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Aran Whitehand: Character Introduction

npc mod development tutorial fan fiction aran whitehand

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#16 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 05:22 AM

Sorry if this has already been mentioned somewhere and I've missed it, but what weapons does he use (or are you allowing us to L1NPCs him and decide for ourselves)? And will there be a suggested level that we should dual-class him at (maybe this question is applicable to all dual-class fighters)?

Oh, and you have ""Bugger of, you sorry old jackass..." in the Alignment section.

Regarding eventual voicing, are you going to go the Gavin route and just have spoken lines for command and selection, or will the whole thing be voiced?

#17 cmorgan

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 07:16 AM

Thanks for the typo report - will fix!

Sorry if this has already been mentioned somewhere and I've missed it, but what weapons does he use (or are you allowing us to L1NPCs him and decide for ourselves)?


For his class, I am looking at allowing the player to determine what of the 4 base configurations are installed, and he starts as a fighter with those stats. Then the player can dual-class him to whatever they have in mind. Originally, I was going to distribute him SCS-Level0 style, where the .cre is L0 with the right number of XP and the player has complete control over when dualling takes place, but alternatively I can either beg Nythrun to let him into Level1NPCs, or outright borrow her code and run it at the end of the install as a separate component, so folks who want to make him a Kensai or whatever will be able to change class and equipment.

The thing I am trying to work through right now with this is: is it better to simply follow traditional approaches, since experienced players will micromanage using things like Ashes of Empire, SCS, BG2 Tweaks, Learn Through Use, etc., or do I go with a customized system that means more install choices and time? My current leaning is to get him into Level1NPCs, with a traditional .cre, becuase so far that gives the players the widest options.

Equipment:
Since he is a "standard" sellsword mustered out of the Flaming Fist, I figured Flaming Fist gear (long sword and shield) with an appropriate +1 or +2 to the long sword, because he is a seasoned adventurer. He doesn't have any specialized gear or scripts, and his quest is not going to provide anything only usable by him. In fact, the way I am trying to approach him is a twist on Miera and Darious' Amber concept. Basically, if I had a multiplayer game with a friend, and we were working through the game, what would the friend want to say? If he works out reasonably, then he can be the PC's sidekick. Useful, doesn't take over, lots of opportunities for interaction, but still secondary to the main story.

And will there be a suggested level that we should dual-class him at (maybe this question is applicable to all dual-class fighters)?

Not from me :blush: I think the best dudes and dudettes around for that kind of question reside at Sorcerer's Place. Lots of good players over there who can run down the stats and let you know precisely when to dual him from Kensai to Mage to get the most use/powerful build. But since Aran is more of a roleplayer's toy, I haven't gone into that kind of analysis. If the folks at Sorceror's Place lay some knowledge on me, I'll add it into the release documents, with source credit, of course.


...voicing...

I am not sure. I like the bg1npc/Gavin approach, with music instead of voicing, because I find the voicings of lines jarring rather than immersive. They also have a functional limitation - the words often don't match the speech (any tokens like <CHARNAME>, <PRO_HIMHER> etc. have to be worked around). The soundset is obligatory, but the voicings in lines mean locking them down 9finding someone to voice is hard enough - matching revoicing is worse). Plus, I want romance folks to be able to place the inflection where they want it inside their mind, as the options usually support all sorts of roleplay. I don't want to script the "insolent-mean" option via sound when someone else might read he same lines as "insolent-teasing". But I haven't made any decisions on it.
I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by. - Douglas Adams

#18 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 02:30 PM

I'm sure Nythrun wouldn't mind him being a part of the Level 1 NPCs family, and it might be better this way so we can alter all our NPCs in one go with that mod. The only thing you have to watch with Level 1 NPCs and mod NPCs is, I suppose, whether the NPC gets a certain weapon during a quest or something (I doubt that too many people have Jaheira using a club, but BG1 NPC gives one to her anyway as a quest reward, as you already know). I'm guessing from what you've said that this won't be an issue with Aran.

I'll probably make Aran a dual-class F/T, and start him off with 2 stars Long Sword and 2 stars Long Bow. From there, I could develop him into a melee fighter (5 stars Long Sword + Single Weapon Style or Sword and Shield Style) or a ranged fighter (5 stars Long Bow).

I think I read something a while back about either level 7, 9 or 13 being best for dualling from a fighter, but I can't remember why it was these particular levels. 13 is obviously quite late on, so maybe 7 or 9 would be better if you want him to do the thieving thing for most of the game. This is something I can consider closer to the release date.

As for voicing, I'm quite happy with only command/selection being voiced if that makes life easier. And I suppose it is much easier to get perfect audio (same volume as Bioware NPCs, no background noise etc.) with only a handful of lines voiced.

I must say that I don't only like the look of this NPC, but also the way in which you're developing him. I wonder, could this be the future of NPC modding?!

Best of luck for the future.

