Sunday, April 29, 2007

Keep mentioned on NWNPodcast #24

Keep on the Borderlands was mentioned on NWNPodcast episode 24. The podcasts are very good, and I listen to them weekly. I was flattered and grateful to be mentioned. Thanks to hosts for mentioning the module!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Slow Down & Cool Off

Well, I wanted a break, and I think I'm truly there now. It looks like traffic and frequency of ratings on keep on the borderlands is slowing down. I'm not patching it like crazy (which is good), and I have time to play other NWN2 mods and I picked up Half Life 2 - Episode 1, which crashed the computer badly every time until I found a post suggesting I run it in directX 8.1 mode. Now it's fine. Some strange artifacts in the reflection on the metal walls, but it is still very fun.

The feedback on the module has been great and inspirational. I really need a break, but it is oh so tempting to write again. Having something nicely received by players is a very strong motivator. I'm still retired, or semi-retired... for a while.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Keep on the Borderlands mentioned on Alazandar's Blog

Keep on the Borderlands got a very kind mention over at Alazandar's blog. Thanks Alazandar!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

If you have not visited and listened to their wonderful audio, you really should. There is a thread on their forums about keep on the borderlands. You can peak at the thread here if you are curious

Keep on the Borderlands v1.0.1 released

My first update is done (v1.0.1) with a variety of minor adjustments. I will upload it shortly. I need to FTP due to file size. I'll post again when it is available.

Here are the list of fixes:
* Tried to fix problem with freed prisoner (wild man) causing alignment shift if killed.
* I added map points showing the entrance to each cave in the valley.
* Curate now casts greater restoration in addition to heal when curing the PC & party.
* Curate sells multiple remove disease scrolls.
* Added a few magic items to the stores in the keep.
* Evil clerics started out wounded. Fixed.
* I got a few comments on the lighting. I turned down the shadow intensity for the default lighting in the caves. I don’t really know what I’m doing here. It’s a guess. It was approx .42 (default). I changed it to .22
* Added map points to cave exits (interiors)
* Folks have noted Castellan should be spelled Castlian. In the original mod it is consistently spelled Castellan. I stuck with the original mod.
* I gave Elwe a hat to make it easier to tell him apart from his brother.
* Fixed 3-sided pillar in goblin storeroom.
* Made the sarcophagus in the hobgoblin torture room static.
* Bags in the kobold store room were floating. Fixed.
* Floating wall lamp in the hobgoblin store room deleted.
* The lizard man chief now will drop his club and shield.
* Tried to alter death GUI (unsuccessful, rolled back to default version).

Monday, April 23, 2007

Keep on the Borderlands mentioned in Mod Spotlight at NWVault

Keep on the Borderlands was mentioned in the mod spotlight at NWVault. Click here to read the article.

Post release thoughts. Debugging

Well, I'm stunned at the number of votes and downloads after less than 48 hours. It took months for my NWN1 mods to get that kind of traffic. I suppose folks are hungry for NWN2 modules.

I noted before I almost re-did my NWN1 conversion of Tomoachan, but was missing too many placeables and creatures. B2 seemed easier as a learning project. Ironically this may be it for me. The toolset for NWN2 is amazing, but with the power comes more development time and I'm lucky enough to have 3 very terrific sons and a great wife that I'd like to give my time.

Although this is the least favorite module I have done to date, and the rating scale is better defined, but the 6.0 ratings are tough to take. oh well. Given the scale and how the other mods are fairing I suppose a rating between 7.5 and 8.0 is ok. My goal was to get an average no lower than 7.0 and my hope was for an 8.0.

I will do a debug pass again soon. I've got many tweaks that I can make that have been passed along by players. Nothing awful, but some things to fix.

I have also received kind encouragement to write more modules. I have my own stories I would love to tell and if time were no object I would write more, but I am burned out, the weather is getting warm and I miss my kids (and sunlight). It's time to get my pasty white self out of the chair and outside. (laugh)

Thanks to EVERYONE who has written, posted or played. I truly appreciate it. Seeing something I've written played and hopefully enjoyed is a thrill and it's a big part of why I keep cranking these out.

