Monday, September 22, 2008

Status: Companionship

I'm not yet in the UK, but I've still got a computer at my disposal, albeit not my own. That said, I've still been able to work within the toolset in recent times, even though I can't actually run the game itself. While this is not conducive to many aspect of modding, it still enables me to do dialog and scripting, which I have been doing with great enthusiasm. Unfortunately, not being in a situation to my work illustrate with any screenshots, this post will be somewhat text-centric, but given that's been my work environment, it seems somewhat appropriate.

The bulk of work in question has been related to completing the conversations for the second companion within Fate of a City. To give you an indication of the depth and effort that has been put into these characters, I'll give some word statistics (which may scare some of you). At the current time, the current word count of the module is just shy of 140,000 words, with approximately 30,000 words dedicated to the various interjections, comments, and conversations of the two companions within Fate of a City. So while I wanted to include more party members so as to offer greater diversity and choice... I'm sure you can understand that the amount of work required to bring them to life so they wouldn't feel bland in comparison to the existing characters is no simple matter. So without further ado, here's an introduction to the second companion available within the walls of Darthall...

Veolus Wend

Veolus is a priest who typically inspires very strong reactions to those that meet him, and those feelings are almost always negative, as his chosen deity is Bane. He is unyielding in his determination and ruthless in the pursuit of his goals. However, as to what they might be, Veolus is not forthcoming, as his service to the church is not a topic he cares to discuss.

Despite his faith, Veolus will ally with any who will tolerate his views, provided he thinks they are capable enough. However, if ostracised too much, Veolus would be more than happy to turn on previous friends, for any perceived enemy of the Black Hand is a target for divine retribution by his hand.

Hopefully I'll add a couple of screenshots at a later date, though Veolus has already appeared in a few times in previous screenshot galleries.

This has represented a significant portion of the remaining work for Fate of a City, which means that the complete alpha version should be ready sooner rather than later. Then it comes down to testing the finished product... I only hope that phase goes as smoothly as it did for my Amstralloween contribution to BouncyRock's project! :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Status: Out for a while

As I write this, virtually all my belongings are in boxes in transit to the UK. This also means that I'm about to depart my home in Australia to follow them, and as such, I'll be without a computer for at least the next few weeks.

However, with trusty pen, pencil and paper, I'll still be trying to get some work done on Fate of a City, in the form of writing out the conversations, scripts and perhaps jotting down a few notes to be used in the final stages of development when I manage to acquire a new system after my move.

But right now, I'm going to give a little more information about the companion influence system I've implemented in Fate of a City. Influence will be handled primarily through conversations, though there will be a few instances where your actions will directly impact upon your relationship with your companion(s). Many of the quests within the game will include conversation options that will affect your influence, and in addition, there will be other situational dialogs that will occur for a companion to provide you with some information or their opinion, which will also include the ability to gain (or lose) influence with them.

In addition, typically, just because you say one wrong thing does not mean that you will necessarily fall out of favour with a companion... though if you continue to disregard their opinion, they may not be happy about it. Of course, having (or lacking) a certain level of influence with a companion will help (or hinder) your relationship with them, so you may not wish to annoy them too much.

However, the last couple of days of modding haven't been without their annoyances. The one that's annoyed me most recently is a weird issue that I can only call a lighting issue, yet the problem persisted even when I removed all the lights from the area. Rather than try and explain the problem, I'll demonstrate through a screenshot...

This weird black area is actually a closed door, yet for some reason, it does not display nicely at all. Even more frustrating is that as soon as the door is opened, the problem goes away, and even if the door is shut again, the area is not in shadow. In addition, if I use a "see-through" door - such as a gate or portcullis, then there is no issue either. It's as though the game thinks that the southern side of the doorway (this is a N/S oriented door) is "unexplored". After several hours of fruitlessly banging my head against the toolset (and repeatedly going in game to test) in the hope of fixing the problem, I was eventually forced to rework my interior design to avoid the problem. I'd curious as to whether anyone has encountered a similar issue, or has any clue as to the cause (or even better, a solution!).

Final note/question: Does anyone have any suggestions as to where I should/shouldn't buy a computer/computer parts in the UK once I arrive?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Status: It's My Birthday (and I'll Mod If I Want To)

In celebration, I decided to give myself a bit of a break from packing my belongings into boxes today, and treat myself to some time off to work on Fate of a City. Knowing I'll be on a hiatus for a few weeks is simultaneously motivating and demotivating, as I don't want to start anything and leave it half-finished, but at the same time, I want to get as much done as possible. That brings me to the recent work I've been doing, which has been a veritable medieval merchant wagon full of dialogue, and a healthly loot-bag full of scripted sequences and cutscenes.

I've added a few new screenshots to my gallery so you can see some of the work that's been done - I just wanted to pick the shots I was most happy with up there. In addition, I don't want to give too much away of the plot just yet, especially not when I'm coming so close to finishing. My estimates tell me that I've less than 10% of work remaining, so the final stage of bringing everything together into a complete package is rapidly approaching.I'm still steering clear of a release date for the moment, simply because I don't know how long it will take to be to return to modding after I leave.