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          Sunday, November 30, 2003

Fan Mission News
- 7:58:29 PM - Dan
The recent FM Cop in Shadow has been updated to version 2. The mission's readme now contains a description of the mission.

A No Briefing version of the even more recent FM Mixed Messages has been uploaded to the database. (Clicking on the mission name will download the full version of the mission.)

Finally, there's two new FMs to be aware of. The first is a brand new FM:

Thief 1 / Gold Fan Mission
Hellerhouse

 Filesize: 1.8 MB
 Released: 11/30/2003
 readme.txt





By: Stringgod

Plot Description: As I woke up in the morning, after a hot drinkin' night in the 'Sweet Little Burrick', I couldn't believe what I see. As every morning, I wanted to say 'Hello' to my favourite Blackjack 'Arnold'. But this time his 'extra made' case was empty ..........

And here's an older FM that was recently discovered by Jason.

Thief 1 / Gold Fan Mission
Short Sewer (Japanese) (v1.1)

 Filesize: 0.5 MB
 Released: 11/30/2003
 readme.txt





By: TACO

Plot Description: Japanese only. No plot description.






Night-Blade Gameplay Trailer
- 8:41:41 AM - Dan
I noticed that the creators of ThieveryUT have posted online a gameplay trailer of their latest project, Night-Blade. Check it out on the project's website. I suggest checking it out even if you never had a shred of interest in ThieveryUT. It's fascinating, and quite well done.

Additionally, as a consequence of the team responsible for these projects (and more, it seems) naming themselves Black Cat Games, I've changed the linkage up on The Circle's main menu to reflect this fact.

Best wishes, Black Cat Games. :)





          Saturday, November 29, 2003

Thief 3 Teaser (From DX2 Demo)
- 8:43:44 AM - Dan
This is the Thief 3 Teaser which came with the Deus Ex 2 demo. Many, many, (many) people emailed me with information about how to play the teaser out of the demo, and Yametha even converted it into an avi for me, but in the end it was Paavo Happonen who sent me an uncompressed version of the teaser which requires no extra downloads such as player programs or new video codices.

Grab the file here.

Again, this is the same old Thief 3 Teaser we've already seen all over the place, but as far as I know this is the longest cut (maybe too long) with the most complete audio we've seen/heard to date. Thanks again, everyone, for all the help!




New Java Chat Applet
- 6:41:04 AM - Dan
Going off a tip from sailoreagle, I changed java applets from the slow-loading and often not working one we had before, to PJIRC, which seems to run much better. Only problem so far is that I can't seem to make it allow you to choose your nick before you log on. Right now everyone who enters the #thief IRC channel is branded with the name Thief-TheCircle_JavaIRC. Oh well, enjoy, and thanks eagle. :)




Walkthrough Section Becomes Informational Section
- 6:12:16 AM - Dan
More housekeeping has been done tonight. I revamped The Circle's Walkthroughs & Lore section to bring it up to date, kill all of the broken links, and add in links to technical help areas such as the excellent Thief Series FAQ on the forums, and guides to running FMs. To top it all off the area has been renamed Informational, indicating that it contains much more than a few walkthroughs.

The section now supports a very "just the text ma'am" design to stress substance over style. No, it's not because I was lazy. If I was lazy I would have let it be, rotten links and all. :)

I must ask though... is the text too small?





          Friday, November 28, 2003

Patches Section Restored
- 9:08:32 AM - Dan
Fixing the Jukebox got me in the right mood, so I did an overhaul of the patches section here at The Circle. All of the broken links are now fixed, and it's been divided up into categories: Thief 1 Official Patches, Thief 2 Official Patches, User Patches, Graphic Enhancement Mods, and Gameplay Mods.




TTLG Jukebox Restored
- 4:23:47 AM - Dan
I'd like to let everyone know that the files in the TTLG Jukebox have now been restored. Browsers can now download mp3s of music from the Ultima Underworld series, System Shock series, Thief series, and Terra Nova.

And a big thanks to Dennis Nixon for the hosting. :)





          Thursday, November 27, 2003

New Motion Database Tools
- 7:29:03 PM - Twisty

Shadowspawn has once again made a technological triumph for the Dromed community by releasing some new motion database tools. Would we really expect any less of him?

