Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Progress Update: August

  • Made a couple of playthroughs and generally spent time fixing bugs I found. 
  • Added maps supporting a common request for something to see in a thief based module. A lot of trial, error, and learning more about the walkmesh. Exactly what's done I'll leave as a surprise for people if they play it, but you'll think it's a couple of neat tricks. Much of the month was spend here.
  • Reconsidered my main plot. This is the important one for this month, even though it's going to be developed over the next month or two. I haven't been happy with the plot for some time. I can and have played the main plot to one of the endings, I just don't like it. The plot as it existed was an outgrowth of the proof of concept version of Crimmor I had a few people play early last year. The proof of concept just had a generic "find the plot mcguffin" plot since I wasn't concerned with plot so much as showing a module that didn't  require combat could be workable. When I decided to go forward with Crimmor, I came up with ideas for what the plot mcguffin actually did and why people would want it and built a plot out of that. The problem was that I wrote myself into a corner as the story ramped towards it's conclusion, and the endgame was out of left field. It didn't "fit". Why were these npcs where they were and doing what they were? It was a big problem, I couldn't figure out a reason, and "they have a reason that's all you need to know" felt hollow.
Changes and editing will be needed for the main plot. I've been doing some research on lore via the old Lands of Intrigue sourcebook, and working on some other ideas I can use, so we'll see where those go. I have four pages of notes right now for my new main plot idea. The new main plot fits the world and characters I've set up much better, I don't have to wonder why they are doing what they are doing. I've worked out an outline of much of the new main plot in two days of brainstorming (yay for bursts of writing creativity!) Even as I make major changes to the main plot, many things that were formerly in the main plot will remain in as an extended sidequest that effectively runs the length of the module, or secondary main plot, depending on how you wish to look at it. The current sidequests are all in place, even if not all are finished and tested. The new main plot looks to be able to better integrate some of these sidequests into it, making the sidequests more relevant to the main plotline.

I have a three day weekend coming up, if I remain as productive on writing plot I hope to have the whole new main plotline laid out over the weekend in enough detail to start implementing in September.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Making the walkmesh and ground be two different levels

Kivinen ( ) made a number of utilities for manipulating nwn/nwn2 files. SGK73 figured out how to use the trnpack and trnunpack utilities to have an area with a walkmesh different than the visible ground, which he used to create snowdrifts for a player to walk through. There's a screen from SGK73's area to the right. The original area that came from is here:

SGK73 explained how he did on that page, but it wasn't clear for me. I've put his original comments in italics, and mine in regular. I rewrote parts 8 through the end for more "I need to be told exactly", which I personally needed :-)

First you need to work in a directory for this to work, you should be anhyway because it's alot more stable saving than a mod file and alot faster.

1:make base terrain, gound level without snow.

2:plot the walkable tiles

3:place helper objects the "Sunken City {Ruins 01 (X1) TINT}" scaled to 0.2264802; 0.2264802; 0.2264802 is a good choice since the bevel on it coincides with an average humans hip and the top of a minimal halflings head. Place these, lot of them, all over the walkable area and some on paths leading out of the area. Position lock all of them.

SGK is doing this to get a good snow height, if you are doing other things you may not need to do this.

4:bake this area and duplicate it, do not delete it as you will need it later when you need to modify the walkmesh.

5:in the duplicated area use Raise, Lower and Smooth to create snowdrifts and snowlayer. A size 1 brush with a large falloff of about 8-15 or so depending on the area being raised, with about 5 to 15% pressure.
Basically, make your intended visible ground.

6:save and close the toolset, this was neccesary atleast for me since
the files was locked by the toolset it seems, atleast it crashed:).


8: In windows explorer, make a tmp folder in /modules or on the desktop or wherever, copy
the [area_of_walkmesh_to_use].trx to the tmp dir

9. If you haven't already download trnpack.exe and trnunpack.exe from . Save them into this tmp folder.

10: Open up a command prompt, and from the command prompt navigate to where your tmp folder is, and unpack your trx with the command: trnunpack [area_of_walkmesh_to_use].trx

11: In windows explorer, in this tmp folder there now should be a file called [number].aswm, copy this file somewhere safe as it is the walkmesh you will insert into the other area, delete the other files including the .trx you copied, make sure that you copied it and not moved it. (it didn't seem to matter if you copy or move for me)

12: In windows explorer, copy the [area_of_visible_ground_to_use].trx to the tmp dir and unpack it with trnunpack (same command), In windows explorer, delete the [number].aswm copy the other first .aswm file that you saved elsewhere, to this dir.

13: In windows explorer, make a folder in this tmp folder, call it area1. Move all the non trx files from your tmp folder into this area1 folder.

14: From the command prompt use trnpack with the -d and -o switches to pack all the files together in a new .trx. The command is: trnpack -d area1 -o [area_of_visible_ground_to_use].trx . The -d area1 tells the program what folder to look in, the -o (the letter o) part tells the program what to name the trx file it creates. The file will be created in the same folder as the trnpack program (in this example, the tmp folder).

15: Copy the resulting .trx file from the tmp folder to the original module folder, and overwrite the original trx.

16: Run the module. (you can safely load the module in the toolset and run it via the toolset).

17: Say "Thank you Kivinen and SGK73!" This step is optional, but highly encouraged :-)