4/30/10 -Friday: NOT EXACTLY HOW I WANTED TO FINISH OFF THE MONTH...
Well, what a shitty few days I've had. It all started Wednesday night, as I was about to get into some heavy development. One minute, I'm surfing the internet, then an hour later, as I try to open the toolset, I get some "application" telling me my machine is infected, and that I need to click on some link to buy some software to get rid of it. Yeah, didn't fall for it last time, not going to fall for it this time... This time around however, the damn thing was able to block my attemtps to restore my system, and even worse (well, perhaps good in a way), it borked my entire hard drive. So, I ended up having to go out to Best Buy real quick, and picking up a new one. As I expect to be making use of video related stuff soon, I opted for a terrabyte, which cost a little over $100. Gotta do what you gotta do.
Now, the most important thing to me at the moment was Rose of Eternity, and making sure I was able to backup everything. You see, when the computer started messing up, before rebooting, I immediately began checking in all content into the DB, exporting said DB, and creating B2B files for everything related to the mod. I also checked in all art resources to my off site SVN repository, and as a fail safe, copied them to an external hard drive. Thank god I backed up that stuff when I did, because when I shut off the machine, and returned to it the next morning, it wouldn't boot up, and I would eventually have to just reformat the disk. Heh, smartest thing I've done in a while!
Now, before going out and purchasing a new hard drive, I attempted to re-install Windows XP with the old one many times, to no avail. This pretty much ate up all the time I had on Thursday, as I didn't get the new hard drive until around 9:30 pm. Of course then, I started having issues with Windows XP, and it recognizing the new disk. Now, this entire time, I was trying to stay away from installing Windows 7, which I have a copy of, just because of perceived complications with it I read on the forums (more on that later). I ended up biting the bullet, and installed Windows 7, and amazingly, everything went extremely smooth. Not a single, solitary issue. Then, began the long and arduous task of restoring all the game content. It went like so:
- Install Dragon Age Origins
- Install Patch 1.02 (don't trust 1.03 at the moment yet)
- Install Dragon Age Origins Toolset
- Restore DB
- Install Python 2.5
- Re-Export All Levels
- Re-Export All Face Morphs
- Re-Export Materials/Tints
- Re-Compile All 2DA's
- Re-Export FMOD Music Project
- Re-Export Custom Icons
- Re-download Talmud Storage API
It wasn't that easy, of course :) Exporting the levels was a pain in the ass, because I had to render the lightmaps over again. That literally took hours. I was also getting issues when I basically did any type of export in the toolset, where it was complaining it couldn'f find AddIns.xml. Turns out, I just needed to start the game up one time, and re-download all my DLC, and the file was created.
Another issue I had was with the Talmud Storage API. I think when I backed up the DB, it included references to it. So, when I re-downloaded the B2B file and tried to import it, it already saw it as an existing resource. Only thing was, it was empty. So, for the time being, I imported it under different name, and just changed all the references to it.
Relatively speaking, things weren't that bad. The majority of the issues were caused by the fact that I hadn't done a toolset setup since like last December, so a lot of the little things, I forgot. People always complain that there is a lack of information and whatnot, but I found every answer to every question I had on the WIKI. It's definitely doing its job. With regards to issues with Windows 7, I should have realized... This is the internet :) When I actually read through the threads, almost every time someone had an issue they attributed to Windows 7, someone would pop in and say they're box was fine. Which indicated system related things. For me, the only issue that popped up was some permissions things when trying to restore the DB. I just had to change permissions on the entire Dragon Age installation directory to fix that. And yes, I got that answer onthe WIKI as well. I was very impressed, to say the least.
At any rate, this has definitely lit a fire under my ass. I will be extremely strict with how I handle the backing up of everything on the comp. I'll definitely be doing weekely backups, and if I'm doing heavy work during the week, weekly ones may end up happening as well. If I had last a month of work, as it potentially could have happened, I would probably be on suicide watch at this point.
4/27/10 -Tuesday: TIME TO MOVE ON...
So, I'm currently at a stand still for a particular part of development. I know what needs to be done, it's how it will be done that is stumping me at the moment. I cannot really give away too much info, but suffice to say, rather than rush through it and do it wrong, I will just move on to something else, because well, there's so much left to be done :(
I knew years ago this particular sequence of events was going to be the toughest I had ever developed. There's so much going on, so much scale to show to the player, and so much content to be created. And this is just for a small chunk of the game. Still, I'm sticking to my guns, and will see it through. As I've always said, I really need to set the stage for all the upcoming events in the game.
At any rate, I'm going to get back to some level design tomorrow, and if I'm lucky, some dialogue. There will be more roleplaying chances for the PC, with the consequences being very real. While doing this, hopefully an idea will spark in my head with regards to how to proceed with this other section. Here's hoping.
Finally, just wanted to point people to this thread about music in video games, at the Bioware social site. It's a pretty interesting read, with plenty of links to listen to the music. Enjoy!
4/26/10 -Monday: BUSY WITH REAL WORLD STUFF...
Right, so I've been pretty busy with real world stuff today, and wasn't able to do much. I did some more testing with the new model Archon made for me and sent my results off to him (should have did that yesterday, been so busy!). After that, I just did a bunch of tweaks to the latest cutscene I was working on last week. It still runs a little slow on my machine, so I have to change little things here and there to optimize things. It wasn't glamorous work, but important work nonetheless. I hope to be back in the swing o things tomorrow...
4/25/10 -Sunday: NOT MUCH TODAY...
Yep, total lazy day today. Hell, I didn't even get started developing until late this afternoon, as I was spending a big chunk of my time playing Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Great game... So much strategy involved in it, it's ridiculous. In fact, I won't even play it unless I am playing with my one friend, because I'll just get pissed off at the idiots running around running and gunning, when they should be sticking to whatever objective we have.
So, Archon figured out what was wrong with the custom model, and sent me the revisions. There is just one minor detail that needs to be worked out, but besides that, all is good. Nice to have this more or less, out of the way.
I attempted to re-color another existing item, but for whatever reason, it's not possible. It's the templar armor, and there is something special about it that won't allow me to apply my custom tints to it. It's not a high priority at the moment, so I'm not going to worry about it too much.
Well, back to work tomorrow... sigh... Not even going to lay out things I'm going to do, I'm just going to see where this week takes me. I have gotten off the path so much these past few days, it's not even worth it. However, not for nothing, but all of this stuff has to get done at some point anyway, so it's not like I'm extending the overall development time or anything. Just re-shuffling things as needed.
