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About Trom

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    (2) Evoker
  1. I'm in the profession myself and my concerns follow the same line. I equate the computer as having as profound effect on life as the invention of the printing press. However, the difference being that while it took decades if not centuries for that invention to work through its potential, we've experienced the same amount of change measured in years if not months. My particular interest in technology is that I've long thought it contained the seeds of a completely new genre of literature brought about by its potential for active participation in a story. Instead of watching a play, you get to be on stage. Not only that, you get to be the main character. What really got my attention was a very early "game" called Starflight II wherein you got to freely explore the universe within a well-constructed plot encountering strange places and civilizations at your leisure. It was the first time I experienced immersion and felt as if I were truly somewhere else. In the fantasy realm, the early Ultima's did that also. The point is I felt as if I no longer was passively experiencing literature, but actually became a part of it. Live theatre, of course, has experimented with this, but has always been impractical. How do you manage the 500 or so audience members in a plot? To me, it has always been an innate desire of the reading or viewing audience to somehow participate in the drama they were reading or viewing. Without going into detail, it is the logical outcome of what started in ancient Greece which was created to assuage man's desire to see the gods walk amongst them. In fact this desire can be traced back to the Neandertals who first cast their imaginations upon the cave walls of Lascaux. With the computer, we have the means to go one step further and not only walk among the gods but become Herakles himself. Every human being has the desire to be more than he appears to be. The problem is how to insert the audience into the plot without destroying the literary value of the experience. In other words, how to attain complete immersion in a plausible and compelling plot that is transparent and open-ended enough to allow for the illusion of choice and maintain the suspension of disbelief? That is a difficult task. Still, I've been alert for signs of it and had seen some, but the so-called "interactive fiction" isn't it--too many words, too little dynamism. Max Payne II showed a lot of promise in this direction but lacked universals. Kotor 1 did an exceptional job of advancing this goal to the point I thought the sequel would finally establish a bona fide new genre. Clearly there was literary, philosophical and historical intent in the making of K2 to take it beyond the bounds of the Star Wars universe. Take the name Atton Rand. Aten was a unique Egyptian god of everlasting life, hence Atton's unique ability to resurrect. The last name is more difficult, but I believe it is a reference to Ayn Rand and her "objectivist" philosophy. So, at least for the time being, to be commercially viable games must serve three audiences: those who like spectacle (combat), those who like plot, and those wanting varying mixtures of both. As far as the plot in K2 goes, consider the difficulties facing the writer of K2: 1. Integration with the Star Wars universe 2. Follow the plot threads of K1 3. Account for the variable ending of K1 both in plot and character: Revan LS/DS, male/female, Bastilla's fate, etc. 4. Create an original storyline without resorting to amnesia or flashbacks, as per LA insistence 5. Create a "darker" storyline, as per LA. What they meant by "darker" is anybody's guess, but I take it to mean the creation of more conflicted characters. 6. Create 3d more realistic characters. That is, the K2 writer went to great pains in creating characters where choices were not always obvious to avoid stereo-typing. Otherwise the characters are too simplistic: if you're LS always do good things or DS the opposite. In real life many decisions, of course, contain varying degrees of both. To keep the game viable for the long term, he had to add some depth. 7. Create LS and DS paths. To realize economies, the LS/DS paths had to have the same milestones reached by different methods. Otherwise, the writer would have to create two completely different games. This would not only double the work but possibly create more problems for K3. 8. Create M/F paths. While most of problems could be solved by switching pronouns, the romance angle would have to be completely different, although in one of the dev's interviews, they allude to much debate about allowing for girl-girl romance. 9. Keep the ending open enough to allow for K3. In fact, anticipation of K3 must have had a significant impact on the writer who must have realized that not only would they have to deal with the plot constraints set down by K1 but also anything he did in K2 thereby compounding the problem he himself faced. 10. Balance the story with the additional "influence" system in addition to the other dialogue variables of Awarenes, Persuade, Lie, etc. wherein the other characters take on the characteristics of the influence. Actually, when you consider all these factors, it's a wonder the plot came out as well as it did for as long as it did. I can't conceive of how to keep track of all these variables, writing all those dialogue branches keeping things consistent according to choices--truly a gargantuan feat worthy of Faulkner or Balzac himself!
