Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Fixing The Little Things

Thanks for all the feedback regarding my new area last week. I have taken on board the comments and tried to make improvements where I can. And thanks to everybody who helped me to understand some of the basics behind area design to allow me to even try to build a better area in the first place. I did not spend much more time on this, but decided to look at ensuring transitions remain stable, especially between module changeovers and from areas where having any dead PCs may be an issue.

Respawning The Dead

Unless you are considering programming for multi-player (MP), you may not have considered some of the potential pitfalls that come with the death of PCs - apart from the obvious for the player. If you have altered the way your death system works as well, like I have, then there are even more considerations you need to take into account. The bottom line, I believe I have ironed out all the potential "death" circumstances since I last posted and have employed a system that offers the player a GUI presenting an option to be respawned at the cost of an XP penalty, or to consider a different action, normally to turn around and head back from where they came from. This will normally only be an issue where a player is trying to return to a different module within the campaign and when they carry the corpses of companions or fellow players. Because of the way my system works, trying to do so would lose a lot of vital equipment. There is a similar issue when a player tries to leave an overland map encounter area, which I have dealt with in a similar manner.

Fixing Little Things

1) Visual Effects On Store Items: I recently found out that if you have an item that has a visual effect on it and it is added to a store as a "limitless" item, that when bought, the visual effect does not work. I made a workaround for this problem by replacing the bought item with an identical one upon acquisition.

2) Monster Items Reversion: Another small issue I found was that if you have copied an item to your campaign and kept the ID information the same as the original, then any such item added to a creature at build time will revert back to the original. E.g. If you copy an item to your campaign folder and alter the description to avoid any mention to Faerun and then add the campaign item to a creature, it will instantly revert back to the Faerun descriptive one. NB: Having campaign items with the same name, tag and resref is not normally a problem with respect to any other aspect of the campaign (that I have tested to date anyway). Anyway, I also worked another small piece of code to replace these "incorrect items" with the correct one upon the creature being spawned.

I mention both of these small issues, as I imagine they could be something others may have a problem with and not yet be aware of it. If anybody wants the code that I used to resolve the issues, let me know.

As Big As The Moon

This is just an excuse to post a picture I took of the moon a while ago. However, it is true that my world Althéa works out to be about the size of the moon. Anyway, here is the picture, and you can find a few more here.

Moving Onwards

Fixing the problem with the transitions between modules when the player has a dead PC in their midst was an area of coding I was not going to do for a while yet, as I obviously do not need to worry about it for only one module. However, because it impinged on another area I was working with, it had to take priority. The good news is now that I have that code sorted, I can get on with what I was trying to do in the first place. More on that later in another blog perhaps. What I can say now, however, is that Hoegbo has once again kindly offered his help with some of my work and I will be taking him up on his offer soon, which means area production should benefit greatly.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Scale (Area Screenshots)

I hope you enjoyed my articles on "The Changing Face of AD&D". It gave me a chance to relax and write about something that I enjoy talking about, and I hope readers felt the same. If you still have a comment to make regarding any aspects of the game, please leave one.

This week is going to be a short post by comparison, made up mostly of screenshots of an outside area I have tried making. As regular readers will know, area design is not one of my strong points, but having looked at other peoples work, I thought I would try again. The results were better than before, and so I decided I would be using them in the module. Check out the shots below and let me know what you think. One thing I learned from looking at other peoples work is that scale, when well used, can make an area feel bigger and fuller than it really is. (I don't normally like to give area screenshots as a preview, but I would like feedback in this case as well.)

Module One Increasing

One last note before the screenshots, and also on the subject of scale, I have decided to increase the number of areas of the first module. (The screenshots below are one of the areas.) The reason is due to the decision I made to release the first of the modules before the other two in the campaign. I felt that the first module lacked any real depth without the other two modules and would leave players a little disappointed. Thankfully, however, the new additions do not require much work, compared to the amount of game play they give in return. As much of the core code is already in place, I am simply expanding on the first module with a couple of slight detours.

Anyway, here are the screenshots of one of the areas (Enclave valley) that is nearly finished now, so please do leave a comment.