Friday, March 14, 2008

The Base (influences part 1)

That much I have learned already: The hardest thing in the whole module making process is creating a base. The basic module that contains the main systems, haks and so on. Of course I developed an idea of what I want, but I had no idea what a pain it is to get it done. Although I'm already creating some areas, the base is still far from finished, it's just in an alpha stage where it's possible to play around a little.

What I definitely wanted is a system that doesn't force the player into stupid mob killing sprees for making xp, and therefore, making powerful characters in order to get xp. I'd like people to experiment with chars, trying out weaker classes and class combinations without having a huge xp penalty for it.
Well, one server I played on has done that part right, and that's Vives. Of course their system has it's flaws too, but it's still the fairest solution I've seen so far.
XP rewards are devided into:
  1. Combat XP
  2. Questing XP
  3. Crafting XP
  4. Discovery XP: xp granted everytime the player discovers something new or enters a new area.
  5. Ability Usage XP: For picking locks, untrapping, successful skill checks and so on.
  6. Magic-Harnessing XP
  7. Roleplaying XP
Each class has it's own xp modifiers. A fighter will always get 100% xp for killing something, because that's his job. But fighters don't seem to be interested in sightseeing, that's why their exploring modifier is fairly low.
A bard on the other hand doesn't get as much xp for killing as the fighter, but a bard has her eyes wide open and soaks in everything new, that's why her discovery modifier is at 100%.
Bards are jacks of all trades, so even though they can cast a few spells, spellcasting is not their main job, that's why their modifier for magic harnessing is medium. A pure wizard or sorcerer would get 100%.
Furthermore, The XP rewards are not static, the more you do the same thing again, the less you learn. The first time you kil a rat you get a huge load of xp, while the tenth rat is rather boring for your now "seasoned warrior" and will give you just a basic reward.

Well, that's the basic system, for more insight I'd suggest reading the Essential information on the Vives forum.

The problem: That system is an in-house development, and there's nothing at the vault that comes close to it. Solution: Copy, steal, rip off. Well, that'd be a solution for someone who knows what he's doing, and that's definitely not me. Also, this system requires a database. Setting up a database is definitely not a hobby of mine, and reading the NWNX forums is enough to scare me away from the most basic idea of building.

So what are the alternatives? Base mods from the Vault. I tried a lot of them and the most interesting I found was Vuldrick's Base Module. A lot of interesting goodies in there, all very well polished and easy to configure. But sadly, there was not one of the things that I really wanted in any mod.

Well, to make a long story short, while playing in Nexus (requires login) I talked about my plans and frustration to Squatting Monk, and this selfless being of a player made it all happen. Learned MySQL, built an xp system, reputation system, hunger/thirst/fatigue system, spiced it up with DMFI, CNR and HCR, listened to all my ideas and found solutions, and sent me a base module I could adjust to my needs. Phew. But hey, at least I've set up MySQL all on my own!

Well, that leaves almost no more excuses for not starting to build right away, it might seeem. But oh no, there are the haks. The 2nd pain in the a**.

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