it extremely complicated, I'm not quite sure about that, but the rest is perfectly what I had in mind when I started to design a level (alas, never quite started).

Platinumoxicity
24th May 2009, 16:27
This rocks. The key-thing would make it extremely complicated, I'm not quite sure about that, but the rest is perfectly what I had in mind when I started to design a level (alas, never quite started).

You have the "beginning" of the portal inside the door, and when the player uses the key to the door, the "destination" of the portal changes to the door that the key is designated to. After that the player opens the door and sees the destination area through the portal. The problem is just that the player would need to know what door to try the key on and that would need some explaining. I'm sure it's possible to make though.

kin
24th May 2009, 16:30
Great idea. The creepy ambient sounds from "the sword" combined with this kind of gameplay would create allot of mystery and frustration.

huzi73
25th May 2009, 13:56
Great idea. The creepy ambient sounds from "the sword" combined with this kind of gameplay would create allot of mystery and frustration.

This idea rocks!!!

ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION EM?!?!

HellionKal
25th May 2009, 14:15
As long as it is not overdone, as always. The line between "mystery and frustration" and "uninstall" is pretty thin :P

Platinumoxicity
25th May 2009, 16:01
As long as it is not overdone, as always. The line between "mystery and frustration" and "uninstall" is pretty thin :P

Do you remember how long it took you to finish "The Sword" back then? Do you remember how many times you walked in circles searching for the right door or key? It didn't make me give up even though I was an anxious 10-year old taffer back then. :)

HellionKal
25th May 2009, 16:40
Do you remember how long it took you to finish "The Sword" back then? Do you remember how many times you walked in circles searching for the right door or key? It didn't make me give up even though I was an anxious 10-year old taffer back then. :)

Yeah I was around that age when I first played it too (and for some mysterious reason I remember myself navigating through the mission a lot more easily then than in my more recent replays, 10 years after that first time). It still takes me more than 1 hour and a half to go through it at Expert, probably among the longest of times it takes me for any THIEF missions.

In regards to rating that mission using the frustrometer, with 1 being "completely straightforward" and 10 being "uninstall and back to playing Solitaire", I'd rate it 6.5, "about right, with lots of extra twists and angles".

ToMegaTherion
25th May 2009, 16:54
I don't like that level, it features an awful lot of nothing.

kin
25th May 2009, 17:34
As long as this kind of complexity stays to one or two game levels it is good.
Personally I believe that the sword is a very characteristic level that gives thief a great percentage of its mysteriousness.

StalinsGhost
25th May 2009, 17:41
Agreed. I'd love to see some sort of return to Constantine's mansion - whether thematically or literally. There was no talk of what actually happened to it in the previous two games (was there? My inner nerd forgets) Perhaps it could have become a haven/pilgrimage site for Pagans perhaps? Order of the Vine HQ? Hammerite "cleansing" mission gone wrong?

There's a lot that could be done with it with new tech. I'd love to see it looking overgrown and deadly; Vine, mantrapping plants, deadly magical wards etc.

Dominus
25th May 2009, 17:41
"The Sword" is my favorite level from Thief, the game design on this level is mind blowing, there's a "wow!" moment at every corner. I really hope to play some sort of level similar to this one, dark, twisted and unconventional.

Herr_Garrett
25th May 2009, 19:53
There should be some doors, though, that lead to a Void, where there is nothing, and no exit - but, then again, there should be some Void rooms that do have an exit.
And, of course, the giggle that frays and chafes your nerves.
Gosh, I'd really love such level.
And the different-gravity room idea is pure loveliness.
The best thing would be to have the guards not react to the gravity thing, so when you hear them approaching and stand on a ceiling looking smug... When the guard enters, the field collapses, you fall down, and there you are, right in front of the guard :) Oh, and to have the arrows and other projectiles react differently to the gravity as well.
And some enemies that can climb walls, just to make sure that there are some surprises.

Mmmmmmm...

This whole stuff really is so great, gods.
If it could have a Mobius-belt, all the better. Oh, the beauty of it.

I may seem overly enthusiastic or insane, but I love stuff like this. The impalpable (un)reason behind surrealism is a real treat for me.

huzi73
25th May 2009, 21:50
And, of course, the giggle that frays and chafes your nerves.


