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Return of the Exile

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andysks
Return of the Exile

Hi all. A little introduction for the people who might not have been to the BSN, I am Andy and have been working on this campaign for about 5 years now. Before BSN decided to close I had a development thread there (it's still there for the time being if you want to check it out).

I have been following all new content here but I was never an active member of the forums because I never thought they would take us down. Anyway, about the campaign.

  • Custom world
  • Companions(10 possible) and not party creation
  • Influence
  • Level start 1, level finsih aproximately 15
  • World map
  • Open world feeling. Map points do not disappear and quests might bring the party back
  • Heavy on story and lore
  • Battle is there but is not the main focus. The combat challenges are boss fights
  • Plane travelling
  • Many possible endings and possible endings on different stages of the campaign if the player chooses so
  • Crafting OC style
  • Better AI for the monsters (Especially spell casters and ranged)
  • 2 villages and 3 big cities to explore
  • Over 20 map points
  • About 150 areas
  • About 200.000 words of dialogue
  • No Kaedrin's because it wouldn't make sense lore-wise
  • Some testers reported ~40 hours gameplay on 70% of the game. I think it's about 60 hours in total.

Could be more that I forget to mention now but I'm always open for questions.

Much of the scripting, especially mechanics like boss fights, gathering quests, generic monster AI or companion scripts has been done by other community members in co-operation with me and I feel the need to mention them as part of the development.

Tchos, KevL and ColorsFade. The campaign would not be on this stage if it weren't for them. I like to think that we did this together and I would be honored if they feel the same.

The campaign is now at 90% finished and moving fast. By the end of October it should be done according to planning and then it will be testing time until the first months of 2017 where I plan the release. The only thing that might delay this are typos. English is not my main language and I expect to find many typos, syntax or grammar errors. Thankfully, Tchos and sirchet said they will help to eliminate them.

So, I am happy to be here and despite the forums closing I can still see a future here. Until a next update.

 

 

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rjshae

Very cool, Andysks. I look forward to seeing this released.

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andysks

I will copy some of the development posts from BSN. Since the thread had 28 pages, I will only copy the ones I find helpful for me to reference and some that have information about the project.

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andysks

31 August 2013

  • The World

The kingdom I made up is called Helandrith, and it's your standard D&D world. It is pretty big. All races are living in Helandrith, although more than 50% is humans. Elven tribes live in forests and are quite hostile and xenophobic towards strangers, and dwarves come from the east. You will be able to play all, and in the course of the story someone will explain why you are a dwarf, or elf or whatever except human, because most of the inhabitants are humans. There is an Emperor for the whole Helandrith, but each race has it's own chieftain, and every village has an Elder or Mayor or a Jarl. Of course there are cities with a more tyrannic system or cities with no authorities at all, as well cities that the money is the law.

  • The Story

There was a big war in Helandrith a long time ago, where all inhabitant races allied against a common evil. After that, the Central Empire with a new emperor in the capital named Cor'Duer, started rebuilding and not many major events happened since then. Until now, that you are sent for a simple task, only to find out that you have beed misleaded and tricked. You are chased... and try to find out why. On the same time, monsters and animals grow uneasy whenever you are close, and it all has to do with who, or what exactly are you. And how you are connected somehow to the past and the great war.

  • Religion

Religion is quite important, but I am not using the Faerun Pantheon, but the standard D&D one. Pelor, Nerull, Obad Hai and the rest. I am using it as it was in the 3rd edition, meaning that some Gods that are supposed dead right now, might be alive in my world. But there are a lot of books and history tellers around, so you can read a bit if you are a lore freak like me. 
Also, alignment plays a big part. You can start as you like... evil or good or neutral... it doesn't matter. But by the end of the first chapter, you will have so many dialogue options that might change your alignent. Also, I have some moral and "real-life" issues sometimes like : Why exactly are you looting these graves? Or kill a creature that begged you not to?
All these will matter in the end, since there will be one ending, but depending on your actions and alignment, it will be for different reasons.

  • Classes and Party

I chose the companion way, and not party creation, since there is a story about you and you are supposed to start alone. The Party can have 5 members (PC + 4), and each one of them with their own quests and opinnions. So far I don't have a Fighter companion, so maybe a Fighter would be a good choice. I tried it though with a Ceric and a Paladin as well and it worked, since there is not so much hack and slash... or at least unnecessary. There are fights of course, but it's not the main event. 

