Sunday, December 30, 2007

Another New Blog

Here is a link to ANOTHER new blog. The Stygius blog project. Michele/Liso told me about this project during my NWNPodcast interview. I had a peak at their wiki and this looks to be a very entertaining project. Here is the link to the Stygius blog.

Friday, December 28, 2007

New Blogs

I found two new blogs this morning. Both look relatively new, but are by names I know well from around the NWN Blogosphere.

I'll add persistent links to my blog as well.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

More Anti-Virus Woes

I was lucky enough to recieve a copy of 'The Orange Box' from my wife for Christmas. I had a few minutes to get it installed and I tried the first few minutes.

Shortly after the game started I got an onscreen warning that read:

Warning: Paged Memory Pool Low
After a few minutes the game locked with looping sound in the background, just as Half Life 1 Episode 1 used to. For Half Life 1 I found a start up parameter that forced the game to run in direct X8 mode, which solved the problem. I wasn't excited about the solution but was able to play the game.

I did not have the warning in Episode 1. With this new error message and some quick research I found many forum hits and this official support article.

The article said:
In practice, we have found that certain anti-virus applications allocate a large amount of paged pool memory that cannot be freed until the anti-virus software is fully uninstalled from the system. AVG 7.x, Norton and NOD32 have been identified as anti-virus packages that allocate large amounts of paged pool memory and directly interfere with Source engine games. If disabling these applications does not help with the issue, you may want to consider uninstalling the anti-virus application to diagnose the cause of the crash.
I did not want to run with out AV. Totally disabling it, including the resident shield did not help. I pulled it off just to see with the intention of putting back right away. Sure enough the game ran fine. (UGH! Antivirus. Can't live with it, can't live without it.)

I am running a different AV program for the moment. YUCK!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

I'm going to be quite busy with my kids and family for the next 24-48 hours so I wanted to make sure I got in some holiday wishes to everyone who stops by this blog.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

12 Days of Starcraft

This is an oldie but a goodie.


More Hythum (Airship) Pictures

I'm still chipping away at the town I posted screen shots from the other day. Here are some updated shots, with a little more detail and polish. Again it's a nice opportunity to experiment with the Airships and the edge of the world that will be needed regularly in Hythum.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Hythum Screen Shots and THANK YOU AMRAPHAEL!

Here are some VERY early screen shots from Hythum. Nothing polished, but I could resist showing off the amazing airships from Amraphael.

It's gonna be a while... but Darmok and I are moving forward with this project. The airships are fantastic. You can play the NWN1 version of Hythum now!


AVG detects a false virus in NWNmain.exe

I was excitedly testing an Airship model from Amraphael tonight. Looked great in the toolset then I fired up the game. The menu/launcher started. When I hit 'Play'. AVG (AntiVirusGuard) popped up and told me there was a virus in nwn2main.exe. I choose to ignore, assuming it was a false positive do to a bad/new virus def file I grabbed tonight. The splash screen closed but not game. I tried again, same steps no result.

I looked for nwn2main.exe directly and found it had no icon... odd. I ran it directly. No dice.

I restarted. I tried the launcher and exe directly with AVG disabled. No dice. It did not load.

I ran nwn2main_admXP.exe. Success, but I don't have an amd processor. (The airship rocked by the way).

So... a quick search revealed the following posts:

Bioware Forum Thread # 1
Bioware Forum Thread # 2

The unofficial resolution is to uninstall AVG. I'll disable it while playing, editing or patching but I am going to run AV software. I have also read the nwnmain.exe is not fully patched. So I may be looking at a reinstall. I will watch the forums for a resolution, and hopefully AVG will have a fix for their end of this mess too. If anyone sees a clear/clean resolution post a link in the comments section please.

I am fully patched (whew) ... this can be an issue. Darmok, my Hythum partner found the following solution on the forums:

Solution Thread

If you turn off resident shield in AVG you are back on track. It runs. This is not a good long term solution but it works for now.


Great Reference of Tips and Tricks

I saw the link to NWStuff blog on Amprahael's blog today. Lots of very useful tid bits of info for modders. I'm going to add persistent link on the right hand menu.

Airships by Amraphael/Nihlar

Check out Amraphael's blog for pictures of airships he's working on. These airships will figure prominently into my next project, Hythum. They look amazing. I'll include my own screen captures once I have a the airship in place. Awesome stuff.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema's Back on track for 'The Hobbit'

It looks like New Lines Cinema and Peter Jackson have resolved there squabble and are back online for the film version of 'The Hobbit'. I have read it will be split into two films. Oooh......

read more here

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A new blog

The Gaming Parents Studios blog is now online. Gaming Parents Studios is formerly the NHiN team. As a parent who writes mods constantly I have to give a shout out to this group. Kudos... other people are as crazy as me. (to write mods with kids). Go get em'! Check out the new blog here.


It feels like work on Hythum is under way for real now. There are four areas under construction and a HAK pack full of music. Maerduin, has given me permission to use some of the original music he composed and record for H&C. I need to find a suitable place to include it but I am very excited to have permission to do so.

Also, I've done some work with my partner in crime on this module. I've mentioned him by name before, but I'll have to figure out if he wants to go by his name or handle on line. For now I'll use his handle, 'Darmok' Darmok and I spent the day working in the toolset yesterday. Darmok brings years of testing experience to the table, most of it in the gaming industry. He's also a long time D&D player. We've played D&D together since we've been 15 or so. It's the first time I've worked with someone building a mod.

We spend part of the day getting Darmok ramped up on the toolset, particularly on creating outdoor areas. Although we did not finished with texturing or decoration we have a partially constructed area that looks great. Darmok seems to have that 'oh my I'm addicted to the toolset' look in his eyes. :-)

It was a good start and a fun day.

NWPodcast 41

Neverwinter Podcast #41 is out and it's a barn burner. Monty Markland, from Rogue Dao Studios co hosts newly hired by Obsidian joins Jay, Trey, and Michele as a guest host. You know Monty from the highly acclaimed Rogue Dao Studios.

Michelle has a great interview this time around, Maerduin is the creator of The Birthday, Harp & Chrysanthemum (which I've been raving about).

All in all there is amazing information and fun in this episode. If you are not listening to Neverwinter Podcast, you are missing out. It's fun, entertaining and a great resource. The people behind the podcast are first rate folks.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Door or Area Transition Load Screen Override

Amraphael/Nihlar has posted on his blog and on the NWForums regarding an issue with the Load Screen override field in the Door and Area Tranisition events. You should be able to change the loadscreen by specifying the image you see by entering a value here, overriding the default loadscreen for the area. I distinctly remember reading this very early on, perhaps in the 'Don't Panic' user guide/tutorial or some other resource. I offered a suggestion (which didn't help), and I remain quite curious. I've searched the web looking for an answer but I have only found Amraphael/Nihlar posts and questions, no solutions.

I'm curious myself, and a motivated to help. Amraphael/Nihlar, like most of the community is very willing to share and help others. I was hoping posting here might catch someone eye and lead to a solution.

Any thoughts as to why this isn't working?

Amraphael's Blog Post on this subject.
Ampraphael's NWN Forum Post.

Let's pitch in and find a solution!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ladyelvenstar's Blog

While hopping from blog to blog I found Ladyelvenstar's NWN2 blog. Looks like she's working on her own mod, a bit of custom content and helping Jackyo with sequel to Night Howl's.

Very cool! It's worth a look!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Harp and Chrysanthemum - 9.75 - Outstanding

I finished playing 'Harp & Chrysanthemum' by Maerduin. I posted yesterday but here are my revised thoughts and rating which I posted on NWVault.

Awesome! Fantastic!

I feel like I am playing D&D again. I suppose that sounds odd with all the NWN2 I write and play but it's great. It's better than my own stuff by far. I’m a modder and I’m generally happy with my own creations, but I don’t think I can produce something quite like this. Truly amazing.

