Wednesday, 22 October 2008


A mini-module that promises to...

Tuesday, 25 March 2008


Time, a precious thing.
The only thing, perhaps?

And while you're doing other things,
Time is what will lapse.

Always, we wish for more,
To do what things we like.

But, the things that bore,
Take ten times what seems right.

The last few weeks were free in my calender, and I had hoped to manage to get Planescape:Legacy finished and out of the door. However, various things have managed to sap up most of my free time. As a result, the module is still in an unplayable status and will unfortunately remain in this state for the foreseeable future.

It is not really bad news though (at least for me!) as I am off on a world-spanning trip for the next year which should be incredible. There is no doubt that I will be back into modding at some point - whether that be NWN2 or another platform.

The wheel turns,


Thursday, 6 March 2008

The end of the Begining

I learnt today that Gary Gygax, the creator of D&D recently passed away. My thoughts, and those of the whole gaming community go out to his loved ones. It was the work of Gary and the others in TSR that fused proper mechanics and story telling to form the basis of RPG.

Here is to you Mr Gygax.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Now, a long time back I posted a set of character intros for potential companions. Of course, things change, and as I have progressed some new characters got picked up and some got lost. Things are a lot more developed now, and as it stands you should have your choice of taking four of the following with you on your adventure:

Hans – The grumpy, realist dwarf has recovered from his hangover, and is back in full swing. His cutting realist observations are sure to stop any smart arses in their tracks. Failing that, his greataxe will.

Taker Alm - As an orphan he was brought up by the Bleakers, an education at the school of hard-knocks. His quick wit, and quicker hands soon saw him ejected from the orphanarium, but he rapidly found his place in the Fated.

The Magpie - This young woman makes out that she is the scourge thief that has recently been burgling the normally impenetrable homes of the Gold Lords. Indeed, she seems to be a wanted woman, but something about her demeanor doesn't quite ring true.

Lucas Debonair – Self proclaimed 'greatest everything, ever' , to say Lucas is Narcissistic is an understatement. As a fully paid up signer he believes that everything around him is actually just part of himself. Annoying, but such self belief can prove useful sometimes.

Verity – This strong minded albino follows Hoar, the patron of revenge and poetic justice. As a Mercykiller, she hunts down lawbreakers whom have evaded capture and applies her own special form of punishment.

D'axos – A bard of sorts, strange sorts that is. Her speech is a babbling stream of metaphors, with little rhyme or reason. Just as his speech changes, so does her shape. Who is to tell what his true form is, or if she even has one.

Others - Over the course of your travels you will possibly have a number of temporary allies. Just remember, that although adversity makes for strange bedfellows, they are often gone in the morning with more than a stolen kiss.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

2007 – the best EVER year for story based games!

Balderdash! I hear you say. Well alright, maybe none of them are better than Balder's Gate 2, but they are gems in their own right. So if you have missed any of the below, then do yourself a favor and go play these delectable digitized diamonds. Now.

Yes, right now.

I already devoted a whole post to this amazing action driven story. Combining an empathic bad guy, fun game play and a unique setting (1960's underwater anyone!) this is a must play.

The Witcher
As it was built using the NWN1 engine, I expect that many readers already know a bit about this. What you might not know is just how fun it is. When the game started, I thought 'Oh no, not another amnesiac story' but this is downplayed (for a while) and you are hooked into a unique mature fantasy setting. Often original settings feel unrealized or cobbled together, but even the somewhat sporadic English translation doesn't do too much harm here. In places it even works to make the world seem otherworldly and believable.

What is more, you get a lot of freedom, some plot changing decisions, a heap of (generally fun) side quests and a combat system that although action based, is not too twitchy. Of course there are a few bad things as well. Too many 'trash' fights, some parts of the main quest drag on a bit and the collect-the-nude-girl-card gimmick is more than a tad trashy.

Overall, still a great game though. I will be keeping an eye on CDProject's future, erm... projects.

Yeah, it's another FPS. Well more like a FPP (first person puzzler). Clocking in at just under three hours, this gem is a great afternoon of fun. Just for it's totally original puzzle mechanic this would be tieme well spent. What really makes the game shine is the antagonist.

Think of a female version of HAL from the classic Kubrick film “2001 – A space odyssey” but more psychotic, with PMS, on LSD. GlaDOS provides 'Guidance' as you pass though an ever more complex (and deadly) maze of 'Test Chambers'. This is often darkly humorous, emphasised by the unfeeling monotone of the crazy computer. As for the ending, well that just takes the cake.

Mass Effect
The latest effort from Bioware, and this time (as with Jade Empire) they have their own world to play with. As expected, they deliver the usual high class of story, and a good dose of semi-FPS game play fun. Where Mass effect really stands out though is the cinematic feel. Many games have previously tried to appear movie-like, but none has come as close as Mass Effect. Combine a great musical score with full camera control, camera focus, motion blur and a large range of character choices and it really feels like you are in a movie (or maybe a TV series). As a modder, I am just drooling at the thought of getting my hands on something as powerful as that...

