Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend Update III

Not the greatest day of writing if I'm being honest. I only got about another 3600 words done, but that spans nine different dialogs. I also managed to make several item blueprints that I'll need for those dialogs, and I added the dialogs into their proper places in the module with the limited scripting needed for them to fire. Honestly, I had hopes of doing more, but it's not an entirely bad effort all things considered.

The updated progress matrix is included below. My immediate task is to finish the Act III and Campaign dialogs. Then I'll start on the journals.

Also, beginning this coming Sunday, I'm going to start showcasing one of my new loadscreens per week. There are 18 total. I will take about a two to three week vacation in late July into August, so that will get me about 20 weeks of goodies. And I'll try for other screenshots as I post other stuff during the week.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend Update II

It really blows. I ended up wasting most of Saturday on chores. It's amazing how "To Do" lists grow when you own a house and a business. I only managed one roughly 800 word dialog yesterday (hence the lack of update).

Today, I finished off a bunch of yard work in the morning and ran some more errands in the early afternoon, but I managed to swing about four hours late in the day for the toolset, and so I cranked out another 5700 words of dialog (and one additional creature blueprint I had missed). I'm currently sitting on 15,300 words total for Act III, which is about 34.5% of what I'll need.

The good news for tomorrow is that I have literally the whole day set aside for toolset time. One small bit of bad news is that I discovered a slight change in some of my loadscreens will be necessary, so that will shoot about 30 minutes to an hour. Fun, fun...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend Update I

Well, I didn't quite make my goal for the start of the weekend, but I managed to complete the final integration of all my loadscreens and the inclusion of the Tyrran shield as I indicated last time. In addition, I systematically went through and verified / fixed / added all door transitions between maps and world map triggers. Finally, I either imported from Word or else wrote from scratch about 3800 words spanning 2.5 dialogs. Overall, not a bad day's work, and I'm at last into full-blown dialog-writing mode with three off-days left to go.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Blueprints... Check!

Since my last update, I've been a bit slowed by losing two days to the trip to L.A. and then having to put in extra time at work to make up for it... not to mention other annoying real-life crap that... uh, won't be mentioned.

However, I've managed to finish off the 109 creature blueprints I'll need for Act III including all associated custom armor and weapons. In addition, I systematically assigned loadscreens to my maps and determined I would need 19 new ones to fill in the gaps. I have already taken all 19 screen shots. Now I need to convert them to .tga format, modify the .2das, update the campaign hak, and assign the new screens to the right maps, and that will be done. While I'm updating the .2das, I'll go ahead and modify the items one so I can include a spiffy Tyrran-based shield out of this nifty community hak (3rd picture down, top row, 2nd from left).

Tonight (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday) will probably be out in terms of working on anything NWN2-related, but hopefully, I can knock all that out Wednesday and Thursday. The real goal is the weekend. I have Friday off work, Saturday and Sunday are always off, of course, and next Monday is a holiday here in the U.S., so that will give me four straight days to work. There will be chores to take care of during that time and other minor annoyances, but I plan on putting a serious dent in all the needed Act III conversations during that four-day stretch. If I'm as productive as I think I'll be, that'll put me pretty close (75% to 80% of the way) to being done with all Act III dialogs. Here's hoping...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mysteries of Westgate Press Event

This past Wednesday and Thursday (May 7th and 8th), I attended the Mysteries of Westgate press event in Beverly Hills, and I must say it was a blast. California... well, it's California; it's got a culture all its own. All I could think of was, "we're not in Kansas anymore, Toto..." but it was a good time, great food, interesting hotel...

Of course, it was my first time meeting Alan face-to-face, and he turned out to be as cool as I thought he would be, and all the reviewers, some of whom I'd exchanged e-mails with, were all fabulous as well. Finally, it was great meeting the representatives from Atari (publisher) and fortyseven (public relations), and it was fascinating getting a brief glimpse of how at least this small part of the background to publishing games works.

Lastly, I've heard universally positive feedback about the event and, more importantly, the game. But rather than have me blabber on further about it, go and see what others who attended had to say:

Thieves' Guild


NWN Podcast

Just RPG

Neverwinter Vault


I'm still waiting on another article to be published and will update this post when I see it.

A quick note. This Friday, Ossian will release our final Spotlight covering not the lore of Westgate, but the Ossian perspective of the event. Until then...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Maps Done!

The title says it all. 53 out of 53 done. It feels pretty darned good to have such a massive piece of the module done for once and for all. The final map is of a small village built into some hills. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Progress Matrix
It's been a while since I updated the progress matrix, but with this milestone now out of the way, it makes sense to take another peek. I'm going to hit the Act III blueprints next. I have a list of 100 creature blueprints and a dozen or so item blueprints I'll need, and, given the number of hours I seem to be working lately, I estimate that'll take me about 7-8 days to finish off. After that, I have a list of 18 to 25 loadscreens I want to make up. I've never done my own loadscreens, but the process doesn't seem too hard, so I'm hoping that will go fairly quickly as well.

Wrapping those up will allow me to "check off" the two boxes with red zeroes in them, and then I can hit the Act III dialogs hard. I've only got about 13.2% of them done in the toolset, but I probably have another 20% - 25% done in MS Word format, so that portion will go quickly. The rest, however, still need to be written from scratch.

Doctor Who: The Poison Sky
Well... another finale that keeps an adventure from being a true classic. I guess the writers just don't know how to get out of the jams they get the characters into without resulting to "magic wands." At least this wasn't as bad as previous attempts.

