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Neverwinter nights


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#21
rjshae

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Here's a couple of recent creature projects for NWN2:

  • Ooze -- 
  • Larva -- 

Kalister's still learning creature animation, but to me they look pretty decent.



#22
CrumpetsForBreakfast

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rsjae it's great that you and a small few of the dedicated people with copies of the now completely unavailable tools are still plodding along making new content. On the other hand you had all sorts of oozes and worms like a decade ago for NWN. It's 10 years too late for NWN2 modding to start playing catch up.

 

You should also not brush off the things I've mentioned to you. Your armor in NWN2 is definitely not as customizable. What you're referring to is "armor parts" which float over the armor mesh rather than customizing the armor mesh itself. It is not possible for example to have a pale master with a bone arm like it is in NWN by default on any armor you're wearing. If you wanted that the same for NWN2 you have to make a separate mesh of the entire armor just for a bone arm variant for every single armor mesh. That's not friendly to modding!

 

I think you also misunderstand the tint issue. NWN2 has 3 tint channels. Here's a list of the channels NWN has that you can change and override:

Skin, Hair, Cloth 1, Cloth 2, Leather 1, Leather 2, Metal 1, Metal 2, Tattoo 1,Tattoo 2

 

NWN body sections include:

Head, Neck, Shoulder 1, Shoulder 2, Bicep 1, Bicep 2, Forearm 1, Forearm 2, Hand 1, Hand 2, Torso, Pelvis, Thigh 1, Thigh 2, Shin 1, Shin 2, Foot 1, Foot 2, Belt, Cloak, Robe

 

Just from that anyone understands that NWN has more options for character customization, an endless amount of permutations as each part has hundreds of variations. If you wanted that in NWN2 you have to rebuild the body system from scratch and use the floaty "armor parts" or vfx mesh to make a whole new body and then do that for every race, that would be a modding headache. So NWN2 outfits are always whole body presets and never really unique.

 

Moving on the only reason someone thinks flying and mounts aren't important is because they're not really part of the game that was released. NWN introduced it and it's an option so not a fringe thing. For NWN2 it was promised along with things like swimming and climbing but it was never delivered, so that's a big minus nobody solved in 10 years.

 

NWN2 interior creation is not as easy as NWN since it's not automatic, you have to paste each individual tile and individually go thru each of the variations where this happens automatically in NWN. The idea that NWN areas aren't as good is silly, especially if you've seen mods, they're very advanced and can do rolling hills and all sorts of inclines that aren't possible in NWN2. An NWN pw has maybe over 1000 exterior areas, an NWN2 pw has maybe 50? Huge drawback.

Heightmaps weren't good for modding and PW support, the areas look like they're all made out of wax and the models don't always interact with them naturally with jittery animation occurring frequently.

 

If you had to use one of the two games as a blueprint for spiritual successor "NWN3" styled game you should definitely use the first game and bring that technology into the new graphical age.

 

There are reasons that even today user activity for NWN is still three to five times as big as it is for NWN2, reasons people did not switch over, reasons fewer mod for NWN2. People still care less about the angular models and graphical limitation for NWN than they do about the technical limitations of NWN2.

 

It should be a lesson people should learn from if they're interested in this kind of modding game. Not something that should be brushed off or minimized, because then you don't learn anything and you make the same mistakes.



#23
rjshae

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I think you also misunderstand the tint issue. NWN2 has 3 tint channels. Here's a list of the channels NWN has that you can change and override:

Skin, Hair, Cloth 1, Cloth 2, Leather 1, Leather 2, Metal 1, Metal 2, Tattoo 1,Tattoo 2

 

NWN body sections include:

Head, Neck, Shoulder 1, Shoulder 2, Bicep 1, Bicep 2, Forearm 1, Forearm 2, Hand 1, Hand 2, Torso, Pelvis, Thigh 1, Thigh 2, Shin 1, Shin 2, Foot 1, Foot 2, Belt, Cloak, Robe

 

Mmm no, I don't think I did. In NWN2, the flesh1, flesh2, hair, hat/helm, cloak, armor, shield, belt, and boots all have three tint channels, as do each of the armor parts: 2 bracers, 2 elbows, 2 arms, 2 shoulders, waist, 2 thighs, 2 knees, 2 ankles, and so forth. There's a vast number of variations, as well as model scaling, that allow endless tweaking. Sure it's not the same as NWN, and I can see benefits to both approaches. But kindly don't think that NWN2 clothing is particularly limited. There's also a pretty large number of clothing mods available for NWN2, along with armor, weapons, shields, hair, and the usual nude variants.

