Hi, Mass Effect fans! You’ve found the headquarters for ThaneMOD, a fan-made mod for Mass Effect 3.

Here’s a quick primer on where to find some of the more important bits of information on the site:

  • The Basics — The most basic information of what ThaneMOD is and why it was created.
  • The Details — Detailed information about how ThaneMOD works what changes to expect when playing to Mass Effect 3.
  • How to Play — Hints on how to play your game with ThaneMOD installed.
  • DLC Compatibility — Information about ThaneMOD’s compatibility with Mass Effect 3 DLC.
  • ThaneMOD and Consoles — Information related to how console players can experience ThaneMOD content without installing the mod.
  • Installation — Everything you must know prior to installing ThaneMOD.
  • Troubleshooting + FAQ — Answers to the most common questions when using ThaneMOD and help with almost all issues that users may encounter.
  • Resources — Links to ThaneMOD documentation, information for other modders and much more.

The Many Faces of Thane

When talking to players about Thane’s story and characterization in ME3, it’s not uncommon to find that they have wildly different opinions. This is something that at first glance seems very strange. How can two people who have played the same game, with this same character, have such different expectations and interpretations of that character in the following game?

In Thane’s case, the disconnect results from a combination of things, one of which is the players own decisions. The rest comes from Thane’s ME2 game mechanics and story.  As I’ve been developing TMv3.0, I’ve come to call this phenomenon:

The Many Faces of Thane.

So, why is Thane so special? Four reasons:

  • He’s a love interest
  • His loyalty mission can be failed
  • He’s dying
  • His “battle sleep”

There are of course many other love interests in ME2: Garrus, Jacob, Miranda, Jack, and Tali (and, sort of, Kelly). It’s also possible to fail the loyalty missions of other squadmates: Zaeed, Tali, and Samara (and Miranda/Jack if you count the confrontation). However, it’s these mechanics along with Thane’s story that makes his situation unique. Namely, his terminal illness and battle sleep.

Continue reading

Thane’s New Apartment (Spoilers)

Attention: This post contains spoilers for ThaneMOD v3.0.

The Apartment

The picture above shows Thane’s new, not yet decorated, apartment.

In TMv3.0, a romanced Thane will split his time between Huerta and the apartment. Shepard will be able to visit him in both locations. If he’s not in one, it means he’s at the other. It will be accessible on the Citadel whenever he is accessible, pre-coup.

The unit itself will be decorated appropriately for Thane (in part) and there should be a small amount of objects to interact with, along with Thane himself. The “in part” reference will be made clear once the player is in the apartment 😉

Why an Apartment?

The Short Answer

The easy and short answer is that it makes sense.

When we meet Thane in Huerta it’s clear he’s not an inpatient like Kaidan or Ashley (despite what Citadel DLC may attempt to retcon). Thane is an outpatient. That means he has a residence on the Citadel.

This location is logical for a couple reasons. One, returning to his home planet of Kahje would be detrimental to Thane’s declining health. Two, Kolyat — at least when Thane is loyal — is almost certainly on the Citadel.

The Long Answer

The six month time span of Shepard’s incarceration between ME2 and ME3 is a sore spot for a lot of players. For those without Arrival DLC and who have Thane as the love interest in their playthrough, especially.

Here’s why.

The events of Mass Effect 2 take no longer than 3 months. This will surprise a lot of players, but by using various in-game comments by NPCs, along with the codex, a very clear timeline emerges. A window of 2-3 months is all that’s possible…at least without help from the TARDIS.

When speaking to Thane on the Normandy immediately after his recruitment, Shepard has the opportunity to ask him this question:

Are you going to be all right till the end of the mission?

To which he responds:

I should be fine for another eight to twelve months. The more time I spend in humid environments, the faster it progresses. I think it’s safe to say that by the time my body is incapacitated we’ll be victorious. Or dead. Either way, I won’t be a burden to you.

It’s important to understand that Thane is telling Shepard he should be capable of combat for another 8-12 months. Not that he’ll be dead in 8-12 months. After this time frame, then his disease will have progressed to the point where he’ll no longer be able to function reliably in combat.

Let’s then take the short end of that range at 8 months. Let’s then also assume that ME2 takes the longest time possible at 3 months. That’s a 5 month window. Shepard, we know, has been in lock-down for 6 months at the start of ME3, and apparently would have stayed in lock-down had the Reapers not arrived. The game gives us no indication that Shepard was otherwise about to be released.

This means BioWare has created a situation where the player has to wrap their head around the following plot scenario:

  1. Shepard surrendering herself to the Alliance — for an indefinite period of time and for potentially no reason — during the exact time that Thane would be becoming seriously ill.
  2. Shepard is actually a civilian being detained, indefinitely, by the military. She died between Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 and is no longer a soldier under Alliance authority, despite having contact with Anderson and Hackett. Even if Shepard is a Spectre, they are also outside Alliance jurisdiction.
  3. Thane’s ME2 romance story arc revolves around him awakening from the “battle sleep” that has consumed him since his wife’s death. He makes it clear that only his deceased wife and Shepard have been capable of waking him, and that he’s never felt affection for any other species but drell until Shepard. Prior to the the suicide mission he now fears his death and starts to make plans with Shepard for the future.
  4. Thane happens to be the most adept infiltrator in the galaxy. Yet, despite this and the incredible evolution of his romantic story arc, he apparently never tried to see Shepard when under house arrest. Instead, he was easily deterred by a few blocked messages.

This is a very, very large and tough pill to swallow.

The amount of mental gymnastics it takes for this situation to make sense is well past ridiculous. It’s entirely inappropriate for the in-game characterization of their relationship.

How is all this relevant, you ask?

Giving the player access to Thane’s apartment allows me to generate content that can help fix these problems and create better continuity between the games. For example, I can insert terminals or datapads that contain Thane’s recollection of events between ME2 and ME3. As always, the trick then is to do it in a way that grounds the new content strongly in existing lore, and acknowledges the player’s past decisions and their exact relationship with Thane (paragon/renegade, culminated romance vs non-culminated, etc.). This is what will keep it immersive.

Note: Citadel DLC users know that this will conflict with some of the retconing BioWare did in that DLC. How ThaneMOD v3.0 will handle this situation and other Citadel DLC content will be explained in a separate post.

An apartment also provides a much more appropriate venue for Shepard and Thane to rekindle their relationship and allow them to have a truer version of ME3’s “date”. The former was handled badly in ME3 and the latter doesn’t exist.

Should Thane have an Apartment?

I’m going to wrap this up with a few of the key questions I’ve answered and considered while working on this project:

Is the idea immersive? Do we often see a squadmate’s place of residence? Is there any precedent to putting this feature in the mod?

The answers to those questions are yes, no, and yes, respectively.

I’ve already addressed the first question in my (long) explanation above. As far as the other two…

We definitely don’t often see (ex) squadmate homes. However, that’s because we aren’t  in a position to. Most squadmates are met during missions and not the planet/station on which they live. Some are soldiers and live where the military tells them to. Some were just born or had been locked in cryo. Some are met via “meetups” and their place of residence isn’t revealed. And some are transients, constantly traveling.

Here are the exceptions to those situations, just in ME1 and ME2:

  • Garrus (ME1) — presumably lives on Citadel (not shown)
  • Mordin (ME2) — apparently sleeps on a cot in his clinic (shown)
  • Garrus (ME2) — his base is his residence on Omega (shown)
  • Thane (ME2) — has been living on Illium for 2 years (not shown)
  • Liara (ME2) — lives on Illium in an apartment (shown in LotSB)
  • Wrex (ME2) — as Urdnot clan leader we see part of his home (part shown)

Already that’s a mixed bag, even without considering ME3.

Thane’s situation in ME3 closely resembles Liara’s in ME2: he’s an ex-squadmate that we meet outside of a mission while walking around the planet/station that he resides on. This provides the necessary opportunity to see his place of residence, and Liara’s apartment in ME2 sets the precedent. Finally, like her apartment, Thane’s will be decorated with content that feels appropriate to him and reflects his past with Shepard.

I’m pretty excited about this new feature of the mod, so I hope folks will enjoy it!

Happy playing!

ModDB Removal + Site Update #2

ModDB Hosting Removal

A quick heads up that I’ve removed ThaneMOD from ModDB. This means that ThaneMOD is now a Nexusmods exclusive (as with my other mods).

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with ModDB. I’ve just found that our philosophies don’t quite match and it’s not a good fit. It was the only hosting option available off of BSN Projects at the time of TMv1.0’s development, so the intent was always to host there. About a month before release, Nexusmods for ME3 was created, so it was logical to host on both sites (ModDB was well-known for Mass Effect mods, Nexus was just getting started). Since then, though, I’ve hosted all my subsequent releases solely on Nexusmods, and my intention was to restrict release TMv3.0’s there, as well. That being the case, and with the website currently being overhauled, it seemed a good time to have the page removed.

As an aside, ModDB was also the only site that still hosted TMv1.0. I’ve long removed this version of the mod from Nexus. If you haven’t yet updated from v1.0 (and you really, really should have), then either update to v2.0 now, or wait for v3.0 later this year.

Site Update #2

The site update is coming along, though slower than I’d hoped. Here’s a brief summary by section:

  • Home Page — Finished.
  • Separate Blog — Obviously finished and being used 🙂
  • Learn — This is the new area for all documentation related to learning about ThaneMOD and how it works. The FAQ is new and been separated from Troubleshooting. All existing articles have been reformatted for the new site and their contents updated. Most are still restricted to TMv2.0, however, and will be replaced by new versions for TMv3.0 later on.
  • Help — A new area for all help and troubleshooting content. If you have a specific problem when using the mod, or are wondering how to best play with the mod installed, this is where to look. Both articles in this section have been reformatted and updated. Like the Learn area, they will be replaced by new versions for TMv3.0 later on.
  • Mods By Giftfish — A new menu that contains links to all mods created by myself. If you enjoy playing with ThaneMOD (or even if you don’t), you may enjoy some others!

That’s it so far. Overhauls to Credits, Spoilers, Resources, and creation of site’s *new* content are still to come.

Happy playing!

Better Dreams is Released!

While working on ThaneMOD, I often get ideas for other mods. In this case, this idea has been pestering me for years now and as I continued to work on TM and investigate the dream mechanics, it finally gave me an excuse to work on pursuing it.

Here’s the pitch:

Wouldn’t it be nice to NOT have to follow starbrat around in the dreams? Wouldn’t it be cool if, instead of the ridiculous significance placed on this kid, the dreams actually showed all the events during the trilogy that Shepard WOULD be upset over? The most horrific moments from ME1, ME2, and ME3? What if the dreams focused on Shepard re-living these moments of loss and his/her fear at what the Reapers will do to the galaxy if s/he fails?

Better Dreams is a new mod for ME3 that replaces all three existing dreams. The goal is to make them truer nightmares and to make them feel much, much more appropriate for imported games. Full details in the description on the hosting page.

Better Dreams is a Nexusmods exclusive.

Site Update

Sorry for the mess, everyone!

The site is almost four years old at this point, and with ThaneMOD v3.0 due out late this year, it’s time for an overhaul. The new layout is in place and the old content is mostly moved around, but it all still needs updating.

Should take about a month or so.

Thanks for your patience!