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Thread by @GTElephant: "So, it's about time I finally did it. Join me as I play Thief: The Dark Project; I've never got further than The Sword before. Thanks to the […]" #ThiefTDP #Dishonored #Dishonored2 #Hitman

, 639 tweets, 282 min read
So, it's about time I finally did it. Join me as I play Thief: The Dark Project; I've never got further than The Sword before. Thanks to the No Spiders mod from @adurdin I hope to actually finish it this time. #ThiefTDP
I'll be playing Thief Gold. I have multiple copies of The Dark Project but they'd require me to dig through boxes to find. Thief Gold is the only one reliably available online. I am reserving the right to level skip past the Thieves Guild, though. #ThiefTDP
I'll be using the New Dark version, but sticking to a 4:3 aspect ratio. #ThiefTDP
I love Thief 2: The Metal Age, and have less than fond memories of "Down In The Bonehoard" and the early parts of "Break from Cragscleft Prison". I am unconvinced zombies make for engaging enemies, so this is going to be interesting. #ThiefTDP
Because I am a rational and completely well adjusted adult with nothing to prove, I'm going to be playing on Expert... #ThiefTDP
I want to try and complete one level a night, though that probably won’t be maintainable as the game goes on. #ThiefTDP
God these games have an aesthetic... #ThiefTDP
Maybe sacrilegious but I do sort of wish the games themselves had an art style closer to the cutscenes, though I understand that wasn't something that was achievable at the time. #ThiefTDP
It's hard not to get nostalgic for Quake went presented with such chunky BSP architecture, though Quake was never this colourful. Greens, yellows, and purples, it's surprising how colourful a game about sneaking around in the dark actually is. #ThiefTDP
So here's a weird fact, I've not finished #ThiefTDP but I've started it a bunch of times. Recently I've had to have several dental treatments (Yay NHS), and during them I tend to zone out and mentally run through levels in my head, Bafford's is one of those I use.
I can close my eyes and mentally walk through the entire level. I can do that with a lot of levels, but Bafford's is one of the few where the mental image is so vivid I can just close my eyes and be there. Another is The Golden Cat from Dishonored. #ThiefTDP
It's a bit late, so going to save "Lord Bafford's Manor" for another day. Just wanted to make sure everything was running properly, and play the tutorial today. My bow skills are still on point, and my sword fighting is as terrible as ever. #ThiefTDP
A little disappointed the basketball court and quote scroll aren't in the Gold version anymore. thief.wikia.com/wiki/A_Keeper%… #ThiefTDP
Or maybe I messed up and this isn’t on Expert... I can’t remember the exact requirements to reach it anymore. #ThiefTDP
Looks like I hadn't started on Expert, which explains why I couldn't get to the basketball court. Good thing you can just restart the level and change the difficulty. #ThiefTDP
Restarted on Expert. #ThiefTDP
The conceit that the maps have been hand draw by somebody (in this case your fence Cutty) is wonderful. It's even better when Garrett has drawn them because he cannot draw to save his life and just labels things "caves". #ThiefTDP
I have a thing for boundary conditions in levels and this is a good example, clear and unambiguous. Some players might search for a switch, but unlikely since they shouldn't have encountered one yet. #ThiefTDP
It's also neat because the exit from Bafford's is on the far side of this gate, though you might not recognise it when you get there. #ThiefTDP
Electric lights in the sewer? Really? Still, going back to the map from before, there's no layout of the sewer. Why? Because Cutty never went into them he's a fence not a thief. #ThiefTDP
That you start on the streets of the city and most people just walk past you is such a great idea. It's a shame they never really use it much after this. The idea of public and private spaces is under used in stealth games, but something Hitman gets right. #ThiefTDP
I've played Bafford's so many times that I'm going through it a little fast this time so I can get to the levels I've never played before. #ThiefTDP
Even using the New Dark patch I feel light I'm fighting with the controls occasionally. It doesn't like it if I keep one finger on any of the speed modifier keys while I try and lean, a habit I got into in Thief 2 where I nearly constantly had Creep held down. #ThiefTDP
It's related to another thing I wish these games did, which is acknowledge the context of the noise you make. So running in a noise environment doesn't trigger an alert, but any sound in a secure area is immediately important. #ThiefTDP
I remembered where the secret passage was... Though I only used it to dowse the torches, as jumping down would cause damage. #ThiefTDP
Best corridor in the entire game. FIGHT ME. #ThiefTDP
I absolutely mean it. The use of carpets and hard stone floors is superb, and really solidifies why sound is so important in this game. You could get through this corridor with your eyes closed and that's some incredible design. #ThiefTDP
All the rooms off this corridor are brightly lit by electric lights. You need to close the door if you want to search them, and that means you are forced to rely on the sound of the guards footsteps to determine if it's safe to return to the corridor. #ThiefTDP
"Heh, it's a throne room, how pretentious can you get?" #ThiefTDP
It's at this point that I realised how cocky Garrett is, he broke into Bafford's without any lock picks. #ThiefTDP
"Milordy Bafford -" #ThiefTDP
No time to mess around, a jump from the top floor into the pool and a quick dart across the corridor to the exit. #ThiefTDP
I'll spend more time on the subsequent levels, wanted to get through this and make sure I was feeling comfortable with the game again. Controls are going to take a little getting used to. I kinda wish I could just play through these levels with Dishonored 2's move set. #ThiefTDP
A few moments of annoyance, like when I was confident a guard wouldn’t spot me when he walked past, only for him to immediately attack once he got to me. #ThiefTDP
You start this level with your Blackjack, Sword, Broadhead Arrows, Water Arrows and Flash Bombs. You have only a small part of your eventual kit, yet the core mechanics of the game are so solid it feels like plenty; maybe even more than you need. #ThiefTDP
The “bear pits” conversation is great, though on reflection it runs a little long. A lot of the incidental guard conversations are maybe two or three lines longer than feels necessary. #ThiefTDP
Eric Brosius made some manner of satanic pact, that’s the only plausible reason for his audio design to be this good. #ThiefTDP
Dan Thron is the prefect straight man to Stephen Russell’s Benny. Somehow despite having not played System Shock 2 for years I can’t help but think of him as the Navy Recruiter. #ThiefTDP
Aside from the writing style, this note (found in Bafford's library) is important because it's the first mention of Victoria\Viktoria. #ThiefTDP
So, can we talk about how Garrett rescues Basso from Cragscleft just so he can get laid? #ThiefTDP
I don't like zombies as a concept and this level is doing nothing to dispel that. The idea of using Holy Water to bless your Water Arrows is great, but that it still takes 2 to explode a zombie feels shitty. #ThiefTDP
And you can fuck right off with whatever this is... #ThiefTDP
Well, that's a useful map... Ahem. #ThiefTDP
It's such a change of tone from the first level. For some reason it's hard for my brain to align itself to the idea of just sneaking past the zombies like I do with the human guards. #ThiefTDP
Finally made it through the mines, just in time to hear a pair of Hammers discussing those "bloody millennials" (not an exact quote). The lower floors of Cragscleft are really constricted, claustrophobically so. #ThiefTDP
I'm either incredibly out of practice, or actually getting into the factory level is really hard. Narrow corridors, lot of right angled corners, and then metal floors around the switches you need to activate to proceed. #ThiefTDP
I actually managed to find Felix before Cutty asked me to, and that doesn't break anything which is cool. #ThiefTDP
Urgh... This is where the physics/movement system of the Dark Engine comes back to bite me. I know exactly what I want to do, and how to do it, but I keep fucking it up. Took eight attempts to finally get across and KO him without being spotted. #ThiefTDP
That top one means rapists doesn't it? Lovely company Cutty is keeping. #ThiefTDP
Alright, so this was both annoying and hilarious. Cutty finally dies after telling me about Felix, just as a Hammer walks past. Hammer sees the body, screams about an "assassin" and enters the cell, spotting and killing me immediately. Emergence! #ThiefTDP
I am so bad at this game right now that I'm not going to be able to finish Cragscleft tonight. I need to give myself more time to play each level. #ThiefTDP
As has been pointed out, I didn't need to jump across at all because I had the key and the door can be unlocked from the outside. #ThiefTDP
There are two reasons I didn't realise this.
1) It was too dark.
2) At this stage you've not been introduced to locks separate from the doors themselves, so I never even thought to look for one.

I'm also 90% certain I did the exact same thing last time I played. #ThiefTDP
It made sense that the guard room was locked from the inside, so I just went with that assumption. I don't really understand why this level does it that way, what's the design reason behind not having the doors themselves be the locks, ala the first level? #ThiefTDP
Going to spend some time just messing around in the level to get a sense of the physics and movement again, test AI boundaries, etc. #ThiefTDP
Not sure what the detection criteria are for physical proximity to an AI. I’ve been spotted a few times, yet totally ignored at others. #ThiefTDP
Some world building flavour, “boxman” in the context of “Basso the Boxman” means safecracker. #ThiefTDP
Should be returning to it tonight. Might restart Cragscleft so I feel a little more comfortable with the controls/movement etc. #ThiefTDP
If I do restart Cragscleft the question is do I pay for the tips given that I know what they say already? Purchasing additional information before you start is a cool idea, though might be more effective if Cutty's location wasn't fixed. #ThiefTDP
Not going to restart, just going to make sure the guard has passed before I talk to Cutty this time, might hide his body too just in case. #ThiefTDP
Shhh... There's nobody here...

Bit of a sweaty palms moment this one.
