Thursday, May 31, 2007


Having a minor crisis of faith about the module at the moment. It's due to several reasons. I'm finding getting back to building slow and quite difficult - and working on long conversations that ultimately only take up a minutes gameplay makes it difficult to feel like things have progressed much. Take yesterday - all i got done were two speak triggers and two-and-a-half conversations, and two group scripts. Oh, and an hour playing with an NPC stats until just ending up deciding they were best as they were before i changed them. For a days work, thats a bit depressing. However, its part of the problem of the story-based mod....

Another issue is my nature to question what I've done and to be quite critical of it. I'm worried these confusions are coming across, particularly as I write the conversations - some I'm worried don't flow too well and maybe my confusion is coming across in them. And all this leads on to me worrying that I'm wasting time (a considerable amount of time given how long developing takes) on somethign that wont be well received or match the vision I have.

But that's enough emo-angst from me for now; build through it, publish and be damned! Now on to Maruts. They are inevitables, creatures of logic hailing from the Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus. Fantasy robots with specific missions. The Maruts punish those who cheat death - their motto is 'Everything must die eventually'. And as you have just risen from the dead, you've popped up on their radar! I've made Marut Alpha and Marut Omega using a tinted/scaled iron golem as the base, and given them their fists of thunder and lightning weapons. I plan on these being recurring 'villains' - retreating back to Mechanus to plan a new attack. I'll pop up some screenshots later. I've always like dth econcept of inevitables as the ultimate planar lawkeepers, and am looking forward to scripting the encounters

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

World Map

Completed a world map for modules 1-4 of he Dark Avenger campaign.

Used Hexmapper - a nice little utility that can be used to give maps the old school feel. Trying to decide if I should try and set the mod in FR or not... debate is happening on the forums

Thursday, May 24, 2007


OK, taken a bit of time off building since the rush of the contest and generally being busy. Also spent a bit of time playing jackyo123's Night Howls in Nestlehaven beta release - full version will be up soon and likely get into the top list. Great to see a very fleshed out module&plot and impressive amount of work has gone into it - evven with all the niggling little issues that beta testing throws up but are hard to get the motivation to bother with. It's also been open beta'd via the NWN2 forums, which has been good to see people pulling together to see it released. Good luck to him with it.
But have got back to Dark Avenger in the past week. Found it hard to dive in and sat with the toolset open but not acheiving much sometimes. Had one scare crash during a conversation (huge dialog). Lost 2 hours work but fortunatly doesnt seem to have corrupted anythign else
OK, Flashbacks. As I mentioned this is how I'm planning on opening up the roleplaying experience. You start as someone returned from the dead and due to where your soul went when you died (The plane of Hades - from D&D canon - strips souls of emotion, ambition and memories). And what I want to do in the game is give the player the chance to customise his experience - build his relationship and motivation for the whole adventure, by selecting a series of flashbacks during conversations.

These flashbacks define your personality, how you treat toehrs, and ultimately define why you have been raised formthe dead and why you were killed. THis way, each player will have his own impetus and drive to complete the quest. I think its a fun way to do this, enriches the roleplaying experience and hopefully it will work out well. Just means a lot of dialogue writing.
Posted a discussion about companions on the NWN2 forums - upshot is that I'm going to have to add an extra companion, and rejig the skills/feats of an existing one. Nothing too major, but good food for thought in that discussion.
Next time, I'll post some screen shopts of work so far, and outline a recurring encounter - the Maruts!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Dark Avenger 1

OK, so first test module out of the way, toe dipped in the water, a few bites, ego suitably stroked, it was time for the next project. My own story. Although i'd enjoyed following a 'script' with PotSP in that i could follow the written module, I'd become keen to try from a blank canvas, and towards the end of building PotSP, several ideas were circling round my head. And thus Dark Avenger was born.

To be honest, even now I still have doubts about the idea; mainly as it hints at what a sad old wannabe-rocker I am. Dark Avenger is a song by the band ManOwaR, a heavy/power metal band who often used to be pictured in animal furs and with swords. Bit of a joke to some, but I do love many of their songs - they do good battle metal such as their retelling of the fall of Troy. And they also hold the title of loudest band in the world.... but enough rambling...

