Just a brief note to say I hope everyone is having a great holiday season! The merry old soul came through and dropped a copy of SoZ in my stocking, so I am off to load up and see what all the excitement is about! Looking forward to some quality time just playing for a change! Have a good one!
Just visited the Vault - and Price of Honor is up! Not without a few comedy of errors in the process. When I finally got the instructions, and passwords from Beyond the Pale, I realized I didn't have FTP software. Thankfully BTP had suggested a couple. After downloading te software, and reorganizing things as recommended, I got 95% through the upload only to have my wireless network go down. After about 15 minutes of trouble shooting all was good, and this time the upload went as planned. I'm sure some of you old hands have been through this enough that its lost some of its thrill - but what a gas to see it actually up there! Thanks again to everyone. I hope it resonates with a few folks.
Today was Jon's birthday. I felt it was the perfect time to release the finished mod. So I tested, organized everything and compressed the files. Then dashed off to the vault to upload everything only to find that if the file is larger than 25mb, you have to contact the site manager to get access to FTP. I have contacted them, and am now waiting for the keys to the kingdom. Its been a fun ride, and I want to thank all of you who have offered so much support, testing time, and encouragement. I couldn't have done it without you! I have included one final screen shot from the opening sequence. In the final version of the "Players Guide" pdf, (which will be included with the mod files) I am including the complete text of Jon's original story
I am looking forward to taking a break, and actually playing some of the new mods that have been released. Then, once I have refueled, I plan to start anew, hopefully learning from the many mistakes, and embark on the sequel - at this time tentatively titled "Winter Promises". Keep an eye on the blog, as I will be posting a new title page, and some of the music planned for the next adventure.
Time has been in short supply due to demands of my day job, and an unexpected shoping trip for a new car which took all of last weekend so progress has been slow. However, progress has been made, and after wrestling with a mod corruption, this weekend holds some promise for finishing up. Then all that will remain is the credits movie and the finished players guide.
Thought that I would share a few screens from one of the testers - just to show someone else's perspective. Meeting and getting to know new folks through this process has been a great "fringe" benefit. Shown here are shots from Walt Lubecki. His character , Justicar, is shown - also some of the gear he brought into the mod.
Its been a while since the last update. Testers have completed their play throughs, and I have been busy correcting, fixing, and in some cases changing various aspects of the mod. Have also changed some of the area flow and added map pins to make things clearer. Very close now to completion - one pesky problem left that is giving me fits. It resulted from a change in the Maerond battle, and one thing leads to another to another - well you get the idea. I am off to Florida to help my brother celebrate his 50th bday - so hopefully, when I return, I can approach it with a fresh eye. If all else fails, I can always revert to the original concept - but the new version is far better so we shall see. No new screens this time - I will throw up a few after my "final" play - through.
Looking forward to getting this done so I can get back to some actual playing. Looking forward to the Subtlety of Thay sequel! Congrats to Dirtywick on what will surely be a fantastic mod.
The testing of the new beta is going well - lots of little stuff to fix (typos)! Also some convos need more work - nothing that breaks outright (so far), but things that don't make sense if approached from the wrong "direction". Had far too many doors that were not as secure as I thought, so had to work my way through the mod adjusting difficulty and/or making them static. Will have only limited time for the next week or so on the toolset, so things are slow but steady. Currently balancing conflicts (some too easy, some too tough). Also working on a PDF manual (the first draft is up on the download site - but it is very rough), and the end movie. Gathering credits etc., so the package can be as complete as possible. Could still use another tester or two if anyone is interested. The download site is listed on the previous post.
Finally got back to where I was before the mod corruption! Also - what I am really excited about - managed to actually figure out how to get NPCs to sit! While for many this is second nature, I have been struggling with it for quite a while. So I guess the disaster was not all bad, as I might not have tried it "one last time" if not for the crash. Thanks to the many who have asked about this in the community, and the patient experts who have answered the questions. I know there are systems for this on the vault, but I wanted to try to do it with out adding more to "override", or "hak" folders, and my lack of scripting skills made that a challenge.
There is a cheater NPC near the watch in Fenhollow - he will allow you to move quickly between major areas. I meant to delete him - AVOID using him - it would defeat the purposes of the test, and depending on when you use him could get you stuck.
To download the file go click here and you will see 2 files listed. On the far right you will see a small down-pointing arrow - just click it to download each file. One file is the pdf players install and play guide, and the other is a zip file containing the mod files. Then just follow the instructions in the pdf. The pdf is a rough draft of the eventual document that will accompany the mod. I would also appreciate any comments on that document, so I can make it as helpful as possible. I am composing a list of credits and kudos which will be added to the final document. Send your feedback/comments/corrections to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well - The new version was supposed to be up for testing by now. However, my host site was doing maintenance, and things were not stable, so I opted to wait for them to straighten things out - and in the meantime, tweak on one area that I was not totally happy with. So - a little change here, update the dialogue, add a key - you get the idea. Things were going swimmingly, and I was quite pleased until ... - yup BIG mod crash. The good news is that I usually am religious about saving - the bad news is that I was so into the changes, and it had been so long since my last mod corruption, that I got careless. Lost all the recent stuff I had been working on - about 8 hours work in all. Also hadn't yet done any screen shots yet (thus no new screenies this week). So... Going to try to re-do from the most recent save - should take less time since I've been through the changes once already. Going to try to get it up later this week. At least the host site is stable now! Sorry for the delay folks.
