Monday, May 7, 2007

The Birthday

Last night I finally got a chance to complete my first contest module, which was The Birthday by Maerduin. I expected these modules to be of higher quality than those submitted for Bioware's Writing Contest, but given the constraints, I still had relatively modest expectations. But if Maerduin's module is any indication, I'm going to have a blast playing through them this month. My comments:
My vote: 8 – Excellent, recommended to anyone
Character: Neutral good female human druid.

An excellent debut module! This is an absolutely delightful little adventure. There's a way in which I didn't expect a lot from these contest modules, but this one really showed how brilliant a module can be if a lot of creativity is exercised when developing it. The plot is excellent, with a host of fairy tale references and themes sprinkled throughout, even as one or two turn out to be the ultimate inspiration. There are actually multiple endings, which is remarkable in a module of this size (and one created on this short of a time frame). The pacing is excellent, with a satisfying amount of gameplay that never feels rushed. Most impressively, by the end, you actually feel like you accomplished something, even though only 1.5 hours have passed.

Writing is genuinely excellent, with great humor scattered throughout the dialog, and especially in the item descriptions. There are some excellent roleplaying opportunities, as well as the opportunity to earn extra xp via skill checks. Even the combat is satisfying; it's reasonably well varied, and very well balanced (for my druid), with a challenging, memorable final battle. And I also want to particularly commend the exterior area designs. The town's rolling hills are spectacular, and the forest area is among the most dramatic NWN2 area I've seen yet, thanks in large part to its wonderful trees.

Just a few minor comments. First, I encountered one bug related to a cutscene, but it was solved with a reload. Also, I'd recommend exporting the character at the end of the module so that those of us who like to keep their characters can use them later on. Finally, in the future, I'd highly recommend using a hakpak rather than forcing us to put things in our override folder. Less likely to cause problems for users in the future, as I have a tendency to forget when I put things in my override. Plus, it's simpler for novice players--just put the *.hak in your override and be done with it. :)


  1. Hey Berliad! Thanks very much for the review, comments, and vote. I thought you might get me for the no-export ending. I certainly should have made an export possible, especially since a "Birthday" sequel might not be out of the question. Consider that change number one for the post-contest update.

    I'm trying to figure out why you didn't jump when talking to the Matron--these bugs that only happen some of the time are much more insidious than bugs that are always there. They drive me crazy. Perhaps it has something to do with multiple action scripts firing at the end of a conversation?

    Anyway, thanks again, and I'm glad you had fun!

  2. especially since a "Birthday" sequel might not be out of the question

    Oooo, that's interesting news. :) I better go flag that characters as "occupied." :)

    Thanks again for making the module, and congrats on its fantastic reception thus far! -B