  2. Go to manage paths and make sure ALL SWKotor paths are correct. In may case, the K1 paths were the same as the K2 paths. In other words, if you have both games installed, K1 and K2, then the paths shouldn't be the same.
  3. I've been using the xtreme drivers found here: http://www.tweaksrus.com/ I'm not getting as many problems with CTD anymore.
  4. I'm well aware that Obsidian didn't drop all this stuff just because it could've cut into their three-hour lunch breaks. I know that it's a huge project. I've watched many huge projects lead by people with sparkling eyes and epic goals (we will make a better game than any studio can! we will add over 40 hours of new content! we will add 4 full romances with ten times the depth of any current romance!) crumble into dust as time passed for lack of organization, of clear aim, of ability. I can't guarantee that this won't happen here. The people who want to work on this, including myself, are not professional game designers, are working with scavenged and third-party tools and material, are not getting paid, and (presumably) do not have a ton of free time. But a lot of us are creepily devoted to this idea and ready to work hard. Start small, sure: but not with the idea that we're just going to aim for adding one or two scenes back in, because you have to add multiple scenes to make even one of the variant endings make sense. We'll see how it turns out. <{POST_SNAPBACK}> Great idea about the IRC Aurora! Your ongoing commitment to this project is *very* encouraging and appreciated. It's been a long time since I've used IRC, so I hope I can participate. As for beancounter, I think I may be responsible for some of his well-inentioned response. He's really a good guy over at Holowan Labs. Initially, I was the one running around saying there might be a quick-fix or magic switch in the code that could restore the original ending. That was very naive of me. I can't speak for beancounter, but I think he was trying to reduce expectations because of posts like mine. To set the record straight, there is no easy way to mod in the original endgame. What it will take is your continued leadership commitment which you've demonstrated repeatedly on these forums, help from the Holowan community some of who have detailed knowledge of the Aurora(!) engine, and continued support from the gaming community at large. I'm guessing the general idea at this point is to figure out what the actual endgame was, something I think you're parsing right now, and then see if we can take that and find the code to implement it. Codewise, the biggest problem is that while most of the scripts are there in compiled and uncompiled states, some of the compiled scripts don't have accompanying source code. In other words, if some of the restored ending would take modifying the compiled source code, it would have to be manipulated at the byte level. A daunting task, but even that I've been told can be done. Well, I hope this post has served to aid the cause and not impede it.
  5. <{POST_SNAPBACK}> EXTEMELY interesting...and scary. First, thanks Azon for bringing this here, but I'd say that initially at least, 95% of the posts concerning this *were* constructive criticisms. I'm guessing the lack of response has been frustrating to some. Having said that, wasn't Brian Lawson also the guy who wrote something in GameSpy that arrogantly dismissed the initial criticism as a "few" disgruntled players? I've lost that link, does anyone have it? Now for the scary part. The overall tone of the posting is defensive, and the problem is that instead of trying to understand the criticism, he's finding ways to dismiss it. He's high up in the organization and so far has been the only one to address the issue directly. I had hoped that some independent spirits from OE would have said something, but this is what we're getting which might indicate what's going on at OE. Furthermore, as to why he did that at NWN2 instead of here might be another indication of their thinking. They've moved on and the money is in the bank. However, NWN2 is not money in the bank yet and they might be concerned about the effect our efforts are having. To say that we don't understand timelines imposed by outside forces, I'm guessing LA, is disingenuous at best. If LA demanded a 12 month cycle, then OE was free to accept it or reject it as realistic. Heck, with BioWare's support they had a lot of leverage to negotiate. Even the business about speaking for himself, and some others, and he signs it with his official OE signature is strange, but it does give some hope. If it is indeed "some" and not all, maybe someone will finally speak to valid, rational criticisms (that many have voiced not a few) he claims they highly value. What we need is a Braveheart at OE.
