Category Archives: AME

Posts related to the Academy for Modding Excellence, and it’s Golden Dragon Awards.

NWN Vault Down

UPDATE: The Vault is back online, at least for the time being.

If you’ve tried downloading the Sanctum of the Archmage (SotA) game modules, or visiting its (or any other) pages on the Neverwinter Nights Vault since yesterday afternoon, you’ve probably seen the ominous “server not found” messages from that are now coming from I’ve been keeping an eye on this since I became aware of it last night, and I’m hoping that it’s something simple and temporary like a DNS error. However, there is some talk going around through the NWN modding community that this may in fact be a permanent (and not entirely unanticipated) shutdown of the site that has been so central to the NWN modding community for so many years.

As a result, those parts of the SotA module downloads that reference files on the NWN Vault won’t work until it either comes back up, or an alternative is provided. I’m going to wait until this weekend to see if we get more definitive news about the Vault’s status going forward. If it continues to be unavailable, then I’ll take steps to set up new downloads for those files. Hopefully within a week at the latest, players who want to download  and play SotA should be able to do so once again.

As far as the future of the Vault is concerned, I don’t know anything more than is currently going around the “rumor mill” on the Bioware Social Network (for example, here and here), or on some other CRPG related sites (for example, here and here). The good news, though, is that thanks to the heroic actions of Rolo Kipp and his band of minions from The Vault Preservation Project for NWN1 and NWN2, the that data has been archived and won’t be lost:

“Pain & Tarot, Werelynx & Henesua. Others. A lot of people have been working hard over the last two months saving stuff.
We have archive of all the project files through last Sunday. We have copies of the meta data and copies of the download counts and award tags and at least the first page of comments.
We have archives of most of the articles and tutorials. We even have the surviving “top ten” lists… The library may be burning, but the books are safe.

“Not everything works. Not everything works right. But the new place is starting to come together.”

So a new Neverwinter Vault to replace the old one is being stood up as we speak — and once the dust settles, module pages for the Sanctum of the Archmage series will be available there. 🙂

The Sanctum Team

Although I’ve been talking for a while now about my intent to finally get back to finishing Sanctum of the Archmage, circumstances have for some time had a habit of conspiring in one way or another to delay those plans. So I’m pleased to announce that I’ve recently made several decisions aimed at ending those delays, and at speeding up when the remaining chapters of the saga will be available.

The first step was finally completing my graduate work. I had gone back to college part time for a second Master’s degree (in physics) several years ago, but it had ended up dragging on longer than I had expected. Sanctum chapters 1 and 2 were actually built in the spare time I could find between (some very challenging) classes, which is one reason for the slow pace of the saga’s development. I finally graduated earlier this year, and that’s started to allow me more time for other projects again.

The second step was one that I initiated a few weeks ago, when I regretfully announced my resignation as Chairman of the Academy for Modding Excellence, effective at the end of 2009. Working with the AME, first as Vice-Chairman and then this year as Chairman, was a wonderful and fun experience that also allowed me to meet some really terrific people. Although I’ll be retaining my membership with the Academy, it will be with a much reduced workload that will allow me more time to work on my modules.

The third and most recent step, which I’m pleased to announce here publicly for the first time, is that I’ve decided to form a modding team to finish the Sanctum of the Archmage saga. I concluded that this would be a good idea for several (probably obvious) reasons, not the least of which is that my chances of being able to finish the modules in a reasonable amount of time would be significantly increased if I had some help. Since modding is beginning to move more and more in the direction now of team-based rather than individual work, I thought this would be a good time to make that transition myself.

I think this is especially true given the plans that I’ve hinted at in previous posts, but would now like to make official: that the final part of the Sanctum of the Archmage saga, The Alliance, will be developed in Bioware’s new CRPG, Dragon Age (or DA). Some of you may know that I was a member of the DA Toolset Beta team earlier this year, and participated in Bioware’s “DA Builder Event” this summer. These unfortunately also helped to delay my work on developing the next chapter; but they were good opportunities that I think will ultimately help me to improve as a modder and to make the series even better in the long run. Since it has a much more complex and powerful toolset than Neverwinter Nights, team development will probably be typical for modules developed for Dragon Age.