Oh the giggle!!!
after completing the game,everytime I replayed that level,I couldnt help but think that it was Viktoria and Constantine.As if they were watching me from somewhere and giggling.Truely one of the most unnerving missions ever.For me,that giggle alone,was worse than the cradle

kin
26th May 2009, 04:28
And, of course, the giggle that frays and chafes your nerves.
One of the smartest use of ambient sounds. First time I played it sounded like someone watching me and laughing. Even after an hour of gameplay that I understood it was just a creepy ambient still I was jumping every time I heard it and looking around with agony (first person view makes the correct feeling here..)

huzi73
26th May 2009, 10:49
One of the smartest use of ambient sounds. First time I played it sounded like someone watching me and laughing. Even after an hour of gameplay that I understood it was just a creepy ambient still I was jumping every time I heard it and looking around with agony (first person view makes the correct feeling here..)

You read my mind

Belboz
27th May 2009, 03:26
Your better off using teleports halfway along a corridor, as long as the player doesn't know that they've been teleported you can move them to areas of a house they dont know how they got there, its better if you have a series of teleports along the corridor, that are turned on and off depending where you go and what you do, just have to remember that the destination looks like the area they were in before being teleported, you can't use portals the technology is copyrighted to valve.

kin
27th May 2009, 04:24
you can't use portals the technology is copyrighted to valve.
Just make the portals and rename the technology:lol: to something else like wormholes for example. Voila! you got you own technology of holes.

Platinumoxicity
27th May 2009, 08:30
Your better off using teleports halfway along a corridor, as long as the player doesn't know that they've been teleported you can move them to areas of a house they dont know how they got there, its better if you have a series of teleports along the corridor, that are turned on and off depending where you go and what you do, just have to remember that the destination looks like the area they were in before being teleported, you can't use portals the technology is copyrighted to valve.

For what I've seen, the portals are the only kind of teleportation that couldn't be noticed by the player. Also, If you had these unnoticeable teleports, let's just say portals, in the middle of large hallways, looking through the huge portal would eat your GPU's resources a whole lot. Making the portals man-sized, in conjunction with doors, you don't need as much resources.

acridrose
27th May 2009, 14:03
well presented, OP, and i'd like to see your ideas be taken into consideration. I sure hope this mission comes back for T4!

Platinumoxicity
27th May 2009, 14:19
well presented, OP, and i'd like to see your ideas be taken into consideration. I sure hope this mission comes back for T4!

And I'm not even a level designer. I've never opened any kind of level editing software ever. :)

s guy
7th Apr 2010, 21:42
One additional idea to add to this amazing greatness of an OP:

You can portal to a room that looks like the room the player would go to, creating crazy confusion. If you your ideas are implemented, it would be my personal scariest level ever. That stuff really creeps me out.

Platinumoxicity
7th Apr 2010, 22:57
Another idea for the key-thing. Enemies could have "masterkeys" that only they could use, but they could open any door to anywhere. So during pursuit, instead of chasing the player the enemies could open doors that lead closer to the player, possible trapping him.

negative_len
7th Apr 2010, 23:37
The mission was very fun the first time but running through it backwards later in the game was much less so... partly because my brain already had a "been there, done that" and had no instinct to explore, just finish the mission as fast as possible.

jtr7
7th Apr 2010, 23:55
And that was fine, because you were escaping. As soon as I recognized where I was, and that I'd made it back out, I was also in a rush to get out.

esme
8th Apr 2010, 00:03
Another idea for the key-thing. Enemies could have "masterkeys" that only they could use, but they could open any door to anywhere. So during pursuit, instead of chasing the player the enemies could open doors that lead closer to the player, possible trapping him.

not so sure about this

you seem to be removing the elements of planning and thought based on the players ability to spot patterns, by allowing the AI to take shortcuts that are unavailable to the player

I can see this replacing thoughtful planned stealth with mindless headlong flight as you desperately try to elude pursuers who aren't playing by the same rules you are

to use the matrix analogy mentioned before, you turn the AI into agents but don't turn the player into Neo by doing this

it also raises the pathfinding algorithm complexity by an order of magnitude for the AI

Platinumoxicity
8th Apr 2010, 07:47
not so sure about this

you seem to be removing the elements of planning and thought based on the players ability to spot patterns, by allowing the AI to take shortcuts that are unavailable to the player

I can see this replacing thoughtful planned stealth with mindless headlong flight as you desperately try to elude pursuers who aren't playing by the same rules you are


Why would it replace thoughtful planned stealth? All it does it make the possible escape scenarios more challenging. It doesn't make actually being detected in the first place more probable. It simply makes escaping different. You need to start thinking with portals, as GlaDOS said in "Portal". The door that you're running towards might actually be a door where the people behind you are coming at you from, so you'll need to change your plan.

Makes your head spin doesn't it? :nut:

And really, when was the last time during a hot pursuit you stopped to look for recognisable patterns? You've already got alarms ringing and sword-wielding dudes coming at you from doors and windows.

jtr7
8th Apr 2010, 07:48
Make it so it doesn't sound anything like Mouse Trap or Chip's Challenge.

glyph07
8th Apr 2010, 09:31
I wouldn't like either to have portals in more than one level or to have portals used extensively within the level chosen. Maybe it could be nice to have very few portals that change behaviours, so by using them you wouldn't necessarily end up in the same place. Under a point of view of technical consequences I don't know what this choice would require, but under the point of view of the concept in itself I think it would respond better to the idea of an unpredictable environment to which Garrett has to adapt and within which he doesn't feel comfortable at all + players would need a bit more time to get used to them + it might not even be always convenient for the player to pass trough them, which makes things more interesting. That means that portals should not be the only way out from a certain place but a possible choice the player can have.

Herr_Garrett
8th Apr 2010, 17:49
And really, when was the last time during a hot pursuit you stopped to look for recognisable patterns? You've already got alarms ringing and sword-wielding dudes coming at you from doors and windows.

And thus, when we say "enemies from all directions", we really do mean all possible directions. Including inside-out. :D

esme
8th Apr 2010, 22:26
I never get to the stage where all the alarms are ringing and AI are coming at me from all directions, I try to sneak through without setting the alarms off and alerting all the AI

so screwy architecture yes

mindless running to get away from bad guys behind you who might suddenly take a short cut only available to them and come out of the door you are heading for no

HeyLight!
8th Apr 2010, 22:52
I love all these new idea's that people are throwing in and suddenly I've got an urge to buy portal (is it worth it?). I really like the idea of various gravitational pulls in one room; kind of reminds me of the last chapter in the twits. If your running along the ceiling and there are some unaware guards on the actual floor, it would add a new gameplay option. Have any of you played the online game shift, this really reminds me of that.

maikaal
9th Apr 2010, 09:37
The Sword wasn't one of my favorites, but it deserves a lot of credit, a lot of fond memories.. Didn't Richard 'Levelord' Grey make this level or at least took part in making it? Or was that some other game where he made a level..

jtr7
9th Apr 2010, 09:51
I've never heard of him. I'll have to look him up. The Sword's lead designer was Sara Verrilli, wih help from Nate Wells, and touches here and there by the rest of the team. For Thief Gold, Emil Pagliarulo joined the team and he added in Little Big World, doubling the size of the level.




EDIT: Yeah, Levelord definitely didn't have a thing to do with LGS:
http://www.mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,1009/

Platinumoxicity
9th Apr 2010, 13:14
I love all these new idea's that people are throwing in and suddenly I've got an urge to buy portal (is it worth it?).

Portal is awesome. The portals are cool, but very soon you'll start "thinking with portals" and get used to them. It's the brilliant black humor that makes it so good.

It's funny like 1 baby in 2 cribs. :D

xAcerbusx
11th Apr 2010, 06:58
As long as the portals are explained and unveiled with Garrett's trademark sardonicism, I have no issue with it.

I would caution against overuse, however.

Portal is Portal. And Thief is Thief.

Platinumoxicity
11th Apr 2010, 11:24
But even though Thief should stay true to it's roots, some new gameplay stuff would be welcome. And I think that a confusing labyrinth mansion would fit the Thief universe well. Oh, in fact it did back in '98. :)

Sure, Constantine's mansion is confusing to navigate, but at least it follows the laws of physics (except the water sometimes ;) ) Imagine a maze like that mansion, but where you can walk down a staircase that takes you upstairs, where there are hallways that you can travel infinitely without reaching the end but when you turn around and take a few steps you're back where you came from, or where there can be a simple doorframe in the middle of a room, but through the doorframe the room is different than around it.

