Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dialog - UGH!

I'm inching my way through dialog. I was ok with my first effort and am not satisfied with my current work. It feels rather flat and I'm afraid it's not terribly interesting. I'm unusually busy professionally and it's hard to find the motivation to mod at the moment but I will continue to inch forward. :-)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

AME Awards - Tomoachan Wins for PnP Conversion

WOO HOO!!!! Tomoachan wins for PnP converstion.

Visit AME here.

Or listen to NWPodcast

Community Contribution Award
Community Contribution Award:
Grinning Fool
From beta testing until today, Grinning Fool has continued to support the community and NWN2 tirelessly. He has worked as a Community Rep on the toolset, answering questions and gathering up bugs on behalf of the community and making sure they reach the ears and eyes of Obsidian Entertainment. He’s also enhanced and added to the toolset’s features through a number of very useful plugins.

Veteran Award
Veteran Author Award:
Adam Miller
Adam Miller wins the Veteran Author Golden Dragon Award for his consistenly top quality modules, produced across both NWN and NWN2. With the Dark Waters campaign, he continues to innovate and stretch the engine to the very limits.

Debut Author Award
Debut Author Award:
Zach Holbrook
Zach Holbrook (aka Maerduin) produced one of the defining modules of 2007 with Harp & Chrysanthemum. His attention to detail; from landscapes to music, character writing to story, makes him this year’s Debut Award winner.

Best Sound
Best Sound/Music:
New Music Tracks for Harp & Chrysanthemum by Zach Holbrook
This year’s Best Sound/Music Golden Dragon Award goes to the new music tracks produced for Harp & Chrysanthemum, by Zach Holbrook. They combine interesting use of voice and backing with an excellent fit to the module itself.

Best Tileset 07
Best Tileset:
RWS Deep Halls by RWS
The Best Tileset Golden Dragon Award goes to Robinson Workshop’s Deep Halls tileset, a new and deeply atmospheric interior for Neverwinter Nights 2.

Best CC 07
Best Custom Content:
Sorceress Ashura VFX Pack
This VFX pack includes an astonishing array of weird, practical and beautiful visual effects: from ship wakes to the sparkles on a pile of treasure. The sheer depth and wonder of this pack makes it this year’s Custom Content Golden Dragon award winner.

Multiplayer Award
Best Multiplayer Module:
Tomb of Horrors revisited by BM Productions
Tomb of Horrors is a devilishly difficult module based on the old PnP classic that really comes into its own in multiplayer mode, where strong thinking and team play will see you succeed… or fall.

RP Award
Best Roleplaying Module:
Dark Avenger by Wyrin
Dark Avenger takes the 2007 Golden Dragon award for Best Roleplay module, because roleplaying is really central to the concept behind this superb module. You play the story character, but you define your role, your character and your background, and this impacts the world around you.

Action Award
Best Action Module:
Moonshadows Chapter 1 by Alex Hugon
Hugie’s Moonshadows is a blend of high action and gorgeous landscapes, set in the Forgotten Realms. With excellent polish, and varying difficulty, it offers an exciting journey for all players.

Adventure Award
Best Adventure Module:
Dark Waters Chapter 1 by Adam Miller
Dark Waters sets a compelling mood, tells an interesting story set in a world with a well-developed history, includes extremely well-developed companions with richly drawn personalities, and exhibits extraordinary attention to detail.

Replayable award
Most Re-playable Module:
Pool of Radiance Remastered by Markus ‘Wayne’ Schlegel
This remake of the SSI classic captures the Most Replayable Golden Dragon Award. A strong story is enhanced with a plethora of choice on gear, companions and class options, and topped off with a variety of combat situations.

PNP Award
Best PnP Conversion Module:
Tomoachan by Enoa4
Enoa4 has added a great deal of polish to the original PnP classic; with a strengthened backstory, excellent area design and smart use of custom content. Whether you have played the original or not, Tomoachan offers an excellent gameplay experience.

Progress?

