Sunday, April 27, 2008

Driders will be playable

Alright, first off, my bad. This was my idea, reason being a drider doesn't require much scripting. It would have taken me ten minutes to do the driders for the latest modeling (or is it modelling?), and with all the work that Jonny was putting in over at Bouncy didn't seem right that I didn't put some work in too.

So why am I apologizing? Well, it set my project back a few days.

But anyway, it's mostly done now. I need to tweak it a bit...but how? Want a hand in this? Go to the forums and let me know. I have to admit, as far as things like this go, I'm vaguely familiar with the rules. Or whether or not people even want to follow them to the letter. I'm thinking about how to do the most "usable" drider as a race for players. Let me know.

But yeah, that's about all I got for now. I'll post some screens up when the models are done of the thing in action.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Heat, and some screens.

Well, the heat is officially here in Tennessee. For the last month or so it's been between the 50's and 80's (that's Farenheit, I calculated it out to something between 2 and 6 degrees for you Celsius users) so I was hesitating to break out the summer clothes and open the windows and all that because there's nothing fun about being caught with shorts and a wife beater when it's 50 (-8 C) outside, but I think this weekend is going to be the time to do that.

And you know what that means? I'm going to have to go through all my daugther's clothes from last year, filter out what doesn't fit anymore, and probably have to buy new clothes. Which, me being a dude and all, is not something I'm looking forward to. This is particularly difficult because I'm running low on the "reserves". For those of you who have kids, you'll know what I'm talking about, but for the benefit of those who are still able to go kick it on the weekends (even seeing a movie in the theater is a bit of an excerise with children...), basically what happens is when you have a kid, you get garbage bags full of old clothes from all of your relatives, probably last you until they're about 2. My daughter is really small for her age, so she can still fit in 2 year old clothes, but it's getting to that point where the reserves are gone and I'm going to have to buy like all new stuff. And I hate shopping for pretty much everything, even things I like I'm always in kind of a hurry to get out of the store.

The good news is I get to do yard work again, and see what plants I planted last year made it through the winter. Among the casualties are the palm tree, unfortunately. That thing is dead, like rotten wood dead, along with the rose bush. However, my strawberries actually spread and I'm counting around 30 strawberries will be ready in a few weeks, which is awesome. I'm not much of a gardener, but waking up and grabbing a fresh strawberry with my morning cigarette all summer sounds like I'll be living the high life. I'll just have to buy a robe and I'll feel like Hugh Heffner, except surrounded by strawberries instead of naked women.

Anyway, far as the mod is concerned, I have a ton (well, 9) of screens from the newest area (actually two areas, an upper level and it's upper level, and seperate basement), which you can find here. Here's a sample:



New graphics card looks hot, don't it?

Alright, so that's basically half of the two thieves guild, which is a fancy way of saying one of them. The other half (one) comes in two areas, but they're very small, and after that it's writing/scripting the quests involved. I anticipate to be done with those quests by the end of the week, and then I'll be on to the noble houses and the final parts of Chapter 2. So June is looking pretty good for the release.

I decided to change the ending a bit, though. Originally I was going to have like the biggest dungeon EVAR after the city, however I think that'll make up the bulk of Chapter 3 instead, for a few reasons. The biggest being my friend palafoxx is working on some custom content that probably won't be ready for a bit and I really want to use it, so to wait until it's done is the best course of action at this time. What I've got here is big enough to keep people busy for a bit, especially since most quests have different outcomes so you can play it a few times. Finally I want to focus more on a more frequent release schedule and smaller pieces instead of trying to do so much at one time. On that note, I've got some other things going on that are looking more interesting to me at this time (it's actually more like a great opportunity just fell into my lap!), and I've been looking forward to shifting gears a little for a while. More on that later when it's written in stone.

I know, I just spent a lot of words not saying a whole lot. But if you all know me by now, you know I don't give up or leave things half done, so a little faith and some patience and you'll see what's really good.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Two Things!

First, there's the update which you should read.

Then, there's this which I'm not sure if it's OK to laugh at but did anyway.

Good news and bad news? Or all good news? You decide.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pretty Standard Update

You know, I forget how many drivers you have to update when installing a new computer part. You never know what's going to go bad, even with something that seemingly has no effect on the other. For instance, after I installed the new graphics card, I had no sound and my wireless internet was dropping off constantly. I just reinstalled the same driver for the sound on my motherboard (thing is 5.1 surround sound out the box! Who'da thunk it?) and it turns out that when I had my computer put together like half a year ago they installed the wrong driver for my internet anyway.

