11.29.2010   Digital Nightfall leaves CoSaS, joins ZeniMax Media

I am tempted to write this post in the third person, but I am not going to give in! The great news is that I am now a full time game designer for a ZeniMax Media studio. The project is currently unannounced. The sad news is that I am now parting ways with CoSaS, which has been one of the most important projects of my life. I am leaving The Nine Year Sleep in the hands of another designer (The Immortal Thief) who already took over some aspects of the level design about a year ago. The rest of the project (including the books) falls into limbo, but as things develop I can still drop by to post information here. I follow in the footsteps of CoSaS veterans Trimfect, Mokkis, Totality, Purah, and Saturnine. Thank you, and goodnight.

9.5.2010   Correspondence of Thieves completes online publication

Correspondence of Thieves is now complete in its online form. Though the printed edition is still forthcoming, this marks the third completed element of The CoSaS Project!

4.13.2010   Correspondence of Thieves begins online publication

On Sunday, April 11th, the first two chapters of Correspondence of Thieves were posted to the CoSaS website. After many long years of work, the rewrite of the work that inspired the CoSaS Project has been completed. For the next few months, a chapter will be released every week until the entire novel is presented online, free for all. Information about the print versions of this novel will be coming soon. Until then, I hope everyone enjoys reading!

12.05.2009   COT-R in Final Editing Stages

The rewrite of Correspondence of Thieves (COT-R) is now in its final revision stages, after having been thoroughly thrashed by a dedicated pro bono editor. Go to our COT-R Page for more info.

8.31.2009   CoSaS 3 Announcement: The Nine Year Sleep

The first preview for the third chapter of the CoSaS Project is online. The Nine Year Sleep (9YS) is a slight shift for CoSaS. It was tackled as a solo-project by the original author of a mission (me, myself, Digital Nightfall) which had been cut from the campaign rather early in the project's history. After several months of work it was decided to reincorporate it back into the storyline as Mission 3. It provides a radical departure from the world of Dante and The City, and a more complete introduction to Byron, who is the player character for this mission, and his homeland of Immacul.

Byron, as some may remember, was quoted in the Mission X briefing and end movie. 9YS is set before he set sail for The City's shore, and offers a playable account of his previous adventures.

6.12.2009   COT-R in Final Revisions

Back in 2005 I set out to rewrite Correspondence of Thieves. After a break to finish graduate school and Mission X, the complete 1st draft of the revised story (called COT-R now) is finished, and is now in the final revisions phase. After that proofreading and editing will follow, during which the manuscript will be formatted for publishing as a series of six books. The COT-R page on this site has been updated, and will continue to be as the project progresses. For (much) more information, the writing process has been and will be chronicled here, though some minor spoilers (like all of the chapter titles) are abundant.

8.15.2008   Mission X Released

If you've made it this far, by now you know that Mission X is finished, and released. You can also check out the exponentially growing discussion thread at TTLG, where you can also find some artwork of the Ivory Rose Brochure and a piece of Doctor Hallming's notes on the Communications Mask. I think it best to mark this occasion with an excerpt from the MX Manual, released alongside the mission.
All FMs have to start from something. Many start from a setting, others from a story. Mission X began with an idea on how to fundamentally change the way a Thief Fan-made Mission works. Gathering at the Inn introduced the concept that you were joining an organization. You were no longer Garrett the loaner, but Dante, a member of The Circle. How far could we take this idea into the actual way the mission was designed? How could we make a mission which is built upon the foundation that you are the member of a group? Mission X was our solution.

Mission X was always meant as just a working title. It stood for Mission eXperimental. It didn't take long for us to give up on finding a 'real' mission name though, and though the idea did crop back up that we needed a 'real' mission name, nothing anyone ever came up with could compete with "Mission X".

But it almost didn’t happen. There was a problem, and that was in the life choices the mission’s authors made. We were all in college, and all taking part in very time and energy intensive programs. The level of ambition required to complete MX, which required doing things no FM designer at the time knew how to do, demanded that we make a choice. MX was an experiment, and as such it was unique even among CoSaS missions. It was even isolated from the plot. It could be cut. It very nearly was. But we came to a decision. We asked ourselves, “If I could only finish one FM, and never touch another one after that, which one would it be?” Put that way, it wasn’t a hard choice to make. MX was it.

MX has been in development since 2000. In many ways, the delays in its release were a blessing, for a great deal of what we have done with the dark engine would not have been possible several years ago.

Still, as I write this, weeks before the mission is actually released, I feel that it is not premature to declare the experiment of MX a profound success. If we do go forward with the rest of the CoSaS Project, and I feel strongly that we will, it will no longer be the case that MX will stand out as a unique experiment. MX will become the rule, not the exception.

CoSaS doesn't end with Mission X. Even though it took us 8 years to get from GatI to this point, we have no intention of stopping.

7.3.2008   Mission X Now in Beta

The wait is almost over. On May 14th, 2008 beta testing of Mission X began. It is a large team of testers from various walks of taffer-life. Many have already worked on Mission X in the past. Many are experienced dromeders themselves. Some have no dromed experience but have played nearly every FM there is. Some have only played one or two FMs, ever.

It is a substantial group, and they have made my life very difficult. That is a good thing, of course. Mission X is extremely complex, and as testers they have their work cut out for them. But they are working with a determination to make the mission as perfect as possible before it's released. With there help, it will be.

We are anticipating a Summer 2008 completion. At least, that seems to be reasonable - if we miss it, I'll eat my hat. Of course, keep in mind that I am based in Florida USA, and here the summer lasts well into September. ;)

11.1.2006   Deadline passes, work continues

It was a valiant effort. But like always it's hard to gauge exactly how much work these is to do, and hard to predict how kind real life will be to you. Work went steadily through the months of July, August, September, and October, and now we find ourselves in November, two months after when we planned to be in the 'alpha' stage, and still scripting continues.

The new team members, nicknamed "The Flight Team" worked out brilliantly; all members gave their best and turned out remarkable work. But their work is not yet done. Pause, however, is being given to the flight team's scripting process for much more 'earthy' matters. Work is beginning by another new team member, coniptor, on a serious of tasks begun long ago and long overdue for finishing.

The whole team eagerly anticipates the advent of the next break from college, be it Christmas break for some or Summer break for others, during which time production blooms. Until then, in the midst of the term, we press on, slow but steady.

7.22.2006   Belated Update, Yay!

Last month Yametha and I gave TTLG an update on the progress of Mission X. It explained a little about who the team is and what we're all up to, and gave basically good news on the progress of this very overdue project that refuses to die. I've included this update now on the website, here, along with a link back to the forum post, of course.

The bottom line is, our goal right now is to be at a point we call 'alpha' by the end of August. This means that all of the core scripting will be done, and all that will be left to do is cosmetic and play balancing.

3.27.2006   Three Years Later

What can be said of a game mod that's had no news posted for three years, yet is still being worked on? Thus: (As posted a few months ago on the TTLG Forums)

For the past few years, the CoSaS project could be told as the story of a few college students who were dedicated enough to their hobby to not let it fade away. Even though we've had to find time to work on our next mission (X) mostly during Christmas and Summer breaks, we keep plugging away at it, refusing to give up. Hopefully 2006 will be a little different. We've recruited a few new team members (who I encourage to announce themselves in this thread if they want it made known that they're on the team now) who will, hopefully, be able to carry on with Mission X as Yametha, Anarchic Fox, and myself, are once again hurled into the bowls of another semester of college.

What we wanted to do this month was finally show you all what we've been working on. We've released screenshots before - some of the media we're releasing today actually reveals how far those areas have evolved - but this will be the first time we've talked about what the mission is about, and hopefully give everyone a glimpse of what it would be like to stand inside The Ivory Rose. Much of the work here was done by team members who are no longer active members of the team... the level designer Finial and the artist Tazio to name a few, all of whom shall be accolade as their work is revealed. There are, of course, many more who's work shall not be shown today, but will see the light of day in due time. I am dedicated to not letting their contributions be in vain, and with hope that any of you are seeing this now, I promise to finish what we started.

So, with earnest pride, I give you the Mission X media release of January 2006.

But there's more... after all, it's been three months since that was written - what's happened since then? Actually, alot. The new team that was formed in January has solidified and has managed an even pace. Yametha has really stepped up to her new role as team captain, proving to be both capable and responsible. Things move forward, slow but steady.

1.20.2003   A Turning Point

We've made an important decision here at CoSaS. We're going to be releasing the campaign mission by mission, rather than all at once while it's done. This way, people can play CoSaS while CoSaS is still being worked on. It doesn't have the glamour of a campaign you can play from start to finish, but it is much more economical.

We've lost almost the entire team, due to things like new jobs, and military service, but I am working on getting it back. I've got two volunteers trying to finish mission 1 (it's VERY close) so we can get people playing that soon. It's gonna happen, folks... thanks for being so patient.

8.10.2002   We're still alive

I've been getting quite a few emails asking if we're alive or dead (and begging us to update the site with some news). Well, I don't have very much to report, but I'll try to do so to let everyone know that we're still working.