  6. Just in case you didn't get enough of Kreia, hear her again! Kreia
  7. I dunno about money being a factor for an expansion pack. If they did in fact sell 2 million copies of K1 and they are well on there way of hitting 1 million K2 (according to an advert they sold 260,000 copies the first day), then they've already generated sales of $150 million off the two titles. I'm guessing OE production costs of about $7-$10 million. AFter everything elses is factored out (marketing, packaging, markup), I think LA conservatively has netted $50-60 million. It seems to me they've already made their money and risk even more invective, either real or perceived, if they charge for it. In K1, they left out Yavin Station, which was incidental to the plot, on the XBox then made it available to them after completing it in the PC version (I believe this is the correct sequence). So the two major issues with K2 are the droid planet, which is incidental, and the inexplicable change of the endgame (which is crucial). If they decided to do in K2 what they did in K1, the problem is that if the droid planet, is there, but there is hardly any scripting for it. Likewise, to restore the endgame the resources are there, but they'd have to go through a major QA cycle to re-integrate it. To me, they're between a rock and hard place on this. The first patch will probably be just tech fixes with some game mechanic tweaking then they'll assess the reaction to that. I was surprised when one of the devs said that the whole idea of a deconstructional workbench was to reduce inventory load. Other players as well as myself have commented on the huge untouched inventory at the end of the game. I think I used the workbench decon once just to have a few extra things before Darth Nihilus thinking he'd be quite a battle. Hmmm. The modders over at Holowan Labs seem more excited about reconstituting the droid planet than fixing the ending, but that probably will change, so there's always hope there. For modders, the droid planet is wide open to work with without worrying about changing the plotline. Re-implementing the endgame would take combing through the code to find out where things were left hanging. There are some very bright people over there that have the tools and skills to do it. Still, I'm convinced if the petition hits 10,000 signatures, that might get some sort of reaction that we desire. Please take the time to sign it even if you don't think it has a chance in hell. If nothing else, it will give the developers of K3 something to think about.
  8. I'd heard rumours that the droid planet essentially remained intact on the X-Box version (but did not exist on the PC). Now, my question is this; Given that the X-Box is basically a PC, with a modified operating system - surely the planet content can be ripped from the X-Box version of the game with the intended purpose of creating a MOD for PC (not pretending to ignore all the work that this would involve). Naturally, some of the content might not be present (textures of varying resolution, for example), and if as Obsidian have said, content from this planet was used elsewhere in the game - then it would be reasonable to assume that a few sellers & NPC's might exist twice. Not that this should matter too much ... perhaps someone (Darth Tratious?) could let us know exactly how functional & complete the droid planet on X-Box is ..? Maybe it would be worth dropping a line to Caustic (of CXBX, X-Box emulator fame) to see how feasible the ripping of this content might be. Anyway - these are just thoughts that I had intended to suggest some time ago, but have only gotten around to since registering for the petition. <{POST_SNAPBACK}> This may end up being a double post as something strange happened when I tried to post it before. Anyway, to address your question, Holowan Labs has quite an active thread on this: Holowan Thread Glad you signed!
  9. People are looking at the dialogues in the modules for Malachor V and elsewhere using KOTOR Tool.
  10. Thus spake Zarathustra I think. Well, this is an exceptionally well thought out analysis that rings true! I've wondered about an underlying philosophical thread, but not as deep as what you've done. First, it's the Atton Rand thing related to Ayn Rand. There is an attempt to get away from the all self-sacrificing mode of K1. But Atton Rand's behavior doesn't exactly jibe with Rand's objectivism: His first name is easier. Atton = Aten (mysterious Egyptian god): Since Atton Rand is the only character who can "come back to life" exactly like Aten, I think the reference is clear. I don't want to hijack this thread so if you'd like to continue the discussion why not create a new topic on it? Lastly, not so much philosophical, but much of what is said about the Republic could be said about the United States. We bring "democracy" to foreign states, but usually they end up paying a high price. And even some of the wars were questionable about intent. A good case could be made that Korea and Viet Nam were really proxy wars against China and the USSR respectively which is exactly what happens to some of the battleground planets in KOTOR. In fact, one of my more nebulous theories about why they changed the endgame is that it seems to have been developed during the War in Iraq. Maybe they were doing something like the old Star Trek series where they took every socio/political issue of the day and transformed it into an episode. If so, then perhaps a too dark ending might have been seen as an indirect criticism of US policy, something most people are avoiding these days.
