Saturday, August 30, 2008

Halloween Mod - Area Nearly Complete

I did create both levels for my 'house' in the BouncyRock Halloween level. They need a bit of testing and are not terribly complicated but they are done and hopefully will be entertaining. I am guessing 1-4 hours of testing and debugging.

What this small project did teach me for good or for ill, is I think my modding vacation will become a true modding retirement. After 6 NWN1 modules (two unreleased) and 3 NWN2 projects (one unfinished), I think I've had my fill of modding.

Also pulling me away are some great adventures, I've started to dig in on Pool of Radiance and Dark Avenger 2. It's fun to just PLAY again.

Comcast Data Limit

Comcast to make monthly Internet use cap official
Thursday August 28, 6:21 pm ET
Comcast to set official limit on Internet use to deter bandwidth hogs

It's official comacast is imposing a data transfer limit. I'm a comcast user, I doubt I'll go over but it still kinda crappy.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Comcast Corp., the nation's second-largest Internet service provider, Thursday said it would set an official limit on the amount of data subscribers can download and upload each month.

On Oct. 1, the cable company will update its user agreement to say that users will be allowed 250 gigabytes of traffic per month, the company announced on its Web site.

Comcast has already reserved the right to cut off subscribers who use too much bandwidth each month, without specifying exactly what constitutes excessive use.

"We've listened to feedback from our customers who asked that we provide a specific threshold for data usage and this would help them understand the amount of usage that would qualify as excessive," the company said in a statement on its Web site.

Customers who go over the limit are contacted by the company and asked to curb their usage.

"We know from experience the vast majority of customers we ask to curb usage do so voluntarily," the company said.

Comcast floated the idea of a 250 gigabyte cap in May and mentioned then that it might charge users $15 for every 10 gigabytes they go over, but the overage fee was missing in Thursday's announcement.

Curbing the top users is necessary to keep the network fast and responsive for other users, Comcast has said.

Comcast stressed that the bandwidth cap is far above the median monthly usage of its customers, which 2 to 3 gigabytes.

Very few subscribers use more than 250 gigabytes, it said. A user could download 125 standard-definition movies, about four per day, before hitting the limit.

The cap is also above those of some other ISPs. Cox Communications' monthly caps vary from 5 gigabytes to 75 gigabytes depending the subscriber's plan. Time Warner Cable Inc. is testing caps between 5 gigabytes and 40 gigabytes in one market. Frontier Communications Co., a phone company, plans to start charging extra for use of more than 5 gigabytes per month.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Halloween Mod - The Short Version

So... I opened up the toolset to write the small lower level of my house for the Halloween mod. I'm considering just doing the one room upstairs and a little dialog with my avatar and stopping there.

I have some fun ideas for the lower level, but I don't seem to be inspired to mod. Weird huh? I've never been uninspired to mod. The ideas I have would be neat, but I think I may be truly and completely burned out on the toolset.

Hythum is massive and looked massive. My Halloween mod is tiny and it seems like a big time sink. I could easily tie off the room I have, which was my original concept and I think I'd be in good shape. At any rate, I'm going to set this aside and if I get the bug over the three day weekend I may work on it, and if not I may wrap it up and be finished!

Hopefully it's still a little entertaining.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Halloween Mod

I've done a good amount of work on my Halloween mod. I've stolen a couple of areas from my unfinished Hythum module, created an avatar for myself and written a bunch of dialog, that will hopefully be humorous and entertaining.

I've got the main 'room' done, but plan a small lower level with a wee bit of combat and treasure.

Nothing complicated here. Simple and easy.

I have noticed it's VERY TEMPTING to take it up again, but I've also noticed it does pull be away from other things. I'm trying to remain very disciplines and put it down whenever my kids want to do ANYTHING else, but it's hard when I am thinking about dialog, even slightly silly dialog to stop.