Take care all!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

5 votes, 350 downloads

I'm sitting at about 5 votes and 350 downloads and the mod hasn't been up 24 hours yet. It appears stable and I think folks are enjoying it. The ratings are fair and the comments are constructive.

I'll keep my fingers crossed for more of the same.

First Vote is a 7.75

I received my first vote, a 7.75, from DasHenne. Thank you DasHenne!

Based on the new voting standards the overall voting seems lower for NWN2 mods than NWN1. This is fine by me, not a complain, just an observation. Bearing that in mind, I have been hoping for an average rating of 7.0 or above on this module, so I am pretty happy to get that rating out of the gate.

I am very pleased that a few people have made it all the way through the module. This is a relief.

So far the issues seem to be lighting, facial hair, and other details.

* starting to breath again *

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Keep on the Borderlands is Live

It's live. Keep on the Borderlands

Just a matter of time...

Lots of posting today and last night so read on down the blog a bit. I just finished up loading the file via FTP to NWVault. It's just a matter of time before it's live I suppose.

* crossing my fingers *

I'm burnt out.

Wendersnaven for Builders

I just learned about Wendersnaven a resource site for builders. Looks pretty good. If you are builder I'd recommend taking a peak.

Done? Done. Done!

Am I done? I think I am done. I'm done.

I'm done for now.

I submitted the module to NWN vault, but do to the size I need FTP access.

I keep finding things I could change, but that's enough.

On my short list.

I'd like to change the death gui or respawn script, but the default scripts will do.

The problems I hit right at the end make me very nervous. How did something well tested become corrupted. Afterwards, every ga_attack script in the module got screwed up. I was passing all a zero length string and this was dropped and the parameter wasn't passed at all causing the game engine to hang and crash.

What the hell? Where are these bugs coming from? What's creating them.

I always have debugging to do after a module is released, but I am dreading it. I am backing things up regularly, but the I feel like it (the toolset) is fighting me.


That was an extra 9 hours of development and testing I did not expect.

Back on the road

I rebuilt the area. It loads, the area transition works. It's not corrupt. But I have a few other scripts that are now broken. I think they will be easy to fix. I am incredibly disappointed and very gunshy that something I already considered 'done' is now corrupted too.


Problem Found but not solved

So, my show stopper. It's an area transition via the world map. This was one of the first things I built and it's been working for weeks if not months. This is also the area I corrupted and fixed a long time ago do to issues with a speak trigger.

When I started working on this issue yesterday I noticed the area was corrupt again. I fixed it, but the transition still did nothing.

While testing some temporary fixes I moved the start point to this area. Much to my surprise it loaded incorrectly. In the game is appears to be corrupt, but in the editor is appears to be ok.

I am baffled. Truly confused.

* * EDIT * *

I've got 3.5 hours of work in.

I have restored almost every version of the corrupted area in question. Including from versions where I absolutely know it was working. I have stripped down the area to be terrain only, nothing else.

IN the editor it loads fine. In the game only terrain, no trees, no placeables.

The area has been re-baked each time.

I am frustrated. If I were not so close to the end I'd throw my hands up and quit.

It's not worth the time.

** EDIT **

I can get every version I have to load in the editor but not in the game. WHat is up!

I've resigned myself to completely rebuilding and restesting the area and mod. The odd for release this weekend just went WAY DOWN.

Friday, April 20, 2007

A step backwards


My final walk through revealed a show stopper. An area that was working was suddenly inaccessible. Opening it in the toolset revealed the area was corrupted. I've spent the past hour tweaking, exporting, importing from various builds. I finally got it in, and still can't transition to the area via the world map.

I just found what is definitely the most recent build where the area is ok. This area and transition were fine weeks ago and I'm aggravated by having to tweak it again.

I don't know if the last import worked. I'm ready for bed.


The weather is good this weekend, 70s so I may be outside more and may not have it ready this weekend as hoped.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

New build of NWN2, Final Test, Small Issue

Well, I was going to do a final walk through anyway, now with a new build of NWN2 it's even more important. I did find a small problem, not large, that I am fixing now. It's still playable without the fix.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Readme complete & Successful Deployment Test

The readme file has been written and the files packaged up and compressed.

