Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Project, Take 3

First was Warcraft 3, then NWN2's toolset. I've made another jump to the Dragon Age toolset. As I dig deeper into these tools, I'm finding valid reasons to make the switch, but being as Dragon Age was released about 12 minutes ago, and is the logical successor to NWN's set (made by the same guys), I think this will be the final stop. At any rate, it's good to get my hands dirty with more than one toolset, and I swear THIS IS THE LAST DO OVER, K?

My area had mostly been some conversation trees (which can be brought over pretty painlessly with just copying and pasting with both toolsets open), and the physical exterior and interior areas themselves, which will need to be remade. I'm not even positive at this point that the locations can be crafted in the way they were with the NWN2 set. I spent about 4 hours in the toolset last night, following a tutorial that used an existing area. It had me placing doors, linking transitions to various waypoints, and writing scripts that recognized when a pack of connected mobs was killed (thereby flagging a quest event as complete).

The toolset itself is crazy deep, there are WAY more options for creating conversations, and you can do things like raise individual eyebrows mid-word, and the setup of cameras and animations during cut scenes and conversations is much more... uhh... robust, let's say. You can have Stephen Hawking voiceovers created, and the NPC faces will lip-sync the words. There are also much better implementations of quest creation and tracking, and it doesn't crash every time I want to change an NPCs appearance from the default.

As I mentioned, though, I'm not sure if there's even a terrain editor yet, this game probably assumes you're just doing modeling in 3dsmax and bringing your assets into the database. Speaking of databases, it uses SQL, and has some nifty stuff where multiple people can be working on a project, and you can check in and out resources to avoid conflicts with other authors. Anyway, the lack of a terrain deformer might not be a horrible thing. If I just linked two existing outdoor areas together, I could focus on the design-y side of things, writing quests and scripting events, and less on the 'elegant shrubbery placement' side. I'll probably dig around for that today, and get started on the migration of what I had.

Anyway, back into the mines... wish me luck.


Jan said...

I wanted to say "You should try Dragon Age's toolkit" on all your NWN posts but it looks like that won't be necessary! :3

Ysharros said...

Dude, I want some lines this time! I'll have my people contact your people.

Kyir said...

Once modules are more supported for movement, I would enjoy playing anything you create Ixo.

Tobold said...

Hmmm, isn't the ultimate goal here to impress Blizzard enough to give you a job? Not sure if that works if you are using a competitor's toolkit.

Rem said...

That's what Blizzard told him to do though.

Random Poster said...

It doesn't necessarily matter what toolset he uses so long as he shows the ability to craft a well put together mod. A bout the only limitation I think would matter is that it would need ot be an RPG type game (which he is using) to provide all the necessary tools so he could even use the Oblivion/Fallout tools I would imagine.

As a comment directly on the Dragon AGe game/toolset. It actually reminds me of an MMO with the OTS camera view, the hot bar the controls (WASD movement ftw)etc so I think its a better match than the NWN2 toolset.

Rich said...

Blizzard (and many companies) use proprietary tools in house, the point of building something with a toolset like NWN or Dragon Age is just to show that you can actually pick up a tool and use it.

I've actually got someone else in mind at this point though. I've had a dozen emails back and forth with another company, and they want to see that I can do just that... wrap my mind around the toolset and scripting engine. Writing up an idea and implementing it are apples and oranges.

I'm plugging away at Python scripting in the background, and have a nasty toothache that resfuses to go away. Plus a 14 month old. And Japanese wife that's still discovering America first hand. And my cat came home with a bloody leg yesterday.

And I need some coffee.

Ysharros said...

Coffee first. Everything else will fall into place behind it. (Assuming cat's leg isn't emergency bad!)

Good luck with the other people!

Random Poster said...

"I've actually got someone else in mind at this point though. I've had a dozen emails back and forth with another company"

Out of curiosity did you contact them or did they contact you?

Crimson Starfire said...

Hey Ix,

I too am keen to go nuts with the Dragon Editor, but figured it would be best to complete the game and maybe a DLC or two first. I've had experience with the NWN toolset, but figured it might be best to experience the power of DAO first hand before turning dials and pulling leavers. Just me though..

Carra said...

I'm surprised to see that you need technical knowledge of SQL and programming languages as Python to create a Dragon Age level. I thought those details were hidden by a higher level editor.

Kromus said...

Really hope those e-mails go smoothly for you buddy-- and no I think the prioty list is;

Cat > Coffee > World.

And I think its a good idea, if your versatile then thats great!

Hatch said...

I've been really enjoying Dragon Age, I'm glad they have a content editor available to people. It's definitely going to help your project to be build in such a recent engine instead of an older one.

Keep plugging away, and good luck!

Ooke said...

good, I was going to suggest you wait and take on the DA:O toolset as it's new and shiny and may have new ways to do the things you want it to do.

Keep plugging away at it, I'm sure you'll succeed, whether it's for Blizzard or another company.