Thursday, April 24, 2008

Re: The Top Ten

Yay, a lot of the top ten issues are solved now!

  1. The Wildshape issue: The solution was much easier than I thought. No feat changes, that would've been the more elegant but much trickier solution. No, just a simple item, you use it, a dialogue comes up and you can decide if your Level 12+ druid shapechages into the new, or into the old unimproved shapes. It was so easy to make it I actually wonder why I haven't seen that on any server I played on yet.
  2. The Blackguard's Succubus summon works pretty much the same way as the Druid wildhapes: At level 8 you get an item that you can use to decide whether to use the succubus or the Vrock.
  3. Summons have the HotU dialogue now, it was actually a simple matter of changing one line in a script.
  4. Summoned creatures can easily be customized, the hard thing is just finding the original summons so you can customize them. Ben_WH at the NWN forums pointed me to this excellent little package at the vault, so that problem is solved too. I already changed some of the more silly looking summons like some vampires. And no, the succubus still looks the same, hehe. Might work on some Enryes though. ;)
  5. SM is currently reworking the xp system for his module, and if I like it, I'll just bribe him to give it to me (or use more efficient methods like a knife, kidnapping his dog or whatever. Killing him and taking his laptop is not an option, I'll need him for future bugfixes).
  6. I already removed or reduced quite a few of the visual spell effects... for some reason clarity/mind blank didn't work, but I'm working on that.
Now I have some more things on my To-do list again though. One of the more pressing ones is the druid spellbook which should contain some additional cleric spells and so on. That'll require some tlk and 2da changes, but I remember having it done before, so I'm positive I'll get it done again.
And then of course... areas. If I want to put up an alpha version some day, I should at least connect the few I have and add some very basic ones like the still unfinished starting area, a basic item shop and so on.
That's it for now, back to the toolset.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

And here she is...

Since I had nothing better to do, here's a (half-) naked dryad for your viewing pleasure.

Don't get too excited, as you've probably learned in The Witcher, plants reproduce differently...

... or at least they say so...

Top Ten of the most pressing things still to do

Here's my quick To-do list, please send Aspirin via email.

  • Database related: The decrease of killing XP
  • Database related: a more reliable system for persistant locations, without cluttering up the servervault
  • Database related: Persistant chests and a room renting system
  • Death system
  • The DMFI emote commands are still not reliable enough, need to change it to an external application w/o the need of listener NPCs and such.
  • Feat changes, especially Druid wild shape. I tried to get help on the NWN1 board, but no replies... is it really that hard? What I want is that a high level druid still has the option to use the non-improved shapes, eg. normal wolf instead of dire wolf.
  • Sounds easy, but haven't had any success yet: Dialogues for summoned creatures (e.g. "I need you to cast a spell", "I want you to change your tactics" etc). I know it can be done, it's done in Vives, but my attempts have been fruitless (I'm such a n00b).
  • Spell changes! Especially the visual effects, e.g. make spells that effect the mind invisible or remove the sparkling of protection from elements etc.
  • I'd like to change the appearance for some standard summons, e.g. a dire rat that has the CEP rat appearance (smaller) etc.
  • More work on summons (and other spells), esp. increase the duration. In a "slower" RP environment it can be frustrating having to rest and resummon your "roleplay-toy" every 5 minutes.

Wel that's my to-do list for now. I'm feeling dumb again, a skilled builder might do that in no time, and I have not even an idea where to start. Until I find out, I guess I'll try to make some generic house interiors and some naked dryads...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Aim, expectations and some other ramblings

SM asked me to update my blog, and so I do, even though I'm still waiting for the darn patches and haven't gotten a single thing done since my last update.
However, I'm currently in the state of a "Roleplay server depression" again which gave me some ideas about what to do and what to avoid in my own module.
So here's some stuff I definately want to do different, it's about the main rules and game mechanics.

