Monday, May 26, 2008

More Screenshots and a Custom Content Confession

Here are some mock-ups of some additional areas in the Shalihir desert.

In the Age of Burnt Towers, the common people rose against thier magocratic rule, subsequently destroying the places of highest authority, the towers.
The ruins of a giant multi-tiered watermill hint at the innovation of the lost civilization that once occupied it.

Below the dry docks of Kazatharis, you join the crusade as it launches a formal charge.

I have decided, although I do support the concept of the 3C 100%, to move forward with my own little cooked-up hak for the time being. After careful consideration, I decided that I would like to really ramp up production on this module, and there are some very story specific reasons to include Johnny Ree's awesome Beholder and upcoming Drider models (not to mention did anyone catch that the Basilisk and Asp are now viable models again? Cha-Ching!).
In short, I had to make a tough desision on what to do for the time being. While I did use many of the same 2DA lines in case I change my mind, and there's time later, I opted to do some super-paranoid padding of the lines. Hey, who knows, I think that Mysteries of Westgate may just tip the scales toward more adventure packs, and I do expect another expansion from Obsidian (although some call me mad). Here's to hoping, and staying safe in case of.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Alakanthor & Name That Continent

Here is a very early screenshot of Alakanthor. A secluded monestary nestled into the cliffs amongst the ruins of an ancient Solvheilian dock, Alakanthor will serve as the stage of a rather large battle in the later part of the module.

Also, I have a poll posted in the upper left of this page on potential names for the Continent. While Solvheil has always been the campaign name, it is the name of an ancient civilization, not the name of the giant piece of rock it takes place on. I have come up with a good number of maybes and put them up for public scrutiny. Feel free to pick your pony.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Custom Content and the 3C

Alright, call me crazy. I have been exploring the magical realm of custom content as of late and compiling a list of things that I would like to use in 'Sands of Solvheil III: Crusaders of Shalihir", when I came across the 3C. For those who haven't seen it, the 3C is very much like the CEP of NWN1, except without custom blueprints, tlks, scripts, etc. It is strictly the resources.

Now, while some things that made the cut somewhat raise my eyebrows on the quality tip, the 3C does indeed have all of the resources that I was looking to add. I am seriously (as in test module) considering incorperating it into the rest of the series. I am curious if anyone has any concerns or thoughts on the utilization of the 3C. From what I gather, most of the 2DA files are adequately padded to prevent any foolery from Expansions of Adventure packs, so damage control should be kept at a minimum.

It also has many of the Robinson Workshop compilations, which can only serve to make area design that much more fun and robust. I think to stay on the safe side, I will export all of my areas as ERF and import them into a blank module wired up with 3C to try things out for a few days.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tahamman Interiors

Just a quick look at the progress of a few interiors in the desert town of Tahamman in the Shalihir Desert.

The Empty Hump: Interior The Empty Hump: Favorite watering hole of the trade hub.

Armond Alchemy: Interior Armond Alchemy: Last chance to find a variety of flora before a trek across the arid sands.

Monday, May 19, 2008

And now for something completely different...

The minor story is that I finally (10 years after I should have) graduated with my Undergraduate degree this weekend. On a more interesting note, the keynote speaker was Steve Forbes. The Alex P. Keaton in me was very excited about this. Now, mind you, Forbes is an economic mastermind who was able to explain monetary policy with the sort of ease and analogy that would allow a kindergartener to get a grasp of it (now if the Fed could follow suit). Although I couldn't help thinking what I have thought since the first time he ran for president, "My God, this guy looks like Max, the head vampire from the movie The Lost Boys."

One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach...all the damn vampires

That's right, Steve Forbes is indeed none other than the alter-ego of Edward Herrmann, the actor who played in several roles throughout the years, the most prominent in my mind being The Lost Boys. I almost wanted to take a little holy water my wife procured at her recent baptism and sprinkle it his way to see if any scalding occurred.

All jokes aside, the guy was a great speaker. Funny as hell and able to convince a lifelong skeptic that the economy is as good as ever, yet every finely tuned engine needs the right amount of fuel. The fuel in our case would be the amount of money. Too little or too much and you will never get things running correctly. A good indicator of this is the price of gold on the market with 300 being the sweet spot. Above that and strange things start to happen (y'know, like the dollar being worth squat).

In summation, QUIT PRINTING MONEY! Despite the federal plan, no economy has ever been made stronger by making it weaker. Like he said at the address, if that were the case, Argentina and Zimbabwe would rule the world.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Random Desert Area

Probably one of the most difficult things I've had to pull off in area design so far is the generic random desert area. There's only so much that can be done with sand y'know. Although I have been fortunate in some texture/color experimentation to break up the monotony. A Joshua tree here, some aloe there, a few rocks scattered around.

The challenge is keeping things looking like a desert without making the edge of the area inviting to prevent players from hitting the invisible wall. I'll only have a few of these areas that will mainly be used for transition/travel, but I still want to spend the time it takes to make them look just right.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Oasis of Azullain

The Oasis of Azullain in the Shalihir Desert

I've had a chance to do some texture work on the Oasis of Azullain area. The Oasis was discovered by an ancient explorer named Azullain after the Imlan Sea was expelled. It has since become a hub for trade, and waystop for all caravans that pass over the burning sands.

Friday, May 2, 2008

HoF (better late than never)

Ahh yes, about 5 months after I thought I was going to finally break into the NWVault HoF (when I thought it was 2500 downloads opposed to 5k), I did it. Man I love it when a plan comes together. On a similar note, I will be walking with my undergraduate degree in two weeks...just about 10 years behind schedule, lol.

Nothing like a nice easy pace as you slide toward the finish line wearing comfortable shoes.

Things are really great, although I haven't been able to hit the toolset as much as I would have liked. I have really been diving right into the wonderful world of Sharepoint and become a bit immersed. I hope to have it about tackled enough for work purposes (doing a little content management action), and look forward to firing up NWN2 again real soon.
Design Documents: