Ted's RPG Rant

A place to rant about RPG games, particularly the Temple of Elemental Evil. Co8 members get a free cookie for stopping by. Thats ONE cookie each, no seconds.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Head Cold

Ted is listening to: Nicole C Mullen? Sorta gospel R&B, not really my thing
Ted's mood: Miserable AND upbeat - go figure
Winnings: $330 In Kitty: $300

D'oh! Got a cold... hate it hate it HATE IT! Just a runny nose and sore throat and washed-out feeling, but still hate it.

Hopefully will get some work done on the NPC tonight after church, so close to finishing! Also gotta prepare for the interview for my dream job on Thursday, its the sorta thing u want the best person to get, but dang I hope its me ;-)

O and I am now a duly trained fire warden at work. Can't wait to get the hat. But yes, back at work for another year (unless I can get this new job ;-))

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Potboy's Saga

Or, Why Orion's behaviour shits me

Winnings: $272 In Kitty: $250

Anyone who regularly visits Co8 - that is, anyone who IS anyone - knows Orion has reared his pointy little head again. A modding journeyman and rules lawyer with OCD tendencies and a (subsequent) need to argue every point ad infinitum, he disappeared from Co8 some time back in a huff, after we criticised some of his efforts. Some were just passing comments (he had to argue every damn one of them to the nth degree) but what particularly drew a response was the fact he changed the efforts of an existing modder, our inspirational star modder Livonya. Since she was forced to move on due to health reasons, we objected to her legacy being mutilated to fit Orion's peculiar vision, despite the many other things he could have been doing. There were bugs that needed fixing, new content just starting to be able to be easily added, rules consistency to be applied, but no - he instead just HAD to change the work of the other modders. Needless to say, our feelings were something along the lines of "why do we bother making stuff if someone else is just going to change it?" Of course, we wouldn't get far if we just re-released our own visions of everyone elses stuff. As it is, Kalshane is doing a rules-redo, Allyx has built Verbobonc, Cujo has turned out countless new garments / tattoos etc, Darmagon is doing his spells, everyone is doing their own thing 2 b sure and also helping each other (instead of changing / interfering) and we are laying the platform for many new modules in the future.

Not Orion. He couldn't have his way, so he left, leaving behind a history of posting buggy stuff that showed a serious lack of testing, as well as some useful stuff re how the game isn't quite as compliant with the rules as it could be. Credit where it is due.

But enough civilised observations. Thats for the forum - this is my blog, and I am going to make fun of the sod.

You see, he's pissed me off. In the past, I have supported him to some extent, because I saw the value of what he might've contributed. But as it became clearer he was a rules lawyer to the expense of game-playing, he lost my good will and has long since shitted me for his behaviour.

Case in point - Elmo. Orion claims his 'fixes' are consistent with the original module. But the original module makes it clear Elmo likes to wield a BIG axe - says it right there in the text - and simply whack things with it, with magic chain and shield to ward of retaliation. This is the very antithesis of a 2wf, who obviously has to use finesse with lighter weapons; whereas Elmo just hits things, very hard, with a big axe.

Orion is so obsessed with making Elmo conform to the new 3.5 rules that the character of Elmo is just obliterated. Troika did quite a good job with Elmo, albeit a shallow one, and to change him just to UNECESSARILY make him conform to the OPTION of him being a 2wf simply detracts from the game.

Case in point 2 - the potboy. I have gone on about this in the past: the module states that Jaroo had an apprentice, the potboy from the Wench. Orion added an apprenctice, but just created her out of thin air. Modular compliance? Erm, nooooo...

Case in point 3 - Yvy. While not based on a specific character, she was most certainly based on the module, which states that the camp labourers had wives, kids and dogs with them. So I added Yvy, gave her some dialogue to explain she was a mother-figure in the camp, and gave her the ability to do tattoos (to introduce Cujo's new tattoos, obviously). I also added a couple dogs. I ALSO added kids, but they tried to waypoint off with the rest of them at night fall and crashed the game. O well.

For whatever reason, she was not good enough for Orion, and he left her out. Haven't checked if he left out the dogs.

AND YET... he left in a couple of my other characters, Gwenno and Ah Fong. Why is that? Well, gentle reader, a good look at Orion's ability will explain this conundrum.

First, lemme mention that leaving in my characters is fine, thats y they r there and he left in all sorts of stuff by other Co8 modders (almost all of which he didn't credit and some of which he frigged around with and some of which he claimed for his own and some of which he criticised for non-existant faults). The problem - other than all the above - is he changed the characters: he took my stuff, prototypes and dialogue and script files, and changed them into 'new' characters. No credit to me of course: indeed, he talks about 'adding' to the Kurosawa character as though he is a real modder who created a new character and then at a later release date, added to it. But again, why not just throw my stuff away and make his own, when much of my stuff so clearly offends him?

Lets take a quick stroll into the murky, twisted, buggy depths of Orion's garbage and find our answers, as true questing adventurers should.

I ran his mod today, just to have a quick look around for my stuff. Alas, he's thrown out the Orb of the Moons, so no easy trip to Nulb (since he doesn't TEST like he should, he doesn't appreciate how useful things like the Orb and the Smyth and Westrealm .50 cal are for testing purposes. Console-equip them and u can instantly go anywhere and deal with anything). The Orb is still there in the protos and even in the .py files, just not in the dlg files. Thats right, all the scripts for the whole of DH are in there, he has just deleted the dlg files to stop it working. Idiot, can't even clean up after himself... o thats right, thats Co8's job...

Anyways, there I am standing in Hommlet. I have a new character, a rogue with feats in, ummmm, Persuader and Interogator, to check out any interesting dlg stuff. Orion has added new portraits, including some he has obviously done himself. I give him an appalingly camp 'makes-Bertram-look-macho' portrait, along with the 'arrogant' voice, and I name him Orion. Ok, I'm a stinker ;^)

The game begins, and there's Kent! Poor kid, oughta be a law against exploiting children like this... anyways, I run the dlg and go right into the 'specific information' issue. I half-hope, half-fear, Orion has added his own nonsense to this, but no, its just Liv's warning.

The giggle is gone - meh, that was never gonna please everyone. So is the howl. There are NO added sound files in the game, he has removed all my voice stuff for Playful NPCs, despite leaving in the dialogue, which of course defeats the whole damn purpose of it (I mean anyone can add lines of dialogue, but to include the existing, unused stuff, well thats why I did it!)

I notice, though, he HAS included sounds for all his new spells, off the existing ones (at least according to snd_spells.mes). Credit where it is due.

Anyways, I wander on up to Jaroo's house, and with a gulp, go in.

There is no CTD! Well, he did say he had fixed it... I look around a bit, spot Loralei the rumoured seller in the corner. First I stop by to have a word to Jaroo about Amii, but he won't mention her (have to do the Deklo Quest first? I forget).

Now, don't get me wrong: there is no CTD, but Loralei is undoubtedly bugged. As I move, the screens shivvers and jerks rythmically, like a bad heartbeat file or something. Somewhere, there is a f*ckup in here, and no Co8er would release such a bugged encounter without fixing it. Anyways. I make it over to Loralei eventually and initiate conversation (the problems end for the moment).

Lets have a look:

Actually, Jaroo didn't say a word about anything to 'seel' me... so I'm a first level n00b with no XP and Orion immediatley wants me buying magical items? This must be the 'delicate equilibrium' he is so proud of.

Anyways, a quick look into the dlg file reveals what has happened. In the opening dialogue there is the offer,

{6}{Hello Loralei. Jaroo told me that you have something magical to seel me.}{}{8}{game.quests[101].state = qs_completed}{40}{}

The cunningly minded will notice the script is wrong - one of my 'common modding mistakes', failure to use '==', that is, treating an executing script as a conditional. Wow, one line of dlg into his mod, and we find an error that would have come straight out in testing.

