New Neverwinter Nights module - get it here!

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  • Gestalt 27 Nov 2002 16:33:41 98 posts
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    As promised, I'm releasing an alpha version of my Neverwinter Nights module - The Lord Of Blight: Chapter One - for those of you who want to give it a spin. It's only about 800kb, and you can download it here.

    Some quick notes about this release -

    1) To install the mod, unpack the zip file into your Neverwinter Nights directory, making sure to enable "use folder names". You should end up with the module in the module folder and a new character in your localvault folder. You MUST use this character (a first level ranger called "Unknown") when you play the module - the game won't make any sense otherwise. Don't worry though - as you progress through the game the character will develop according to your actions, and obviously as you earn experience you can choose which character classes / skills etc you want to develop as you gain levels.

    2) This is an alpha test version, not the finished product. As such there are several NPCs who don't have conversations yet - Joey and the adventurers, the female survivor sitting in a chair in the temple, and a few of the people you'll meet wandering around town. So if you come across someone who says "NPC NOT FINISHED - move along, move along" to you, don't be too surprised. ;) One of the subquests is also incomplete, because I'm waiting for Bioware to add rats in the v1.27 patch that's due out soon - you should be able to figure out which one that is if you come across it.

    3) Feedback and bug reports are welcome! You should be able to play through the entire module from beginning to end, so if you find anything that stops you from doing that let me know. I have tested everything, but the Neverwinter Nights toolset has an uncanny ability to cause even the simplest of scripts to self-destruct for no obvious good reason, so it is possible that something that worked fine for me a few days ago has ceased to function since then. Please though, if your bug report / feedback includes significant spoilers e-mail it to me instead of posting it in the thread! :)

    4) This is a non-linear mod, in the sense that although the start and end are always the same, the bit in between offers you a lot of freedom. You can rush through the main quest in under half an hour, or you can spend an hour or more wandering around town exploring every nook and cranny and talking to everyone you meet. Obviously this means that I may not have tried every possible combination of actions. So if you find a conversation option or something that doesn't make any sense based on the choices you've made during the game, let me know. On the other hand, if you get to a point in the game where there's something you would like to do that I haven't thought of, e-mail me the details and if it's sensible and not too difficult to code I'll add the option. I want to give players as much freedom as possible in how they approach the game.

    5) Your actions will influence how your character is developed. This is still undergoing some fine-tuning, so don't be surprised when characters spout a number in the middle of a conversation - that's just a debug script letting me know that your alignment is being adjusted and what the running total is.

    6) You might want to save the game when you first arrive in the temple, as there currently isn't an option to skip the opening cutscene. I'm going to see if that's possible, as I hate non-skippable cutscenes as much as the next man. :)


    And a few notes about the module itself -

    1) This is a single player module. It WILL NOT WORK with more than one player. So don't even think about playing it online. ;)

    2) This is a role-playing module. As such there is a lot of plot, dialogue and character development and very little combat. In fact, if you just stick to the central quests you won't have to fight anything. There will be slightly more combat in the final version, but not much. Also note that you can't just skip through the conversations because a) you'll miss all the fun, and b) nothing will make any sense to you. Pay attention to what is being said, and (*shock*) role-play your character. If you want him to be a mean, self-centered bastard who constantly covers his own ass at other people's expense, you're free to do so. On the other hand, if you want him to be a goody-two-shoes that's possible as well.

    3) This is the first part of a planned trilogy. The other two episodes will take you out into the countryside and include a lot more combat, but obviously there was a lot of scene-setting to be done in the first episode.

    4) If you want sub-Pratchett comedy, please look elsewhere. Parts of this module (mostly the side quests and non-core NPCs) are (hopefully) fairly amusing and there are quite a few easter eggs and nods to films / books / games, but the central quest is definitely not funny, and it's only going to get darker over the next two episodes.


    Anyway, I think that's about it. Grab the module and let me know what you think. :) Depending on how you play it it should last you anything from half an hour to an hour and a half or more and, as I said, there are still a few NPCs and subquests that will be added in before the final release.

