Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lay-Down Before the Cards are Dealt

In my continuous effort to release prefab areas from my modules, I have just uploaded one of the final areas in the upcoming Crusaders of Shalihir to the vault. The Ruins of Solvheil was an attempt to break from the very geometric and euclidean design of Kazatharis. Ruins sunken into the desert sands, this area is dome-tastic and features the remains of man's greatest civilization.

The Ruins of Solvheil sunken into the Shalihir Sands
Between this and Tahamman, I have officially given a glimpse of both the beginning and end of SoS:CoS. So for those who treat modules/adventures like a term paper, you should be satisfied and have no need to download and play it when it's released (everyone knows that the introduction and summary are the most important parts, right?). However, for you more diligent types who like to carry things through, I like to think this will be a rather interesting journey through the arid Shalihir desert and tie up most of the remaining mysteries from previous modules nicely.

The Ruins of Solvheil sunken into the Shalihir Sands

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Name that Continent coming along

Although as of this post, there are only 13 votes, it helps quite a bit to see which of the listed names off to the left fits best. I suppose I should have included a [None of the Above] option for those individuals that think all of the choices are sub-par. 35 days left to vote and thusfar the most popular names seem to be Lontheria (actually a bit suprised with this one) and Elrithorn.

I'll let this poll run it's course and see where it ends up. I normally look at the names and try to see how it fits in with the psuedo-linguistics of the current setting, such as Lyratholln, Elrinne, and Alakanthor. Thanks to all who have voted and those that have yet to, as it defintely helps me narrow down the list.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pro-Tip: FreeMind

I have found a new favorite tool for brainstorming and organizing a module. Alright, I didn't so much FIND it as it was recommended to me by an PnP old-schooler. It is called FreeMind, and it is the right price for the title (free).

It is similar to MS Visio minus the myriad of icons and about 80% of the frustration. You can simply start with a root node and keep inserting child nodes as you work through things. Then, you can move nodes or trees of nodes into whatever hierarchy you desire. It also has some great export features such as HTML, XML, JPG, etc. Copying/Pasting is also a breeze to grab a list of nodes and pasting them into notepad or other text editor.

Breakdown of Module Plot using FreeMind Mindmapping Software

Anyhow, I think this is a great resource for any module developer who wants to throw their ideas down 'on paper' and then rearrange them. I know it has certainly helped me get the plotpoints of SoSIII:CoS worked out nicely. It always helps to have a visual reference and bonus if it is editable.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Few Area Prefabs

While progress is, well, progressing on the third module in the series, I have decided that it was time for some old business. One of the things I promised myself when I started was that I would design several of the areas in these modules to be reusable. While I did release 3 prefab areas from Ruins of Kazatharis, I had not yet done the same with Beneath the Hearleforne.

Last night I did some cleaning on the areas, stripping away anything module dependent, npcs, scripts, etc until there was nothing but one area to pack to an erf. I pulled two areas from Beneath the Hearleforne and one from the upcoming Crusaders of Shalihir and packaged them up for the vault.

1) Keel Street on the Evertide Docks, capital of Dalreon.
2) Storneth in the Kingdom of Harrn.
3) Tahamman in the Shalihir Desert.

I just finished getting the entries filled out and uploaded, and they should be approved pretty soon (even with Maximus out for baby #3, gratz to him btw).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


The announcement of the upcoming expansion does indeed change things a bit. For one, it means I have to consider what this does to my release schedule. I have to juggle the pros and cons of delaying production on Crusaders of Shalihir a bit to incorperate the new features of SoZ (Such as the Overland Map and assorted Chult Jungle apparel.

I can see pros and cons to both sides of this one. If I treat this like Ruins of Kazatharis, then I release it just before the release of the expansion pack to give those who don't have the expansion yet something to do. I could also treat it like Beneath the Hearleforne which was tailored around the material contained within the expansion.

One of my biggest concerns is hak compatibility and what may be effected by the expansion. That is the one driving force in my head that tells me to hold off until all the cards are on the table.

If I had to guess (I honestly haven't looked into this one yet), I would put SoZ release late fall/holiday shopping time. Which really wouldn't shift back production that much. I could continue to work on Crusaders of Shalihir, touch-up/test/verify post-expansion, then get to work on part IV (which has already undergone some script changes due to this news).

I'm thinking that may be the best way to go.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir

File this one under 'I told ya so'...

Atari Europe has published news of a new expansion pack for NWN2 titled "Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir"

Pad those 2DA lines well my friends, and batton down the hatches, the waters are about to get stormy.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Little Ducks All in a Row


Ahh the fun of making NPCs, they aren't dolls damn you, they are action figures. One of the more interesting aspects of module development outside of area design is crafting the various NPCs. While this is sometimes a time consuming activity having to make sure that factions, skills, feats, names, etc all mesh up, it allows for quite a bit of creative flexibility in designing the look and armor for each. That's right, eat your heart out Vera Wang.

Anyhow, here is a quick glimpse of some of the NPCs that will be featured in Crusaders of Shalihir. Check out that lion shield from Sunsilks Shield pack. I couldn't have asked for a more fitting model.

Monday, June 2, 2008


I have made some really good headway putting together the hakpak for Crusaders of Shalihir. Actually, I am including all custom content material for the module after it as well. With bandwidth and storage being less of a concern than it was in the NWN1 days, I decided to just combine the two. Not too mention there is quite a bit of carry over.

Of course, just when you think you have everything you need, something you want arrives. Take for example the new Robinson Workshop creation: RWS Dungeons. Just amazing quality from them once again. I already combined the 2DA entries from it and their All-In-One package and merged it into my existing hak.

I also went ahead and made the once override files of Beneath the Hearleforne into a hakpak so people would no longer have to mess with their override folder. I hope this makes things a bit easier on the players now that I'm pretty sure 2DAs are read from haks correctly.
Design Documents: