Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Adam Smith)

Every Sunday, we reach deep into Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s 141-year history to pull out one of the best moments from the archive. This week, Adam’s 2012 article singing the praises of videogame cities which are more than mere reconstruction, but are built from the bricks and mortar of ideas.>

I’ve been visiting various cities recently, which always fill me with confusion and wonder, then Dishonored made me think about how much I miss Looking Glass. Put the two together and this happens. Join me in a meandering word-search for cohesion and theme in the use of the city across Thief, and the selected works of Rockstar and Charles Dickens. Be warned, there are spoilers for all three Thief games.

… [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - Square_Jason
Hello everyone,

We have just made public a new version of the PC version of Thief, v1.7 build 4158.21 This patch will be applied by Steam automatically when you next start the game. If your game does not update, please restart the Steam client.

This patch will address the following issues.
Made several AMD Mantle specific optimizations.
Fixed several issues with AMD Mantle and specific hardware configurations.

While we expect this patch to be an improvement for everyone, if you do have trouble with this patch and prefer to stay on the old version we made a Beta available on Steam, v1.6 build 4158.14, that can be used to switch back to the previous version

Step 1: Go to your STEAM library and select Thief in your game list
Step 2: right-click on the game and go to properties
Step 3: go to the Betas tab in the properties menu
Step 4: select version_1.6 and press ok.

This will set you back to the original released version of the game.
We will keep monitoring for feedback and will release further patches as it seems required. We always welcome your feedback!
Announcement - Valve
Today's Deal: Save 75% on the Eidos Anthology!*

Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are!

*Offer ends Sunday at 10AM Pacific Time
PC Gamer

Every week, keen screen-grabber Ben Griffin brings you a sumptuous 4K resolution gallery to celebrate PC gaming's prettiest places.

Say what you will about the game itself, but Thief's setting is as evocative as they come. Known simply as The City, this moody hub is equal parts Victorian Gothic and supernatural steampunk, sporadically illuminated by the light leaking from clouded windows and drowning in low-hanging mist.

There's little respite from the blue-black colour scheme besides the seedy rouge decor in the House of Blossoms and warmer tones of the Baron's manor, but that's what makes it so oppressive: it's always night, and it's nearly always raining. I actually took 40 shots in all, so if you'd like to see the ones not linked below, click here.

Download the full-sized image here.

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PC Gamer
Thief Deadly Shadows

Here's a little something to get the taste of the recent Thief reboot out of your mouth. Industrious, possibly Hammerite modders have been working on a Gold mod for Deadly Shadows for a while now, which among other things removes the loading transitions that were a bit of an annoyance in the original game. While these haven't been excised from the tutorial or the between-mission city hub and by 'excised' I mean the constituent map parts have been carefully stitched together the nine main missions have been lovingly reworked. Thief 3 Gold has just left beta, if you want to try it out.

Thief 3 Gold goes beyond shoving map parts together, however: it also redesigns the bits where loading would have occurred, and makes it so that you don't have to nick the Widow Moira's inheritance on Expert difficulty, among other tweaks. 1.0 won't be the final version of the mod, obviously, but expect it to be integrated into Deadly Shadows' big Sneaky Upgrade mod eventually, which fixes a ton of issues with Eidos' hobbled Thief threequel.

Will Thief 4 receive the same care and attention sometime down the line? We can only hope. One quick fix that would make the game roughly 53.86% better would be to remove that abysmal Thief-Taker General character from the game.

Important stealth reminder: the excellent Dark Mod is now standalone.

Thanks, RPS!
Announcement - Valve
Save 50% on Thief as part of this week's Weekend Deal*!

Garrett, the Master Thief, steps out of the shadows into the City. In this treacherous place, where the Baron’s Watch spreads a rising tide of fear and oppression, his skills are the only things he can trust. Even the most cautious citizens and their best-guarded possessions are not safe from his reach.

*Offer ends Monday at 10AM Pacific Time

PC Gamer
The Dark Mod

Confession: I was initially dubious about Square Enix's old-school Thief modding contest. It seemed, at the time, like a somewhat cynical attempt at getting Thief's fan-base on-side. In practice, of course, the reasons are less important than the fact it highlighted some exceptional work from a dedicated community. The Dark Mod is an excellent game that neatly captures the feeling of the original Thief series, and so it's fitting that one of its more recent missions has been named as the competition's winner.

Requiem was first released in October of last year, soon after The Dark Mod was re-released as a standalone game.

"In Requiem you step into the shoes of Bolen, a thief living in a sprawling medieval city," explains its creator. "As the game starts, your most reliable fence has just sent you an urgent note telling you to come over to his house. You have no idea what he has in store, but with the sun setting it sounds like you might be in for an interesting night."

A recent update to The Dark Mod blog reveals that, not only is a new 2.02 update incoming, but that Requiem creator Gelo "Moonbo" Fleisher is working on a follow-up. "I've also been hard at work making a two-part sequel to Requiem," Moonbo writes in a blog update. "The first part is fully done, and the second part is well underway." You can see a preview screenshot of that episode below, and find more Dark Mod missions here.

Announcement - Valve
The Square Enix Publisher Weekend continues today with great deals on Square Enix titles! From now until Monday pick up titles up to 75% off!

Today's Daily Deal features Thief at 33% off with 75% off the rest of the series!

PC Gamer

So far, the only real world example of AMD s new graphics API, Mantle, is some less-than-convincing performance in Battlefield 4. Now though, AMD have teamed up with Eidos and are set to release a new update to the latest Thief game, wrestling it away from the Microsoft clutches of DirectX and giving it some Mantle lovin'.

For the uninitiated Mantle is a rival graphics layer AMD have created to replace DirectX on their Graphics Core Next graphics cards. Its promise is of giving developers much closer access to the hardware they re coding for, and reducing the processor overheads that have recently become synonymous with Microsoft s API.

Unfortunately, while the Battlefield 4 update did offer some boosts, it did so at the cost of smooth performance. It raised the average frame rate on AMD cards, but slashed the minimum frame rate, leading to choppy war-based gaming.

While BF4 is the only real-world example of what Mantle can do so far, Oxide Games Nitrous Engine, shown via the Star Swarm demo, is a great indicator of what a game engine can do when it s been created with Mantle in mind from the get-go.

So far the Star Swarm demo has been the best example of Mantle in action

Mantle performance in Star Swarm is far in advance of what the DirectX 11 version can do at the same system settings.

Fingers-crossed the new update to Thief leans more towards Star Swarm than Battlefield 4, and we start to see some serious improvements to Eidos game running on middle-order hardware.

Alongside the March 18th release of the Mantle update for Thief, AMD and Eidos are also releasing the first TrueAudio update for any game in the market. TrueAudio utilises the compute power in the graphics card to offload intensive audio effects from the CPU, which should give richer sounds to games.

In addition to making the game run quicker on AMD graphics cards with Mantle, it should also sound more realistic on them too. We'll see if this really is a game-changer tomorrow.
PC Gamer
Thief 2014-image

Speedrunning a game like the new Thief sometimes means knowing when to slow down. Youtuber prenatual has set a pretty high standard with the complete playthrough documented above, a two-hour, 1300-point custom speedrun with no kills, alerts, or knockouts.

As we heard in advance of its release, Thief lets players craft some fiendishly difficult and complex custom requirements for different playthroughs. Each of the difficulty settings is assigned a point value which adds up to a final score once the game is completed. Thief's in-game leaderboards then rank these custom game finishes based on this final score as well as how quickly the score was achieved after the game's release at the end of last month.

Prenatual's speedrun includes the Iron Man setting, where any death or failed mission causes the entire game to restart and also doesn't see Garrett make use of extra tools such as the wrench or wire cutters to open up new paths. It's a unique achievement, but also one that could grind on a person a bit, as prenatual mentions in the video's comment section.

"It took me much longer than I expected while being not particularly hard and, frankly, wasn't a very enjoyable experience," prenatual writes. "The ghost playstyle requires that you don't interact with the environment or enemies in any way whatsoever, so most of the time the sneaking boiled down to finding holes in enemies' patrols and swooping past everyone. No distractions or anything fancy."

Still, as an artifact of the way players create game experiences that sit decidedly outside the norm, it's fantastic. The video description includes more commentary from prenatual on some of the issues that come up when speedrunning the new Thief, as well as links to highlights throughout the video and a look at the the stats page at the end. Since the video does show the complete story, the usual spoiler warnings apply.

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