Thursday, 4 February 2016

Recharged!

I've just finished a short break from NWN2. Such things are always needed from time to time, especially after the release and initial support of Umbral Abyss. Such a huge project. A lot of creative energy went into that project and there is only so long you can keep going until you need to step away for a while, reflect on how things went and then come back to things with (hopefully) some wisdom from the experience. And I certainly have plenty of that in the bag.

I'm still overwhelmed by how Umbral Abyss was received. Indanthrine Prince was initially a fun poke around. I never dreamed that anything of real substance would come of it. My technical knowledge was very limited, so we generally got by, but steered clear of anything that would prove to be script intensive, but I still attempted to learn some basics as I went along. This paid off, as learning one topic somewhat "unlocked" another for me, in terms of difficulty. Once it became apparent that Indanthrine Prince was looking to be a success, thoughts turned towards continuing the story. And so the idea of a campaign trilogy was born.

With each new campaign project I work on, I like to think of new, interesting additions for the players that build on what we already have. Umbral Abyss added a lot of new stuff like crafting, special creature vulnerabilities, utilising the History Feats obtained in Indanthrine Prince, secret content and some select moment of more dynamic combat. All of these have gone down rather well and a number of things have been given some added polish, ready for use in future projects. I don't like taking things away, but instead adding and building onto things that already exist. It's nice to have familiarity, but at the same time, it is important to keep things fresh with each release. This is an approach I will stick to.

Umbral Abyss was also a massive learning experience. Much more so than IP. I have a lot of ideas for how certain script-handled events can be better executed, how the dialogue can be better presented and a whole pack of ideas to improve player immersion and fun - the number one goal in all of this. Umbral Abyss still has need of some patching and I will continue to support the campaign for the foreseeable future.

The bulk of my attention is now moving towards the final campaign of the trilogy - another big undertaking. Not necessarily in terms of size, as I do not intend to make anything as huge as Umbral Abyss was, but in terms of it being the final campaign in this trilogy and the ending needs to be right, as do the parts leading up to it; from where the player picks up from, all the way in their epic journey to the end. It is being designed for epic levels and I know how much of a shortage there is of epic level community modules - so that is a further pressure on me to make this a memorable campaign for the players. This blog will start to share a lot more on the development of the next campaign soon. The cue I am waiting for is the completion of AhTravesty's Let's Play of Umbral Abyss. He is approaching the end, so there is not long to wait. If you haven't checked out the Let's Play of UA, do visit his channel and check it out! There are also many LP's of other excellent community modules. The UA Let's Play is currently up to episode 68. Including the Chapter 1 demo LP, this makes 83 videos! Thats in the territory of some of the really big campaigns like the Baldurs Gate Reloaded LP he made! I said it before, I made a monster... So, standby. Once the LP series concludes, news and commentary will begin to trickle out.

For those of you who have been following my series of videos offering tutorial and how-to's, I hope that they have proven to be helpful in one way or another. I didn't want to lose time I could spend on my projects, so I decided to incorporate the tutorials into actual projects I'm working on. The project seen in the videos is still very much in its infancy and is a back-burner for the time being. For sure, it is intended to be the next campaign planned once the trilogy is wrapped up. It will have all the familiarity you will expect from the series, but set in a new location, far from Rhovanion. One of the biggest features in this project is a huge expansion of our MERP custom ruleset to further adapt NWN2 towards some of the PnP MERP adventures. The story style is also going to be very different; we are looking at a short-story, but two very distinct paths one can take. Two games in one, or something like that.

That's about all for now. Standby for further news. It's going to be a really exciting year.


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