Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Official Announcement

Official Announcement

So I announced my module on the NWN2 forums. Unfortunately my wife got hurt yesterday so my building time is going to be cut a bit. I am currently looking for scripters or code snippets to assist with the development of the mod. I'd also take some textures if anyone has any Planescape-esque textures I could use while building my city.

Monday, April 23, 2007

NWN2 Building Journal #1: Being Creative

Module - The Necromancer's Tomb

Step 1: Make a Plan
I'm from the old school of Dungeons and Dragons, when elf and dwarf were the classes you chose not the races. I am dating myself here I know but the point is this; I have an archive of preserved maps hand-drawn on graph paper. So here I go, a 32x32 multi-level dungeon. For this stage I pulled out some of my most well-planned maps and quests and started puzzling them together to produce a mega-module suitable for Neverwinter Nights 2.

Step 2: Digitize
No problem, start drawing out the map. I used the crypt tileset for this one because it suits the story-line. This step is fun, I was able to lay out my rooms with no problems what-so-ever!

Step 3: Populating
Well here is the stand-still. I have to populate every room so it doesn't look like the same old drab tileset at every turn. I've got my initial hallway done and the following room together but I am running across my main problem: Detail. I can't just throw things together, it has to be perfect. If I make a row of coffins they have to line up on all sides (down to the .1 on the coordinates). So making one room of coffins and other items can take me forever depending on the detail required.

Step 4: Scripting
So I've already dealt with the scripting a bit, I have to say that even though I have worked with C and Visual Basic a little I am still a little confused at the scripting. I think I have conversations down but now comes the hard part, all those funky little effects I want? Well I have to figure out how to program them.

Additional Stuff: Lighting
Well my original concept for lighting isn't working well. I had orginally wanted a sort of will-o-wisp type creature to wander the hallways. I have to create a skin for that. I would like to call it a Living Spell (courtesy of Eberron) I think a living dancing lights spell would be fantastic.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Progress Report

Another eaten post. This blog site is starting to piss me off, I may indeed keep my website.

Neverwinter Nights 2 has a very robust toolset, I have to watch myself due to the fact that I seem to be engrossed. My module-turned-campaign has grown from a small dungeon to a multi-level 32x32 dungeon that will be attached to a city reminiscent of sigil from Planescape.

If you don't know what Planescape is go online and buy Planescape: Torment for $5 in a bargain bin. You won't regret it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Next Project: Neverwinter Nights 2

So here it goes, the bug hit me. I'm creating a Neverwinter Nights 2 module. The module, I hope, will morph into a series of modules which I would more comfortably call a 'campaign' than anything. I plan on including personalities from my gaming past, present, and of all things future.

I've found a few good tutorials but do any of my readers (I'm not sure of the exact amount) have suggestions as to tutorials or good sites to visit?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Touting the Wii

Bloomberg Article

This rather interesting article puts into play the serious error that most game publishers have fallen prey to. Underestimation, while Nintendo has practiced less-than-friendly procedures regarding third party publishers in the past they seem to have learned from their past mistakes and become more publisher-friendly. The behind the scenes problems ranged from requiring developers to buy their cartridges exclusively and dismissing CD Media for the old cartridge-style games.

Nintendo, however, still lacks a few things that make other companies successful. The first is online gaming. Microsoft currently holds the market on this one with X-Box Live. Sony explored the area as well and they are currently working on a solution for the PS3. The Wii is plagued with issues regarding online content, if Nintendo could polish that up they would definitely be the top dog of the game market. The second problem is power, how long before the novelty of the Wii wears off? Who knows for sure. There is no doubt that the PS3 and the 360 are more powerful than the Wii but they are so expensive that in my opinion they are not worth the buy. I still have yet to play any of the three systems though I do want to buy a Wii. By the time I get to it the price will have dropped significantly. I still haven't purchased a DS ether.

Publishers are now starting to play catch up and I am thankful for that, Nintendo is the pioneer of the genre. They revived the game industry, I'd like to see them in charge for the simple reason that the games they produce are FUN, not just graphical masterpeices with crap gameplay.