EDIT: There will be no fighter companion. Testers started with wizards, druids and rogues and it all went fine.

 

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andysks

25 September 2013 -- DannJ

OnEnter is the one to avoid. OnClientEnter fires only once the party has been fully loaded into an area.
From memory, I think OnPCLoaded is for the entire module, while OnClientEnter might be for individual areas (although I could be mistaken). 

OnClientEnter worked fine, Tchos provided some good help on the matter with scripting for dummies help :). I have encountered one bug though, which I tried solving in many possible ways to no avail.

1 October 2013 

There is a door, which is locked. I have placed a bell outside, with a convo. When you click it they say entrance is forbidden. There is someone of course that can give you entrance, so when you talk to the bell after you meet him, there is an option in the convo that I met this guy, allow me entrance. The door says ok and should be unlocked. I use ga_lock and it doesn't work. I tried it on the NPC line, and on the PC line. Also on the END DIALOGUE line. Nothing. I have another instance like that somewhere else, which works fine. That one though, happens when you click the door, and the convo owner is an i-point, not the bell. Anyone had problems which ga_lock before? 

EDIT: The ga_lock seems to be working half the time depending on door placeable(?). Copying the exact script and recompiling under different name solved it. Weird.

15 October 2013

One of the most difficult things I have to get used to while building, is the fact that I have to build by trying to think as a player and not as a builder. What I mean is, even though my playthroughs went fine, on the test my girlfriend did, she encountered bugs I hadn't seen, simply because I always new where to go and which conversation I want to have and so on. For example, a conversation that is supposed to happen only once happens more times, or a journal entry gone wrong, because in my head, I did everything in order, and didn't consider the fact that a player will do as he pleases and in any order he wants.

It is mostly conversation stuff... some local variables that need fixing and some journal entries. I was really frustrated, but I guess it makes sense. I have written so much, it's like a novel. I also wanted to give the freedom to the player to do quests in any order he wishes. But the thing that went most wrong and needs some fixing, is the fact that I want to give the impression that the choices the player makes matter. When he kills an innocent or helps someone evil... all these will come back to you. I played a lot with local variables for this, and I have to do some digging to see what went wrong. 

19 October 2013

So a moment of truth arrived. I sent a test version to two test players. Arkalezth and PJ. They have already mentioned some glitches and corrections that are needed. I wanted to do more before I give it to them, but I got a bit fed up and wanted a second opinion on many things, plus people to point my mistakes in order to make it better.


In the meanwhile, I started collecting some resources for the chapter two. I found some really cool prefab areas on the vault and decided to use them to speed up the process. Some include :
kamal's arabic city will be one of the main areas.
dwarven stronghold from SKG73 will be an area that you can go at any point for a huge dungeon side quest.
A snowy mountain exterior I found(name eludes me), and many more.
These are all extraordinary works. Of course I had to adapt them to the lore of my world, add some placeables or remove some according to my needs, but they are great help indeed. 

EDIT: Sadly the arrabic town and stronghold didn't make it to the end product. The work is still top on the areas but they just weren't what exactly I was looking for.

20 October 2013 -- PJ about prefabs

Rip it, strip it, colour it or delete it. So long as you credit the author for the prefab you can do with it as you will.

PJ 

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andysks

24 October 2013

So Beta 1 is ongoing, some bugs found by PJ and Arkalezth. Infinite XP bugs, convos, attributes... but mainly typos :D. One thing that got my thinking though, and I am not sure about when to release this work. 
What I mean is that, in the beginning I wanted to make it in the form of chapters. 3-4-5 I don't know yet. But now that I got more experienced in the building, I see the work progressing quite fast. All this time that I am waiting from the testers to report bugs so I can fix them, I started making some work on chapter two, and I already have most of the areas that I will need. They only need convos quests and population. For me building a terrain or placing placeables takes most of the time, so I can safely say that chapter two will take less than a year for sure.
I also found some nice prefabs on the vault, like the city Hopeless in Outlands, that I wanted to build for my campaign, but Rogue Dao did it already. With that addition, a big part of chapter three is done as well. I want to build some layers of Hades and Celestia for later. This could prove time wasting. 
But in any case, I am torn and can't make a decision, if I should release chapter by chapter or all together when it's done.
There are advantages and disadvantages on both. For example, if I release chapters, people that might play, may not remember well the plot by the time they play the next chapter, and I also have to merge them together somehow.
If I release it all together, it could be a while, and I don't know how many people will be left here by that time.

Anyway, just some thoughts that I wanted to share :)

EDIT: Celestia won't be in the campaign but the Rogue Dao Hades area yes. Also, after much discussion with the community the campaign won't be released in chapters over time but as one whole project.

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andysks

28 October 2013 -- kamal about prefabs

"Generic interior from Simaon/Intérieurs génériques de Simaon", and yes they are. I used them in both Path of Evil and in Crimmor. They look realistic and like people actually live in them.

4 November 2013 -- Tchos about the speak trigger

I'm very glad you won't be using that infuriatingly annoying Speak Trigger with the gtr_speak_node script. I really hate that thing. Especially how it stops the movement of the PC and/or companions even if the conditions aren't right. 

EDIT: Ended up creating a much more generic, powerful and stable version with KevL.

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andysks

5 November 2013 -- ColorsFade about SCL. Even though I ended up not using SLS I find this very useful for future projects.

Just a note on SLS2. I've been using it from day1 and have learned a lot, and there are some shortcuts one can take to make it work faster. 


All of the SLS2 fixtures, by default, include the p_sls2_fitting_ud script as the On User Defined Script abd a set of variables. This script, along with two scripts on your area, make the lights turn on off. 

If you want each fixture to control its own light source and fx, then each fixture, light source and fx needs to have a unique name (adding an int to the end is the easiest method). Like triel_lamp_1, triel_lamp_lt_1, triel_lamp_fx_1. This means every time you paint down a fixture, you need to setup the tags for each one individually. This takes time. My town of Triel, for instance, has 24 lampposts. That's a lot of tag editing and variable editing for each fixture (because you have to set the variables on the fixture to tell it the name of the light source and the fx, and the fx blueprint to use. Three variables to setup per fixture. Again, a lot of editing every time you paint one down). 

But there is an easier way

The easiest way to setup lights for an entire area is to have ONE controlling placeable! This should be an iPoint, as it's hidden. All you need to do then is set the p_sls2_fitting_ud script as the User Defined Script on the iPoint, and import the SLS2 variable set (if you don't have a set to import, just place down a SLS2 prefab and export). 

Here's where it gets easy. On the iPoint controller set the light tag name, fx tag name, and fx blueprint. So, for example, suppose you want to lay down 24 lampposts. You set the name of the light to be "triel_lt", and the name of the fx to be "triel_fx", and then the blueprint to whatever it is supposed to be (get it from the SLS2 blueprint you plan to use). 

Now lay down a blueprint prefab from SLS2 - the lamppost you want to use and "ungroup" it.  Click on the light source object set it's light tag to "triel_lt". Click on the fx object and set it's tag to "triel_fx". 

Select them all together and either make a blueprint and or copy. Now paint them down wherever you want. 

Every lamppost light fixture you paint down will have the same light source tag and fx tag. The controlling placeable, the iPoint, will cycle through these automatically and turn all of them on at the appropriate time, and off at the appropriate time. Instead of painting down each lamppost one at a time and editing several tags and variables, now you can just copy/paste a lamppost/light/fx. 

So, before, with each fixture controlling the light and fx, you end up with a tag list that looks like this  (in the toolset, when you're examining area contents, for example, and you want to check the lights)

triel_lt_1
triel_lt_2
triel_lt_3
triel_lt_4
etc... 

But when you use a single controlling placeable, you end up with: 

triel_lt
triel_lt
triel_lt
triel_lt
etc...

Besides being MUCH FASTER to setup, this also has another advantage: you use this SAME methodology to setup DAYLIGHT at windows in interiors, and to turn the daylight on/off based on time of day. 

