Saturday, March 24, 2012

Icewind Dale and The Wizard's Apprentice 2

Not feeling particularly inspired on the building front recently, I turned my time over to playing the two big recent releases, the Icewind Dale remake and The Wizard's Apprentice chapter 2. They are both excellent and worthy of play, but for different reasons.

Icewind Dale remake is exactly that, a remake of the original game using the nwn2 engine and ruleset. It's not aiming for innovation, it's aiming for faithful recreation. And it succeeds. Everything you remember from the first game is in there (except the use of one substitute creature model). Yes, the frozen aquarium is in there, it's a custom metatile in all it's 3d glory. There is a lot of new custom content in terms of tiles and placeables. And the area design captures the feel of the original areas. The voiceovers, the book style cutscenes, all there. So is the difficulty of the original. Slowdive fan has already released a post 1.0 update to address bugs found post release. I played the 1.0 version and found it generally bug free.

The Wizards Apprentice 2 continues the story from the first. TWA is a wizard adventure, so I eagerly played it to look at how others are approaching single class focused adventures. TWA1 was pretty humor oriented. TWA2 changes that focus to a more traditional adventure, though there's some significant early bits of humor in TWA1's style. TWA2 benefits from the transition, at least for me. The area design is top notch, there are well done cutscenes, and the scripting work is similarly excellent, and plentiful (for example as the player can knock icicles from the ceiling at one point and they actually fall, not just a fade to black and apply the effect of the fallen icicles). Similarly there is regular use of wizard spells to do things like optionally casting stone to flesh on a petrified dwarf to gain information. There's a lot for the wizard that doesn't launch fireballs all day, using spells in the environment or to aid quests.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Neverwinter Nexus

The Vault recently underwent a long quiet period with no content being posted. This led to concern in the community about the future of the Vault. To avoid repeating the whole story, you can read more in this Bioware Social thread.

The point I'd make here is the poster DarkOne is the owner of the Nexus group of websites, and has been willing to work with the community, both in that thread and via the NWN irc channel. Funnily enough, it's almost one year exactly since the debacle, where that site simply took people's content without asking permission.

So DarkOne and the Nexus are providing the community with a Neverwinter Nexus site.

If you play the Elder Scrolls games, or the Fallout series, you are probably aware of the Nexus. The Nexus has been probably the primary community place for mods for those games.

You can see my content on the Nexus. I put it there. The Nexus has some good things, like no 25 meg file limit. You can post any size files you want without having to wait for approval. I'm hoping the Neverwinter Nexus draws in new players, people who like the other Nexus games and are made aware of all the content  NWN has when they see a NWN Nexus. I'm also hoping we see some cross pollination of modders, with people that mod those other games getting interested in modding, or porting their existing mods, to the NWN series. My content will still go on the Vault as well, I will just be posting it in both places.