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Buffing The Bonehoard: Fixing GOG's Thief

Thunk.

Now that my initial excitement has waned to a deep, purple coloured throb in the centre of my soul, the stark reality of GOG.com‘s Thief port has settled in. It runs, which is the big step up from my original version, but it’s not widescreen, the resolution is stamp sized, and it’s a bit grimy. Fret not, lovely Taffers, for I’m about to tell you how to make it work. And it’s ridiculously simple.
I’d hoped that these fixes would be complicated, and as a result I might be able to put “1337 haxx0r” on my CV, but the truth is the Thief community has done a remarkable job in updating the game. The main problem with GOG’s version is that it runs at a resolution and aspect ratio that steam-powered PCs used to find acceptable. Nowadays our eyes are 50% further apart and monitors have widened to compensate. These so-called “widescreen monitors” run Thief with borders down each side. The old engine also looks a little bit naff.

To fix I’d first avoid installing the game in Program Files. The mods seemed to take when I redirected the game’s installer to simply nestle on my C drive’s root. Through The Looking Glass user Voodoo47’s brought a group of community’s fixes to the GOG forums. All you need to do is copy all the mods from that zip into your root Thief folder and change the cam.cfg’s “game_screen_size” line to that of your desired resolution. Mines reads: “game_screen_size 1920 1080”. If you have a Radeon card, there’s an extra step involved detailed in the “hdradeon_winxp” folder. The result was 98% satisfying. A few effects are a bit flickery, but it’s remarkably sharp and playable.

Permit me to show you with the least dynamic screenshot of all time.

Clicky for bigness.

There’s also a problem with the mission briefing videos. Windows 7/Vista has pretty much forgotten how to deal with the codec that Looking Glass used. You can remind it by creating a text file with the following:

cd c:\windows\sysWOW64

regsvr32 ir50_32.dll

pause

If you have a 32bit version of W7 or Vista, delete the first line. Rename the document a BAT file (thief.bat is fine), and place it in the root drive of your PC. Run it as a Windows administrator and after you restart your PC and they should be playing for you now.

If this is your first time as a Thief you might not know about the legacy that the game has. Besides casting deep, long shadows, the Thief community kept plugging away creating fan-missions years after the game came out. This is where to find them. With Thief 2 soon to appear on GoG.com, this should keep us all stealing until Thief 4.

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Craig Pearson

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