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I agree with Anek as well. The file format information is the most important part since this will be a data driven game. The community will make whatever tools are necessary to do just about anything they (we) want. I'm sure that ability to mod this game should be much easier than the IE games due to OEI owning the IP and their willingness to share and help modders (it is a kickstarter project after all). In the podcast interview they mentioned that they already have a few in house tools that they plan on using (Conversation Editor for example). Exciting to see what they come up with and what the community can create tool wise. Maybe even make our own adventures :bow:

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Ain't needing a modding toolkit, but access to files + map editor would fancy me more than enough.

"only when you no-life you can exist forever, because what does not live cannot die."

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I'm more of a mod tool maker than a modder - responsible for some oddball tools like a model viewer for KotOR, but it's been a few years since I got a game that I felt was interesting enough for me to spend time on writing tools for it.

 

I expect that will change now.....

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It doesn't seem that the tech model will allow for a full toolset-type editor, at least in the NWN or NWN2 sense, because the environments won't be either tiled or painted. However, I could envision using a hybrid game editor that allows the user to take a separately-generated 2D area and work with it; this is essentially what the developers will be doing.

 

We would then have a two-step process for modding, with the area creation function separate from the game editor. Given the highly talented people who enjoy coming up with prefab areas for the artistic challenge, I could see an original modding community flourishing with a model like this, along with those who might prefer to mod the original game.

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It doesn't seem that the tech model will allow for a full toolset-type editor, at least in the NWN or NWN2 sense, because the environments won't be either tiled or painted. However, I could envision using a hybrid game editor that allows the user to take a separately-generated 2D area and work with it; this is essentially what the developers will be doing.

 

We would then have a two-step process for modding, with the area creation function separate from the game editor. Given the highly talented people who enjoy coming up with prefab areas for the artistic challenge, I could see an original modding community flourishing with a model like this, along with those who might prefer to mod the original game.

Absolutely. The Infinity Engine games didn't come with any modding tools either, but modders managed to develop them by themselves.

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Exile in Torment

 

QblGc0a.png

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I know there are many people like myself - programmers who really look forward to the game, and have the skill and time required to make modding tools. We don't really need Obsidian to make the tools - all we need is for them to make it possible in principle to make the tools....and then the mods will follow.

 

I think it is well established by now that modding support estends the "lifespan" of any game - people will play it for longer, recommend it to more friends and will be more likely to buy any expansions or sequels.

 

Besides, by having the community develop the tools, Obsidian can condentrate on the game itself - a much better use of their resources.

 

So, that's my primary mod-related request - make it possible to add community created content (new areas, enounters, spells, items, quests...) and make it possible for us to create any necessary tools to create that content.

 

I would for example suggest that a few months before the game is released, Obsidian should release some sample files and file format info - possibly only under NDA and possibly only to selected people. This would give the community a bit of a head start, and might mean that some tools might be ready when the game is released.

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A modding kit would be awesome. Even great games tend to get lost without user side mod capability, and I'd hate to see a game of project eternity's (supposed) caliber be forgotten just because of lack of new content.

 

That said I do believe that the community behind project eternity would have no problem coming up with fantastic projects even without a dedicated modding tool, should the internals of the game be exposed enough, like they did for BG1&2.

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Carlo and Frisk, I really endorse your points and hope you will join in when modding gets started! :)

I second this, I completely agree with Carlo (carlo one maybe?) and frisk. This two part process is the way I have taken with my latest project as well and it seems to be work great. Since maps are just 2d images, they can be created in many different ways depending on your skill level. It also sounds like they will have 2d backgrounds, but the characters will be 3d models...not animated sprites. That should be fun for all those max and blender community members (hopefully no granny this time!)

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From GameBanshee:

 

Buck: What are your plans for supporting the Project Eternity community up to and beyond its release? Have you considered the possibility of releasing any content-inducing patches or even a toolset of some kind?

 

Josh: Our testing and beta processes will minimize the need for patches, but we like to support the longevity of our products. We recently made an update on what our plans are regarding mods. We've partnered with the Nexus Network to host mods. Additionally, we will be releasing file format information and leaving a lot of our data tables open for easy modification.

 

Unity3D is free to download and use for not-for-profit releases. Using Unity itself to add mod content shouldn't be an issue if they provide some sort of an overlay that allows the community to generate mods, or at least add game assets. This would make deep and intricate mods possible due to the direct access to the game code compiler. Unity accepts Mono (C#), Java and a flavor of Python I believe. I'll be thinking about this myself once we get our hands on some of the lore.

Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt. - Julius Caesar

 

:facepalm: #define TRUE (!FALSE)

I ran across an article where the above statement was found in a release tarball. LOL! Who does something like this? Predictably, this oddity was found when the article's author tried to build said tarball and the compiler promptly went into cardiac arrest. If you're not a developer, imagine telling someone the literal meaning of up is "not down". Such nonsense makes computers, and developers... angry.

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Would it be possible for a modder to create a multiplayer option? Let me rephrase that, as I'm sure it's theoretically possible, is it doable within a realistic time frame?

"The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing that is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

 

John Stuart Mill

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Project Eternity is the first game in a long while to get me excited about modding again. At the moment, I'm just trolling for details, though I don't think there will be any for awhile.

 

Assuming it is possible, it sounds like we have a good year and a half to write dialog, create map backgrounds, and write out pseudo scripting code. It would be great if we could find out more about the scripting engine, how dialog works, and map details.

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Adam Miller - Neverwinter Nights Mods

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Assuming it is possible, it sounds like we have a good year and a half to write dialog, create map backgrounds, and write out pseudo scripting code. It would be great if we could find out more about the scripting engine, how dialog works, and map details.

 

OK, folks, this person (pointing at PIPBoy3000 above) did some incredible mods for various games in the past - Dreamcatcher (NWN) is one of my all-time favourites, so...Obsidian, if you really want to support modding for PE, you really should consider adding him to to any (short) list of people you give early access to game info.

 

I'm really happy to see you here, by the way....

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Carlo and Frisk, I really endorse your points and hope you will join in when modding gets started! :)

I second this, I completely agree with Carlo (carlo one maybe?) and frisk. This two part process is the way I have taken with my latest project as well and it seems to be work great. Since maps are just 2d images, they can be created in many different ways depending on your skill level. It also sounds like they will have 2d backgrounds, but the characters will be 3d models...not animated sprites. That should be fun for all those max and blender community members (hopefully no granny this time!)

 

Yes, that's me. I've actually been on the Obsidian boards long enough (originally for NWN2) to have taken "Carlo" before someone else did, so didn't have to tack on the "One", heh.

 

Very glad to see the post above from Luridis about the free Unity editor (Unity3D), although I imagine the devil will be in the details for modders in terms of how easy an editor will be to operate with PE. Also good to see that per slowdive's quote on map creation, that part of the process should not be overly difficult. However, while I was able to teach myself C (more or less) for NWN/NWN2 scripting purposes, no way will I be able to teach myself to be a graphic artist. Unless somebody wants an Order of the Stick-type mod.

 

Adam seems to be throwing down the creative gauntlet above, bully for him. I have one project storyboarded and in mothballs that was intended to be a single-player NWN/NWN2 mod (with some creative MP plugin possibilities) that I would love to do in a PE mod. My focus in the past was always MP - I simply prefer the multiplayer experience in general and the possibilities inherent with a live DM (still do) . However, developer comments are that MP won't be incorporated, at least for the initial release. Looks like a good opportunity/excuse to create a SP experience, then.

Edited by Carlo
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So in order to mod this I'd have to learn C#? I've done scripting for NWN2 (I think nwscript, a modified C++), but I never really understood it. I did the LUA coding for BG2, but I'm not really good at it. Learning another language.... sigh. Heh, I'm going to have to get faster at learning since everything keeps using different scripting languages!

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So in order to mod this I'd have to learn C#?

 

Just speculation at this point. It hasn't even been confirmed that the game will be scriptable at all.

 

Learning another language.... sigh.

 

They're really not very different from one another, at least not for the most common stuff.

If you can handle one, you can handle them all - provided that you have access to Google, and an editor that gives you syntax highlighting (and ideally also syntax completion).

 

The bulk of the learning curve of game scripting is not accounted for by the programming language that happens to be used, but by the API that the game engine developers designed for that particular game (i.e. names of functions & what parameters they expect & what they do, names of global variables & how the game uses them, ...)

