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MD!
22-10-2012, 06:44 AM
I've heard that Thief 1 is excellent, and should be played before Thief 2 for plot reasons. I've also heard that Thief 2 stands on its own as a 'refinement' of Thief 1, with fewer annoying bits (and less-ugly graphics). Given that my patience is finite, should I start with Thief 1 or skip it?

Also, I've heard that Thief 3 is a bit of an Invisible War, in that it's a terribly disappointing sequel, but a pretty good game in its own right (after some patching and tweaking). Given that I already own a copy of Thief 3, and playing the first two might ruin my enjoyment of the third, should I start with Thief 3?

Mohorovicic
22-10-2012, 07:34 AM
Thief: TDP is excellent, yes.
Thief: Gold is Thief: TDP with all the cut levels put back in. Except, they were cut from the game for very good reasons. You're better off with TDP. Much better.

About Thief 2 "refinement": TDP has quite a bit of supernatural in it. As early as second level, things like Zombies start to appear, and there's even more of that later. Some people(who are bad and should feel bad) didn't like that "shift" in a stealth game, and so Thief 2 has very little of this instead focusing on straight mano a mansion robbery for pretty much the entire thing.

Considering your finite patience start with TDP, and if it turns out you are bad and zombies eat your face move on to Thief 2. Ignore Deadly Shadows alltogether, one good level is not worth putting up with rest of the game.

Henke
22-10-2012, 08:19 AM
Well T3 is certainly more than just 1 good level, it also wraps up Garrett's story quite nicely, and considering fow T2 ends you might well feel compelled to play part 3 just for that.

When you play T2 be sure to download the new v1.19 patch (http://www.ttlg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=140085), which reportedly pretties the game up and makes it run much better on modern computers.

b0rsuk
22-10-2012, 08:31 AM
As far as I know people don't like the number of supernatural creatures in Thief 1 because it ceases to be a stealth game. Suddenly you are allowed to kill everything, and Thief isn't a very fun killing game.

About Thief 2:
I recommend playing on Hard difficulty. Instead of the usual cheap tricks like increasing monster damage or more monsters, you get
- more mission objectives !
- you're not allowed to kill at all, except spiders and similar creatures (which are rare for most of the game).

So in summary, you get more game by playing at Hard.

Wunce
22-10-2012, 08:43 AM
Thief: TDP is excellent, yes.
Thief: Gold is Thief: TDP with all the cut levels put back in. Except, they were cut from the game for very good reasons. You're better off with TDP. Much better.

Oh thanks for that, I was wondering why the first level of Thief: Gold was so good and the second was so bad. I might go back and try Thief 2, see if it manages to catch my attention.

Mohorovicic
22-10-2012, 09:00 AM
As far as I know people don't like the number of supernatural creatures in Thief 1 because it ceases to be a stealth game. Suddenly you are allowed to kill everything, and Thief isn't a very fun killing game.

Just because you are allowed to kill things doesn't suddenly make it less of a stealth game. There's plenty of people who ghosted the entire game and that involves not being seen by both guards and Burricks. If you want to stay hidden, stay hidden. Besides, Zombies can't even be killed by normal means. Try Bonehoard or RTTC with a "kill everything" approach, and eat your words(not that it's impossible, because it isn't, but it requires way more effort than actually using stealth).

In fact even if you do decide to murder the living crap out of everything, since Broadheads are so laughably ineffective, the most efficient way of killing things is identical to knocking them out - you just use the sword instead of the Blackjack. The gameplay remains almost identical to normal stealth approach.

The supernatural enemies are also good because they provide some goddamn variety. All you need in Thief 2 is the blackjack and water arrows; blackjack the human(oid)s, water arrow the bots, over and over and over in every level through the entire game. This just gets boring. In TDP you can have a bit of fun with non-humans when no one is looking.

Oh yeah, also? Supernatural enemies are fucking scary dude. Hiding in a shadow from a durpy guard and hiding in a shadow from a conga of Zombies is a pretty big difference. Scary factor is something Thief 2 seriously lacks until the very last level.

kataras
22-10-2012, 09:04 AM
I started playing them backwards, starting from Thief III and going to II. 3 is ok but the second is amazing and the graphics are still bearable. The complexity of the levels makes you get really disapointed with modern games.
Playing them backwards also has the added benefit of tricking you into believing that the series got better. I can see why people don't like 3, when compared to 2, but I still think it's worth playing.

BillButNotBen
22-10-2012, 09:09 AM
IMHO thief is a trilogy in the real sense - it's a story in 3 acts, each with their own focus, but all connected and all part of the whole. While you COULD play and enjoy Thief 2 without playing Thief 1, imho it'd be a huge mistake.

The Thief Series has good gameplay, but it also has a great world, a great lead character, great factions and a great story. And Thief 2 is functionally and visually very similar to thief 1 anyway - it just polishes a few points and adds a few small features. Thief 3 is a weaker part than 1 and 2, but it does wrap up the story well enough and it's a good game in overall.

The only real weak point in Thief 1 is the zombie levels. But they don't take much time or effort to get through, and they at least have a little atmosphere. They aren't awful, they just aren't very Thiefy.
And thief 1 also has some awesome levels that shouldn't be missed - like the messed up house and the final level.

PPS// Be very aware that starting Thief 2 will almost immediately give away the ending and the plot twists from Thief1. Possibly even in the opening cutscene, though I can't remember for sure.

MD!
22-10-2012, 10:00 AM
Thanks guys! Pity you couldn't all agree and make my decision easy (:p), but the discussion was helpful too. Looks like I'll play them in order, allowing myself to skip 1 if I really can't stand the zombies, and not pushing myself through 3 if I don't enjoy it.

I haven't looked into this properly, but it doesn't look like there's an easy (legit) way for me to get a hold of the non-Gold version of Thief 1. Is the general consensus that Thief Gold is good enough?

sonson
22-10-2012, 10:06 AM
Only thing you'll need is patience. They haven't aged well and are not the most intutive or responsive games. Undoubtedly the first two were and are masterpieces but the hype no longer seems justified given what they have spawned. It was, wholly, when they were released, but something like Dishonored now stands as a better game in a vacuum I would say(which you would expect given it has ten years of extra time and experience to call upon).

I went back to them recently and for all they were fun they were not as I remembered them, because games have become much friendly and better in terms of how you play them over a decade.

Jams O'Donnell
22-10-2012, 10:22 AM
Honestly, I'd start with the third game as it's the most accessible, and if you like that one go back and play the first two. The older entries have aged poorly from a graphical standpoint, and even as a diehard Thief fan I found that it took me a while to get into them again when I replayed them earlier this year.

Also, to answer your later question, I can't think of a reason it would be preferable to NOT have the gold version of Thief 1.

MD!
22-10-2012, 10:29 AM
Only thing you'll need is patience. They haven't aged well and are not the most intutive or responsive games. Undoubtedly the first two were and are masterpieces but the hype no longer seems justified given what they have spawned. It was, wholly, when they were released, but something like Dishonored now stands as a better game in a vacuum I would say(which you would expect given it has ten years of extra time and experience to call upon).

I went back to them recently and for all they were fun they were not as I remembered them, because games have become much friendly and better in terms of how you play them over a decade.

Fair points, but I'm a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to modern gaming (not all of it of course, but say the trendline followed by big-budget 3D games), so I won't really be holding the Thiefs up to any modern ideals. After all, the two Objectively Best First-Person Games Ever (Quake 3 and Deus Ex, obviously) were released at around the same time as Thief 2. :)

edit: I missed Jams O'Donnell's post, but I guess the above is sort of relevant there too. Thanks for the advice, I will at least take the second half of it and go with the Gold version.

BillButNotBen
22-10-2012, 10:29 AM
Thief Gold is better. It includes some fixes, some improvements to level design, some reteexturing and expanded storyline missons. AFAIK the missions that are added weren't cut for being weak, but for money/time reasons. At least i've never heard anyone say that before.

IMHO the gameplay is still just as good as it always was, and the interface is fine. the graphics have aged pretty badly, but then again they weren't very good at the time. (other than the lighting). But as most of the gameplay is based on light and sound it's unchanged. Things like mantling could be a little finicky at times though. (garrett was never a very nimble thief!)

It'd be worth investigating patches/mods for modern systems, if you haven't already. I don't know what is currently the best, but you could try here:http://www.ttlg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=134733 or one of the many thief wikis/communities. Or the GOG forums for the series.

But what you DO need is patience. Not because of flaws/bugs/ageing, but because the entire gameplay is built around patience. You spend 10 minutes crouching in a corner plotting your next move and watching guards movements - run for 20 seconds to the next patch of shadow, and then spend another 5 minutes standing still. That's basically the core gameplay, and while it's great it does sometimes get a bit frustratingly slow (if you aren't into those things). imho that's why they chucked in a few combat missions to break up the pace.

Mohorovicic
22-10-2012, 10:32 AM
Only thing you'll need is patience. They haven't aged well and are not the most intutive or responsive games. Undoubtedly the first two were and are masterpieces but the hype no longer seems justified given what they have spawned. It was, wholly, when they were released, but something like Dishonored now stands as a better game in a vacuum I would say(which you would expect given it has ten years of extra time and experience to call upon).

I went back to them recently and for all they were fun they were not as I remembered them, because games have become much friendly and better in terms of how you play them over a decade.

I am very aggravated by this post.

MD!
22-10-2012, 10:48 AM
You guys are scaring me a little with all this talk of 'patience'. These games at least have strafe-jumping and a rocket launcher, right?



But seriously folks, thanks for the help. I think I've made up my mind to give the series a go from the beginning. Thanks for the patch suggestions -- if anyone has played Thief recently and can tell me definitively what to install, let me know. Otherwise I might just start with the latest official patches and then look into the rest if I have problems.

(I'm a bit wary of unofficial patches, which often seem to blur into tweak packs or even balance mods for people who have played the game a million times. In Thief's case there seem to be some graphical changes in TFix, which could be a good or a bad thing. The 1.19 patch sounds straightforward enough but I read that it can make the mouse input a bit weird.)

BillButNotBen
22-10-2012, 10:58 AM
I am very aggravated by this post.

Breath deeply and let it go.

Jams O'Donnell
22-10-2012, 11:01 AM
Eh, ignore what people are saying about patience. The pace is slow, but it's a stealth game so you presumably already knew the pace would be slow. And it's as slow as you want it to be, really. Sometimes it's fun to be a bit reckless.

Oh, and since you're starting from the beginning, some other advice: don't let the burrick level put you off -- it's aberrant (and abhorrent if you ask me, but other people seem to dig it).

kataras
22-10-2012, 11:26 AM
if anyone has played Thief recently and can tell me definitively what to install, let me know. Otherwise I might just start with the latest official patches and then look into the rest if I have problems.

I got the whole trilogy on one DVD (with Thief Gold) and they have all the official patches. For ThiefII I also used Tafferpatcher, which was linked above at the TTLG forums. As far as I rememeber, it has some fixes and some visual improvements (but don't expect something amazing).

Also playing both ThiefII (for the first time) and Dishonoured at the same time, I really prefer the gameplay of Thief and I don't find it so complicated to get used to. Dishonoured is a good game with nice art but the levels cannot match Thief's. In the first 3 missions in ThiefII, I used to get shocked when I would realise how big and complex the levels are. Then I got used to it and I love it.

sonson
22-10-2012, 12:19 PM
I am very aggravated by this post.

Must be hard that people don't share your exact point of view all the time : (

Voon
22-10-2012, 12:42 PM
So, lemme get this straight. Difficulty-wise, 3 is the easiest, right? And I'm guessing 2 needs a bit of experience for the games before playing it.

sonson
22-10-2012, 12:52 PM
So, lemme get this straight. Difficulty-wise, 3 is the easiest, right? And I'm guessing 2 needs a bit of experience for the games before playing it.

I'd say 1 is hardest, because it's more linear than 2, and more clunky, and less sneaking equals more baddies (zombies etc) who just want to outright kill you and who are hard to ignore/avoid
2 is bigger (and better) so there are more ways to do things thus not one thing to get "stuck" on as much. Also things like Garrett's Fish eye lense allows you to have a better understanding of the context and thus not get caught/die. Less clunky mechanically than 1. You have to learn patrol routes and the like and there are still tough bits, but never to a frustrating degree I wouldn't say. Alot of things can be sneaked around if you're canny.
3 is easiest to play because it's again quite linear, difficulty isn't as hard and controls are more streamlined. Probably the least sneaky of them all though.

kataras
22-10-2012, 12:53 PM
I would say 3 is more simple compared to 2 and has the annoying 'traverse the city' for some missions. However once you get a certain item, things get ridiculously easy as you can climb out of reach of guards.

I don't think you need a certain kind of experience with 2 (maybe only having played stealth games before?). It is just a matter of getting used to different and maybe a bit more complex controls, being patient (like all stealth games) and exploring while listening to what's going on around you.

eRa
22-10-2012, 12:56 PM
So, lemme get this straight. Difficulty-wise, 3 is the easiest, right? And I'm guessing 2 needs a bit of experience for the games before playing it.

None of the Thief games require any previous experience, the mechanics can be learned in a matter of minutes. I'd recommend 1-3 in that order if you want a sense of continuity, there's no huge discrepancy concerning the difficulty (at least not that I can remember). Just make sure to play on the highest difficulty and install the Tafferpatcher/widescreenpatch stuff, as has already been mentioned.

DaftPunk
22-10-2012, 12:58 PM
Never was fan of thief games,like others said they didn't aged well. And to be honest i started with third one,going back to second etc. And while its nice to have freedom in levels game plays quite dated.

Internet
22-10-2012, 01:24 PM
I would say just start at the first. If the graphics are too bad and you really hate it, try the second, and if that doesn't work for you try the third. Personally I found the first to be the all around best, the second had better level design, graphics, and probably gameplay than the first but it wasn't quite as scary. The third is a decent game, but the level people talk about, the cradle, is a long and boring drudge full of tired horror movie tricks.

I don't remember the entirety of Thief that well (it came out 14 years ago), but I found that the monsters (except for burricks) made the game better. For one thing, their cant is a little horrifying the first time you hear it and the tonal shift the surreal atmosphere of later levels brings reinforces how alien your enemy is and how completely out of his depth the main character feels. Also, yes you can kill them, but they are much harder to kill than guards, they do more damage, and they can see further in the dark. I would say that they make stealth more important rather than less, but they rely on the game's systems to do so rather than external systems like mission objectives.

BillButNotBen
22-10-2012, 02:11 PM
The basics don't really change between the 3 games. If you like the stealth based gameplay then they are perfect. I'm confused by all the "haven't aged well" comments, as I don't think they'd aged at all. They are a great implementation of a load of systems that are consistent and easily understandable. You usually have a dozen options for how to do things and most of them will play out in logical ways.

BillButNotBen
22-10-2012, 02:16 PM
Never was fan of thief games,like others said they didn't aged well. And to be honest i started with third one,going back to second etc. And while its nice to have freedom in levels game plays quite dated.

What is dated, exactly? I can't really think of anything other than graphics and a few controls.
I honestly feel you could remake the first 2 games in a modern engine and it'd be just as good as it was at the time.

Gray Guardian
22-10-2012, 02:17 PM
Thief: TDP is excellent, yes.
Thief: Gold is Thief: TDP with all the cut levels put back in. Except, they were cut from the game for very good reasons. You're better off with TDP. Much better.


Care to elaborate? I found the overall pacing of the campaign in TDS better, but more levels means more Thief, which is a good thing in general. The added levels were not quite as interesting as those in the original, but not terrible, with the exception of the mages guild, which was completely shitty, almost completely symmetrical and empty, with a lot of jumping on platforms to boot. But the Thieves guild was okay, even if a bit too labirynthine even for my tastes, and the opera house was quite amazing.

Mohorovicic
22-10-2012, 02:24 PM
Thieves' Guild was a labirynth, a labirynth of sewers at that. And the Opera House was... mostly completely empty rooms.


What is dated, exactly?

Don't even bother. Anyone who uses "not aged well" in relations to a medium that doesn't age is just full of it.

