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I finally got around to playing Thief and I'm impressed. I've never seen such a systemic, immersive and emergent game before. I like how there are simple rules and abilities that give you control over how you handle situations, combined with the winding level design and the best sound system I've seen.

I love that there is a dependable rule-set to take advantage of and explore. Nothing is "press x for takedown" or "climb ledges marked with white paint" Ledge grab rules apply to all ledges, all wood can hold rope arrows, all attacks must be manually controlled and aimed, all boxes can be moved, all materials have distinct sounds, etc. It's great using the AI to bait enemies into each other, or into traps.

The level design is in a league of its own. The settings are thought out, intricate, interconnected and sensible. You've really got to "case the joint" and map out in your mind where everything is, remember safe spots, escape routes, and shadowy areas.

I wish someone took the design approach to Thief and used it to make an Elder Scrolls like immersive sim RPG. Are there any other games that use Thief's systemic design approach well?
>>
Nothing as focused as Thief, but the other 'immersive sims' are as close as you'll get I suppose. Ultima Underworld, System Shock, Deus Ex, the modern Prey. Considering you're awareness of the term I guess you've already played them though. But yeah, Thief is one of a kind. The second game is even better IMO but that's debatable depending on how you feel about monster-focused levels.
>>
Prey. Dishonored. Deus Ex. System Shock 2.
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>>462276774
>>462276980
all great recommendations. i'd also throw in arx fatalis and dark messiah of might and magic.
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>>462275290
also i don't know why anyone else hasn't mentioned it but thief 2 is superior to the first thief in my opinion. the third one is pretty great too but not quite as good as the first or second. skip the 4th at all costs.
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>>462275290
Look at anything Arkane made, they took Thief's design philosophy to heart.

Also Thief 3 is pretty decent once you mod out the loading screens. The ocean manor is pretty great
>>
>that level design
>that map system
so good, shame it would be considered bad design nowadays
>>
The Thief "reboot" was actually not all bad. Atleast try it. It doesn't live up to Thief 1 and 2, but its still an okay stealth game.
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>>462277560
No, it's garbage. The level design is extremely limited and doesn't offer nearly the freedom Thief levels did.

The devs even spoke about their disdain to give players freedom of movement like jumping because it would "ruin their cinematic experience".
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>>462277293
arx fatalis was the shit.
i still play it every once in a while.
M A X
>>
>>462276774
There is something about how it feels to move your character in Thief, Deus Ex and System Shock that is very unique, you feel like you have real weight and physics. It's not floaty at all like modern FPS games.

Platforming in Thief is fantastic, the jumping and climbing just feels right.
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Play fan missions.
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>>462278108
http://www.thedarkmod.com/main/

all you need
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>>462277293
I tried arx fatalis and it has a lot of great elements that remind me of thief, but I don't enjoy the combat at all--not like thief's sword fighting was that great anyway.

Weirdly enough I feel like Mount & Blade ticks a lot of the boxes that made Thief special. It's got immersive, slow paced movement with an emphasis on player control. It's also systemic and emergent. I love that other characters in the game have the exact same abilities as you do, it makes for some really interesting events.
>>
>>462277560
>rope arrows only work at most obvious scripted points
>frequent load screens disguised as button mashing segments
>constant backtracking through the same 3 areas of the city
>needless grabbing animations every time you pick up loot
>boring reboot of an interesting universe
no, it was ALL bad.
>>
>>462278308
No
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>>462277529
Thief just does so much right that I don't see anywhere else.
>Sound: atmospheric ambient music, sound effects for every action, item, element - material based sounds, sound propagation, AI hearing system
>Worldbuilding: a steampunk, dank, urban fantasy environment that blends mechanics, magic, medieval and cosmic horror, it's so gothic and atmospheric
>Level Design: not only are the levels intelligently designed labryinths with fun gameplay elements, they're also beautiful and highly vertical. Nothing like jumping off the roof of the Baron's estate into the pool below, with the night sky overhead
>>
>>462275290
Looking Glass were at least 20 years ahead of their time
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>>462279070

Everyone talks about the gameplay and rightly so, but it's also amazing how well the first two games did with its atmosphere and aestethics. Perfect soundtrack and probably my favorite cinematics in vidya.
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>>462279070
i know it's not the same but escaping the ambush in maggie chow's apartment in Deus Ex by shooting out her window and jumping onto the balcony across the street is one of my favorite things to do in any game.
>>
In the first level of Thief 1 when I take the key from the drinking guard, the door he is guarding still doesn't open.
Am I missing something or is my game bugged?
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>>462279905
Manually use the key from your inventory on the door
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>>462279905
>he skipped the tutorial
you have to select keys in your inventory and manually use them on the doors
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>>462279905
Did you select the key from your inventory?
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>>462277560
It wasn't all that bad if you judge it in a vacuum, where nothing else exists. The good parts are some of the artistic side stuff, and not all of it still. The rest was a range from mediocre to irritating. Its clear they couldn't decide what they were making and frankensteined some sort of mishmash of everything bad with the industry. Like faux progression elements that are unimaginative and feel out of place and clearly just there because 'thats how it's done nowadays', the world exploration and interaction didn't expand nor improve from them. The loading screens are one of the worst ive ever experienced in video game history, the hub was just a pain to traverse because of that, discouraging exploration, infact moving from one place to another felt like punishment. Some isolated parts of the story were nice, but all of it was dragged down by poor writing and characters.

Contrary to the popular opinion though, i liked having hands doing stuff visually, but the rest of the game was just one bad design decision after another.
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>>462279373
Thief 1 has immersed me more than any AAA modern game has in 10 years. The Baron's estate was such a damn joy, seeing his art gallery full of real gothic paintings, his bath chambers, the dank servant's quarters beneath the main floor, the pool open to the sky, the garden on the 2nd floor, the library.

Then I get to the mines and I'm fucking terrified, its dark and there are creatures I don't understand about, everything I knew about NPC's from the last level has changed and I have to learn new tricks.

Even the little things like the loot are amazing. The feeling of finding this little glowing earing, necklace, globlet, hidden in some nook, the immersion of having to actually aim and pick it up (same with pickpocketing keys) the sound of jewels going into your purse, the economic impact on the next level with buying gear. The game makes you really want to find all the treasure - moreso than a normal RPG where you just crush barrels for the same coins over and over again so you can buy the +2 axe that changes nothing but your damage stats.
>>
>systemic
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>>462275290
good now play the metal age
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>>462279281
Nobody besides in graphics and maybe combat department has surpassed them though.
>>
>>462280125
I think a lot of games confuse immersion with realism - RDR2 is a perfect example. It is realistic to pick up items with your players hand, to have them roll over a corpse and physically loot it, but it's not immersive because what it's really doing is wasting a few seconds taking away control of the player to add realism.

Immersion is about control and consequence, it's about your actions having a real and immediate effect on the game world. Taking time to roll over bodies and loot them is a boring waste of time and just reminds the player that they are "directing" the player character, telling them what to do and waiting for them to do it, as opposed to literally being the player character and controlling your actions with immediacy.
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>>462280740
Whatever happened to those guys? I rarely hear their names come up, while lesser devs get glorified all the time. Who was the brains behind thief anyway, the Wikipedia shows it changing hands a lot with no real central vision in control.
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>>462280838
Yes, i agree with you! But i mostly didn't get that with the hand movements, the only time where that may show it's drawbacks is when you need to break away from the action you're performing, like waiting for an open drawer animation to finish when in actuality you want to bolt into cover cause you sensed danger. A player should always have the ability to cancel out of animation, nor the animation should take too long to start and finish.

Worst cases of this to me were during the "totally not a loading screen guys" where you press 'W' to crawl through a rubble loading screen, or wait for the window opening loading screen etc, where once you engage with the loading screen, theres no turning back or canceling it. So you watch your character do something you don't want. Which really takes our of the experience. Most painful when you realise that you took a wrong loading screen to the next area and now you have to wait for it again to get back. Jesus im getting PTSD just thinking about it.
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>>462275290
the only stealth games ive really enjoyed in my life are thief and mgsv
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>>462281881
looking at concept art with a loading bar > squeezing past a boulder.
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>>462281720

Singular geniuses don't make a game in general anyway, people just like that shit so it's useful marketing. You want to know who the brains behind a masterpiece like Thief are, check through most of the credits.
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>>462283139
ideally you shouldn't have to deal with either
>>
Remember when you had to memorize patrol routes and detect guards via footsteps instead of having batham vision, radars, 1HKO takedowns and a million superpowers in stealth games?
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>>462282942
you really need to change the way you think about games to enjoy thief. I tried it years ago and hated it, the controls were weird, my weapons were useless, guards kept hearing me on stone even if I was sneaking, I kept getting lost in the levels, etc.

Then it clicked and I realized I need to use every tool, I need to inch along to be quiet, I need to actually stay out of sight not just a fake cone of vision, I need to be smart and memorize where I am in the buildings. Now it's one of my favorite games ever.

Games have trained us to be idiots following a path. So many stealth games just sort of offer everything up to you. Guards head to these quiet, dark spots for you to sneak up behind and knock them out. There are gaps in their paths for you to sneak past. Most stealth games I've played are just sneak up and bonk em' simulators.

