The Dark Mod Revisited…

The Dark Mod Revisited all after the break…

The Dark Mod Revisited…

If you use a search engine, you could quickly see all the times I’ve written about “The Dark Mod,” a modification for the video game “Doom 3.” If not, here’s a recap of the history:

A game developer company called “Looking Glass” developed a franchise called “Thief.” It produced 2 games for the Thief franchise, “The Dark Project” & “The Metal Age.” For reasons best left on the cutting room floor, the company then went bankrupt & the rights to the Thief franchise then went to a company called Eidos.

Eidos then went about making a third Thief game called “Deadly Shadows” which, again for reasons best left on the cutting room floor, should have been called “Deadly Console Port.” I know, I know… Picking on consoles is like taking the low-level fruit hanging from a tree. It’s so easy, so effortless, so rewarding… Why not aspire for greater heights? Anyway…

A group of people who called themselves “Broken Glass” (get it? “Looking Glass” was the original company & they’re calling themselves “Broken Glass.” Get it? Get it?) decided rather easily that the video game “Thief: Deadly Shadows” needed to be banned & that a rightful successor should fill the void where Thief: The Metal Age left off.

Now, at the point that Broken Glass started work on their own thief-like game, another game was fresh out onto store shelves called “Doom 3.” At the time, “Doom 3” was pretty hot stuff &, pardon showing my age as well as how easily I’m entertained nowadays, it still looks mighty fine as far as I’m concerned. Then again, it’s been awhile since I’ve bought a new computer so anything that doesn’t melt my motherboard is just fine by my diminishing standards. Ask me this question again in 3 years & you might get a different response.

The pseudo-company Broken Glass made a prediction based on a fairly good guess: The company that made “Doom 3” (iD software) would eventually open-source that particular game engine. The company has a tendency to be rational with their game engines, knowing that their state-of-the-art engines will be nothing more but amusing relics about one decade later. Need proof? Look at the games from 10 years ago & ask yourself if you’d still be willing to pay full retail for ANY of them. In the cutting-edge, bleeding-edge world of first-person shooters, today’s wows are tomorrow’s sarcastic eye-rolls. The company had open sourced their earlier engines (think “Quake 1” through “Quake 3”) so, why not the engine that “Doom 3” was built upon?

So, with this assumption in mind, Broken Glass decided to build their thief-esque game as a mod for “Doom 3,” knowing that, once the engine for that game became open source, their mod would become a de facto free game for everyone to play. Free Thief gameplay for all. Viva la Revolutionale!

[Ed Note: Not really. See, the current The Dark Mod build shares a lot of assets with Doom 3 & to take the time to remove all those assets & replace them with freeware equivalent assets might not be… Well, you get the idea. However, the thought was there & it ought to be at least appreciated. Back to the show.]

Where were we? Oh yes, Doom 3… Thief: Deadly Shadows sucks… A real Thief 3 needs to be made…

OK. Well, fast forward to about 9 months ago. The first public “something that won’t cause your computer to make a hefty dent in the space-time continuum… maybe” version of this mod finally came out. Succumbing to my incredible lack of thieving gameplay, I installed the mod only to find… Nothing. Nothing but frozen screens. Nothing but slide show frame rates & a cooling fan that sounded as though it was ready for launching into the stratosphere.

In short – Bitter disappointment. I’d like to think that my review of the mod at the time was fairly spot on based on what I had seen from my machine. Was I harsh? I don’t think so. You can’t hate the individual people for trying, could you? Even that primitive version of the mod worked for enough people to continue work on the mod. Maybe it was just my machine. Maybe it was the mod. Maybe… Who knows. The mod didn’t work on my machine.

Well, fast forward again to about 2 days ago. The first public “We’re serious – We think this is it” version of the mod came out.

Having gone through the previous debacle, I was naturally hesitant to remind myself what my cooling fan sounded like when sped up to around 80,000 RPMs. However… Well, you’ve got to try. At the very least, I was curious to see what would occur (if anything). So, the arduous path towards The Dark Mod began again:

  • Installed Doom 3.
  • Installed Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil (you don’t have to but… Hey, since you’ve already installed Doom 3, you might as well).
  • Installed the 1.3.1 patch.
  • Installed the TDM installer.
  • Watched the TDM installer download about 1.5 Gigs of Dark Mod Happiness.

Would it play? Would I finally get to see what these guys had been working on for 5 some odd years?

First time… No. Insert frowny face here. After the little progress bar to load the level had finished, a little message popped up to say, to the effect, “Please Wait.”

And wait I did. For about 2 minutes. Oh crap. Not again.

After going into task manager to shut the program down, I decided to go onto the Internet. I wanted to see if, maybe, there was some miracle fix to my problem. After all, the logic with me being dismissive back when I had tested The Dark Mod for the first time was to the effect of… “Hey, these people are still working on the thing… They still have this thing & that thing to implement… They’ll get it to work on my machine…” However, if The Dark Mod couldn’t work now that it was close to being done… Well, I was screwed.

Fortunately, there was a miracle fix to my problem. That miracle fix? Patience. The first time any particular mission loads, that’s your cue to pop some popcorn, open up some mail, re-arrange your sock drawer & accomplish all those other little tasks you’ve been sweeping under your proverbial rug for the past week.

In short, The Dark Mod not only worked on my machine… But it worked fairly well.

Now, let me add a qualifier – I’ve only played the Training Mission (It’s the only mission that comes with the mod). There are three other missions available so… Who knows. I didn’t play the mission that caused my machine to melt down the last time. So, is it the mod or is it the mission? I guess we’ll see.

However, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has worked on The Dark Mod. Congratulations on a job well done. I know that it’s not “Thief” (obviously you can’t use the Thief intellectual property for legal reasons) but it’s “Thief,” if you catch my drift. You made this mod for those of us who didn’t need the excitement of climbing gloves, don’t mind swimming in water, have no qualms with large levels & couldn’t care less for lockpicking mini-games (OK, the whole “wait for the silence to release the lockpick”… It’s fairly close to a mini-game but I’ll let it pass for now).

I’m glad that I was proven wrong. Congrats.

Now, if you don’t mind, I’ve got some taffing to do… Just as soon as I can figure out how to do that fancy mantling technique so that I can work on that rope swinging thing…

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One Response to “The Dark Mod Revisited…”

  1. New Horizon Says:

    The current version of the mod is fairly scalable. So hopefully you’ll be able to play the rest of the missions. My own development system is pretty old, so loading takes awhile for me too…that’s to be expected. Newer systems are reportedly loading in 30 seconds, so that’s a good sign.

    As for the ingame performance, my best advice is to go into your video options and make sure you’re using the ‘fast’ ambient method and that your interaction shader is set to ‘standard’ not ‘enhanced’.

    Also, if you find the load times a bit much..go into your doomconfig.cfg and see if image_usecompression is set to 0, if it isn’t…set it to 0 and that might help your loading time slightly. We still need to iron out a few issues, considering this is a beta, but we’ll get there.

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