And thus, a fast way to set things up is, once you have an iPoint for lights ,and once you have an iPoint controlling daylight, then you can save those two as blueprints (generally speaking, the iPoint blueprint for daylight has a start hour of 7 and a stop hour of 17, and the iPoint for lights is reversed). 

If you want a separate group of lights setup, you just lay down another iPoint for lights and set the appropriate tags. 

I have an iPoint in Triel for the lampposts, and another iPoint for the campfires that spring up at night. 

There are a couple other lights that aren't lampposts or campfires, and so for those unique lights, I lay down a SLS2 prefab and let the fixture conrol it's own light source and FX. 

Beware One Thing...

What you have to be aware of: You may think you don't need an iPoint and you can just lay down a whole bunch of SLS2 prefabs and leave them all named the same, like "triel_lt" and "triel_fx:" If each fixture is configured to toggle the light and fx and they are ALL named the same, guess what? Your lights will be REALLY BRIGHT! And this is because each fixture is turning on all the other fixture's lights, and they all stack up. 

This is why, if all your lights and fx's are namd the same, you need only ONE controlling placeable. 

I hope all of that makes sense. When I first did Triel I painted down 24 SLS2 prefabs for the lampposts and then individually setup their tag names and variable sets. it took a long time. It was only later when I was setting up daylight in an interior and noticed that a single iPoint was recommended in the documentation to control the lights and effects (window haze) that I realized you could do the same thing for all same-type lights. So after that, things got easier... 

SLS2 is really awesome. My guards whip out torches at night when they are on patrol, and campfires crop up, lampposts go on, daylight floods interiors... it's a cool thing.  

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andysks

Between November and December 2013 there was a lot of talk with ColorsFade about how to properly manage companion spawns and hangouts. We ended up writting a guide to it.

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andysks

Tchos' extremely simple shake screen script!

// ga_earthquake

void main(string sObjectTag)
{
    ApplyEffectAtLocation(DURATION_TYPE_INSTANT, EffectVisualEffect(VFX_FNF_SCREEN_SHAKE), GetLocation(GetObjectByTag(sObjectTag)));
}
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andysks

December 2013 much talk about alternative death system ended up in using none, but rather use ambushes on rest to make the questing challenging.

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andysks

22 April 2014

I realised now that I never posted real location pictures as I said I would. I do have quite some and will share at some point.

8 May 2014

Posted pictures of loading screens but later decided that it would be quite a hassle to do for so many areas. So after playing Pillars of Eternity later I decided to have custom loading screens, but not every area its own.

25 May 2014

Baking docks with houses on them works :).

4 June 2014

The whole world map is finished. This will be given to the players to open for reference. Picture will follow.


9 June 2014

Remade the whole docks area in the Capital city. Added levels and made bigger, as well as making it a separate module instead of just an area in the Capital module.

17 August 2014

Talking about ways to spend money in the campaign I mentioned buying castle and home but that thought did not make it to end product. Expansions perhaps.

14 November 2014 -- kamal about gp_talk_object and hasInventory

In my experience the Has Inventory property must be unchecked or it will be a usable but empty inventory. 

25 November 2014 -- Eguintir Eligar about journals

Couple quick tips. 
In campaign properties check "keep journal synced to leader". It may make all those journal changes I relevant. Everyone s journal is identical then. 

Then 

Whenever you use GetFirstPC(false) it returns the currently controlled character even if not the pc made one. Whoever you have active currently is returned. 

26 November 2014 -- KevL GetFirstPC

GetFirst/NextPC

- if you want the true PCs, use TRUE
- if you want the players' currently controlled characters, use FALSE


what should be used depends on the specific context ...

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andysks

End of 2014 EE and Frosty did quite the tests on the project. Apparently without any special treatment my campaign works on Mac. Also, I can't help but repost the good words of EE at the end of the test.

It is EPIC. It might be the yardstick for any other campaigns made.

 

I'm a tester so I am getting an early look. It's big already in chapter 1 alone. I've seen , bad, okay, and great works put on the vault... but nothing had the width and non linear operation of this campaign. It definitely follows the BG 2 recipe, and is what I was hoping to see all along in a user made campaign.

 

Areas designs are unique and quite technically strong as well.

 

Finally someone gets it... a d&d adventure. Not a short story, not a tight little group of quests out of some swamp village, but a full, fleshed out game.

 

 

Put this on your watch list as a must play...and I don't mean must maybe play after doing your own campaigns for years. This is truly a drop everything and try it type of campaign.

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andysks

3 May 2015

Camp hangout area is completely done and most conversations that happen there with companions written.

27 June 2015

City of Vrist done. The rest of the summer is about populating it and finishing the material plane main quest.

Rest of 2015... university. Modding time limited.

 

 

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andysks

24 September 2015

I was talking with Tchos after I played his module about these real time cutscenes, or as he calls them Valve-style. The ones that whoever played SoZ knows.

 

They happen not in the original cutscene mode, nor as a NWN1 style dialogue. The NPCs are there barking their dialogue, and the player can see them from a really cool angle, as if he is just moving around and a scene unfolds in front of him.

 

I thought I'd give it a dig and see how it is done, and I found out really amazed that the method they use in SoZ is really simple. A script fires... perhaps from a trigger or another conversation end. Any method will do. This script defines cases, which are used from the nodes of the cutscene conversation. Example:

 

#include "ginc_misc"

void main()
{
	object oSasani = GetObjectByTag("u02_sasani");
	int nBarkState = GetLocalInt(oSasani, "nBarkState");
	
	if ( (nBarkState > 12) )
		return;	

	object oPC		= GetFactionLeader(GetFirstPC());
	object oCaptain = GetObjectByTag("u02_captain");
	object oVolo 	= GetObjectByTag("u02_volo");
	object oNas		= GetObjectByTag("u02_nassirin");
	object oOsi 	= GetObjectByTag("u02_osi");

	object oSpeaker, oListener;

    switch (nBarkState)
    {
        case 0:
			oSpeaker 	= oCaptain;
			oListener	= oSasani;
            break;

        case 1:
			oSpeaker 	= oSasani;
			oListener	= oCaptain;
            break;

 

and so on. Each case is one node. What happens in the node itself, is just setting a local integer called nBarkState to the tag of Sa'sani, the create initiating he convo I guess, which increments on the next node and so on.

 

So for example if I needed an NPC to say on the first node "I've been expecting you.", and this NPC is tagged "creature", then case 1 on the above script would state him as the speaker (and listener whoever listens), and the node would have an action script ga_local_int(nBarkState, 1, "creature"), second node, ga_local_int(nBarkState, 2, "creature").

 

I find this to be a really cool way of making cutscenes where the PC has nothing to say, but witnesses it nonetheless. 

 

One issue I thought about, is what happens if the PC moves during it if we don't want to freeze him for the duration, and enters another building. A solution would be to reset the nBarkState variable to 0 every time we enter the trigger, and destroy the trigger on the end of the convo.

 

I also don't know if animations and walking whatsoever works with barks, but perhaps this is the cool thing about the system, that it is actually not barks. It's a normal conversation behaving as barks, so why would an action script like ga_local_int work, but not a ga_play_custom_animation. Test will show.

 

One of course could do such a thing in one script too, using heartbeats and adding the string spoken directly in one script, not needing the dialogue at all. This was Tchos' system. Equally good, because as he said you can just write a script and the dialogue in it on a text editor without even opening the toolset.

 

Anyway though, I felt like sharing this "find". Perhaps too late in my campaign to implement the method, but I will certainly would like to use it on a next one, or see it more often used by others :).

 

 

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andysks

November 2015

Decided against romances

From that time on it's been about polishing and finishing all loose ends on material plane before moving to Hades.

 

Going trough my journal, I couldn't help noticing some people who once wrote there and are not around anymore. EE, I'veforgotmypassword, Morgane, Lugaid are just some of the names I remember, of very active community members. I hope they're good and that some time they'll get modding again.

Later today I will post some pictures of areas, as well as some scripts and useful mechanics information that I've talked with people on private messages. Would be nice to have them here all together.

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andysks

Some screenshots I got during playtesting. Some are from the old forums and some are new. Hope you enjoy.

Desert fight

PC is dreaming spooky things

Portal back home

Planar fight

Toolset view, city of Vrist

Toolset view, party camp

The whole continent map. This will be given to player for fan and referrence.