The line we saw was:

{13}{Jaroo told me that you have something magical to seel me.}{}{8}{}{40}{}

Hey, when u got a great bit of dialogue to 'seel' stuff, u wanna use it as much as possible! But the conditional has now been dropped. Laziness? Hit the bug and couldn't fix it? I dunno, but I do know if u follow it to line 40, we get:

{40}{Yes, he charged me to sell you some of the items that he crafted along the years. I'm glad that you were able to save Amii.}{Yes, he charged me to sell you some of the items that he crafted along the years. I'm glad that you were able to save Amii.}{}{}{}{}

Great. 38 seconds into the game and I am being praised for healing some 'Amii' I have never met. Brilliant. 'Quest 101' is of course the Amii quest, but to make sure, I had a look at the gamequestlog.mes. I found this under 100:

{Brother Smyth doesn't want to sell you his one-pieces crafted with special materials, but you can change his mind by proving your worth bringing him the head of a giant.}

What the...? Again, why the hell has he changed this? Wtf was he thinking? "Hey my grasp of English is poor, so rather than sticking to adding stuff, I will also change existing stuff for no reason just to make it hard to understand"??

Anyways, back to Loralei. I didn't want to go the 'seel' route, as I thought I might end in a barter screen, so instead I asked about her life.

Hmmm... line 2 seems to be the dumb guy response, this IS well tested. I guess this would be v1.00 beta? Its not, its 1.09 FINAL? Fabulous...

I think I hit 4 this time. Fascinating dialogue, I guess he assumes everyone wants to argue every pedantic point like himself.

Ooooooo kaaaaay... couple things here:

Obad-hai will give her a what? Perhaps he shows up nekked, a la a certain other diety....

Also, the whole line DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE.

O well, take care of you Loralei!

Of course, I didn't have the sense to leave well enough alone. I had to go back again, and try the inventory.

Ok, thats inoffensive enough, can't afford it though.... he should probably have made it a post-quest option rather than the first thing u encounter in the game. O thats right, he tried.

But wait a sec, when I end the bartering, I notice something wierd:

Now why on earth is Jaroo's chest shutting? Aaaaah, THATS what Allyx meant when he said Orion was using Jaroo's container.

I wander over to pop the chest. Sure enough, the trap is gone, the lock is gone, its just sitting there. Fabulous. Thats just great. I open it up and...

Yup, same inventory. Just noticed I have been awarded over 200xp though. Presumably thats for successfully navigating an Orion-character's dialogue without a CTD. CR 4 at least.

At this point I, of course, hit take all.

Well that part hasn't changed! ;^)

And so my adventures in Orion-land end with the title character being eaten by a bear. Boo-hoo. I did get a good hack on Loralei with my rapier before the end.

What has this nonsense taught us? Actually, something quite interesting.

Orion showed up some months back, wanting to try out Agetian's new tools and make this Loralei character. At the time I thought she was pointless since Allyx was adding a magic-shop to Verbobonc, but meh, if he wants to, fair enough, I simply would have liked to have seen it be the pot-boy.

But despite a great deal of help from the rest of Co8 - those nasty bastards he now spends his days deriding - Orion couldn't get Loralei to work properly (so he reported). Now, at this point, Agetian had:

-made the tools
-written a tutorial
-included help buttons

and using all this, I had created the working, fully functioning Ah Fong. Now, Ah Fong DID have a bug, reported by ummm KillerSonic for memory, and with his help and some team testing Agetian got to the bottom of the bug and we all learned something.

And yet Orion STILL couldn't get Loralei to function properly. He connected her to Jaroo's chest - breaking it in the process - and the whole map is now buggy as a result.

This is why he stole Ah Fong and added his own crap to him, rather than make his own merchant. He can't.

For all his claims of 'complete fixes' and 'the biggest fix-pack ever seen' and all the other rubbish he put in his readme files and when posting the mod - claims that just had modders who might have respected some of his efforts, instead laughing at him - he seeems to have had to steal our efforts on a number of occasions because he simply didn't understand what he was doing. The stuff I posted here is just the tip of the iceberg - Loralei has a bug in every damn dialogue branch that I looked at. I shudder to think what the rest is like.

[sigh] What a clown.