Dark Avenger opens, as all good epic metal songs do, with a slow narration, by the great actor Orson Welles. It tells of a man wronged and murdered, spurned by the Underworld and sent back to seek revenge. It's something that has always captured my imagination. In doing the introductory sequence to PotSP, I'd seen some of the cinematic feel you can give a module. So I decided to use the narrative from Dark Avenger as the introduction to my new module. A bare bones from which I could build a great story about revenge. A dark feel, playing a little with tones such as inner battles between good and evil; revenge brings out the darker side of the personality, and can the PC keep that in check? Revenge can affect more people than those immediately involved, creating a cycle of revenge. All great themes to play with.

Next time, I'll post on my Flashback idea - how the player can create his own story.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Obsidian Entertainment module contest

So, as I was starting my first major project that wasn't tinkering wioth the toolset, and that had some sort of thought/overall strategy behind it, a module contest was announced on the NWN2 forums. The theme; "Grimm Fairy Tales". The catch; one month to finish it in.

At first, I wasn't too interested - I'd started something else, and I was no way experienced anough to try this. But then I allowed myself one day playing with the toolset and seeing what ideas I came up with based on this theme. And I found one I actually quite liked - one that would be linear enough to be done in the time. And thus, A Walk in the Woods was born.

The module chose a selection of fairy tales, each to be encountered and played out in turn, amid the back drop of a race to save Prince Charming from an evil spell. As a kid, I'd seen so many Disney films so many times, I was quite influenced by them; the evil witch Melificent is from Sleeping Beauty, and the finale to the mod was (intended to be) similar to that cartoon

I was quite happy with the mod - annoyingly, some changes werent saved or fully ironed out i nthe final version for the contest deadline, so there aree some bugs with the ending. But the flow, the mix of adventure and hack-and-slash, and the writing I was pleased with. I think I've got the nack of doing interiors, but my exterior areas still lack something... I've not used any of the NWN2 plugins to help with these and might have to investigate . I'd learnt somethings from doing the contest too - things about the way I build, so I've taken something from it at least

I was suprised how many contest entries there were. And all seem to be good work (being new to the modding scene, I wasnt sure if 70% would be some 13 year olds effforts at cramming in as much l33t-speak and b00b1es!!1!! as possible), and all have strong plus points. Not really proper ettiquette to comment specifics about other contest entrants (although i think the winner was clear after only a few days...), so I'll leave detailed thoughts for now. Apart from, one thing I noticed was sometimes an underappreciation of people playing non-optimal or non melee builds. I like to try wierd builds and mods are the perfect place to do it. But some don't cater to this. Not just contest entries, but also existing modules. Maybe this is just a personal thing...

Next update - I'll introduce Dark Avenger, my work-in-progress, with maybve some screenshots

Friday, May 04, 2007

First post

Welcome to my blog
Been lurking on a few other NWN2 builder's blogs and seen it as a good way to keep diaries of their work. So with the module contest ofver and the dust settling, I thouhgt I'd start keeping an account of my thoughts as I build my next module, "Dark Avenger"

I'd played with the toolset in NWN1 a little, mainly to sketch out places for my online D&D campaign "Vanfein's Crossing". But it was only with the NWN2 toolset, I really tried to make something playable.
  • Palace of the Silver Princess - this was my first attempt. I chose to do a conversion of a pen-and-paper module for the main reason that everything was ready prepared; all I had to do was translate it to the game. Having since started working on my own ideas, from a blank canvas, I've only just realised how much help it is having something written down ion front of you. In terms of acheivement too - doing a module conversion of a dungeon, you can cross of each room as you go.
  • Sadly, POSP got the dreaded corruption as I neared completion. All in all I was quite happy with is as my first attempt, and on the whole, the reviews have been positive and fair (perhaps generous, but i won't complain). The cutscenes generally worked as i wanted, and give it a nice feel, I think. But my biggest lesson from doing POSP was that I needed to learn how to script if i wanted to really take things further...
  • What's Bugging Costen - when i first started building, I had grand schemes for converting years worth of DMing D&D into a campaign for NWN2. My biggest lesson from this was definitely; limit your scope. As I started, it quickly dawned o nme just how big and complex it can get. Putting in non-linear quests, keeping a decent cast, writing engaging converations. All took much longer than expects. I released a small setion of the work I'd done as a mini-module - to showcase my ideas, and the campaign. Sadly, it's only a small reflection of what could have been.

So having learnt about limiting my scope, and the need for notes/preparation, and buoyed by some positive reviews, I set about my current project Dark Avenger.

And then the Obsidian module contest was announced...