It's the game playing experience I've been craving. It looks great. It's stable. It's balanced. It's interesting. I like the characters and care about what is happening. The latter doesn't always happen, I get the plot and I am curious, but the emphasis on companions really does it for me. There is a death very early in the game which 'hooked' me into the story. The Paladin has an interesting back-story and my romantic interaction with her is believable. Camera angles are great and the custom music is excellent.

I used to teach music, and knowing that you composed and recorded your own custom music has earned a special type of appreciation from me. (I want to steal your music for my own stuff.)

Wow. This mod works on every level.

It’s better than most games I have PURCHASED. Some studio should gobble you up and give you a strong creative voice in a future project.

There are some battles are a bit hard, and the battle with the skeletons on the plains is virtually un-winnable. I had to flee the area to revive my companion’s then return and pick off the bad guys. Seemed like a ‘cheat’ on my part to get through it. You might consider making this battle a bit easier, or perhaps use a scaling encounter, although the latter would screw up the perfect cut scene that precedes the battle.

Everyone should play this mod.

Other than the balance issue in the one battle, I’d say it’s darn near perfect.

Please write more modules.

I think I am a decent mod writer, but I can’t hold a candle to this. I’m starting on a new project now, and can’t even imagine reaching this level of quality.

Well done. Well done indeed.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Hythum Redux and 'Harp and Chrysanthemum'

If your not aware, 'Harp & Chrysanthemum' by Maerduin is out. I've raved about 'The Birthday', Maerduin's earlier mod. 'The Birthday' looked fantastic and had an amazing ending that actually got an emotional reaction out of me. I enjoy gaming, but only a few experiences have really produced that type of response for me. I'd recommend playing 'The Birthday' if you have not.

I've been watching Maerduin's efforts as he developed Harp & Chrysanthemum' and it looks fantastic. I've really been looking forward to the release of this mod. Between the outstanding look and the positive experience I had with 'The Birthday', it was not something I was going to miss.

I've downloaded the mod, but surprisingly haven't fired it up yet.

I'm doing a little development on Hythum for NWN2. I have a couple of small interiors built and I'm starting on my first exterior.

I'm on a bit of a roll so I don't want to start, but I also know what Maerduin's stuff looks like and the general quality of his work. Frankly, I'm chicken I'll get discouraged and stop working on my mod for a bit. :-)

This is at the top of my play list none the less. It's getting precedented ratings for an NWN2 mod, and even without playing it, I'd recommend that you RUN not walk to NWN vault and download this mod. 'Harp & Chrysanthemum'.

Maerduin's is also on my daily list of sites I visit, and if you're not stopping by once and a while, your missing out. It's quite interesting.

Looks like a bit more Hythum for now, but I am not sure how long I can resist the call of 'Harp & Chrysanthemum'.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Neverwinter Podcast Interview

Episode 40 of Neverwinter Podcast is now online. Episode 40 marks the 1 year anniversary of Neverwinter Podcast, and it also includes an interview with me! I haven't listened yet, I'm downloading as I write, but I am thrilled and excited! I had a blast chatting and working with Michele, Jay and Trey, the hosts of Neverwinter Podcast, and I am grateful to have been invited and included.

Here's a link to Neverwinter Podcast Episode 40, with my interview. I'll add a persistent link on the side menu too.

Looks like the download is done. Time to listen!

Sunday, November 25, 2007


I saw Beowulf last night. I was not very familiar with the story, but the names were at least familiar to me, and a little about the battle with Grendel. I really enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to Dungeons and Dragons and/or Neverwinter Nights enthusiasts. The animation and story telling are both excellent.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know I've got a fair number of non-US visitors, but wanted to pass along kind holiday wishes to all my visitors just the same.

I need to get back to that Turkey I'm roasting!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Keep on the Borderlands breaks 10,000

Keep on the Borderlands broke 10,000 downloads within the past 24 hours. I am very pleased, but I'm also surprised. I think it's solid, and fun but not a great mod. I think Tomoachan is a much better module, but downloads are coming MUCH slower. Either way it's all good.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Neverwinter Podcast and the Academy of Modding Excellence

I posted earlier about NWPodcast and the Academy of Modding Excellence. Episode 39 of nwnpodcast is up and it includes a great interview with the guys behind the Academy of Modding Excellence. There is also some scary news about the future of Atari. It's worth a listen. Check it out here.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

UK5 Eye of the Serpent - Help for Micon

I've got a player who's stuck in the slough mires in my NWN1 mod UK5 Eye of the Serpent. The following is a screen shot of the area Micon is stuck in, with the two exit points circled. I'm going to invite Micon to look at the screen shot included with this post. I hope it helps!

I've been bumped - GASP!

Oh the horror! I've been bumped from NeverwinterPodcast #39 to #40. Jay, one of the hosts wrote me this morning explaining that The Academy of Modding Excellence which I posted about recently will be giving out awards soon and wanted to get some time sensitive information out the community, hence the switch in schedule.

I jokingly gave Jay a hard time, and let him know that was fine with me and made perfect sense. The information in my interview is in no way time sensitive so it's a very logical change. I listen to every podcast and remain excited about both episode 39 and episode 40. I have no problem with the change.

If you are not listening to nwpodcast, you should be. It's really great stuff, and Jay, Trey and Michele are a terrific bunch of people. The interview and post interview conversation I participated in were fun and memorable.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hythum for NWN2

I did the smallest amount of planning work for Hythum last night. Basically a bit of online documentation to share with the guy I'm working with. It's very modest to say the least but it's a start and it's something rather than just ideas floating about in my head.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mask of the Betrayer

I finished Mask of the Betrayer last night. That was definitely worth the $30 I spent on it. What an enjoyable gaming experience. Not just a good NWN2 adventure or D&D adventure, but a genuinely fun gaming experience.

I will take a break from gaming while I work on some family projects over the next few weeks, but I am now free to focus on new development.

Fantastic game. I'd highly recommend it. It's worthy of at 10.0 on NWVault.

Friday, November 9, 2007


Have you checked out Moonshadows by Hugie? If not it's worth a peak at the very least.

It cracked the 5000 count download, got above an 8.0 from the reviews guild and earned the reviewers award. Not too shabby.

Go check it out... you won't be sorry.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Academy for Modding Excellence

There was news on NWVault this morning about the Academy for Modding Excellence. I've been curious about how this was going and am happy to see they are really getting things rolling. If I recall correctly Hugie is involve. Alex/Hugie is a pretty sharp guy so I'm sure this will be something worth watching. Here's the news post from NWVault:

Announcing a new and comprehensive set of NWVault awards for Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2: the Golden Dragon Awards!

Yes, that's right, at last there are specific awards recognising different talents; from best Tileset through to best Roleplaying Module. The new Golden Dragon Awards are sanctioned by the NWVault and handled by the Academy for Modding Excellence. They are awarded annually both for NWN and NWN2 works. The awards for 2007 kick off in January, but the 2006 awards for NWN are already nearing completion right now!

Over the coming few days we will be announcing some of the nominations in each category, and the final winners will be announced within the month. If you'd like to know more about AME, how it selects award winners and its objectives, go here, or visit our boards, currently hosted by the Review Guild, to discuss the new Golden Dragons. A link to the AME Awards can be found on the left navigation menu under "Features" for the site.

MotB - Unstuck

I'm unstuck with no replaying of the academy. * whew *

It turns out although my journal said I was done, there was an item (not mentioned by name to avoid spoilers) that I had not pick up.

I'm on the road again.

I'm guessing when this is done it will be a bit before I start on a modding project. I'm itching to go, but have a few family video project that I have not even started on. The annual family DVD that goes to all immediate family members, and two videos for my two younger kids, short DVD's featuring their toys. I did one last year for my two youngest and they are both asking for another this year.

Monday, November 5, 2007

MotB - Stuck

I'm stuck in MotB and I'm not sure why. I've consulted a walkthrough and I should not be stuck. My journal also indicates I should not be stuck.

* * * Spoilers ahead * * *

I'm in act to at the Red Wizard Academy trying to get the four souls needed to open the door in the headmistresses tower. I have completed the mephit puzzle, I did the mirror/reflection, restored the soul to the guy with the false soul, and I've given the fused soul to the demons. The journal says I've got what I need to open the door. The walkthrough says I have everything.

When I tried the door it let me put three of the four in place and that was it. I'm not sure which one I'm missing. Either I never got it or dropped it somewhere.

That's a lot to redo.

It looks like others have hit this:
Read the bioware forum here
Perhaps it's just lying on the floor. I'll have to go look around for it.

Pain in the neck. :-(


World of Warcraft Pumpkin Contest

Although I am on a World of Warcraft player, I do like Warcraft and Starcraft by blizzard. Take a look the pumpkin carving contest entries posted on their web site. Pretty wild stuff.

WoW Pumpkins

Friday, November 2, 2007

Neverwinter Podcast

About a week ago I was contacted by Michele aka Liso from Neverwinter Podcast. Michele invited me to participated in an interview for and upcoming episode of Neverwinter Podcast. I started listening to the podcasts early on and have ultimately listened to every episode. The podcast goes to the top of my playlist each time it comes out and it's a great way for me to keep up with what's going on in the community and to get an NWN fix while at lunch during the week. To put it simply, I am a fan of the podcast, and I was thrilled to be invited to participate.

The interview was done last night via a Skype call. Liso/Michele did the interview and Jay was 'lurking' in the wings, managing the recording. I had a chance to peak at the questions ahead and I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to say. With the exception of a very minor technical glitch it went very well and was very fun. The interview will be included in a few weeks in episode 39. I'll be sure and post a direct link to that episode when it's out.

If you have not listened to Neverwinter Podcast, I HIGHLY recommend it. If you are a modder, check out the episodes on storytelling and the toolset in particular. Jay, Trey, and Liso are the hosts of the podcast, and if it sounds like they are having a blast... they are. I had a chance to visit on Skype with Liso ahead of the interview, and with Jay and Liso after the interview. Chatting with them was an absolute blast. Everyone lingered on the call for over an hour after the interview last night. Periodically someone would try to disengage (and get some sleep), but we all chatted for an hour or so. I can't speak for Jay and Michele but I was having too much fun, I could have easily been enticed into chatting for another hour.

At first is was just fascinating to chat with people that I normally only listen too. Podcasts are 1 way of course, and being able to interact with the 'voice' on the other end of the podcast was very entertaining.

Jay and Michele, if you read this thank you again for the opportunity. I had FUN! For everyone else reading, Jay and Michele were absolutely fantastic. Kudos to Jay, Michele (and Trey) for all their hard work and for taking time to visit and chat when all was said and done.

Just as the podcast is normally a one way or passive form of communication, module writing and blogging are mostly the same. It's a one way form of communication. Forum posts, ratings and email allow community members to connect and share ideas, which is a fantastic and unexpected benefit of modding. Talking on the phone allows far more communication, just short of meeting someone face to face. I was truly surprised and how much I enjoyed the post interview chat. I rarely have the opportunity to talk (verbally) at length with other gamers and modders. I suppose that's something I enjoyed about Paper and Pencil D&D once upon a time and it's the one thing missing from the modding/gaming experience I enjoy now.

It was interesting to note that Jay, Michele and I are all similar in age. I am less surprised now than I used to be to find the many gamers my age. There seem to be far more NWN gamers my age than in other games. Neither Jay or Michele have a D&D background, but I suspect that does influence who is playing this game. It was nice to talk to other gamers who are my age, and are mom's and dad's. That's not an indication that I dislike gamers of other ages at all, but I strange sort of validation. Yes there are other 30/40 something dads who are hooking on gaming and modding, I'm not completely off my rocker (yet).

Jay is a fellow programmer/tech geek, and I could resist asking him if the fact that I program and work then go home and script and write mods is just plain wrong. He laughed and commented he had some similar habits.

Michele shared with my a number of creative projects she's involved in that sound absolutely fascinating. She shared the URL for a projected called 'Stygius' and although she indicated I could post the it on this blog, I've elected not to, because it's an open wiki. I'd feel awful if someone altered something on what appears to be a very open ended wiki. Keep your eyes and ears open for more on this project it looks awesome.

In closing, I found the interview and the chat before and after the interview to be an absolute blast. I knew I would enjoy it, but it far exceeded my expectations. The folks and Neverwinter Podcast are top notch and very fun. If you haven't already done so, check out there work. It's worth it.

Oh... Happy Birthday to Neverwinter Podcast. Jay mentioned they are just over 1 year old.

Thanks again Michele and Jay!

Neverwinter Podcast

This post will be woefully inadequate. I have only one or two minutes to write and a length post on this subject will be coming probably later this afternoon or tonight. Last night I was interviewed by Michele aka Liso from NeverwinterPodcast. After the interview I had a chance to chat with Michele and Jay. Jay is also one of the principle people involved with the podcast.

I have a lot to write about the experience, but don't have time to post my thoughts this morning.

For now I wanted to say Michele and Jay (and Trey) all rock! I had so much fun and was so happy to participate in what they are doing. Michele and Jay were absolutely fantastics. My interview will be up in a few weeks, but if you haven't listened to their podcasts, run don't walk to and check out their fabulous work.

I will post at length later.

Michele and Jay thanks for the opportunity and thank you even more for the very enjoyable chat afterwards.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Tomoachan Reviewed on NWVault

Dormammu has reviewed Tomoachan on NWVault. He gave the mod an overall rating of 7.43 and I am very pleased with the review. You can read the review here. This review was particularly meaningful as Dormammu had reviewed my NWN1 conversion of Hidden Shrine of Tomoachan once upon a time. If you want to see the old NWN1 review it's still up over here. I think Dormammu is a very fair reviewer, and it was a pleasure to have him revisit this remake of a conversion. It feels like things have come full circle.

Here's a short clip from the review:

Much like the first installment in NWN1, Tomoachan relies upon the atmospheric content of the module to set the stage for all the events. The author took great pains to artificially generate an “ancient Aztec-like” atmosphere that seems very genuine. For example, it becomes very believable when you have a group of spear wielding natives in loincloths coming after you in a grassy jungle-like setting. It is almost like Indiana Jones, running for his life and dodging arrows. Then there is the shrine itself. It is as if an ancient Aztec shaman had it constructed and filled out for the sole purpose of torturing gamers and messing with their minds. It is very authentic as a bizarre and macabre underground shrine of the ancients. Even little things like mounds of dirt and cave-ins lend themselves to the immersive illusion that you are trapped far below. There is a neat little music package that the author has included to help fuel the fires of the circumstances your PC and companions find themselves in. It is a nice addition that should be commended.
The current NWN2 Tomoachan is available on NWVault as is the original NWN1 Hidden Shrine of Tomoachan.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ossian Studios

I was very flattered and surprised to receive the following email from Ossian Studios over the weekend:
Would you be interested in applying for a
scripting position at Ossian Studios? We are
currently looking for a scripter who has a technical
background, experience with NWN (HoF status in
particular), and a great interest in gaming in general.
Please let me know. Thanks.
Although I appreciated the invitation I regretfully declined with the following message:

Thank you sincerely for inviting me to apply for a scripting position as Ossian Studios. I played Darkness Over Daggerford and know a few of your team members. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Ossian Studios and it is with regret that I must decline your invitation.

My ability to commit time to writing and even playing modules is limited and very fragmented. I am married and have three young sons who I happily dedicate most of my time. My writing and playing comes in bursts of 5-15 minute increments here and there. Several years ago I did participate on the Maztica team, and found my scheduling limitations made it very difficult for me to contribute and participate in an effective manner.

