The second mission in The Circle of Stone and Shadow campaign for Thief 2, Mission X was completed in October of 2008 after seven years of development with the contributions of a team of hobbyists numbering in the dozens. For six of those seven years, I (as team director and level designer) was a student at the University of South Florida and the School of Architecture graduate program. I kept the project going by working during vacations, and slowly, a week at a time, year by year, Mission X was completed.

   Though my main role on the project was as team director and level designer, I contributed to every aspect of its development except for coding and character animation. A complete list of credits can be found here, along with a breakdown of my contributions.

   Mission X is a very unique fan-made mission, and could be considered the most complex and ambitious single mission for Thief 2 ever completed. It features many totally new gameplay systems and visuals far exceeding the quality of the original game. These features include:

  • The communications mask. You're not in it alone on this operation. Four other secret agents accompany you, all of whom keep in touch with you and one another using a set of techno-magical masks. The mask exists in the inventory as dialog options, allowing the player to choose their objectives, ask for hints, report their status, or just banter with their teammates.
  • In-game notes and hints. At many points during the game the player may petition their fellow agents for hints on how to complete the current objective. Depending on the difficulty, these hints range from direct explanations to vague nudges. These hints are permanently recorded in your in-game notes, along with useful information about the factions and setting.
  • A branching storyline with alternate endings. The plot evolves based on your choices during agent dialog. If you choose one objective, another agent will take your other option. Many variables go into composing the dynamic ending sequence, including the speed at which you completed your tasks, and your opting in or out of numerous optional and bonus objectives.
  • New tools, such as the key-ring, which collects all of your keys into a single object. The dagger and its knockout drops allow you to instantly knock out any enemy, no matter how enraged they are - but each vial only allows three uses. Dust bombs reveal fingerprints on combination keypads. Copy kits allow you to steal sensitive information without tipping off the owner that it's been compromised.
  • Redesigned game menus to suit the Circle of Stone and Shadow style and mood.
  • A full length illustrated manual, with not only detailed descriptions of the new gameplay features, but pages of fiction written to flesh out the world that Mission X takes place in. (download pdf)

Download Mission X (requires Thief 2 to play)

"An excellent addition to the CoSaS campaign, offering an excellent experience all round. The mission is very challenging with plenty to do, but for the most part fun, and the design is simply stunning throughout." - Ryan "quakis" Rouse, the abandoned workshops

"You guys did this in dark [engine]?" - Warren Spector

COSAS: Mission X Demo Reel COSAS: Mission X Briefing Video Ivory Rose Casino and Gentlemen's Club Brochure The Communications Mask, which allows the player to communicate with their NPC co-horts Costume designs for Master Nightfall, Sheam, and Material Component Agents In-game map for the crawlspaces that spread throughout the building Illustration for manual and in-game notes. In-game map of the first floor of the Ivory Rose (five floors total)

   Long before we knew anything about Unreal Kismet, we planned out all of Mission X's scripted events and puzzles in thirty flowcharts. These flowcharts not only let us reason through exactly how these events would work, but acted as an instruction manual so that any of the ten level designers and scripters who worked on the mission knew exactly what had to be done to finish each section. I believe that Mission X would never have been completed if not for these flowcharts. Presented here are just two typical examples.

   Gathering at the Inn (GatI) was the first mission in the Circle of Stone and Shadow campaign. It was actually a remake of the first Thief 1 fan-made mission ever created, Gathering at the Bar. Though I did not contribute directly to the level design in GatI, I directed and organized the team and was master of the design document. Two of the designers who worked on GatI went on to careers at Codemasters and Remedy.

Download Gathering at the Inn (requires Thief 2 to play)

COSAS: Gathering at the Inn Briefing Video

Copyright Daniel E. Todd 2010