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Welcome to Through the Looking Glass

Originally created to follow Looking Glass Studios and their games, these days we are many things to different people. Whether you wish to discuss the games themselves and fan content, enjoy games inspired by the legacy of the game studio or just enjoy chatting about games or life in general - Welcome!

Latest News

14th May 2015
The Magic Circle - A new game from the man who brought you The Cradle, featuring Stephen Russell - Brethren - 22:19
Jordan Thomas, designer of the Shalebridge Cradle mission from Thief Deadly Shadows, has released the inaugural game from his new gaming company, Question Games. The game is titled The Magic Circle, and is available on Steam via the Early Access program. Here is a quick summary of the game:

In this darkly comedic story, you are the hero of an unfinished fantasy game - and your designers have failed you. Trap their creations. Swap behaviors and body parts, crafting your own unique solutions to free-form puzzles. Steal the power of creation, to either ship the game from the inside ... or cancel it.

Check here for more info:

In other good news, the game features the voice of Stephen Russell. TTLG fans couldn't ask for a better combination.
13th Apr 2015
New Deus Ex game announced - Brethren - 18:35
There's not a ton of info yet, but a new Deus Ex game has been announced - Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. There's a trailer to to view (no gameplay footage), and Game Informer has some information on the game. There are also some details in the current game thread in the TTLG forums.
23rd Mar 2015
Happy Birthday, Thief 2 - Brethren - 19:05
15 years ago today, Thief II: The Metal Age was released. The last game that Looking Glass Studios would ever create.

Let's celebrate - play a little Thief 2 today, and read up a bit on its history. Check these links...

Wikipedia Entry

Why Thief 2 Is One Of The Best Games of All Time (Gameranx)

Thief 2 Retrospective (Eurogamer)

The Making of Thief 2

Reviews of Thief 2: IGN, Gamespot, Neoseeker, Avault (wayback machine archive)

Sneaky Bastards started a series of reviews of each level, sadly never finished: Running Interference, Shipping and Receiving, Framed, Ambush
21st Mar 2015
RIP Terry Pratchett - Author, Thief Fan - Tannar - 18:44
Terry Pratchett, beloved British author and avid Thief fan, passed away on March 12, 2015. He was perhaps best known for his Discworld series of books, but was a prolific author of fantasy works, writing on average two books per year. He sold more than 85 million books worldwide, and his books have been translated into 37 languages. In 1998, Pratchett was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire. In 2009 he received a knighthood for his services to literature, and in 2010 he received the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

He was also an avid Thief fan, playing both the original games and many fan missions and was active in Thief gaming groups during the 90's and 00's. According to an interview with Pratchett by PC Zone, he was an avid video game player, collaborating on several game adaptations of his books. He favored "intelligent" games that "have some depth", citing Half Life 2 and Thief fan missions as examples:

PCZ: "What have been your favourite games of the past few years?"
TP: "Far Cry, Call Of Duty, Half-Life 2 and a great many fan missions for Thief! A good fan mission is a joy, because the author reads your mind."

PCZ: "What do you make of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion? What have been your favourite moments?
TP: "I'm a thief and an assassin, and treat the game as a continuation of the Thief universe. I'm in it for the sneaking, but I like the free form nature of the game, the fact that you can ignore the quests and set off into this big, complex world. You really can explore. All the best moments have been in the shadows. Pick pockets, open locks, creep away."

Pratchett had a lovely sense of humor which was evident in his books, as well as in his public speaking and interviews. You may enjoy reading some of his quotes here. And there is a nice article on his passing at ars technica.

In his Discworld book, Going Postal, Pratchett wrote, "A man is not dead while his name is still spoken." To this end, many websites have added a header as a tribute to Terry Pratchett so that his name will forever be passed up and down the internet. You'll likely need a browser add-on to see the header. You can find one in the Browsers and Email Clients section on this page. We at TTLG are proud to be one of the sites keeping Terry Pratchett's name alive among the clacks.

So long, Terry! We'll miss you.
26th Feb 2015
Important: Help Fund the Rebirth. Looking Glass Founder And Thief 1 & 2's Lead Designer Team With Additional Looking Glass Vets To Create New Studio. - twisty - 06:06
As you would be aware, this fan site was put together as a tribute to the games produced by LGS (Looking Glass Studios) such as Thief, System Shock and Ultima Underworld, as well as a selection of other games that have been heavily inspired by these classics. While this site has continued to exist post the untimely demise of LGS studios in 2000, we have all had to learn to accept that the unique magic that was produced by this studio and their various game franchises would never again be worked on collectively by the same minds that have greatly influenced the design of many classics produced since that time.

That was until last July when Paul Neurath announced the formation of Otherside Studios and that their first game would be a sequel to Ultima Underworld 2 (minus the Ultima moniker and material). Since this time, the level of excitement has been steadily building as more and more former LGS alumni (Warren Spector, Tim Stellmach, Steve Pearsall, Chris Siegal, Austin Grossman, Jum Berry, and Robb Waters) have joined the cause; not to mention the fact that Underworld Ascendant will also feature the voice talents of Stephen Russell (Garrett) and Terri Brosius (Shodan). To help maintain creative control and adequately fund this effort, Otherside are looking to the community to support this through a Kickstarter campaign.

If this sounds important to you (and it should !) and you are interested in seeing this become a reality then you should show your support by contributing to their Kickstarter campaign for Underworld Ascendant. At the time of writing they need another $40K with 8 days remaining to reach the base goal of making the core game. Let's help make this happen!

Update: The base level of funding has been reached! Time to bring on more of the stretch goals.

Kickstarter Campaign
25th Feb 2015
Happy Birthday, Thief 2014 (aka Thief 4, aka NuThief, aka Thiaf...) - Brethren - 21:36
The much debated, sometimes controversial and always polarizing Thief reboot from Eidos Montreal was released one year ago today (in North America anyway). It's been a rough year for the latest entry into the series, and the game has taken it's share of criticism from both fans and journalists alike. Why not come over to the forums and give us your thoughts on the matter, 365 days later?
18th Feb 2015
Underworld Ascendant updates - Brethren - 16:15
There's been some big news as of late on the new Underworld game, currently in the midst of its Kickstarter campaign. The game is close to being 80% funded at the halfway point, so things are looking good. Hopefully a late push will not only get the game funded but also allow it to hit some of its stretch goals. Pledge if you haven't. If you have, consider upping your pledge.

It was announced a few days ago that Otherside Entertainment will be working with none other than Stephen Russell. Most know Stephen as the voice of the cynical Thief, Garrett, but he has lent his voice to many other characters in Looking Glass games over the years, in addition to working on major titles such as Skyrim and Fallout 3. It's great to have Stephen on board, especially after he was snubbed last year for the new Thief game.

It was also announced that Terri Brosius, ex-Looking Glass designer and voice actor for some very memorable Looking Glass characters will also be working with the Otherside team. At this point, it looks like Terri will be primarily providing voice talent, but you never know where else things may lead.

Otherside will be engaging in several twitch sessions over the next several weeks, playing through some classic Looking Glass games with the original developers and providing commentary and insight. The schedule is as follows, all times EST:

-Wednesday, February 18th - Thief - 3-6PM, w/special guest, Randy Smith
-Wednesday, February 25th - System Shock, time TBA
-Wednesday, March 4th - Ultima Underworld, time TBA

Check out the twitch stream here:
10th Feb 2015
The Dark Mod updates to version 2.03 - Brethren - 15:28
The guys over at Broken Glass Studios have released an update to The Dark Mod, which includes the following enhancements and additions:

AI changes: AI have a few new animations, including a new pickpocket reaction. Many AI, including the citywatch and builder models, should look more detailed, as most AI are now using LOD (Level of Detail) stages, allowing greater detail up close and less detail (and less of a performance hit) when further away. In terms of behaviour, AI will now coordinate their searches more intelligently when in groups, sending some AI to guard doors and choke-points rather than stepping all over each other. AI will now react when getting hit by an opening door. An issue that allowed AI to see behind them if their head was turned a certain way has been fixed.

Graphics: Particle effects have been greatly improved, so that they no longer create hard lines when intersecting geometry. Water no longer distorts things that are in front of it, and the skybox will no longer flash grey when the player is mantling. The spyglass will now appear round regardless of the screen dimensions used. A number of entities are now using LOD (Level of Detail) stages. You may wish to adjust this option in the Graphics Menu if you see noticeable 'popping' of models.

Assets: More than a hundred new high-quality textures and models have been added to the game, and should start appearing in new maps. A number of existing models have been improved by adding more polys and better textures. A new female townsfolk model and vocal set has also been added to the game and should start appearing in new maps soon.

Overall, you should notice a distinct improvement to the graphics and AI behaviour in maps. And we have some exciting renderer developments in the pipeline, though that will have to wait for the next update.

Thanks to the TDM team for all their hard work on the game - it's great to see that they're continually improving/fixing/enhancing things. To update your installation, run the file tdm_update.exe in your Dark Mod folder. Happy thieving...
9th Feb 2015
New Underworld game on Kickstarter - Brethren - 18:36
This could be the start of big things for Looking Glass fans. As many people know, a new game studio called OtherSide Entertainment was started up last year by Looking Glass founder Paul Neurath. Their focus, as stated on their web site, is to reboot classic games franchises. Well, theyíve done just that, in the form of a new Underworld game (minus the Ultima branding). The new game is called Underworld Ascendant.

A Kickstarter project was launched last Wednesday (February 4th, 2015) to fund the game, and they are already well over half way to their goal. Itís also been revealed that several ex-Looking Glass employees have joined the studio and are working on the game, including Tim Stellmach, Steve Pearsall, and Robb Waters. In addition to that, Warren Spector and Austin Grossman will be advising and acting as consultants on the project.

Check out the Kickstarter page and pledge if you havenít already. There are some interesting stretch goals available that include adding new areas to explore, new races, and even a level editor. Strong support for this title will likely lead to more Looking Glass type games in the future. Very exciting stuff!
7th Mar 2014
My Thief Review - by henke - henke - 10:58
TTLG members review Thief

Thief has been played now and the opinions and reviews are coming in thick and fast. Over the next few weeks, as more and more people complete the new Thief, we hope to be able to showcase a range of reviews from our members.

The first one on the block is a review by the venerable henke, "the spirit of GenGaming" and all around games-player extraordinaire. Enjoy.

My Thief Review

This is not the old Thief. I wasnít sure what to expect when I started playing it, but it soon became clear that this is not the old Thief. Aside from hearing the sound of the bell tower and a few other sound effects, I have not experienced any nostalgic feelings during my time in the shoes of new Garrett. The gameplay reminds me more of Mark Of The Ninja and the Batman games than they do classic Thief. Some people seem to go out of their way to play this like classic Thief, disabling Focus and not swooping, but that is a mistake. Framing this game in the context of what old Garrett would do, or what the old games played like, will only keep you from enjoying it for what it is. This is not the old Thief. What it is, is a very good stealth game, and the story of a man named Garrett.

The Story

Honestly though, itís not much a story. Itís fairly unoriginal and the way itís told is a bit of a mess, especially early on. After Chapter 5 I had a pretty good handle on what was going on and my motivations were (somewhat) clear. The story hangs together, I guess, is the most positive thing you could say about it. But there are no moments like the final cutscene of The Dark Project here. Remember that? When the Keeper and Garrett are walking through the snow, and those final lines? It sent a shiver down your spine and got you pumped for the sequel. New Thief, by comparison, justÖ kinda ends.

The Missions

The whole game took me 22,5 hours to beat according to the in-game clock (30 hours according to Steam) and thereís plenty of sidemissions and Basso jobs still left undone. The missions are big, well designed, and filled with more loot than youíll be able to find. However, they are to a large extent retreads of missions from earlier Thief games (Angelwatch, creepy abandoned asylum, bank, etc.). Itís like a Greatest Hits compilation of Thief levels. Not sure how I feel about that, honestly. On the one hand some more originality wouldíve been nice, on the other hand everything about this game is different enough that it doesnít feel like Iím doing the same missions over again.

What all that triple-A money was spent on, and what they couldíve spent more on

This game delivers on a lot of what I was hoping for from a triple-A-version of a Thief game. The environments are detailed and gorgeous, and aside from a few glitches, the animations are very slick. The sound, however, disappoints. There are a few sections with annoying repeated dialogue, and in some cutscenes the music and environmental sounds are so loud they drown out the voices of the characters weíre supposed to be listening to. Most disappointingly, the sounds of guards are too faint, and you can only hear them if they're nearby. You can't rely on your ears as much in this one as in previous games.

The Gameplay

As a reboot it does take the opportunity to introduce new gameplay elements and moves. Freerunning feels awesome, itís almost a shame you get to use it so rarely (really only when retreading familiar ground where you know no guards will be). I like all the new tools in Garrettís arsenal and the way theyíre animated, especially the way he pulls the lockpicks out of his sleeves. Lockpicking feels better than it ever has before (with a gamepad and visual cues turned off, at least). Combat is harder than itís ever been. Later on you can upgrade your blackjack damage and learn Focus combat takedown moves, but donít expect to be winning many fights for the first 10 hours or so. Focus itself isÖ neither here nor there. I used it mainly to look for traps and help with a few puzzles, but overall it doesnít bring much to the game. Swoop on the other hand is a great addition. It just feels good.

I also must give a special mention to the Challenge Modes. They make excellent use of existing areas and bring a totally new kind of stealth gameplay, one that rewards a delicate mixture of speed and silence.

The Bottomline

Overall, despite audio issues and a somewhat damp story, I had a good time with Thief. It's a solid stealth game. It's definitely better than Deadly Shadows. I don't think it'll sell well enough to warrant a sequel, and it's not like the game sets one up anyway. Already now, most of what I'm seeing on this forum is acceptance of this game for what it is. I think that down the line it'll be viewed as that weird one-off. "It wasn't as good as T1/2, but it wasn't bad, y'know."

Play settings: Master difficulty, 360 gamepad, most of the assists turned off.