Interesting Turn of Events

I had thought I canceled my original website The Sanitarium Network was canceled at my request but apparently it wasn't. So I will be working on that again in time and possibly transferring everything back to it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Dark Messiah of Might and Magic

A first person shooter fantasy RPG? Wow that's a tall order, but I must say Dark Messiah of Might and Magic pulls it off without a hitch. While not as Gritty and Dark-natured as Doom 3 it does come close. What hits me is how seamless things are when you move from each 'class' to another so-to-speak. I'll explain that under the Gameplay section. Another good game, there have been several hits recently. That is quite a rarity.

Graphics: 8 of 10
For a FPS game Dark Messiah does very well at portraying graphics and phsyics for that matter. The textures on medium are very impressive, if I turn them up unfortunately my computer will explode. I hate to say it but I am too poor to upgrade! lol!

Sound: 9 of 10
The sound is only repetitive when you have a mob (mobile unit for you non-MUD going types) chasing after you or looking for you when they can't find you. The sounds are very organic and fluid, down to your kick hitting an enemy in the gut.

Gameplay: 10 of 10
Here's where I am impressed. Your options for character customization are UNLIMITED, you can be one class or all classes at once because of the open skill point system they use. Right now I am leaning toward a stealth/magic hybrid. The phsyics are definitely a plus seeing as it was built on the same engine as Half-Life 2, you'll recognize the menus if you've played it. Your fighting abilities depend on what you spend your skill points on. I have made it like a Thief: The Dark Project clone gameplay-wise. But you can go direct combat, magic, or stealth if you like to specialize. The story so far is intriguing, the person whom you think is on your side may not be, but they may be, then there's the ever-present 'voice in your head' that just keeps making witty but racy commentary. It's amusing to say the least. Combat is open-ended also, you can hit people with objects, kick them or push them off of platforms, push or kick them into obstacles or spikes or even just fight them outright or backstab them. If you're really into magic you can burn or freeze someone. I like the effect fire has on the textures, when you burn someone they become singed to match your hit.

Multiplayer: Untested

Replayability: 8 of 10
Whereas the story will always be the same, I am the kind of person that likes to go back and try the game out as something else, who knows I may have had more fun going 100% stealth or combat instead of making a hybrid. Definitely a wise choice for a pick-up game if you're into FPS, Fantasy, or Just kicking someone's ass.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Going back to my gaming roots.

So I reinstalled Warcraft 3, Diablo 2, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, Oblivion (Which is my favorite game of all time), and a few other games. It's kinda fun, you rarely think about pulling out those old games and playing a few minutes here and there but I must admit I'm quite taken with Oblivion yet again.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars

What's not to like about Command and Conquer 3, it keeps you busy! Definitely a good buy if you like strategy gaming. I have played through a large part of the GDI campaign and I feel like I am ready to review the game, so here goes!

Graphics: 9 of 10
Sound: 8 of 10
Gameplay: 10 of 10
Multiplayer: Unrated, Untested
Replayability: 8 of 10
Overall 9 of 10

Graphics - The graphics for command and conquer are good of the type of genre it's in. Here's why I think that you don't need the super-hot-major graphical quality in games like this. If the game looked like oblivion, for instance, that would mean that it would have top of the line graphics, sure, but look at how much you have going on the screen at once. You have several groups of units on both or all three sides depending on what part of the campaign you're on. That would cause MAJOR lag. On that same note I am a graphics whore and you just can't get that perfect look for me unless it is oblivion.

Sound - I love the sounds in C&C, but you know as well as I do there are only so many types of sound you can throw into an explosion. This may just be me but half an hour of explosions and rifle fire can really get on your nerves. However, the sound was done very well.

