Friday, May 30, 2008

Sharing the love

Just wanted to quickly post a big THANKS and kudos to a few people
  1. Amraphael - for going above and beyond the call of duty in tracking down a bug with an area that works fine for me but not for others. I got up early this morning and spent 20 minutes before leaving for work yo-yoing over an area transition trying to make the game crash but couldn't! But Amraphael help pin it down to some trees i nthearea, which I'll look to replace for Saturday night's update
  2. Jazhara - who has really helped pick out gameplay bugs
  3. Argoyne - who really helped with testing and release updates
  4. The guys helping on the vault - first release was always going to pick out more problems, but Michael Negranol, eb52t and others for being patient, sticking with it, and reporting back.
  5. Any other's i've missed / not thanked already!

I'm already in trouble with my girlfriend for the amount of time I've been on the toolset this week (usually I don't get to mid week, but I wanted to get 2 updates out asap). But she's out Saturday so I've got a day scheduled to really try and nail any last remaining bugs. I've had a couple of reports of people's inventories being wiped clean on he module transition (basically, the SaveRosterLoadModule function). Companions are fine, just the PC. Not come across this before, and nothing on the forums seems linked. I have to say, it's been a LOT more hassle than its worth to make this an expanding campaign rather than individual mods.

So amongst all the bug reports, I've had some time to think ahead. Still planning with Delak for the city areas for Chapter 3. But I've now got a stronger image in my mind of the next and final companion - Reuvena, a female human Sorceress with a difference. I can see a danger her turning out similar to Contessa, which I'll have to avoid. I like to come up with a history, and then develop the classes around that, and I quite like Reuvena's motivation. I'm thinking she's evil... although there is already one evil female companion, so for balance maybe more neutral would be better.

But no toolset today - time to patch things up first...!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Cruel Mistres

With bended knees I daily worship her,
Yet she consumes her own idolater.
Of such a goddess no times leave record,
That burnt the temple where she was adored
A Cruel Mistress, Thomas Carew
The toolset is a cruel mistress. Looking back, there some things that really bugged me about the toolset building the last chapter. The core being that things in the toolset were not that same as in the game. Namely custom content - 2da files in the campaign folder seemed to work fine in the toolset, but wouldn't display in game. Grr.

And a bug that I hoped was an isolated incident in testing, but now appears to be more common - crashing on loading an area. I canoot replicate this at all on my machine. Area loads fine for me in game and toolset, not laggy. Small area too, so not a problem there. But some people are getting crashes on loading it - fairly consistently, but occasionally it will load for them correctly. Any ideas.

It's these little illogicalities that drive you insane. Yet still we come back for more - check out Ernies post and the replies about it.

Thanks Kaida for the first vote and your support for Zabados - there's lot more to come form him in chapter 3 don't worry!! Put together a quick patch for Chapter 2 - a stupid bug I should have caught, thanks to Argoyne for spotting. Also started sketching a storyboard for Chapter 3....

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Chapter 2 on the Vault

Link in the module list to the right!

Good to have it finally up! Although now the tricky bit starts.

People will have to help me out with playtime. I put 5 h as a rough guess, but very dependant on how much you explore - the core plot can be done by covering less than a third of the playable areas. Bit worried it might be short for some - and doesn't seem a great playtime:toolset time ratio :-/

Started The Red Prison yesterday which is fun so far. Also released yesterday with DA2 was Seekers, which I think is an FRW mod. Looks interesting so will check that out too.

Monday, May 26, 2008

It is done

Chapter 2 uploaded. Should be on the Vault soon

Been a knackering few days bug hunting / fixing.

Thanks so much to all who helped - and any that hadn;t got back to me in time, thanks, and I'll still welcome any comments

I'm going to be pretty busy with work next few days so was keen to get it out now.

Now I need to rest, maybe play the Red Prison, which I've been waiting to do, before all the bug reports flood in!

For all those who supported me withChapter 1, I hope I've done your support justice!

Friday, May 23, 2008


Some quick screenies from my debugging playtests then some questions

OK and now the questions
1. All of a sudden (i.e. not happened before whilst playing NWN2), I exit the game, and I'm getting low virtual memory warnings. Could this be pointing to problems with heartbeat scripts? any other things to check? (I don;t have ideal memoryto play the game anyway, but this has only recently cropped up)
2. Conversation fired from a speak trigger - I know it fires because the conversation abort/end scripts fire correctly. But the conversation doesn;t appear to start or get to/pastthe first node - no text? Given speakers tags are correct (it's two NPCs talking on the first node) - what could be going wrong?

hope the Builders Blogging Brain collective has some pointers!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Just as well I shaved my head again at the weekend...

... so I can't tear it out now! There's been problems for people actually being able to start chapter 2, let alone whilst running it - so if anyone has got it working, let me know! This is the part I hate - when people with everything installed correctly, can't do what I do routinely to get things going in game. Had a play myself last night and spotted a few bugs and a conversation that refuses to fire, so will have to look into that. Maybe I'll be busier this weekend than I thought. Still, thanks to all who can help and are sticking with it! And anyone else willing to help, do let me know - seems like it needs an surgeons touch!

On another note, I'm thinking of buying a new PC, and would appreciate some advice - I know some of the community have bought new rigs recently - what's good, and bearing in mind a lot of my time is on the toolset, what should I look for / avoid? I've heard mixed things about dual processors and how the toolset can't use them optimally - anything I should be wary of?

Work is also causing me stress, as I'm off to a conference in San Diego in just over 3 weeks and have lots to prepare. I've been given tickets to my first ever baseball game - San Diego Padres hosting Detroit Tigers. Not sure what to expect really, so any pointers?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Alpha test out

Bit of a slog this weekend and still didn;t finish completely - but there should be a start to epilogue version of chapter 2 now avaialable for testing

See forum post here

Anyone with time to kill who is willing to give me feedback of any kind I'd be grateful. Especially those who were fans of chapter 1 and gave me the support there - you're the ones I'm doing chapter 2 for, so if I've lost my aim, or there's something not right about this compared to chapter 1 and you want to have your say - let me know. It's hard to critique your own work when you're so close to it, and I'm worried I've lost some of the original momentum and feel - so any help appreciated

Now, I need to sleep...

For Kaida ;)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pre-alpha gallery

working hard to do a run-through of chaper 2 myself before releasing an alpha version. Still got a problem of major lag in two areas and not having much luck pinning down why (lighting might be causing one as I did go a bit overboard, the other just puzzles me...). Anybody got experience of lag in an area and any unsuspecting things that might cause it (i.e. other tha grass/trees, what are key culprits or things to check)?

Quick gallery of screenshots fom my playtesting today

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


...writing conversations really drives me insane....

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Latest news

Well, it's almost there. I'm a bit worried I'm rushing the end parts slightly, but part of me is keen to just have something out there being tested. If I'm lucky I'll have something out by the end of the weekend, if not next, at least with placeholder conversations. I played back through chapter 1 twice to pick a save game to send out for people to start chapter 2 with. Strangley I really enjoyed playing a Ftr1/Wiz3 but struggled big time with a spirit shaman build. I think as there is no companion that's a big arcane caster, they can shine a little more. Playtesting will help get the balancing right - from my brief checks so far, it seems really tough, but the I've often thought that before to be told it's just right or people like tough fights...

Other big news is that Delak is going to help me build Marsember - he's putting his Idylls of the Rat King on hold briefly to help me out, and I hope to be able to return the favour at some point. This toolset can be a cruel mistress sometimes, so I know how tricky it can be to stick with something, and acheive what you want in a realistic timeframe - I laughed when i read at the end of DA Chapter 1 epilogue that the sequel would be out in Winter 08...!

Still having real trouble getting a conversation to fire after resting - see this thread. No amount of delays and backlups sem to let me get this dialogue working - anybody out there have any ideas?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Come together

Well I finally started exporting the areas from my 'testbed development' module and importing them into the main chapter 2 module... so the size has shot up, now at about 350. Not much still compared to some, but that 300 Mb mark is where my PC starts to struggle. I'm not sure if it's this, or just my aged PC, or a combination of factors, but things have gotten a little too laggy in game for my tastes. Particularly in the largest area (screenshot above). Then it's just as bad in the toolset, as these area take a f*!$ing age to load, then are really slow to navigate around... plus you wait for a minute to the screen to respond, hoping that it hasn't crashed.... Maybe it's time for a new PC....

