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new modder seeking testing, advice, answers

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daethoron
new modder seeking testing, advice, answers

TL;DR: Completely new modder, spent a while learning the toolset as best I can, made a really short simple module, looking for people to try it out and tell me if I did anything dumb.

Hi everyone, I'm probably about a decade late to the party but I only recently started digging into the NWN2 toolset. I have absolutely zero modding experience but have learned just enough by looking at guides to put together a tiny proof-of-concept module (the concept being that I can actually make a mod). I've gone as far as I think I can on my own and am hoping some people here will give it a try and let me know about any amateur mistakes I'm making.

I also have a bunch of questions specific and general that I'm hoping for answers to. Here goes:

1) Do people still actually download new stuff posted here? I'd hate to put in months working on a big project for only a dozen people to ever actually play it. Only just started looking around here so I don't really know how strong the community is these days.

2) If you were kind enough to try out the module, do I have any chance of actually making a major project given what I've shown I can do or am I a hopeless case? I tried to inclued some element of all the fundamentals of a big campaign-style module that I could think of in this one tiny quest. Note that all the scripts I used in the module were made through some combination of lilac's script generator (which apparently works most of the time in NWN2?) and copy/pasting off the internet; I cannot script myself.

3) Again if you tried out the module or looked into it in the toolkit, are there any major features that are absolutely necessary to know which I don't seem to have discovered?

4) Is it possible/ practical to make a major project without being able to script? Will the script generator and internet guides/ sources be good enough to see me through?

Specific things in the module I couldn't figure out how to do:

1) make a script fire when the player acquires the ring

2) add a visual effect when the guardian spawns. I made the spawn script with the script generator and it's supposed to do that but doesn't seem to work.

3) get rid of the attack option on Al for as long as he's a companion

Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to give me some testing/ answers!

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Trinital

1) Yes definately

2) Nobody is a hopeless case. I think you will surprise yourself at how far you can go if you sit down for a month or two and peck away at it. Scripting is probably the biggest hill to cross over if you don't know it. If you can do that even at a basic level, you can do everything else no problem.

3) Will need to play it first.

4) You can steal scripts from the internet or even from the original campaign that shipped with the game. Like if you crack open SoZ and play it through, you should see several instances of things happening that you'd need or like to do in your own module. It's a simple matter of popping open the campaign in your toolset and tracking down the script and stealing it - usually you can get away with changing a tiny name of a object or variable and your laughing.

(This will also help you learn scripting to at least a beginners level so you can get stuff going)

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1) You could hook into the OnItemAquire event, but usually this is handled through the Convo / OnDisturbed of an object. This keeps the script localized to the specific object your touching.

2) The VFX might be invalid for NWN2. NWN1 and NWN2 are pretty similar but the Visual Effects system was mostly overhauled. A lot of NWN1 VFX"s do nothing and NWN2 added way more.

Read Here:

https://neverwintervault.org/sites/neverwintervault.org/files/project/72... (1386)

3) Not sure what you mean?

 

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kevL's

3) [right-click Companion -> do NOT show attack option] maybe... see ContextMenu.xml

note: addons like TonyK AI provide modified version of this gui.

After glancing at it, it seems that what options get shown is based on reputation, rather than object-type. So perhaps if you're willing to NOT attack *all* friendlies/neutrals it (the attack option) could be removed.


note2: players often modify their own GUIs so unless doing a total conversion (eg. The Scroll) *or* specifically making a gui-addon, it's generally wise to leave our gui's alone (unless you really really have to change it for a darn-good reason)

ps. Trinital++

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Grog

Hey, daethoron - I just gave your mod a whirl. It is obviously really short, but the fundamentals seem perfectly solid to me!

I'm pretty much in the same boat as you, in that I'm trying to mod without any real scripting knowledge. I think there end up being a number of limitations, but with a bit of creativity (and a lot of help from LilacSoul) you can always work your way around them.

In particular, I think NWN2 has pretty robust 'scripting for dummies, fill in the blanks' options within the conversation editor, so I tend to use conversations (with objects, doors, etc) to manage plot mechanics, or even to compensate for visual scripting, to ensure I can get stuff done more quickly and efficiently. You might find that a helpful approach!

It's corner-cutting, but, as someone with less modding experience, lots of ignorance, and not too much free time, I'd rather write 'as you open the chest, there's a beam of dazzling light, and the ring's guardian manifests before you' than stall for an entire morning trying to get the visual effect to fire (and let's be honest, NWN2 isn't much of a looker as it is).

As for a longer project...any idea what kind of campaign you want to create? For me, getting to grips with external area creation (in particular, getting it to look halfway decent while learning the quirks of the various tools) was the biggest timesink and frustration to begin with, so you might find it helps to put some time in with that to start with.

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Semper

hi, and welcome to this place.

1) yes, people still frequent these boards and regularly play user made content. but don't expect numbers in the thousands. the community is a rather small and dediacted bunch. so if you're only after numbers you should consider modding a more widespread game like the elder scrolls or divinity original sin 2. a personal advice: take modding as a hobby and try to create something you enjoy to play.

2) everybody is capable to create something with the toolset. how big the end result will become solely depends on your dedication.

3) this module is just too small to answer this question.