Talking about modding – as well as playing all these great games I have been working quietly on my Planescape mod. I now have a targeted release of end of March start of April. More soon.

PS: Also I forgot to even mention MoTB and HL2:Episode 2 in the above, both great story-based games. In fact, even the more classical shooter games like FEAR and STALKER are having a crack at telling more interesting stories. Many PC gamers moan about consolisation, but to me it looks like stories are becoming more important every year. And that is a a good thing in my book.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Jingle bell, Blessed bell,
Silent night tonight.

Wintervall, Festival,
Baatezu's delight.

Just a quick announcement of the release of my short holiday themed combat-centric Christmas present to the community. This is a one hourish long module and a pseudo-sequel to 'Cry Wolf' (you don't need to play the previous though).

  • - About 45-60 minutes play time
  • - Combat Heavy
  • - Parody and Pun Heavy
  • - Features the storyteller mechanic (as per Cry Wolf)
  • - Unique scoring system (as per Cry Wolf)
  • - Roleplay/Skill use Light (It does have a story though!)

Now, the whole thing was knocked up in a few night's work, so don't expect a masterpiece. However faced with the traditional aprez-lunch Oldster ailment and illness monolog, this short module may just be a viable alternative until they drift off to sleep!

And here is the vault link:

Merry Wintervall to all,


Saturday, 22 December 2007

The night before Wintervall

T'was the night before Wintervall,
When all through the blog,
News was a coming;
Of a new Mod.

While players were tucked up,
all snug in their beds.
One modder was testing,
Making things dead.

On Monitor, on Mouse, on Keyboard and Power,
On Toolset, on Music, no time for a Shower!

And so as I work on, balancing the fights,
Happy Wintervall to all, and to all a good Night!

Monday, 19 November 2007

A new begining

As most regular readers will realize (yes, both of you) I have been on modding Hiatus for a little while now. Thankfully, with the nights closing in and the recent move finally over with I am starting to get back into the swing of things.

Now, on my break I had a chance to play some top notch games - Bioshock , HL2:Portal among them. This brought me back to what gaming is all about - having fun!

I think being a creator of games it is all too easy to get drawn into long winded pre-game explanations and cut scenes. Of course I think my story rocks, but no matter how good you loose a whole chunk of players if your first area doesn't pack an almighty punch.

Another thing that drove this home was the recent review of 'Cry Wolf' (and other users comments on it). In that module I placed most of the really fun bits in the last area, it was the culmination of the game and I wanted it to have my best stuff. It had my best puzzles, best writing and best jokes. Unfortunately this left the other two areas a bit slim on the variety ground and as a result many players never even reached the final area!

The original plan for PS:Legacy was to have an epic story from childhood to the planes. That has now been retconned in a pulp-fictionesc beginning that starts in the middle to supply the player with a chunk of quality action before the plot proper begins.

More to follow....

Wednesday, 10 October 2007


Well, broadband took a while longer to sort out than I was hoping and moving house proved a bit more of a drain on my free time than I had hoped, but I am back in action. However, I did find time to play NX1.

My overall impressions as a player:
Better mechanics, controls, combats and polish than original, with a decent stand alone plot and EPIC levels that are not super-unbalanced. However, suffers from the classic EPIC disease of power inflation where even a regular guard or animal is level 20+. Combined with the monty-haul treasure/enchant system and a lack of companion choice this takes the gloss of an otherwise fun game. Also, being a Planescaper it is my sworn duty to hate the horribly boring and overemphasised shadow plane. It NEVER was a transitive plane, and NEVER will be!

My overall impressions as a modder:
Hmmm... I was hoping for more. On the up-side we have horse models and treants, both of which will see good use. So will the sunken city tileset and many of the building/ruin placables. Official snow and waterfalls are not unwelcome either and the new greying VFX is neato.

I was hoping for more in the way of models though. More new constructs and a couple of re-textured creatures doesn't really cut it in my book. Sure, we have an ape thing, the wyvern and a couple of new dragons too - but all of these could be simulated with scaling, VFX and tinting. I guess I was hoping for more stuff you can't simulate, Like Beholders, gelatinous cubes and some of the more unique fiends and celestial.

Overall It is still a nice expansion and certainly worth buying, but could have been more...

PS: Also, thanks to BGP Hughes for the official review of Cry Wolf. Darn that Volnburg!


Thursday, 6 September 2007

Moving onwards...

Well, a bit late on the weekly update, but I have an excellent excuse. I am moving house. As a contractor this happens reasonably often, so I am pretty fast and not really phased by it. This move is a bit different though in that it is a brand new house with a few people I know so there are lots of things to sort out.

I have managed to add a few more encounters to the early part of the module, but alas "I can't help shifting the sofa because I am scripting an intense tactical combat with trolls" does not seem to work as a valid excuse.

Things should settle down over the next couple of weeks, but I fear there will be no updates here for a month or so. You see, the new house has no broadband or phone fitted at the moment, and in the UK our telecoms monopoly takes a good three weeks to sort these things out.

So do not take the silence here to mean the project has been penned into the dead book. It 'aint, alright cutter?