Hearkenwold Beta

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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby Dorateen » Sat May 04, 2019 2:45 pm

May Update

When I last left off, I was in the middle of building the Halls of Hamhock adventure for the Hearkenwold campaign. In fact, I was just about to start on the Second Hall when things slowed down for me earlier this year. In fact, approaching this level was a daunting task and perhaps a bit intimidating. One reason is that in the NWN2 version, the free form nature of level design, even though placed on a grid, does not exactly correlate to the tidy 2D squares of IceBlink. I struggled a bit pondering how to best capture this zone in the new engine. It was always meant to be more spacious than the previous levels, because it reflects a descent to the wider base of the mountain. Initially I had planned to piece together four maps, thinking that ought to cover the area.

It ended up as 16 interconnected maps for the player to transition through and explore.

I probably could have condensed some of this content, but I wanted to retain the scope of the massive level and create a classic dungeon crawl experience. The second Hall features wide corridors and plazas in some places, more narrow tunnels in others. With various points of interest on each map. It quickly grew in size as I started to put together the puzzle. This level also is characterized by a higher degree of combat. In this sample below, a new foe is introduced, the giant ogre.

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For the first time, I have made use of the animated props that are included with the toolset. Here, tongues of flame on the burning floor flicker and dance, and create a movement hazard should the party step on those tiles.

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An atmospheric passage, reinforcing the idea of this level as one that is held strongly by the enemy.

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A new form of ammunition can be found: Arrows of Fire. Nice to give archers a little extra advantage when they score their hits. I like the icon I found to use for this item, and how it shows in the inventory screen.

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And finally, here is a sneak peek at the lowest level of the mountain, the mines. I am presently working on this area now and pleased with the way it is shaping up. It will likewise consist of multiple maps the player will need to work through, and maybe even a mine cart to ride! I expect to finish the First Hall this month, and then backtrack to any content that was left open, apply some more polish and testing. This should take me through June, and I hope to release the new update by the end of next month.

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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby youngneil1 » Sat May 04, 2019 5:15 pm

This looks absolutely gorgeous and inspiring :) ! The size is mighty impressive as is the level of detail (that adorable big fat ogre, the atmospheric usage of the glowing flames prop, the perfectly fitting tiles for the mine walls...). And then even a mine cart ride eventually upcoming... good times, really looking forward to playing it :D !
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby Dorateen » Sun May 05, 2019 2:09 pm

Hey, thanks, youngneil1. I really like that mines wallset and it makes building this level very fun. I also like the animated flame prop, it works especially well placed on those rubble tiles with the orange glow. I've used the other prop in the toolset, the waves, on a different map. You know what would be very cool to have in the same style, is some kind of smoke prop.
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby youngneil1 » Sun May 05, 2019 2:20 pm

The animated props are really fun, especially with IB performing quite fast these days (allowing for more fluid animations). Animated smoke is a great idea, I will try my rather limited art skills on it later down the road. Currently, I am still debugging left and right. I better do this as thorughly as I can now while all the new code around scrolling is still fresh in my short time memory.
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby Dorateen » Tue May 07, 2019 6:42 pm

Well, it only took me six years working in the toolset to figure out how to get bark strings, or floating text on the map to appear. I never used the gaShowFloatyText script before, and it works great. There are probably quite a few places I should have used this approach elsewhere in Hearkenwold. But I've begun to sprinkle in more flavor text starting with this module. Here is shown a group of dwarves milling about, grumbling about the state of the Kingdom.
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby youngneil1 » Tue May 07, 2019 9:08 pm

Hehe, I feel you. I find "new stuff" regularly, too - either clever new approaches you guys took while building your modules or features/systems I have forgotten myself about that have been prepared many, many months ago. IB is truely a little box full of wonders. Oh, and yes, we need a porper manual direly :lol: .
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby Dorateen » Sat Jun 01, 2019 2:24 pm

June Update

We are almost there! Last month, I finished the First Hall (the Mines) including the final climactic showdown. I also had time to work on the remaining non-critical path areas. That means all I have left to do in the next few weeks is put on the finishing touches, epilogue stuff, and of course run through the adventure.

Something I'd like to share below, this is an encounter designed with a brick wall, which the party will need to break through during combat. I'm not sure this was the most elegant method, given the tools available to make a dynamic battlefield. But what I did is create an actual creature blueprint called a "destructible wall" that has no movement and makes no attacks. It still appears in the initiative bar, of course, and is treated like a monster with hit points that must be killed. The idea is that the party will have to destroy it in order to engage the archers and gargoyles on the other side.

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Speaking of non-critical path areas, one such location is a tavern called "The Ax and Anvil", which could be a fun place to visit. There's one more NPC to be added here, a dwarf you can play cards with. Not sure how the card mini-game will translate in IceBlink, but I'm going to give it a try.

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If a player has already explored all the content in Hearkenwold, the inclusion of the Halls of Hamhock represents a substantial addition to continue the adventures of their party. Otherwise, the Halls will be available to players to enter about midway through the campaign.

Targeting the end of this month for release.
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby youngneil1 » Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:59 pm

Very meaty update there, looks excellent :) . Brilliant idea to utilize the passive creature as a living wall - I think there is no better way to create a destructible barrier. I see you continued to make good use of the text floaties, awesome. It will be a great joy to return to Hearkenwold and the Halls later on :)
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby slowdive » Sun Jun 02, 2019 3:13 am

Making some great progress there, Dorateen. I agree that the passive creature for a wall is a great idea and probably the best way to do it. The mini card game will be interesting to see how it works out, if it does. Looking forward to finishing all our moving adventures and getting some proper IB time... Hopefully in July-ish.
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby Dorateen » Sun Jun 02, 2019 2:03 pm

youngneil1 wrote:I see you continued to make good use of the text floaties, awesome.


Yes, the floating text is great for delivering descriptive narration, or one-off comments from NPCs in the game that don't require a player response. Really makes a map come to life.

@slowdive, good luck with the transition. July sounds like perfect timing to get back into cool, refreshing IceBlink.
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