Page 3 of 10 First First 1234567 ... Last

Thread: FMs - Ghost/Perfect Thief Results (Part 6)

FMs - Ghost/Perfect Thief Results (Part 6)

  1. #51
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Posts
    2,704
    Originally Posted by goldsla
    I have had no issues with avoiding alerts. One point though: triggering the beasties to appear by passing through an area speaks to me of some kind of alert. Admittedly they do not appear to have appeared "on alert" and I can easily keep them from upping their alert level, but their very appearance makes me think the ghosting is busted.

    Others may have another opinion, but I think that a true ghosting would be such that you avoid triggering their manifestation.
    According to my understanding of both the official rules (which I drafted) and the philosophy of ghosting, that is not a bust at all. Not even close. These things are not alerted, and they are not damaged. They just appear, totally oblivious to Garrett initially, unless Garrett blunders into them. In their unalerted state, they satisfy the general requirements that Garrett should be unseen and unheard and not cause damage. If that is not good enough, then they are exempt owing to the script rule, much more benignly than the archetype, the Archers in LOTP. I think there should be no controversy if you can avoid them in any way, either by avoiding the trigger or by causing them not to alert after they appear.

    What may be controversial is whether, if an eye plant turns to stare at you, it is an alert. I say that is an alert, even though nothing is written about those things.

    Have fun. The Factory is a great mission, but mainly from the standpoint of design, not ghosting, IMO. It is, nevertheless, the most fun way to play it.

    There is another little issue though. I think that writing down codes is akin to using a loot list, which is frowned upon. In this case the list of codes has been moved, and one of the requirements of the mission with normal play is to find it, not know about it in advance. It only matters in a speed run anyway. You need to pass through there in any case.

    If you really want to bend the rules (as I did when testing) you can take the waterlogged note, make a screen shot of it (with appropriate software), do a contrast enhancement, and read most of the codes.

  2. #52
    FM: Mixed Messages

    Ghost - Success
    Perfect Thief - Failure
    Time - 03:10:45
    Loot - 2301/3099
    Pockets Picked - 22/25
    Backstabs - 0 Knockouts - 0
    Damage dealt - 0 Damage taken - 0
    Healing taken - 0 Kills - 0
    Secrets Found - 9/10

    Comments - I've been working on ghosting this mission for about a week now (45 minutes a night) and as memorable and original as the mission is, it also gave me a headache trying to complete it. This is a fan mission that encourages Garrett to step outside his skulking business and become a detective. Figuring out clues and trying to solve puzzles is what took me so long to complete it, and that's not considering the time I spent looking for loot and ghosting the mission itself. I could write out a whole narrative of how I scratched my head, looked for clues, and tried to solve the "NEWS" room in the basement and also fix the deciphering machine, but my report would turn into a walkthrough.

    A Mentionable

    There are hilarious custom AI conversations throughout the mission. The first one occurs right at the start of the mission between two bluecoats. The reference to a tavern that doesn't serve "potato, potato, POTATO" made me laugh out loud, but this conversation turns bad and the two guards start fighting each other. Obviously, this scripted fight causes the victor to go on second alert, which is not a bust.

    Rooftops and Buildings

    Infiltrating the buildings in the beginning street area was downright annoying. One of the buildings is only accessible from the rooftops and by leaping onto a metal balcony. There is no way to get onto the balcony other than jumping onto the railing. The only successful way to do that without making noise is to land on the "soft" invisible edge of the railing. I don't know the dromed terminology for this soft part, but it's a common phenomena in Thief: jumping on objects without directly landing on their surface texture and making noise.

    The Armory

    This was the most difficult area to deal with. The Armory is a simple square shaped building enclosed by walls with four watchers at each corner of the enclosing walls. Of course the area is brightly lit by torches and gas lamps and brimming with guard patrols. I was fortunately quite frugal with my water arrows and needed almost all of them (the one's I had found up to that point) to ghost this area. Dousing the gas torches on the exterior wall of the Armory is essential to ghosting this area. I kept trying to circle around the Armory, evading the watchers' eyes and subsequently deactivating them (under each watchers' corner is an alcove that leads up to an archer tower with a camera control switch). I later discovered I wasted my time turning all the watchers off, but two definitely needed to be deactivated.

    Truart's Estate

    By now I had pretty much surveyed the entire area around the armory, the streets, the police station, etc. I figured out that the FM author loved to hide loot in strange places and leave a bunch of reading material around; much of the papyrus' and scrolls were invaluable, though difficult to discern, for important clues to completing the objectives.

    I really stumbled upon Mosley's secret underground tunnel by habit of being a good Thief and making sure to check every nook and cranny in every room. I saw that in Mosley's bed room there was an inordinately high ceiling and realized I could rope arrow up and see what's on top of the odd rectangular-shaped door frame. To my surprise, the area on top of the door frame turned out to be a vital part of the mission. There was a scroll that gave me new objectives to "decipher" its contents, and also a switch that opened a secret underground tunnel.

    This tunnel led to Truart's mansion which was a straightforward ghost, except for the grounds (or I should say tiled floors) outside of Truart's mansion. The hardest part here was sneaking into the buildings near the archer balconies. The brightly lit areas and marble floors demanded the use of moss arrows, but other than that, there were no ghosting problems here.

    Pagan Realm

    There were two spots that I thought would make ghosting the mission impossible... And yet, I managed to ghost these spots in a single first try. It was interesting. First, there is an apebeast constantly patrolling down a narrow dead-end tunnel. At the dead-end of this tunnel is an important "key" for progressing further in the mission. The apebeast's patrol, however, in this narrow tunnel looked disheartening: a single back and forth patrol with no room to get around him. But all it took was following his back and strafing around his left shoulder as he makes his turn. It was that simple.

    A second apebeast on top of the treehouse also looked threatening, since I had to use a rope arrow right in front of his face to get to a treehouse disconnected from the others (the "key" previously mentioned is used here to activate the magical bridge). Simply dousing the torch next to him made it possible to get by him. Huh

    The rest of the mission went pretty well, although I had a heck of a time finding the Deciphering Machine's missing component... Fortunately, I listened to the funny apebeast conversation and realized I needed to look under a tree "stumpsie" for something. When I saw a batch of frogbeasts guarding a tree stump, I knew that was the "stumpsie" and it wasn't hard ghosting them, if approaching from the left side by the treebeast.

    The End

    What stunned me with this mission was how long it took to ghost and complete the objectives. For instance, I had no idea how to find the code number for Rosie's cell. I knew that Truart's grandfather clock and the paintings of the sign language had something to do with it. I saw the "dandelions" obscuring colored numbers on the clock and realized this was a clue. I took the four numbers and randomly punched them into the keypad and eventually triggered the correct order of them.

    I also can't believe I missed over 700 loot! The one secret I couldn't find must lead to a huge treasury because I'm sure I looked everywhere. There were a few pieces of loot I couldn't get by ghosting (slashing a banner to get inside the hammerite chapel and some gold cups in the tavern), but 700?

  3. #53
    Originally Posted by Peter Smith
    What may be controversial is whether, if an eye plant turns to stare at you, it is an alert. I say that is an alert, even though nothing is written about those things.
    I always drew the line there. I consider the eye plants similar to rats: they themselves can be alerted but they'll never alert anything else or cause any other fuss.

  4. #54

    Re Traps, Alerts, Notes, Walkthroughs, and Ghostbusting

    On the triggering the appearance of beasties:
    I think there should be no controversy if you can avoid them in any way, either by avoiding the trigger or by causing them not to alert after they appear.
    I agree about the rules; I was trying to express that it feels to me like a bust regardless of the rules. The triggering of a trap, which is what I consider the appearance of the beasts to be, feels like a bust to me.

    What may be controversial is whether, if an eye plant turns to stare at you, it is an alert. I say that is an alert, even though nothing is written about those things.
    They bother me as well. They also feel like an alert. However since there never appears to be any boundary, beyond which they ignore you, and since they don't do anything except turn and stare, I have always regarded them to be, um, like landscape, and not a true AI. The I in AI stands for intelligence, and they no more appear to have it than rats do. [But then, I try not to alert rats, just on general principles. Some day, some FM designer will have an AI alert because it saw a rat where it does not belong . . . ]

    There is another little issue though. I think that writing down codes is akin to using a loot list, which is frowned upon. In this case the list of codes has been moved, and one of the requirements of the mission with normal play is to find it, not know about it in advance. It only matters in a speed run anyway. You need to pass through there in any case.
    My position is that the note was legible before the fall into the water. I wrote it down at that time, just like I do when I encounter any written material, inventoriable or not. Surely, the writing down clues as you encounter them in the game is not akin to using a lootlist or walkthrough? If the author intended that you replace the list of codes before you can defuse the bombs, then there are ways to enforce that in the game. That was not done. Hence replacing the rules is not obligatory prior to defusing the bombs.

    What about using knowledge you have gained from prior personal runs through the game? Maybe that should be a violation too? I see that much more like using a lootlist or walkthrough. Just because it is not written down should not exempt it. It is as much a prior knowledge as a lootlist would be.

    On the other hand, the author of this mission says about the Tips level:

    You have to achieve your goals within a given hour.
    If you prefer, you can buy some tips in the loadout screen.
    This level is for the player that loves challenges.
    Good for a second play.
    So this level was not intended by the author to be played without prior knowledge. As to . . .

    If you really want to bend the rules (as I did when testing) you can take the waterlogged note, make a screen shot of it (with appropriate software), do a contrast enhancement, and read most of the codes.
    I see that to be as much a violation as it would be to go to the game files to read the books and notes there. NAUGHTY!

    But since you have the note in readable form before the bath, what is wrong with writing it down at that time? A person with a good memory would not have to bother, but over the years mine has weakened, so I use pencil and paper as my prostheses. If I had gone to a website and looked for spoilers, that would be as bad as using a walkthrough. But to use the materials presented in the mission, as presented in the mission, and recording them when presented in the mission . . . I can't see that as an issue at all. Heck, sometimes mission designers put fleeting clues in the movies, I take notes on what I see in them too, just in case.

    I really don't see how note taking as you play a mission busts ghosting, or how remembering something from a prior playthrough would bust the ghost. Otherwise the only true ghostings are when you ghost a mission the first time through. I usually try to do that, but with timed missions, I often do a pre-ghosting run through the mission to plan my ghost run.

    I'm sorry, but I don't think doing so violates either the letter or the spirit of ghosting. If I'm wrong, I apologize. I see the prohibition against walkthroughs as enforcing self-learning through playing the game. As long as you do not go to an outside source, taking your own personal notes is not the same as using a walkthrough. My opinion only. People of good conscience and moral character can disagree.

  5. #55
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Posts
    2,704
    You are good to go, goldsla. All this discussion just shows that ghosters are extremists to begin with, and they are bound to have subsets of the genre that they are comfortable with. Note taking is fine. If the spawning of the beasts bothers you personally, that is OK. I am just saying it is not a ghost bust according to the rules. I was just kidding about the image enhancement, which I did in fact do just for the heck of it. I also waited until I had read the good codes, just to be pure about it, under the assumption that if Garrett had a note in his pocket he would not make a copy of it outside of his universe. That is just one way to do it and not a requirement. Cheers, and ghost on!

  6. #56
    FM: Friend Basso

    Ghost - Failure
    Perfect Thief - Failure
    Time - 01:01:54
    Loot - 2064/2689
    Pockets Picked - 7/9
    Backstabs - 0 Knockouts - 1
    Damage dealt - 1 Damage taken - 0
    Healing taken - 0 Kills - 0
    Secrets Found - 0/0

    Causes of Failure:

    1. Cannot progress through mission without breaking glass window in the zoo
    2. Breaking glass window alerts two apebeasts
    3. Cannot sneak by the spider exhibit in the zoo without alerting one of them
    4. Cannot get basement key from wall safe without alerting a guard

    Comments - This mission posed a lot of ghosting problems and is really not intended for that playing style. First, the only way to get out of the apebeast exhibit is by breaking a glass window. Well, here might be a Crom's Blade/Trail of Blood scenario, but two apebeasts (who acted, sounded and walked like treebeasts) are alerted in the process. Indeed, one of them is standing right in front of the window. I could have just smashed the window right in front of his face, but I decided to knock him out.

    Occasionally these apebeasts would notice the mechanist guard patrolling in the zoo and go on second alert. Breaking the window alerted the other patrolling apebeast, as well, but not the mechanist guard inside. But does it matter?

    It is also not possible to sneak by the spider exhibit without the idle spider noticing. This is simply due to the bright area and lack of moss arrows.

    No luck in ghosting so far, but Dr. Brooks' office is even more difficult to deal with. There is a locked vault door behind a banner (a secret switch opens the banner at least) containing an essential basement key needed to complete my objectives. Unfortunately, there is a desk with a bright lamp next to the banner and a helmeted guard staring straight at it. It is impossible to pick the vault door without being in bright light and alerting the guard. I suppose if I had better success with ghosting before, I might have tried nudging him but oh well. Instead, I used a gas arrow to knock him out.

    Opening the city gate required some careful tactics. The giant lever that opens the gate is inside a hollow tower with a mechanist guard standing right in front of the entrance and a combat bot to his right. There are two open windows on each side of the tower but they are impossible to jump into because of size. There are some conveniently placed crates nearby, but dropping one in front of the window puts the guard and bot on alert. I had a grapefruit that I picked up from the zoo, so I placed it on the ground and dropped a crate on top of it, which resulted in no noise. Now I could jump onto the crate and crouch through the window and into the tower. Inside of the tower and below the window there is a table, and I made sure not to touch the floor, for fear of not being able to jump back onto the table without making noise. I just kept inching ahead on the table until I could lean forward and manipulate the gate lever.

  7. #57

    Lord Alan's Basement

    FM: Lord Alan's Basement

    Ghost - Failure
    Perfect Thief - Failure
    Time - 02:48:03
    Loot - 4791/5178
    Pockets Picked - 17/18 Locks Picked - 10
    Backstabs - 0 Knockouts - 1
    Damage dealt - 1 Damage taken - 0
    Healing taken - 0 Kills - 0
    Secrets Found - 0/0

    Cause of Failure
    You cannot obtain the Hand of Glory (and thus complete an objective) without setting off an explosive device to deactivate a killing field protecting it. This is by design. So this FM cannot be ghosted if you consider setting off an explosive device destruction of property. All that gets destroyed is the killing field, but there is no way I can see to turn it back on again, so I call it destroyed and this mission a busted ghost. There is also a minor problem with a a young lady in an alcove that you cannot enter to loot because she stands in the doorway and never turns or looks away. But that only prevents Perfect Thief, assuming that you could ghost the mission, which you can't.

    Comments
    Despite the inability to ghost this FM for technical reasons, I found this a great mission to play. There were lots of tricks and puzzles to solve, and loot everywhere. At times, I did have problems figuring out where I was and how to get back to where I wanted to go. But maybe that's just me. In the real world I have a great sense of direction, so it only makes sense that in Garrett's world I don't. I loved some of the patrol patterns. There was a very real world sense of how some of the guards would wander and turn around, backtrack for a bit as though they had forgotten something, then turn again and continue on. That made it interesting while trying to ghost. I also loved the magical pictures and statue. Good fun. Pity about needing to blow up a room. I may go back to this one to play a second time and look for that last pocket to pick and the remainder of the loot.

  8. #58

    An Idea

    Do any of you think a list of what FM's have been ghosted/PT'ed/failed is worth posting somewhere, either as a sticky or in its own thread (and then linked in this one)?

    I actually took the time a while ago to compile a huge list (starting from the first FM thread and all the way up to this one) of FM's that were reported as ghosted or busted. While I'll always play any FM I can get, I personally use this list when considering what missions to write ghost reports on. I know the number of ghosters has dwindled, but do you think it would be helpful at all?

  9. #59
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Posts
    2,704
    Yes. I think it would be useful. How it would be formatted and how links would be done needs a little thought or discussion. For example, the posts in the old UBB threads cannot be linked like the ones in the recent threads, but you can make links to the pages they are on. And, I think you would want to refer to all written reports for a given mission. Do you stop at FM's or do OM's too?

  10. #60

    Thumbs Up Re: An Idea

    I agree it would be a good idea. I can see five categories:
    • Definitely Perfect Thief
    • Questionably Perfect Thief
    • Definitely Ghostable
    • Questionably Ghostable
    • Definitely Not Ghostable

    The "Questionably" categories are where you have to "interpret" a rule in your favor in order to claim the category. I can see a FM (or OM) being in both Definite categories, the Definite Ghost category and the Questionable PT category, just the Definite Ghost category, both Questionable categories, just the Questionable Ghost, and just the Definitely Not categories.

    My suggestion is a new thread, one Post per Mission with the Title of the post having both the name of the mission and author, e.g. FM Title by FM Author. Then the body of the post could have the initials for the catecories separated by commas:
    • Definitely Perfect Thief (DPT)
    • Questionably Perfect Thief (QPT)
    • Definitely Ghostable (DG)
    • Questionably Ghostable (QG)
    • Definitely Not Ghostable (DNG)

    An explanation could follow for any Questionables. I think this way you could search easily by mission or author and quickly find out if the mission is ghostable under your terms. You could enhance it with a link to a ghosting write-up in this thread, if one exists.

    Example:
    Title: Lord Alan's Basement by Lord Alan (Andrea)
    Body: QPT, QG. Use of explosives necessary. No obivious damage or alerts result.

    Now what do you do when an original report says questionable, but a later attempt finds a valid way around the difficulty? Or when the original report says Questionable but another person says that method is not questionable but always either OK or always a bust? Or ... I can see this getting a little out of hand without a moderator to make an "official" decision.

    All this said, would it be a violation of ghosting rules to look up ghostable missions? Is that act akin to reading a lootlist or walkthrough? Part of ghosting is not knowing if you will succeed in the end. It may be a frustrating part, but it is part. If you know in advance, and pick your missions accordingly, does that bust the ghost? I'm not sure where I come down on this question myself.

  11. #61
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Posts
    2,704
    Knowing in advance does not bust the ghost, but it may spoil the experience. One way way to handle that might be to make a list with just mission names in it and have links to the reports. That is no more information than is currently available, only it would be easier to find. I generally look that up only after I have completed my run. On the other hand, knowing that nobody had been able to do it may inspire one to go in and be more creative. Bafford spiders, Bonehoard, and Life of the Party come to mind.

    Maybe we need more acronyms, like DGRHS (Definitely Ghostable but Requires a Huge amount of Skill. Just kidding, of course. I am not too keen on the interpretive acronyms because they themselves require a lot of reading and interpretation to create, and whether something is definite or questionalbe is in the eye of the beholder. That is, the D / Q rating is subjective. The claim itself is fixed as what the person claimed.

  12. #62

    Re: An Idea

    I agree that the
    Originally Posted by Peter Smith
    the D / Q rating is subjective.
    And further, we are all on the honor system anyhow.

    But does an index to the posts inside existing threads provide enough value to merit the effort? You can already search, and within seconds know whether or not there is a report in the thread. Admittedly, searching the archived threads is more difficult, but who is going to take the time to index them anyhow. I assume this would be going forward, not trying to index the past. That would be a serious pain for whoever took it on.

    I understand where you are coming from when you say
    Originally Posted by Peter Smith
    I am not too keen on the interpretive acronyms.
    And I did not like having 5 of the buggers. But I have read enough instances where the person reporting the post felt in some middle ground. I know I have felt that way. So I wanted a way to report that cleanly.

    My example of Lord Alan's Basement is a case in point. I am not happy calling it a bust, but I am not comfortable calling it a success. I consider it questionable, and would like to be able to sit on the fence when I report it. Maybe I should just take a stance, either as a conservative or liberal ghoster, but I am uncomfortable doing so.

    WAIT! I just noticed what Hexameron actually said (as opposed to what I read):
    Originally Posted by Hexameron
    I actually took the time a while ago to compile a huge list (starting from the first FM thread and all the way up to this one) of FM's that were reported as ghosted or busted.
    That should mean that the hard work is already done. The issue then isn't how to do it, but instead how to share it. However it was done is it was done that way--fait accomplit--live with it. What a generous offer!

  13. #63
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Posts
    2,704
    I suppose the Q would be OK if the person making the claim expressed it that way in the summary. But I think that Hexameron (or anyone else) should not have to dig into the ghost report and make a judgment about it. In the case of Lord Alan's Basement, you said "Failure". I think that should be sufficient for the listing.

  14. #64
    Wow, I didn't expect such an active discussion like this yet, but I'm glad you guys find the idea valuable.

    Let me clarify, though, that my whole reason for having this list is not deciding what FM's to play and ghost, but which one's to report. I rarely look at the list ahead of time to see which FM's were reported as ghosted/busted. Once I complete my FM, I simply check if it had been reported before. While it's fine to write ghost reports on missions that have already been reported in these threads, with all the fan missions out there, I want to make sure I'm posting new successes or failures. Back in my "Deadfall" ghosting days, I went out of my way to make sure to post ghost reports on FM's that have either never been reported yet or were reported as ghost successes but not PT...

    If I remember correctly, my list includes a little under 300 individual FM's that have been reported in the history of the Eidos Ghost/PT Results Thread. So while I appreciate goldsla's systematic idea of categorizing these FM's, I don't think separate posts for each FM would be a good idea.

    My list is indeed a crude one. You can get an idea of how mine looks from the example below. And by the way, this example is not a direct quotation from my list; I'm just pulling FM titles from my head here and showing the varying acronyms I used for each situation:

    Crom's Blade ---- Failure
    The Seventh Crystal ---- PT
    The Royal Garmyth ---- G
    The Abominable Dr. Dragon ---- G (Chemical)
    The Art of Thievery ---- G / PT Failure

    For any official list, there could be other unique notations (Ironman, Supreme Ghost, incidences of CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+END being used etc.)

    If my format or style for this list featured above does not suffice, I'm open to suggestions. I strongly think that a list in alphabetical order would be most user friendly. But perhaps separate categories like the following would work, too:

    Ghosted

    -Equilibrium
    -Melian's Method

    Failed

    -Karras' Diary
    -Tymoteusz

    One way way to handle that might be to make a list with just mission names in it and have links to the reports
    I like this idea and would definitely provide links for each FM. In my view, this task is the most daunting. While I admit I have indeed gone through the drudgery of checking each FM ever posted and recording its results (which can be tricky when a ghoster comes along and does better... Peter Smith's Dances with Spiders in "A Keeper's Betrayal" comes to mind), I would still need to doublecheck my list, which would take a little bit. But since everyone seems to be endorsing the idea, I don't mind doing it

  15. #65
    FM: The Adventures of Burrick Boy

    Ghost - Success
    Perfect Thief - Success
    Time - 00:09:57
    Loot - 4/4
    Pockets Picked - 1/0
    Backstabs - 0 Knockouts - 0
    Damage dealt - 0 Damage taken - 0
    Healing taken - 0 Kills - 0
    Secrets Found - 0/0

    Comments - This is a contest mission that's more like a burrick homage than a stealth-intensive excursion. The player is cast as a farmboy who is supposed to be guarding four burricks in a barn; he wakes up and realizes they are gone and the objectives are to find the burricks and return them to their pens. These burricks are not alerted by Garrett and are picked up as loot (hence the 4/4 loot count).

    There are four portals in each pen that lead to separate labyrinthine realms containing the burricks. Three of these "realms" simply require agility to get to the burricks. The "lava" realm took thirty seconds because I just needed to drop down on a boulder surrounded by lava and "loot" the burrick standing there. The "air" realm took careful jumping in order to land on the floating cloud that ferries the burrick. The "water" realm is the most innovative design-wise but it is really just a maze to traverse. With all of these "realms" involving no AI, I would have called ghosting this mission N/A, but the "earth" realm had apebeasts and a bugbeast. Since Garrett or the "farmboy" had no inventory or weapons (except bare fists), sneaking by the apebeast and patrolling bugbeast next to the camp fire was the only challenge and a minor one.

    Some interesting mentionables: the detonation arrow under the crates in the tree house acts like a super fire arrow. Just for fun I tried firing it at an apebeast and the huge blast ended up killing me and destroying all of the crates in the treehouse, making this a fatal gadget.

    There is an interesting "lootable" eyeplant in the treehouse. "Looting" the eyeplant ends up killing it, but in the process Garrett is given a projectile eyeball that throws like the T1 training mission basketball. Upon impact, the eyeball explodes into a moss patch... What this elaborate item, which really functions as a moss arrow, could have aided the player with I do not know. There were no loud floors in the mission, so I guess it was just designer showmanship.

  16. #66
    FM: At the Royal Rumble

    Ghost - Success
    Perfect Thief - Failed
    Time - 00:03:43
    Loot - 500/560
    Pockets Picked - 1/6
    Backstabs - 0 Knockouts - 0 Bodies Discovered by Enemies - 3
    Damage dealt - 0 Damage taken - 0
    Healing taken - 0 Kills - 0
    Secrets Found - 0/0

    Comments - Another contest mission. This one might be problematic as far as reporting a successful ghost. The author gives the player an optional objective of ghosting the mission, but since the mission itself takes place at a wrestling arena with constant fighting between AI in the ring, the guards and spectators act quite goofy, often going on 2nd alert for no reason. As soon as the mission loads, I always hear at least three 2nd alerts by the spectators. I noticed a pattern of one particular guard always going on 2nd alert after I was making my loot round. I'm wondering if there's a timer after picking his purse that he goes on alert or something. Regardless, even if he is on alert he doesn't seem to see the player anyway, so the whole ghosting objective was faulty. The only AI that can see you are the creatures fighting in the ring.

    With this in mind, I was extra careful not to enter into any light areas. Finding 500 loot (the only required objective) was actually the toughest part because this mission is indeed timed. As soon as all of the wrestling contestants are slain and the match ends, the mission ends. There is only 560 loot here but some of them are well-hidden, including loose coins in a toilet that can only be grabbed while crouching. There were loose coins next to one spectator and a Lost City scroll in a niche by the locker room that took me a long time to find. I couldn't find the other 60, but I'll assume it's three loose coins somewhere.

    One more optional objective is to find Joe the Great Blob's secret, which is a teddybear lying on the ground in the locker room. Picking the bear up causes a strange-looking treebeast, presumably Joe, to enter the locker room and attack, so I left the bear alone.

  17. #67
    FM: Bafford's Bone Collection

    Ghost - Success
    Perfect Thief - Success
    Time - 00:32:41
    Loot - 1485/1485
    Pockets Picked - 2/4
    Backstabs - 0 Knockouts - 0
    Damage dealt - 0 Damage taken - 0
    Healing taken - 0 Kills - 0
    Secrets Found - 0/0

    Comments - This is a challenging contest mission that took me a while to complete and ghost. The objectives are to find 1300 loot and Bafford's bone collection, which constitutes five golden bones (like in T1's Bonehoard).

    I entered Bafford's mansion through the back door next to the giant staircase leading to his bedroom. A lot of torch dousing was necessary to sneak by the guards outside and move inside without alerting the nobleman or the servant who constantly patrol in areas that need to be snuck through. Casing the bottom level of Bafford's mansion takes some time because of the marble floors and sporadic patrols of the nobleman and servant.

    The Golden Bones

    The most difficult part of this mission, however, is finding the golden bones. Make no mistake in glancing at my completed time: this mission took me over an hour to complete (on a blackjack run). Fortunately, I had shot a rope arrow above the staircase for the purposes of hiding in the shadows of the ceiling to avoid the patrolling nobelman. To my surprise, the square-shaped ceiling design turned out to be a frobbable door. However, to get inside this secret attic, one has to drop down to the staircase and fire a rope arrow again, this time through the attic's opening where the frobbable door had previously blocked. One of the golden legs was resting up in the small attic, so I realized that the golden bones were indeed hidden well...

    After a long search, often involving jumping up and down, crouching into corners, and scaling any ledge in the mission while constantly trying to frob things, I located the other bones. It was a humorous situation. Outside on the second level balconies, I shot a rope arrow up against the only wooden texture I could find on the wall of the mansion, hoping to mantle onto the roof and look around there. When I realized I couldn't get onto the roof, I tried frobbing my rope arrow but instead I picked up a golden bone! To my shock, I had actually nabbed one of the golden bones behind a Bafford banner next to my embedded rope arrow. I still can't believe the FM designer stuck these bones up in this totally inconspicuous place. Sure enough, on the opposite side of the mansion there were two other golden bones behind another banner adorning the wooden wall.

    Striving for Perfect Thief

    Since I had spent about 45 minutes looking for these golden bones, I had discovered a lot of loot in the process. One particular loot location that stunned me was in the library... on the floor between the wall and a bookcase was a single golden ring. I'm talking about a few inches of space between the wall and the side of the bookcase with a tiny golden ring on the floor. If I hadn't been crawling everywhere looking for secret switches, I would never have found that.

    But it gets even better... Outside of the mansion near the back door are two guards standing next to stone pillars supporting the upper level balconies. Between one of these pillars and a metal fence is a single gold coin lodged in the grass. While I shook my head at the fact that a mission designer would go through the trouble of placing a single coin in such a concealed area, I was suddenly concerned that I actually found this! Perhaps I have an obsessive scrounging problem, but after this, I feel like I can find any loot in any mission.

