DGC Ep 131: Thief (part one)

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we now begin our series about 1998's Thief; as usual, we start by setting the game in its time before diving into a few of its systems and technology requirements. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through Cragscleft Prison

Podcast breakdown:
0:41 Thief
53:13 Break
53:45 Feedback

Issues covered: reflecting on 1998, first-person shooter games of the time, having different first-person goals, differing pacing, original design goals, high enemy lethality and comparative weakness of the protagonist, methodical style of play, punishing the player for an action approach, getting sucked into the demo, niche and sales, sticking to a core fantasy vs going to a more action-oriented design, an aesthetic that spreads to other places, going in a different direction with tone, establishing a different fantasy setting, painterly cutscenes, functional lore, quality of the voice acting, the light meter, audio surface changes, lack of direct information about the AI, technology considerations, dynamic lighting, dynamic and attenuated audio, not cheating for the AI, setting an expectation for future games in the genre (particularly with shooting out lights), doing a job at Lord Bafford's Manor, setting the stage for the game, introducing the mission, having alternate routes, picking pockets, level and experiential density, clear level direction (moving up), dynamic goals, turning off transparency and ledges, following the dotted line or not, movement weight, making trade-offs of immediacy vs groundedness, weapon roles, progression and weapon roles working against one another, extending character through weapon choices, making more interesting choices from your systems (including weapons).

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Starcraft, Ocarina of Time, Metal Gear Solid, Unreal, Rainbox Six, Final Fantasy Tactics, Resident Evil 2, Tomb Raider 3, Rogue Squadron, Grim Fandango, Half-Life, Baldur's Gate, Spyro the Dragon, Battlezone, Descent: Freespace, Star Wars: Starfighter, Kotaku Splitscreen, Half-Life 2, Fallout 2, Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow, Quake, Epic Games, id Software, Duke Nukem, Heretic, Eidos Interactive, Die by the Sword, Treyarch, Trespasser, Daron Stinnett, System Shock 2, Looking Glass, Hitman, Splinter Cell, Dishonored, Ultima Underworld, Origin, Flight Unlimited, System Shock, Terra Nova, Strike Force Alpha Centauri, Ken Levine, Doug Church, Harvey Smith, Randy Smith, Mark LeBlanc, Warren Spector, Paul Neurath, Underworld Ascendant, Emil Pagliarulo, Lulu LaMer, Crystal Dynamics, Tim Stellmach, Terry and Eric Brosius, Greg LoPiccolo, Stephen Russell, Arx Fatalis, Arkane Studios, Raf Colantonio, Gothic Chocobo, Mark Brown, Morrowind, Skyrim, The Witcher 3, Batman, Dead Space, Rômulo Santos, Monster Hunter (series), Andrew from Cincinnati, Deus Ex, Doom, Halo, Uncharted, Star Wars: Republic Commando.

Next time:
Through The Sword

Is the reboot of Lara Croft more feminist?

10 things (women were doing in Video games in the) 1990's (2:45-4:28)

Why Nathan Drake doesn't need a compass.

Following the little dotted line

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub