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IceBlinkEngine.com • View topic - Playtesting as module author: Savegames and/or console

Playtesting as module author: Savegames and/or console

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Playtesting as module author: Savegames and/or console

Postby youngneil1 » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:39 am

As my little adventure grows, I find myself doing more and more running and playing (triggering the event/variable setup I want before starting the actual tetsing) from the starting point to the situation I want to test out. In complex campaigns this will not be possible. I wonder which options exist to make such testing easier.

One would be having lots of savegames later on, jumping to that point in the campaign via a network of savegames. This would require the savegames to be compatible (as much as logically possible, that is) though with the new changes brought in by the added or changed content. I would really love such compatibility as it would at the same time allow to add in new adventures into an existing game world and players could still use their old savegames, finding these new adventures (imagine new locations for world map appearing gradually over the months and years, so a module author could actually run an evolvoling campaign with all of his palyers around the world, this would be REALLY cool). This will not be easy though I fear, as at least in Two Worlds 2 those savegames only worked with the very same game version (at least when it came to any changes in the quest tree, even if only adding new quests) they were created with. Was a huge hassle to say the least.

Another - at best additonal to above - option, would be to have console commands for teleporting to any location on any map quickly and also for setting variables/queststages ingame (creating the desired campaign and quest stage quickly manually, without really playing to that exact point). A dream in this regard would be to be able to create a testing gamestartpoint in the toolset via toolset dialogue optiosn, bringing comfort to setting up the testing conditions you want. Some kind of "campaign nexus" where you see all quests and their variables outlined and can customize your start position (locally and concerning quests etc) as you like. Teh existing option to define the adventure starting point is a beginning here. Besides the mentioned quest related stuff, it would be also very helpful to be able to customize the party here to whatever the module author needs (which members, at which level, with which skills and equipment, etc). Will be invaluable for testing e.g. encounter balance or new skills/spells.

Food for thought.
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Re: Playtesting as module author: Savegames and/or console

Postby slowdive » Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:59 pm

This is a complex topic as I have thought through this a bit already. This was an issue with NWN1 and 2 as well. At this point, the save games save everything including all the area information and global variables (save games aren't working very well at the moment...they were at one point, but I broke them :D )

I'll/we'll need to come up with a good solution because continuing from previous adventures is a must. In NWN2, the override and campaign folder were often used to update conversations. I guess the way it is now, if you change a conversation and then save over the old one, the game will use the new one and all the changes. The old global variables saved will still be in the saved game. I wonder if major developers us some kind of program to write over or update saved games when they do patches?

Currently, there is a console (hit the "z" key to open it and close it). You can type in a script (just the script file name without the ".cs") in the textbox and hit the "run script" button. Runs scripts that are in the module's script folder. For example, try typing in "healLight" without the quotes and then click the button. It will aplly healing to the last selected PC (last selected from the inventory screen that is for now). Eventually, I will set-up passing parameters for scripts that can be used via the console and other trigger locations.

A good trick for setting-up a module (idea came from Kamal) is to create a single area with all quests, items and NPCs located in the single area. Once all major testing is done, move all the NPCs, items, etc. to their proper areas. Cuts down on testing time. The other suggestions you mentioned, such as a "campaign nexus" and other testing tools would also be nice to have as well.
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Re: Playtesting as module author: Savegames and/or console

Postby youngneil1 » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:34 pm

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