#ThiefTDP
Deirne, interesting that Cragscleft isn't exclusively for male prisoners. #ThiefTDP
This asshole however is Tarquis (I assume the same one mentioned in the previous letter to Milordy Bafford). Tarquis spotted me briefly and would NOT shut up about it. Like seriously dude, you think you're going to get early release for being a snitch? #ThiefTDP
The maps for the upper levels (factory and prison) are of a much better quality than those of the mines. Which makes sense because some of the prisoners will have been sentenced to work in the factory, so any that were released will know the layout. #ThiefTDP
This game is fucking stupid at times. Look I'm hidden! #ThiefTDP
Navigating the four cell blocks is fairly repetitive, which makes sense. It's also easy to get lost, which also makes perfect sense for a prison complex. It's not exactly designed to be welcoming to "tourists". #ThiefTDP
No decent map of the highest level, again thematically consistent as no prisoners would have been able to access this floor. Garrett has a pithy comment about how many valuables are on display in this chapel. #ThiefTDP
Nammon escaped and made off with half the contents of the evidence box... Fortunately I already found his body, and the game acknowledged that. So really I didn't even need to come up here; except I did because loot. #ThiefTDP
I'm learning, never trust an obviously placed banner. #ThiefTDP
So, funny story. I have a memory of escaping Cragscleft with Basso via the water. There's a waterfall earlier in the mines and in my head I remembered going over that while holding Basso... There's water at the top so I assumed this was the escape route... #ThiefTDP
Except that's not possible... This water doesn't link to anything else. If I'm to escape with Basso I need to carry him back through the factory and mines. #ThiefTDP
This memory of a water escape was so vivid that I included a homage to it in one of Wildfire's levels; yet it's not something that ever happened. #ThiefTDP
So after bringing Basso to the top level for a daring waterfall escape, I now have to carry him all the way back, through the prison, to the factory, and the mines beyond. #ThiefTDP
Getting out of the prison was fairly straightforward, and judicious use of my one Noisemaker Arrow allowed me to dash past the Hammers in the factory. #ThiefTDP
I was able to use the water to avoid some parts of the mines. Finally back on solid ground I opt to use my Holy Water and the last of my Water Arrows to destroy any zombies in my way (because fuck them, that's why), and make my escape with Basso over my shoulder. #ThiefTDP
Let me remind you that Garrett only got Basso out to impressive Basso's sister... Garrett also threatened to kill Cutty... Garrett is kind of a dick. #ThiefTDP
That this game keeps a separate record of knock outs performed "While Airborne" is why it's cool... I mean there are other reasons, but we all know this is the main one. #ThiefTDP
Standing next to a door - an unconscious Basso over my shoulder - listening for a Hammer to reach the end of his patrol route and so turn his back to the door, I may possibly have said out loud: "Yeah, this game is pretty fucking good." #ThiefTDP
Oh, and Garrett still didn't bother to pack his lock picks, even when he was infiltrating a prison. *Shakes Head* #ThiefTDP
Unfortunately now it's time for "Down In The Bonehoard", a level I have repeatedly said I hate. #ThiefTDP
What struck me about Cragscleft was how claustrophobic it was. It feels like the entire thing could fit inside one of the warehouses from “Shipping and Receiving”. #ThiefTDP
That said it still felt complete, it had four cell blocks of ten cells each and didn’t have any separate wings that were “out of bounds”. No toilets though, but I did miss part of the barracks so maybe they were in there. #ThiefTDP
There are little inconsistencies between levels (like the separate lock boxes next to the doors in Cragscleft) that indicate there probably wasn’t a single “Lead Level Designer” who oversaw everything. #ThiefTDP
Ah ha! I must have originally played it on Normal. #ThiefTDP
The differences between difficulty levels are really worth talking about. I believe the Gamasutra post-mortem admits they took the differing objectives based on difficulty from GoldenEye on the N64, but I don’t believe that game also changed the layouts. #ThiefTDP
Now that I know I wasn’t making an entire part of the level up it makes sense why it wouldn’t be available on Expert. Without it you’re forced to traverse the entire level carrying Basso. #ThiefTDP
As we get into the later levels I’m probably going to talk more about the objectives and plot. I realised I hadn’t so far because I’d assumed only people who knew the game were reading these. #ThiefTDP
So basically, Garrett breaks into Bafford’s because he knows the Lord is out for the night. His fence Cutty has his payment but has been taken to Cragscleft by the Hammers. No fence, no money, time to break Cutty out. #ThiefTDP
When Garrett gets to him Cutty admits he doesn’t have his money and then keels over dead; prison exacerbating a lung condition it seems. Before he dies he tells Garrett where to find the map to The Horn of Quintus. #ThiefTDP
Right now we are still in Act 1 and these first three missions are just Garrett doing a job and trying to get paid for it. There are hints at the main plot but it hasn’t really kicked in yet. #ThiefTDP
As The Dark Project is really just a film noir this is the part of the film where the protagonist is finishing up his last case before the femme fatale walks through his office door. #ThiefTDP
This film noir structure is also why sticking “The Downwind Thieves’ Guild” in after “Assassins” makes for such awkward pacing, but I’ll talk about that when I get there. #ThiefTDP
Despite minor complaints, the inconsistencies between different levels is for the best. Having maps of some locations and not others is inconsistent systems design, it's also perfect narrative design. #ThiefTDP
Yeah, real fucking helpful map there Felix. <_< #ThiefTDP
Putting a zombie right at the start is a real statement of intent. I wish I didn't find them so completely unfun to deal with. They aren't difficult to avoid, they are just annoying, I never feel stealthy just rushed. #ThiefTDP
This is a cool little secret, especially as it gives you a full eight Water Arrows. #ThiefTDP
I do rather like this first area. I assume that's a representation of the Trickster in that final image? That's what he looks like in the background of the briefing cutscene at least. #ThiefTDP
I think maybe this is a trap. #ThiefTDP
"The Many welcomes you..." #ThiefTDP
"Oh no, you did NOT shoot that green shit at me!" #ThiefTDP
So it's like that is it...

I don't actually mind this section that much. It's not the getting lost in caves part of this level that annoys me. #ThiefTDP
Exploring the vaults and the caves, finding the bodies of the thieves who tried to reach the Horn before you is cool, and very much my kind of thing. It's just what you need to do to get the Mystic's Soul and Mystic's Heart that annoys me. #ThiefTDP
Though trying to find my way into the Alarus Extension for the Bow Upgrade is really annoying too. ;) #ThiefTDP
Simply put, these two rooms are why I don't like "Down in the Bonehoard". I managed to get through the statue room on my second attempt which was a surprise, but the first room still took a dozen tries. :( #ThiefTDP
Most of those failures were just flat out failed jumps. I knew exactly what I wanted to do and when, I just messed up the jumps repeatedly. It will also kill you if you fall from anything but the lowest beam which feels like an unsystemic "special case" contrivance. #ThiefTDP
I don't really remember this level. I found this above ground area, is this somewhere that counts as "outside" for the Mission Objectives? Ala can I just go back here when I have everything I need? Otherwise I'm not sure what it's for. I'll try it anyway. #ThiefTDP
Cool visual effect... Wait a minute, I'm not falling for this one. I'm not standing in that patch of "light", you aren't tricking me. #ThiefTDP
This does count as an escape route, because the objectives say return to the "surface". I assume it's still possible to get all the way back if you don't find this area though. #ThiefTDP
I spent a portion of this map carrying around parts of a Golden Skeleton, which sure is a thing. Turns out I could offer them to a coffin below that Hammer symbol for a bunch of useful equipment. #ThiefTDP
Came around a corner to find this, and I do not trust it... I've been giving it the side eye while slowing edging into the passage on the right. #ThiefTDP
I don't understand the detection criteria for Burricks - though I believe these may be sleeping. They don't appear able to "see" me, is their behaviour primarily based on auditory detection, or some form of proximity? #ThiefTDP
Horn of Quintus acquired.
Number of deaths due to ladders: 3.
Number of deaths due to missing a jump: 2.
#ThiefTDP
I guess I was probably supposed to find this before I grabbed the Horn. #ThiefTDP
That's the Mystic's Heart, and Horn of Quintus secured; I've also stolen the crystal eyes of some creepy face that spoke to me - this game is weird. Time to get the Mystic's Soul and GTFO. #ThiefTDP
Of course, on the way to get the Mystic's Souls there's some literal man on fire. I assume this is a Fire Elemental, so logically Water Arrows should work. He takes about two hits then runs away like something out of a Benny Hill skit. #ThiefTDP
Problem... #ThiefTDP
Solution... #ThiefTDP
Result. The Mystic's Soul is mine! #ThiefTDP
That's "Down in the Bonehoard" done. On reflection I don't hate it, I just don't like that so many parts of it rely on making precise jumps that the game's controls don't really accommodate. #ThiefTDP
I love the architecture and layout, and how it changes across the three different areas. Great use of colour and materials. There's an abundance of traps yet they aren't cheap, there are environmental clues everywhere, if you pay attention you shouldn't get caught. #ThiefTDP
Bonus points for fungi as light sources. #ThiefTDP
I’ve worked out the reason I don’t like levels like this that much. I’m very fond of ghosting, of finding creative solutions to go undetected. It’s hard to avoid detection from zombies, burricks, and other creatures. #ThiefTDP
Because the game doesn’t really care if you’re detected - only what you do about it - it’s not afraid to just throw a bunch of zombies at you in a way that makes avoiding detection impossible. #ThiefTDP
Once I accepted that, and overcame my inherent frugality when it comes to using my resources, dealing with zombies became much more tolerable. #ThiefTDP
Both Rope Arrows and Fire Arrows have now been introduced so Garrett’s inventory is almost complete. Still don’t think I’ve fired a single Broadhead Arrow yet though. #ThiefTDP
Already the theee factions in the world of Thief have been set up even if not explicitly so. Each of the three briefing cutscenes (and to an extent the missions they introduce) has been focused around one of the three factions: Keepers, Hammers, Pagans. #ThiefTDP
Each faction has their own aesthetics, and that influences the style of the briefing cutscenes. This is one design choice that is consistent across all of the first three Thief games. Even Deadly Shadows separates the briefings by faction. #ThiefTDP
As each faction has been introduced the game can now begin in earnest. “Assassins” is the point where Garrett’s actions come back to haunt him and the film noir spiral into complexity prepares to kick in. #ThiefTDP
Everything that has happened so far is a direct result of Lord Bafford going out for the night and Garrett seizing the opportunity. What happen from here on is down to forces outside Garrett’s control. #ThiefTDP
Given Viktoria has already been mentioned by someone working for Bafford, I wonder if she also gave Ramirez the push to make a move on Garrett. So as to ensure the master thief felt pressured to take her job when it’s offered. But I’m getting ahead of things. #ThiefTDP
I obviously love this series for its level and systems design, yet I think I might actually love the way it handles narrative design even more. It manages to be incredibly rich with such economy; nothing serves only one purpose. #ThiefTDP
Somewhat pretentious, but - film noir influences aside - there’s something literary to the way The Dark Project and The Metal Age present their story. They have a fairly rigid 3 act structure, but it’s used as a frame rather than a screenplay template. #ThiefTDP
Compare this to some modern games whose plots feel like they came out of the same Screen Writing 101 text. Here’s the father figure, here’s the symbolic necklace/lighter/watch, here’s the moment of self doubt, etc. #ThiefTDP
I understand logically that all AI operating using the same detection criteria, it just doesn’t feel that way, and honestly 90% of AI is how it feels to play against. #ThiefTDP
Zombies take several seconds to wake up from being “dead”, they move slowly and don’t vocalise their internal AI state beyond a range of moans and groans. They feel sluggish and brainless. #ThiefTDP
Burricks have no visible eyes (at least I’ve never got close enough to see any), they move slowly and again have no clear vocalisations of internal AI states. I assume they have the same proximity detection as human guards (?), if so it’s smaller relative to their size. #ThiefTDP
Even if the Burrick’s proximity sensor is the same size relative to them as it is to human guards their sheer size makes them intimidating to approach, meaning it never really triggers. #ThiefTDP
With no eyes you can’t really feel where they are looking. Are they predator or prey, what’s their vision cone like? It’s hard to parse so they seem mysterious and dangerous. #ThiefTDP
Burricks do in fact have eyes. They are hard to see in the game, to the point where I just assumed they didn’t have any. #ThiefTDP
I’m comfortable looking through source code, or pulling apart resource files to check details, but I’m making a point of not doing that until I’ve finished. I want to experience this as cleanly as possibly. #ThiefTDP