It's been 11 days since my last post. I've been away on vacation and then got the stomach flu (or something like it) shortly thereafter. In the 11 days since my last post I customized the appearance of one NPC.

Let's hear it for progress!!!

At this rate I should be complete on July 7th, 2059.

The summer is busy with both fun and work so I'm not sure how much work I'll really get done.

I've thought about taking a break to play some games too. We'll see.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir

Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir hearkens back to the days of the Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale franchises by including full party customization, dungeon crawling, and free exploration of a non-linear game world via an Overland Map. The gripping storyline foreshadows the events that will take place in the Forgotten Realms with the coming of release this June of the Fourth Edition of Dungeons & Dragons® Roleplaying Game.

In the aftermath of the defeat of the King of Shadows, the Sword Coast is in the midst of an uneasy economic recovery. Trade syndicates have sprung up to exploit the post-war confusion for their own ends. The players’ party will wade into this uncertain environment; in order to increase their own fortunes, they can either ally with a syndicate to create a trade empire, or cut their own path through Faerûn by preying upon caravans and selling the goods on the black market. As they attempt to extend their influence, players will become aware of a new faction working behind the scenes: the evil, shapeshifting, serpentine Yuan-Ti.

In addition to trading and economic manipulation, the Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir Overland Map allows players to explore the Chultan Peninsula and Sword Coast in a non-linear manner never before seen in any of the Neverwinter Nights games. Exploration will take players from well-known locations, like Neverwinter and Crossroad Keep, to more exotic areas, such as the xenophobic jungle nation of Samarach. Groups of highwaymen and monsters populate the Overland Map and the farther from civilization the player roams, the more difficult the encounters become. The 15-hour campaign in Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir is also packed with new classes, spells, creatures, and playable races.

Fans of the compelling multiplayer features of Neverwinter Nights 2 will also be able to take advantage of new improvements to the multiplayer experience, while modders will be able to take advantage of the power and flexibility of the Overland Map and Trading System features along with other world-building enhancements.

Game Features:

· Travel the Sword Coast and Samarach using the open ended exploration of the new Overland Map. Use skills like Spot and Survival while on the Overland Map to avoid ambushes and even find hidden locales and lost artifacts.

· Create your own full party of adventurers. Devastate your foes with a squad of fireball-flinging Sorcerers, form a solid wall of steel with a party of Fighters, or strike the perfect balance in your party by spreading out the classes you choose for your characters.

· Improved party gameplay including streamlined party conversations, a new Teamwork Benefit System, and powerful party feats.

· The world's economy reacts to your adventures and choices. And, through trading and quests, you can expand your merchant company into a massive trading empire.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Campaign Lock up and Loadscreens

I spend most of the day preparing load screens then a few hours trying to figure out why the related HAK file was causing the game to lock while loading. Eventually I realized the HAK file and load screens are fine, it's the fact that I am loading the module as a campaign. I'm not sure what I've got fouled up but I am curious. I'll have to read up on campaigns when I have time. I'm going to noodle with the load screens and confirm they are working then stop for the night.

Everything loads fine in the editor. Very odd.

* UPDATE #1 *

Looks like the load screens are not working either. They don't cause the module to fail, but they don't work either. Very odd. I'll post some of the 2da file here and would be happy to e-mail it to someone for a peak if they'd like.



* Update #2 *

Found this on Wendersanven.com *
http://www.wendersnaven.com/resource/44

There's only one way I managed to solve the unpacking module hang when starting a new campaign:

1) Close down your starting module in the toolset. For some odd reason the toolset is fussy about having it open when making it the starting module.

2) Make a new campaign in the campaign editor and type in the starter module name to be exactly the same as the filename without the .mod extension.

3) Hit the save campaign button.

4) Lastly add your starter module to the list of modules the campaign will use. This last step may not be essential to get the starter mod loading but will definitely be needed later on.


I'm off to test this.

* UPDATE #3 *

Nope. That wasn't it.

* UPDATE #4 *

HOORAY! Success. It looks like I was missing an underscore from the file name (DUH). What's funny is I had the editor add and set the name. I manually checked the name half a dozen times while working on this since that was a common problem but never noticed the missing underscore. Problem solved.

The loadscreens were there but were random. Tackling that is next.

* UPDATE #5 *

Loadscreens are working but not the way I'd expect. I replaced rather than added lines to the loadscreens.2da file thinking I wasn't going to use the old ones. Fine, except the old image names are still used. UGH! Ok, I can fix or work around that. I have the power bar plug in and it has a load screen editor, which shows the correct name of the image (my name) and has a feature to copy it to any area in the current mod. This appears to work if the area is OPEN but not if it's closed. I have a number of solutions I can pursue. I'm thinking creating a new 2da with added rows may be the way to go but it will take a while. I may just suffer with what I've got. I have a workable solution. If it ain't broken...

* UPDATE #6 *

Loadscreens are fixed. I rewrote the 2da. I'm on the road.

Over the weekend I started on dialog and a few books and journal entries. Even though this is a a re-write of existing material there is a lot to do.

Hythum, Tomoachan, and Lego Star Wars

I am building NPCs and witting dialog for Hythum. My time has been limited so I have not made too much progress but I am moving forward. I've decided to re-write dialog as I go rather than import it. I can improve upon what I have written and the scripting options are much more robust in NWN2. So far I'm enjoying it but don't expect as many screen shots for a while.

I have some fun personal obligations over the next few weeks so there will probably be a work slow down ahead.

Tomoachan is nearing 5000 downloads and has an overall rating of 8.72. It should make the hall of fame when I cross the 5000 mark which is pretty cool. Downloads are coming in at a trickle so it will be interesting to see if I make it in June or July. Keep on the Borderlands has 13000+ downloads but I think Tomoachan is a better mod. Rather curious, but it was out first, it supports multiplayer and was out very early driving more people to it.

I've been playing quite a big of Lego Star Wars II The Original Trilogy with my middle son. He is having a blast. I enjoy playing with him but get a little tired of the game and don't have too much patience for it. I do however have loads of patience for my son.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What to do next?

I'm at a bit of a crossroads from a modding standpoint.

I had planned to do the area design first. My modding partner Darmok has an area to finish. He was going to do another 6-12 areas of various sizes beyond the one he is working on now. After talking to Darmok it sounds like I will probably take on some of the remaining areas.

I've gathered screen shots of everything that's done to use as the basis for load screens.

I've exported all the dialog from Hythum for NWN1 and taken a peak. (yuck... what a mess)

I've even documented all of the resources I have used thus far for the readme file.

What's next? What should I do next?

I'm tempted to work on major NPCs and dialog. If so I'm tempted to re-write a lot if not all of the dialog. I could start testing and debugging the transitions and major plot points without many bad guys in place.

Or... I could plow ahead with more area design. I'm just not sure what I want to do next. I do feel like I have reached a major milestone, although it's not a clearly defined one.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Bonus Hythum Screen Shot

I was grabbing load screen images for Hythum. There are MANY areas in this module. I'll post a semi-final count in a week or two. At any rate I was rather taken with the screen shot I will use for the in transit load screen displayed many times when traveling by airship. Most of the credit goes to Amraphael for the airship model. Here it is.

Another interior done

I'm working on an interior area. The initial draft is done. I tried a few experiments and I'm not completely happy with the result. The screen shots don't quite do it justice, but they give you the idea.

I've got an underground lake, and tried to give an underwater effect walk into the lake and lower the camera. I used a blue light that's only visible under the water to give a blue tint and used the steam geyser to produce air bubbles and a distortion. This effect is not required or essential but I thought it would be kind of neat if I could pull it off.

The first two pictures are the lake surface in a dark cavern.



The next two are shots from underneath the surface of the water. It's not great, I've seen good underwater areas build but usually the whole area is underwater, not just a few tiles within the area.



I'm not completely satisfied with how this turned out either but I thought I'd post it anyway.


More of that red lighting I've been stuck on. The areas with the common lighting are all tied together and hopefully the similar lighting helps convey that.