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!


Jclef said...

Nice video, E.C.!

That area looks sweet and the pace of the conversation was right on - Switching the camera angles like you did definitely helps with 5+ nodes of information.

Make another video soon! ;D

Lariam said...

Great vid, E.C.! This is one of my "most highly anticipated" mods, without doubt. :)

Amraphael said...

I like it! Nice use of the cameras and what I saw of the story it's well written and makes me even more interested in playing this module SOON. One suggestion though. Check out the "Rogue Dao - Lip Flappers" if you don't already done so. It makes conversations so much more alive.

E.C.Patterson said...

Thanks guys! I appreciate your great comments!

j: when I hit 50% completion I plan to release a first trailer to mark the occasion. That one will be made up of edited gameplay footage. I'm slowing putting together a concept for it in my mind. Spending time on that sort of stuff might be seen as a futile distraction from mod building, but I find it an enjoyable part of the experience too, so why not? :)

lariam: That's high praise! Thanks. I am really getting a sense that this mod, if I pull it off right, might just be up your alley.

amraphael: I'm pretty confident the mod will be ready within this year. But I'll be playing Zork before I finish it that's for sure! :)

As for the lip-flappers, I haven't been a big fan so far. I had a problem, as a player, watching those lips flap without any sound coming out of them. I'll revisit them though. Perhaps my opinion will have changed. Thanks for the suggestion!

Daronas said...

Awesome E.C.!!

The maturity of the writing is what struck me. Very well done! I know the rest of the story will be done just as well.

I look forward to more videos. Your cutscene convos are top-notch.

E.C.Patterson said...

Thanks Dar! That's a very perceptive thing to say (re maturity). I've been having the feeling all along, in a very abstract way, that this mod might (might!), without too much conscious thought on my part, reflect more "mature/adult" sensibilities and experiences, for better and for worse (and I'm not talking about sex here!). So your comment really connects with me. Thanks.

mooncalf165 said...

Great video, E.C. Personally I prefer dialogue to everything else- mostly because I find words easier to fix/scrap than areas you've spent ages building up and then realise are completely awful! If you ever want to do a swap of writing for area design, you'd probably have made my month lol.

All the best,

E.C.Patterson said...

Thanks Nick!

I may just take you up on that offer one day... :) but you seem to be doing very well with areas thus far.

I think that by this point I've come to realize that my very favorite modding task is scripting. Area design is up there too, especially detailing and lighting (to which there can be no end... :) )