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    Monday - 3.15.1999
    The Taffer that Won't Quit: WinAmp Skin from Jyre - 04:30pm EST - Dan
The new windows theme had not yet settled itself into the file archive, when suddenly a broadhead arrow sunk into the wall next to where I was setting up the display. Tied to the end was a small package. Unwrapping it, I found a simple WinAmp skin, and a note that read, "WinAmp Skin - by Jyre". Finishing up my work on the new theme display, I quickly set one up for the skin as well. As with all themes, it is available in the themes hall, right here.

    The word on that LiteStep Thief Theme - 04:00pm EST - Dan
Does it ever bother you when you have something in your gallery or archive, and you really have no idea what it does, is for, and is about? I know I do. So I was quite pleased to receive a letter from one "Chuck", with information on the Thief LiteStep Theme.
Hey, just so you know, that thiefstep thing is a theme for an alternate shell called litestep. you can find more info at and :) it's pretty cool, anyways, you should be able to just replace your step.rc with the one in the zip and have it run, for your info :) adios
Good luck to any taffers who would care to look into it.

    Jyre Treats us to More Stolen Goods - 03:00pm EST - Dan
A sentry reported to me that someone (and a large package) was at the front gate, pounding loudly. Excusing myself from the chess game with James, I slowly made my way to the door, and opened it just in time to see Jyre attempt to insert her newly stolen lockpick into the padlock. Fumbling slightly, she quickly tucked it back deep into her coat pocket.

"Go' su'mare stuff fer ya, if yer intrse'ed." she pointed to the package and waited for a reply, which never came as I simply inspected it from where I stood at the doorway. "Cost ya though."
Looking up, I inquired as to it's content.
"Le'mi show ya." She bent down and opened up the package. "Rare these be. Perfect minatures, made fur The Lady herself, only I thou' mibbie thet'd be better off in yer hands." She pulled out a tiny water arrow and twisted it round. "Got a blackjack, fire arries, moss arries, even a baby fire elemental. But that ain't all." She replaced the water arrow and pulled out small black box. "Sound box." She pushed an almost invisible button and a zombie moan fills the air. "Full o' stuff like that is. All spooky like. And then," she pulled out four canvases, "there be these. Three spooks and a special map of the Haun'ed Cathedral. Very old it be. Interested?"

Suddenly realizing that what I was looking at was none other then a skillfully assembled Windows desktop theme, I smiled and offered her a few hundred gold coins for the whole lot.
Scoffing slightly, she barked, "Worth a bit more than this." She pulled out the already cracked lockpick. "Least you can do is gimme a few supplies fer me next job." Impressed with what she had brought, I gave in and had a servant supply her with two high quality lockpicks, a quiver of broadheads, two gass arrows, and an extremely rare set of footpads. Needless to say, she went home happy.

As with her other 'gifts', It is now displayed proudly in the themes section of the file archive, also accessible right here.

   Garret Rides With the Valkyries - 03:00pm EST - James
Was it the influence of the guests we had last week? Or was it a hallucination brought on by the throat infection they left in their wake? Or, more sinister still - was it reality? Their famous fanfare awoke me from slumber; I awoke to find myself facing grim women with sharp swords, riding winged horses, escorting Darren "Wolf" Pearce, who had dropped by my flat in Glasgow to note that the had reviewed Thief on Da Valkyries. His rating? "Go Buy This Right Now". I doubt it would be overdoing things to quote his summation, "Thief is a superb example of innovative technology in an era when we are swamped by FPS games and clones, it's refreshing to actually find a game in this Genre that makes you think." Wouldn't want those lassies angry with me, after all!

   SpaceOrb - A Taffer's Best Friend? - 03:00pm EST - James
I've never used one. In fact, I've never seen one! Maybe Britain is a benighted land, bereft of this device? Regardless, Adam "redEye" Jasne's latest intelligence report indicates that the hard-working cybermages over at the Birdman's Lair have figured out how to make this odd-looking controller work with Thief. You can download the file directly, or read the Readme first. Any member of the Order who owns a SpaceOrb: please report on its Taffing qualities.

   redEye Raids Looking Glass - 03:00pm EST - James
Seconded to CounterIntelligence, redEye made a long foray into the depths of the archives at Looking Glass (meeting George Smiley in a particularly dusty and seldom-used corridor of the archive. redEye exchanged an original editon of Grimmelshausen's Simplicissimus for a few pointers on mole-hunting. Where redEye acquired this most rare book we do not know - and are not asking.) redEye turned up a few interesting items in the archival files. Remember the Project Diary? Aye, this the Looking Glass Thief site that existed before the current one! Remember the feedback? And, last but not least, the Manifesto? They all still exist, and make interesting reading now that the game is out.

But, you ask, why was redEye needed by CounterIntelligence? If you are truly worried by this, perhaps you have something to tell us. Could we suggest that early confession leads to lighter penalties?

    Friday - 3.12.1999
    More Desktop Artwork from Jyre - 11:40pm EST - Dan
Burning the midnight oil, I happened to glance out my chamber window. There, far down in the yard below, I could make out a figure making its way up the path to my back door, through the wind, sleet, and rain. This person seemed to be caring a large object with them. I rushed down the stair to the door, just in time to hear the sound of a fist strike the wooden portal. I immediately recognized Jyre as she stepped into the light.

"Uh, I was searching the local temple for, uh, evidence 'gainst da Lady, when I's stumbled 'cross dese doodlin's in da attic. One of dem's a little weather damaged but 's'not ta serious. Thou' mibe ya'd knew whit ta do wi'em seeing as you's got... conections..." I looked at the canvases, and nodded with approval, explaining to her that I was sure I'd find a fitting home for them. "...Problem being, mi old lockpick broke in one o' da doors and I was wondering..." I shot her a quizzical glance as she started at me, all wide eyed and innocent, which didn't fool me for an instant. "...Canny bi gettin' ya mare stuff like dat if I dinnny be having nay lockpick..." Pausing for a moment, and fetched a small key out of the pocket of my overcoat. I briefly explained that this key was to the back door to a shop in town, where she could steal some lockpicks. She took it, and without so much as a thank you, she shrugged and walked back outside into the darkness.

The desktop backgrounds are in the usual place, the Themes Section , also available for direct download right here.

    Thursday - 3.11.1999
    Listen to Your Thief Mp3s in Style - 3:40pm EST - Dan
Arriving by express courier, the latest Thief WinAmp skin is arguably the best of the bunch. Created by Jere Leppänen, this skin uses artwork from Thief's menus. The zipped package can be found in the usual stop, the themes section, or right here. A preview has been created as well.

    Wednesday - 3.10.1999
    Explosion Physics -Meets- Rope Length Algorithm - 10:40pm EST - Dan
Kirk "Catalyst" Bezio, the notorious researcher of strange happenings and other wierdness, has delivered to us another demonstration of his experaments. This time, it's a example of, in his own words, explosion physics meets rope length algorithm. Rather then a screenshot, he sent us a nice fancy animated gif. Take a look! ( 364 K )

    More on the Unreal Conversion of Bafford's Manor. - 10:40pm EST - Dan
The interrogation of Ryan Amrstrong for more information on the Unreal conversion of Lord Baffords Manor was going nowhere fast, when suddenly I heard a sharp rapping at the window shutters. I motioned for my server to go chase away whatever critter was causing it, and to my surprise he came back with a small note, impaled by a broadhead. It read.
After reading about this Ryan fellow I thought I would sneak on over to his home and grab a sample of what he was braggin about. Well it seems he has managed to recreate Lord Bafford's Manor for use in that graphically splendid and horrendously gory game, Unreal. I must say from playing the original that he has done a pretty good job, it includes the manor in full from the point when you first enter it in the store room. It does not include any outside areas however, which in this case is for the better, the manor is already very large for a deathmatch level. The biggest downside I would have to say is that he uses a lot of the flickering torch light which combined with a lot of bots managed to slow my system down a fair amount. So bottom line is, it is a good map, little large for less than 8 DM, but it needs to be optimized to run a bit better.


I showed the note to Ryan, and he nodded thoughtfully. "I'll be coming out with a new version soon. It will be the co-op version, and so there will be Skaarj patrolling in the same patterns as the guards, doors are in (they don't work for deathmatch), and music. Not to mention I'm gonna put the scepter in, and there will be different weapon arrangements," he proclaimed proudly. But then he explained that I'd have to let him go first. After consideration, I agreed to free him, but decided to keep him under constant watch. In the meantime, I shall have to gather information on where a copy of Unreal for me to steal is...

    Monday - 3.8.1999
    Thief and Unreal Bond. - 10:40pm EST - Dan
One Ryan Armstrong has boasting his accomplishments in the Official Thieves' Guild. It seems that he had created something, something very interesting and unique. Not wanting to fall prey to rumor and gossip, I had two of my hit-men track him down, blackjack him and drag his body to the dungeon beneath my tower. There the interrogation commenced.
"I made a recreation of the first level of Thief: The Dark Project for Unreal," he said, with mock confidence. "Now, you can blow your friends away in the familiar environment of Lord Bafford's Manor. If you don't have any friend to blow up, the level is fully implemented for Botmatch as well. Thus far, there is only a deathmatch version available, but a co-op version will be coming soon." I pressed him further for more information. "You can see it from my homepage under the Unreal section!"
Skeptical, and unable to test his creation myself, I am currently holding him custody until I can receive word from another source as to the quality of his work.

    Some new "funky" Thief backgrounds, and a Midi - 10:20pm EST - Dan
Some of you may know of Jyre, the scribe and poet who composed "Into the Dark" and "A Taffer Legend". Jyre appeared at the back door to my tower last night, and brought 3 canvases, covered with thick material to protect them from the pouring rain. It seems that Jyre is not only an author, but an artist was well. After only taking a brief glace, I quickly agreed to display and alow the distributions of copys. They are unique, to say the least. I'd even venture to say, "funky".

The desktop wallpapers are now available in the Themes Section of the File Archive. Or you can download them right here.

Before I disappeared up the stairs, Jyre called to me once more, tossed a small parcel, and vanished. Unwrapping it, I found a small midi, with a note attached. "It's meant to give the impression of someone sneaking about in the dark." was all it said. I made the midi available from our Music Stash.

    Saturday - 3.6.1999
   Release the Builder! - 9:30am EST - James
Toni Hollming left a slip of paper under my door recently. After decryption, I found it reminded me to check on the status of the Thief Mission Builder petition, which had then passed 500 signatures. As I pen these lines, it has reached 526 signatures! In the words of David Hoff:

Dig your hands into the earth, and then let the clay and dirt fall to the ground. After a year's passing, can you find that clay again? But drop a stone block, a wooden beam, a fired brick, a mission builder. It will persist a year, and another hundred years beside. - The Book of the Hammer

Sign the petition! Release the Builder!

   Walks He an Inch Above the Ground...? - 09:00am EST - James
redEye, shamed by the German Demo Fiasco, and driven by the never-ending friendly (we hope) one-upsmanship between himself and Ghost, recently went on a spectacular jacking spree, bringing in an enormous list of reviews. Read on, and see the fruits of his labors.

Game Post was first on redEye's hitlist. Payne's review is positive overall, noting, "It's refreshing when a company develops a game in a crowded genre but still manages to break a lot of new ground", and

As you and Garett merge, and Looking Glasss gameplay manages to transcend keyboard-and-mouse, Thief becomes a tense feeling of avoidance and paranoia. Its quite pleasant, and is a tribute to how good this game can be. I recommend playing it in the dark, alone, with the gamma/brightness turned down to increase the depth of the shadows that are your friends.

redEye's next target was Gamer Grand Central, which sports two reviews of Thief. The site leads off with a review of the Thief demo by Catnip, who pans Thief! Awarding it a 45%, he notes,

Thief is certainly something different, more an RPG in style than an action game. However, stealth and creeping are boring I find, and I want my graphics prettier, my action faster, my weapons more ridiculously destructive."

Well, taffers, there's a word in our community for people like this: Mark.

The same site also carries a first impressions of the full game, but it is pretty thin. Of more interest to those in need of special assistance, perhaps, is their link to a Thief Trainer. I have no idea if the thing works. In addition, they sport a link to a Thief Walkthrough which they claim was written by Looking Glass.

Moving to a better part of town, redEye's raid moved on to, where Mike McCurdy reviews Thief and not only gave it a 92%, but also makes comments such as "Thief is one of the most exciting first-person games to date" and:

In Thief: The Dark Project, you witness the future of gaming to come and experience the exploration and manipulation of a believable virtual world. Thief is unlike any game anyone has ever played.

