Saturday, May 31, 2008

Pretty happy about the way One Stone turned out.

I'm finished with it and it's looking even better than I had hoped for. This will probably be a really stunning area in the module for people who play.

When I went into this and started looking around in game it was better than I thought it was in the toolset. Here's a view of the forest from the One Stone area.

On a side note, why is the Default character you have to use when launch the game from the toolset a Drow. Isn't that insulting to other elves? Someone at Obsidian has a drow fetish.

Anyway, here's an in game shot of that Sky Pony camp again including the area where Black Bloods will attack from. I can say this because chances are no one is going to remember the things I say right now when this will be done.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Camp of the Sky Pony Tribe

As Promised I'll be updating a lot this week to make up for not keeping up with postings for a couple weeks. So here's the most recent area I'm doing up.

Well after finishing One Stone I started in on the camp of the Sky Pony tribe. It's coming out well, I'll have some better shots tomorrow as I will have finished blending the valley area into the forest and then I'll show the hillside where the Black Bloods will come pouring out of the forest to attack the Sky Pony tribe and the players, if they have succeeded in making friends up to that point will have a pitch battle to save the Sky Pony tribe from the Black Bloods.

Granted this scene will probably take place at night so you won't get to see this as well, but after the battle I may set it up so the party can converse again with the Sky Pony chief and then rest until morning where I can fast forward the time and force rest the party. When they wake up they will be able to see the full camp and move out of the area so at least the visuals aren't wasted on a night scene.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

One Stone portion finished.

As I promised I'll try to make several blog posts this week since I really hadn't made many updates over the last week.

While I may go back and add more to it, I'm pretty much finished with the One Stone area. This is a close up picture of some of the texturing when you see some of the mounds up close.

It's actually 2 areas in one. The One Stone actual portion, then a little ways away is the Uthgart Tribe camp which I'll be designing over the next day or two.

Basically, if you succeed in convincing them you're not one of the People of the Black Blood. They'll take you to their camp and you can talk to them. They'll ask you to stay for a guest fest on a recently successful Hunt. Where the leader will provide you with a place one of them last tracked one of the Black Bloods and it will open another area for you to investigate and find clues to Claw Hollow.

This is kind of a sneak peak at the forest around Claw Hollow...

Unfortunately the Lighting I'll be using kind of Mutes it, and I may have to work on it to get the normal mapping out a bit...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Finished Claw Hollow and Working on One Stone

Well I actually have all the screenshots for the tutorial ready to go for the making of Claw Hollow, unfortunately I haven't the slightest idea of where to post them.

I was going to do it here, but the screenshots and work is so extensive that it would scroll all the way down the page. There's a good 20 screenshots of how I did the area. That said, I'll at least throw out a few completed screenshots.

I did finish Claw Hollow, and then started on One Stone. This is just the rough draft and it's not complete, but it gives a good idea of what it will look like.

One Stone

Here's the section from the design doc with regards to this location...

* Here is a brief encounter with Barbarians, the party will have one chance to convince them they are not Lycanthropes (not sure how I'll accomplish this) but it will be some kind of tough persuade check. Success means they will be able to avoid the fight and also find out that the Barbarian tribe is also suffering the same depredations and attacks as Quaervarr. May extend this as an invitation to meet with the tribal leader and set up a mass battle with Lycanthropes attacking the Barbarian camp and the Party helping defend the camp.

Basically here's the description of One Stone from the Silver Marches sourcebook.

Silver Marches Sourcebook:
Once three great Uthgart Tribes worshipped at this ancestral mound -- the Sky Pony, Golden Eagle, and Red Pony Tribes. Now only the Sky Pony tribe remains. One Stone is a single massive boulder 12 feet high and engraved with faint tracery whos meaning is long lost with the dead tribes. A ring of stone cairns surrounds the site at a distance of 100 yards.

Well I thought 100 yards was much too far for my needs so I shrunk it down a bit. But I think I've managed to at least keep the essence of what was talked about.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Claw Hollow

Still working on it, but I've actually started over on it once becaase the area was just too big. To give you a guage on it, Quaervarr was 16x16. The first draft of Claw Hollow was 20x20. Eventually I shrunk it down to 16x16 and it still left a lot of forest to wander around in before finding the fort.

I already posted these on the main forums, but I'll repost them here...

This is for the dryier part of the forest..

And this is for the muddier parts that are less dry...

I had a request for a "How to" type description of how I texture an area. That part is really easy, just takes a lot of it to "fill" an area and it's incredibly detailed. But in a nutshell, I lay down some Grass_40 (dry grass), then take some Grass_10 (aka leaves), and then sprinkle a light mix of Mud_03 into it. This goes on a base texture of Grass_37 which is a muddy type of ground with grass sprouts and sometimes I use Mud_01 over the middle of it to change the texture slightly.

For areas that are dry-er, I cover over the base texture of Grass_37 which turns the Grass_40 slightly green in places giving it a mixed dead/living composition. Obviously for the areas that are muddy, I leave a section of the Grass_37 open and then dust the middle of it with Mud_01.

On a side note the "Twigs" texture in the toolset just blows chunks for what it's actually called. It looks nothing like twigs, in fact it's closer bleached bones than to twigs. I was originally going to use it but decided against it because it completely did not fit what it said it was.

That's how you achieve that look.

On a side note,

The entry into Quaervar kinda goes like this...

* When the Party enters the town, everyone in town is in arms in the Center asking Geth where the protection from Silverymoon is, telling tales about people's bodies found horribly mutilated with Notes of Jarthon pinned to them.

* The mayor tries to calm the town, saying he's sent 3 requests for aid but has not recieved any response, he begs the people to be patient. Some of the crowd begins to question Silverymoon's concern for those who live in the Silver Marches.

* Give players the opportunity to step in now. The crowd will try to argue them down, but give players the opportunity to speak up about Tragidor, this will increase their leverage greatly and show the town that they do truly care and do not wish to see Quaervarr fall.

* After this exchange the crowd will disperse, and the Players can speak with the mayor and get the lay of the land on this situation. They will be given a house and all potential henchmen the party has succeeded in meeting will be in that house (or Potentially around town) so the player can grab whichever henchmen they choose to form parties with when exiting Quaervar.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

On to Quaervarr

Ok after the cutscene where Lady Alustriel begs your assistence to save Quaervarr, which coincidently fits right into your goals because of the things that have happened since you arrive in Silverymoon. Though what happened in Tragidor is known to few, Lady Alustriel is one who knows.

So after the sewers and the audience with Alustriel, I needed to build Quaervarr. So I spent the weekend turning Red's Wilderness prefab into Quaervarr...

Red did a really good job of portraying a wilderness village...
Red Wildvill

But it had some things that didn't fit so I made a few changes...

Namely I changed the lighting to my normal default lighting, and retextured the entire thing. These are the textures I used. This is the town square area giving a good glance at them...
town square

I also added some more cabins to the upper right side, being that Quaervar is very similar to Tragidor...
extra houses

Then added the druid grove for Amera Clearwater who is a notable NPC in the area.
druid grove

All in all it was very productive and should suit my needs very well. I had been meaning to begin supporting other authors by using prefabs. Granted when I say I'm using a prefab it means It's probably not going to look anything like it was. But I have to thank Red. He had an excellent basis for what I needed and did a really good area to start with.

So now I just have to start the opening cutscene of the arrival in Quaervarr that highlights the danger the town is in.

Technically Quaervar is a lumber town of around 900 people with 68% human, 27% Half elf, and then whatever is left is Dwarven. But obviously there's no need to design that much and no way I could. But this should give a good basis and a feel for Quaervar.

Notable NPCs
Geth Stonar: Village Elder or Mayor
Amera Clearwater: Leader of the local druid circle

Geth and Amera have a relatively good relationship, and the town of Quaervarr often turns to the Druids when in need of guidance when in trouble. In this case the attacks from Claw Hollow have stepped up and the town is in fear for it's existence.

Your arrival heralds the turning point.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Getting away from Silverymoon.

Ok in the Interests of just moving forward again...

I am now forgoing the rest of the Silverymoon Adventure. I only added on to it back when I had a dev team thinking that with a full team I could actually populate that many city areas. Well, due to my own fault I lost my team. But for some reason kept going on the "expanded Silverymoon" Idea when i should have just dropped it.

The design doc only has the Sewers capture portion, then off to Quaervar where the Lycanthropes are attacking from a hidden base in the forest.

And as I look back on it I was reminded recently of where my strengths in design really lay and why the Original Design doc moves everything to the quint little town of Quaervarr. My strengths were in the developement of characters/characterizations, and some really intense action and dungeon crawling, as well as some really good area design.

Moving the players out of Silverymoon and away from my weakness in design (aka city adventures) It allows me to concentrate on my biggest strengths. I am keeping what I've designed up to this point in Silverymoon and then following the original design to move into the action of the story and a place where I can design characters I can relate to better. Granted this may extend the adventure, but to be honest it also jumps into the action and the storyline faster. Also It allows me to showcase my outdoor area creation skills a bit better than a City adventure does.

I'll also followup with the release of the City Areas I won't be using as prefabs on the Vault. Quite frankly I am pretty sure people are going to be very impressed... they look a lot better than this nowadays.

EDIT: Have now uploaded to the vault, pictures are there now.