And up left on the previous map, is where the campaign takes place

Toolset view, docks area of the biggest city

Starting area

Elven forest

Snowy wilderness

And a seamingly tranquil beach

A forest, one of many

The royal gardens outside the castle of the emperor of Helandrith

A corrupted forest

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andysks

My vision of Hades. This is the last layer, Pluton. There is also a desaturation which doesn't show on the toolset. The area needs some additions on placeables for atmosphere and encounters. Here is where the game ends if the player chooses so.

Shadow plane skydome couldn't be missing.

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andysks

Journal Update

 

A number of things are happening lately as I reach the end of development for this campaign. 

 

Provide choices

 

I like how in every modern game that as the player reaches the end NPCs come to him and tell how would be ideal (according to them) to end the game. Last experience was Deus Ex Human Revolution for me where as one approaches the end NPCs tell Jensen what they think he should do with the signal. In my case, there are five choices the PC can take. Each one of them provides a different ending. Two of them allow the game to continue a little further for a couple of hours, the other three end it there. So what I have been doing is writing the conversations for these NPCs and I have been trying to make the decision as tough as possible. What this means is that, there is no clear what is best. It depends on what the player think would be best for him and/or the multiverse.

 

Fixing grammar and making conversations more professional

 

Tchos is working at the moment on many conversations in order to fix my grammar and syntax errors. I'm really happy about that since his use of the English language is flawless and I am one of the people who hate seeing errors like that in modules. I tried my best to limit them but since English is not my main language there could always be some errors. Further than that, he will try to add some spice to the companion conversation to make them really unique. Lack of voice acting makes it tough to reflect the feelings and characters, so some different words and flavor text here and there should be really helpful.

 

Reaching the end and still within planned time :).

 
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andysks

Hi all. Small update about the progress. University starts again on Tuesday and I chose to take some days away from modding in order to prepare and relax. However, the list of things to do before this campaign is completely done is now small. 

 

1: Add companion barks on last areas

2: Two boss fights toward the end of the game

3: Write two ending dialogues

4: Add loading screens to all areas and while doing this, check the wandering monster system and see if it's all correct

5: Trim down campaign folder size

 

That's it. So I'm thinking the way to tackle this is to start testing now whenever I have free time and leave these things for later. University is on holiday in December and February, and this is when I'll finish these 5 things plus polish wherever needed. So with a little bit of determination this work will be released somewhere after February 2017.

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andysks

Journal Update

 

Testing is going fine as I'm trying to play a couple of hours every day. I classify bugs/module according to severity and priority. For example I had a conversation breaking because the script which fired it changed during the course of building and as it often happens, optimizing things during the end of the campaign may break things which were working before. This was a highest priority and severity. A flying torch on a corner of a dungeon will still be fixed but has no priority.

 

I also made a small addition. A way for the PC to know how much influence he has with each companion. I remember on the OC it was visible underneath the portrait but I don't know how to do it so I implemented another method.

 

Three and a half hours in game and I just reached the 1st chapter after the prologue.

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andysks

Small update to share my thoughts on my playthrough so far.

 

I try to be humble but to be honest, while playing my campaign I find out that the amount of content is so much, that even I, the developer, don't remember everything. For example I sometimes have no clue about how a companion will react or how a quest will end up if I choose to do certain things. When this happens it's a nice surprise. 

So far I have played 25 hours and a spot a bit more than half way to the end.

A list of things, good or bad that have happened until now.

  • The level I should have reached is 9, and I am some 500 XP away from that. As I said, I try to do everything, and this is bad. If a player does half side quests before deciding to move on he'll be level 7 or lower. I think I need to add 50-100 xp more on quest xp reward or some kind of system which awards xp on gathering plants. I will try to pick the least obvious way to boost a player who doesn't do every possible side quest.
  • Fights are going fine. I play on normal and I sometimes die (I almost never buff :D ). This makes me assume that if people play on hard they will have a reasonable difficulty if they play careful.
  • Loot is good. Perhaps too good. Item-wise is just enough. Every companion has equipment and there is not so much excess good items. The only problem I witnessed so far is some vendors who buy too expensive. Like... I don't know what a good price for an ironwood shield is but I guess 12k is too much :D ? In any case, all this is noted in my bug sheet and get fixed.
  • I find myself wanting more companion barks. Perhaps I'll take the time later to include more.
  • Biggest bugs so far: A companion dies and never comes back. Three quests didn't complete and same ones had buggy sequence. Some quest items don't get destroyed from inventory. I got stuck in an area which was supposed to have a lever to open the locked door. Lever got destroyed in battle :).

