Friday, May 30, 2008

ItFR: Blabla Bla Blabla

by E.C.Patterson

As I hinted at before, dialogues – and, in general, writing – is the aspect of mod building I find the least fun. I think part of it is because it’s much too much like work for me (I write most of the day already to make a living… albeit in a different language).

These days though, I’ve been pushing myself to get on with the writing for Into the Forgotten Realms. It’s not going to be an especially long mod (about 4-5 hours), so I’m not writing an epic novel. But still, there’ll probably be somewhere around 40 to 50 conversation files of varying length in the mod. I’m figuring at this point they should total about 35 000 words or so (as the PowerBar plugin counts them). That’s about 100 typed pages, which is really not nothing when you think about it.

This type of stat really brings home what a colossal endeavor even a little mod like this is. I’m all the more amazed at those like Wyrin (who's now got 2 parts down of his 5-part DA campaign) and Dirtywick (whose word count for SoT2 boggles my mind) are able to pull off such huge projects.

ItFR is at about 12,000 words right now, so there is some way to go still on that front. Thankfully, SirChet’s there to help with editing, ensuring the writing sounds like genuine English.

That said, writing, in spite of being somewhat of a chore, is oddly as well the most satisfying part of mod making – when it’s over and done with. I enjoy better re-reading what has been written (when it’s not so bad) than viewing a detailed area over again, say, or going over a complex script.

Here then is a bit of a sample of writing so far for ItFR.

Screenshots really don’t do convos justice. So, taking a cue from LadyE’s fun trailer for ATtD1, I put together a little video.

It shows the speech delivered at the beginning of the mod by the current Lord of Shadowdale, Azalar Falconhand, as you and other selected adventurers appear before him in the great hall of his keep, the Twisted Tower of Ashaba. It basically sets up the premise for the mod.

View streaming video
(Duration: about 4 1/2 minutes. If the text is not clear enough, try the download version)

Download video
(Size: 18MB. It’s the smallest I was able to make it while keeping the text mostly legible. Let me know if it’s still too hard to read though. )

BTW, if anyone notices things that don’t make sense in respect to established FR lore, please, by all means, point it out. That would be a huge help.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Small Vacation for GPS Members

Last Monday night 5/19/08 I was able to pry a couple of the hardworking GPS producers away from their passions and lure them into an adventure over at The Dawn of Time, (a persistent world for NWN2) .

I was very happy to see our own LadyElvenstar pick up her mace and stand side by side with EC's ranger and my dwarf fighter. Together they met royalty, bargained for information with thieves, fought their way through dark and dangerous dungeons, and even found a talking Ogre, (who wasn't very friendly) but in the end...all survived, just slightly less for the ware.

I think a short reprieve from the hard work these folks put into their creations was and will always be needed. It's all too often that we forget this is supposed to be fun, a hobby if you will, and we all end up getting too caught up in deadlines. I certainly recommend an excursion like this to any and all of the members of the NWN2 community.

I hope to see all the members of GPS taking a break and coming over, I will make sure a good time is to be had.

Friday, May 16, 2008

ItFR : just hit 35!

By E.C.Patterson

A bit less than one month ago I introduced you to my flashy progress report card for Into the Forgotten Realms. I reported then that ItFR was about 25 % complete. I’m happy to say it’s closer to 35 % complete now, even after adding a few elements along the way. I’m happy with the progress made, even though I wish it could proceed faster. But the only way that could happen is by cutting a few corners, and that’s something I’m loath to do at this time.

Most of the progress made was in conversations (with the help of SirChet, who has begun editing some of them), custom content (thanks to the great contributions from Daronas) and scripts. Areas have also progressed well, but since they are still in the works, they haven’t yet been chalked up.

The goal now is to complete 10-15% of the mod every month. With the past month’s experience, that seems like a reasonable workload, unless, of course, priority GPS projects like A Time to Die 1 or NHIN2 require more of my attention… :)

To close this off, here are a few simple toolset shots from ItFR that I like: one is of the school of wizardry’s library; another, of one of the treasures to be found, from a perspective impossible in game (that’s in the room with the beholder – which I’m now planning to turn into a Death Tyrant); and the last one, of a “simple” hideaway…

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Night Howls in Nestlehaven Review Posted

As some may know, our little family of modders started as Team NHiN, (Night Howls in Nestlehaven). Well, being that the lead for that project has been struck by real life issues, and won't be contributing as much as he used to for a while. I thought it would be proper to let everyone know how NHiN faired with the Neverwinter Reviewers Guild.

NHiN was well received and scored rather high in my opinion. Why not take a look for yourself the link is .

I believe JackyO123 to be one of the most talented modders I've been fortunate enough to work with since I've been involved in the NWN2 community.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

ItFR : Secret, secret, I’ve got a secret

By E.C.Patterson

I’ve been able to get some good, quality time with the toolset during the past few days, especially on Saturday. Grandma took the girls with her for most of the day, which gave my wife and I some free time alone… which we each spent on our respective hobbies ;)

I spent much of my time that day working on some of the secrets that will be part of Into the Forgotten Realms: secret door, secret compartment in nearby object and secret compartment in the floor.

The latter two are working great, but I’ve had one important issue with my concept for the secret door. See this thread for the details. It seems like I’ll have to implement the tried and true “VFX spawn” method or the alternative “Placeable door spawn” method. Too bad. I really had high hopes for this secret door concept of mine.

I’ve also been able to flesh out, in my mind at least, the backstories of three of the four companions, as well as the one of your “nemesis” (known as Gaion), including their respective “secrets”. I still haven’t come up with an interesting backstory and motivation for Thelvar, the fearless Turmian cleric of Tymora (otherwise known as Mr. 3T ;) ), but that will come when I turn my mind to it.

And lastly, I moved the design of this area forward quite a bit. This is an interior area made with Kivinen’s roofless version of the cave tileset, retextured with the texture RWS used for the chasm tiles in the Deep Halls tileset. I’m not sure if the glow spider will make it into the final version, but I really like how its glow map looks. :)

Oh, and I also made some useable latrines ;) (with the help of Heeds' ActionSit). No these are not essential to the mod, but they should trigger a funny bit of companion interaction, if you don't sufficiently value your privacy... ;)

I now plan to be off the toolset for the next couple of nights (if I can resist the urge...) to beta test Dennis Graf's Price of Honor. I'm looking forward to that.