  11. Yes, Tomel, Obsidian has commented on it. Clearly about the Droid Planet; less so about the revised endgame. Look at my thread for what they've said in the past about it: http://forums.obsidianent.com/index.php?showtopic=30615&st=0
  12. I've sifted through a number of interviews (by no means all) to piece this together in an attempt to provide an overview to the development process. I've tried not to editorialize. Timeline July 2003: KOTOR I XBox version released Sometime before June 2003: Bioware recommends to LA that OE get the contract for developing K2 June 2003: OE begins talks with LA about doing K2 August 2003: OE signs contract with LA to develop KT. LA give OE "freedom" to develop with the following restrictions. ". . .player must start as a Jedi, the Sith must be a prominent force in the game, don't play head games with the character with memories or future sight. . ." Also, LA requested a "darker" overall plot and LA marketing wants a simultaneous roll out of the XBox and PC versions. OE commits to a simultaneous roll out of the XBox and PC version with 5 international versions by November 2004. October 2003: Entered production of K2 while still completing pre-production tasks. Confronted with the realization of the magnitude of the work, LA "suggests" they let the November 2004 release date for "some" of the versions slip to early 2005. November 2003: KOTOR 1 PC version released November 2003: Many functions in are added added or modified in scripts.bif and others. In other words, the very first programming task is to tweak the engine. May 2004: The game is complete enough to show off at E3 where it receives much praise. The media are informed that all versions of the game will ship simultaneously and that it will hit PC's in early 2005. However, shortly afterwards Chris Parker decides to axe the Droid Planet in order to meet production schedules. June 2004: Release date moved up from February 05 to "winter" as confirmed by GameSpy by a LA "spokesperson." No versions are mentioned. July 9, 2004: Gallo says the PC and XBox version are at the same stage and that the game will ship simultaneously. He goes on to say that the alpha date is rapidly approaching. July 16, 2004: Simultaneous release of all versions still the official word from Chris Parker. The ship date is given as Spring 2005. August 2004: Feargus is still claiming that the XBox and PC versions will ship simultaneously. September 10, 2004: Mike Gallo states that an important milestone had been reached and that the XBox version would ship in December. The PC version will ship in February. As to why the XBox is chosen to ship first, Chris Parker says that the XBox was being debugged using the PC, so the thinking is that they can kill two birds with one stone: fixing the XBox first will reduce the time to debug the PC. The debugging will take place after XBox ships in December. October 2004: Work begins on NWN2 November 10, 2004: Feargus alludes to problems with the XBox version not being able to handle the resources requirement for the game. Also, both versions of the game will be exactly the same. December 2004: KOTOR II XBox version released Late December 2004: Chris Parker discovers that the international versions are missing translations. He and another programmer must hand comb through 500,000 words to fix it. January 2005: Chris Parker alludes to several "manageable disasters" with the PC version. February 2005: KOTOR II PC version released
  13. For sound, download Miles, for movies, download Bink Video: http://www.radgametools.com/ Directory: lucasarts\swkotor2\streamvoice then pick your subdirectory
  14. Finally found a quote that supports what you say: "BioWare is currently in the fortunate position of having more attractive looking opportunities on the table than we're capable of implementing while staying true to our fans' expectations of a quality gaming experience. We think several of these opportunities have the potential for critical and commercial success and are interested in exploring ways in which BioWare can expand its capacity to bring these projects to market," said Dr. Greg Zeschuk, Joint CEO, BioWare Corp. "BioWare is interested in establishing relationships with credible development studios that have the desire and capability to implement projects consistent with our quality expectations. Obsidian represents a perfect example of this strategy. We're very pleased to have the chance to work with teams which have a demonstrated track record of developing world class titles," commented Dr. Ray Muzyka, Joint CEO, BioWare Corp. "A collaboration with BioWare gives Obsidian the opportunity to explore development projects on established game franchises with proven technology and brand loyalty from the fan community. This is an excellent opportunity for a new studio looking to make an immediate impact in the market," said Feargus Urquhart, CEO, Obsidian Entertainment, Inc. " Review
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