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Up to Date (4)

Ok, so the last blog was dealing with my first meeting at the school which was a few weeks ago. I was left with plenty to think about and even more to do but it had been well received. We are now back up to date as I had my second meeting today. 

After the last meeting I realised that I still had a lot of work to do and not all of it could be off the shelf.  I had started off thinking that I could mostly use materials already in existence and to some extent that is still true but the time element was hanging over our plans as Fern would take too long, not allowing enough time for building. I had also forgotten that the kids might actually want to play the game first which added to that problem !  In fact, I quickly realised that playing the game  was essential for them as, even apart from enjoyment,  my abiding memory of my first few attempts to test my first module inevitably ended in a hail of goblin crossbow bolts ! I quickly learned that either I had to get better at playing the game itself or else stack the odds.  Naturally I chose the easy way out and went back to the Toolset, gave myself some cracking gear ( although it gets picky if you go for too good stuff) and stuck it in a chest near my starting location, learned how to summon my creature and familiar then use them as canon fodder and, finally, went into their  stats and reduced the hostile goblins to a bunch of whimpering wrecks. 

I've also built up a folder of possibly useful stuff from the Vault most of which is excellent and very accessible. I've never had access to so much good tuition material for anything !

 

So, the issues now seemed to be largely time based ones:

1.  How to allow free play in the game which didn't take too long ?  I had a look at the existing campaigns and reckoned they all  took too long to get going with too much dialogue or back story so I created a short module to show the various elements ( Inventory, the dialogue system, spellbook, journal, treasure, various different combats etc. ) along with an explanatory video of me playing and explaining the game for anyone who was absent during the free play. If anyone was good enough to complete this module quickly they could move on to one of the official modules. I should point out that another explanatory video of me playing the game against a weakened set of goblins but still dying horribly may never see the light of day. I ended up skirting around the D+D elements in the video other than to explain it was turn based and spamming a particular key would have limitations. This was largely as I'll not even pretend that I understand D+D myself. 

2. As the Fern tutorial at probably 7/8 hours for kids to finish properly was too long for our initial purposes ( although still the best tutorial I've come across for getting to know the Toolset in detail) I made a much shorter one called "Returning the Book" and used the Plot Wizard which by that time I'd come across. I know there are mixed feelings about that wizard but I have to say I've been pleassantly surprised by how well it copes and how easy it is to follow. Certainly better or at least quicker for beginners to get a feel than the likes of the Conversation editor. Going through the Plot Nodes would , I feel, be good for kids to clarify how to stage their plots. It also allows for a good degree of customisation of dialogue to suit your story. 

3. To accompany this tutorial I made four short video tutorials taking them through "Returning the Book". This would help free up the teacher for serious issues whereas with simpler problems or any absentees they could fire up the appropriate video and follow it if they needed without disturbing him. 

4.  Having sorted out the free play and the length of the tutorial I had a think about the actual module building and what took up my time. That came down to planning and not knowing what assets were available in the Toolset and having to open each tileset to see what it contained. Planning we could handle but I made the decision to create an Excel spreadsheet with all the elements of each tileset so they could save a little time by scanning to see what each offered. That took some time (!) but hopefully will save some later. 

The meeting today again went well. The PT had his Game Design class and although we didnt have time to show them anything on the big screen I did notice that they were starting to listen to our conversation. a good sign.  He took a look over what I'd done and completed the shortened tutorial while I was there. He made some rather obvious suggestions which I should have spotted but reckoned it fitted the timeframe well. He wasnt so sure about the short module for playing the game, feeling that it would be good to get them into the actual game so we'll have a think about that later. It's not huge. He also asked if there was a way of killing two birds with one stone and using NWN to create a custom asset for their modules so I've posted about this in the forums. 

And now we wait for the first of the Game Design class to finish their coursework so we can introduce them to the materials and the game. I've agreed to go in next Friday so we may have another blog entry then. I'm looking forward to it. We were also looking at an internet article which was about how D+D is again seeping into the public consciousness through Netflix's "Stranger Things" and a possible movie in the making centred around it. This may help with getting the kids to accept what is a very old game. 

 

 

First Release: 
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Tarot Redhand

Two things. One post that spreadsheet as a project. Some people (especially beginners) will find it useful.

Two with life expectancy these days Monopoly is an old game, D & D is only middle aged...

TR

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Jimdad55

I'd be happy to do that, Tarot, if I could work out how to do it !  It's an Excel spreadsheet and the upload page doesn't seem happy with that file format - nor pdf which would also be a possibility. Of course, I could be making another mistake and missing something . . .

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Tarot Redhand

It is always best to upload stuff contained within a single archive (even when they are tiny). That way you can post any file type on here and also include a covering readme file. In the readme you then have the luxury of explaining why you originally made it and also what it is. Why that second thing? Simply because after a while of downloading stuff you will have hundreds or even thousands of files and memory (excluding eidetic) is not a perfect recall system. A spreadsheet file is good as just about everybody has office software of some description installed on their machine.

TR

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Jimdad55

Nope, I'm still missing something. Have zipped the two files and tried to upload but get this message. 

 

Allowed file types: png gif jpg jpeg.

Am I in the wrong place? I went to Home/Contribute . . .  Ok, worked it out now, I think. Panic over.

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