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Kelandon

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Everything posted by Kelandon

  1. That is a completely different limit, though.
  2. Kelandon

    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.
  3. Kelandon

    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.
  4. Kelandon

    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.
  5. Kelandon

    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.
  6. Kelandon

    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.
  7. Kelandon

    Homeland progress report

    If you skip the things outside of quotation marks, as you did here, you can end up missing details and being wrong about stuff. I'm looking at character portraits 1823 to 1827, and I see only one that at all covers the area that would be breasts on a human (1825 — Kass's pic). However, the covering is more like a scarf or a shawl than like a shirt; it's mostly for the neck, not the chest. To me, at least, it doesn't seem very parallel to what a human woman would wear if she weren't intending to go topless. As for the others, 1827 (Ethass's pic) has a cape with a hood, but no covering of the chest. 1824 (which I don't think I use?) has a thin vest, but it doesn't really cover the chest. Both of the remaining two (Pithoss, Talas) wear only a loincloth. So I don't know that it makes any sense to distinguish among the slith portraits based on how much of the chest they cover, even if we weren't talking about reptiles. Regardless, I think it matters that Kass is male. The story would come across differently if Kass were female, and it just doesn't seem right to me. It's hard to explain why; maybe it's just that Kass's core character flaws are stereotypically masculine. But Kass as female just doesn't fit. Given who he is, he would interact with other people differently if he were female. It would transform his relationship with Ethass, for sure.
  8. Kelandon

    Homeland progress report

    Oh, huh. I remembered the point being made, but I didn't remember where it was made — he added something reinforcing the point? Interesting. You're not the only one. Chessrook44 kept referring to Kass as "she" throughout the Let's Play, much to my consternation. But no, Kass is from Gnass. Sss-Kass is from Bahssikava and dies in the Empire raid. I honestly can't recall now why Kass has a feminine Bahssikavan name, although he does. I think it had to do with how far removed Gnassish is from Bahssikavan, so what is a feminine ending in Bahssikavan isn't necessarily so in Gnassish. Sulfras says that age doesn't affect all dragons the same way; that's her explanation for being born at the same time as Motrax but seeming so much younger. But yeah, this seems a little weak given all the other inconsistencies.
  9. Kelandon

    Homeland progress report

    That was actually in Avernum 1 already. That little snippet is part of why Bahssikava always mentions whether a slith speaks with some kind of accent (e.g., a couple of the Honeycomb sliths at the very beginning) or without (e.g., Ethass). It's also part of why most of the sliths in Bahssikava have fairly hissy names that all kind of sound the same and are heavy on TH and S sounds (Ethass, Pithoss, Kass) except the occasional historical reference to a Bahssikavan with an unusual name (Calindor). Yeah. In A:EftP, Motrax says that he was "born" (hatched, presumably?) in the underworld, while the other dragons are from the surface. He makes a point of saying that he "came to know humans only recently" and that the other dragons "are all young, compared to me," as well as that the dragons in Avernum "are not hatched from like broods." He mentions that he is a thousand years old. But in A2:CS, Sulfras says, "Motrax is my brother. We come from the same brood." Athron says, "The five dragons of these caverns were the last brood to be hatched anywhere near here, well over a century ago. My siblings." Some of this could be chalked up to lying, I guess — Athron is deliberately cagey about her mate — but it's not clear to me why they'd be so gratuitously lying. I came across this when researching for Homeland. We know from Bahssikava and Exodus that the slith homeland has dragons (Galthrax, Velthkhogroz, the ancient Mahanyakshetra), so I had to refresh my memory on dragon lore from the Avernum series so as not to be completely inconsistent with it. Except that dragon lore isn't really consistent with itself. I ended up deciding that, when there are inconsistencies, I'm using Avernum 1 as my canon; it fits better with what I intend.
  10. Kelandon

    Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

    ... it is possible to use Return Life while in combat mode.
  11. Kelandon

    Homeland progress report

    Yeah, it seems like it has to be. There aren't many changes to the text from A1 to A:EftP — even some minor continuity problems involving the dragons don't seem to have been cleaned up after the second set of remakes — and I can't imagine any other reason to change this. I probably would've noticed this sooner, but I don't think I ever got very far in either remake.
  12. By way of background: There are two Avernum trilogies: the First Avernum Trilogy and the Second Avernum Trilogy. Unsurprisingly, the former is Avernums 1-3, and the latter is Avernums 4-6. The First Avernum Trilogy has gone through a series of remakes. It was originally Exile 1, 2, and 3. Then it was remade into Avernum 1, 2, and 3. (After this, the Second Avernum Trilogy was released.) Now, there is a new series of remakes: Avernum: Escape From the Pit, Avernum 2: Crystal Souls, and the upcoming Avernum 3 remake. As far as what spoils what, there is a central mystery in Avernum 3 that later Avernum games may mention the answer to, so that's a possible spoiler. Avernum 4 definitely gives away what happens in Avernum 3; I don't remember if later games do. (I don't think Avernum 6 does, but I couldn't promise that.) In general, I'd recommend playing in order (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) if possible, but if you're playing on iPad, Avernum 4 and Avernum 5 are not going to be on iPad any time soon. Playing 6 without 4 and 5 is possible; a few things won't make perfect sense, but most things will. So, bottom line, you'd be okay playing in the order 1, 2, 6, 3, although if you can stand to wait after finishing Avernum 1 and 2 and if you can stand to play on a computer for Avernum 4 and 5, I'd recommend 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
  13. Kelandon

    Homeland progress report

    From time to time, I've been checking things against the Avernum games because I don't want to do anything overly inconsistent with their continuity. I've been using the Avernum 1 Template to check town layouts and such, and I've been using A:EftP to check the dialogue. But in A:EftP, I just noticed something. In Avernum 1, the message on the steel gates in the Bahssikava Deeps said: This was the underlying inspiration for the entire Slith Homeland series: Thsss was exiled from the homeland, and Legare finds the way back. The tiny clues here and elsewhere in the Deeps became major plot points in my scenarios; for example, the complicated theology of Exodus basically comes from the reference to "the Gods" in this message. In A:EftP, the message has been changed slightly: Setting aside the typo ("Goddessess"), the change from "Gods" to "Goddesses" seems like a direct reference to my scenario Bahssikava, which I know that Jeff looked at during the First BoA Contest. The premise of Bahssikava is that a mysterious goddess inspires Legare to lead his expedition back to the homeland. There's another change in wording, too: "watch you and grant you wisdom" -> "return to you and restore your wisdom." The difference is the sense that the Darklings were once better than they are. In this wish, the gods are not just watching; they are returning to the Darklings, implying that they had been with them before. The gods are not merely granting wisdom; they are restoring wisdom that the Darklings once had. This works really well within my continuity, although I don't think Jeff could've known that. I'm surprised. This is cool.
  14. Kelandon

    Bugged Path to Attack in Avadon 3

    This has been true for a while in Spiderweb games — for whatever reason, if you're out of range and select an attack, the game will move you one space more than it needs to get into range. I think it's true in every Avadon and Geneforge game, although I couldn't swear to that. I agree that it's weird.
  15. Kelandon

    Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

    The Martyr Beam hits for 300 damage, then hits for another 100 fire damage, then stacks large amounts of poison and acid. It targets a random visible party member. I had forgotten this, but apparently statuses persist after death, so when you raise a character from the dead, it still has all its poison and acid. It will take damage at the end of the turn in which it was raised. So summoning things could work, but you'd have to get the Bugbear Mage down to almost dead and then run everybody out of the room while your summons kill it out of sight. This is a little tricky. Or you could train someone's Endurance until they're over 300 hit points. If they have 301 hit points, then the first hit will bring them to 1, the second hit will bring them to 0, and they'll take poison and acid damage when the turn ends. So if you can have a healer wait and heal/cure them before the turn ends, the character survives. (I think this was probably the intended approach. EDIT: But see below.) Or, similarly, you could get everyone else out of the room except one character right before the Bugbear Mage dies, have that one character quaff an Invulnerability Potion, and then be immune to most of the damage that it would take. I'm not sure whether it would block the initial 300 damage — going to test that right now — but it would block everything else. (EDIT: It does. Invulnerability blocks everything. So this is probably the easiest thing to do.) Or you could let them die and then raise them from the dead in combat mode so that you can heal/cure before the turn ends, and they won't die immediately.
  16. Kelandon

    Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

    The names are a strange hodgepodge of European (mostly German-ish) and Japanese-ish. I never did figure out if the difference was meaningful (i.e., if the Japanese characters were different from the European characters in some way), but TM did this pretty consistently throughout a variety of scenarios at the time, if I remember correctly. So, for example, I assume that "Moerder" is pronounced as it would be in German, which is a fair bit like the word "murder" in English, especially non-rhotic dialects of English.
  17. Kelandon

    Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

    Canopy is next! I mentioned I might check back in for this one. I have a certain attachment to it; it was released a couple months before Bahssikava, and those two were the first lengthy (i.e., 20+ towns) BoA scenarios, so they were spoken of in the same breath a fair bit back in 2005. And Canopy influenced me quite a lot at the time, at least in terms of technical elements. I found the writing pretty impenetrable, but I definitely took note of the special spells, town design, etc. Exodus is the way that it is because of Canopy. (Which is not without irony, given that TM... um... was not fond of Exodus.) Canopy is not TM's best scenario — it's probably not even TM's best early BoA scenario, which for my money is Emerald Mountain — but it was a milestone, back in the day.
  18. Kelandon

    Groups

    It's only within a script. For certain group functions, you may also need to do something in the editor, e.g., using the groupnpc script, but you assign the groups in a script.
  19. Kelandon

    Grand Poll 2017: Results Part 1

    At this point, you're not even talking about the survey anymore. "Other" with a fill-in explanation was an option here. I guess you could think it was a waste of time, but I'm not sure why — it would be read and understood just like any other answer. And assuming that someone meant something other than what they said and then criticizing them for meaning that is maybe not a good move? You might want to stop and rethink all of this. You're drifting farther and farther away from sense here.
  20. Kelandon

    Homeland progress report

    Basically, yes. In the scenario editor, every location that is not in the outdoors is a "town." So you might see someone refer to, e.g., Mount Galthrax in Bahssikava as a three-town dungeon because there were three levels to it. By way of comparison, Avernum 1 (before the remake) had 82 towns. As for cities:
  21. Kelandon

    About checking the current tick

    As far as storage, the problem is that variables are sometimes (always?) reset when you reload from a save. So you really would have to store it in an SDF, not a scenario script variable. As far as doing math, yes, the docs say: So you would have to be a bit careful doing math with numbers well over 30,000. You can still do it, but it requires some convolution. But I don't think any of this is relevant to what Thralni is trying to do, really. Nik's script should work well enough.
  22. Kelandon

    Homeland progress report

    Some mixed work on Chapters 1 and 2 over the last couple of weeks. It looks like Chapter 1 will consist of 18 towns, not including a couple that are shared between the Prologue and Chapter 1. Nearly all are near completion; a few have a little dialogue to be added, and one has some combat still to be designed, and one town I haven't created at all (because it's part of a side quest that I won't finish for some time). It's possible there may be one or two more as I add one or two more significant side quests. But Chapter 1 is otherwise done, although still not thoroughly tested. I have 4 towns from Chapter 2 in various stages of completion, but there's still a long way to go. (Probably 10-12 more towns, give or take, which will bring me to a little over 40 by the end of Chapter 2. Aaaaaaauuuggghh.) One thing I'm trying to play with is how much combat (vs. non-combat tasks) there is in any given portion of the scenario. In Chapter 1, the main quests are pretty heavily focused on combat, but the side quests involve almost no combat at all — but this wasn't particularly intentional. It just happened that way. But as I plan out the details of Chapter 2, and even more so as I will get around to planning out the details of Chapter 3, I'll be paying closer attention to this. I worry that I may be Nethergate-ing this scenario a little bit. In Nethergate, the main quest line is spelled out to you pretty immediately, and every step is made clear as soon as you finish a previous step. But there are tons of side quests that you can do, if you go and seek them out — and if you don't, you'll miss most of the color of the game. Homeland is structured in kind of the same way. Still, maybe in BoA, I can count on players to seek out all the little details in the world and find all the side quests, at least more than Jeff could for players of Nethergate.
  23. Kelandon

    About checking the current tick

    Yeah, I'm not sure that anyone who knows will respond, so you should probably just test this yourself. Create a testing scenario (on the surface), put something like print_num(get_current_tick()); into the START_STATE in the scenario script, and walk around for a while to see what happens. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Eph was right and the manual was wrong, but it would be good to check to be sure. Let us know what you find out!
  24. Kelandon

    The Grand Spiderweb Poll, 2017 Edition: Demographics & Favorites

    Under existing law, sure. The concern, apparently, is that the law could change, and it's not clear how the Constitution would apply to this. By way of example, back in the early '80s, Bob Jones University — a private, non-denominational (but conservative) Protestant institution — prohibited interracial dating among its students. The federal government threatened to strip the university's tax-exempt status because the ban on interracial dating was contrary to public policy (eradicating race discrimination). Bob Jones University refused to eliminate the ban; it said that the ban was grounded in its religious principles. In the ensuing lawsuit, the Supreme Court held that the First Amendment didn't prevent the federal government from ending Bob Jones University's tax-exempt status on this basis. At oral argument in the last same-sex marriage case (Obergefell v. Hodges), the lawyer for the federal government (the Solicitor General) conceded that it was an open question whether the same sort of thing would be constitutional if done in the context of gay marriage. That is, it's not entirely clear whether the government could strip the tax-exempt status of religious institutions or religiously affiliated institutions that refuse to perform or recognize same-sex marriages. To be clear, no one has proposed such a step, and it's not clear to me that anyone ever would. As far as I can tell, this is not a thing that anyone actually wants. So I don't think it matters at all. But just quoting the First Amendment isn't quite enough to address this.
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