DGC Ep 135: Thief (part four)

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we in this episode we conclude our discussion of 1998's Thief: The Dark Project. We talk a bit about equipment and gadgets, the story and enemy shifts that happen late in the game, the commitment maybe to story over what was working, and as always, our takeaways from the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through the end!

Podcast breakdown:
0:45 Segment 1: Thief discussion
54:53 Break
55:20 Segment 2: Thief takeaways, Brett's Book Minute, and Feedback

Issues covered: good ending dialog, using the whole toolkit, kiting enemies to a trap, firing off gadgets immediately on acquisition, gas and fire arrows, having trouble on Escape, leaning away from the core fantasy, being a little too story-forward, other directions that might have worked, an easier last level, having to experiment to take down enemies, making good extensions to the enemy mix vs bad, finding an in-game way to give you information about your tools, the Hammerite mythology and technological disruption, conflicts between technology and nature, Hammerites and the Brotherhood of Steel, the texts before the cutscenes, setting tone, using first-person tools for storytelling, not being able to rely on lore, usability and testing, being a developer and being too good at your game, enjoying little loops of locations and story, missing subobjectives and having to go back, kicking the hornet's nest and having to go back, moving the goalposts too many times, the frustrating Escape level, returning to the Hammerite cathedral and having it changed, one-way gating your way through the final level (vs stealth), changing the tone of the game, how do you end a game?, going to an otherworldly place, Garrett talking to himself, listening to the Trickster do his summoning, heist/switching the idol, committing to the thief fantasy, technology as a feature, writing their own engine, focusing on simulation and systems in first-person, rope arrows and surface types, designing ancillary systems to support your core experience, consequential map, lockpicking vs a minigame, inventory and the store, horror beats, Garrett as a character, Brett's Book Minute, a correction, quiet and loneliness in Tomb Raider, loner vs loneliness, the golden age of the immersive sim, the genre as a success or not, expense of making AAA, level designers' ability to make whole levels, immersive sims at the indie level and procedural elements, flesh levels.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Looking Glass Studios, Everquest, Edge of Tomorrow, Fallout, Monty Python, The Princess Bride, Gone Home, Dear Esther, D&D, JRR Tolkien, System Shock 2, Indiana Jones/Raiders of the Lost Ark, Baldur's Gate, ION Storm, Ultima Underworld, Deus Ex, Thief (2014), Tomb Raider, Tony Cliff, Delilah Dirk (series character), Timothy Hallinan, Junior Bender (series character), Ethan Johnson, Greg LoPiccolo, Vijay Lakshman, Elder Scrolls, Alex Rigopulos, Eran Egozy, Tim Dore, Half-Life, Dan Hunter, Dishonored, Prey, TIE Fighter, Daron Stinnett, Bethesda Game Studios, Zenimax, Arkane Studios, Kotaku, Neon Struct, We Happy Few, The2ndQuest, Contra, Aliens, Predator, Abadox, Alien Syndrome, Halo, Eric Bartoszak, Jill Murray.

Brett’s Book Suggestions:
In connection with Tomb Raider, Brett recommends the “Delilah Dirk” series by Tony Cliff, which are: Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling, and Delilah Dirk and the Pillars of Hercules.

In connection with Thief, Brett recommends the “Junior Bender” series by Timothy Hallinan, which begins with Crashed and ends (at least so far) with Fields Where They Lay.

Next time:
Next time we expect an interview! Keep your eyes peeled.

Fansy the Famous Bard (CW: homophobia, probably other chat grotesqueries, MMO chat can be ugly)

Brett's Twitch Channel

Stealth Docs YT Channel (recommended by a listener)

Podcast with Looking Glass folks

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub