Thief: The Fan Made Project  

More thoughts on T:tFMP


Story setting

Closing the Thief triology (it is going to be a triology, right?) is certainly the penultimate goal. But doing this now is not a good idea. For one, we are not ready. We are not used to the work, to the tools, to each other, and we don't know yet whether we can really do it. A half-baked ending to the Thief saga would be horrible.
And there is another, striking reason not to do that: the trademarks and copyrights. Whatever we do now, as long as we dont have the trademarks, copyrights, or are at least are at terms with those who are going to own them, we cannot tell the third part of Thief without much distorition. So, we should do some story in-between. Almost the same scenery, a different main actor, different story, but the same feeling.
More on this in the next few days...

Technical issues

The trouble with the free engines so far is, they are all incomplete. Of course, one might say, otherwise this would have be known. However, even if we chose to finish one, most have flaky concepts. Meaning more work, and maybe even redesigning them. To anybody trying to roll his own game engine: do not, repeat do not start with the renderer, however tempting this may be. Work out a strong concept for objects, world, and storage first instead.
OK, what do we do now? Well, there is a engine we can use. It is complete, it is very stable, efficient, rich in features, available on thee platforms, uses OpenGL, even has A3D sound support. And the most important part: there are many tools available for it! This is something that often is forgotten until it is too late. The engine alone does not cut it, we need also tools so the non-technicians get get to work. Writing the tools ourselves would sigificantly increase the work needed. Now this wonderful engine, which might that be? Seated? It's the Quake III engine.
If you cannot get the two worlds together, forget about that Q3A fragfest. The engine could do a 3D Pacman, Tetris or graphic adventure as well. It is an game engine, after all, not the game itself. And a pretty good one at that. Because, as many say (including myself), id does not make games. id makes good engines and ships them with a demo application. Now, if we forget about those brawny figures and rocket launchers, there are figures moving. There are buildings, walls, objects. There are torches flickering and there is light and shadow. We get all of this at once. We also get the source of that "demo application", so we can get started quickly.
We will need a lot of new textures, sounds; we will need new models, animations, skins. We will need objects, and maps. And, still, we will need much programming and fine-tuning. But now, it looks much more realistic a project.
Licensing? Depends. If we are doing a non-profit thing, we won't have to pay anything; if we would be making a commercial release, we would have to pay royalties. I have put a version of the Q3 license here for you to read. For the non-commercial thing, a player would need to own a copy of Quake 3 Arena. While this may not be what a real Taffer likes to play, look at it like an OS for the game - the price for Q3 will certainly go down a lot while we are working on T:tFMP. If, however, we should decide to release it for profit (maybe in order to buy the rights on certain trademarks and copyrights), id would get its fair share.

So, what now? The t3coders get some tools together - a C++ compiler, the Q3A source, a copy of Q3A. The t3missions folks can sharpen their pencils and start making concepts and sketches. I will assemble a list of tools in the near future.
And the complete set of taffers here will need to give their thoughs and opinions on the importance of the many features that made Thief special. More on that topic soon.