They are available in the tools section at Dromed Central.







          Sunday, November 23, 2003

CoSaS Mission 2 Screens / News / Help Wanted
- 12:49:23 AM - Dan
Mission 2 will be seeing the light of day soon. Until then, I have a few words to say, and then on to some screenshots.

Those of you who felt that Gathering at the Inn was too short and small have something to look forward to in our next mission. It's quite massive, which is part of what's taking so long. I don't want to babble on about how wonderful it is, I want everyone to see for themselves. Sadly, screenshots will have to do for now. It will be done when it's done, though the more help (good honest hard working help) we can get (talented determined people hellbent on making CoSaS as good as they dream it could be) the sooner everyone else can play it.

 

 

 

 

I hope that stirrs up some interest. :) Here are some positions we could use some help with.

  • Scripting - click here to apply
    Are you the type of dromeder who wants to ignore architecture and dig into the mechanics of gameplay? Puzzles, conversations, etc? Then we need you. If you're a master, step right up and give us a hand. If you're a beginner but quick learner, then become an apprentice to our expert and be brought up to speed... and then give us a hand. In either case, our current scripter can't do it alone - we need your help as a full time team member.

  • Audio - click here to apply
    We need a full time team member to lead up the audio front of the project, who will be responsable for composing original music for both in-game and the cinematics, sound effects, and processing the audio from the voice actors.

  • Artist - click here to apply
    We are always in need of artists to hand or computer draw artwork for both the mission briefings and in-game notes artwork, such as the portraits in Gathering at the Inn.

    Thank you for your attention. :) Discuss it on the Thief FMs forum!





  •           Saturday, November 22, 2003

    Familiar Thief 3 Cinematic Included in DX2 Demo
    - 4:33:48 PM - Dan
    Included in the Deus Ex 2 demo is a cut of the familiar Thief 3 cinematic we've seen various versions of getting posted online in the past. This seems to be the longest, and most complete cut I've seen. There's a full audio score now, featuring what sounds like a few rarely and barely used music loops from Thief 1 & Thief 2, as well as sound effects taken directly from both of those games. Being the longest cut of the cinematic, it tells the most complete story, but there are a few sections I would have trimmed down; they're unnecessarily long... The "you've got loot" sound effect at the end when Garrett opens the sack (he spends about 5 seconds trying to open it) made me cringe. But my opinions are really irrelivant when it comes to how to edit and cut Thief 3 cinematics. ;)

    I wanted to try to post the movie to the site, but it seems to be integrated into the game's archives. If you grab the demo, go to the options menu and click on extras to view it.




    Deus Ex 2 Demo Is Here
    - 8:03:33 AM - Dan
    Our first look at the engine that Thief 3 will be using has finally come. The Deus Ex 2 engine started out as the engine they used for Unreal 2 & Unreal Tournament 2003, but has been heavily modified to support a renderer with a much more advanced lighting system, as well as Havok physics. These modifications were meant for Thief 3 as well as for Deus Ex 2. We'll just have to wait and see in order to tell what changes happen to the engine between now and when Thief 3 comes out (or even what differences are already present). This, however, is a rundown of things I noticed about the engine which will be of interest to Thief players.

    My system is a 1.7 GHZ P4 with 512 Megs of RAM-Bus. My vid card is a GeForce FX 5600.

    The game ran very smoothly with all the graphics options set to max, and the resolution set to 800x600. I could set it higher and have it still playable, but I'd much rather play it smooth and blurry than sharp and choppy. Texture resolution and detail seemed to change as I set the video resolution up and down as well, though I may have just been imagining this. Detail is controlled by three options, shadow detail, light detail, and character detail. I am not sure what the difference is between shadow and light detail. I did not notice much of a performance change when I changed the settings of these options. There is also an option (Bloom) to turn off the special glow light sources give off, and alter the level of sharpness to the edges. I did not notice any change when I tried to change the sharpness - all looked the same to me. However, when I turned off the Bloom, everything looked much sharper. Again, no performance change. Bloom rocks, by the way. It makes everything look so much more natural.

