Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Game to Finish

I don't often finish games. Especially those that include a toolset.
DA:O is an exception. I stand on the savegame before the end and actually surprised that I made it this far. The story has been pretty darn good so far. The companions are engaging, the ambience pretty stellar (and funny all too often), and the backdrops are rather eye-catching.

Anyhow, just wanted to say a quick kudos to Bioware for coming through on a great SP adventure (or OC as we like to call it). I know this means that I am about to dive into dangerous waters with a toolset that has yet to see a patch, but as I charge the arch-demon sword drawn, I'm shocked that I not only lived this long, but that I kept logging in for more.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

DA Toolset Released!

Remember how lost you were in the Electron (NWN2) toolset the first time?
"This isn't anything like Aurora...why did they make it so hard?"

Get ready for that overwhelmed feeling all over again. The new Dragon Age toolset is a completely new animal that befuddles and amazes all at the same time. Some intial thoughts as I have only been able to toy with it for one evening:

1) Complex as all get out...but reassuring that it can do so much more than previous toolsets. The learning curve is much higher, but so is the ceiling of what is possible.

2)Levels vs Areas. Here is one of the first things a new builder must grasp the difference between. Terminology in this toolset is completely different. Levels are landscape, decoration, basically all of the static elements of what we are used to calling an area. Areas, on the other hand, inherit the elements of a given level, and allow you to add the in interactive elements. Bioware basically split area design into two facets: static and dynamic.

3) Um what are these models again? The organization of the models used to create levels and areas is far from intuitive. They are put together in folders that prefix the first three letters of th model, relating to what area of the SP they were used.

4) Thank the Maker for the Wiki. Serioulsy, without the hard work, effort, and screenshots of the beta testers that has been documented in the toolset wiki, this might be a mission impossible. Beerfish went through and snapped shots of many of the models. JasonNH went through and put together cheatsheets of the textures. This is truly a community learning effort.

I have many more thoughts on this but I hesitate to follow the rabbit trail too far before I get some more time logged. I am once again experiencing the exciting feeling of curiosity, terror, and power all wrapped into one.
Design Documents: