Sunday, June 29, 2008

Some progress outside the world

Well, the module gives me some little problems again. At the moment I'm trying to reanimate the DMFI... it stopped working a while ago and I couldn't yet find out why.
Huh, DMFI? Oh yes, that's the set of tools, scripts and nifty stuff from the Dungeon Master-Friendly Initiative , a must for every persistant world that wants to show off a bit. For players the nicest addition is usually the speech command system, you say *sits* and your character sits down... and of course the languages. Well, but that's exactly what doesn't work anymore, and so far I haven't figured out why.
On the positive side of things, Ben sent me some fixes for my haks, which means, no more crashes and incompatibilities with certain haks and tilesets. Finally I can make those interiors I had to put back two weeks ago. Yay.

Outside the mod, you probably noticed the new logo and blog layout (I hope you did, and I hope you like it - I do). Credits must be given to lowfatpretzels who had to look through my dozens of pics and gave some useful tips ( the thin red line! ).

I also opened a forum. Uh huh. I know, it might be way too soon, but who knows how long it'll take me to learn how to run it. It's linked on the right, you can go there and spam the Off topic section so I can delete it or whatever. Or not. It'll take a few more weeks until the forum will have a real use, I guess. :)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Mists Over Middleforest

Nuff said.

It was one of my first thoughts, I now have two A4 sheets full of other names, but a decission has to be made. That's it. Unless there's an outcry from my thousands of readers, I'll use this as the final title.

So, welcome to the Mists over Middleforest.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Finding a name

Now it's getting hard. I've come to the point at which I'm not only annoyed by the fact that my module still shares the name with Michael's (and it's obviously his module name, not mine), but also need a real name to continue the development progress.

I've always been uncreative when it comes to names. When I make a NWN character, I usually hit random name until something shows up I can live with, sometimes I alter it a little, but that's it.
The names I chose for my cities are obviously historical names, and I'm incredibly proud that I found at least a name for the village of Niederhoeve. Yes, that's made up! Yay. Took me only a day or two... and I bet there's a real village with that name and I just forgot about it.

Nevertheless, now it's time to make up a name for the module. And that must be final. I can't open a forum with the name "Shadows of Whateveritscalled" and then rename the mod to "Light of Iknowwhatitscalled" later.

Don't think I've run into the problem just now... I was brainstorming since I made my first area, but still haven't come up with anything.

So here are my brainstorming results so far:

First off, avoiding clichées. Clichée words would be... (I'm sorry, SM)... Shadow... Dawn... Darkness... World... Sword... Hammer... Gate... Battle... Words and names from the Forgotten Realms, Words and names from nordic tales and history. Words that sound guttural like a rock (e.g. Rammstein).
Now of course I don't want to use anything that sounds like a pony farm either..., it's a dark world, so I'd avoid words that make you think of sunflowers and little fairies dancing in circles.

Then, of course, I'm trying to set this world apart with more european themes and features, something I also should try to "communicate" in the name.

From the features in my world I can't really use anything that describes the world...there's a huge forest in the center of my mod, but I don't know if it's enough to justify a name with "forest" or "wood" in it. After all a lot of the story happens outside the forest, in urban areas near the coast or in mountain areas... hmm... what about something... misty? Mist over... but no, there's also sunshine. But I like how Mist sounds... of course german players might think my module is Mist and move on... (ha.. ha... use an online translator)... haze... hmm... Mist over Darkwood... no.... Haze over the Black forest... hmm... well, I've been that far 6 months ago.

So.. how about you two additional lurkers who read this blog finally show up and throw in a comment? I need words... soon... I'm already googling for free forums but can't start one before I have a name! Dammit!

Edit: Hey, I just thought... Middle+Forest = Middleforest... is that a name? Does Middleforest sound stupid? "Tales from the Middleforest", "Mist over Middleforest"... something of that kind...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Stuck again.

The enthusiasm of my last post didn't last long. Since I wrote it, I made zero progress but ran into too many problems again. Again of technical nature, and I've never been so close to dropping the whole thing. I'm just so sick and tired of being stuck again because of things I simply don't understand and cannot for my life fix myself.

So, whiny Casa, what is it this time?

I think the initial reason for this post is actually that it took me hours again to tell my router to *#%&ing post the testserver to the internet... Lol, yes, that was the last thing in a series of annoyances. Some day I'll have to host this module, and I know that will be the horror. I'll have to take care of a MySQL database. Hell, I still need an hour until I figure out how to log into the MySQL database, and don't ask me what all this geekish shit inside it means. The same could be said about my router... well, not really, I know a little about what a router setting should mean, but that doesn't make the router do it. I'm absolutely sure there's a geekish gnome living inside my router showing me the middle finger each and every time I change a setting. "Not now, a**hole, it's dinner time. I'll change your settings tomorrow".
That's the third gnome house I'm currently using, and all the guys in each of them must have been relatives.

