PDA

View Full Version : Yet another request for the devs: Mystique.



BramblesMarlow
5th Jun 2009, 02:49
This is a simple request: do not show the player anything Garrett doesn't see or tell them anything he doesn't know.

When discussing the Thief games it is often said that T3 was good in it's own right, but it was missing something. I think the missing element was mystique, a feeling permeating the whole experience that was largely fostered by the many things the player didn't know. In the first two games the cutscenes were consistently in the same place as Garrett and only showed the player things Garrett saw or already knew about (with a couple of minor but justified exceptions such as Constantine's interesting "brandy"), but in 3 the player saw a scribe Garrett never met, new Garrett was framed before he did, and saw you-know-who before he did. The feeling I'm talking about isn't as easy as restricting what the player knows, but avoiding that by writing a story that allows you to do so would be a good first step. Another good step would be to turn Garrett's lines back to "sarcastic comments" instead of "helpful tour guide," as in no more "Ah, the City. You see, player, this is where I live, and you can find the other parts of the City on the map. They're called blah blah blah." In the original games Garrett only had a few things to say about the Hammerites (i.e. "they're fanatics"), in T3 I felt as though he was taking care to explain every single group in the game. I (we?) loved hearing Garrett quip "Look at all these books... I wonder if he ever reads them or if they're just for show." I (we?) did not enjoy hearing him explain that he is now standing in his apartment, and that it isn't very cozy, etc.

don't presume to speak for everyone or to tell you how to do your jobs, but I do think there were bad decisions made in Deadly Shadows and I really do think this simple trick of writing would have done wonders for it.

GmanPro
5th Jun 2009, 02:55
I'm not sure what you are getting at with this mystique element. But as for the simple request at the top, I think you bring up an interesting point.

One easy way would be to let the players edit and organize the HUD to their liking. Adding/removing certain elements if they chose to, such as the compass or the health bar. Or even just moving these elements around the screen or changing their color/transparency etc.

BramblesMarlow
5th Jun 2009, 03:00
Perhaps I didn't use the right word. What I mean is that the feeling Thief created was that of not only being in an interesting world, but also being in the most interesting parts and without really knowing what you were getting yourself into. Think of how it felt when you first got to the second floor of Constantine's mansion in the original Thief or wandered through the Pagan village in The Metal Age: that's the feeling I'm talking about. The HUD really has nothing to do with it.

GmanPro
5th Jun 2009, 03:04
Thief was always good at presenting the world as fresh imo. It was interesting the way Garrett seemed to know much about the world but to the player everything was new. It seems that the devs were careful to present only little bits of the world at a time, leaving you to wonder and imagine the rest. It was a nice touch to the atmosphere. Mystery, intrigue, danger. But still somewhat familiar.

BramblesMarlow
5th Jun 2009, 03:19
I agree, and I really liked T3. I just didn't like that one part of the game.

Flashart
5th Jun 2009, 08:01
You have a point about seeing the story evolve through Garrett's eye(s) only, but sometimes you do need to show what may be happening elsewhere to stop the "Where the hell did that come from?" moments occurring.
Cutscenes (generally) are brief, so must deliver content that's not only entertaining but useful to the narrative. I'd rather know there was a threat coming even if that meant I didn't know from exactly where. That is the trick of all good storytelling.

huzi73
5th Jun 2009, 09:59
Gman,he means the player should "be" Garrett. TDS usually revealed things to us in the cutscenes before Garrett even knew about it.It gave it that blasted mediocre movie feel.

Hypevosa
5th Jun 2009, 10:06
It's called Dramatic Irony not mediocre movie. The problem is that in a FPS where you're supposed to be the person you're playing, it immediately separates you from that person, because if you are them then you shouldn't know yourself and the information you now know.

Words are fun.

esme
5th Jun 2009, 12:36
what you seem to want is in game hints and suggestions that you have to think about and might not make sense until you actually witness certain events rather than blatant spoilers and "X marks the spot" type readables or statements by NPC's yeah ?

"I have found an excellent hiding place for my money in my room" rather than "I have found an excellent hiding place for my 20 gold pieces, on the east side of the third rafter from the door in my room standing on the foot of the bed means I can reach it, oh and I'm in room 2 of the hotel", poor example I know, but that sort of thing

I'm with you on that, but it's very difficult to get the balance right, you need extremely good writers and storytellers, lets just hope Eidos-Montreal recruit some good ones

and for those who are disappointed because they hoped for something else

http://thm-a01.yimg.com/image/e528d96a555aeb0c

don't say I never give you anything :D

BramblesMarlow
6th Jun 2009, 02:56
Holy crap a forum on which multiquote actually works!

Gman,he means the player should "be" Garrett. TDS usually revealed things to us in the cutscenes before Garrett even knew about it.It gave it that blasted mediocre movie feel.
That's what I'm getting at, really. I mean, the same was true to a minor extent in the first and second games (such as noticing the effects of Constantine's "brandy" in the first non-briefing cutscene of TDP and several instances in the end cutscene of TMA), but it wasn't nearly as gratuitous as in TDS and served only to set the mood rather than serve as exposition. That the big-bad said in one such scene "It looks like we'll have to remove some entries from the book of names!" in an over-the-top, super villain manner didn't help either.

You have a point about seeing the story evolve through Garrett's eye(s) only, but sometimes you do need to show what may be happening elsewhere to stop the "Where the hell did that come from?" moments occurring.
Cutscenes (generally) are brief, so must deliver content that's not only entertaining but useful to the narrative. I'd rather know there was a threat coming even if that meant I didn't know from exactly where. That is the trick of all good storytelling.
Let me give you another example of what I mean, and why I think TDS was lacking in this regard.

In TDP, on the third mission (Cragscleft Prison), Garrett mentions in the briefing that there are certain rumors about the dangerous caverns below the prison. This tells you to expect danger that you've yet to face on your way up to the prison itself. You were told enough without being told too much. In TDS, after the Clocktower mission, you are treated to a cutscene that not only shows you numerous events and conversations that Garrett wouldn't know about, but does so needlessly (in my opinion): think about it, wasn't it already obvious that you-know-who would accuse Garrett of being you-know-what? It's the visual media version of telling rather than showing, and ruins the feeling of being more than a spectator.

There were other aspects of the game that ruined the mystique of the experience, for me at least. A big part of that was contrivances like the Keeper Enforcers (who evidently lack the stealth abilities of every other Keeper above the rank of Initiate) and the excessive ease with which you could woo both Pagans and Hammerites, who previously only cooperated with Garrett out of necessity or desperation. I think the sound had a lot to do with it now, looking back. The ambient sound for the Hammerites in the first game (starting around 30 seconds into the third briefing, for example (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8JYuj2uYq8)) was brilliant, simultaneously chilling and moving, but that's getting a bit close to fan-wank. :)

It's called Dramatic Irony not mediocre movie. The problem is that in a FPS where you're supposed to be the person you're playing, it immediately separates you from that person, because if you are them then you shouldn't know yourself and the information you now know.

Words are fun.
Yes, it is called dramatic irony, and much like satire and allegory and all of those other fancy literary categories it can be done poorly, which I think we agree on.(?) Subtle foreshadowing serves a story like Thief's much better, in my opinion, and dramatic irony detracts from the ambiance (which is all that particular technique ever does in my opinion, with few exceptions).

what you seem to want is in game hints and suggestions that you have to think about and might not make sense until you actually witness certain events rather than blatant spoilers and "X marks the spot" type readables or statements by NPC's yeah ?

"I have found an excellent hiding place for my money in my room" rather than "I have found an excellent hiding place for my 20 gold pieces, on the east side of the third rafter from the door in my room standing on the foot of the bed means I can reach it, oh and I'm in room 2 of the hotel", poor example I know, but that sort of thing
That's what I meant in my second point, yes. To be fair, the first two games had some of this as well, like finding a note on mission two mentioning crystals and where they might be, but this was much more believable than finding a note found in a bedroom explicitly stating where to find expensive thing X. I think the reason for this is that the notes in the originals took into account why such a note would have been written (in the case of the crystals, it was to request more security to protect them). By a similar token Garrett did have some expository lines in the first two games, but it felt like he was talking to himself as you, rather than to you as himself, if that makes any sense.


I'm with you on that, but it's very difficult to get the balance right, you need extremely good writers and storytellers, lets just hope Eidos-Montreal recruit some good ones
It certainly is, especially with a publisher and producer breathing down your neck as they do (and must, really). I'm sympathetic to be sure, and hope that I've effectively communicated what the first two games that the third lacked. Of course, being able to see my legs and shadow in a first person game? Indispensable, and one of the best decisions Ion Storm made, so I hope that stays.

and for those who are disappointed because they hoped for something else

http://thm-a01.yimg.com/image/e528d96a555aeb0c

don't say I never give you anything :D
:confused:

Thieffanman
6th Jun 2009, 07:20
and for those who are disappointed because they hoped for something else

http://thm-a01.yimg.com/image/e528d96a555aeb0c

don't say I never give you anything :D

As soon as I saw "Mystique" in the subject line, I *knew* someone was going to post that. :D

You win :).

--Thieffanman

esme
6th Jun 2009, 16:11
well someone had to :whistle:

and back to the story hints, how about some hints and rumours or even curious objects in one mission that actually don't occur or make sense for a couple more missions in the campaign as well as a slowly building storyline ? say like another thief who steals something apparently valueless and leaves a priceless fabergé egg or valuable musical merry go round in it's place and it's not until about 5 or six missions in you start to figure out the stolen items are going to destroy the world somehow and the objects left behind are to stop people complaining about the theft and as the world is going to end it doesn't matter if they are incredibly valuable ... or because the thief who took them is a few sandwiches short of a picnic

it all helps the created universe hang together in the mind of the player

Knight
6th Jun 2009, 19:45
Yeah, mystique must be the part of the game.

Hypevosa
6th Jun 2009, 20:12
I'll take foreshadowing over dramatic irony any day.