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mod development npc github aran whitehand to-do-list beta

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#1 cmorgan

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 08:23 AM

Well, he pretty much works - there are several things still to do, but he appears pretty much playable. Every once in awhile, he says "PLACEHOLDER", which is jarring, but hey, the boy was literally born yesterday. (OK, so he is a few years old, but *you* try being a fictional character added to a fantasy game.)

Successful integration of most adult materials into general files. So, if you poke, expect to run across some stuff that you might find offensive. Think bad fanfic sex with a decidedly "purple prose" approach. That turned out to be over a year of work just figuring it out - I highly recommend thinking several times before doing much besides "fade to black". Trying to implement player choice without dictating in something as subjective as that? Murder.

One sacrificial pre-alpha tester reported problems with weighting in inns, still backtracking.
Still to integrate and rework before beta test release:
  • "Send him on to another place" materials need coordinates and coding to actually move him.
  • bath in an inn romance materials (currently marked PLACEHOLDER)
  • several swimming pathways, both male and female, are chopped off short.
  • Quest materials and dialog for Teldra the Recruiter
  • Revamp and integration of adult materials (the "booty call" PID stuff) into ToB
  • ToB friend talks (still on the drawing board - may be very short (3) for the initial beta release.)
  • Definitely not yet under control = marking all pathways with appropriate c-aranintimate registration - right now, there are plenty of places where you can kiss the lad (or do a heckuvu lot more) and it doesn't register to influence other talks.

Stuff to ask Beta testers to do when the beta is available:
  • Pathway Check - as a male PC, is there any place where a gender check has been missed, and suddenly a male PC has Aran's hand exploring his pert breasts? As a female PC, is there any place in the friendship talks where there should be options for the female PC to swing the conversation into a flirtation/lovetalk? When does the Girdle of gender-Bender not get checked for and his reaction modified?
  • Female PCs - is there any place where he goes from 0 to 60mph in less than two lines, unasked? [PC] "Heya. How are things" > [ARAN] (His rough cheek presses close to yours.) This is a real concern with ESL, too. Subtlety and language play does not always translate well.
  • Pre-tester reported a good "negative" - some of the wordy back-and-forth banters are too much where they are leading into action with an NPC. Many of them could be controlled for player enjoyment by adding PC responses to the initial Aran statement, so when he gets rolling with several NPCs PC could just say "TO BATTLE!" and the rest of the sequence would be dropped. That would match the "silencer" action of PID.
  • In Adult-Land, the creation of having many different encounters and trying to make them unique used randomness extensively. Are there pathways that have ended up missing the opportunity to just hold hands? just kiss? Say "no"? Vamp him? Jump his bones? Tell him to f*** off?
  • In Friendship-Land, does he react well enough to conditions to maintain interest for PC?

Some ideas that will need to wait until after beta release;
  • Traification will help cut codebloat/size dramatically, especially as I will be using the same master ,tra file for SoA and ToB. And help with spellchecking. But I am still tinkering, and don't want to mess with .tra yet.
  • ToB Romance Pathway. I scrapped the whole run, and am starting over. It was all angst, no fun. Life is too short to be constantly depressed.
  • So much detail, yet so many things that could be extended... the problem with being a hack amateur writer is there is no real edit/revision in the proper sense. Less is often more, but here, more is more and more and more.... luckily, I only have myself to please style_emoticons/default/smile.gif
  • All those ideas about using the new inn as adventure initiation need to be set aside for a bit.
  • resolution talks for romance in SoA (right now there are the standard Tree of life, but I haven't tackled the big "R Y T 1" finale. has to happen before beta, but will definitely need to be revised after feedback.
  • Currently, when you ask him about the relationship, the player can create "revisionist history", changing the variables. This probably will stay in for the beta, so that when a playtester finds something that loops or doesn't like the way things are going, they have an additional way of changing stuff to new settings without using the console.

So, backup of current dialog files, decompiled via DLTCEP/WeiDU for troubleshooting/recheck, as of 08.28.2011

Depreciated - please follow on www.github.com


Notes to file under "never do this" - or at least recheck
1. WeiDU "unterminated comment" is the most frustrating thing ever to recheck - and it is not WeiDU's fault. It is entirely PEBCAK. I have started using both JEdit and NotePad++ auto-completion to make sure ( has ), [ has ], and most of all, there is no /* /* */ */
One useful regexp I found was \/\*.+\/\* very useful for finding where block commenting as taken a turn for the bizzare. I have given up on single line // commenting, finding it too easy for my non-programmer brain to forget that a newline in there is a PITA.

2. I like the use of a simple standard numbering of added states, a.k.a. a1 to a3799, but when working with multiple files make sure you have a master list that you keep up to date. That way you don't end up with a mess when you go back and mass-replace HAVE_A_NEW_BRANCH with a3500, only to find out the master number is already at a3770. With my memory challenges, the conversion serves as a re-check for pathway, making sure that a3770 is actually matching conversational flow, but that only works when you are very careful with your record-keeping. Of course, most NPCs don't require this level of OCD, as weidu accepts MY_YOU_LOOK_GOOD as a state label. In Aran, though, I'd be very likely to write that as a state label multiple times in multiple places.

3. I am now a big fan of the "compile early and often". It has been hard with Aran, as there are so many places where dialog is crosslinked. But I seriously am happy with WeiDU and DLTCEP compilation after every blasted added talk, if necessary, even if it is probably not needed. + +, missing tildes, ~~~, etc. all can be searched and fixed in a good programmer's editor, but something always seems to make it through that process. Nothing more frustrating than having a file that compiles, another file that compiles, merging them into a master file, and then having "unterminated comment" be the bane of your existence for a 4 hour modding session...

