Game Addiction = Module Delayed

It's official, I'm addicted to Titan Quest. The thing is, I only bought this game to kill time and relax myself whenever I encounter some difficulties with my module. But now, It seems I can't pull myself away from it to continue building my module.

My Soothsayer and his minions, fighting desert scorpions.

The gameplay of Titan Quest isn't much different from Diablo II -that's why it earned it's label as a Diablo clone, it's simple and fun. However, you can combine two different masteries and create a whole new class from it. Currently, I'm playing a Soothsayer (Nature/Sprit Masteries). If compared to a class in Diablo, I'd say it's a cross between a Druid and Necromancer. Right now, my Soothsayer can summon 2 Feral Wolves, a Liche King, and their health is boosted by the Heart of the Oak enchantment.

So there it is, my module will be delayed...again. Though I don't think my addiction to this game will last long as it did with Diablo II (which lasted a year). I'm certain that Jade Empire: Special Edition, which is just around the bend, will overshadow this game.


Hurricane Approaching!

After a bunch of boring anime fillers the new era of Naruto has finally arrived. You can get all of the Naruto: Shippuuden (Hurricane Chronicles) episodes at Dattebayo Fansubs. I must say that the quality of the fansubs are top notch as well.


Quest for the Avatar

I was planning to pick up a copy of the Dark Avatar, an expansion to Galactic Civilizations II, but was sorely disappointed to learn that it is only available on the Galactic Civilizations II: Gold Edition package. Since I really don't want to buy an expansion game for $40, I just bought Titan Quest (for $20). Hopefully, this game will keep me entertained until Jade Empire comes out.


No, it's not the game but a band called Deerhunter. I just got their new album, Cryprtograms, a while ago and I'm listening to it right now. They have this spaceedelic (space/psychedelic) art rock sounds that are quite mesmerizing. Somehow, they remind me of Sonic Youth.

Couldn't say I like them though. But if you're interested, you can check out some of their songs here:

"Crpytograms" (MP3)
"Strange Lights"(MP3)
From the Album Cryptograms


Precursors: Is my dream game in development?

During the time when I was playing Freelancer and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, I wished that, someday, some developer would marry the features of these sci-fi games. Just imagine if Freelancer allowed you to explore the planets you can land on? Or better yet, what if Knights of the Old Republic gives you full control of the Ebon Hawk, not just its map and gun turrets? It would be a pretty awesome game, right? Well, wait no more since an ambitious game entitled Precursors, a shooter/RPG/space-simulation game, is in development right now.

I found an interview of the Precursors developer, Deep Shadow, over at PC Gamezone. The interview says a lot of good things about this game, and I'm really looking forward to it. Here are some blurbs from the interview:

"Overall the RPG system looks somewhat close to GURPS (Generic Universal RolePlaying System), but in fact we've made our own to use in the current projects. However, the game is much more dynamic than, let's say, Morrowind, and the combat part works as in any good FPS title.”
A system close to GURPS. We'll that's somewhat refreshing.
"You will spend most of the time on the planetary surface. During your travel in the world of "Precursors" you will have to visit different planets[...]In the space you can dock at the space stations, have fun in asteroid fields, explore space ships of Alien races, but the game will go on in the meantime."
Well it's not quite my dream game since you'll spend less time in space, so there's probably little space trekking. But it's almost there. Hopefully, this will pioneer the new genre crossover: RPG/space-simulation.


Bumps, Potholes, and a Roadblock

As mentioned in my previous posts, I've already resumed building my module for Neverwinter Nights 2. Last night, I created various characters that will inhabit the fictional world of my module. I also started writing the conversations for some of these characters, and some basic conversation scripts such as conditions, item reward, and alignment change. So far, I've encountered minor bumps and potholes with all those things indicated above. However, I did reach an impasse when I was trying to figure out a faction change/attack script through a conversation.