Gray Guardian
22-10-2012, 02:33 PM
Thieves' Guild was a labirynth, a labirynth of sewers at that. And the Opera House was... mostly completely empty rooms.


Bonehoard too was mostly a labirynth.
And Lord's Bafford's manor was rooms full of what exactly...?

ado
22-10-2012, 02:40 PM
There is no such thing as a "medium that does not age". The very idea of such a thing is silly because our culture is ever evolving.

Kids today don't watch movies by Fellini like they did in the 60's, they watch Transformers. They don't listen to Rock'n Roll they listen to Dubstep. They don't play Pong, they play Halo. And thank the fuck for that, it means we're moving forward.

To say that something has aged badly (and especially some 8-bit Atari game) is a very valid criticism. That 8-bit sprite was not seen with the same eyes back in the 80's as it is seen today. Then it was "holy mother of God I'm in a computer!". Now no one gives a shit because it's obsolete technology and even function-wise. Does that mean the 8-bit game is bad? Fuck no. But just like no one will watch silent films today, no one will play your Thief because, eww man, just look at it. It's so dated!

We are enthusiasts however, most of us even played those games when they where the cutting edge and there is a ton of nostalgia to that. But to tells some kid that Thief is better than whatever modern game is just a silly thing to do because it's just an opinion, and because of the technology gap and the crudeness of Thief's design (when compared to a modern game) it is an opinion that is very easy to argue against.

Mohorovicic
22-10-2012, 02:53 PM
There is no such thing as a "medium that does not age". The very idea of such a thing is silly because our culture is ever evolving.

Kids today don't watch movies by Fellini like they did in the 60's, they watch Transformers. They don't listen to Rock'n Roll they listen to Dubstep. They don't play Pong, they play Halo. And thank the fuck for that, it means we're moving forward.

I actually thought about replying seriously up to this point, but fortunately you made same error sonson did and somehow assumed that evolution moves ever forward and things that are new are automatically, by default, better than things that are old.

Which, of course, is a completely fucking laughable assertion, especially when applied to video games.

Saves me a lot of time.

ado
22-10-2012, 02:56 PM
I actually thought about replying seriously up to this point, but fortunately you made same error sonson did and somehow assumed that evolution moves ever forward and things that are new are automatically, by default, better than things that are old.

Which, of course, is a completely fucking laughable assertion, especially when applied to video games.

Saves me a lot of time.

I never said we where moving to a better place I said we're moving forward, as in not doing the same shit or going back and rehashing old stuff.

dnf
22-10-2012, 02:59 PM
There is no such thing as a "medium that does not age". The very idea of such a thing is silly because our culture is ever evolving.

Kids today don't watch movies by Fellini like they did in the 60's, they watch Transformers. They don't listen to Rock'n Roll they listen to Dubstep. They don't play Pong, they play Halo. And thank the fuck for that, it means we're moving forward.

To say that something has aged badly (and especially some 8-bit Atari game) is a very valid criticism. That 8-bit sprite was not seen with the same eyes back in the 80's as it is seen today. Then it was "holy mother of God I'm in a computer!". Now no one gives a shit because it's obsolete technology and even function-wise. Does that mean the 8-bit game is bad? Fuck no. But just like no one will watch silent films today, no one will play your Thief because, eww man, just look at it. It's so dated!

We are enthusiasts however, most of us even played those games when they where the cutting edge and there is a ton of nostalgia to that. But to tells some kid that Thief is better than whatever modern game is just a silly thing to do because it's just an opinion, and because of the technology gap and the crudeness of Thief's design (when compared to a modern game) it is an opinion that is very easy to argue against.

I'll give this troll a 5\10. Try harder.

As for the topic, If you want a increased quality gap in the series, just play the series backwards(only the graphics are streamlined tough, the rest is ok).

@Mohorovic: Are you saying Thieves guild, Mages tower and song of the caverns are bad levels? way to have a wrong opinion man.

dnf
22-10-2012, 03:03 PM
I never said we where moving to a better place I said we're moving forward, as in not doing the same shit or going back and rehashing old stuff.

haha. oh Wow. Maybe you should take a look in the entertainment industry in general to see lots of rehashing. I will reduce 1 point in your troll-o-meter.

Mohorovicic
22-10-2012, 03:05 PM
I'll give this troll a 5\10. Try harder.

Wait till you see his reply in Dishonored thread.

ado
22-10-2012, 03:10 PM
haha. oh Wow. Maybe you should take a look in the entertainment industry in general to see lots of rehashing. I will reduce 1 point in your troll-o-meter.

Really? I don't see that many people enjoying their dixie and big band music. What about Opera? The theater? Hell even movies! Shit is always changing, what was once on top is being replaced. Sure on a year to year basis you get a hundred shooters and just as many superhero movies, but are you seriously of the belief that this will continue forever?

In fact I'd even argue that with the increase of information exchange our cultural evolution is intensifying and moving faster than it ever did. Fluid culture becoming the culture of steam, as Alan Moore put it.

sonson
22-10-2012, 03:10 PM
I actually thought about replying seriously up to this point, but fortunately you made same error sonson did and somehow assumed that evolution moves ever forward and things that are new are automatically, by default, better than things that are old.

Which, of course, is a completely fucking laughable assertion, especially when applied to video games.

Saves me a lot of time.

I never did anything of the sort. I have in fact written published historical thesis' arguing the opposite. You're obviously very learned on the subject though so I would love for you to extrapolate how my comments' on a computer game no longer seeming as good as it once did equates to my arguing that historical progress solely equates to a qualitative experience?

