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User Interface for my Thief 2 Walkthrough

Version 1.0 ©Alex Fung, June 2002.
Up-to-date version available at my Games page and at The Spoiler Centre.

The Spoiler Centre has exclusive rights for this guide: do not copy or replicate this guide to any other site.

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Readers of my other game guides will notice that the interface used in the Thief 2 Walkthrough is a little different. Several new technologies are used and and new ideas are implemented.

Page loading

You may notice that the page takes a little longer to load. It is because the page is written in XML and converted the HTML on the fly in your computer. The conversion actually is rather fast (you can see its steps in the status bar), but the parsing of the generated (Unicode) HTML seems a bit slow (especially so if you notice that there is no network activity during loading).

However, since many XML files are shared, they will be cached. All you need to load is the individual mission XML files, which are smaller and easier to compress on the transmission line than the corresponding HTML files.

The Walkthrough

Section Heading

Section and Excursion heading basically works like before. You would notice that, unlike this page, the section headings in the walkthroughs will grow a bit wider when the mouse is over them. Just another fancy effect. Excursions do not use this feature because if they get wider, the whole paragraph will reflow to adjust and is very disturbing. All kinds of “mouse over” effects are performed by the same piece of “behavior” code with different parameters.

The dynamics of the headings is same as before. Click the heading and the details appear, click it again and they disappear. You can also double-click the details to make them disappear (so you do not need to scroll back all the way to the heading to close it).

Back in Thief 1 walkthrough (and in this page), the hiding and the indentation are independent HTML constructs, leading to a large complexity in coding. Each heading consists of an H tag, a SPAN and a DIV. Now it is a simple STRUCT tag, with SECTION or EXCURSION as its argument. Much cleaner code. Also, the struct behaviour will load the highlight behavior to handle on mouse over highlighting. This code is shared by many different things.

What is really new is that you can now interact with the headings. Right click on them and a popup menu appears. More about this in the popup menu section below.

Difficulty Setting and other Options

At the beginning of the walkthrough, you can often choose the game difficulty, patch level (v1.07 vs v1.18), playing style (Cleaning vs Ghosting) together with other options. This is because these choices often changes the cumulative values (loot, picks, etc) and the path sequence you should follow. Choose what you are doing in the game, and the walkthrough will adjust itself.

At times, you need to enter other things. For example, in Ambush!, you need to type in the amount of loot you found in the previous mission. It affects your loot count in the current mission.

If you are not given choices, it means the Difficulty Level or game version doesn’t matter.

Cumulative Totals

My Thief 1 walkthrough also uses this presentation to show the cumulative Gold; Gems; Goods. The cumulation depends on the difficulty level, game version and playing style. First, because some objects do not appear in all difficulty levels or game versions. At times, you have have forks to jump to alternative paths. More important, on some cases you need to jump back and forth in the walkthrough depending on difficulty level, game version and playing style. Therefore the cumulation is not just done sequentially from top of page to bottom of page. Anyway, all is transparent to you. Make the select the correct options at the top and the numbers will be cumulated correctly.

Like Thief 1, you have a summary line near the end to show you the total values.

What is really new is that you can now interact with the cumulative elements. Right click on them and a popup menu appears. More about this in the popup menu section below.

Tool Tips

Additional information is often available as tool tips. Move the mouse on the those words with bold brown styles to see the tips.

Hidden information

Some types of information are hidden in the walkthrough. They may be hidden to make the main text more readable, or to give you a chance to think or conduct experiments before reading the details.

Annotated transcripts of conversations are usually presented as hidden information. One or more keywords in the walkthrough will be marked up in pink over grey (like this). When your mouse point is over these keywords, it turns into a hand icon and the text turns red over black (like this). You can click the keywords to show or hide the transcript.

The location of some well-hidden loots of powerups also use this presentation. You have given hints to look for them yourselves. You can click on the keywords (again, formated in pink over grey) to reveal the answer.

Jumping

As in Thief 1, you are often suggested to jump a particular locations via the links supplied. All external links opens a new browser, so you won’t lose what you are reading. Internal links will scroll you to the jump target. The target section and its parents will be expanded automatically, so they won’t stay hidden/collapsed.

