Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Jakob and Whilma!

Today marks the first anniversary of Daark Twins, the mod I released for the OEI Grimm Fairy Tales mod contest. April 30, 2007, was the deadline for the contest, in which also participated builders like Wyrin, Maerduin and JClef, of course, who won the highly coveted first place prize ;).

We were given 26 days to make a 1-2 hour mod. It was a very intense and exciting experience. It was also I think a very formative event for the community at a time when it needed somewhat of a nudge.

Congratulations again to all contest participants. And thank you to everyone who downloaded and played Daark Twins during the past year.

Friday, April 25, 2008

ItFR: Bring out the WIP

What with the children party at my place last weekend for my daughters who just turned 2 and 4, the Montreal Canadiens’ 7th game wipeout of Boston on Tuesday, and the first gardening weekend of the growing season coming up, building time for Into the Forgotten Realms is at a pretty premium these days.

Thank the forces above for Daronas, who’s been sending me some nifty custom placeables, and getting me excited and motivated to scrape together some TS time in the last couple of days.

Here then is a work-in-progress shot of somewhere inside the School of Wizardry, showcasing some of his stuff.

I wish you all a great weekend!

[Edit: Here are a few more in-game shots of the same spot, before I call it a night.]

[Edit 2 - April 26 : Alright, I'm done with this room for now. Looks like the Beholder had some lunch recently...]

Friday, April 18, 2008

ItFR: Progress report card #1

This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now, as much to report on progress made in building Into the Forgotten Realms as to give me a sense of progression (or a kick in the butt, if I get no such sense… ;) )

So looking at the report card below, I’d say today that 65% of ItFR is currently underway, and that about 25% of the mod is pretty much complete. (The label “Needs polish” can be understood as my insecure way of saying “Completed”…)

The table gives the percentage of all assets for the mod that are completed or in various other stages of production, by the relative priority of each asset. Assets include areas, scripts, convos, creature and item blueprints, custom models, stores etc., basically all the components that make a mod. And they range in priority from companion blueprints and main quest areas (priority #1 – essential) to custom music (#4) to scoring system (#5 – nice to have, but good chance I won’t get there).

This report card is actually an Excel pivot table (I love pivot tables!*). It’s based on a worksheet I use to keep track of what’s to be done. I’m one who likes lists and categorizing things, as it helps me stay focussed and in control.

Most assets have been included in this list, but some have probably slipped by. Others have been combined (sets of scripts, custom items), since it’d be too burdensome to track them individually. Assets also vary greatly in scale, from the quick script and barkstring cycle, to the detailed area and companion convo. Assets are also being added regularly as the mod evolves.

Still, I find this system gives me a good sense of the work involved and a fair idea of where the mod is at.

* I love my wife too. And before anyone asks, yes, I love her more than pivot tables.

(Edit 28-04-08: As requested by Delak, here is the template of my tracking sheet)

Friday, April 11, 2008

ItFR: Theme Music!

After listening to the full Community Music Pack on my Ipod and rating the 235 songs it contains during the past several months, I have finally compiled a short list of 19 of the songs which I'll use to build the soundtrack for Into the Forgotten Realms.

The following song I have picked as Into the Forgotten Realms' official theme. It's called Arena and it was composed by Justin Durban/Edgen.



I don't know yet where or even if it will be featured in game, but this piece is the one that best reflects the vision I have of the mod, made of equal parts heroism, tension, and tragedy.

I'm thinking I'll probably use it, at the very least, in the trailer for ItFR which I intend to do down the line. It could also go into the mod as the closing credits theme. We'll see.


While we're talking music, here's another track that's at the top of my chart. It's from the upcoming Misery Stone mod. The song is by bardic superstar Lexi AKA SpeakingBeast AKA Jason Roy. It's called Calimport Kiss. Man I love this song. Brilliant stuff.

Monday, April 7, 2008

ItFR, and something to behold

I closed off work on the two areas this weekend that will represent the Twisted Tower of Ashaba in Shadowdale (thanks Hugie and Dirtywick for the info about it). I’ll be polishing the ambient life of the keep in the near future, namely the keep staff and servants who will be busying themselves about it.

The Twisted Tower of Ashaba will be the starting area in Into the Forgotten Realms.

Here are a few of the minor NPCs the player will encounter in the Tower:

Father Hargreaves, the aging former adventurer who now takes care of the spiritual needs of the keep’s inhabitants, and ministers to the less fortunate in the town of Shadowdale. He will give his blessing and gratitude to you if you bring him back some artefact from Cormanthor that could help him in his work.

Azalar Falconhand, the recently named successor of Mourngrym Amcathra as Lord of Shadowdale, who holds deep in his heart his responsibility to maintain the peace in Shadowdale and the Dalelands. The people, he earnestly feels, have suffered enough. But the burden of his office are already showing in the lines of his youthful face. He will give you your main mission.

Basil and Hardy, the clerks in the keep’s stores, from whom you will be able to get some supplies before setting off for Cormanthor. The former clerks were killed in the recent Zhentarim/Drow invasion of Shadowdale, and the keep’s seneschal was unfortunately not able to find more competent replacements. (More on Basil and Hardy in another post probably.)

And lastly, the young maids Hortense and Astrid, watched over by the keep’s matron, Garny. Hortense and Astrid have never left Shadowdale and wish they could come with you on your grand adventure.

Now, most of you are aware I’m sure of the new Beholder that just came out. I just want to tip my hat off to Jonny Ree and the Bouncy Rock gang as well as Dirtywick, not only for bringing to us something wonderful and much needed, but also for creating something that really got the NWN2 community excited (me included!). It was a great 7 days watching this happen! Congratulations on the remarkable achievement guys.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Unicorn Blueprint

Unicorn Run Screenshot Slideshow:

I just wanted to thank Daronas for designing the unicorn and E.C. for creating the unicorn blueprint in time for me to enter the Unicorn Run prefab in the NWN2 area design contest. I think Daronas did a great job at such short notice!

Here's a pic of the unicorn in use and I'll get Daronas to post his own pics when he has time. I will be using this area for the end of Act II of ATtD, which ends in a cliffhanger! :)

~ LadyE