Managed to find some time to work on the mod this weekend between work (business and yard etc). Fixed the broken convo, and also reworked the intro movie to hopefully help set the scene a little better. As much as I like working on the movies, I find them very frustrating at times trying to maintain an acceptable level of resolution. The difficulty comes with creating in one program - then exporting and eventually "binking". Something always seems to get lost in the translation. The intro is still not a "done deal" though it is getting closer. The rest of the time was spent re-working other convo's to insure that they worked with new or changed content. I am going to try to get the next version "up" next weekend. The weekend after might prove more realistic, since next weekend is Wizard World Chicago, and I am hoping to see some great fantasy graphics and statues up close and personal! Depending on what I find, I may go back a second day. We shall see. I have included two screens of two of the new interior areas - the first is the Dwarinthin library, and the second is the new Wayfarers chapel in the Dwarinth holdings.
A little non-mod post. OK - so I couldn't resist posting this shot of my grand-daughter at the beach. I had promised gator shots - but I think this one is even better. She has so much energy and really jumps in with both feet regardless of what she is doing. She and her mom and dad spent the first week with us.
Just a short update to say I'm back from wonderful Hilton Head. God, I love that place. Sorry - no gator pics - only saw 2 this year(one peering suspiciously at me from a lagoon bordering the golf course), and didn't have my camera either time. Did manage a little time with the toolset while I was gone, though I am really spoiled by working on my desk-top system. The laptop was very SLOW - especially for loading and testing. A short list of progress:
1. re-worked Fenhollow - mowed the grass and played with the terrain a little.
2. Most, if not all NPCs now have at least one liner convos - some have options.
3. Characters now generally recognize you when you initiate a second convo.
4. Tied the Tanner convo in closer to the plot - convo now makes more sense, and ties in to events down the road.
5. Re-worked much of the interior lighting (left some strong shadows in a few places since I really liked the "artistic" look.
6. Added a new quest tied into Julia's cat which also ties into later developments.
7. Began reworking the final confrontation - the one I had was always a placeholder - hopefully its a little more realistic now.
8. Managed to "break" a conversation". Need to dig in and see why it is not working.
9. Created a new area to tie in with the expanded Julia quest.
10. Added Merecrafts "Wanted Poster" to the wall in the Fickle Feather. What a great little item - and it really tied into the plot!
Well - looking at the list I realize I actually got more done then I thought. I have removed the download form the site in anticipation of putting the next version up. Have been playing catch-up at work and in the yard at home, so toolset time has been limited since I have returned. Will try to get another blog entry done this weekend with some new screens. Till then...
Have been so tied up with work and end of the fiscal year business that there has not been a lot of time to work on the mod. Have made considerable progress implementing many of the corrections/suggestions from those of you who participated in the testing, but still not ready to release the new version. Right now I am sitting in Atlanta at my daughters house - on my way to Hilton Head S.C. for two weeks well needed vacation. I will try and get some quality time alone with the laptop and forge ahead - though Sun and Surf (and golf) will be calling. If I get any good gator shots I will post them.
Well - here goes. Spent the week testing, adding 2 new areas, adding "eye candy", and adding back the (fixed) alternate ending. Had a close call with losing the last area I had worked on - Thank god I have been backing up religiously!
So I figure its time to have a few others have a go at it. There are still changes I want to make - particularly in the final "confrontation". However it IS playable start to finish so I figure now is the time to have others have a go at it so that I can fix things as I polish. I apologize for the size of the download (@100mb), but I'm new at this archiving thing also! Not even sure I need all the files I included. Still haven't done the voice-overs I had planned - we shall see. I plan on giving it a try later this week. Intro movie will also change for the final release. Can't believe I'm actually doing this (hands shaking at the keyboard :)). Mod has been tested with a level 8 male fighter. There is an NPC (Fenstar) by the tent nearest the City Watch in Fenhollow - he is currently a cheater character, and can be used to zip around the mod (he shows up in all the main areas). The cheat function will be removed in the final build.I have not included credits - I am working on the list now - lots of folks to thank.
After the Intro, be sure to talk to Tina in the Fickle Feather before you leave. In the final version there will be no going back once you get to a certain point, so its a good idea to complete quests before you move on whenever possible.
Other than local testing, I hadn't done a start to finish run through in a while, so my first task for this week was to do that. Mod is currently @ 2 hrs - perhaps a little longer if you check out every little nook and cranny. Of course, I know where everything is ;) - so this may be a little off. All went as expected right up till the end, then found that a fix I had made broke the one alternate ending. Simple to remedy and that is on my short list. Generated a long list of convo mistakes and needed conditional re-do's - again all based on changes I have made since the last run-through. Also want to go back and apply what I have learned lighting-wise to some of the earlier areas.
