Monday, August 10, 2009

Breakin’ the 80’s

Just got back from a 2-week vacation with the family in beautiful Bic National Park and in kid-friendly Pohenegamook, which was just a short walk away from the U.S.A. (Maine).

Got a chance to work on the mod a couple of afternoons and a bit most evenings, and wrote about 3700 conversation-words, which is not bad for me. Some stuff in there is pretty ok I think. Suitably tragic and dramatic. I'll be able to send Chet a few completed convos shortly so he can turn them into proper english. Knocked off a few scripts too.

And this has decisively taken the mod above the 80% completion rate.

In March (!!) I mentioned reaching 75%. Since then, I actually broke the 80 mark a few times, but no sooner had I done so that I’d think of new assets I forgot to factor in or realized I needed a few blueprints, a couple of scripts and the like to achieve what I had in mind.

That actually happens a lot. I’ve known for a while now, in a general sense, what I want to do throughout the mod. But it’s often only when I sit down to work on a particular encounter or situation that I figure out it requires all these scripts, blueprints and dialogues. It’s not really scope-creep, more like scope-misestimating. I would have had to plan much more thoroughly to avoid that, but that would have risked killing much of my enthusiasm for modding. So I make do, and take the time to realize what I’ve had in mind.

No screenshots this time, but a few of my favorite pics taken during the trip (when the weather was not so nice...). As always, thanks for reading.


Jclef said...

Great shots, E.C., I love the first one - very atmospheric!

It's good to hear that the module is coming along. I know what you mean about overlooked requirements. What seems like a simple scene or a small quest can suddenly explode into hours of work!

Wyrin said...

I'll be honest and say I've never quite grasped how you got those figures in your charts - and as you say, given how things develop, they must be pretty fluid. You'r eright tho - it is crazy how what seems on the face of it a simple quest can balloon out of proportion when you start on it and decide you need to dynamically handle the queste states, or spawn in different things depending on quest states etc.

Pictures look great, the weather not so much!

Amraphael said...

I'm also curious how you come up with those numbers. Maybe a short post about how this project was planned and performed? Pros, cons and such. I'd be very interested and believe others also would.

Despite the gloomy weather it seems that it was a great vacation. Good pictures.

E.C.Patterson said...

Thanks guys!

To come up with the completion rate I simply enter all the assets required into an excel spreadsheet (convos, blueprints, scripts etc., sometimes bunching related assets together, and regularly adding to the list as I go along. I also add a few "required tasks" in there, like battle balancing and beta testing...) , then track their status (not started, in progress, completed/needs polish). The completion rate is the percentage of completed/needs polish assets/tasks relative to all assets.

I really could not do without this tracking list: it reminds me what needs to be done, gives me a list from which I can quickly pick what I feel like working on next, and provides me with motivation as I check assets as completed and I see the rate go up.

Of course, this isn't 100% accurate. I had a look into my mod folder the other day and saw there were 700 or so mod-specific assets in there, not counting compiled script files and multiple area files (or Daronas' custom models and my custom VFX, which I keep in override and will likely go in hak). Compare that to my list that now tracks "only" about 300 distinct assets...

You can read a little more about it in this post:

SirChet said...

Oh yeah!

Well, I got my sock drawer in order finally. heh heh

Your kids are adorable EC.

Well, back to completely changing and really messing up ... I mean working on and polishing up your dialogs. :)

Frank Perez said...

It's great to hear that you're back in the swing of things. Hooray for progress. :)

Nice photo, by the way. As Jclef said, very atmospheric.

E.C.Patterson said...

Thanks! Happy that you like the pics. And my kids. :)

Aaahh, if only my drawers, cupboards, closets, garage, desk etc. were excel spreadsheets...

Lance Botelle (Bard of Althéa) said...

That's exactly what happens to me! LOL - Just when I think I can add a percent or two, something about what I am doing ends up being added as part of the whole and so I cannot actually move the percent score on. Hopefully that will get less as time goes by and the score *will* actually move forward. ;)

And it's good to see another person who obviously enjoys their photography like I do. :) Thanks for sharing those shots. :)


Shaughn said...

Greta job on the breaking past 80%.

I am amazed at your level of organization. I've gone through two note books of scratch notes. However, my favorite form of taking notes is just stealing some paper from the printer folding it in half and jotting down bullet points, half of which I need to later decipher and decode. So congrats on the benchmark and organization.

E.C.Patterson said...

Thanks Shaughn!

I use the notebooks and printer paper too a plenty! Though mostly to take down things that need fixing as I do a bit of playtesting. I really would be lost if I kept track of all I needed to do on scraps of paper though.

Daronas said...

Sounds like you had a nice trip E.C. Of course the kids are precious. :)

Congrats on reaching another milestone. I know I still have some things to complete for you. I'll get to it. :)