Another problem with the area above is some custom AI I worked on for some guards - spotting enemies, calling for the alarm to be sounded, barring gates, summoning reinforcements... Things got a little slow when all that was going on. So that might be a mixture of area size, scripts firing etc.... Anyway, I'm hoping playtesting will confirm how much of an issue it is for the players. Might be helped by me splitting this Chapter over two modules, which I'm a little loathe to do

Speaking of which, my goal is to release an alpha version in a couple of weeks and I'll be begging for help around then. I have one area left to do - the epilogue - and then it's mainly conversation fluff and some journal entries - which needn't necessarily be in place before testing. I mentioned this on the forums, but if anyone has a save game from the end of DA Chapter 1, I'd be grateful if they could zip it up and send it over to help with my own testing. From my own playing so far, I think a PC mage would do really well, as the companions can't help with big blatty spells much. Something I might need to work on, although I'm planning another companion to come in in Chapter 3 who will be a sorceress....

Friday, May 02, 2008

Area designer (team) wanted!

OK, as I'm (hopefully) coming into the final stages of Chapter 2, my mind is drifting towards Chapter 3... which will usher in quite a change of scene as the party leave the wilds and rural areas and head to the city. As I mentioned in a post below, I'd envisaged the story taking place in Cormyr, and what the locals are now calling 'Ellesmere Port' is in fact Marsember (reasons why become clear at the end of chapter 2).

Now whilst most know my extrerior areas are a little 'wonky', I'm keen to bring a vibrant city to life in chapter 3. Marsember is an interesting place, and I think translating the map in the image above into three dimensions will create a really evocative place to run around. Well, it would, if it's not me doing the area design...

So that's where my request comes in. I'd love to have a a builder or a small team help me make this area (well, several areas in terms of the toolset) a reality in the NWN2 toolset. I realise my limitations here, and am keen to get help. This lets me work on finishing chapter 2 - and with the area complete, I can dive straight into the meat of chapter 3 without bogging myself down with this task I know I might struggle with. I'd plan on having the area released as a prefab for the community to use too.

Do let me know if you are interested.

And don't forget the IRC chat tomorrow!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

AME Nominations Round up

AME have posted up the second round of nominations:

So full list is now

Community Contribution Award:
Grinning Fool, Robinson Workshop, Tanita

Veteran Author Award:
ENoa4, Adam Miller, John McA

Debut Author Award:
human_male, Wyrin D’njargo, Falloutboy, Zach Holbrook

Best Tileset:
Cryptpit by witness, RWS Deep Halls by RWS, “The Sewer Tileset” by Restless

Best Custom Content:
Building Construction Kit by Nytir, TonyK’s Companion and Monster AI Hak, Sorceress Ashura VFX Pack

Best Multiplayer Module:
Tomb of Horrors revisited by BM Productions, Mystery at Willowbow by Saorsa

Best Roleplaying Module:
Harp & Chrysanthemum by Maerduin, Dark Avenger by Wyrin, Sublety of Thay by dirtywick

Best Action Module:
Tragedy in Tragidor by Phoenixus, The Corruption of Kiahoro by human_male, Moonshadows Chapter 1 by Alex Hugon

Best Adventure Module:
Dark Avenger Chapter 1 by Wyrin D’njargo, Dark Waters Chapter 1 by Adam Miller, Conan Chronicles 1: Legion of the Dead by John McA

Most Re-playable Module:
Pirate Cards by Adam Miller, Pool of Radiance Remastered by Markus ‘Wayne’ Schlegel

Best PnP Conversion Module:
Tomoachan by Enoa4, Red Hand of Doom by sgt_why

Three nominations ! That ties with Adam Miller, of all people! I'm shocked but really pleased. There's some great company and competition (including some of my favorite modules) in each category so we'll see how it goes. Hoping I won't do a Richard Burton. ;) Good luck to all involved!

For anyone interested there'll be an IRC chat (details in link) this Saturday - I'll try and be there, and looking forward to it!