My plan for the Sanctum Team is to have two groups working on parallel development tracks. One group will be working on finishing the last two modules of Part II of the saga, “The Miracle Worker,” which will be in Neverwinter Nights and will use the fabulous new Project Q content. The second group will start development on the first act of Part III, “The Alliance,” in Dragon Age. It’s my hope that with these parallel development efforts going on simultaneously, that the end of Part II and beginning of Part III could be brought out without too much time between them.

It’s a fairly ambitious plan, and you can probably see why I’ll need to recruit a team of folks to work with to make it happen. So far, I’ve got four team members from the Neverwinter Nights community interested in the project (including myself), and I’m hoping to at least double that in the near future. The team will need folks with several different skill sets, from level builders to the voice actors that we’ll need for the Dragon Age modules. I’ll be in the role of lead writer and designer, and the prospect of working together to make an RPG with a group of really talented folks is one that I’m really looking forward to. 🙂

AME NWN1 Finalists Preview on NWN Podcast

I just wanted to give everyone a quick heads-up that Tybae and I will be participating in a “streaming preview show” on the NWN Podcast to announce this year’s finalists for the AME’s NWN1 Golden Dragon Awards for 2008. For details on how to join us in IRC, and to listen live to the show stream, see our announcement here.

Also, just an update on the Sanctum 1-2 v3.2 work: I’ve finished my playthrough, and I’m in the process of making some fixes. Once those are done, and I’ve done another playthrough to make sure everything’s working right, I should be ready to set up a beta test. So stay tuned!

Also, check out my submission to the Vault’s NWN1 Screenshot contest:

Mount Cassandra Peak by Andarian

AME Member RoundTable on the NWN Podcast!

Along with my fellow members of the Academy for Modding Excellence, I was a guest this week on Episode 84 of the Neverwinter Nights Podcast. We had a load of fun recording a roundtable discussion, and got to talk about a whole host of interesting topics — ranging from the Golden Dragon Awards to the future of CRPG modding to whether or not we consider ourselves “geeks.” Stop by and give it a listen!

NWNP Episode 84: AME Round Table Under the Hood LIVE!

An Update on Building

It’s been a while since my last blog post, so I wanted to give everyone an update on the status of my building activities for the Sanctum of the Archmage module series.

First, a bit of good news. Some of my readers may know that I’ve been splitting my time for the last several years between a full-time job, working on a graduate degree in physics, my work for the AME, and of course building the Sanctum modules. I’m happy to be able to announce that I’m now on the verge of being able to close out one of those projects. Just a few days ago, I completed my final requirement for graduation in January (a paper that I should be submitting sometime within the next week). Perhaps not surprisingly, this has been occupying most of my focus and attention for the last two months. So if all goes as expected, a major block of free time should begin to open up for me to begin building again in November.

My next step will be to complete the final update to Sanctum 2, and then to move on in earnest to Sanctum 3. Although my new ridable pegasi are now working in Sanctum 2, I still need to decide exactly how to handle a few issues regarding how to work them into the plot. Should I give the player a choice between Ridable Pegasi and Wind-Walking, or get rid of Wind-Walking altogether? How should I handle it if you get your mounts killed in battle? Should you be able to summon new ones, and if so how frequently? (If anyone has any advice or thoughts on that, please feel free to opine. :)) I’m working out those issues now, and trying to write the scripts I’ll need to make whichever solution I decide on work seamlessly in-game.

I also have a couple of final tweaks and updates to make to the module in general, such as (for example) updating the “Flooded Cave” battle. I had some very good feedback on that battle from a player, which made it clear to me that I need to make a serious effort to hack the standard monster AI for that encounter to make it more realistic.

Finally, there are NinjaWeaselMan’s Romantic animations. I corresponded with him recently, and the updated version of his hak (which will include some additional animations that I need for my update to Sanctum 2, such as hugging) should be ready in about 2 weeks. I’ve got the code ready for these animations now, so hopefully I should be able to just plug in the final version of the hak when it’s ready.

I hope to have a beta version of Sanctum 2, version 3.2, available sometime in November, and (hopefully) to be able to release it next month as well. And then, after that, it will be on to Sanctum 3!

