Author Topic: Bugs and typos for v3  (Read 1640 times)

Offline Kulyok

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Bugs and typos for v3
« on: January 30, 2013, 09:11:34 AM »
Post them here, please. All reports are welcome - and as long as they are in a single thread, it's easier for me to find any problems with the mod and fix them.

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Re: Bugs and typos for v3
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2013, 09:51:16 PM »
Hello, Kulyok

I only recently started playing IwD because of your mod. It was meant to be just a quick bug report, but after briefly scanning in the forum, I thought I'd also add a few lines regarding my impression of your mod so far.

Originally I had started playing IwD2 with the other NPC mod. Since I preferred roleplay and story over hack 'n slash, I would never have played the IwD games without the existence of the NPC mods. I had expected a lot of dull hack and slash after reading about the games first, and instead the unexpected amount of roleplaying content in the second game (coupled with the NPC mod) was so enjoyable I stopped after the first chapter and decided to play through the first game first. It was again not what I expected, though this time the surprise was in the more disappointing direction. However, despite the some time dullness from both the game itself and your NPCs, there are still highlights and the main reason I persevered was because of your mod.

The NPC interjections that appear in even small places like a reaction from my PC talking to a cow, or the spell "Contact Other Plane" shows your dedication to the details, and helps make an otherwise lonely game come alive. I also appreciate the natural, gradual progression of the relationships, both of those between the PC and NPC, and between the NPCs themselves. The biggest complaint I have with the mod though, is the lack of clear, emotionally expressive options in the interactions between PC and the NPCs. Most of the possible responses to the NPC talks are single liners that do not make a difference either way you choose, and those responses themselves fail to invoke or express emotion. If the words allowed to be spoken by my character to the NPCs fail to invoke emotion in me as the player, how can I believe that they build up the emotion the NPC has towards my character? I feel I'm reduced to merely an observer in the entire story, a cardboard standin that could spout nonsense and regardless the NPCs will simply nod and keep talking. By comparison, the interactions between the NPCs themselves are much more lively and even touching, from that first snowball fight to the most recent talk I read when Severn expressed regret towards scavenging in the Broken Hand, in consideration for both the sad fate of a people and a fellow teammate's feelings. Those are the bright moments that help to break up the monotony. As I play through the game and find out about the story little by little, it's also obvious a lot of thought went into building these characters, to create people that appear to belong and have backgrounds that are relevant along the game's story progression.

As I said, with Domi's IwD2 NPC mod, I had only played the first chapter, and so far for IwD1, I'm only into the 3rd chapter, so my impressions of both these mods are far from complete. But in comparison with the two mods, I feel you have a better mastery over grammar and language, but a lack of emotional expression and dramatic content. Your relationship progression also appears to be a bit more natural, helped along by the larger number of interjections and talks. All in all, as a player, I greatly appreciate all the hard work that went into your mod, and wish to thank you for bringing fresh joy and fun to these kinds of games.

Here are a couple of possible bugs I noticed that I thought I should mention here.

1. A conversation that appears to trigger after freeing the adventurers in the Eldathyn level of the Dragon's eye does not trigger if you only free them after killing all the enemies. Once you freed them, I noticed the conversation about the highborn or otherwise upbringing of adventurers only appeared after fighting enemies. Since those adventurers charged everywhere and I didn't want to risk them dying, I decided to reload and free them after killing all the enemies, but the same conversation did not trigger this time. I had thought it was simply one of those optional conversations, but after reading your readme mentioning that it's not possible to miss a conversation, I thought I'd better report it here.

2. There are occasions where it becomes suddenly impossible to talk to an NPC in the game. I'm referring to the game's characters, not the mods. I would click on the character, and there would be no reaction. No conversation table opens and I can't trigger anything unless I reloaded or reentered the area. So far I've found at least two occasions where this happened. The first one was when I first entered the inner room of the mage tower (past the goblin's room) in Kuldahar, when I tried talking to the mage. The second time was when I tried talking to Sheemish at the smithy (right after rescuing him), after I had talked with his father first.

