Nov 24, 2010


Alright it's releasing whenever it hits the vault after a sunday night upload, wether my final voice actors are ready or not. Life is too short.

Sep 27, 2010

The final week

Well thanks to some handy resources from Shaun the Mentally Unstable One, I now have 6 new vocalists to make my project come to light. This week I run through everything recommended by my players and final grammar checks.

Simultaneously, my audio soldiers will record and give life to this campaign. I'm really glad it worked out because 3 years ago when I set out, I wanted to have BG2 style voice overs all along (the sparingly used ones, and rarely in cut scene format). It's going to put the polish level in near respectability with the talent I have assembled for the often ignored audio portion of modding.

Right now I have to do some checks and balances on the combats in the tour-de-force that is chapter 3.

This is the final week for my part; just whatever time it takes for all the voices to roll in after, people have been pretty punctual with this new group however.

Sep 21, 2010

The Islander Experience

So now that Islander is complete and tested and re-completed, posts from here in will talk details.

  • Play time: 20 hours
  • Party size: 6
  • Companions: 2 forced, with 6 more to fill the final 3 spots, swappable throughout the game.
  • Level: 1 - 6 (finishing well into level 6 with exp)
  • Combat: Moderate
  • Skill use: occasional, but essential when required, few skills ignored completely
  • Traps: Average in number, but definitely requires rogue abilities
  • Weapons: 1 to 2 unique magical varients of each type featured in infinity games
  • Armor: 1 or 2 suits for each type of dexterity range, some class specific
  • Magic use: heavy. Wands and scrolls make even your low level mages more "magical".
  • Tactics: occasional, yet essential. Some encounters are really just this side of impossible without the proper plan.
  • Combat style: fairly fluid easy' common battles, with distinctly tougher bosses
  • Dialogue: lighter than average
  • Puzzles: sporadic
  • Non-combat quests: above average in quantity
  • Characters: built with personalities, light but often memorable dialogue
  • Alignment: good
  • Race/Gender: any
  • Chapters: 3
  • Custom Additions: prefab and existing custom content from the community as well as never before seen placeables created by myself, and a completely re-invented spell effects array. All the most popular spells up to level 3 have new effects.
  • Music: custom new track by Hoegbo

That's it for now...

Sep 8, 2010

Pre Test complete

One of the players in the pool has gotten through the entire campaign. The others are slower but have advanced through chapter 1 which is essentially where every issue was, as expected.

Not only have I corrected their issues but I have done some area "finishing" so to speak, making merely functional areas more realistic and bustling.

I added somethings strictly for fun and to more closely fit the Islander claim; I said there will be challenging boss combats, so I've added some where there was no "boss" character before.

Now it truly is down to voice acting only.

Aug 10, 2010

While we wait: What I have learned of the nwn2 toolset

The more I try to fix all the crap in the toolset or engine issues, the more I realize you will never fix it all, even if you waste that time. The thing about most of the bugs (primarily for my troubles and this example, initiating a conversation in a fail proof way) is that they are kind of low percentage random fails. You can't figure out why they fail so build these elaborate catches and exception scripts and then 3 people test it and it fails in two more ways.

For those who insist on using this broken product, of which there are several reasons to do so now that it has mature custom content, allow my last 3 months of hell to produce a lesson for the rest of you.

The secret cure: knowing that scripts and engine functions will work the majority of the time with random failures, place absolutely everything in question in a repetitious system. The one thing the engine has going for it is that everything has heartbeats. Using this to consistently try and re-try your intended action until it works, is the best fit way to seamless force something to work, even if a small delay gives a player pause, they will happily shrug it off and resume when it works six seconds later.

My Example:
Problem: Companion talks that occur on rest at the tavern

My approach: choose the conversation, assign it to the PC as talking to them self, and let the others join as their nodes come up

-PC failing to talk because some action bumped it
-NPCs failing to say their line for whatever reason
-future conversations not making sense because prior ones failed at some point
-Companions /roster members going scripthidden permanently because the conversation failed and the call at the end to restore them can never fire


1 - The PC now, rather than being paralyzed, scripthidden etc etc in a vain attempt to get them to actually follow their action que and converse, simply is given a begin conversation repetitiously with no delay until the PC actually accepts it.

pseudo code:
do {BeginConversationWithSelf(PC) }
while (PCNotInConversation);

I noticed that this can call the script like 2000 times a second, but it works, and as soon as the PC actually accepts and is in the conversation, it stops, satisfied that whatever failed attempts may have occured, it has suceeded now.

I do not advance the conversation "counter" until in the final node of the talk, knowing that the conversation will have executed full at that point and the next rest-conversation is now allowed. This I had in long ago however, due to the random companion failures to speak that can be addressed by this method. I use a set int on the final node of the conversation, so its not directly in the script at all when it comes to advancing the rest talk counter.

2 - Fixing the "stuck invisible" roster members

While resting or leaving the area restored "in-party" members, if a conversation broke and everyone was invisible, the roster members (out of party companions) were gone forever.

I tried and wasted about 2 weeks trying to solve this, setting them to un-invis right before a rest talk (in case they were invised by the previous one) but this was still obviously a bug, I also set it to uninvis all members at the end of the conversation, as well as entering the tavern. While re-entering would re show the roster, in the end it was a bunch of work for what was still, a bug.

Final solution: in the taverns heartbeat script, if the PC is not in a conversation, then neither can his roster members be, there fore, set all roster members to VISIBLE if the PC is in the area and not conversing:

Pseduo-code for the tavern heartbeat script:

if (PCIsInTavern)
{ If (IsPCConversing (FALSE) ) SetAllRosterMembersVisible() };

This second method rather than using an infinite while loop simply fires every 6 seconds on the heart beat. By the time the player even notices they are gone they are already reappearing.

So really there is two options for a fail safe, either an infinite loop for instant trys and re-tries or the heartbeat wait, which is 6 seconds. Note that certain commands could cause an overflow error if using the infinite loop so I recommend the heartbeat whenever possible. The overflow error doesnt appear to be fatal though, it just means the script will fail, but if you are retrying it anyway it should resume the next try once the overflow is resolved.

I got this idea from looking at Obsidian's own way of making a conversation mandatory, via the CreateIPSpeaker() function. It simply spawns an IP speaker and keeps trying it every heart beat.

No weeks of frustration, no blocks of code for every possible failure. Just a clean, single line, that keeps knocking the door till it opens. This is ultimately the best and most efficient way to deal with something you know will randomly fail, and there is nothing you can do about it.

Aug 1, 2010

Current Status

I had to rip through my game again discovering a crap pile of problems in 1 run. The 2nd run the storm kind of faded and it was just 2 things. One of which is a problem with the game itself and nothing I can fix.

So my game is zipped up, complete and playable at any point. Im trying to get people to actually do that for me while I get a couple more vocals into it.

That's where it's at.

Jul 21, 2010

Forum death

All forums nwn2 and nwn1 say "this forum is now closed"
and show a post by chris priestly at 12:57 or 12:58.

I can get to the main index but not the individual forums so I assume this is some kind of attack?

Wouldn't that be my nightmare wasting 2 years on my campaign and not even getting it out there.

Jul 17, 2010

Idle waiting: Not quite

It took about two weeks but I finally got a formal tester going and had to fix some oversights before it was worthy.

While it is being played I am doing the proverbial twice over, where you go back and touch up very old decisions with a more modern mind and skillset. Sure I've done some polish but I am also thinking about what looks more appropriate themeatically.

The townspeople all wear summer clothes so I thought the companions, at least in their unarmed outfits should as well. It was a drastic change for the dark haired companion, who's personality is pretty formal and "non-romantic" if that's the right word. But then I thought hey she could have a xena type of outlook, where she dresses a little more feminine but doesn't draw attention to it. What do you think?

Using the ever summer outfits I was also able to do a scene where one npc is taking a bath that is pretty heavy on cinematics. It's a PG game at worst, but I think showing some humanity gives it good depth.

Once you get some decent armor everyone is fully covered anyway but the companion portrait remains in the "xena outfit" for the tall female companion so it adds to the high fantasy theme I want.

Note* Fantasy yes, stupid no; there is no bikini chainmail or bottomless plate armor where the crotch/buttock area is completely exposed and people are supposed to believe it's worth 5 or more to Armor clas :/

Jun 23, 2010

Its done... I think.

An unusual set back. I finished the campaign as stated and have just been ssmoothing edges and trying to add voicings, and I am unable to get anyone to test it. Literally have heard no interest in it. And its a play test too, not a beta :(

Let this be a warning to those of you who are still months or years away from release.

May 14, 2010

Is It Done Yet? or I Hate Cliff-Hangers

I just finished the "epilogue" of chapter 3 aka the end of the game. I haven't given it an "EPILOGUE" banner screen like I did with the prologue because the tale isn't finished. But the Campaign is.

At long last I can go through it in a relaxed "brush up" pace, where I just make little improvements here and there and add nodes so your companions are less quiet. I need to send this off to my testing personnel, I'll send it as just chapter 3 so they can focus on what might actually cause problems and not what they've already seen.

I've noticed a lot of people post about hating cliff hangers or unconcluded campaigns where the author never came back to finish them. I may become one of those thanks to this ending. I'm really not sure however I do know one thing, the toolset I can marginally live with, but playing nwn2 has become impossible. I've watched the game go from a humble, smooth running original, to a bugs piled upon bugs pile of unplayable garbage two expansions in. There is no reason to believe that will ever change so like I said, a good chance I will become one of those cliff hanger authors that everyone hates. But the ending seems to fit so good :)

I would not mind getting some commentary on my cliffhanger situation. Note however, that even if I eliminated the cliff hanger it would not end the tale, as the whole concept of islander involves "growing" into an adventurer and then heading to the mainland to solve problems there, with the game ending with the voyage to the mainland. But the cliffhanger will certainly leave a nagging mystery for anyone who has been paying attention to the plot the way through.

May 4, 2010

Beyond the End of the Road

I've wasted about a week trying to get conversations to begin without possibility of interruption, still not entirely sure that's even possible.

The game ending is now finished... you can fight your way right into the epilogue, which will be fairly extravagant in my campaign, but nothing too time consuming.

I miss the days when blogspot allowed me to use links or pictures.


Apr 23, 2010

new levels of customization

Man I should have changed the UI long ago. Would have prevented me having to fit every speech into ridiculously small 3 lines or less chunks. Which would mean a lot more fluid typing and less work in the conversation editor.

At first I tried the Overland map UI as others recommended and fooled with the width to make it bigger. But even at its default size, its too big for those of you using the old 5:4 or 4:3 monitors. I want the player to at least be able to see their avatar, plus a small amount of space, even on narrow screen monitors which most of you seem to still have.

I then realized that I didn't need all that width if I just add more height, the text can wrap. I have a lot of space now, but by changing the graphic I have a smaller footprint (only 440 wide). Obviously microsoft paint is all I had, but for now its a template. But with my plainer template, I was able to go wider and longer in all boxes without it looking bad / overlapping the frame edges. So it's smaller, but bigger :)

These screens are all in 1280x720 format, as close to the 1280x1024 format everyone seems to use, as my laptop would get. It's the width that is the concern, so its completely comparable to ensure the UI is not oversized.

Even those borderline specs where people play at 1024x768 should be able to see their avatar nicely.

Since as we've discovered in my last post that blogspot no longer accepts my imageshack pictures (or any perhaps) here are links, I guess:

OLD UI (overland default)

heres a bit of a view of the scene from the prior post below. Its the gold titan, the final wave before all hell breaks loose and you die. Im saving the actual visuals (such as a giant eruption of green ectoplasm) for testers and players.

EDIT: And apparently I can't even use links, so if someone knows why the hell they all turned to blank whitespace after I post I'm all ears. All HTML I enter doesnt display and the image upload doesnt place it inside once i click done.

In the mean time I hope you don't minde triple clicking to copy these for a peek.

Apr 18, 2010

All the Colours of the Rainbow (at the end)

So as I said, I only had the two final combats to do. I decided, as it seems I always do, to do things out of order. The final combat... well it's more of a combat marathon. It could probably be it's own chapter (not quite ) time wise.

I spent the whole weekend on it and it really only functions in crude form. It works, and the unexpected VFX creations are there, but I have to give it a little more script work and polish so it plays better.

Picture if you will:

A giant wizard spires at the center of a toxic forest full of resident gaths, and evil humans and ogres arriving regularly through said spires.

On your discovery of the spires, you set up a force, as your guardian arrives with the town guard to attempt to somehow disable the spires, and until then, hold back the waves.

Before you can even begin to examine them, they snap to life, bolts of electricity crackle and flash between them and focus on the pad in the center. A massive magical hum shakes the area and an explosive portal blasts open and out marches a dozen troops. Defeat them quickly as they will be followed by more, with wizards, Dragon Age style ogres that take a full group to tackle, in 8 waves.

Then at last, your antagonist arrives. He protects himself with a chromatic field, and molds the earth using his theurgic powers. Unfortunately for you, your own mountains are rich in rare metals, and only server to make this man unbeatable. He sends metallic creations after you, that get large and more devastating with each wave.

Finally, he creates a giant titan of gold that all but devastates you, leaving most of your party dying on the ground.

Your guardian declares this antagonist cannot be stopped. But you managed to defeat his titan and rush to him, still held back by his chromatic shield.

"That was one of my pets", he states flatly. "Already your party is dying. And I have many more", and with that he summons 2 golden titans equal to the first that was all but unstoppable.

As timing has it, the portal, which had been relatively quiet, activates again, and more troops arrive...

And this is where the actual true final battle starts... :)

This is how it will (does) work and now I just have to put in the pre-amble chatter as the party sets up for the spire activation, rathern than how it is now where u just step on a trigger to make the next wave come.

Whatever shortcomings my campaign has, hopefully the ending will overcome them. I think it's a good formula really, to put your best work (where you go above your normal tolerance for polish) at the front and end.

The strong start will get people to at least play the campaign, and the big finish will be the freshest thing in their mind as they leave the experience behind. Throw a couple neat things at chapter ends, and you've got a decent reward system, where playing the game leads to great cut scenes and revelations.

Apr 11, 2010

Omptimizing Areas

Everyone has a thing or two that bothers them. For me, one of the worst is when people start sounding off on something they don't actually know. I am thoroughly convinced that 99% of the internet is based on this kind of content. So I want to clarify the issue of how to handle walkable/non walkable areas and objects in NWN2 toolset.

First of all... if you convert everything u can to environment objects and use walk-mesh cutters, you have obviously read on some optimizations and good for you.

I've heard in the past a pseudo expert tell people to cut down their walk-mesh cutter use because it slows down the game. Well imagine that, something that was designed to reduce hit detection calculations and "speed things up" slows down the game. Well it doesn't. This is what happens with a walk mesh cutter:

It is calculated during baking (which does add BAKE time) and then made into the overall mesh of "walk/don't walk" on the map. It is never calculated again in-game, it simple becomes a simple walkable/not walkable check just like the rest of the non walkable area in the map.

When to use walk-meshes:
-INTERIOR: when an object does not need to be used or hold scripts, but should still block movement, after converting it to an environment object.

I've opened many prefabs, and I'm startled to see the great, far beyond my talents, span of artwork, that is just full of 50+ walk mesh cutters in an exterior area.
While this is fine in-game, when baking these mammoth exteriors, the walk-mesh cutter calculations take longer than the final "tile" part at the end.

Using the walk-mesh cutter outside is not a good idea. They were designed for use in the interior, where you cannot alter the walk-mesh in any way, as it's all tiles.

In terrain editing, in the terrain painter tab we have two options to do this: walk and non walk. And you can paint them right down to a triangular sliver this way.

Some may say they are using walk-meshes to fit the "Exact" shape of a rather detailed object. This isn't a valid reason as objects that are more precise than a triangle on the surface-mesh, are too small for the player to walk into anyway. That is, you are being more precise than the engine recognizes.

Lastly some shadow commentary: Most of you probably know to turn off casts shadows to gains some efficiency. But in the spirit of gaining as much "loss-less" shadow reduction as possible, always turn these options off for smaller items that are already in the shadow of a larger item. Example, some rocks that are directly beneath a tree. Their shadow won't be seen anyway, so by shutting these types of shadows off, you may not have to shut off any visible ones. And thus you preserve the realism.

Generally you will keep "receive shadows on" and remove the casts shadows, and there should be no difference in the visuals. Turning receives shadows off can be dicy, as to the trained eye certain objects will look completely phony.

Once again I'd just like to say these prefabs are extreeemely artistically great and will be used well in my campaign.

Campaign Update

Well I am basically down to two areas, which are done except the two boss fights. So I guess that means I am two (major) battles from being a finished alpha test, where someone can play it to the end. After that, I just want to redo the writing because I rushed it all and am not at all satisfied with it, and add some voice acting.

Apr 7, 2010

Can anyone help?

I have a simple request. Any recommendations for software you have personally used to sucessfully recover lost nwn2 work via delete/format?


Mar 24, 2010

Modding Twilight

It's getting close to the end so I took a quick run through of the game so far. A lot of things are slightly delayed, and one broken when it comes to conversatitonal triggers. They are totally incompatible if you arent fully up to 1.23 patch so I guess I will look into those before my final modding push.

I found a really nice screenshot of the 2nd to last area that really kind of gives the high-fantasy theme, with the horizon that seems to lead into limitless possibilities. So here it is.

Mar 21, 2010

Humour in an RPG... at least I tried

The subject of humour is something I've decided to touch on due to the last hour I spent trying to make this over-bred dandy "faint" and stay fainted after you destroy his guardian in your attempt to rob his estate.

Again one of the reasons I found BG2 to be far more entertaining than, NWN2, and still more so than DoA, was the use of humour. To digress slightly, BG2 was the source of my inspiration to mod and many of the mechanics are borrowed from it, such as the party size (of 6), the NON player created companions who have actual lines to speak, and the way they speak (they talk to you when ready, it's not an issue you can force, which was another thing that kept me playing BG2 eagerly).

With DoA, I knew it was to be a dark setting but quite frankly it's too stiff. Far, far too stiff. Constant conflict and desperation at every turn offers little to play for, as you never get to stop and simply take in a scene. With humour, nwn2 made some attempt, but for too few.

I think the only really feasible style of humour given the limited animations, and dated english terms, is in using over the top personalities. And I've gone with this in a few spots, realizing my own campaign had been fairly bereft of humour outside of the bard companions dogged persistence in the sport of skirt chasing.

In the photo above, you are ending the "stealth/robbery" quest, one of my attempts at non-combat/dynamic gameplay. You end up in the master bedroom and the owner sets his magic guardian on you. Once you kill it, he passes out in fear, leaving you free to rob him blind. Probably not actually the best example of character humour, but I just wanted to use this screenshot somewhere.

This is the type of humour I never laughed at as a teenager, but as I grew up I learned to be highly entertained by the sheer "smack you over the head"-edness of the characters, who's only unpredictability is just how much MORE they fit their stereotype than you even expect. Futurama delivered me many of such moments, and it always fills me with disdain that they didn't last, while the simpsons have been on for 80 years and ran out of stuff in 1997. (I literally remember having a discussion with my high school friends that the simpsons has gotten weird and forgetable and had no more material that year). Digressed again :)

Humorous characterizations to look forward to in Islander:

-A sociopathic gnome sorceror (companion/death threatener)
-A "charlie sheen+shakespeare" hybrid bard with a penchant for the party's cleric
-A "valley girl" beholder with verbal diarhea
-A twitchy dwarven rogue who quakes in his boots at any sign of trouble

I think at this point I might continue releasing details of exactly what Islander is about. I wasn't going to, but then I realized of all the 4 people who read this it isn't really going to spoil anything.

I will be finishing the final area/battle of chapter 3 and releasing it to a tester who has already tested 1/2 to see how it goes. And then that's it. No further development, I will fix up what is broken, finish the unpolished areas and add the companion conversations (I'd say about 15 hours work would cover all that).

Mar 20, 2010

Where have I been?

Well in point form:

After windows 7 I was unable to patch and I even have a new laptop with vista 64 that wouldnt patch for a week.

Got the vista 64 laptop working at least.

Bought a midi keyboard to make some custom tracks. Little did I realize there were thousands of dollars to pay to get any decent sounds, so I'm working on mostly solo pieces like a piano only form of chamber music and things like that.

Did not realize how amateurish my piano keying ability was so I'm practicing before I record anything but I do have a pretty suitable little bit written out for an mansion theme.

I asked in the forums how to do soz style nwn1 dialogues and with speaker switching. Did not get an answer to my surprise maybe one of you know? And if so do I have to make cohorts to switch speakers or can companions be used?

Feb 16, 2010

Saw a great medeival "B" movie today

I'm just piping in to spread the word of a really good 2009 movie I saw on the movie channel today. It was two near two hour parts, they played back to back.

It appeared it was a made for tv type of movie, Knights of Bloodsteel, total time 240 minutes.

Apparently it was also made here in Canada so yay for us. Despite its low budget as a TV movie thanks to CGI and bigger budgets, it actually stands up as a theater movie in terms of effects and sets, there's just not millions of huge action scenes like LOTR or something.

I recommend watching. A really unique spin on goblins and other races, I won't spoil it more than that. Mose notably about it is it stars Davide James Elliot (aka J.A.G.)
and Christopher Lloyd (the scientist of back to the future(s) movies)

Feb 11, 2010

Tired of NWN2... really.

Be forewarned this is pretty much a flat out bitch, but I am also trying to get something fixed so you may want to skip to the end.

For the entire span of my NWN2 history I have always had to deal with annoying shit that shows me why I will never buy atari trash again. However, having already began many months (and upgraded hardware) to make a big campaign, Im stick with what I have till my project is at least out. But as a player Ive always had to deal with my character jerking all over the place in game to the point where it was unbearable. Then I figured out a spyware scan would reduce it, until it got bad again. Until...

... the 1.22 patch and beyond. Now the problem is 100% of the time, is unrelated to spyware and even persists on brand new computer installations, I'm talking 3 diff windows versions, xp to 7, different computers, desktop, laptop, a diff laptop. And its no longer spyware related. Some of you have experience the weird lag where you run halfway across an area and then warp back to the start. It seems to be interrelated and I get that too, but also, every single time I stop running my character jerks all over the damn place. Its a major piss off and the only reason I could tolerate it is because I mostly mod, o nly going in to test briefly.

But its so bad now I cant ignore it. I cant test my own work on a theif quest because the jerky movement makes my character run out of hiding on his own. Theres a big thread for others with the problem:

A quick summary: we determined that a revert to v1.21 stops it. And I was doing that, until... I spent an entire saturday trying to figure out why my speak triggers are f*cked and then I tried the game on my laptop which is 1.23 and they work fine. So yet another day of my life wasted on what should be an instant task, and I have honestly lost track of how many times Ive done this one stupid script that atari left to the wind without telling anyone and I lost a day of life screwing with what should be automatic but I DIGRESS.

So what I am asking here if anyone can volunteer, do you have the problem or not, and either way, what is the main details of your comp, processor, vid card, windows version, DX? Thanks for any reports here.

In my own attempt to do more than my share to get this piece of shit working since obsidian obviously wont, I disabled virtually EVERY service and app and the bug still persists. There was even critical windows processes disabled!

To be honest as much as I hate further using this abomination, I have a lot invested in it and it finally has enough custom content that would make a great sequel. But with what I've seen even before this bug Im about ready to pack my bags for dragon age the second I release. I can't even give proper due to my fellow modders as this bug stops me from enjoying other mods, I tried Trinity recently. The only way I can get them to play smoothly is in v1.21 and with the random bugs it seems to cause i cant tell if its a legit bug to report or my fault for having an old version. But I'm really at my wits end with this shit and pretty much regret starting my campaign 2 years ago.

Feb 7, 2010

Brief report

Well I am just working as usual, on weekends only. I've taken a run at one of the larger items on my list and once I figure out why my triggers are bugged it's done. I seem to have contracted some kind of strept throat or something so Im a little lazy.

In other news my college may go on strike in a few days so maybe I will have the time for a power surge to the project completion then.

Jan 30, 2010

The work update, random thoughts on Dragon Age

Well I have itemized all the work I need to do before the test release as promised. Still need to polish the game then, but it will not stop anyone from fully testing. And while they are testing I will do the voicings, load screens, and touch up of areas left a little bare like the big mountain lake and mountain pass. And of course balance the combat one final time based on the results of the testers.

So that's my list. I figure for each item listed its doable in one sit down, which is about 3 hours, assuming I don't screw around. I'm hoping the list helps this. I already crossed some out today as you can see.

Just a random thought and then a random pic to keep the entries interesting.

Dragon Age: Isn't it a little stupid with its overuse of blood? I mean it's dark, we get it. The blood combat is fine, but the fact that my party can't be bothered to wipe blood splattered all over their face off after hours of travel, and even flirt with each other, STILL covered in blood is more than distasteful. And the blood dripping all over the map when we travel? Geeze, settle down there bioware.

Now some random images: I have created iron elementals

They look like they are hitting hard and they do. They are almost impossible to injure with weapons as well, so after a test, 3 was clearly too many at once.

Who is this thing anyway? Probably will never be seen outside of playing the entire game cause I think I'll refrain from spoiling ALL the coolest areas with preview shots when I put it on the vault.

Jan 26, 2010

Quick updates: a work breakdown

It's time to instill some direction and finality to these last stages of completion.
I'm going to create and post an itemized list and then we'll all know where I'm at cause I'm sure it would show some promise for a rather obscure deadline.

I had some fun making a really cool boss fight at the end, but the VFX are being a piece of s-h, they just simply refuse to delay the sounds and end the visuals when I specify. Just another bug in this piss poor toolset. I honestly want to create one sequel to this project, but I can honestly say if I do/do not, I will never buy this atari quality garbage ever again. I can count probably.... 20 or so weekends I spent screwing around with 1 buggy thing, or making work arounds etc, and I'm now fairly convinced my project should have been very close to the 6 months I originally estimated.

Ah, once again I modded heavily for one day and my eyes are absolutely killing me. I can't pick up a laptop for 2 minutes to type this without immediate constant pain. There must be something really wrong with my orbs when it comes to view digital screens. I'm ok for three hoursish a day, once I try to push it I can't do anything computer related for a week or more. It's like the cords are snapping off behind them. Ironically I have VERY good ergonomics and sit back about a full foot farther than most do, if not more. I can also see fine print VERY well. It just hurts when I do it too long.

I need to focus on schoolwork anyway for the weekdays but I can't look at computers there either.

Jan 23, 2010

A little of this and that... final area

I'm still working on the big finish, as usual I am wishing I had done everything in order, as going back certainly sucks when you have the end in sight. On that note I'm doing a few things to keep it interesting, the latest, I created a gauth beholder by modifying the beholder abilities to be "less lethal", less numerous and less frequent. And now we have a tidy CR 6 gauth beholder.

These are just images from the final area (a collection of 2 or 3 areas depending on how you view it I guess)

Ive also got an idea to make mirror image look more like it should... just using a card board humanoid figure and having it appear around the caster in numbers of 4 to 6. I'll post it when I do it.

And I did....

Jan 21, 2010

Title: Where Have I Been ? or.... Almost Broken Monitor

Well obviously school has started back up and I have limited time for much other than tying the knots that finish this thing. There isn't much if any room at all for any new areas or other time consuming creations.

Fortunately even with this constraint, I was able to find a perfect fitting prefab to make a small side-area that ties together and adds intrigue to the larger area it branches from.

It's a pretty cool little distraction to the combat heavy, IWD style combat crawl that is chapter 3. Who doesn't enjoy an audience with wise elder trees. It worked in Family Guy.

I am doing my best to cut things smaller and tighter without cheating the player out of play time. The reason it is so critical for me to do this fast is that I don't multi-task well: when projects become active at school, I have a hard time focusing on hobbies. When I'm concentrating on modding, the same is true and so I hope to have it done and enjoy my freedom. Even once I am done the playable game right to the end, there is some work to be done with voice actors so I cannot possibly streamline things too much.

I bought a HD enclosure for an unused HD and have been using it to do a back up every few days. I cannot stress enough how valuable this has been as I lost the largest area of chapter 3 to corruption and was this close to doing serious damage to something when I remembered my new backup system. (Likely the only thing I would have damaged would have been my interest in the campaign ever finishing :) )

I'll do my best to shake my natural tendencies and keep at this for a quick but complete end to the campaign.

Jan 4, 2010

"Reflections" of a builder

So in finally getting reflections to work, I got an idea. Probably someone else has thought of it but I dont care because I came up with this on my own. I saw nice polished/reflective marble floors when playing the Witcher, and I thought too bad nwn2 cant do that. Then I thought hey maybe it can.

With a water height level of .05, pure white coloring, absolute stillness and reflection power of about 1.1, and a .4 bias I have nice elegant looking polished floors:

If you are going to do this, be sure to elevate rugs to a height of .1 or they will reflect too and that aint not good!

To answer other questions, my problem with the reflections was that it was counter intuitive. I assume when the "bias" setting says: refractions / reflection in that order, you slide right (towards the word "reflection") to reflect more, and vice versa. Since I never tried much lower than .8 and had very little reflection I would then crank it to 1.0 and basically never got reflections.

As for the polish settings, I started out a lot higher and it got a little weird and kind of had a buggy multiple tiling blur. The settings I have are probably the most you want for polished floors. The odd weirdness occurs like black tiles at certain angles but for the most part is passes quickly and is worth the effect.

I had forgotten I left two quests in the lurch in chapter 1. So there's some fun doing extra work. But then again, I had an idea for an interesting encounter with a certain high end creature, and there's no reason he cant be in one of the quests rather than on his own at the end of chapter 3.

Black looked particularly slick in game, when everything is moving.

Jan 3, 2010

Eye strain

If anyone is familiar with using the computer too long (Im sure you are, but its something I like to avoid) I can definitely say its not worth it for the extra few hours of modding in 1 day. It's been three days since I beat dragon age (all in 1 long day) and my left eye hurts so bad I can hardly sit down at a monitor for 10 minutes. Hope this stops soon or theres no way this project will finish.

I've got to thinking, and I don't see why combining ideas from two outdoor areas into one can't be done. I will get to use both ideas I wanted, and not have undue extra work. By my estimate the 9 days I have left will accomodate ONE large are from scrap not counting scripting and encounters. Since I have the area largely done, but none of the extra, it's time to finish this thing. Every time I think I am adding one little thing I want another and another so it stops here.

I got the reflective water to finally work (counter intuitive toolset settings nice isn't it?). I also yanked up the vertical on the mountains the way I really wanted it, so you can compare this to the pic in the previous post and see how much greater it is!

I am having a lot of trouble with the lake edges. I've cleaned it up quite a bit already but I am finding it impossible to find settings that will make a nice uniform rounded edge. I think I need to use a little large brushes than I had been, but there's still several around. I never could keep sharp edges from popping up in my exteriors which is why I have avoided them. I wonder what the magic trick is though.

And just for fun is a sneak preview image of the final area (yes I've decided its final, first it was then it wasnt, now reality has set in lol )