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Another alpha/beta/zeta test? ;)
Take your time, it's much better to say when/if you have something significant than to waste your time just for the sake of writing a new article. Oh, and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all interested in the project! J
We don't know what progress has been made after alpha version was released but based on the status of alpha and the fact JM_Scion will handle the development back to Knight once he is finished, this year release is highly unlikely. Though another dev diary or two might be possible ;)
Yeah, I know what you mean. I've also thought about a dynamic thieving system - there is a group of thieves and while exploring you can be robbed of some non-quest item which can later be found and bought at a black market. If your spot / hear / pickpocket skill (or some combination of these) is high enough, you notice getting robbed and initiate a dialogue with the thief:
1) If your other skills are at 'medium' level (like intimidate / persuasion), you can get back the item he wanted to stole
2) If you have higher skills, you can convince him to give you all his loot and some chances are, there might be a good item in there
3) or you can just attack him but his partners from thieves guild will appear and the fight will be difficult due to sneak attacks of the group ;)
The higher the crime rate, the tougher the thieves are which make them more difficult to spot and while stealing your items, they target more valuable ones.
If robbed, the player gets the feedback and a timeline is set once he can be robbed again.
Also prostitution can impact crime rate as well, especially with women (as in local lore it is punished by death or something). So if the PC is a prostitute and decides to take some "prostitution quests", it does affect crime rate.
Will the prostitution impact crime rate as well? Or maybe the other way around : crime rate impact prostitution/sexual harassment - e.g. if the crime rate is high, more and more possible male rapists appear. They aren't hostile instantly but approach you, especially at night and won't take 'no' for an answer. If you choose to attack them, they turn hostile. If you don't attack them at once, two things can occur :
1) At first you can use some skills to convince the rapists they'd better look elsewhere (intimidate, persuade, size of your party). If the number of rapists (randomized but with some weights, e.g. the bigger crime rate, the bigger values of minRapists and maxRapists) is high:
a) the checks are more difficult, there is also a check to see if you are quick enough (DEX) to draw weapons and fight the rapists
b) if you fail the checks and the number of rapists is higher than the number of party members, the party members are knocked out (as in : removed from party) and you are dragged to some warehouse nearby.
2) All your things are put in a loot bag and left at the ground where you were approached by the rapists apart from armor (as in: you'd just had enough time to toss the loot bag away so they won't get your hard earned loot as well).
3) In the warehouse a text game appears to check your abilities if you are able to break free, the more rapists the more difficult the check. If you are overwhelmed, the rape starts and after they're done with you, they leave the building.
4) Every "successful" rape scene increases crime rate as well. There might be a special "quest" to that - if a PC gets raped a lot of times (e.g. 10), the rapists grow stronger and there is a boss (stronger than others) which you can fight. If you manage to win, you get some interesting loot from him.
Will there be a feedback telling us what crime rate is in an area? E.g. asking a guard and/or some official "Is it safe here?" Based on a crime rate there could be a few responses :
0% - It's hard to believe it but I think it is absolutely safe here for the moment
1-14% - It's fairly safe here so you must really try to get into trouble.
15-29% - It's relatively safe here.
30-49% - It's not that safe here, especially at night.
50-74% - A fair warning! You'd better get out of here while you still can.
75%-90% - It's extremely dangerous! What are you doing here asking stupid questions like that!?
91-100% - Get lost! Don't you see all hell broke loose here?
Since we are talking technical aspects... do you plan on changing the way dialogue trees had already been constructed? I mean there are 700k + of words but that's because most conversations are repeated based on party lineup instead of using bookmarks. It makes further editing of the dialogue very time consuming and impossible to guess the actual length of the dialogue.
I'd like to reinforce what I wrote about in my previous comment regarding introducing procedural generation to outside areas as well. In alpha version there were fixed encounters which spawned monsters and if you revisited an area some times later, exactly the same monsters appeared in the same place which was time consuming and boring.
Since we are talking about the world being dynamic and an evil flooding the land, I'd suggest :
1) Completely delete fixed encounters from the maps (unless it is some "boss"/item encounter)
2) In "enemy areas" spawn enemies (of course the number of creatures available at once should be manageable for the player)
a) Increase quantity of spawned enemies in a specified area with e.g. each passing week/month up to a maximum value (so we need to have variables for each area to store that numbers) if the player doesn't pursue a main quest (I think you can assign variables to areas in the editor)
b) If the time passes and still nothing is done about the main quest, increase the quality of enemies as well (up to a maximum class, e.g. zombie -> tyrantfog zombie -> ghoul -> ghoul lord etc.)
b) If the player reaches some milestone, change variables for each area accordingly (e.g. REDUCE the quantity of spawned enemies, even to zero or increase the number of guards etc.)
c) Make some "hard to reach/difficult" areas scale based on player level. Normally I don't like level scaling but if done cleverly, it could work. E.g. there is a magic cavern with a powerful amulet emanating some evil powers that make undead grow stronger and the later you arrive (that usually means the higher level you are), the stronger they are to defeat.
Besides, without 'on hearbeat' event to check for many things I wouldn't be able to figure how vampire features could work once fully implemented ;) (e.g. taking damage because of sunlight)
I had an idea once how to prevent using "remove from party" button to remove party members. 'On heartbeat' script could check for variables if an NPC should be in party. If he should and his state allows for it (e.g not dead, petrified) and a player removed him from party, he should "join immediately" again ;)
Hi, glad to see dev diary and it's a very interesting bit about procedurely generated NPCs. Honestly, I think such a mechanism should be introduced to the 2nd and prologue city and perhaps some villages. Let's not forget some wild areas as well which are being patrolled by knights and / or undead.
I guess Valine tried to make something similar in ADwR although in her case it had less to do with proceduraly generated content and more with some dialogues being different and not too repetetive with different NPCs. During a 'whoring' dialogue with sailors for each point of conversation there were a few different responses from which one was selected at random. Thanks to Valine's skillful writing it allowed for a lot of iterations of dialogue which had a good 'flow'.
Yeah, it seemed the beta was indeed an alpha. The good news is the thing is still in development what new screenshots indicate.
Damn those slow ISPs! ;)
So, have you stopped working on the mod at all and all suggestions should be sent to JM_Scion?
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Please note monk's ability is just faster movement, it doesn't add haste effect per se. But it is a nice ability to have especially if combined with a haste spell. Monks are especially viable with a shifter class due to the bug in NWN engine where some properties stack upon loading a save so you can have e.g. a super fast hasted monk / kobol commando impossible to achieve through other means. Actually druid / shifter / monk is my favorite class combo to play in higher level modules (well, until at least lvl 21 anyway but it starts rocking at lvl 12 anyway).
On the other hand above mentioned shifter stacking bug makes undead shape quickly less effective if you aren't careful as 50% piercing / slashing damage resistance goes through the roof and is reduced to 0 :(