And it would only be in 1 level, so it's not overuse.

http://www.cubeupload.com/files/thumbs/th.bae000frame.png (http://www.cubeupload.com/img/bae000frame.png)

minus0ne
11th Apr 2010, 18:52
I agree there should be at least one large level/environment which makes your head spin, but I'm not sure portals are the way to do it (also it has to be said Portal was hardly the first game to have portals, although they did follow the concept of portals in videogames to its logical conclusion, or at least to the next level).

I'm worried having too similar a system to Portal even in one of the levels would feel derivative and cheapen the experience, I think Looking Glass actually used some pretty inventive tricks in The Sword amongst others, which they should definitely build upon, but if they're going to introduce "random portals" I'd prefer it they limited themselves to only a couple instances.

Namdrol
11th Apr 2010, 22:27
I bought the orange box new for a fiver recently at Sainsburys but just don't have time to play. (I made the mistake of installing Civ4 last weekend and lost 2 full days off my life this week which I couldn't afford to lose. It's now wiped along with all its saves.)
But I am keen to try Portal as soon as. But it won't be till next autumn.

Rieknor
12th Apr 2010, 01:06
This is for thief4?? nahh.

I think it will fit more if that happend in just one place of the mansion, using some kind of glyph.
I mean, in one door, are like 3 or 4 glyphs that makes you go to other place inside de mansion.

I said glyphs becouse i cant think in anything else, but whatever works for you.


OFF. Check this out
http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/404612

zhunt
12th Apr 2010, 05:43
been a while since i played dark project but i do recall how much i enjoyed the sword mission simply due to the freaked out layout of the mansion and the ambient giggling. i remember thinking i would eventually find the source of the laughter. shooting a rope arrow into the roof the climb up, that was really a floor with furniture on it etc, fantastic. im all for a return to this kind of level, so long as its not done in several levels in the game, there should only be one messed up place. its like being in an mc escher picture. it would need to be a magical place of sorts not just some mere mortals place.

i would like to see portals of sorts, if for nothing more than to freak out the player and disorientate them, adds to the thrill and intruige of exploration. if any of you have played "prey" then u would be familiar with the portals of sorts they had. in many cases, u could walk up to what appeared to be a frame or structure and simply see thru it, but by walking around the other side and looking, it was like looking into an open door into another place or room. i think this kind of portal would be very effective in the thief world.
i would hate to see it as some sort of technology or explainable thing, we dont need garrett running about with a portal gun. that just wouldnt be right. mind you, the idea of shooting a portal on the ground and sending a guard tumbling into the "elsewhere" is amusing, but just not thief.
i would go along with garrett being able to conjour or create portals in very limited situations simply cause he has gained the keeper powers.

i do remember an old cartoon where a guy had a black hole, nd it was literally a black round hole on screen, and he could place it against a wall and climb thru. would be great if at some point garrett had to steal a treasure in a room he could see, like in a room with no doors, but a window, but first he needed to get something like a portable black hole and use it to gain entry to the treasure room. certainly a one off trick though, just as i wouldnt want to see him with a portal gun or device all the time, this would be a mission specific thing.

Nephthys
12th Apr 2010, 06:26
what about a level like that Milkman Conspiracy level in Psychonauts. Where the level is all topsy turvy landscapes, but it's always flat when you are on it, the world instead seems to spin around you.

http://gameinformer.com/cfs-filesystemfile.ashx/__key/CommunityServer.Components.UserFiles/00.00.25.30.03.Attached+Files/0257.psychonauts-milkman.jpg

I guess it would be a stretch to apply it to Thief, but I liked the idea of the seamless transition of what was up and what was down.

esme
12th Apr 2010, 12:46
rather than give the AI an advantage by giving them access to shortcuts I can't use

how about making the mansion like the MC Escher painting with the stairs and have the local down direction governed by which door you go through, so you could end up walking down the ceiling or wall of the corridor you just walked up

if that doesn't mess with your head nothing will

have to be careful climbing out of windows, you could end up outside with down pointing at the sky or even sideways

Pieter888
12th Apr 2010, 13:45
haha, I love all ideas presented here so far, I hope EM puts in a confusing level like that