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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » NWN2 - J.E. Sawyer & The Black Hound Mod

Default NWN2 - J.E. Sawyer & The Black Hound Mod

January 9th, 2007, 16:53
In a thread on the Obsidian forums and posting as rope kid on Something Awful, J.E. Sawyer has revealed he is working on a private NWN2 mod project to recreate The Black Hound (aka Jefferson, aka Baldur's Gate 3). Here's a taste:
I'm going to pretend this is a toolset/custom content thread! I've been working on a personal project in recent free time (mostly spent recovering from wisdom teeth being removed). In addition to learning a lot about mapping, I'm starting to get involved in scripting (which I've actually never done much of) and creating custom icons.

Today I worked on aspects of the epithet system for the campaign I'm building. Epithets are specialized reputations that are built over time across the campaign. Unlike local reputations that may only affect interactions with NPCs within a set of maps, epithets draw reactions from characters all over the campaign — though they are very spread out.

The system itself is pretty simple. Each epithet has a global variable that is incremented in coversation (and occasionally outside of conversation). When the character has increased that particular variable enough, they will be "awarded" with the epithet, which takes the form of a feat. The feat has no statistical bonus, but is occasionally checked in NPC conversations.

Anyway, I made a bunch of icons for the feats today and I am pretty happy with how they turned out.
In typical Sawyer fashion, he doesn't directly announce the project but gets straight to discussing the mechanics, with plenty of hints on offer. A shot of the aforementioned icons labelled The Black Hand can be found in either thread, along with a shot from the first town. Answering a question on the Obsidian forums, Josh goes on to say:
I might wrangle a few assets out of some people if I can convince them to help me. Other folks are contributing advice on level building and scripting and generally just offering encouraging comments.

The only assets I can use from the original game are the design docs I wrote and the dialogues I wrote.

I don't really want it to become a premium module. I'd rather work on it by myself as a personal project with all of the inherent benefits and limitations that come with that. I think it will probably take me between 1 and 3 years to fully build.
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January 9th, 2007, 16:53
:cough: Vaporware :cough: hahah
Originally Posted by Sawyer
I don't really want it to become a premium module. I'd rather work on it by myself as a personal project with all of the inherent benefits and limitations that come with that. I think it will probably take me between 1 and 3 years to fully build.
Wonder if he'll use Obsidian's 3.5 dnd rules ~ NWN2 version that ships from the box or make some hardcore homebrew modifications himself. Sawyer always stroke as a genuine rules lawyer type.
Originally Posted by Sawyer
Permadeath with a "death's door"-style system is planned.
One step closer to 3.5 dnd at least.
Last edited by Surlent; January 9th, 2007 at 17:02.
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January 9th, 2007, 17:10
Somehow I don't think it'll be "vaporware". I think he *really* wants to make it so it will likely get done, and the end result will be worth the wait.

Of course it'll be 2 or 3 YEARS from now when it's finished so everyone will have forgotten about it. Hopefully, when it does come out, it'll be a nice little breath of life into NWN2 like Darkness over Daggerford was to NWN.

See, now when it fails you can say "I told you so.", or when it comes out and is fantastic I can say "I told you so."

And now I will forget about it for 3 years.
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January 9th, 2007, 17:28
Yeah, way too early to start speculating this project. But man, this will give Sawyer the chance to bomb Jefferson twice!
Or return it from the software graveyard. Not that the first time was his fault though.
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January 9th, 2007, 18:25
Originally Posted by Majnun View Post
Of course it'll be 2 or 3 YEARS from now when it's finished so everyone will have forgotten about it. Hopefully, when it does come out, it'll be a nice little breath of life into NWN2 like Darkness over Daggerford was to NWN.
I know it takes a long time, and the NWN2 tools are still brand new - are we expecting 20 hour epic modules this month? I think it looks like some cool ideas, and can wait until they get realized!

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January 9th, 2007, 19:38
Musn't have much of a home life if he has time to take on a project of this magnitude, or perhaps he has a lot of free time at work…..

Favourite RPGs of all time: Wizardry 6, Ultima 7/7.2, Fallout2, Planescape Torment, Baldurs Gate 2+TOB, Jagged Alliance 2, Ravenloft: The stone prophet, Gothic 2, Realms of Arkania:Blade of destiny (not the HD version!!) and Secret of the Silver Blades.
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January 10th, 2007, 00:26
Well, you could say that of almost any mod or indie project.

I think it's a fantastic idea and I wish him well. Looking forward to seeing how some of those ideas that were discussed from Jefferson years ago actually work out in gameplay.

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January 10th, 2007, 01:52
I think this is some of the best news I've heard in years. If he pulls it off, I expect it to be top quality; Sawyer knows his stuff!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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January 10th, 2007, 16:43
The other thing it proves to me is that Sawyer is a gamer through and through. He can, and does, make a lot of money for the games he developes. This game he is just doing out of his love for Baldur's Gate. A fan-made project made by a certifiable developer. Cool!

I'd like to give a strong nod to Gary Noonan (WormGod,VXSS). He also took what he loved from Morrowind and greatly improved upon it with a large mod. I was hoping he'd do the same with Oblivion but I think others just beat him to it.

I love it when a published developer makes free content because of his love for the game. It's just too cool.
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January 10th, 2007, 20:00
I've relayed this bit to the Vault and Maximus seems very excited about it Dhruin.

Its already had some excellent side effects on SAwyer. AS you know he was handed the project lead late.

It seems he wasn't all that familiar with Toolset. Now that he is into full bore there's a lot of number doesn't like about it and some bugs he found it. The beauty is he's in a position to do something about it.

J.E. Sawyer - NWN2 Lead Designer, Obsidian Entertainment -

I used the toolset a lot on my own over break and there were a few things that stuck out as particularly painful:

* The toggling of paint/select terrain when adjusting the camera. Really irritating.
* The slowness of the Armor Set tab.
* The wacky relationship between tint values set in the Armor Set tab and the tint values on the creature's basic properties.
* Lack of fixed lights in the preview pane.
* Zero-ing out of z-axis data when copying and pasting groups (e.g. a torch with a flame effect and a light entity).
* That re-baking an area doesn't selectively re-bake individual tiles that have changed since the last bake.
* Overly complex collision meshes on placeables like the rural walls and fences. This can result in absurd bake times unless they are all marked to environment objects with extensive walkmesh cutters built around them.
* The store management interface.

I've written up all of these things for programming and art, so hopefully they can address some of the major issues in the future.
Last edited by Lucky Day; January 10th, 2007 at 20:08.
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January 10th, 2007, 20:02
Cool - the best way to find out how something works is to use it yourself, after all

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January 11th, 2007, 00:42
Thanks for the update LD, while I don't use the toolset myself, I am looking forward to playing heaps of mods, so anything which helps that is good!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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January 13th, 2007, 15:44
Originally Posted by bjon045 View Post
Musn't have much of a home life if he has time to take on a project of this magnitude, or perhaps he has a lot of free time at work…..
Truer words were never spoken…. (at least in this forum thread)

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