I'm fairly sure the problems are caused by your mod, rather than anything else, since the first time this happened, I did not have any other mods installed except for yours. It was simply a bare game with the latest official patch. (However, it is the GoG version, so I don't know if they compiled any patches into it.) The second time it happened, I only have your mod, the Unfinished Business mod, and the fix and tweak packs from G3. I generally do a very minimum install and did not even have most of the tweaks from the tweak pack enabled.

Offline Kulyok

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Re: Bugs and typos for v3
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2013, 01:43:43 AM »
Thank you for your candor. I hope you'll (more or less) enjoy the rest of your playthrough. I'd recommend you to visit the HoW/TotL part of the game right about now, after the third chapter: it's the best place in the game's(or, rather, the relationships' introduced by the mod) natural progress, I think.

It's a very interesting point you offer about neutral dialogue responses, and I think you're right. As a player, I prefer to roleplay my character in a neutral manner, I don't like the game to assume anything about them. Yet when I play Domi's mods(IWD NPC2, or certain parts of BG1 NPC), or Laufey's Edwin Romance, or Dorotea's Irenicus/The Longer Road mod("my petty lord of folded arms"), I very much appreciate humor and emotion they add to PC's character, even if it sometimes limits my roleplaying opportunities. I think I've actually tried to offer a more "emotional" PC in my latest mods - Xan's "happy ending" expansion, or a BG2 quest mod I'm working on right now.

So, I can't make a clear promise, but I'll try to add some new PC responses in v4, if I can. (Heh, maybe an extra lovetalk or two, as well). We'll see if it makes the mod better. Although I doubt I can be as good as my favourite reply in BG1: "Ok, I've just about had my FILL of riddle asking, quest assigning, insult throwing, pun hurling, hostage taking, iron mongering, smart arsed fools, freaks, and felons that continually test my will, mettle, strength, intelligence, and most of all, patience! If you've got a straight answer ANYWHERE in that bent little head of yours, I want to hear it pretty damn quick or I'm going to take a large blunt object roughly the size of Elminster AND his hat, and stuff it lengthwise into a crevice of your being so seldom seen that even the denizens of the nine hells themselves wouldn't touch it with a twenty-foot rusty halberd! Have I MADE myself perfectly CLEAR?!"

All right, now to your bug reports. First, thank you very much for posting them: I appreciate the work you've taken in testing number one, for example.

First of all: you're playing with the latest patch(it means you've got Trials of the Luremaster installed, as it's got the latest patch), and you've got IWD NPC, not IWDNPC-in-BG2-engine, right?

1) There is a very simple condition on my dialogue: variable "Marchon_Free" from the vanilla game should be more than zero. So, if the dialogue didn't trigger, it means a vanilla game variable didn't set. So, I think I'll open iIWD in Infinity Engine editor and check all the conditions when this variable is set, again - maybe I should add another trigger for this.

2) Here I'm probably helpless. You see, IWD NPC doesn't change the initial dialogue state for these non-party characters, ever - I'm being careful here to ensure compatibility with other mods/to avoid bug reports like these. I do add "interjections" after(or well after) they say their first lines, which means that if Sheemish suddenly showed "no valid replies or links" or something else equally evil and nasty in the middle of the dialogue, then I'd have cause to research.

I did check IWD UB, IWD Tweaks and IWD Fixpack, but they don't edit these particular dialogue files/lines, either. I googled for plain IWD bugs, but unfortunately found nothing. I can only say that an unpatched Baldur's Gate 2 had a similar problem(characters were "too busy" to talk to you) which was solved by installing the latest patch(before mods, otherwise your game's ruined). So, I can only ask you to double-check you have TotL installed.
I haven't heard of the issue before, not that I remember, at least - but if I get another bug report like this, I'll research - or, rather, ask around.

Offline Kulyok

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Re: Bugs and typos for v3
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2013, 11:10:16 AM »
For the next version: add a variable to
IF ~InParty("O#Teri") InMyArea("O#Teri") !StateCheck("O#Teri",CD_STATE_NOTVALID)~ EXTERN O#TERI O#TeriDMARCH5
and use it in an OR with GlobalGT("Marchon_Free","GLOBAL",0) for triggering Severn's O#PCSevern4 banter in AR4004.baf.

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Re: Bugs and typos for v3
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2013, 12:24:09 PM »
Kulyok,

Wow, thanks so much for the exceptionally fast and thorough response!