Thief makes that difficult with sound, with supernatural enemies, with pinch points where you can't just sneak up behind a guy. I love it, it makes every tool valuable and every decision important.
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>>462284081
I do think the superpowers make stuff too easy in games like nu deus ex and dishonored
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Reminder to check out Styx 1+2. Different beast to Thief but still two of the better stealth games in recent years and often overlooked.
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>>462284158
>Games have trained us to be idiots following a path. So many stealth games just sort of offer everything up to you. Guards head to these quiet, dark spots for you to sneak up behind and knock them out. There are gaps in their paths for you to sneak past. Most stealth games I've played are just sneak up and bonk em' simulators.
>Thief makes that difficult with sound, with supernatural enemies, with pinch points where you can't just sneak up behind a guy
Not to mention missions which absolutely prohibit being seen AND taking out guards. Sneak in, make a recon, sneak out without anyone knowing you were there. I loved and hated these for exactly the same reasons - being extremely hard and unforgiving
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>>462284592

Oh yeah, thanks for reminding me. First one was actually really fun, I should get around to playing the second.
>>
Based as hell OP. Based as hell.
The game design in Thief needs to make a comeback in vidya.
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>>462284081
but anon you can do this in the original deus ex...
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>>462277512
>they took Thief's design philosophy to heart
It's definitely present, but a hard fucking disagree on them taking it "to heart"
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>>462277560
lmao it literally removed or simplified almost every single element that made Thiet TDP and Thief TMA masterpieces because the devs were fucking retarded.
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>>462284081
HR > MD
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>>462284924
it's there. the only way to play the dishonored games is to play them like thief i.e. Disable as many hud elements as possible and never be seen
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>>462285253
It's half-there if you want it to be, but it's not "in the bones" and under the skin of the game like it was in Thief were it was made to be that way.
>>
>>462284081
Modern stealth game
>turn on my xray vision
>now I can see every enemy, every interactive object, every route in the level
>press x to takedown with death animation version 2, so bonecracking and bloody
>oh no! someone saw me!
>press y while aiming at the glowing ledge to (agility move) to safety
>alarm goes off, clock UI element activates, better wait it out
>guard 3 says the same 2 lines of dialogue
>alarm clock ends, "guess it was nothing" as guard steps over his dead friend

Thief
>listening for footseps, waiting for the change in sound from stone to carpet to make your move
>putting torches out with a water arrow to mask your retreat route
>leaning around corners to survey, hoping you aren't spotted, making a mental note of guard positions
>the tension mounts as you realize there is no way to just sneak up and knock everyone out
>you make a distraction by throwing a cup and use the broken patrol routes to sneak past
>somehow you are far more satisfied having outsmarted these guards than if you had slit all their throats with a cool animation.
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>>462275290
Thief isn't even the best Thief game
Thief II is far better
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>>462285253
can't speak for 2 but it's fucking boring when you do this. you just wish you were playing thief instead.
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>>462285785
Say that to my face fucker and not in the city and see what happens
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>>462285546
I still remember how panicked i tense i was every time i have to lockpick a door while i can hear the footsteps of a guard closing in on me.

Unlike, you know, stopping time and putting you into a save minigame screen where you can hack and lockpick and scratch your balls in modern games.
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>>462285785
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctF-dVNR4jo
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>>462285785
Nah.
Monsters>Machines
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>>462284708
I don't even see anything on the horizon remotely similar to these immersive sims games of old. Everything is about a more cinematic experience, bigger set pieces, bigger bosses, bigger maps.

When Oblivion came out and they were hyping radiant AI I had so much hope for the future of gaming. Emergent gameplay was supposed to be the norm for the next gen. We were supposed to be playing in these living worlds with all these simulated elements to play with, to see how people reacted, to have personalities influence AI behavior, to have real player agency and consequence.

Instead, it's all just a theme park ride. NPC's could all be deleted and it wouldn't change the gameplay. If there is no difference between getting a quest from a bulletin board vs. an NPC what is the point?

Wow an NPC ate dinner at the same time every day because it's scripted is so much lamer than the Radiant AI hunger system where NPCs would seek out food, getting increasingly desperate and resorting to theft if their own food was taken.
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>>462275290
Played last year. One of all time favourites. Outside the mechanical side you discussed and i agree completely, I absolutely loved the setting, story, all the cutscenes between missions, all the little commentaries Garrett does, and mostly the atmosphere, aaaaaa, the magic medieval atmosphere.
Truly a masterpiece
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>>462286435
Every decision in thief is about risk vs. reward, timing, observation, and execution.

Every decision in modern stealth games is more about what flavor of cool shit do you want to do to move forward. But when the cool shit is just a hollow animation that you're rewarded with, it isn't fun. I can only watch so many takedown animations before I don't care anymore.
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>>462287689
The atmosphere, man. How did they do it? It's like they took Lankhmar and Ankh-Morpork and married them with a steampunk vibe.

The sound, visuals, and narration all meld into this wonderfully dreary place that can be so many different things. It can be terrifying, in the dark monster filled depths. It can be beautiful, in the city rooftops under the stars. It can be mysterious with strange paintings and mechanisms. It can be occult with twisting impossible architecture. It can be hilarious with guard chatter.

