Home News First Person Games The Dark Mod: Bringing The Thief Touch To Doom 3
The Dark Mod: Bringing The Thief Touch To Doom 3 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Starfox   
Sunday, 20 January 2008 18:00
First noticed by the sharp eye of our in-house master thief, Silver Sorrow, Broken Glass Studios (named in homage to Looking Glass Studios which brought Thief: The Dark Project and Thief 2: The Metal Age to the world) proudly released an alpha technology demo mission of their Total Conversion Mod for Doom 3 known under the name of The Dark Mod (after the name of the Dark Engine powering Thief 1 and 2). A sizable bit of clarification as to what The Dark Mod is and what it can do for you is needed, I know. For those among you who already know the Thief universe and first and foremost the Thief fans and mission developers community (incarnated by several sites like Through The Looking Glass, The Dark Mod is probably already familiar.

On the other hand, if you never played anything Thief but own a copy of Doom 3 that may as well be your chance to taste the particular look and feel of the Thief games.

The Dark Mod -- Thief\'s Den The Dark Mod -- Thief\'s Den

At this point if you stand there wondering what the heck is Thief, you deserve a friendly slap in the face. Thief (1 & 2) were simply the first games featuring a true real time stealth gameplay long before Splinter Cell ever took its first steps. It's the kind of game, to put it simply, in which you can really hide in shadows unlike a lot of other games that pretend to go sneaky via the use of scripts (sometime clever, most of the time not).

Before entering the discussion of what The Dark Mod is, it seems necessary to introduce the Thief community to a lot of folks who know squat about it (I'm not talking about our forum members who probably are a lot familiar with it already) but about gamers finding this news and wondering "What the heck are they talking about?". In a few words, the Thief community is probably the most active one when it comes to the production of Fan Missions (the equivalent of single-player mods for other games). I'm talking about 2 new missions a month during the almost 10 years that have passed since the release of the initial Thief: The Dark Project in November 1998 (the same month that another one called Half-Life, but that's another story). Despite the aging of the Dark engine powering the two first Thief games, a lot of fans are still continuously playing and/or developing missions for these games. And I add personally that some of them are doing an outstanding job at it (graphically and architecturally speaking) considering the venerable age of the Dark Engine.

The Dark Mod -- Thief\'s Den The Dark Mod -- Thief\'s Den The Dark Mod -- Thief\'s Den

So what is the Dark Mod anyway?

Simply put The Dark Mod is a TC (Total Conversion) for Doom 3 meaning that the guys developing it kept the Doom 3 engine and dropped everything else, textures, weapons, AI... et al, to put their own instead. The idea behind The Dark Mod came in the aftershock of the release of Thief Deadly Shadows (the third and last chapter in the Thief trilogy) in May 2004. Thief: Deadly Shadows was for a lot of fans a disappointment mainly because of bugs and changes in the gameplay that were targeted at adapting the series to the console crowd. But since I don't want to drive you into a long speech about that, I suggest that you read when you have the time the excellent (and lengthy) review that Doc Brown wrote about the game which contain all the details. More than everything else, the folks at Eidos/Ion Storm were not keen at first for releasing a SDK for Deadly Shadows hence the idea to "port" the Thief settings and gameplay to another game which already had a user-friendly modding environment and of course better graphics than those of Thief 1 and 2 (that are frankly outdated though none of the fans will complain since Thief fans are there for the gameplay and the story coming with the fan missions not for the oustanding eye candy of such like Crysis -- we leave that to hardcore gamers).

So a team of dedicated fans was built, they chose Doom 3 as their engine and they went on developing a set of tools to bring the dark universe of the Thief series within the Doom 3 engine and -- the most important -- to allow fans across the world to build new missions with this set of tools in an easier way that what they can do with the editor finally released for Thief Deadly Shadows by Ion Storm just before their disappearance from the gaming scene. Of course that isn't without some (minor) drawbacks like the fact that Thief being copyrighted by Eidos The Dark Mod team can just create a look-alike of the steam punk universe of Thief (more precisely Thief 1 and 2) and cannot use either the title Thief or the Thief story and characters. Nevertheless, the result, at this stage, is rather convincing as demonstrates the Alpha technology demo just released by the team.

The Dark Mod -- Thief\'s Den The Dark Mod -- Thief\'s Den The Dark Mod -- Thief\'s Den
The Dark Mod -- Thief\'s Den The Dark Mod -- Thief\'s Den

So where to download and how can I play?

Before proceeding, keep in mind that the demo release is in "alpha" stage. That means that The Dark Mod is far to be complete and that even if the demo mission released is fully functional (I know because I played through it completely) you can expect bugs and missing features. If you don't like to bother with bugs and a few troubles then it's better to wait for a final version.

Secondly it's a requisite to have a copy of Doom 3 updated to the latest version 1.3.1 at hand. Since The Dark Mod is after all a Doom 3 TC it won't play by itself, of course. On the good side you don't need the Doom 3 expansion pack Resurrection Of Evil (having it installed or not doesn't change a thing since RoE is also a mod). Other than that everything else you need to know (including the download links) is available here. And I strongly suggest that you go through the gameplay documentation before jumping into the mission. You can then join the discussion over at TTLG to let the dev team know what you think.

And for further info, head to The Dark Mod official site.

One last note: the technology demo mission Thief's Den is a pretty small one (half an hour of play time at top, maybe a bit more if you decide to "ghost" it) compared to the ones Thief gamers usually play (and expect). It has been made not to be a fully featured mission but to show the fans the progress that The Dark Mod team has made so far in several key areas (because the task of making a Thief game out of Doom 3 is at best overwhelming). It nevertheless marks a milestone since it's the first time that the mod can actually be played by the public.

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