10 Questions with Nameless Voice

March 7, 2008 at 3:02 am

Southquarter recently dropped 10 questions on Nameless Voice, technical guru of all things dark (engine, that is) and author of several Thief missions and demos, such as Temple of the Tides, Hazelshade Cemetary, and The Haunting. Here’s what we got:

1. You’re a very integral part of the Thief community these days. What brought you here in the first place? Do you plan on sticking around for while?

I guess I was always into editing, as far back as making levels for Maze and Super Breakout for the Atari ST, then later Doom 2, Warcraft 2 and Quake 2. I never finished anything for those games, though.
I was first interested in Thief in 1998, before its release, when I saw a brief mention of “Dark Project” in an Eidos promotional booklet. The blurb talked about a “6D” world with an Act/React system were “wood objects burn when exposed to fire” and “cold freezes water”, a pathfinding system where AIs jump over chasms, “motion-capture character animations with real physics properties”, and other strange things that would never make it into the game.
I think I first played Thief: The Dark Project some time in 1999, but it wasn’t until the end of the year, when I got Thief Gold (and the version of DromEd that came with it) that I started looking at the editor.
I remember, at the time, seeing articles and tutorials written by Totality, where he talked about using the Act/React systems to build ingame shops and other things that the developers had never envisioned. Those early tutorials on Act/React were one of the things that originally drew me into DromEd.

2. Your expertise obviously lies in the technical side of things – creating scripts, objects, tutorials, and other various tools. What draws you to this area of the editing scene?

I like making the Dark Engine do things that it was never designed to do, to find something that is seemingly impossible and make it work. That used to be done exclusively with Rube-Goldberg machines built from DromEd’s various in-built systems, such as Act/React, conversations and metaproperties, but I eventually found that there were some things I still couldn’t do, so I learned how to write custom scripts.
It’s still always fun to set up a complex system without using any custom scripts, though.

I’m also the kind of person who would be willing to spend ten hours writing a program to make a task easier, even though I would probably never spend ten hours in total by doing it the old ‘awkward’ way.

3. That said, do you still play missions on a regular basis?

Not many, no.

4. Hey, I’m certainly no editing genius, but how did you make the water rise in Temple of the Tides?

Smoke and mirrors.
There isn’t actually any water in The Temple of the Tides, apart from the small amounts in the canals along the corridors.
The rising water is just a collection of tricks put together to give the illusion of water: making the player levitate, slowing his movement speed, making his air supply ‘refill’ backwards, triggering the appropriate splashing sounds, and adding a bluish-green overlay in front of his view.

5. You’ve been busy in the past year, putting out both the Dromed Toolkit and the Enhancement pack. Any other similar projects on the verge of release?

No, I don’t think so.

6. A search for posts in the TTLG Thief III Editor’s Guild for “Nameless Voice” came up with no matches. What gives?

Regrettably, I still haven’t even played Thief: Deadly Shadows. I never had a computer that would really be able to play it acceptably, so it’s just been sitting in its box gathering dust. That should change soon, however.

7. Every mission you’ve released has been either a demo or a small contest mission. Any plans or inspiration to at some point work on a large, full-sized, OM type level?

Maybe, who knows?
I’m still working on a new version of The Temple of the Tides, which will be much larger than the original version, but I don’t know if it will classify as ‘large’. Or an OM-type level, for that matter, since there will still be far more exploration and puzzle-solving than sneaking involved.

8. You’ve done well in the various thief contests (second place in both the Beauty contest and the Water contest). How come you didn’t enter the Horror contest? Seems like a good stage for some neat technical tricks.

I had originally intended to enter – and had made a start at an entry – but due to various circumstances the mission didn’t take off and I wasn’t able to make much progress on it.
Maybe for the next Horror Contest? 😉

9. This community seems to get stronger and stronger, where do you think it is headed? Will people embrace The Dark Mod and/or The TDS editor, or will they continue to work with Dromed?

I couldn’t say. Considering that there are still people editing for DromEd 1, I’d say it’s a safe bet that some amount of DromEd mission design will endure for the immediate future.

10. Can’t help my curiosity – what’s is the origin of your username?

That’s a tough one, it was a long time ago. I think it was partly because I couldn’t think of a better name, so I opted to remain “nameless”.
It was meant to be something like a voice coming out of the nowhere; an unknown speaker; a sourceless voice. But ‘Sourceless Voice’ doesn’t sound right, and I could never think of a better word, so ‘Nameless Voice’ it stays. Anyway, I’m used to ‘NV….’ by now – if I changed it, any new name would need to have the same initials!


SQ: Thanks for taking the time, NV. Definitely looking forward to that extended version of Temple of the Tides…

author: brethren

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