More importantly my good friend Bruce (aka Darmok) took time out of his busy schedule (he just moved) to help me with a test deployment of the module on his computer. I was able to determine what files he needed and where he needed them. Success! He didn't run the whole module, but we checked enough bells and whistles that I am confident it will work, at least beyond any bugs I have missed.

I would like to run the whole module with a brand new character. I've run parts of it this way, but my only full module test have been with an uber-character. I have high hopes that I am ready for release.

If you would like an advance copy of the module, and if you can figure out an easy way for me to transfer a 46MB rar file to you, I'd be happy to give you a sneak peak before I complete my final walk through of the module. Drop me a line here or e-mail me at If you've got an FTP server somewhere (or something else simple) I'd be happy to upload the file for you.

Otherwise, you'll have to watch for the release on NWVault after my final test.

Woo hoo!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Pool of Radiance Remastered

I finished playing the 1st of three planned chapters in The Pool of Radiance Remastered for NWN2. I really enjoyed myself and gave the module a rating. It was over too quickly, but it was very fun while it lasted. Having just finished my module I am aware of what is required to build an adventure of this size and scope. Kudos to the author.

I downloaded Dark Waters Part 1 tonight and played the first few minutes. The voice acting is pretty cool, some of it is great, other bits... well the acting isn't terrific, but the cool factor is pretty hight.

Keep on the Borderlands News Item on NWVault

My news item regarding keep on the borderlands was posted on NW Vault. You can check it out here or see the full listing here.

My friend will help me test the mod shortly. I've tested it myself but need to make sure I understand which files need to be included when I deploy the module. I gave him the CD today with EVERYTHING. Hopefully he can help me test this week.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Finished! Keep on the Borderlands is done

I'll probably release Keep on the Borderlands as a beta initially, but it's done. Now with that said, I have yet to write up accompanying documentation or figure out how to deploy it. I've got a module, campaign, overland map and numerous scripts. I'm not sure what needs to be packaged up and distributed with NWN2. I haven't played any new mods.

I grabbed Pool of Radiance and will snag a copy of Dark Waters when I can.

In short I'm not sure when mine will go out, but development work is pretty much done.

The mod clocks in at a 180MB. Are they all this big? Wow!

* time to play some games *

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dark Waters will be out tomorrow

Dark waters will be released tomorrow. Looks great to me.


This is going to blow my mod out of the water. No pun intended.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

3rd Test Pass Completed.

I've finished the third test pass. It's not bad. I found a few things to fix. I expected most of the bugs I found. My testing will become focused on a few isolated trouble spots for a bit, then if all looks good one more full pass.

I'm getting close!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

3rd Test Pass Underway - Looks pretty clean

My third full test pass is underway it looks pretty clean.

My notes are things like, adjust the skin tone of a commoner, remove the double quotes from a dialog and replace with single quotes

I'll keep everyone posted.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

2nd Debug Pass Nearly Complete (99%)

The second debug pass of Keep on the Borderlands is nearly completed. I had four major bugs that repeated throughout the module. I think they are done. I've got some other items I'll need to check again.

The unfinished item, I am trying to set the auto generation of monster loot to FALSE. I'm calling SetGlobalInt on the appropriate variable in the module load script but it won't compile. I'm not getting something here.

oh well... next time. I'm on to test pass #3. Hopefully much cleaner.

Mentioned at NWN2 Worlds

Keep on the Borderlands got a mention over at NWN2 Worlds. Take a look at their site and the post about my module.

Thanks for the post guys!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

2nd Test Pass Completed

I have completed the second full test pass and this time it truly was a full test pass. I was able to proceed through the entire module and complete all the quests.

I still have some dead transitions, botched journal entries, bad dialog/cutscenes, but it's not awful. I wouldn't ask someone to play it in this state, but it is playable.

The biggest fixes pertain to companion dialog, unopenable/useable items, and two empty journal entires I did not anticipate.

Debugging today or tomorrow is unlikely. Here are some screen shots for your enjoyment.

2nd Test Pass nearly 50% complete

My second test pass is nearly 50% complete. Most of the module seems to be working and I think I can get to everything. No showstoppers yet, but lots of little things to fix. Hopefully I'll be ready for test pass #3 before the end of the weekend.

Friday, April 6, 2007

1st Debug Pass done

I think I've got everything from the first test pass done. I'll take another run through tomorrow.