Okay, so much about the things outside of NWN, the small everyday annoyances of digital life.

Inside NWN, I'm currently having bad problems with scripts and custom content again.
SM is working his rear off, but it doesn't make me feel any better hat I can just sit here and watch while he's again doing things for me.
The problem itself is tied to the whole xp system again, NPC and creature behavior, and to make it short, my creatures and NPCs currently stand around and do nothing. Nothing means, I can go to a hostile creature and kick it's shin and it stares at me blankly. NPCs forgot how to talk, and... well, it's highly frustrating when the last thing you worked on was adventuring areas and NPC dialogues. Because at the moment there's absolutely nothing else to do for me than working on encounters and NPC dialogues, but.. sigh... I can't.
What was left to do was a few interiors I planned for a haunted village. But no, NWN shows me he middlefinger, I can't place any doors in any of the tilesets I wanted to use. Back to 2da work? The last thing I want to do right now.

Well, those are the few major annoyances I ran into lately. There's more though, dozens of details like the toolset telling me it's missing scripts I know it shouldn't miss, or that some mystic containers are full and can't accomodate any items anymore (never ever placed or used or looked at a container yet), and so on.

To make a long story short, I'm having a bad headache since my last post, and I'm totally frustrated because I can't just do what I want to do.

To kill some time and frustration, I played a little bit in Dammendrech and finally finished Mass Effect.
Mass Effect left me very disappointed, but it's nevertheless a game I'd recommend to everyone if it hadn't that totally ridiculous DRM scheme with activations.
The storyline is a clichée, mixed together from various sources, some more, some less obvious, and the whole game is again aimed at the US teenager who's dream of life is becoming a hero in the army and saving the world. Blech. However, the presentation of the game is awsome, the cutscenes wonderful, the voice acting and visual quality of the actors totaly sucks you in. I just hope they'll make the storyline more interesting in part two, leave out the horrible sidequests and change the DRM.

7.5/10 for Mass Effect (presentation 10/10).

Now, Dammendrech. That's a NWN2 world I sometimes (or often the last couple of weeks) play on and that has become a temporary refuge for me. It's run by a few people I know back from Vives, first of all lowfatpretzels who I played with quite often and who dragged me there, and the admin and head DM and head builder and whatevernot Vulpina, who's Vives chars I had run into sometimes, but never got to know well.

Now Dammendrech is a RP server that suffers from a lot of the problems I mentioned in older posts, last but not least it has a ridiculously harsh death penalty that would drive me off immediately anywhere else. From the game mechanics, a lot of it is exactly what I'd like to avoid in my module.
Nevertheless, it's a nice server. Why? Well, great attention for detail, very nice building (within the borders of NWN2's ugly graphics of course), a believable and unique setting that avoids stereotypes, very few silly effects and magic and all.

And first of all, the people are nice and relaxed. It's extremely newbie-friendly, DM attention is guaranteed and always positive, and it's constantly changing and being worked on. That's probably what really makes a server worth playing, and of course I'm again stealing ideas and try to learn.
Well, enough of the praise, actually there's still a little lack of content and some flaws and all, and I often found myself not knowing what to do with my char when noone was on. Besides that, if you want to check out a NWN2 world, give that one a try, it deserves a little attention.

Well, now while I wrote this, SM sent me a new mail telling me that my module has definitely other bugs in the system than his test mod, which was very reassuring and of course I can't wait to track this next one down. Yay.

F... it. :(

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Finally some new areas

I finally had some enthusiasm again and made a few areas to be used around the town of Niederhoeve. So here's what players will find on the other side of town:

We follow the road to the farmlands and come across this mill...

A different view from behind the hill...

..and find a small cloister called St. Magnus.

We can also take a different path that leads us to a lake...

Which continues into the Niederhoevean Moor...

... which gets a little darker...

... and eerie the deeper we go in.

I think I have some good ideas about what happens in these areas. First off, I don't follow the rule that every area must contain some quests or encounters. I think for an immersive atmosphere there have to be some "travel areas" that have no other meaning than to give the player an impression of distance. However, I'll try to add as many small quests or things to be found to make it not too boring.

Let's start with the cloister. I was thinking a lot about monks in the module and would like to try making them more like a classical monk (as in christian history). I actually have no idea how to couple that with the FR monk and his mastery of martial arts, but might find a solution.

However, my idea is to make quite a few monasteries all over the module to give monks a reason to travel from one to the other. Some might be like the one in the screenshot, a small cloister in the middle of nowhere, while others might be huge like castles with a small city around it.

Furthermore, I think it would be a nice idea to make monk and nun cloisters, some monasteries will only be open for male while others only open for female monk PCs.

But before I do that, I have to fill those swamp areas with something nasty. No details on that yet.