Friday, May 30, 2008


Well, almost two weeks without an update. Why? Blockade.
At the moment I'm having serious problems doing anything in the toolset, I can't really put my finger on the reason why. I have more than enough time at the moment, not much real life work, not many real life things to worry about, no distractions, but however, I open the toolset, stare at the areas, and most of the time close it after a few minutes again without having done anything.
Yesterday I was at least enthusiastic enough to fill a shop with standard items I modified the look for, but that's it. The last time I really did something was about the same time as my last armor rant, back then I started playing around with ambient animations and NPC jobs. The waitress that aproaches tavern patrons, sailors that hit on female PCs on perception, NPCs that say a random one-liner and so on. My original intention was actually to make day/night schedules for NPCs, but as far as I can tell, it's not that as easy as I hoped it would be. It is possible with heartbeat scripts and raising the AI level of affected NPCs, but it'll eat way too much ressources for a persistant world, the result would be serious lag. So I dropped it for now and the result is some half-finished stuff I don't really feel like I want to continue working on right now.
There's a lot of other stuff I have to do in the city that doesn't really make me too enthsiastic. Shops, to name just one. One I always put at the end of the line is a rogue store.. it reminds me that rogue stuff should always be in a special atmoshere, the usual example is a hideout in the sewers or a dark end of town... I can't think of a right setting at the moment.

Then there's the forest, and some higher fantasy areas. I still have nothing elven in the module, and I planned to make something not too stereotypical. But that's only what I'm not gonna do, as for what I want, no idea.

I got a few Walter Moers Audiobooks, maybe listening to them while staring at the toolset will give me some new ideas, at the moment I guess I just don't feel well...

That's all for now, I hope there'll be more progress again to write about in the next post.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A quick armor rant

I'm usually not the type who'd rant about the poor work of others openly, but sometimes I can't resist.
I sometimes browse the Vault looking for ideas, and now and then I come across a module or world that uses the same stuff I'm building with.

What I just came across is another thing I just don't get... as you've read before, I'm using Valine's ACAG hak which includes a lot of armor parts of the sexier sort. I enjoy making armors with it, combined with the CEP there are great possibilities for sexy, but tasteful stuff. Let me show you a quick example of some armors I threw together in a matter of minutes (I included some plain underwear of the not-so-naughty sort on the right of the screenshot, just to show that those armor parts are in too):

As I said, thrown together in no time. They are not great, one can still argue if they are too open or sexy for NWN, but anyway, they still look like outfits.
What I don't get is, why do people use this hak when they don't even bother to change the standard armors? When you just throw in the armors from the standard palette, the result is at least as bad as this:

And I swear, this looks still much better than what I saw on some screenshots that were meant to advertise a module. I tried to find the armors that look so bad on those screenies, but what you see above is all I could find in the hurry.

I resist to grab screens from the vault or name the mods I'm talking about....

I think the ACAG hak, tasteful or not, nudity or not, still contains some high quality clothing parts, and within a few minutes you can make some really nice outfits with it. I just fail to understand that people don't even try. If you throw a hak like this into your module without changing anything at all, it's no wonder people think it looks ridiculous or silly....

Well, rant is over, just had to let that out.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


The little secrets of blogger... well, after hearing from two people that they would've left a comment if they just could I looked at the blog preferences again and.. meh. Okay PP, you can leave a comment now. :D

Yesterday I was playing in Nexus again - normally I just sit on the bench for an hour waiting for someone to show up, if noone does, I leave again. The curse of having played on a server for too long. However, yesterday Chakra showed up and we went to an area called "San Simone" - an island with a vampire tower, and the interior of the tower is a huge maze with a lot of fun encounters. I think it's still one of my favourite, if not the favourite area in Nexus and reminded me that some day I'll have to come up with some fun adventuring areas myself.
I'm not very experienced with building adventuring areas actually, but as a player I want a high standard. San Simone is one of those areas I'd already be proud of if I could make something similar.
Of course, there are things I'd do different. In my mod I'd probably make a castle interior and set a different mood, I'd also try to add a little more variation to the encounters, but as for balancing, rewards and keeping the whole thing fun for the player, it's a great example. Not to forget it's maybe the only area in Nexus where death really means something - Chakra's and my PC were reminded of that in the end.
The feeling that death means something is what I want for every area in my mod, even though maybe not with such drastic consequences for your character's appearance. Although, there's Vuldrick's nifty little Vampire PC script... could be a fun addition.

Anyway, there are a few areas in Nexus that, even though maybe aimed at a more H&S-orientated player, were extremely fun and were very well balanced. My favourite might be San Simone, other examples incude a lot of kensail's work, such as Hope Island. All those wouldn't fit into my module, but set an example for the balancing and fun ratio (although, honestly, Hope Island by kensail was mostly fun because the xp rewards were pretty high. ;) ).

Am I starting to ramble again? Oh well.. okay, I'm hiring building slaves now. You'll have absolutely no artistic freedom, need to make things look exactly how I want them, and the skill to make encounters exactly how I love them. Sounds like a fun job? Great!

*looks around*

Oh well.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

XP System Beta

Yay, more progress!

