Saturday, June 28, 2008


I'm going to visit the family over the 4th, so I'll be out for the next week and a half.

Alright, that's all.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

4 To Go

The other day at my daughter's gymnastics class, which I don't participate in leaving me a good chunk of time to sit around and do nothing in a building that's not my house, I picked up this magazine they have. One of the things I like about my dentist is that he has Sports Illustrated and ESPN magazine; I'm not a real big sports fan, but it beats the hell out of Ebony or Redbook or the other BS that's at the gymnastics place. But I did check out this Entrepreneur (or something like that) magazine, which had Mark Ecko on the cover. Apparently the dude is a billionaire.

Then it occured to me that I don't have any of his clothes in my wardrobe, which, you'll note from earlier I have about an hour to kill with little to do, got me thinking why I don't, you'd, or perhaps I'd, think I'd like those kind of clothes being a big hip hop fan and all. But I don't really get in to those stupid urban/rapper clothing lines that much. And I figured out why: Most of these rappers look like they raided their grandma's old clothes box.

Seriously, look at these guys. I guess the last thing I want to do is take fashion advice from guys who wear diamond earrings the size of a marble, shiny tennis bracelets, and fur coats (dude, my mom wants a fur coat).

I do want to know how they keep their hats on, but can never keep on their shirts, or some kind of half-shirts like they couldn't decide what goes where even if it looks a little suggestive in a bad way.

Also, here's a hilariously misleading condom ad.

But on to the update:



Those are two areas I did this week to further the noble house quests. As the title suggests, only 4 more quests to go, then the two final stages of the main quest and that about does it. Getting very close now, and not much to talk about, hence my tirade above and below.

Now, more Baldur's Gate:

Last time, I had just left the prologue on my quest to find out why people are trying to kill me and succeeding in killing Gorion. Turns out this involves a lot of walking and stumbling in to things. Since the only thing I know about so far is a pile of loot to the north I can steal from Gorion's corpse, that's the first stop:


Then I stumbled into more things, like these guys:


Meet Xzar and Monteron, two mildly annoying guys. One is near worthless in battle, the other when scripted tries to hide in shadows constantly instead of moving to his waypoint (also, the pathing in this game is terrible, again I'll chalk that up to age because the logarithms used today may not have even existed or been too costly to use). Anyway, didn't know this when I said it's cool to come along, plus a full party is better than nothing.

Anyway, I told them I had to go north to the Friendly Arms Inn to meet some friends instead of going south to Nakresh like they want to. Hopefully, I thought to myself, I will find some sidequests and and a CGI(?) cutscene. And I wasn't disappointed.


After arriving in town and being nearly murdered again, I found some more friends, Jaheira and Khalid:


I'm assuming because there is no more space for companions, that I have a full party. That means sidequest time. The first one I found was from what appears to be a completely nude woman who lost her ring.


Obviously I accepted, as it seems simple enough and I haven't seen a game yet that punishes you for taking quests, often puzzling why a "no" option even exists because you can just ignore them anyway (luckily, many BG quests you just get from talking to a guy...but you can ignore them.) I did that, killed the hobgoblin who had the ring, but his corpse was sort of behind a tree so I didn't notice it and continued north thinking it was up there, where I found a whole new batch of sidequests, including some bandits who you literally scalp, which is kind of nasty.


I don't know why an innkeeper would want to buy a dead guy's filthy bandit hair, but I don't ask those questions.

A little further north I found a farmer who's son is missing, which I'm supposed to find. After a very brief time looking, I ran into one of these things.


Notice my party is a little smaller? Yeah, that's because these things can literally explode your guys into a spray of body parts. They don't just regular kill them. It lead to this screen:


That's my hand melting away.

So after a reload, I did manage to win but lost most of my party again. I just wanted to see if I could do it.


But, after careful consideration, I decided I'm in the wrong area because these things are a little strong for a level 1 party; even Xzar with his 4 hit points and no offensive damaging spells was having trouble. I think that's why he bothered me to go south to Narakesh. He was punished for it, because I'm evil:


I made him wear a belt that made him a woman. Then Jaheira started bugging me too about going there, and so did my journal:


Most of the quests end in "by the way, maybe we should go south to Narakesh?" So I caved in, lacking another gender bending belt.


And here I am at level 2:


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Baldur's Gate

First of all, I've got your Subtlety of Thay needs covered here. So don't even trip on that. I guess I should lightly touch on the poll options: You all suck. Not much support for neither the Wild West or Kung Fu. That's cool though.

See for my next project, during my break between Ch 2 and possibly continuing, which I'll probably pick it back up one day but I need to switch gears for a bit, I was puzzling out what exactly I wanted to do. I had an idea similar to Seekers where there would be a central "hub" level, and you could go open portals or something to unrelated, random plots in an effort to get out of the "hub", but since that's pretty much been done by Seekers, and nobody really seems to appreciate the brilliance in such an idea, I'm going to go ahead and take a pass.

My other idea was to put something in the Chult area, because jungles and such haven't really been done outside of Tomoachan, but the new expansion pack seems to have that covered really well. However, I thought they didn't really do justice to Thay in MotB (yeah, the Red Wizards are good natured...kind of forgot to put the evil ones in there...), so maybe they won't make jungles cool?

Nah, it'll probably be pretty dope, and there will probably be a lot of cool jungle themed stuff too.

But, that leaves me with my last idea, which I'm not going to go into other than it's going to have a mild Wild West theme to it. Could have been Wild West/Kung Fu! But you all messed that up. For shame.

Nah, I'm not mad. Kung Fu wouldn't have been that great because you can't really go Shadowboxing vs. Crane style when everyone's a monk with 3 animations. Plus there's no David Carradine head model. But there's definately going to be some Wild West overtones happening, and it's definately going to be a lot smaller a project than this one.

In any case, I was talking about how I got GameTap and downloaded Baldur's Gate. Well, I tried it with a character and realized I really had no idea how the AD&D ruleset worked and didn't like my poorly statted multi-class Fighter/Mage because I saw everyone gain levels while my character was still level 1, a few thousand XP away from level 2, and with 6 hit points, so I started over. But this time, I documented it.

So, let's go!

In any case, from my previous run through I just know that resting is a MFer without healing spells, and to avoid dealing with it I'll just play a cleric. I know they need Wisdom, but I basically hit reroll until I ended up with pretty high numbers across the board since I have no idea what the numbers actually do.

It kind of makes me wonder with all the hating on 4E, did the same thing happen when they went from AD&D to 3E? Because this is kind of insane, and the lack of explanations in the game didn't help matters.

So anyway, with that in mind I chose the first portrait I saw, and since he doesn't really look like that nice of a guy and more like that giant from Fearless, so he's definately evil, nearly as big, but probably not nearly as strong. After all the other things I filled in that I didn't know what they were, I got to the name.


Allow me to introduce you to "Crazy Legs" O'Hooly, only named so because O'Flannigan and O'Hoolie were too long, but dropping the "" around Crazy Legs would have just been silly.

So, off we went to the Inn. After freaking out (I'm evil, remember?) at the Inn Keeper about his lame joke, he didn't want to talk to me anymore. Until seconds later when I clicked him again and checked out the inventory. Couldn't afford any good armor and have enough left over for a weapon, so I left to go get some more money. That means random tasks for strangers, folks! Because I can't pick locks and depsite my gigantic size have trouble cracking open drawers and chests. Need a rogue. Or is it thief?

I did a few like finding a book in cow feed, delivering a sword pretending like I didn't steal it and intend to sell it, until I found this gem: The combat simulator 3000. It's cool, because basically this guys summons opposition, except they can't hurt you. So what did I do? Summoned as many guys as I could!


Then I tried to unequip everyone's stuff and give it to my character, but when they dump you out of that area they take all your stuff. Touche Bioware, touche.

Anyway, I also found this quest:


You all see that I got the Rat highlighted? A rat in the cellar quest? Are you kidding me?

I think I'm going to give them a pass though. Could very well be that this game is old enough to be the origin of the rat in the cellar level 1 quest cliche. I didn't let it bother me and killed the rats.

So finally I had enough money to buy some stuff and headed over to the Inn. Got tore up from the floor up (sorry I can't think of anything that works with geared up. Geared up to the weird up? I don't know.) and split, ready to find Gorion. Told him yeah, I'm ready to go. Then he died.


Then I met Imoen, who seems a bit perky (and really, her portrait doesn't look like a young kid like the game says she is, or is that just me? And does she call you gay when you select her?) for an evil giant to be kicking it with, but I'm not walking around alone and somebody needs to break into cabinets for me.

And that's the end of today's Baldur's Gate. Next time, walking around the woods, seeing graphics glitches, and possibly several ambushes as I attempt to rest.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Last House is Done

And it couldn't have come at a better time. Nothing particularly special about the time that it did other than I made what seems like dozens of dozens of bedrooms. Let me tell you, where there's only like 4 beds that looks nice, a handful of rugs, and a few cabinets, making bedrooms that look distinct from one another can prove difficult. And tiresome, for that matter.

But it's over, and I feel good. Want to see some screens of the last one? No? Well you're going to have to if you want to read the rest of this post, because I'm embedding them below.





And that's that. Next, I really need to sit down and figure out exactly how I want this to play out. I don't want it to feel thrown together, but rather a (limited, I'm not that smart) intricate plot that when you piece it together you're like "oh!", from 6 different points of view. I'll probably take a few minutes tomorrow to do that in between my nap and my post nap rest. Taking a nap can be tiring, I'm almost 26.

But yeah, that's where I'm at. I hope, by the end of the month, to be done with the noble houses, take my 4th of July break for a week or so, and wrap this thing up by mid-July. I was pretty close with the June ball park figure all those months ago. I'm a little peeved that I didn't make it, but that's life. I just don't think I can put the quality I want down on these last parts in two weeks. I can get quite a bit more done in another two weeks; it doesn't seem like much time, but for real, I spend at least 40 hours a week working on this. Another 80 hours is a lot of time.

But anyway, that's all I got. No off topic stuff this week, other than today I got GameTap and will finally play Baldur's Gate for the first time. I have no expectations of it, other than people talk about it like it's the next coming of Christ. That's an achievable standard I think. Dude was only a carpenter, right? Big deal, I built a shelf in 6th grade wood shop.

So if Baldur's Gate doesn't build me a shelf, I'm going to be pissed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Little bit of whatever

Well, the first thing we should do here is get the NWN2 news out of the way. I finished another noble house in it's entirety; I actually decided to do the NPCs and conversations before taking the screenshots, so check them out:





You know, I think my mouse is taking a crap. It's randomly double clicking when I want to single click, which aside from being mildly annoying, makes me click things I don't want to, sometimes detrimentally. Well, detrimentally as far as things on your personal computer go, it's not like I'm going to launch a nuke or something. Although having that kind of access would probably mean having a really high tech mouse instead of the one I have now, which is pretty normal, although there are two extra buttons on the side! But those go either back or forward in IE, which means sometimes I grab the mouse after writing out a long post on a forum or something and accidentally press the back button, which is possibly more annoying than random double clicking. Come to think of it, I kind of hate this mouse!

Regardless of all that, there's only one noble house left to build, then it's quest time! And finishing the mod time! And fixing bugs. That last one doesn't deserve an exclamation point!

So, yeah, that's progress.

Now I know rap isn't very popular in the cRPG circle (what do you all listen to? Queen or some stuff I'm guessing?), go listen to this first track on this mixtape, you'll like it:

Click it

Finally, I took some time this weekend to play a classic: Dominions 3. I'm probably going to be writing a guide over at their forums over the next week to one of the nations in it. I wrote a few like a year or two ago when I was waiting for NWN2 to come out, and I picked it up this weekend and thought I should write another one.

Anyway, I highly recommend the game.

What else is going on? In an ultimate display of hilarity (no offense guys! I didn't do this to you, remember that!), Obsidian annouces a new expansion around the same time Mysteries of Westgate gets delayed for the...well I lost count, it's been almost a year since it was annoucned as "done". Now begins the race to which will be released first. Honestly, my money would be on Storm of Zehir, despite it's really stupid "this is obviously fantasy" name. Apparently, though, you can bet on professional curling, arm wrestling, and tug of war but not Neverwinter Nights. So my actual money isn't actually on anything.

Anyway, I'm just saying it's getting to the point where it's more of a joke than something I'm actively anticipating. I mean, what do you want me to say though? Sorry guys, I'd say I feel bad, but didn't Atari screw you over with Darkness Over Daggerford?

Oh well, life goes on. I kind of feel bad contributing to the negativity surrounding the whole Mysteries of Westgate fiasco. Being a video game fan, a rap fan, and a Family Guy fan (which all of the sudden they went from brilliant to sucks? What?), I can't even say how often you go to find some info about something you like and all you hear are haters floating around with diss posts on the net about it.

I guess I just turned into one of them! Crap.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008 it's going to have to be me? Really? Well, alright!

You know, I was really hoping somebody would address this so I wouldn't have to besides a silent nod, which nobody would actually see, but I assure you would actually take place. I could probably find a .gif of somebody nodding, probably even Captain Picard (he seems to be in a lot of .gifs) but I'd first look for Rambo (but I'm not sure if he silently nodded in any movies, haven't seen the new one though, plenty of silent grimaces (and what was the point of the McDonald's guy Grimace? Did he have any powers?)), and we could work something out.

But first, let's take a look at some screens:





I'm getting in a bad habit of putting these up before they are populated. Anyway, this another of the noble houses, leaving only 2 left once I've populated this one, so I should be working on the next one later this week. Of course, populating them includes putting in NPCs to do things and their "player has no quests here" conversations should somebody curious walk into one of those areas with no purpose, so it's not as simple as slapping down some NPCs and an enter script to do the random ones. But it won't be so bad, either, because those conversations tend to be short.

Anyway, I'm taking a leisurely pace here. It is my projected release month, but I'm pretty close and the ongoing testing helps. Maybe I'll make it, maybe I won't, but it'll be very close, surprisingly because it was, at the time, just a guess. I really like June, my birthday is this month and so is my wifes. It would be awesome to be done by the 4th though, so I could be done, go blow my fingers off with some drunken fireworks fun, and be healed enough to see my wife in August for the first time since September last year without having to think about how I'm not getting anything done.

In any case, the title and first paragraph need to be addressed. So, this is what I'm talking about:

Click here

I've been thinking about this like, how can I say this without sounding like a hater? How can I say this without seeming like a jerk for my involvement with the beholder and drider?

Well, the simple answer is I can't. But the fact is, and hopefully we all know this, is that these models should not be getting ratings this high, period. And hopefully both the people who voted, and the people involved with making them agree, because that would squash this potential beef. But if it has to be a beef, then that's what it is.

Seriously, these models are from an old game, and I say this without reservation, that is quite graphically challenged (is that the PC term these days for ugly?) The models were built with that in mind, not to detract from them because frankly they do look much better than the models that came with NWN. But honestly, this is the jump I'm talking about: NWN2 vs NWN. Again, not to detract because those heads linked look leagues better than both of the official content released with each respective game. No, the difference is NWN2 looks a lot better than NWN. Think about it, if I took that head pack and ported it over to NWN2 because of the elf head shortage...well I mean, what would you say? Would you put one of those on your PC?

And I can't really stress that this isn't a diss to anybody, but honestly my impression of the project is that it's a model placeholder project until better ones come out, people have something to work with. A good idea! But if you're not treating these for what they are, then it kind of does a disservice to those who are working on, what I'd consider, top quality models. There is a stark difference between the two you have to admit. Plus, do they even work properly?

What is it? Don't want to hurt somebody's feelings? Think they need the encouragement of high votes to continue? I really don't understand it. A respectable vote reflective on the content should be sufficient, and dare I say anyone who doesn't like it needs to buck up.

And I don't think I'm being unreasonable. Let me know if I am.

OK, now you can call me a hater.