Another task will be to re-work the content on early convo's to reflect story changes from later in the build. Some of the current ones left me laughing - not a few incongruities. Found a couple of real puzzlers - nothing game breaking, but stuff not working the exact way I intended.
Re-worked the opening movie - finally beginning to approach acceptable quality. Also figured out a glitch in the sound track where the cello part wasn't coming through. Thats about all for this week.
Was making some real progress but then alas - the flu hit with a vengeance. Still not back to work yet (probably tomorrow), but at least able to post this update. Added another interior area - the Silver Stag. Used it to finally work out some interior lighting I was happy with. The possible combinations of color and intensity are pretty amazing. And of course, all the combinations take TIME! Also made my first tentative efforts at creating a minstrel NPC - though I am still messing with the script. Thanks to a post by Spiderwick for a place to start - it worked right from the go, but I am still not happy with the timing of the speakstrings. Included several new screens - from the Stag (inside and out), and one from a chapel scene early in the game.
Areas are at 29 and counting - though I'm starting to think that the final count will be 30 or so - with an estimated game play time of @ 2 hrs.
Above is another screen shot - this of the Northern Wasteland area - home of the Celestial Bear quest. Spent what little time I had this week adding a small inside area, just for grins should someone happen to "visit", and tweaking various encounters. Also did some conversations. It has been cold, rainy, and even snowy (today), and as much as I love Winter, I've had more than my fill.
I finished the "sound track" for the intro movie, and spent far too much time experimenting with various compression schemes trying to get the maximum video quality. Still not sure I am satisfied. The sound track was fun - my first go at midi, and seems to evoke the feel I was going for. Its just a short little ditty, but its all mine!
Finally figured out a bug in one of the ending sequences, and reworked it much more to my liking. So thats about it - nothing earthshaking to report, just slow steady progress. Even though percentage wise, most of he mod is done, it sure seems like that last 10% takes a whole lot longer than the first 10% did!
One of the problems I faced as a new builder, was that my enthusiasm to "jump right in", and my lack of knowledge/experience, led to me creating content in a way that would eventually become a roadblock to realizing some part of the vision. Which meant of course either going back and re-doing some of the content - or finding a different way (generally less desirable) of accomplishing the desired effect. I think it also becomes a driving force to do another mod - if for no other reason than to "get it right". I had a lofty set of objectives - wanted to try at least a little of many of the possibilities I experienced in both the official campaign and the community mods I played. The list includes - using pre-fab areas, movies, voice-overs, custom effects, original music - pretty ambitious for a rank beginner. While I have managed to do a lot of this (some on a very small scale) - some things still remain on the list.
SYNOPSIS: (no spoilers) - This is a single player mod. While it is written primarily for a male fighter, it can be played by any character. The PC is currently looking for work in Fenhollow (see screen above) a small settlement on the edge of the waste lands. He has been away from his clan for 10 years following a falling out with his father. It is the time of the Maerond - a "fight to the death" competition sponsored by a mysterious group of guardians known as the Dwarinth. Many would-be champions have arrived in town, and seem intent on eliminating as much of the competition as possible prior to the actual event. Here are a few screen shots to hopefully whet your appetite:
This is the story of a journey. It is a journey of healing - though as with any healing process, there are often relapses. The story begins several years ago when my son Jon introduced me to the NeverWinter Nights computer game. Jon was an avid gamer and he particularly loved role playing games. One evening he said something along the lines of "hey - you gotta see this. The graphics are incredible". To humor him I agreed to sit "for a few minutes". He had tried to hook me into games before - without much success. This time was different. I immediately began playing on my own, and played through the original NWN campaign, all the sequels, and many of the mods created by the NWN community. I asked him how people made mods, and he said that there was a toolkit. Now you have to understand that we were playing on a Mac - so we didn't have access to the toolkit.
Then I got a new Intel Mac and set it up so I could play on the PC side. Jon again brought up the idea of creating our own mod. I agreed that it might be a fun project, but when we opened the toolkit, it was all a bit daunting, and we decided to put it off till the release of NWN II. Long story short - we never got around to it. Jon took his life a week or so before NWNII was released.
Now jump ahead a year to the anniversary of his passing. As a part of my attempts to deal with the day, I was reading over some of the things he had written. As I read through one of his short stories, "The Price of Honor", I thought what a great mod this would have made. That evening I opened the toolset in earnest for the first time. In the months since I have been blundering through tutorials, posts on the NWNII community site, and of course reading the blogs of those who are in the midst of various new mods.
I now have a good deal of work created, and am just about ready to share some of it with the community in hopes of getting some feedback and eventually posting it to the NWNII Vault - much as Jon and i dreamed of doing. The basic plot and much of the dialogue is Jon's - from his short story. I take full credit for all the mistakes, miscues and beginners execution.
If you would like to know more about my music and other "stuff", this is the place to go. I update the blog fairly regularly, and also include music streams of various works in progress ranging from older unpublished songs to drafts of new material. Hope you stop by. Just click on the link "My Music, My Life" below.