Sunday, January 27, 2008

Skype Live NWN2 Builders Forum

I've been kindly asked to join a panel discussion entitled "Modules in Development", so...

Set your reminders for February 10th at 8:30 pm or 20:30 Eastern Standard time -05.00 (US & Canada) - that's ~1.30-2.30 am on my side of the pond!

The Neverwinter Nights podcast is bringing together a crew of NWN2 builders around a virtual table (note to self - check for bombs underneath...) for a panel discussion about all things NWN2 modding. We'll be talking about the modules we have in progress, as well as other aspects of building and playing modules. I'm going to be in some illustrious company:
  • Nalencer - who last month shelved his Siege of Avalon project to work on his own ideas in the northwinds Trilogy, which seem to be coming along really well.
  • Ernie Noa - author of several great modules including the nostalgia fest Keep on the Borderlands, and currently working on his Hythum series for NWN2
  • Amraphael - the guy who's creativity and willingness to make custom content to bring his ideas to life rather than avoid it is making his Zork conversion look jaw-dropping
  • Raith Veldrin - who's soon to release an impromptu part 2 to his Sands of Solvheil series, based in his own really interesting custom setting, and some great area backdrops
  • Delak - who's working on a conversion of Idylls of the Rat King, which I've never played so quite keen to see this
  • LadyElvenstar - who's busy scurrying between her 'A Time To Die' project and working with Gaming Parents Studios on various things including the sequel to jackyo's Night Howls in Nestlehaven (and i struggle with just the one project!)
  • Stygius crew - including the NWN Podcast team plus Jason Roy, module contest winner, working on some modules with some great art and custom content
Phew! From that list, it's pretty obvious I was only asked along to bring the beer and pretzels ;)

The discussion is being run using Skype and anyone interested can log in and ask questions - by voice or text. So, come February 10th at 8:30 pm or 20:30 Eastern Standard time -05.00 (US & Canada) sign into skype and use this private link to join in the fun!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Planning pays off!

After all that planning, I feel like I made a ton of progress over the weekend - which in turn makes me feel a lot more positive about it all.

  • New options to develop Briars - not many's favorite companion, but the sidequest I'm finishing exploring his past fleshes him out, and depending how things are handled, the player can open up new class options and bring him out of his shell
  • New party management system - using the roster and limiting party size, and meaning that which companions are with you on which quests has more impact - and ultimately improve replayability. Will retro-fit into Chapter 1.
  • New creature - Caller in Darkness - using a custom vfx (from the skills Amraphael taught me in making a Ragewind). Will tie off the horror quest nicely.
  • Cutscene 1 finished - involving 2 different ways of approaching it, and 3 different outcomes I was dreading this (put it off for 3 months!), and a big weight off my mind to have out of the way. Took most of my toolset time over the weekend to script and work out the various paths
  • Cutscene 2 finished - leading to an ambush, which is hopefully simple but effective, and has a nice visial segment to it
  • New monster scripts in place - to tie into some cutscenes I'm still working on
  • New custom items
  • Area touching up/polishing

Might not seem much, and there isn't much to show for it visually, but for me that's a big hurdle out of the way. But what's got me more upbeat, is that in the midst of my daily commuting daydream this morning , I had a flash of inspiration for an amazing idea that should be simple, elegant and effective. Can't beleive I hadn't thought of it before. I'll save the details for some other time.... ;)

Friday, January 18, 2008


Been taking more time to plan rather than actively build over the past week - it helps put things in perspective, and i now have a list of things i should tackle in specific order - I think just being able to cross things off the list will help feel like I'm progressing. I carry around a little blue jotter, which i use to write notes, plans, draft conversations, jot down ideas, sketch areas etc - a sample of my scribbles here. When i still DM'd Pen and paper I'd always have a notebook with me too.

Got an area built for me by Azenn on the forums in just a couple of days and looks great - just right for what i need. Only needed it to yet anothe rplot change, but great to have stuff made so quick that the extra work isnt going to be a burden

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Thursday, January 10, 2008

If I were a half-orc, I'd be middle aged...

.... according to the D&D rules, but as a human, I've got a good 5 years yet!

My 30th came and went yesterday. Been dreading leaving my twenties a little, but had a good day. Was given a copy of Hellgate: London which I'd been keen to try despite mixed reviews - mainly as I'd get to play in a post-apocalyptic version of where I work, which was tempting. Opening scene is great, and seems fun for the 30 mins I played so far.

Speaking of the horror of turnign 30, I saw I am Legend last weekend, which I enjoyed. Confirmed my growing interest in survival-horror as a genre. Anyone interested in this or zombie-fiction should check out World War Z or Monster Island - can't reccomend them enough.

I've been delving into Heroes of Horror for inspiration for the sidequest i'm finishing off at the moment. Not a bad supplement, and I'm using some of the taint ideas in a watered down form. The supplement also has a really nice take on a new class - the archivist - a historian divine caster who uses a spellbook, and has bard/loremaster abilities. I'll post some development screenshots soon, as I haven't done in a while.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Years Resolution

Happy New Year - hope everyone survived the festive season intact! I got a fair few roleplaying related presents - a Chainmail dice bag, Order of the Stick and Full Frontal Nerdity collections, and some metallic d20s. It's my 30th birthday on the 9th, and I can feel a crisis coming on - especially given I had very few 'grown-up' type presents! ;)

Well, my New Years Resolution is quite simple: to be more focussed.

I get too little time on the toolset as it is, and I've found that in the past few months, when I have had 30 mins - 1 hour to spare, I'd load it up, but then start tinkering with something on a whim, rather than foccussing on plot-relevant matters. This is a prime example - I wanted to make a Flask of Elemental Ruin that could capture elementals - only to be released under the players control later. But turns out the simple solution is not possible - and that wasted far too long. (Note if anyone cares to correct me, feel free - I know other options are available, but not having EffectSummon work here is a PITA). But this a a prime example of some idea I get to distract me from writing that next cutscene, or building that next area... (For those interested, I converted the idea into a Gem of Elemental Mastery - you collect elementals inside the gem and based on how many you have is the level of elemental resistance the gem grants).

So I'm going to try and plan my time better, and leave the little distractions until I've progress much further with the plot. See if that will last longer than my previous resolutions. Anyone else have resolutions to share?