Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy 2008!

Yes, I am 1 day early... Oh, well.

Here's a new screenshot of The Maimed God's Saga to whet your appetites... maybe. It's the first shot of the VanGhaunt mansion interior, and it's a section I'm very happy with. I call it "The Gallery of the VanGhaunts." Most of the major figures from the dynasty of Navatranaasu have either statues or portraits in this room. There are some interesting clues here for those willing to take the time to think them out and piece them together (along with strands from other places).

The more I write of TMGS, the more I realize it will be a thinking-person's campaign. There's a rather involved mystery here going back generations, and it's not all going to be handed to the player on a plate. I guess some people will hate it, but the people who like this kind of module are going to love it.

Progress Report
Keep on writing, keep on writing... I now stand at over 56,000 words on Act II alone. I estimate I have another 12,000 to 13,000 to go, not including journals. The biggest piece I put into place since the last update was Jellica VanGhaunt herself, though I'm sure I've missed a few lines I need to add to her. I feel confident that Jellica is a more complete and intriguing character than any I have written in a released module to date, and she's only #3 in this campaign. There are several layers to her, again, for players willing to take the time.

I'm also back to a toss-up on my remaining sidequest. Yes, I was going to do the xvart village idea from BG1. Then I started the map and realized there were no suitable thatched-roof hut placeables and ditched the idea. An xvart village looking similar to dock-row houses from Neverwinter would be silly... although I could 50% scale them and do what in essence would be a midget Neverwinter with blue gnomes running about... That might be cool... Naw, back to square one there.

Non-Player Characters
One of the things I think Harp and Chrysanthemum did very well that I am also doing is to give the town fully individual characters. Navatranaasu isn't that big of a town; the population is said to be in the area of 140, and only a dozen or so will be present in the town constantly with maybe a half dozen others coming and going at various plot points. But all of them in the game will be important to some degree and have their own personalities, agendas, and dialogs... and schedules. Some will ask you weighty theological questions, some will view you with suspicion, some will see you as the town's last hope.

Can I Have a Scripter Please?
First, let me say this. I can script just fine. I'm an electrical engineer. I help get satellites into space for a living, so I can sure as hell handle a little C++. That said, it is not my favorite part of mod building.

You wanna know what is most kick-ass about working for Ossian? Getting paid? No. Collaborating with other cool members of the community? Close, but no again. It's being able to write my characters, make up the blueprints in the toolset so they look the way I like, and then telling a scripter, "OK, you finish it up for me!" THAT rules!

Alas, I'm not getting paid for TMGS, so I ain't paying anyone else, so a-scriptin' here I come!

I will say that my work with Ossian has changed the way I do mod building. In the SG series, I did a little of this, then a little of that... Now, I do all my areas at once, do all my blueprints at once, all my dialogs, and so forth... I think it's probably faster, as there's less trying to remember what I was doing a couple weeks ago at this point or that point...

Mysteries of Westgate
What was that again? Did I work on that?

I hear it's a January release for sure. Hey, it's out of our hands, so if it ain't January...

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