Or maybe you just happen to like Thief and got all angry because someone you don't even know doesn't like it quite as much as you, and decided to justify a difference in opinion by dressing it as some sort of relevant and worthwhile grand quasi-philosophical point?

Mohorovicic
22-10-2012, 03:15 PM
I never did anything of the sort. I have in fact written published historical thesis' arguing the opposite. You're obviously very learned on the subject though so I would love for you to extrapolate how my comments' on a computer game no longer seeming as good as it once did equates to my arguing that historical progress solely equates to a qualitative experience?

Oh my, what long words you have. My nipples got all hard - tell me more about your published thesis, baby.

In the meantime, sure, here you go:


Undoubtedly the first two were and are masterpieces but the hype no longer seems justified given what they have spawned. It was, wholly, when they were released, but something like Dishonored now stands as a better game in a vacuum I would say(which you would expect given it has ten years of extra time and experience to call upon).

sonson
22-10-2012, 03:34 PM
Oh my, what long words you have. My nipples got all hard - tell me more about your published thesis, baby.

In the meantime, sure, here you go:

“given what they have spawned”

The Thief games were quite unique at the time, and heralded amongst other things for their ability to provide immersive gameplay through their mechanics and provide a different approach to the player, much like Deus Ex for example. This is probably what they are most heralded for. This is no longer something which is unexpected or rare and these mechanics have been implemented in other. Indeed, it is a recognsied and discussed concept which has been given a certain level of currency because of said games.

Someone will not be surprised by the object and nature of the gameplay of Thief in the way they would have been a decade ago for this reason. Whether it has seen any advance in terms of quality and experience is open to opinion. It is not however a demonstrable fact that it is one or other. Thus, given what Thief games have spawned, it is unlikely that Thief is deserving of the same praise it received *at reception* as it would now in our own context.


which you would expect given it has ten years of extra time and experience to call upon


In a decade in which Looking Glass Studio’s games have been regarding as something of a paradigm shift, you would expect other games to have refined the original formula somewhat. Especially within a medium which revolves around sales and technological advance, it is reasonable to assume that there would have been sufficient innovation and attempts to better the blueprint.


Again, it is open to opinion as to whether this is the case. It is not, however, a demonstrable fact to get furious about one way or the other. It’s funny that you got so angry at me for taking a position you (wrongly) assumed was extreme while at the same time seemingly adopting the other extreme yourself.

Hope this helps.

db1331
22-10-2012, 03:38 PM
Thief: Gold is Thief: TDP with all the cut levels put back in. Except, they were cut from the game for very good reasons. You're better off with TDP. Much better.


Maybe this is just because I haven't played it in around a decade, but I remember liking the level where you frame the two brothers(?) in the Thieve's Guild for stealing something and pit them against each other. That was one of the added levels, right?

deano2099
22-10-2012, 03:59 PM
assumed that evolution moves ever forward and things that are new are automatically, by default, better than things that are old.

Which, of course, is a completely fucking laughable assertion, especially when applied to video games.


In terms of game design, no. In many ways, it can be said to have regressed. However, game design is not the only thing that makes up video games. Graphics and sound are two big elements, though it's possible to carve them off into their own little niche, big advances in what mechanics they make possible aside (3D movement, etc). AI has equally improved, allowing the way the game reacts to you to be far more complex than old games managed.

Most importantly major advances have been made in UI design over the last 30 years, much of it detailed in academic papers. It's a psychological and technological field that's grown with our understanding of both the mind and computer interfaces, and how they interact. It's an area that's definitely moved forwards in leaps and bounds and is, for good or bad, intrinsically linked to the ludic elements of gaming.

dnf
22-10-2012, 04:17 PM
In terms of game design, no. In many ways, it can be said to have regressed. However, game design is not the only thing that makes up video games. Graphics and sound are two big elements, though it's possible to carve them off into their own little niche, big advances in what mechanics they make possible aside (3D movement, etc). AI has equally improved, allowing the way the game reacts to you to be far more complex than old games managed.

The problem with evolution in games is the discrepancy between some features and others. Sure, we get more detailed graphics every few years, but whats the point when the game systems and AI are stuck in the 90's levels like this one:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFxbakAamsc

Mohorovicic
22-10-2012, 04:36 PM
Maybe this is just because I haven't played it in around a decade, but I remember liking the level where you frame the two brothers(?) in the Thieve's Guild for stealing something and pit them against each other. That was one of the added levels, right?

Yes.


In terms of game design, no. In many ways, it can be said to have regressed. However, game design is not the only thing that makes up video games.

It is by far the most important one. Well unless you're one of those crazies that play games "for the story" but even then most of the areas in which *amazing* progress has been supposedly done(graphics, audio, UI) are largely irrelevant.

Melan
22-10-2012, 05:51 PM
In a decade in which Looking Glass Studio’s games have been regarding as something of a paradigm shift, you would expect other games to have refined the original formula somewhat. Especially within a medium which revolves around sales and technological advance, it is reasonable to assume that there would have been sufficient innovation and attempts to better the blueprint.
You would, and I did back around 1999-2002, but it didn't happen. It is still very hard to find a game with stealth that's even close to Thief. Thief's gameplay is simple (based on your light gem, the shadow-light contrasts you see around you, and sound cues), yet intuitive (it has a minimalistic GUI; once you learn the mechanics, they work in a reliable way), and full of interesting tactical choices (you can plot your way in reasonably open-ended environments with a handful of tools to hide you or ''force'' progress at the cost of making noise and light). The AI, while predictable after you play the game a lot, works in a way that suits the gameplay. Thief is a very tightly designed game.

