Monday, November 03, 2008

Downgrading status

Well, I've finally had to admit it that I'm finding it really difficult to get time on the toolset over the past few months as real life has caught up with me, and when I have, it's been harder to feel motivated (looking back I'm amazed how easily I made time for the toolset, but now, it feels more difficult).

So, I'm officially downgrading from 'Modder' to 'Dabbler'. The game and community still hold a keen interest for me - I had fun doing the BouncyRock Halloween project, and will happily take part in more things like that.

What does this mean for DarkAvenger... well, it's sleeping. The prospect of another 3 chapters worth of content was getting too daunting, and I'd do it a disservice by cramming the story into a smaller effort. It was hard to admit I needed to put it on hold, but I've felt better now I've admitted to myself that I'm not going to be modding as much as before, as it feels the pressure I put myself under is gone.

As I said, I'm not retiring from the NWN2 community - there's too much good stuff due out soon that I want to play. And I want to keep my eye in as a builder - hence helping out Indira taking over Hugie's reins on The Third Sign project, and I'd be happy to help with playtesting, some dialogue/companion work or casting an eye over things for people as/when. I've also got some ideas for a smaller scale project I might dabble on in the toolset, but not commit to anything yet (and you know how it goes -anything small scale can easily suffer from scope creep.... I mean the first draft of DarkAvenger way back when didn't have much more than 20 areas....).

So I'm off to relax, play some Fallout3, finish Subtlety of Thay2, work through the list of modules I've been meaning to get to... then see when the toolset beckons again.


slowdive_fan said...

I'm kind of going through a similar down time. I took this weekend off from the toolset and I am playing through BG1 again. It has been hard to get motivated to work on my campaign when the current chapter (which I spent over 150+ hours on) is receiving about 3 downloads per day. I am still working on chapter 2 and I am about half way through. It should be done by December. Have fun playing a few mods, FO3, and hopefully a small break will rejuvenate you.

Liso said...

I am playing FO3! and totally diggin' it!

Take a much needed Break Wyrin :) Between the engagement, the other two mods you have out already and the Halloween project! "not to mention your real life" You have been a busy guy!

"babbles while trailing off to go back to FO3" :P

Anonymous said...

I have to say, I am really disappointed to hear this! I played Dark Avenger Chapter I and loved it, but I have put off playing part II because I (and many of my friends and acquaintances) dislike the discontinuity of months/years between parts. Thus, our play policy is to wait for a series to be complete and then play it, as we were able to do with Pool of Radience Remastered.
Worse still is when one gets involved in a story (and really likes it!!) and then finds it discontinued.
What is most worrisome is that this seems to be becoming a trend amongst the best mod makers:
Maerduin H&C but BD is questionable;
Jacko123 NiN 1 but NiN 2 highly unlikely to be completed at all (and that with part ii at the beta stage);
Hohiro Kurita Tears of the Ilmarid Chapter 1, though Chapter 2 seems likely to come out sometime in 2009
Hugie Moonshadows Chapter 1 but Moonshadows Chapter 2 highly doubtful at all
Phoenixus, Tragedy in Tragidor but Tale of the Asberdies becoming increasingly unlikely
Wyrin D’nJargo Dark Avenger Chapter 1, Chapter 2 but Chapter 3 + unlikely
I am on my knees praying that this same fate does not befall The Subtlety of Thay, though I would not be surprised if it did.

Wyrin, I hope you will reconsider your decision and just do a shortened single final chapter 3. It may not measure up to your exacting standards of the tale, but it will give closure to the story and, long after you move on to other projects, there will be those of us still here playing and loving your work.
Thus, I think that the best policy for mod makers is not to be as ambitious as Dirtywick and Adam Miller. I would rather have a shorter *complete* adventure that two parts forever unfinished and in the air.
It is also rather difficult and silly for those of us who like to build campaigns out of strings of adventures to do so with unfinished adventures.
Just some thoughts from a 40+ yr old D&D player who admirers your work, and would like to see it come to a conclusion.


Ernie Noa said...

I went through this too, I slowed down, then took a break, then. I've noticed a few other modders seem to have slowed down a bit too.