    With Bloom on, the edges of the shadows were very smooth and soft, and looked very realistic. Shadows are black in Deus Ex 2, which means that if there is no light, then it is pitch black and you are blind unless you turn on your headlight. I understand that shadows will be blue in Thief 3 to allow Garrett (you) to still be able to see in pitch darkness without having to carry a light with him. The player character, Alex D (man or woman) does not cast a shadow himself (or herself). Again, we already know that in Thief 3 this will not be the case. We've seen screenshots to prove it. Unfortunately there is a problem with the lighting which I do not know the status of in Thief 3. Simply put, some lights don't make shadows. This is especially obvious with your headlight. When you're using it, an aura of light surrounds you, but I was never able to see any shadows created by it. I thought maybe that this was just because the light was coming directly from the player's eyes, and you wouldn't be able to see the shadows anyway because the shadows only existed where you couldn't see... but I started noticing other lights that were not obstructed by objects. The headlight on a on bot for instance continued to cast a cone of light on the ground even when I threw a crate to block it. In other cases, some objects did not cast shadows. Some fences did, while others did not. The vast majority of the time shadows were cast fantastically, from flinders of wood during their seconds-long existence after the wooden object they came from was broken, to the lump on an NPC's throat.

    The NPCs looked quite nice. They were not super-detailed, but they were well-detailed. Things that mattered to make them look more human were modeled, such as the aforementioned lump on the throat, and other things, like fingernails, were not. Facial animations, while smooth, were all the same. I didn't notice any facial expressions - in fact, everyone had the exact same expression; staring wide-eyed in front of them, blinking now and then. The blinks looked good, though, as did the mouth movements while talking. Playing with the rag-dolls was fun, too. I was really hoping, since DX2 used in-game cinematics, that facial animations would be used to allow the animated meshes which represent humans to actually "act". Maybe we'll see this in Thief 3, and maybe not. It's not important to gameplay, but it is important for immersion.

    Sounds were awesome - perfect even. Everything sounded exactly how it should. I don't have much to comment except that I spent quite some time throwing a metal barrel around trying to see how many different sounds it would make. It made alot.

    So that's my take on it. If you want to read about the gameplay or the actual content of the demo, go read a Deus Ex site. I'm just talking about the engine here. ;)

    Discuss this on our Thief 3 forum!




    Arkane Seeks Level Designers
    - 6:58:01 AM - Dan
    Arkane Studios (Lyon, France), the creator of Arx Fatalis, is looking for talent within the Thief community to be level designers for their next project, an epic 1st person fantasy RPG. If you're interested, please contact Raphael. If you do not live in France, you would be required to relocate.

    If you are unfamiliar with Arx Fatalis, the TTLG site StygianAbyss.com will shed some light.





              Monday, November 17, 2003

    Fan Mission Archive Updated
    - 7:04:48 PM - Elenkis
    The fan mission archive and TTLG file mirror have finally gotten updated again and now contain all of the missions released over the past month. Here's the list:

  • Amnesia (updated to version 2.0)
  • Easy Money
  • Elevator Mission T2
  • Fanatic's Arena
  • Fireshadow's Barrow (updated to version 2.0)
  • Fortress by the Sea
  • Friend Basso
  • Gerrard's Temple
  • Graduation Day
  • Mixed Messages
  • Safe Haven

    On a side note; all demo, movie and music media has now been uploaded to the new server (with thanks as always to Dennis for hosting) and the broken links to Jason's old URL should be fixed.





  •           Thursday, November 13, 2003

    Thief - The Movie?
    - 4:41:37 AM - Dave
    Doc_Brown popped into our forums earlier to say that the Holiday '03 issue of PCGamer USA the following snippet
    Eidos is also revving up a possible Thief movie starring Tobey McGuire [of the movie Spiderman]; it's been linked to Mark Gordon, producer of Saving Private Ryan and The Patriot.
    Discuss in our forums!





              Thursday, November 06, 2003

    Fan Mission Reviews
    - 6:42:04 PM - Dan
    We have ten fan mission reviews to post tonight. Did you know that there's currently between 300 and 400 fan-made missions in our archive? Makes the usefulness of reviews all the more apparent, I think. Anyway, here you go...

