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 )