 

All together I have gathered about 150 bugs. Some big, some small. Some the player wouldn't even notice but I feel need correcting. My plan is to be finished by Christmas and in between this time fix all of them. It is possible. After that, I'd like to find some testers who will certainly find bugs I didn't, and follow different paths to the end. I know it's early but if you have the desire to do it, even if you don't know yet if you have the time... send me a message :).

 

Almost 6 years coming to an end!

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kamal

"All together I have gathered about 150 bugs."

But then you'll get to look back on all the bugs and laugh about them! laugh

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travus

Andy, I can help play-testing if you need someone.

NWN2 Mod playthroughs    www.youtube.com/user/AhTravesty

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kamal

Hey Andy, very useful this guy.

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andysks

Hopefully kamal :). I expect 150 more to be honest. Also, I kinda hoped travus would apply for testing :D. Thanks! I will contact you when the time comes.

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travus

Great! I'll be standing by.

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Sabranic

This looks really polished, I am excited to see it nearing completion.

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andysks

A little update with some not so good news.

 

As I was testing my game kept crashing and apparently a branching questline is corrupted. It took me some time to come to this conclusion but I am 99% certain that this is the reason. Good news in it, is that the quest happens in one area which on itself is not corrupted. Same goes for the journal. Just the dialogs. Mesh and scripts work fine but not any of the dialogs. I'll see what I can scrape off of it but at the moment it seems I would have to rewrite all dialogs based on what I remember and what I read on the journal. I think it's about 8k words all together so it shouldn't take too much time as a task on its own. The problem is, that this was a branching quest depending heavily on variables and player options. I cannot see the variables I was checking in the dialogs because they won't open in the toolset so... I need to test it extensively. Anyway, 3 weeks or so delay if I had to calculate roughly.

 

Another bad update is the dialogue fixes. And I will say before I say anything else that this is just an update and no bad talking about anyone :). No one owes me help so... here it goes.

I had some people who had said they could proof read my campaign for mistakes but I haven't heard from them in months. I need to continue on the assumptions that they are on hiatus or that they quit the game. In any case, that means I have to proof read myself. When I add this to the above problem I think we are looking for a summer release here. I really wanted to have it out by February, and I would, but setbacks are setbacks. It's alright though I guess because we'll have some pretty awesome games coming out soon anyway.

 

TLDR, delay release for summer because of setbacks and heavy bugs.

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kevL's

hey Andy, sry to hear it

but if you open the .dlg files in a good texteditor (eg. Notepad++) the strings could likely be accessed, at least -- and copy-pasted out as needed.


I'm looking at a .dlg now, in text, and can see stuff like script-names & vars as well (although ya its confusing it should be better than scratch)

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kamal

In addition, if you export the dialogs via the Flamewind Conversation Editor that program might be able to open them (though it will lose scripts and variables)

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andysks

Hey thanks for the support. It's not as bad as I though now. I think I know now why it happened, weird thought it may be. Apparently only conversations that were attached to creatures went corrupt. Conversations firing from triggers with "virtual" owners... not attached anywhere are still fine. Thankfully this is were most of the magic happened. I tried opening them with the external convo editor but it crashed that as well. notepad++ sounds good. A small reference at least. We'll see :). I keep being positive.

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andysks

If we take this conversation to another level, I oppened a convo from the buggy ones with notepad++ and what I see is crazy to say the least. some 100 lines with NULNULSOH and so on. After that, I can see the convo in same format but at least there are meaningful things as well. For example:

 

"NPC line... " BEL ga_move SO NUL NUL NUL pr_cr_uther_run NUL NUL NUL pr_cr_uther

 

I thought... ok it makes sense. Some kind of format from a file that is not supposed to open with a specific program. At least for the lines where I see the actual convo. But why do I have 100 lines with NULS?