I was trying to let these guys, these two factions (pictured above), duke it out after a plot revealing conversation using this script:

#include "nw_i0_generic"

void main()
object oBloodrose = GetObjectByTag("npc_bloodrose");
object oPrisoner1 = GetObjectByTag("thug_orcprison1");
object oPrisoner2 = GetObjectByTag("thug_orcprison2");
object oPrisoner3 = GetObjectByTag("thug_humanprison");
object oPrisoner4 = GetObjectByTag("thug_archerprison1");
object oPrisoner5 = GetObjectByTag("thug_archerprison2");

ChangeToStandardFaction(oBloodrose, STANDARD_FACTION_HOSTILE);
ChangeToStandardFaction(oPrisoner1, STANDARD_FACTION_HOSTILE);
ChangeToStandardFaction(oPrisoner2, STANDARD_FACTION_HOSTILE);
ChangeToStandardFaction(oPrisoner3, STANDARD_FACTION_HOSTILE);
ChangeToStandardFaction(oPrisoner4, STANDARD_FACTION_HOSTILE);
ChangeToStandardFaction(oPrisoner5, STANDARD_FACTION_HOSTILE);
It did change the prisoner faction (the group with the dwarven leader on its front) into the hostile faction but they all (including the defender faction) just stood there instead of attacking everyone in sight. What's worse is that even if the player character beat the crap out of the hostile faction, they still did nothing. Since I'm not a scripter this thing became a huge roadblock in my progress.

But I was determined to break through the stop sign. So I stayed up till the morning hours searching for various scripts at NWN2 scripting forums, the NWN Lexicon, and even from the original campaign's modules. Finally, after hours of digging and searching, I found a faction change script that is similar to mine, except it also assigns an NPC to start its combat round (at least, that's what I think). So I edited my original script and included this:
AssignCommand(oBloodrose, DetermineCombatRound());
AssignCommand(oPrisoner1, DetermineCombatRound());
AssignCommand(oPrisoner2, DetermineCombatRound());
AssignCommand(oPrisoner3, DetermineCombatRound());
AssignCommand(oPrisoner4, DetermineCombatRound());
AssignCommand(oPrisoner5, DetermineCombatRound());
Now, the script turns the prisoner faction into hostile, and also starts its combat rounds. So the opposite factions duke it out at each other the way I wanted. Solving this problem removed a really deep thron from my side. I just hope I don't encounter something big like this in the future. But, being a greenhorn at module building, that is highly unlikely.


Modules in Episodes

I started building the areas for my Neverwinter Nights 2 module when I realized it was too big for me to handle alone. So now, I've decided to break the epic module into five small episodes. That way, I can easily build smaller episodes at a shorter time, and release them every two months. Nothing much will change from my original plans, except I have to remove the global sidequests.

As for the main quest and side quests, I've already written some guidelines for it. They're nothing special and I actually used the monomyth pattern (a universal pattern that is present in many stories such as in Star Wars and The Matrix), by Joseph Campbell, when I wrote the storyline as some sort of a guide.

With most of the stuff in place, the story of the first episode and the areas, I think I might finish the module by the end of March, or even earlier than that. Now all I have to do is write the conversations and the scripts -which are the two most difficult thing in module building.


Goose Rider

I went out to catch and watch Ghost Rider just this afternoon. All I can say is that the film is pretty mediocre. The Spirit of Vengeance isn't as bad to the "flaming" bones like he was in the comic book version. In fact, he's more melancholic and funny. Though I never really expected the film to be good in the first place since it was written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson, the comic-to-film counterpart of Uwe Boll. Although Ghost Rider is a notch better than his previous films, Daredevil and Elektra.


Character Build: Neverwinter Nights 2 - The Black Bard

This is the 2nd part of my Neverwinter Nights 2 character builds. Last week, I posted my Dragon Knight build, an honorable warrior with the strength of a dragon and divine powers. This time were going to take a look at the Black Bard. It's a spellcaster/fighter variation with lots of buffing spells and good Base Attack Bonus. It's not as powerful as the Dragon Knight but it's my favorite because it's fun to play.

The Black Bard
(Bard 9/Eldritch Knight 7/Blackguard 4)

A Black Bard is a charismatic warrior with a poisoned tongue. He often hides himself in deception and spread lies through his songs.

A Black Bard must either be of Neutral or Chaotic Evil alignment since he fights with lies, deception, and often kills in cold blood. Aasimars are the best Black Bards because of their high Charisma, and are perfect deceivers because the people in the realms believe they are of good alignment. Black Bards worship Cyric, the Prince of Lies. They are, often times, Flirts or Ladies Men since they can beguile and manipulate anyone. Some are bullies and prefer to get what they want through intimidation.

As for their skills, the Black Bard is a skilled talker and performer. He always gets away from trouble through manipulation, intimidation, bluffing, or by putting a good performance. He is also good at hiding, allowing him to easily launch a sneak attack at an unaware opponent. He also knows how to perform numerous songs that can aid him, and his allies, during combat.

