Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The End of the Beginning (Draws Near)

I decided to take a look over the first module and write down those things that I still want to do before releasing it for BETA testing ... and the list is finally starting to look smaller! In fact, I concluded that I could mark another couple of notches on the "Completion" figure to read 92% complete! To put that into perspective, I hope to start BETA testing at 97%, and release on the Vault at 99% ... (allowing 1% for patching and/or fixes after release). So, one could say that I am only 5% from "completion" in some ways.


I can still see work required in at least six conversations. Here are three of the characters involved:-

The PC finally gets to meet the man in charge!
A sudden encounter with a beautiful naked woman?
Does this man control some power around here?

I also still have work to do on at least half a dozen creatures affecting as many areas. i.e. Adjust statistics and address AI for them ... and then test for balance.


Every quest in the campaign journal (apart from those that extend to later modules) now have "completed" stages ticked, which means I have coded for at least one end point in every quest in the module. Note, I may still have one or two "complete" options still to code for here, but the vast majority are done.

There are also two quests that require "fleshing out" completely, and about 2-3 that still need some work. E.g. In the last picture above, even the area detail is a little sparse. This image also reflects the amount of work I feel still needs to be put into this particular quest.

All in all though, I do think I can see the very first stages of an end to this first module in sight. Subject to my health ... and inspiration, I believe the module can be completed in the coming months.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Instilling Life & Intelligence

I have been distracted by real life events in the past couple of weeks, but I have been able to tinker with some of the monster AI (Artificial Intelligence) and encounters that will be had in the first module. Thankfully, I had already set in place a generic AI script for creatures that already handles many of the basic responses such as healing themselves, or choosing to cast certain spells instead of using basic combat. I also designed this script to allow for the running of an additional script each round, which has now enabled me to add some other tactics used by certain creatures.

Shaughn of Risen Hero fame had produced some Giant Throwing Boulders scripts, which I was able to rewrite to work with my own AI script, and to good effect! I was able to produce results by adding one simple script via the additional script facility and the creatures now throw a number of boulders according to a variable on the creature, and will do so until they run out, or indefinitely if they are near a good supply.

I have also been looking closer at my own Waypoint System that I am using instead of the official campaign version, because I found in certain situations that my own system suffered from the same problems the official campaign version did. i.e. Creatures not always adhering to waypoints. I have now added additional checks that force the creature to keep trying to go to the waypoint in question until successful, adding a "get safe point" when required to prevent any creature "lock up". The routes taken by creatures and patrols now appear much more stable, and all work with waypoint scripting still.

Over the coming months, I am aiming to finish off the last few quests I have to add, and complete the monster encounters and check for balance. I don't think I have much more "original" material left to write or script, as the core ideas are now in place and unless I encounter any more issues, I will simply be filling out now. However, I won't shout too soon, as I did encounter a problem with my "speech" trigger script, which also took some debugging to fix, and so I may still have that kind of issue to consider as I bring the first module to a close. (That "speech" script is one of the more difficult ones to keep track of though.)

As always, your comments are welcome!