Saturday, October 30, 2010

What's taking so long?

I'm implementing player feedback and getting rid of some larger bugs (see a few posts down). Plus I'm mostly done with my own playthrough and the bugfixing coming from that, having only the stronghold module and the endgame to go.

I've worked through most of the major bugs I listed below. SoZ death is working properly now. That was a biggee, so thanks to Elfinmad whose solution was spot on. Bug 4 on group stuff is 3/4 solved. I have the script working for making a bunch of placeables with the same tag disappear, and the npc's appearing is similar but not quite working yet. Thanks to thurgood and kanbyen from irc, they essentially wrote the script. The tileset issue I was forced to "fix" by just going back to the default texture for the tileset. It doesn't look as good but oh well. The movie issue I havn't looked further into yet.

Building things for the stronghold proved to require a workaround as well. The time units functionality of the OC scripting was apparently not integrating properly with other scripting meant to control when a building upgrade was "finished", this meant that the architect's crew would never finish a building upgrade, so you couldn't enter the building you built, and you couldn't reassign the crew elsewhere. The problem didn't seem fixable, as manually advancing the time units with the debugger wasn't solving the issue when the time units is supposed to control just that. I went back to the stronghold demo I'd released on the Vault and ran into the same problem in that. No idea, the demo worked perfectly when I released it and I don't have anything in the override that would affect its scripting. I worked around it with the good ol' fashioned "pay to unlock doors". Definitely less elegant, but easy to implement.

For implementing feedback, the stronghold and it's module is getting a major makeover to better integrate it. You now are specifically told about it, where it is, and why the city it's in might be important (though not exactly of course) while still in Neverwinter at the beginning of the game. You also get a journal telling you to go there. It's presented as an alternative to going off to the other suggested destination. A few things will be changed to make it easier to get the stronghold. The stronghold itself is no longer "offset" from the city, requiring you to travel through a fairly empty upperclass area and shortening travel. So you exit from the stronghold directly into the main city area. This requires a reworking of the main city map and the upperclass area map. Merchants in the city are getting upgraded to encourage the player to return, and a "recall" item will get implemented to allow the player to teleport back to the city from anywhere, saving travel time.

Additionally, because the player is more likely to reach the city at a lower level, lower level content will get added and some of the higher difficulty content already there will be hidden until the player completes some lesser difficulty content. Also to be added is more content directly related to the stronghold. More visiting "dignitaries" (Shaughn found the previous one), more content that will open up via the stronghold. Basically, use of the stronghold will open more content, ideally encouraging the player to use it more.

Also being considered is moving where the city is in Faerun. It's currently between Chessenta and Turmish, north of the Akanapeaks. I picked that as it was a location that was both remote and near the center of Faerun. I might relocate it to the western Border Kingdoms area. There are pluses and minuses to this. The player is certainly more likely to go there earlier in the game as it would be on the first overland map the player sees and on the path towards another goal on that map. The minus (aside from rewriting/renaming things to reflect this change which is not too large a task) would be that it would make the eastern half of Faerun relatively empty and put most of the campaign content onto the first overland map.

So there is major construction going on in one module. Since this is the first OC style stronghold I'm aware of in a community module, I want it to not be a throwaway. Never be afraid to fix things after playtesting.


  1. I'm glad to see that you are integrating the stronghold more into the plot of the campaign. I felt that there wasn't that much direction before, or even a lot of reason for the character to seek out the city that has the stronghold. I know evil does what it wants, but I don't like playing 'chaotic evil' that just wanders willy-nilly looking for blood. I like direction. I like goal driven, logical, heartless, power-hungry, take-over-the-world evil.

    - thameroy

  2. You'll see a lot more to do there. Also Tan will specifically tell you about Ekkathys as the possible site of Maulalanth's defeat in the "time to get out of Neverwinter" scene after you defeat the Neverwinter guards in the graveyard. You get a high priority journal telling you to go there (The Halruaa journal is given high priority too)

    There's a lot going in there to make it possible to go there straight from the ship and have at least some things doable by a lower level party. The wiki page has my working notes on what I'm doing, but there will be more to do there than even Calimport, and the merchant changes and "stone of recall" should keep you coming back even while randomly exploring.