Charisma is the main ablity of the Black Bard. It fuels his spells, songs, and divine powers. A Black Bard relies in his enchantment and illusion spells. When in combat, he tries to incapacitate or divide the ranks of his enemies and weaken their effectiveness by cursing (Curse Song) and casting Song of Discord, Mass Holding, Charming and Domination spells. He often uses his divine powers (Divine Might and Divine Shield) and casts Ghostly Visage, Mirror Image, Heroism, Greater Heroism, and Bull's Strength spells before battle to increase his protection and fighting capabilities.

Starting Abilities
STR 16/DEX 14/CON 10/INT 12/WIS 10/CHA 17

Level, Ability and Feat Progression
01. Bard 01 - Curse Song
02. Bard 02
03. Bard 03 - Power Attack
04. Bard 04 - CHA +1
05. Bard 05
06. Bard 06 - Cleave
07. Bard 07
08. Bard 08 - CHA +1
09. Bard 09 - Battle Caster
10. Blackguard 01
11. Blackguard 02
12. Blackguard 03 - Divine Might; CHA +1
13. Eldritch Knight 01
14. Eldritch Knight 02
15. Blackguard 04 - Divine Shield
16. Eldritch Knight 03 - CHA +1
17. Eldritch Knight 04
18. Eldritch Knight 05 - Great Cleave
19. Eldritch Knight 06
20. Eldritch Knight 07 - CHA +1


Warm Winter Fey

It's snowing hard since this morning, and this is probably the worst snowstorm I've experienced since moving here in the states. So my plans for this day -picking up a copy of the new Modest Mouse CD and a game expansion for Galactic Civilizations II- were all cancelled. Instead of going out and trudge through 8 inches of snow I just stayed home and searched for Katie Fey's picture to keep me warm.

Katie Fey, to those who aren't familiar with her, is a nude art model. A nude ART model, not some sleazy magazine centerfold, mind you. Her name besides, she really is a fey (fairylike or otherwordly) with that innoncent beauty and a perfect 10 natural body. But my limited vocabulary can't give a proper description that befits this girl. In order for you to understand what I'm talking about you need to check out this gallery. I assure you that those pictures really does warms the heart even in a cold winter day.


The news died with Vickie Smith

Since yesterday afternoon, and until this evening, I was clicking between Fox, MSNBC, and CNN hoping for some news. But it seems that the death of former Playboy Playmate and Guess? model Vickie Smith (or Anna Nicole. I still like to call her Vickie Smith since that's how I came to know her from the pages of Playboy) has halted the flow of current events, and has turned all news channels into one big tabloid.

Though, I think, a lot of people prefer this kind of story. A death of a centerfold/model is certainly interesting than that of the "love-crazy astronaut" girl or the Filipino hostages in Nigeria. So it's all about Anna Nicole (god bless her soul and her 36 DD), the cause of her death and the battle for her daugther's custody. Not that she doesn't deserve any media attention. Maybe a snippet in the running caption, below the news screen, would suffice. After all, she's one of the beautiful people that posed in Playboy, and she did entertain me during her reign as the Playmate of the Month and Playmate of the Year.

Hopefully, this eclipse will be over and everything is back to normal by the time I wake up tomorrow.


The Good, The Bad and The Shins

I got two new CDs today, The Shins' Wincing the Night Away, and The Good, The Bad and The Queen's debut album.

The Shins' new album took to my liking right away. Though I like their 2003 album, Chutes Too Narrow, much better. It's just hard to top that one. As for The Good, The Bad and The Queen, it's the new project of Damon Albran (Blur, Gorillaz). The band's line up also consists of former members from The Clash, The Verve, and Africa 70. After listening to it twice, I still couldn't get the album (I think Albarn is talking about London). But the music sounds weary, gloomy, and too artsy for my taste.


Character Build: Neverwinter Nights 2 - The Dragon Knight

Here it is, as mentioned and promised before, the first part of my Neverwinter Nights 2 character build series. To start this guide, I'll post my Dragon Knight build. It's probably my most powerful fighter build, with high amount of damage output, armor class, and saving throws. So, basically, it's just a typical melee combatant with a little bit of flair. So, without further ado, let's take a look at the build.

The Dragon Knight
(Paladin 7/Fighter 2/Sorcerer 1/Red Dragon Disciple 10)

A Dragon Knight is a holy crusader, with powers that stems both from his dragonic heritage and divine sources.

A Dragon Knight must be of Lawful Good alignment since he is an honorable warrior, with unflinching dedication to fight evil and injustice, in the service to his god and for the safety of the realms. Aasimars are well-suited to become Dragon Knights because they are charismatic and are -usually- determined to vanquish evil. Though Humans with strong souls ( Strong Soul feat) are also good candidates. They usually serve the gods Tyr, Torm, Ilmater and, sometimes, even Helm. They are devoted to an ideal (hence the "Devout" background) or are natural leaders ("Natural Leader" background).

