The Paradigm of a Thief Mission

The below is unenforced opinion.

A Thief mission is distinguished by emergence, fluidity of movement, elective gameplay, and reuse of space.

Typically, missions designed for Thief are characterized by emergent gameplay; those within which it plays a small role or none at all lose the sparkle of excitement. Emergent gameplay is ensured through a design strategy; emergence is not a function of particulars, but of a philosophy. The primary axiom of emergence, in its simplest form, states that the designer ought to prioritize interactions between objects over objects. Use Act/React extensively as it was originally intended. Harness story as a device for solutions and solutions as a device for story. Search for extrapolations to integrate as puzzle shells.

A Thief mission ought to allow fluid movement. Never restrict the player to a single method of passage; likewise, never associate a particular playing style with any such method. Do not break up missions into excessively small sections – the smaller a section, the less opportunity a player has to select his methods.

Elective gameplay is a component of emergence; without choice, your mission might well be labeled a scripted movie. Designer control is an error in all but the most primitive contexts; do not allow the temptation of power invariably attributed via the creative medium to distract you from the importance of the player. Choice may easily be embedded on any scale, and the payoff is worthwhile. Do not allow a single choice to outbalance the others; if choices are not equal, superimpose conditions on the choices to achieve equilibrium.

Finally, make good use of space. If you can cram a quart of gameplay into a pint of space, you have done well by the player. Take an example from Assassins and the city, before and after the alarm at Ramirez’s house.


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