Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Crimmor: From Proof to Depth

As I developed Shadow Thief Crimmor I began to like it more and more as a setting. The main city area took on more and more flavor and developed a personality of it's own, a large city, gritty and urban. Climb up on the roofs and look around and it feels bigger than Neverwinter, city as far as you can see. 

One of the things I needed to do to get the proper rogue feel was get the city lights to turn on at night and off during the day, and give our rogue a penalty to hide if he was standing in the light. This meant scripting the lights.

I also wanted to put in disguises. Which meant customizing some npc perception scripts. If you're not disguised, they're hostile. Wear your disguise, and people will assume you're one of them.

The I needed to make pickpocketing interesting. So I added in Vendalus' PRR system. No more trying to pick the lock with the merchant standing right there, at least not without potential consequences.

Then I got ahold of the lockpicking minigame from RWS. Makes roguery so much more interesting. Then I added Uncle FB's npc control system to get my npc's keeping daily schedules.

With all the things needing to go in to make a proper rogue module from a gameplay perspective, and liking the city more and more, I decided to make Crimmor a more proper module, and have added the second goal of bringing the city of Crimmor alive.

Shadow Thief: Crimmor as a proof of concept version was complete and releasable several weeks ago. It had generically named cities and just used place and npc names from the prefabs I'd picked. 

Now it has custom npc perception scripting with npc's that will refuse to talk to you if they can see a weapon equipped, a customized weapon equipping system that adds a delay to equipping and switching weapons unless you use custom weaponry for advantage. If you're caught pickpocketing, there's a worse penalty if you have a weapon visible because the npc thinks you're mugging them. Hidden weaponry that you can have equipped but npc's will ignore because they can't see it (think of Altair's wrist daggers from Assassin's Creed). Customized scripted buying and selling from the stores. Custom "pseudo" feats and PRC's. And things like lead lined clothing with hidden pockets, so you can hide stuff on yourself and not have it magically detected.

Another word on pseudo feats and PRC's. These are gotten by getting special training doing other special things. They don't take feat/class slots but provide feat/classlike benefits and come with pre-requisites like normal feats/PRC's. 

The Hidden Theurge PRC lets you cast hostile spells on npc's during conversation without them realizing via skillcheck. The Master of Masks can craft a number of masks (obviously) giving her different bonuses allowing her to take on aspects of different classes, and can be immune to alignment detection. The Merchant Intimidation pseudo feat allows you to use Intimidate instead of Appraise for shop pricing.

This is turning into a very interesting module.


  1. Kamal this sound fantastic, if you can pull it off and i think you can after playing Path of Evil, this could easily be one off the top NWN2 mod's Good Luck and one question, is it going to be released this year?

  2. This year? Probably. The disguise system works. The pickpocket failure causing the pc problems works (it's taken from the PRR).

    Of the things I've listed, the hidden weaponry and weapon equip delay is in place but not yet tested. The pseudo prc's are ingame but not fully developed (you can only take the first "level") and the pseudo feats are ingame but not tested.

    There'll be lots of tag based scripting to make that stuff happen.

    The quests are mostly taken from Path of Evil, but they are getting converted to Crimmor (this cuts down dev time tremendously since less testing will be needed). Most areas are ingame and connected, since they're prefabs or Path of Evil areas I'm redecorating. Dialogs are being converted, the quests are generally getting more polish, and there are more options to complete them like Hidden Theurgy. Quests are also getting "remixed", so things won't always have the same enemies and solution from Path of Evil.

    So you'll be getting the same quests, but hopefully with a new feel. Ideally, players will be happy walking around and soaking up the atmosphere. The story itself is not in any way epic.

  3. Hi Kamal,

    Some of these systems sound similar to my own Real Life Systems (used in Better The Demon): NPC responses to PCs trying to open chests, take items, smash doors, etc. Such systems can certainly make the world appear more alive.

    Look forward to seeing what you do here. Although I still have PoE to look at again yet! You build too fast. ;)