It has magic and strange machines and monsters, but it's all on the periphery. Everything is so grounded, realistic and detailed. You just want to explore every room of these levels. Is there anything you can think of that shares the atmosphere or setting of Thief 1?
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>>462288630
There isn't really anything else like it. It's an anachronistic mish-mash of clashing elements and that was the intent.
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>>462289365
Even at it's core setting, it stands alone. Can you think of any other games that have a medieval urban setting?
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>>462275290
The only stealth game that isn't completely braindead is Hitman
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Should I force myself to get used to the default controls or this a recommended setup? I don't even like keyboard/mouse in the first place
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https://vocaroo.com/i/s0BjIL66RZiV
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>>462291482
Damn, sekiro used to look like that?
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>>462276774
prey was so fucking good. a breath of fresh air
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>>462292308
You can change it all you like.
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>>462285739
Dont know whats going in this webm but that never happens in the normal game. Bugged FM?
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>>462275290
I played Thief really recently and I'm relatively young (21). I played Dishonored before Thief, but thief 1 and 2 instantly became my favourite stealth games for the reasons you mentioned, and I'm really disappointed game devs today don't have the balls to make such an incredibly focused game. The sound system is amazing, the lighting and detection system is amazing, the level design is incredibly good, the valuable item distribution is really well done, the sound design overall elevates the atmosphere to god levels. And a really cool, relatable protagonist, as well as NPCs with great bants. A game with real soul.
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>>462285739
99.99% sure the A.I won't notice you during dialogue.
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>>462294712
They do sometimes but not that particular dialogue.
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>>462294829
so what the hell went wrong in his webm? Or is he that ass-mad guy from /vr/ who's angry because he can't discuss MGS there.
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>>462278378

arx fatalis tricks you into thinking its a warrior/thief/mage RPG, when in reality its just a mage RPG. you are doing yourself a disservice by not going for wizard.
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>>462294928
That's what I just said, they refuse to notice you during that conversation but not most others. It's just the way it's scripted.
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>>462279070
for it's day, Thief had the best sound in any game hands down.
No game had as good surround sound before it, just like no game before it had any sort of NPCs being aware of you making noise etc.
You needed to drop $100's in a fat soundcard to fully appreciate it back then but it was revolutionary for it's time
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>>462295312
Oh, my bad I mis-read what you said.
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>>462275290
For other systemic games I'd recommend Soace Station 13. All doors can be hacked, all machines taken apart and rebuilt, all walls and windows broken. It being a multiplayer game changes a lot of things as you can't reliably predict what other players will do like an AI, but it also adds randomness into the gameplay as you'll have to change your plans depending on what the other players do.
>>
The real amazing thing about these games is the sound design. Dark engine games with EAX on (SS2 perfected it but they were all good) were an eargasm from start to finish. All the little environmental sounds and hums and the way sound carried through the level.

The funniest thing is that today you'll get games with 100 fucking gb of uncompressed audio for "max quality" and yet they all sound like shit compared to a 20 year old game. Fucking TECHNOLOGY
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>>462297294
Probably helps that they had an actual audio engineer along with musicians working on that shit
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>>462280125
I hate that they turned Garrett into wannabe Batman. Dude just wanted to pay his rent.
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>>462286435
I love that feeling. Or having multiple keys gathered so you're quickly going through them to see which is the right one finally get the right one, get in and close the door.
I miss good games.
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>>462275290
I've seen so much shitposting on /v/ that I was trying to find the sarcasm in your post, thinking you weren't being serious. Completely agree.
Thief is an amazing game. Unfortunately this industry has a long-term memory problem. They never look further than the past 5-10 years. For example, I trust From Software to know how to build their worlds but then Sekiro does the same "climbable ledge has white paint".
I don't believe any stealth game has ever beaten Thief. It just does just about everything right.
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Pick up DromEd niggers.
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>>462293542
This game is soul personified. The world needs more immersive sims.
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>>462295543
Is it really hard to implement or something? I can't think of any other game besides Battlefield that has really important and directional sound design.
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>>462301286
I can only guess that either most games don't need it, so it's discarded, or it's easier to implement visual elements to replace good audio design.
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>>462277512
Thief 3 is honestly a lot better than people give it credit for. The manor is good, the Abysmal Gale is good, and Shalebridge Cradle stands as one of my absolute favorite Thief levels across all the games. It doesn't live up to Thief or The Metal Age, but it's got some really good parts to it for sure.

>>462298595
Holy fuck I haven't played the first two Thief games in ages and I honestly forgot about the stress of trying to find the right key, I love that they did that rather than just having the door open if you had the right key in your inventory.
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>>462285546
Something to note is also that games like Dishonored, which should be a worthy successor, make combat so easy that you never really have to flee if caught. The only way to play Dishonored as you would Thief is if you self-impose your own rules of reloading the map if you get caught.
Modern stealth game
>Sneak around
>Didn't notice a guard behind you
>Kill him without breaking a sweat because you're 100 times overpowered
Thief
>Sneak around
>Didn't notice a guard behind you
>Try to fight which will likely end you quickly
>Other guards join in
>Run like hell, trying to find any way to lose them
>Go around a corner, find the darkest corner and hide
>See guards slowly creeping up on your spot
>Sense of dread fills you
>Getting ever closer
>Just as your about to bonk and bolt, they turn around
So god damn satisfying.
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>>462297294
The sound in those games was fucking insane, which is important because listening for stuff was such a huge part of how you played the game.

>>462298595
They really managed to create some fucking stressful situations.
>oh fuck a hammer haunt
>oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck

Also, those weird bug guys that shot swarms of bees at you.
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>>462299217
I think games like Thief are going to only come from the indie market from now on. Games are big business and every cool, immersive feature in Thief is also a way to frustrate and confuse the average game buyer.

Even personally, I have put off playing thief for years because in screenshots and videos it doesn't look very fun. It's only when you dive in and really take the reins that you realize the magic of the controls, mechanics, art and sound all clicking.

Thief feels like it has a very mature vision behind it. It's not like the juvenile doom or duke with a focus on wanton destruction. Nor is it overly poetic and literary like Planescape. It feels like it was made by people that were really passionate about giving players a genuine, immersive experience.
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>>462299217
Imagine a game with stealth as good as Thief but with the freedom of movement that's possible in modern games. It's possible now to make such an insanely phenomenal stealth game, but like you said I don't think anybody has managed to beat the original two Thief games, and those are fucking 20 years old.
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>>462285785
Thief was a more cohesive experience, 2 felt more like a level pack, less than the sum of its parts.
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>>462302338
>Thief feels like it has a very mature vision behind it. It's not like the juvenile doom or duke with a focus on wanton destruction. Nor is it overly poetic and literary like Planescape. It feels like it was made by people that were really passionate about giving players a genuine, immersive experience.

100% agreed. Everything from the worldbuilding to the art to the sound to the mechanics works together so flawlessly in those games that nothing has beaten them in their genre to date, over 20 years later, despite MASSIVE advances in technology and funding for games.

>>462302145
Even better,
>Just as your about to bonk and bolt, you see a pitcher on a table beside you and throw it through an open door into the next room, and find a better hiding spot while they investigate the noise
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>>462302338
Yeah, that was pretty much Looking Glass's intent. The holy trinity of immersive games is Thief, System Shock 2 and Deus Ex, which wasn't Looking Glass but had former Looking Glass people.
Part of the issue is that people are too over reliant on graphics. I've seen people dismiss Deus Ex because "it looks old". I can not put into words the amount of anger I have over this shit. It drives me up the fucking wall. >Oh, Doom (2016) is better because it looks better.
>Oh, Human Revolution is better because it looks better
And these are games I enjoyed as hell but the blatant disrespect people have is nauseating. What's worse is when you hear similar stuff from people from within the industry.
>Oh, Kratos in now a mature character, not like the old games
Yeah, let's just ignore the fact that Kratos from day 1 was a complex character just because the new one looks more "cinematic"
Sorry, rant over.
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Great thread bros. Gonna go play a FM now
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Played both 1 and 2 last year for the first time. Became instantly one of my favourite games ever. Thief 1's atmosphere and story was godlike for me. Sound and level design - beyond anything known to man
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>>462302425
Thief has great freedom of movement though. The way that rope arrows work consistently on any wooden surface is great. It also allows the level to constrain the player when needed, which is pretty important.
I think some constraints to movement are important though, otherwise you won't get be at risk of being cornered by guards and the tension is lost. Haunts being able to outrun you was a feature desu.
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>>462303070
Honestly I feel like as graphics have improved a lot of devs have gotten lazy, because you don't need to work as hard to create atmosphere when you can just make everything look pretty. A lot of games from the 90's/early 00s had phenomenal atmosphere, but it's not something you see very much anymore. That's not the only reason, to be sure, but I feel like it's a contributing factor- you couldn't immerse people purely through visuals so you had to put that extra work into the sound and worldbuilding and so on to pull people in.
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>>462275290
I feel like the Thief games are some of the only games I've ever seen that are almost unilaterally praised on /v/.

>>462276774
I feel like System Shock and Deus Ex are probably as close as you'll get, immersiveness-wise. No stealth game comes close, so you have to look at other genres for sure.
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>>462303435
>a lot of devs have gotten lazy,
You could make the argument that a high up art director or a writer might have an easier job, the artists actually doing the grunt work have a much more severe workload.
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>>462303197
>Thief has great freedom of movement though.
I agree with this. Like it's been said in this thread already, there's a certain weight to how characters move in System Shock 2, Thief, Deus Ex, that just feels right.
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>>462303197
I agree with limiting movement. Otherwise you're just assassins creed odyssey. Climbing literally means nothing, you just push forward until you are where you want to be.