NWN Podcast Interview

In case anyone missed it, I was this week’s guest on the Neverwinter Nights Podcast. Trey and I talked about Sanctum 2 winning the Golden Dragon Award for Best RPG, as well as my plans for the next chapters in the series. Here’s the link:

NWNP Episode 68 – Golden Dragon Winner Andarian

My interview starts at about 9 minutes into the podcast. I’m not sure why, but this time they decided to use a “listener greeting” from a non-guest instead of the one that I sent them. If anyone was looking forward to hearing my intro, here it is. 😉

Sanctum 2 Wins Golden Dragon for Best RPG!

I’m very proud to announce that Sanctum of the Archmage 2: The Miracle Worker, Act I, has received the Golden Dragon Award from the Academy for Modding Excellence (AME) for Best Neverwinter Nights Roleplaying Module of 2007! Here’s a link to the announcement of winners, including a very nice (if I do say so myself) awards video produced by qkrch:

NWN1 2007 Golden Dragon Award Winners and Video

The segment announcing Sanctum 2’s win for Best RPG starts around 3 minutes 32 seconds in. I’m very proud of the video as well, not only for the honor of having my work included in it — for which I’m deeply grateful — but also because I actually did most of the video capture scenes for it myself.

I should also mention for the record, since I am a member of the AME, that the Academy has strict rules for when one member nominates another for an award. (Members may not nominate their own work.) In those cases, the nominated member must immediately recuse himself from any further participation (voting included) in that entire award category (in my case, Best RPG) for the rest of that year’s awards cycle.

Having worked with the other members of the AME for over a year now, I can only say that receiving an award from a group of people who are as dedicated to recognizing quality as I know them to be is a profound honor. Thank you!

EDIT: Be sure to listen to the great awards podcast with hosts Trey and Skunkeen, and AME member guests BGPHughes and Tybae. The awards segment for Sanctum 2 starts at about 22:35 into the show.

NWN1 2007 Golden Dragon Awards Podcast

AME NWN2 2007 Golden Dragon Award Winners Announced!

The Academy for Modding Excellence is pleased to announce the winners of the 2007 Golden Dragon Awards for NWN2! These awards cover 12 categories including Best Roleplaying Module, Best Adventure Module, Best Custom Content and the Community Contribution award. You can see the awards announced below in an awesome video produced by AME member qkrch, or listen to the announcements live on this week’s episode of the Neverwinter Nights Podcast.

For more information about the Academy for Modding Excellence, please visit the “About AME” and the Academy Vision and Goals pages on the AME website.

And congratulations to all the winners!

NWN2 2007 AME Golden Dragon Award Winners – Part I

NWN2 2007 AME Golden Dragon Award Winners – Part II

AME NWN1 Golden Dragon Module Finalists Video Posted!

I just wanted to let everyone know that the NWN1 2007 Golden Dragon Award Module Category Finalists have been announced by the Academy for Modding Excellence (AME). As before, we’ve also produced an announcement video, which can be viewed here:






I’m particularly proud of this one, since I actually produced most of the video clips that were used in it myself. Qkrch edited those clips to create the final video, adding the sound, voiceover, and titles.

You’ll also see, at about 4:50 into the video, that Sanctum of the Archmage 2: The Miracle Worker, Act I is a finalist in the “Best RPG” Category. (Since I’m a member of the AME myself, according to the Academy rules I wasn’t allowed to be involved at all in that nomination, and had to recuse myself from further participation in the NWN1 Best RPG category once I’d been nominated.) I am very glad that my fellows in the Academy decided that Sanctum 2 was worthy of a nomination, though, and I’m hopeful about my prospects for winning the award. 🙂




























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































EDIT: Here are the nominations and video for the NWN1 Recognition and Custom Content category awards. These two videos also include the (combined NWN1 and NWN2) sound/music nominations.






AME Finalists and IRC Chat Announcements

Some of you may know that in addition to my module development work, I’m also a member (Vice-Chairman, actually) of The Academy for Modding Excellence, or AME. I wanted to let everyone know that the AME has recently announced the finalists for the NWN2 Golden Dragon Awards for 2007. Our resident video expert, Qkrch, has posted a pair of fantastic videos demoing and announcing the finalists. For the announcements, see the AME website, here and here, and check out the videos below!

Also, the AME wil be holding a public IRC chat on Saturday, May 3 at 4 pm GMT. I’ll be there as well, and I’d like to invite anyone who can be available to join in. Hope to see you there!

UPDATE: See here to read the log from yesterday’s public IRC Chat.