4/24/10 -Saturday: NOW THIS GAME IS STARTING TO RESEMBLE ROSE OF ETERNITY!
Wow, what a long day... While I didn't kill myself developing every second of the day, I was definitely doing stuff on and off from about 3:00pm till 12:30am.
I woke up this morning to find 4 icons in my inbox, courtesy of Archon. 1 was a modified version of one he gave me late in the week, 2 were the same ability, just different versions for me to decide upon, and 1 was the final one I asked him to make. One big change for all icons is that he found out he had been sending me 40x40 versions, instead of 42x42. Now, I'm ignorant to all of this stuff, but getting the 42x42 versions just looked like 10 times better. All in all, all of these custom icons are definitely giving the game the unique look I am looking for. Heh, with the speed that I am getting these icons, the pressure is on for me to finish designing some more custom abilities. Not a bad problem to have :)
RE-COLORING EXISTING ITEMS
While I obviously don't have the skills to handle retexturing/modeling/etc., I figured simple re-coloring existing items wouldn't be so hard. Following this tutorial, I was able to do just that. I won't go into that much detail (that's what the tutorial is for!), but it essentially consists of me creating custom tints, that can be applied to any item. Much like how the color of items change if you use the Dragonbone (or whatever it's called) material, when selecting these custom override tints, you get the same effect. At first, I thought I was going to have to create new tints for each type of item (armor, boots, etc.), but was extremely pleased to see one tint would work for all items, as well as the various styles of items.
So, I got started, and finally re-colored the starting equipment for the PC, as well as some other important characters, 3 in all. Those of you who played my first 2 games may start to be able to piece together where the story will be heading, based off the gear that people will be having on in all future screenshots, including today's.
So yeah, definitely more annoying than in NWN1, but whatever. You gotta do what you gotta do, and the end result is all I care about. It's great to just be able to have control over things like this again.
CUSTOM MODEL ISSUES
I spoke too soon with regards to the custom model I integrated last night. While the integration went fine, more or less, the actual colors are showing up weird in game. As always, I am probably missing something really small... I didn't get around to making a post about it, and I'm too tired at the moment, but will give it a go tomorrow.
Even though I have a ton of music to listen to on a daily basis, I have essentially been listening to the same stuff for this game for years. It actually is starting to get a little old... Lucky for me, I started listening to some music I had previously imported into my iTunes library, but for whatever reason, never listened. It was a nice change of pace, and I definitely found some tracks I would consider putting in this game. I may have even found the main theme for the new character I integrated a few days ago. Speaking of which...
NEW CHARACTER I INTEGRATED A FEW DAYS AGO :)
So, I am fighting the temptation to make this new character a full fledged party member :( Why is that a bad thing, you ask? Well, a new party member carries a lot of responsibility. All party members are created equally, so to speak, and this one would end up having to have:
- Custom core abilities
- Last Resorts
- Bonds of Battle abilities
- Unison abilities
I'm probably missing something, and this doesn't even count all the extra dialogue that would come with them as well. In short, I'm not one to do things half assed, and I wouldn't want to have this extra party member not live up to the standards of the other established ones.
Even still, I've been in this position before. Checkout my journal entry for December 29th, 2005. Raina Lannen started out as a simple NPC, nothing more. Somewhere along the week, while listening to music and whatnot, I kept getting ideas for a story for her, and finally decided to just add her to the game. At the time, I made myself promise she wouldn't be as prominent as the other party members, which of course was horse shit, because she ended up getting the same treatment as the others. In the end, it was well worth it, but it was a bunch of extra work all the same.
So, at the moment, I'm not ready to make that decision yet. Only time will tell...
So, if you add up all the stuff I did today, especially the stuff with the icons and the re-coloring of items, I am happy to say that this game is definitely starting to get that Rose of Eternity feel to it. It's hard to explain, but when I looked at screenshots of the older games, then compared them to these new images, obviously these graphics are better, but they didn't seem to fit, visually. I know I was just using temporary models and whatnot, but it definitely feels good to start getting away from that.
On good thing about this journal is that when I finish this game, I can enjoy going back and looking at how it used to look, versus the final product. Should be fun :)
4/23/10 -Friday: CUSTOM CONTENT NIGHT...
So, tonight was all about custom content, and integrating it into the game. Archon retextured an item for me, and tonight, my task was to get it in the game. Pretty quickly, I came across this thread, which pointed me to this blog. While everything in the blog didn't exactly apply to me, I was able to pull enough info from it to get the ball rolling.
I essentially had to just find the 2da (ItemVariations.xls) that contained the existing item, duplicate the row, and make sure it referenced the name of the newly created item. Pretty straightforward. Once I did that, I was able to see it in the toolset. Then, I just created a new item, and browsed for the model, and voila, the retextured item was complete. Next, I added it to an NPC and fired up the game, just to make sure it looked okay, which I did (I admit I only checked briefly, I'm about to go to sleep in the next 5 min). There's still one issue to figure out, but I'll have to ping Archon about it tomorrow, as it's way over my head :)
He also sent me a first draft for the icon for another core ability for a particular party member. As expected, I liked it a lot. If the player didn't read the description for the ability, I feel they would almost know what to expect, just by looking at the picture itself. I'm very pleased, and can't wait to get it in the game, once I get a DDS version of it.
Tomorrow, I plan to continue with the integration of the new item, and make sure it is working as good as I think it is. I also have the aforementioned issue to deal with, but I don't think it will take long. Then, back to the cutscene fixes I would have done a few days ago, lol.
4/22/10 -Thursday: CHARACTER INTEGRATION NIGHT...
While I was supposed to do some cutscene cleanup tasks today, the new character that I needed to add to the game was calling to me. They were saying, "Leonard, come on, you know character integration is better than cutscene development... Come on, you're tired of working on cutscenes". So, I succumbed to the character/voices in my head :)
The actual integration itself wasn't difficult, it was just that there were so many places where I needed to make changes. This particular character, that I mentioned on Tuesday, was a perfect fit for a lot of the early scenes in the game. You see, I just used a bunch of generic NPC's where needed early on, knowing I might come back and change them to more important NPCs. For instance, there is a cutscene/dialogue early on with a particular no name/non important NPC, that I was able to fix up to be for the new character.
So, for cutscenes, all I needed to do was change the source blueprint of the old NPC to the new character, and voila, they were in the scene. Dialogues were a little trickier, since I make use of stages. I had to make sure the stage was referencing the new character by changing the tag in the cinematics tab of the dialogue. Then, I had to make sure each piece of dialog they spoke was spoken by the new character, and not the old NPC.
Finally, I had to change a bunch of scripts to, which mostly consisted of do a search and replace on the old NPC's tag with the new characters tag. Like I said, not hard work, it was just the quantity.
It was also nice to revisit the beginning of the game, and while there, I decided to play through a bunch of times, to make sure the new character was working correctly. Of course, I found a bunch of stuff I wanted to change, but I resisted the urge to pull out my trusty notebook, and stuck to the issue at hand.
Now, the integration isn't done. While I was able to do the full replace of the old with the new, this being a semi-important character, I will have to add extra dialogue for them as well. I'll brainstorm the specifics on the train tomorrow morning, and if I have time during work tomorrow, try to write a little, and email it to myself for later. This will be the easiest part, because I already have the high level scope of their background, and all that. In usual Rose of Eternity fashion, they will have ties to older characters and factions from the previous games, so there will be a little familiarity.
Speaking of which, I've been finding that it's pretty easy to develop new characters these days. With so much content/story/lore/characters from the previous 2 games, it's almost a crime how easy it is to plug them into the existing world. Instead of worrying about what type of city they came from, what type of faction they belong to, etc., I can just focus on their personality, and how the player will interact with them. The lore is already established, so I can say they are from, say, Stramadon, and be done with it, without having to think much more about it(not saying this person is from Stramadon!). I know the politics of Stramadon, what is going on there at the moment, etc. I can just drop people into that world, and just make sure it's consistent, and it's all good!
Finally, I received some new stuff from Archon today, but it was too late before I could check it out, so that will be priority #1 tomorrow night when I get home. It's basically some new models, so I'm going to learn how to get those into the game. Yay!
4/21/10 -Wednesday: MUCH BETTER NIGHT...
Tonight was a much better night for development. I finished up all the shots I needed for the cutscene, and now, I just have to clean the following things up:
- Figure out why in the HELL the PC is black in certain sections. Interestingly enough, now it happens in the cutscene editor as well, though it doesn't last... Weird...
- Get some sounds into the scene. Not sure what's going on here, but it's not working for certain sound effects. These are cruical to the scene, so I have to figure this out at some point
- Add all extras, as well as important npcs to the scene. I've just been using test npc's for the moment, but now I need to widdle the number down to something appropriate, and figure out where to put the important ones.
- Fix up some lingering animation issues (what else is new!)
- Minor performances fixes.
4/20/10 -Tuesday: 11 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!
This day, 11 years ago, I was sitting in Brian's Rhodes house, hashing out ideas on Aramus, Clopon, & Challseus. Of course, at that time, I didn't know their names. Hell, I didn't even know what they looked liked (well, I had a good idea for Aramus). Also, if I remember correctly, the game was called Rose of Time, rather than Rose of Eternity. To be honest, I'm not really sure where the eternity part came from. I probably just heard it one day, as thought, "Hmm, that sounds better than time".
But yeah, those were the days. All I had was my vision, a notebook, and a pen. Everywhere I went back then, I had that notebook. It was like, anything inspired. I could be in history class learning about the French revolution, and get a game idea. I could be watching A Beautiful Mindin the theatres, and get a game idea. Hell, I even got ideas from dreams! I admit, it was frustrating on some level, because I wasn't able to truly enjoy things anymore, because every passing thought was on this game.
That 1 notebook turned to many notebooks. I cannot even tell you how many post-its I still have, with hastily scribbled ideas on them. Every once in a while, I open my big bag of notes, just to see what was going through my head back then. Amazingly, a lot of the old ideas still hold up today. Sadly, a lot were just plain dumb :) You live and you learn!
It's funny... Back then, I thought I could just come up with a good game idea, call up Sqaure Enix, and tell them to give me a bunch of money to make a game. Ahem... I was 18, of course I thought things like that! I was invincible then, lol. Reality obviously sunk in, and yet, I still hold to that same dream. That same dream that people will be able to truly experience all the stuff that has been in my head for 11 years.
Oddly enough, it's been complete strangers who have given me the most support over the years. It's hard to talk to people I know in real life, people who don't even play RPG's, and try to tell them you have these ideas that you think are great, things that you think would make a great RPG. They just don't care. Of course, they support you, but they don't truly understand.
No, it's been complete strangers on the internet who have given me the most support. So to anyone who has sent me an email, rated one of my mods, etc., thanks. It's a cliche and all that good stuff, but it's things like that that keep me going. I mean, don't get me wrong... I'll never abandon a project, but things like that definitely make it easier.
Right, moving on...
...So, I did some more work on the cutscene, that turned from a 2 day project into a... who the hell knows... Things just keep getting a little more complicated, and of course, I lost a day yesterday, when I implemented the custom potions and such. Even still, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. There's just one more shot to do, I need to fix up some more wonky walking animations, and then figure why the HELL the PC is black during the scene. I thought it had to do with lighting, but the weird thing is, other NPC's around him look just fine. Might have to post something on the level design forums tomorrow night if I cannot figure it out.
Beyond that, I've just been doing a little brainstorming on how to add an additional character to the game. Not a major one, but someone of some significance. I actually already had an idea for this particular character a year or more ago, but for whatever reason, the idea got dropped. Well, I'm reviving them, so to speak, just in a lower role.
In keeping with tradition, I aim to have a huge cast of characters, just like in The Coming & Cry The Beloved, as seen on the Cast page. I think the depth makes the game world more believable, and the more you keep seeing said characters, the greater the attatchment. Plus, for you players of the older games, many of the existing members of the cast will be returning as well! Of course it will be time consuming, as you would expect but... screw it, everything else is time consuming as well. Might as well toss these in the bucket as well :)
Oh, and I finally picked the theme for the 2nd official party member. I had been listening to it on and off for the past 5 months or so, coming up with ideas for said party member. Well, I finally decided to add it to my Rose of Eternity playlist on my iPod today, which pretty much seals the deal. Incidently, I already implemented their core special ability during the BETA as well, so they're ready to go. I'm still a ways off from getting to that point in the development, but nice to know it's taken care of, nonetheless.
4/19/10 -Monday: MORE ICONS...
