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Hills and other raised and lowered areas

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April 17, 2004 10:34:24 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Another thing with the editor that I'm having to work around is the
raised area sytem.

First off, it seems some areas don't let you raise or lower at all,
which lets out a lot of possibilities.

For another thing, it seems you can't lower an initial area at all, if
you want an area to have a crater in it, you have to raise the entire
rest of the area instead.

And you can't tell it to create large areas raised at a certain level;
you either go thru and raise square by square, or you create a very
tall hill in the middle, which automatically raises surrounding areas
up, as you can't have any real cliffs, two or more levels worth of
raise at one point.

(as an aside, I'd really like to be able to do cliffs)

The workaround I've done is to click a twice spot, raising it twice,
then left clicking it to lower the center, this creates a 3 block by 3
block square thats all raised to the same level; move 3 blocks away
and repeat; you do cover large areas with fewer clicks this way, but
its still quite a pain for large areas (which I seem to favor; most of
my zones are 32 by 32 at the moment)

Any better solutions?

Lance

More about : hills raised lowered areas

Anonymous
April 18, 2004 12:07:16 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Lance wrote:
> The workaround I've done is to click a twice spot, raising it twice,
> then left clicking it to lower the center, this creates a 3 block by 3
> block square thats all raised to the same level; move 3 blocks away
> and repeat; you do cover large areas with fewer clicks this way, but
> its still quite a pain for large areas (which I seem to favor; most of
> my zones are 32 by 32 at the moment)
>
> Any better solutions?


Yes, don't use 32x32 areas. The maximum "safe" area size is about 250
tiles (or 16x16 or 25x10, etc.) Anything over that can seriously cramp
the end-user's machine.
--
Barry Scott Will
Pyric RPG Publications
http://www.pyric.com/

If you insist on emailing me, remove all the **JUNK** first
Anonymous
April 18, 2004 2:28:41 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Lance wrote:
> Another thing with the editor that I'm having to work around is the
> raised area sytem.
>
> First off, it seems some areas don't let you raise or lower at all,
> which lets out a lot of possibilities.

Yes, the indoor tilesets doesn't support more than the ground level. To get
up- or downstairs, you have to use one of the staircase tiles and create an
area transition to the next floor, which consists of another map. I can't
see any disadvantages with the way to do it like this.

> The workaround I've done is to click a twice spot, raising it twice,
> then left clicking it to lower the center, this creates a 3 block by 3
> block square thats all raised to the same level; move 3 blocks away
> and repeat; you do cover large areas with fewer clicks this way, but
> its still quite a pain for large areas (which I seem to favor; most of
> my zones are 32 by 32 at the moment)

You are on the way to make one of the most common newbie errors using the
tileset: Too large areas. IMHO every map with a size of more than 16-18
tiles is an indicator of bad design. You should keep in mind that huge areas
requires a lot of loading time, and when you fill it with many objects the
frame rate goes down too.

Hans
Related resources
April 20, 2004 12:46:16 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

"Hans Wein" <hwein_nospam_@gmx.net> wrote in message news:<c5tgn7$jac$07$1@news.t-online.com>...
> Lance wrote:
> > Another thing with the editor that I'm having to work around is the
> > raised area sytem.
> >
> > First off, it seems some areas don't let you raise or lower at all,
> > which lets out a lot of possibilities.
>
> Yes, the indoor tilesets doesn't support more than the ground level. To get
> up- or downstairs, you have to use one of the staircase tiles and create an
> area transition to the next floor, which consists of another map. I can't
> see any disadvantages with the way to do it like this.
>
Well, since its possible for people at a higher or lower level to use
spells and ranged weapons on you (and vice versa), but there may be
some distance you'd have to travel to get to them, a multilayer map
can change the types of action that can go on. If every level change
requires an area transition to a seperate map, then it seems you
leave out that sort of "well I can see him up there but can't get to
him" kind of activity.

Another trick I'm thinking about including is to have an area, say an
inn, where there's a second floor overlooking a central part of
something below, like the ballroom; put an area transition trigger
over the opening in the floor where you can jump down to the floor
below, but at the same time allow someone up "above" to interact with
the people he can see "down there" on his map.

> > The workaround I've done is to click a twice spot, raising it twice,
> > then left clicking it to lower the center, this creates a 3 block by 3
> > block square thats all raised to the same level; move 3 blocks away
> > and repeat; you do cover large areas with fewer clicks this way, but
> > its still quite a pain for large areas (which I seem to favor; most of
> > my zones are 32 by 32 at the moment)
>
> You are on the way to make one of the most common newbie errors using the
> tileset: Too large areas. IMHO every map with a size of more than 16-18
> tiles is an indicator of bad design. You should keep in mind that huge areas
> requires a lot of loading time, and when you fill it with many objects the
> frame rate goes down too.
>
I'm sure there's lots to be said for smaller maps... but as I said,
I'm just getting started now. Personally, I prefer large maps with
all of a given scene's action on it, rather than a series of smaller
maps pieced together. Coming off years of playing Everquest, I have a
strong dislike for the idea of "zone lines" where you enter a
different world just by stepping across an invisible line.

In NWN its not so bad, things can pursue you across those lines... but
you can't cast spells across them or shoot arrows, and you can't
really tell -what- your pursuers are doing over there. In the middle
of a large area map, there are no transition lines to abuse, or to get
screwed over by.

I'm sure a year from now I'll look back at these early modules and
shudder; but at the moment I'm just struggling with the basics of
trying to force the editor to do what I want, and trying to figure out
what I -can't- do instead of worrying about what I perhaps -shouldn't-
do!

Lance
Anonymous
April 20, 2004 3:15:50 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

"Lance" <emporer@dejazzd.com> wrote in message
news:8854c397.0404191946.5dd50bc@posting.google.com...
> "Hans Wein" <hwein_nospam_@gmx.net> wrote in message
news:<c5tgn7$jac$07$1@news.t-online.com>...
> > Lance wrote:
<snip>
> I'm sure there's lots to be said for smaller maps... but as I said,
> I'm just getting started now. Personally, I prefer large maps with
> all of a given scene's action on it, rather than a series of smaller
> maps pieced together. Coming off years of playing Everquest, I have a
> strong dislike for the idea of "zone lines" where you enter a
> different world just by stepping across an invisible line.
>
> In NWN its not so bad, things can pursue you across those lines... but
> you can't cast spells across them or shoot arrows, and you can't
> really tell -what- your pursuers are doing over there. In the middle
> of a large area map, there are no transition lines to abuse, or to get
> screwed over by.
>
> I'm sure a year from now I'll look back at these early modules and
> shudder; but at the moment I'm just struggling with the basics of
> trying to force the editor to do what I want, and trying to figure out
> what I -can't- do instead of worrying about what I perhaps -shouldn't-
> do!

Thanks for the warning. Be sure and let us know what name you'll post the
module under so we can avoid it like the plague.



Windigo
Anonymous
April 21, 2004 8:09:05 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

"Windigo" <windigonotat@paganplanet.comnot> wrote in message
news:Tt1hc.29258$bl.17620@okepread03...
> > I'm sure a year from now I'll look back at these early modules and
> > shudder; but at the moment I'm just struggling with the basics of
> > trying to force the editor to do what I want, and trying to figure out
> > what I -can't- do instead of worrying about what I perhaps -shouldn't-
> > do!
>
> Thanks for the warning. Be sure and let us know what name you'll post the
> module under so we can avoid it like the plague.

Come on, that's not a very nice thing to say... Lance admitted he was still
learning and fiddling around, let him learn at his own pace, everyone is
entitled to his opinion anyway.

I don't see what's wrong about trial and error... If we would all do the same
thing over and over again, there would never be place left for inventivity. He
may find something we all overlooked.

Peace.

--
Hiddenson
"That which does not kill you makes you stronger."
www.e-quinox.org
The ColdScript System, v1.4:
http://nwvault.ign.com/Files/scripts/data/1059207644523...
Anonymous
April 21, 2004 8:09:06 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

"Hiddenson" <hfhurtado@nospam-hotmail.com> looked up from reading the
entrails of the porn spammer to utter "The Augury is good, the signs
say:
>"Windigo" <windigonotat@paganplanet.comnot> wrote in message
>news:Tt1hc.29258$bl.17620@okepread03...
>> > I'm sure a year from now I'll look back at these early modules and
>> > shudder; but at the moment I'm just struggling with the basics of
>> > trying to force the editor to do what I want, and trying to figure out
>> > what I -can't- do instead of worrying about what I perhaps -shouldn't-
>> > do!
>>
>> Thanks for the warning. Be sure and let us know what name you'll post the
>> module under so we can avoid it like the plague.
>
>Come on, that's not a very nice thing to say... Lance admitted he was still
>learning and fiddling around, let him learn at his own pace, everyone is
>entitled to his opinion anyway.
>
>I don't see what's wrong about trial and error... If we would all do the same
>thing over and over again, there would never be place left for inventivity. He
>may find something we all overlooked.

I think you missed the point of Windigo's message.

Trial and error is fine, as are fiddling, but Lance is completely
ignoring, as he put it "what he shouldn't do" while he tries to figure
out "what he can't do".

That smacks of bad design philosophy and is almost certainly going to
result in a bad module.

You never, ever, ignore the "what shouldn't be done" issues if you want
to end up with anything decent as a result.

Xocyll
--
I don't particularly want you to FOAD, myself. You'll be more of
a cautionary example if you'll FO And Get Chronically, Incurably,
Painfully, Progressively, Expensively, Debilitatingly Ill. So
FOAGCIPPEDI. -- Mike Andrews responding to an idiot in asr
Anonymous
April 21, 2004 8:09:07 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

"Xocyll" <Xocyll@kingston.net> wrote in message
news:fe1d80trfb9v97pj4upct50oqhapl2fh0k@4ax.com...
> "Hiddenson" <hfhurtado@nospam-hotmail.com> looked up from reading the
> entrails of the porn spammer to utter "The Augury is good, the signs
> say:
> >"Windigo" <windigonotat@paganplanet.comnot> wrote in message
> >news:Tt1hc.29258$bl.17620@okepread03...
> >> > I'm sure a year from now I'll look back at these early modules and
> >> > shudder; but at the moment I'm just struggling with the basics of
> >> > trying to force the editor to do what I want, and trying to figure
out
> >> > what I -can't- do instead of worrying about what I
perhaps -shouldn't-
> >> > do!
> >>
> >> Thanks for the warning. Be sure and let us know what name you'll post
the
> >> module under so we can avoid it like the plague.
> >
> >Come on, that's not a very nice thing to say... Lance admitted he was
still
> >learning and fiddling around, let him learn at his own pace, everyone is
> >entitled to his opinion anyway.
> >
> >I don't see what's wrong about trial and error... If we would all do the
same
> >thing over and over again, there would never be place left for
inventivity. He
> >may find something we all overlooked.
>
> I think you missed the point of Windigo's message.
>
> Trial and error is fine, as are fiddling, but Lance is completely
> ignoring, as he put it "what he shouldn't do" while he tries to figure
> out "what he can't do".
>
> That smacks of bad design philosophy and is almost certainly going to
> result in a bad module.
>
> You never, ever, ignore the "what shouldn't be done" issues if you want
> to end up with anything decent as a result.
>

What if it's the only way to do something and he figures out something with
the "shouldn't be done" that someone missed and places it in the could be
done list"
April 22, 2004 12:54:26 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

"Windigo" <windigonotat@paganplanet.comnot> wrote in message news:<Tt1hc.29258$bl.17620@okepread03>...
> "Lance" <emporer@dejazzd.com> wrote in message
> news:8854c397.0404191946.5dd50bc@posting.google.com...
> > "Hans Wein" <hwein_nospam_@gmx.net> wrote in message
> news:<c5tgn7$jac$07$1@news.t-online.com>...
> > > Lance wrote:
> <snip>
> > I'm sure there's lots to be said for smaller maps... but as I said,
> > I'm just getting started now. Personally, I prefer large maps with
> > all of a given scene's action on it, rather than a series of smaller
> > maps pieced together. Coming off years of playing Everquest, I have a
> > strong dislike for the idea of "zone lines" where you enter a
> > different world just by stepping across an invisible line.
> >
> > In NWN its not so bad, things can pursue you across those lines... but
> > you can't cast spells across them or shoot arrows, and you can't
> > really tell -what- your pursuers are doing over there. In the middle
> > of a large area map, there are no transition lines to abuse, or to get
> > screwed over by.
> >
> > I'm sure a year from now I'll look back at these early modules and
> > shudder; but at the moment I'm just struggling with the basics of
> > trying to force the editor to do what I want, and trying to figure out
> > what I -can't- do instead of worrying about what I perhaps -shouldn't-
> > do!
>
> Thanks for the warning. Be sure and let us know what name you'll post the
> module under so we can avoid it like the plague.

Oooh, a flame? I'm so excited!

I haven't looked into posting modules at all, really nothing I've done
so far is close to ready for the "big time"... I've only completed one
module, I've got rough starts on several including the one I'm
currently working on, but the one I completed isn't anything to crow
about; its a more or less direct port of an everquest zone, done
entirely on one 32x32 map... because at the time I still hadn't even
figured out how to get area transitions to work! So I spatula'd in a
special area where several vendors and quest givers stay, and made it
all fit.

I -could- have used a smaller map, but there certainly wouldn't have
been room for everything I wanted to do in a single "zone".

Now I could go back and redo the whole thing using area transitions,
but I'm not convinced I'd use a smaller map for the main "zone" even
if I did. It would be nice to do the castle and the "quest/vendor"
areas as seperate zones, other than that I think I could leave the
whole thing alone: while the castle would benefit from different area
type features, and the "quest/vendor" area -should- be seperate since
I'm trying to reproduce an Everquest area which actually used a "zone
line" feature.

Add in more "Zone lines" and you'd lose the flavor of the place.
Shrink it down to 16*16 and I think it would also lose a lot of
flavor.

Since I've made the place principly for my own use, and there's no
noticable lag on my machine when I'm playing it, I don't see the
problem... at the moment.

Of course there's something to be said for making a module that works
on older machines, and for that matter its quite possible that as I
add more and more features I'll start to experience the lag you are
talking about on my own machine... but its not something that concerns
me so far.

IF it turns out that one of my "huge zone" creations looks good enough
that I want to put it out for public use, and it doesn't lag my
machine, I don't know how I'll feel about going in and redo-ing it so
that it will work on older technology; the same thing must happen to
professional game companies: they must think "do I go with the latest
tech and all thee bells and whistles, so the game looks as great as
possible, or do I 'dumb it down' to accomodate three year old hardware
so as many potential customers as possible can use the game?" Of
course for me the components of the equation will perhaps be a bit
different, since I'm -not- being paid...

Lance
April 22, 2004 12:55:29 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

"Hiddenson" <hfhurtado@nospam-hotmail.com> wrote in message
> > Thanks for the warning. Be sure and let us know what name you'll post the
> > module under so we can avoid it like the plague.
>
> Come on, that's not a very nice thing to say... Lance admitted he was still
> learning and fiddling around, let him learn at his own pace, everyone is
> entitled to his opinion anyway.
>
> I don't see what's wrong about trial and error... If we would all do the same
> thing over and over again, there would never be place left for inventivity. He
> may find something we all overlooked.
>
Plus, since I don't see any official reference book on module
creation, I don't even know what all the "should do" things are!

Hmm, maybe I'll make a module where all the zones are 1*32... I could
call it Linear B and have all the inhabitants tell one liners.

Trouble with the trial and error process is its mostly error; I've
discarded more "false start" modules than I've downloaded and played.
Years of experience as a "pen and paper" DM has me in a curious
position with NWN; I can think of tons of ideas, but I keep running
into the limits of the module design tool, multiplied by my lack of
understanding of the toolset itself. If I was new to D&D it might
actually be easier, perhaps I'd be writing modules based on the tools
available, instead of trying to shoehorn my off the wall concept
modules into the toolset any way I can!

Lance
April 22, 2004 1:10:49 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Barry Scott Will <nwn**JUNK**@cavecreations.net> wrote in message news:<UGqgc.18303$yD1.43891@attbi_s54>...
> Lance wrote:
> > The workaround I've done is to click a twice spot, raising it twice,
> > then left clicking it to lower the center, this creates a 3 block by 3
> > block square thats all raised to the same level; move 3 blocks away
> > and repeat; you do cover large areas with fewer clicks this way, but
> > its still quite a pain for large areas (which I seem to favor; most of
> > my zones are 32 by 32 at the moment)
> >
> > Any better solutions?
>
>
> Yes, don't use 32x32 areas. The maximum "safe" area size is about 250
> tiles (or 16x16 or 25x10, etc.) Anything over that can seriously cramp
> the end-user's machine.

How about 32*7?

