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.

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.


At 12:19 am, Anonymous Agetiannemar said...

Hey Ted, I absolutely loved this entry on your blog! It gets really funny at moments, and it really points out the real essence of the so-called "fix pack" ;) Way to go, man!

- Agetian

At 6:53 am, Anonymous gaear said...

Yeah, funny as hell! Very satisfying...


At 6:54 am, Anonymous just a bum said...

truff 2 b told i would flip out if u rob my shop n taek all da bling 2 (1ce soem haxor lamar trade haxxed me on battelnet n stoeled my stuff man i was so pissd off), so dat lora n da bearz stuff is kool i think. n if u got killd it meens u r weak n dezerv 2 die hahaha. dats y u need Superwhirl homie! he would pwn dat jarjar wiznerd n pork lora wif da bearz 2.

At 8:12 am, Anonymous Cerulean the Blue said...

Great blog entry Ted. I figured that 0rion's latest would have bugs, but I was actually hoping he would have sorted most of them out by now. Silly me. If Loralai is that bad, you know how bad the rest is going to be.

At 10:56 pm, Blogger Cujo said...

That says it all, the "perfect" mod with mistakes straight off the bat


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