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Script, Schmipt! Let's Concentrate on the Story

Author: 
Rutaq of the Broken Skull

Rutaq's Verdict: "Me kants evun reed!"

It seems everyone is getting into the NWN script, hoping to be able to add that little tweak to the existing category of critters and items shipped with the initial release. Neverwinter Vault and others are offering scripting courses and people are lining up, from the cursory DM who's looking to make his world just a little different to the hardcore programmers hellbent on mastering the script to really knock down the barriers of the initial game.

Rather than fill me with anticipation, I am beginning to worry that we are thinking a bit too much about the script and not enough about the basic tools with which we will create our initial adventures.

Truly, the script is an amazing weapon in the DM arsenal, and I look forward to the custom tiles, NPCs and weapons that it will birth. However, it's going to be a murky, hole-filled bog when the game releases. I am looking forward to the first kobold that has been jury-rigged by the script into thinking it's a murderous paladin when this is supposed to be the goblin that has the lead-in hook to our main module.

I want to acknowledge that there are people out in cyberland whose fingers dance across the keyboard daily and understand the nuances of languages like C, C++, Perl and Java better than I know the subtleties of English. I am sure that these folks will create masterful devices with which we can populate our various dungeons, towns and myriad fantasy landscapes. These are not going to be the problem and are, I feel, the exception to the rule.

What I fear are the folks who will be toying with the script just enough to be dangerous, like a karate student in his first fight since getting a mid-level belt, knowing the mechanics of the operation but failing to understand how to wield the newfound knowledge. What we need more than anything is a raging horde of dungeon masters who are working on the storylines and personalities of their adventures rather than toiling day after day trying to make that Beholder bartender bark like a dog and speak only to rangers at night who are of good alignment and wearing leather armor.

We have all heard the reports from the BioWare crew on the flexibility of the engine and how powerful the "drag and drop" elements will be. Let's use those, perhaps even holding contests to see who can design the most compelling dungeon using only the shipped game components itself. I am eager to have my world up and running, and down the line, we will want to add custom content, but I think that we can all, initially, create fantastic worlds with the elements provided in the toolset without resorting to custom scripting.

Thanks to the great guys over at Black Orc for Rutaq's orc logo. Visit them at www.blackorc.com

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