Funny thing is, my latest module actually has a 32*7 zone in it,
basically a long relatively straight tunnel with some short side
tunnels off it running from an entrance at one end to a planar gate
out at the other, it was fun to set it up that way.... and I didn't
need the zone to be any deeper, just very long.

How is that 250 determined? If the zone isn't "laggy" on my machine,
which is a year old and hardly "top of the line" even then, then how
would I determine that the "magic number" is about 250 tiles?

And how much of that "cramp factor" is based on what's actually -in-
the zone as opposed to the sheer number of tiles? Do buildings take
up the same "space" as featureless tiles of grass? How about the
creature level; is a big open space with five or six creatures
wandering around it more laggy than one with lots fewer tiles but 30
creatures? What if its a zone where combat is unlikely, compared to
one where a mighty battle repleat with ten or fifteen casters shooting
off half the special effects budget from Independance Day is almost
certain to take place?

Too, has that rule been put into place based on single player running
a game on his own machine, versus a 6 man party running in a
persistant world with three GMs?

At the moment, I'm designing for single player and just now starting
to bang my head against the implementation of Henchmen...

Lance
Anonymous
April 22, 2004 1:36:37 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

"Hiddenson" <hfhurtado@nospam-hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:4086815f$0$253$4d4efb8e@news.be.uu.net...
> "Windigo" <windigonotat@paganplanet.comnot> wrote in message
> news:Tt1hc.29258$bl.17620@okepread03...
> > > I'm sure a year from now I'll look back at these early modules and
> > > shudder; but at the moment I'm just struggling with the basics of
> > > trying to force the editor to do what I want, and trying to figure out
> > > what I -can't- do instead of worrying about what I perhaps -shouldn't-
> > > do!
> >
> > Thanks for the warning. Be sure and let us know what name you'll post
the
> > module under so we can avoid it like the plague.
>
> Come on, that's not a very nice thing to say... Lance admitted he was
still
> learning and fiddling around, let him learn at his own pace, everyone is
> entitled to his opinion anyway.
>
> I don't see what's wrong about trial and error... If we would all do the
same
> thing over and over again, there would never be place left for
inventivity. He
> may find something we all overlooked.
>
> Peace.
>
> --
> Hiddenson
> "That which does not kill you makes you stronger."
> www.e-quinox.org
> The ColdScript System, v1.4:
> http://nwvault.ign.com/Files/scripts/data/1059207644523...
>
>

Nothing wrong with trial and error. However if you read the thread, he was
advised of the very real problems with very large areas and chose to ignore
the advice. I was refering to his insistance on including 32 by 32 areas in
his module. I agree that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I just
want to know the module name so I won't waste my time downloading it when
its almost certain to be slow and clunky and take forever to get from place
to place. In short, a pain in the ass to play.


Windigo
Anonymous
April 22, 2004 8:33:10 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

"Lance" <emporer@dejazzd.com> wrote in message
news:8854c397.0404211954.67942fae@posting.google.com...
> "Windigo" <windigonotat@paganplanet.comnot> wrote in message
news:<Tt1hc.29258$bl.17620@okepread03>...
> > "Lance" <emporer@dejazzd.com> wrote in message
> > news:8854c397.0404191946.5dd50bc@posting.google.com...
> > > "Hans Wein" <hwein_nospam_@gmx.net> wrote in message
> > news:<c5tgn7$jac$07$1@news.t-online.com>...
> > > > Lance wrote:
>
> Oooh, a flame? I'm so excited!

If you think that was a flame you really do have a lot to learn. In most
groups it wouldn't qualify as a spark.

If you're doing a module solely for your own pleasure, by all means make it
anyway you like. If on the other hand you plan to share with the community
it might be a good idea to give some consideration to middle of the road
systems.

Another thing you might consider is listening to Barry. He's been on this
group since sometime before I found it and that was around the release date
of the original campaign. If his says something will cause problems, it's a
good bet it will.

Windigo (looking for the propane tank) '-)





> I haven't looked into posting modules at all, really nothing I've done
> so far is close to ready for the "big time"... I've only completed one
> module, I've got rough starts on several including the one I'm
> currently working on, but the one I completed isn't anything to crow
> about; its a more or less direct port of an everquest zone, done
> entirely on one 32x32 map... because at the time I still hadn't even
> figured out how to get area transitions to work! So I spatula'd in a
> special area where several vendors and quest givers stay, and made it
> all fit.
>
> I -could- have used a smaller map, but there certainly wouldn't have
> been room for everything I wanted to do in a single "zone".
>
> Now I could go back and redo the whole thing using area transitions,
> but I'm not convinced I'd use a smaller map for the main "zone" even
> if I did. It would be nice to do the castle and the "quest/vendor"
> areas as seperate zones, other than that I think I could leave the
> whole thing alone: while the castle would benefit from different area
> type features, and the "quest/vendor" area -should- be seperate since
> I'm trying to reproduce an Everquest area which actually used a "zone
> line" feature.
>
> Add in more "Zone lines" and you'd lose the flavor of the place.
> Shrink it down to 16*16 and I think it would also lose a lot of
> flavor.
>
> Since I've made the place principly for my own use, and there's no
> noticable lag on my machine when I'm playing it, I don't see the
> problem... at the moment.
>
> Of course there's something to be said for making a module that works
> on older machines, and for that matter its quite possible that as I
> add more and more features I'll start to experience the lag you are
> talking about on my own machine... but its not something that concerns
> me so far.
>
> IF it turns out that one of my "huge zone" creations looks good enough
> that I want to put it out for public use, and it doesn't lag my
> machine, I don't know how I'll feel about going in and redo-ing it so
> that it will work on older technology; the same thing must happen to
> professional game companies: they must think "do I go with the latest
> tech and all thee bells and whistles, so the game looks as great as
> possible, or do I 'dumb it down' to accomodate three year old hardware
> so as many potential customers as possible can use the game?" Of
> course for me the components of the equation will perhaps be a bit
> different, since I'm -not- being paid...
>
> Lance
April 23, 2004 9:50:38 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

"Windigo" <windigonotat@paganplanet.comnot> wrote in message news:<gSWhc.43841$bl.16705@okepread03>...
> "Lance" <emporer@dejazzd.com> wrote in message
> news:8854c397.0404211954.67942fae@posting.google.com...
> > "Windigo" <windigonotat@paganplanet.comnot> wrote in message
> news:<Tt1hc.29258$bl.17620@okepread03>...
> > > "Lance" <emporer@dejazzd.com> wrote in message
> > > news:8854c397.0404191946.5dd50bc@posting.google.com...
> > > > "Hans Wein" <hwein_nospam_@gmx.net> wrote in message
> news:<c5tgn7$jac$07$1@news.t-online.com>...
> > > > > Lance wrote:
> >
> > Oooh, a flame? I'm so excited!
>
> If you think that was a flame you really do have a lot to learn. In most
> groups it wouldn't qualify as a spark.
>
I know, I know, I didn't even have to break out the oven mitts...

> If you're doing a module solely for your own pleasure, by all means make it
> anyway you like. If on the other hand you plan to share with the community
> it might be a good idea to give some consideration to middle of the road
> systems.
>
Indeed, its interesting... but if you read my other response in this
thread, you'll see me asking lots of questions about exactly what the
line being drawn really is; whether a 32*32 with 3 creatures and no
walls is worse than a 20*20 with 50 creatures and a veritable maze of
Slum Inn 2*1, and so forth. Details, man, the devil is in the
details!

> Another thing you might consider is listening to Barry. He's been on this
> group since sometime before I found it and that was around the release date
> of the original campaign. If his says something will cause problems, it's a
> good bet it will.
>
Hey now, I replied in depth to Barry; I'm here looking for tips and
hints, after all. But the "flame" I was responding to wasn't by him,
it was from you! (he hasn't responded yet, but its not like there's a
schedule to keep)

I was teasing about it being a flame, but it wasn't particularly
informative or helpful... so I took it as being friendly teasing and
responded in kind... and then in detail, hoping to nudge you into
discussion instead of blunt statements of opinion. I spent much of my
early childhood in Brazil, where lively debate is pretty much the
national sport, never did manage to shake that out of my system enough
to cope with the general american attitude that disagreement is
tantamount to declaration of war, rather than an invitation to dance.

> Windigo (looking for the propane tank) '-)
>
You then left the remainder of my detailed response in place and
didn't reply to any of it! I'm wounded, wounded I tell you!
>
(snipping the unsnipped)
>> a bit
> > different, since I'm -not- being paid...
> >
> > Lance
One Sarcastic Llama, when it comes down to it

Lance
Anonymous
April 24, 2004 2:25:43 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

"Lance" <emporer@dejazzd.com> wrote in message
news:8854c397.0404231650.210a32da@posting.google.com...
> "Windigo" <windigonotat@paganplanet.comnot> wrote in message
news:<gSWhc.43841$bl.16705@okepread03>...

> One Sarcastic Llama, when it comes down to it
>
> Lance

Ok, you're a smartmouthed first cousin to a camel. <G> I can live with that.
I didn't respond to much of your post for the simple reason that I'm not the
best person to do so. If you were asking about play aspects I might be able
to help but Barry and a couple of others are much better at design. I do
stick by the ideal if not the attitude of my response. Both my wife and I
play and we've tried so many poorly designed mods that I hate to think of
downloading one more. I can tell you that smaller areas are much easier to
control than large ones. It goes beyond simple land area. If you have all
that space you pretty much need to do something with it and that increases
both your work load in designing and the load on the processor from all the
placeables necessary to make it look good. I know you mentioned Everquest
experience with transition areas. I haven't played EQ so I'm not sure what
problems you're expecting. If you feel you need an extended distance for
something to work try a narrow but long area. 32X7 will give you 224
squares. That's well below the 250 mark Barry mentioned. If you line the
edges with cliffs it gives you an enclosed space that visually and logically
can only be approached from either end of the area. That should take care of
any transition area problems for you. It also cuts down on the need for
placables so less load on the processor. You could use water for an edge
but the surface animation does increase the processor load.


Windigo
Anonymous
April 24, 2004 8:37:42 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Lance wrote:
> How about 32*7?

How about not?

There are three things to keep in mind when creating an area:

1) Ease of design. As you've already discovered, the larger the area,
the more difficult it is to "paint" it. Not to mention creating
appropriate atmosphere through the use of placeables, sounds and
manipulating the lighting.

2) Amount of memory taken by the area. All the creatures in an area are
not spawned immediately upon player entry to that area. However, all the
tiles are "spawned" and use memory. While your one-year-old
middle-of-the-road PC may not lag, Aurora is a 3 or 4 year-old engine
and runs comfortably on much lower-end machines. (I started playing NWN
on an Athlon 750 with an ATI Rage 128 32MB video card and it ran well.)
The NWN community is not neccessarily made up of high-end gamers.

3) Player boredom. I can tell you right now a 32x7 tunnel is going to
bore the **** out of most players. Personally, I never go over 20 tiles
in any one direction, simply because that is the most I would ever want
to traverse in a single area. In your tunnel, players will either get
bored silly running through (seemingly) endless emptiness, or get bored
with encounter after encounter after encounter as the run through
(seemingly) endless waves of enemies.

Neither is particularly fun.

"How about the creature level; is a big open space with five or six
creatures wandering around it more laggy than one with lots fewer tiles
but 30 creatures?" It may not be more laggy, but it will definitely be
boring as all get-out. Players, at one time, would tolerate a large area
or two if the module was very good overall (see the Hall of Fame module
"A Tragedy in Tragidor" by Phoenixus, which has a 32x32 main area). The
time when many players would tolerate such is pretty much at an end.

Area design is much akin to set design in a stage play. Each area should
represent a specific set where a specific scene (or scenes) is played
out. In between each scene, the set has to be changed. It is not like a
movie (or Dungeon Siege) where scenes can traverse multiple locations.
They are set pieces in the story. The larger the set, the more difficult
it is to properly fill it and you end up with "dead space". You never,
ever want dead space in an area. It will kill your story.

There are other aspects of area size. You never want to send your
characters running back-and-forth through the same area. (Though this
seems to be more forgiveable as the HoF status of Adam Miller's
"Shadowlords" series or Chris Fowler's "Pool of Radiance" suggest.) Good
"scene" design includes lots of placeables, special lighting and sound
to keep your set of Rural tiles from looking like everyone else's Rural
tiles. Etc.

The best advice I can give you is to start small (both in area design
and overall module). Then get ambitious. My first module runs about 1
hour and has 28 areas (most are simplistic 2x2 or 4x4 interiors). My
current project is already up to 31 areas and counting and will probably
run about 5 to 10 hours. :sigh: If I ever get it finished.
--
Barry Scott Will
Pyric RPG Publications
http://www.pyric.com/

If you insist on emailing me, remove all the **JUNK** first
!