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kevL's

best guess: in a proper editor, things in the file are found by byte-offsets. If any particular field is empty, the program still has to keep track of where all the other fields are, or if a field is only partly filled the fields still need to be kept in position with their proper offsets.

NUL, BEL, SOH, etc. are basically just padding to ensure all the bytes in the file line up where they should be.

further reading: http://www.asciitable.com/

 

Edit: if you really want to figure it out, i bet xoreos / McCoy et al. has it down pretty good
https://github.com/xoreos/xoreos/blob/master/src/aurora/dlgfile.cpp#L165

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kamal
I lost a month of work on Path of Evil once. It stunk :(
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colorsfade

A month? Arg, that would suck. 

I try and update to my Dropbox account every few days. It makes me nervous to have even one day's worth of work not backed up. 

My campaign: The Darkening Sky (Nexus) (Vault)

Guide to the MoTB Wandering Monster & Rest System

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andysks

Journal Update

My test play is over, actually it's been about a month, and since then I have been fixing bugs. They were quite some but mostly small ones. About 90% of the problems were solved by adding a line to a script or changing a node in a conversation so that was some nice work which I could do in my otherwise very busy life. At the moment I am working on some of the bigger bugs which I encountered. Some of them require a complete quest overhaul, and that is taking most of my time now.

 

Another thing was that as I was playing and during my travels through the last city, I noticed that I got lazy while building and the city looked a bit empty. So even though I promised myself I wouldn't make any more additions, but only fix things, I have to add some ambience there. On a similar issue, I noticed that I did every possible quest and my level was just enough according to my plans. But due to the open world nature of the campaign I cannot guarantee that a player will do every side quest. He still needs to be high enough level though to go to end game. So I need to revisit some conversations and award XP for things like a successful diplomacy, search and so on. I want this to be as balanced as possible.

 

Other than that, my proof readers showed up and this is some very good news. Still within the plan to release in summer :).

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Trinital

Very Exciting..!!!!

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bogies

I'm glad I found this page - I wondered what happened to you! I was waiting for the next chapters to finish beta testing and hadn't heard from you in a while. I'm looking foward to playing the completed campaign!

Karen

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andysks

Hi there bogies. I guess you are frosty :). There has been a lot of content added since the last time you tested this campaign. 

A branching path right after the elves, Vrist, Hades, companion interactions at the camp, companion influence and gifts, all questlines are finished except some small things on the main one, all bugs fixed, more barks from companions.

Basically my TODO list only contains only a handful of items. Two areas, two fights, ending conversations, and that is it. 

 

At the moment I can't do much because of heavy schedule, but I expect to finish these things during june and then go on the last beta. Hopefully it won't take long and find not so many bugs (one can only hope :D ) and then I release. Of course, keep in mind that anything unfortunate can alter this plan for after all it is an one man project.

But I'm glad to see you are still around.

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PJ156

I know what it is to finish a big solo project. Good luck on the last push.

PJ

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kamal
It feels like "dear Helm, someone's going to find a gamebreaking bug five minutes after release"
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andysks

I try to think positive even if such a thing happens. It would mean that someone downloaded my work and played immediately :).

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andysks

Some stuff kept me back from working on Return of the Exile as much as I wanted this summer and so I decided to push back the release to December-January.

The campaign is at 98% done now. Everything is in place except 1-2 dialogues. In general, what is missing at the moment and keeps me from releasing is:

 

1: These two dialogues

2: Spell checking

3: One final test

 

I hope people will still be around by the time this comes out :D.

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GCoyote

Crappy winter weather = gaming time! 

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rjshae

Wish it were crappy here. We have temperatures in the 90s (F) and the sky is covered in ash clouds. Yesterday the Sun was red.

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GCoyote

So just like the abyss?

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andysks

Although I enjoy hot more than cold, mostly for the fact that I hate wearing layers of clothes, I am happy that where I live we have 4 seasons. Like a clock. 3 months each :D.

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rjshae

Yeah, it was starting to feel like the abyss. Thankfully our regularly scheduled clouds are back today and temperatures are down in the normal range. It's been a freaky summer though with all the forest fires around here.

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kevL's

Our full moons have been hues of orange the past few days.

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travus

Andy, I sent you a PM.

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