UPDATE 9/22/2010: My schedule’s gotten busy this week, so I’ll probably have to postpone updating the Vault pages until the weekend. However, v3.4 (final) is available in the meantime from the links below for anyone who’s already installed v3.3.
Here’s a pre-release beta for version 3.4 of Sanctum chapters 1 and 2, for anyone who’d like to try it out. It only contains the updated parts and assumes you already have all the components needed to play version 3.3. Once I have feedback from a couple of test players that it all seems to be OK, I’ll upload the new version to the module page.
Sanctum v3.4 Beta Final Release
You’ll also need the following NWNCQ haks from here:
NWNCQ Patch Hak
And the updated “Patch Hak” from here:
Sanctum v3.4 “Patch Hak”
The update affects both chapters, although it has more of an effect on chapter 1 because it uses more of the baseline NWN tiles that NWNCQ revamps. There are a few bugfixes and a couple of new features to look for, including a new entry on Robin’s “special ability” list that may come in handy. There are also about a dozen new hi-res player heads now available, chosen from Salt’s Female Head and Estelindis’ KOTOR Head packs.Also, make sure to check out the “cape-making” and cloak-to-armor conversion ability of the Cloak of Flying if you haven’t already. It’s been in there since v3.2, but I found and fixed a serious bug with it that made the cape feature disappear once you’d converted it
I hope you enjoy the update — let me know what you think! – Andarian
I recently became aware of an extraordinary new hak for Neverwinter Nights: NWNCQ by Chico400. It revamps virtually the entirety of Bioware’s default tileset assets, giving them a whole new look with stunningly higher quality.
Most of my first module, Sanctum of the Archmage 1, The Sight, was built using the standard Bioware tilesets. It took me all of a thirty seconds to open that module and add NWNCQ to the bottom of the hak list. After another few minutes to do a rebuild, the look of the module had been dramatically transformed. I’ve been playing it this afternoon, and it gives the module a whole new visual experience. Aside from needing a few relatively minor tweaks to get the look just right, it was very easy to do.
NWNCQ increases the quality of the default tilesets by replacing them with higher definition (higher-poly-count) models and better textures. The replacements are well thought out with often original designs that are built to still be compatible with areas made using the original versions. Among other very welcome things, it finally adds ceilings to many of the Bioware tilesets that needed them (City Interior, Ruins, Caverns, etc.). It makes Blackwing Lodge actually look more like a lodge now, to say nothing of the Ancient Ruins. 😉
Because of all this I’m thinking of taking a short break from working on Sanctum 3 to release another update to my first two modules, mainly to enable using NWNCQ. The update would mostly affect Sanctum 1, although while I’m at it I’d also make a few additional updates to go along with it — such as adding skyboxes to Sanctum 1 and some additional high-quality head models to give players a better selection.
Here are some screenshots to show what I mean:
City Interior (Bioware Default)
City Interior (NWNCQ)
Blackwing Lodge (NWNCQ)
A Picnic by the Lake (NWNCQ + Skybox)
The v3.2 update to Sanctum of the Archmage Chapters 1 – 2 has finally been released!
I heard from NinjaWeaselMan today and got his OK to host the Romantic Animations Suite on my website, so I decided not to delay releasing the Sanctum v3.2 update after all. I just finished updating the module pages and I think I’ve got everything set up OK, but if anyone has any problems downloading, installing or running it, please let me know. 🙂
Since it’s now been nearly two weeks since I announced that I was about to release the Sanctum of the Archmage v3.2 update, I feel that I owe the community an explanation regarding why it has been delayed.
Since the Sanctum update uses NinjaWeasel’s Romantic Animations Suite (which I have been helping him to beta test), I have been waiting for him to make that publicly available before releasing it. I last heard from him on August 15th, in an email which said that he was submitting the RAS and that it would be available in a couple of days once it cleared the Vault. That should have been around August 18th or so. It was on the basis of that information that I posted my announcement that the long-delayed Sanctum update would be uploaded shortly, and prepared it for release.
The RAS hasn’t become available as I expected, either on NinjaWeasel’s website or on the Vault. I’ve emailed him several times over the last two weeks to inquire about the matter, but with no response. I’ve also tried to reach him through others in the community who know him, but no one seems to have seen him around recently. I hope nothing’s happened to him.
My only choices right now are to cancel my plans to release the Sanctum update until further notice, to release a version that doesn’t include the RAS, or to temporarily host the RAS hak on my own website. I’m not comfortable acting on that last choice without his stated permission, though, since I know that he wants to control the distribution of his work.
As I said in a previous post, I have a lot of RL related issues to take care of in the immediate future. So since I no longer have time to properly support a module release right now anyway, I’ve decided to postpone the Sanctum update until I do. I’m not sure exactly when that will be, but it will likely be in late September. Hopefully by then the unexpected confusion about the release of the RAS will be resolved, the Sanctum update can finally be posted, and I can get started in earnest on the next chapter. 🙂
Just a quick note to say that the v3.2 update to Sanctum of the Archmage Chapters 1-2 should be ready to upload shortly, and hopefully by this weekend. I’ve finally had the time to finish the remaining work I needed to, which included updating the documentation and credits and helping to prepare and package some of the new custom content. I just finished my final playtest of Sanctum 1, and expect to be done with Sanctum 2 by tomorrow. 🙂
I just wanted to give everyone a quick update on the status of the Sanctum v3.2 update, as well as some news that may be of interest to readers of my blog.
Between the demands of my job, vacation, managing the AME, and some other projects (see below), my schedule has gotten very busy in recent weeks — and that has unfortunately delayed my efforts to get the Sanctum update posted for general release. I have only a few remaining tasks to finish before I can upload it, but unfortunately my available time is still going to be very limited for the next few weeks. Hopefully when some of the smoke clears from my “real life,” I should be able to finally get it completed and online by the end of the month.
The very talented Estelindis has graciously offered to develop some high quality custom NWN head models for the Sanctum update. We’ve been collaborating for a few weeks now on how to get the look just right for the various characters, and the results are truly amazing (if I do say so myself). Robin (both genders) and Orion are basically done, and Diana is currently in development as well. Here’s a link to a screenshot featuring (female) Robin’s new head and the use of the Romantic Animations Suite. Este, thank you very much for your fantastic work on this!
Although sworn to secrecy until recently, I can now also reveal that I’ve been a participant in the beta test for the Dragon Age Toolset since early this year — and I was invited to travel to Bioware HQ in Edmonton last week to participate in the Dragon Age Toolset Builder’s Event. I plan to blog at more length about that amazing experience when I have time — but for now, to see what it was all about check out the posts on the Bioware Blog here and here. I’ll only say for now that from what I’ve seen, the tools that Bioware is making available for Dragon Age are going to change the landscape of RPG modding. I’m very excited about it. Although I’m still committed to finishing “The Miracle Worker” in NWN1, I’m now giving serious consideration to completing Part III of the Sanctum Saga — The Alliance — in Dragon Age.
Thanks again to everyone for your patience and interest!
I’m happy to announce that the Sanctum v3.2 Beta Test 1 is Ready to go! As soon as I finish packaging the beta test files, I’ll contact those of you who’ve offered to help out. 🙂
I finished my playtest run a couple of days ago, and I’m making the rest of the required changes now. Unfortunately, though, the list is too long (and in some cases the fixes are too substantive) for me to just finish them and upload the beta test. Some of the new changes (such as the new shopping system and modifications to some of the items) also have the potential to alter the play balance, so I’ll need to make one more playtest pass through the modules after finishing to make sure nothing serious is broken. Unfortunately, that’ll take at least a few more days.
I took a detour from playtesting today to add something that I’ve been thinking about for a very long time: a complete re-write of the merchant appraisal system. I’m a big fan of shopping and of using the appraise skill, but the NWN1 implementation of it was really awful. Here are my criticisms of it:
- Appraise rolls encourage players to save and re-try to get better shopping statistics, especially since they are remembered from visit to visit until your appraise skill improves.
- An unlucky second roll can actually cause your shopping adjustment to get worse when your appraise skill improves, which makes no sense.
- Characters with a very high appraise skill can actually sell items back to the merchant for more than they paid for them.
- Characters don’t get a charisma-based shopping adjustment, which I always thought would have been appropriate.
I’ve just finished testing the changes that I’ve made to Sanctum v3.2 to address these issues, and I think you’ll like the results. 🙂
The long-awaited (certainly by me, anyway :)) version 3.2 update to Sanctum of the Archmage 1 and 2 is just about ready! I’ve finally finished building it, and I’m just about to start what hope will be my final playtest before making the module available for beta testing. It should be ready by next weekend if everything goes well.
I’ve ended up adding a lot of new features in v3.2, most notably Romantic Animations and Ridable Pegasi in Sanctum 2 (thanks to NinjaWeaselMan and Hardpoints, respectively). The ridable pegasus system in particular was an enormous bit of work, and required probably the most elaborate NWN scripting system that I’ve ever had to develop. Most of the rest of the improvements are smaller and more isolated, and came from going through my “dissatisfaction list.” These were a lot of little things that I never really liked or thought worked quite right, and someday wanted to figure out a way to “fix up.” Often these were things in the base game or in the CEP that I needed to work around, such as the (I thought) awful crafting system, or the custom CEP items that you couldn’t cast Magic Weapon or Flame Blade on because of the very inflexible way that the scripts were written. I’ve paintstakingly fixed as much of that as I could manage, and re-vamped the crafting system for exotic weapons and materials in a way that I think players are likely to enjoy.
The beta test will be closed and I’d like to keep it fairly small, so if you’d be interested in participating, please let me know. 🙂