Edited by anek
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Adam is all in! Okay maybe just lurking, but heck, we'll take it. Adam is my hero, great to see him here! I've been learning c#, it is very easy compared to c++ or java (so I am told). Did you see the new picts showing the map making process? Super cool :-P

 

http://media.obsidian.net/eternity/media/updates/0025/PE-TempleEntrance-ProcessStack-1340.jpg

Edited by slowdive
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It's not exactly modding tools, but I'd love to see user-created map areas integrated into the game universe, especially if they are planning on doing more games in this universe they control. To start with, they should define the map areas in which they have restricted user additions to the official game universe, Restricted doesn't mean disallowed, it just means you need to ask, probably starting with a thread on the forums to gather user support. Obviously you don't want huge changes in areas already designed by the game designers, but I ca picture adding a poster in a shop that says "Traveling to Daggerfen? Visit my cousin Rothlar's Shop on River Lane".

 

Game designers could set high-level limitations on the remaining undesigned areas. They might say "No large cities here" or "mostly forest".

 

Then once there is a vibrant user community (a week after launch?) they could open up a few of the map squares and start accepting proposals from groups of players for designs those squares. Groups of modders will compete against each other to provide the best design, with borrowing and cross-fertilization encouraged. The goal is richly detailed and interesting map areas.

 

The one area where modders might need help is in the backgrounds. A generic set of backgrounds and some customization tools would be helpful.

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Yes, that's me. I've actually been on the Obsidian boards long enough (originally for NWN2) to have taken "Carlo" before someone else did, so didn't have to tack on the "One", heh.

 

Very glad to see the post above from Luridis about the free Unity editor (Unity3D), although I imagine the devil will be in the details for modders in terms of how easy an editor will be to operate with PE. Also good to see that per slowdive's quote on map creation, that part of the process should not be overly difficult. However, while I was able to teach myself C (more or less) for NWN/NWN2 scripting purposes, no way will I be able to teach myself to be a graphic artist. Unless somebody wants an Order of the Stick-type mod.

 

I wanted to come back an post on this after I'd had a chance to dig through Unity3D's manuals and developer forums. So, here I am! :biggrin: I need to make a couple of things clear first: I don't speak for Obsidian and I don't speak from the seat of a professional game developer; though I'm in a lateral field. What I'm about to write is purely conjecture based upon what I have read and the things I personally know. I have no real idea what Obsidian plans to do regarding player content.

 

Note: When I write "we" or "us" below I'm speaking of the Eternity player community in general.

 

The Unity3D IDE, even the free version, is a full fledged game development environment. This tool has more in common with Blender and MonoDevelop than it does with something like Creation Kit. You would see far more game object exposure there than is normally seen in modding tools. Things like: AI code, background processes the game engine loop, etc. We, as the customers, don't really want or need to see these things to do what you would consider traditional modding.

 

Do I think they're going to give us the game "project" to open and modify in Unity3D? I think that the answer will probably, most likely, almost definitely be absolutely not there. There are so many potential issues that would create that I just don't see it happening. First, we'd see all the internal source code of the game; a lot of which could be trade secrets or code they may not be able to distribute in source form. We would also see things like how the game interacts with the steamworks API, which is probably a no-no with Valve. Last, if we accidentally changed something that is part of the game itself and was distributed as a mod it could flat-out break everyone's game. I don't mean oddly behaving NPCs or some amusing glitch. No, I'm talking real crash-to-desktop windows error reporting type of broken game. Last, since Obsidian is likely using Unity PRO, we couldn't re-compile the project without that version of Unity ourselves, at a cost of $1500.

 

From the things I've read on the Unity3D developer forums, most of the modding support is coming in through a native code plugins. The developers write a code module that interacts with the game engine at run-time and imports mod data into the game. They can also leave certain types of game assets, like artwork or configuration files open to modification. The catch here is Unity does not support importing game code at run-time. So, Obsidian would need to write the script support into a code module that reads mod script, validates it to prevent crashes and then passes those commands on to the engine itself. This is actually a good thing because they can parse the script language(s) of their choice, such as Lua, and prevent mods from accessing things outside the scope of modding that would cause crashes. The down sides are that it's quite a bit of work, unless they already have a similar in-house component they've written in the past. Now, onto world editing...

 

How or if they will implement a world editor is anyone's guess. Unless they're working out some kind of agreement with the Unity guys; I don't see them being able to strip out the development parts of the Unity IDE and sending it on to the community as a modding tool. Sure, they can do this with in-house toolsets, but the Unity IDE is someone else's software. Finally, obtaining the Unity3D IDE source code is likely expensive and out of the project's scope.

 

I do see a couple of options for a world editor. They could use one of their own previously developed modding tools and modify it to work with Unity assets. There is also the possibility that they could provide us with a Unity3D project template that we copy came data into, make changes and then export into a mod directory that Obsidian's native code plugin could parse when the game starts. However, this likely couldn't be setup with warnings about inter-mod dependencies or conflicts.