4) i don't think that it's really possible to create a major project without the knowledge to script. it will be either very boring or you will run into lots of walls. not being able to script really limits the realization of your ideas. fortunately you don't have to become a programmer to thrive. with the help of the boards and entry level knowledge you should be able to get along comfortably.

regarding mistakes you made following is a list of things that i noticed while playing your module:

  • there's no module description. you don't need lots of explanatory stuff here, but a few sentences about the expected level range and the main theme of the module would be nice and really adds to the experience. you can add a module description via view>module properties.
  • i am not a big fan of the cutscene dialogues. they break the gameplay, are boring to watch (two people standing still while facing each other) and are kind of goofy without character voices. tick the "nwn1-style dialogue" box within the dialogue's properties to get an alternate conversation ui within the game.
  • characters are starting without a weapon. while it's fun to give kobolds a bare knuckle greeting, a weapon ain't bad either :D
  • the lighting of the cave is too bright. place some torches or luminescent vegetation, like moss or mushrooms, to create natural light spots. helps to ground your fantasy world.
  • the description of the ring guardian contains parts of a script.
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daethoron

Thanks for the replies everyone! They're definitely helpful to me for figuring out where to go from here.

I'd definitely include intro information and starting equipment and such in a more serious module; I just didn't bother here because this one is never meant to amount to anything important. There's a reason I just attached it here for testing rather than uploading it to the main site.

I'm basically trying to learn modding because I have a story idea that needs to be told, and needs to be done as a video game, and I think I'll be kicking myself forever if I just let it evaporate into nothingness. My shoot-for-the-moon idea involves a full lvl 1-20 campaign but I'm not nearly crazy enough to expect to actually accomplish that; regardless, I would be be committing to a project with some real length to it.

I decided to mod NWN2 because I need a party based RPG for this project and NWN2 seemed like the most easily moddable one I could find between its toolkit and all the amazing community guides out there-- and I'm already familiar with how to balance encounters and such from years of playing dnd 3.5. Semper, your comment made me look into Divinity Original Sin 2, which I was surprised to see you list as having a wide audience since DOS 1 modding never really went anywhere afaik, and it seems like it could be another option for me. I don't need thousands of people or anything, I just need to feel like I'm not wasting my time. I'm not sure if I want to wade into DOS2 moddding; at first glance it seems even more complicated than learning NWN2 and that's going to take plenty of work already. Or if anyone knows another game that fits those criteria (party based RPG, relatively easy to mod, has an actual community) I could look into that. As it is NWN2 is still the best option I know of.

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kamal

1. My Bedine campaign was released in March this year. I just checked and I have 340 total downloads between here and the Nexus, where I also posted it. Grog's Pilgrim Chapter 1 was released a week ago and looks like it had 40 or so downloads.

2. I started from knowing nothing about the toolset, my first campaign is not very complex scripting wise and much was done via Lilac's script generator, but it made the "Hall of Fame" with a solid voting score. I think people are more interested in getting an interesting/fun gaming experience than having super complicated scripted stuff. 

I tried your module and everything worked the way you intended it to. The companion joined, the journal fired when I opened the chest, the guarding appeared, and the journal advanced when I defeated the guardian. This is fine, there's only really 5-6 basic quests in any case: aquire item, kill x, move to x, escort/guard, etc. the important thing is carrying things out in an interesting manner.

An excellent place to look is the Harvest of Chaos campaign that was written specifically with demonstrating things for modders in mind.

4. If you are interested and determined to make things happen with scripts, you will wind up learning at least basic scripting just by looking at what Lilac's makes and walking through the logical path of the script. There are tutorials as well. As I said I did lots with Lilac (and I still use it). I took a programming course in college, I dropped it because I couldn't figure things out. Making stuff happen in the game was the incentive I needed to learn things.

 

Things you couldn't figure out:

1: this is pretty straightforward, we can provide example scripts and explanations.

2. The vfx didn't work because nwn2 handles vfx differently than nwn1, and Lilac's was written for nwn1. The Lilac's produced script requires some small modification to do a vfx for nwn2.

3. unclear what you're asking

 

General:
The vault has a bunch of prefab things on it, so if you need a forest you can use a premade one, saving lots of time. Even if an area is not an exact match for what you want it can be a lot quicker to make some changes to a premade area than making a whole new area.

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kamal

Also, Grog posted this about his first mod. And save in directory mode. And start with a "chapter 1" or something rather than trying to make a giant thing all at once, "chapter 1" is good for learning how to do things as a modder. And ask for help if needed. And you will make mistakes and have bugs, but that's ok and bugs can be fixed.

 

ok, stopping now. smiley

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Semper

your comment made me look into Divinity Original Sin 2, which I was surprised to see you list as having a wide audience since DOS 1 modding never really went anywhere afaik, and it seems like it could be another option for me

it's true that modding for dos1 was stillborn. modding for dragon age origins didn't live that much longer. those games are still more widespread and modern than neverwinter nights 2, it's just that there's almost no communty left to help. basically you have to figure out everything by yourself nowadays.

it's also true that both games are a tad more complicated to be modded. stick with nwn1/2 if you want an easy entry into creating a game to tell your story.

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Quixal

Daethoron, I hope you stick around and we eventually get to see the ideas kicking around in your head demanding to get out. I am not a modder but I figured it might help to hear from the possible audience. I am a returning player. A refugee, if you will. Since they don't make my kinds of games anymore.

Just wanted to give some words of encouragement.

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Trinital

DoS2 does seem more intuitive than DoS1 for modding.. but I would let that simmer a bit. The tools a woefully underdocumented and your probably not gonna see much worthwhile content for a long while.

NWN2 has way more flexibility in the kind of game you can make and the custom content you can add.

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daethoron

Thanks again for the replies everyone! I'm going to move ahead with becoming a modder! I think I'm going to start with learning enough scripting to be able to fead and deconstruct scripts used elsewhere, even if I don't figure out how to write them from scratch reliably. I don't want to do the big project I'm envisioning in chapters, so I think for my first project I'll try building a sort of prelude to it that can stand alone. I'm also downloading and playing more mods from here for inspiration. With any luck, this will go somewhere!

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