As for their skills, a Dragon Knight values life. He avoids unecessary fights and seeks peaceful resolutions, so a high Diplomacy skill is a top priority. Lore is also an important skill (and a requirement for the Red Dragon Disciple prestige class) since Dragon Knights can mostly be found in libraries, researching about their draconic heritage. Listen is also an important skill, Dragon Knights must have a keen hearing in order to sense cries for help from afar and/or quickly grasping vocal commands or instructions from their superiors.

Strength and Charisma are the main abilities of a Dragon Knight. But you need not to raise your strength. At level 10, the Red Dragon Disciple prestige class grants a total of +8 Strength -increasing attack and damage bonuses- and also a +4 Natural Armor Bonus. So all gained ability points must be thrown to Charisma. This will increase the effectiveness of the Paladin's Charisma based divine feats: Divine Grace (adds CHA modifier to all saving throws), Divine Might (a selected feat that adds divine damage to a weapon, equal to the caster's CHA modifer) and Divine Shield (a selected feat that grants bonus to armor, equal to the caster's CHA modifier).

So with all the bonuses from the Red Dragon Disciple prestige class (+8 STR, +4 Natural Armor etc.), the equipment (ability boosts, AC bonus, Damage bonus), and with Divine Might and Divine Shield activated, you can possibly achieve a total of 62 Armor Class and 300 -more or less- damage per round.

Starting Ability Scores
STR 16/DEX 12/CON 14/INT 10/WIS 12/CHA 17

Level, Ability and Feat Progression
01. Sorcerer 01 - Power Attack
02. Fighter 01 - Cleave
03. Paladin 01 - Exotic Weapons Proficiency
04. Paladin 02 - CHA +1
05. Paladin 03
06. Paladin 04 - Divine Might
07. Fighter 02 - Weapon Focus: Bastard Sword
08. Red Dragon Disciple 01 - CHA +1
09. Red Dragon Disciple 02 - Great Cleave
10. Red Dragon Disciple 03
11. Red Dragon Disciple 04
12. Paladin 05 - Divine Shield; CHA +1
13. Red Dragon Disciple 05
14. Red Dragon Disciple 06
15. Red Dragon Disciple 07 - Improved Critical: Bastard Sword
16. Red Dragon Disciple 08 - CHA +1
17. Red Dragon Disciple 09 -
18 Red Dragon Disciple 10 - Power Critical: Bastard Sword
19. Paladin 06
20. Paladin 07 - CHA +1


NWN 2 Patch 1.04

I just patched my Neverwinter Nights 2 to 1.04. I must say that, with the lastest patch, my game runs a bit smoother now. In addition, they also fixed some feats such as Practised Spellcaster, Manyshot, and Improved Rapid Shot. So now, with the fixed feats, I can tinker around and create interesting character types.

Speaking of character creation, I'll probably post some of my character ideas (for Neverwinter Nights 2) in here like what I did for X-Men: Legends II a couple months ago. That way, I'll have something to write about and keep this blog filled.

Also, if you've noticed, I've added a couple of features on my side bar. So now you'll be able to see all the latest games I'm playing, the current music I'm listening, and some books/comics I've recently read. Since I'm no web designer, I took me more than two hours to figure out how to add the images on the side bar. But all in all, I'm satisfied of how it looks.


Snapping Cold, Biting Frost, and the Remains

I had my job interview, yesterday, at Loyola University Medical Center. So I had no choice but to commute amidst the abysmally cold weather. And even though I was tightly wrapped in my warmest coat, I didn't bother to wear any gloves. That was a decision that I soon came to regret since the bus was late for 10 minutes, and 10 minutes felt like an eternity -especially when the cold was biting my hand really hard.

"One simple thing leads to another". Like the saying goes, not wearing my gloves also leads me to another thing. On my way home, I have to take shelter inside Best Buy, while waiting for the bus, to avoid the cold and frostbites. While browsing around the store I found Alkaline Trio's lastest release, Remains. Being a fan of their last album, I acted out on impluse and got the item only to find out later that it was bad. 22 songs, all rejects from their previous work. That's why the title of the album is "remains".

Nevertheless, even though yesterday was cold to me, I did well on my interview. In fact, I did so well I even impressed myself, and there's 85% probability that they'll call me back next week...hopefully.