Wednesday, March 19, 2008

ITFR : Forced into dialogue…

Well, it seems my video card fried a couple of weeks ago. There were no actual smoke and flames, just a display that refused to light up and some morse-type error codes emanating from that big beige box under my desk on each boot-up.

So off the card went, making the trip from Montreal to somewhere in Indiana, to spend a couple of weeks in Asus’ world-class spa, for a little R’or’R (Repair or Replacement). I must admit I was pretty pleased to learn of Asus' 3-year, no-questions asked return policy when I called them up about my problems. Hopefully, they won’t wait for that warranty to expire before they return the card to me…

I am actually secretly hoping they won’t be able to do anything about the card and will be left with no other choice than to send me back a brand new 8800 GT for my troubles…

That’s a wish I hold ever since my wife nixed my intentions to buy one of those video cards when my 8600GT left me in the ditch. Somehow she didn’t find it reasonable for me to plop down $350 for a new card, when my old one would come back to me in a month’s time, refreshed and ready to roll once more. Hmmm, she’s right though, as much as I hate to admit it…

Matters would not be so bad if I had a replacement card lying around, ready to slip into my machine. No such luck though. All my old cards are AGP and this motherboard only accepts PCI-E.

So I have had no choice but to go back to my 2-year old rig, which has absolutely no hardware compatibilities with my current, amputated machine. This includes the SATA hard drives on which now sleep ALL my Into the Forgotten Realms files… So I can’t even access my mod files and transfer them to my new-old rig. This is especially irksome with Daronas sending in great custom content for ITFR of late, since I have no way to check it out in-game…

However, impossible to contemplate putting work on Into the Forgotten Realms on hold for 4-5 weeks of course… It’s already bad enough I have to play NWN1, because NWN2 now runs at 5 fps and under… ;)

I’m one to think there are never problems, only opportunities (well, most of the time at least…). So, I thought, what better time to work on dialogues for ITFR: there’s really nothing else I can do right now…

So that’s what I’ve been up to these past couple of weeks, when I’m left with enough energy at the end of the day to start writing.

More than anything, writing for the mod takes a lot out of me. It can be one of the most satisfying part of mod-making when I come up with something good, but getting started on a writing session really can feel like having my teeth pulled sometimes.

Part of it certainly has to do with the fact that I make a good part of my living by writing. Not high fantasy fiction mind you but strategic corporate communications.

So coming home to write some more or trying to write on the weekend (while the little ones watch Cars or Nemo next to me for the 27th time) takes a real effort of will because it can feel so much like work…

Part of it also may be that I’m not wired for a very imaginative and creative writing-style and have had no real precursory aptitude, skill or training for it. So it can require me to make an effort to short-circuit the neurons and jump-start the machine…

All that said, I’m still sometimes pretty pleased with some of my lines, but I’ve long come to the conclusion I will never write like Guy Gavriel Kay, or Zach Holbrook :) . Whether it be in my first language (French), or my second.

Bottom line: no Into the Forgotten Realms screenshots for a little while. Maybe I’ll substitute with a few dialogue lines I’ve written. I could put them in a larger typeface and in color. That could liven things up. :)

6 comments:

SirChet said...

I'm sure your dialogs, (English spelling), couldn't resist, will be great! I for one am looking forward to reading them.

btw...maybe you could buy my 8800gt, (for a nominal fee) when I pick up the 9800 in about a month. ;)

Ladyelvenstar said...

Sorry to read about your video card problems, E.C.! I know what you mean about writing dialogue and I feel the same way about it most of the time.

I am in the middle of writing the dialogue for AtTD and trying not to pull my hair out while coming up with 3-4 options for each PC response.

Hope you get the video card soon or perhaps you can strike a deal with sirchet! :)

E.C.Patterson said...

@SirChet: Thanks for the vote of confidence. And for your sweet offer. Let's discuss :).

We already have another type of deal: you're going to be the first one to see my written words (for better and for worse), I promise.

"Dialogue" may be the more common spelling of the word in Canadian English (as you can see from LadyE's post :) ). But for the mod, I'll definitely want to adopt US spelling conventions since that's where most players come from.

@LadyE: The hardware problems put a bit of a damper on the building activity that's for sure. But it's giving me an excuse to catch a bit of a breather (when I just can't bring myself to write), and play Xandurpein's Shadow of the Underdark!

One month or so sure flies by quickly nowadays though, and I'll be back to Cormanthor Forest and the School of Wizardry in what will feel like no time at all I'm sure.

Wyrin said...

One thing I like about building is the option of doing different things and not getting too bogged down on one part like the writing... but I know that's also the reason why I am not very efficient! I think you have the right approach - see it as an opportunity rather thana setback

BTW your writing from the Garden of All Evils idea/intro was pretty good from what I remember

E.C.Patterson said...

Thanks Wyrin! I'm happy to learn you thought that the GOAE text was not so bad! It certainly was a bit of work for me but I was pretty pleased with the results.

Silly Hats Only said...

So...

Any news on 'Night Howls in Nestlehaven 2'? :)