Sunday, December 30, 2012

Prelude / Teaser coming out soon

I intend to keep my word, about the Prelude, at least, and release it somewhere in the beginning of January. As you can see from the word count in the sidebar, the Prelude is only a small part of the work. Yet, polishing it is incredibly tedious work. x.x

So that's what I've been working on recently. I can't wait to start making changes to Chapter 1 and finish it, too.

I'm left with the task of testing everything in the Prelude (personally first), more polishing, and deciding how to modify the player classes without ruining anything. The idea is to make bards more useful, since I like singing and stuff, but bards can't use magic in my settings. So I set them to automatically receive some sneak attack feats, but not as much as rogues. I also gave rogues some unfair assassin feats, which I think I'll remove. This is not supposed to be power gaming. I guess I should just focus on bards, since I've taken away their spells.

Of course, anyone else who plays the module will also be testing it, want it or not. But I have to correct the mistakes I find, at least.

Happy New Year. :P

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Week 3 of December

Normally, I'm not glad to have to work on something I used to consider done... I'm in a hurry to finish the first bigger module, but I asked for help in making Chapter 1 more interesting and Thirdpres delivered some new content, which will be an improvement. It will take PC at least to level 2 so that she isn't quite as useless in fights next to Sir Brash, who will be level 5. These changes might make Chapter 1 worth playing on its own.

I'm concerned how fast I will manage to finish Chapter 2, which still seems like a lot of work. So maybe chapters 1 and 2 will be published separately after all, if I finish up C1 faster than C2.

I promised three romances early in the series, but there is only one in C1, although you will meet all three characters... And when I mentioned sexual encounters, most of them happen in C2. And most of the twists and important choices happen even later.

I'm concerned with whether people will still be interested in playing and believe me that there is more to come. How do they feel about a module series with 6-7 smaller modules?

But how much mess is it to always talk about chapters 1 and 2 together because they are stuffed in the same module? I get less panicky when I cut the work up and feel like parts of it are complete.

I guess I have until release date to think about it, whenever that is. I'm also eager to send out the first part of the module so you can play it, but my deadlines... I always feel like I'm lying.

I'm hopefully not lying about the Prelude. I need to finish it today or tomorrow, then have it proofread and tested, which I assume will take several more days, and then if the moderators on NWVault work around New Year, it will be out. :D

Added to the Prelude yesterday - arrange a mini prison break.

The Prelude will take an hour or so to play, depends on how fast you read and whether you decide to skip the glowing red, marked door (don't?). I worked in a custom system that hopefully stores your variables for the next module and exports your character automatically. I mean, I tested it, but what do I know. It's recommended that you save this character for later use, to skip introductory dialogs in which you have to tell the game what choices you made.

One of the most important things you will get to say in the Prelude is whether the girl is a virgin. I won't force you to play one, but I think it's better that way. If there's going to be a unicorn quest which Thirdpres suggested for C1, it's better to be a virgin.

P.S. We survived.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Week 2 of December

This week went in working on the conversations.

Thirdpres wrote a bunch of new sexy encounters, which I plan to use, one way or another, in the Demonheart modules. Inspired by that, I finished some talks, too. They are all mixed works now.

I'm adding the option to be a virgin. I thought it was out of the question, because I'd have to write 2 versions of each sexy talk, but due to a recent change of plans... and talks... it's allowed and encouraged. *evil smirk*

I need to finish that prelude soon. It will be short, just to throw you into the mess, but you will be able to make a few important choices (virgin, meeting Thayn or not, optionally learning some details about a certain event).

And who has been voting for Sir Brash? It's a conspiracy!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Week 1 of December

I regret that I didn't start using custom tilesets earlier. I wanted to concentrate on what happens, not waste time beautifying areas, but that is the easiest work and a nice change from writing or scripting. There are at least three awesome custom forest tilesets and even more of other kinds, but my forests are done the old-fashioned way.

This is a beautiful modification by Helvene that saves my areas made with the rural tileset.

"You shall not pass!"
It's also another example of testing gone wrong, because I used the level 1 character it automatically chooses when I run the module from the toolset. I was too occupied with getting the talks to trigger when they should and the fight to start. I later weakened the demonspawn and tried to make it impossible to win the battle without participating. Adjusting the difficulty is tricky when you have optional companions.

