Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wow... yeah a little side tracked.

On top of being addicted to Mass Effect for the last week, I've admittedly gotten a little behind with regards to building.

You know, you can tell where Mass Effect was dumbed down for the console crew, but at the same time Bioware managed to overcome the limitations of the Console at least to a certain extent, and on top of that, the backstory in the game has a depth and richness I haven't seen in some of their games in a very very long time. The more you explore, the more you find. It's a veritable smorgasbord of story depth all hidden that you can find little by little. The more you find, the richer it becomes.

My addiction level to the game is finally subsiding so I'll be building again, but I'll be honest it's one of the best games I've played over the last year. It tops Bioshock and Crysis as far as sci-fi goes and the depth of the world around it is just unbelievable.

I had meant to build a bit this weekend, but I friend's Bachelor party distracted me this weekend. Wow... I don't think I was sober all weekend. We bumped into a Bachelorette party while we were out there too and I know I ended up with a Bachelorette's garter I remember tongueing it off her leg, and there's pictures of me wearing it like a bandana over the weekend (wow those things stretch, she was a tiny girl), so while a lot of things were a blur, I am pretty sure I had a lot of fun.

Well back to building, I have started on Mouth of Song, but admittedly have only gotten the height map done.

The little speck on the hill is a human.

This area is going to look like Deep forest. The trees here will be huge. In the Forgotten Realms there is a tree called a Shadowtop. Basically they are enormous trees that blot out the sun in a deep forest. I'll be using live oaks scaled up by a factor of 3. They'll actually be taller than the hill. I'll also be turning off the fade for them (which works now by the way).

Mouth of Song is a small shrine to Elistraee, it will have a night and day cycle and if players enter at night they will run into a coven of Ellistraee worshipers here. They will then send you to the Grove of Fangs to hunt for more clues in order to find Claw Hollow.

I may add some encounters here, daytime perhaps some kind of Trolls or perhaps some Wyverns along with a nest nearby. At night perhaps a Drow Raiding party looking to kill some Ellistraee worshipers.

I'm going to have to decide on the Texturing though, the ones I've tried so far haven't looked the way I wanted it to, so We'll have to see how it comes out.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ok Here's how Dragon's Heart is going to look

Ok I've moved on to laying down placables, the Image you see is the same one you saw in the last two updates. First I layed down the texturing, then layed down grass and placables.

You'll notice I had to keep the middle side of the placables to a minimum as I lay this down as I have to leave space for a very large Dragon to come through. This should give you an Idea of what the area will look like as a total package when it's finished. I will most likely have it done this weekend and then will move on to the Grove of Silk or Mouth of Song, one of the two. One is a shrine to Elistraee, the other is going to be the place they will send you to find another clue to the location of the mysterious Claw Hollow.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Finished Texturing Dragon's Heart...

Well I finished texturing Dragon's Heart last night, all that remains is foresting it. Technically that's going to be very easy to do though I have a bit of hinkiness with regards to that. Because the walkway paths have to be clear enough for a large object to move through I'll have to watch how I do things and make sure that I don't block the paths with things. I won't be showing a screenshot of the whole area until it's done... but I suspect that these little pictures I put up will, if you're pretty bright... be able to help you pick up the texturing techniques I use for blending textures while building. I'ts part of the reason I keep posting these unfinished pictures so you can see how it's built as it's built.

I already included a couple of secret things built into it, so it will reward the explorers and those who like to comb the map and see the little things most will miss.

I suspect the area, while beautiful will also impose a sense of danger, especially when the Dragon appears. You will also be able to walk on those middle hill areas and be able to scan down on the area below. I suspect I will hide things up there too.

This whole area will be a search for the clue hidden on the body of the Sky Pony tracker through a dangerous and deadly area where you won't be able to rest, thus heightening the sense of urgency. It will be one of those where people say, "Oh my god this is beautiful" but I can't stop to let my guard down or I'm going to die.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Not as much done as I'd hoped,

Granted I've been playing Mass Effect recently so it's cut into my time a little, but I did get a little more done. Admittedly Mass Effect is a really good game. It kinda reminds me of a combination of KoToR and a very old game about hopping planets and collecting ore while trying to solve the mystery of why the Suns in each system were going super nova. In the end you discover that the fuel you are using... these rocks, are actually a life form that moves at a time rate much slower than ours, so they appear to be normal rocks but are actually alive, and you've been using them as fuel to power the starships. Over the centuries they've come up with a way to stop the elimination of their race after finally discovering they are being killed off in a mass genocide. Cool game about exploration and mystery. Hard though. I can't remember the name of it but I know I played it again recently.

On To Dragon's Heart.

I've textured quite a bit now and only have the bottom half and the ledges left.

The Idea of the Height map was to form the shape of a heart shaped valley. As I get closer to completion I can see that it's achieving it's goal very well. You know what's funny about doing the Infinity Engine style texturing like this? It looks like crap from above, but the closer and closr you get, until you are at the player's level... suddenly it looks spectacular.

This is what that top portion of the map looks like as far as texturing without any placables or grass or anything. This is just what it looks like painting it down.

So it's kinda funny... the worse it looks from the top... the better it looks from the ground. I suspect once I add placables and grass it will be very stunning once I've gotten it all put togather.

But I meant to give a status report for Tuesday and now I have...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Starting on Dragon's Heart

Well I'm starting on a new area today called Dragon's Heart. I'm just starting but I wanted to give a rough idea of how things always start out when I do this.

I was thinking to myself over the last couple days... hmm you know, you never get to see Dragon battles in NWN2 much, and it's not because there aren't any Dragons, in fact there's 5 of them. I suspect it's because they are so high of level most modules aren't made for it.

I had been looking through the toolset trying to decide what I wanted for my second add on area. I knew one of them was going to be a Spider filled forest, but for the second one I kept asking myself what is it's theme going to be? It's going to be the place the Sky Pony tribe sends you for clues to the location of Claw Hollow... but... what is it once you get there?

Well putting all that togather I came up with an idea.

It was called Dragon's Heart...

Now obviously it's just starting, so... given the texturing in the pictures of my other stuff you can see how it's going to turn out. I'm, using the same texturing and forest look as in One Stone.

The Sky Pony Tribe calls this place Dragon's Heart, both for the shape of the valley and what lurks there. They tell you one of their trackers was lost there while attempting to track the Lycanthropes to Claw Hollow.

Well do you see all those little valleys? A Black Dragon named Ix'chidgit Monlaesus lets her Wyrmlings loose here to hunt and practice their skills on the local Troll population. Needless to say the Trolls are terrified of them. Now if Trolls weren't so stupid they'd probably ask you for help, but it's doubtful they could even communicate with you let alone ask for help. Besides, they're hungry too and would like nothing better than to have yo for dinner as well. So this Valley is going to be populated by Trolls and the Black Dragon Wyrmlings hunting them. The Wyrmlings will be on little patrol paths around the valley. And you'll most likely run into Trolls as well.

Here's the catch... if you kill too many of the Wyrmlings, Ix'chidgit is going to show up and start hunting YOU. Now, being Chaotic Evil she doesn't really give a damn about the Wyrmlings that much and figures if they aren't strong enough to survive it's their own fault for dying. But if she sniffs some stronger prey in the area... the game is on...

Given that the party will likely be 10th level at most... and that an Adult Black Dragon is 19th level... she's probably going to chew you up and spit you out faster than you can say boo. So if you don't run you're going to die unless you're really really good. It will be a fight you won't soon forget.

But you don't have to beat the Black Dragon to clear the area, all you have to do is make it out alive with the clue that is on the body of the Sky Pony tracker who was on the trail of Claw Hollow.

If you actually succeed though in killing Ix'chidgit, it will open up another area on the map... her lair.