Wednesday, December 12, 2012

NWN2 is only as dead as the community wants it to be

More devastating news have struck our good old favorite lately (among other games), as most players might've noticed already:

PC Gamer

It always seems to me that as soon as there's a bit hope on my side for an extended life of NWN2 and I feel like building again, something new happens that ruins it all completely.
Fortunately, there's a bunch of really good people on the NWN forums (probably because D&D is a game for nerds :) ) and a community fix is already on the way, one that sounds very promising too.

Now that alone doesn't necessarily justify a blog post, but it got me thinking once more. The NWN1 community, which always outnumbered NWN2's, was so fast in adjusting to this new situation and fixing it with a patch that just on the side works for NWN2 too... but if it didn't work on NWN2, I wonder if anyone bothered to fix it too... the NWN2 boards are again awfully silent.

One more thing that also bugged me all the time and especially lately again is the custom content side of NWN2. I guess that my hope that a NWN Nexus site would revive and spice things up again was in vein, very few new files ever got uploaded that actually got me excited (a shining example against the trend is Xaltar's Facelift pack). What makes me sad though is that I often stumble over teasers... pics on the forums, pics on the Nexus that even show stuff I tried to do myself and failed badly at. Sometimes these are teasers for a PW community, but often they're private modifications or modifications for long cancelled projects. That these little gems are unreachable and rot away on some hard disks is incredibly sad and discouraging, and I really wonder what happened to the sharing aspect of the community, especially NWN2's.

Kamal said in some comment on this blog that he wishes that if I cancelled Middleforest completely, I'd at least upload my areas as prefabs to the vault. And yeah, I would - if it made any sense, because due to my heavy hak customizations oin any other computer without my complete hak set the areas will look like total garbage. That's the only reason I didn't upload them really, because hell, whatever keeps this game alive I'm willing to do. My nudie skins mod isn't that great and I only made it for my own project, but hell, just in case somebody else can use it, I uploaded it anyway. That little fix for dresses - most builders probably figured that out themselves because they're much smarter than me, but since I haven't seen it on the vault I uploaded it just for the sake of giving anything back, as mediocre or silly as it might be.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, if you want to keep this game alive there should be some change of attitude, an attitude I see more in NWN1's and maybe Bethgames communities, and that is - please share your little haks, you can never know if there isn't someone who desperately needs it, even if you think it's not worth sharing. Maybe you think it's great and you want to keep it for your future project you've been working on for 5 years already, as a teaser that makes your project unique... but really, if you don't release it this week, think again, I think keeping a great game alive should be the greater good nowadays.

Now I'm trying again to get this stupid Blender/mdb stuff working, oh hell... :P


Michael A. Sinclair said...

Preach it, brother!

One of the things that's really helped NWN lately is the interest generated by the monthly custom content contest. People are still fired up about creating new things and sharing them with people. Also, they're small haks with a few new things, rather than massive overhauls that look promising but never get finished.

Lance Botelle (Bard of Althéa) said...

Hi Casa,

The problem I see is that NWN2 is probably a little harder to work with overall. (Redundant NWN1 legacy aspects did not help much.) Therefore, unless you have the "artists" and "modelers" prepared to move over to NWN2 (knowing its harder to work with), then they will stick with NWN1 - and so that kind of custom content will be less forthcoming.

I agree with you that I too would like to have seen more material for NWN2, but as you say, it can be quite involved bringing into use, like you say with your own areas and your hak.

Otherwise, it begs the question, why would people stick with NWN1, when NWN2 is (in my opinion) a better product overall?

Another reason why people may not be releasing material may be due to it being a "work in progress" (especially when its mostly script/GUI related). For instance, personally, I have tried to release some aspects of my module NWN2 since I started working on it in 2007. However, to release a separate self-contaioned "module" to allow others to use this piece of code can be time-consuming and take one away from the main module project for a time to ensure it is working as need be for others. To name a few, my "Readable Books", "Captured Spell Books", "Mapping System", and the recent "Weather System" all took extra time to make available before the module was released, and it is hard to tell where to spend the time to give people the most from whatever one does.

From somebody who has been working on their mod for sometime now, I would love to release my mini puzzles/games and other GUI stuff now, but it really would be hard to seperate the code from the main code in such a way that I could release it as something people could "easily" use ... or in a way that I would feel comfortable with. And there are aspects of these systems that I am still altering as I work on the module, which I simply have not had the time to go and update the standalone versions released. Admitedly, most of these changes are superficial or multi-player code fixes, but I know these "issues" still exist and they haunt me because I have not yet altered the standalone versions too.

Having said all that, I still believe there is quite a bot of new material out there, and with the expert designs of people like yourself, I say we do still have a great deal to come with NWN2 modules!

I think the bottom line is, anything built with NWN2 is harder and takes more time.