Thief GoldToDark Legitimacy
6 years ago
New York City, NY, USA

The Dark Project is in a very awkward spot nowadays. There's no "official" digital version for the game purchasable anywhere, so it kinda resorts to paying for a physical copy from second hand sellers, and that has the potential to be a whole mess on its own, let alone jacking up the price by quite a bit. Another issue is that sometimes it just wont install, I believe @OneginIII had issues with his game not reading his CD key or something to that extent.

I believe GoldToDark has been discussed in the past (before I even began participating in the community), and it was always disallowed because its more of a "mod" than a traditional game, and there's no way to verify it is a 1:1 copy of TDP, as some things between TDP and Gold were changed, however minor they may have been. I am willing to be more lenient on this, as I understand the difficulty of acquiring this game can be a hurdle for potential running.

Alternatively, I also have an... "unofficial" download link somewhere that could make things much easier and streamlined for new potential runners. Again, I have no issues with this method of acquiring the game, but it should still be discussed before it's allowed outright.

If you want to run Thief 1, for the time being my short answer would be to run Gold, as it's the easier of the two games to get a handle of. Sooner rather than later, We'll have an official answer for TDP.

Edited by the author 6 years ago
Klagarn likes this
New York City, NY, USA

It's a topic to discuss, for sure. If I can't manage to get a hold of Jake relatively soon-ish, I'll just make the decision on my own, seeing as the other 3 mods don't even play the game anyway and have been AWOL for the longest time. (Why are they still supermods?)

I'd have to see a run of the GoldToDark to see how it compares/differs. Honestly I just don't know how it works and I'm just curious if TFIX would even recognize it when you try to install.

I do agree being a "purist for the sake of being a purist" is an issue here a lot, it took me forever to finally split the boards between NewDark and OldDark, which was something probably EVERYONE wanted but was stalled for... reasons? However, I'd probably feel more comfortable using the "unofficial" download, since I know for sure its TDP and is workable as an OldDark installation (which can be a toughie to get running) and also easily upgradable with tfix. But that brings with it a sense of sketchyness, so it's just an awkward situation.

Also good to see someone who finally agrees TDP is a better game than Gold. Though, the Gold run is actually pretty fun so don't overlook it ;p

Edited by the author 6 years ago
CrystallineMind likes this

Yeah, personally I'd prefer to promote using the "actual" dark project game rather than a mod, because you never really know whether the mod will perfectly emulate the game itself. At the same time, I don't think it much matters, and if there are no obvious / visible differences, I'd allow it.

I'd also be all for an "unofficial" download of Dark Project. Not only is it impossible to purchase that version of the game legitimately, the company that made it doesn't even exist anymore. Even the loose arguments against piracy in general don't really apply here.

Not sure if this sort of grey area download is allowed on / if it would cause problems in general, but seriously, who even owns the rights to Dark Project at this point? Anyone? Does anyone even care about it?

Psych0sis likes this
California, USA

As to why Voetiem and Alderius are supermods, they are series moderators meaning they put in the application for the Thief series to be added to SRC, so they still retain their default status on all the games they added (T3 wasn't included for some reason). I think Voetiem submitted it and added Alderius because at the time he was the foremost T1 player. At first there was only "site administrator" and "moderator" status, so all moderators got bumped to supermod when the split between supermod and moderator was added.

I think someone brought up GoldToDark a while ago when they were trying to get TDP working but couldn't and saw it as an alternative since almost everyone owns the digital release of Gold. But at the time our favorite file swapper was also switching the TG Downwind Thieves Guild guards, who had a lower alert threshold to make the mission playable, with the assassins in Assassins to make that stage easier. In vanilla TDP that wouldn't work because the character doesn't exist (although you could conceivably go through the effort of moving those files over too), but it's trivial in GoldToDark. I think he got the idea after someone suggested you could model swap in DromEd on the SDA forums, and he deleted or unlisted it after Lot or someone commented on the youtube video calling him out. So that alone made me skeptical about it, but I have no experience at all with using the mod so I don't know if it is a direct clone of TDP or if it plays differently somehow. That kind of sideways cheating is always a possibility though.

I'd love to see more people playing TDP because it definitely is a better speedrun than Gold. PC gamers are used to getting everything for free and I understand that, and I also understand that not everyone has CD drives anymore. But it's not "impossible" to buy TDP legitimately at all. You can still pick TDP up used on eBay for less than $10, or less than $20 for a new-in-box platinum edition copy, which is the one I would recommend because it's patched and significantly easier to install. There's 30 copies listed right now, so they aren't scarce (yet). And consider that in many other games, your time would be relegated to a side category if you used an emulator instead of an original cartridge or CD and console, and that requires a significant up-front investment compared to Thief. Be glad you don't have a burning desire to speedrun Harmful Park or Earthbound.

That said, there are digital copies floating around, but posting them here is not a possibility. Square renewed the copyright on the Thief license when they were planning to make Thi4f. If the games were abandonware, then that would be a different story.

Psych0sis and TheCount like this

I wasn't trying to say it's impossible to pay someone money to play the game, the point I was making is that doing that will never benefit the people who made it. Why does Joe Random deserve to be paid for a game he didn't make, when you could just play the game free? And it would be even easier, so it's not like you're paying for convenience.

When there's an option to continue supporting the developers by buying the game, I always recommend doing that. But if your two options are support some random and just get it free, I simply cannot see any reason to pay for it.

Psych0sis likes this
New York City, NY, USA

Let's just remember to keep the conversation here civil and mature, we just discussing degenerate video game hobbies here.

I've found that a lot of listings for the game on sites like Amazon and Newegg are mostly from Retro Game stores, which I don't think is a "Joe Random" in any sense. At the end of the day, these small businesses offer a collection of old classics and will ship them to you, which I think is fairly reasonable. Some cheaper than others, and most of the time they are used, but it's like buying a used copy from GameStop back in the day. It's just business.

At the end of the day, there's no stopping anyone from running the game on GoldToDark or a pirated version of the game as of this moment. There is no way to 100% validate whether someone actually owns the game or not. You could have just submitted some runs via a pirated copy of the game or the G2D mod and unless something was painfully obvious, I would have no way to call you out on it, so outright banning something like that would kinda be pointless cause you can fly under the radar just by lying about the legitimacy of the copy.

That reminds me, I have to sift through G2D myself, and see if I can spot any obvious differences between the runs. I know there are patrol layouts and enemy changes between the levels from TDP to Gold, and the modder might have messed things up in that regard. And from there, I'd have to see if the changes warrant another board split, which honestly at this point is the LAST thing I'd want to do.

And while on the topic of modding, we ALREADY allow a mod for the game and have it ranked on the leaderboards, that being NewDark. This already changes up some of the map layouts and gameplay mechanics significantly, and we do that to make participating in the community, which in this case is actually getting the damn game to run and record, much much easier and less daunting of a task for interested runners. To me, G2D would fit the same bill but for more of an "acquisition" problem rather than getting the game to just work/record, which might just be an even more important issue for this game in particular.

I'm going to hold a vote on the Discord soon-ish, and just to gouge opinions on the matter and see how people would feel about allowing G2D as an option for running The Dark Project. As of the moment, it's just me, Onegin and The_Count that even run this game, but I'm curious if it would bring some of the Gold runners over to try the game out as well.

Also, I've rethought my stance on the "unofficial" download and for the time being, I'm just going to sit on it until I gauge opinions on that as well.

Edited by the author 6 years ago
California, USA

Maybe I'm just too old for this, but the absolute aversion for spending money on your hobby to make sure that you are enjoying it as legitimately as possible strikes me as both immature and dishonest. Every time you incorporate a new, fan-made mod into the equation, you create uncertainty as to whether or not the game you are playing is representative of the original, and in many cases it's not.

All serious and highly-populated boards have rules pertaining to emulator usage. SM64 has side categories. OoT has the 10% rule. Ninja Gaiden requires you to populate the screen with every single possible variable to prove it's not an emulator movie. These rules would not be necessary at all if emulators were a non-issue. But they are, because anything that is not the original cartridge or CD is making an uncertain concession to accuracy, and the same is true with Thief. On the Driver board for instance, the world record was an emulator run which was 25 minutes faster than the fastest console run and stayed that way until someone finally started a poll in the driver discord to separate the categories. It's a gross example, but some people are content with this kind of nonsense. I'm not, and I don't want to see Thief speedrunning look like that.