I have only played “Assassins” once before, and I’ve never finished the “Thieves’ Guild”, so we’re getting into new territory for me. #ThiefTDP
The fake-out start of "Assassins" is great, though the title of the level does somewhat spoil the surprise. #ThiefTDP
All Garrett wanted to do was buy some nice lock picks, now somebody's just tried to kill him. Shame Farkus is dead, but that does mean the contents of his shop are now at a nice 100% discount. #ThiefTDP
Thanks to the five finger discount you start with a wealth of Arrows, which I suspect is going to be useful. The initial set-up is great, trail the assassins back to their master; are they still assassins if they killed somebody, but it was the wrong person? #ThiefTDP
There's some really nice areas in the city streets, going to have to come back and look once I've finished trailing the assassins; I've already messed that up three times by lingering too long. #ThiefTDP
Updated objectives means a new map. I am convinced Garrett drew this himself, and he did it while standing in the shadows outside Ramirez's. #ThiefTDP
Objective "ding" obscures Garrett's voice line when he finally determines where the assassins came from; one of the very few instances where the sound mix isn't great. #ThiefTDP
This is what's annoying me, this dude saw me the moment he walked past me. But in Cragscleft I was closer to two guards at the same time and neither noticed me. *Grumble* #ThiefTDP
Reload takes me back to the city streets, which are cool. #ThiefTDP
Found this door in the city that has a handle but cannot be interacted with, weird. #ThiefTDP
I have memories of Ramirez's, though not very good ones. A lot of this feels new, and that's great. My leap mantle from the outer walls to the mansion itself felt really cool, I picked the lock and suddenly I'm in the brightest room imaginable. Whoops. #ThiefTDP
That's a classic Thief corridor if ever there was one. #ThiefTDP
I like how this note basically tells you the counting room is in the basement without explicitly stating it. #ThiefTDP
Neither of these guards saw me, I was close enough to steal the keys off their belt; they were the same key sadly. #ThiefTDP
Look a "pet" Burrick... #ThiefTDP
Well that's just mean-spirited. #ThiefTDP
"Hi Ramirez, you might feel a dull pain in the back of your head... and a mild loss of consciousness." #ThiefTDP
Viktoria. There's that name again, it's almost like she might be important - please hold while we piss about in the Thieves' Guild for an hour. #ThiefTDP
A Noisemaker Arrow, a Speed Potion, and I'm out and back on the streets... Finding that Silver Fire-Poker was a big of a faff. #ThiefTDP
Seeing that 2000 loot requirement had me nervous, that's a lot of loot to find in one house. Turns out everything in Ramirez's is made of fucking gold, profligate asshole. #ThiefTDP
Playing through "Assassins" made me realise I'd missed Bafford's secret counting room, which would have solidified his connection to Ramirez. Fortunately I'd been there before. #ThiefTDP
Don't have much more to say about "Assassins", it's good Thief. Long brightly lit corridors dotted with locked doors make for tense moments on the top floor, while the ground floor relies on right angled corners and denser patrols. #ThiefTDP
Going to try and push through with the "Thieves' Guild" tonight. Then I can talk about why placing it here was a mistake. Honestly putting it before "Assassins" would make more sense, give Ramirez a stronger motivation, and not step on the introduction of Viktoria. #ThiefTDP
"Thieves' Guild" Update: I have just spent 10 minutes trying to get pass the first room of this fucking level. #ThiefTDP
Two patrolling guards, a civilian on a hair trigger, and only one non electric light source that I can get an angle on. Patrol routes are so short that I can't get past while their backs are turned. This is just a chore. #ThiefTDP
Made it finally, but that cook had to deal with a bit of minor head trauma. The idea of sneaking through an illicit casino is good, the execution could have done with being toned down a little. A half dozen guards is logical, but not pleasant to deal with. #ThiefTDP
Found the secret entrance to the Thieves' Guild, let's just check to see if we have a map for this area... You fucking what mate? #ThiefTDP
So... The vase I want is in the safe in Donals' house, but the key to the safe is in Reuben's house, but some other guy has the key to Donals' house so even if I got Reuben's key I'd have to find the third guy anyway. That's assuming Ruben's house isn't locked too. \o/ #ThiefTDP
Last time I got this far, I used a cheat to skip this level, then felt bad about it and so never played more than a minute or two of "The Sword". #ThiefTDP
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the “Thieves’ Guild” is not a very good level. I mean that technically as well, I think the lighting isn’t calculating correctly. #ThiefTDP
There are electric lights that seem to have a throw out of proportion to their size. I’m wasting Water Arrows on torches expecting to darken an area and the light level barely changes because it was actually lit by an electric light down the hall. #ThiefTDP
The sight lines are also a real cause of frustration, very short in areas frequently patrolled by multiple guards. Forcing me to keep darting between “shadows”, which aren’t really dark because of the abundance of electric lights. #ThiefTDP
The “Thieves’ Guild” plays like a first pass at a mid-game level from The Metal Age. It’d benefit from an editing pass, it’s too convoluted, too populated, and the lighting need reworking. #ThiefTDP
Taking a break for now. I will finish it and move onto “The Sword”, I might have to be a bit more brazen in my wielding of the blackjack though. #ThiefTDP
Ahem... Just so we’re all clear. #ThiefTDP
Playing this is really making me want to play Deadly Shadows again too, I’ve only ever played through it once before, when it came out. May start that after I’ve finished Thief Gold. #ThiefTDP
It’s also making me want to play Thief (4) which... Well we can just gloss over that. #ThiefTDP
"May the Trickster find you in the dark..."
"Sorry I didn't quite catch that."
#ThiefTDP
I’m having to use Water Arrows a lot more frequently in this level. Usually I’ll wait and see which torch I need to extinguish, here I’m having to dowse at least one to even be able to watch the patrols in safety. #ThiefTDP
What I think the issue is (will try and confirm as I play more), is that few of the spaces have darkness at their entry point. Meaning you are starting on the back foot and need to make a safe area immediately, which isn’t how the level design traditionally works. #ThiefTDP
Level is also full of shit like this, where I'm standing in a dark corner, and the Light Gem still says I'm illuminated. #ThiefTDP
The purpose of having two guards on a patrol route is that it creates a rhythm of increasing and decreasing tension centered around the moment of their overlap. Having one guard just follow the other offers none of that dynamism. #ThiefTDP
Overlapping patrols are one of those stealth game tricks that look really secure but are incredibly exploitable. When the two guards are at their overlap point every other part of both their patrol routes is unprotected. #ThiefTDP
"Thieves' Guild" Update: Really starting to fucking hate this level. #ThiefTDP
There are so many areas like this. Two torches and an electric light in one small room. It'd take two Water Arrows to even make it partial safe, so it's not worth bothering, I just have to push through to the next room without anywhere to retreat to. #ThiefTDP
Alright "Thieves' Guild" maybe you're not all bad. Also, Lord Brosius I see what you did there. #ThiefTDP
"Erm... Hi... Eh, quiet night?" #ThiefTDP
Shh, I'm hiding. #ThiefTDP
There is always one more guard patrolling an area than I think, it's getting ridiculous. #ThiefTDP
Those last two tell a tale... #ThiefTDP
I've broken into Reuben's and stolen the key to the safe in Donal's house, now I just need to get all the way back again, and break into Donal's, and then escape to the streets. No idea how I'm going to hit that 2000 loot requirement though. #ThiefTDP
Of course I find this secret door after I've taken the long route up to Reuben's room. #ThiefTDP
The single biggest problem with the "Thieves' Guild" is that there are too many guards, especially too many pairs of guards walking the same path. It makes each encounter fussy and rushed because you have no viable way to deal with two people at one. #ThiefTDP
Reuben's basement is a prime example of this, two civilian NPCs who patrol close together through a space it's all-but impossible to make dark. I've sworn at them a dozen times now just trying to get through a space of about 20 feet. #ThiefTDP
If you're going to have two NPCs patrolling through the same space where the player can only see a fraction of their patrol route make them look different, different outfits, different weapons, anything to let the player better determine patrol timings. #ThiefTDP
Attempt 22... #ThiefTDP
This is my view right now. One of these two is on a long patrol, the other is on a short patrol. I have to work out which is on which patrol so I can then time it to get past while both of them are looking the other way. All I can see is that doorway. #ThiefTDP
Cost me two Water Arrows but... #ThiefTDP
Donal's was locked... Fortunately I was able to find a back entrance via the sewers. I've got Lord Randall's vase, now I need to find his bracelet and I've got a terrible feeling it's all the way back at the other side of the level. #ThiefTDP
I'm also 520 loot short, I am never going to escape this place. #ThiefTDP
224 loot short... I'm rapidly running out of places to search for it. #ThiefTDP
Did find this though. #ThiefTDP
Woo! Found it, 2026. I very much appreciate that this is another level where the objective is to "Get back to the streets..." and it counts any area that's outside as valid, so I didn't have to try and sneak back through the underground casino. #ThiefTDP
I've now officially played the most Thief Gold/The Dark Project that I've ever played. The "Thieves' Guild" was a slog though now I'm thoroughly comfortable with the controls and core mechanics. #ThiefTDP
Saw a couple of doors like this, are these always blocked off or is this another example of the level layout changing based on the difficulty? #ThiefTDP
Donal's house has a pair of ledgers that include another reference to Viktoria along with various ones to members of the Looking Glass Studios team: Church, Leonard, Mahk, LaMer, Lesser Hrabota (IRL: Hrabota Lesser), Pearsall. #ThiefTDP
Those are the ones I can recognise, but checking MobyGames suggest every name is that of an LGS team member. Except Solus, not sure who or what that's a reference to. #ThiefTDP
Lord Randall is probably a reference to Randy Smith... Is it maybe a little weird that I can name a dozen members of a game developer that closed its doors eighteen years ago? #ThiefTDP
“Thieves’ Guild” isn’t a great level, but it’s ultimately not as annoying as I may have made it out to be. It shouldn’t occur at this point in the game though, and as this is the only place it’d make any sense it probably shouldn’t be in the game. #ThiefTDP
Garrett has just been the victim of an assassination attempt, he needs another push down the rabbit hole not a generic thievery job. #ThiefTDP
Viktoria needs to appear right after Ramirez has been dealt with, our protagonist is already shaken and then “Bang!” the femme fatale makes her appearance. An offer he can’t refuse and no time to really process what’s happening. #ThiefTDP
Here we go... "The Sword". #ThiefTDP
"So how did you get caught?"
"Well I made too much noise walking across the door."
"... Across the door?"
"Yes."
#ThiefTDP
It started fairly innocuously... #ThiefTDP
And then it just kinda went places...
Not pictured: creepy laughter.
#ThiefTDP
When creeping Garrett's movement is effectively a slow sine wave with the only noise being made at the peak. Knowing this you can release the key just prior to the apex, resetting the wave and therefore move without making a noise at all. #ThiefTDP
This works because the noise of the footsteps is what the AI actually hear (or at least their sensory stimulus is triggered at the same time), so if you don't hear a sound neither do they. #ThiefTDP
So this maybe elicited a minor squeal of fear. #ThiefTDP
Immediately something about “The Sword” feels more robust than “Thieves’ Guild”, fewer light sources and smaller rooms make for more clearly readable lighting. #ThiefTDP
I don’t know if that’s something unique to “Thieves’ Guild”, specific to the Gold levels, or entirely in my head because I know the level was created later. #ThiefTDP
All these “we recreated our favourite old game with the latest Unreal Engine” projects and nobody’s done that for Thief? Weirdly even The Dark Mod was never really used to recreate old TDP/TMA levels. #ThiefTDP
I know, I know, it’s practically heresy but I just keep thinking of what The Dark Project would look like if faithfully recreated to a modern standard. Like fuck, it’s got such a strong aesthetic that the Dark Engine never quite feels powerful enough for it. #ThiefTDP
Anyway, not going to be able to finish “The Sword” tonight. It feels great to finally be pushing forward into parts of this game I’d never seen before. #ThiefTDP
Just to be clear Sara Verrilli was the credited designer for both “Thieves’ Guild” and “The Sword” I don’t think she’s at fault regarding my issues with the former. Sometimes things just don’t quite work out, game dev is hard. #ThiefTDP
Coming from Dishonored that you can't interact with anything when you're carrying a body is hard to get used to. I like it here as it forces you to worry about body management beyond just where to dump it; Dishonored would probably feel too slow if it did the same. #ThiefTDP
Speed modifiers stack, and walking up slopes either introduces a speed modifier. So if you are crouched and creeping you cannot move up a slope because your speed is too low, you just stand still. #ThiefTDP
I tried to use a door and it wouldn't let me so I assumed it disabled all interactions. #ThiefTDP
I found the sword... #ThiefTDP
Closer... #ThiefTDP
I now have the sword, and am completely lost on the third floor... And loving it.