I am passionate about games, and under different circumstances I might participate on a module writing team or attempt to play on a persistent world. Presently module writing represents one of the very few solitary pursuits I have, although I am branching out to work with a close friend who lives in the same city. I've known this person for 20 years, and he is well aware and quite accepting of my rather fragmented and irregular schedule.

Again, I am impressed with Ossian Studio's and I am very flattered that you invited me to apply for a scripting position. Regretfully I must decline your very kind invitation.

If I had more free time, I would probably pursue something like this. Working on games, particular D&D is somewhere between a passion and an addiction, but I just don't have the time to work on this with a team, at least not in a capacity where I feel like I could hold up my end of the bargain the way I want to. Either my kids or the modding team would loose out, I wouldn't feel right about not giving my all to a team, but I'm sure any parents out there know there was only one option here.

All in all it's bittersweet. It was great to be asked and disappointing to have to decline.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Where do you hail from?

According to the IP map at the bottom of the page, this blog receives visitors from many widespread locations. Where do you hail from? I am in Central Illinois, United States. Post a comment and let me know where your from!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tomoachan Mentioned on Dirtywick's Blog

Many thanks to Dirtywick for posting some kind words about Tomoachan on his blog. You can read his comments on Tomoachan and a number of other excellent modules here.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mask of the Betrayer

I picked up Mask of the Betrayer tonight and started on the campaign. I'm just an hour or so into it but it's decent so far. I'm using my character from the OC, a Wizard 11, Fighter 1, Eldrich Knight8.

I'm not too far into the story, it's got a decent hook to get you going. For me story is king when I play. I've already pissed off my one companion. Oops... :-)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hythum Redux? Something new?

Retired? Who said anything about retirement?

I've been playing a great deal lately, Dark Avenger (which was awesome) and Moonshadows (which was also great!). I wouldn't mind trying out Night Howl's at Nestlehaven, but I will probably try out Mask of The Betrayer Next.

When that's done I'll turn my attention towards new mod development again.

Here's an interesting twist. My long time friend Bruce (aka Darmok) who has posted occasionally, may participate in development of the module. Module development has always been a solitary task for me. It's one of the few things that is my own and it represents a solitude that is hard to come by. However, Darmok and I have been friends for YEARS.... so long I'm not allowed to say how many years. He and I played PnP D&D from 1985 until 1993 or so... and played tons of NWN1 mods together. We are geographically close (5 minutes away) and we even work together. We know how each other think and it is a very natural extension of what I'm already doing. So in a departure from tradition, I'm going to have a co-author! :-)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Moonshadows Part 1 - 9.0 a must have

Outstanding, a Must Have.

Very very well done.

The ending was definitely the best part of the mod (and I don't mean because it was over), it was more on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next.
The area design was great, and journal entries and dialog was terrific.

Balance was a little off in the beginning and I was playing an 8th level Dwarf Tank. :-) By the end of the mod I was kicking butt and taking numbers, but the beginning needs to be a hair easier in my opinion.

The writing is excellent and any minor balance issues early on are far outweighed by the outstanding ending. I can't say enough good things about the 'hook' for part 2.
Kudos to Hugie for putting out an excellent mod. The bar has been raised.

Tomoachan on German Forum

I wanted to give a shout out to Gront (Gront0307). I've been corresponding with him on the NWVault forum about Tomoachan. He mentioned he'd posted about the mod on a German forum and sure enough on the Planet Neverwinter German Forum there is a thread about many mods. Keep on the Borderlands is mentioned but Tomoachan got a very nice mention with some screen shots. Check it out in German here.

Babel fish did a so-so translation job, some of translation reads a little funny, but here's the text in English:
Before the module corner sinks completely under the bubbling waves MotB threads, and for all, which do not trust that 1,10 Patch yet over the way, here fast a further beautifully made Mod (nearly as good as the Conan Chronicles): "Tomoachan" (level 3-6) leads us from the high north down there into the tropical south, offers a story-constituent romance (jaha.. with influence change!) Indian temple and stufenpyramiden as well as a migration by the probably-turned out jungle in order in a malicious pyramid Dungeon a first high point to finally against-steer (tendencyful custom music inclusive!).... [ continuation follows!

Many thanks to the kind words from Gront.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Version 1.0.3 is live

Version 1.0.3 is live. It has too major fixes.

1) The ship board battle should work better now. It was often over before it finished loading.

2) The fixes from 1.0.2 were never live, I screwed up an uploaded 1.0 again. We're now compatible with NWN2 verison 1.10. Thanks to Fred who gave me the information to figure this out.

Take care all!


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Tomoachan Ad

I placed an ad/new item for Tomoachan and Keep on the Borderlands yesterday. I liked the ad for Tomoachan well enough that I thought I'd post the picture here. Here's the picture/ad.

Tomoachan v1.0.2

I've got Tomoachan v1.0.2 out. Very small but important changes. Version 1.10 of NWN2 was causing some neon red textures. Hugie helped me out and told me the very easy solution was just repainting the tiles. Thanks Hugie! I'm playing Hugie's mod, Moonshadows, and if you haven't checked it out it's loads of fun! I'll write more about his mod when I've finished it, but it's worth a look.

The bug fixing was very relaxing and therapeutic. It's making me want to write again. (uh oh)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Red Texture

I was testing Tomoachan in v1.10 tonight and ran into some bright red walls in the dungeon. Anyone aware of this or how to fix it? I'll go post and check over at the forums, I don't have much time but wanted to get a jump on this.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

NWN2 Patch 1.10

Tomoachan seems to run in 1.10. I've been reading on and off about what would change, but wow it performs better on my computer, or at least it seems to. The mouse was almost too loose and responsive. I also liked the change to the journal system, where journal updates are quickly splashed on the screen. (see below). Makes me want to play a few mods again.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Palace of the Silver Princess

I nearly finished Palace of the Silver Princess last night. Excellent module! There are a few very minor issues, but nothing major. It would be nice to see a journal, but I know the PnP module well enough to keep my eye on the goal. I'd give it an 8.5.

The areas look fantastic and the use of sound is quite good too.

I loved the availability of a full featured party. Fantastic, I didn't realize how much I missed that. Kudos for including them. I always like a well balanced party with an extra fighter or paladin, perfect in my book.

I didn't quite finish it. I remember what I have to do at the end, but not exactly where to do it. I didn't find the eye either. It looks like I explored everything but clearly not. I may take a stab at looking again, but I didn't feel like walking back through every nook and crany a 2nd or 3rd time looking for the one door I missed. Not a critique just a lack of patience on my part.

I think this deserves a higher rating than it has overall on the vault.

Check out Palace of the Silver Princes here.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Microsoft Visual Studio Team Meeting

I bumped into this advertisement at work. It looks more like my gaming project when I visit the web site. Had to post this clip.

Here's a link to their site. Part of it looked like it could have been out of Tomoachan. Is it a programming tool or a game? If the next version of visual studio plays more like I game I'd be very happy.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Return of Hythum???

Amarapher hinted that he would build an Airship after seeing one of my posts about needing and airship to build NWN2 Hythum modules. It looks like he is quite serious, and I am amazing to find the following on his blog!

Airships! Oh boy....

Did anyone read what Bruce posted after seeing that an airship might be build...

No... Don't do it... Think of the poor children yearning to spend some time with their father. But instead he will be caught in the grip of the soul-sucking computer with visions of airships in his eyes.

It calls to me.... the soul-sucking glow of the computer calls to me.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Moonshadows and Palace of the Silver Princess

Here's a belated shout out to Hugie for released chapter one of Moonshadows. It's available on the vault now, and it's being downloaded fast, with an initial reception that is VERY strong. Kudos to Hugie.

