Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Signs You've Been Using the Toolset too Much

Ever feel like you've been using the toolset too much? Here are some common warning signs.

1) You walk past the doors at your local hardware store and want to rotate them 45 degrees by clicking your mouse.

2) Your surprised when books on a bookshelf aren't one interconnected group, but are actual individual books.

3) You are startled when common objects have non-transparent bottoms.

4) You feel the need to bake your living room after re-arranging the furniture or rebake your front yard after mowing the lawn.

5) You can no longer change light bulbs, you spend all your time looking for the light source object and try to change the brightness.

6) You spend entirely too much time wondering if your dishes and silverware have been converted to environmental objects.

Please post your own and contribute to the fun.

(Note 2/28/2008 - people are adding to the list in the comments section. Absolutely hilarious stuff. You've got to read the comments for this post.)

Modding Break

No modding action last night. Looks doubtful until Friday or Saturday. Real life intrudes.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Burnout (for tonight)

Ok, I'm pullin' the plug for the weekend. All in all it was a pretty light weekend of modding. I got a few hours in on Friday and a few today. Most of the weekend I was able to spend with my wife.

My folks took the kids and my wife and I had the rare opportunity to have 24 hours of grown up discussion without fetching cereal or noodles. Don't get me wrong, for me the sun rises and sets with my children, but on those infrequent occasions when they are with someone else, I try to focus on my wife. It's nice to re-invest in each other so to speak.

... but back to the modding news. I spent most of my time finishing the palace then splitting it into three parts. It was running like a dog in the toolset and breaking it up was logical (from a layout standpoint) and will make it easy to work on later.

I also finished the temple and the interior of an Inn of the Leaping Lizard.

I need to do a few other building interiors, but don't feel inspired, just tired. Then again maybe the varnish I've been smelling all afternoon has made me loopy. (don't ask...)

So... my youngest asked to play Jedi [insert child's name] (I don't give out my kids names online). Jedi [child's name] is basically him watching me place Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, an oldie but a goodie.

I hope everyone else there in the NWN community has had a good weekend. I certainly had a great one.

Also... congratz to my modding partner Darmok, who got a new Darmokmobile (car) over the weekend. He stopped by to let me take a look. It rocks. :-)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

2da Problem and NWNPodcast

I decided to take another crack at including the Pocket Citadel. I was excited when I realized I did not included the updated 2da files in my HAK file as well as the override directory, but I thought it was worth a shot. No luck same error. Here's the screen shot. I may tinker a bit more with this. Wish me luck.

On another note, there is a new NWN Podcast out today, number 45. Check out the link on the right. Download the podcast, get in game and level up. Thanks to the podcast team for mentioning me during the podcast once or twice. Very cool!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Small Setback - Toolset Dragging

I finally finished the Port Leaton Palace. Thank goodness... no people or dialog yet, but the area is built and basically decorated. By the time I got to the end the toolset was almost unusable. It took forever to move a placeable from point a to point b. I think there is too much stuff in this area. The area is not HUGE, but it's medium/big. I'm breaking it up next time.

When will I learn. SMALL SMALL SMALL AND SMALLER is the right size.

At any rate it's done.

I decided to build the temple next. Ah... the toolset is zipping around a full speed as I lay down the first tile.

I tried to at RWS Pocket Cathedral to my custom hak unsucessfully. The mod loads and the tileset appear in the toolset, but when I click on a tile or metatile it throws an error. I found some problems in my combined 2da file but couldn't coax it to life.

I rolled back to the previous HAK and set of 2das. No pocket cathedral but I'm 'On the Road Again' (everyone please hum the Willie Nelson tune, 'On the Road Again')

The player will spend VERY LITTLE time in the temple so I wasn't sure I wanted to add the Cathedral or not, but it was a good night to try. I had time to mess with the 2da files without interruption (which is rare). It's not a huge deal, and goes on the would be nice list. I'm pretty sure I'm going to let it go.

It's good to be done with the palace.

I'm tired, and I'm going to shut off the CPU and turn on the TV.

Looks to be a limited modding weekend but we'll see.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Inching Forward

I'm inching forward on Hythum. The Port Leaton city exterior is pretty much done and I'm working on the palace, which is the setting of some important action. The throne room is key, that's all set, and now I am plodding through the rest of the interior. It's coming along nicely but really seems to drag in the toolset. I've got about 20 rooms to decorate, and I am getting through 1 or 2 per night.

The palace is one of the larger interiors, that is not a 'Dungeon' type of area.

I wish it were going faster but I am making progress none the less.

When the palace is done there are other port leaton interiors to do but they are smaller. I do have a temple and I'm thinking of grabbing the Chapel interior mini tileset I've seen on the vault. It's not a location that players visit often or for long, so I'm not sure I want to go to the trouble, but it would look fantastic.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Congratz to the NWN podcast team for getting mentioned on Rob McGinnis' NWN Community blog. Very exciting.

I got to hear the NWN podcast team setting up their game server last night. I bumped into them on Skype and chatted a bit while they were setting up. It's still weird talking to them in real time. Feels like a strange private podcast.

They even helped me corrected typos on my blog in real time... well almost real time.

2007 Module of the Year

Looks like it's time for the 2007 mod of the year at NWVault. I'm very pleased that both of the mods I released last year; Keep on the Borderlands and Tomoachan are eligible to be on the list of candidates. I don't expect too many notes as the there are many other mods that are far more deserving.

I've played about a third of the mods on the list.

I think I will vote for either Mask of the Betrayer, # Harp & Chrysanthemum' by Maerduin (aka Zach Holbrook)
or Dark Avenger by Wryin assuming it's open voting.

Hey Your Computer Screen is Dirty

Hey Your Computer Screen is Dirty. Click here to clean it!

Tomoachan Player with an issue

I've got a Tomoachan player with an issue. I've put it up on the bioware forum. It sounds like a corrupt mod file in the RAR file I've uploaded but I can replicate the problem. Take a look at the bioware forum and let me know if you have any input.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Port Leaton Palace

I've been working on the throne room in the Port Leaton Palace, and have a couple of screen shots. The throne room is a pretty important local, I won't elaborate, but if you played the NWN1 version you may remember.

I'm working on the rest of the castle and I am feeling a bit uninspired. I know what it NEEDS to have but don't have a clear vision. I'm very happy with the throne room and think it matches the style of the city but am unsure where to go with the castle. I think I am going to put the toolset down for the day (we'll see if that really happens). I need a break to think. My mind is already out of Port Leaton, on to other areas but there is much left to do.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hythum - Port Leaton Screenshots (part duex)

Port Leaton is done enough for me to move on to another area. It's my biggest exterior and my biggest city. (update... I couldn't help myself, I've already gone back and added a few carts, merchant stalls and trees.... got to move on now.)

Oops, gotta fix that door.

Hythum - Port Leaton Screenshots

Port Leaton is done, well nearly done. It needs a wagon here, or a cart there, but it's mostly there. Enough that I'm going to move on to another area with a few more minutes of work. Here are some pictures:

Indiana Jones 4 Trailer

Oh yeah. The man in the hat is back...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Skypecast on Current Module Develpment

I participated in a Skypecast about Modules Currently in Development last night. I was part of a panel of including LadyElvenStar, Amraphael, Raith Veldrin, Delak, Nalencer, Wyrin, and a few others (my apologies for the incomplete list).

It was a fun and fascinating experience. My thanks to all of the participants and to Jay and Michele of Neverwinter Podcast for setting it up. I think they are going to have a recording of the event available soon, and I'll post a link when it's up.

More early shots of Port Leaton

With another day of work, I've got the terrain about 85-90% done.

The building, bridges, ships, etc... in place.

I need more texturing work, trees, general clutter etc...

Trees are really the next big thing, I'm a little fuzzy on how I'm going to handle the next step so I'm probably going to step away from the toolset for a bit.

This is the bridge near the palace in the middle of the city. You can look down and see other bridges far below. I know the top of the wall texture is sticking through the bridge. I did this deliberately to solve a problem, but I will probably change it, I'm not crazy about it, it looked better in the toolset.

City street, palace in the distance.

Looking out over the rooftops.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Very early shots of Port Leaton

About a week ago I started working on Port Leaton, the largest city players visit in Hythum. It's FAR from done, but I have been very excited about how it's coming along. I have a very clear vision of what I want. There is a lot to do and more to fix on this area, and I have a feeling it may take longer than any other single area I build.

Here are some VERY EARLY screen shots of this area. They are very unfinished, but I was excited about the early results and wanted to show off this work in progress.

Neverwinter Nights Podcast Live Roundtable on Feb 10th

Sunday February 10th at 8:30pm EST/7:30pm CST Neverwinter Nights Podcast has arranged a roundtable discussion. LadyElvenStar, Amraphael, Raith Veldrin, Delak, Nalencer, Wyrin and I will be participating in a Live round table discussion on modules currently in development. I was thrilled to be invited to participate in another NeverwinterNights Podcast event, my interview in episode 40 was a wonderful experience.Listeners will have to use Skype Cast and log in. Listeners will need the latest version of skypeThere will be a chat window as well

This private link once logged in will take you to the discussion room

Featured Modules/Speakers

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tileset Hak works

With help from Dirtywick I was able to resolve the tileset issue in my custom HAK, here's a test screen shot to prove it! Thanks Dirtywick.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Hak Files, Tilesets, and File Size

So, I added to my Hythum Hak tonight. I wanted to combine the existing HAK (which is about 5MB, with a set of Towers from the vault (no problem), the sewer tileset, and the crypt pit tileset.

I could get the placeables to work for the Towers and Crypt Pit, but could not get the tilesets up and running. The HAK did not crash the mod and I'm pretty sure the 2da files I need are in good order.

I was also alarmed to see the resulting HAK file clocked in about 150 MB. So far Hythum has 4 mods, and will probably have 8 - 10 when done, each close to 100 MB. This thing is going to be a monster.


1) What did I do wrong with the tilesets. At this point I am inclined to leave them out due to file size and they are not critical, but I remain curious. I tried adding the original tileset hak files with my own. I think the 2da files within must have clobbered each other, but I'm afraid I'm pushing the limits of what I know about how these things work. In my understanding it's best to combine them into 1 unified 2da.

2) How big is too big for a HAK? What do people perfer?

3) What is too big for a module?

4) What is too big for a campaign?

I'm pretty happy with where I am and where I am headed, but I thought it was worth asking!

Best 2008 Super Bowl Ad

My favorite ad this year...

Sunday, February 3, 2008


I started work on Port Leaton, one of the largest cities in Hythum. I had a good idea of what I wanted to do and after a few experiments to see what's possible I am very excited and inspired to work on this city.

...of course I have to stop for the Super Bowl! Time for a break and real life.

Hythum Screen Shots

A few quick screen shots from Hythum. The original module was broken into seven chapters, this module will be released as a campaign, and will have at least 8-10 modules. I've pretty much finished area design for module 1, and 2a. Darmok is working on module 4.

We've got a wiki with the plot, characters, locations and other information mapped out. We've also got the original mod to use as a basis for some dialog etc... For now we're focusing on area design almost exclusively. I really feel like I'm hitting my stride and it's coming along quickly and nicely at the moment.
The docks in Burnham Crossing, a seedy nearly lawless town. This shot shows the 'edge of the world'.

Another view of the Burnham Crossing Docks

The docks once more. The city is dirty, gray, drab and decaying. Earlier screen shots show this as well. No one is home yet, that will come later. :-)

A warehouse in Burnham Crossing.

Somewhere in Burnham Crossing.

I guess I need to decide what areas to go tinker with next. It's coming along but there is a lot of work ahead. Maybe I'll take a break and play Team Fortress and take my kids sledding (it snowed). I'll definitely break for the Super Bowl tonight. I'm not too pumped about the game, but it's still fun and hopefully the commercials will be good. I've heard rumors the Indiana Jones 4 trailer might make an appearance during the game. Time to whip up some chili for the game!

Dark Waters

Looks like Dark Waters 2, by Adam Miller was released on Feb 1st. I never quite finished Dark Waters 1, I hit a show stopping bug near the beginning and couldn't recover. I decided not to replay until part 2 was out. I guess I'm going to be trying it out soon. All of Adam Miller's stuff is top notch and this is not a mod to be missed.

I didn't see a link on NWVault yet, but he's got a directly link to the file on his blog.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Moving Forward

Progress is underway again, I got a few hours of work in last night and more today. The current area I'm working on is a little complicated and will take some time.