Monday, March 29, 2010

Time for more guinea^H^H^H I mean testers

As promised, for those interested in testing, a new version fixing all known bugs (except for the intro movie not playing). Thanks to wyrin and _Knightmare_, the bugs that somehow slipped into the overland map are now squashed.

module files

files other than the modules (if you previously downloaded this, you don't really need to do it again, there are some fixes to typos in the tlk file)

The handy dandy bug reporting wiki

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Feeling stabby again

Well, if just posting about a frustration is going to get me answers as quickly as my last post:

Another one of those problems that just appeared out of seemingly nowhere. This is seperate from the barkstring conversation issue I posted.

New area transition triggers for module transition in my campaign have broken (ie: they used to work, now they don't). They either:
a) don't work at all. They player enters them and nothing happens, or the transition autosave happens but they don't transition.
b) work, but send the player to the module start point, not the designated waypoint.

I've tried several versions of area transitions. I've used the standard new area transition trigger, as well as generic triggers with the ga_olmap_load script and the ga_load_mod script.

The destination waypoints exist and I have confirmed their tag names as well as the module names being referenced.

Has anyone else run across this? Wyrin commented to my previous post that he's started to see some of this behavior. This issue is preventing me from releasing an updated test version of Path of Evil.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Feeling All Stabby

Like this guy from Futurama ---------------------->

You see, I had a perfectly working overland map. I could go anywhere in the game world. I'd tested it multiple times. The only problem was that the OM module had too many areas in it, making transitions to the OM slow as NWN2 loaded them all. So I split the OM module into two, one for eastern Faerun and one for western, and updated all the map triggers. Rebaked all the areas.

Simple right?

No. Now things are completely borked. See that placeable conversation? That's not a barkstring, and there are no conditionals on the responses. And the area to transition to is in that same module. I had one placeable conversation that did pop up correctly, but disappeared after a tiny fraction of a second. I couldn't even tell it had occurred except that it showed up in the log (as a barkstring). Then sometimes they work.

Except when they don't. I can close and reload and the behavior will change. Generally, I can't transition to new modules from my OM. On the occasions when I can, I can't go transition back.

Except when I can. I tested transitioning from a module back to the OM module, and either it doesn't work (nothing happens), or the transition works, but deposits me at the start point for the module instead of the destination waypoint.

I'm using Obsidian scripts and naming conventions.

So I'm going to ask for help from a kind soul out there to help me figure this out. I've reduced one of my OM modules to a few area and packaged it for someone out there to look at. Critters removed for tester safety, loadscreen hak removed etc, areas moved right together to test, but scripts kept. You can get it here.

Someone tell me what's wrong? Or do things just work for you?

On the other hand, the custom loadscreens and tips are still working just fine (that area is a prefab by sgk73).

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Get your Evil here (Path of Evil external testing)
(updated version of the first module, March 13, fixes 50 bugs specific to Neverwinter, adds "flavor" text and other improvements that were only in later modules.)
(fixes a gamebreaking bug with the first area after leaving Neverwinter, leaving players stuck and unable to progress...)

Bugreporting wiki:

I've made a thread for feedback here: and tried to anticipate questions people might have. You can always PM me on the official forums and I'll send you my email address if you prefer to give feedback that way.

PoE is "complete" and needs fresh brains for food.... I mean feedback... (Complete except for a few minor things, the stronghold town and the endgame, those two areas are still alpha/beta quality.)

I wouldn't worry about things to do ingame though, there's plenty of stealin', intimidatin', muahaha-in' and paladin smackin' to go round.

Testers reward: choose either a gravestone with an epithet of your choice (a Bioware tradition), or be a purchaseable slave for the stronghold (with barkstring/convo of your choice).

If anyone does decide to help playtest, my current testers are playing a mage and a priest. Since the initial ten quests (a few hours of game time) of the campaign are completely different depending on your class, I would request you try a melee type or rogue for the part set in Neverwinter, but anything you want is fine, the more testers the better. I've been through the paths enough that my eyes glaze over, the two testers have already pointed out several logical errors that I missed because as the builder I "just know".

Since I figure this blog is probably read more by builders than players I'll lay things out from a builder perspective:

How one handles plot for a villainous pc is the experimental part of the campaign. Your typical heroes are told where to go and what to do, generally in very specific terms. "I seen the necromancer threatening the town and some zombies coming out of the cemetary!" Bam, there's a quest. As a player, you know you need to head to the cemetary, and the necromancer is going to try to kill you. Motivations are built in, players are expected to be good and to help those in need. "Evil" is typically restricted to demanding money to do the task. At best the evil player is given an alternate route that accomplishes the same task (working for the Thieves in the OC). Any larger quest, such as defeating the OC villain, is broken down into a neat series of subquests that are all direct and specific.

Path of Evil sets up a large quest goal for the player (without spoilers, this is nothing groundbreaking, just an item accumulation quest). However, it tries to leave as much as possible up to the player in how they want to accomplish the quest. They are not told directly where to go to find the items or what to do. One companion will make a suggestion on where to go to find out more information. Even if they go there the information they wind up getting is vague. The player might figure out that what they are looking for is in a city. And the item is there.... somewhere. The towns of Path of Evil have main quest lines, but these can be unrelated to what the player is looking for. The item might turn up in what you thought was a sidequest. It might even be unexpectedly easy to reach.

Basically, the pc is on the path to being the villain of traditional modules. Except we're seeing the villain before he/she has achieved power. The villain is still questing to achieve power, not yet wielding it to try to smite the forces of good. The questing villain has to operate quietly, they can't go about asking for help; good won't help, and evil would use the knowledge against our villanous player.

So Path of Evil winds up very much a sandbox. The player will find that plot, as normal modules handle it, is almost non-existant. Not that there aren't quests to do (there are plenty, around 150), dungeons to explore, etc. But direction is something the player will have to find and decide for themselves.

Handling evil players also means having to plan for them doing things that would be unexpected in most modules. Evil players can be in character while trying to doublecross a questgiver, ransoming an item for more money than was agreed upon, lying,  etc. This means I'm looking for lots of feedback on alternate ways to complete quests.