Stepping over into a stranger district of town, redEye discovered that toNt of toNt's Review Corner stays up late at night worrying about dangerous liasons:

Ever wonder what would happen if Tenchu: Stealth Assassins or Metal Gear Solid and Heretic had a hot wild monkey sex and had a kid? Well since I know the whole world was thinking that same question, I'll tell you what you would get. You would have Thief!
I know I'd never actually had that question - but ToNt's worry lead him to review Thief. It's a review in an unusual style. Another sample:
I expected the game to suck, but it didn't!. It was actually quite fun. It takes the "pull out largest weapon on go crazy" style out of the first person shooters and adds the (saying to yourself) "yeah. That's right, turn around. " and down falls a guard" style.

Sadly, toNt's brain was eaten by the Half-Juggernaut, which he therefore think is better than Thief.

Stepping back out of the Twilight Zone, redEye next headed to Unnamed Gaming Review, where Zachary Rounds has written - you guessed it - a review of Thief. Don't skip it - this is a good review by someone with a clear familiarity with, and love of, Looking Glass games. The opening paragraph tells us that Thief is "a fantastic game that shows just how important innovation and gameplay are". He rates it a 9 over all, with a 9.5 for gamplay. Other notable demonstrations of his adherence to the True Faith include:

The cutscenes are really cool. Each advances the story, and they all have a certain style that I haven't seen before in any game. Oh, be sure to pay attention to the text blurbs at the beginning of each cutscene. They're important.

And while he liked the graphics least, he did note:

The monster models look pretty good, especially the crab people (the first time one attacked me I almost fell out of my chair from shock.)

But the best quote of all is this:

When you come down to it, no real gamer should be without Thief.

It might seem redEye had already done a lot of taffing about. But the Grand Raid was not yet over. His spirits bouyed by the encounter at Unnamed Gaming Review, he stoked up on mushroom tea at a safehouse, and continued to, where he found another review of Thief. While the reviewer was none too impressed by the monsters, comments such as "The thing that I think that Looking Glass have really achieved with this game is a sense of tension unprecedented in any game." and "This is a game again sets the standard for future games of this genre." are sure to warm the hearts of our Order, and indicate that the reviewer may yet come to walk fully in the Light of the Shadows.

Now becoming weary, redEye nonetheless pressed on, to 3DBytes, where Laughter has reviewed the Thief demo. This is a review by one who is obviously a fellow-traveller of our Order (and indeed the review links to TTLG). "I was amazed within 5 seconds of playtime.", he notes, continuing a bit later:

If this demo is any indication of the full game that should be out by this coming Tuesday we, my fellow gamers, are in for a wonderful and rewarding ride. I was truly and utterly immersed in this demo. It seems every kill I made (or didn't make) was like a little puzzle that had 3 or 4 interlocking parts that would eventually fit together....

With that. redEye ended the Grand Raid, wrote up his report, and went to a well-deserved day's sleep. Thank you, redEye!

    Friday - 3.5.1999
    Some Fresh Thief mp3s For Yas - 12:30pm EST - Dan
This shady character, known only as pancreas (no caps), asked me to meet him in the dark alleyway behind the downtown tavern. He said that he had recently come into possession of some tasty artifacts that he felt I may be interested in. I waited where he asked, a few fire arrows handy in case things got nasty. Low and behold he arrived, and brought with him, wrapped in a bloody cloth, two Thief mp3s. The first was all to similar to one I already had, but seemed of much higher quality. Upon examination of the other, I looked at him with a startled glance.

"I confess," he said smugly, "I stole one of the Thief trailers from my Flight Unlimited 2 disk, and ripped the music off of it."

Impressed and grateful, I thanked him, and promptly vanished into the shadows before he could mention any type of payment.

The two new mp3s, a re-mastered version of the Introduction Theme, and the music from the first Thief Trailer are now available in the Music Section of the Media Stash.

    Thursday - 3.4.1999
   A mistake may be mastered, but a lie lasteth forever on the tongue - 09:00pm EST - James
Unfortunately, by my hand a few errors crept into the Annals yesterday. Glen Sawyer informs me that the German ZDNet site actually points to English-language versions of the demo; I had not downloaded them to check... oops.

In addition, Andrew Davis caught a typo I made in the link to the Camping.jpg image yesterday. The error should now be fixed. As he notes, "Exercise caution in the future; there may not be one of our Order around next time to lend aid." Indeed - and I am grateful for the correction.

And I mis-spelt Kirk Bezio's name. My apologies! He has also provided a brighter version of his Camping.jpg image.

    The Circle of Stone and Shadow Needs You! - 09:00pm EST - James
In our quest to be have as complete a set of listings of Thief sites as possible, please email Dan or James with information on any Thief sites you know of. We would rather you told us about a site we already had heard of, than miss one because you figured we already knew of it. Keep us informed, that we might keep you informed.

    Wednesday - 3.3.1999
   Strange Sceenshots from Kirk "Catalyst" Bezio - 04:00pm EST - James
Catalyst sent some rather interesting screenshots in. In his own words:

Arrows.jpg: While simultaneously fooling around with the console and attacking the front guards at Bafford's I happened to die and become undead. With my newfound invinciblity I allowed the archer to shoot me numerous times (close to 1000 in fact :) and in the process he killed all his buddies. Well it just so happened that some of the rebounding arrows hit him as well. In this shot you are witnessing his suicide.... Have a close look at all the arrows laying around - you can bet I was surprised at how many entities the dark engine allows to coexist.

Camping.jpg: Hmmmm, apparently all of Constantine's guards decided to get together and have a campfire...(and I do mean ALL.) Can you guess how I did the campfire?

   PC Powerplay Reviews Thief: 95% - 04:00pm EST - James
Spaceboy reports that the Australian PC Powerplay magazine is in the ranks of the just, having awarded Thief a 95% in the context of a glowing reivew, concluding with:
Thief is a brave step forward for game design. Ambition shouldn't be applauded on its own, but when it's coupled with such a fantastic game then we should give a standing ovation.

   Thief inspires Fiction - 04:00pm EST - James
The Boss, vigilant as ever, dropped onto my desk an assignment to go check out a site. Padding over, I discovered a piece of Thief fiction, written by Alexandria "Jyre" Thompson, from a homepage with a link to Ghost's walkthrough. A knowledgable Taffer!

   Ghost slips into a few sites including a 5 Star Review! - 04:00pm EST - James
Perhaps spurred on by the prize presented to redEye, Ghost went scouting - and has earned himself a lockpick set.

First up from his recce is a preview from PC Fan which escaped our surveillance earlier. The previewer comments " it will be well worth the wait" - which we can all attest to!

Next up - GA-Source has a review of Thief up, and it is pretty positive, with a 90% in Gameplay. In addition, the reviewer obviously remember LGT's past history, with references to both System Shock and Ultima Underworld:

The creators of Ultima:Underworld have once again given gamers a rich, involving world to explore, with another amazing twist on the actual role you play in the game: a thief.

Not content to rest on these laurels, Ghost snuck off to another site, GameFirst, which also has a review of Thief up. It, too, is pretty positive; Greg Matthews gives it 5 stars, First Place, and states:

I would buy this game for the sound and story alone. How often do you get to be the wise-ass Everyman sticking it to the oppressive establishment from the shadows? The fact that Thief also provides players with challenging missions and is a blast to play leaves me begging, along with young Oliver to Mr. Bumble: "Please, sir, I want some more!"

And before slipping off to a well-deserved rest, Ghost cast his gaze into Games Overdose and detected their review of Thief. John Kanellopoulos begins by asking How about testing how lawful is your dark side? and is fairly positive throughout, concluding:

Summarizing, the game is really good. Although none of the individual features of the game is perfect the overall feeling is excellent and most of all it is highly addictive. After all it is better to test your dark side in a game and face the virtual dangers rather than in real life. Because everyone has a dark side that needs to come forward now and then. Don't you think?

Thank you for all the work, Ghost!

    Monday - 3.1.1999
    Links to Other Thief Guides Set Up. - 06:20pm EST - Dan
After realizing that not much information can be gathered by simply asking a question and waiting for someone to answer, I decided it was time to set out in search of the other Thief Guides on the web myself. After stalking through the dark corridors of the web for some time, I came to realize that one of two things are true. There are not as many Thief guides out there as I thought there were, or they are much harder to find then I expected. In any case, I took what limited list of sites that I had found, and made a short page linking to them. So if you are stuck without a hope, dream, or care, take a look at the Thief's Guide Links , and find your way.