So, when I got to work today, I checked my personal email, and was happy to find some early versions of some new icons Archon was working on. These particular icons are for my line of custom healing potions. While I would have been okay with a straight re-coloring of the existing Dragon Age healing poultices, he convinced me to allow him to create his own versions, and well, they definitely look better in my opinion. For anyone who played my earlier games, they more closely resembles those potions, which of course is a good thing.
As soon as I had a chance, I began to integrate these icons into the game. For talents and spells and such, you define the icon in the corresponding 2DA row. I made the mistake and thought it would be the same for items. I kept loading up the game, and kept getting the default lesser healing poultice icon, and it was driving me crazy. Then, I opened up the custom potion, and realize that right there in it's property section, you could just browse for the icon and set it. Once that was done, all was good. Was pretty nice to see it in game as well.
While I was at it, I figured I might as well fully integrate the entire potion itself into the game. You see, I originally just copied the lesser healing poultice, and renamed it to what I needed. So while the name in game was different, it was for intents and purposes, the same thing. First thing I did was re-route the event when you use the potion to my own custom scripts, and apply the effects there. It seems Dragon Age poultices actually use a spellpower modifier to determine how much health you get back. Obviously, mages would get more than warriors. I'm not sure if I will stick with that in my game, but I kept it for the moment. Finally, I had to add a new string to my module's talk table so that when the potion is used, and the item name displays over the user's head briefly, it shows the right thing. Once I generated the name and received the id, I added it to my 2DA, and it showed up in game with no problems.
So all that is left is to determine if I will use a static health value, or stick with some modifier. It's not a big deal at the moment, and is something I would rather deal with later in development, when I am doing a lot of combat balancing. Even still, feels good to finally get the majority of it out of the way.
4/18/10 -Sunday: DIDN'T DO AS MUCH AS I SHOULD HAVE...
Well, I definitely didn't get as much work done today as I should have. I was just... well, I guess lazy is the appropriate word. It happens... By the time I started getting any work done, it was essentially time for me to turn in for the night.
Since I knew I wasn't going to have the time to do too much, I focused on minor things, such as tweaking camera angles in cutscenes, adding animations, etc. Speaking of which, for all you modders out there, Beerfish's DAAnimationsListingv2.xls is my best friend when it comes to finding animations for my cutscenes. Couldn't live without the damn thing. Now all we need is a visual version :)
I guess in the end, it serves me in the long run to not get burned out by spending every hour of the weekend developing. Anyone around right before the release of Cry The Beloved who was reading this blog can attest to it. Simply put, life sucked for that last month. Nothing seemed to be going right, and I had a headache that lasted like 2 weeks in a row! I don't want to ever go through that again...
Tomorrow, I'll... Actually, no promises this time. I'll just report what I did tomorrow :)
4/17/10 -Saturday: NEW TEAM MEMBER!
Okay, so I got permission to talk about what I briefly mentioned yesterday. I am proud to say that an extremely capable graphic artist/3d modeler has joined the team! Why do I need permission you ask? Well, during development of Cry The Beloved, a particular person who was helping me out with some things got a little mad at me for mentioning their name on my blog, which is understandable. So now, I make it a policy to check with them before so. Just a courtesy thing, really.
Anyway, it all started when I received an email last Saturday from someone named Archon, saying they were available to help with various things on the project. Me being the procrasinator that I am, I didn't get back to him till Wednesday, I think. Plus, I was going through hell trying to fix this bug at work, that I mentioned earlier this week. Well, that day, we pretty much hashed out what I was looking for in general, and what he could provide. What am I looking for, you ask? Well, two things were mentioned in our exchange:
- Custom icons for all custom abilities
- Some retexturing of existing models in the game
On Friday, I sent him the specifics on the first core ability that the PC gets (the same one I talked about on Thursday). Literally 2 hours later, I received 2 versions of the icon for me to look at, as well as a DDS version of one of them, so I could try it out in game and see what it looked like. When I got home, the first thing I was thinking was, damn, now I have to learn how to get custom icons into this damn game! One search on the Social Network, and about 20 minutes later, it was in the game :) And it looked damn fine, if I do say so myself.
The key thing for these icons is that they have to keep the same general look and feel of all the other stock DAO ability icons. Kudos to Archon for doing that, and so damn fast! I've already sent out the specifics on another 3 custom abilities, and I can't wait to see what he comes up with. He's also looking at re-coloring an existing piece of clothing for me, so I have to do some research on how to get that into the game as well. I'm sure a search in the Custom Content section of the DA toolset forums will be sufficient. So yeah, it's safe to say that I am SUPER excited about this.
I did actually do some work today too. I more or less finished up all the tricky camera angles involved in the scene. However, there is this really weird and annoying issue where any actors standing in certain places are completely black, as if the static lights there are set to not affect characters (which of course they are). I actually observed this in another cutscene I created last month, but I figured I would just come back to it, and fix it later. Well, looks like that time is now... sigh... There goes more hours of productivity...
4/16/10 -Friday: EVERYTHING IS GOING ACCORDING TO PLAN <INSERT MANIACAL LAUGH>
So far, I've been really sticking to all my goals for the past few days, which is a good thing. As planned, I started work on the new cutscene. I wrote the dialogue that is used early in the scene, and added the custom music track that plays during it. Then, I synced most of the key movements/animations with said music. I still have some kinks to work out with some walking animations, but I'm finally used to all of that, because of the extensive work I put in on another cutscene last month. If I really focus tomorrow, I can definitely finish the majority of it by tomorrow night. If the past few days is anything to go by, in terms of productivity, I think I can get it done.
Now, I would have finished more, but I was busy working on something that I can't talk about at the moment. It's definitely related to the development of this game, but I just don't have concrete permission to talk about it at the moment. That said, it is something that is very key to the uniqueness of this game, and something that I've been thinking about for a while. I'm sure I'll have more details tomorrow...
4/15/10 -Thursday: ANOTHER PRODUCTIVE DAY!
While I didn't get the 6 hours of un-interrupted development time, the time I did get was put to good use. No surfing the forums, no facebook, no game review sites.... I just focused on development, and that in itself is an accomplishment :)
In short, I more or less finished the area. Of course I'll add things here and there over the next few months, but it's definitely 99% done. Feels good to actually keep to a schedule for once! As for what I did, well, I finally found a lighting scheme I liked, added the stained glass windows to the walls, and put up walls at the north and south side of the area. I did have to adjust things here and there, for performance reasons. Mostly, just making the area slightly smaller. In the end, there is no need to have a bunch of extra space that isn't used, and is just hogging a bunch of memory. Finally, I just got an idea for the entire theme of the levels I've been building, but I have to give it more thought before implementing. I think it will give a unique feel to the area, I just hope all the props/placeables I need exist. I'm pretty sure I've seen enough of them, but I'll have to go through all of them via DA Tool again, just to be sure.