Two new features to draw your attention to where you are jumping to. First, the jump target will flash. The target section heading or the target keywords will change color for a second or so. This flashing is done by the highlight behavior, shared by many many objects

Second, the script will try to bring the target to the mid upper half of the browser window. It is not always possible (if there are too few lines above or below the target), but it will try its best. These two features together should make it prominent where you are led to.

The “next section” jumps is an invisible enhancement. In Thief 1, it was always an headache to invent target labels, because there are so many jumps to “next section”. Now, it is a standard jump argument, and the script will locate the next section automatically. Reduces the file size and avoid many spelling mistakes.

Jumping Back

A problem created by the proliferation of Jumping is that it is very tedious to find your way back to where you were. A jump stack has been created. Whenever you follows a jump (either a link or an action in the popup menu described in the next major section), the return address is saved. You can use the “Go Back” action in the Popup Menu to return to where you were.

Location names

Now, location names have their own colors. You cannot interact with them. They are colored just to highlight that they are proper names and will be referred to again.

Some of the location names happen to be jump targets. Some location names are links that jump back where you are first introducted to that location. You can notice these links by their underlining (and highlighting when you place the cursor over them).

Power ups

Now in Thief 2, I always try to distinguish beween arrows in crystals. In Thief 1, I always call them arrows. Also, I did not distinguish between a single arrow that gives you three arrow count, versus three separate arrows lying on the floor. In Thief 2, the description is more specific and you will see things like “a crystal of 3 water arrows”.

Reference to other missions

Frequently, walkthrough of one mission will refer to another mission. In those cases, the mission name is rendered as Italics Underlined. If the walkthrough of the mission referred to is already available, it is a real hyperlink. The mouse cursor becomes a hand, and clicking the links goes to that mission. If the walkthrough is not yet written, nothing will happen.

Since version 0.8, links can even refer to points inside other missions. It is used a lot when the missions cross references each other.

Popup Menus

Overview

There are two ways to invoke popup menus.

First, Context Specific Popup Menus are now available over the following items:

  • section headings
  • excursion headings
  • loots
  • picks
  • secrets
With the mouse cursor over these items, click the right mouse button to invoke the Popup Menu. A list of commands relevant to that type of item will appear. Click a command to execute.

Sometimes, an object belongs to more than one type. For example, a pick can also be a loot item. If you right click on the pick description (which is outside the loot description), the menu for pick will be shown. If you right click on the loot description (which is inside the pick description), commands for both loots and picks will be shown in the same menu.

Besides Context Specific Popup Menus, there is also a General Popup Menu. It will appear when you right click anything inside the walkthrough, other than the items listed above. A list of commands that is not specific to any item will apepar. Click a command to execute.

One of the most important use of the popup menus is to access the Table of Contents, which appear in both the Context Specific and General Popup Menus. It is described in the next section.

Popup menus are only supported in IE 5.5 or above.

General commands

The following commands are available to all items (ie all Context Specific Menus):

  • Go to my parent
    Scrolls to the heading of the block containing the current object. As always, the scroll target will appear on the mid upper part of the browser window and flash for a second to attract your attention. This command is also available in the General Popup Menu.
  • Scroll me to the top
    Scrolls the current object to the top of the browser window. For structures (section and excursion), the heading really goes to the very top; for cumulators (loots, picks and secrets), they are scrolled to mid-top for better viewing.
  • Show TOC
    Opens the TOC browser window to show the Table of Contents (if not already opened). The TOC has several different pages, this commands shows the hierarchical table. The TOC will scroll to place the entry for the current object on the mid upper part of the browser window, and flash the entry for a second to attract your attention. Refer to the section on TOC for details. This command is also available in the General Popup Menu.
  • Go Back
    When you perform a jump, the return address is saved on a stack. This command brings you back to where you were. Jumps that save a return address includes:
    • all links to a section in the same walkthrough;
    • “Go to my parent” command above;
    • “Go to Next/Prev” commands described below.
    This command is also available in the General Popup Menu.

Section and Excursion Headings

The following commands are available to structure headings:

  • Open me & close prev
    Opens this block, and closes all block structures. This the normal thing you would do when proceeding from one section to the next.
  • Close all others
    Closes all block structures (sections, excursions, etc) other than the one containing the current object. Also opens the selected structure. Useful when you have opened lots of blocks everywhere.

Loots, Picks and Secrets

The commands are common to loots, picks and secrets:

  • Go to next loot/pick/secret
    Jumps to the next loot item and open the containing section. The jump target will appear on the mid upper part of the browser window and flash for a second to attract your attention.
    To avoid unnecessary delays, the command is not greyed out even if it is already the last loot/pick/secret. When you try to jump from the last item, it will just say that there is no more loot to jump to.
  • Go to prev loot/pick/secret
    Like the previous command, this one jumps to the previous item. To avoid unnecessary delays, the command is not greyed out even if it is already the first item.
  • Show loot/pick/secret table
    Opens the TOC browser window to show the Table of Contents (if not already opened). The TOC has several different pages, this commands shows the table of loot, pick or secret depending on the type of item on which you are operating. The TOC will scroll to place the entry for the current object on the mid upper part of the browser window, and flash the entry for a second to attract your attention. Refer to the section on TOC for details.

Table of Contents

TOC Window

Table of Contents (TOC) is shown on a separate browser window. You open it using popup menus described in the previous section.

When the TOC window is open, and you use the popup window to open it again, it will switch to the required page instead of creating yet another TOC window. Just like when you open the TOC the first time, the selected item will scroll to the mid upper part of the window and flash for a second.

On the TOC window, a drop box is displayed near the top of the page. You can also use it to switch between four different pages:
  hierarchical TOC,
  loots table,
  picks table,
  secrets table,
  books table and
  conversations table,

The content of the TOC reflects the walkthrough at the time the TOC is created. If you change the Difficulty Level or Game Version, the TOC will close itself.

hierarchical TOC

When displaying hierarchical TOC, you have three more check boxes:
  “Display Loots”
  “Display Picks”
  “Display Secrets”
  “Display Books”
  “Display Conversations”
These check boxes allow you to control whether to show these items on the hierarchical TOC. Initially, they are set to display Loots and Picks but not the others.

Listed on the rest of the window are all the sections and excursions. When you cursor moves over them, the item under cursor will change color to highlight itself. Click it and the walkthrough window will scroll to that section (and flash the section heading). If visible, the loots, picks and secrets are listed in the section they appear. Click on the item and the walkthrough window scrolls likewise.

Loots Table

The Loots Table shows all loots in the sequence you find them (not necessarily in physical sequence, for you may need to jump backward and forward in the walkthrough, depending on difficulty settings). Each loot item has a sequence number. Items not relevant to your existing difficulty level or game version are not numbered. You will notice that some loot items appear more than once. It is because at times you have several alternatives, and in the walkthrough you will only pick one of them (eg to use the Blackjack or not). Here you can see both of them listed.

After the description, the next column shows the section where the loot is described in the walkthrough. If you click on the loot description, you jump to the loot (which will flash); if you click the section name, you jump to the start of the section (whose title will flash).

The remaining columns shows the loot value, in {Gold; Gems; Goods} and as a total. There is a leading multiplier if mutliple loot items are stacked together. Note however the total is the loot value for a single occurence, before applying the multiplier.

Picks Table

Similar to the Loots Table, the Picks Table shows all picks in the sequence you find them. Each pick has a sequence number. Also like loots, you will notice that some picks do not have a number, and some appear more than once.

After the description, the next column shows the section where the pick is described in the walkthrough. If you click on the pick description, you jump to the pick; if you click the section name, you jump to the start of the section.

Secrets Table

It is a list of the secrets of the mission. Click the description to jump to the secret in the walkthrough.

Books Table

It is a list of the books in the mission. Click a description to jump to the book in the walkthrough.

Books Table

It is a list of the conversations in the mission. Click a description to jump to the transcript in the walkthrough.

Mini Guide

The Mini Guide is a small guide on various topics. At times, the walkthrough mentions techniques and behaviours that are not specific to a mission. Clicking on the underlined words brings up a new window to explain them in some details.

Look at new technologies used to implement the user interface described here.

Back to the Complete-loot Walkthrough for Thief 2

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