Saturday, May 30, 2009

Big News

I literally just now finished handling the last of the 170 bugs/improvements I noted during my last play-through. (Yes, the list grew slightly from the 166 I mentioned last time.) This included a fair amount of targeted testing, so I'm now fairly confident of the core village of Navatranaasu as far as polish and bugs go.

That said, the side quest areas are improving but significantly behind the core, so I'm going to be working on them one at a time. I have confirmed that the proper areas all become available on the overland map at the right time, so it's just a matter of polishing what happens when the pc gets there.

I also still have one more core sidequest to implement that I've been busy reworking and am now much happier with, and I think I'm going to make a small change to the flow of the second act, but once all that's done, Act II is going to enter beta.

Friday, May 22, 2009

First Time Through Act II

Quick update... I was off work today and so working on TMGS. I can report that I have just completed my first playthrough from start to finish of Act II. I had played parts before, but never the whole thing through. I found a couple show-stoppers, but slogged through by using the console. I made 166 notes of things to fix and tweak, and that will consume the next few days. There's still a lot of polishing, but it was a major milestone.

More to come.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Another TMGS Update

My last playthrough of Act II netted 81 comments, bugs, and general improvements and ended in a critical path game-ending bug. After a few days, I was finally able to work through them all. Some were maddeningly difficult to get rid of, but they're finally gone.

In addition, I began to add a few more ambient characters to give the town a little more life. Again, no one in Navatranaasu is just a plain old commoner, but even with twenty-two fully-defined characters, things felt a bit sparse, especially because many of these have a daily schedule that removes them from the village for periods of time. My plan is to add six more and see how that goes. A couple of these have even turned into a brief sidequest, which will be completed today.

Last Sunday, I began my latest playthrough, and I've already found 21 more things I want to polish (no bugs, just polish). The work is never done...

So screenshot time. This is a bit atmospheric and pretty dark. By way of explanation, I've even given most of the inside maps a daily light cycle to imitate the sun entering through windows during the day and having much less light at night. I was really aiming for a way to make the large VanGhaunt mansion feel much more creepy at night, and I think I hit the mark.

So that's why the attached screenshot is so dark. Here, Sheridan, my PC, and Tancred have found the mansion's groundskeeper, Grayson, cooking his dinner after a long day in the gardens. He is giving details of an odd event that occured recently in the village. More later.

Friday, May 1, 2009

What's Important in a Game?

I'm just curious today if a game like BG2 would be as popular today as it was in its time. Is a toolset necessary for a crpg to sell, or would people go for a game that did not have a toolset attached?

Essentially, game development only has so "zots" to spend. If a ton of those zots are spent making a new engine and an associated toolset, the campaign must get less time. I think that's a big reason why official campaigns have become much shorter recently. On the other hand, if someone were to purchase the rights to use an existing engine, more time could be devoted to the story or companion development. In other words, perhaps a sixty to eighty hour campaign with fifteen companions would be possible versus a forty hour campaign with only eight companions if the engine had to be built too. I don't know if the community would support that anymore, so consider this my way of unscientifically polling the community.

Oh, and this is just for my own information. Don't read too much into this.