Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hey Look....Screen Shots

Distractions: 

     War...War Never Changes... 

A little over a year ago I picked up a bundle of the three original Fallout games on steam. I had played the first 2 when they came out, but this is my first time playing Tactics. Leaving behind my longsword and taking up a Desert Eagle I have been conquering the post-apocalyptic waste, leaving a trail of carnage. Even for older games these are fun and have a great story behind them. One of the first things I noticed was the difference in the interface from many of the new games I've played. Nothing I could interact with glowed, flashed or had neon arrows pointing at them. As the player I had to look around the environment and try my skills or inventory items on things to see if I could learn anything. Most often I just got the floating text -Nothing Happens-, but if I wanted to try using my crowbar on the pre-war computer I could. So in between designing areas and writing scripts I have been killing raiders and mutants, or it may be the other way around.


The Helmites Camp:

     A Page Borrowed from Path of Evil-

This is a small little side area attached with the quest to kill off the inhabitants of the camp. The quest is given to the player from one of their more malevolent acquaintances. Receiving this quest is not alignment based and most every player will get this quest unless they try to completely ignore and shun the quest  givers (which will be rather difficult).

To avoid every player having to do a hack 'n slash through the good guy camp, the player has also been charged with framing the deaths on another group. Neither the player nor the acquaintances what to have the church of Helm searching for them trying to bring them to justice.

I have created four ways of completing this quest. The first and the easiest is the good way. While there are rewards for completing the quest this way, all the Helmites live and you will upset your acquaintances, which may be your goal. There are three ways to kill the Helmites: 1) With pure power and strength you cut them all down and some quick thinking at the end turns the blame. 2)You may be able to convince someone else to kill them for you. 3) And finally some guile and trickery can kill them all off.

The Helmites take advantage of the ACME Full Metal HAK. The camp is composed of three classes. There are the fighters, clerics and paladins. While all the amour is similar, each group has a slightly different set. The fighters and clerics all wear helmets to hide the fact that there are a number of clones despite there bing male and female models. There are four paladins; each one is unique with different armor, helmet, weapons and appearance.

The entrance of the camp and the guard that will question you upon entering.

The mess hall at the center of the camp. In the upper left, a dwarven paladin hangs out by himself.

A number of the troops. Male and female fighters and clerics gather around the campfires.

The edge of the camp and the start of a swamp

Another section of the camp, in the upper left a paladin carrying a shield walks through the camp inspecting the troops.

This is the commander's tent with the paladin commander inside and a halberd wielding guard outside.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

An Exciting Month

I would like to take this post to thank the players and other builders in this community. May & June has been an exciting couple of months for Risen Hero. Your encouragement and feedback has been huge over the years!

On the vault it was raised to the Hall of Fame and on Nexus it was awarded the #1 spot for the File of the Month.

I would again like to thank the custom creators (see the growing lists to the right) who helped make it a unique experience.

I am glad that my project was enjoyed by the community and I will continue working away to bring this story to its conclusion.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Demons & Beer

Well, that is quite the title isn't it.

-If you found this by a google(or whatever search engine you use) be ready for a NWN2 / dungeon and dragon post.-

So onto topic # 1:

DEMONS:

I have started wrapping up the demon shop keepers conversations, they were original mentioned in this post: (it describes their brief history and some of their wares.)

http://risenheronwn2.blogspot.com/2011/01/demonic-merchants-and-their-wares.html

I usually complain about conversations due to their conplexity, but I have been having fun with this group. It has turned into a web of deception and contempt. All the merchant hate each other and have their own schemes, except for the smith. He is a cursed mortal who sold his soul and can't stop swinging his smithing hammer or suffer unimaginable pain.

Originally these merchants were going to have fairly generic merchant conversations, but all that changed oOnce I took into account their back stories and fiendish heritage. One merchant wishes to eat another merchant and steal his wares. While another two, a succubus and a Litilu, scheme against each other and want to involve the PC. Finally the Keeper of Artifacts, a rat like demon, will trade information about the other merchants for specific items. He will present a player with a riddle and they must guess an mundane item to place in his basket. If they give him the right item he will given them some bit of information they can use against the other merchants. This bit of information will  give the player a 10 percent discount at that specific demon's store.

There is also a quest for female characters with greater than 12 charisma. Spell effects and potions can be used to increase the CHA and access this quest. The Keeper will "sell" this information to a female character if they do not find the quest or don't have the charisma to unlock it. At the conclusion of the quest 3 of the merchants will  look to gain the prize.
   -#1: The quest giver who wants the item
   -#2: An enemy of the quest giver that wants to cause distress to the quest giver
   -#3: A third party who will auction the item between the two to gain the most profit.

So demon merchants will not only be trying to take advantage of the PC but also want gain some advantage over each other. None of them will give the PC any information about themselves, but will be more then willing to talk trash about another merchant. That trash talk will all be opinion, some of it will be true while other bits of information will be be lies. Luckily for the PC these demon's are barred from trading for his/her soul.

I have tried to make each demon greedy  power hungry

And now topic #2

BEER:

After spending the day working in my garden I am reminded of a character I cut from chapter 1, the Brew Master.

-Q: How does gardening remind me of this?
-A: I am working on my hops garden, which I will be using this fall to brew an incredible IPA!.

This NPC was mentioned before and dropped from the monastery, but will be included in a fictional ocean side village  south of Balder's Gate & Candle Keep.  This NPC will discuss the ale brewing process and advocate good, strong, bitter beers; unlike that stuff that is pushed by the mass produced beer companies.

I am not at that area yet in my building process, I can guarantee that chapter 2 will have the brew-master.


In conlusion chapter 2 will include scheming demons and references to delicious beers.




Thursday, March 22, 2012

Making Items More Interesting

One of my goals during creation was to avoid having boring items scattered around. Instead I have tried to create unique and hopefully interesting items. They need to have an description that fits the item and backs up the properties. I started with having both positive and negative attributes on the items then I moved onto item tag based scripts. Items were given numerous abilities as well as new conditions to wielding them. A dwarf won't wear a hide armor made from tanned dwarf skin. Any nonevil character who wears the armor of the fallen paladin will have their alignment shifted to evil since only evil people can wear it. This makes it so a character with a high use magic item skill won't be able to use every item. While in theory they can use the item, their ability does not remove the item's corrupting or cleansing ability.

My last two items went beyond tag scripts and I have now started using spell hooking to help improve and diversify the items found in chapte2 2.  

Spell Hooking:
This all started when I wanted to create an item called a skin cloak. It is the flayed skin of a dead necromancer, found in the The Tomb of Terror. In that book a necromancy can compel this creature to become its familiar. Working within the scope of the toolset this wasn't going to work. So I decided that the cloak could be worn by necromancers, a thing that you can't quite define with the stock functions. This led to a bit of discussion on the bioware forums as to what made a necromancer. A player could choose either the necromancy school specialty (can't get this in script) or the levelup package necromancer. But even with these a wizard could go on to play the game and never cast a necromancy spell. With suggestions from the community several different things were check but the biggest factor is the use of necromancy spells.

I created a spell hook that keeps tracks of all spells cast by players. It has the total number of spells and the count of spells from each spell school. Once a player has cast 250 spells they can then have a specialty. If 40% of their spells come from the same spell school then that is their specialty. They can only have 1 specialty at a time and are awarded a history feat. It doesn't give a bonus, but like with the skin cloak it will be recognized for little bonuses and I'll likely work it into some conversations as well. Right now it is completely untested for function. Once play testing starts I'll have to see how the total spell count and percentage works best. I'm hoping 40% will be high enough but not too high that no one gets it. AT the same time if it is too low a player could have about 40% in 2 different school and their specialty will keep jumping back and forth. So I'll have to see what happens there.

The second item that uses the spell hooking is a pair of gauntlets. On my first release I forgot all about monks and there was nothing for them and I had to go back and sprinkle in some monk specific items with my first update. Since then I have been adding those items in with the same frequency as other items. While these gloves will likely be utilized by any non-evil monk it isn't limited just to monks. It is a good item and any evil character who tries to use them with burn their hands with divine energy taking 1 point of damage and unequiping the item. The holy water grenade spell is hooked for these gauntlets. They contain a reservoir and the holy water can be used on them and it will set several variables that will be used on the on hit script. If they have holy water in the reservoir they will do bonus damage to undead depending on the strength of the holy water and there is a chance to utterly destroy the undead. The DC is again set by the strength of the holy water and the undead adds their turn resistance to their save roll. Most of the time undead are immune to critical hits but with this weapon I decided that a well placed punch could do extra damage to the undead, so a roll is done on damage to to check for a critical hit. The critical hit feats for unarmed attacks are part of that roll so a player won't be cheated.  

On a separate note:
With the creation of the new Nexus NWN page I have uploaded my content there in addition to the vault. Being inspired by this new site I have made available two creatures appearance that I have used in Risen Hero. The bloated zombie, this is a reskin of the drowned appearance that has legs. The other creature is a tintable ice mephit, I used this for a quasit. I have also released the script system and ooze blueprints that I used. Lance Botelle made some great improvements to the scripts and the slime zombies use a zombie skin that Chaos Wielder released. This does require the RWS creature conversion to work.

Finally I have been working on a small override that would let a player use the half-celestial and half-fiend as playable races. I create the back bone of this system for Jezebell, the half-find companion. It grants racial abilities on every odd level. I have modified a number of 2das to correct the feat allocation and create a number of the spell-like abilities. In the past if the Half-Celestial race from MotB was turned into a playable race, a level 1 character would have a number of powerful abilities like resurrection and summon planetar. Those are now given at level 17 and 19. For a full list of the character abilities and stuff look here on the bioware pages: http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/167/index/9794521

 Right now this override can be used with the OC, MotB, SOZ and any community module that doesn't alter any 2das. It currently is incompatible with kaedrin and will not be part of Risen Hero (expect for the half-fiend companion).

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

---Something Clever Should Go Here---

No screen shots this time...Maybe next time. Progress has been slow over the past two months, though I keep the toolset open and chip away where I can. Mostly I have been working on wrapping up the conversations for the ogre tribe and polishing up the demonic merchant's conversations. I just added a new feat today, its part of scope creep. It doesn't do or offer the player anything other than maybe make them laugh. I still need to make an icon, if I'm feeling generous I'll post a screen shot of it completed on the next update. Conversations. I won't complain too much here. Anyone who has followed my blog knows that conversations are the most difficult part of modding for me. They are what make a game, adding depth and diversity to it. A short plot conversation for me is 2000+ words and only a 1/4, if even that, will be seen in any one play through. An example will be the most recent ogre conversation I have been working on. If is purely a optional branch that will add to the main plot line, but won't take anything away if it is not done. You can ask the ogres to help you after a lengthy intro. During the intro 1 out of 7 of the companions will randomly interject. The player will then have a chance to ask the ogres for help. There will be 4 skill based nodes that will only appear if the player has a high enough rank then 2 other opinions. One of the opinions is a slightly evil response that has no skill checks the last if an auto fail, but if the right companions are in the party, 1 out of 5 will interject with a success to move the conversation on. I have recently been playing Fallout 3, and the conversations have been bothering me. They are all very static with little to no change as the game progresses. The one that irritated me the most was the conversation for Gob, a ghoul in Megaton. I found his aunt later in the game and she told me say hi to him. So the next time I was in town I talked to him and nothing. I can't say "Hey I found your aunt" with either a compliment or insult added to it. This little thing, while it adds nothing to the plot takes away from the immersion and game play. I don't know if Bethesda improved their conversations with Fallout Las Vegas or Skyrim, I'll likely find out at some point. So to wrap it up, conversations are important. and I'm working like hell to make sure mine are interesting and have dynamic parts that add to game play. Screen shots next time.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ogres of the Bone Eater Tribe

So I have taken a break from conversation writing and moved into a small area within the Sunset Mountains.

Just a point of warning, there will be some minor spoilers from chapter 1 here but nothing too important, so read on.


After returning to the monastery, the player will have the oportunity to return to the mountains after hearing reports of an encampment of creatures. For those who played chapter 1 and chose the talking path through Dor'Gallon's fort, the green ogre mage below should be familiar. He is the new leader of the ogre tribe, The Bone Eaters. The player killed the old leader, the Ogre Crone in Dor'Gallon's Hall, the final battle for chapter 1.

I have been working on some type of inner turmoil for the ogre tribe. I need a reason why they won't kill you in revenge for the crone's death. Right now I have been looking at religion. What better way to cause turmoil? The ogre tribe follows Vaprak, the ogre deity. Under the Crone's leadership, she forced them to follow some other evil, non-giant deity, maybe like Malar. Since you killed her and freed them from her leadership, the ogres will at least talk to you before trying to eat you.

The ogres will offer some assistance with a plot quest given to the player. However, their help will come at a moral cost of sort. A player will be presented with the problem and a choice must be made, and either side of the decision will have positive and negative aspects. This will be far from an evil path and may even be beneficial to a good aligned player. I hope this will be a point in the game where the line between good and evil will be blurred a bit.

