I essentially devoted the day to some much needed administrative work. First on deck was getting back to Archon about his latest concept art for various custom icons in the game. He gave me 2 similiar icons for 2 similiar lines of skills, then gave me another type of icon for one of those lines. I happened to really like the single style icon, so I requested that he make another one for the other line, in the same style. At this point, all of the icons are almost done, which is crazy, considering how long of a process it has been. Very excited.
Next up was some communication with Alexander. We basically just needed to sync up on all the outstanding VO that is left for the main character he is doing. As of right now, he has a small amount of lines to do, and when I get around to finishing the final epilogue scene, he'll have those lines as well. Then, it'll look like we can close the book on yet another character. Woo hoo!
Finally, I had to rustle up some lines for John, so he could finish off yet another character. I was sitting on it for a while, as I wasn't sure how much I wanted to add. Well, I sort of got inspired the other day, and just wrote a bunch of lines for one particular conversation. If I remember correctly, the line count is a little less than 20, which I don't think is too bad. And, unless I'm missing something, that'll be it for that character.
Tomorrow, my plan is to finally get back to Rick about him doing some VO for some of the minor characters in the game. Also, while I was going to wait until Oli finished a special project for me, I think I may bite the bullet and make that post on the voice actors guild forum, hoping to fill in the rest of everything. *Crosses Fingers*
Today's song from David Arkenstone brings one idea, and one idea only, into my mind. The beginning of a great quest. Enjoy!
11/27/12 -Tuesday: FINALLY FINISHED... SORT OF...
After much longer than I expected (ha!), I have finally finished this epilogue scene... Sort of... I'm only about 80% happy with how the intro cutscene came out, and know that I'll need to make some changes to it at some point. I really wanted to make sure all the shots synced perfectly with the music, but it ended up prolonging some of them, terribly so, and the results is not what I really wanted. However, it's really me nitpicking at this point, and I'd rather move on to other things.
Once I was done with the cutscene, I quickly set up a stage for the conversation that takes place, as well as actually writing the dialog. As I had already been brainstorming the scene for a few months now, it took me half of a train ride to knock it out. It's like 10-15 lines, so nothing major. Next up is actually getting someone to record the VO for the scene. Since this scene is fairly new in the pipeline, I never actually talked to any of the actors/actresses about it. I was tired of being scared of not wanting to comitt to make new scenes, not knowing if I would have VO for it. I just said, "Fuck it", and took a risk. We'll see how well that pans out :)
I also spent some time actually integrating the scene amongst the other 4 epilogues created thus far. I'm pretty happy with the ordering thus far, and unless something dramatic changes, I only have 1 more to do, at max, 2. For the one that has to be done, it's the most important one, one that I wanted to take my time on, hence the reason for leaving it until the end.
Tomorrow, I'll begin by backing everything up, since it's been a while. After that, I'll get back to some minor tasks written down from my last playthrough. With regards to VO, I'm waiting until a key thing happens before I send out the final requests for the final characters. I've been talking to a callaborator from Cry The Beloved recently, and it looks like he'll be up for some good old VO. This person, Rick Sanderson, was one of the ones who helped me design many of the unique abilities in that game. We were sort of kindred spirits, in that once we met each other, we instantly clicked, as we had grown up with the same fond memories of the golden age of RPG's, Secret of Mana specifically.
Here's another great track. I should note, when I went to the Grand Canyon, I had all of this music playing, just to really enhance the experience. I mean, look at the album cover!
11/26/12 -Monday: FAMILIAR PLACE, FAMILIAR FACE :)
Well, it took a LOT longer than anticipated, but I was able to put a huge dent in this latest cutscene. After spending the previous day messing around with the lighting, I decided it was good enough to move on. I mean, I already had enough to do the cutscene, so there was no point in going crazy.
The first 1/3 of the cutscene involves some very important characters walking down a hall. Ever since my first game, I have loved creating scenes where someone walks down a hall. Lke this one scene from Cry The Beloved, where Castias walks down a hall in Fort Illnitis. Why do I like these scenes? I have absolutely no idea. There's just something cool about it I guess...
Anyway, in this scene, there will be at least 3 people walking down the hall, so I was able to get creative with the camera, transitioning from character to character. I need to inform the player of who they are as they walk down the hall, so I had to create camera angles that focused on their faces for the few seconds where I display their name and title. I think the shot came out pretty well, and I'm very thankful for the cutscene editor. No way I could have done this so easily in NWN.
One thing that made this scene fun for me was that it takes place in a familiar place for Rose of Eternity veterans, as well as including some familiar faces. In fact, much of my time was spent looking at screenshots from those previous games, to make sure the scene was re-created as closely to the older version as I could.
Tomorrow, it's back to the grind of work :( It usually takes me at least a day to get back into the swing of things, and not hate life as much. Hopefully, I can fill that hate-filled period of my life by knocking out the 2nd part of this cutscene.
For the next few days (maybe weeks if I can find all of his tracks I love), I'll be doing a lot of David Arkenstone. It all started with this particular album, and this track is one of my favorties off of it. Enjoy!
11/24/12 -Saturday: SO MUCH TIME SPENT ON LIGHTING :(
So let's get right out with it. I got a new Samsung 55" 120 mhz LED 1080p HDTV. Marked down $700 to $799. Yeah... Now, anyone that knows me knows that I don't spend a lot of $ on things. They might even call me cheap. I like to call it, being smart. Anyway, when I do purchase something, it tends to be expensive, and it tends to be quality. Instead of buying many smaller things throughout the years, things that I won't even remember or care about, I'll take the plunge and get more memorable items. My current laptop springs to mind, the thing that has kept this game thing going. Or my 360 a few years ago. Or my iPhone a few years ago. Quality over quantity is what I say. That's how my Dad did things, so it must have rubbed off on me. And yeah, people (including my Mom) think he's cheap :)
I bring this up, because I of course wanted to watch a thousand things on the new set, just to take in the glory of it all. I tried to do this while doing some level design, ending up with mixed reports. I spent about 7 hours trying to perfect some lighting settings (still need some tweaks). Then again, during those 7 hours, I watched The Matrix, Matrix Reloaded, abd bits and pieces of Star Wars: Episode 3.
Tomorrow, I hope I can focus more, finish this damn lighting, do a new face morph, and start the cutscene. My car needs to go to the shop again, so I have no excuses to leave the house. My wife will be at work. So, no where to go, no wife to distract me (in a good way, dammit, I'm not an ogre!). Just lots of new age music and development. Hopefully...
Here's my the final piece from Aeoliah, called Cherish. Enjoy!
11/20/12 -Tuesday: VISUAL PROGRESSION OF A ROOM...
As you can see by today's screenshots, one thing I love to do is keep a visual record of the progress of the levels I create. Actually, this extends farther than just levels. Hell, just having this blog full of screenshots is a record in itself. I'll sometimes go look at screenshots from earlier months, like March 2010, and marvel at how far the game has come. Back then, I was still getting my feet wet, not really knowing what I was doing. I knew what I wanted, I just didn't know how to do it. But, I just kept moving forward, because I've never started a project and never saw it to the end, and I wasn't planning to then. Though, I wasn't thinking I would still be working on it, close to 3 years later :(
As you can see, there's nothing spectactular happening in this part of the level, but it still took a decent amount of work to get things the way I needed them. Another big thing is, something I'm always thinking about: This level has to look different than any other levels in the game. That variety is something I strove to achieve in The Coming & Cry The Beloved, and it's something I still strive for. Maybe it was easier back in the NWN days, since there were actual themed tilesets, but no reason to stop doing it because it's harder now. Anyway, as I mentioned before, the player won't be running around in here, it's just for an epilogue scene, so everything doesn't have to be perfect.
Speaking of the epilogue scene... I've been able to fit in some fan service in a very natural way. In fact, players of my 2 earlier games will recognize everyone in this scene, while at the same time, players who are just starting with this series will not be at a loss. I've been tip toeing that fine line since development of this game has started, so I'm sort of used to it at this point.
I did have fun actually creating their blueprints, including the face morphs (I usually hate dealing with face morphs). Since 2 of the 4 characters were children in the previous games, it's interesting attempting to make them look 20 years older. I have something I'm happy with, and luckily, the faces from the NWN engine weren't exactly all that great to begin with. So, I didn't have to do that much working making them look the same.
Tomorrow, I'll start work on the 3rd and final room of the level. From there, I'll need to create the character/face morph for one more person, and then... It's cutscene time!
Today's music is from the same album as the music from my last post, and I also think it could be used in one of the Stramadonian Dungeons :) Enjoy!
11/18/12 -Sunday: FREAKING LIGHTMAPS...
If you would be so kind as to just look at today's image for a few seconds, it would be great, so you can have some context for today's topic. Okay, good.
So, this single room took what felt like 2 hours to render light maps this morning. 2 FREAKING HOURS. Let's get some perspective here. Levels that I thought had more going on for them have never taken more than 25 minutes at most. I mean, yes, it's a wide open space, but damn, there are only 8 static lights and 3 animated static lights. Oh, and one ambient one. I was seriously flabergasted. In fact, my whole laptop locked up, and I was forced to break out my 3DS and fire up Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones. So yeah, I immediately decided to move on to another room in the level :)
Speaking of which, this concept of rooms in levels is such a good idea. Besides actually breaking the level into logical bits, the fact that you can decide to only render light maps on particular rooms is something that is going to save my sanity as I work on this for the next few days. Good job, Bioware toolset developers!
Anyway, this next room will be very easy, and I would have finished it today, if not for a afternoon break to go to the theaters to see Lincoln. By the time I got home, in between dinner, Boardwalk Empire, and other distractions, I didn't do as much as I wanted. I plan to reconcile this tomorrow on the train!
I decided to put the level polishing on the backburner so I could do some new level design... Gah? Yeah, I know :)
So, I've had this idea for a new epilogue for quite some time, but never did any scheduled brainstorming. Just whenever I had a minute here, a minute there, I would come up with little details. Well, after a month or so of this, I'm finally ready to implement it.
As always, the level design comes first. Now, because of all the work I've been doing this last week with polishing and whatnot, any new one I've created in the past month has already gotten that treatment upfront so I don't have to come back to them. I think it's a pretty natural progression of my level design skills as a whole. What would pass as a "decent" effort is pure trash to me now. I've very critical of my own work, so whenever I think "I can do better", that's a sign my skills aren't getting stagnant.
At any rate, I finished the core skeleton of 2 of the 3 rooms in the level. One good thing about creating this level is that it's for an epilogue cutscene, meaning the player won't be running through it. That's a huge benefit for me. On the one hand, I'm going to make the level as detailed as possible. On the other hand, once I start creating the cutscene, and finish the shots, if I have to go back and do more work on the level, I really only need to focus on what is seen in the cutscene. Good stuff.
I'm coming to a nice little set of days that should allow me to get a lot of work done. Obviously, I have the weekend. Then, I'll be in the office on Monday as expected. However, the next day, I need to bring my car into the shop, so I'll be wfh that day. Then, the next day will be a half day, which means a wfh day for me (my entire commute is as long as the half day itself!). Then of course, I'll have the next 4 days off because of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and the weekend. Oh, and the Giants have a bye week, so I won't get caught up in NFL related things on Sunday. Within all of these days, I should have plenty of time to knock out this scene, as well as get back on track with level polishing.
Today's final piece from Diane Arkenstone's Aquaria album is the song... Aquaria. It perfectly blends all the themes of the albums songs into one. Very creative. Enjoy!
11/15/12 -Thursday: WOW, HOW DUMB CAN I BE?!
So, all I had to do was finish up this last level, and I would have felt good about the night's progress. Just because that's how shit goes sometimes, I ended up spending close to 3 hours on it, something that should have taken 10 minutes...
The crazy thing is, I wasn't even doing prop work, or anything like that. It was all about the lighting, or more specifically, the messed up lighting. Essentially, since the beginning of time, this level has had some really screwed up shadows, and it just looked weird. It wasn't terrible, but it was enough that I wanted to handle it once and for all.
