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Everything posted by Kelandon

  1. Slarty Ranks Everything

    Yes — a lot of his earlier books were serials — but that's not what I meant. For his later books, the publisher basically went to him and said, "We want you to write another Foundation book. It needs to be [x] words. We'll pay you a bajillion dollars. Will you do it?" And yes, that's a little different from a serial where you're paid for every 32-page installment, but it's the same basic incentive: you have to hit a word count.
  2. Slarty Ranks Everything

    This was also true of, for example, Asimov (at least in later years).
  3. Homeland progress report

    Progress is still happening, slowly. Man, that scene that I mentioned a month ago took it out of me. After I finished that scene, I couldn't write much for a little while, but now I've moved to the beginning of Chapter 4. Chapter 3 is definitely still highly incomplete, and one lengthy combat sequence at the end of Chapter 2 is still unfinished (as well as a long sidequest in Chapter 1 and another in Chapter 2), but I feel like I just need to get out what's in my head at this point. I know stuff about Chapter 4, so I need to put it into the scenario. Then, once that's out of my head, I can go back and fill in as need be. This is not as straightforward as it sounds — I have a stronger sense of how the second half of Chapter 4 will go than I do about the first half of Chapter 4. I still have to figure out how to put together the elements that I know have to be present to lead to the end of Chapter 4. As always, I'm starting with town design and plot/quest outlines, and then I'll start adding in dialogue and specials. Combat, as always, will come last. I was not sure that I'd ever get to Chapter 4, so this is kind of trippy. It's also trippy for another reason — uh, suffice it to say that the cave floors are unusual in Chapter 4. Also in Chapter 3, but more so in Chapter 4. Not like the fluorescent cave floors in the Strange Cave in Exodus, although like a different part of Exodus. A part that, if I remember correctly — and often I don't, with this sort of thing, but even so — no one has ever asked me about, even though it's definitely a bit unexplained. I'm still projecting that this won't be done until next year at the earliest. I'm finding time to work on it, but not nearly enough to make as much progress as I'd like.
  4. Homeland progress report

    Given the recent level of activity in the BoA forums, I thought now might be a good time to announce that I am in the early stages of designing Homeland, the follow-up to Bahssikava and Exodus! I've actually been working on Homeland on and off for about seven years now, but each time I started working on it again, I hit a wall. The original version of the scenario that I was creating just didn't work. The outdoors was all wrong. The writing style was all wrong. The relationship between the major characters of Exodus (Kass, etc.) and the party was all wrong. Nothing fit, and nothing worked. I'd try to design for a few hours a few days in a row, and I'd maybe draw a single town, or write a little dialogue, or something. It just didn't flow, and nothing I did could make it work. So I'd give up for a few months and then come back, and I'd have the same problems again. So, a few weeks ago, I junked everything that I had made so far and started afresh. I redrew the outdoors. I restructured the plot. I changed more or less everything — although it turns out that I probably will be able to keep a few of the towns that I had previously made (thank god, because that was a lot of work that I tossed out). And the good news is that everything is proceeding well now! Instead of hitting a wall every time I sit down to design, I am having no trouble at all writing the story that I wanted to write. It's a massive scenario, probably more or less the size of Exodus, so unfortunately even with good, steady progress, I don't think there will be even a beta until another year or two from now at the earliest, and there are many life events coming up that could derail my work, but I do intend to finish this. At the moment, I think I will, although it won't be until 2018 or 2019 at the earliest. I think I'd like to post updates every now and again here, mostly because it helps keep me motivated. Those updates will contain very minor spoilers — nothing big, just little aspects about the structure and general topics of the scenario — and at first I'll hide spoiler-y things in spoiler tags, but I will stop doing that after a few posts, so be warned. Also, a bunch of hints about what will happen in Homeland were dropped in Exodus, and even more in The Magic, so things that have already been revealed I figure are fair game to talk about even outside of spoiler tags.
  5. Man, who knew he cared so much about dental hygiene?
  6. How do people feel about Jeff using Icons in his RPGs?

    Given that one of the other active topics in General right now is about recommendations for RPGs that are similar to Spidweb games, you're fine mentioning the names of other games here.
  7. Homeland progress report

    I skipped ahead and am now about to write the scene with the biggest twist in the whole scenario. Now that I've designed the sequence leading up to it, which runs across two separate towns and has taken me several hours in itself, I'm at the point where the scene begins. And, somehow, I'm nervous.
  8. What will happen after Avernum 3 Ruined World?

    I think the general issue was that it's much, much harder to make a BoA scenario with the editor tools that existed at the time of the 2004 release than it was to make a BoE scenario with the editor tools as of BoE's release. Also, there came to be more general tools for making games over time — BoE was more novel in the late '90s/early 00's than BoA was in the mid '00s/late '00s, much less now. At this point, if I were learning a new game-making system, there are a ton of engines that I could learn that are much more powerful than anything that Spiderweb would release.
  9. Difference Between Avenum, Avadon, and Geneforge

    I didn't interpret you to mean that, either. I thought that you meant that the difference between Avernum/Geneforge/Avadon is like the difference between Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale — which it's not. BG and IWD (at least IWD 1) have a lot more in common with each other than the Spidweb series have in common with each other. (I think Slarty's description of "huge" overlap is overstated, but, eh, differences in opinion I guess.)
  10. Difference Between Avenum, Avadon, and Geneforge