In comparison, stealth in most other games feels tacked on (which it usually is); you either have little indication of how stealthy you are, or the mechanics are based on something immersion-breaking like visible vision cones or static, artificial-looking cover. The main errors they tend to commit, though, is poor environmental feedback and lackluster AI, which make the experience unreliable. The best evasion-based game I have seen since Thief, actually, is Mirror's Edge, which does not feature stealth at all - but is a similarly cohesive game.

Another area where Thief has rarely been approximated is sound design: most games expend little effort on getting either sound propagation or sound-influenced gameplay right (e.g. the Horn of Quintus, acting as a beacon through a huge tomb-complex, or the general way approaching AI broadcasts its presence through both footsteps and barks). Thief was not as innovative here as in the core sneaking mechanic, but its implementation was outstanding.

Internet
22-10-2012, 06:12 PM
In terms of game design, no. In many ways, it can be said to have regressed. However, game design is not the only thing that makes up video games. Graphics and sound are two big elements, though it's possible to carve them off into their own little niche, big advances in what mechanics they make possible aside (3D movement, etc). AI has equally improved, allowing the way the game reacts to you to be far more complex than old games managed.

Most importantly major advances have been made in UI design over the last 30 years, much of it detailed in academic papers. It's a psychological and technological field that's grown with our understanding of both the mind and computer interfaces, and how they interact. It's an area that's definitely moved forwards in leaps and bounds and is, for good or bad, intrinsically linked to the ludic elements of gaming.

I agree about UI. Some extremely good old games have absolutely atrocious interfaces, and a lot of times it feels like you're fighting the interface rather than the game. However, it doesn't feel like much has changed for PC games since 2000, maybe 2002. NWN feels largely like Dragon Age. Unreal Tournament feels pretty much the same as UT 3.

MoLAoS
22-10-2012, 08:41 PM
Yes.



It is by far the most important one. Well unless you're one of those crazies that play games "for the story" but even then most of the areas in which *amazing* progress has been supposedly done(graphics, audio, UI) are largely irrelevant.

When people whine about how graphics have gotten so much better I tell them to go outside. Best graphics ever. Flawless LOD, all perfectly 3D, dynamic objects and lighting, perfect shadows, day/night cycle, seasons, the whole shebang.

The whole point of games is gameplay. That's why the words are so similar. The UI matters because it can affect gameplay significantly, but realistic graphics are totally unimportant.

Juan Carlo
22-10-2012, 08:47 PM
When people whine about how graphics have gotten so much better I tell them to go outside. Best graphics ever. Flawless LOD, all perfectly 3D, dynamic objects and lighting, perfect shadows, day/night cycle, seasons, the whole shebang.


heh

I think the only time I've ever paused to marvel at the beauty of a sunset was in a video game.

Juan Carlo
22-10-2012, 08:50 PM
I just played through the entirety of Dark Project Gold for the first time. There is one really good Gold mission where you have to infiltrate two guys' mansions via an underground casino, but I agree that other than that one mission all Gold does is make the game unnecessarily long. So I'd probably recommend playing non-Gold as well if you can find it.

Pockets
22-10-2012, 10:17 PM
heh

I think the only time I've ever paused to marvel at the beauty of a sunset was in a video game.

You have no soul. :(


Personally, Thief has aged like a classic sports car - you can see that its old, but there's something consistently fresh and engaging about the way it plays despite the fact its so obviously 'old-fashioned' with its pacing.

deano2099
23-10-2012, 12:59 AM
It is by far the most important one. Well unless you're one of those crazies that play games "for the story" but even then most of the areas in which *amazing* progress has been supposedly done(graphics, audio, UI) are largely irrelevant.

Yes but the UI hugely effects the ludic elements. For example, mental chess, where you just imagine a chess board and call out moves to your opponent, is the exact same game as chess played on a board. But mental chess is utterly impenetrable for the vast majority because of the sheer difficulty of the interface.

Mohorovicic
23-10-2012, 06:44 AM
Yes but the UI hugely effects the ludic elements. For example, mental chess, where you just imagine a chess board and call out moves to your opponent, is the exact same game as chess played on a board. But mental chess is utterly impenetrable for the vast majority because of the sheer difficulty of the interface.

That's a great example but it doesn't really relate to videogames in any way.

The worst we've had in the UI department was what... Dune 2/Warcraft that didn't let you select multiple units? And System Shock using the 8246 to move, breaking your finger every time you wanted to go backwards. You vastly exaggerate the supposed incompetence when it comes to old UI design. You don't need to major in Human-Computer Interaction or write/read scientific papers to design a functional UI; in significant majority of cases you just need to sit down and try and play your own game and see how that works. That's enough.

hamster
23-10-2012, 07:51 AM
Thief's UI is fine. The thing that really gets people is about old games is not just idiotic controls, which - as mohorovicic pointed out - could be circumvented with a wee bit of common sense without requiring extensive scientific/human psychology research, but other things like 60% of the screen taken up by the inventory, mission critical knowledge not being saved into your quest log, the success rate of an outcome dependent on a number of non-transparent variables and not displayed to the player: stuff like that.

Of course there are also some games that map billions of functions to different keys. Context sensitive actions and radius menus have streamlined things somewhat. But I suspect v. often games are designed not to involve too many complex actions from the outset.

