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The Dark Mod 15th Anniversary Contest!

To celebrate our 15th year, we are holding a fan mission contest!

The Dark Mod 15yr Anniversary Contest

The Dark Mod project trundles onward for it’s 15th year in a row. In that time we have improved our game engine in countless ways and have grown to over 170 missions!

To celebrate our perseverance and the years of improvements to come, we are hosting a contest to mark 15 years since the 1.0 release!

Now is your time to demonstrate the mission design that best exemplifies your personal style and capabilities! Please consider entering this event!

Unlike most recent contests, there is no defined theme and we are simply going to score based on our standard metrics of Story, Gameplay, and Visuals with our standard weighted scoring:

Max Possible = Total Votes * 5 (Outstanding)

TotalMaxPointsPoss (TMP) = AllCategoryVotecount(ACV) * 30

Full Weighted Score (FWS) = (Gameplay score*3 + Visual score*2 + Story score) / TMP

Contest Submissions should be provided before October 16th so that players can start playing and celebrating on the 17th!

The players have been keen to relay that they would like really creative missions so it may be worthwhile to examine our “Community Unusual Contest” to get an idea about the wild range of possibilities we offer to designers.

Also, since the contest submission is in October, there will probably be an increased desire for Horror themes.

The Dark Mod 2.12 was just released so including new 2.12 features is strongly encouraged.

Finally, it might be nice if authors name their protagonist Corbin to match the included missions.

( None of the above suggestions are requirements for the submissions. )

Please visit the Fan Mission Forum to declare your intention to join and to discuss anything related to the contest. Thank you!

The Dark Mod 2.12 has been released!

High Expectations 2.12

The Dark Mod 2.12 is a major step forward for mission designers!

The culling system has been extensively overhauled to ensure that your CPU and GPU are not wasting resources rendering unseen geometry, lights, and shadows. Some of our best map optimization experts have achieved similar performance gains to what this new culling system does but it is a rare skill and we have even managed to improve performance on missions that were generally regarded as “well optimized”. Mission authors both new and old can follow standard mapping practices with no need to dive deep into sophisticated optimization techniques even for some pretty challenging scenarios such as wide open areas and long views. Players will immediately notice many missions that have made their system struggle with FPS now may be running much more smoothly!

Smoother controls for players!

Also during the 2.12 development cycle, work has been done to make controls more seamless and accessible. Frob can now use hold or click actions to use items. Once you get used to the mechanic, it will be hard to go back to using a separate “use key”. Mantling is now smoother, faster, and less prone to cause the player to clip through geometry. Leaning is now more subtle and less prone to cause motion sickness. To reduce the tedium of shuffling knocked out AI around to search for loot, you can now configure TDM to automatically loot any frobbed AI.

A special thanks must go out to community member Geep!

Over the course of 2.12 development, Geep has created Subtitles for nearly all AI barks
along with developing testing tools and procedures for this gargantuan task! You can see these changes in action by changing the Subtitles setting to “On” ( rather than “Story” ) on the Audio settings page.
Geep also provided substantial feedback for our GUI and Subtitle design process and edited font data to improve text quality overall.

Turrets are now natively supported in The Dark Mod and can paired with Security Cameras!

Datiswous has complimented the massive work by Geep to create AI bark subtitles by creating mission story subtitles for a large number of missions. Thank you!

Finally, the nasty 2.11 bug that caused AI to allow arrows to pass through them at certain angles was fixed by Joebarnin! Your assassin style play-throughs should be far less frustrating.

A detailed list of changes can be seen here:

To UPDATE, simply run the tdm_installer.exe file in your darkmod folder.

Note that tdm_update.exe is no longer supported, but you can download the new installer from the Downloads page if you don’t have it yet. Please be aware that old saved games will not be compatible with 2.12, so finish any missions you might be in the middle of first! Also, some missions created prior to 2.12 may need to be updated so they will be playable in 2.12. Use the in-game mission downloader to check for updates

The Dark Mod 2.11 has been Released!

The Dark Mod 2.11 is primarily a bug-fix release. The majority of development time was dedicated to fixing or improving long-standing bugs or problem areas with the project rather than focusing on new features.

That said, some of the improvements that were introduced to address these issues could very well be classified as new features in terms of the amount of changes required to bring them to life.

A full changelog can be viewed here, but some highlights include:

Major gameplay improvements!

