|Wednesday, March 26, 2003
|Well, I have been working on various areas in the module and have identified several areas of the city tile set (set TCN) that are lacking in completeness. For instance, I need a cobblestone to grass transition tile. But, there is not even a grass tile! Even the most crowded cities in America today have some areas where there are large amounts of grass (like Central Park, NY). I have been working on these tiles, and you would think that it would be a piece of cake to create them. Well, that would be incorrect. For some reason, every single tile that I create to fill this void seems to have a problem. I am not writing this to complain, because I will figure it out. I am merely posting this to keep anyone who is following this modules construction up to date. I am about to just cheat and make a workaround, but I am not quite to that point yet.
Also, the creation of the first module is going slower than I at first thought. I am shooting for a release date somewhere in the next two months, but that may be optimistic. I am looking at having to cut some of the custom content out of the module to shorten the release date. I don't know...we'll see.
|Tuesday, April 1, 2003
|I have finished the cobblestone to grass transition tileset (click here to check a screenshot out). I am now able to place large areas of grass in a city with the TCN01 tileset. The textures are still in the Alpha stage (they are UGLY right now!), but I am able to use the tiles to identify where I may need to add to the set. I was able to lay out the area that I needed them for, so I am satisfied for now. I have way too much to do to worry about some inadaquate textures right now, like starting to plan the CGI cut scenes as well as laying out all of the interior areas for the cities. I have not placed any NPC's or done any of the scripting yet, either. But as far as the scripting is concerned, I am not in the least bit worried. I know about four different programming languages (including C and C++), so writing in NWScript is like taking a nap! :-)
Anyways, I will be finished with laying out the areas (hopefully) by the middle of this month, so maybe then I can place the NPC's and start writing the scripts so that I will have an Alpha version of the module for my gametesters to start thrashing. As far as the custom game content is concerned, I don't want to cut any of it out because that is some of the appeal to this campaign. You get to travel to exotic, distant lands and interact with some of the realms greatest NPC's. It really depends on how much I find that I have to create. I don't want to have so much to do that all of the tiles and placeables end up looking like some of the ones that I have right now. Again, I guess we'll have to wait and see.
|Saturday, April 5, 2003
|I have begun to add more areas to the module, mostly to fill out the businesses and places of interest in the different towns and cities that will be accessable to the PC's. This is not a really time consuming act by itself, but the shear number of areas to be added is a little overwhelming. There could be somewhere around two-hundred and fifty just in the cities that I have now! And, that isn't even half of the cities and towns that I will include in the module. But, I knew that this first module was going to be the biggest one that I had to do. Also this first one will encompass the most work because I will be able to reuse many of the resources that I have to create. So the following ones will not be nearly as difficult to build. I will reuse anything that I can and I will be able to focus more on the campaign itself without having to include as many mini-adventures so that low level PC's can level up.
I can see that there is no way around creating a lot of custom content for this campaign. The Forgotten Realms is a large and diverse campaign setting that I have been a game referee in for many years (about fifteen). I can't force myself to do anything but the best that I can do. I can only hope that the latter modules will not take as long to create.
|Monday, April 14, 2003
|Well, things are moving along. Not as fast as I would like, but they are moving along. I have gotten several locations done in the various cities that part of the module (a location being a tavern, an inn, a shop, etc.). This is what will take quite a bit of time, because there are so many locations that are part of the module. I don't like repeating myself, but for anyone that is following the progress, I think that it is important to stress the amount of work involved. I don't want anyone getting discouraged and deciding not to bother with the module when I have finished it.
I am learning some new software for sound production, and that is taking some of my time away from laying out the areas as well. I do not know much about sound work, so that is kind of new to me. But, I feel that sound is VERY important, because it is one of the two senses that I can simulate in the module (as opposed to the sense of touch, or smell). I am working on the Intro cut scene, and I will provide a sneak preview once I have that done. Keep checking back.
|Sunday, April 20, 2003
|I have been working on the locations in Waterdeep this week, but I have also been working on the musical score for the Intro, and I have been working on some of the models for the Intro as well (for a preview, click here). I have been taking it easy this week, what with the holiday and all, so I have not gotten as much done as I would like (I don't want to get burnt out though).
I can see that the sound portion of the Intro scene is going to take longer than I had at first anticipated. This is at least partially due to the fact that I have to learn new software to do this, but this is coming along nicely though. I am having some trouble finding sound files for some of the sounds that I will need for the Intro scene. I will have to record/create them myself.
|Wednesday, April 23, 2003
|I have reached the fifty area mark tonight, having completed about half of the locations that will be available in the South Ward of Waterdeep. I figure that there will be about eighty-five to one hundred areas making up the South Ward when it is complete. I am guessing that the Dock Ward will also be equal to that number. I will be doing at least one more ward within Waterdeep besides these. I know which one...but I am not telling!
I have not been working on the areas as much as I should have been. I should have reached the fifty area mark about a week ago, but I have been lazy. Oh well, what can I say? I will probably spend about another few days laying out areas, and then I will turn my attention to the module flow chart, which maps out the flow of events in the module in the greatest detail. Game documents are very important, but they will only get you so far.
|Saturday, April 26, 2003
|Well, I have been hard at work on some the Intro cut scene. I have begun story boarding the scene, and I have also started to build some of the objects that will go into the cut scene. You can get a preview of what it will look like here. I am not for sure if I want to do a full motion cut scene, or if I want to use a series of still images that will fade into each other to make up the cut scene (like the cut scenes for the NWN campaign).
Please note that the image that I have added to the Screenshots area is not an image that will be used in the cut scene. It is only there so that you can get an idea of the quality of the cut scene.
|Tuesday, May 13, 2003
|I am finally back at it again. I took some time off from doing anything on the module, so that I didn't get burned out. I have layed out several areas in Waterdeep, and I am about to do some more.
I would like to have all of the areas layed out before May 31, because I go on vacation shortly after that and I plan to spend most of that vacation getting the scripting started for this module (yes...I consider that a fun vacation). I feel that I will need almost all of that time to get the structure of the scripts in place, so that I will have a really good idea of how long that process will take. That will be by far the longest part of this modules construction, but it will have the greatest impact on play, so it is the most important.
|Sunday, May 18, 2003
|I finished Waterdeeps South Ward last night, complete with area transitions to most of the areas. Actually, all of the areas are linked, but the different city maps only have temporary area transitions set up. I will go through and do the final transitions later. For now, I can get around in the city and the outlying areas.
None of the areas have placables or encounters yet. That will come later. For now, I want the locations set up. That will give me a good idea of how any mini adventure or plot mission will play out. If it is a time based errand, knowing the correct amount of time is critical! Too much time and the task becomes too easy...too little time and the mission becomes impossible. Also, laying out these areas has given me a better idea of how the module will play out as a whole. Its big, its confusing, and it can seem overwhelming...just the feeling that I wanted you to have when walking through Waterdeep! That is how I felt over twelve years ago when I opened the City Systems® boxed set and layed out the ten maps that covered my front room floor.
I will now begin on the locations for the Dock Ward of Waterdeep. This is a large, rambling area that is very important to the city. Therefore, it is vital that it is portrayed in the correct manner. Its dangerous and disorganized, but it is also a bustling section of the city that Waterdeep could not do without.
|Thursday, June 5, 2003
|It has been quite a while since the last time that I updated the site, and I have not gotten as much done as I wanted to (when do I ever). I do have about a quarter of the Dock Ward layed out, and that is huge because there are twice as many locations as in South Ward. I am doing a custom tile group for 'The Ships Prow", which is one of Waterdeeps more noticable Inns (being shaped like a ships prow, it is hard to miss). I could not bring myself to not build tiles for it, and I think that the addition of a noticable landmark is going to help players find their way around a little better.
I have been thinking about including a map of the city with the download in PDF format. The city is HUGE...even I get lost, and I layed it out! It does give the player a good idea of how hard it would be to get around 'The City of Splendor'.
|Monday, June 16, 2003
|After about a week of trying to get the tiles for "The Ships Prow" into the game, I have been unsuccessful, and I am reconsidering the wisdom of spending this much time on one location. It is a very notable inn in Waterdeep, but I could have had most of the Dock Ward layed out by now. These tiles may not make it into the game...I just don't have the time for this! I want to include really cool content, but a really cool half-finished module isn't as much fun as a cool finished module. I am moving on to better things.
As a side note, I will not include "The Ships Prow" in the game at all if I can not get the tiles into the toolset...it just would not be the same. The whole history of the inn starts with the fact that it is a converted sea vessel!
|Wednesday, July 9, 2003
|129 areas are completed (as far as laying the areas out). I am going to cut some of the areas out of my planned schedule for this module. The areas that I wanted to get into this module will have to wait until later (a hint that PC's will be back to Waterdeep before the campaign is over :). I am done with Dock Ward West (so named because of its proximity to the South Ward. There is also going to be a Dock Ward South). I will begin work on Dock Ward South, and that section of the city is not going to be as fleshed out as the rest. I will then start on the mystery Ward. This final Ward will be fleshed out to some degree to allow PC's to wander and explore the City of Splendors.
I do not believe that I will include the Ships Prow in this module. I have not worked on the tiles since June 5, 2003. I will include this in upcoming modules, but the work has gone slow, so I can not justify trying to include it here. I would have to make MAJOR headway to even attempt to include it in this module. I have a lot to learn about creating tiles with doorways, and I don't think now would be a good time to try to learn.
Also, I would like to say that at some point in the not too distant future, I am going to attempt to port the export scripts released by Bioware from 3DS MAX® to Lightwave3D®. Lightwave3D® is the modeling tool that I use the most now. I like many of its features, so I would like to use it in creating models for the game, not just for cutscenes.
|Sunday, July 20, 2003
|Dock Ward East is layed out now. I had a little bit of trouble mapping the city streets because the streets in the Dock Ward are so chaotic. Due to the fact that NWN toolset only allows streets to go at right angles, I had to make some compromises. But, I don't think that it is that bad. If you have the City Systems® boxed set, you should be able to get around pretty well. Other maps that I have from other sources do not cover the cityscape as well (of course the City Systems® boxed set has the map that covers about a ten foot by ten foot area).
I think that I should have the entire Dock Ward finished soon...then it is off to the Mystery Ward! After doing the Dock Ward, I don't think that any other areas will be quite as hard to lay out.
I have also made a decision about the cut-scenes. And that is to do them as animated still images (like the cut-scenes from the NWN campaign). They will not be full motion because there is not nearly enough time to create realistic walk cycles (I don't have access to a MoCap rig, or motion data that I can use), as well as doing all of the modeling. (sigh) Oh well...it was a nice thought. :-)
|Tuesday, Janury 13, 2004
|Well, I feel that I should start by saying that I apologize to anyone who may have been following this module so far. I started another project that had a deadline that I was trying to meet. I did not meet said deadline. I will provide a link to some pictures of the work that I had done so far, with an explaination of what you are looking at.
I am going to begin working on this module again very soon. On my time away from this module, I have decided that I am going to strive to get it done. I will put custom content in, but not to the extent that I had originally planed. I will focus on good, solid gameplay. That is what everyone is playing for anyway, right? This module will include all that has been described so far, but I want to mention that with the release of SoU and HoU, there are a lot of very powerful creatures that I will be introducing in this module. First level characters will still be able to play this module, but you will have to gain experience to make it through to the end, due to the fact that characters can gain up to 40 levels now.
I am currently working on learning to Uber, and if you know what that means then you know how hard it is! I will do an Uber Module in the near future as well (just a place for Ubers to come and dual, with some cool stuff thrown in).
In closing I want to say that I never forgot about this module, or the idea behind it. It will be completed, so please stay tuned!
|Monday, April 5, 2004
|After several months working with the Community Module Team at Spydies.net, I have finally come back to this project and done some work on it! I am happy to say that my skills as a modeler, scripter, designer, and player have increased a great deal. I have finished the Ships Prow, and it looks great! Due to some errors in the editor (and I don't know what happened), I will have to redo the Daggerford area. This should not be too terrible, but after having gone through and already having it completed, it is troublesome.
I intend on including the CEP hakpak in this adventure, because over 50,000 people have already downloaded it. That and it will reduce the amount of work that I have to do by a great deal. I am happy to be back to work on this, and I intend to get it done! :)
|Wednesday, April 7, 2004
|Well I have even more good news on the custom tiles. I have gotten the Zundbridge tiles into the game, and it is a great addition to this module. I have all of the (temporary) area transitions done up to the Zundbridge, so I am not far from linking Waterdeep to Daggerford via the Trade Way!
Also, I found my problem with Daggerfords areas and I will not have to remake the whole city (yaaaa!). Well with all of the progress that I have made over the last few days, I am really enthusiastic about this project again! And because of my experience player Uber, I am more creative with scripts and placeables than I ever was before. I feel that this module will benefit from that experience a great deal.