Monday, December 24, 2007

Foraging for my Christmas supper

I was interested to see in Maerduin's Harp and Crysanthemum how he's implemented a systems to allow players to collect plants and extract medicinal/alchemical properties. Something I've been dipping into whilst I work on chapter 2 was a herbalism system, inspired in part by the work in Masters of the Wild and druidic infusions - but now looks like I was beaten to the punch ;). Whilst the scientist inside me cannot stand the credence given to homeopathy, I do love the science behind some of the medicinal properties of plants, and how they came to have folklore associated with them.

So I've currently got a collection of 21 placeable plants/fungi, with 21 associated herbalism products (snuff, oils, teas, warding brooches) that can be gathered by PCs with the correct skills. I'm basing the herbalism check on a balance of Survival and Craft:Alchemy - some will require more than the other. For example - you find some Goosegrass or Kelp and think that the sticky mass of frond would make a good impromptu tanglefoot bag - gathering them requires a better knowledge in Survival than Alchemy. Knowing that Ginseng can be infused into a draught and heighten the drinker's awareness and insight - that requires more alchemical knowledge.

I've also included the option to coat your weapon in some items - extracts of acidic green slime, oils from frosty brown mold, and spores from fire lichen. These add a temporary elemental damage to a weapon - handy for low magic settings to add some variety.

Some screenshot examples below. I'll likely add more to the 21 as time goes by. Suggestions welcome!

So, just closed the toolset for the last time before Christmas - tomorrow I'm chef and host - got a huge rib of beef to roast. Am hoping to get some more modding done before the new year, and the dreaded return to work. Also, want to finish Lorft's Wintervall mod - from a quick play it's full of the same wry humour as Cry Wolf. I know Nalencer was planning a holiday release too - EDIT - now looks like it's shelved! :(

Wishing all the NWN2 community a very Merry Christmas - may the players get the mods they wish, and may the modders get the inspiration they need!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Quick update

Well, I'm due a fortnightly update on the forums so I'll keep this brief (easy as there isn't much to report!)

Wrote my first cutscene in a while as previously been focusing on areas, and scripting - man, i'd forgotten how long they can take, including all the conditionals to get the companion interjections right, adding speaker tags... But think it was worth it - the first key sidequest, and it plays a lot on the companion interactions, so there's lots of opportunities where a player will be winning influence with one, but losing it with another. Which will ultimately change the game experience (I hope!). Got some more conversations sketched out on paper to type up - I tend to type on the fly with only rough thoughts planned, and I know when i do write these up, new ideas will come in to play.
Also been playing with the VFX editor (major kudos to Amraphael who is a major talent in custom content, and has been helping me out). It's more simple than I thought, but part of me wishes i hadn't found a new toy in the toolset to play with when i need to focus on plot! Will post details later.

Played H&C. Wow. Nuff said.

Updated the blogroll - I'd encourage any reader (hello...?) to look around these just to get a feel for the hard work going on out there. The dedication and talent out there is great.

Patch 1.11 up - and like others I'm going to wait before looking into this, given some of the reports on the toolset. I think 1.10 has got the toolset about as functional as I'd like - and unless there's new content, I'm not keen to change it too much right now.

More general news... after Robert Jordan's death, it's now sad to report that Terry Pratchett has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. My science background is in neurodegneration, so I know a fair bit about this disease. He's never been an author I've gone out of my way to read, but what I have read I enjoyed and he's got an impressive catalogue. I've also played in enough campaigns DM'd by his fans that I've vicariously picked up on all his humour anyway. Great to see he's taking the news with his usual stoic humour.

Right... convinced my girlfriend to go visit her relatives tomorrow, which gives me a day's uninterupted toolset time to get something worhtwhile to report to the forums... >:o)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

New Companion: Zabados

Not much progress recently, as work has been a nightmare, and on top of everything I've had a nasty bout of flu (boy, do I regret turning down the free vaccinations work offers us...). One thing that has happened is a final decision on the new companion I've been umm-ing and ahh-ing about for the past couple of months


Aquatic Half-Elf

Figher/Warlock/Invisible Blade (player can multiclass him freely between these)

Follower of Eldath

Without giving too much away, Zabados is met near the start of Chapter 2 and will join the party is treated correctly. Zabados spends much of his time with his twin sister, a druid named Lashandra, helping her defend her sacred grove of small rock pools on the shoreline. Zabados seeks to avoid fights and confrontation if at all possible, but when threatened he can prove an adept warrior. Rather than fight openly, Zabados prefers to make intelligent calcualted strikes, then retreat; a favoured tactic is to inflict some bleeding wounds on an opponent with his knives, then retreat and wait for the sharks to to sense, and deal with, the threat. In this way, he feels he can still honestly follow the spirit of Eldath's teachings. He does this not so much for his own allegiance to Eldath, but also for his sisters strong faith in the deity.

Zabados will develop into a romance option for female PCs, bringing him into conflict with Seich, a conflict exacerbated by their respective choice of deity. With male PCs, he might prove a rival for Contessa's affections.