Saturday, June 28, 2008

Western Shores

(Originally posted at on 3/28/07.)
I miss the RP times with my college buddies and I wanted to do something about it.

My first thought was designing a platform that would allow online, graphics-based role-playing. I wanted the story building and flow that comes with pen and paper role-play, but I also wanted a visual aspect to go with it. The MMORPGs have the graphics part, but they have nothing on story building and characterization. They are about roll-play, not role-play.

Well, I could manage the graphics part, slowly but surely. However, I know nothing of coding. After doing some research, I discovered Neverwinter Nights had a good platform that is used for online shared storytelling, so I decided to get Neverwinter Nights 2. I played through the campaign (icky D&D rules... I miss Hero) and now I'm starting my first map/module.

One of my college buddies made an amazing PvE map in Warcraft3, that has provided me with many hours of enjoyment. He took Western Shores (a fantasy world designed by Hero Games, which was used as the primary setting for fantasy campaigns in our group) characters and put them into a map, and they go off and fight the evil BAD, Markoth. It's amazing.

Well, since I'm not nearly as creative as this friend is, I asked him if I could use his map as a floor plan for my new NWN2 module that I'm working on. He said yes. And this is my new project.

I'll post updates regularly, hoping to get feedback from anyone who happens to drop by. I know I'll need help writing convincing dialogue for the characters and working out some character development for them throughout the story.

Western Shores: The story

(Originally posted at on 3/28/07.)

General Thornebird, with his army, is attacking Markoth and his undead in the Grey Bogs.

You, the PC, begin by entering Thornebird's camp. There are other heroes (characters from other RP campaigns) there already. You can recruit help from these heroes before going off to kill Markoth.

There will be waves of undead advancing on the base, as well as Anti-Heroes to fight before reaching Markoth himself.

Some villains I plan to include are: Straad(a vampire), Lucien (a wizard-necromancer), Venesha (a succubus), and Saldra (a disease/pestilence entity).

You get to control yourself and 3 additional party members. There isn't a Strategy/army building aspect to the game; it's a squad map. I don't want the play time of the entire story to go over a couple hours, since I want this to be multi-player as well.

Eventually, I want to expand the module into an entire campaign, focused on multiple places in the Western Shores and the events that lead up to the attack on Markoth.

Western Shores: The Characters

(Originally posted at on 3/28/07.)

Helene-My first RP character, based largely on Moraine from The Wheel of Time. She's a sorceress with a wicked fireball.

Iscar-Helene's warder/husband, a strong fighter, and the Kiluani Prince. If you pick Helene, you have to pick Iscar(and vice versa).

Mouse-A street urchin rogue. She is a fantasy character I made up for another campaign, and never actually was in the Western Shores. But I needed a rogue to round things out, so I added her.

Torrenn-An elven ranger with a katana.

Mlain-Ok, this isn't even a PnP RP character, and he doesn't belong in Western Shores. He's my husband's Ever Quest character, and I'm adding him because 1) I can and 2) as a nod to my husband. Besides, Mlain does have a slightly different persona than my husband, and there is RPing involved there, even if it is from an MMORPG.

I have enough characters to make the map run properly at this point. But I am considering adding:

Morag-an Orc leader

Chang-a crazy goblin

Henry-the Ogre brick

Marie-the Yari-girl, and also General Thornebird's daughter (I think) Palon-but I'm not sure if I'll make him playable

Sehri-Palon's daughter and a necromancer. (She's one of my favorites on the Warcraft3 map.)

Brother Perry-a monk who likes to throw apples at people

Zathris-an elven cleric who is a serious zealot and seems to think he's tough as a Troll

Tess-an Earth mage with a big sword (I don't know how to transfer her into the D&D system though.)

I'd like to include Lorelai (a vampire sword maker with a heart, and Straad's woman) in someway, but she's too precious for me to touch, and I don't want to do anything to change her. Especially since she isn't my character.

Western Shores: Character Picture

(Originally posted at on 4/1/07.)
These are the NPCs I'm including for the first run of my map. I do plan to add more later, but right now I'm focused on making a playable module more than making a perfected story. You can add each character (expect Thornebird, oops, spelling error, too late now) to your party. More to come later.

Western Shores: Straad

(Orginally posted at on 4/15/07.)
Here is an in-game, action screenshot of our favorite vampire, Straad. I made him a little bit too wimpy though. My level 20 test character beat him on the first try, so I had to toughen him up a bit. On the second go, Straad won. I'm not sure how well that will work for a party of 4, around level 15.

My landscaping still needs a lot of work, as you can see. Right now my focus is more on having working fights, scripts and triggers.

Western Shores: Creating Scenery

(Originally posted at on 4/20/07.)

I did some scenery work tonight. I thought it would be nice to take a break from the coding and do something artsy. Boy, was I wrong. The NWN2 Toolset was being very bugging with the terrain textures. Fortunately I caught a patch that seems to have fixed it. There isn't an undo option, so there is a lot of painting and repainting. But I'm pretty happy with what I have. This is a screenshot of the Grey Bogs. I plan to add more fog effects, especially over the water (the dark puddle in the picture) but I haven't fixed that effect yet.

Hair Modeling Work

(Originally posted at on 1/9/08.)
I entered a modeling contest for Neverwinter Nights 2, at Neverwinter Nights Vault. You can see my entry here. I'm pretty proud of my work and really happy about the feedback so far.

I also am working on another model. It is still in the draft stages. I want to make the hair curly, but can't get the texture down. The best I managed was a matted looking mess. So now I'm trying it again with straight hair. I think I have the model itself pretty much done. I just need to work on the texture some more.

My other current modeling project is a crown dutch braid, and getting the braid right is also difficult. I've been working on it on and off for a few months.

Western Shores: Areas

(Originally posted at on 3/1/08)

I've been staying busy with work. It is a bit rough being gone 12 hours a day, due to my commute. I ended up having to redo a lot of work for my NWN2 modules. I accidentally
deleted them all when I tried to reinstall the game. Fort
unately they were easier to make the second time around. Here's a few pictures of what I have.

This is a shot of Torleo, a small town along a trade route. I plan to open the story here. The building in the upper right corner is the Crimson Harpy Tavern, which I plan to use as the main gathering spot in the game, similar to the Drunken Flagon in the Neverwinter Nights 2 official content.

The castle is in the town of Alesrenoa, the capital of Irolo. I used Nyt's Building Construction kit to make the castle and city walls. It is a wonderful resource, and I strongly recommend it.

I also included a couple screenshots of the rest of Alesrenoa. I did the texture on most of the buildings myself. I still have a little bit more work to do, perfecting it.