    The Airship - 5.5 Hammers
  • Pros: Novel, good-looking and fun-to-explore setting, good gameplay.
  • Cons: Negligible story, tiny mission size.
  • Bottom Line: Definitely worth playing. Its size and lack of a plot keep it from being a great mission, but it is very fun.

    A Keeper's Betrayal - 9.5 Hammers (Congratulations!)
  • Pros: Wide variety of locales, objectives that make story sense, surprisingly big environment for a small FM.
  • Cons: Virtually impossible to ghost; requires weird manipulations of the engine.
  • Bottom Line: A mission that starts small, then grows bigger and bigger while never losing sight of either story or gameplay. All in all, definitely a keeper... uh, you know what I mean!

    The Art of Thievery - 7.5 Hammers (Congratulations!)
  • Pros:Excellent gameplay, very good (not to mention humongous) architecture, extremely high replayability
  • Cons:Insensitive guards, basic story
  • Bottom Line: This mission has some of the best, and definitely the most, gameplay to be found among individual fan missions. It's recommended to anyone who is skilled in Thief gameplay.

    The Builder's Hammer - 2 Hammers
  • Pros: Cool effects, a creepy beginning, and solid architecture
  • Cons: An extremely aggravating apebeast area, unsneakable and deadly
  • Bottom Line: Actually, the best in this level is to be seen early on, so you might want to play it up to the apebeast cave. After that, well, I hope you're willing to reload a lot.

    Chasing Sergeant Chase - 2 Hammers
  • Pros: Nothing really comes to mind.
  • Cons: Dull architecture, poor gameplay, numerous annoying aspects
  • Bottom Line: A deeply flawed mission. Probably not worth playing.

    Escape from Blackstone Crypt - 6.5 Hammers
  • Pros: Great exploration, a good story backed by many readables. Winner of the 64^3 contest.
  • Cons: Not much sneaking; a poorly-placed (but vital) button.
  • Bottom Line: A very worthwhile little mission. Even if you don't like the undead, it's still worth playing (since there aren't too many of those up and about).

    Father's Pride - 5.5 Hammers
  • Pros: A mission designed for children (a rarity, to say the least). Solid gameplay and architecture, along with lots of small, endearing touches.
  • Cons: Not at all challenging, some of the humor is puerile (but that's the point, isn't it?).
  • Bottom Line: If you have kids, you might try this mission on them. However, as a full-fledged fan mission, it's only so-so, and no challenge for experienced players.

    Museum Heist - 2.5 Hammers
  • Pros: Fair gameplay, various memorable spots
  • Cons: Generally poor architecture, minimal story
  • Bottom Line: This mission probably isn't worth your time.

    Oswald's Patisserie - 4 Hammers
  • Pros: Interesting setting, good gameplay, various neat details
  • Cons: Tiny level, somewhat disappointing architecture
  • Bottom Line: A fun mission, worth the time it takes to play... but there's nothing memorable about it.

    Red Ridge - 1.5 Hammers
  • Pros: It's painless to beat... and the first few moments, at least, are interesting
  • Cons: Utterly rudimentary architecture, completely arbitrary design, no sense of setting, poor gameplay
  • Bottom Line: This was the author's first level, and it was completed in ten hours. Those are two facts that should not go together.

    The Ring - 4 Hammers
  • Pros: Good exploration, lots of loot, usually solid gameplay
  • Cons: Shoddy architecture, under-developed story, a generally incomplete feel
  • Bottom Line: Fun, but deficient in most aspects

    Warehouse 51 - 6 Hammers
  • Pros: Good humor, visuals, and gameplay
  • Cons: There is very little gameplay, rather much of which is taken up by loot-hunting
  • Bottom Line: A great tongue-in-cheek mission, and a solid Thief mission as well

    Thanks for your review, Dafydd... and a huge thanks to Anachric Fox for his nine reviews.





  •           Saturday, November 01, 2003

    Artwork from Rahul Sinha
    - 6:41:23 PM - Elenkis
    Rahul Sinha has sent us this new sketch for the art gallery, he calls the piece Shadow Thief:

    Thanks Rahul!






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