SM sent me a Beta of his XP system last night which I'm currently importing into my mod.
The mod by the way is a whole mess. I'm getting a little too much "missing ressource" errors already when building the module and I have no idea where those come from.
However, testing works still fine. I hope the other mess, being the haks, will get a little better as well since I've been offered some inofficial help by another community member (you know who you are ;) ) who has much more experience with this stuff than I have.
In the end, or at least when 1.69 is final, 'll probably have to rebuild the module from scratch, meaning, exporting and reimporting all I need and trying to keep it a little more organized (which won't last long anyway). For the moment though I guess I have to make more test areas, some with a few rats or goblins to kill for testing the combat xp as well. Goblins.. do I really wan to have those in my mod? I don't know.. maybe I should use them as a base for something else, but I really don't see the classic NWN goblin anywhere in my mod. Okay, scratch that, no goblins. At least not the yellow ones. :D

Not much more to say right now, I've been away for a few days and haven't done any building. I think I had some good ideas while I was on a walk on Sunday, but of course I forgot what it was... I just remember thinking "Wow, that's a great idea for my mod!". Hell.... if I could just remember....

Friday, May 9, 2008

Re: The previous post.

I had a very interesting discussion with SM last night regarding the little hak I use, which reminded me of previous discussions about similar content (for example, mentioning ADWR to someone). This shouldn't be taken as an offence or sound stereotypical, but I noticed that especially mentioned to US players, the reactions are always a little bit more extreme compared to euopeans. It's a thing hard to understand for me, but I think I'm a little bit wiser now.

You can see the same kind of reaction on many boards where games or mods that include adult content are discussed. They usually vary between extreme praise and extreme negative reactions, while I made the observation that a european player much more often shrugs and just says "yes, I like it" or "hmm, it's not that I really need it".

I mentioned the adult content in the Witcher. My guess was that it got the high PG rating because of the language, and always thought the retouching of some nipples in the game was a rather extreme self-censorship by Atari. I laughed at it, said the nude cards in the Witcher are nothing a 12 year old hasn't seen before, and calling it "adult content" is just ridiculous.
Well, I was really shocked when he followed the link, came back and said it's clearly 18+... Everything nipple is 18+. Shocking for someone who sees pictures like that in advertisements, fashion magazines etc. daily. Fine, of course the pictures in the Witcher are shown in a sexual context, and they are more sexual than, say, an advertisement for a body lotion, but still, nothing more is shown, and i'd give it a 16 just for the context and inviting expression. That's extreme, usually, here at least, 16+ means pubic hair is shown.

I don't want to raise the "US = prudish" thing again, I know that of course every society is a mix of everything. But there's always a common standard, the middle way. The standard in most european countries is, you see nipples every day, in every magazine and not in a sexual context. TV movies, cinema movies that are rated 12+. It's just an everyday thing and noone associates it with porn or something to make you horny. Now, the "middle" in the US is 18+, which clearly marks it as adult content and directly associated with sexuality. Of course that explains that the reactions towards content like that are more extreme and doesnt automaticly mean every american is a puritan. It's just a different view because of different standards. I talked to some of he most relaxed american friends I have, but the reaction on it was always.... different than our standards. It's strange. I think to understand it, a european should imagine looking at game content that would clearly be 18+ in most european countries. Some Language in the Witcher would meet our 18+ rating, no doubt, the dialogues in ADWR too, but the pictures and a naked Vampire? Never.

Well, anyway, it was avery insightful chat, but I still see no point in removing such a (for our standards) harmless little hak that just shows some cute cartoonish skin. This is no US mod and it's not directly aimed at a US playerbase. But nevertheless, everyone should play it, and it would just be sad if players from the region automatically associate it with adult/porn/"social" servers just because of some minor details. Rest asured, it won't be anything like that, you an try out the module should it ever see daylight and will never see any extremes. You can play like on every other server, just remember to keep your pants on, that's all. :D

Edit: I wish there was a way to hide the time stamp down there... does everyone have to know that I slept all day, woke up at 1 am and write blog entries at 4? :P

Update May... um... what day is it? Look at the timestamp.

Maybe nothing new to everyone else, but I only saw this today:

Oooooh my god. If I was living in the US, I'd throw my TV out of the window. For everyone who trusts the media: Yes, my mod will be highly pornographic. Your kid's mind will be seriously damaged, and I can't guarantee an adult will not turn into a mass murderer or rapist after having played it. Better run now.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Finally something interesting: About adult content

"So... how did you create a nekkid dryad?"

"Well... there are some bodyparts in the mod that allow me to do that."

"Eeek, will players be able to run around naked?"

"Theoretically, yes. Your basic character wears no loincloth."

"Eek, pervert!"

Well, I don't think I'm a pervert, no. And I don't care much for pixelporn, teenage fantasies and so-called "social roleplay", which basically means roleplaying in a world where the focus is on dating and reproductive activities.
But I'm old enough to admit that I like some erotic content and some innuendo in literature, movies, arts...and games. It can add to the immersion, it's is "realistic" (yes, there IS adult content and a nude patch included in real life), and it's a component in a game that can be enjoyed.
BUT it's not easy to do it right. As much as I want some minor erotic content I want to avoid it to become a major component.