    There is one last scenario to illustrate regarding PT'ing the mission. There are four balconies connected to a wall that are accessible from the outside upper level area of Bafford's mansion. From the looks of the conveniently placed stone catwalk and railings next to these balconies, I got the impression that I was supposed to go up there. Well, when I went on my hour-long investigation for golden bones, I explored these balconies and discovered a gas arrow and a jeweled cup. However, getting onto the balcony with the jeweled cup is not possible with a rope arrow or jumping from the railings. These four balconies are stacked on top of each other, with only a small space separating them; it's impossible to successfully jump onto the lower balconies... without the help of an object.

    My solution was to first douse all the torches around the area because there are two archers next to these railings and a few guards on the lower level staring at the balconies. I figured out that dropping a crate on the railing gave me enough leverage to jump onto the lower balcony. So I shot a moss arrow onto the metal railing, mantled onto the railing with my crate in hand, dropped it and jumped upwards, and long story short, I got onto the balcony, retrieved the cup and found all the loot.

    Of course, I went back to one of the Bafford banners and got the last two golden bones (once all four bones are in Garrett's inventory the mission ends, so I left two of them there until I had found all the loot).

  18. #68
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Posts
    2,704
    FM: The Lost Crusade

    Ghost - Success
    Perfect Thief - Failed
    Time - 03:29:12
    Loot - 2038/2508
    Pockets Picked - 13/20 (20 is probably wrong)
    Backstabs - 0, Knockouts - 0
    Damage dealt - 0, Damage taken - 0
    Healing taken - 0, Kills - 0
    Secrets Found - 0/0
    Consumables used - 0

    Comments

    The Lost Crusade, by Spoonman, is a beautiful, expansive mission. It is an adventure modeled after Indiana Jones, mostly, and other influences. It has numerous settings, all very impressive. It is set in the day time on a sunny day, but there are good shadows to hide in. Very nice lighting. I found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable mission, so much so that I played it twice. The first time I completed it in about 1:30:00, and the next time I took more than twice as long, looking for loot and ghosting more carefully.

    One thing I must warn you about is that the mission has quite a few small bugs. Among these is a visual complexity bug that occurs when you are in high places overlooking the entire town. That starts with unusual clipping and then makes its way to a crash if you let it. The remedy is to look down when the clipping first starts. There are a few other small issues, too, but nothing major. The mission was evidently not beta tested, which is too bad. I found it easy to ignore the problems because the mission was so much fun.

    The Town

    The initial setting of the mission appears to be a Mediterranean town. The architecture and textures are well done. Slightly unusual is the fact that there are ladders and beams everywhere. This means that you can go all over the place without your feet touching the ground. It is necessary to explore thoroughly, high and low, to get sufficient loot and to get a key that allows you to go out of town to the next phase.

    The ghosting in the town, and in most of the mission, is routine. There is one place entered by a plank into an upper window where you have to time it very well and keep moving, because if you try to hide you will eventually be discovered. Unless, that is, you douse a torch, which I managed to avoid throughout. With practice, it is a quick in-and-out, but there are some delicate moves.

    There are some pirates in town who are a bit of a problem. If you are sufficiently careful with your ghosting, or else lucky, you do not upset the pirates, and everything goes smoothly. According to the darkloader readme, if anyone sees you wield a weapon, whether they alert or not at the time, or (as I found) if you attempt to steal a pirate's purse, then the pirates get ugly and start attacking citizens of the village.

    This is a different kind of alert, not covered by the ghosting rules. I played the whole mission twice and the village part three times. The first time the populace was calm for a while, and then they went nuts for some reason unknown to me. I did not alert anyone, but they were running around, shouting. Then I found a body in the street and hid it, and they all calmed down. Later I went through the village mostly by ground, and I saw the pirates attacking and killing several people. Much more violent than before. The third time I played it was much more careful not to annoy the pirates or to display weapons, and I got through without an incident. I did notice, however, that if you attempt to steal a pirate's purse, he goes nuts and starts attacking citizens.

    So, is it a bust if the pirates attack the citizens? Certainly it is with the purse grab, because you can relate the cause to its effect. But in the other cases I had no knowledge of what caused it, and I never saw an alert caused by me. That could easily be claimed as a scripted event and not a bust. Anyway, I managed to avoid this in my final ghost run, so there is no issue.

    This pirate melee is actually a very clever game play design. Most players will slip up, as I did at first, so the navigation through the village becomes more difficult as a result. It is not a real problem because there are plenty of shadows to hide in. Just a source of amusement. You ought to trigger this event just to watch it.

    The mines

    The next phase is a mine situated below what appears to be a temple. This part of the temple is a false front -- you can't get inside. Next to the temple is the mine entrance. The mines are extensive -- some of the best mines ever. There are numerous passages with cool looking timber braces on several levels, and you need to explore thoroughly. The ground throughout has that crunchy gravel sound which is usually cause for alerts. The author has made it so that the crunchy noise is not a real problem if you move slowly, probably (and rightly) to make the game play more enjoyable for most non-ghosters. At first, though, you think that it is a very dangerous place until you realize that they are not hearing you well.

    Underground temple - Indiana Jones style

    After the mines, you take a little swim and find a deserted underground temple and crypt. The miners had discovered this place and were looting it. All the miners in the temple are trapped by rising water (that you swam to get in), and they are all dead. You find a route out, but as you leave you find arrow traps and a large boulder chasing you down sloping passages. Very Indiana Jones. Stealth is not the game here. It took me a little while to realize that you need to just run fast and outrun the traps and the boulder. At the end the passage exits into a deep chasm. Duck to one side so you don't get mowed down by the boulder, and then you can see the boulder dropping to the chasm floor. Very impressive.

    There is one climbing problem to obtain a lost city blue wall gem that I rather enjoyed. The trick involves using a rope and a well placed jump to jam yourself into a hole, like a cork. Then you can grab the loot and jump back out to the rope. Well done.

    The chasm

    If you can avoid the boulder, you find yourself in a deep, steep sided chasm. You have to work your way around some ledges and unsafe looking bridges, or planks. The first time I went through there, it made me very nervous. After some time, you encounter a spider on a ledge, which is the only significant ghosting challenge of the mission. The first time through I tried lots of things and ended up just running past him. I did not see an alert, but I could not verify success, either.

    Later I felt badly about being unprofessional with the spider, so I replayed the entire mission both to get a handle on the spider and to find more loot. I went back in the Indiana Jones temple, picked up a crate, and carried the crate down with the boulder and arrow trap run. I thought I would use the crate to block the spider, or I might be able to stand on it in a shadow and have the spider go underneath me. To make a long story short, the crate did not work. Even though my light gem was dark, the spider saw me standing on the crate. Eventually I figured out that if I could trail the spider until he went around the second corner of a three sided rectangle (not so easy in itself because he changed direction frequently, apparently randomly), I could dash after him, round the second corner, crouch, and be invisible. Then he walked right by me without a squeek. Nice.

    The haunt temple

    Beyond the chasm you encounter another temple with two well-dressed haunts guarding the item you came to steal, which is a special gold goblet of religious significance to the haunts. To gain entrance you need to pick a lock quickly while walls close on you. Once in, it is routine to take the loot and get to the other side of the room, which is the most favorable side to approach the goblet.

    Here there is an incident that a fussy ghoster would claim to be a bust, but I would claim to be a success based on a precedent - Return to the Cathedral in TDP. You may recall that when you take the eye in the Cathedral a silent alarm goes off and all the haunts below are alerted. This was discussed in the forum many years ago, and the consensus of the ghosting crowd was that this is not a bust so long as the haunts do not actually see you. The idea is that you did not alert them but rather a scripted silent alarm did. The same ruling applies for the talisman alarm in Undercover.

    The incident in question is that when you take the goblet the temple starts to collapse. Rocks and beams are crashing all around you. This collapse alerts the haunts. Now, if you pulled a switch that you knew would cause the collapse, then you caused it. But if it happens coincidently, and if the haunts did not see you take the goblet, it is just like the RTC incident, in my opinion.

    There is a pretty good chance that the haunts will see you take the goblet in which case that alert is obvious because you are killed. I managed to avoid being spotted several times. Each time, it was after I read a book about their duty to guard the holy goblet. Coincidence? I don't know. But that is the way it worked for me.

    After exiting the collapsing temple (a very nice effect, by the way), you jump one more chasm and the mission ends.

    Loot

    I don't know what's up with the loot. There are one or two purses (100 each) on pirates that I could not pick pocket. There is a cave below the final ledge of the chasm that you can get down to but not back up because the author forgot to leave a plank there. That cave contains a sword worth 70. So the 170-270 that I know about doesn't account for the 470 that I am missing. It is a big and complicated mission, and it could be anywhere.

    Well done, Spoonman! This was an entertaining adventure.

  19. #69

    Lord Alan's Fortress

    FM: Lord Alan's Fortress

    Ghost - Failed (broken glass)
    Perfect Thief - Failed
    Time - 05:11:06
    Loot - 13650 (12450)/12500
    Pockets Picked - 35/36
    Backstabs - 0, Knockouts - 0
    Damage dealt - 0, Damage taken - 0
    Healing taken - 0, Kills - 0
    Secrets Found - 15/15
    Consumables used - 2 moss arrows & 10 or so water arrows

    Comments
    I'm sure this is well plowed ground, since this FM has been out there for so long. Accordingly I will be brief.

    1) This is a HUGE and beautifully made mission.
    2) It is still fairly buggy: I kept sticking into walls (more than 20 times in lots of different places) and had to reload from a save to unstick each time. Very annoying. Also, after returning Lord Alan to his bedroom, the objective did not tick off, no matter where I put him: on the bed, on the left rug, on the right rug, on the table, on the balcony, nothing! And the loot was reported incorrectly at the end. Inside the mission I had 12450, 50 short of all the loot. After the mission ended I magically had 13650 of the 12500 possible.
    3) I am sure that I could have ghosted this had I decided to forgo one of the optional objectives (return the truth to Ignaz), but I decided to go for all the objectives instead. And in order to get the Mask of Truth, you have to break a glass pane. But at least the objective ticked off when I returned the mask! While there were some tricky spots to avoid alerts, it seemed ghostable if you don't mind the eye plants watching you or traps triggering to your presence.
    4) I am pretty sure that if you ghost it, a perfect thief would be possible, since the Ignaz objective is optional and there is no loot that I recall on that path. I just lost heart once I had to break the glass and Lord Alan's return did not give me the credit due. For 50, it did not seem worthwhile to spend the time searching when the mission was a failure anyhow. It was probably a purse sitting somewhere obvious.
    5) This mission displayed what I have noticed before in some other missions: delayed alerts. This is when an AI alerts 2 or 3 seconds after you made a mistake and thought you had gotten away with it. I could be standing silently in the dark with the magic crystal at 0 (I'm not certain that displaying the light level numerically is in keeping with Thief technology, but it did allow me to know my exact visibility level at all times) and a bloody AI around the corner would suddenly come looking. Sheesh! And if I had done a quicksave, thinking it was a safe time to do so . . .
    6) I hate timed missions. Fortunately this mission wasn't one. Unfortunately this mission had two (count them, two) timed vaults. The first one I wasted time on trying to prop the door open, only to learn that the timing wasn't only on the door, but on a gas arrow attack. After recovering from that, I had to reenter the combination 11 or 12 times before I could clear out the vault of all its non-loot goodies without alerting the two guards looking in on the vault and the patrolling guard. Arrgh! Then I discover a much worse timed vault on my way to lift the Cube (an objective). This is where I used my two moss arrows and several water arrows. One moss arrow was for the combination lock area on the ground floor, the other was for the vault area up above. I doused every torch I could between the two so that I could go as fast as possible after entering the combination. (Nice of the guards to always have the combination on them.) This was truly devilish to ghost, as the patrolling guards did not have synchronized patrols. Instead each kept it own pace. So the openings were hard to predict.
    7) And what is with all that bonging in the chapel?? Why didn't that alert anyone?
    8) Every time I find heavy rubble or rocks I look for pressure plates, but who would put one on a ledge in the attic?? Lord Alan (the fictional character) and all his ancestors are nutz!

