Thief: Deadly Shadows Level Editing Tools
Eidos and Ion Storm Austin
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Thief: The Dark Project was released by Eidos in 1998 to almost universal critical acclaim. It became the classic sleeper hit, slowly bringing together a substantial ensemble of like-minded gamers from all over the world. Some months later at the request of their growing community, developers Looking Glass Technologies made their in-house level creation tool, DromEd, available to download. Very gradually, fan made missions (FMMs) began to appear.
Sequel Thief 2: The Metal Age (2000) came with an updated version of DromEd included on the game CD, an indicator of the popularity and success the first release had enjoyed. As the word spread, the guild of developers grew and the missions kept coming.
To date there are over 350 FMMs available at http://www.thiefmissions.com/, a number that is still growing over 5 years after the first release.
We have received information from Ion Storm Austin, the developers of Thief: Deadly Shadows that the decision whether to release level editing tools for the game is in the hands of Eidos. The Thief mission development community is one of the largest and most prolific groups of their kind in video game history. Indeed one of their number, David Sledge Riegel, now works on the Thief: Deadly Shadows development team at Ion Storm Austin. With all this in mind, we therefore request that Eidos agrees in conjunction with Ion Storm Austin to release a level editor or SDK.
From Eidos point of view, the advantages of this step are numerous:
1) A gesture of goodwill.
Many of the Thief community have supported the franchise from its inception right up until the present day. Even outwith the fan made missions (FMMs) themselves, an outstanding repertoire of fiction, art, music and poetry has been created by those close to the Thief universe. See http://www.thief-thecircle.com/fanworks/ for examples.
2) Increased sales and shelf life.
It stands to reason that the more a game can offer, the more appeal it has to prospective purchasers. As stated above, there are over 350 extra levels available for the first two Thief games - many of them are outstanding, and some arguably even surpass the quality of the original Looking Glass missions. It is in no small part due to the support, evangelism and hard work of the people who create these additions that the first two Thief titles continue to sell even today.
3) The continued support of the franchise.
Even throughout the recently lifted media blackout, message boards, email lists and newsgroups continued to host lively and prolonged discussions on the game. A large percentage of these were focussed around the continued stream of fan missions. As a result, the newest addition to the Thief roster is being released to an incredibly positive and dynamic group; future Thief or Thief-related titles would undoubtedly also benefit from this.
FMMs have featured on the cover CDs of games magazines. There have also been FMMs and Thief spin-off projects - such as Thievery (http://www.thieveryut.com/) - that have received valuable mainstream gaming press attention.
The costs to Eidos are minimal: the editing tools would presumably have to be tidied up somewhat for release, and basic documentation created. DromEd was never officially supported by Eidos or Looking Glass Technologies, and we would not expect that policy to change.
Even with the relatively unstable and rudimentary editors released with Thief 1 and Thief 2, the talented members of the community produced minor miracles. We only ask that you supply the tools needed for those miracles to continue.