The good news is that CoSaS gets worked on a little every day. The bad news is that not very much is getting done. The team is down to less than a half dozen people after 'real life' has stolen one person after another. All is not lost, however, and some of those who have much more important things to do (and I agree that most of the stuff they're doing is more important) will be back eventually to help out. I don't have any new media to show off. I will eventually though. Since I want to leave this on a positive note, I'd like to say that what we do have finished (and we have quite a bit finished) is very detailed and quality work. It's making sure that everything has the same level of quality, from the opening quote to the endgame credits (and all the missions in between), that's taking so long.

In a hopeful light at the end of the tunnel, I am getting a new job with far fewer hours, so I should be able to fill in for some of the missing people (since I can do a reasonably good job of doing everything aside from voice work and scripting). But if this new job works out, it's back to working full time for some life-sucking company. (So much for my uplifting ending, eh? :)

3.23.2002   CoSaS Interview at RPGDot

In a move that certanly made me a happy person, at least for a little while, RPGDot, did an interview with me! About the CoSaS Project! Yay!
As the tale opens, we meet a young thief who, because of the rise of the City Watch and the Mechanists, is forced to give up the freedom of being an independent burglar, in favor of the protection of organized crime. He applies for membership in a group called ‘The Circle of Stone and Shadow,’ and is accepted as an agent. There are unforeseen consequences of this choice, which take the player on a journey far beyond The City walls.
Please read the whole thing, and then comment! Thank you!

12.24.2001   Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year

Merry Christmas. It's been a long hard year for us ... a year of much great progress and more chilling setbacks then I care to remember. We still have a long way to go, but we wanted to give a little something to say 'Thank You' for all of your support and your patience.

I'd like to humbly present a simple Trailer we put together just for the occasion. I hope you all like it. :)

And then there is this nice preview of Contravention of Thieves, which I hope many COT fans will be anxious to read. It does not give too much away, but is a rather exciting chapter from around the middle of the novel.

Again, this is our way of saying ‘thanks’. :)

10.30.2001   Happy Halloween

Arr .. what the topic says. I hope you like that Halloween splash page.

Okay ... time for some news and some hard facts ... right? Here's one: My team needs encouragement. (!!!) Yes, we have been working long and hard, and facing the reality that no-one will see our work for months and months to come. Don't underestimate the value of a pat on the back and a cheer of affection. I love my team, and I want them to feel appreciated. I know you all do, we just need to be reminded.

Here is how we are doing;

Our cinematics effort has gotten a big heave-ho recently, thanks to some additional talent which I shall be talking about just a little bit later. These guys, combined with our existing cinema staff, should be a good thing. Yes, a very good thing. Voice actors and actresses have their mics plugged in and the record switch is set to on. Thank goodness!

As for the missions; most maps have the game space mostly fleshed out. At the moment Finial and Mokkis and I are juggling the half dozen unfinished maps around between eachother, trying to get some semblance of visual completion present in all of them (that's a bit of an understatement, you understand). Meanwhile, the aforementioned dromed warriors, along with the rest of us (people like Totality, Silent Sleep, and newly added team members d0om and Dashjianta (Yay!)) have been and will be (for months to come) working on making actual game content exist in these artfully crafted settings. Joy. ;)

Well, that's about all I have to say right now. I could tell you a good deal more, but I think most of the internal team goings on should be kept private, you know? Suffice it to say, if they are on the team, consider them to be working hard and doing a great job. It won't be too far from the truth.

08.30.2001    Announcing Voice Talent

It is with a great swell of pride (I always wanted to say that :p) that I announce the gathered voice talent for the CoSaS cinematics. We still have dozens of NPCs cast, but the majority of personalities from our cutscenes and briefings now have a voice to go with their faces ... or silhouettes. ;)

Kenneth "Keith" Garamon: David Tonkinson, the young man more properly known as Saturnine, FM Author and artist extraordinaire, shall be lending his excellent voice acting skills and British accent to Keith, our player character.

Master Daneel "Nightfall" Todulem: Paul Billo, famous as Loanstar for his impersonations of Garrett in many fan missions, shall be voicing the notorious crime lord Master Nightfall. Loanstar shall also be voicing numerous male NPCs throughout the campaign.

Sheam: Angela Billo, lucky wife of Loanstar, shall be playing the role of Nightfall left hand - the interesting woman named Sheam.

Unannounced: Wynne Lurty, who is also our casting coordinator (with help from Loanstar) shall be voicing a top secret female lead character. Wynne shall also be voicing numerous female NPCs throughout the game.

Doctor Hallming: Toni Hollming, also known as Trimfect, CoSaS's cinematics producer, will be voicing the extremist scientists with questionable sanity and a thick Finnish accent, Doctor Hallming.

Congrats, folks! Now don't get too proud of yourselves. You have tons of work in store for you. ;)

05.26.2001    The CoSaS Team Remembers Looking Glass Studios.

A great deal has changed with CoSaS since our last update. Ignore the progress indicator. Those things are bull anyway. Just take our word for it. Things are happening very happily. :)

Most notably, you should check out our screenshots archive for 13 new screenshots. These screenshots feature the work of Mokkis, Finial, Crc, Purah, Trimfect, Optimus Prime (now no longer part of the team), and Digi.

New artwork is up at our Images Gallery. Click and see tasty yummy stuff our artists have dreamed up.

And now, to quote Trimfect on just what the hell has been happening: "And then we did something and then we redid it and about that time someone wanted to do something and begged someone else to do it over and over again and then someone got pissed off at someone when someone redid a thing fourth time and then some areas were cut and basicly it's a mess, but we'll survive and come out stronger."

Doesn't that make you feel good! :D

I also ranted about CoSaS a bit on my Taffer's Post for May 25th, Reflections of a Blue Sky. Check it out.

01.19.2001    Team CoSaS 2001 Has Assembled!

In the past months, the CoSaS team has grown considerably in manpower and talent. With our new strength, we shall go forth in unparalleled gusto! It truly is a grand day for the project! Behold, our newest team members:

Anthony "Purah" Huso (USA)
Role: Mission Design
Previous Missions: The Shadow of Lord Rothchest (6) / Autumn in Lampfire Hills (7) / Calendra's Cistern (8.5)
: Purah was the lead designer of the fan mission titan Calendra's Cistern. After vanishing into the mist of history, Purah is back in action as a member of the CoSaS team. He shall be lending his crafty mission design talents to at least one of the CoSaS missions.

Garrett "Kung Fu Gecko" Choy (USA)
Role: Mission Design
Previous Missions: The Library (7) / Bloodstone Prison (9.5) / Embracing The Enemy (9.5)
: From The Library through Bloodstone Prison and now Embracing the Enemy, KFGecko has proved time and again that he knows how to make a fan mission rock. Though KFG will be rocking CoSaS with the design of at least one mission, his major role will be application of his keen understanding of good gameplay to the entire campaign.

Conor "Silent Sleep" Armstrong (Ireland)
Role: Scripting
Previous Missions: Order of the Vine (9) / Equilibrium (10)
: Order of the Vine and Equilibrium are among the most celebrated fan missions. The man behind them was Silent Sleep, and now he's behind CoSaS as well. SS will be teaming up with Totality to script the behemoth that is CoSaS. Based on what we have seen so far, we know he'll do a fine job.

Gary "Thumper" Barton (USA)
Role: Scripting
Previous Missions: Calendra's Cistern (8.5)
: He worked side by side with Totality during Calendra's Cistern, and now he's doing the same in CoSaS. Though Thumper is best known for his Guide to the Strange and Unusual for Thief 1, he is also an accomplished scripter. His extreme attention to detail will be invaluable in the design of CoSaS.

Paul "Loanstar" Billo (Canada)
Role: Audio, Voice Talent
Previous Missions: Calendra's Cistern (8.5)
: Our newest team member, Loanstar is audio pro. He's given voice to many characters, composed music, and recorded sound effects in several fan missions, including Calendra's Cistern. Loanstar is teamed up with CRC to give CoSaS an edge in audio quality.

Julia "Screech" Smith (USA)
Role: Artwork, Textures, Skins
: Screech, responsible for a Gallery of Thieves depicting several dozen members of the TTLG & Eidos forums, will be responsible for a great deal of CoSaS's artwork, including character designs, skins, and textures.

Sirkku Tuomela (Finland)
Role: Cinematics
: The mysterious Sirkku will be and has been working closely with Trimfect on the CoSaS cinematic sequences. You'll be seeing her silhouette as well as a few others in our full-motion cutscenes.

12.24.2000   Merry Christmas, from the CoSaS team.

Merry tidings from the Circle of Stone and Shadow development team. The Christmas season meets us all well. While some of the CoSaS team is still hard at work, others of us are taking some time off to spend with friends and family. A scant few, however, are up to something quite interesting. One of those such people is Steve, one Finial's trustworthy assistants.

Here is Steve:

Digi: Hello, Steve, how are you this Christmas Eve?

Steve: Doin quite well, guvnah. Though tis a bit drafty up 'ere on this ledge. But somebody's gotta do it, that's right.

Digi: What exactly are you doing up here?

Steve: Why, watching for Stante Clause of course. I 'ere 'e'll be comin through 'ere 'round this time o' night. I'm gonna be ready for 'im. See, my boys are down there on the ground, and when I see 'im, Clause that is, I'll radio to one of the boys and the'll catch him on film.

Digi: I see. Can you tell us a bit about where you are standing right now?

Steve: 'ere? Well, it's really big, and really top secret. Finial's been working really 'ard on it, and were all really proud of et. Sorry, can't tell ya much more then - whoa! I think I see him! Hey Johnny! *picks up his radio transmitter* Johnny me lad, can yea get a shot at him from where yer at down there?

Johnny: *radio squalk* Yeah Steve! I'm not sure how well he'll show up though! Taking a snapshot now!

Steve: That's right! Got 'im! Now we can all go 'ome and drink egg nog around the fire. See ya mate.

Digi: Thank you, Steve. Well, there you have it, folks. Santa Claus caught in action somewhere north of NewMarket. And it looks like Rudolph is with him tonight!

Before I say goodnight, I'd like to take time to mention two new members of the CoSaS development team. Screech, whom many of you know from the TTLG & Eidos forums, as well as the #thief chatroom, is onboard as an all-purpose artist. Her gallery of quirky sketches may be perused right here. Our other new team member is none other then Purah, of Lampfire Hills and Calendra's Cistern. Purah will be designing one of CoSaS's many missions. In case you don't know who he is, Purah's display of many creative works may be glanced at right here.

11.09.2000   CoSaS Matures

Times are prosperous for the Circle of Stone and Shadow project. After a brief (er, it lasted about a month) scare when the team nearly broke up due to the meddling of a sinister headhunter, we're back in full force and kicking it into high gear. That, was scary. Thank the Builder it's over. :)

The biggest nod of progress we have to report is that the entire campaign can finally move out of the conceptual design document stage and into the dromed stage. It's time to burn some bridges and set these ideas in stone - no turning back now. No more reworkings or revisions or tear the whole thing down and start over from scratches are in view at this point. The entire feel of the campaign has really matured over the past month. It's a good feeling. It's a good feeling to be confident that what you're working on is not going to be thrown away because the group decided that it needs to be changed... and it's especially a good feeling to finally be able to start work on some of the missions that were floating in limbo before.

So that's what I have to say about that. As you can see, the table above has been abbreviated to show the campaign in its three parts, rather then each mission. The higher the detail in such things, the less accurate they are, anyway. Rest assured, what you see up there is pretty accurate. :)

A big part of the decisions we finally made, design-wise, was to keep the campaign more true to the core Thief concept than it had been. Through some of our wild ideas, the 'spirit' of CoSaS was moving a little too far from what Thief was really about for comfort. Though I still think the original design makes an excellent story, bringing it closer to traditional Thief really will make for better gameplay. That is not to say, however, that the plot in CoSaS is not a significant departure from Thief 1 & 2 (the atmosphere we are aiming at is still, as I said before, closer to Thief 1). I think we hit a nice balance of freshness and tradition to appeal to as many people as possible. Rigid thinking people who have "what Thief is!" firmly grafted into their minds may be rather mad at us, though. :)

09.09.2000   CoSaS Questions & Answers Page Added

We've added a Questions & Answers section to the website, to clear up any misconceptions anyone may have had about the project, as well as offer some new info which we think everyone should be aware of.

08.21.2000   CoSaS Progress Update

This website's first update includes, mainly, this new page. The table above will be updated monthly, or whenever we see fit, to reflect the status of the project. As you can see, we are currently in the 'design/architecture' phase, and just now getting into the 'scripting/cutscene' phase. The 'casting/combining' phase is still a good few months away.

As you can also see, the campaign has been extended to ten missions rather than seven. Note that while this does mean that the campaign will be longer then previously planed, it does not mean that we have added new chapters to the story. What we have done is divided some of the missions into two smaller missions, mainly for technical reasons. The result is that CoSaS will have maybe two or three really big maps, and several much smaller maps (Bafford size and smaller). Smaller maps are much easier to script and troubleshoot.

We begun preliminary work on the cutscenes (note the addition of an art team to the CoSaS credits). Several of the maps are wrapping themselves up architecturally, and basic scripting work has begun. Many of the plot kinks which manifested themselves in the latter missions have been smoothed out (it was one of those situations where A B and E where figured out, but C and D were still a mystery).

Eight new screenshots have been posted up (in the form of two images). While none of these new shots show off anything remarkable or extraordinary (we're very tight-fisted on anything that could give away too much plot info), what these do show is the high level of quality and attention to detail you can expect to find in CoSaS. What is shown is a collection of views from two settings - one which is very familiar to Thief 1, and another which is very akin to Thief 2.

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