I am actually playing a bit of NWN2 at the moment. I have started on Palace of the Silver Princess by Wyrin. Supposedly it's truncated with some unfinished areas do to problems with the mod in the toolset. I'm part way through the mod and I find that it looks fantastic and is a spot on conversion of the original PnP mod, at least so far. It's been highly enjoyable. I'm not sure where the problem spot(s) are, but I have not them yet.

I don't know if it's scripted for multiplayer, but if it is, it would be a blast for a group.

Friday, September 14, 2007

What's next

Tomoachan has been out nearly one week. I've got nearly 700 downloads and a ton of great feedback. People seem to be enjoying it, particularly the original part of the mod, and I'm very happy.


I've retired from mod writing again. The same way I do after every module...but... there are two or three things running around my brain for the future.

I'd love to do Expedition Barrier Peaks, but I'm missing a few things. I don't have a clear cut backstory as interesting as this. Perhaps if the d20 modern produces the right content. I thought I had seen a modern NWN2 mod around the vault but I can't find it.

2nd, I need something in between Barrier Peaks and Tomoachan to bridge the PC levels together.

I have my own totally unique campaign idea in my head, that has what I hope will be a few interesting characters and interesting dilemmas but it's a crapload of dialog and scripting.

Finally if there is ever an airship model I'd consider doing something with Hythum, my NWN1 campaign, but time will tell.

For now I'm playing Star Trek Legacy for a change of pace.

Oh yeah, and I've retired from mod writing for ever... for now.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tomoachan in NWVault Spotlight

Tomoachan made the NWVault Spotlight. You can read about it here.

I am very pleased with the reception the module has recieved. One of my favorite posts suggested I build more mods, and listed a few PnP classics. Toward the end of the post Tauchitz said

"So stop all this talk on your blog about "breaks" and "burnout", get rid of your life, and start building ;-))"

I thought that was great.

I have been playing Star Trek Legacy and hanging out with my kids with my free time. The Star Trek game is ok but entertaining.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Tomoachan v1.0.1

A few quick fixes

Fixes in 1.0.1 include:
* Start Area now labeled ‘Prologue’
* Elora’s voice changed to ‘Female, Healer’, I was using Elanee's voice - so mentions of the Mere and Meredelain were a little odd
* Adjusted a few camera settings in conversations.
* Fixed a typo in a conversation with Navio.
* Tathli now has a glittering necklace to add light and enhance cutscenes if encountered at night time.
* Transition in land of the dead renamed ‘trapdoor’.
* The name for Elora’s bedroom, now reads ‘Elora’s Bedroom’ instead of area 3.
* Re-balanced ship attack. With 5th level characters the battle was over before the area finished loading.
* Fire memphit text should only appear once, it was firing multiple times.
* The metal bird would spawn multiple times. This should only fire once now.
* Increased difficulty of a several encounters.
* Increased hit points of some monsters
* Made some doors in maztican village static

All Hail Maximus!


I've got a few votes in, I'm doing ok so far. I've updated the HAK rar, the readme, struggled with a few screenshots and I've updated the main mod rar with a few fixes. All of this is done quickly and efficiently, mostly with help from Maximus, the guy behind the scenes at NWVault. He is awesome. He's always been quick to respond and very helpful.

All Hail Maximus!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Thank you Darmok, Request Submitted to NWVault

Thank you Darmok. The module worked on another machine so I submitted the request to NWVault. I also contact the site admin about uploading the files which are all over 25MB. When I get authorization to transfer via FTP I will upload the module.

Very soon folks!

Then I'm done. Other than bug fixing I'm retiring from module writing forever. Just like I do after every module I write. :-)


I'm done.

It's prepped for upload and burned to a CD. I'll take a CD to a friends house (Bruce, aka Darmok). When he's got a few he'll make sure it loads up and I have not overlooked anything. Then I'll post on the Vault.

I am going to play Battlefront with my eldest son, and if there is time, I'll load up a Star Trek game I got for my birthday.

There are some NWN2 mods I'd like to play but for very understandable reasons, I'm going to take a break.

I KNOW there will be bugs and issues after I release the mod, their always are, but I'll work on cleaning them up. Hopefully folks will be just as understanding and patient as they have in the past.

* whew *

Final Test?

I've taken care of all the bugs on my list, including the big nasty ones. I think the module is clean. That leaves two test passes. Once checking for bugs and one checking game balance.

Then I pack it up and deliver it to a friend (probably Monday) for testing on another machine.

If that looks good. The mod is done.


Friday, September 7, 2007

Many down, two to go

I knocked out most of the bugs. Two remaining bugs tomorrow. One I plan to review quickly then probably simplify. The other, I just need to slug it out. It's slow work, make a few changes, save mod, back up mod, test mod. Loading the toolset, saving the mod twice and loading the game take more time then the actual work.

Then another walkthrough with an uber character. Finally a walkthrough with a 4th or 5th level character. Anyone got their keep on the borderlands character. If you want to email it to me I'll use it in testing. Send me the character at and I'll let you know how you do in the final test.

I am sincerely hoping nothing new crops up. If so, I will be uploaded soon. I need to get a test build to a friends computer for testing. Release should be next week if all goes well. If there are more bugs, I'll keep at it.

I am pretty darn close.

Knocked a few bugs out

I've slowly knocked a few bugs out this week, but haven't had much time to work on this.

I took care of a henchmen related bug that was very important. I have one important bug remaining. The others I can always go around, or just change things if I'm really stuck.

I have a critical encounter that ends either with the death of an NPC or through dialog. When both of these events occur I call a jump the party to a new area, the same area. Then an on enter script fires and a dialog starts. This dialog starts if the NPC dies but not if they jump occurs through dialog. I'm not sure what's up. Very puzzling, but I am not out of tricks quite yet.

Another stubborn but non important bug involve using and item to spawn a creature. This is not a critical encounter, and I finally just laid a encounter trigger around the object and would have the creature spawn when you approached it. That doesn't work either. It's active... got a valid number of creatures... very odd...

Otherwise I have three issues I have not tinkered with that will be a big ol' pain in the neck. If I really get stuck I can just do something different, but I'd hate to lose some cool ideas.

Getting closer..

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Progress and a Break

I've was able to test for 2 hours tonight. I got a few things fixed, including one or two major items.

I won't be able to work on the mod until Saturday and then only for part of the day. Then it will be next week or weekend after next before I get serious time in. Too bad as I am very close.

I found replacement music that I like. I'm bummed about dropping what I thought was PERFECT, but I am very VERY happy with the new music.

So... what's left.

* One trigger/trap involving a stone block. I'm probably going to simplify this.
* One heavily scripted trap. I ported the script exactly as it was from NWN1, now it doesn't work very well.
* I need to retest a critical companion driven event. This seemed to work on the last test, but I screwed something up, and think the test is invalid.
* I need to retest the final 'scene'.
* I need to figure out why the epilogue cutscene stopped firing. I suspect it's because I added a tga to the first node, but that's a guess. (It's the only thing I changed)
* I have an issue with a custom creature. He kind of just stands there and he can't be attacked either (No it's not a faction issue)
* I have an on rest issue to correct, I'm 95% sure I've got the final solution.

Then run through it again... start to finish.

When I'll get all these kinks worked out is anyones guess.

I am getting close!


Delay - Copyright Issue

Ok, I love the music I've got in the module. Absolutely love it! Unfortunately it's under copyright, don't bother to ask what it is. It was perfect, it's got to go.

I'm disappointed, and this will slow things down as I find replacement music. :-(

Anyone know a good source for public domain MP3s. Something classical with a bit of variety.

* sigh *

I know music from Baldur's Gate 1 is available and I'll look at that and other music posted on NWVault.

I need a romance theme, one or two travel themes, a bit of dramatic music and something errie (I think I've got something errie).

What was cool about what I had in place was the main themes were the same in all 5 cues, giving it a very connected feel. It was great. :-(

Oh well.

Monday, September 3, 2007

I feel good! Progress made.

I feel great! I have made more progress and I am stopping for the weekend. I have successfully added load screens and tga file to conversations via HAK files. That was the last 'new' technical hurdle, new to me at any rate. The load screens could be sharper but I am happy with the effect.

The bug list is shrinking along side.

I really am closing the gap on the end of this thing. With luck 4-8 hours, no more than 16 to finish this thing up, as long as the last few major bugs fall at the same rate they have been.


With that said, I am stopping for the weekend.

Another Milestone

I have now moved through the entire module from start to finish in one sitting. It's possible and although there are many things to fix, the list is gradually shrinking. I feel closer having reached this new point, and I will switch gears shortly.

I will fix my current bug list, backup the mod and then play with load screens and including a few tga's in a conversation.

If I get that in and working, there is nothing left but testing.

That light at the end of the tunnel is getting bigger all the time. I feel energized by this progress.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Testing and Debugging

I spent a lot of the day testing and debugging Tomoachan, except for some time with the kids, and watching the Illinois Football Game. Go Illini!

It's slow going but good progress. My stuff, my original stuff preceding the 'dungeon' is very stable and good enough to be called done. The dungeon is slowly improving. I have progressed half way through, with luck I'll be able to slug through the whole thing.

I'm presently testing with the beginning of the dungeon moving forward only. If I can get through the whole thing I'll switch from testing to adding loadscreens.

Being able to get through the whole thing will be another milestone in a sense.

The stuff that is vexing me was not a problem in Keep on the Borderlands. Fetching items from placeables, making placeable bashable, talking to placeables, I'll figure it all out, it's not awful, but less is working than I would like at this point.

I'm officially feeling pangs of burnout.

I want to release the module, I am VERY eager to share it and see if people enjoy the story. I haven't released an original story since Hythum II, and this has a lot of original storytelling.

Tired and done for now.

More testing ahead.

Oh... one major bug. The I have exterior area which is actually supposed to be an interior room. When it loaded it was very blurry. Here's a picture.

Anyone seen anything like this?

Friday, August 31, 2007

Testing and Debugging Tomoachan

I have a long weekend ahead of me and I'd like to really hammer on this mod and get it close to done or with a bit of obsessive work... done completely.

The initial stumbling blocks with the speak trigger stuff has been solved.

I'm hitting show stoppers here and there, but nothing insurmountable. I am very pleased with my rate of progress.

More over I am pleased with how the characters seem to play out. I find after all this testing I am still interested in trying to push a relationship with a character this way or that. Hopefully that's a good sign and others will enjoy this aspect of the game too.

Excellent Excellent start to debugging.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Testing Started

I have run a spell checker on the mod and have started testing. I am able to move through the module ok (I've only testing 1/4). Most of it is working ok for a first pass. It's going to take a while, but I'm underway.

I appear to have two major problems.

1) My alternate speak trigger is not working. I posted code earlier that I was using instead of a speak trigger. I tested the wazoo out of it before doing much building and I couldn't break. Now it works most of the time, but I have found ways to break it. This code has to be rock solid or the module won't work. So... this is a big issue. I'll post on the forums for help and if anyone here has a suggestion let me know.

Maerduin replyed to my earlier post and said:
I'm still curious about the speaktrigger issue you mention because I've never encountered it. I have a speaktrigger in one of my forest areas, for instance, that triggers a conversation with a companion who is not present in the area until you arrive with her in your party. It has never given me any problems. Maybe a patch has fixed the issue?
Perhaps the issue has been fixed. Speak triggers used to cause major problems for myself and other builder, completely corrupting areas. If my script is not fixable, or if it's possible to use speak triggers without corrupting my module I will start replacing most of my 40-50 home grown triggers with speak triggers. YUCK! Time consuming but if it works I'll take it.

Thus far that is the biggest issue.

2) I have to make people stand on an object. I'll play with the walkmesh helper that's included in the toolset. Hopefully this is workable. In Keep on the Borderlands I got guys standing on the keep walls (which is a big placeable) without any fuss. I've been corresponding with a guy who has been fighting this, and I'll dig around for solutions. I'm pretty sure this is fixable, I just don't know how off the top of my head.

3) Items with inventory are not accessible. I have a few items with inventories that are not accessible. They are non-static, have inventory set to true. I'm not sure what's up. I'll have to tinker.

4) Other misc script failures. Lots of my home grown scripts work, some don't. Normal stuff.

With the exception of the home grown speak trigger I am pretty happy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Single Player, Male Character, Tallish Character

Lariam asked a question in response to my last post. My response was so long I decided to copy it and make it a full/formal post.

You've got it. The starting level is around 4 or 5.

There are a few very unusual things (for me) about this module.

1) The module does reference the Forgotten Realms. My modules are often 'general' and can fit in anywhere. I do reference Maztica somewhat frequently, and there is at least one reference to the Sword Coast. I think this helped with the story a bit to put it in a more concrete context.

2) All alignments are supported, but in general I recommend good or neutral.

3) This is not a sequel to Keep on the Borderlands, but picks up right where you character would leave off from an xp/level standpoint. Most characters can be carried over.

4) There is a 'romance' element that factors into the main plot, and thus I'm strongly recommending a male character. Some of the dialog indicates a the player is a male. If a player doesn't mind a few odd references they could play a woman, but the 'romance' would still be with a woman.

5) The 'romance' is with a human female, thus players may opt for a human, half-elf, elf... If players don't mind a 'romance' between a human woman and a short halfling, more power to them. Personally I'd think it's a bit silly looking.

6) I've tried to have very robust interaction with companions. This and the 'romance' have also made it necessary to directly the module for a single player audience. D&D for me is first and foremost a collaborate multiplayer experience, so this represents a big change for me. Dialog starts assuming there is one player, and if different players launch conversations things will look odd, i.e. the 'romance' and other relationship will shift from one player to another with no interruption.

I feel bad about this, but it was the only way to tell the story I wanted. Otherwise the multiplayer experience should work, but the dialog and story will jump about a bit.

Bottom line, single player, male character, tall-ish character you can believe having a 'romance' with a human woman would be ideal.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nearly ready to test

I am nearly ready for beta testing.

All the dialog is done. All the scripting is done. All the layout is done.

I need to run a spell checker first (mentally I'm considering this testing and debugging).

I also need load screens and a few in conversations tga files. I plan to grab the screen shots I need during my first few test passes then add them in.

I have reached the testing phase. I'm sure there is more broken than working but this is a huge step.

I've mentioned before this is an adaptation of the PnP rather than a straight conversion. I'm thinking of releasing it with the title.

"Tamoachan" rather than "C1: The Hidden Shrine of Taomoachan" to reflect this.

* whew *

Time to put the kiddies to bed and rest.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Major Milestone Reached and Stardust

I have hit a major milestone today. I have finished building the dungeon with two exceptions sound and loadscreens. It is untested, but the dungeon represents the converstion or adaptation of the original Hidden Shrine of Tomoachan. My 'wrapper' goes around it and is interspersed with in it.

My to do list before I begin testing is as follows:

  • Write the end scene/battle. (It's finished in my head)
  • Write the epilogue, with 2-3 different outcomes (Also in my head)
  • Set up battles encounters for the wrapper (dialog and area transitions are done, just need the bad guys).
  • Pick load screens for each area.
  • Place sounds for each area.
I may wait and take screen captures during a test run and turn them into load screens.

It is possible I could be ready to be testing by the end of the weekend. If not by the end of the week is very likely.

I have a lot of varied scripting to check so testing could take a while, but that light at the end of the tunnel is getting bigger. Burnout is non-existed to not bad. I am eager to be done, but I am happy to continue working at this point.

