I'll keep this as brief as I can - I always say that and it always turns into an essay.
Lots of useful feedback has been coming in from the 'closed alpha' playtesting. The good news is I've ironed out the wrinkles so the basic elements of the mod (the conversions, the custom assets, etc) should work straight out of the box. Obviously I cannot account for compatibility with every other Skyrim mod out there but it should play nice with most of the more popular ones.
That's all very good news - but when I have ever posted good news without posting about a hiccup of some kind?
The big hiccup is related to something I have not officially revealed as a feature for this very reason - I wasn't sure if it was going to work. I might still regret revealing more about this now since I've always tried to be careful about over-promising things but hey, maybe some transparency isn't a bad thing.
So we we go, reveal time.
A lot of you have noticed that things like screenshots and videos have not been forthcoming on this mod page, and keeping this feature quiet is the reason. The bulk of my work on the mod over the last year or two has not been on the conversion of vanilla content (which is mostly done), but on the creation of a brand new, custom branching quest-line: The War For The Iron Throne.
The idea behind this questline is...ambitious to say the least. The keen-eyed among you may have noticed that I had kept some key players - Robb Stark, Joffrey Baratheon, Stannis Baratheon and Daenerys Targaryen - away from converted vanilla NPCs and made them their own independent NPCs. This wasn't just so the player could recruit them as followers but to give me a blank canvas to turn these four faction leaders into the primary questgivers of the WftIT questline.
Scripting is the meat-and-bones of any custom questline and it's taken me a couple of years just to learn enough about it to put together the framework of the quests, objective triggers, cut-scenes, etc. However Skyrim's engine is notoriously fickle for running these kinds of ambitious scripts and that - combined with me learning as I go - means that this has not translated as well as I had hoped to a fresh copy of the game when playtesting it on my friend's PC. It works (just) but it's very buggy and I get the impression I'm only beginning to scratch the surface of what potential problems there could be with the quest stuff.
I was prepared for as much however, and from the start I made sure anything directly related to the WftIT questline was built in a separate .esp mod file to the main adaptation mod - when playing around with scripting and quests, I didn't want to potentially corrupt the main file with some stupid amateur mistake.
What does this mean in simple terms? Well it means that if push comes to shove, I can simply "unplug" the custom questline from the rest of the main conversion mod without rendering the rest of it useless. That's good, even if it isn't as awesome.
Which leads me to my current conundrum. I really wanted WftIT to be an awesome surprise on release where people would see it and go "WTF where did this come from?! I had no idea he was working on this!" and a part of me still wants to try and blow your minds that way. But on the other hand, it really has been a LONG time waiting for some version of the mod to come out and with Season 8 of the show on the horizon now seems as good as a time as any to enter the final stretch for a release.
So what does the realm do when they're not sure on the path to take? They call a Great Council to ask all the lords of the realm what they think should be done.
So Great Council, leave your thoughts in the comments below I guess. Do you want:
A) A release of the mod that sticks to the main adaptation elements (vanilla dialogue/text conversions, modded locations, customized NPCs, converted adversaries, some new places to explore, etc) but lacks a custom quest-line or any other cool custom scripts (incl. other minor features like triggering a mini-Red Wedding in the Twins).
B) Hold out a little longer and wait for a mod that has all the above but also gets some kick-ass custom quests with branching options and (hopefully, though this will be the last stage) fully voiced custom dialogue and other cool shit that you can do with custom scripts.
Yep, see I told you this would turn into an essay. I pity the poor ravens having to carry this novel of a scroll across the Seven Kingdoms.
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