This server will of course be a social server in the sense of meeting up, hanging out together, and there's also nothing to say against some flirting and romances, but hell, I really don't want to watch players roleplaying the act of reproduction 24/7. Or... *cringes*..get the obligatory crowd of goths who only want to roleplay kinky adventures. Sorry, I might piss off a whole lot of potential players now, but there is a certain stereotype that will probably never change, and somehow those all find the way into fantasy worlds that use nude patches, make a char that looks like a vampire/dark fey/whatever looks dark and cool, and play the seductive impersonification (eh, sp?) of sin.
I'm allowed to say that, used to think I'm a goth too in my.. hehe.... younger years. No, I don't hate goths or any other group of people, I actually like most of them, but in RP worlds, it's become a clichée I take the right to make some jokes about. I think a lot of the best roleplayers and friendliest people I met in NWN are kinda... well, black outfit and dark metal... anyway, I still don't want that kinky silly roleplay in my world, it ruins the immersion for me.

So, I'm trying to balance on the edge between erotic content and silly wannabe-adult roleplay,which certainly isn't easy, but I already wrote down a rules draft for it.
To give you an idea where the border is:
There will be prostitutes in the mod, and you'll actually be able to see them in their.. um... working outfit. There will be some dirty words and innuendo in NPC dialogues.

There will be NO animations or emotes to illustrate anything. There will be no detailed dialogue either. Let's say, a PC hires a prostitute... the prostitute will take him into a room... undress, fade to black. Cut. Dialogue continues with something like "you think that gold was well spent" or, maybe the maximum of dirt, "Certain regions of your body start itching", along with a little desease infection ( ;-) ).
Well, that's not in he mod, but I made that up now to give you an idea. If you're european, think maybe age 16+ content (of course, the US would rate it 18, but that's a different topic). There might be a naked dryad or demon showing up here and there, there'll be some dirty words, but not more. See again: The Witcher. I expect roleplay by players to be on the same level.

As for he hak itself, it's of course Valine's ACAG in a stripped down version (haha...). It's the only one I know that doesn't look plain silly, probably because it was made by an adult girl and not by a male teenager. Actually, the naked body parts are much less silly than the barely clothed ones in the CEP (think spiders). Also, the hak contains some wonderful clothing parts, I couldn't live without those for my custom armors.
Just to mention it, the usual hak many social servers seem to use is JenX. It's almost a CEP replacement wen it comes to clothing (or the lack of it), a huge beast, but in there you really have the silly stuff I don't want to use on my server. Well, maybe by not using it I can keep the clientel of players out as well.
Since we're at adult content, I should mention Valine's "A dance with rogues" too. I know, either you love or you hate that one with a passion. I loved it. No no, don't get excited, there'll be nothing like that story in my mod. :)
However, Valine deserves a lot of credit for making an 18+ mod that actually has a really great storyline, a great atmosphere and fantastic ideas. I got a lot of ideas from it that have nothing to do with adult content. Hell, I could rip off every 2nd script in that module. If you don't mind (highly) explicit content, go play it if you haven't already, and if it's just to get some ideas for building.

Phew, now that this topic has been talked about, what's the next thing I can shock you with?
Ah, maybe I should make new screenies, this time at daylight, of the areas I'm least satisfied with.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Horror

Now the horror begins: CEP 2.1 is out. I expect it to break pretty much everything I made, and I'll probably have to redo my top hak from scratch. I'm really NOT looking forward to it.... hell, 2da conflicts, a new tlk.... it took me months to get the current ones working.

Oh well, but I have to, better now than later. I'm also looking forward to the actual fixes... finally being able to use all the new 1.69 placables... crossing fingers now.

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Nightwalk

Here are some new screenies, a walk in and around Rungholdt at night. I'm slowly getting the atmosphere right, I think. The areas are still missing a lot of content, but I think one can already see where it's going... well, here we go.

A view over Rungholdt's marketplace

Anna, my new love. She makes me grin every time I test the area. All she does is dancing, but I think at this she's extremely talented.

The cathedral with small alleys around it.

One of those dozens of small alleys - Rungholdt is a maze.

Top view on Rungholdt's Redlight district - it's a part of he docks of course.

The redlight district from a different angle

The bridge to the city gate

The road to Rungholdt

Niederhoeve: The tavern

And finally, a view on a misty river in the early morning hours.

On a sidenote, I just realize that Safari seems to have problems with Blogger... meh, back to Firefox.

Friday, May 2, 2008


Just a little screenshot of something that happened by accident when I tried to connect two parts of a river made with different water tiles.

Although I cannot use it in this area, I will definately rebuild it somewhere else... I think it looks awsome (much better ingame than on the screenshot).

What else? Oh, I finally got CNR to work, and some other scripting stuff. Now I'm connecting areas, make some "in between" ones (like the one on the screenshot) and have some new energy.

SM pointed me to a tileset I currently rebuild Rungholdt with, it's much darker now than on the old screenshots. A litle too dark for my taste actually, but better than the standard, and I don't want to use CC City Exterior until it's updated, which might take too long.

More later.