Improving Texture Quality


Warning: This process may be legal, but then it may not..

Warning: Neither TTLG nor I take any responsibilty or liability for any damages incurred from using and applying the information and files contained herein. Its highly unlikely anything bad will happen to your copy of Thief anyway..

Ever wished that your copy of Thief: The Dark Project or Thief Gold had the same graphical quality as its sequel, Thief II: The Metal Age? Well, barring coloured lighting and Unreal-esque sky effects, it now does – it’s possible to have Thief II quality textures and models in Thief I with the minimum of effort.. What, you don’t believe me? Check out these screenshots for proof:



Like it? Want it? Then here we go..

Improving Textures

General Info.. Some general info first. Thief II has most of the textures from Thief I included in its texture files, and importantly, many were re-rendered or redrawn to look better for Thief II. So, the first thing I’ve done is to include all the new improved textures in a zip file for use in Thief I. I’ll explain how to do this in a moment. The second thing I’ve done, for hardware (3d accelerated) users, is to include the modifed palettes of Thief II for certain texture families instead of forcing all the improved textures to the default 256 colour Thief I palette. The benefit of this is that a much wider selection of colours is possible for the textures, which means higher (16-bit) quality. However, software users will find the textures corrupted as a result, which is why I’ve included two (2) versions of the texture patch – one for software, and one for hardware. The installation of each is the same however, and I’ve detailed this below.

First of all, download this file:

Secondly, if you don’t have a utlility to read .ZIP files (like WINZIP), download one now.

Now, once you have downloaded one of the files, open it with WinZip.

Choose the “Extract” function.

In the Extract to: field, enter a directory under your main Thief directory called “fam”, so the path might read something like: c:\thief\fam\

Make sure the “use folder names” option is selected, then hit the extract button.

Close WinZip, and start playing Thief.

If you dislike the new look of Thief, simply delete or rename the thief/fam directory.

However, you may also want to update the models (ie, the guards, servants and other people in the game) to Thief II standard.

Improving Models

In Thief I, the models are made up of a very low amount of polygons, and so are lacking a lot of detail. This was improved in Thief II somewhat, so characters finally have details like a nose, eyes, thumbs, etc 😉 The skins are also different and double the detail of before. Now, for some reason its incredibly easy to just replace the undetailed, ugly models in Thief I with their superior T2 equivalents.. lucky, eh? As with before, the first thing to do is to download the patch – there’s only one this time, it will work for both software and hardware users.

MODEL PATCH (2.8 mb)

As with before, open the file with WinZip.

Choose the “Extract” function.

In the “Extract to” field, enter your main Thief/Thief Gold folder, so the right path might read something like: c:\thief\

Make sure the “use folder names” option is selected, then hit the extract button. It should extract all the mesh files into a folder called “mesh” under your Thief directory.

Close WinZip. If you run in software mode, play Thief 😉

If you’re running in Hardware mode, open the file dark.cfg (its in your Thief directory) with Notepad. Add the line “ObjTextures16” to it (without quotes), save, and now play Thief. 😉

Well, thats it. If you have problems, read the trouble shooting section below or comment on the FORUM THREAD.


Q: I’m running in software mode, and the textures are all corrupted and weird colours!
A: You must have downloaded the wrong patch – choose the SOFTWARE patch only.

Q: I’m running in hardware mode, and some textures are all corrupted and weird colours!
A: This can happen when you play some Fan Missions which come with new textures. The best thing to do about it is to find the affected file in the FM’s zipfile, and load the correct palette onto it. Alternatively, re-install the new texture patch again to replace the new textures. If this still does not fix it, email me with details of the textures and where you found it corrupted – I may have missed converting one or two textures palette.

Q: I’ve done what you said, and I can’t notice any difference!
A: Make sure you’ve followed the instructions exactly, and unzipped all the files to their correct folders. Also, a few missions (like the Maw of Chaos and the Haunted Cathedral) don’t have any real replacements from Thief II, so will look largely the same. You should definately notice a big difference with the quality of the models; however, some Thief Gold characters (some guards, mages, etc) and the monsters have no superior versions. Oh yes, make sure you have the character detail set to “High” also.

Q: I’ve done what you said, and all the new models have a weird white skin!
A: This is usually because you didn’t check the “use folder names” option when unzipping them to their proper folders. In your /thief/mesh/txt and /txt16 folders, there should be several .gif files, these are the graphic files containing the skin.

Q: The models are nice, but the skins don’t seem to be as good as in Thief II/are all corrupted and weird colours.
A: Hardware users, you must add the line “ObjTextures16” (without quotes) to your dark.cfg file, then all skins used by Thief will use their 16-bit colour versions instead of the 8-bit palette. (Aside: Why didn’t LGS do this automatically for Thief I/Gold users? They included all the high-colour skins with Thief I, but they were never used!) Software users should *not* do this, as software mode can’t handle the 16-bit colours, and will display the skins to be somewhat psychedelic and reminiscint of groovier times about 35 years ago..

Q: Hmm.. Some textures seem to have holes in them..
A: In some situations (running around DromEd with the switch light_bright, some secret walls where the texture is fully lit), there are pixel sized transparency problems with new textures where there should be black. This is entirely because I was too lazy to check every texture in PSP for transparencybefore releasing.. you won’t see these errors 99% of the time, so I’m not too concerned unless someone can show me where this is a major problem.

Q: I’m noticing some performance slowdown..
A: I’m not surprised. The textures are being replaced with ones with more colours, some larger and more detailed, and the models have twice the detail of before. On my computer, though (a k6-400mhz with a Voodoo3 PCI), the performance hit of the patches has been non-existent. If you are suffering, ensure you have the latest drivers for your video and sound cards, and DirectX 8. Also mind you don’t have any applications running in the background.

Q: I installed the mesh patch, and now DromEd gives me weird errors..
A: For some reason, DromEd does not like the mesh patch. AI’s appear invisible in-editor, and it spits you out with an error message about models when you play in-game. I suggest that you rename the /mesh folder to something else while editing levels with DromEd, and put it back again when you want to play Thief normally.


Special thanks go to that person from the TEG (Tels?) who first discovered that you could have different palettes for different texture families in Thief I; Gingerbread Man for the Conguard skin; Scrooge for making sure I didn’t forget all the metal textures; SilentSleep, for help with the meshes and high colour skins and Avalon for finding DromEd problems. Oh, and Thumper, for the page template.

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