Now before I get carried away talking about my favorite part of roleplaying games, i.e. the freedom of choice---let's get the bugs part out of the way first. XD

Yes, I am playing the "vanilla" game as it was made, without any conversion mods, or inside another engine. I'm fairly certain Trials of the Luremaster is installed along with the latest official patch (v1.42.062714), but nevertheless, I tried to access the HoW content to double check....alas, I was rejected by Hjollder for the umpteenth time. I guess everybody in the team have to be at least lv9 and Korin and Nella whom I chose in the multiclass versions are not even lv7 in both classes yet. I do wish they had implemented a quick way to get back to town though, since I was halfway inside the Broken Hand and it was not easy trying to find my way back through that convoluted route--all for yet another rejection at the end.

As there have been problems in other games known to be caused by the GoG's oversight or removal of certain files, I'm a little suspicious the problem may be caused by something the GoG team did or *didn't* do in their compilation of the game, though considering the simplicity of the IwD game install (compared with some other games), it is kind of hard to mess up. Thankfully, this talk bug is just a minor annoyance and easily fixable by reloading, so even if the cause can't be found, at least it's not a big issue.

As for the Marchon talk, does it affect anything in the long run for the mod, such as setting any flags, or is it just an individual conversation that's optional? I really do NOT want to replay the game to get that talk again, especially considering the Yxunomei battle was crazy hard. (Most of my party was at lv6, now I understand why it was so difficult.) Could you tell me an easy way to trigger the talk again using the console if necessary?

Okay, now here's comes the long winded part (prepare yourself ;) ).
Regarding the amount of choice provided in PC roleplay... The easiest way for me to explain would be to simply list "A Dance with Rogues" as one of the best examples of a game in providing the most thoroughly explored and deeply varied conversation options during PC-NPC interactions. It would also be a bit unfair and demanding to you if you have never played it, since to experience it you would have to install the entire NWN game (including expansions) and then play the mod--because ADwR, what I consider to be one of the best romance games for a female player that most have never played is a NWN player made module. http://nwvault.ign.com/View.php?view=modules.detail&id=4869

To explain in more generalized terms, without the benefit of specific examples, I think to truly engage a player and invoke emotion in roleplaying games, there needs to be choices, a LOT of them, and they need to matter. It's okay to use the game creator's cheat once in a while and tie in conversation choices with a generic response that fits several options at the same time, but if you over use them, especially during important, emotionally significant places such as PC-NPC relationship building talks, they will make the player feel marginalized.

In my view, the best kind of games provide a wealth of choices, including in-depth conversation options that reflect a myriad of personalities or more realistically, the many facets of the complex human nature that presents itself differently under different circumstances. Of course, that is a lot of work, and realistically speaking, one has to stop somewhere within the range of sanity or run the risk of either having the game author die of exhaustion or the game never being completed. Either way, that game would never see the light of day, and that is a damn shame that way. So, you'll have to build up your knowledge of the multitude of facets on different personalities, develop your own system of dialogue choices, and most of all, try to work out a balance between choice (including interactivity) and feasibility. On that note, there are already many different examples of people's experiments. Bioware's Dragon Age 2 did a pretty good trial into personality and giving the protagonist a voice to boot, though they could definitely go deeper (in terms of the level of choice available). I've heard great things about conversation choice in Alpha Protocol from Obsidian, though I've never played it for myself. From my experience in NWN2 and Knights of the Old Republic 2 though, I have noticed Obsidian is definitely leading the game when it comes to the level of detail in conversation choices.

It's fine if you don't assume a role for the player. In fact, DON'T force the player into a stereotype, that's not a good thing. But on the other hand, don't choose all neutral responses either! At the very least, limit them to the less important places, such as a response to information providing conversations, etc. In your case, your mod is all about NPCs and relationships, so just about all talks are the important, emotionally significant part. That means you'll have to do a lot of heavy lifting. ;) Besides not forcing a player into stereotypes yet also not perpetuating neutral responses, the reason for offering as many different choices as possible for a player is to allow the player to be himself or herself. To be able to express the emotion that they feel for a given situation, or to do or say the thing that they wish to enact, which ultimately is all to allow the player to take part in the story, to be actively involved, instead of just a helpless observer. That I believe, is the deepest joy a game can bring, the secret to the attractiveness of a game over a movie or book. It's the interactivity.

