Paul Neurath on the development of Thief and stealth systems

If you’ve played Thief: The Dark Project, you’re likely familiar with the names Looking Glass Studios and founder Paul Neurath. Ars Technica recently sat down with Neurath to talk about the original game in the series and how the stealth system came to be.

It’s an excellent insight into the development of the project, covering the complicated mechanics that were at the forefront back in the day.

We wanted to use the soundscape so they could sneak quietly and avoid the guards. The AI had to be sophisticated, so the guards had an awareness of what was around them. We knew that we had to create an AI where the guards could get progressively more aware of what you were doing.

Neurath touches on other games that were being developed with a more arcade-like approach, taking into account an enemy’s line of sight, utilizing a cone that the player had to avoid. Thief was a little more advanced, using sound and reflections of waves to provide the player with natural information the brain could decipher.

Thief Gold

Development of the game didn’t go smoothly, however.  Neurath reveals how a few problems had to be overcome, including the core game not being much fun to play due to a funky AI that struggled with all the various elements being introduced. If you’re a long-time fan of the Thief series, this video interview is well worth checking out.