Friday, February 27, 2009

What kind of madman’s hobby is this anyway?

I’ve been spending the better part of my modding time in the past week (10 hours or so), finishing up the dialogue for one of the major encounters in Trinity.

Finishing up. This was already a 1900 word convo. But, builders, you know how it is: I needed to devise the different resolution paths (this particular encounter can be resolved in one of four different ways, including combat), script what each of these paths demanded, adjust and complete the convo to reflect them, plan and write branches for different states of that particular encounter etc. And through it all, I added barely 600 words… And I haven’t even tested it thoroughly yet.

Over a dozen hours total, counting the first 1900 words written way back, but not the area design for that encounter, the creature blueprints, the NPCs’ custom equipment etc. All this for an encounter that may last 3 minutes in total (not counting the optional quest or combat).


Am I nuts to spend so much of my free time on this?

I remember Josh/Anduraga once said on the NWN2 Forums that one had to be a masochist to build a mod, or something like that. I don’t know about masochist, but it certainly takes a certain type of person. At the root, obviously, it takes someone who is willing to dedicate huge amounts of time to a (mostly) solo creative endeavor, at the expense usually of other activities. That’s one reason I sometimes equate mod building to other solitary artistic pursuits (as a way to explain it to friends, family, wife… and myself): writing, painting, sculpting, photography etc.

For a variety of reasons, I always thought one had to be a little crazy to be an artist.

But artists also love their art. And that’s part of why they keep at it.

Same here.

(Yes, mod building is art. :) )

Have a good weekend everyone!

Monday, February 9, 2009

First-time partial run-through

I made a first-time run-through of 2 of the 3 “zones” of Trinity this weekend, which, at the pace I’m able to mod, is a milestone in itself.

There are 3 “zones” in this adventure:

1) The staging areas of Shadowdale Keep, where one gets the main quest briefing, can purchase some equipment and gets a few sidequests;

2) The Cormanthor forest areas near Myth Drannor, where a group of surface drows are stationed;

3) And Soloria, the dungeon-esque underground school of wizardry, which is the heart of this adventure, and the part drawn from Ed Greenwood's 1986 Dragon Magazine adventure called Into the Forgotten Realms.

So I played through the Keep and the Soloria parts and it took me a little over 2 and a half hours, clicking quickly through the convos for the most part. This was reassuring, since it tells me I'm probably going to reach my goal of making a 4-6 hour mod.

Now however, I've 9 pages of bugs, oddities and other required adjustments recorded for those parts. But they are small, handwritten pages, and I write sloppily. So it isn’t as bad as it sounds. Going through most of those will be my work for the next week or so, I should think.


Here are new screens showing a new VFX I’ve also been working on (in actuality it moves). It was inspired by the water reflections in underground submerged caves we visited in Mexico (that was cool!). If someone knows how I can project a texture horizontally against a wall though, please let me know.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Why mod? A quote.

I’m back. We had a great time in warm Mexico, caught somewhere between a dream and paradise.

With no computer and toolset over there, I read quite a bit and took a pretty good bite off of Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth. I needed a break from the usual medieval fantasy I read these days… ;)

I found this quote that expresses well one reason why I keep plugging away at Trinity. On and off over the last months, I’ve been building a mental list of reasons why I build. Someday it might get consigned to this place. Till then, here’s the quote. If you haven’t read Pillars, it might help to know that one of the stories in there is about a man whose lifelong dream is to build a cathedral:

“Then he thought what a thrill it would be to create something from nothing; to see, one day in the future, a new church here where now there was nothing but rubble, and to say: I made this.”