I'm thinking there should only be Game Over if your team dies in boss fights or heart-related fights or after attacking an invincible demon. You might have to save up all your resources for the important fights (the ones that are possible to win). So don't drink potions when you're fighting the mushrooms.

The random scar and limp system after death will be there in all fights. It applies Dex, Str or Charisma penalties. Maybe it should apply a movement speed decrease instead of a Dex penalty, but that would be tough because you might have to go a long way without getting cured. You can heal badly injured arms and legs with special potions or maybe by resting (haven't worked that in yet), but the facial scars remain. You can imagine them however you want, or reload if you don't want them, and some NPCs will comment on them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

K, it looks like my precious files were saved, thanks to super-paladin-boyfriend with human legs. I hope his computer doesn't explode now. I have to wait until tomorrow to get my files and see if everything is there.

Damn, there goes my excuse for delaying the module!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Week 3 of November

It's been a busy week in real life, so progress has been slow. What I've been doing is a possible ending dungeon for Part 1 - I'm not doing things in order and I say "possible" because things still might change. It's unlikely that they will change, because it would be nice to deal with at least one villain* by the end of Part 1, no matter how much I love my villains and wish them all longevity. I needed to do something new instead of filling old holes...

*Villain - in this context, a person who wants the player character dead (an antagonist). I guess I like calling them villains. And then I sometimes call the companions villains, too. I'm stopping now.

I needed a glass bell and a floating heart under it, but I couldn't find any, so I reskinned some things. Here is my lame display case that will have to do unless someone makes something better. :) The first screenshot has been cropped and the player portrait moved so as to stay in the picture. I love this new portrait pack from NWVault.

"Now, my pretties, what will you do?"
Just kidding.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Week 2 of November

Important: For a spoiler-free playing experience, stop reading the comments. Sorry for the late warning. :S

I got sidetracked writing optional quests (Thayn's quest with different ways to do it and Blu as a short-term henchman and what happens with that). When I think about the module as a whole, it doesn't seem like there is that much work to do, but when I write a list of things to be completed and approximately how many hours each thing will take, I get a hundred hours. Add at least that much testing time and all the time I lose correcting little things. So don't believe me when I announce something.

I'm considering releasing a test version of Prelude + Chapter 1 (meaning no Chapter 2, which should also be in the first module). I'm still stuck on adding journal entries and testing everything in Chapter 1. The last choice, the last cutscene (if there's going to be one) and a few alternate quest paths aren't written/arranged. It would be nice to have someone other than me test the quests and everything, but I'm the one who can do it with the least annoyance, because I can immediately correct things. I don't feel like cutting the story into smaller pieces is good for "the business". It could cause wrong expectations, both too high and too low.

I don't want to turn this into an eternal, never finished project. I don't want to stray from what I call the main plot, but I can't have everything happen between just 5-10 characters, either.

Today, I spent around 5 hours doing something that I wrote was going to take half an hour in my fancy task list. The Journal grew as I wrote and there are now 11 different entries for a very simple quest, and who knows if everything is connected as it should be. The time was mostly spent on inserting the entries where needed and checking and completing the quest giving NPC's crazy tree of a talk, which still doesn't look very branched in game, because you only see the consequences of your choice and a few simple options (tell the truth or lie). I also crossed out a couple of tasks which were supposed to take an hour each in 30 minutes, but I didn't test anything... Disregard my numbers, I just like fancy lists and approximations.

I'm posting on the blog because I've been meaning to post on Sundays (more or less :)). I'm working on this almost every day, when I don't have some social plans (ugh!)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Week 4 of October

I decided to implement two permanent death situations as early as Chapter 1. In one case, if you take too long (that is, if you die), you are found by someone who wants to eat your heart. In the other case, someone kills you in revenge for attacking him.

Since I've even gone so far as to provide clues in the dangerous dungeon puzzle and a nice means to keep any accidentally released enemies away (if you can run fast), this was the least I could do to feel like a proper sadist.

Updating my small list of tasks that I posted here. My big lists of tasks are still a nightmare.

1. Finish Blu quest - talk done and set up for finishing the quest, journal not done, intelligent fighting not done, alternate path with Blu joining not done.

