Saturday, July 7, 2007

June Hall of Fame Inductions

Neverwinter Nights 2

There were no modules inducted into the NWN2 hall of fame this month. That's a shame, but I think we're likely to see that from time to time. NWN2 module production is happening at a much slower rate than it was for NWN1, and the requirement of an 8 or higher is a steeper requirement under the new voting standards. I think we'll see a steady series of releases for a long time to come, I don't see any signs that the rate of release is likely to escalate. Fortunately, there are several modules that will be eligible next month, so we'll certainly see some inductions then.

The only NWN2 inductee I have any experience with is Ar Pharazon's cave roof, which has already been used in several modules, including Once Upon a Time... by Mungo_D. It allows you to use exterior height maps to create much more varied and complicated cave environments than are possible with the caves tileset. There is also some nice looking Asian-style armor by Schazzwozzer, which might help spark some asian-themed NWN2 modules at some point. I always enjoyed those in NWN1.

Neverwinter Nights 1

The only inductee here that I have first-hand experience with is Sethai's NWS - The Black Dragons, a former feature in the Overlooked Module Project, and a module for which I was an early voter. The highlight of the module was its opening battle, in which your character joins a desperate and inexperienced militia on the battle field as they seek to defend against an onslaught of an army of rebels calling themselves The Black Dragons. If you've played NWN2's OC, imagine the opening battle in West Harbour, just with more variation in elevation, and constant waves of foes. It was exhilarating. Here's an excerpt from my comments, posted 21 June 2005:
The story is, on the surface, fairly simple: you answer a call for mercenaries to assist in the defense of a small little village from a veritable army of rebels. Odds are not in your favor: there are 6 purple dragon soldiers, 8 townsmen who’ve been trained to fire a bow, a hardened general, and 2 other mercenaries besides yourself against upwards of 200 troops! Strong defensive position or not, this sounds desperate. The mod does a superb job of getting you into the story, not to mention quickly into the action. And as the story progresses, you learn some of the background surrounding this conflict. There’s more nuance in this short story then there is in a lot of longer modules I’ve downloaded on the vault.
I was shocked to discover that this is Sethai's first time being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Congrats!!

I also want to congratulate Avi Maxwell for her demo module, Dusk of a Samurai, getting inducted. I never got a chance to play it (I was waiting for the official release, which now seems unlikely to happen), but I played and reviewed one of her earlier releases, Ronin: Kensai of Kyoto. It had a few issues, but it also was clear in playing it that Avi had tremendous potential and talent.

Congratulations to everyone who was inducted this month, and thank you for your contributions to our community!


  1. I just went through your blog list of module creators. It saddens me to see so many have not been updated in months. Likely the mods have died alongside the blogs.... It infuriates me that obsidian is not doing EVERYTHING they can to ensure the toolset is easy enough to use so that we can still expect the same dearth of modules we got from NWN1.

  2. Well, some of the ones that have gone inactive are NWN1 modules. And some never really got off the ground--I was pretty accepting of putting everyone and anyone in that list.

    For the most part, the major projects that I've been following are still active, in one form or another. Ossian, Maerduin, Rashidi, Hugie, vendalus, and dirtywick are all actively plugging away if they haven't released yet. I think the community is going pretty good--it's just not what NWN1 was at the start.

    I do agree that more could be done to improve the toolset, but the recent thread that Rob started on user-friendliness is a step in that direction. I actually think that Obsidian (and especially Rob) is doing a pretty good job supporting the community. It'd be nice to see Atari doing something too, but they're just lucky to have jobs I guess.

    I think it's also true, however, that we as a community can take on some of the responsibility of supporting and promoting each other's work a little better too. That's a big part of what this blog is all about. -B

  3. I'd thought the contest mods were eligible this month. But they seem to be lagging on downloads a bit, and I wonder how long 5000 will take even for the most popular.

    The projects I've been following seem to be progressing (don't forget BG1 and Rogue Dao). But don't forget, the current top-rated mod just dropped onto the scene with no fanfare (pre-beta, anyway). You can't just look at the overly optimistic early abandoners.

    As far as support goes, I do think Obsidian botched the mod contest big-time, and not just because of the eventual pick. No promotion on their site or, basically, anywhere outside the forums! It should've been trumpeted on their main front page at the very least, not to mention the sort of regular followup (interviews, etc.) that we came to expect from Bio.

    On the other hand, the builders themselves made the contest a success, creating some excellent work, getting themselves over that "first finished mod" hurdle, and introducing some promising talents to the community.

    From my dabbling I firmly believe that toolset "difficulty" isn't the issue, it's toolset power. At this point there are many, many things you can customize in every tiny aspect of a mod, and most of them make for visible improvement. Add 'em up and you have projects that have and will take a while to surface. Despite negative talk, I think the learned lesson of NWN1 is that there *will* be a community receptive to your mod later, so it's worth making it good instead of releasing half-baked crap.