The Obsidian Community Blog has been updated today. Featuring a contest announcement and an extensive community interview, here it is for your reading pleasure:
Being that today is the 29th of February, a slightly different day, I thought I would do something slightly different for today's Blog. For about two hours today Khaveen gathered questions from members of the NWN2 community then passed them on to me for answers. For various reasons, I was not able to answer all of them, but the vast majority are answered below. I am also going to announce a new contest for the NWN2 community.
NWN2 Area Design Contest
I am happy to announce the next contest for the Neverwinter Nights 2 Community. This contest will be an area design contest. You do not have to put in creatures or encounters, this is simply a contest for the most beautiful areas.
All work must be your own. No plagiarism will be allowed. You can submit UP TO THREE (3) areas, packaged in a single module. Entries are to be submitted on the NWVault, under Area Prefabs for NWN2. There is a NWN2 Area Contest category you can submit them under.
The top two winners of the contest will receive a new Matrox TripleHead2Go device. You can start submitting your entries to the vault now and the contest will end on March 31st at midnight, Pacific time.
As for the Custom Content contest, I am afraid that the accusations of plagiarism have made it impossible to judge this contest. As such, no prizes will be awarded for it and no winner will be announced. It is unfortunate, since the entries were all very nice.
Q: What is the current estimated release date for the upcoming NWN2 Adventure Pack: Mysteries of Westgate?
Ossian Studios is working on this project. They would have the best information available to answer this.
Q: Atari's business release seems to have hinted at plans for a second expansion pack to NWN2. Any comment?
We would love to work on a second expansion.
Q: In which patch might we see a fix for the ActionSit() script? Would you consider using existing community hak work in it like Heed's ActionSit()?
We have commented on this in the past. Basically, sitting is a lower priority for us than other functions and features in the game. That doesn't mean we will never fix it. I have just seen Heed's ActionSit on the Vault. I will need to check it out more but, if he is willing and it doesn't cause any issues, I might look into integrating it in a patch.
Q: How far ahead do you plan when it comes to the patches? The 1.12 patch is currently in beta, so do you have plans in general what focus the 1.15 patch will have for example? How does that work?
I have talked about this a bit in the past. I generally plan about three patches out (current patch +2 patches), but the plan stays flexible enough to change things if need be. With the 1.12 patch, there were some things reported by the community that seemed pretty important. We took a look at what we had planned for the patch and realized that we would need to bump some issues from 1.12, so we let community members decide which issues would get bumped.
Q5: How many people are on the team that works on the NWN2 patches?
We have a core team of about 5 people and we pull in any number of other people when we need them.
Q: Was the Mask of the Betrayer expansion a financial success for Obsidian?
MoTB did really well for an expansion. It was in the top ten in Europe for quite a while. Though an expansion will never do as well as the main title, we are pretty satisfied with how MoTB was received. original.gif
Q: Are there any plans for further optimization of the NWN2 engine (load times, performance, graphics)?
We are constantly making optimizations to the engine.
Q: With the ability to have 2d player portraits, what are the various portrait sizes we need to have?
128 x 128 TGAs
Q: After having changed the testing process with the 1.12 beta test, do you think the initial plan of targeting 6 weeks per patch cycle is still viable?
Yes. 1.12 was sort of a test to see how much we could do in a given period. Thanks to some delays in the beginning, there is much more content in 1.12 than there will be in later patches - we just kept adding things in while we were waiting for something. After 1.12 is released, I think the smaller six-week patches is very possible.
Q: Are there any cool new scripts planned to be added (or fixed or enhanced) in upcoming patches? Can you share any details?
There's a couple I can tell you about. In 1.12 we will be making the ability to change the scale of an object available through scripting. Additionally, in 1.13, we will be adding a set of Get and Set Custom Heartbeat functions for both creatures and placeables. This is really powerful for things like custom AI and such... watch for more information on this as we get closer to 1.13.
Q: Are you still planning to allow HAKs to load before the character creation? Any timing estimate for this?
Currently we are planning that for the 1.14 patch.
Q: Do you see Obsidian still supporting the NWN2 community in 2010 (patches, forums, etc.)?