2. Xaxo's quest - done.

3. Escape from G5, teleport and the activator, Arana's variables - not done.

4. Alliran chase scene - done (Brash's "intelligent" behavior, the best I could do, including the rescue of the player character if she dies here).

Sir Brash is supposed to lead you through this area, but if you fall behind (by dying), he really wants to save you. I'm still fine-tuning things to make it possible to go through the sequence without dying. Wearing an armor might help me. Or being level 2. :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Now I'm spamming updates. It won't always be this way.

Again, if it means anything at this point of secret development (since most of the character interactions and story parts are secret), I finished Xaxo's quest - #2 on the list I made earlier. #1 is nearly done, but I got a new idea how to complicate things with Blu, so I'll see if that's going to happen when I'm done with some more of the things I planned earlier. There are at least 5 more quest-like things to finish, some of them big and complicated, and that's only the quests. Still no announcements.

This is Xaxo. The screenshot is probably misleading, so don't assume things. Especially not that he is awesomely evil. If you met an awesomely evil higher demon, you wouldn't get out of there alive.

Poll Hacked?

I don't think it was really "hacked", but the results are gone. At least that's what I see. I don't see the old poll results on FallynRayne's blog either. Is anyone familiar with this issue? I failed googling anything relevant, I always seem to get something about some politicians.

It's no big deal right now, I remember the results, but if they got periodically deleted, that would suck. I wanted to have a real analysis of which characters were liked or hated in the future.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I spent the afternoon preparing to make some relevant screenshots, but ended up polishing areas and adding talks and new talk options. I worked on that first Inferno quest, which is still unfinished (it's probably my major unpleasant task merely because I made the talk structure so complicated, that it's a pain to connect the branches). I also worked on the Blu quest mentioned below and half-decided to complicate things for myself further by providing an option for Blu (a female gnoll) to join you for a short while, nothing too serious relationship-wise. There are a few other short-term companions that I haven't mentioned before. If it turns out that will complicate the flow of things too much, I won't make Blu joinable.

I finished her little talk for the quest anyway. And tested attacking her and died. She still doesn't use her bow in a smart way, as far as I've been able to test for now, with my character being dead. I would like her to run away and shoot, instead of letting Sir Brash shred her.

What happens in the screenshot below wasn't one of my planned tasks. It's an old talk with some new options, for those of you who want to get to know the characters before meeting them in person.

Sir Brash taunts Mark Rungari.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thank You

... for your interest, it has inspired me to start a new session of working on the module.

Thank you to those who spread the word. The blog reports the main traffic source being the reference from FallynRayne's page. Thank you again.

Now I'm under pressure. :)

Everything I post here is a spoiler, so you shouldn't be reading, but if you wish to...

Part of Thayn's introduction.

I will try for another "week of unpleasant tasks". These tasks are certain quests and plot points that have been planned a long time ago but I've always avoided implementing them. I have a list of two smaller tasks and one huge, separated in two, and I will pick them with a random number generator. When I was doing this kind of thing in September, I was able to finish quite a few important things, but not one task for each day.

1. Finish Blu quest with journal entries and everything (it's a small quest, but it's bothering me).
2. Xaxo's quest until the end, cover all cases (you may be able to finish the quest objective before getting the quest, I will decide that soon).
3. Escape from G5, teleport and the activator, Arana's variables, Xaxo again (some of that is already finished).
4. Alliran chase scene (scripting Sir Brash to act smart or otherwise doing something about it).

Picking a random number for today/tomorrow... I got number 2. I thought the Inferno dungeon would take up a small part of Chapter 1, but it feels like it's taking a half of it, mostly because of the player options. There are different ways Arana can die and I have to keep evidence of them all to give the player correct journal entries and so on. Worst of all, most people will not want Arana dead, so why am I doing this? (Probably to avoid NWN2 situations with companions you hate forcefully joining you. You have the right to dislike any NPC, I won't force them on you unless necessary. A demonspawn is necessary because you'd be like crippled without one, especially so later, as is Sir Brash in the beginning, when you can't do anything about it.) The whole escaping Inferno quest can be written in a day or two of hard work, but we'll see about that.