In thief, carefully edging across ledges, looking for footholds to jump further. Timing your jump and ledge grabs, seeking out wood spots to shoot rope arrows. That is the immersion of climbing, and it's fun because the level is designed like a puzzle.
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>>462303435
That is part of it, sure. If everything looks realistic, then games inevitable end up seeming like they're the exact same.
The perfect example is the fog in Silent Hill. Sure, it was just to cover up the horrible LoD but it instantly made Silent Hill into a classic. That atmosphere is unmatched by any modern horror game.
Late 90's-Early 2000' had some of the best mix of tech and art I've seen and I doubt we will ever truly get those back. It forced devs to be creative within their limitations but not so severe that if forced early 90's type of games.
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>>462278308
The Dark Mod would be so much better if you could install multiple levels and play them in sequence instead of unloading one at the main menu to load the next. It's immersion breaking.
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Hey, I heard you were sneaking around here.
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t a f f e r b o y
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I wish modern games weren't so afraid of letting you get lost.
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>>462303435
I think the graphical improvements actually make it harder to visually communicate with the player.

Think back to thief. You can look around and clearly see everything because the level geometry and the object geometry is simple. It is representative. I can clearly tell where the ground ends and the wall begins, or where a ledge is, or where a doorway is. The game clearly communicates its world to me. For example, I walk into a room with just a fireplace and a table in it. On the table is a golden goblet. I look in the room, immediately see the goblet, take it and leave. The game adds sounds of the fire flickering, the goblet rasping against the wood when I grab it, my steps on the cool stone. I'm sucked into the scene.

Now imagine a AAA modern game. I walk into a room with a fireplace and a table. The walls are adorned with details and peeling paint, cracks and marks. The table is littered with objects and tiny details. Pens, jewelry boxes, cutlery, bits of food, papers and plans, a knife stabbed into the edge, goblets and cups galore. Every corner of the room is filled with junk, objects and detail. Now the developer can hide the goblet in all this detail and you have to find it, which is difficult. Or they can make the goblet glow, in which case your brain will just ignore all the detail and go to the glowing goblet. Either way, all the detail and junk makes it harder for the game to communicate with the player.

Think about all the AAA HD games where you are jumping at an area of geometry that looks like you should be able to climb it, but you can't. That is a failure to visually communicate to the player. It comes from too much meaningless detail for details sake, which is what most AAA games are competing in.
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>>462302425
Honestly the stealth in thief isn't exact;y that great, it's the level and mission design that make it seem good by association.
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>>462305146
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>>462305435
Thief's whole idea of your map being a physical hand-drawn map is brilliant.
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>>462305435
I think that's why Dark Souls sort of renewed my love for video games, it reminded me why I bother to play them after having spent many years just mindlessly going through them. It allowed me to get lost.
Games nowadays are so terrified the player gets lost for a single second. It's either an NPC yelling "THIS WAY", it's a giant arrow saying "WRONG WAY", it's the game just being a glorified hallway, it's a game that looks big but the actual explorable area is small. It pisses me off.
>>462305750
It really was. I love how in the cutscene before each mission he'd say how he got some info from someone so the map isn't 100% accurate, or the person didn't go into some further part of the area so that part was a blank. Being able to actually write your own notes was great as well.
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>>462285739
>playing on anything other than expert, ever
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>>462305585
The fact that they gave you that indicator to know how hidden you actually were instantly makes the stealth 100 times better than modern counterparts.
>>
Not only did they make a GOD-tier stealth game with innovations based on sound, lighting, AI, and gameplay, they also pioneered the concept of entity component systems / data driven design. They went away with pajeet-tier object oriented shittery as it was probably the most poopular design philosophy in the 90's. Only more than a decade later did other engines really follow suit. The devs were absolutely insane, i think way better than Carmack and his gang. ECS has become pretty popular recently, and it's crazy to think they pioneered it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entity_component_system
https://gist.github.com/paniq/c32ac8447a7cc5c33a45
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>>462305585
What other stealth games have all of these features?
>material based sound system with realistic propagation
>no radar or xray, must use eyes and ears to locate enemies
>MC is weak in combat and easily defeated
>No takedowns, must aim and time each move in real time
>ability to alter the environment (water / moss /sound arrows)
>Enemy AI with simulated hearing and vision and reaction logic
>Open levels with many different routes and strategies
>Excellent sound effects and ambient music
>Visual / Level based storytelling with well done mystery and worldbuilding
>Excellent voice acting
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>>462306612
The earlier Splinter Cell games have most of those, as long as nightvision/thermals don't count as X-ray.
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What difficulty should I play on as a first-timer? I'm pretty decent at other stealth games.
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>>462307672
I’m playing on normal and save scrubbing like crazy. It’s a fun challenge on normal.
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>>462303763
Yeah I should have phrased that better I guess. For sure the people actually doing the base level work have a way harder job now, but I definitely meant the people in charge of the game's design overall.