So, as a game creator, you have to be able to envision as many different types of responses and personalities as possible, and provide that choice to the player. Since you can't foresee every single person's choice, at the very least, choose strong, in depth choices that reflect emotions that would be naturally occuring in that situation for a large number of people. Then, if you've still got energy left, throw in a few wild cards like that BG1 response you mentioned just for fun. Going back to ADwR, I was not only impressed by the number of choices given for the player in almost every single conversation, I was further delighted by the fact that there were quite a few instances where the available response matched unncannily the exact emotion I was feeling at the time. In one instance, a character I greatly cared about had just died, suddenly, brutally, and another minor character simply with a name that had an association in a roundabout way was mentioned in a passing remark--it was a very minor thing, but in that moment when I was grieving, it struck a chord in my heart and made me miss the character that died even more. What made me feel like both crying and laughing at the same time though, was how the game's narration mentioned my PC sharing the exact same sentiment in her mind, all without even having to make me select a choice to do so. Some would say it's like the game read my mind. For me, I was more appreciative than ever of Valine, the ADwR author's level of empathy and attention to detail. Later on, I found out that apparently Valine plays her own mod. Played through more than once, and with different roleplaying personalities each time. Who would have thought? A game creator that plays her own game? And apparently greatly enjoys it every time too. That's how she managed to get so many different types of choices into there, and how she manages to "foresee" the emotionally relevant responses. I think this should become mandatory for all lead designers/writers of games. Not just play testing their own games, but to really, truly enjoy it from a player's perspective--preferrably from many different players' perspective.

I should end here since it's already too long, but I thought I should leave you with a more specific example from your own mod. The story Holvir shared about his childhood experience with the fire, was for me the most moving and engaging background I had learned about your NPCs so far. Apart from being in some ways better written, it was a trauma that was very real, relevant in any "world", including the real one we all share, and thus easily empathized with. I am a person who prefers not to interrupt someone when they are sharing a very personal experience. I *listen* first. So although I felt deeply sympathetic towards his plight, I wanted to encourage him to finish his story first. Then I wanted to tell him I cared (in a way more than just saying "I care"), to express my regret at his experience in some way, and sincerely praise him for the courage and compassion he showed at such a young age, during such a horrific event. Depending on the level of relationship progression and the mood at the moment, perhaps I would even gently touch his arm where it was so brutally broken in an urge to soothe the shared pain that was felt. These are the different degrees of emotional expression, and as you can see, not all of them have to be verbal, and most of them definitely do not have to be at the same time. Your options given by comparison, were only a cursory "I'm sorry" (woefully inadequet in most situations), and an either-or choice that made me miss the chance to expresses even that modicum of sympathy simply because I chose to hear the entire story first. It of course also did not help at all that most of the time even the cursory options given would not make an ounce of difference in the NPC's reaction to them. That is why I felt terribly, terribly marginalized, to the point where I might as well be a cardboard figure standing in as the entirely weightless role of the nameless, featureless protagonist.

I should end here since it's already too long, but I thought I would leave you with a more specific example from your own mod. The story Holvir shared about his childhood experience with the fire, was for me the most moving and engaging background I had learned about your NPCs so far. Apart from being in some ways better written, it was a trauma that was very real, relevant in any "world", including the real one we all share, and thus easily empathized with. I am a person who prefers not to interrupt someone when they are sharing a very personal experience. I *listen* first. So although I felt deeply sympathetic towards his plight, I wanted to encourage him to finish his story first. Then I wanted to tell him I cared (in a way more than just saying "I care"), to express my regret at his experience in some way, and sincerely praise him for the courage and compassion he showed at such a young age, during such a horrific event. Depending on the level of relationship progression and the mood at the moment, perhaps I would even gently touch his arm where it was so brutally broken in an urge to soothe the shared pain that was felt. These are the different degrees of emotional expression, and as you can see, not all of them have to be verbal, and most of them definitely do not have to be at the same time. Your options given by comparison, were only a cursory "I'm sorry" (woefully inadequet in most situations), and an either-or choice that made me miss the chance to expresses even that modicum of sympathy simply because I chose to hear the entire story first. It of course also did not help at all that most of the time even the cursory options given would not make an ounce of difference in the NPC's reaction to them. That is why I felt terribly, terribly marginalized, to the point where I might as well be a cardboard figure standing in as the entirely weightless role of the nameless, featureless protagonist.