Here is a screenshot of Inferno/G5 from the toolset. My Illithid Interior reskin, rocks reskin and some others, some placeables by PHoD.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Update on demand

OK, I think I have a fever; I had a bad day with my totally pissed off brother, so I opened my email to whine to someone, when I discovered the messages about new (and first) comments on my blog.

And new votes about the romances? I wanted to delete the poll because potential players don't know the characters yet, but this is interesting. Syn got few votes, as expected at this point. He's a good guy after all. Too mainstream. I'm glad for the demonspawn, though. You people are in for some. Umm... I mean, some sex animations with goat-legs. Nothing else, I promise. He's not evil at all. ^.^

I was on a break from my module and just started playing Fallout New Vegas again. (I'm still confused. The woman-hating Legion sucks, but so does the NCR. And I'm too much of a goon to be the boss.)

This is the latest thing I've worked on (still unfinished), connecting the quests in Chapter 2, which are pretty much all works in progress. This is where you're supposed to begin the Cult of Ravage questline.

Your demonspawn sweetheart/stalker giving you uncalled for advice.

Looking at my last post, I just realized that I never mentioned something I did in between. Well, I mentioned that I was about to do it. I beautified the forest in Chapter 2 and made the amulet talk and an NPC's appearance work. It was one of my "unpleasant tasks". Not the forest, though - the huge talk.

Now answering readers' questions... At least some of them.

Since I am a one-woman-team, I can't develop a world history to match that of Faerun, so I'm not trying to. You will discover bits of information about everything within the module. If your character has enough Lore, she will "spoil" some little things for you by getting a knowledgeable dialog response. It's difficult to give all the needed information without dumping it on the player's head, especially the info on the demons and demonspawn, but the protagonist's ignorance is, in a way, a plot point. I hope this becomes clear later in the module (by that  I mean part 2 or 3).

Put in simple words, you have these types of creatures of importance:

Higher Demons - they live only in Inferno, except when somehow lured to the human world through a portal. Witches sometimes lure them out for mating, but this is rare, as any woman carrying a demon child is doomed to death upon its birth. When humans, dogs or some other animals eat a significant amount of (higher) demon meat, a handful or more, they become demonhearts. Higher Demons can't survive long in the Outside World, except in deep caves and ruins. They have super regenerative powers (that work best in Inferno) and are usually incredibly tough.

Lower Demons - mostly useless pests. They look like plants, mushrooms, insects... Not humanoid.

The Demonspawn - half humans, half higher demons. They are somewhat of a mystery - especially to the player character - but they are pretty much indestructible and eternal. They can be enslaved, tortured and physically and emotionally brainwashed for centuries, though. Some of them are imprisoned by humans, most of them by other demonspawn (because they are emotionally messed up by default). They also have a sort of a mother fixation. Eating a demonspawn is completely useless to a human. :)

Demonhearts - humans or animals who have eaten enough higher demon meat or another demonheart's heart. The more meat or hearts, the more powerful the demonheart person (stronger regeneration + strength, dexterity or constitution bonus). Demonhearts can die of old age (and become undead in some cases, but they can be destroyed) or when enough of their body is destroyed (primarily, the heart and head). Wounds that don't regenerate are rare, but they can happen. Fire and acid usually leave permanent effects, but that's of no consequence in the gameplay for now. To defeat a demonheart in game, you will just need to kill him or her and any other enemies to get to the heart (same goes for you, it's game over if your team is defeated when fighting an enemy who knows how to kill you).

As for religion, there is an official church, at least in the kingdom of Shermyr. It was probably inspired by GRRM's gods, but he definitely wasn't the first to invent that kind... They are named Mother, Time and Hunter, and there's the Fallen Goddess, Virgo. And a demon orgy. More about it in the module's Bible.

Then there are different cults. Some of them believe in the same Holy Book, but interpret it slightly differently (the details of the demon orgy seems to be where they all disagree, though I'm not sure if this information will be available in part 1 or later).