    Lord Alan (the author, Andrea?) is very talented. It was a fun mission, but I'm not certain that I would play it again. Once may have been enough. If you have not played it, I would recommend it. But I do not recommend it for ghosting play, especially if you like playing all the objectives intended by the author.

  20. #70
    Great ghosting efforts guys. Peter, you sure know how to deal with those spiders.

    Anymore thoughts on the FM list? Should we start a separate thread and discuss its format or do I have the go-ahead to assemble the list and either PM it to Peter or post it myself?

  21. #71
    Originally Posted by Hexameron
    Anymore thoughts on the FM list? Should we start a separate thread and discuss its format or do I have the go-ahead to assemble the list and either PM it to Peter or post it myself?
    Personally, I trust your judgement. Unless you have options you want opinions on, I would say do it the way you feel best about it.

  22. #72
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Posts
    2,704
    Originally Posted by goldsla
    Lord Alan (the author, Andrea?) is very talented. It was a fun mission, but I'm not certain that I would play it again. Once may have been enough. If you have not played it, I would recommend it. But I do not recommend it for ghosting play, especially if you like playing all the objectives intended by the author.
    I guess I am biased because I was one of the testers of Lord Alan's Fortress, and I worked on it for a long time. The need to break the glass is a case where design won out over "ghostability." In general, I support the notion that design comes first. IMO, the mission is great fun to play in ghost mode regardless of that detail. The tricky bits can be mastered with practice. If played any other way, it would be too easy for my taste. I think that the music and the scenery alone make it eminently replayable. I still enjoy it after many rounds.

  23. #73
    Originally Posted by Peter Smith
    The need to break the glass is a case where design won out over "ghostability." In general, I support the notion that design comes first.
    I agree it is an excellently designed mission, just not fully ghostable. That said, I'm not certain why breaking the glass was the best design. But then again, I don't know what other options were considered or why they were rejected. I always find it disappointing to discover that a mission cannot be ghosted late in the game. I would rather be busted early, before I have invested the energy in attempting to ghost, than late.
    Originally Posted by Peter Smith
    IMO, the mission is great fun to play in ghost mode regardless of that detail. The tricky bits can be mastered with practice. If played any other way, it would be too easy for my taste.
    You could be right. Since I did not play it with any KOs I do not know. Even ghosting it, the mission was fairly easy, really, with only a couple of sticky spots. Some of the secrets were a bit of a job to find, but none that ghosting made harder (No, I lie, maybe the pool area one was harder because of ghosting), and locking you in the bedroom was clever, if a bit of a tip-off that there was a hidden way out. It would have been harder to figure out without being trapped. In my first run through I was able to ghost for the entire mission but for the no breakage rule, find all the secrets, all the consumables (I believe), and all but 50g in loot. It might be too easy if not ghosted . . . Maybe try to Supreme it? Putting back all those keys would certainly make it harder . . .
    Originally Posted by Peter Smith
    I think that the music and the scenery alone make it eminently replayable. I still enjoy it after many rounds.
    I agree the music and scenery are great. It is a very well designed mission, just not ghostable.

    On another note, what does a second level alert look/sound like for a tree? I decided for myself that any movement probably was an alert, even if no searching behavior took place. But is there a gold standard for these beasts?

  24. #74
    I assume you're talking about treebeasts, goldsla? I always considered any deviance from their rigid statue state as a ghost bust. If they were placed in the mission as idle but unfrozen, then of course their act of searching signifies the 2nd alert.

  25. #75
    FM: Fate of the Art

    Ghost - Failed
    Time - 00:52:11
    Loot - 5654/5679
    Pockets Picked - 4/8
    Backstabs - 0 Knockouts - 1
    Damage dealt - 16 Damage taken - 0
    Healing taken - 0 Kills - 0 Bodies Discovered by Enemies - 1
    Secrets Found - 4/4

    Causes of Failure:

    - Must break a glass window to acquire keys necessary to complete the mission
    - Breaking window alerts multiple guards
    - Must slash banner to gain access to important keys and loot
    - Cannot sneak by watcher next to storeroom
    - Cannot kill/KO Richard (objective) without alerting nearby noblelady

    Comments - This contest mission looked like it had much to offer and I was looking forward to a challenging ghost here. But it turned out to be a catastrophe. I was in the mood for a success, too . I spent plenty of time dashing around in the shadows outside trying to pick pocket all the guards and I was taking my time inside with the dining room and the problematic guard patrol.

    On expert the loot objective is 5600 and that means getting almost everything in the mission. I had to nudge a servant away from the kitchen sink in order to get three gold plates. There are lot of hard-to-find loot items; rings under crates, gold coins on floors, but after my escapades in "Bafford's Bone Collection" this wasn't that disconcerting.

    I also spent a long time sneaking by the watcher on the second floor. This was an incredibly difficult spot because of the short pivot radius of the watcher and the small patrol of the nearby guard. With enough practice and luck, I was able to dart into each room without alerting the watcher or the guard, but this turned out to be for naught; ghosting is impossible and there is a camera control switch in Boris's room that could have saved me the trouble.

    This mission is a little frustrating, though, because a lot of doors are locked and the keys are difficult to find. I realized that breaking a glass window to get into the storeroom was the only option and so there went my chance of ghosting. Slashing a hammerite banner to get into a secret hide-out is also required. Eh, the whole thing turned into a mess with just about every guard on alert (because of the glass), and I couldn't get back through the broken window. This meant running across the hall in front of a watcher whose seeing radius covers the entire hallway; in other words, it's impossible to sneak by the watcher without getting a yellow alert.

    Killing Richard (the artist) is an objective that I couldn't accomplish without alerting the nobelady in the same room. So I planted a broadhead into Richard's backside and smacked the lady with my blackjack, hence the recorded knockout.

Page 3 of 10 First First 1234567 ... Last