#19 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 05:51 AM

I've been thinking about maybe making Aran a F/M, but have him operate more like Nalia than a typical melee F/M. So I'd have him put prof points in long bow, long sword and single weapon style, but get him up to 5 stars in long bow first, with him attacking from range when necessary. His spells would be used to damage the enemy or buff the party, rather than buff himself. There's a lack of these "pure" mage types in the game I think, and if I dual him early then he'll be able to get to a high mage level.

The only thing I'm wondering about is his style of talking. Are the things he says suited to someone of high inteligence? I appreciate that you need to write the dialogue for every possible class he can be, but with the "Thinker" configuration so much more intelligent than the others, I wonder how well this'll work. I'm more curious than doubting, though.

#20 cmorgan

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 07:01 AM

Well, if I am writing him reasonably, his language is by choice and custom, rather than by knowledge. He is suposed to be pretty darned smart, bith in street sense and in intelligence, having picked up mathematics, scribing, quill creation, ink creation, vellup and parchament crafting, trading, fighting, multiple languages (spoken and written), and done all this while either ravelling about in a familty Trading Coster wagon or following mercenary adventure. There is alot of sitting-around-timeon guard duty, but ask the dudes and dudettes travelling convoy protection in Iraq right now if they have time ro read on duty - my bet is that watching for the next thing that is going to attack you is a but attention consuming :blush:

I think you may have identified a weakness in this kind of mod construction, though. I have been writing his character based on a character, not specifically the set of stats - so if someone drops his intelligence to low or escalates it, I have to fall back on "creative adjustment" - in other words, excuses as to why he would react the way he would react, regardless of score. My current "creative readjustment" (bulltookey) is that his class and race and other variable pathways are character driven, from a guy who may or may not be pretty darned smart, but if he is, it has been self-taught and itinerant-scholar taught; a diamond in the rough, uncut and polished. And if the stat is low, well, it is a mirical he is able to do all this. If it is too high, then he has been lazy/preoccupied :blush:
I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by. - Douglas Adams

#21 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 09:00 AM

That makes sense, and provided he's well-written, I'm sure the writing will fit regardless of which version we've installed. I look forward to seeing how other people decide to make use of him, once he's been released.

#22 EpitomyofShyness

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 11:41 PM

I've gotta be honest, I've fallen out of playing Baldur's Gate, (no matter how much I love it), but as soon as I see 'available for download Aran Whitehand' I will be glued back to my good ole IE game. This looks absolutely brilliant.

I could list all the reason I like it but my post would probaly be two pages long.

#23 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 04:36 AM

what does he think about nathaniel ? this would be especially interesting to know, since he is a former member of the flaming fist as well

#24 Aion

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 05:07 AM

Kari - "Nice enough furrball, an' she's developin' some skills. Still scared o' her own shadow, though. She blushes about as much as I do, an' somehow I think th' gods have a nasty sense o' humor. Now where is she goin' to find someone to love her, eh? That just stinks. I spent way too long fendin' off kobold raids, an seein' them as scavenging animals. Not sure I can ever take her serious, as a party member an' all."


Kari: Then I have something to prove to you, it seems... Y-You'd be wise not to generalize. Also, I hope you'll one day grow up and see love for what it really is, unrestricted by gender, species, religion, or anything else. I may be a young pup in comparison, but your attitude saddens me.

Seriously though, interesting bloke, this guy. I should've checked him out sooner.
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#25 MissBehave

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 11:21 AM

I'm so glad I didn't take interest in this mod any sooner. I think the wait would have killed me by now. Patience is a virtue, patience is a virtue.. *sigh* Just not one of mine! :blush:

#26 Kai of Candlekeep

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 02:16 PM

Please release this mod!!!!!! **Excited**

#27 Cahir

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 10:02 AM

So, cmorgan, what is ETA on final release? Will it be compatible with EE?

Aran bought me to the core when I read his banter with Keldorn :) To say well written is an understatement.
Then they summoned me over to join in with them
To the dance of the dead
Into the circle of fire I followed them
Into the middle I was led

#28 cmorgan

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 12:28 PM

I have a working beta up on github, and have successful installations and tests on SoA and ToB installs, so he is pretty much ready to go from that standpoint. On the BGII:EE side, I have successful installs, but no real full playthrough tests.

For a version 1, i am ok with missing some of the content I wanted in; he s already pretty extensive. Plus, there is always version 2. But his voiceovers and real soundset need addressing (a problem with the quasi "celtic-gaelic-welsh-english" mishmash; I thought I'd hire a voice actor but have yet to gather together the funds) [probably not happening before v1 goes live] and before he rolls out the door initially I need to lock down a talk in ToB to set the player choices for epilogues, write a few more possible branches for those, and then test them at least a little on BGII and BGII:EE.

I am hoping v1 ships before the end of November. I just know that by typing that out, the chances just went down 40% :D
I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by. - Douglas Adams



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