1st Test Pass in the can

I have completed my first test pass. Lots of things worked very well, lots of little items to fix, a few big ones, and a pair of showstoppers. Nothing looks hard to fix. Only one item is puzzling, but I haven't cracked open the editor to take a peak yet.

I was surprised. It was more enjoyable than I thought it would be. I don't mean that in an arrogant sense, but I've been worried that it would be too dull. The early parts of the module are more 'mine' than they are a direct conversion from the old PnP mod.

Onward and upward.

Testing begins

Ok... that's it. I put the nail in the coffin so to speak. It's all in there, now on to testing.

Is the module everything I intended and hoped. No, but it is done and I want it to be done.

I suppose I always finish up wishing it was more, but I am frustrated. I intended this to be a quick learning experience and found the toolset so demanding (in terms of time required) that this is likely to be it. The 2 or 3 ideas I have in my head for what I think would be interesting modules will likely not come to fruition.

How will this module be?

It will be a dungeon crawl. I usually don't do hack n' slash adventures, but that's what a lot of the old school mods are and this mod definitely falls into that genre. I wanted to do a lot more with the plot and especially with companions, but I am burnt out. Hopefully despite it's short comings the module will be enjoyed when it's released.

Good gravy I'm tired of working on this crazy thing.

Does anyone know how to package up one of these things. I've got a large module, a campaign file/folder, and an overland map.

That's enough for now. UGH!!!

Crash and data loss?

The toolset crashed. I have backups, but I'm not sure how much I lost. One of the largest wilderness areas is toast and I am working on restoring it now. Hopefully everything else is ok. The corrupt file opens but the toolset crashes regularly. The file size (for the corrupt file) dropped by about 30-40%).


Milestone Reached

I've been editing a great deal today and I just hit a major milestone. Everything from the paper and pencil mod that I plan to port over is done. All the areas, are built, decorated and populated.

I have 2 or 3 more tasks before I take my first full test pass.

1) Wrap up a few quests (a little scripting needed).
2) Fix (or drop) and NPC storyline that is unfinished.
3) Add additional dialog for companions.

I am eager to move into testing.

Adam Miller

It looks like Adam Miller is about to launch the first part of his NWN2 series Dark Waters. This guys modules are the best I have played for NWN1 hands down. If you haven't played them you should. Check out his web site for more information.

Adam noted in his recent post that he works as a web developer and has a few young kids. In that regard he and I are similar. I work as an IT manager and spent half my time developing web sites. I've also got three young kids. My modules have been well received by the community but my work does not hold a candle when compared to the work done my Mr. Miller. I am eagerly awaiting Dark Waters.

Good luck Adam!

Module Contest

There is a module contest afoot for nwn2. I won't be building anything for the contest. My module is close to completion and I am pretty burned out on writing for NWN2. I've commented before this was supposed to be a quick 'learning' experience before I get to my original ideas, but I'm strongly thinking this will be it.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Plays with camera

I've been playing with static cameras in my dialog/conversations. I have two conversations that take advantage of this with wonderful results. Very cool

Populating the Caves of Chaos

I am continuing to plug along nicely. I have populated the keep and wilderness areas, and I am now populating the dungeon, 'The Caves of Chaos'. In the original paper and pencil module the caves are labeled A through K. I am working on them in order and I am nearly done with C.

When they are populated, I need to make sure all of my journal entries close at the appropriate points.

I also need to beef up the NPCs back at the keep with a bit more dialog and most important I would like to give the companions more to say. I had planned to use the 'speaktrigger' extensively to fire up conversations with companions, but using this trigger corrupts areas if the target of the conversation is not in the area. So I'll probably have a ton of one liners, and try to prompt the player to initiate the conversation with the companion. I'm disappointed about this, but what can you do.

The ending? I'm not sure what I'll do. I don't have a 'big ending' to this module and I've been thinking about it.

This was intended as a warm up project, a quick conversion of an old hack and slash PnP classic, but now that I'm so far into it I am realizing this will probably be my only NWN2 project. If I had known that I probably would have used one of the one or original ideas I have partially outlined. Oh well...

I'm glad it's progressing but also very anxious to be done and finished.