    Edited by Gestalt at 16:34:03 27-11-2002
  • ssuellid 27 Nov 2002 16:53:49 19,141 posts
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    If I can find my original disk, I'll give it a go. Thats the worst thing about PC gaming - packaging of games and CDs - too used to DVD cases.
  • skalmanxl 27 Nov 2002 17:14:33 982 posts
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    I NWN now, if only I could install it on my 3.2 gig HD...
  • Whizzo 27 Nov 2002 19:46:49 43,033 posts
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    Just had a quick go, not too far into it (just left the temple to be honest), I'm trying to watch the Arsenal match atm, however I did have one problem with the start.

    Once the narrator had finished nothing happened the first time around, retrying it and not clicking on Unknown's character sheet or anything else and it changed area alright. Don't know what I did but whatever I had done appeared to break the scripting.

    This space left intentionally blank.

  • JohnBye 27 Nov 2002 20:18:12 1,127 posts
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    Bollocks, I thought I'd fixed that. The problem is that there's a very simple script which should run when the narrator's conversation ends, but for some reason it doesn't work every time you play the module. It's nothing you're doing, it's entirely random - NWN's scripting system is a bit flakey. I added a backup system, but it looks like that's not working properly either. I'll have another look at it...
  • UncleLou Moderator 27 Nov 2002 20:32:09 35,426 posts
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    /me seconds otto

    Btw, may I ask the obvious question? :-)
  • JohnBye 27 Nov 2002 21:04:27 1,127 posts
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    Ok, I think I've fixed the problem with the intro cutscene (fingers crossed, touch wood, etc) and I've uploaded a new version to the same URL as the old one. I've played through the intro script six times now and it's worked every time so far, whereas before it was failing about once out of every two or three tries.

    For any fellow NWN modders out there, the problem seems to be that I put a sleep effect on the player character to keep him lying face down in the mud during the cutscene. At the end of the scene the player is supposed to be transported to another area. Now, you'd think that either it would work or it wouldn't work. Instead what happened is that sometimes the script worked and the character was beamed to the temple for the next scene, and sometimes it didn't and the character just lay there in the mud getting wet until the player got bored and hit the quit button. Seemingly at random. I'm now bringing the character out of his sleep a fraction of a second before he's teleported, and so far it appears to be working.

    Can I just take this opportunity to say how much I love Neverwinter Nights. Grr... ;)
  • Whizzo 27 Nov 2002 21:11:34 43,033 posts
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    Hooray Arsenal scored again! Anyway back to the topic, the first time around when it didn't work "Unknown" was face down, when it worked he was on his back, whether it really makes any difference I don't know...

    I'll try the newer version once the footie is over!

    This space left intentionally blank.

  • JohnBye 27 Nov 2002 21:46:46 1,127 posts
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    It shouldn't make any difference which way up you land, but then Neverwinter Nights can be a bit temperamental, so who knows? :)
  • Mr_Sleep 28 Nov 2002 09:47:36 16,846 posts
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    I had a lot of problems with the sleep feature when creating my mod. Although I gave up a short while after so I never quite sorted it out. The Aurora toolset can be very annoying...how are you figuring it out John? Are you using tutorials?

    You are a factory of sadness.

  • JohnBye 28 Nov 2002 10:25:21 1,127 posts
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    I've never been a big believer in reading the manual, so I just dived in at the deep end, although I did refer to the tutorials a couple of times and also checked the official forums for scripting help and sample code.

    I think I've got the hang of it now, so most of the time I can get stuff to work myself with a little work. The problem is that some parts of the scripting language don't work as you'd expect them to or don't work consistently. There are a few functions that I just look at and think "what the heck did you do that for", because they seem utterly pointless or do things completely back to front, and then there are other things that seem blindingly obvious to me that you can't do because the functions or hooks you need aren't there. For example, there doesn't seem to be any way to tell how far through a given quest a player has got simply by checking which journal entry is currently active, so you have to mess around setting your own variables on the player to keep track of it. There's also no simple way to tell one object to face another.

    Overall though it's still very flexible, and given that I've not had much formal training in computer programming it's been surprisingly easy to pick up most of it.
  • Mr_Sleep 28 Nov 2002 10:51:59 16,846 posts
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    One problem I had was getting someone to walk off screen once a quest was completed, it should be relitively easy it just always went tits up *shrug* In the end i just lost patience with it, although it was fun for a time the sheer awkwardness of the engine made it too annoying for me. I wanted to do simple things like place a guard in front of a bridge, have a dialogue with him and make a choice from there, either kill him and cross the bridge, charm him, or walk off. Unfortunately I could just never get it to work effectively, he would usually go and kill his friends on the other side of the bridge (still makes me chuckle now)

    You are a factory of sadness.

  • Chris-Gardiner 28 Nov 2002 16:30:33 962 posts
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    There is a way to get the status of a journal entry in the toolset. Some people reckon that you just treat it as an int variable stored on the player character, with the name NW_JOURNAL_ENTRY and then *immediately* (no space, no underscore) typing the tag of the journal category.

    Personally, I seem to do okay just by renaming the tag of the journal category "jt_(name)" and treating it as a normal variable stored on the PC. I *think* this works, but I'm still troubleshooting, so I'm not 100% sure.

    You're bloody right about the "eccentric" nature of the scripting language. You know there's no ActionUseItem() command to make NPCs use magical items in scripts? (Much outraged gesturing) Why, why, *why* miss that out? The inability to set item values is absurd, too.

    It's a peculiar beastie, Aurora. It gives lots of flexibility and power, and then limits you in the strangest ways. Here's looking forward to future improvements. Such as the expansions, I suppose.

    C.
  • JohnBye 28 Nov 2002 17:14:31 1,127 posts
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    "I seem to do okay just by renaming the tag of the journal category "jt_(name)" and treating it as a normal variable stored on the PC"

    Freaky. I'll have to give that a go in Chapter Two. :)
  • JohnBye 28 Nov 2002 21:49:12 1,127 posts
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    Ok, there's another new version of the module up at the usual URL. File size is now about 850kb zipped.

    Here's a list of changes since the last version -

    1) I've added some (fairly) smooth camera movements to the opening cutscene to give it a more cinematic feel. This uses some pretty funky scripting that I devised myself, and this is the first time I've used it. As such it's only been tested on my own Athlon-based PC, so it's possible that the flood of camera movement commands which the script function issues to the game might cause problems on slower machines. Hopefully it will work fine for everyone, but if the camera motion is extremely jerky for you (it should be moving about ten times per second) or if you get any error messages or other problems, please let me know and I'll see if I can tweak it.

    2) I've added another NPC for you to chat to - a captain on the boat in the harbour. Please note that the tip he gives you (if you go through that part of the conversation tree) is useless at the moment, because the farmer NPCs haven't had their conversations scripted yet. :)

    3) The cellar quest now works, although the continuing lack of rats emerging from BioWare means that I've had to use .. ahem .. rat substitutes for now. Yes, I know they look a lot like chickens, but please use your imagination. ;) As soon as BioWare release the v1.27 patch I'll replace them with real rats.

    4) The Guard Captain in the barracks now gives you all the same conversation opening options that the other guards in the lobby have.

    5) Your arrival in the temple (whether from the intro cutscene or from being .. cough .. hen-pecked to death) should look better now, as the PC shouldn't drop to the ground and then get back up again like he was doing before sometimes.

    Any feedback, suggestions or bug reports would be very helpful. If you find something that doesn't work, something that doesn't make sense, or something that you'd like to do that the scripting doesn't allow you to, drop me a line.

    Edited by JohnBye at 21:52:43 28-11-2002
  • ssuellid 28 Nov 2002 21:55:42 19,141 posts
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    Cool, thats the third version I have downloaded and still unable to find my NWN CDs.

    Good night JohnBye :)
  • JohnBye 28 Nov 2002 22:05:30 1,127 posts
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    LOL! Maybe by the time I've finished the module you'll have found the CD. ;)

    Edited by JohnBye at 22:06:37 28-11-2002
  • ssuellid 28 Nov 2002 22:09:30 19,141 posts
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    I have a kitchen worktop, some 2 by 2 and a couple of chrome poles that have to be forced into pretending to be a PC Desk at some point. I moved in February and all the PC stuff is still mixed up all the other crap that has no home.
  • lost_soul 28 Nov 2002 23:10:36 9,369 posts
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    OK, just played about an hour or so worth of the first release and it's not bad. I'm a bit stuck though, I've returned to the temple after doing various bits and pieces in the town and the Bishop keeps telling me he's not ready for the ceremony, I've tried resting and wandering about, but he wont heal me, have I missed something?

    I'd love to see a mod based on Ultima 7: The Black Gate, that was a bloody good game as was Serpent Isle, shame 8 and 9 weren't that good.

    I really need to have another go at the main quest sometime, as I said in the game of the year thread, I gave up on the game quite early and never went back to it, same with Morrowind, I just wandered around looking at the graphics but couldn't get into the quest itself.
  • JohnBye 28 Nov 2002 23:45:21 1,127 posts
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    "the Bishop keeps telling me he's not ready for the ceremony"

    It takes him a few minutes to prepare the ceremony, which is why he says to "go and have a rest or look around town". The idea was to encourage people who haven't explored the town properly yet to have a look round while they wait.

    I guess I need to make this clearer, but if you've done all that you can do / want to do in town and just want to get on with the ceremony, you can go back to the rug on the temple floor that you woke up on at the end of the intro cutscene and click on it. You'll then get an option to take a nap, which will put you to sleep for an hour and heal all your wounds. When you wake up the ceremony should be ready to proceed.

    I'll try and make some more of the rugs and bedrolls usable for that so it's easier to spot, and also make a more specific reference to it in the conversation.
  • lost_soul 29 Nov 2002 00:03:23 9,369 posts
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    Thanks, I'll give it a go tomorrow.

    BTW, is Gestalt "dead" now?
  • Khab 29 Nov 2002 03:44:51 6,576 posts
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    This was pretty good, actually - whets the appetite mightily! It pulled me into the story much better than the official campaign. The only complaint is that there's not really much incentive to actually roam around and look about for sub-quests. Maybe some runaround should be required in order to get the ingredients? Say, the apotechary needs something from the docks or something?
    I had great fun, anyway.

    A few things I noticed:
    1)The "Vision" area is visible on the temple map - dunno if there's anything to do about this. Also, I had the map open when the cleansing ceremony started, and up popped another temple on it.
    2) After getting Hans to the docks, I accepted his proposal, and then turned him in to the guards. They (kindly) let me keep the key to the mansion, though, so I went ahead and robbed it blind anyway. Not sure if this is intended.
    3) The roaming character "Kori Addams"'s talkie options all just drop me out of the conversation. This is after telling the guards about the Tavern - dunno if that had anything to with it.

    I'll mail all this to ye as well.



    Edited by Khab at 16:28:09 29-11-2002
  • JohnBye 29 Nov 2002 08:56:12 1,127 posts
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    Thanks for the feedback!

    I was going to add a quest from an NPC to go and fetch something from the docks, but putting it in the main apothecary script (or even after that, when you get back to the temple) is actually a good idea. I'll have a look to see if I can do that without too much fiddling around with the quest scripts.

    re: the bugs you spotted -

    1) Unfortunately although you can "explore" a map for the player, you can't "unexplore" it to hide bits you don't want him to see. I'll try shifting the vision and ceremony cutscenes to separate areas instead and check what the load times are like.

    2) Whoops! Yes, if you report him to the guards at the barracks the key is removed from your inventory, but I forgot to add that line to the script for reporting and arresting him at the docks. This has been fixed for the next version. EDIT - Oh, and the identity of the mansion's owner is a bit of a spoiler, if you could remove that from your post please? :) Hans doesn't tell you who it belongs to when he offers you the job.

    3) As you might have noticed, I use a different, more adventure-game style conversation system compared to the Official Campaign. This works by placing a marker and having the NPC talk to that, with the PC just picking the options between their lines. Unfortunately for Kori I forgot to add the "placemarker" script at the beginning of her conversation, so she doesn't have anything to talk to. :) I've fixed it now.

    I've got a couple more changes I want to make, and then I'll upload another new version later today. Thanks again for the feedback and bug reports - that's exactly what I wanted! Also, if there's any point in the game where you want to be able to do something / ask something and the game won't let you, drop me a line with the details and I'll see how feasible it would be to add the option.

    Edited by JohnBye at 08:58:19 29-11-2002

    Edited by JohnBye at 09:03:28 29-11-2002
  • JohnBye 29 Nov 2002 11:25:41 1,127 posts
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    Ok, there's another new version up. Changes this time around -

    1) There's a new subquest to carry out for the bishop before you can go to the ceremony. This sends you down to the docks as a way of encouraging players to explore the town more.

    2) The ceremony now takes place in a separate area. This should reduce loading times on the temple, and also means that you won't see two temple interiors on your map when you get to the end of the module. The other cutscene still takes place in the temple area though, as it's fairly short. Beaming players to another area and back again would have been a bit overkill - you'd spend as much time loading and reloading areas as watching the cutscene. ;)

    3) If you turn Hans in to the guards at the dock gates they will now remove the key from your inventory, so you can't snitch on him and then loot the mansion anyway. The barracks guards already did this.

    4) Kori's conversation should now work.

    5) You can now sleep on any rug or bedroll in the temple that isn't already occupied. Sorry Errol. ;) The player should move to the centre of the bedroll and face in the right direction before sleeping, whichever one you pick. If for some reason you find your character sleeping lying across a bed or facing in some other weird angle, let me know.

    6) The bishop now gives you a more specific pointer to the fact that you can sleep on the rugs and bedrolls when he tells you that he needs a few more minutes to prepare the ceremony. If you miss it now you're just not paying attention. ;)


    As ever, any feedback, suggestions and bug reports are welcome!
  • Khab 29 Nov 2002 16:37:41 6,576 posts
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    Things I'd like to be able to do:

    1) In the case of playing to be evil, wouldn't it be fun if you could turn around on the little old lady as soon as you're in the door, and rob her of the sword and anything else she might have? You could even have a bit of a fight there - The Unknown vs. Mrs. Livercroft (or whatever her name was).

    Well, I can't think of anything else right now... but I'll get back to ye if I do.

    Will mail this, as usual...:)
  • JohnBye 29 Nov 2002 16:47:58 1,127 posts
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    Yeesh, and I thought I was evil... Ok, I'll see if I can program it so that you can slaughter the poor little old lady.
  • JohnBye 30 Nov 2002 14:41:31 1,127 posts
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    There's another new version up today, for those of you who haven't tried the module yet. This one adds another new NPC to talk to in Staunton (a farmer), adds a new option to the conversations for the guards in the barracks, and tidies up some code I was using to make people face you during three-way conversations.

    I did try making it so that you could attack the little old lady, just for Khab, but for some reason I can't get the PvP settings on the inside of her cottage to change. I set them to "Full PvP" in the toolset, save the module, but the game still gives you a "you are entering a no PvP area" message when you go inside. Freaky...

    Edited by JohnBye at 14:42:02 30-11-2002
  • Khab 1 Dec 2002 02:06:13 6,576 posts
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    Wot? No lil'-ole'-lady-slaughtering? Bwaaaaah! :D

    Ok, if ye can't, ye can't. Would've been fun tho. Hmmm... are you going to do any more work on this episode, or are you starting the second one now? I was thinking I'd play it through again, but if you're still gonna add stuff I'll hold off a few.
  • JohnBye 1 Dec 2002 09:45:24 1,127 posts
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    I've got a few more conversations to finish up first and a couple more little side quests to add, plus I'd like to add my new camera motion system to the ending cutscene to liven it up a bit. Then I'm just waiting for BioWare to release NWN v1.27 so that I can replace the rat substitutes with the real thing. :)
  • otto Moderator 28 May 2007 11:16:19 49,298 posts
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    Sounds great. Just wish I had NWN. :(

    say no to Eurogamer sigs

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