Man, I tried all sorts of things. I thought it was because I had too many static lights close to each other, so I tried deleting some. I tried dropping down the radius of each light. I tried lowering their brightness. Nothing... Then, as I was scrolling through every light I had in the area, I noticed I was missing an ambient one. DOH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Once I fixed that, all the weird shadows went away. Heh, it's one of those things that are so annoying, but once you realize it's a quick fix, you're happy as hell. And, another level knocked out, only so many more left. Getting closer...
Here's yet another similiar sounding track from Diane Arkenstone. Enjoy!
11/14/12 -Wednesday: MAKING REALLY GOOD PROGRESS...
So, I've been on a little bit of a run, so to speak. I've been in the zone, just throwing on some music, and flying through all the interior levels, doing as much polishing as I can. Yesterday, I mentioned that I was going to start on another 3 level set, and if I was lucky, finish them all. While I didn't finish all 3, the last one I still need to work on will take about 15 minutes tops.
Once that is done, I can move on to the interior levels I fear the most, mostly because they're massive in scale. However, what I'm hoping is that once I add the props to one of them (which takes times since I'll need to look for them), it'll be much easier translating them to the other levels in the set.
Once that's finished, I can move on to what scares me even more... Exterior levels :( There's no tip toeing around the subject: They need some major work. Not all of them, but many of them. I always flirted with the idea of trying to bring someone in to help, but... I'm just going to do it myself. I've always wanted to be able to know how to do the majority of development, in the very possible case that someone who is helping me... well, disappears. It's the price you pay when developing a mod, and something I am very aware of. So, I'll just bite the bullet and see what happens. Hell, maybe I'll even learn something :)
All of that said, I'm feeling very good about the state of the game thus far. I'm very excited to do another playthrough, so I can experience the new looking levels, icons, and VO, all at the same time.
Here's another song by Diane Arkenstone. And yes, I realize that a lot of her songs from this particular album sound similiar, but I still love them all! Enjoy!
11/13/12 -Tuesday: VERY PRODUCTIVE DAY!
So, I was finally able to knock out the final level of this particular set I've been working on the past few days. The funny thing is, between some new story elements I've been brainstorming, and the general need to polish up said level, it looks totally different from what it used to look like when I first created it 4 months ago (I should point out, I'm not talking about the screenshot of the day). Instead of just being an area where some combat takes place, it has taken on a life of its own. I usually do things the opposite way, where I base the gameplay/action around the story, but this time, I've created the story after the gameplay. Luckily, it just sort of fits in, so I'm not complaining!
Once I was done with it, I started and finished another smaller level, one that the player only sees in a cutscene/staged conversation. This allowed me to only worry about adding more props to particular parts of the level. No point in adding things that won't be seen, things that will eat up resources. As usual, I'm trying to keep every level as lean as possible.
Tomorrow, I'll start on another 3 levels, and dammit, if I'm lucky, and focused, I might just finish them all!
Today, I want to share some music with you from the ex-wife of David Arkenstone, Diane. Enjoy!
11/12/12 -Monday: POLISHING CONTINUES...
And the polishing continues... I'm a little behind in my estimates (surprise, surprise!), unfortunately. I hoped I would have been done with this 6 room level Sunday night, but I wasn't able to finish it until today. Oh well... The extra time I took will make the next and final 1 room level much easier to do, since I'll be re-using things.
The more and more I polish these levels, the more and more I'm starting to feel good about my interior level deisgn skills. Look, level design is not my thing, but it has to be done, so I might as well try my hardest, instead of just "phoning it in", so to speak.
In the end, I'm getting the one thing I crave so much: variety. This comes in the form of 2 main points:
levels that don't look like standard issue Dragon Age Origins levels. Sure, some will look similiar, because I'm using the same structure/prop set, but I'm still trying to add my own little "something" to them.
levels that look vastly different within Rose of Eternity itself. One thing I strived to achieve with my first 2 games were areas that had their own unique style and look to them, and that's something I hope I can continue to kee going
Tomorrow, I'll quickly knock out one final room, do some testing in it, and then move on. I'm not too keen on starting on this next set of levels (like 10+), so I'm going to do some work on another smaller level.