 

That's about as much info as I can give here. Again, this is all purely conjecture on my part and Obsidian could already have well conceived plans for modders. We will just have to be patient and see what happens... 8)

Edited by Luridis
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Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt. - Julius Caesar

 

:facepalm: #define TRUE (!FALSE)

I ran across an article where the above statement was found in a release tarball. LOL! Who does something like this? Predictably, this oddity was found when the article's author tried to build said tarball and the compiler promptly went into cardiac arrest. If you're not a developer, imagine telling someone the literal meaning of up is "not down". Such nonsense makes computers, and developers... angry.

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they could also add a scripting system, for example there is already a free lua interpreter package for unity3d.

I think they will probably implement their own level save format. (because it is common to do)

 

So they could publish the project, the compiled c# dlls as well as the assets. Then you probably only need some small packaging tool maybe written inside unity3d to export all your custom lua and levels to your game.

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Nice details Luridis. That all makes sense and your analysis sounds reasonable. So while it's likely we'll be able to mod many aspects of the game, it's completely dependant upon how many resources Obsidian spends developing the necessary aspects of code to let us do so. Naturally, they aren't going to let us recompile their game from source.

I made a 2 hour rant video about dragon age 2. It's not the greatest... but if you want to watch it, here ya go:

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Great stuff Luridis. Not sure if they would do this, but c# has it's own compiler built in to compile c# code at run time. I'm using this in my project and it works very well and was very simple to set up. You choose what functions and properties you want to expose or not and you can use Visual Studio Express to write scripts. The problem is that some may not want to use c# as a scripting language.

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Nice details Luridis. That all makes sense and your analysis sounds reasonable. So while it's likely we'll be able to mod many aspects of the game, it's completely dependant upon how many resources Obsidian spends developing the necessary aspects of code to let us do so. Naturally, they aren't going to let us recompile their game from source.

 

Well, it's not entirely dependent upon what tools Obsidian makes available. Many gamers are game makers, or are in related technical fields, that put their own time into tools for the gaming community. The free version of unity itself could be used to create another application with a custom UI that parses and renders Eternity game assets, allows the player to make changes and then dumps out mod files.

 

Should Obsidian not have the time or resources to make a world editor themselves, a community member may decide to take up that work. However, we're not likely to hear about such a thing till it's nearly done. Player communities have a way of nagging people to death about modding tools if they even mention plans to work on them. The problem here being the same one Obsidian themselves have run into on Eternity already about things like multiplayer and console support. When it comes to development lots of people have the it-looks-easy-so-it-must-be attitude. And, no matter how many times you explain that something isn't trivial, these folks simply will not believe that until they have tried to do it themselves. :facepalm:

Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt. - Julius Caesar

 

:facepalm: #define TRUE (!FALSE)

I ran across an article where the above statement was found in a release tarball. LOL! Who does something like this? Predictably, this oddity was found when the article's author tried to build said tarball and the compiler promptly went into cardiac arrest. If you're not a developer, imagine telling someone the literal meaning of up is "not down". Such nonsense makes computers, and developers... angry.

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Great stuff Luridis. Not sure if they would do this, but c# has it's own compiler built in to compile c# code at run time. I'm using this in my project and it works very well and was very simple to set up. You choose what functions and properties you want to expose or not and you can use Visual Studio Express to write scripts. The problem is that some may not want to use c# as a scripting language.

 

Unity does not use the Microsoft Dot.Net common language runtime because it's not cross-platform. Unity has a customized version of the Mono C# compiler built into the IDE, and it pre-compiles all code as far as I know. This is likely due to the interpreted code prohibition on things like iOS.

 

Edit: nevermind lol... I see what you're saying now slowdive, you were talking about unity itself and not trying to plug Visual Studio IL into a sealed Unity build.

 

Edit2: I haven't had all my coffee yet and I'm working too, taking a peek here when I can because Obsidian has me all excited like about loveable hugable classic CRPGs.

Edited by Luridis

Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt. - Julius Caesar

 

:facepalm: #define TRUE (!FALSE)

I ran across an article where the above statement was found in a release tarball. LOL! Who does something like this? Predictably, this oddity was found when the article's author tried to build said tarball and the compiler promptly went into cardiac arrest. If you're not a developer, imagine telling someone the literal meaning of up is "not down". Such nonsense makes computers, and developers... angry.

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