So here I was plugging away on my maps for Act III just like I had for Acts I and II and then I check out Maerduin's blog page and see these magnificent shots of his upcoming mod. Instantly, I realize I have something to learn. I had the same feeling walking around Westgate, but I didn't really know what was hakpak material for that mod and what was part of the toolset. One quick e-mail to Zach later, and it turns out the toolset is so much better than I had ever thought for customizing interiors. In short, walls can be colored and re-textured and floors and ceilings have multiple textures as well. Suddenly, I have some reworks on all interior maps in my previous two acts.
I guess it goes to show that after working with the toolset for more than a year, I still have things to learn. It's just another example of how the NWN2 toolset is a serious upgrade from the NWN1 variety.
Mysteries of Westgate
It's been a while since there was any excitement regarding the upcoming Adventure Pack, but there was a new promo release recently outlining one of the major NPCs and the three companions. After months of only getting to praise the area designers - which is all you can really talk about with screen shots - we finally turn to something I as a designer put a lot of work into. I'm rather proud of the three companions, and I think that they will be interesting company for those who choose to adventure in Westgate. I don't think I can say much more at this point.
There is, apparently, some hubbub on the BioBoards concerning the fact that two of the companions are blonde. To tell the truth, I don't think a single one of the designers even thought about that during the development; it certainly wasn't mentioned. I must profess to being mystified as to why this is an issue. I count twelve companions for the NWN 2 OC: Ammon, Bishop, Casavir, the Construct, Elanee, Grobnar, Khelgar, Neeshka, Qara, Sand, Shandra, and Zhjaeve. MotB had five companions: Safia, Kaelyn, Gann, Okku, and One of Many. Of these seventeen companions, zero are blondes. That means only two of the twenty companions in the thus-far official material are blonde. Hardly a problem as I see it, but if that's the biggest problem some people have with the companions, then I'd say we've been wildly successful.
As an aside, as anyone who has played the "Saleron's Gambit" series can attest, my own personal preference is to have "normal" companions. Of the nine henchmen I wrote for that series, seven were human, one was an elf, and one was a tiefling, and that one was only introduced in the trip to Sigil in Part V. It's not that I'm against having a half-celestial dragon disciple in the party, but I think they should be as rare in modules as they are in Faerun - which is to say very rare. Modules that have a freak show running around tend to get my eyes rolling, as I think that is often a cheap method of making companions memorable as opposed to the writing or their personality. Anyway, I was quite content to write up some normal-looking companions for MoW.
Btw for completeness, my tolerance for freak shows goes up in epic adventures, as planar travel and such are more common in such adventures. Thus, I really didn't mind carting around a magic bear in MotB...
Maimed God Update
I've made some minor progress on the Act III dialogs, but most of my work has been mapmaking. I now have 8 of the 14 maps I need for Act III finished and two more started. In keeping with my pronouncement last time regarding the need for secrecy of Act III's content, I'll simply leave you with a screenshot of my newest map entitled "Glade of the Miracle." Oooh, that sounds religious, doesn't it?