Next project... I plan to semi-retire and take a good long break. I saw someone put out a modern setting HAK for NWN2 I want to check out. I have always wanted to convert Expedition to Barrier Peaks. It would fit in well (character level wise) after my current mod and give players a set of mods (keep on the borderlands... hidden shrine... barrier peaks) to play with one character. However I am taking a VERY LONG break when I get this puppy out the door. I have some purchased games I'd like to try that are not installed yet and I want to play for a good long while.

* * * *

Last night I took my wife on a date and we watched Stardust. I would whole heartedly recommend this movie. It's whimiscal fairy tale/fantasy adventure. It's fun exciting, captures a bit of that D&D feeling and doesn't take itself too seriously. The airships remind me very much of my NWN1 Hythum modules. It's worth a look!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Quick Screen Shot

This is from my upcoming adaptation for Hidden Shrine of Tomoachan.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Pool of Radiance Remastered - Part 2 Released

The final version of Pool of Radiance part 2 by Markus "Wayne" Schlegel was released on NWVault. I played the first part and I am very excited that part 2 is out. I'm going to finish my current NWN2 project before playing much but if this is similar to part 1 it's going to be a fun ride.

You can download the mod on NWVault: click here.

or read about the release: click here.

Way to go Mr. Schlegel!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bit o' code

I borrowed a chunk of this from the bioware forums, but a guy I correspond with asked for it. It's code I use to fire off a conversation with a party member. It avoids the speaktrigger issue that occurs if you try to start a conversation with an NPC that's not in the area where the trigger is laid down. I'd give credit to the gentlemen I borrowed from but I didn't bookmark the thread and don't recall who it was. (Sorry and thank you who ever you are)

This could be modified to handle the speaker and conversation name as a variable but I haven't bothered.

#include "ginc_companion"
//void main(string sCompanionRosterName, string sConversation)
void main ()
string sCompanionRosterName= "co_navio";
string sConversation = "test02";

object oPC = GetEnteringObject();
object oTalker = GetObjectByTag(sCompanionRosterName);
if( GetIsPC(oPC) && IsInParty(sCompanionRosterName))
AssignCommand(oTalker, ActionStartConversation(oPC, sConversation, FALSE, FALSE, TRUE, FALSE ));


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Child Guard by Bruce Nielson

Bruce Nielson author of The Light Reborn recently posted a 'Child Guard' override for NWN1 that covers up women in the game making them more modest. Although my current project has some racy imagery in it here and there, I think this is a great addition. I'm the father of 3 and I think it's a great resource for parents. If they don't want it fine, but it's nice to have it around.

It seems is sparked a bit of controversy and you can read more about that on a forum thread on the Online Roleplayers. It's interesting and worth a look.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

NWN2 Custom Music Guide

I've already plugged SirNugz custom music guide once, but he's revised it. It's clearer and he added some nice screen shots. It's quite useful to builders who want to add custom music an may offer some insights if you want to add any custom content.

Take a peak here.

An Operational Pause

Brief break in the action. Real life is intruding.

I'm a wee bit under the weather.

I have a late night at work planned.

I have a few things to help my kids with.

I'll be back at it in no time, I've done at least a little bit almost every day. I'm on room 41 of 52 of the dungeon, which is the next big chunk to be completed. Then...

... other stuff, but I'll really feel like I am in striking distance when I have a version of the dungeon ready for testing.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

4th Edition Ramblings


I've been posting on a few forums about the 4th edition of D&D.

Here are two really good threads on one of my favorite sites, RPGMP3

4th Edition Thread

4th Edition Online Component Thread.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition

It's been announced...

Here's the wizards of the coast page.

34 down and 20 to go

I have 34 rooms in the conversion/adaptation of Hidden Shrine done and 20 to go. Tons of progress, very little testing. My story and areas that largely 'wrap around' the original dungeon remain nearly complete.

I need a break and will try to remain disciplined enough to take one. I am greatly enjoying the work but I want it to be finished. Not so much burnout but definitely excitement and impatience to complete it and share it with people. When... I don't know. It depends on how much and how often I can work and how long testing and debugging takes.

I'm hoping this module is as stable as Keep on the Borderlands. I think Keep was a pretty simple hack and slash mod but it was stable and I was proud of that.

Once again I'm going to say what I always say. This is it. This is the last mod and I'm quitting and giving it up. Maybe I can break the toolset after I release this mod. I'm retiring from mod writing... again... the same way I do after each module.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Wayback in 1999

Way back in the late 90's I was still writing games. A good friend of mine, Bruce who has posted occasionally on this blog, and I worked at making DOOM and DOOM2 modules. We posted mods for a number of games including DOOM on my personal web site. I found a copy of that web site using the wayback machine. (if you haven't tried the wayback machine it's a real kick in the pants, take a peak.)

To the left is the logo of our mod writing team, Winter Wolf Knights.
Take a look here to see a page (minus background art) of my DOOM page from 1999. WOW!

This was an icon we used on the web page, but it's also a picture of a winged imp we developed for one of our Doom modules. It really flew...

... memories. Ah....

Here's another link through the wayback machine. Some of the links and subpages work some don't but it's a fun trip down memory lane, at least for me.
Site home page

Anybody play Doom2 still? If so here is a link to two of my late 90's Doom levels.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Complicated Script

I wrote my most complicated NWN2 script so far, complicated for me anyway. I usually try to keep things as simple as possible. I used the getPosition function to grab the vectors of objects and compare their relative positions. I knew there y and z would be constant and only had to deal with the x. Depending upon where the player is in relation to an object the object will move in north or south (by being destroyed and created). It's a lot of work for relatively minor and insignificant bit, but it was interesting to try and write.

I also made a willow-the-wisp using the 'invisible man' model and the will-o-wisp effect. It looks pretty good.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Custom Music tutorial by SirNugz

I have corresponded regularly with SirNugz about mod building and music and 2da files. He and I both went through a good deal of pain figuring all out how to add music and add custom content. He has published a guide on NWVault showing the ins and outs of adding customer music to NWN2. Check out SirNugz tutorial here.

* * * Edit 12:39pm * * *
Looks like it's also posted on the bioware forum here.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


I tested the first chunk of my module, not exhaustively but enough to find the big issue and figure out what I was doing that was working and what was failing miserably. I'll do a little debugging, probably no additional serious (for now) then move on to the next chunk.

* Edit 4:16pm *

Editing and debugging complete. Two things I'm not sure off.

1) I've got guys who are supposed to be in a diaorama. The are 1/4 scale, and I can get them to freeze and look like stone. No problem. I want to place them on an object with dynamic collision on and not have them pop off to the side. I just set height and position lock but haven't tested this. It indicates this will hold them in the toolset (which I assume means not in the game).

2) I have a few extra factions. What's the best way to make someone non-hostile then have them go hostile against you and companions after the conversation. I can get them to attack, but they don't engage my companions, at least not right away. I have 5 or 6 different methods set now for experimentation and I will test this later.

On the whole those are not bad.

I had one mystery but I think I'll track it down with out much fuss. A on inventory distrub script was firing way before the room was even reached. Very odd...

All in all loads of good progress and learning. You know I think this stuff helps me with my work programming from time to time, in terms of thinking about how to code things.

Now for a break.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Progress (10 out of 52 rooms)

Progress on the Hidden Shrine of Tomoachan. The 'Dungeon' portion of the module is the part I'm converting. According to the paper and pencil module there are 52 rooms or areas. I have finished initial efforts on 10 of the 52 rooms, including some that were rather complex. I borrowed a bit of script and writing from NWN1 and cleaned it up or re-wrote it. It's a good chunk of work.

Now my darlin' wife is ill and ran a garage sale and went to my sisters wedding dress fitting today. One of my sons was ill and need attention but was rather subdued. The bottom line, it was an unusual day, but I also spent a LOT of time working on the module. The pace may not be kept up.

Finishing the internal rooms in the dungeon will be my next major milestone. Then I should test them, really I should test them a chunk at at time, but we'll see.

