Tuesday, October 30, 2007

All I want for Christmas

Just uploaded (the hopefully final) version 1.8 to the vaults FTP. As always, Maximus is the true Deus Ex sweeping in and linking it to the listing. If NWN were to ever honor a patron saint, I have a nomination card ready.

I took a glance at the initial release date, 09-24-2007, a little over a month ago. Then that tiny voice in the back of reminded me of the rules for entering the NWN2 Hall of Fame. The last of which was being at least 3 months old. The slowhead gene kicked in and said, no problem, I'm 31. Then I realized a greater revelation that it will be eligible (assuming it gets 5 more votes and the score doesn't tank) on Christmas Eve. Santa, if you're listening…

It's not that I need the fame, fortune, and glamorous groupies that come with having your module on the Hall of Fame list. It's not even that I want to feel justified, because, Nobody with a GOOD car needs to be justified, you understand? Me, I drive a '96 Honda Civic to serve as a suburban sled. The truth is I want to be in the Hall of Fame because I'm a narcissistic media whore. No, that can't be it either, else I'd have voted for myself already. I've never believed in padding the results, spoils the whole experiment, and it's cheesy.

Every time I open the module to make an update I am tempted to add/change/revise certain things. What stops me (besides the fact that I am mostly focused on part II) is the belief that the module should stand on its original merits. I don't think I could in good conscience revise too much without relisting because that would again spoil the entire process in some small fashion.
I won't put too much stock into it, just something to think about. Not like I'll flip out if I don't make it. *Staring blankly at my Pew-36 Explosive Space modulator*

Monday, October 29, 2007

AWOL Shadow Fortress Textures

I am really stoked about some of the great comments and votes the first module is receiving. I'd like to post one more 'Final' version and catch all minor bugs and glitches in one sweeping change. There is one issue that has been a source of despair however. The missing texture from the Shadow Fortress tiles that comprise the Dwarven Ruins beneath Kazatharis. That bright neon glow of the multi-colored missing texture map is really hurting the overall look of the area and I'd like to stamp it out once and for all.

So far, attempts to correct this have been fruitless, and searches for a solution have yielded nothing. I've made a last ditch effort with a post to the NWN2 Forums in hopes that someone out there knows how to rid the Shadow Fortress areas of this nasty graphical glitch. Far from a deal-breaker, it's an eyesore whose time has come. On the upside, the bright red ceilings of the Castle Tiles were corrected in 1.10/MotB.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Let it snow

Well I have the town of Storneth just about where I want it, complete with the new snow VFX from the expansion. I think it looks rather good, just as I had imagined it before we had access to winter-esque placeables. It is in about the same state as the other areas with the terrain and walkmesh about finalized aside from placeables for detail and their respective cutters. Later on I will go over these areas and add in the essential texturing and foliage to flesh them out before bringing the NPCs and other assets into the picture. I added this image to the Design Document in the Areas section. I'm trying to give at least a glimpse of an area next to the description.

The town of Storneth in Harrn was where the surrender to Dalreon was signed after the war.

I'm using a bit more of a modular design with this project, much like I did back in the NWNOnline: Kingdom of Cormyr PW days. It allows the mini-mods to remain smaller and easier to work with, and keeps the integrity of the master module. I just have to be mindful of which I am working on when I go to save-as (I keep multiple copies for just such emergencies).

Friday, October 26, 2007

Good News Everybody...

(Title read as if Professor Qubert Farnsworth of Futurama)

Thanks to NWN2 Warcry for posting the second half of the Ossian Studios Interview. Here are the words articulated just as I wanted to read them:

14. Will any of the custom content be available to the modding community to use in their modules?

Larry Liberty: Yes, making new content available to the modding community is central to the Adventure Pack program. It represents another avenue for Atari to seed the community with high quality content (beyond expansion packs).

Good to know there is far more to the new resources than a one shot, albeit professionaly produced, campaign. No word on whether those who want to play a mod that utilizes said content will have to also purchase the adventure pack. It's a very limiting move for a community builder as far as audience, but opens alot of doors as to diversity and quality.

Design Document 2nd Draft

I have posted a rough draft of the official Design Document for Beneath the Hearleforne complete with images. While there are still many details and statistics to flesh in, this has the basic structure and placeholders for many integral elements. It also features an expanded section on religion as many elements have been brought to light thanks to the events of The Ruins of Kazatharis.

I'd like to have this looked over with someone who is really good at number-crunching at games. I need an Encounter/CR/Experience Statistician or something. I'd like the combat in this module to be a little more intense with more close calls than before without stacking the deck too high.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"Mysteries of Westgate" Adventure Pack

Atari and Ossian Studios announced their upcoming 'adventure pack' (notably different than a premium module) entitled "Mysteries of Westgate".

Now, of COURSE I'm going to shell out whatever funds necessary to take a peek at this. The question then becomes...do I incorporate the new toolset content into my modules. Really on the fence with this decision, but screenshots like the following from the NWVault are leaning me in a particular direction.

New Creature from Mysteries of Westgate by Ossian Studios

Now I ask you, is that not one of the coolest creature models you've seen in awhile? As much as I don't want to limit the audience of the Sands of Solvheil series (that's a lot of S's), I will have a very hard time passing up on content like this. Time will tell.

Check out this interview with Ossian Studios about the project.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tiny Bubbles

I want to take a moment to thank Adam Miller of Dark Waters (and previous NWN modules) fame for giving me permission to use his Bubble VFX for the underwater area I am working on.

While I feel custom VFX creation is something I could really sink my teeth into, I don't really have the time to get too into it. His effect will work nicely to add to the ambiance of the flooded roots of the Hearleforne. While this isn't an area I've gotten too far into molding, I do have the top portion of the elven capital somewhat fleshed out.

Ehllelo planted the Hearleforne which sprung life to the Great Forest of the West. Meaning 'The Heart of the Forest', it is the first plant to grace the presense of the ground, and stands to represent all that is green and grows from the earth. Because of this, it is protected by the Elves, and respected and supported by all of the elements.

First Look at Evertide

Here are some preliminary screenshots of the docks in Evertide that begin the module. This is Keel Street that runs along the Southern border of Evertide along the shoreline of the Sea of Aluun.

Keel Street, Evertide, Dalreon

Keel Street, Evertide, Dalreon

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

New Beginning

Well, the time has come to start putting the development of the "Sands of Solvheil" series to a blog. The release of the first module Sands of Solvheil I: Ruins of Kazatharis has been met with relative success, and I have already begun work on the second installment.

Formerly titled Crusaders of Shalihir, the second module has instead been split into two pieces. The first of which is now titled Beneath the Hearleforne and will deal with the immediate ramifications of the events from Ruins of Kazatharis. The adventure will start the player off in Evertide, the capital of Dalreon, working on the assignment given to them by King Jorlaan at the end of the first module.

From there it will a whirlwind adventure carrying them from the Elven kingdom of Lyritholln to the frozen reaches of Harrn as they delve into the beliefs and relationships of both human and demihuman alike. This adventure thrusts the player into the foreground more than the predecessor, as they are now of a respectable and survivable level.
Design Documents: