Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A new area, a sideproject, a huge drop back

There are a lot of news, however, most of them are not good. The worst is the one I ran into two days ago, and it appears to put me back to zero. Let me start at the beginning.
Like a good builder should, I listened to the advise of the elders and always saved my module as a directory, not as a mod file, and also disabled autosave. A good student I am.
Like every true revolutionary should (see Shirt-post below), I didn't always listen to the elders and ignored some of their advise, like e.g. using just soandso many seeds of trees. I didn't run into problems, and that's why I kept walking on that revolutionary path with my fist raised high.
The one problem I ran into though - and there was no advise of the elders regarding that - was a crash occuring when I tried to erase grass. This seemed to happen from a certain amount either of grass on, or from a certain amount of grass types (there are a lot and I used a lot). But since my stuff always ran fine in game, I didn't care much about it and went on.
Recently though, my toolset kept crashing whenever I switched between areas. Loading a new one required to close the toolset, open it up again and load the area I wanted to work on. It was always an out of memory error, so I checked the size of my Middleforest directory which contains just 4 areas: 841MB. Shock. So I thought I'd better save as a mod and check if the huge size remains. And there it all started: I couldn't save as a mod anymore. Great. I tried to export the areas into an erf... crash. I tried to export them one by one - crash. I thought I used too many tree seeds, so I started deleting trees. Ended up with a module with no single tree or bush in it... still crashes, still the same size.
After much trial and error I was then able to export some erfs, but couldn't reimport them without the new mod giving out of memory errors. At least I figured that the crash occurs on importing the trx (Walkmesh) part of the erf, so I tried reducing the walkable areas to a minimum. But again, no change, a treeless and barely walkable module still crashing.
In the end I came to the conclusion that the grass is the root of the problem. I don't think I have to say anything more *points at Grasslands post*. I can't delete the grass in any area anymore, and it seems as if the grass crashes the module and bloats up area size. There is not even a way to tell the toolset to get rid of the grass at all in one step. Conclusion: My whole stuff is unuseable. Yay. That's months of work, and you can imagine how down I am at the moment, starting from zero is the worst case scenario, and I'm not even sure if I can avoid the bug in the future, unless I never use grass again. So that's what put my moral to zero this week, no idea what to do next... maybe new areas in a new module, putting the old stuff on hold, making alternatives.... rebuilding Rungholt is out of question, it took months to get it the way it is now, only an alternative attempt, basically a whole new city, would be possible.
Just to put a little more salt into the wound, here are some screens from the latest version (before I started to delete trees)...

I haven't taken any screens of the new stuff I'm working on, because it didn't pass my self-censorship yet. Basically it was the Rungholt road and the River crossroads from my old NWN1 module, after which the forest areas begin.

Anyway, there's some progress too, even though it doesn't affect the module directly, and that's my little sideproject of making stuff look nicer. I always hated how custom clothes that show a little more skin were only useable for chars that use the default human piggypink skintype - cursed you be if you use any other race or head variation with a different skin type, there you stood with a green head and a perfectly pink human body. Sorry, I'm getting eye cancer from such things, so I made... *drumroll*... a nude patch. Stop rolling your eyes, Michael... let me explain this embarrassing fact. So there's Jester who made a new nude patch, so to speak. It's a new nude model that looks a little nicer than the old one by Zylch001 which already served as a base for huge clothing compilations - basically everything that shows a little more skin (that already means no gloves or boots in NWN2!) is based on Zylch's model. Now, as for Jester's base, you probably notice it's name is New Nude (with Clothes), and what that means is that he made a dress base that isn't equipped in the armor, but in the belt slot, thereby not replacing the "Nude armor" the PC wears. And since the original skin is shining through, you can paint that skin to fit the PC head you use, and that's exactly what I did - after Jester even immediately listened to my request for a model with a little less breast (more realistic IMHO).
Anyway, I'll let pictures speak (cover your eyes kids!):

As you can see the dress the little drow wears is very basic, but what's more important, the original skin remains (and it's not just tinted, there won't be that ugly gap at the neck anymore, or at least the effect is reduced a lot. There are more pics at my vault submission, where you can as well give me a vote or drop a comment ;)
Next sideproject will be, you guess it, making dresses with Jester's base.
That's all for now, cross fingers I'm either finding an unexpected solution for my Middleforest problem, or the will to start over.


Michael A. Sinclair said...

Wow, Casa, that really bites. I wish I could offer you a solution, but since there's nothing comparable in the NWN1 toolset, I dunno what to suggest.

Do you have older saves before the bloat happened? If so, you could open it in the toolset and examine the temp0 folder (I'm assuming NWN2 uses one, too) and see the difference between that and the bloated, buggy one.

Hope you find a fix. :-S

Casa said...

A good suggestion, but no, there are no more backups. See, the grass wasn't the last thing I added, as long as I only saved my module as a directory I had no idea what problem I had created. At some point months ago I painted grass in the Rungholt area, after that I added and changed buildings, detailed markets, threw in this and that, totally oblivious of any problems. Well, the crashing on grass erase occured a while ago, but it wasn't really an issue for me back then since I didn't plan to erase it anyway. Now I have to, but can't. Bummer. :)

Sherincall said...

Can you somehow export the heightmaps and placeable positions? So that you don't have to start from scratch..

Casa said...

I think I've heard about copying placeables, but maybe that was only for interiors (tilesets). However, I wouldn't know about any way to copy the terrain, and even if, I guess fixing it all up will take almost as long as rebuilding.

You know, actually this might be the chance to fix up what I was unhappy with in Rungholt. There was a lot about the canals that I simply tried to patch up and hide under placeables, instead of reworking it. It's just very hard to look at a blank area again, knowing I have to rebuilt what I already had.
The farmlands is even worse, because that area was really coming out exactly how I wanted it, but now I know I can't keep it like that. Oh well, maybe I should finally build a goddamn FOREST for my MiddleFOREST module. ;)