But that didn't stop me from providing an update for you all. Two new areas, probably jam a few sidequests in it. There will be a clear reason to visit the area, but I'll probably throw a few "go here and do something" things in there as well as I "I don't like you, so die" option.


Now you're probably thinking what could you possibly be doing down there? Well I'm not going to tell you, other than these two are involved, if you play your cards right (or wrong as it were) you'll find out what happens when you apply both the vampire and half golem template to a second level fighter (it's not pretty!), and it's not what you think!



There a whole slew of screens here you can check out. Many of them are from the opening cutscene for the area where you walk in and get escorted back to the throne room to meet the resident, to simulate looking around at your surroundings. Some of it is kind of nasty stuff:


And it's still not what you think!

But anyway, it was kind of ridiculous. It literally took me four hours to get this thirty second cutscene working right, where the player follows an NPC through a hallway. I tried to do it the stupid way first because I thought it would be more efficient, and tried for several hours to make the stupid way work. Then I took fifteen minutes to do it the "right" way and another few minutes to tweak the delays on the camera.

But anyway, that's pretty much what's going on. More to do, more to do.

Friday, April 11, 2008

My Interview on NWN Podcast

You can listen to it here if you're into that kind of thing. Now apparently because you head is full of bones and organs and such, your voice sounds differently to other people than yourself. I can't listen to it because of that. Like if I saw myself on the street I'd be all like "what's going on" and then when I walked away from myself I'd be all "man, I can't stand that guy." A lot of people do that anyway I'm sure, but I'm not used to hearing that from myself.

I'm kidding of course, I'm pretty awesome.

Anyway, I ordered the new graphics card as per flem's advice yesterday. I just got regular shipping and it's already in my city according to the tracking, which is insane because it's as fast to pay nothing than to pay like $20 for next day shipping, and I probably would have gotten it later if I had paid $3 for the three day shipping. That's not quite as insane as how many emails newegg sends you when you buy one of their products. I literally got seven emails sending me my receipt and tracking number in different graphic formats.

But yeah, good day today. I think I will eat Chinese food tonight to celebrate.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sidequest in a Day

That's how they all should go. Anyway, two days ago I uploaded the newest build for my epic (in length) beta which added one lengthy and one not so lengthy quest, eight areas ranging from small to medium in size, and a slew of bug fixes.

Anyway, after I did that I began to work on the next quest, which I finished completely yesterday from start to finish. Here's a screen of the area it uses:


They should all go that fast! So I'll be on the next one soon. In the meantime I'm going to dedicate a little time to testing The Red Prison, which should be on the vault shortly I think.

Well anyway, I downloaded a plugin for the first time since 1.03, thought I'd give them another shot. It's annoying when they break, however Powerbar was pretty useful at the time and it seems the author has kept updating it. The script search and rotating an area 90 degrees is pretty useful.

It also does a word count of everything you've written, including item descriptions! So here's a few numbers of what I've done to date:

Campaign Words: 78316
Chapter 1 Words: 73846
Chapter 2 Words: 198751
Chapter 1 Areas: 32
Chapter 2 Areas: 51

Total Words: 350913
Total Areas: 83

Holy crap eh?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Beholder Is Out

Check it out

More on that later.

First thing's first, far as Subtlety of Thay is concerned. Originally I meant to have a new build up for testing by this weekend...not looking good at this point for that because I took a few days to work on the beholder (which was totally worth the time). However, by tomorrow night is looking much better. I'll have to bust my butt today and some of tomorrow (I also have to mow my football field sized yard though!) but it's definately an attainable goal.

And when you're working on a large project, little steps like that are important.

But anyway, on to the beholder. This is the part you can tune out because it's not terribly interesting.

Anyway, the AI on the beholder is really a cool system. Basically it has 12 spells, the 10 eye rays, it's antimagic eye, and an AI spell that tells it which rays to shoot and at what. So basically what happens is at the end of each combat round it runs an AI script that tells it which action is the best to take. For instance, if it's hit points are low it may decide it's best to retreat a distance back (I changed this so it will shoot it's rays THEN retreat, hopefully inflicting movement hampering statuses) or, if you're using the waypoint, to it's levitation waypoint (from HotU, I don't really know what this is all about but I left the function to do it in there), or which target to physically attack or to use it's rays. I changed a few things so it almost always uses it's ray attacks, but it will physically attack characters that have the anti-magic status because the rays won't work.

It gets interesting once it decides to use it's rays, though. It casts this AI spell on a creature. Because a beholder can only bear three rays against any single target, it also chooses two additional targets if there are any within range. Once it does that it prioritizes which target is the primary one, which the secondary, and which the tertiary based on a number of factors, with the first being the most threatening, etc. The AI could really be tweaked here to choose the absolute best target in a variety of circumstances, I added a few checks because it didn't really have much there from NWN1. In any case, then it chooses how best to attack these targets by seeing how many targets there are and then somewhat randomly which rays to use against which targets; there are several routines, but it won't dynamically choose which rays against which targets, they are predetermined. Such as the primary target gets the strongest rays like disintegrate and death, and the secondary and third targets get the charm and petrify to disable them. The trick to that was to assign how it picks targets. It has most of it's fortitude saving throw rays on it's primary attacks, and chooses classes with low fort saves first, for instance.

Anyway, once it's done that it runs it's antimagic eye script, which again goes through some checks as to whether or not it's a good idea to open the eye. I changed things there again because I thought it was set up to be at a disadvantage against a single target because it can't use it's own rays on a target that has anti-magic status, so it won't use it against a single target except if a few circumstances, but it will now use them to eliminate buff spells first and then close the anti-magic eye and use it's rays, and use it against higher level casters than it was set to originally.

Anyway, I thought it was a pretty unique AI set up. And since neither my wife, my daughter, nor my mother care, I thought I'd share it here!

Well anyway, back to work.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Taxes, Sea Monkies, and Remember the Titans

Well for this post I have good news, bad news, an update, and something incredibly stupid and probably offensive.

So let's start with the stupid!

I don't know if you all have realized it by this point, perhaps some of you long time readers, but I'm a huge idiot. Therefore it should come as no surprise that I love this program because it lets me impersonate Stephen Hawking to friends and relatives over the phone. I also like to pretend to be the guy that got crippled in Remember the Titans, even though he didn't have a vocoder or whatever that thing is. I don't know why but that's been a running joke in my household for years ever since I found that program that will make your computer talk what you type and I say "Remember the Titans, always Remember the Titans!"

Well anyway, now for the update:

Click the link

Not much new there since I wrote that yesterday. I got all of the ambient NPCs, the key NPCs, a small shrine to Sharess in one of the houses (I've got a lot of shrines to various Gods around the city, if you worship that one you get a better blessing, if you have a similar alignment you get a blessing both of which are long duration buffs, if not nothing)(and where Sharess goes...), and all of the basic conversations done. I should be done with the quests relating to these areas over the next few days and a new build up for testing afterwards.

Kind of makes me question the decision about putting half finished stuff up for testing, though. I'll add two quests, both non-combat because I listen to the polls!, and it'll probably take an hour or two to finish them (shorter if you know where you're going, but part of the quest is to figure that out...since you're not fighting anything) and then it'll be another few weeks/month for the next batch. Should I have waited until it was all finished? I don't know, it's a massive project to test that much material and when game breakers happen it slows down everything, so it's nice in my opinion to test in pieces. But then people get sick of waiting or playing the same things over and over too...I don't know. That's life.

Well anyway, the bad news: I got in a huge fight with my wife over sea monkies. Basically she bought some for our daughter, I said they were stupid and just little pieces of crap that float in the water and not actually anything...the box came without a lid and the cat drank all the water in the little tank that came along...and well you know how women can be, somehow I'm the bad guy. But anyway, it raised an interesting question: Are sea monkies little pieces of crap?

The answer was, unfortunately, no. They are actually tiny brine shrimp, the same stuff whales eat. So my bad baby, I'll know you'll read this later. I told you I'd apologize if it turned out that they weren't little pieces of crap but actually alive and a public apology is better than a private one any day of the week!

Finally, the good news: I filed my tax return. You know, I used to think taxes are really, really stupid. You know what I'm saying, why don't they just take out what I owe and not make me go through these hoops and create all this extra work? Well it turns out that sometimes they give you a lot more money than what you paid in. With the government rapidly gaining debt as it is, I can't see how this is a good idea either, but I'm not going to turn down a bunch of free money so this year I became of fan of taxes.

In any case, because I got this gigantic ass return, I'm going to buy a new graphics card. So does anyone that reads this use a 8800 GTX? Any problems with NWN2? The last thing I want is to get a better card and have it be worse for the game I'm spending most of my time working with.

OK, that's all I've got.