Those last two are a great effect, it's a shame the correct passage doesn't quite look like the other three. #ThiefTDP
I was going to talk about how interesting it is that all of the weird architectural gags are actually physically possible, and then... #ThiefTDP
Found my way back to the gardens... I think... #ThiefTDP
Wait, if that room is the one I think it is then wasn't this room I'm standing in previously above that one, when I was upstairs? Erm... My head hurts. #ThiefTDP
I mean sure, physics can work like that, I guess. #ThiefTDP
That was the type of shit I loved doing in the Build editor back in the day. Vertical columns of water, or a roof made of water. I still love seeing it. #ThiefTDP
I'm surprised there's no voice line when Garrett discovers the incriminating evidence about Constantine. I'm sure he has some particularly specific views on this whole job. #ThiefTDP
Woo... Made it, and no damage. I was expecting the traps and tricks to be much more annoying, but all of them are detectable if you're paying attention. #ThiefTDP
The specific wording on the objectives changes between the introduction and once you are actually in game. The explicit loot requirement makes sense, but "incriminating information" sort of spoils part of the reveal doesn't it? #ThiefTDP
In case you doubted that this game was film noir as fuck... #ThiefTDP
Further down the rabbit hole Garrett falls, and he’s still not technically been paid for stealing the sword in the first place. #ThiefTDP
If you ever needed any indication that Thief conforms cleanly to a three act structure just look at the placement of the animated cutscenes. Each one happens at the start of an act. We are now entering Act 2. #ThiefTDP
Some general thoughts on “The Sword”... The progression of weirdness between each floor is great. The first floor (ground floor) is a bit odd but not more than you’d expect from the home of a rich eccentric. The top floor is a fucking trip. #ThiefTDP
It makes sense that there are no guards in the weirdest parts of the mansion, but how much of a mind fuck would it be if there were? (Sadly, some of the illusion would be broken if you could see other people moving through those spaces.) #ThiefTDP
Given how I influential “The Sword” has been on the level design of the type of game I like, I’m a little surprised how grounded most of it is. It relies more on tricks of architecture than tricks of the engine. #ThiefTDP
With every other level so far there’s been a sense of decreasing size as I got more comfortable with its layout. Even the “Thieves’ Guild” felt manageable by the end. That never happened with “The Sword”, it stilll feels huge and weird. #ThiefTDP
So much of what makes “The Sword” tense is down to the sound design and the way audio detection works. The surfeit of tiled floors make exploring the mansion exhausting even without the weird architecture. You have to move slowly, everything feels drawn out, deliberate. #ThiefTDP
So Viktroia hired Garrett to steal a sword from Constantine, except actually it was actually Constantine himself who hired Garrett as a test. Now Constantine wants Garrett to steal the Eye from an abandoned Hammerite Cathedral, what could possibly go wrong? #ThiefTDP
Garrett: "What exactly IS this... item?"
Constantine: "It is the gemstone called The Eye, for it's unusual-"
Viktoria: "Appearance."

Alright Viktoria, we both know that wasn't how he was going to finish that sentence. #ThiefTDP
Avoiding information about "The Sword" is next to impossible if you're a fan of the genre, and I know the general plot of The Dark Project/Gold because I played the later games. In terms of specifics though everything from here on is brand new. #ThiefTDP
I am totally here for bureaucratic minutiae. #ThiefTDP
I found the Broken Sword... Wait wrong series. #ThiefTDP
Thought I was being clever: "I'll lure that zombie into this house and then close the door on it, that'll stymie them." Nope, zombie just fucking opens the door and walks out. #ThiefTDP
I do love those moments when even the map is like: "Well shit buddy I don't know where you are either." #ThiefTDP
Sometimes you take fall damage if you drop from an upper floor, and sometimes if you crouch and sorta half lower yourself over the edge you don't. #ThiefTDP
So I just exploded... No idea why. #ThiefTDP
Well shit, there was a fucking mine on the floor, because I'm not tense enough already. #ThiefTDP
Because dark game is dark... #ThiefTDP
I'll be honest, I hadn't expected the zombie to win that fight. #ThiefTDP
The physics engine strikes again? I had a dozen attempts at mantling up through that first hole (still couldn't), but was able to leap and mantle across the that window ledge on my first try. #ThiefTDP
Erm... #ThiefTDP
Screw you... I have Rope Arrows. #ThiefTDP
Well I'm fucked. #ThiefTDP
Bit of a brown trousers moment this one. #ThiefTDP
Not superstitious at all is our Garrett, no sire. #ThiefTDP
And now I'm hearing something that sounds like a Cyborg Assassin from System Shock 2... This isn't going to end well is it? #ThiefTDP
So my attempt to take no damage during this playthrough is over... Also I have discovered the powerful utility of running the fuck away. #ThiefTDP
Ah ha... I have found The Haunted Cathedral. #ThiefTDP
Of course it's locked... #ThiefTDP
Oh, so the gem is talking to me now... Right, sure, no problem.
And The Keepers have sealed the cathedral, that's fine I'll just find out how to open it and I'm sure I'll make a return to the cathedral. ;) #ThiefTDP
Wait, I'm going to have to go back through Burrick Avenue again aren't I? #ThiefTDP
Silly Burrick, you can't swim. #ThiefTDP
So the cathedral is locked by four secret elemental talismans, and everything just got four times more complicated. #ThiefTDP
The most consistent problems I’m having right now are finding enough loot and completing the Expert objectives. There’s often so little information on where they are that I’m just running around hoping to stumble onto them. #ThiefTDP
"Don't look this way, don't look this way..." #ThiefTDP
This might not be the best plan I've ever had. #ThiefTDP
And we're back here again... Running around the level trying to remember where I've looked for loot and where I haven't, trying to get those last few items just to complete a level I already technically finished. #ThiefTDP
I was never against loot glint in Deadly Shadows, and levels like this are reaffirming my belief that it's a smart way to draw the eye. There is no fun in running past everything squinting in corners trying to work out if something is loot or a piece of generic debris. #ThiefTDP
You alright down there? Just chilling? Cool, cool. #ThiefTDP
I admitted defeat and resorted to a guide just to find the last pieces of loot... I have no fucking clue how I would have found some of these. I guess I will literally have to look in every conceivable nook from here on. #ThiefTDP
I appreciate that given the objective changes you no longer have to escape, therefore it automatically completes the mission when you have finished all the objectives. That does mean if you leave the loot objective until last you can never find all the loot. #ThiefTDP
I just spent 20 minutes hunting loot in a level I'd technically finished. Most of it was on roof beams and other places I could not see from the ground, the challenge should be in reaching such loot, not knowing it's there in the first place. #ThiefTDP
It's telling that the two level where I've struggled to meet the loot requirement are "Thieves' Guild" and "The Haunted Cathedral". Loot placement is at its most frustrating and obtuse in the levels where there are few logical places for it. #ThiefTDP
I've finished The Metal Age on Expert and never felt this frustrated. In fact most of the time I was able to complete the loot objective (some levels didn't even have one now I think about it) before I completed the main objectives. #ThiefTDP
I'm really starting to see why there's such a divide between fans of The Dark Project and The Metal Age. I love the idea of organically arranged levels like "The Haunted Cathedral" I'm not a big fan of their execution. #ThiefTDP
When you call your game "Thief" I guess I'm not really expecting to be running away from zombies and other creatures. I didn't really feel like I was being a smart capable thief during "The Haunted Cathedral", rather a clumsy grave robbing idiot. #ThiefTDP
What I think is happening with the more organically laid out levels is I’m not mentally parsing them as spaces of human habitation. I only start to look for loot once I’ve made that switch to “oh somebody might hide something here”. #ThiefTDP
So a room with some wooden beams above it isn’t reading as “collapsed house” so much as “connective space between two important areas”, I’m writing it off as non-important so not searching it. #ThiefTDP
This doesn’t happen with the urban levels, or those like “Down in the Bonehoard” that are contextualised as areas that would contain “treasure”. In those instances I’m preconditioned to consider everywhere as a potential hiding place. #ThiefTDP
Combined with the relatively low object density, any space that doesn’t have something to contextualise it and give it some sense of function gets glossed over. Even just a door is enough to make me view the room beyond as something to pay attention to. #ThiefTDP
I was also a little rushed as the sun was coming up and I wanted to keep to my “one level a night” rate. #ThiefTDP
I need to slow down and view every room as one that might potentially containing something important. Not every space will be as easily parsable as corridor/bedroom/kitchen etc. #ThiefTDP
This is probably why the more supernatural levels have been frustrating me despite usually being a big fan of such elements (ala Dishonored’s DLC), their layouts are frequently more organic and less readable as spaces where people once hid loot. #ThiefTDP
"The Mages Tower" next, another Gold addition I believe. Need to remember to take it a little slower and treat every room as a potential source of loot. #ThiefTDP
So... Constantine hired Garrett to steal a sword from Constantine's own mansion to prove that Garrett was the right person to steal The Eye from the abandoned Hammerite Cathedral, unfortunately the Keepers sealed the Cathedral after an undead uprising. #ThiefTDP
Now in order to gain access to the Cathedral and steal The Eye Garrett needs to recover the four elemental talismans from different locations across the City. #ThiefTDP
By including the Thieves Guild, and the Hand Brotherhood the Gold edition expands on the politics of the City, which serves to frame Garrett's action within a broader context. It's not so straightforward as the Hammers, Pagans, and Keepers. #ThiefTDP
Garrett doing his best Homer Simpson impression. #ThiefTDP
So much objective text they had to shrink the font. #ThiefTDP
I swear these are the loudest doors in the entire fucking world. #ThiefTDP
I just mantled up onto a ramp, only to creep back down it again to a place around 10 meters ahead of where I started simply because going that way was darker. This game might be alright. #ThiefTDP
Immediately the handling of light sources in this level feels more in line with the rest of the game than it did in "Thieves' Guild". The lighting changed as I expected when I dowsed that torch. #ThiefTDP
In classic fashion I am doing this entirely level backward having now found the exit. #ThiefTDP
I want the Talisman of Earth so to the Earth Tower it is (I know it won’t be that simple but I’ve got to start somewhere). Get to the top of that tower from the outside and there’s a door that cannot even be frobbed, so that’s how it is huh? #ThiefTDP
I tried shooting a Moss Arrow at it because Earth Tower and all that. Did nothing. It’s totally going to be a magic lock, and I’m going to have to visit all the Towers in some specific order or some shit. #ThiefTDP
You don't know me creepy statue man, you don't know me. I don't have to listen to you... You're not my real dad... Wait... #ThiefTDP
What followed was an eye-roll visible from space. #ThiefTDP
He just stood there like there for several seconds. Probably a bug, but I'm going to assume he enters a fugue state while the statues talk to him. #ThiefTDP
I'm <600 off the loot goal and I haven't even entered any of the towers yet. This is going a little better. #ThiefTDP
Again a nice in-context map, Garrett was able to "obtain" a layout of the common areas but nothing for the towers as they are restricted to the Hand Brotherhood itself. #ThiefTDP
This was a cool challenge. The door at the end is locked, and this area is patrolled by three guards. Needed to move into the light and pick the lock while listening out for the doors behind me opening which would signal a need to dart back into the shadows. #ThiefTDP
Optional objectives done, and nearly all the loot obtained. Helps that there was some indication of where to go to complete the secondary objectives. I also like that those objective loot pieces have a value that counts toward your total. #ThiefTDP
So Water Temple time... Tower... Water Tower time... #ThiefTDP
That was far far less complicated that I was expecting. #ThiefTDP
The Earth Tower however is much more of a faff. Floating stone platforms seemed like a neat idea, then the area above just kept going and going. #ThiefTDP
The level is called "The Mage Towers" not "The Mages Tower" which makes more sense. Anyway, it's a fussy level more than an annoying one. I've done all the optional objectives and have my routes between each tower sorted, I just need to complete them all now. #ThiefTDP
"Then everything changed when the Fire Tower attacked..." #ThiefTDP
Erm... Well, I guess you could do that, sure. #ThiefTDP
I assume finding the correct Earth Talisman has something to do with this, but I can't work it out. #ThiefTDP
Hand with sword... There's no statues or anything up here so sword hand? So right hand? Turn away would be left. Count to the left seven... But do I start with the one I can see from the door? Or the first one to my left? #ThiefTDP
It feels like it should be turn then count, but if I do that I get hit in the face. If I start counting with the one I can see and go left seven from there.... I get the right one. Hmm... Not sure that riddle really works given the layout of the room. #ThiefTDP
"The Mage Towers" done. That wasn't so bad. Central area was a fairly standard urban style location, I think I got like 90% of the loot there. The Water Tower was much shorter than I expected, while the others were a little over-long. #ThiefTDP
The set up made me assumed I'd "have to" visit all of the Towers so that wasn't really a surprise. I would have wanted to explore them all anyway. Once I realised what I'd need to do I scoped out a route between them all so I wouldn't waste too much time. #ThiefTDP
Of the four only the Air and Fire Towers have particularly good final rooms. Aside from that only the Fire Tower really has a consistent theme. The Air Tower is just a lot of open spaces and some floating platforms, and the Earth Tower has floating platforms too. #ThiefTDP
I am oddly partial to underwater levels, so I was a little disappointed in what the Water Tower actually turned out to be. I wonder if originally there was a more involved version but it never quite worked; same for the Air Tower. #ThiefTDP
"The Mage Towers" was the eighth level meaning I'm now over half way through. So far "The Mage Towers" is the better of the two Gold levels I've seen. "The Sword" and "Assassins" are tied for best level overall. #ThiefTDP
"Thieves' Guild" is the weakest so far, but despite my complaints at the time it's far from terrible. The overall quality of the level design has been consistently high. #ThiefTDP
In terms of plot we are solidly in the Act 2 now, the quest is underway, obstacles are presenting themselves and being overcome. Things are challenging for our protagonist but nothing dramatically life changing has happened yet... I'm keeping an eye out though. ;) #ThiefTDP
Making a start on "The Lost City". I want to try and get all the Talismans before Monday as I won't be able to play for a few days. #ThiefTDP
I love that you start on the streets of the city and your first objective is to actually find the entrance. Though I doubt this first section will be very large it's a good way of spatially contextualising what comes after. #ThiefTDP
Here we go... #ThiefTDP
Uh oh... This could be a bad start. #ThiefTDP
Well there's the Fire Talisman (Talisman of Fire?), I now just have to find a way to to reach it. #ThiefTDP
Here's my problem with Burricks, they look like Barney the Dinosaur went on a bender. #ThiefTDP
I've played the version of this level from The Metal Age but I don't remember it very well, so everything has the weird half-familiar quality that I think fits it perfectly. #ThiefTDP
Cool... I think maybe I remember it from then, maybe. #ThiefTDP
The map for "The Lost City" is great, and oddly I'm actually finding it fairly easy to navigate by. Most important thing is knowing where each area is relative to the others and for that it's fine. #ThiefTDP
Automatic light crystals! That makes sneaking a little more complicated. Though as they are motion sensing they can also be used to determine which rooms are occupied; just wait outside until it goes dark again. #ThiefTDP
This is one of the single greatest aspects of Thief, the ability to use the environment not just to keep yourself concealed but also to track the movements of NPCs. #ThiefTDP
Many is the time I've used a Moss Arrow on a section of corridor specifically so I can tell when an NPC reaches that point, due to the change in their footfalls. #ThiefTDP
That's a difference between The Metal Age and The Dark Project/Gold that I wasn't expecting; I'm finding Moss Arrows much more important than Water Arrows. #ThiefTDP
I feel like I can deal with my visibility well enough, trying to stay quiet in some of these levels has proven really challenging. #ThiefTDP
I did tell @dhindes a while ago that I wanted to do level breakdowns for The Dark Project/Gold on Sneakybastards.net after I'd finished those for The Metal Age. So in some ways this is my primer for that. #ThiefTDP
The journal entries of the Keepers who came down to the Lost City before me, they no doubt met an unpleasant end, and I shall find evidence of their progress as I make my own. #ThiefTDP
Right, so these are probably the real Fire Elementals. That thing in "Down in the Bonehoard" was something else entirely. #ThiefTDP
Not exactly the Bear Pits... #ThiefTDP
Another angle of the tower that holds the Fire Talisman. Common and effective architectural technique to present a series of different angles on the same landmark. Creates a sense of anticipation, while each fresh view reveals a new aspect of its construction. #ThiefTDP
Uh oh, I just remembered that the shop at the start of this mission didn't have any Moss Arrows. #ThiefTDP
I had been worried about the loot objective, then I found a building at the bottom corner of the map that gave me 50% of what I needed in one go. #ThiefTDP
And another... Every one of those blue stones is loot. Score! #ThiefTDP
I quite like “The Lost City”. Each area has a distinct feel and is clearly separated from the others by caves, meaning it’s actually harder to get lost than I expected. #ThiefTDP
It's not quite the Thieves' Highway, but it'll do. The uniform shape of the buildings makes jumping and mantling between them frustration free. #ThiefTDP
You can purchase a commission from an acquaintance, doing so makes certain items found have value where normally they wouldn't. Gervaisius? That name sounds familiar. Come The Metal Age his interest in Precursor Masks will come back to haunt everybody. #ThiefTDP
"Shh... Just stay looking that way, don't turn around."
(Bonus creepy face!) #ThiefTDP
I couldn't tell that beam was wood from the texture, but contextually it made sense that it would be something that'd allow me to reach the upper floor. #ThiefTDP
This actually makes some sense of the fish creatures in Thief: Deadly Shadows. Were the Kurshok and the Precursors friends? Maybe even the same species? #ThiefTDP
Uniform shaped buildings with sealed metal doors... This isn't creepy at all. Either cells or tombs, not quite sure which. #ThiefTDP
Are these two supposed to be having a conversation? Nothing is triggering. #ThiefTDP
I got so excited I found the tower that I forgot to take a screenshot. Still I have found it, and the Fire Talisman is within sight... Sort of. #ThiefTDP
N'Lathotep? That name sounds a little too close to Nyarlathotep to entirely be a coincidence. #ThiefTDP
Well played. I walked up the stairs turned the corner, fell down and couldn't work out what the fuck had happened. Oh... I'm going to have to climb out on those narrow ledges I saw earlier aren't it? #ThiefTDP
<Ron Howard Voice> He did. #ThiefTDP
Ah ha! Two down, two more to go. Provided I can get out again. #ThiefTDP
Fire Elementals! Fire Elementals everywhere. I've used more Water Arrows on them than I have on torches so far this level. #ThiefTDP
So the Lost City was buried in an earthquake/volcanic eruption, it's not entirely clear. It's all very Atlantis which isn't that surprising. #ThiefTDP
And done. "The Lost City" was good. Wish my first experience of "Down in the Bonehoard" hadn't been so bad, as these weirder levels are pretty cool. Still not the biggest fan of Burricks though; I also think I might be partially responsible for their near extinction. #ThiefTDP
I think "Down in the Bonehoard" is doing too many things at once for me, zombies, weird organic layout, traps, and environmental puzzles. It feels less focused on sneaking and comes too early to feel like an intentional format breaker. #ThiefTDP
It's no so much that I didn't like being "Indiana Garrett", but that it felt like every possible aspect of that was dropped on me at once before I was really comfortable with the game's systems. #ThiefTDP
Now I've had a great sequence of levels from "Assassins" through "The Lost City" that each vary up their style without leaning too far away from the core conceit of sneaking. #ThiefTDP
Not much new story wise. Garrett has two talisman's left to recover and nothing to tell Constantine until he has them and has gained entry to the Haunted Cathedral. #ThiefTDP
The next level "Song of the Caverns" is the last of those added in Thief Gold, and I've heard good things about it. Going to try and push through that one tonight too. #ThiefTDP
Stunning revelation I know, but this game is pretty good. #ThiefTDP
Scuttling spiders in the briefing video for "Song of the Caverns", lovely. Good thing I won't have to deal with them. 200 loot? That seems like something that's going to change. #ThiefTDP
Another wonderfully helpful map I see. #ThiefTDP
Not foreboding at all. My arachnophobia is spiking even though I know I've modded the spiders out. #ThiefTDP
Rocks dropping from the roof aren't helping the general level of tension either. #ThiefTDP
I do NOT like the noise these things make. #ThiefTDP
I’m starting to understand why Garrett has a sword, because in The Metal Age it always seemed a little over the top. #ThiefTDP
Well this is bad... #ThiefTDP
... Then again. Turns out "Stand Not Against Us" was a little more literal than figurative. #ThiefTDP
Empty. Well it wasn't going to be that easy was it. #ThiefTDP
"Lets go see Raoul..."
This level got weird, in an entirely different way than I was expecting. #ThiefTDP
Time to break into an Opera House. Raoul gives you a map but unlike in "Assassins" it's not added to your map screen instead you have to manually select it in your inventory if you want to look at it, nice touch. #ThiefTDP
I knew that 200 loot requirement wouldn't last... Things just got weird and complicated... *Cough*Film Noir*Cough* #ThiefTDP
"Song of the Caverns" really feels like it could be a Dishonored level. #ThiefTDP
Oh, it's been added to the main map screen now. I'm a little disappointed. #ThiefTDP
Unfortunately I'm noticing a bunch of the same lighting issues I had with "Thieves' Guild". There's nothing behind or above me and the closest light source is around a ninety degree corner, yet I'm still illuminated. #ThiefTDP
Oh please let 'B' mean Bafford and that he planned to give the sceptre to Carmella. #ThiefTDP
Basement stairs where the two guards are talking about having to guard Lady V's office if there's an emergency, and one makes a joke about guarding the coat check girl. I'd dowsed the torch that was there but the area was still illuminated.
I may have made a wrong turn. #ThiefTDP
And I just hit Quick Save instead of Quick Load... Fuck. Guess I'm restarting this mission. #ThiefTDP
Unlikely to be able to get all four Talismans before I go away for a few days. So I'm going to take a break there. Can hopefully finish "Song of the Caverns" tonight, and then I'll pick up with the next level on Wednesday. #ThiefTDP
Unexpected side effect of using the No Spiders mod is that some spaces feel eerily empty in a way that still fits the tone of the game. I might even be doing it to myself as I have no idea where the spiders should be. #ThiefTDP
The three levels added for Thief Gold all have a scale that’s out of sync with the rest of the game. Rooms and corridors are generally larger even if the overall level is of a similar size. #ThiefTDP
These fucking Craymen are going to make me learn how to backstab. #ThiefTDP
Hmm... You can't pick up creature bodies, even when they are broadly humanoid in form. I guess that makes sense, does slightly complicate matters though. I suppose there's always the good old "run away" tactic. #ThiefTDP
That Raoul knows about the Keepers suggests that either the populace at large are aware of them and don't care (because it's rarely brought up by anybody else) or that they believe them to have all died/disappeared years ago. #ThiefTDP
Raoul becomes somewhat less endearing when you work out that the red crosses on his map are secret passages, including ones with peepholes into dressing rooms. #ThiefTDP
There's this concept in architecture of served and servant spaces (distinct from public/private spaces). In short served spaces are those designed for use, and servant spaces are those necessary to support that use. prezi.com/ux8vfhmhv2w7/w… #ThiefTDP
The historically influenced fictional context of Thief (and Dishonored) allows those distinctions to become even more literal; there are actual servants. I think one of the biggest differentiators between good/bad stealth level design is their use of those two spaces. #ThiefTDP
Servant spaces are utilitarian and in Thief that makes them "safer": lights are old-fashioned (torches compared to electric lamps), surfaces are made from simple materials like wood or stone (no polished floors), and there's limited NPC traffic. #ThiefTDP
It's not simply one is safe one isn't, the key difference is that the served spaces are not just more "hostile" but the range of threat they offer is more varied. There are polished marble floors and lush carpets, stark electric lights and pools or near total darkness. #ThiefTDP
Servant spaces offer a relatively flat/consistent threat level, served spaces are more spiky, but the rewards are higher. Most of the loot you will want is in the served spaces, because of course it is. Servant spaces provide your traversal options. #ThiefTDP
One of the big factors in what makes the level design of Dishonored so smart (and an influence you can see from Thief), is that every shortcut to gain entry to a building will take you to a servant space. #ThiefTDP
Turn into a fish to gain entry to The Golden Cat from the water, and you arrive in a downstairs toilet. Toilets are interesting edge cases, they are servant spaces but have to exist with a closer connection to served spaces and so can be ornamented as such. #Dishonored #ThiefTDP
By removing or granting access to servant spaces level designers can change the relative safety of a given location in ways that don't feel heavy handed. Amusingly adding additional connections to servant spaces usually tends to feel like "clever design". #ThiefTDP
Discovering there's a secret passage for servants between the master bedroom and the kitchen is more likely to make players think about the social/cultural implications of that connection than the way it's balancing the threat level of the space. #ThiefTDP
Also secret passages and creeping through servant spaces is just inherently appealing as it's something we generally don't get to do in our lives. It feels illicit and reinforces the sense that we are doing something unusual and special. #ThiefTDP
I talked about this idea of a spatial divide based on utility nearly a decade ago (before I knew about the concept of served/servant spaces). gropingtheelephant.com/blog/?p=1004 #ThiefTDP
It's not quite a 1-to-1 but logical space is servant spaces and functional space is served space. The core idea still works: games that make heavy use of logical space feel richer more organic, those that rely on functional space feel purer, more abstract. #ThiefTDP
This is the core of the issue with the new-Thief, its over reliance on purely functional space. The linearly directed nature of the levels means the servant spaces exist primarily as the lone traversal route between two bubbles of action. #ThiefTDP
Compare this to Dishonored 2, where each level is a dense interconnection of served and servant spaces. The Clockwork Mansion for example lets you traverse the whole level via one or the other, or move between them pretty much at will. #Dishonored2 #ThiefTDP
This is also why I'm generally not a fan of streaming solutions for stealth games. The need to constrict player movement to allow the next section to load tends to make all servant spaces one-directional traversal zones. #ThiefTDP
This disregard for the importance of servant spaces - and other low-interactivity areas - is what makes so many levels feel like sets rather than places. The respect for them is also why The Dark Project's level still seem "real" even on twenty year old technology. #ThiefTDP
Hitman is another series that entirely gets the importance of this divide (and the public/private divide). Again the games in that series that didn't (Absolution) were the most poorly received. #Hitman #ThiefTDP
It's not about whether levels are linear or non-linear, but rather how they use the space they have and whether they try to make it all "important" and functional. The real world is full of seemingly unimportant (in reality very important) spaces. #ThiefTDP
An example of an essentially linear game that understood this is the original Mirror's Edge. it helps that a lot of roof spaces are by their inherent inaccessibility de facto servant spaces. #MirrorsEdge #ThiefTDP
I like how leaning means everything takes on a dutch angle. #ThiefTDP
I do love it when this game just gives you a room full of loot and no guards, like "Hey life is hard, have some shinies." #ThiefTDP
"Huh, do people really pay money to see this stuff?"
I'm thinking this Ian Cribs fellow might be a hack. #ThiefTDP
I mean it's no "Lusty Argonian Maid" or "Daughter of Tyvia" #ThiefTDP
Haha... Alright fair play game, you fucking got me. I unlock the door to Cribs' room and suddenly I hear somebody sing out "But wait - who is this I spy?" and I start to panic. #ThiefTDP
Now Cribs and his leading lady are arguing... "Untalented Taffer troglodyte."
Well she told him. #ThiefTDP
I guess we know how Cribs got the job then... #ThiefTDP
The book on the right can't be frobbed, is that just how it is or a bug? #ThiefTDP
I love these kind of hallways, they let me play "the floor is lava" and leap between patches of carpet from one end to the other. #ThiefTDP
I just pickpocketed a lady's jeweled opera glasses while she was in her private booth... I am the best thief. #ThiefTDP
Found the Water Talisman, still 500 shy of the loot goal, but there's an entirely floor of this Opera House I haven't visited yet. #ThiefTDP
Sometimes after I mantle up onto something (even while moving slowly) Garrett will jump at the top causing him to make noise. It's inconsistent enough to be annoying. #ThiefTDP
And now guards can apparently see through banners that are still intact... Hmm... #ThiefTDP
Multiple times now I've opened a door and it has just disappeared, making it impossible to close again. This level is a bit buggy. #ThiefTDP
Something, something, treading the boards... #ThiefTDP
That's "Song of the Caverns" done. The best of the Gold levels easily, though it still felt a little rough compared to the rest of the game. Lighting was inconsistent and unclear, and there were several bugs I'd never encountered before. #ThiefTDP
I'm still having trouble finding all the loot necessary. I'm always around 50 short when I'm otherwise ready to leave. I don't remember having this issue with The Metal Age. #ThiefTDP
I like the idea of the fake-out opening, though the two levels that have done it both had elements in their briefing/objectives that gave them away. In the end that doesn’t matter but a stronger commitment to the gag would have been nice. #ThiefTDP
Aside from the starting area “Song of the Caverns” could be a level from The Metal Age; though it’s still somewhat sparse, less dense with objects and texture detail. #ThiefTDP
This thread is so long now I fear I’m going to start repeating myself. If I do it’s because something influenced me to think about a topic again. #ThiefTDP
The little inconsistencies indicate there was no single creative vision holder overseeing these levels. That does make the ways in which they are consistent and cohesive all the more impressive. #ThiefTDP
Objective text can range from the terse to the flowery, and the way you’re directed not to kill anything on Expert is always slightly different. Object placement, lighting style, quantity of in-level text objects etc, are all highly variable. #ThiefTDP
Yet that variance is all within a fairly narrow range, like those involved might not all be on exactly the same page but they are clearly all reading the same chapter. #ThiefTDP
I feel like I should have more to say about “Song of the Caverns”... It’s a good level if a little staid compared to the two that came before it. Layout reminds me of Bafford’s with its use of linear symmetry. #ThiefTDP
The next level “Undercover” sounds like it’ll be something quite different again. #ThiefTDP
Not quite the version I’m playing, but thought I should at least get it out. #ThiefTDP
So "Undercover" promises to be interesting, I guess I have to not hide and instead stroll right in and find the Air Talisman. #ThiefTDP
Hmm... So I just got attacked because I was in an area I wasn't supposed to be in, but I had no idea I wasn't supposed to be there, and until I stepped over the threshold of that room the Hammers had been ignoring me. #ThiefTDP
And now I stood in the same place and one Hammer walked right past me, but then two others attacked me. This just feels shitty. #ThiefTDP
Oh, oh fuck. They will react to literally anything being stolen even if they aren't watching when I grab it. How the fuck am I going to meet the loot objective for this level? #ThiefTDP
So I have to infiltrate the Hammer temple to steal the Air Talisman, I'm dressed as a novice which means I can explore most places. If I steal anything and somebody spots that it's gone they'll come for me as I'm the new guy... This is going to be complicated. #ThiefTDP
That I can't just steal things while nobody is looking makes sense, it just wasn't behaviour I was expecting from the AI, meaning I now have to restart the level or abandon all pretense of being a Hammer Novice. #ThiefTDP
... I'm torn, I adore this as a concept. But that's a really bad first impression and it's hard to not feel like I fucked up because the simulation boundary wasn't set up clearly. #ThiefTDP
Just one line by Garrett in the briefing about not taking anything that'd be noticed would have been enough. As it stands many of the actual objectives are about looting and I'm now a little too paranoid to take anything, which I suppose it part of the point. #ThiefTDP
It's a rule I don't think I'd have been aware of without breaking it, which isn't an instructional method I'm fond of. I don't think I've had an NPC notice missing loot before, it's certainly not been a cause for them to become alerted. #ThiefTDP
Some of the loot was marked with an inverted red hammer (which it does tell you means off-limits), so I tested it by leaving that loot and stealing from elsewhere. The Hammer still notices. So yeah, it's a rule that's never explained until you break it. #ThiefTDP
This has annoyed me... It feels like the game cheated, which is incredibly disappointing. Going to have to take a break. #ThiefTDP
“Undercover” is the type of level that probably would never have appeared in The Metal Age because it doesn’t quite work. #ThiefTDP
The Metal Age doubled down on the systems that worked most reliably and consistently. Its focus was narrower than it could have been because of that. It lost a lot of the weird edge case concepts which The Dark Project/Gold was full of. #ThiefTDP
Thanks to @adurdin for digging into DromEd to see what the logic was for the area I was having trouble with. #ThiefTDP
I've been using the new mantling code added in NewDark (I only thought to check if it was enabled just now). I don't know what was changed, just that I've felt confident in what I can and can't climb; with a few small exceptions which I've complained about previously. #ThiefTDP
I briefly tried to play some of The Metal Age and found I was having trouble traversing low ledges and climbing through first floor windows; turns out I had the new mantling code disabled. So I'm going to leave it enabled. #ThiefTDP
Back to "Undercover", taking it slow and not stealing anything that might be noticed, at least not until I inevitably have to make a run for it because I fucked up. #ThiefTDP
Now this is more like it, every one of those books is a readable object. #ThiefTDP
Well I've found the Air Talisman, now to actually get to it. No Rope Arrows? Garrett that's just poor planning. #ThiefTDP
This room looks lovely, can't imagine anything bad happens in here. #ThiefTDP
Look, I'm not taking any chances. They'll all wake up eventually. #ThiefTDP
Just found another room with a whole bunch of loot piled on the floor; looks like a Hammer storage vault, since I'm here it'd be a shame to leave it all just lying around. #ThiefTDP
Oh no, actually it's the new treasury, which was also the old kitchens. That explains the sink in the corner. #ThiefTDP
I get the distinct impression these Hammers aren't exactly nature lovers. #ThiefTDP
Systemically clearly the bottom two floors, almost at my loot goal already. There's some social commentary there about the wealth of superficially ascetic religious orders. #ThiefTDP
Hah... Alright then, this should be interesting. And the kitchen has been moved since this was written, meaning I'll have to look on the lower level, nice touch. #ThiefTDP
Took me a while to find where Brother Mason was... Then I think I messed up reciting the Prayer of the Wallbuilder and got scalded (?) by the Air Talisman. Then I grabbed it and all hell broke loose. Fortunately I'd already met the loot objective so just ran. #ThiefTDP
This is what that previous corridor looked like by the end, at least they weren't lonely. #ThiefTDP
That’s “Undercover” done. Beyond some frustrations determining exactly how the rules had changed - given the high concept twist - that was a really strong level. #ThiefTDP
I’ve always been a fan of the “Casing the Joint”/“Masks” couplet from The Metal Age; however, after playing “Undercover” I have to admit that it’s a much better take on the idea of allowing you to have a planning phase. #ThiefTDP
Now Garrett has all four Talismans, time to unseal the Hammer Cathedral, grab The Eye and get out. Simple. Then he can retire. I can’t see how anything can possibly go wrong... #ThiefTDP
...🗡️⛪️[🌿🔥🌊🍃] ⛪️👁️... #ThiefTDP
“Undercover” is another level that makes use of the public/private spatial divide, and again leads to a minor disappointment that the game never explores that fully. #ThiefTDP
Thread and hashtag went a bit weird there, should be fixed now. “Return to the Haunted Cathedral” is up next, I’m deep into the levels I’ve never played before. All I know about this one is: “fuck, fuck, ahhh...” #ThiefTDP
Looking up designer credits for the various levels and I didn’t realise “Song of the Caverns” was a Terri Brosius level. Cool. thief.wikia.com/wiki/Designer_… #ThiefTDP
Notes like this are a masterclass in how to handle in-level readables. It’s short, it provides information relevant to your objectives in a subtle fashion, and its placement and content fit the fiction. #ThiefTDP
When I talk about the public/private space divide I’m thinking about how the context of a space is rarely relevant. Garrett’s is always noticeable even if he’s in a busy area, guards never just assume he’s a servant because he’s in the servant’s quarters etc. #ThiefTDP
By framing you as a Hammerite Novice - therefore limiting the areas you’re allowed to be in - “Undercover” makes the best use of that sense of spatial context yet. Unfortunately it’s still a one-off special case rather than a systemic design element. #ThiefTDP
The only stealth game to really explore that idea of spatial context and the different people allowed in each space is #Hitman. #ThiefTDP
Objectives for "Return to the Cathedral" (I keep inserting the word Haunted in there) seem pretty straightforward... So I'm totally fucked aren't I? #ThiefTDP
As if the lack of objectives wasn't a strong enough indication that this level was going to get complicated, it turns out the Cathedral has grounds. #ThiefTDP
Sure... this is all going to be fine... #ThiefTDP
Hmm... It's one of these levels... I already feel like actually hiding from these creatures is going to be difficult. #ThiefTDP
I don't feel I have either the tools or experience to deal with this density of threats. Literally every room I go into has 3+ creatures that can all inflict high damage but are difficult - or impossible - for me to kill. #ThiefTDP
This feels like the boss fights in DX:HR: a sequence where every skill I've been focused toward honing is just useless. My best approach appears to be either running or fighting. #ThiefTDP
This isn't scary, this isn't stealthy, this is just a fucking pain in the ass. I've no room to manoeuvre, barely any means of fighting back, and these things will follow me everywhere. To the point of running across half the cathedral just to come up behind me. <_< #ThiefTDP
There's an alarming absence of darkness which forces me into confrontations I feel neither equipped nor trained for. I just wasted my only mine on a lone zombie only to then by jumped by two of the skull faced Hammerites (Haunts?). #ThiefTDP
This is the second time in as many levels that the game has changed the rules in ways that have made me feel stupid. I can't tell if it's being opaque about what it wants from me of if I'm just not understanding what it's trying to tell me. #ThiefTDP
So here's part of the problem... I've been so careful about not alerting NPCs that I don't have any sense of what their behaviour is like when they are alerted; I don't know if/when they are going to drop into a more relaxed state. #ThiefTDP