That reminds me to ask two questions (don't worry, this really is the end): 1. From the ubiquitous use of the nomenclature "our leader", I'm guessing the IwD engine doesn't have a "CHARNAME" function? I am resigned to the fact that in most games I wouldn't be able to actually hear the characters call me by my name, but to have no one use my name even in a game that used all text for dialogues.... It's just so UNFAIR. >_< 2. Is Severn romanceable? I noticed in one of the threads where someone posed a question regarding which character were romanceable, you answered that "you don't really expect me to tell you that up front, do you?" (or some such). The thing is, I do. Characters and the emotional ties they provide is always something I feel that gives ultimate weight and meaning to a story, and consequently, a game, and romances, as one of the deepest connections one can build with another, are at the heart of such emotional ties. So romance is always a part of what I look for, and I'd definitely like to know beforehand which characters are "available" so I can avoid investing too much emotion and getting my hopes dashed otherwise. From my experience, game creators sometimes have a different idea of what is attractive to a player, particularly a female player, and I found myself often admiring qualities such as the moral build of non-romanceable characters far more than the so called love interests--but that tends to happen more in Japanese games. Though Garrus being arguably far more popular than Kaidan also says something--good thing Bioware listened so quickly to the fans! Anyway, I'm digressing. In your mod, admittedly, I do find some qualities mildly more attractive in Holvir or Korin versus Severn, but funnily enough he was the one who connected better emotionally with my character in the early stages, likely due to his easy going personality. I am bothered by the fact that he seems to be a closed off non-choice from the beginning. Please, kill me now or tell me it is not so. *stage faint*

Offline Kulyok

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Re: Bugs and typos for v3
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2013, 12:59:43 PM »
Oooh, a good NWN module recommendation! Thank you, I'll make sure to install it - I do have NWN+HoU+SoU installed, replayed it just recently. And good to see another Garrus fan - well, if you are one, that is. I love him. (I've got a little Garrus with a sniper rifle sitting on my bookshelf, actually. Yep, I'm a geek). And I really need to play Kotor2 soon - finished Kotor1/NWN2+MotB just recently, too.

(Bought Alpha Protocol for my younger brother: I should ask him how he liked it. And I'm ashamed to say I still have Assassin's Creed 2 sitting on my shelf. One day... one day).

Okay, to business. First of all, much as I love Jason Compton's voice and Severn's character - no, I'm afraid he's in love with Teri, so... no. Korin or Holvir it is. (Jason Compton, by the way, is not only a good actor, but also the author of Kelsey NPC for Baldur's Gate 2. Kelsey is not Severn, but they share some good qualities, and Kelsey is a popular and lovely choice all the same, I should say).

Another thing: no, I'm happy to say that you haven't missed anything in missing that Marchon dialogue. You can trigger it by placing SetGlobal("O#PCSevern4","GLOBAL",1) into your CLUAConsole: line, but since you've seen it already, you're not missing anything, I guess. It's perfectly all right, and, really, I think only "choose me or her/choose me or him" romantic talks in late Chapter 6 carry huge, significant choices. There are other choices, small ones, like kissing Nella on top of that tower in Severed Hand, but they are remembered simply as an extra dialogue option later.

I very, *very* much appreciate your insight with Holvir's fire dialogue - can't say it enough. Love the options you've suggested, for one. A part of me will probably keep guessing what you'd say each time I'll add a new dialogue choice. So, if you worry it wasn't on topic - it very much was.

Thank you again for your detailed review AND for your suggestions!

Offline Kulyok

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Re: Bugs and typos for v3
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2013, 01:32:25 PM »
And, yeah, engine limitations, unfortunately - IWD engine allows some things from BG2, but not this one, as far as I know. I wish I could add <CHARNAME>s to IWD NPC. I'd add some for IWDNPC-in-BG2, but it's probably too much of a dialogue overhaul.

 

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