>>462305750
It really was. Much like the journal in Morrowind, the way that it comes off as being something your character creates to help guide themselves through the world really helps build immersion, and it's something I wish we'd see more of.

>>462306324
I've seen people say that makes the stealth too easy (which I disagree with entirely, but that's another point), but honestly it makes total sense from a design/immersion perspective- if your character is actually a master thief, they would definitely be aware of how hidden they are at any given time. The gem was a great way to communicate that background awareness to the player.
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>>462307672
Play hard if you're new, expert if you're feeling ballsy. Don't go any lower. Thief is one of those games that's meant to be played on higher difficulties, you can play on the easier settings but know that you won't get the full experience of traversing the levels otherwise
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>>462301286
to most devs it was just an after-thought, like "oh this should make X sound" and footsteps were all generic "tap tap taps".
Thief was the first game to have footsteps make different sounds on different surfaces (metal, wood, carpet, stone etc) and to have effects like sounds echoing down a hallway and so on.
Seriously, try to find a gaming magazine article from when Thief first came out and you'll find everyone jizzing over how amazing the sound and sound direction is in the game.
There were games released 10 years later that didnt even have sound as good as Thief's.
Like another anon said, it was part of why the game was so good, the good sound direction coupled with solid map design and freedom of movement made the atmosphere of the game feel incredible.
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>>462308237
Honestly, most games released now have worse sound design than Thief. Maybe better audio fidelity, but they rarely put it to use as well.
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>>462305435
>>462305750
The maps sort of remind me of this part from a podcast I was listening to recently. I haven't played nu-Thief but I'm willing to bet that the levels aren't anywhere near as memorable as the maps from the older games in the series.
>>>/wsg/2850005
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>>462275290
Deadly Shadows is underrated. It ran like crap but the hub world and faction system were both really really fun, and the story was a perfect conclusion to the trilogy
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>>462275290
The closest you will ever get to classic Thief in a modern video game is Dishonored 2, No Powers mode, turn off mission markers and turn difficulty up to max.
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>>462305496
Yeah older games used to rely on symbolism. Which 'flows' way better. Your brain probably doesn't have to rely on seeing a literal marker pointing to an item on the ground.

See pic related, it naturally conveys how to defeat the enemy, even a 6yo knows that flame attacks won't work. You don't need an explicit thingie telling you how to attack it. Let the design do it for you.
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>>462308143
>The gem was a great way to communicate that background awareness to the player.
That's part of what's missing in modern stealth games. It feels like it's either 100% visible or 100% invisible. And even if that's not what's happening, since the player has no way of knowing this due to lack of any sort of indicator, it can sometimes feel unfair.
>Dishonored
>Hiding in the shadows
>Get spotted
>Different area
>Hiding in the shadows
>Don't get spotted
They seemed equal but what do I know, I don't see 1 and 0's.
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>>462308175
This. I'd say hard for sure if you haven't played a Thief game before, they're pretty unforgiving if you get discovered and it takes a little bit to get the hang of how not to get noticed. (insert Monty Python 'how not to be seen' sketch here). Expert is very hard by modern game standards, especially for stealth games.

>>462308431
This. Very few games even today have the level of sound design that Thief had 20 years ago. Everything sounds just so dead on RIGHT that it really helps pull you in- everything sounds exactly the way you feel like it should, instinctively.
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>>462307672
Hard. The levels and objectives actually change depending on difficulty. Expert is a bit BS for a new player (I'm thinking of some loot requirements in the 1st game that were a huge fucking pain) but it's great for a replay or if you feel like you want a bigger challenge.

>>462308237
>There were games released 10 years later that didnt even have sound as good as Thief's.
What games coming out NOW have sound as good as Thief's? It's nearly unmatched even today desu.
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>>462308515
>I haven't played nu-Thief but I'm willing to bet that the levels aren't anywhere near as memorable
You'd be right. I don't remember a single level.
>>462308431
Speaking of nu-Thief, you know what I found truly insulting? It had the absolute worse sound design I've ever heard, and I'm counting fucking Pacman.
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>>462308631
That image would be right if it were Corvo discovering he'd been robbed while Garrett was already robbing somebody else.