Today was a very good day of development. I kept my head down, and just went through each room of each level that needed to be done, adding props here, fixing lighting there, etc. By the end of the night, I had finished off 2 more interior levels, and 3 rooms of a 6 room level. After that, I'll have one more 1 room level, and that will be it for that set of levels. While I didn't achieve my ultimate goal of finishing off the level set, I'm very pleased with the results.
It's literally like night and day with these levels. Whereas before, they were just serviceable, now, they seem like they can tell a story all on their own. This harkens back to my theory on presenting information to the player: show, rather than tell, when possible. All I need is some properly placed journals, notes, etc., and things will be complete.
On a slightly related note, while I was adding props to an existing level, I started thinking about the history of the place. Even though it's in the game, and serves a purpose, I hadn't really fleshed out all the details of it. This led to an ad-hoc brianstorming session while on the way to Cracker Barrel this morning :) I basically starting talking out loud to my wife (who I'm sure didn't care) about the history, how it came to be build, ect., and as I kept going, more and more ideas started rushing into my brain. By the time we arrived for breakfast, I had the skeleton of a pretty major plot point in the world of Rose of Eternity. This is great for a couple of obvious reasons:
cast members can make remarks about it
I can add little books detailing some of these events
I can create a lore codex entry for it
As always, any way I can expand the world of Rose of Eternity, the better. It's what I've been doing since 1999, and I expect it to continue for quite some time. Anyone who thinks that a writer/world builder has an entire world built before they start on their creative work is sorely mistaken. Revisions will always happen. It's just a part of how things work. Yes, the more upfront work you do, the better, but in the end, there's always going to be changes.
Tomorrow, I'll continue knocking out these levels. I'm very motivated to do it, so might as well continue before I become de-motivated :)
Here's some more great music from Mars Lasar. Enjoy!
11/10/12 -Saturday: LEVEL POLISHING COMMENCES...
Today, I decided to start the long and arduous task of polishing all the interior levels of the game. This can include:
The biggest of these is the addition of props. Now, I should start off by saying that all the interior levels in the game are content ready, and 100% playable. I'm just making them look prettier. I made a conscious decision a while ago to do "just enough" for every interior level, so I could get the game feature complete. It was always the plan to come back and tidy things up.
Lucky for me, there are tons of stock DAO props. Even better, I have DATool to use so I can sift through all of them. The only downside is that with so many props, it takes a while to cycle through all of them using the tool. Would be nice to have categories and such, but meh, what can you do? I'm pretty sure the author, Adinos, is long gone from the community.
Anyway, I had a clear idea of what levels to start with, and which ones to end with. For one, I would focus on the smaller ones, slowly working my way to the larger ones. Also, I would try to do sets of levels at the same time. You know, ones that will share similiar slighting/props.
This plan served me well. While the first, smaller level took me a little while to get going (mostly searching for props), the next one in the set, even if bigger, was much easier, because I already knew what I wanted to add. And this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, but once I loaded up the level in game, things looked so much better, Just added that little extra "something" to the atmosphere.
At any rate , I have completed 2 levels, that have 3 rooms each. I'll next have 3 more levels, all of which are from the same set of levels. I expect I can finish that tomorrow, and start on the last set of interior levels. I'm the top of my head, there are like 14 in the next set, and many of them are quite large, so it's going to be qite the adventure :)
As for exterior levels, well, I'm not even going to touch that until I get that damn desktop back. Yes, I know, I've been saying that for months now. I think I'm close!
Today's music is from someone I discovered on... okay, you get the point. I've discovered a lot of artists through iHeartRadio & Pandora :) Anyway, I was really only listening to one track of this artist, Mars Lasar, when I decided to check out the album the track was on. I found another 3 great tracks, and here is one of them. Enjoy!
11/4/12 -Sunday: LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON :)
So, as any semi-regular reader of this blog knows, I've been working with a gentleman by the name of John, who has taken on the largest VO role of them all: the first party member you receive in the game. He is also one of the main reasons why I believe this blog is totally worth it. A little more than a year ago, he was playing one of my older games (The Coming?), and found his way to this blog. I was going through one of my pleas for help regarding VO, and he answered the call. And no, I mean, he really answered the call! Not only has he been 100% consistent over the year, but his wife, his brother, and hell, even his son and daughter have gotten in on it.
Speaking of his son, the more and more I think about it, it's like the old cliche, "Like Father, like Son". Last year, his son had voiced one of the semi important cast members in the game. However, as development has gone all, so has the scope of said cast member. This meant more lines. Now, I'm totally aware of school, and other important things going on in the lives of children, and that stuff definitely comes first. to tell the truth, I sort of felt bad asking for more lines, but then I just bit the bullet to see what would happen. What happened was very interesting.
In turns out, since last year, his voice has undergone a transformation, as what happens to all teenage boys. If he was going to record some new lines, he was going to have to re-record all the lines in the game, so that they all sounded consistent. A week later, I have all the lines from him :) Even better, the quality sounds better. I'm not actor, but I guess after a year, he's gotten better at his craft? Whatever the case may be, it sounds damn good, and I'm very pleased. The only thing I'm going to have to do is change the face morph of the character to better fit this new and improved voice.
So, a large thank you to the Erath family.
As with all the people who are helping me with this project, I wish that it was a commercial effort, so I could pay them for their efforts. With all the bad things going on out there in the world, it's still amazing to see people give their free time for others.
Here's another track from Kevin Kern, a track that when I hear it, I get super inspired. Enjoy!
11/3/12 -Saturday: I NEED SOME MAPS, PEOPLE!
So, way back in 1999, in between classes at Dutchess Community College, I would sit by myself, and do one thing: Add to the Rose of Eternity bible. Hell, even in classes, I was doing it. I clearly remember sitting in History 104, listening to things having to do with the American Revolution, getting inspired, and scratching down notes. I still have the notebook. It was a 5 star notebook, and the 5th section was purely for Rose of Eternity, while the other 4 were for college. Good times.
One of the things I focused on the most was creating a map of Dantrias, a particular region in the world where the first games would take place. Now, these were just done on loose leaf paper, but good enough that I was able to pass them off to a gentleman by the name of Jon 7 years later. Today's screenshot is the result of his first few drafts at a map. Unfortunately, something or other came up in his life, and he was not able to finish them. I'm still very grateful for what I did get though.
Fast forward another 7 years (or close to it!), and I'm in a position where I would really like some maps. I think everyone reading this blog knows how important a map is in any fantasy setting. Dantiras isn't the only region in the world, and I'd like to be able to show people that.
I also would like to not have to drawp sketches on loose leaf paper. So, I've been doing some research into map making tools. The one I kept coming back to over and over again has been Campaign Cartographer 3.Now, I haven't done too much investigation into it yet, and from some of these Amazonreviews, it seems to have a high learning curve. Though, I'll be completely honest: There's no way I won't be able to crack it open and learn it. Hell, I'm still hearing my Dragon Age mods :)
at any rate, if anyone has experience with this software, or has some better ideas for me, shoot me an email at email@example.com.
Today's track from Kevin Kern wasn't anything I found using iHeartRadio. Rather, once I realized this guy was damned good, I just created a playlist on Spotify with all of his albums, and listen to every track, removing ones I did not like. Obviously, this one made the cut :) Enjoy!
11/2/12 -Friday: HOLY FREAKING ICONS!!!
Yeah, I think the title and the screenshots say it all. Holy freaking icons! Archon has really outdid himself, and the best part of all is, there's more coming!
Okay, let me step back and breathe a little. Look, I know that when you look at it from the perspective of just being an icon, it may not mean much. But, as I have been stressing for like 3 years is: I really want this game to be mine. Yes, you'll still get some of the stock Dragon Age abilities (though I'm damn close to ripping them all out, just may not be enough time, due to balancing issues that will occur), as well as other things that will no doubt scream, "Hey, this is a Dragon Age mod", but the farther I can get away from that, the better. I want to elicit comments like this one from The Coming:
"I had heard great things about this module before I played it, but the reason I decided to download it was more boredom than anything else, I don’t play much NWN anymore but I decided to give it a try non the less. And I was not disappointed. In fact I was pleasantly surprised, the good things I had heard about this module did not do it justice. A good story, excellent use of cut scenes and refreshingly “new” music, as well as new abilities and twists that made NWN feel almost like a new game!"
This is what it's all about. Making my game, my game world, etc. Now, to be fair, not everyone will like my style of game, which is to be expected. But if at the very least, they still feel like they're playing something totally new, then I've won half the war :)
Oh, and just to clear up some possible confusion with the above screenshots. Some of the missing spots are because I haven't received that icon yet. Also, for some, like the Last Resort category, I'm not going to actually show the ability at all. Yes, I know, it's a Dragon Age thing to show all the abilities ahead of time, mostly so you can plan out how you will build your character. Well, for the Last Resorts, they're automatically unlocked as soon as you level up to whatever level is needed. With that in mind, I'd like to keep some things a surprise for the players. So, I'm going to have to request a "?" icon or something. I don't know, I'll figure something out :)
Some other things to note:
This is a hasty cut and paste, mishmash of various screenshot, molded into 2 images. So, that Stramadonian line at the bottom of the screenshot would not appear on the screen with those lines above it. I just wanted to get most of the custom stuff on screen for viewing purposes.
The Bonds of Battle & Last Resort lines on the left are actually skills that affect how the 2 systems work for the particular party member, and will be selected the same way you currently select skills in DA. I even following the same structure, with them being numbered and such.
On the right screenshot, you'll see Bonds of Battle - Johnum & Bonds of Battle - Elric. While these look like skills (because of the numbers next to them), they're actual passive abilities unlocked once certain BOB tiers have been met. I'm essentially keep the Bonds of Battle Systemthe same from the previous games, just presenting it a different way this time around.
Anyway, I've got some work to get back to, so I'll just say again, thank you Archon!
Here's another classic by Kevin Kern. While I still love George Winston, one of the things I love about Kern is that it's not just him playing the piano. There's other instruments in there to give the music that little extra something. Anyway, enjoy!
11/1/12 -Thursday: THIS THING JUST KEEPS ON ROLLING...
STATE OF THE UNION
Well, here we are, another month gone by. I can't say it was the most productive, but at the same time, I can't say I didn't get a lot done. So let's just say it was an average month :)
While the month of September was devoted to knocking out a ton of epilogue scenes, October was spent playing through the game, then dealing with the aftermath of said playthrough: bugs! Not just bugs, but improvements, and other tasks. However you want to categorize them, there was a lot of stuff to do after the playthrough, and I'm lucky to say that I was able to get through most of it. This has allowed me to start adding in all that content I need to add to flesh out the game world...
...Such as contextual conversations with your party members. I went into over-drive mode a few days ago, and wrote like 5 of them for one party member, and sent those lines off to John. Yesterday, I was able to focus and knock out another 2 for another party member (which you get much later than the first, hence the small number of conversations), and send those lines off to Alexander.
Next, in my on going crusade to make this game as custom as possible, so I don't have to hear people ever mention Dragon Age in the comments, I started looking into creating custom load hints. In a few minutes, it all made sense.
Right before the area loads, a load hint is randomly selected from 4 different worksheets/GDA's. It was a little weird at first, because they had load hints for very low level, low level, medium level, and high level players. However, as soon as I opened them up, they pretty much had the same hints. So, I guess it was an idea they started, but didn't complete all the way. However, so I could stay within the constraints of the system, I ended up having to do the same thing when I overrided the default load hints. Of course, when I tested it out, it didn't work. It was getting late, so I figured I would check it out later. As always, the solution will present itself. And once it does, I'll make a more informative post about it.
So what's next, you ask?
Well, what's next for this month? Well, besides another epilogue, I'd like to really focus on polishing the levels in the game. I should have my desktop back soon, which is what I've been waiting for for quite some time now. I'll start with interiors first, since I can still do them on my laptop, for the most part. Then, I'll move to the behemoth exteriors. *Shudder*