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[Sticky] Thief Gold/Thief II/Thief Deadly Shadows Mods (Widescreen/Ultrawide support and more)  

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Jester
(@jester)
Member Moderator
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Screenshot by Bentraxx Productions.

Thief Gold (the re-release of Thief: The Dark Project) and Thief II: The Metal Age are still arguably the best stealth games of their kind (a so called "traditional" stealth). They were so incredibly ahead of their time, and by any standard still extremely advanced mechanically, having features that no other game has. Levels are sprawling and non-linear, you are extremely mobile being able to climb any ledge, tons of interactive objects and 'tools' for stealth, different surfaces make different amounts of noise, advanced lockpicking with two different kinds of picks, so much more. Then there is the style and atmosphere, there truly isn't a steampunk game like them. Not to mention the creepyness of crypts and dungeons and the like, and the mysticism around magical places.

This is why any fan of stealth games should play them. But they're old. Thief Gold is from 1999, with The Dark Project being released only a year sooner. Thief II is from 2000. Needless to say, out of the box they have only 4:3 support (800 x 600 max) and only stereo sound support. They were not graphically impressive for their time, let alone today, although they do have better and more advanced sound effects/processing than any game today thanks to very advanced EAX and DirectSound3D effects.

Thankfully, these games aren't clunky... for the most part. Movement is not, it is slow paced and fluid. Climbing is somewhat clunky but not overly problematic. Combat is awful, don't use it ever. Use the blackjack to hit people on the back of the head, that's it as far as combat goes.

Yes, there was a reboot recently. And it sucks. Much less gameplay mechanics and so many are contextual like a console game, which means they can't be used freely (such as climbing and rope arrows). It's very linear, and has almost none of the interactive physics objects of the original. This picture below sums up the level design. Yes, it's 100% accurate. Second level of Thief II: The Metal Age vs the first level of Thief (2014).

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So forget the reboot, get these originals for cheap. Thankfully they don't need a ton of mods to work properly on modern systems. Just two mods for Thief Gold, and one for Thief II!

Thief Gold

Note: The GOG version already comes with widescreen/ultrawide compatibility.

1) First install the game and launch it once.

2) Then follow the procedure listed here. It involves installing only two mods: TFix, the unofficial patch which includes New Dark, a major engine update bringing widescreen compatibility and more. Then you install the lovely Thief Gold HD Texture mod, a major graphics overhaul with new gameplay features as well (and more to come). All the images here are of Thief Gold with this mod.

These two mods will get you widescreen and even ultrawide support. GOG users must skip the TFix installation because the GOG version has it already! So if you have a GOG copy, only install Thief Gold HD Texture mod. If not, install both following that procedure linked above.

However, Thief Gold still only has stereo sound at this point (unless on Windows XP or earlier). An X-Fi sound card (Creative or Auzentech) is needed to get multichannel sound, EAX, and 3D HRTF! This is because it uses DirectSound3D which isn't present in Windows Vista or later. So, get one of these sound cards and use Creative ALchemy to unlock all of its sound features, putting it above modern games in sound effects!

Thief II: The Metal Age

1) Install Tafferpatcher, the unofficial patch which includes New Dark. It provides widescreen and ultrawide support, and converts the game to OpenAL as the sound API so surround should work properly without an X-Fi sound card. Not sure if it uses EFX to emulate EAX though. Again GOG has all this by default.

2) Then install Thief 2 HD texture mod, which can be found here:
http://www.moddb.com/mods/thief-2-hd-texture-mod

Installation instructions for Thief 2 HD texture mod are found here. Install Thief Enhancement Pack 2.0 from that link as well.

3) There is an unofficial expansion to Thief 2 called Thief 2X: Shadows of the Metal Age. Get it here:
http://www.thief2x.com/

4) And here is a separate texture mod for Thief 2X: Shadows of the Metal Age:
http://www.moddb.com/mods/thief-2x-hd-texture-mod

People with X-Fi sound cards should still use Creative ALchemy for this game, and instead of using OpenAL hardware acceleration (which probably isn't actually hardware accelerated) set it to "On" to use your X-Fi DSP and EAX + true hardware acceleration.

Remember, these are DirectX 8 games which means supersampling can be forced without compatibility bits. So just slap on as much AA as you want in your driver control panel. Don't know how? Read this. Again, compatibility bits not needed.

Thief: Deadly Shadows

The third game in the franchise.

1) This game only needs Sneaky Upgrade unofficial patch, which is several mods in one and many bugfixes. Get it here (alternate link) and follow its installation instructions. Furthermore, this game has two NVIDIA AA compatibility bits, which are:

0x00000041
0x000012C1

The former allows for MSAA, SGSSAA (fullscreen or just transparent), OGSSAA, and HSAA, but may have some issues (try AA fix?). The second one is SGSSAA only. It also has HBAO+ compatibility bits: 0x0000001E

Last but not least, use it with Creative ALchemy if you have an X-Fi sound card. If you don't have an X-Fi sound card, get one! These are some of many games that benefit from them. DirectSound3D games need them, almost all OpenAL games can benefit too, allowing for better surround support and various new advanced effects.

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Screenshot by Bentraxx Productions.

That's all that is required for configuring these games to run properly on modern systems. Always check the ini file, where you can raise the frame rate cap. 100 FPS is the engine limitation however, there is no going beyond that. It's a shame, not only because higher frame rate = better, but because 100 FPS/100 Hz is rather low for backlight strobing blur reduction.

Gallery

All of these screenshots are from Bentraxx Productions on the Thief Gold HD Texture mod ModDB page.

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Posted : 16/10/2016 10:08 pm
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