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Llyranor

NWN Writing Contest - The Modules

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As some of you may know, Bioware has recently had a contest for would-be writers who are hoping for an opportunity to get recruited.

 

Format: Neverwinter Nights - 3500 words, one 4x4 area, 3 NPCs.

 

Here are all the submissions - all 302 of them.

http://nwvault.ign.com/View.php?view=Modul...ry_select_id=28

 

I intend to play through each and every one of them, and review them all. That will come later, of course.


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Do you really intend to play all of them? You are wasting your time, I say...


"Ooo, squirrels, Boo! I know I saw them! Quick, throw nuts!" -Minsc

"I am a well-known racist in the Realms! Elves? Dwarves? Ha! Kill'em all! Humans rule! -Me

 

Volourn will never grow up, he's like the Black Peter Pan, here to tell you that it might be great to always be a child, but everybody around is gonna hate it. :p

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By 'playing all of them', I mean dismissing all the crappy ones within 30 secs if they show no remote sign of intelligent writing.


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Given the word cap and size of the room, they shouldn't take very long to go through.

 

 

I considered signing up, but had enough on my plate getting acquainted with my new job.

Edited by alanschu

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I considered signing up too, then I realized that I don't actually want or care to be hired by Bioware.

 

Downloaded the first page so far. 25 mods. Playing through them in alphabetical order. Got through 6 so far. The scores are relative to each other, so they'll change as more mods get reviewed.

 

- A Complete Story in the Form of a Tradition Bioware Sidequest:

An interesting quest in theory - get married or die trying. To be fair, the writing or design wasn't actually bad, it just didn't feel very inspiring. This mod felt sterile. I appreciate the effort, though. Score: 6.5.

 

- A Crime of Necessity:

First, the bad: some typos in the journal entry. This was essentially a murder investigation, a very serious mod. The mood set by the writing was quite good. Good quest design as well. I spent at least a couple of minutes thinking about what my final decision would be. Given the contest's limitations, I am rather impressed. Score: 9.5.

 

- A Morbid Tale:

You've been captured by mindflayers, oh no! The conversation flow was not impressive, with the PC being basically a passive reader for the most part. The NPCs just kept talking to each other, making the mod feel somewhat focused on flaunting the writer's skills, to the detriment of the player. As the player, I did not appreciate this. I wouldn't say the writing is bad, but this is not how interactive game writing should be like. Score: 6.

 

- A Question of Loyalty:

Guard duty for some prisoners. Interesting concept and design, but it didn't feel like there was enough substance to it. As part of a larger story, this would have some potential. I didn't really like how the PC's family was involved in the story, but I can appreciate how others might enjoy it. It worked well enough within the mod, anyway. Good effort. Score: 8.

 

- A Treasoner and a Brigand:

What the crap is with the title? Treasoner? Also, this mod is crap. The author didn't even bother double-checking the mod before submitting it. All you get is an empty room with a locked door blocking the exit. You can't do anything about it. This is unacceptable. I'm not even going to bother opening it with the toolset to read the dialogue, this is completely unprofessional. Score: 1.

 

- An Accidental Detour:

An amusing mod. I like how the author made an otherwise trivial concept interesting. I certainly enjoyed the writing (bar some typos), some of it quite witty. The design of the 'quest' was rather simplistic, but that wasn't really the point here. Conversation flow was good enough. Hopefully, as the author gains more experience, it will become more dynamic and interactive. Definitely some good potential here. Score: 8.5.

Edited by Llyranor

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Three out of six entries have gotten 8+ scores. Lots of quality so far.


Swedes, go to: Spel2, for the latest game reviews in swedish!

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Nick speaks truth.

 

Like I said, though, the scores are relative. They'll go down soon enough once some better mods pop up.


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I was considering either doing a murder investigation, or perhaps a spinoff of the Saw movie where you were trapped in a cell, with 3 other NPCs trapped in cells.

 

You each had notes that explained what you needed to do to survive. While talking you can persuade people to help you, etc. etc. Getting information on people to exploit (or help) them. It was all about creating trust with the people, and trying to get them to distrust each other. You could either be selfish (one of the conditions of escape was to be the only one left alive), or try to help everyone else win the "game" that they were in as well.

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Llyranor, I like your idea, but admire your endurance more. Going through 300+ modules of pure writing is a hefty task no matter how you look at it. In the case of Bioware reviewers, paid work is paid work. But doing so strictly out of a hobbyist's interest is a monumental act of patience, to say the least :(

 

That said, I'll be playing some of these mods, too, and chiming in from time to time. :)


There are doors

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Some initial thoughts:

 

A Question of Loyalty: the most polished of the five mods I've played so far in terms of scripting and cohesion. Demonstrates a competent grasp of skill-based dialogue - the Codexers would love this - and utilizes a selection of interesting ideas. In one instance after examining a corpse, you are prompted to either forget about the sight or plan on burying it later. This technique seems to pre-empt a decision with consequences that are not immediately obvious, which would be a welcome addition to Bioware games.

 

A Treasoner and a Brigand: better known as A Lesson in Double-checking Your Work. I am sure the Biowarians will be impressed by the existential angst of being stuck behind a locked door for all eternity. A Kafka-esque exercise in futility, to be sure.