Mohorovicic
23-10-2012, 09:10 AM
Only problem with Thief's inventory is that is a scrolling list. Hovewer pretty much every important item can be assigned to a separate key as well for a quick access, so if you died because you couldn't scroll all the way through to the Healing Potion in time it's your laziness that killed you, not the UI - because you didn't bother to check what button it is, or remap it to your liking.

sonson
23-10-2012, 11:10 AM
Only problem with Thief's inventory is that is a scrolling list. Hovewer pretty much every important item can be assigned to a separate key as well for a quick access, so if you died because you couldn't scroll all the way through to the Healing Potion in time it's your laziness that killed you, not the UI - because you didn't bother to check what button it is, or remap it to your liking.

Nobody is arguing that old UI's made things impossible, or too hard or anything like that. Just that there are more intuitive ways to do things in keeping with how we interact with things in our lives these days, that's all. Thief's original controls would have been designed with exactly the same thing in mind. The logical extension of your argument is to rail against it's UI for not being designed with a joystick or Spectrum keyboard in mind.

Gorzan
23-10-2012, 11:37 AM
realistic graphics are totally unimportant.
Because more realism doesn't help at all with immersion, right? and even if it did, why the hell would you want better inmersion?

sonson
23-10-2012, 11:55 AM
Because more realism doesn't help at all with immersion, right? and even if it did, why the hell would you want better inmersion?

I think they are considerably less important, and deserving of considerably less time, than the fundamentals of gameplay as for most studios this equates to a less quality game, at the expense of it being prettier. But that said there also quite a few games which look very realisitc and also play very well, there's by no means a hard and fast law which dictates that a good looking game can't also be a very good one. Maybe the ones which focus on graphics just aren't very good at doing game play anyway?

The way I see it is a visual medium, it makes perfect sense to want games to look good and it is ghettoist nonsense to insist that the visual element is unimportant or somehow anti-game. It can be, but there's no blatant correlation. The majority of games in history have wanted to present themselves using the best graphics available at the time.

deano2099
23-10-2012, 12:25 PM
The worst we've had in the UI department was what... Dune 2/Warcraft that didn't let you select multiple units? And System Shock using the 8246 to move, breaking your finger every time you wanted to go backwards. You vastly exaggerate the supposed incompetence when it comes to old UI design.

Go back and play some old games. There's been plenty of discussion about the UI putting people off the original XCOM, but a lot of old stuff just feels wrong and annoying because while at the time it seemed fine, that was because we didn't know it could be any better. Someone sat down and played it and said "this feels like the best we can make it" because those HCI studies that led to better interfaces all around hadn't happened yet.

I don't think Thief has a bad UI, not for its time or even now. It's perfectly playable. But it was the more general point about games not getting objectively better in some areas that I disagreed with.

caljohnston
23-10-2012, 01:02 PM
So who learnt what exactly? Because the new XCOM UI is atrocious.

deano2099
23-10-2012, 01:32 PM
So who learnt what exactly? Because the new XCOM UI is atrocious.

Well yes. The new XCOM UI is better than the old one. But the old XCOM UI was good for its time. The new XCOM UI is bad for its time.

Mohorovicic
23-10-2012, 01:33 PM
There's been plenty of discussion about the UI putting people off the original XCOM

First time I've heard about it. And I don't remember having any UI issues with XCOM when I played it... when was the last time - in february?


but a lot of old stuff just feels wrong and annoying because while at the time it seemed fine, that was because we didn't know it could be any better. Someone sat down and played it and said "this feels like the best we can make it" because those HCI studies that led to better interfaces all around hadn't happened yet.

No, they sat down and thought "Yeah, this works". They might have been wrong, sure, because of the subjective factor more than anything else, but it wasn't because we were hurrr durrr UI cavemen banging rocks.

I'd wager any perception of progress is down to developers simply catering more to the stupid and the lazy who need to have everything spoon-fed to them and expect any game they bought to work perfectly the moment they put the disc in without changing any options or going into any menu whatsoever. So yeah, we have mostly unified default controls now, we have "low on ammo/health" warninigs in the middle of the screen, we have context icons/text for every action you do except firing your weapon. None of this makes the UI actually better, it's just there to make the game more "accessible" to the stupid and the lazy.

sonson
23-10-2012, 01:50 PM
First time I've heard about it. And I don't remember having any UI issues with XCOM when I played it... when was the last time - in february?



No, they sat down and thought "Yeah, this works". They might have been wrong, sure, because of the subjective factor more than anything else, but it wasn't because we were hurrr durrr UI cavemen banging rocks.

I'd wager any perception of progress is down to developers simply catering more to the stupid and the lazy who need to have everything spoon-fed to them and expect any game they bought to work perfectly the moment they put the disc in without changing any options or going into any menu whatsoever. So yeah, we have mostly unified default controls now, we have "low on ammo/health" warninigs in the middle of the screen, we have context icons/text for every action you do except firing your weapon. None of this makes the UI actually better, it's just there to make the game more "accessible" to the stupid and the lazy.

You have no idea as to how they went about designing the UI, so you probably shouldn't correct someone about something you can't prove. Comes across rather "stupid and lazy".

Also, what's wrong with desiring things with the stupid and lazy in mind? There will be plenty of incredibly intelligent folk to whom even the most intellectual and rigorous games are stupid and lazy-does that mean they shouldn’t be made?

Mohorovicic
23-10-2012, 02:05 PM
You have no idea as to how they went about designing the UI, so you probably shouldn't correct someone about something you can't prove.