Then there are journal entries, load screens, and a few other odds and ends I have planned (that may get cut).

I am worried about proofreading. I always get knocked for it and I've been in the habit of writing in word then pasting text in. This time I'm just writing, and plan to use an spell checker plug in. I've tested it, but have not used this approach. I'm not sure if it will work well or if it can be done efficiently. Time will tell.

Lots of progress today. Very little burnout. My last mod was stable, but good lord testing it to get it to that point is a bit of pain. I'm not looking forward to testing and debugging.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Early Testing

I finally reached that mental milestone of constructing all of the required areas for the module, and as noted I have a fair amount of dialog done as well. I gave the module a test run and I am able to walk through the module from beginning to end. The conversations I have in place function, and all area transitions are working after a bit of testing and debugging.

The two toughest things to track down were a failing transition triggered during some dialog. The target area was not baked (duh). The other bug it took time to find was a conversation that failed to fire, which worked fine in early testing. Turned out the tag of someone listening and speaking in the conversation was wrong. I have a few copies of this speaker and the wrong one (with the wrong tag) was present.

So, with my very early testing out of the way it's back to building, and it looks like some very fun stuff is ahead. I'm going to pull over a few scripts from my NWN1 version of Tomoachan and polish them up a bit. The NWN1 version of the module was my first public version and I have a few more tricks up my sleeves these days, and NWN2 has new tools to offer too!

I have also taken a few afternoons and evenings off, and will probably continue to take breaks when I can discipline myself to do so. Hopefully I'll stave off burnout. The end of this project is still pretty far away but I can mentally get my head around what's left. The end is a distant light in the tunnel and that's got me pretty excited.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Keep on the Borderlands makes the Hall of Fame

B2 Keep on the Borderlands made the NWVault Hall of Fame. Woo hoo! It's always a thrill to have a module make the Hall of Fame, and I am thrilled to have a NWN2 module make it in.

Night Howls in Nestlehaven by jackyo123 and Dark Waters 1 - Highcastle by Adam Miller, which were much higher rated modules than mine we also inducted. I've played most of Adam Miller's work and highly recommend it. I haven't had a chance to play Night Howls in Nestlehaven yet, but look forward to doing so.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Hidden Shrine of Tomoachan

Well Lariam got it on the first guess. I am back to working on The Hidden Shrine of Tomoachan. We did a little work on expanding and improving the NWN1 with the Maztican team, but we didn't get very far. I did a conversion for NWN1 as my first public module, and started on a copy for NWN2, but gave up.

At any rate, I've decided to do something based on The Hidden Shirne of Tamoachan rather than a straight conversetion. I have had an elaborate backstory and epilogue for the module floating around my head for a long time. In fact that's what most of my work has been focused on, and in my mind that story is the focal point of the module, rather than the original dungeon crawl.

The original dungeon crawl will factor into the module but will undergo some pretty significant changes, as there are things that are not possible in NWN2, there are no giant hermit crabs for example, nor are there centaur mummies, so I'm doing my own thing here and there, making it more my own.

The big criticism I got on the NWN1 conversation is there was almost no role play and very little plot, which was true, it was a straight conversion of the PNP module.

My adaptation of the module will hopefully be quite the opposite, with some heavy role play opportunities and some very well developed companions that are smack dab in the middle of the story.

I'm not sure what I am going to call the module, I do not want to call it 'C1 Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan', but I want to feature Hidden Shrine or Tamoachan in the title. I'm going to give LOADS and LOADS of credit to Harold Johnson and Jeff R. Leason who wrote the original, but it will be my own, 're-imagined' module if you will.

So, the cats out of the bag. I'd love to spill the beans about the main plot, but for now it's going to wait.

Great guess Lariam... :-)

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Questions: Any one know what I am building?

I've told two people, my son and one community member what I am building right now.

I'm considering revealing it publicly. It's no great secret I suppose, but it's been fun to work away quietly on my own. Any guesses on what I am working on? I've posted a few screen shots, but I have deliberately tried to keep things vague.

Let me know!

A milestone, problems solved.

Ok, I have reached that milestone. All of the areas that are minimally required have been built. Many are only partly decorated, none have scripting or bad guys put in yet. Plot related dialog is nearly done, and most area transitions are in place.

I am going to finish the area transitions, and perhaps at the journal entries then get the module to a point where I can walk it and interact with key NPCs and work through key events to move through the module from beginning to end...then there is lots to add and lots to polish and lots to test.

I did hit a major snag, beyond the one mentioned earlier. There is an issue with build 1.0.6 of NWN2. Water can disappear if someone is using the undo/redo command in the toolset, forcing you to repaint it. If you turn off directional lighting it completely disappears and can't be repainted (or at least it doesn't show up when you paint it). I learned the latter bit of info tonight. You can read about it here.

Almost at a major milestone then an epic crash

I back up my work every few hours, but that wasn't enough for me to avoid loosing approximately 2 hours of work.

I had completed an the final 2 areas for my module, then it crashed while saving and poof my 240MB module was 90MB and nothing was contained within.

I went back to my version from two hours (and two areas) ago. Oh well... I was extremely pleased with how the 2nd to last area looked, and more important that that was it for laying out areas, there is still tons of scripting and populating to do, but the layout and transitions were nearly ready for a run through.

oh well.....

Friday, August 3, 2007

Keep on the Borderlands - The Music Video

After a lengthy thoughtful post from earlier this morning I thought I'd follow it up with something truly... I'll let it speak for itself.

Here is a music video on youtube inspired by and featuring artwork from Keep on the Borderlands - as well as a handful of d20. I don't know the group at all, but as I've recently converted Keep on the Borderlands for NWN2 I felt obligated to post this clip.


I am spending way to much time working on this module, if I don't shelf it soon for a while I'm going experience some burnout. I have to construct 5-8 more additional interior areas, depending upon how I break them up.

I have been working furiously on area layout with some decoration. My plan is to go back through and add more decoration, set sounds, load screens, etc... in another pass. I'm going to get all of the essential dialog in place, which actually is 80% complete. Then I'll take a walk through and see if all the area transitions work and the dialog is ok.

With that the main story will be in place and functional. (minus journal entires)

After that... add the monsters and NPCs. Companions are already in and well developed. There are a fair number of tricks/traps in the game and they need to be scripted. I think I can salvage/borrow a lot of scripts from earlier NWN1 mods, but I'm not quite sure.

Finally... polish and debugging.

I suppose psychologically I have stopped thinking of this project as something I noodle with from time to time and now it's something with a finite to do list and a finish line. It's quite distant but I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

That's great I suppose, but it's making me feel a sense of non-existant urgency to complete this module and release it. I have felt some pangs of... "I've had enough of this." Could it be the beginning of burnout? Perhaps. Berliad once commented I seemed to be very all or nothing about writing modules and that pacing myself might be a good idea. He's right, but I don't know if I have the self disciple to do so.

Time will tell. :-)

One of these days I'll have to post about what the project is. It will be for 5th level characters, so anyone who's played Keep On The Borderlands should be able to take the character from that module and continue in this one. Although this project is not a sequel that has been intentionally done to give players a 'set' of modules to run their character through.

Monday, July 30, 2007

New Screen Shots

Crash and Recovery

I got stuck yesterday, I had the toolset crash while saving. I had a finished area become corrupt and a resource of some sort. I was able to restore what was broken using a recent backup! I backed up and restored one area, for the resource I opened the module backup and grabbed a copy of the unpacked resource file from the temp folder created when the module is in the toolset.

I opened the current/broken version, dropped in the valid file and POOF! I'm there.

I did a ton of work on my last major exterior area last night. It needs a ton of polishing.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Personal Post

I maintain a personal blog in addition to this gaming blog. I've got to point out today's personal entry as it has a some very cool photos. Click here to see it.