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Kelandon

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Everything posted by Kelandon

  1. Moved because it's about one of the games, not a general topic. Is that number correct? Day 1200? That's an awfully long time, if so.
  2. Leveling Intelligence

    Dex was so broken in Avadon 1 that I thought it was easier to make almost everyone primarily Dex-based (except the Sorcerer). I tried the Shaman both ways, and I had an easier time with the Dex-based version than the Int-based version.
  3. 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.
  4. Homeland progress report

    AAHHH I'VE BEEN WAITING THIRTEEN YEARS TO WRITE THAT SCENE! I'm about three-quarters of the way through the main plot in Chapter 2. Things are starting to heat up. All the major pieces are on the board now, and it's just a matter of playing the game. Just the idea that I might be getting to Chapter 3 soon(-ish, probably in a few weeks depending on how much testing I want to do now) is kind of blowing my mind. It didn't seem like it would ever happen.
  5. Feedback on MINOR GUI tweak please: Inventory (EDIT: No longer minor :/ )

    I'm not sure about this view (or any of the last several) because it seems rather busy. The part that I'd be looking at, almost all the time, is the tiny little bit in the upper-middle (the main view). But that's, what, 10% of the screen area? So there's all this other stuff around, drawing focus, while I'm concentrating on this tiny little part. In the original, the main view was close to half the screen area, but it looks to me like you've blown up the size of everything else and added the automap to the screen while leaving the main view at its original size. I don't think that works. I like what you're trying to do here, but I don't think you have it yet.
  6. Homeland progress report

    More miscellaneous design on Chapter 2, both main quests and side quests. I'm 37 towns in (with probably six more to go in Chapter 2, three of which I might not design until later because they're associated with a side quest). They're not completely done; a few are missing substantial dialogue and a few are missing substantial combat. (And one or two are missing fairly major scripting that will drive the plot forward.) A lot more have everything, but their combat hasn't been properly balanced; one of the things that I'm doing now is just putting together the concept of the fight (the monster types, the scripts) and not worrying overly much about balance until I come back and alpha test. At that point, I spend hours upon hours working out the level of difficulty and solution method(s) that I want for each combat, but it's easier to deal with that when I test than to try to work on it too much now. Screenshots were suggested, so here's a screenshot of an entrance to a very early town (at the end of the Prologue.) One thing that it illustrates is the hugeness of the design; when I compare my towns to Jeff's in the First Avernum Trilogy, the biggest difference is how much larger every element of mine is. The buildings are bigger, the streets are bigger, the rooms are bigger, everything is bigger. I think it looks cool, but I'm designing in an expanded view in the 3D Editor; I hope it has the same impact in the narrower view in the game. (It's hard for me to tell when I test because I know what everything looks like in the larger view.) The other thing it illustrates is that, um, I may be going a little crazy with heights. There are a lot of tall cliffs in Homeland.
  7. I think that at one point, in one of my crazier moments, I used two SDFs to function as a two-digit base-256 number, just as you're describing. And yes, it works exactly the way you're suggesting.
  8. If I remember correctly, it's 255 (i.e., there are 2^8 possibilities, from 0 to 255).
  9. Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

    *smacks hand* You'll eat what you're given!
  10. Groups

    Yes, that should be fine. Yes, you can erase a character from within its own script. You don't have to follow it with an end(). This is maybe just me being overly cautious, but I never use ME; I always use my_number(). ME works in some calls and not others, but my_number() always works. So I don't know if erase_char(ME) actually works.
  11. Homeland progress report