I have never witnessed a Haunt walking across one of the elevated wooden beams, but the only way it could have reached me is by doing just that..? #ThiefTDP
The doors closing on their own is effectively creepy. It's also really awkward when you're trying to watch multiple directions at once to determine patrol patterns. #ThiefTDP
My initial reactions are going to be emotionally charged, this is a tense game which means my adrenaline is spiking just crouching in a corner. I'm doing better, I grabbed The Eye (which got me into the position I was in), and I've escaped the cathedral itself. #ThiefTDP
I still think there are too many creatures, too few dark corners, and too many spots where the lighting isn't quite as dark as it looks. There's a lot to keep track of, it feels like one thing too many; which works from the "make the player uncomfortable" perspective. #ThiefTDP
Another part of my problem is I'm an experience The Metal Age player, meaning I'm comfortable with the stealth rather than the fighting undead. If I'd played this first I'd likely have gained more practice with the latter earlier as I was learning the former. #ThiefTDP
I guess I'm now going to be getting help from the ghost of George Carlin. #ThiefTDP
There’s some really great spaces in this level, it’s a shame that it leans so heavily on the aspects of the series I’m not fond of. I always feel bad running away from zombies, like I’ve failed at playing a stealth game. #ThiefTDP
I’ve heard “Return to the Cathedral” spoken of in the same vein as “Robbing the Cradle” and the similarities are clear, I’m just not feeling scared, which I think is the biggest surprise of all. Tense certainly, but no more than any other level. #ThiefTDP
On the one hand parts of this are annoying. On the other, if these Haunts are all going to walk down the same stretch of corridor I'm not sure what else they expect me do to? #ThiefTDP
That multi-part quest you just did, that was smart because you could complete the stages out of order? Yeah that was good. Now back to the fucking Cathedral for you Garrett. #ThiefTDP
Constantine you're a creepy weirdo... But you're Sword is pretty fucking dope. #ThiefTDP
Really nice architecture and environmental detailing in this level. #ThiefTDP
Have discovered you can mantle onto doors, which is slightly less useful when they automatically close on you - because you know: "Haunted Cathedral". #ThiefTDP
Another thing made slightly more cumbersome by automatically closing doors, trying to carry bodies any distance. Which this level requires you to do twice. #ThiefTDP
Garrett reads the Hammer prayer with unexpected conviction and sincerity. #ThiefTDP
Haha, you fuckers better watch out I've got some Holy Water now. #ThiefTDP
No Brother Murus, thank you. Now to just grab that Sunburst Device... I mean unnamed explosive. #ThiefTDP
Woo! Oh look 9 Back Stabs... I wonder who was on the receiving end of those? And no damage taken. Once I accepting that full stealth wasn't going to be an option, keeping the zombies at a safe distance became easier; I need to stop trying to always remain unseen. #ThiefTDP
That's "Return to the Cathedral" done and with it Act 2, Garrett has secured The Eye and now to return it to Constantine for payment. #ThiefTDP
This seems fairly relaxed... Wait what do you mean it's "completely blind"? Erm... #ThiefTDP
Oh this isn't good... Well fuck... I didn't see that coming...

(Sorry, sorry, I'll see myself out.)
#ThiefTDP
Everything has unequivocally gone to shit... And so we start Act 3 with our anti-hero protagonist kind of fucked. #ThiefTDP
Yeah so, spoilers I guess... God these cutscenes are still gorgeous. #ThiefTDP
Though the body horror is unsettling, the absolute worst part about this sequence is that Garrett sounds absolutely terrified when they leave him to die. #ThiefTDP
Some more thoughts on “Return to the Cathedral”... It’s proto-Deus Ex in its spatial layout and the non-sequential way you can complete your objectives. #ThiefTDP
The threat level of the Cathedral itself is much higher than anywhere else in the level, and despite my complaints it really needs to be that way. You want players to be averse to going back there. #ThiefTDP
There are points where it seems like the level is just never going to end, and it makes the name “Return to the Cathedral” almost a meta level joke. You have to keep going back there no matter how much you don’t want to. #ThiefTDP
Obviously it isn’t, and if you’re paying attention you’ll be expecting a twist. Still, the structure of the game, combined with the difficulty and near endless nature of the last level, could have you believing this is actually the end. #ThiefTDP
It’s a trick they employ again with “Robbing the Cradle” though there it’s a little less effective as you have a defined antagonist by that stage in Deadly Shadows so you know it’s not over until they are confronted. #ThiefTDP
Again with the film noir influences. After diving deep into the City’s seedy underbelly and dealing various political factions, criminals, and other miscreants, it’s only in the final act that the true antagonist is revealed. #ThiefTDP
I believe I only have three levels left. #ThiefTDP
Cool detail of both “Undercover” and “Return to the Cathedral”, each includes an appropriate number of beds/bunks given the population needs of the compound. #ThiefTDP
This has caught me out more than once. #ThiefTDP
Ah yes, the Keepers like the Vorlons only more enigmatic. At least they freed me, and then disappeared. #ThiefTDP
No shop makes sense, as does starting without any equipment. This is going to be rough and honestly that's entirely expected. #ThiefTDP
Starting with less health than usual is another mechanical twist that I approve of. On Expert you don't really want to risk getting hit at all so this just heightens that, rather than feeling like an unfair disadvantage. #ThiefTDP
Another entirely normal level... #ThiefTDP
Motherfucking Gas Arrows! #ThiefTDP
That's one Gas Arrow to get three rat men and one locust looking creature. Unfortunately that's the only Gas Arrow I had. #ThiefTDP
I have mixed feelings about randomised patrol routes. I'm not sure if the benefits in terms of encouraging improvisation outweigh the disadvantages of undercutting intentionality. #ThiefTDP
Alright game you got me, where the fuck is that light coming from? #ThiefTDP
TFW you patiently make your way forward, dowsing torches and avoiding wandering creatures to arrive at a door. Only to open it and realise you're now on the other side of the room you started on. #ThiefTDP
Suffice to say the map is as helpful as ever. #ThiefTDP
At some point my objectives changed, yet I don't have my stuff back yet. I'm still missing my lock picks. #ThiefTDP
Erm... #ThiefTDP
I have absolutely no idea what I'm supposed to do now. #ThiefTDP
I get the impressive that I've massively messed up somewhere and don't know how. There's nowhere on the ground floor of Constantine's mansion that looks like it might contain his plans, and I've no idea where my equipment is. #ThiefTDP
Third level in a row where I feel like I've not understood what's going on, or the game has done a poor job explaining itself. #ThiefTDP
I've explored nearly all of the ground floor, so I assume whatever I'm looking for is back in the caves? #ThiefTDP
Haha... Right back in the very first room. I guess this one is probably on me. #ThiefTP
Could have really used those Rope Arrows and Noisemaker Arrows earlier. #ThiefTDP
Now I've got access to Rope Arrows I've sudden found a whole bunch more equipment. As if I managed to escape without having any of this. #ThiefTDP
"My dark project..." Ah yes. Still not quite enough to know what he's actually planning. Now I'm wandering around trying to locate the other tree house area I found earlier. #ThiefTDP
I quite like this level surprisingly. It focused on the parts of Thief I don’t like that much so I’ve had to embrace my more violent side. Still amused I’ve had to back track from right at the end to the very beginning. #ThiefTDP
I messed up the hashtag a few tweets ago but it’s too far back to fix it. It’s all threaded so it’s probably not an issue anyway. #ThiefTDP
Well that's "Escape!" done. Pretty messy on my part. I could probably have avoided all damage if I didn't mess up a back stab and get into a fight with a rat creature. #ThiefTDP
In the end that level goes into the box marked "pretty good". I wish I hadn't messed up at the start and not found my equipment - or they'd been some VO from Garrett to remind me to find it - because some of that was harder than it could have been. #ThiefTDP
I'd just like to remind everybody that this is my desktop wallpaper, I do actually really like creepy weird witchy shit. I just struggle with getting into the mindset of Garrett as somebody who ever actually uses his sword for anything beyond vandalising banners. #ThiefTDP
I really like that though it didn't fully reuse the previous level it copied it enough that I was able to use my existing knowledge of the layout of the ground floor to aid my escape. #ThiefTDP
The way the crystals you need to make your arrows are treated as elements of the natural world is great. A design idea that Deadly Shadows leans into even more heavily, especially in its city sections. #ThiefTDP
A silly little detail, each type of body you can carry has a different icon, this one for rat men is pretty cute/creepy. #ThiefTDP
Thought I'd be more frustrating with that level than I was. The lucky Gas Arrow at the start helped a lot no doubt. As did my acceptance that I wasn't going to mess around and try to ghost it. #ThiefTDP
So many of my frustrations with certain levels stem from my experience playing The Metal Age where my default low-contact approach was always viable (and my expectation that the objectives would indicate when they were completed or changed). #ThiefTDP
It does make me wonder if I'll like "Trail of Blood" more now that I've played The Dark Project. #ThiefTDP
Turns out there are meant to be a whole bunch of spiders (modded-out) at the start of "Escape!". Interesting. Those caves were a mentally taxing maze anyway, and their emptiness made them unsettling. #ThiefTDP
Betrayed, Garrett only barely escaped with his life thanks to the intervention of the Keepers (who went and disappeared again). The Trickster is real and if Garrett's going to fight back he'll need help. It's time to see just how devout these Hammers are. #ThiefTDP
Whenever I'm left with 18 gold or something I always feel a antsy, like I've messed up my purchasing decisions and should be finding a way to spend all my money. #ThiefTDP
"It was another cold night in the City, the air pregnant with anticipation. As if the whole world was on edge, waiting to see if after you'd been chewed up you'd ever be spat out again..." #ThiefTDP
I've learned my lesson, if there are only two objectives the level is going to be fucked. #ThiefTDP
Same map as "Undercover" which is another good indication that "Strange Bedfellows" is preparing to throw me for a loop. #ThiefTDP
... Yeah, this is off to a great start. #ThiefTDP
Well shit. So the Hammer Temple is in ruins and there's no sign of the sanctimonious bastards anywhere. #ThiefTDP
This level is actually creepier than "Return to the Cathedral". I've been here before, then it was full of people. The contrast makes it feel off in a way the Cathedral never did, I'd only ever seen that when it was full of undead. #ThiefTDP
Sometimes you encounter a situation where if you stay still you are completely in darkness, but any movement at all will illuminate you, only for you to be in darkness again when you stop moving. #ThiefTDP
There's nobody left alive in the main body of the Hammer temple. There's a System Shock vibe to it, deserted rooms, and footsteps in the distance, occasionally glimpsing a creature at the end of a corridor. #ThiefTDP
I guess they went down there... This couldn't possible go wrong, I mean everything has worked out so well so far. #ThiefTDP
Huh... It's going to be like that I see... #ThiefTDP
I think this is a bug. I doubt the ladder was meant to be bright purple. #ThiefTDP
Can't tell if this is a Hammer structure that's since overgrown, or if it was built on top of an older pagan structure, or if realities are bleeding into each other. #ThiefTDP
The laws of physics are more guidelines really... #ThiefTDP
"'Sup?"