>>462308727
Exactly. If you're hiding, you should, as the character you're playing, know how well you're hidden, but sometimes- especially in first person- it's pretty tough to see for yourself.
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>>462308841
>The levels and objectives actually change depending on difficulty
This is honestly one of my absolute favorite details about Thief and something that I think is sorely lacking in most games now. The fact that changing difficulty didn't just make the enemies tougher but actually alters the objectives and the missions themselves is phenomenal.
>>
I say this without a hint of irony. If I was in any sort of influential position of power within the industry, I'd be fucking ashamed and embarrassed that a game from the late 90's so easily beats modern AAA games with a several millions thrown in.
It's fucking disgusting to see AAA games always play out the fucking same. Before I pick up any modern game, I already know how it plays out, what the story beats are going to be, I know there will be RPG elements for no reason, crafting, open world or faux open world, there's going to be slowdowns in every attack, aiming a bow slows down time, it's all the fucking same.
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>>462310259
appeals to the lowest common denominator for the most sales.
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>>462308841
>What games coming out NOW have sound as good as Thief's? It's nearly unmatched even today desu.
Pretty much.
Like I said, for 99% of devs/games sound is just an afterthought really. Even good music/ambience is hard to come by in a lot of games. I find myself having to play my own ambience tracks in the background of a lot of games today.
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>>462308516
yea i thought so too. I marathonned it in a few days with the curtains closed and headphones on loud. only way to play.
i liked the hub world and the later levels got spooky as more and more factions were hunting for you on the streets. often getting to the next mission was harder than the actual mission.
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>>462308841
>>462309437
>The levels and objectives actually change depending on difficulty
This is what shits me off about a good majority of games. Higher difficulty levels usually just let the AI cheat (say unlimited money, if it's a strategy game) or the difficulty doubles their HP/damage and halves yours.
It's just lazy game design.
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>>462311223
I get that, it's a business after all. But again, if I was in a position of power, I'd feel shame. Like a director hoping to follow in the footsteps of some other classic directors just to end up directing easy to make rom-coms.
Where's the surprise, the unknown? Where's the trust that the player is capable of doing 2+2?
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>>462311914
it's all on indies now
>tfw hoping to make my own 90's inspired game
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>>462312731
I hope you do too, anon.
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>>462311618
>or the difficulty doubles their HP/damage and halves yours
To be fair I'm pretty sure Thief's difficulty settings actually do this as well. Of course you're not exactly supposed to be tanking hits or trading blows with enemies, so you'll barely notice it.

>>462310259
The thing is, it would be even harder to sell a Thief-like game today desu.

>Dark levels look like muddy garbage under Youtube compression
>Won't notice great sound design playing video on shitty phone/tablet speakers
>No action-packed cutscenes and animated takedowns for showing off in trailers
>Slow methodical gameplay, immersive horror, no 'wacky' jump scares for zoomer e-celebs to overreact to

At least we'll have fan missions.
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WHO ART THOU...? THOU ART NO NOVICE!
>>
>>462275290
CLOSEST YOU CAN GET TO THIEF (ASIDE FROM THIEF 2 OF COURSE [AND TO AN EXTENT THIEF DEADLY SHADOWS]):

Ultima Underworld
Ultima Underworld 2
System Shock
System Shock 2
Arx Fatalis
Dark Messiah of Might and Magic
Deus Ex
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>>462279281
If anything gaming has gone backward since then.
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>>462280065
Crashed on me halfway through and I got impatient, I'm a fucking idiot
>>
I've just finished playing through Return to the Cathedral
Holy shit that place was overwhelming
haunts are actually terrifying
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>>462318189
>going through for the first time
>jump onto the platform to retrieve the eye
>CLANK
>ohhh fuck

>run screaming from crowd of haunts and who knows what else
>ghost: ...ello chap how're you doi...
Missed most of the exposition but fuck that I wasn't staying around there.
>>
PREPARE TO RECEIVE THY POUNDING
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>>462318845
that level truly must be what hell sound like
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>>462318189
>>
Guys it's been a while since I played thief, recommend me some good FMs
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>>462320242
The Sun Within and the Sun Without is a cool one I don't see mentioned much
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>>462280838
This is a great explanation, Anon. I could never articulate this first-hand but it's so fucking important for an immersive sim where the player's interaction with the game world is the absolute most important thing
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I just attack all the monsters and ghosts, and I jog by zombies. One-shot haunts in the back. Get in the face of ghosts, run around them and hack at them until they final death. Shoot spiders with arrows, attack burricks until they run home and cry to momma, duel monkey guards, and launch bombs and fire arrows at mantis and crab faggits.

I sneak by people though, never even KO them.
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>>462320457
cool thanks
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>>462277293
>>462277798
I love arx fatalis so much. Fuck ascendant
>>
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Anybody interested in Void Bastards? It looks like a roguelike System Shock 2.
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>>462275290
Just got my PC built, and I've heard so much about this that I'm gonna try Thief 1 and 2. I'm super excited. Feels like a traditional "PC game"
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>>462321856
dude I'm playing through Thief 1 now and it's amazing. everything about it is great. fair warning, though. it gets pretty stressful. you have to really take your time and plan ahead.
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>>462321856
Make sure to get tfix for 1 and tafferpatcher for 2. Helps them run on modern machines
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>>462323497
the Steam version of Thief Gold runs fine on my machine, and mine is only 3 years old.
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>>462323571
Might not be necessary then, just keep them in mind if you have problems
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Is there an ultimate way to Thief now? I own them but is there some like required patches? An infographic maybe?



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