 

A Morbid Tale: Little girls, illithids, and devouring tentacles! No, this isn't hentai, but it comes close to being an exercise in frivolity. I can't attest to the seriousness of the writer here, but the mod, far from morbid, seems to oscillate between sinister villainly and random childplay, especially towards the end. The writing is impulsive, and the characterizations suffer a tad. Yet, perhaps that was the intent...

 

Creature Quest: Competent writing, interesting ideas, and a beautiful scenery to boot... So why was I never drawn into the story? I think this mod demonstrates the problem with long-winded narratives in games - namely, that they bore the heck out of the player. Indeed, most of the mod is spent listening to the wolf's tale and while the sentences flicker with occasional brilliance, they simply do not make up for the tiresome shifting through blocks of text. Moreover, the characterizations suffer from a lack of plausible incentives: the melodrama is a bit hard to swallow, what with the man-turned wolf wanting his wife to think him dead, his wife going crazy over his wolfish transformation, and her notorious new lover literally falling dead. The scenario might have worked if we knew the characters more, but as it is comes as random as the wolf's offer to join you at the end.

 

The Ultimate Solution: Heil Rolfe. A mod with a sense of humor, though perhaps a bit too cheesy in its tongue-and-cheek imitation of the Final Solution. Still, the writing is competent, though the choices are few. The characters are clear cut enough, but if the intent was comedy, the mod could've benefitted from a few more Hitler jokes. Hint: go for the moustache.

Edited by Azarkon

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I'd like to mention here that I hope everyone who votes for writing contest mods does so by followingthe contest rules fairly closely. So far, I've seen a LOT of high scores given out due to scripting for mods with mediocre or okay writing, and several lower scores given by players who were sad about the mods being "too short," and that is not fair to anyone in the contest. Knocking off points for typos & scripting errors that leave you unable to finish the mod or certain quests is one thing, but judging a contest entry as if it were the same as any other mod is another, significantly more sucky thing.

 

Thx bye.

Edited by Aurora

I am following my fish.

 

A temporary home for stranded ML'ers

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- A Crime of Necessity:

First, the bad: some typos in the journal entry. This was essentially a murder investigation, a very serious mod. The mood set by the writing was quite good. Good quest design as well. I spent at least a couple of minutes thinking about what my final decision would be. Given the contest's limitations, I am rather impressed. Score: 9.5.

 

I just played the mod, and I concur with the assessment. This mod is tightly constructed and demonstrates an attention to detail. Its weaknesses are along the same lines: solid but not daring, well-crafted but not innovative. As with most competent "crime investigation" scenarios, the story has a twist - but once again, the key to discovering the twist lies not in ingenuity but in persistence. The player has no need to cross examine his witnesses, perform feints, or catch them in logical loopholes - the evidence, once discovered, is adopted by the guilty party just a tad too enthusiastically.

 

But other than that caveat, the mod is well-written and certainly on par with Bioware's own scenarios.


There are doors

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Five more mods played through.

 

- Aspects:

An interesting concept. At first I wasn't too happy with how the conversation flowed: the PC usually had few or no dialogue options to choose from. I would have preferred a more dynamic and interactive session. However, as I played through more and finished the mod, I can definitely say that this quite surprised me. Despite my previous complaint, I found the writing to be very good. The quest design was nice as well - it felt quite natural and intuitive. Given the constraints of the contest, it's understandable and appreciated why the focus was on this instead. The final decision was a hard one, and I was left there thinking about it for a while before making up my mind. Seal of approval earned indeed. Score: 9.25

 

- Bandits of Sorrow:

I didn't really have fun playing the mod. It was too bent on uninspiring gameplay rather than good conversations. I see and understand why the author would want to focus on such 'puzzles', but that resulted in me never getting captivated by the story. Unfortunate. Score: 6.

 

- Blackheart Dagger:

The first conversation was enough to seal the deal. This mod is crap. It not adhering to contest rules by having more than one area didn't help. Score: 1.

 

- Bridge to Netherworld:

Wanting to go to the Netherworld to gather gold to pay for a ransom? Er, okay. I wouldn't say the writing is bad - some of it was even quite inspiring (especially one specific choice you had, hehe). However, I wasn't hooked into the story, really. Ultimately, the mod was perhaps a bit too simplistic in its implementation. Not that that's bad in and of itself, but it wasn't saved by particularly good storytelling, either. Good effort, though. Score: 8.

 

- Bridled by the Past:

The writing itself isn't bad per say, but the author completely missed the point of the gaming medium as an opportunity for interactive storytelling. The NPCs' longwinded speeches and the PC's single possible responses weren't particularly inspiring. I as a player do not enjoy being just a passive reader; I need to be an active participant in conversations - make them dynamic and interactive! I can certainly appreciate the effort put into the mod, though. Score: 7.

 

I realize I'm being pretty generous in terms of scores. I've been giving plenty of points for potential and effort so far.


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- A Weapon of Legend:

A humoristic mod. Tried to be funny. Failed. Again, making the player just be a passive reader is not a good idea. It's not dialogue if there's just one person talking. Score: 5.

 

- Auster: The Infiltration of the South:

Not bad writing per say, but I can

Edited by Llyranor

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