First of all, I want a roleplay world and an immersive world with a lot of realism. Yes, powergamers, that means totally uncool stuff like resting restrictions, being expected to stash your sword while talking to friendly NPCs, not running around in town without a reason and all that. I know some people already call that kind of behaviour crazy, but it's the least you should expect from a roleplay world.

However, there are a lot of things common in average roleplay worlds I can't agree with, and with those mechanics or philosophies I'll start.

First: Gaining xp is bad, action is bad, levelling is bad.
I totally disagree with this. Roleplay does NOT mean sitting in a tavern all day, and the greatest roleplay situations I've been in have often been in a battle. Adventuring is fun, exploring is fun, making some xp from baddies is fun and it's a thrill to get that big boss down. This is how games like NWN work and I'm not gonna cut that part out. Exploring and adventuring is of course allowed and encouraged.
However, staying in character all the time should be obligatory.

This brings me to game mechanics, usually aimed at keeping the level of roleplay high, the level of immersion higher and the level of levelling low. Death penalty is one of the very good examples, and one thing I'm still not sure how to implement. Let's say, the usual action mod uses Bioware's standard and has raise dead scrolls, resurrection scrolls and all that all over the place. The average xp rewards are high, powerbuilding common, okay, that's what I don't want. Death should mean something, the penalty should be harsh enough to make a player think twice about going into a fierce battle.
What I absolutely dislike: Penalties that cut your xp in half and strip off half of your levels. Permadeath. That's where the fun ends. You want realism? Go out and ejoy real life, here you got it, it can be fun but it's for sure permadeath. Okay, fine, the general answer in RP worlds is: Party up, never go witout a cleric. A cleric will be able to raise you for only xxx xp or xxxxx gold, so where's the problem?
The problem is, your server might not be as well populated as you wish. And if you make it impossible to level up, there will be for sure no midlevel cleric who can actually cast a raise dead.
In a perfect world you might log into your favourite persistant world and your whole party will be waiting for you. The dwarf in front, the rogue in the shadow, the mage and the archer in the back, the cleric nearby with a number of resurrection spells ready.
Oh, but what if nobody's heard of your world yet? What if there are only 4 people playing at peak times, all at low level? What if the player is in a different timezone than the base? Yup, he's screwed. He might log in at 4 am next week to get a raise from a cleric, or cry on IRC or whatever. But that's for sure no fun and the result is players who are scared to make a weak character and go for powerbuilds. It's simple like that, if I'm scared to die I try to avoid it, and that means I'd rather go out with a tough tank than a weak bard.
So here's my aim for death penalties: Enough that it really hurts, but not so much that it can't be regained in, say, one day or two. Furthermore, players should get a little kickstart at the very low levels to create the plateau I mentioned in an earlier post. Kickstart does not mean, instant level 4 from one quest, but it should be straightforward and not too painful to overcome he state of "too weak to kill a rat".

Now to the resting limitations. A lot of action players hate those with a passion, but in my opinion resting limitations are essential for balance, furthermore, they encourage roleplay and add to the immersion. However, it can be overdone, and it's overdone a lot. Carrying a whole backpack full of items just to be able to rest is just ridiculous. I also don't think rations should really be required, noone needs to eat to be able to sleep (although it might help). Not every rest must be considered a nap either. But however it's implemented, the real proble is the time. How many RL minutes are required between rests to keep mages from the usual cast-rest-cast rampage, but to not annoy any players who just accidently essed up their spellbook during preparations?
I guess it should not exceed ten minutes, even 5 might be enough. Furthermore, there should be areas like Inns without any resting restrictions. As for the required items, I think a blanket and a nearby campfire is not too much to ask from a player, once you get used to it it won't be too much trouble. Water canteen, rations, a tent, bedroll, campfire kit, flint and all that... um... let's keep it simple, a game should be fun.

To make a long story short: My aim is building a world with a lot of roleplay and opportunities to socialise, but I'm realistic enough to know that there might be people playing alone, and for those I want to make it fun too.

Enough rambling, I think I'll go back to haks and building in my next post...