While this is definitely not the last level of the group of levels I've been making over the past month, it definitely feels like it's the culmination of all my hard work. All my struggles with lighting, walkmeshes, etc. weren't for naught. I've learned so much, so the creation of this level, while I feel it's definitely my best work, seems to have been the easiest, if that makes sense, lol.
So, I decided that I might as well knock out the next cutscene, or at least the first half of it tomorrow. I'll get a good idea of how the performance is during the cutscene, and if I need to make any further changes to the strcuture of the area, remove lights, etc. I know I say this all the time, but this is a big cutscene, and is one I've had in my head for years. I know I also say the following all the time: This cutscene should be relatively straightforward, as there isn't much going on, besides some sweeping camera angles, and some walking by a few key actors. Yeah, we'll see :)
After that, well, I may switch gears yet again, and finally get around to some custom ability design, and in general, scripting. So, for those that played my earlier games, you all know about Aramus and his key ability, Illuminate. For those that don't, I'll just run through it, and its core concept briefly:
You received this ability early on in the game, and it was definitely a core ability that players utilized throughout the game. When activated, you would stun a certain number of enemies within range. As the game went on, there were chances to upgrade attributes of it, like the number of enemies that could be stunned, the range, and how long they would be stunned. But, there were other uses for it...
Certain enemies were afraid of the bright light, and would flee from you. Your first time through South Shinkara Forest, you came across a Warg that was guarding something. If you tried to kill it, it would certainly kill you. Well, it was supposed to be able to kill you, some NWN masters were able to kill it right off the bat, and I tip my hat to you :) Anyway, on your way back through the forest, you would have learned Illuminate, and since the Warg was scared of the light, you could chase it away, and get to what it was guarding. Same thing with Shinkara Shadows in North Shinkara Forest.
Another use was in the Dungeon of Summons. Certain crytals needed to be activated to pass into certain rooms, and early on, green ones could only be activated when Aramus used Illuminate. Later on, when your Sword of Galladoran was upgraded to its blue fom, you could use it to send an electric current through blue crystals, which opened up even more areas and treasures for you.
Finally, you could use it to repel magic attacks from enemy magic users, when it was fully upgraded.
So, as you can see, this simple ability took on many forms, and many ways it could be used. That is how I envision abilities in RPG's. I'm definitely a quality over quanity guy. I don't want to just throw a bunch of spells at you that more or less do the same thing, just called a different name. I want all abilities to be unique, and to be used in unique situations.
All of that said, I will be continuing this in this next game. The main hero definitely needs to have his Illuminate type of ability (not what the ability does, but being a core ability in general) In fact, I already designed it, and implemented it months ago. When I say months ago, I mean literally back before Dragon Age was released and when I was a part of the toolset BETA. So, it's all ready to go. I'm still not entirely sure when it will be awarded, but it could only happen in 2 different places, so it's not that difficult of a decision. Now, I've only really tested it out in my test combat area, not in actual game gameplay, so I'm excited to be able to get this baby out, and see how it works. I'm sure I'll be fine tuning the hell out of it, but that's one of the funnest parts, to be honest.
Then, I need to finish designing and implementing the same type of core ability for another party member. Even though party members in my older games had their unique abilities, it was done on the same level as Illuminate. This time, all party members will get the same love as the main hero. More work for me of course, but it will lead to a better gameplay experience, that's for sure. As always, I've had an idea of what I want this new ability to be, I just need to think things out a little more before starting the implementation of it.
Well, that's it for tonight. Tomorrow should be a relatively easy day at work, and when I get home, I'll have tons of time to devote to development (woo hoo!).
4/14/10 -Wednesday: YOU CAN'T EXPERIENCE JOY WITHOUT PAIN?
If the title of this update is true, then dammit, I am experiencing the best joy right now. That dreadful bug I've been working on at work has finally been squashed. This wasn't just a normal bug, it was a monster. It was something that was causing huge issues at the office. I hadn't had sleep in the past few days, as all I could think about what the bug. I obviously didn't get any work done yesterday, as all I could focus on was fixing this bug. With the bug fixed (more or less, there are some other things to be done, but we know what the "core" issue was), I was able to exhale, relax, and most of all, get some damn work done tonight!
So, I got back to working on the level I've been working on the past few days. It was supposed to be finished today, but since I lost a day of development, looks like it won't be finished until tomorrow... Today, I did a lot of finetuning with the walls/ceiling to make sure there was no overlapping. I also started to add some more props, though I definitely need more than what I currently have. I also messed with the lighting, more so with the ambient lighting, to get a different feel/color for the room. I couldn't find anything I liked, so I'm just sticking with the default color for the moment.
As for what's left, I obviously need to add another wall, as you can see by the screenshot. Next, I'll probably starting filling up the area with actual npc's. I'm curious as to what the performance will be, so I really need to get that out of the way as soon as possible. Once I'm happy with what I have, I'm guessing the next logical step is to do the cutscene. No guarantees though...
Tomorrow, I will be up early, so I can finish up some other major work for... work :) I hope to finish early, so I can get right back into development. I'm dreaming, but it would be nice to get like 6 hours of un-interrupted work. We'll see...
4/13/10 -Tuesday: FREAKING FIGURES!
So let's get right to it. I had to do a lot of extra work for work at home tonight, and didn't get a chance to do any development. It really sucks, and I just don't have the heart to try to start anything so late now, as I have only been getting so much sleep every night as it is. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better.
4/12/10 -Monday: MOST COMPLEX LEVEL FOR ME YET?
So, I continued to work on the level I did research for yesterday. As I'm building, I'm realizing, it's the most complex level yet, and yet, it's just one big room. But, there is so much going on in it. It has to work for a pretty complex cutscene, has to have good performance for combat, and the lighting has to just be perfect. Then of course, I need to get the light coming through the windows thing down pat too.
For the windows coming through the light thing, it's a little annoying, because of the vfx's I've used so far, they don't stretch down that far. It looks like they're built for medium sized height rooms. So, I've had to double them up, and it looks a little weird. Still thinking on how I will eventually make it work. I guess I could start dabbling with the VFX editor, but I already have enough stuff on my plate as it is. Even with all the complexity, I'll take that over doing 4 easy levels any day. Repetition can sometimes kill my spirit, as you may already know.
Some other things I am currently working are the models I will be using for the ceiling, as well as getting all the walls to line up perfectly, since I'm not using standard "walls". That said, I actually anticipate being able to put this level away by Wednesday, especially since I will be able to get more done Wednesday night as I will be working from home on Thursday. If that happens, expect for me to start working on the intro cutscene for it the next day, and some of the events that happen after that. Hey, maybe I'll actually get back to scripting. Some new custom abilities are just waiting to be implemented :)
At this point, I am developing stuff out of the order as it occurs in the actual game, which I perfectly fine with. I'll never go to crazy, and start creating levels for the end game stuff, or anything like that, but jumping ahead ever so slightly isn't all bad.
EDIT - Oh yeah, before I forget... I am attemping to stay away from KFC's newest monster, the Double Down. I'm a pretty health conscious person, so I know this thing is definitely not good for me. At the same, since I eat so good, take care of my body, and go to the gym all the time, one of these won't kill me. Will it?...
Still debating if me and my fiance will be trying them out this weekend. Seems everyone thinks it's great, but just can't seem to finish it, as it's just TOO much. What to do, what to do...
4/11/10 -Sunday: RESEARCH DAY...
I've probably explained this in some entry weeks ago, but every once in a while, I spend most of my day doing research on various things. Today was all about level design, and in particular, how to piece together some structures in order to make something unique. This particular level has to have that extra oomph when the player enters it, and therefore, I devoted a lot of time towards it.
Another thing I started working on is getting that effect where light comes in through windows, as can be seen in the above screenshot, taken from Castle Cousland. I opened up a thread about it in level design forums, and swiftly received an answer from TimelordDC. Shout out to him for that!
Besides that, not really much else. I just upgraded my cable to get movies channels, as well as the tennis channel. The movie channels are so I can watch the final season of The Tudors. The tennis channel is well, so I can tape european tennis matches during the day, instead of getting up at 4am to watch them on my computer. The Monte Carlo Masters Series is this week, but I hope it shouldn't take up too much of my time... Federer's not playing, so I won't be as attentive.
Here's to a good week of development!
4/10/10 -Saturday: MAKING GOOD PROGRESS...
So, I spent the earlier part of my day watching the latest movie review from this hilarious guy on You Tube. What movie, you ask? Why, Attack of the Clones. I watched his review of The Phantom Menace a few months ago, and was floored by it. Listen, as someone who creates stuff that will be judged by others, I know how it can feel when people, well, don't like it. I've had my fair share of long reviews with people tearing my games apart. It wasn't a good feeling. All of that said, while a lot of what this guy says is over the top in criticizing these movies, it's hella funny. Yes people, I am being a hypocrite and admitting to it, dammit! To be fair, I've gotta a lot better with dealing with critism, and regularly go back and read all the negative comments, so that I can make sure to not make the same mistakes again.
But back to these reviews. Man, this guy just tears into these movies! The best part is, it is very calculated, and a lot of it makes sense. A lot of the time, I paused it to think to myself, "Wow, he's right. Why did George Lucas do that? That makes no sense." I won't go on anymore, because I'm not really good at explaining things like this, but if you're fan of Star Wars in general, you have to watch these reviews. They're quite lengthy, but well worth it, in my opinion.
You know how it goes on You Tube, you're watching one video, then you get sucked into others, and... yeah, you realize you're spending way too much time on them. A couple other videos I found which were nice were Romance 1 & Romance 2. While this was going on, I started seeing a bunch of tracks for Icewind Dale, and I remembered that the little I played of it, I did enjoy a few tracks off of it, so I just started going through some. Then, I came across THIS. Now, those of you who played Cry The Beloved may remember this as Castias' Theme. The really embrassing thing is, I've been looking for this track for like 2 years now! Yes, I still have the version from the game, but it's a lower quality one. The problem was, I couldn't remember where I had initially found it. I couldn't remember if it was from Jeremy Soule, Inon Jur, etc. It was nice to be able to find out it's original origin.
Then, of course, I kept searching for other tracks, and found this remix of it, which is just... words cannot even describe it... Sure, it could have better quality, but damn, I am really loving this so much right now. All sorts of story ideas for Castias started popping into my head at will. Heh, that's how it always is. I hear some new music, and the ideas just start flowing. I've emailed the author of it, and asked it there was a downloadable version of it she might part with, so I could put it on my iPod with all my other fantasy music.
Right, so, I actually did do some development today. Actually, quite a lot. No outstanding breakthroughs, or anything like that. Just some good, steady work. I finish up the level I wanted to finish, and was able to add a bit of lighting to it as well. I then began to fill the area with some npcs, along with some ambient animation to you know, liven the place up a bit. It's safe to say that I feel comfortable moving on the next level, which essentially will just be one big room, so it shouldn't be hard. In fact, I'll be so bold as to say that I will start and finish it tomorrow!
That just leaves some minor dialogue fixes, and then, I need to make a decision on where I will go next. I could start an outside level I need to create, along with another smaller interior level, or, I could create this gigantic interior level, and create the cutscene that occurs in there. I may go the cutscene route, as to just being doing some semi-new, and so I don't get burnt out on level design again. At the moment, I'm fine with creating levels (after my discovery of how to fix the horrible lighting I originally did), but you never know when the boredom will start to come again.
Either way, I have expectation of make tomorrow a great day for development. I hope nothing unexpected pops...
4/9/10 -Friday: I'M ON A ROLL NOW!
Continuing with what I started yesterday, I modified the lighting in all older interior levels I made months ago. The top shot is a screenshot I took months ago, but I don't think I posted it in one of my journal entries. The next one from the top, I just took tonight. Again, the lighting effect looks more realistic (the look I am going for in at least this area), and the walls don't have such a purpleish/pinkish hue anymore. Seeing results like this has really been motivating these past few days.
One funny incident that happenend tonight was with the lighting in another area. So, I essentially created chandelier structures a while ago. You can see them in the bottom screenshot. Stupid me, I actually created a separate animated light and static light for each individual candle I meticulously placed on the chandelier. It occured to me when I was rendering lightmaps for a single room, and it took like 10 minutes. I hadn't rendered lights there in a while, so I guess the length of time just slipped my mind. Anyway, as I scoured through all light objects in the room to track down the cause, I notice the chandeliers, and had a light bulb moment. Actually, more like a, What the fuck is wrong with me moment. I proceeded to delete all the individual ones, and will just add one per chandelier, which will work just fine. Ah, you live and you learn!
So yeah, there is more stuff I can do with the lighting, but I will leave it for the moment. Don't want to get caught up in too much polishing at this point, as levels can change. Nothing is locked down at the moment, so I don't want to potentially waste any time. Tomorrow, I'll finally finish up some more levels, and then, probably some more dialogue. We'll see...
Not that I want to get back to estimates and whatnot, but it looks like I'm still on track to finish up this entire segment by the end of the month. The first half of stuff I'm doing this month is definitely more level/dialogue related. The next half will focus on combat design, scripting, and cutscenes. Also, so far, I've been developing stuff in the order that it occurs in the game, but I may start to deviate from that. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get there.
4/8/10 -Thursday: POSSIBLY MOST PRODUCTIVE/ENLIGHTENING DAY EVER!
Wow, what an incredible day. I was so motivated, and had a lot of fun doing what I did. What did I do, you ask? Well, I'm getting even closer to getting the lighting to work well in my areas. Months ago when I created my first interior area, I was attempting to create a natural lit area, where the only light there was was from a candle. So, I only had one static light, tinted an orange like color, and that was it. As you can see in the first screenshot, that color of orange on the player doesn't look too good.
Well, while working on the lighting for the other new level I'm working on, I realized that I need to still add a basic, non color static light over the candle's light. What do I get? The 2nd screenshot, which looks much more realistic, and just better, in my opinion. It's this mixing of lighting that I'm starting to understand now, which really has me excited. I literally went through every previous level, and started re-doing the lighting, and man, things are looking so much better, it's unbelieveable. For another example, look at the 3rd screenshot, and then the 4th. Notice how orange the player is in the 3rd one, whereas how much more realistic he looks in the 4th?
Today was also the perfect day to have this revelation, since I was working from home, and already had more time to devote to development. I'm definitely going to stick with doing this tomorrow, as I only have to change the lighting in about another 3 levels or so. Once I'm done with that, I'll get back to more level design, which all of a sudden, isn't so bad :)
4/7/10 -Wednesday: SWITCHING GEARS APPARENTLY WORKS...
So, tonight definitely didn't go as planned, and yet, it went better than expected. When I initially got home, I just didn't have any motivation to do anything, so I watched a few hours of TV. Then, I decided to just open the toolset, and jump into some dialogue, hoping the spark would be there. It only took a few minutes for me to get back into it.
So, I finished up some dialogue for a few people, and created a stage for another. Looks like the only other dialog I need to write is the last couple of nodes for one more person, and I can safely move on to other things.
In spending time writing dialogue, if even for a night and a half, going back to level design was easier than I thought. For whatever reason, I just got the urge to start setting up props and whatnot. So for the rest of the night after the aforementioned dialogue tasks, I did just that. So far, everything that I have needed related to props has been included in the toolset, so I have no complaints there.
I also did a little more lighting work, to increase the performance of some rooms. I think I was depending on too many static lights (that affected the PC and the area), so I started to remove some, and tried to rely on more realistic lighting. For instance, if you look at my first post for this month, you can see the stairs lit up pretty well. Realistically, where the hell is that light coming from?! So yeah, I'll be revisiting that, and adding some lamps that you can see in the above picture. I still don't have it down to a science, but I'm getting there.
Technically, I'm ahead of where I thought I would be at the end of the night, which is a bonus. Tomorrow, I'll finish off those last lines for the one NPC, then create a few more rooms. If tonight was any indication of things, I should definitely start with the dialogue, then move on to the level design stuff :)
EDIT - Just noticed I've been spelling dialogue as "dialog" for quite some time. Ahem... Yep, definitely will be need an editor to go over the "dialogue" with a fine comb :)
4/6/10 -Tuesday: DIALOG, DIALOG, DIALOG...
As planned, I devoted tonight entirely to dialog. Feels nice to knock these things out. Not sure why, but progress, no matter how small it is, feels nice. Not to say this was a small thing. It wasn't overly complicated dialogue, but at the same time, it's pretty integral to the story. With these particular characters, this is where you start to really learn about them, their views, and why they think and do the things they do.
As with most things, I treat these as rough drafts. The core concepts of what I wanted are in there, but I'll always go back to change things around. For example, the entire opening sequence of the game's dialog was modified many times as I played through it. Sometimes something will make sense in the moment that you're writing it, but then as you put all the pieces together, it doesn't fit. Once you're actually immerse yourself in your little game world, you realize that the things person X is saying just doesn't make sense, even though it may have, months earlier when you were writing it in isolation. So, I'm prepared for the many iterations this stuff will go over.
Tomorrow should be a good night of development. As always, I work from home on Thursday, so I won't have to worry about going to sleep as early as I usually do. I need to do some minor stage work with the dialogue I wrote tonight. I also need to add some more stuff to two additional ones. Then, it's back to level design... sigh...
What I'm really itching to get into is this next big cutscene, as well as some new custom abilities for the PC and party members. The one constant that has been there since 2004 is that above and beyond everything else, I love scripting custom abilities. Just ability design in general, and how they will be used throughout the game against the various enemies is just so interesting to me. I'm almost there!
EDIT - Just want to thank those people that have been visiting this site every day. I have a look at the logs everyday, and while the numbers aren't as big as they were back in the NWN days, they are steadily growing over the days and months. Knowing that people are reading this time gives me the extra motivation to do as much work as I can on this game.
4/5/10 -Monday: STEADY DAY...
So, I didn't do anything particularly special today. I finished the skeleton of a level (to be populated with props at another time), and worked on some more dialog. Pretty steady night, overall, considering I only had maybe 2 hours to develop. I should have much more tomorrow.
I'm also at a point with my new job where I think I'll be getting that laptop soon. Before, I was just a freelance developer, and there was no guarantee that they would be keeping me. Well, since I'm full time now, and the company is profitable now, I feel secure for the moment, so splurging for a laptop doesn't seem out of the question. It's pretty obvious, with a laptop, I'll get 4 more hours worth of work done everyday. That's HUGE!
I even know how I would split up the work. All the graphic intensive stuff, I would leave for home, while smaller things, like dialogue writing for instance, could be done on the train. Man, I could kill for that right now.
Tomorrow, I think I am going to focus all my time on dialogue. I need a break from level design :) For me, that's the key. Switching things every so often, so things stay fresh, and I don't get burned out. I'll never forget way back in 2004, when I was still working on The Coming, I was so burned out from working on a particular part of the game, that I actually quit. Just threw up the white flag, and called it a day. It took a lot of encouragement from my fiance to get back to it (oh, the irony!). Good thing she did, or I wouldn't be here now...
4/4/10 -Sunday: MY LESSON FOR THE DAY - PLOTS...
Ah, what an interesting night of development. So, I essentially have this minor quest where you need to do a few things before moving on to the next part of the core path of the story. All I wanted to do was organize the subplots, if you will, in a way so that you would see them under one main quest. And, that one main quest would be under one main quest group. Seems pretty straightforward...
Maybe it was just from development exhaustion, but I was having one hell of a time getting it to work. I essentially figured out that you first needed a plot, with it's type set to Plot Group. An example in the OC would be the Arl Eamon line of quests. Then, I needed to create a base plot, that inherited from the plot group. Again, in the OC, that would be something like the Help Redcliffe Prepare For Battle plot. Finally, I needed to create a subplot, that inherited from the base plot. In the OC, that would be something like Get Ser Perth To Help Out.
Even after that, I was having issues, because I accidently removed the plot script property for one of the plots I created. So, everytime I tried to set the sub-plot, nothing happened. I finally realized my mistake, and still, it wouldn't work. Again, after some mucking around, I figured out that you couldn't just set the sub-plot first. I needed to explicitly set the base plot first, then the subplots. Makes sense...
So yeah, that was my introduction to subplots. I'm sure most people start off with plot/subplot scripting when starting to learn the toolset, but I figured it would be "easy", so just moved on to other stuff. Before today, all I had was simple one off plots. Anwyay, now that that's out of the way, I can continue with things. Tomorrow, I'll be going back to level design, and may sprinkle in some dialog writing as well. Actually, let me just put up a list real quick:
- Finish 4 pieces of dialogue
- Finish designing one more level
- Minor scripting/plot related stuff
Of course after this is... yep, you guessed it... more level design :) Though, these levels will be small. The main focus will be on dialog, and in particular, lots of roleplaying opportunities for the PC. Heh, the work never ends!
4/3/10 -Saturday: LONG DAY!!!
Seeing as spring is in full force now, and it being 75 degrees where I live, I decided to make this my spring cleaning/take care of a lot of shit day. I started by getting up early, going to get a haircut, going to the gym, and then coming home to have my after workout meal. After that, I pulled my car out of the garage and into the driveway, and proceeded to clean it from top to bottom. Well, not actually scrubbing, or anything like that, but just getting rid of all the junk in the backseat/trunk. Then, I went across the river to get my car washed and detailed, and took care of some other things as well. Well all was said and done, it was 7pm.
With regards to the game, so far, I am sticking to my goals for the weekend. I finished up the last level, and started on the next one. I was able to re-use many props/structures from the previous level, so things went pretty fast today. In fact, I spent the majority of the time adding props to a particular room, though I think I'm done with that for the moment.
I did have one issue, where I was attempting to have an NPC walk some waypoints. I've done it before, so I'm really flabbergasted as to why it's not working. Is something blocking their way? Some collision issue or something? I didn't spend too much time debugging the issue, as I am sure it's something small.
Tomorrow, I'll switch gears a bit at first, and do some scripting to setup some of the events that take place. Nothing major, just some minor plot scripts. Then, I'll get back to integrating the dialogue I wrote last week into the plot, and finish up with some more level design, hopefully finishing the current one I'm on.
4/2/10 -Friday: GETTING EASIER...
So, it occurred to me while developing tonight that a lot of the structures I have been creating can be re-used. For instance, genericly sized rooms, stair cases, etc., can just be used to create groups, and then I can use said groups elsewhere. I already sort of knew this, but didn't realize the potential until tonight, when I realized half the stuff I made, I can use in other places. Definitely helps to speed things up.
As level building continues, I keep getting better at lighting, and how to utilize it effectively. At first, it was just a nuisance, but now, it's just an afterthought. I can only imagine what I'll be able to do with it months from now.
One interesting thing I ran into today was with connecting rooms. I tried to create one level, and have all of it be part of one room. Man, the performance dropped like crazy. Once I broke things into separate "rooms", the effeciency jumped back up. Again, I knew this was the case, but experiencing it first hand just bangs the concept home even further. At the moment, every level is part of one area list as to cut down on transitioning times. We'll see how that goes, as I continue to add more levels. It's a shame you can only have one exterior level part of an area list, as I expect to need at least 2. Oh well....
Well, that's it for me tonight. Gonna try to get some sleep now, because I expect to have a pretty busy day tomorrow. I want to finish as much as I can, as early as I can, so I can devote the rest of the time towards development.
EDIT - Also wanted to mention I'm getting that warm, fuzzy feeling inside. You know, the one you get when something you're envisioned for a while is coming to life in front of you. I can't wait to see the finished product of this entire sequence, even though I know it's a ways away.
4/1/10 -Thursday: TIME TO FOCUS!
My goal for this month is to be totally focused, and to finish the entire next segment of the game. Last month was more or less my time to learn as much as I could about level design and lighting. This month, I need to take what I learned, and start cranking out all the needed rooms. And guess what, I did just that tonight!
Since I was satisfied with the dialogue I had written over the past few days, I decided to get back into more level design, and let me tell you, it was a hell of a lot easier this time around. I've sort of hit my zone, and things are just clicking a lot faster now, which should be expected. The current room I'm doing is about 1/3 of the size of the main one I worked on last month, and I'm about 1/2 done with it, only after like 2 hours. Of course I need to add the trimmings and such, but the core parts are coming along just fine. Even the lighting is working out, with no issues!
So, the overall plan for tomorrow and the weekend is to finish this area, add the respective NPC's, then start on the next area, where most of the dialogue I created this week will take place. I'll likely spend more time placing props and such in these rooms, as I will be using stages, and everything has to look just right.
In all honesty, I'm going to have to finish at least 6-7 more levels for this entire sequence. As I stated earlier, things will be smooth sailing after that, as there will be no place in the game that will need as many connected rooms. Well, not for a while anyway... It sucks, but then again, it is really needed for the story I am trying to tell, especially since this is the beginning of the game, and I really want to pull the player into the story and whatnot. It's obviously very ambitious, but then again, I wouldn't have it any other way! At th very least, I am extremely motivated at the moment, and that is always a good thing!
EDIT - I know most of my goals for this month were my goals for last month, but, well, that's game development for you :)