The playable classes are still being revised (by me). I'm afraid that I messed up the game balance, or that something won't work as intended, but the idea for now is:
  • Fighter pretty much stays the same.
  • Bard loses spellcasting, but gains more Rogue abilities to be more useful.*
  • Rogue gains some Assassin abilities.
  • Not sure what I'm going to do about Ranger or Barbarian or whether they will be allowed (I already did something, but perhaps Ranger isn't as awesome as Rogue now).
  • All classes get Persuade, Bluff and Intimidate as class skills.
* I may yet allow spellcasting. The player character is friends with a witch, and that is a plot point. But the player is not supposed to know everything that an average witch's apprentice would know about the world, which is also a plot point. With that made clear, there's no reason to forbid spellcasting, but it might not be very useful to sacrifice fighting skills for it, as the intended max level for the entire story is very low. (Maybe, but unlikely, up to 5 in part 1 and maybe, hardly, if you kill everyone, 15 in the end.)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Done Planning? least for now, although that neat XML can always use upgrades. Enough has been planned for me to be able to start seriously working on connecting chapters 1 and 2 (arrival to the forest, arrival to Ravage, amulet).

I've been working on the journal entries for different G5 outcomes and nearly went insane. :)

In the screenshot, I didn't get the other entry because I just started the game from here, so no conditions were met.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Will this be done by New Year?

A month ago, I thought it would be. Well, it was about time I got serious. All the neat new ideas are going to have to lead somewhere or be deleted. I need to finish this instead of making it a lifelong project.

The first step I need to do (and that I should have done a long time ago - but many authors just skip it)... is to write the complete story. With all the player choices and consequences, of course. I finished the part of the module that covers Chapter 1, apart from its finale (Xaxo and Ara stuff), but I need to decide on all the details of the big story before working any more on Chapter 2. When I have that worked out, Chapter 2 should go fast. I already kind of have a plan for the quests. The thing that's stopping me is how to introduce the villains who are going to be important in the sequels. I can't do it without knowing what exactly is going to happen later.

So far...

Thayn - introduced through a talk (only once), but not released (the second introduction), and still hasn't acted against PC.
Vao - the introduction is half-written (the nasty half), but not scripted in, because that quest isn't done.
Love - not introduced. A few ideas to decide from.

A statue of an imposing demonspawn. Wonder who he is. :P

I have to add that XML is a great format to organize stories. It beats a spreadsheet's ass.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Straight from the module's ReadMe...

...which I wrote before the module itself. Doesn't everyone?

This is a dark fantasy / drama / romance module for a female player character.
The demonhearts are an ever-changing, scattered group of individuals who have, intentionally or not, gained demonic regeneration powers and semi-immortality. They can resurrect shortly after death, but they age and their bodies eventually outlive their minds, unless destroyed in a certain way. As much a curse as it is a blessing, being a demonheart often brings hunters on one's track.
The player character must be:
  • Female. 
  • Human, with the slim body type (to get all the fancy animations).
  • A Fighter, Rogue, Bard or Ranger (but these classes have been modified, so the character needs to be created upon starting the module).
  • Level 1.
Her name should, but doesn't have to be a common English word or its variation. (I sometimes assume that she is called Bright, but not within the module, of course.)
She is an 18-year-old commoner girl from the town of Feline, on the south of Shermyr (a kingdom in this custom fantasy world). Having become friends with the famous healer-witch Orchid, the protagonist is invited to dine with her. The witch has a dark secret that she doesn't entirely share with her friend, and that night, it costs them both their lives...
Any alignment is playable, but some tolerance for bad guys is required, especially in Part 1, where you're stuck with a couple of them. There are some opportunities to be sickly rude or evil - just because it's a game. Now go and tell me how I'm a bad person.
Another girl's fantasy module, but quite morbid. At least that's the impression I get when I play some happy modules and go back to mine.

There are 3 romanceable characters in Part 1 and a few more optional encounters. Since I'm splitting the work, it is still unclear what will be found in which part.

This module uses community-made content heavily, to the extent that discovering and putting to use new things hinders my writing. ;) 

As you can notice, I'm splitting the module into parts. This is because the toolset is slow on me even at this phase, and I feel the need to make something public soon. I've been working on this for many years. The first version of Demonheart dates around 8 years back, although it was hardly as thought out as it is now. I've given up on this module a few times and considered making it a completely new game. However, the nature of its content stopped me - it's a very explicit and crazy story. Not worth paying for custom graphics if I can't even put my real signature on it. :) 

* When I say "story" I don't mean that roleplaying is absent. I'm doing my best to provide the player with different options, although some linearity is necessary in the beginning, until the settings are established.