 

 

NWN2 interior creation is not as easy as NWN since it's not automatic, you have to paste each individual tile and individually go thru each of the variations where this happens automatically in NWN. The idea that NWN areas aren't as good is silly, especially if you've seen mods, they're very advanced and can do rolling hills and all sorts of inclines that aren't possible in NWN2. An NWN pw has maybe over 1000 exterior areas, an NWN2 pw has maybe 50? Huge drawback.

Heightmaps weren't good for modding and PW support, the areas look like they're all made out of wax and the models don't always interact with them naturally with jittery animation occurring frequently.

 

If you had to use one of the two games as a blueprint for spiritual successor "NWN3" styled game you should definitely use the first game and bring that technology into the new graphical age.

 

Ugh, no thanks. I have seen the "rolling hill" mods for NWN. They're a pale imitation of what you can do with the NWN2 exterior area tool. In NWN2 I can create arbitrary terrains, complete with texturable surfaces, moving water, randomized trees and bushes, paintable grass, relocatable buildings, and, in particular, it doesn't have a boxy grid squished up look. Personally I prefer quality over quantity, so I'll take the NWN2 PW any day.

 

It boils down to personal preferences. I like the power, party control, and improved graphics of NWN2; you prefer the ease and greater number of mods for NWN.


Edited by rjshae, 12 April 2017 - 09:03 AM.

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#24
CrumpetsForBreakfast

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rjshae I've used both systems for clothing extensively and I know that NWN2 just isn't as good. Like it's not even close, most that play both games understand this. Those parts in NWN2 are meaningless because they don't change the model they float above it like a vfx so it doesn't replace anything, nobody makes mods for those parts. You just can't compare it to the infinite options you get with NWN.

 

On an interesting aside NWN modders have overcome things like resize things now. Just like they were able to overcome the GUI limits on NWN. Tho NWN2 still has it's limits.

 

If you make an outfit in NWN it's completely custom since each part has hundreds of variations. A conservative estimate of the number of unique variations on outfits in NWN before adding color would be about 200^22 variations but with NWN2 you're always stuck with the outfits the modellers made, always. In NWN I can make an outfit of almost any fictional character that comes to mind and on a server I can sell it for a lot of gold pieces and roleplay an expert seamstress, on NWN2 that's not even remotely possible. Because on some NWN mods you can customize every single detail of every single part, including position, size, orientation, all color channels, and base model. on NWN2 you can scroll through single body meshes, add a tint and stick on an ugly arm guard. They're not even remotely comparable.

 

It's like comparing lego to .... something that's not lego.

 

 

NWN rolling hills is not an imitation since it actually came first. In NWN2 you can't create arbitrary terrain because each point is connected so it slopes from the adjacent points. This means you're stretching and squashing the texture to which you're limited to using only 6 textures at once?  And then you can't make 90 degree inclines, and you can't make cliffs that hang over the lower area. So it's a misconception that you can make any terrain, tiles are simply far superior for that. Then there's other limitations like grass in NWN2 exploding the size of areas, walkmesh limitations I've been over, and of course shadows where even today the conventional wisdom is to limit shadows and lighting in NWN2 because it's a resource killer. So everything you win by using NWN2 you pay back another way.

 

You can look at the community statistics too.

 

nwnlist.com

NWN: 430 players

NWN2: 150 players

 

neverwintervault.org

NWN: 293 pages of custom content

NWN2: 16 pages of custom content

 

neverwintervault.org custom content forums

NWN custom content: 4569 posts

NWN player's corner: 1427 posts

NWN2 custom content: 1465 posts

NWN2 player's corner: 329 posts

 

Community packs

NWN: CEP, CEP2, CEP 3, Project Q

NWN2: ..........?

 

Now if someone can't accept this reality then they're not going to learn the game design lessons they could learn by comparing the two and understanding what happened and why. It's not that NWN simply has more mods it's that NWN2 has severe limitations on modding compared to NWN. It's also not because NWN2 is more powerful, like in NWN you can also use tools to override the properties of tiles including height and variation to craft interiors never possible in NWN2.

 

I don't "hate" either game but after some time I did wonder why the old NWN is still more popular, I talked to people, I read up on things, I tried mods and I learned why. I wish NWN2 attracted more players and more modders, but it didn't, I wish most people from NWN converted over to NWN2, but they didn't. It's a good exercise to try to understand why.


Edited by CrumpetsForBreakfast, 12 April 2017 - 10:22 AM.


#25
rjshae

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rjshae I've used both systems for clothing extensively and I know that NWN2 just isn't as good. Like it's not even close, most that play both games understand this. Those parts in NWN2 are meaningless because they don't change the model they float above it like a vfx so it doesn't replace anything, nobody makes mods for those parts. You just can't compare it to the infinite options you get with NWN.

 

On an interesting aside NWN modders have overcome things like resize things now. Just like they were able to overcome the GUI limits on NWN. Tho NWN2 still has it's limits.

 

If you make an outfit in NWN it's completely custom since each part has hundreds of variations. A conservative estimate of the number of unique variations on outfits in NWN before adding color would be about 200^22 variations but with NWN2 you're always stuck with the outfits the modellers made, always. In NWN I can make an outfit of almost any fictional character that comes to mind and on a server I can sell it for a lot of gold pieces and roleplay an expert seamstress, on NWN2 that's not even remotely possible. Because on some NWN mods you can customize every single detail of every single part, including position, size, orientation, all color channels, and base model. on NWN2 you can scroll through single body meshes, add a tint and stick on an ugly arm guard. They're not even remotely comparable.

 

It's like comparing lego to .... something that's not lego.

 

 

NWN rolling hills is not an imitation since it actually came first. In NWN2 you can't create arbitrary terrain because each point is connected so it slopes from the adjacent points. This means you're stretching and squashing the texture to which you're limited to using only 6 textures at once?  And then you can't make 90 degree inclines, and you can't make cliffs that hang over the lower area. So it's a misconception that you can make any terrain, tiles are simply far superior for that. Then there's other limitations like grass in NWN2 exploding the size of areas, walkmesh limitations I've been over, and of course shadows where even today the conventional wisdom is to limit shadows and lighting in NWN2 because it's a resource killer. So everything you win by using NWN2 you pay back another way.

 

Well sorry but to me these arguments are like comparing razor blades. Is the razor blade with 9 blades superior to the one with 7? Well perhaps by a microscopic amount. I prefer the one with the tiltable head and 7 blades to the one with a fixed head and 9 blades. To me, the factors you raise do not make NWN any more inviting. The options in NWN2 are vastly more than I need.

 

Your argument about the NWN2 exterior area building is based on corner cases. I can create pretty much any area I want. Would I like to have more than six textures per grid square plus one 16-bit color tint per vertex? Sure, but as you point out, that would come at a cost. We can make some very nice and realistic terrains using the current system. Yes, the features that make NWN2 area building vastly better come with a memory cost. What of it? Disk space is cheap these days.

 

I've worked with the NWN toolset and found it rather constrained and unappealing compared to NWN2. I've also tried doing some mods for NWN, and found it quite limited because of the various size constraints. For example, there's almost no way to port most NWN2 tilesets to NWN because of the poly count limits and texture size constraints. It would take a ton of work to diminish the poly count enough, and the textures would need to be shrunk down and the normal/tint/illumination maps removed. The end result would be pretty ugly.

 

Like I said, it's a matter of personal preference. I'll stick with NWN2; you stick with NWN. :)


Edited by rjshae, 12 April 2017 - 10:59 AM.


#26
CrumpetsForBreakfast

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It's fine to like what you like, but it's simply fact that NWN has better customization and in some cases orders of magnitude better. It seems most of the community thinks that so that's why they're still using a graphically inferior game that was built for Windows 98.

 

The argument against heightmaps isn't even an edge case. Everyone knows they cost more which becomes a limiting factor, what do you get for it? Well, this is what an NWN2 exterior "tile" really is. You can faintly make out the tile borders where I point them out with arrows, a 32*32 exterior makes 16*16 of those red and black bordered squares and those 4 boxes inside are the tiles. The criss-cross green lines display the heightmap so that's 7*7= 49 vertices, compared to the number of vertices per tile in the wealth of NWN tiles made. So that's a really small amount but the area size in mb becomes huge, as in Donald Trump voice it's HUGE it's gonna be HUGE

 

IFIbWqM.jpg

 

So you pay more for customizing that tile but being limited by baking, texture count, stretching, resource size, and so on. If you like it that's fine but it's fair to say it's not really more expressive than a large set of 3D modeled tiles. Lack of exterior tiles is probably one of the most frequent complaints I've heard from players that didn't switch over.

 

So if someone ever does an NWN3 even if it's just a fan project or spiritual successor, please don't use heightmaps instead of tiles.



#27
CrumpetsForBreakfast

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Did a sanity check of some folders for NWN2 servers and it's about 1-2 gb player download for 200-300 areas. Compared to nothing extra downloaded for NWN persistent worlds with 1000+ areas.

 

NWNX allows NWN servers to dynamically add new areas, which you can't do with NWN2 obviously with the walkmesh.

 

With NWN you can teleport between servers with minimal issue. For NWN2 you need the walkmesh for each server downloaded.

 

Each area change in NWN2, is a new walkmesh download. No way you can stream that content like NWN can.

 

 

So that's pretty significant for people it does concern. Obviously not much if you don't care about it but then you could mod Dragon Age or Skyrim or Fallout



#28
rjshae

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So if someone ever does an NWN3 even if it's just a fan project or spiritual successor, please don't use heightmaps instead of tiles.

 

I'm not sure how practical it is to even use tiles for 3D exterior areas any more. Modern games all seem to be based on custom meshes. Do we know what they used for the 2013 Neverwinter release? Or how about Sword Coast Legends?

 

What I'd really like is a terrain modelling tool similar to what they demonstrated for Sui Generis. That worked very rapidly, yet it produced a quite natural-looking terrain. It could probably be expanded to sculpt a wide variety of surfaces and elevation variations, including flowing water channels. Vegetation could be handled in a similar manner. If it is fractally-based, then presumably the areas can be low bandwidth.



#29
rjshae

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Did a sanity check of some folders for NWN2 servers and it's about 1-2 gb player download for 200-300 areas. Compared to nothing extra downloaded for NWN persistent worlds with 1000+ areas.

 

...

 

So that's pretty significant for people it does concern. Obviously not much if you don't care about it but then you could mod Dragon Age or Skyrim or Fallout

 

Yep, well Baldur's Gate Reloaded is around 2.5 Gb so yeah that's pretty beefy. It hasn't stopped 28,700 people from downloading it though. To me this stopped being an issue years ago, but I guess if you're still stuck on XP I can see why it would be a problem.

 

As for modding other games, none of them have quite provided the game system I want.


Edited by rjshae, 12 April 2017 - 01:05 PM.


#30
CrumpetsForBreakfast

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The point of size isn't that you don't have enough disk space it's about connections. Tho you can definitely make the argument that it's a very wasteful use of disk space because interiors also need to be baked now and tiles didn't with NWN so it doesn't have the same bang for your bucks.

 

More than anything it hampers multiplayer and persistent worlds, putting limits on things.

 

You can make amazing looking tiles today for a game I'm sure and they should be able to stream fast without anything needed to be downloaded when you add in a new area. The data for all tiles is stored on the client, the server just needs to tell you the arrangement and settings of the tiles, that's like a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the data an NWN2 area needs. So it's possible for players to host games on a domestic connection and it's possible with NWNX to add new areas without resetting the server and forcing a new player download. So servers can in theory offer customized player housing and also procedurally generate dungeons.

 

Those are some of the reasons tiles are very very very powerful.

 

Even if NWN2 servers could stream areas like NWN does without baking you can't just add a single area for 50 mb, stream it to 70 or 150+ players and expect it's not going to cause issues. Using tiles like NWN did was a genius move that guaranteed that it is still somewhat popular today.

 

As far as I could tell the Neverwinter MMO and Sword Coast Legends were really unpopular with both NWN and NWN2 communities so I wouldn't look to either of those for inspiration if you want NWN3.



#31
rjshae

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Tile use made sense in NWN because of the primitive graphics requirements, restricted number of tile variants, and limited walkmesh flexibility. But increasing area design flexibility requires an exponential growth in the number of tiles needing to be developed. There'd be no reasonable way to, say, make a Fallout 3/4-style area map using tiles because the memory requirements on the end systems would quickly become prohibitive. Exterior area tiles are not going to cut it; they only made some sense for interior areas of NWN2, and in many ways they are very limiting for game design. Ideally, for maximum efficiency, you want to make repeated use of each tile, but what this does is produce repetition and tedium. NWN areas all end up looking pretty much the same, like an enhanced version of a GoldBox game.


Edited by rjshae, 13 April 2017 - 11:29 AM.

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#32
deanwilkinson20

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I think the spells looked amazing in nwn especially heal the issacs and sound effect. Know it was kind of over the top but i loved that






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