Thursday, 4 September 2008

Crown of the Immortals

Shadowfall's by no means dead- but I will for a while be transferring my energies to helping with THIS project:

I think if you take a look at some of the screenies, already you can see why I'm excited.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Back, after two months

It's been a while. Someone's mentioned how Shadowfall's going- well, I played over it this week and I'm suffering from a little bit of product dismay; at least, I know I've done a lot of better stuff since. So while I figure out whether it's worth ploughing through and redoing it all, or releasing it as might not be up-to-scratch, I've been working on a few other mini-projects.

One's a sci-fi experiment that won't be released live; the other is a couple of desert areas. And I've spent the last few days coming up with a concept for the Hallowe'en project.

The idea is; one night per year (Hallowe'en) Kelemvor releases the dead and the damned into a pocket plane for a carnival they'll never forget. Plus, if they can complete certain challenges, the damned can return to earth...

Carnival of Souls it is, then.

1) Enjoy the light-hearted circus games- lobbing coconuts, say, at severed heads.
2) Meet friendly, like-minded people.
3) Accept the challenges.
4) Find true romance.
5) Face your darkest fears.

Desert Town

First of two desert areas (the second one's a desert city, below, populated with a few Red Wizard encounters) I'm at a loss to include anywhere. And yes, the decor for this one does bear some resemblance to the SoZ screenshots. (Inspired, not stole. Inspired.)

Desert Battle

I'm not sure what I want to do with these two areas. I do like 'em, though- and there's a great new Day/Night 'African Desert' on the Vault which would go great with them.

Kult Screenies

This is the project which will probably never come to light, as it was only really ever an attempt to see how far I could stretch the toolset in terms of making an NWN2 sci-fi module without breaking out the custom content. But I think I've learnt a lot from this in terms of being more adventurous in modding.
But, yes, that is a young Ammon Jerro in the 4th shot- and I do want to use him sometime, if I get a chance, as a romanceable companion, in another mod.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

A Night at the Gala (Undercover)

The Masked Ball is...well, not nearly complete (as obvious by the clusters of similar-looking people wearing the same colour, and the single butler wandering around). I'm adding in more movement, more NPCs...some of whom are ambassadors from beloved FR locations.
This section's going to be a bit of fun, really. You're sneaking into the ball under the guise of the Waterdhavian Ambassador- but you can either hurry on and throw away your disguise as quickly as possible, or, if you're feeling cheeky, hang around the ball hob-nobbing with the emissaries, insulting powerful states and baiting Vaxis, the antagonist. Being 'undercover' is also a great way for you to encounter the villain, trade a few (verbal) blows, without it having to end with him/her teleporting away rather than fight.
Also a shot (still messing around with height/distance) of another cutscene from the top of Vaxis' tower. It will be tidier.
Almost forgot...congratulations to the Golden Dragon winners!

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Back in town

Returning to the toolset for the first time in ages...I wanted to go for something I began work on the Forlorn Tower endsequence. I've cut most of the cutscene bars out to avoid spoilers, but I liked the feel of the area already too much not to share!
The mountain on the right-hand side in the second screenshot is going to be Shadowfall...once I can summon the patience to make a 0.1 replica of all the buildings. Creating a 'tower' outside area was fraught with problems, number one among which was the stretched textures. Obviously building the cliffs up a bit, changing angles etc can help towards that...but's a tower, it has to be pretty vertical. I was pleasantly surprised with the last screenshot, because the stretching actually gives an impression of speed and falling when the static camera's at that angle. Yeah....deliberate artistic decision...hmm...

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Final post for a while...

If these last few days have seemed like a blitz of action...well, that's because they have been. I've got some decent looking stuff down in preparation for at least a fortnight away from the toolset or NWN2; but before I went, I did get a chance to test-play the majority of the mod up until the Stair with a full party (excluding Char, so it's a total of 7 including the PC). I had a hell of a lot of fun, though obviously it affects gameplay and difficulty!
Anyway, accounting for the rest of the Stair-puzzles will take a while- and the Forlorn Tower, plus polishing off some combat for the 'Tale of Two Gangs' sidequest, perhaps a few mini-quests (I'm thinking of giving Char a 'hitlist' evil or neutral characters can help him complete)..well, I don't want to talk about release dates for the alpha yet. Major concern at the moment is the 'Masked Ball'- I'm torn as to whether to keep it a nice, crowded 'chatting' static event or to horribly complicate things by trying to have actual dancing, probably slowing game speed by who knows what...any good scripters out there have suggestions on the subject?

Few more shots...

Monday, 2 June 2008

Screenshots-Underground Stair

Bit of work on the Underground Stair and an antagonist cutscene to keep Vaxis in the PC's mind; tomorrow I'm planning to get a decent bit of the Stair done and hopefully some NPC conversation for Trent (that troubled past!) and Crow (tricky, considering she speaks half-gibberish).

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Old Gil

When you're at that difficult 2/3 stage of a module...sometimes it's nice to add a dash of impromptu daftness. Old Gil is petitioning Andrey, the aide for Archmancer Vaxis, on account of a borrowed quill. Well...that's my sense of humour for you, I guess.

On a more serious note...

-Banter list added to

-Gaping Maw Cellar created

-Ready to begin on the Underground Stair

There are a thousand and one things to polish and refine in Shadowfall proper but I really do want to push ahead, get a coherent main plot going right up to the climax, and then focus on ironing everything out.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

The Underground Stair

Certain slavers, the oldest and wiliest, claim to know of a route for their charges that avoids the rickety cliff elevators from Shadowfall Harbour to the Dregs above, a route that descends deep into the heart of the volcano. But it is a brave man who will venture down into the hidden tunnels of the Underground Stair, where more frightening creatures than drow or duergar are to be found...

The credulous whisper that Shardleish's magic has soaked into the firmament of the mountain, raising monstrous spirits from a prehistoric age, 'Ancestors', who stalk the dark corridors of the Stair. Whatever the truth, no slaver's party that takes the underground route ever comes back with as many as it set out with, and it is a lucky merchant who can count his heads and sigh, contentedly, that he has only lost one life to the depths below...

Tuesday, 20 May 2008


I get the feeling Crow may divide anyone who plays Shadowfall. She's the final companion I've created (cause for celebration, surely) and, while many of the others have their own plot sidequests, she's the only one who's tied in to the main plot (but don't worry, the mod can be completed without even meeting her). Basically, without giving too much away, she's a young woman who's undergone a strange and horrible ordeal...and as a result has ended up in the Asylum, where, in spite of her inability to speak sense, her beautiful singing has charmed many a doctor. So basically she's an idiot savant, with a heart of gold, who occasionally speaks remarkable wisdom - she'll be useful if you take Trent as a companion as well.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Winds-of-Vengeance and the Temple of Mask


I'm very excited about Winds; originally he was just an excuse for a cleric companion, and his character was really only filled-in racial hatred for vampires and werewolves (which works into some nice banter involving Trent and Laldrissa, who unite somewhat against a common foe...still, that's relying on the fact that someone out there will want a party consisting of a chaotic good lycanthrope shaman, an evil vampiric noble fighter, and a true neutral, xenophobic priest rather than taking one of the more exotic options).

Then I had the idea of giving him a backstory as someone who knew the PC, though unseen, before the RSE leading into 4th edition. Suddenly I had some quite exciting dialogue on my hands. Plus the man's a cleric of Hoar, so you get some nice proclamations on how divinely ironic everything is.

Anyway, these are the companions as we stand;

Char Duskspinner- Chaotic Neutral Halfling Rogue/Assassin...complete

Septimus Valshar- Neutral Evil Human Sorcerer...complete

Jashemi- Lawful Good Human Paladin

Laldrissa Durmvray- Lawful Evil Undead Fighter

Trent Underbuck- Chaotic Good Shapechanging Spirit Shaman

Winds-of-Vengeance- True Neutral Human Cleric/Ranger

Crow- Neutral Good Human Bard

And, all going to plan, each one will have a decent backstory/dialogue/banter with other companions.

I've got a nice backlog of banter, incidentally, that I've been typing up...sadly, because NWN2 runs on Speaktriggers and I'm not enough of a decent scripter to sort out an alternative arrangement, I'm having to set the conversations off at given, mainstream points, otherwise any players might just miss out on them entirely.