And what is it about Helen Raynor that makes her want to write the Doctor with a death wish? It was outright pathetic in "Evolution of the Daleks" when the Doctor literally begged to be killed. Only slightly less pathetic was the Doctor's desire to commit suicide in finishing off the Sontarans. As Luke Rattigan asked, why not put the device on a sort of timer? I know the Doctor in the most recent series has to be shown giving everyone a chance to act right and leave, thereby justifying him when he finally destroys them. Normally, I'm OK with this. However, with the Sontarans, it is outright lame. It's as if he's never met one before! Hell, by that point, he had even met that specific one before... not that it matters, of course. They are all clones of each other bred within the same society under exactly the same circumstances. They are therefore likely to give exactly the same answer. Is it too much of a stretch to think the Doctor would just assume the answer when the alternative is sacrificing himself?

But the real pisser is that even if he just had to give the Sontarans their chance, there was a communication device in the Rattigan Academy. We know this because it was used by the Sontarans to communicate with Luke in the teaser to "The Sontaran Strategem." Did no one think of this? Bah!

Hey, Doctor, if you just absolutely have to die, put a gun in your mouth and be done with it.

That's not to say the episode was without merit. The three principals acquitted themselves well, and Tennant was a bit less hammy than normal. There were some nice family moments with Donna, though it is now clear that three companions in a row have had a shrewish mother. Russell Davies simply has to get some new ideas here for companion #4, whenever that is.

UNIT was handled relatively well also. Colonel Mace makes a worthy successor to Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, and there's even the briefest hint of pain (?) on his face when the Doctor let's slip that he's no Brigadier and Mace admits that "Alistair is a fine man, probably the best." As I said before, the Sontarans were well characterized, though slightly less so than in "The Sontaran Strategem." I thought their plan of rendering the copper-coated bullets useless was quite clever - unusually so for the current crop of scientifically-challenged writers, but I swear those nifty suits of armor they wear are next to useless if steel bullets can pierce them. I mean, even humans have Kevlar vests that take the punch out of bullets. Can a race capable of interstellar travel and maintaining a 50,000 year war with the Rutans not stop a bullet? As with so many other episodes in the new series, there's a lot that's good, but there's just enough for me to regret what might have been.

Next Up: The series takes on a long-standing question in "The Doctor's Daughter." Though some have since tried to discredit their relationship, it seems clear from interviews with the original creative team that Susan was meant to be the Doctor's biological granddaughter, so he must therefore have also had a son or daughter at some point. I'm not so sure how thrilled I am that the series is "going there," but we'll see what's in store.

Interestingly enough, the role of the Doctor's daughter seems to be portrayed by Georgia Moffett, another complete unknown here in the States, though she has some modest fame in the U.K., having appeared in, among other series, The Bill. Georgia Moffett is the daughter of Peter Moffett... who's stage name in the industry is Peter Davison. A clever bit of casting to be sure.

Friday, May 2, 2008

So Much Excitement!

First things first. Today is podcast day. Drop everything right now and go here to learn more than you ever could have wanted to know about the making of "Saleron's Gambit", design choices in "The Maimed God's Saga", and... well, listen to liso and me share thoughts on medieveal (technically Renaissance) history.

So I was happy because last night I had actually cleared about two to three hours - on a weeknight, no less - to work on TMGS... I was going to get the texturing on my final map done and then start on placeable placement... and then a fire broke out in the preserve near my house... and I mean a really big one! The fireman I talked to said there were 55 fire-trucks issued to the area from the entire county. I would have taken pictures except I was too busy taking pictures of my actual house, cycling my sprinklers, and then loading all my important papers and mementos into my car.

Fortunately, the wind was blowing exactly the right direction, and my actual house was never that much in danger. Some people in the neighborhood next to mine are not so lucky, though I don't think any of the houses are unlivable. Still what a pain for them! Oh, and the fire has been put out this morning, but it was a fitful night's sleep... and yet another example of real life wiping out Maimed God time. Trust me, I would have 100 times rather had a quiet night with the toolset.

Yes, I'm Still Working on The Maimed God's Saga
With all the polling I've been doing, it occurred to me that people might be getting a bit worried I'm switching projects. Fear not; the polling is just for informational purposes. I still have months to go on TMGS, and all my actual toolset time is devoted to it at the moment. I'm committed to finishing one project before starting the next.

Speaking of Polls...
The latest poll is now closed and, as I did last time, I'm going to record the results for posterity.

Question 1: After reading the four scenarios outlined on my April 17th post, which setting would intrigue you? (You may vote more than once!)
  1. The Viking Invasion - 19 (43%)
  2. The Norman Invasion - 8 (18%)
  3. The Hundred Years' War - 10 (22%)
  4. The Wars of the Roses - 16 (36%)

Question 2: After reading the four scenarios outlined on my April 17th post, do any of these hold absolutely no interest for you? (You may vote more than once!)
  1. The Viking Invasion - 5 (20%)
  2. The Norman Invasion - 3 (12%)
  3. The Hundred Years' War - 8 (33%)
  4. The Wars of the Roses - 9 (37%)

Clearly, the two most popular choices were The Vikings and The Wars of the Roses. However, the latter also had the highest negatives, so it seems pretty cut and dry that the best positive to negative ratio was The Vikings. That gives me a direction to head, though I'll still kick things around for a couple months while I finish off TMGS.