I don't know. This Halloween mod could be my last hurrah. Time will tell.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Halloween Project - The Problem with modding and Common Errors

So... I've been modding for and hour and half and it feels like I've never left it. My six year old son had to ask me for food five times before I turned it off and made him something to eat. THAT is the problem with modding. I can't stop. It's like a drug. I love it but can never seem to get enough. Hopefully this small project will give me something that is not going to consume too much time. I promised one room and already have plans for one room plus a possible level full of rooms. It's VERY VERY Hard for me to stop modding. I am DONE for today , but that's probably a lie.

At any rate, I need a little help. I'm thinking about doing something a little humorous in my mod. I need other modders to describe common toolset problems, issues and errors. Particularly things that would be easy for most to understand and recognize. Problems with an area baking, problems with 2da files, crashes, area corruption. If you were a driven half insane by the toolset but couldn't put it down, what would someone hear you babbling about? If you were a minion of a half insane person driven half mad by the toolset how would you describe the modding related tasks he is asking you to do?

I have some ideas, but knowing the group that regularly reads this blog I figure I might get some very entertaining suggestions.

(you can tell I'm modding when the posts occur more than once per day)

Small Modding Project

Ok... I know I'm on permanent vacation but I'm taking a break from my break to contribute to the NWN2 Bouncy Rock Halloween Modding Project.

Liso has gentle prodded me and I've agreeded. Liso used 'persuade' skill Enoa4 fails 'will' check.

So what's this all about. Take a look at this bouncy rock post for the straight scoop but in a nutshell.

What: This is an idea to bring the community of builders together for a collaborative module project in the Halloween spirit.

The system is simple - One exterior area that will link together many individual interior projects.

Each builder that joins the project will only need to do the following things:

* Build an interior (Your House)
* Create yourself (NPC) w/ a simple conversation ("Hi, I'm , happy Halloween!"
* Then create a trick or treat for the Player.

Example of Tricks & Treats:

* Haunted House of Horrors (walkthrough)
* Share a Spooky Story
* Give out a cool custom item that does neat things

Sounds like... FUN!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Dragon Age: Origins - Toolset Confirmed

Dragon Age: Origins - Toolset Confirmed

I subscribed to the Dragon Age World Builders newsletter. I received the following newsletter tonight.

Introducing the Dragon Age Toolset

The Dragon Age Toolset provides builders with powerful, developer-grade tools.

Key features include:
Dragon Age Toolset
Ruins in Korkari Wilds area. Toolset in
background. Insert: In-Game Create Original Adventures: Using Dragon Age's rich set of assets and locations as starting blocks, you can modify these stunning areas by adding new quests, characters and scripting to create your own adventures, conversations and cut-scenes.

Powerful Script Editor: You can fully customize combat and creature AI to create detailed action sequences full of heart-pounding party-based tactical combat.

On-Going Toolset Content Updates: We have plans to release additional assets and features for the toolset in the future, allowing for expanded creation of new areas.

Toolset Demonstration Highlights

At PAX, Dragon Age: Origins Producer Fernando Melo and Senior Designer Ferret Baudoin will be presenting a 45 minute overview of the toolset for Dragon Age fans.


The demonstration takes place in the Ruins of Ostagar area

A quick look at the extremely flexible Face Morphing feature

Clothing, armor and weapons will be selected giving a quick look at the variety

Enemy monsters will be selected and placed in the area

The new dialogue editor will be featured

The module created on stage will be played through live in the Dragon Age: Origins game

I know, I know! I'm trying not to mod for NWN2 let alone some other game, but still it's exciting news.

4th Edition D & D

I received a copy of the 4th Edition Players Handbook and Dungeon Masters Guide for my birthday. I have been slowly skimming and reading them to relax. I miss paper and pencil games. I miss running a D & D campaign. I wonder if I'll ever get to do it again. I think I'd get the same 'bang' I get out of modding with much lower time commitment. Funny PnP games take longer to play but can be written relatively quickly and mods take forever to write and not too long to play. Hmmm.....

My dream is to rope my three young sons into a PnP game when they are old enough. The youngest, doesn't quite read yet, but I've already got him, I can tell. The oldest will give it a go and I bet he will enjoy it, but he's busy. The middle one, I'm not sure... I'm just not sure.

Maybe I can find a local game to participate in.

I've also dabbled with the idea of a online game or participating in a DM led NWN2 game. It could be lots of fun.

I still think about modding, but have taken no steps back to it. I'm happily playing Age of Empires III/War Chiefs/Asian Dynasties and a little bit of 'Fate' to entertain my kids.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ka Mon Ra

I've corresponded with David J Zewalk for several years, ever since I had a site hosted by Lord Alexander over at the now offline RPGS web server. David has been steadily working on a PnP module, 'Ka Mon Ra' ever since I have known him. Recently he finished the module and it is now sold in local gaming shops in the
Cleveland area.

The Temple of Ka Mon Ra is a 120-page perfect bound book full color book. Independent authors and artist created all artwork and writing, which is reminiscent from the old Dungeon and Dragon Modules. The adventure module features a completely unique storyline that will keep all the players engaged throughout the entire campaign.

The Temple of Ka Mon Ra uses the 3.5 Dungeons and Dragons rules system. The 3.5 rules system allows players to completely customize their characters to their choice, which makes this Adventure Module a completely new experience every time it is played with a different group.

You just learn about the strange deaths occurring throughout the Jungle Outpost, Taboo. Each of the murdered victims had their hands sliced from their wrists for some unforeseen dark purpose. You also hear rumors of vampires attacks occurring at night, randomly striking any unfortunate soul who happens to cross their path. Stranger yet, the King and Queen who were on their return trip back to the Kingdoms of the Northlands, after some heavy trade negotiations, are under the influence of some type of dark magic. All these events are somehow connected to a nearby ancient temple ruin, THE TEMPLE of KA MON RA.

David let me know the module can be purchased from the following stores.

4704 Rocky River Drive
Cleveland Ohio 44135
216 433 1316

RECESS comics, games & more
Great Northern Mall
North Olmsted OH 44070
440 779 7008

Way to go David!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Temptation to start again

I am tempted to crack open the toolset today. It's the strongest temptation I've felt since I decided to take a break about a month ago. I miss the story telling, and creative outlet. I've even received a kind offer from a fellow modder I greatly respect to help with some scripting.

I really want to open it up and get back to work.

On the other hand. It tends to DOMINATE my time. I am more likely to stop working on the computer right now and go outside, exercise, get involved in other more practical projects, and spend time with my kids.

My wife and kids always come first, but I am also acutely aware of the pull that modding holds over me. I frequently get to the point where I am excited about and trying to carve out blocks of time to work on my modding project, to the detriment of other activities and interests. I feel mentally free since I've been on my break.

My kids start school in a few weeks and I'm using that as an excuse to hold off on starting up again. I need my time and energy to help them.

I did pick up the 4th edition Players Handbook and DMG and have been reading them. I think I'd be satistifed with a good old fashion real, regular D&D game. I used to run them and I think that's what I am REALLY hungering for, but that also seems quite impossible.

So, I am tempted, but torn and am tying to resist at the moment. I miss many things about modding, and there are other things I don't miss at all and am happy to be rid of.

In short, I'm still on vacation, at least semi-retired. :-)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Outstanding Podcast with Wyrin D'njargo

I'm halfway through this weeks Neverwinter Podcast. I'm a big fan of Wyrin D'njargo's work and I've commented many times his Dark Avenger series. It's one of the few mods that really got me out of my typical 'hero' mindset and had me playing a man seeking revenge. Really great stuff.

Wyrin, congratulations on the AME award, and congratulation on the podcast interview. This is one of those interviews I was extra excited to listen to. Great job to Wyrin and the podcast team.

Listen to the podcast here.