Author Topic: Please avoid these mistakes with your UrWelt editor

Claudius33

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#1121 January 08, 2019, Tuesday, 08:44 pm
Give me a couple of days. RL constraints.

Claudius33

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#1163 January 12, 2019, Saturday, 05:13 pm
Things to keep in mind regarding Electron, NWN2 toolset :

It inherits from Bioware Aurora : 
  • Same scripting language, additional functions
    Same underlying data structure (2da, tlk ...)
It allows import of 3D models from Blender, etc. as the numerous placeable, special effects, sounds, music, clothes, weapons, animations ... provided by the community shows it.

Plug-ins can be added. I didn’t use them but many good plug-ins are available.

UI can be modified / extended.

As a builder I have achieved several large campaigns (>30 hours gameplay) using standard and community provided material.
A campaign is a set of interlinked modules. Global variables (available thru the whole campaign) can be carried by the PC and companions or stored as Global (actually in an xml file).

Companions can be controlled by the player, henchmen not (as NWN1). Companions are available thru the whole campaign, henchmen only in their module.
A party of 6 (PC + 5 companions) is perfectly manageable. I was able to let the player dynamically choose classes/races of companions while they retain their personality. So, the player could tailor his party.

I made solo campaigns only so I can’t comment the multiplayer side. I am a story teller, scripter and map designer and can’t really comment 3D modelling, sounds, etc.

Map editor: very powerful.  You can easily achieve nice looking areas, 3D, lights, water … However, the learning curve is rather steep, IMO. You can easily manage waypoints, doors, locking, creatures' positions and patrols and associate scripts to events of creatures, placeable, areas, modules such as OnDamage, on Death, on Heartbeat, onEnterConnexion, on Exit ...
 
Script language (C# syntax type): powerful, you can achieve many things, dynamical spawns of creatures, placeables, spell effects, etc. … You can have your own spells or events. Many standard scripts are provided.
Variables:  standard (byte, integer, float, string) + vector (1D) and structure. Variables can be attached to a creature, a module, an area, a placeable, a waypoint, a door, or an I point. They do the job.

Conversation editor: IMO the  strongest point. Neat presentation. Each node of convo can be collapsed or developed for a better view. Each line of the conversation can be conditioned (by one or many scripts combined by logical operators), each line can call one or many scripts. In addition, recorded voices, lips movements can be set if relevant. Moreover, the locutor and interlocutor can be set for each line, allowing companions or NPCs to take part in the convo in addition to the PC and the main locutor. The conversation editor is powerful enough to build cutscenes.
Electron can look overwhelming at first and the learning curve is rather steep. Despite all campaigns made, I am rather far from having used all its features. The embedded help (F1) is ok to start with though.

My main grip regarding Electron is that because of the underlying data structure things stored in a module (like scripts or conversations) are not dynamic. If you make a mistake and fix it, you have to restart from a save before entering the module the first time. Of course, there are bypasses such as console commands, but if Ceres can fully dissociate scripts, conversations and such from map layouts it would be great.

Another grip regarding the bodies. For whatever reasons races do not share the same bodies. Elves don’t share Human bodies. Weird, since the models are 3D. After all an elf is just a tall thin body with pointed ears … Dwarves are just small and stocky. Therefore, things like hair, clothes or armors must be duplicated for each body type … making more tedious and difficult the modding.  To avoid!

Last grip: the Bioware data structure legacy makes things complicated as each line of a 2DA file has a number. No gap allowed, so empty lines must be padded. Modders have to agree on ranges to avoid collisions (one takes rage 3000 to 3199 for his placeables …). Conflicts of 2DA files, scripts, tlk put in a hak (a kind of archive read by a module or campaign), in the infamous ‘override’ folder or in the campaign folder happen and are hard to trap especially for a builder when alerted by a player. Please Ceres make your data model like a dynamic SQL database even if you don’t use a SQL database. 

Nevertheless, despite the above grips and the steep learning curve, I have been able to build my stories with lively companions whose class/race can be choose by the player, a rather long gameplay (campaigns of 30+ hours), a setting that totally forgets the forgotten realms (sci-fi, historical).  So Electron is definitely a valuable toolset.

Hope it helps.
 
Last edited: January 13, 2019, Sunday, 12:27 am by Claudius33

Dark_Ansem

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#1165 January 12, 2019, Saturday, 05:50 pm
an excellent list, thank you.
One who knows nothing can understand nothing.