Favourite banter so far?

Char: Um...Jash?
Jashemi: Yes, Char?
Char: I...just wanted you to know, I think you're really pretty, and...
Jashemi: Char, darling...would it be any easier for you if I just told you now that I've taken a vow of chastity?
Char: Oh. Yes, actually. Lots.

Ok, spoilers over.


As I struggle on and on, my initial dream-of every non-hostile NPC having at least four lines of individual dialogue, even if it's only 'commoner' chat- is seeming not nearly as crazy as it used to. The truth is, I'm not much of an artist when it comes to area design (the word 'workmanlike' comes to mind) so the key elements I wanted to focus on for Shadowfall were character, plot and dialogue...and for an RPG, of course, the other two are pretty much inextricably caught up with dialogue itself. I'm on target with the NPCs, so's a strain not to get facetious and start writing things like 'blah blah blah' I'm considering doing the BG2 thing and having the Commoner-style NPCs with little easter eggs of banter that only fire up when you have a specific companion..."MY MOMMY SAYS DARK ELVES..."


Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Werewolves: This week's update

For as long as I've had this campaign in mind I wanted a werewolf companion. Not necessarily a vicious type, like the wererat in the NWN extension; at the start I was thinking of BG2's Cernd. Then I wanted him to be more of a tormented figure, the kind of character who knows he has ferocity in his nature (and his troubled past) and is constantly having to struggle with it.

As you do, I ran into several problems. First up was Cernd himself: I wanted to have my NPC as a druid, because, let's face it; what else are you going to do if you're a chaotic good lycanthrope who's lived in the forest most of his life? In the end I had to tweak my character into a spirit shaman to jump out of BG's shadow (still ropey, I know.)

Second up was the werewolf model, which is pretty much infamous now. So I had the choice of having the NPC constantly in wolf form, but looking like a werebadger with obvious breasts (I even wrote up some companion banter featuring Jashemi poking fun at Trent's 'puppy fat'), using the Vault's custom model, which would have been fine if I hadn't already worked Shadowfall's gnoll community into the mod (they come from the same starting place) or having him constantly in human form. Spending hours on a script mechanism to have him change back and forth when in battle would have been painful but possibly do-able...if there was a werewolf model I liked for him. Damn.

So, at the moment, Trent (and that's the third problem...there's about three great looking mods in development out there who also boast a companion called Trent. Hopefully mine will stand up to theirs...)'s staying human. But I'm praying before I finish the mod, some bright young genius on the Vault will come up with a werewolf model we can all relate to...

-Also worked on the Asylum; Crow's pregnancy is now a central plot point.

-Dregs are being tidied and populated. I even included some's on the side of a damn volcano, after all! The soil's going to be incredibly fertile. Screenshot included mostly because the past few ones have been quite dark.

-Struggling with speaktriggers that refuse to pick up on the right speaking NPCs...retagging seems to be the only thing that works.

-Looking forward with excitement to working on the Underground Stair, Masked Ball and the finale!


A pretty good illustration of why you should always go back to old areas before you decide you've 'finished' them for good.
Mmmm...solid black cliffledge...

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Tale of Two Gangs

Well, so I thought this blog was pretty damn spoilerish anyway, and these screenshots were rather lovely, so I thought I'd put them up. As with pretty much any city RPG, at some point or another your PC can come into contact with one of several gangs. In Shadowfall, however, there's a gang war going on between two major societies; the Bloody Bones, a collection of vampires and other undead said to be commanded by the mysterious lich, Achor, and the Red Blades, who are much more your usual thieves and rogues...although they may have been infiltrated by the growing cult known only as the Brotherhood of the Dead Hand, for purposes unknown.

This week...

-Dregs improved upon, with rather nice-looking hanged Harpers

-Achor's Garden (see above)

-Starting on the Red Blades' hideout

-Rusty Anchor developed

-Changes made to that damn piece of rock you're standing on in the 'dream' intro (see the first post, it looked awful as it was)

Next fortnight...

-Finish off Debok and the Red Blades

-Trim and play with the Necropolis dungeon crawl

-NPC dialogue/banter for Trent/Winds/Crow

-Asylum and Temple of Mask

Heavy, man.