Ultimately I had the same thoughts you are articulating. How did I ever make time to do this? I am truly amazed.

AmstradHero said...

While I must confess I haven't finished DA1 or 2, from what I did, I thought they seemed quite enjoyable. While I don't want to sound harsh, I'll be completely honest and say that I can't say the same for a number of other "esteemed" modules.

It'll be sad to see you stop, but life moves on... what can you do? :)

Anonymous said...

Don't hear the above anonymous! Dark Avenger was my favorate module I don't want a small chapter 3-5. Just be sure to finish the series before 2054.

Jazhara7 said...

I won't ask "Is it just me, or...", because I know it's just me. Instead I'll say "It seems the Evil lovechild of Autumn blues and Pre-Christmas stress has hit the modding community". Because so many modders seem to say "Guys, I'm toning modding down a bit".

Or maybe this is a conspiracy of all our favourite modders. First they got us addicted to their wonderful mods, and now they suddenly all leave us hanging to make us crave even more for their mods, and will charge horrendous prices (to be paid by monitoring of their blogs) to make them make the next chapter.

Personally, I am suspecting the former. :P

Seriously though, I understand. I myself am in a bit of stress this time of year, even though there's not that much going on. I just feel undermotivated, and have to kick myself to prepare my portfolio (actually, my portfolio prepartation is going well, considering I had a bit of an artist's block before this, which prevented me from working on it at all. But I am unmotivated about other things.).

As long as you plan to eventually make the mod, and make it the way you wanted it, I am happy. And even if you don't make it, though that would make me sad, I would understand. Just please don't go and make a half-assed version of the next module that is but a shadow of what you wanted it to originally be, m'kay? I can be the most patient person im the world, as long as I know I am waiting for something good. Like I waited for Fallout 3, which really turned out great.

...speaking of Fallout 3, I am going to go continue playing that now, to pass the time for updates. ;)

But never forget, you still have my support. Even if you downgraded the status for now. ^_^

- :D :D :D :D :D :D

Anonymous said...

Is Fallout 3 really so good? I was disappointed when I read the changes they made. First-person view by default, real-time combat by deafult and Mutants being the main and most dangerous enemies (if I remember right). I hope that Im wrong and that it is really a worthy decdentant of the Fallouut series.

E.C.Patterson said...

You have been remarkably productive. Most would have downgraded much earlier. It's understable. I just feel badly for DA's biggest fans. But there are worst things in life than having played part of an incomplete series...

But I don't think this and other similar statements recently are indicative in any way of the health of the building community as a whole. There are plenty of modders who have put out a first mod in recent times - some of those who will likely put out a second one - and there are many more surely to come.

With lots of quality content available, and more to be expected in the near future, not to mention a new expansion in 2 weeks, it's a great time these days to be a NWN2 fan.

Jazhara7 said...

"Is Fallout 3 really so good? I was disappointed when I read the changes they made. First-person view by default, real-time combat by deafult and Mutants being the main and most dangerous enemies (if I remember right). I hope that Im wrong and that it is really a worthy decdentant of the Fallouut series."

First of all, you have to be realistic. You won't be able to sell a 3rd person isometric view game in this time and day. Yes, we people who knew the old games also know that they were great. But tell that to all the kiddos out there that never in their life played anything that wasn't 3D. As much as it pains me, "Graphics" will always be an buying criteria, and the kids of today don't know what they're missing because they "Don't think the graphics are any good". Even if we personally say "It works and has a great story. What do you want more?".

Oh, and you can switch to third person view, looking over the should of your character (and you can zoom out looking at you character from even further back), just like it was in Morrowind and probably also Oblivion - if you hold the key that switches between the two perspectives, you can rotate the camera and take a look at your character from the front, too. But it's hard to aim in 3rd person perspective, so you'll end up switching to First person yourself when in combat, even if you've been running through the wastelands in 3rd person perspective.

As for mutants being the main and most dangerous enemies in the game...I wouldn't be able to tell, really. I haven't met a single one yet - unless you count that one Ghould barkeep as a "Mutant", who was so nice I really didn't want to shoot him. But I suppose you are thinking of "Super Mutants". So far the nastiest enemies I've met are Radscorpions, and Mirelurks. Radscorpions are just hard to kill, Mirelurks are hard to kill because they're basically completely armored (they're mutated Snapper turtles, I recall reading in the art book), except for their face. You'll need the VATS system for those for sure.

Speaking of VATS. It is great. If you're not good with shooting games, this is for you. It really helps make combat easier. It is similar to the target system in Fallout 2, so nothing really new, except that in Fallout 2 it was the dice that decided if you hit in regular combat, while in Fallout 3 you actually are aiming yourself. So it *is* a huge help to have this targeting system to help you.

Back to enemies. The Mirelurk is not the only enemy that requires a specific approach to defeat. When fighting Giant ants, or even more so, Fire ants (which is a giant ant variation that spits fire. Yes, actual fire. Don't let them get too close), it is a good idea to aim for their antennae (Again, VATS is good for this), as that will make them go in a frenzy and attack their fellow ants. I once actually managed to get one Fire Ant in a frenzy, and the other ant defended itself. Now, usually there's one left, but they actually managed to kill each other at the exact same time. So I didn't have anything left to do. :D

Personally, I think the game has earned the name of "Fallout" with flying colours. Seriously, it is *THAT* good.

Lord Ernie from the Gibberlings 3 forums actually summed it up perfectly Here

By the way, even though I mentioned that I wouldn't mind if the graphics were not 3D, that doesn't mean I don't appreciate them. I mean, look at this:

In the Capital Wasteland (That's a kind of self-made Flamethrower on my character's back. There's all kind of cool weapons to find, and some to make yourself. It really is a nice detail that there's not just pre-war weapons, but also things people have built with what they had. One cool weapon you can build is the Rock-it Launcher, with which you can fire just about any piece of junk lying around in the world. If you ever wanted to kill someone by launching a Teddy-bear at them, this is the weapon for you. It's made from a Vacuum Cleaner, a Leaf Blower, and some other stuff. You can actually get the schematics for this really early on in the game.):
Capital Wasteland

Two examples of the Fight cinematics you get when using the VATS. There are various of these. And they're the really the only cinematics apart from the intro and outro sequences you find in the entire game. And all shot in the actual game settings, not pre-rendered. ^_^ :
Combat Cinematics 1

Combat Cinematics 2

In the town of Megaton:

(That one was a comparison between my character and her father. A spiffy feature of the game is that your character's Father's appearance is actually adjusted to according to the appearance of your character, so there will actually be a family resemblance. Now *THAT* is what I call love of detail. ^_^

This one just cracks me up every time:
Give it to me!

Okay, sorry about derailing this blog so much. It really wasn't my intention. But I just had to answer the question, because the game really *IS* that good. ^_^

- :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

Jazhara7 said...

Oh, forgot to add: The fact that the PC's father's appearance is altered according to the features of the player character means that the PC's Father looks a little different for every player.

Also, I wanted to add that if the next Elder Scrolls game is anything of the quality (non-repetitive dialogues, good story etc.), then I think it will be a great game. One reason why I haven't started Oblivion yet is because of the repetitive dialogues, though it is lying beside my computer.

- :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for the detailed review jazhara7!

Steven said...

I have to say that I am majorly disappointed that you have all but abandon the Dark Avenger Series. I just found this link and saw those comments 11/10/08. I just finished playing the first two modules with two different characters along two different story lines. When I finished the first module, I noted that final conversation states that you would be completing all 5 chapters in 07-08. Then, after finishing the second, I had hope that there would be another out soon, as it says early 09. Now, I find out you are just abandoning it.

I believe that the story continues along the lines of hunting down the second elder in the port city (Chapter 3), then, the last elder in the fortress (Chapter 4), and finally, the person behind the plan to kill you and your family with a reason for the story to begin with.

As you are not going to finish it, and I have two wonderful characters that I had developed to find out the ultimate story line, I guess I will just take time away from gaming, look at your Chapter 1 and 2 mods, triggers etc..., and continue the story line myself for the characters to live on. I am going to make a Chapter 3, 4, and 5, and keep it for myself, and progress the ultimate storyline. No, I would never post it, but I am doing it, because I feel as though you gave up on what could be the best Campaign ever in NWN2.