    I'm doing something a little unusual to fix the summoning classes: I'm making it so that no normal monsters are summonable. Instead, I've created a set of 14 special monsters that are nothing but summons; they won't appear anywhere else in the scenario. There is a pair associated with each summoning class from 0 to 6 (because you can't get a summoning spell higher than Arcane Summon L3 in the scenario, and Arcane Summon L3 summons class 6). This does a couple good things. First, it makes the summoning much easier to balance; I can edit the monsters that get summoned without worrying about effects on placed monsters. Second, it makes summoning a lot more deterministic and a lot less probabilistic; by default, each summoning class has at least 4-5 monsters, and some have as many as 14, so what gets summoned is largely a matter of chance. Here, you will always get one of two things, so the spells are a lot more dependable. For now — and I'll have to test this a bit to see what I think of it — I'm beefing up almost every summoning class and regularizing the progression. The following is the average level for each summoning class by default, and the actual level of each of the monsters summonable in the class in Homeland: Class #: average default level -> actual level in Homeland Class 0: 2.5 -> 3 Class 1: 3.25 -> 7 Class 2: 5.9 -> 12 Class 3: 8.4 -> 18 Class 4: 16.5 -> 23 Class 5: 21.2 -> 29 Class 6: 27.4 -> 36 Call Beast L1, which summons class 0, will be about the same, but almost everything else will be stronger, some much stronger (particularly class 3 and above). Also, at least one monster in the class is a spellcaster starting at class 4. This means I have to be fairly careful about which monsters have access to Arcane Summon; Arcane Summon L2 is much stronger than Summon Aid L2, because the former summons level 18 monsters who are not spellcasters and the latter summons level 29 monsters who are. At the same time, the combat slowdown does not apply to summons; while almost everything else has at least 50% immunity to every type of damage, summons have no immunity to anything. So the summons are relatively strong, but if a monster summons against you, you should be able to clear the summons relatively quickly because you do twice as much damage to them as to anything else. Also, summons are all "beast" species (regardless of what they are, such as a demon or vampire) so that they are not vulnerable to Anatomy, but they are vulnerable to everything else (except Repel Spirit), and they won't pick up or use items. (And they've been stripped of all of their default items.) I'll add a message explaining some of this somewhere in-game, since it's such a massive change. It's also possible that this will make combats horrifically broken and I will have to rebalance all of this. But, again, because summons are separate from everything else, it should be relatively straightforward to rebalance summons. Part of the reason that balance was sort of sticky in Bahssikava and Exodus — once something worked a particular way, I generally didn't change it dramatically — was that it was very hard to change things. Reworking special spells required going through dozens of states. Editing monsters affected not just one fight, but many, and often in many different places, so I was hesitant to change things because any change was likely to have many unanticipated effects. I'm trying very, very hard to make that not so in Homeland.
  12. Groups

    I've always dealt with this using flags: increment a flag in each character's DEAD_STATE, and if you know that there are, say, 6 characters that need to die before something happens, then make the thing happen once the flag reaches 6. I think you can also do this the way you're intending, but you have to be a little bit careful. Crucially, a creature is still alive when its DEAD_STATE runs; it doesn't die until the script finishes. Thus, if you want to do something in the last creature's DEAD_STATE, you should do it when the number of creatures in the group reaches one, not zero. I just tried this out in my testing scenario — a scenario that consists of basically nothing except whatever it is that I'm trying to test (here, a town with four hostile Giant Rats with a script that prints the number of creatures in the group in each character's DEAD_STATE) — and it appears that dead creatures don't count as being a part of the group. So this does work without having to remove monsters manually.
  13. Homeland progress report

    Yes, and sort of. I was using a variable called next_state to determine the state to return to, but then it turned out that I had too many variables. Each state has to pass so much information to the next state that I needed over 20 variables, and the scenario script apparently can handle only 10, so I had to switch a bunch of them to flags. I'm trying to use lots of comments so it's not as much of disaster to read, but it's still not ideal.
  14. Homeland progress report

    Mostly town and core quest design in Chapter 2 for the past couple of weeks. I'm at 33 towns, and it looks as though I will have about 43 by the end of Chapter 2. The Prologue has 9, and Chapter 1 has 18, and I think Chapter 2 will have 16 (give or take one or two). I also went back into the special abilities/spells to add one more feature (a special ability that displays information on the special spells/abilities — previously you had to try to use something to get info on it, which is still possible) and clean up the bugs that I discovered in that excursion. I've been writing comments to track the structure of the system as I write because I've been working on it for a day at a time and then setting it aside for several weeks, so I forget everything in between and have to re-read the comments to figure it out. For your amusement, here's the current introduction:
  15. Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

    Incidentally, I was wrong. Emerald Mountain is also in the Echoes setting. I had this vague memory that it was, but I couldn't remember exactly how, and I just found it (and you just encountered it in the last episode): the log book. The references there to importing stuff from Krizsan to an imperial research facility mark it as very likely Echoes-based as well. As with the others, I don't know that it makes much of a difference, but it is there. As I've mentioned, Emerald Mountain was my favorite early TM scenario. It was probably less of an influence on me than Canopy was — Exodus was a direct response to Canopy — but I think a lot of my expectations as a player when I was testing Bahssikava were set by Emerald Mountain. The combats are on the harder side, and I liked that, so I made the combats in Bahs also on the harder side. (Although, seriously, in that last one, all you have to do is enter combat mode, bless and haste, and heal at appropriate moments. It's really not as hard as you made it out to be.)
  16. Scenario graphics problems

    I mean, I assume Sheepshaver will work. It's just a pain to set up, and setting up some other kind of emulation is probably easier. I'll try it myself at some point and see what happens. Edit: But, more generally, my point is to use original BoE, not one of these other things, and just emulate the environment that you need. And, to be clear, the reason that it would work is that you'd be using a (relatively) bug-free version of BoE rather than a bugged pre-release version of some kind of reworked BoE.
  17. Scenario graphics problems

    Can you maybe just run original BoE in Sheepshaver? If the current version isn't really stable or functional, emulation seems like another option.
  18. Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

    I just checked CSR, and apparently Lazarus felt that the ending was one of the high points. Nik also liked it, but almost everyone else didn't. Grimm said that TM admitted that he ended it there because he just didn't feel like writing more, which I don't remember but which may be true. I was curious about something else, so I checked if my review is up there, and it is. I guess I slammed Canopy pretty hard when it came out. My review — which is listed as "from an unknown reviewer" but literally refers to being the person who designed Bahssikava — is not especially positive. Be that as it may, Canopy was a huge influence on Exodus, as I mentioned above.
  19. That is a completely different limit, though.
  20. Homeland progress report

    The main quest line in Chapter 1 is done! It took all freaking day, but I tested the last dungeon. It took so long because it has a series of four complex scripted fights, and the balance was incredibly delicate. The essence of the combats is that the monsters change special abilities partway through. (I'm not sure that I even know this was possible before, but there's a set_special_ability() call.) But at low levels, using certain creature special abilities will make certain fights unwinnable, so I just had to keep changing each fight as the difficulty swung from impossible to too easy and back to impossible again. Also, I wanted to make sure that it was possible to finish the main quest line without having finished many of the side quests, so I was at a lower level than might otherwise be reasonable. So it was hard, but it was hard by design. And by this point more special abilities/spells are available, and I keep finding more and more bugs in the special ability/spell script, but they're never all that hard to fix because of the way the system is structured. Anyway, it's done. Chapter 1 is finishable. There are still some details to fill in, but it'll mostly be Chapter 2 work for the next few months.
  21. Homeland progress report

    Well, Silthokh doesn't remember either, and neither did Ethass at first — the thing that triggers her remembering is the name "Legare." It appears that people on the island don't remember their past lives until something happens that reminds them. (Ethass mentions that she'll go and "wake" Silthokh.) So I wouldn't read too much into Kass not remembering. But yeah, Ethass seems pretty wary of Kass, and that's for good reason.
  22. Homeland progress report

    I'd appreciate that. I didn't start correcting things that I saw in the videos until about halfway through, and I didn't go back and rewatch in order to find anything else, so there are probably still some typos/bug fixes that I missed. I should be able to get around to changing the last couple of things in Exodus by this weekend. I'll post when I upload the new version. Yeah, we know from The Magic that Kass's story doesn't end well. Because he appears on the island, he must die in Homeland, and Ethass/Sophia says, "Kass always found himself close to power, but he never learned the wisdom to wield it. He nearly destroyed us, after you died." And her response to Kass is a fair bit more uncomfortable than her response to Silthokh, even though there was considerable tension between Silthokh and Phaedra (who is Ethass's very close friend — they grew up together and share a tent throughout Exodus). So yeah, something pretty dire must happen with Kass in Homeland.
  23. Homeland progress report

    Oh, that's interesting. I played BoA long before Avernum 4, so I didn't make that association, but that makes some sense. I mean, I chose Kass's dialog pic because I wanted a skinny, ascetic priest rather than the burly warriors that most of the other pictures showed. Kass isn't a warrior; even Talas goes out into dungeons, but Kass is pretty useless in combat. (This becomes, uh, semi-significant in Homeland.) Speaking of playing Exodus again, I've been tinkering with a v1.1.3 of Exodus; I should really do one more check and then upload it. It's mostly just typo fixes and that kind of thing.
  24. Homeland progress report

    On the original topic, I've been working ahead in Chapter 2 a bit and backfilling dialogue in Chapter 1 — gah, there's just so much — but I finally got around to testing over the weekend. I can totally see how Bahssikava in particular got to be so hard. The first time through a combat, it might be challenging, but I'm not just going through it once. When I'm testing, I'm going through it two or three times on each run, and I'm usually doing at least three or four runs of alpha testing. The ninth or tenth time I fight the combat, it just seems so mind-numbingly easy that I crank up the difficulty to make it more interesting. At the moment, I'm resisting the temptation, but I'll see what I think on the final alpha run (presumably in a year or two). I haven't managed to get to the end of Chapter 1 in a testing run yet, but I think I'm close. Then it will be time to turn to Chapter 2 in earnest.
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