"Nothing, sup with you?"
#ThiefTDP
For a guy who wants my help this Hammer is one condescending motherfucker. Look, I get it, I stole the Talisman you were protecting and yes a bunch of gold, and maybe I unwittingly unleashed the Trickster on the world, but I'm here now so let's let bygones be bygones. #ThiefTDP
What's that? You've got to go fight back the forces of nature that have come to tear down your works of stone and metal? Look buddy, I'm the walking metaphor here. #ThiefTDP
At least he gave me a map... Which is, hmm... #ThiefTDP
I think I maybe fucked myself over with that last objective. The Hammer never asked me to so I guess Garrett just decided himself when I back stabbed the first one. *Sigh* #ThiefTDP
This level feels like it might not be that long, unless I’ve greatly misjudged what I’m going to have to do I’m close to the end of the level. #ThiefTDP
I'm getting impatient now... There's no loot that I can see so I'm struggling to not just kill everything and run to the end. I like the layout and opening parts of this level, but not much else. #ThiefTDP
Wait... What the fuck? I went to the dock like Garrett suggested and nothing happened, so I started to swim away and then... Mission Failed. #ThiefTDP
Rat men just chilling by the fire, makes me feel a little bad for killing their kin. #ThiefTDP
Right so there's another exit... That was not clear at all. "Strange Bedfellows" is a mess, it's not bad just confusing and unfocused. It only seems to exist to show that the Trickster's minions have broken through into this realm and the Hammers are in retreat. #ThiefTDP
"Strange Bedfellows" done. Huh... So there was 100 loot somewhere in that level. Shortest level so far. Also one of the weakest sadly. It's not annoyingly bad ala-"Thieves' Guild" at least, more disappointing; wasted potential. #ThiefTDP
Skipping ahead a little, the next level starts with you already inside the Trickster's realm with no sense of how you got there. So why wasn't "Strange Bedfellows" about working with the Hammers to gain access to it? #ThiefTDP
Maybe lean into the aesthetic motif that the Hammer temple was build on top of an older pagan site and have the actual entrance to the Trickster's realm be somewhere in the caves below it? #ThiefTDP
Or this, have "Strange Bedfellows" be about you trying to locate what the Hammers need to construct a portal. #ThiefTDP
The way the endings of The Dark Project and The Metal Age mirror each other is nice. In both Garrett has to eventually side with the enemy of his enemy. Though interestingly the second time around Garrett would rather run than fight. #ThiefTDP
I do have some questions about the Dark Engine's handling of physics and lighting in more organically shaped environments. I seem to get stuck (only very briefly) on sloped floors a little too often, and what is and isn't in darkness is not always clear. #ThiefTDP
Tempted to start the final level, though it's probably best if I don't. I felt rushed playing "Strange Bedfellows" and don't want to bring that same impatient to "Into the Maw of Chaos". #ThiefTDP
So instead.... Symbolism! So this is mostly pop-culture symbology and nothing new to old Looking Glass fans I suspect... #ThiefTDP
The events of The Dark Project arise because the Trickster feels the world has forgotten how to be afraid. It no longer sees (and by extension fears) the power of the natural world. With a lack of fears come a lack of dreams about the darkness and what lives within. #ThiefTDP
In essence he believes that the rise of technology has caused the death of imagination. You don't really have to do much mental processing to understand how imagination and technology are coded by society, what gender associations they evoke. #ThiefTDP
So you have the world of imagination represented by chaos, creation, nature and the organic, set against the world of technology represented by order, industry, structuralism (both physical and philosophical). #ThiefTDP
You can see this divide in action throughout the game. From the different symbols used for each faction to the physical architecture of the spaces inhabited by them. #ThiefTDP
Pagan symbolism, that associated with the Trickster, the Woodsie Lord, is rough and curved and doesn't conform to the rules of human construction. #ThiefTDP
Hammer symbolism on the other hand is rigid, symmetrical, and utterly reverent to the works of man, and the ways in which technology has allowed mankind to rise about nature. #ThiefTDP
This notion of technology placing itself above nature is reinforced by the way that the areas most closely associated with the Trickster are physically below ground. #ThiefTDP
The Trickster himself has utter disdain for the works of man, just look at his mansion. A conscious willful disregard for the rules of construction of order; and comprehension. It's supposed to evoke confusion, fear - that in fact appears to be the source of his power. #ThiefTDP
The final act of The Dark Project is all about the way in which nature is taking over. Represented by chaos, and the organic. This comes to a head with a descent into the Maw, the lair from which the Trickster's minions are birthing forth. #ThiefTDP
Compare this to the final act of The Metal Age where everything is about the constructed world, and order. There aren't even any trees left in the City by this stage. This culminates in Soulforge, a giant work of human construction from which machine life spews forth. #ThiefTDP
The Dark Project and The Metal Age both end with Garrett forced to enter two spaces that serve as different metaphors for creation... Not to belabour the point, but: a womb and an erection. #ThiefTDP
👋Narrative Design👋
#ThiefTDP
Here's my true secret about this series... I don't even care that they're stealth games really. I'm here for the film noir by way of mythic folklore plot and the way the narrative design is embedded through every element. #ThiefTDP
Like, there are four elemental arrow types: Fire, Water, Moss (Earth), and Gas (Air). Arrows of those elements that are effected by gravity will arc when fired: Water and Moss. Those that aren’t will fly straight: Fire and Gas. #ThiefTDP
And here we go... #ThiefTDP
I'll just check the map... Ah Hahahahahahahaha.... #ThiefTDP
Fuck Frogbeasts! #ThiefTDP
Notably this is the first (and thus only) level where you start in an unsafe position. Usually if you stay still nothing will happen, if you do that here you'll be detected very quickly. #ThiefTDP
I still wish more was done with this portal... Where does it lead to in the "normal" realm? This is partially explained in The Metal Age but not entirely. #ThiefTDP
Ah yes a cryptic message from an old text that'll be helpful. I have a fake copy of The Eye manufactured by the Hammers, I need to find the Trickster's lair and swap it out before he can complete his ritual. #ThiefTDP
I have 5 Gas Arrows, this is like having 5 bullets in System Shock... I am a god amongst mortal men.. an angel so pure the heavens couldn't hold... Wait wrong game. #ThiefTDP
This place is a trip... #ThiefTDP
This is literally the most normal looking space in this entire level. It kind of looks like two eyes staring at me and so I'm freaking out anyway. #ThiefTDP
This is fine, everything is fine.... NO... NO... THIS IS NOT FUCKING NORMAL. #ThiefTDP
Ice, that's neat why didn't they use this in any of the other levels?
<Stands on it> On I see, because it's a nightmare deathtrap that Garrett's (totally not hobnailed boots, ahem) have fuck all traction on. #ThiefTDP
Just to be clear here that "waterfall" at the back of the space is flowing upward. You know, as water naturally tends to do... <_< #ThiefTDP
The Trickster has clearly heard about the rules of physics, he just don't give a shit. This said while preparing to dive down out of the water running along the roof into that weird tunnel from the previous image. #ThiefTDP
Garrett is an old cynic, but at least he can still be impressed by an excessively large flora.

[For some reason FRAPS wasn't registering a bunch of these screenshots, so just close your eyes and imagine a fuck off giant tree.] #ThiefTDP
To run or not to run..? Maybe taking this one slow is the best option. There's not really a strong logical connection between any of these spaces, which I suppose is part of the point. It's certainly unsettling and weird. #ThiefTDP
Hmm... What did that old Hammer text say again? "Destroy each of its Anchors with its opposite..." Good thing I've been frugal with my elemental arrow usage. #ThiefTDP
That's a nice portal you've got there. It'd be a shame if somebody were to shoot four different elemental arrows at each of the four anchor points, cancelling out each element with its opposite and therefore destroying the entire portal. #ThiefTDP
For a brief moment I was expecting a Barnacle to be clinging to the roof. #ThiefTDP
If you go down to the Maw today... #ThiefTDP
Don't mind me... Just going to cover this nice shiny floor with some moss, you like moss don't you? Oh you're busy over there? No problem, don't worry about me I'll just be here... STEALING YOUR EYE MOTHERFUCKER! PAYBACK TIME! #ThiefTDP
How well does your Eye see now buddy? Yeah, how'd you like them apples? Speaking of apples this weird fruit I've been eating sucks. #ThiefTDP
And that's "Into the Maw of Chaos" done... And in a final irony the video codec broke and the game just dumped be back to the menu screen. #ThiefTDP
The world is safe... Garrett has returned to the City (let's not get into how). And look it's the Keepers again. #ThiefTDP
"Tell them I'm through. Tell them it's over. Tell them Garrett is done."
"I will tell them this: Nothing is changed, all is as it was written, the Trickster is dead, beware the dawn of the Metal Age."
FIN.
#ThiefTDP
Thief: The Dark Project (yes I know it was Thief Gold, but the other name is better) is a pretty good game. I do still prefer The Metal Age (for reasons I'll explain), though the gap is much closer than it once was. #ThiefTDP
As much as I love the creepy pagan elements, I don't think the execution of the last three levels is as strong as the rest of the game. I had more issues with unclear/inconsistent lighting and collision detection in the organic levels than the purely urban ones. #ThiefTDP
I don't like the forces of the Trickster from a mechanics/dynamics standpoint. When these creatures appear they do so in greater density than human guards, and more frequently rely on randomised patrol routes. #ThiefTDP
This means the most efficient, and honestly least frustrating way to deal with them is direct violence. I've no moral compunction against killing them, nor a specifically enforced mandate not. To that end the back stab is too reliable and powerful. #ThiefTDP
The Mechanist robots in The Metal Age require more resources to deal with and that is enough to disincentive directly dispatching them. If I'd not been able to back stab all of the Trickster's minions I'd have been encouraged to find other solutions to outsmart them. #ThiefTDP
Unfortunately the combination of the density of creatures with a lack of confidence in my ability to parse safe spaces in the more organically formed levels, pushed me toward dispatching them as the most viable and least frustrating tactic. #ThiefTDP
If I played those levels again I'd probably feel more confident in where was and wasn't dark, and would therefore seek out less violent means of getting past the Trickster's creatures. I appreciate that, I can't change my initial experience though. #ThiefTDP
I can totally understand why The Dark Project is the preferred game for some (even those who didn't play it first). I don't think I'm ever going to be one of those people because the rough edges are in exactly the wrong parts of the design space for me. #ThiefTDP
I’m not sure what more I have to say that I didn’t talk about during my playthrough. I’ll happily answer questions about anything I didn’t cover. #ThiefTDP
It's still a real fucking good game. Thanks to everybody for following along, and big thanks to @adurdin for both gifting me that boxed copy I photographed above, and for making the No Spiders mod that allowed me to actually - finally - finish. #ThiefTDP
Final thing... Have some gorgeous Thief series fan-art by ogilac.deviantart.com #ThiefTDP
Definitive final thing... Credits music for Thief: The Dark Project. #ThiefTDP
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