So can you prove I am wrong, or are you really being that blatant of a pot?


Also, what's wrong with desiring things with the stupid and lazy in mind?

Nothing, just don't call it progress.

Sparkasaurusmex
23-10-2012, 02:11 PM
If tool tip pop ups are for the stupid and lazy (and I can't really argue that they aren't) than color me stupid and lazy! I want tool tips in any game with buttons.

sonson
23-10-2012, 02:18 PM
So can you prove I am wrong, or are you really being that blatant of a pot?

Don't need to. I never asserted I was right, or you wrong, just that you can't prove that you're right and thus contradict someone else as wrong.


Nothing, just don't call it progress.

Don't think anyone on here has really. You might have construed it as such but I don't think anyone has said anything like "new things are better because they are new and old things are worse and things are getting better". Someone not outright agreeing with you or suggesting an old game might benefit from a few tweaks accorded from the benefit of hindsight and/or technological advance is not doing that either.

Do you on plan on rebutting other things that haven't really been asserted in this thread as well? Might take a while is all.

caljohnston
23-10-2012, 03:29 PM
Well yes. The new XCOM UI is better than the old one. But the old XCOM UI was good for its time. The new XCOM UI is bad for its time.
I disagree. The only problem with the original XCOM (and many others) interface was the low resolution. Otherwise it is superior in every respect. It's still good today. The new interface is bad and it would've been bad 20 years ago.

sonson
23-10-2012, 03:38 PM
I disagree. The only problem with the original XCOM (and many others) interface was the low resolution. Otherwise it is superior in every respect. It's still good today. The new interface is bad and it would've been bad 20 years ago.

Yeah it's pretty unfriendly at first

Mohorovicic
23-10-2012, 04:52 PM
Don't think anyone on here has really.

Except for deano2099, repeatedly, on the previous page?

You aren't very good at this, are you?

Koobazaur
24-10-2012, 12:35 AM
Funny, I just started on Thief 2 recently (played 1 ages ago).



As far as I know people don't like the number of supernatural creatures in Thief 1 because it ceases to be a stealth game. Suddenly you are allowed to kill everything, and Thief isn't a very fun killing game.



Or in my cases, it went from "Thief: Stealthy and Silent Burglar Simulator" to "Garrot: The Hedgehog." Remember the mission in the underground crypt with tons of zombies? I got mauled, sneaking wasn't working too well, and I couldn't kill them (not enough holy waters). Until I realized... I can outrun them. Cue me running and bunny hopping around full-blast, climbing ramps and picking up gold trinkets and crap. I don't think this is how they intended the game to be played, but it was the most effective solution.


Though, I did like the cathedral level (stealth worked even with all supernaturals) and the underground fire caverns (had some nice Indiana Jones-y feel to them) - good breaks to mix up the pure-stealthy gameplay.



But what you DO need is patience. Not because of flaws/bugs/ageing, but because the entire gameplay is built around patience. You spend 10 minutes crouching in a corner plotting your next move and watching guards movements - run for 20 seconds to the next patch of shadow, and then spend another 5 minutes standing still. That's basically the core gameplay, and while it's great it does sometimes get a bit frustratingly slow (if you aren't into those things). imho that's why they chucked in a few combat missions to break up the pace.


Ugh yea... I think that's the reason I never enjoyed Thief as much as I should have. Sometimes I am sitting in a corner thinking "I wish there was a speed up button." Even Operation Flashpoint, the uber-realistic simulator, included a speed-up button - Bohemia knew what they were doing.

Gray Guardian
24-10-2012, 01:12 AM
Or in my cases, it went from "Thief: Stealthy and Silent Burglar Simulator" to "Garrot: The Hedgehog." Remember the mission in the underground crypt with tons of zombies? I got mauled, sneaking wasn't working too well, and I couldn't kill them (not enough holy waters). Until I realized... I can outrun them. Cue me running and bunny hopping around full-blast, climbing ramps and picking up gold trinkets and crap. I don't think this is how they intended the game to be played, but it was the most effective solution.


True, that's missions no. 3, The Bonehoard, I also never bothered to even try to sneak through that shopping-mall sized vertical tomb you reached after passing through all these earth tunnels. Zombies are not fit for sneaking past, they don't seem to have set patrol routes.

deano2099
24-10-2012, 12:36 PM
If tool tip pop ups are for the stupid and lazy (and I can't really argue that they aren't) than color me stupid and lazy! I want tool tips in any game with buttons.

Yup, tooltips are the obvious one. Buttons that also indicate state are another, effective clustering of icons and all sorts of little things - it's subtle because advances have been made slowly and they're designed to feel 'right' so you never really notice the change. But HCI is a big field with lots of research still happening. Big strides forwards have been made, and some stuff we take for granted now just didn't happen 10-20 years ago.

Maybe these advances are for the 'lazy and stupid', in that I'm too lazy to go and look up what ever icon means in the manual, or click through five different screens when one should do. But they make it far easier to get at the core mechanics of a game, which in turn often exposes how simple those mechanics actually are.

MD!
25-10-2012, 12:52 AM
I won't have a whole lot of gaming time until next week or so, but the other day I did manage to play the first mission of Thief Gold. I'm not yet hooked, but I think I already have some understanding of why this game is so highly regarded.

I'll have to wait and see whether I am capable of really clicking with a stealth game, though. My time in Lord Bafford's Manor could have been soundtracked by the Benny Hill theme.