For players, Stealth Score and AI alert behavior has been improved to better detect tactile contact with AI and proximity.
An older TDM release introduced a grace period feature that was overly broad and made some AI ignore players that were right in front of them. This has been substantially improved so stealth scoring and AI reactions should be a lot more consistent and logical.

Players will also have a new Blackjack experience with better cues about whether a blackjack attack will succeed and improvements to the way that the blackjack attack is executed.

Players can more smoothly transition from climbing as the player is now permitted to be crouched during the climb.

There is a new multi-loot feature which allows you to pickup multiple loot pieces by holding down the frob button!

Performance Improvements!

The new volumetric light feature has been improved via a new blur phase. This means that you no longer need to increase the samples to reduce or remove banding and performance should be substantially improved.

Before ( 2.10 with dither and low sample artifacts, click to view):

After ( 2.11 with the new blur algorithm, click to view ):

Soft Shadows now utilize scissors and tile-based evaluation in stencil mode so that Anti-Aliasing no longer need be applied to the entire shadow buffer.

Shadow Maps have improved mipmap, LOD and texel utilization. There should be fewer artifacts and better performance.

Large models are now evaluated via a BVH structure so that they can be split for lighting and culling optimizations.

AI think cycles have been optimized and perform less work per-frame.

GLSL programs have been rewritten to have better performance on AMD graphic cards.

Included mission improvements!

Mission 1: A New Job now features subtitles!

Mission 2: Tears of Saint Lucia has been improved with EFX reverb and a few bug fixes!

Asset fixes and additions!

Dragofer has fixed hundreds of assets that were missing setup definitions or other components that would cause the console to flood with errors on TDM launch or on the launch of missions. In addition, he has added hundreds of new and old assets from both TDM team members and members of the TDM community.

Improvements for Mappers!

The Engine now supports Obj model format

Material Shaders no longer require you to add frob stages. Frob is now auto-generated. You can still add custom frob effects to materials if preferred

Missions can now include decls that override those in the core TDM without using an override file to replace the entire core file.

GUI scripting has been overhauled with better syntax and error reporting

Dmap precision has been increased and Dmap T-junction performance has been optimized

To UPDATE, simply run the tdm_installer.exe file in your darkmod folder. Note that tdm_update.exe is no longer supported,

but you can download the new installer from the Downloads page if you don’t have it yet.
Please be aware that old saved games will not be compatible with 2.11, so finish any missions you might be in the middle of first!


The Dark Mod 2.10 has been Released!

We are proud to announce the release of The Dark Mod 2.10!

The Dark Mod 2.10 comes with considerable improvements to loading times as well as a slew of new visual and gameplay features for mappers to experiment with, such as volumetric lighting (“god rays”) and more advanced security cameras!

Many of these new features are prominently on display in the six new missions released for the 2.10 Connections Contest that are now officially available in the mission downloader!

A full changelog can be viewed here, but some highlights include:

For Players

Loading Times
Considerable effort has gone into streamlining how textures are loaded, making more effective use of multiple CPU cores, and removing artificial delays. This even includes new handwritten algorithms for normalmap compression and mipmap generation so that TDM no longer relies on graphics card drivers.

Performance Improvements
As part of ongoing performance improvements, soft stencil shadows with anti-alising will be faster to render.

Object Handling
Afraid to grab a candle near a sleeping guard? Handling objects will now produce less noise, or none at all if holding down the “creep” button. You can also now control how far an item is thrown based on how long you hold down the “throw” button. Lastly, dragging unconscious bodies should feel better now (even if rats did their best to spoil the fun a little).

Main Menu Interactions
Tooltips have been added for many of the items found in the settings menu: a long-awaited feature! We’ve also reorganized the procedure for switching between missions to make it more intuitive for newcomers.

Window / Input Changes
The Linux build now relies on the GLFW library to create windows and handle the keyboard & mouse, eliminating many of the issues with OS integration on Linux.
On the Windows side, some minor changes were made to fullscreen/borderless modes.

For Mappers

Entity limit is no more!
What was once the bane of TDM’s most ambitious mappers, the entity limit has now been raised eight-fold to 65,536. No longer will mappers need to spend long hours merging entities.

Compilation Times
To complement the faster loading times, compilation times have been brought down too. Optimizations were made all over the dmap code, adding new algorithms and data structures to improve both speed and precision.

Advanced Security Cameras
Security cameras have been reworked from the ground up with the aim of bringing them to the same level of polish as TDM’s AIs, both in stealth gameplay and customizability. Most importantly, security cameras in new FMs will track the player or AIs and react to bodies. Wiki

Volumetric Lights (“God Rays”)
Unlike adding fake translucent geometry around lights, volumetric lights automatically match their source light, including light volume geometry, projection & falloff textures, and even shadows. Note that shadowcasting currently only works in “shadow maps” mode. Wiki

Xray Screens
Xrays are a Doom 3 feature that has been reintroduced to TDM and developed further. The screens are able to change the appearance of entities seen through them, even making them appear or disappear if desired. Look out for them in future Inventor’s Guild or magical-themed FMs. Wiki

Subtitles can now be assigned to sound files and have been added to the pre-bundled mission “Tears of St. Lucia”. Note that we did not consider localization of subtitles yet. Wiki

Tracking Secrets
Secrets are now easy to designate, with no custom scripts required. They’ll also be shown on the mission statistics screen at the end of the mission if the FM uses the new system. Wiki

Main Menu GUI Customisation
Mappers can change much of the main menu from a single purpose-built “customisation” .gui file instead of having to replace core files. You can find more details in guis/mainmenu_custom_defs.gui inside tdm_gui01.pk4.
Since several missions had to be updated to this new system, their customisations will no longer work in 2.09 or earlier versions.

Location Diagnostics During dmap
Location overlaps should now be much easier to find and fix thanks to new console output and pointfiles created during compilation.

Image Formats
As a compact alternative to TGA for uncompressed images, PNG images can now be used in materials. Note that loading PNG images may be slower than TGA.
DDS images can now be used in image programs, although doing so is discouraged because of the additional quality loss due to compression.

New Script Events
The mapper’s scripting repertoire has been expanded by new script events for dealing with vectors and bounds, setting solidity, detecting surface type via trace, and reading more properties about entities and the player, such as “notarget” or the calibrated light gem value.

New Assets

Fancy Wooden Furniture
A whole new suite of fancy wooden furniture pieces including prefabs has been contributed by Wellingtoncrab. They can be viewed in the release thread.

Automaton AI
The semi-robotic AIs from Sotha’s Ulysses mission have been added to the core mod, together with new prefabs for cosmetic recharging stations to include in patrol routes as well as a camera screen showing what the automaton sees.


Tracy Profiling
TDM’s rudimentary GL profiling has been replaced with the Tracy profiler, which has its own cool viewer. It has already greatly helped the TDM development team in their optimization efforts.

Mission Database
The mission database has been moved to an SVN repository which automatically synchronizes all mirrors and makes backup copies of old versions of missions.

More Technical Stuff
A generic hash table has been added. “Clear” in the idlib method now works as most programmers expect and unit test integration has been improved.

To update, simply run the tdm_installer.exe file in your darkmod folder. Note that tdm_update.exe is no longer supported, but you can download the new installer from the Downloads page if you don’t have it yet.
Please be aware that old saved games will not be compatible with 2.10, so finish any missions you might be in the middle of first!

Farewell to Grayman

We have lost one of the most talented members to ever join the TDM team.

Rand Phares “grayman” has lost his long battle with cancer and is no longer with us.

Before joining the TDM team and rising to become the lead developer, grayman was making mods for Doom, Quake, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein (including the excellent “Stolen Artifact” mod). Grayman used his deep knowledge of id Tech AI and scripting to repair and improve TDM AI from versions 1.02 to 2.08.

Grayman’s “William Steele” series missions were always filled with complicated sequences and had a cinematic quality that few authors achieved. Grayman often recorded his own voice-acting and his stories often were tinged with a little of his unmistakable humor.

It is impossible to fathom all the things grayman has done for TDM over the years and he will missed as both a developer and mentor for team members, mappers, and players alike.

Other news:

The Dark Mod 2.09a “Hotfix” has been released.

209 mission

A number of critical stability issues have been discovered subsequent to the 2.09 release, including a moderately rare crash in William Steele 3. I was decided that these fixes could not wait until 2.10 so a hotfix has been issued. Unlike full releases, save-game files will be compatible with this update so there is no need to wait to update to this version. If you have an AMD graphics card and found that 2.09 would not render properly, please try this new hotfix as many new graphic defaults are now friendlier to older AMD drivers.

A list of 2.09a ( Hotfix ) fixes can be found here: