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NWN2 News August 3, 2007

Posted by Rob McGinnis , 03 August 2007 · 5738 views

NWN2 News
Neverwinter Nights 2 Community Update
August 3, 2007

Time for another Community Update. This week we are going to look at some new spell chants for MoTB, a new feature for builders in 1.07 and a great Persistent World. We will also get a small peek at the options screens for the new camera and controls and a great new community addon by cdaulepp!

New Feature for 1.07

One of the things we have been trying to do is include some of the improvements from the expansion in the patches. Here Nathaniel Chapman, Assistant Producer on MoTB, shares some information about one of those features:

So, one of the new features in 1.07 that is a result of [including expansion features] is custom skydome support.

Essentially, this will allow you to completely replace the skydome that is used for a level. I can't reveal exactly where and how we use it in NX1's campaign, except to say that you'll notice that in this screenshot, the skybox isn't the usual starry NWN2 sky. You can also see our desaturation filter, something which may or may not make it into 1.07.

We'll be including a test module with one new custom skydome in the 1.07 patch, so you'll have a chance to take a look at how it works and what the model looks like.

Mask of The Betrayer News

New Spell Chants
One of the things we wished we could have done in NWN2 is to provide some new spell chants and some variations. With MoTB, we are adding in some new voicesets for players and these include some new spell chants. So, for the new player voicesets, companions and main NPCs in MoTB, they will have new spell chants for each school and the chants will be different for low level, high level and epic level spells.

As an example, here's a couple epic spell chants (you may need to right click and saave these files):

This first one is Safiya casting the new epic spell "Mass Fowl" which transforms a group of opponents into chickens. Click Here

This second spell is Gann casting the Epic Gate spell. Click Here

Camera & Control Options
We have been talking a bit about the camera and control adjustments we are making for MoTB. Here's a couple screenshots of the options screens. As a reminder, though, these are still works in progress.

The first one is for Strategy mode

This one is for Character mode

Community Developments

Random Loot Generator by cdaulepp

You can check out his forum posting here. I have not checked this out myself yet, but I am told this is a great little addon for any module.

Persistent World Spotlight: Shroudworld
- By Segal

For eons the Blood God has languished in his cell, imprisoned within a mountain on the mortal plane for crimes against his brother gods. His oozing essence seeps into the ground, and trickles into a small pool outside. An elven traveler drinks from the pool. He is wracked by dreams of violence and power.

Soon there are others, a whole congregation of worshippers for the imprisoned Blood God, and the Church of the Shroud is born. Mighty kingdoms fall before the Elders of the Shroud, and their dominion extends over all the realms of men.

Yet there is strife within the very heart of the church. The Elders praise their divine lord in public, but make no efforts to free him, seeking instead to make themselves gods in his place. Ancient prophecies have long predicted his release, but who listens to ancient prophesies any more in this age of corruption and debauchery?

The Shroud World NWN2 server was born of a proud tradition, our long-running NWN1 server was one of the very first Persistent Worlds to go live. Over the years, we have provided an entertaining and challenging experience to thousands of would-be heroes. We strive to continue that tradition with this new project.

This time around, we took the deeply detailed Shroud World storyline and moved it forward fifty years. We wanted old Shrouders to feel instantly at home in the new world but we did not want to simply rehash our NWN1 world. The timeline change allows us to give new life to our old tales and strike out on some completely new paths.

For those new to Shroud World, the game-play has some stark differences from what you experienced playing in the single player game. Most progression is driven by quest completion and this impacts nearly every aspect of the character; from level advancement to how NPCs will interact with you. We will soon be adding an advanced character progression system that will allow players to purchase new feats using rewards they have obtained through questing.

We chose to establish the quest system as the foundation of our world in order to offer a number of benefits to the players. Since quest completion is the primary source of experience, character classes that are less focused on brute force can often find other ways to resolve many of the quests and gain experience points. The quest system also allows us to better integrate the storyline into the day-to-day happenings of the player. The creative and humorous works of our lead writer, Rheumy Filcher, give the players a reason actually to read the dialogue of the NPCs. And finally, one of our primary goals is for players to have plenty to things to do when they log on: this is made possible by the hundreds of quests available to PCs.

When we sat down to outline what we wanted to do with Shroud World, we came up with some pretty straightforward design criteria. I think those criteria are important to present because they are what best defines the world for the new player.

Simply put, our design goals are:
  • A Friendly Place to Play – As a builder, I certainly get enjoyment out of watching players interact with my creations. But more importantly, Shroud World is a place where I have established real friendships and shared a camaraderie of people who enjoy the online gaming hobby. We believe the players are the most important part of the game world and we strive as hard to build our community as we do to develop a quality world.
  • An Engaging and Entertaining Story – We are a PW Story server so it would only seem right that we offer an evolving storyline that grips the player. We drive the player to immerse himself in the events that are happening around him. While Shroud World is a dark and forbidding place, many of the quests have a humorous bent. We are also building a single epic storyline that directly impacts the character through quest chapters. Our goal is to continually build on this major storyline by adding new chapters with every major update.
  • Redefining Adventure – As players progress, they will eventually want to take part in what we called “Adventures”. Adventures are far more involved than the dozens of dungeons the player might quest in, these Adventures are multi-area mini-campaigns designed for small groups. Each adventure has a distinct storyline and quest series that leads the player through a gauntlet of puzzles, traps, and maniacally designed Boss encounters.
We have created a number of systems to help realize these goals. Some of these systems are:
  • Custom Quest GUI – We have developed an interface that allows the player to see his quest information at a glance. Because a player might have dozens of ongoing quests at any one time, we need a way to display that information in a clean and world-specific format. This custom GUI allows the player to see open quests, closed quests, a list of his recently obtained quests. It also gives access to other tools like a display of online players, use of Heed’s PC tools, a “Looking for Group” toggle and more.
  • Fame and Faction System – Shroud World has numerous factions with which the player can interact. The fame system tracks what deeds the player has accomplish for specific factions. The higher one's fame, the more quests that become available and the player may enjoy other benefits such as new merchants or other bonuses. The Faction system determines how one faction of creatures views the player. Through quests and other means, the player can improve (or harm) his faction so that a once hostile faction will look upon him favorably. The inherent design of the system means that assisting one faction will reduce faction with another. Choose your friends and your enemies wisely.
  • Advanced Progression System (APS) – Our soon-to-be-implemented custom feat system integrates character development into the quest system. By obtaining tokens through quests, you can purchase special custom feats. Some feats are class specific and other feats are more generic in nature. APS allows us to give player new paths of character development; Sorcerers can become summoning specialists or focus on necromancy, for example. We expect this system to be a huge boon to our world as it allows us to extend a set of controllable abilities to players to that help alleviate some of the issues associated with using a PnP ruleset in a PW. Our goal is to make every class fun to play, able to adventure in solo mode reasonably well, and bring value to a party. The APS system allows us to accomplish this more easily.
  • Class Guilds – Players can join class-related guilds (mages, monks, paladins, warriors, thieves and priests) and progress upwards through the ranks via quests. Once we have the initial 20 quests completed for each of the 6 guilds, players will be able compete with other players to a obtain leadership role (based on their guild fame) and gain some special abilities.

So what type of player would enjoy Shroud World?

Questing, puzzle solving, and a focus on tactics and strategy would have to be some of the key attributes of a Shroud World player. We consider ourselves to be roleplay-lite; we do not enforce any strict rules in that regards but we do support it. Shroud World is a player versus environment PW, pitting the forces of good against a forbidding world where evil holds the upper hand. Old alliances have been broken, and new ones forged, as the mortal plane is thrown into turmoil by a civil war within the ranks of the Church of the Shroud.

And the Blood God? Well, someone seems to have opened his cage. There are no safe places left any more.

Well, that's about it for this week. I will be moving the updates to Fridays from now on. This should allow us to have a little bit more news for you.

Aug 03 2007 02:15 PM

Woohoo! I've been keeping an eye on Shroudworld. I expect to play there.

All good news. Those chants must have been fun to record. original.gif
I'm happy about new voicesets and spell chants!
I can't listen chants files now, here is 1:26am and there are peoples asleeped here! :D

I hope there will be alternatives and new voicesets (or crysets) for creatures, monsters and animals, too... wink.gif

I know somebody that will be very happy about new skydome feature, too!
Thanks for another smashing update Rob, you know we were all going into horrid withdrawal waiting for you to hit that enter key! *Grins*
Its great to have new chants...but yucky.gif is my response to the two previewed ones. (Hurray for things that are a matter of perspective. original.gif )

I like the sound of Sakiya's voice just not the script of the chant - I suppose its supposed to be funny but its just idiotic to me.
I dislike the sound of Gand's voice (which may make his romance plot hard to follow), but I do like the script for the spell.... to the point that if there is a version of the chant I like better I may script it to be the default "Gate" chant as well.

I'm however particularly glad to have the new skydome feature as that means we can get rid of the Tears of Selune for PWs rather than having to try and explain them or pretend they are not there.
QUOTE(Cailte @ Aug 4 2007, 03:44 AM)
I like the sound of Sakiya's voice just not the script of the chant - I suppose its supposed to be funny but its just idiotic to me.

Ehm... I second this... and... I'm not sure about the whole spell "Mass Fowl"... it may be funny (MAY... but I'm not so sure, too)... but he taked time and resources that could be use for better things. wink.gif

However... I hope that the "Mass Fowl" means that now chickens has every animation (as to say "attack" and "died", too... that in NWN2 are absent).
I think those sound files are just in raw form, ones that has yet to be properly processed with the necessary effects like echoes and bass to make the chantings more intimidating.
QUOTE(Zoma @ Aug 4 2007, 06:36 PM)
I think those sound files are just in raw form, ones that has yet to be properly processed with the necessary effects like echoes and bass to make the chantings more intimidating.

I'm not so sure a "co-co-co" may even be "more intimidating"...
The Audio Director would think of something anyway wink.gif
Obsidian could make a real 'night-and-day' difference over the current approach to skydomes via layered stacking of multiple TGA images.

Skydome layers would be treated more like separate environmental placeables.

Would have the following attributes configurable on each skydome layer:

day hemisphere background color, (default: sky-blue)
night hemisphere background color, (default: black/navy)
day non-transparent pixel tint, (default: none)
night non-transparent pixel tint, (default: none)
day non-transparent pixel opacity, (default: 0%)
night non-transparent pixel opacity, (default: 0%)
day non-transparent pixel casts shadow flag, (default: true)
night non-transparent pixel casts shadow flag, (default: true)
day non-transparent pixel are a light source flag, (default: true)
night non-transparent pixel are a light source flag, (default: true)
hemisphere rotational speed, +/- (default: rate for a 24 hours day, but can be 0 to achieve a "fixed skydome" effect)
hemisphere rotational axis (default: equatorial rotational axis, but can be offset 0 to 180 degrees).

Would envision several Toolset Preset "multi-domes" as follows:

LAYER 0 = distant stars
LAYER 1 = galactic band(s)
LAYER 2 = sun(s)
LAYER 3 = distant planet(s)
LAYER 4 = neighboring planet(s)
LAYER 5 = far moon(s) / asteroid(s)
LAYER 6 = mid moon(s) / asteroid(s)
LAYER 7 = near moon(s) / asteroid(s)
LAYER 8 = high atmosphere clouds / auroras / 'cavern world' stalactites / floating deity corpses
LAYER 9 = mid atmosphere clouds
LAYER 10 = low altitude clouds / floating castles / distant mountain ranges

I don't think Atari / Obsidian can afford to have another ugly product release. And the Community can only tolerate so much of "most riveting RPG experience since Planescape: Torment" hype before we up and leave for good.

If anything, these proposed changes would be very easy to implement and make pretty fantastic screenshots for PR.
LOL: I'm hearing NWN2 songs (I bought the Collector's Edition)... I created a Winamp list where I putted the MoTB Theme downloaded here, too.

When the MoTB Theme starts, the dog of my neighbor starts to howl... but to me it sounds as a part of the music.
So I said to myself "uhm... I wasn't remembering there was wolfs on background"! :D
I have to say that wolfs' howls dosn't sount bad at the start of the MoTB Theme! :D

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