Saturday, December 31, 2016

Well, I must confess I simply haven't had the time to do more to the saga, and the longer time drifts by, the more I forget on what progress was made.  I did however take a peek over the Christmas period.  There's a fair few conversations that need expanding, and that can be terribly time consuming.  It did leave me wondering if I should consider re-installing NWN2 and making part two within that, but I suspect the learning curve would destroy my will to go  on.

On reflection, it makes far more sense to stick with NWN1 simply because of the amount of work already within chapter 2.

I'd still be very interested if someone out there might be willing to help.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Wakey wakey!

I can't believe I've left this alone for so many years.  It's been a struggle being a single Dad, to the point that I've had to have a minor operation.    Having to spend a couple of weeks resting, and now mobile enough to exploit my free time... so I started up the toolset and found myself dabbling again.

As anyone who's played Chapter One will know, I'm a stickler for detail, and atmosphere is one of the most important tools at your disposal for creating it. It's all about immersion. Immerse your player in the story by setting the scene, both visually and auditory. One trick I like to use with sound is I'll note the background noise of an area and place a much quieter version of it near the transition point of an adjoining area.

I also check the description of anything that can be clicked on, including NPCs, tailoring them to observations the player can make.

If you haven't played Chapter One, I urge you to do so, and if you have, I urge you to play again.  Were you aware that the confrontation that occurs in the mines has a game changing consequence if the Half Orc survives?  The consequence being that you encounter him later and he has conveniently made an area combat free. 

There are many things that are easy to miss, ranging in complexity, including but not limited to:
  • Multiple reward possibilities dependant on how you're viewed by Anath.
  • It's possible to get Gailin to like you.  Hard work, but possible.  There are several range bands to how he views you, altering his conversations and reactions to storyline in the process.
  • There's an optional quest in Oasis involving a burnt note.
  • Translating a book can gain another companion.
  • Lore in all books is original and can contain clues.
  • Lore on all armour is original, from dog collars to chainmail.
  • In fact the lore of everything pertains to the setting
So... having rekindled my interest, I'm having another look.  No promises, but knowing someone wanted to play Chapter 2 could make all the difference.  Happy gaming people :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Disaster Averted!

Okay okay, I confess I haven't been around of late, or even building come to that.  That nasty thing called real life is still demanding lots of my attention, particularly on the job seeking front, and I had a major disaster... two in fact, with regard my computer.  I suffered a particularly nasty virus attack that locked the PC and disabled safe boot mode.  The first time it struck took me a couple of days to sort out.  The second time merely a couple of hours since I'd remembered how I got round it.  You can't be too cautious people.  I actually have a good virus checker that deals with files in real time, yet it missed this one twice.

Having thought the worst was over, I was horrified to discover that it had somehow messed with two of my games, being Neverwinter Nights and World of Tanks, somehow assigning them to the creation of further viral attacks and rendering the programs unusable.  Fortunately the virus checker caught the files they kept creating whenever I tried to run them, but I was unable to fix the problem and make the programs run.  This was quite a disheartening moment for me.  World of Tanks I could manage without, but the loss of Neverwinter meant that work was unnaccesable, and that I'd never be able to witness my son enjoy my creations.

Fortunately I'm a patient fellow, and I decided to persevere and tackle the problem.  Several days later, having uninstalled both programs then re-installed them (a somewhat painful task with NWN since it meant having to remember how I got it to run on my system in the first place, plus having to find the critical rebuild patch that Bioware no longer have available), I was relieved to find I'd fixed the problem, and especially pleased that I'd made backups of essential files.

So... fingers crossed, I'm now back in business, and quite excited about building again having overcome the initial sense of loss.

Right now I need a rest though ;)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hobby Holiday

As some of you may know, life has been a bit hectic lately, and I needed to get away from it all.  I did try opening the toolset a couple of times, but I was always disheartened by the monumental task ahead, and would end up closing the toolset to leave tackling it for another time.  In the meantime I'd end up feeling a bit guilty having proclaimed the Relbonian Chronicles to be a series, particularly when Chapter One was welcomed so warmly.

Sometimes your hobbies can run away with you, ending up so big that you can't imagine finishing them.  In such a situation myself, I was in need of turning my attention to something more manageable in an attempt to remind myself that finishing a project was possible, in the hope that completing something smaller would encourage me to return to something larger.

Having arrived into roleplaying from a wargaming background, modelling has always appealed to me, particularly if it was something that could accompany my collection of fantasy figures, and with my eager 5 year old son showing an interest in his collection of knights, it seemed only natural that I turned my attention to an old unfinished model of a mediaeval tavern I'd started a long time ago...


...so, above is pretty much how it started out.  Polyboard cut to shape, then selotaped together with the additional strength of pins (later substituded for cocktail sticks) holding it all together to aid the gluing process.  I'd also made a start on the roof, which was just thick cardboard, and thin balsa wood strips for the tudor styling.


Another week down the line and I had pretty much finished the balsa wood application and made a start on the roof tiling, which was made from small cut up squares from a cereal box glued from the bottom up so that they'd overlap each other.  Once finished ready for painting, the walls were painted with a textured paint that would later be dry brushed, and the balsa wood painted dark brown.  The roof was painted black then dry brushed in grey (after a failed attempt at painting the roof red which I'd decided didn't work), and the windows painted blue and having the criss cross affect applied with a black felt tip pen.  



I hope you'll agree the final outcome is quite good.  My son certainly thinks so!  The good news is it felt something of a relief to be able to say I'd finished another of my projects, which did indeed culminate in me opening the NWN toolset once more.  It was still daunting, but I have this very evening sorted out a major glitch with the opening cutscene which was threatening the entire module.  I have a day off tomorrow, so dare say I'll be tackling it some more. :)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Yes, I do still exist!

Just a quick note to let people know I'm still around.  As always, real life keeps taking a bite out of my creation time, (I'm still a single parent, and still looking for work... anyone got any offers?) hence the lack of posts as of late. It's hard to get incentive with a hobby, particularly when you know there's conversation work to be done which is always time consuming, and unfortunately, I think I set the bar quite high with Chapter One.  As always, if anyone feels they might be able to help in any way drop me a line.  I'll be trying to spend some time on it soon so my next post can be more interesting.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Here We Go Again!

Well, I managed to step away from Skyrim and opened the toolset to have another bash at Chapter 2.  It had been worrying me a while as whenever I opened the toolset to have a look, I realised what was waiting for me was quite daunting and would end up shutting it down again.  This time I perservered, and decided to crack on with the opening cutscene that will greet the player.  Since I started dabbling with the Gestalt cutscene system I haven't looked back.  True, for a perfectionist like me it's making a rod for my own back, but I feel quite strongly that the inclusion of cutscenes does much in the telling of the story and moves it away from a simple monster bash.  As expected, problems arose.... camera positioning was never quite where I wanted it... NPCs wouldn't run where I wanted them to... camera wobble made text unreadable... all the usual stuff that had me cursing at the keyboard, but I got there in the end.  The cutscene intro now sets the scene nicely, meaning I'm ready to move on to what takes place within the city where the first part of the module will take place.  As I enjoy making areas, some of that has already been done.

No pictures for now.  I think I've got flu coming on and need bed!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Oops!

I guess an apology is in order, for not only has work on part two ground to a temporary halt, but I also failed to post my usual well wishes for Christmas and the New Year.  To some extent personal life has taken the usual toll, and certainly wasn't helped by the uninsured driver who crashed into the back of my car while I was stationary.  My oven blew up on Christmas eve, I've not been well, and I attended a couple of job interviews, but I digress... the real reason things have ground to a halt if I'm completely honest with myself is the recent acquisition of Skyrim on the X box.  Quite simply, it's the best game I have ever played.

For those of you unfamiliar with Elder Scroll games, they are fantasy based role playing games that have acquired a reputation for high quality.  Morrowind certainly deserved such a reputation with its vast scale and attention to detail.  Oblivion certainly looked promising with the same mammoth scale and extremely high quality graphics, but the story driven requirement to keep entering portals ended up feeling very repetitive, to the point that despite nearing the end, I felt bored and ceased playing.

Skyrim is far superior. You can venture as far as the eye can see in a landscape that will have you pausing simply to take in the view.  The superior graphics extend to your inventory items, allowing you to zoom in on them and view them from any angle, making them feel much more solid and real, improving game immersion vastly as a result.

Your character can be taken in any direction you wish, with skills improving as you use them.  I've been having fun with a stealthy character that favours two swords and dabbles with fire spells.  They're also a dab hand at creating potions, poisons, and even their own magic items.  It's been great fun, but I'm seriously considering starting again with a pure mage, which is testament to how good the game is.

There are bugs, but the beauty of it as a whole far outweigh the trivual annoyances that can crop up, and let's face it, in a game this big, it's no surprise that the odd quirky little thing will slip the net.

The storyline is great... no.... fantastic if you're into Dragons like me.  A real epic story that delves deep into the lore of the Elder Scrolls.  What's nice is that even the side quests have great attention to detail, often resulting in you wandering far from your intended path where something else gets the better of your curiosity.

Quite simply, it's awesome.