I'm not even going to indulge the argument that Joe Random, who himself payed money to purchase the game and support the developers initially, is somehow the undeserving recipient of a miniscule fraction of the original price for the courtesy of giving someone else the chance to experience the game instead of letting it sit on a CD rack gathering dust, because that logic is so disconnected from reality. Have you never sold something you don't use anymore before?

If someone who wants to run the game is scared off by having to buy a used video game, I fear for their functionality. When I first started playing Thief in 2002, that was the only way you could actually play the game in the first place, by buying it from a store. You had to get in a car and drive 25 minutes on the freeway to the nearest Best Buy only to realize they didn't have the game you wanted and you had to drive to the next one. Nowadays you don't even need to bother with such inconveniences as going outside, you can get the same product delivered to your door next day without ever leaving your fallout shelter. I realize that this must be a strange and alien concept, not chopping up your games with mods to make it more "convenient," or spending money to play video games. But trust me, it's not as horrible as it sounds.

Thief speedrunning should be as true to the original as possible, and the board should not be the entity which bends towards illegitimacy. It should be the players who bend towards legitimacy. That's your responsibility as individuals who ostensibly care about upholding the standards of the board.

Psych0sis and TheCount like this

I'll put my two cents in which I rarely do. I would like to keep Thief as it is because any new change could cause advantages or disadvantages. No one really knows about G2D and It's not like Thief TDP is not available. I don't see a debate about it unless it's a last resort. I had hard copies of Thief 1 and 2. I think it's great we are able to have debates and share our thoughts without tension or anger but we need to keep the rules strict and it should be a very serious matter to consider changes to anything. We are all here for the same reason, our passion for Thief. I feel the way that Jake has been running things has been great because it deters cheaters. We should make it harder for cheaters if we can.

Amorphous and Psych0sis like this
New York City, NY, USA

Pretty much agree with what Jake said^.

There's nothing wrong with having to spend a little cash on a hobby. Should people who like to bake as a hobby just get all of their ingredients for free? I think we can see why that would be silly. And I used to sell my copies of games to friends if I didn't want to play them anymore so I don't see an issue with just passing off something you don't use. And honestly, most of the listing's ive found are like $5, if it was something ridiculous like $50 or more I'd be more flexible on this topic.

So yeah, the unofficial copy of the game won't be supported as the go to method here or anywhere any time soon, And I will ONLY share it with someone if they can prove to me that they bought/have an old copy the game physically and just can't install it because of some circumstance and you just can't figure it out. But again, since I've mentioned it existing a couple times throughout this topic, anyone can easily just look it up and find it now, so that was a mistake on my part talking about it. Though I actually do have a way of detecting it which I won't point out so beware ;p.

Also I would just like to point out that technically, G2D would still entail purchasing the game, that being Gold, from steam or GoG (at least in theory), so I'm not absolutely 100% against posing it as an option for people depending how runners would feel. This would obviously require me or others to take a look at the game and see how it compares/differs if it does at all. But I can see the issues one would have comparing it to authentic, 100% definite TDP runs.

Emulators, usually, are mainly options for most games due to ease of participation, but any game worth its salt would have them ranked separately on their own Sub-Category just due to potential differences that can occur in the emulation process. I don't think G2D would be as extreme a case, Gold and TDP are fairly similar games, but it would probably be smart to rank it separately from the rest of the authentic TDP runs. But making another board split at this point would just be... bleh.

I think that does it for my 2 cents on this topic, was just trying to respond to Amorphous and Crystaline's points and I'm content with the discussion we've all had. At this point, I'm moreso interested in how @The_Count feels, since he's the last TDP runner I haven't talked to yet.

TheCount likes this
New York City, NY, USA

Well how convenient, as I was typing my long drawn-out post, count decided to weasel in his stance in nice and neatly. ;p

TheCount likes this

"Should people who like to bake as a hobby just get all of their ingredients for free?"

If it were possible to do that without negatively affecting anyone? Yes, of course. If you could just create the ingredients you need out of thin air, what possible argument could there be for buying them?

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with paying for hobbies that require payment, what I'm saying is that when there isn't a need to pay for anything, introducing artificial limits which require people to spend money just doesn't make any sense.

Again, if it were possible to support the developers by purchasing the game from them, I would whole-heartedly support doing that. I own the entire Thief series on Steam, including the shitty reboot. (I also own over 300 other games on Steam, and dozens more through other platforms) But I think it would be more ethically sound to pirate the game and send $20 to one of the original devs, than to buy a used copy from someone else. Even though the first choice is obviously legally grey and less "legitimate" (whatever that means). And again, it would also be more convenient.

I'm not saying piracy should be supported officially, as of course it becomes more problematic for a group of people than for a specific person. I'm just saying that the arguments against it on a personal level simply make no logical sense. Looking down on people for pirating it, saying things like "Maybe I'm just too old for this, but the absolute aversion for spending money on your hobby to make sure that you are enjoying it as legitimately as possible strikes me as both immature and dishonest," strikes me as unnecessarily rude, elitist, and condescending.

Edit: And real quick, I do want to say that I'm not upset here and I hope no one else is either. I have no personal problems with anyone involved in the debate, and I'm always glad to see opposing view points. If it comes down to it, I can buy TDP. I'm one of those strange people who does still have a disk drive, so it's not all that inconvenient for me.

Edited by the author 6 years ago
RiiFT and Psych0sis like this

The reason for newdark is because old dark can be a huge pain to record/stream. It took me 5 months or so to be able to just record/stream Thief 1 on old dark. That is with a lot of time and help that I paid for as well. Thief 2 is the same with old dark. It's really hard to get working properly, let alone streaming it. You could get a digital copy if the cds inconvenience you. I googled it and found a few sites with digital the copy.

Edited by the author 6 years ago
California, USA

I never said that I am "ok with New Dark." In fact, I've said time and time again, to everyone in the Thief community, that if it were solely up to me, there would be no New Dark on the boards at all as it is simply a fan-made mod that fundamentally alters the gameplay. But like Count said, it exists only because people have been unable to get the original game working. Since the decisions as to how the board are run are not solely up to me, New Dark is allowed. I get that you are new here and all, but don't try and put words in my mouth.

Also you have resorted to a very dangerous logical fallacy which is that just because cheating is possible, we shouldn't bother to try and make it as difficult as possible, and limit the possibilities that potential cheaters can exploit. "Cheaters gonna cheat" is not an excuse to relax the rules and is not an argument for allowing a mod. That's why competitive sports have ever-growing banned substances lists. They don't just say "well, everyone CAN take steroids if they want, and the ones who want to will find a way around the rules, so screw it! No rules!"

Also like I said, if buying a used game to you is a "horrible waste of time" and "inefficient," then I actually do fear your faculties. You're right, it's not 2002 anymore. Anyone who wants to buy the game can have it on their doorstep in a couple of days. If that's enough to "scare them off," then to be honest that's not the kind of person we want running the game anyway. If they are so impatient that they aren't willing to spend a few bucks to play a game that will give them hundreds of hours of enjoyment, they're the kind of person who would cheat to get that gold trophy next to their name because they don't want to grind for 200 hours to actually be the best.

And Amorphous, you can call me rude, elitist, or condescending. That's fine. But consider that when you spend money on steam to buy the original Thief series, none of it is going to the original developers anyway. It's going to two multi-billion dollar corporations (Valve and Square.) If you send me evidence that you mailed one of the original devs $20, I'd never throw shade on people stealing copies of Thief ever again. But you won't, because you're fighting tooth and nail so that you don't have to spend $5 on a CD. I'm also still curious: do you never sell any of your possessions? I can't imagine you would want to burden the buyer with the guilt of supporting you, Joe Random, rather than the manufacturer of your old furniture and VHS tapes.

TheCount and Psych0sis like this


I've spent some time deciding whether I want to respond to your unnecessarily inflammatory final paragraph, and I've decided against my better judgment that I will. So, I will break it down sentence by sentence and explain the issues I have with it.

"But consider that when you spend money on steam to buy the original Thief series, none of it is going to the original developers anyway."

I never claimed otherwise. This is irrelevant to both my point, and yours. I stated this in response to your apparent conclusion that people who support pirating games made by companies which no longer exist are simply averse to spending money. You go on in this paragraph to specifically assert that I, in particular, am averse to spending money, even despite this. It's in a clear effort to paint me in a negative light, as some sort of entitled child who just wants everything free. Not only is this extremely rude, it could not be more clearly wrong. I recommend you think more in the future about the things you say to, and about, people in the community.

"If you send me evidence that you mailed one of the original devs $20, I'd never throw shade on people stealing copies of Thief ever again. But you won't, because you're fighting tooth and nail so that you don't have to spend $5 on a CD."

This is very strong language for a debate about a 20 year old computer game. From my perspective, it rather appears that you are fighting tooth and nail to make people spend $5 on a CD. I have already said that I have little personal stake in this, and that I can purchase the game just fine. It wouldn't be that inconvenient for me. So it's very strange that you would single me out in this inflammatory paragraph.

I'd like to highlight your use of the word "steal," as it ties into my response to your last couple sentences. When you steal something, the original owner no longer has it. It is taking away something from someone else so that you may have it yourself. When you pirate a game, you are not stealing anything. No one is being deprived of the product you now have, because they also still have it. It's a copy.

"I'm also still curious: do you never sell any of your possessions? I can't imagine you would want to burden the buyer with the guilt of supporting you, Joe Random, rather than the manufacturer of your old furniture and VHS tapes."

The difference is that a person cannot simply download a couch off the internet. When you sell a couch, you're giving the buyer something they cannot just have for free. If someone could download a copy of my couch for free, I certainly would not expect anyone to buy it instead.

In the end, it comes down to the difference between a physical object and a digital one. The two are inherently different and cannot be directly compared like this. I understand that 20 years ago, this concept was still in its infancy, but now it's the year 2018 and "being too old for this" simply isn't an excuse. You should understand the difference between a video game and a couch, and the difference between piracy and theft.

At the end of my last post, I stated that I was not upset about the debate or anyone in it. At this point, I certainly do take offense to the way you have handled things and I think someone preaching about maturity should be more careful in the way they handle themselves.

That is all I have to say on this matter.


Edited by the author 6 years ago
RiiFT, ThisIsGamer and 3 others like this
Île-de-France, France

Hi there .o/

I'm the guy who made GoldToDark.

I had prepared a (probably unnecessarily long) reply, but for now I just wanted to react to this: [quote=Psych0sis]I believe GoldToDark […] was always disallowed because its more of a "mod" than a traditional game, and there's no way to verify it is a 1:1 copy of TDP[/quote]

Anyone who has both an english copy of TDP (patched up to version 1.33) and a copy of Thief Gold should be able to compare their TDP files with those re-created by GoldToDark, to make sure that they are indeed the same. It should be easy enough to find such people (who have both versions of the game) on the TTLG forums :)

Feel free to ask for details/clarifications if needed.

Edited by the author 5 years ago
New York City, NY, USA

A little late of a response there Jill, but admittedly I did not really make an official post/update on this site.

Due to the fact that most of the people who care are fairly active in the community discord, we made the announcement there. If you check the leaderboards now, there is an option to list GoldToDark, as seen here ->

I've gone through and confirmed the levels are indeed 1:1 copies: the key on The Sword is in the same place, the loot on Escape is correct, and everything else that was a minor change is a-ok. Good job ;p. Though, sometimes enemy animations bug out a bit, but that's not too big a deal.

Neat to have the dev here tho, are you one of the many TTLG forum poster who also think we are playing the game "wrong"? A lot of them are a little annoying with that.

Edited by the author 5 years ago
Île-de-France, France

Hey there :]

Sorry for replying so late, I only found this forum thread yesterday, and I did notice it was 3 months old already ^^'

Any bug that happens when playing the game "with GoldToDark" should be a bug from the original game¹, due to how my patch works, and as I didn't re-make or manually edit anything.

Without going into too much detail, what I did was pretty much:

  • install both TDP and TG into different folders
  • compare the files between the two versions
  • use an existing utility (xdelta) to create differential patches between the game folders' files
  • write a script to automate the patching
  • test a lot to make sure the script works correctly

To answer the question about playing the game "wrong" or not: while I'm not really interested by speed running, I don't mind how others have fun with their game as long they don't spoil my fun (like cheaters in multiplayer games would) :)

¹ : unless your game has NewDark installed already: then you'll still be using the NewDark engine. If any .dml files are present in the game's folder, they might interfere too, though I'm not even 100% sure of that: the maker of TFix should be able to provide a more definitive answer.

Edited by the author 5 years ago