Gameplay - They have really done well in the past with Command and Conquer, I never expected the gameplay to suck. For those who don't do strategy very often it will be very challenging trying to balance units and keep several squads going at once, not to mention trying to balance the damage types available. However, they do a very good job at showing you what's good for what during the course of the campaign. I would suggest running through the campaigns before you do multiplayer because of the fact that it gives you tips, hints and strategy help as you progress. The gameplay is fast-paced and keeps you thinking. I will say though that the AI isn't 100% top notch but it does challenge you by attacking from multiple sides at once, etc. Damned good job!

Multiplayer - Haven't had a chance to do multiplayer yet, I may be able to this weekend, we'll see!

Replayability - Definitely a good game to keep around, you never know when you'll want to throw up a skirmish game and kick some computer, or human ass.

Overall - A good buy, if you haven't gotten it yet, get it. The only real problem I have encountered is the movies are out of sync sometimes. I don't care about the movies though, you can listen to the basic briefs after quitting out of the movies and you won't miss much. The acting is a little overdone though.

Yay for me!

I am now Microsoft Sharepoint Certified!

What does that mean? I can make pages in sharepoint on the intarwebnets.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Command and Conquer 3

So I have Command and Conquer 3, good deal. I haven't had a chance to play much more than the tutorial so I can't really comment yet, look forward to more on this little jewel soon!

Guild Wars Review

So a friend of mine was nice enough to let me use his Guild Wars account to test the game out. My general view is that it is a very interesting game.

Graphics: 8 of 10
Sound: 6 of 10
Gameplay: 5 of 10
Lag Factor: 4 of 10
Replayability: Unrated

Graphics: The landscapes and graphics for Guild Wars are very nice, I have to say it beats World of Warcraft so far. The only reason why I didn't give it a higher score is because of the 'Toon' factor. Everything looks a bit cartoony to me and some of the movements are less-than-fluid character and spellwise.

Sound: I wasn't really impressed with the sound, the only reason it got such a low score is that it's all been done and unfortunately in the gaming world the same old same old doesn't get the high score. The sound isn't bad per se but the music is less-than-desireable compared to the full scores that are World of Warcraft tracks.

Gameplay: Okay, here's the deciding factor. The classes, whereas they are apparently well rounded are confusing. It took me a while to figure out how to reposition skills and balance my mana usage. I have yet to get used to the difference in play, when you click on something you move toward it and the same goes for using skills, when you target an enemy and use a skill you run toward the enemy. I like that. This score may change as I play along but for now it is a little difficult adjusting. That's more my fault than anything but it doesn influence my scoring. Another thing that I am still dealing with is instance-based gameplay. You are basically playing a single-player game on a massive scale with Guild Wars. This has its own ups and downs depending on the player. You won't find someone randomly out there killing mobs for loot but you also won't have anyone out there to help you ether.

Lag Factor: Well here's the thing about having huge player hubs. LAG. When in a city or non-instanced area you WILL experience Ironforge-level lag. The rest of the game is instance-based which causes NO lag at all.

Replayability: Unknown, I've only gotten to level 5, then I deleted the character and started over. The classes are the main factor in this, you can have a primary class and a secondary class. Your secondary abilities do not include the 'special ability' granted by that class. Read the website for more on that. http://www.guildwars.com

Overall: 5 of 10
I am still playing to test Guild Wars but so far it isn't bad but I don't know if I am willing to drop money into it yet.

Reverting to Starcraft

So this weekend I ended up playing Starcraft: Broodwars and Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne with my old lan party buddies. To say the least we have not lost our skills and it seems that I have even improved on Warcraft 3 yet I haven't played a strategy game for more than 10 minutes excluding of course Supreme Commander.

Starcraft was quite the game in its day and to this day it remains one of the best games out there, and whats better is it can run on almost any system to date. We even got it running on a 486 machine on time (we were bored).

Starcraft Strategy: I played as Terran first because everyone knows the best way to defeat a computer is to control a bottleneck that they can't cross. Keep in mind that I am not the best Starcraft player out there, we usually play against the computer AI. Keep in mind it is always a good thing to keep a squad of units that can attack land and air in your base and always remember to surround your perimeter with air and/or land defense depending on the map.

Terran Strategy:
The optimum Terran strategy is to wall off the entrance to your base with Supply Depots and put bunkers behind that with a few SCV's dedicated to repairs. This prevents all but ranged and flying units from hurting you too much. You may also want to park a few seige tanks at the entrance to give you that extra range and power. It gives you a bit of control over what you do. However, make sure you build up to the point that you have shuttles so you can get yourself out. Remember to surround your base with turrets and have a squad of goliaths ready to take out any stragglers.
Things to watch out for:
Seige Tanks - These Little bastards can take down your depots quickly, make sure you have some wraiths or battlecruisers ready to counter any seige attacks. You can also alternate two marines and two ghosts in the bunkers to help with this.
Zerglings - Zerglings are so small they can squeeze between your supply depots and get to the squishy little SCV's. Make sure you have an empty bunker away from the action to stuff your repair SCV's into.
Flying Units - Anything above the ground can cross into your base unhindered unless you pepper your area with turrets and keep a ground/air combat squad to defend yourself.
Reavers - Big AoE booms are bad for your supply depots and SCV's so watch for these scarab-carrying bastards.

Protoss Strategy:
I usually go with the Zealot/Dragoon method when I go with protoss. Fully upgraded Zealots are a force to be reckoned with. Remember to do all armor/weapon/shield upgrades and the speed boost. Always keep some Zealots and Dragoons ready at your base for defense and augment them with a battery and a few cannons as well. After I send in the Zealots and Dragoons I usually have a squad of Reavers air lifted in via a shuttle. I drop them in the enemy's production area and quickly take out all of their harvesters. Remember that Reavers cannot attack air! And you have to build scarabs to make them work, so don't forget to queue scarabs.
Things to watch out for:
Flying Units - Zealots are defenseless unless you have a few dragoons in the squad to help them with flying contraptions. Your Zealots will be picked off easily without some sort of help in this area.

Zerg Strategy:
Okay, I don't play zerg often but here's what I do. I usually go straight for Guardians/Mutalisks and keep a squad of Hydralisks on hand for base defense. At my entrance I keep sunken/spore colonies along with a few Lurkers scattered behind the colonies to add some extra power to defense.
Things to watch out for:
Flying Units - Guardians CANNOT attack air, only ground so they are vulnerable to all of the air-only attackers (Devourers for Zerg, Valkeries for Terran, Corsairs for Protoss). Make sure to keep some defenders with them, usually a squad or three of Mutalisks will make short work of any offending air traffic. Beware of Battlecruisers though, those bastards can take a beating.

General Things
One general thing to watch out for are Templars. Those fuckers are way overpowered, Psychic Storm is a bitch, Feedback sucks and Mind Control is not fun. PS is an AoE attack that damages all units, even those that are buried. FB is like Mana Burn in wow, it does damage based on how much energy you have stored, this can screw your battlecrusers. MC, as described below, gives you control of the target unit.

Protoss Note: Dark Archons are your friend, you can mind control an enemy harvester and get a whole new, or even all three races. If you're playing with friends have them send a basic builder into your base so you can take it over.

Warcraft 3 requires a little more from a computer but it is no less fun. I remember the days of playing Warcraft 2 endlessly. I would recommend to anyone that they pick up these two titles produced by the publisher that made everyone's favorite MMORPG World of Warcraft.

World of Warcraft: Game Over

So it's official, I've stopped subscription to world of warcraft for both myself and my wife. So what does life after WoW offer? Well I have also finished the first two chapters of my book. Unfortunately I had to scrap the first 13 chapters I had because I didn't like the way things turned out.

Life after WoW will definitely be interesting. What do I sink my time into now? How about life itself.

Back and still pretty.

So I took a trip to NC this weekend starting thursday so I haven't been able to drop a post but expect a few soon.

Guild Wars
Command and Conquer 3
Reverting to Starcraft
World of Warcraft: Game Over