Edited by cmorgan, 23 November 2011 - 04:19 PM.

I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by. - Douglas Adams

#2 Pretsal

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 10:56 AM

Great news! Glad to hear old aran is still kicking and... strangely enough newborn.
Thanks for all the hard work you've put in to him, cant wait to see him at release :)

#3 the bigg

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 10:59 AM

Can I recommend using git (for ex. with GitHub) to keep incremental backups of your mod's development?
Italian users: help test the Stivan NPC!

Author or Co-Author: WeiDU - Widescreen - Generalized Biffing - Refinements - TB#Tweaks - IWD2Tweaks - TB#Characters - Traify Tool - Some mods that I won't mention in public
Maintainer: Semi-Multi Clerics - Nalia Mod - Nvidia Fix
Code dumps: Detect custom secondary types - Stutter Investigator

If possible, send diffs, translations and other contributions using Git.

#4 cmorgan

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 11:42 AM

I'll go take a look - I like Taleworld's BugTracker stuff, but it is a bit more than I need, I think. But if I can figure it out, git sounds like a good idea. I'll go poke about!
I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by. - Douglas Adams

#5 cmorgan

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 12:23 PM

..aaaand - set up, readme committed. I will go poke about and get files up in the project. Thanks, the bigg - it looks more daunting than in actually is.

edit: Very cool. Whole working backup of existing files up on github. Now, i have to get back to work!

Edited by cmorgan, 28 August 2011 - 01:02 PM.

I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by. - Douglas Adams

#6 the bigg

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 01:44 PM

Glad to hear you got it working. If/when you have the time/inclination, it think it could be helpful to other modders if you would write a git how-to aimed at 'normal' people instead of nerds.
Italian users: help test the Stivan NPC!

Author or Co-Author: WeiDU - Widescreen - Generalized Biffing - Refinements - TB#Tweaks - IWD2Tweaks - TB#Characters - Traify Tool - Some mods that I won't mention in public
Maintainer: Semi-Multi Clerics - Nalia Mod - Nvidia Fix
Code dumps: Detect custom secondary types - Stutter Investigator

If possible, send diffs, translations and other contributions using Git.

#7 cmorgan

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 02:38 PM

Sounds like another good idea, though I have to say, GitHub (with Git Bash and Git GUI automatically installed) did a good job for windows users used to GUI stuff. It broke down when it stopped hand-holding, for folks who don't use command line, but that just means that is the part than needs a walk-through.
I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by. - Douglas Adams

#8 the bigg

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 02:33 PM

Possibly Git's GUI has improved enough to not require hand-holding. However, all I know is that, when I started using it, asking translations to be sent via Git was enough to reduce grown men to tears; moreover, since I'm convinced that routine usage of Git could be beneficial to the community*, having a newbie-friendly, non-command-line tutorial to follow would be Good™ :)

*: pragmatically, using Git (or other SCMs) makes it trivial to share fixes/translations/improvements with the author or between co-authors; more controversially, having public backups means that you're insured against "accidental" hard disk crashes, and people can play a "90% mod" or take over an abandoned project.
Italian users: help test the Stivan NPC!

Author or Co-Author: WeiDU - Widescreen - Generalized Biffing - Refinements - TB#Tweaks - IWD2Tweaks - TB#Characters - Traify Tool - Some mods that I won't mention in public
Maintainer: Semi-Multi Clerics - Nalia Mod - Nvidia Fix
Code dumps: Detect custom secondary types - Stutter Investigator

If possible, send diffs, translations and other contributions using Git.

#9 cmorgan

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 12:25 PM

Heh. I now understand the "grown man to tears" - I am struggling with some of the "go back and fix the comments on the commit", and have managed to have a few odd moments remembering to pull changes to the master made online to the local copy before pushing changes from local to master. It still is a bit arcane at times for us non-programmer types. More grist for a tutorial, though. The GUI has some limitations, mostly as it forces a certain much more concrete way of thinking.

On the community thing, I agree wholeheartedly on all counts. But that would be obvious, as I am posting everything here :) .
I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by. - Douglas Adams

#10 Miloch

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Posted 02 September 2011 - 02:54 AM

I have to ask, possibly just because I'm ignorant. What advantages does Git have for a single-author project? As opposed to a multi-author project - I'm well aware of the advantages of version control in that case. Not that version control doesn't have its advantages for a single author, but I don't know if a revision management system isn't overkill for one author. (Also, perhaps I'm a bit leery due to its name.) If it's just for keeping a backup, cmorgan has been keeping one here anyway (or can, at any rate).
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#11 lynx

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Posted 02 September 2011 - 03:40 AM

You can document your changes by grouping them in commits, which comes handy when you need to look back why you did some code block like it is x years ago. You can use branches, stashes to try temporary changes without temporary backups, plus you can easily see the baseline/actual changes. Great for regression finding by bisection. And it is a better archiving solution than any single host, because as soon as someone clones it, you have a distributed backup. If gitweb is used, people can easily view and get the files from their browser; follow development and comment on changes as they happen. If something better like github and gitorious is used you can get by-line comments and the project easily becomes multi-author ... The benefits are pretty much the same. :)

btw, the name is intentionally leery, because it started pretty much as a hack.
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#12 cmorgan

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 06:54 AM

Additional advantage to GitHub - brave/foolhardy players who want to jump in and try stuff early can provide awesome feedback, and fixes can be integrated and distributed as quickly as you can write them.

Disadvantage - without learning about branching (keeping things simple) if you do major changes you may have to wait to upload stuff if it has the potential to break other things. So... I am off to learn about branching and re-merging stuff.

I have a feeling, lynx, that the "branches, stashes to try temporary changes without temporary backups" may prove to be the best reason yet to try this git thing out.
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