Unfortunately I forgot my magic 8 ball at home...
Q: Are you planning on adding any base classes, either in an expansion or an adventure pack?
I believe Ossian is adding a base class in MoW, but I am not 100% sure.
Q: Will weather ever get fixed/fully implemented in the toolset? I want my raging blizzards and torrential rain falls.
It's possible. Right now I am trying to keep us focused on issues that are more core to the game.
Q: Is there any possibility that Hide in Plain Sight could be changed to have creatures hostile to the hider (say within 20m) automatically attempt to spot the hiding creature when he uses this ability? This would prevent creatures using HiPS from getting free sneak attacks against creatures that should be able to detect them during that time interval between their hiding and the creature's natural perception event.
Creatures should automatically be attempting to spot invisible/hidden creatures. If they aren't, that would be a bug.
Q: Is there any possibility that the bug with missile spells shredding spell mantles will be resolved as well as any fixes to the impossible-to-defend-against bigby spells (5 and 6)?
It's always possible. As we go through the spell issues and take care of base functionality, we will be better able to address and add "new" functionality.
Q: Would it be possible to get functions that would return the AB of creature's highest AB attack, as well a function to get the creature's AC by type (e.g., get its dodge AC or natural AC)? These functions would be invaluable to those of us who write custom AI scripts.
I'll see what we can do.
Q: Could we get the option to set a creature's school of specialization as well as its domain in the toolset blueprint editor?
I'll see what we can do.
Q: Will there be officially supported class balances (that is, like giving the Pale Master 9/10 spell progression or making wildshape/polymorph an effective playstyle)?
I think things like this can be seen in the future. We have been talking a bit about changes to the Warlock class to balance it and make it a more interesting class to play. I would like to see changes to the Pale Master and Blackguard classes, myself.
Q: Is retroactive 'tintability' going to happen (like making the brown bear black, for instance)?
Perhaps I am not understanding the question. I believe you can tint a bear that has been instantiated (placed) already.
Q: Will there be expanded functionality in the VFX editor? For instance, having 'locked' effects, like polar, but having the ability to change their angle (like cartesian effects).
I do not think there are any changes planned for the VFX editor in the near future.
Q: Are we going to see new models (placeables and creatures) added in patches, or will they be limited to 'paid products' only?
We have a couple things in the works but, as you can guess, the legalities of including community-made content are difficult at best.
Q: Do you plan to fix the GetNext*() bug with merchants soon?
This is tentatively planned for 1.14, but this item may change as we progress through the patches.
Q: Can we expect more fixes for the toolset?
Yes. Specifically, we should see a fix for the multi-select crash issue in the 1.13 patch.
Q: Are there any plans to add the scripting hooks that were added in later NWN1 patches (1.66 to 1.69 once 1.69 is final)?
Q: When a new module is created, it is missing defaults for most of the module events. Could this be fixed to point to new default scripts (that are simple empty mains) for consistent module development?
I'll see what we can do.
Q: Could the Wildshape uses per day be incremented when a cutscene strips the effect off (one line code change for both MotB and the OC)?
This sounds like a bug. I'll see if we can get this into one of the next couple patches.
Q: Can Obsidian provide Tazpn (or anyone else) with any information that would help him with importing animations from .gr2 files? That feature is at a dead end and we could really use it.
If Tazpn contacts me, I'll see what I can get to him.
Q: is OEI aware of the CopyObject() problem when used with creatures? If so, is it on the Fix list? if not, what does OEI need from us to validate the problem?
You would have to be a bit more clear as to what the problem is. Does it not work? Does it copy money and such?
Q: There seems to be an issue creating mystic-theurge type prestige classes (seems to require the replacement of the harper agent PrC). Is OEI planning on addressing this (and other PrC class specific CC defects)?
We would have to know more about this issue to address it properly.
Q: Is OEI planning to implement the ability to create instant action feats (like elephant hide) in the near future?
I was just talking to some people about this this morning. I can't promise that anything will be changed, but I am hopeful.
That will bring an end to another Blog. Stay tuned for patch news next week.