Now some information about the area itself. The area is set in a small valley with a flooded, slow moving river. The valley is a flood plane and will eventually be completely underwater (this is implied and will not happen during game play). There are a lot of grasses and ferns but no bushed or small trees. Some flood resistance trees are around as well as numerous dead trees. The land is fairly flat as layers of silt are left behind after each flooding. Also there are no rocks as they are either burried in the silt or washed away.
.
For the simple fortification I used a similar designs to Dor'Gallon's fort, since they came from there. The entrance is protected by large berms of dirt with sharpened spikes. Some ruined trebuchets are also in the camp, likely plundered from Dor'Gallon before the ogres left.

Below are the screen shots. Currently the area is nearly complete, I just need to add lighting and a few more effects. The useable objects still need descriptions and all that, and there are a few floating trees and objects that need to be anchored down.





The green ogre mage. The two guards use the A2 playable ogre model so they have unique faces and armor.







The back of the camp and the water fall that feeds the river with mountain water. I still need to finish populating the camp with ogres.







Looking into the camp from the entrance.







Another picture of the camp, this one probably should have been before the last....




 


The river from the edge of the camp. That is a small island in the middle of the river.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Isn't there suppose to be a second chapter?

Is there an expected release date? No.

I am hoping to start focusing a bit more time on modding soon, in all likelihood I expect building to increase again in the fall. There are just too many things happening in the summer with family, work and all those water related activities, its hard to commit the time to building.

Chapter 1 Update:

I have posted what should be the final update for chapter 1. The patch.hak may have a couple of files added if players encounter weird stuff, but I don't see any issues arising. Several changes to the fog of war was made, in particular it was changed to passive so the fog will always clear. I like the clear feat and the idea of mapping (as the system was designed by Lance Botelle ), but due to player feedback as well as my testing it didn't necessarily fit my campaign. The update also includes improved ooze scripts, they use some code that Lance Botell provided to to weaken weapons and armor before destroying them. So instead of having the +2 mace destroyed it will turn into a non enchanted mace then precede to drop in penalties, at -5 the weapon/armor will be destroyed.

The Community Project:

I have contributed 2 quest areas to the community project. Both have gone through beta testing and just need some minor updating that will happen later once the project gets closer to consolidating the individual modules. They were both a fun side project and helped the development of Risen Hero. Chapter 2 will include a larger ooze dungeon, which will be different from the community project, but this allowed to test the ooze design, scripts and challenge. The other community area was more an experiment with scripting and creating non-combat puzzles. While the same puzzle will not be present in chapter 2 some of the general ideas or scripting base codes may be reused.

So what is the status of chapter 2?

Plot:
  • The 2 hub areas, or base of operations, have been completed
  • The general plot line has been completed, a couple of holes still need to be completed.
  • Side quest: Several side quest for the swamp area have been created and completed. A couple of side quest have been designed but need to be created in the toolset. Horgath is one of these sidequest, he was introduced in the Halloween Project and appears in both the SOZ expansion and the Community Project, the side quest in Risen Hero will conclude his story. Additional side quest are also added during area and conversation creation, somehow this just happen mysteriously when sitting at the toolset.
  • Currently I am working on the plot NPC conversations in these hub areas. This is a large undertaking, especially since chapter 2 be a more open play style. In short order the player could engage the final boss, most likely with disastrous results.
Area Design:
  • There will be 4 area groups: The hub areas, western areas, eastern areas and a swamp area.
  • Currently hub areas are mostly completed, tweaking will continue throughout design
  • The weastern areas are in the same geographic area as chapter 1. Players will be able to return to some areas like the waste to complete the side quest there. The ruined village is also accessible and the dead bodies have turned to skeletons or scattered bones. The buildings are a bit more ruined and collapsed. About 4 to 5 areas are in the plans that haven't been created yet.
  • The swamp area is nearly completed. This will use an overland map to explore the swamp and add to it size while making it manageable to both design and explore. A vendor will be at the entrance to sell items to help survive the swamp and offer a quest about a giant alligator terrorizing the area. Just waiting for the alligator model, right now I have a eight legged alligator using the basilisk model. 
  • The eastern area is only a concept at this point and nothing has been done in the toolset. This area will include the end battle area, which should provide a unique ending.
Design Delays?

I have recently download Fallout 3 from steam and I've been spending too many night fighting the horrors of a apocalyptic wasteland. To make matters worse I have found the Fallout 3 nexus and all sorts of mods for the game.

So that is what is happening. Chapter 2 is going forward, it is about a 1/4 completed (maybe, very rough estimate). Once the main hub conversations are done (or mostly done) I will be back to area design.