Friday, January 27, 2006

That dang NPC

Ted is listening to: The slow, heavy tread of the fall of civilisation approaching
Ted's mood: Perky
Winnings: $167 In Kitty: $150

Well, I've got Endarire's NPC up and running (the dlg file and script anyways). Couldn't get the damn thing working yesterday, still got no idea why - basically broke the character I was testing it with (haven't mobbed in a new NPC yet). Wasn't the script, I started with something easy, just a simple 'start at line 1' - seriously, somehow I broke the damn NPC! O well, it happens. Got him going now, and very few errors in the dlg file that I have seen so far (very proud of myself for that, its a fair size). Still a lot of work to do, but the bulk of it is done. (For that matter I guess the bulk was done by Endarire himself before he sent it ;-)).

Got myself a 'Certificate of Single Status' today - its like a Marriage Certificate for the unmarriagable ;-) I need it to get married overseas. Surprisinly painless process considering I was dealing with a government department. O and won $50 more with my roulette system. 8^D Its officially getting scary now.

O and got a decent night's sleep last night - nice change! Hey look, my google ads are all about insomnia ;-) Cunning buggers...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Australia Day

Ted is listening to: A CD of barnyard animals
Ted's mood: Emotionally erect (cock-a-doodle-doo!!!)
Winnings: $117 In Kitty: $100

Happy Australia Day! WOOHOOOO! Another year older, or something.

Went to the casino last night with a mate. After he had been lecturing me endlessly since New Year about why I shouldn't be gambling, I ended up winning the amount I wanted ($50 + beer money) and he gambled stupidly and blew $90 he couldnt afford - and wasted a lot of my time doing it. But since it was Australia Day today, the city was jumping last night and we still got to the pub before it shut. Heard a nice little band playing too, cute little girly and an impressive guitarist. Lot of exercise too, walking from my mates work to the casino and back to my car. Damn I need exercise! Good night out overall.

Didn't sleep much again last night {yawn}. Feeling inspired to do that NPC though.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Rough Night, Good Day.

Ted is listening to: Hard drive going whir whir thucka-thucka-thucka
Ted's mood: Persnickety
Winnings: $60 In Kitty: $50

I guess I start with the rough night.

My sleeping patterns have been haywire since the night shifts. Sat night I was awake til 5am, also sculled an old bottle of champagne from the garage fridge because I was thirsty and there was no beer. Fell asleep about 5:30 am, woke up 7am Sunday, WIDE awake and feeling very seedy. Ho hum. Got up, staggered around, had a Sunday lunch with the family, felt more alive and headed off for a meeting with some folks from church. Halfway through (c. 4pm) I went past "exhausted and feel like sh!t" into actual "sleepy" and went home from the meeting to go back to bed. Meant to nap for a couple hours then head off to Mass, instead slept right through til midnite.

Woke up. Had had 8 hours sleep, feeling fine except now my day starts at 12am. Oops.

Modded for a while, about 4am or so went back to bed and actually slept through til 7:30. Now I had had way too much sleep but at least I was back on schedule. So I wandered down the road to get a coffee and generally get the blood circulating, stopped by work to see if the pool was happening (stinking hot yesterday) then wandered home and washed my car, first time in ages. More modding (Endarire's NPC) and watched 'Last Samurai' with my ma whom I knew would like it. Not a bad flick if you don't expect too much from something that takes itself so seriously, really quite good I think.

Bout 9pm last night I am yawning and think, "great, I am back in a good sleep pattern for my 7am starts next week". So I go to bed at 9:30, and am out pretty kwik (thats something for me).

Midnight I wake up. Wide awake, my body has decided this was not a night's sleep, merely a nap. Bugger.

So I get up and mod for a few more hours, back to bed and get maybe 2 more hours before waking up at 6am. WIDE awake again. Bugger.

So I get up and polish the car (damn it needed it). Yesterday was stinking hot: today - now that the car is washed - its all overcast and threatening rain. {sigh} Then I head down to Parra to book tickets for Malaysia in March - Yvy and I have to do the pre-wedding Church course thingy - and have a word with Immigration about bringing Yvy out. Also wanted to go to the club and test out a roulette system I been working on (the club - its a Leagues Club, the one attached to my team, the mighty Parramatta Eels, I also stopped by the returned servicemen's club - has roulette machines like slot machines, cheaper than the casino, $1 minimum bet and they don't jack it up on the outside betting like the casino. There, they have $2, $5 and $10 tables and outside betting like odd/even, red/black etc is 5 times the minimum. Gets expensive real kwik.) So I park at the shopping centre - thats the biggest mall in the southern hemisphere don't u know, and they have just added a massive extension at that - and hoof it to the servicemen's club. They don't have the roulette machines so I keep going til I get to the Leagues Club - I need the exercise anyway! Lug my umbrella all the way but no rain.

At the club, I run my system - several dozen wins in simulation, only one loss (loss amount easily covered by wins) and win $50, the amount I intended. WOOHOOOOO!! $53 to be exact. Won $7 trying out the machines a few days ago to get the hang of them, though didn't have enough in my pocket that day for any serious efforts.

So, then I realise I can catch confession at the Cathedral across the road, and off I go.

No I didn't have to confess my gambling. ;-) Gambling, imho opinion, is not inherently sinful, though like many things it is bad if not in moderation. To me it comes down to one thing: gambling is never condemned in the Bible. Mentioned, yes - the soldiers who diced for Jesus' clothes at the Cross - but never condemned. Like many things Puritanism claims is sinful (drinking in moderation, guitar music, dancing, fiddle music, theatres, cinemas, fun of any sort really...) there is no Biblical backing.

What I had to confess was not making it to Mass on Sunday (see above) and certain issues of anger and other dispious dispositions I have had lately. Anyways...

Confession remains one of the real sticking points between Catholics and other Christians. Its funny... lots of modern churches, such as the Pentecostals, are really starting to understand the sort of authority Jesus gave his people. Authority to heal, to cast out 'demons' (real, or the demons of our lives like smoking, gossip etc). They exercise this authority, miracles happen, they rejoice at the authority given in Jesus' name.

But seriously, Jesus himself asked - what is easier to say? "Your sins are forgiven" or "be healed"?

To claim (or acknowledge) authority to heal the effects of sin, but not the sin itself, is just inconsistent. Why would you think one pastor can say, "In Christ's name be healed" but another can't say, "In Christ's name your sins are forgiven". Either way, it is God who is acting through His minister.

The difference, of course, is that anyone can pray for healing, but not anyone can exercise the authority to forgive sins in Christ's name. The Bible is very clear on that - it is always associated with the Apostles and the Church Elders they have appointed (Jn 20:23, Matt 18:17-18, Matt 26:28, Jas 5:14-15). I guess thats the real sticking point - you can't exercise an authority granted to a Church you have left.

O well - at least we have the Holy Spirit together, praise God!

But enough pontificating. Where was I? O yeah, at church ;-) Afterwards I wandered back to the shops, had lunch, and booked my tickets to Malaysia. WOOHOOOO!!! O and I went by Immigration as I said, that was a slow and pointless meeting but not actually bad news, thats something. I won't go into it here.

Church again tonight, I guess I should be modding but I am so damn sleepy. O well, I can get some brain-dead stuff done, like renaming the mp3s Endarire sent me for his NPC to match the dlg file I made. I think you folks are going to like this character, he has, well, real character :-)

Anyways, thats my day. What with the winnings, the exercise, getting stuff done, and getting to Church, I liked it 8^D Really nice crepe for lunch too, but tried that Coke Zero stuff, didn't do it for me. When are they gonna release Pepsi Fire and Pepsi Ice out here? Pepsi Samba doesn't do it for me either.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Sneak Preview

Here, for no good reason at all, is a little look at a location being added to KotB. Its an old Tower in a swamp (down near the Lizardmen, obviously). Different alignments will want to conquer it for different reasons. I am hacking up a map, and I have asked Allanon to add some water and swampy trees and such. Most people will recognise the Tower as Burne's from Hommlet, a location that hardly gets used in the game (u go through it once, realise there is nothing there then never go upstairs again). So now we are gonna make it a place worth visiting. I knocked a few holes in the walls and ceilings to make it look a bit more ruinous, and will probably change the colour soon enough too. Some of the rest of the map has been done too - a maze of pathways through the swamp - but its ugly as, atm.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Whats happening in Ted's life

Quick update:

I am putting Endarire's new cleric in order, have transformed his dialogue into a .dlg file and now have to hack up a .py file to trigger it all correctly. Complicated, but that is because he is a very interactive character. In fact, I tihnk he has real 'character' and people will enjoy this mod.

Doing .dlgs for KotB. Really looking forward to the weekend when I can hack in new .mobs for all these new characters. Got some new maps to play with too. 8^D Also trying to get a few completely finished to pass on to Lord Spike so he can do voice recording, but of course each one has a ripple effect on the others and since the Caves are still to be done, there's a lot of foretelling going on.

In non-modding news, applying for some churchy jobs and thinking about starting a new business. Working nights atm.

Something more interesting to come in a few days, I promise ;-)

Friday, January 13, 2006


I was looking up www.Rottentomatoes.com for something on this new D&D movie I saw in the video store (D&D: The Elemental Might I think it was called) and not all that surprisingly doing a list on the word 'elemental' gave no movie hits (of note) but did bring up ToEE from the game review section. So for a chuckle I copied the little headline-review-thumbnail things ToEE got on release. And here they are.

"Full of evil, elementals and lots and lots of bugs."
-- Tal Blevins, IGN.COM GAMES

"Overall, TTOEE ends up being a disappointing game."
-- Steven Carter, GAMEOVER.NET

"Prettier than Baldur's Gate, but way, way buggier."

"The real shame of ToEE is the unquestionable truth that a good game lurks just out of reach."
-- Jonah Jackson, TECHTV

"Only serious D&D-heads need apply."
-- Miguel Lopez, GMR MAGAZINE

"Wait for two more patches to come out, and then buy only if you’re looking for a challenge."
-- Marc Read, PC GAMEWORLD

"Ultimately what we have here is an excellent back-end and a beautiful graphics engine, with a combat-heavy, plot-light module and a few nasty bugs."

"Fans of the dungeon crawling genre will have a blast getting lost in the world of the Temple of Elemental Evil. Those virgin to this type of game may be overwhelmed by the wealth of options and complexity of combat."
-- Brian Goldstein, GAMERS PULSE

"Try Neverwinter Nights instead." (this one gave it a thumbsup!)
-- Mike Gunn, GAME PLANET

"Despite some bugs, The Temple of Elemental Evil stands as one of the most authentic PC Dungeons & Dragons experiences of the past few years."
-- Greg Kasavin, GAMESPOT

"It's definitely the best translation of the traditional D&D game to the PC format."
-- Nowak, GAME SHARK

"Remarkably accessible for the average player interested in D&D games, Troika Games has done a good job in producing a solid and entertaining experience."
-- Eric Stanton, GAMESFIRST!

"This is not a sweeping epic, but a well-crafted dungeon crawl, with the Temple of Elemental Evil being your main playground."

"Temple of Elemental Evil has terrific depth of gameplay, though graphically typical of the genre."
-- Michael Lafferty, GAMEZONE ONLINE

"Considering the game’s steep learning curve and all the bugs, what was a promising title is instead one of the most frustrating games on the market..."
-- Jozef Purdes, NETJAK

"This all adds up to one monstrous nonlinear RPG packed with plenty of replay value."
-- Vicious Sid, GAMEPRO

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

More things you never knew about ToEE

Well my run of nightshifts started last night, a bunch of mellow kids who stayed asleep and left me free to mod up a storm! Got the Guildmaster started (finally) as well as the goon at the Guildhouse door who stops u entering until you have an invitation of some sort (later in the game these should be plentiful but early on u gotta earn it). Also got a tutorial done on the use of the reputation thing, needs some script work done b4 I publish it though.

For the moment, here's some silly crap to keep you all entertained %^P

More Things You Never Knew

1) The 'f' word occurs in the internal workings of the game at least 4 times (no, not Fruella, the other 'f' obscenity).

2) The programmer who did the radial menu for spells stuck his birthday in the file (its September 29).

3) Many of you know some of the files in the game are actually from Arcanum. Thats bad enough. Whats worse is, Troika included Arcanum files in the PATCHES. Possibly thats why patch 2 is smaller than patch 1, they wised up.

4) Temple.dll hacking is rightly considered the peak of ToEE modding - though frankly some of what Cujo does probably ranks alongside, considering he does it with a hex editor. Anyways, if we look at the string dump for Temple.dll we find fascinating things like:

102B6DB4: 'Your Mama',0

Aaaah the mysteries of assembly language.

5) Did I mention some of the skills found in the game last time? There are lizardmen with skill levels in Balance, Jump and Swim, Ghouls who have them in Intuit Direction, Climb and Escape Artist, and the usual collection of Alchemy, Disguise, Craft, and Knowledge. To the best of my knowledge, none of these skills is supported in the game.

6) Brother Smyth: Thats the guy's actual name from the module btw, not a piece of creative laziness (well, its a 'title' given to him, not an actual name). I had a whole paragraph of mockery on this before I went back and checked the module. God bless 'delete'!

Anyways, Brother Smyth whacks his anvil exactly 9 times in a row. No more, no less. Its controlled by NPC_Brother_Smith.txt - yup, a simple txt doc.

You knew that cause it was in the last blog? Well, did you know that if a dumb character asks him for healing, Brother Smyth respods by asking if perhaps the PC has a head a injury?

7) A quote from the internal game quotesheet (Troika's office blooper reel - o the shenanigans they got up to! Its a wonder the game didn't have bugs with all that horseplay and scallywaggery) is from a salivating RPG Codex member on how good the game would be. See, they ARE listening! So don't think your rants on Co8 etc go unnoticed (I seriously doubt they look here though).

8) You all know there are Deklo trees in the game, but did you know there was Deklo grass too? Go on, you didn't. Admit it. There are 'usk' trees too.

9) There is a blank module included for us to use to create our own efforts. Its for Arcanum, of course {sigh}

10) The dumb guy responses are an endles source of minor amusement: they include threatening to kneecap the miller and one dlg line for Mickey simply says {[Beat the crap out of him]}: there are a variety of weird little offshoot dialogues as exasperated NPCs struggle to make themselves understood, while being called names like "Bunny", "Elbow", "smelly coward", "Spoony", "Sand Cubber", "Cave nut", and receiving advice like, "bonk Filly-man. Take barn". (Something got lost in translation there, I think!)

But one line deserves a special mention. When the dodgy courier comments that he really doesn't like Gremag and Rannos, dumb guy has the option of replying:

"I do not like Green Egg and Rann. I do not like them, @pcname@ I am."

Monday, January 09, 2006


Sorry to dump this on u guys but this is going to be rather a depressing rant.

I have just spent the last 5 1/2 hours trying to figure out how to make the models do their little animations. Specifically, how to make the goblins dance (for unfinished business in DH) and more importantly, how to make the Blacksmith do his 'thump the anvil' animation in KotB (and I think Allyx has a smith in Verbobonc for memory so it would be of benefit to him too).

At first I thought it was something to do with the 'addmesh' column in the protos.tab, but a couple hours fiddling with that made me realise that in fact it has nothing to do with it. There is something in the mobs that activates the animations - the animations are in the mesh section as far as I can tell, in the .txt docs. Eg Brother Smyth's looks like this:

animation "sword_unarmed_special1" "sword_unarmed_special1.mae"

________event 22 "script" "game.sound_local_obj ( 4007, anim_obj )"
________event 72 "script" "game.sound_local_obj ( 4007, anim_obj )"
________event 122 "script" "game.sound_local_obj ( 4007, anim_obj )"
________event 172 "script" "game.sound_local_obj ( 4007, anim_obj )"
________event 222 "script" "game.sound_local_obj ( 4007, anim_obj )"
________event 272 "script" "game.sound_local_obj ( 4007, anim_obj )"
________event 322 "script" "game.sound_local_obj ( 4007, anim_obj )"
________event 372 "script" "game.sound_local_obj ( 4007, anim_obj )"
________event 422 "script" "game.sound_local_obj ( 4007, anim_obj )"

where 'sword' simply refers to a standard weapon in the right hand if I am not mistaken (in his case, a hammer). By the way, the 9 animations? Go stare at him and you will see he does indeed whack his anvil 9 times. Anyways, the goblins have a similar file, with their dancing also under 'special' if I am not mistaken.

How the .mobs call these animations is still a mystery to me.

The thing is, discovering ways to do new things is fun and exciting and challenging and all that. However, discovering how to do stuff the game does easily but modders can't because there have been no proper tools released etc, well some days its a pain in the ass. This is the 3rd or 6th or 15th time I have revisited this issue and I still don't have a solution and there are SOOOO many better things I could have done with the last 5 1/2 hours, like updating the gallery as I promised Screeg or putting in 2 or 3 quests or adding about 2 dozen new items to the protos.tab.

Sometime soon I am getting married and some time VERY soon I have to start thinking about the whole mortage thing and all that crap. I really don't have time to waste in this manner.

This is NOT an 'I'm thinking of giving up on KotB' whinge, not by a long shot. Actually, its the exact opposite. I want KotB to be an EXPERIENCE, I wanna hit for the fences with it. I want it to have all the little things that make a game fun, make a world real to the player. For instance, I want my Blacksmith to hammer his damn anvil! I don't just want a dlg line saying "you meet a blacksmith hammering away" while the model stands there. We all know how lame that looked for Paida, and of course the ever present Thrommel issue - "you see a sleeping guy" when he is standing looking around.

I don't think its too much to ask to make use of what is already there. I don't mind testing for new stuff - like making Thrommel lie down (not currently in the game in any way afaik) - but to spend hours on end looking for something that one of the developers could explain in seconds, well its lame. Palming it off on someone else like Agetian is lame also.

Now I know things were worse for the modders who came before - imagine what it was like before ProtoEd! - but I'm having a whinge anyways. It just shits me.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Passing time

Well I have wandered into a very pleasant nocturnal existance, which I am going to keep up for a while as I have to work nights next week. I should be getting lots done on KotB, but alas I have been distracted by U5:Lazarus. Its just amazing, the quality is extraordinary. Instead of just the occasional monster wandering aimlessly around the wilderness, there are encampments everywhere: ruined towers, evil magicians around cauldrons with undead, ettin camps, troll camps, bandit camps, shipwrecks on the beach, even one graveyard-like place with ghosts / skeletons that had a hidden entrance to a little dungeon with a black drake at the bottom! (and a LOT of magic gear once I had killed it, yee-ha!) And this isn't even the main game - this is just the stuff out in the wilderness between towns! Amazing... and when I say, 'everywhere', I don't mean annoyingly frequent, the spacing, frequency etc is also just perfect. This is truly a class piece of work. Inspirational for the rest of us modders.

I have been picking at KotB though, and one thing I have done I am pretty happy about is added a journal. You get to buy it from an appropriate character who is there for various reasons. What it does, is has 'entries' that appear for each flag. For instance, there is a quest thingy in the game where you can get poisoned weapons (good characters can turn in the poison-maker, evil characters can get themselves some poisoned blades). You also learn that the Priest has obtained a poisoned weapon himself - one of various little 'clues' you can discover to show that he is a baddy and expose him.

Sooo... when the flags are set various ways (specifically, the one variable governing it is at different levels - don't waste flags I say ;-)) the journal will read things like:

- X has told me I can buy poison from Y

- X has told me the Priest had a weapon envenomed by him

etc. The flags are there for internal tracking, this allows the players to remember what they have done/learnt (over and above the big stuff like completed quests / reputations). I am quite happy with it.

Now to hit post and see if this works: the blog has been acting funny lately.