    It's very much not like Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale — those both use Dungeons and Dragons rules, take place in the Forgotten Realms setting, etc. Avernum, Avadon, and Geneforge have similar graphics and user interfaces (including similar dialogue systems) but are otherwise almost entirely different. They have different rules/game mechanics (other than generally having turn-based combat), different settings and characters, etc.
  11. Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

    I went through and labeled the rest of the scenarios. It's possible I missed a scenario here or there, but they should generally be labeled now.
  12. Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

    The option to sell to him was never "hidden." It was always there. You just forgot about it.
  13. Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

    This is not what happened. In Episode 379, at about 27:50, you sold things to the innkeeper when you first talked to him. You just forgot about that later.
  14. Willpower

    That's correct. Spell descriptions are in the BoA Manual.
  15. Homeland progress report

    There is no call to check the difficulty level that the player has set. One could create difficulty levels with a flag — I've considered doing that in the Bahssikava rewrite (basically, insert an "Easy" mode that would tone down nearly all the combat) — but it wouldn't track the hardcoded difficulty levels. It had not occurred to me to create difficulty levels in Homeland, though. I'm sort of inclined against it because it would be a mess to try to balance.
  16. Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

    Just FYI for everyone, I went back and labeled the first episode for most of the scenarios. I made through about 80% of the posts (to Threnody), but once we started getting into a lot of little short scenarios, I got tired of it and stopped for the time being. I may go back and label the rest at some point.
  17. Homeland progress report

    This is driving me nuts, but I can't find the post now where the main workaround was revealed. It was before Al posted that in August 2003, although, if I remember correctly, not long before. There was another workaround earlier, too.
  18. Willpower

    It's not documented, but Magery also adds to Willpower at a 1:1 ratio. The actual formula is Willpower = Int/2 + Mag/2 + Pri/2 + Magery. By the time you hit level 35, I'd expect your primary spellcasters to have raised their primary skill (Mage Spells, Priest Spells) to 17 to access all the available spells and to have raised Int to at least 10 or so. From 17/2 (which BoA rounds down to 8) and 10/2, that'd be a sum of 13. You definitely have access to Magery at that point, and there's a pretty good chance that the party has added some to it — it's cheaper than both Int and Mage Spells/Priest Spells, just for adding spellcasting power. My standard level 35 party has a Magery of 8, which totals a Willpower of 21. A dual-classed spellcaster (i.e., a character that loads up on both Mage Spells and Priest Spells) could have Int of 8, Mag of 17, and Pri of 17 at level 35, which totals a Willpower of 20. So I'd say a reasonably high Willpower at level 35 is about 20 or 21.
  19. Homeland progress report

    If I remember correctly, AtG was released before the 100-town bug workaround was discovered.
  20. Homeland progress report

    I'm kind of terrified that there's something like this in BoA, too — whether it's exactly the same 100-town bug or just some other damned thing that applies only to huge scenarios — and no one has encountered it yet because no one has made a scenario this large. I guess we'll find out.
  21. Homeland progress report

    Still filling in parts of Chapters 1-3. I'd say Chapter 1 is about 90% done. I kind of have no idea what to do with the last 10% — there are elements that I know I want to be present, but I just don't know what to do with them right now. So it may be a while before that part is 100% done. Chapter 2 is a lot more incomplete — I want to take an entire day (maybe tomorrow) to fill in a lot of combat, which will bring it a lot closer. I now have a high-level conceptual picture of what should happen in every part of Chapter 3 (including the second part, which was a bit of a blank before), but there's a lot of detail work involved in implementing it. To give an example of one of the things that makes this all take forever: Chapter 2 has a huge city that turns out to have too much dialogue for one town. So I spent a chunk of today creating a new town for the insides of several buildings. This requires copying over the interiors, copying over the dialogue, changing the dialogue node and state numbers, creating special rectangles that move from one town to the next, editing the creature numbers in special states... etc. If I had known from the beginning that I was going to need to do this, I could've saved some time, but I didn't. I'm at 56 towns now, many fairly incomplete. Exodus had 57 accessible towns, so it's getting close to Exodus's size. But there are at least 11 towns remaining in Chapters 2 and 3, and probably 15-20 in each of Chapter 4 and Chapter 5. So I'm starting to think that this thing will be above 100 towns when it's done.
  22. Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

    Oh, huh, I think I remember that now. Is this effect of the INN action documented somewhere? I can't find it in the docs.
  23. Plan to play every scenario available

    Yeah, TM's scenarios are pretty incoherent. Fun, once you get past that. But incoherent.
  24. Plan to play every scenario available

    I — and at least a couple others who weighed in when this question came up in the Let's Play thread — would suggest chronological order. Many, many scenarios are related in some way to scenarios that came before them, sometimes in obvious ways, sometimes not. EDIT: Also, lol at the comment on a TM scenario: "I'm beginning to think that this author is insane."
  25. Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

    Chessrook44 has been rather evasive when it comes to debugging questions, but I was able to verify that deduct_ap() doesn't work on his version of BoA but does on everyone else's. I'm not surprised that something else is screwed up. I tried to track down what is broken in MoC, but I wasn't immediately able to figure it out. I see sleeping in the inn. I see the START_STATE in the scenario script, which tracks the day and time of day. But is sleeping in the inn supposed to move time forward?