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Developer Diary

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#1 Thorium Dragon

Thorium Dragon

    Hard at work...

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 10:56 AM

May 1, 2005

I have returned home with some more work being done with the dialog and am now in the process of gathering programs and tutorials to begin code creation.

I still feel much of the dialog regarding Valen's personal history and relationship with the protagonist needs a bit more polish, however. I will continue to refine this portion of the dialog into the coding stage.

May 3, 2005

I couldn't really get my head into dialog or coding today so I've spent the evening writing a few more items for the new forge available in the Valen Expansion.

I've started on a few vampire-specific items that Valen could use to enhance her powers and downplay her vulnerabilities (slightly).

Also, I've looked into changing the way level drain behaves so it doesn't cause it's target to turn to stone and destroy items. My assumption is that the Bioware programmers made it this way so an NPC slain by

level-drain would be unressurectable and therefore adopted this clumsy solution.

I can't help but think there is a better way.

I'll have to think more on this.

May 4, 2005

Today, I listened to my Disturbed "Believe" CD and felt inspired to sketch out a chunk of Valen's redemption dialog near the end of the game.

I felt pretty good about what I had come up with but now I need some time away from the dialog to see if I still like it in a couple of days.

Tomorrow, I'll spend some time laying out the "relationship" dialog with a mind toward pacing it along with the in-game storyline.

May 11, 2005

I'm have been spending the last few days recovering data from and repairing a troublesome drive. Unfortunatly, it's still not done.

Hopefully, I can get everything fixed and back on track by the end of today.

In the meantime, I am using my laptop to get some other work done polishing up the "relationship" dialog (luckily all my work is backed up on my USB drive). I'm finally nearing the point where I am satisfied with

the overall pacing of the dialog in relationship to the overall story.

May 12, 2005

Well, after a caffeine-induced all-nighter, I have determined the problem with the hard drive to be mechanical and therefore unfixable. I had given up trying to restore the drive into windows and began to


For the first time that I've ever seen, formatting has failed. I had taken this to be a sign of serious mechanical malfunction and thus beyond the scope of drive-recovery methods.

The all-night attempt to restore the drive has ended, and now the arduous attempt at data recovery has begun.

Time to break out the Monster Energy Drink...

May 17, 2005

After returning from my monthly weekend getaway with the Air National Guard, I'm now ready to throw myself into tying up the loose ends with the Valen Expansion.

Unfortunately, my data recovery efforts have to take priority over anything else, so I'll be spending the next couple of days dealing with that.

What fun.

May 18, 2005

The data recovery effort continues. With a little luck, one more all-nighter will have everything squared away.

Almost there?

May 22, 2005

Data recovery is complete. Finally, I can get back to work on Valen.

Next step is to quality control all the dialog and get into the preliminary coding. Luckily a fair amount of detailed tutorials are available so hopefully this won't be too painful.

Let's see how it goes?

May 23, 2005

While mapping out Valen's power and special ability progression, I had an idea.

The number and type of Valen's special abilities should depend on how the PC influences her personality and development.

For example, if the PC arouses the more subtle and seductive side of her personality, her charm powers will grow in intensity. If her more vicious side is encouraged, she will develop her combat-related powers

to a higher degree.

The more I think about it, the more I like it. Now I have to think of a way to code this.

Back to work I go?

May 24, 2005

I'm going to shift gears from dialog for the time being and focus on coding.

I've spent some time today researching tutorials and other resources that will help me get started.

My goal is to have all the simple dialog interjections coded into WeiDU by Friday.

Jun 2, 2005

A very preliminary installation has been coded. More time will now be spent creating the various character class .CRE files for Valen.

Jun 5, 2005

Finished work on the redemption-related dialog and story. For more information, see the Valen Redemption thread.

Jun 6, 2005

I've spent time planning out Valen's various class options and making ability score adjustments to each class and figuring out what customized items to assign to her.

Jun 14, 2005

The past couple of days were spent thinking about how to balance out Valen's powers and weaknesses.

Jun 20, 2005

It seems I've run into a powerful case of writer's block.

I think I need to take a small break from Valen and just enjoy the game, just to give me a chance to miss her.

There are a number of NPC mods that I want to try out that look very interesting. Perhaps experiencing a successful, completed NPC mod will help the creative juices to flow again.

I'll still be poking around the forum and answering any questions while I deal with some issues concerning coding and item creation- the core of Valen's vampire powers.

Jun 20, 2005

I'm currently in the process of upgrading my desktop, laptop, and home network.

Aug 31, 2005

I have returned from my trip out of town and look forward to some (but not much) free time to complete the upgrades and repairs to my desktop, laptop, and home network.

With a little luck that will all be finished by the end of the week and I can resume work on the Valen Expansion. I had hoped to get some done on my laptop while out of town, but 12-hour shifts left me with little

time to do anything but work and sleep.

Sep 20, 2005

Lots of personal concerns and a substantial computer and network upgrade are still left to be done. I'll get back to the Valen Expansion as soon as that is completed.

Oct 12, 2005

Computer and network upgrades are complete, and now work on the Valen Expansion can resume.

Oct 29, 2005

Much work has been done on the Valen Expansion- mostly organizational.

I am getting everything in order to prepare for coding. I feel pretty good about what I have written, so now it's time to get into the coding phase. I plan to start with simple interjections and do a playthrough to

create several savepoints in order to test the time and story-sensitive coding aspects

Jan 3, 2006

Life has been very hectic these past few months since I last updated my progress, and unfortunatly shows no sign of letting up soon.

After the holidays, I planned to resume work in earnest but due to a death in my immediate family shortly after Christmas, it has been very difficult to regain motivation to continue the Valen Expansion. I'm sure

my motivation will return, but I can't say when right now.

I do want to finish the project, and am considering "outsourcing" the coding phase to others, as has been suggested. I have not made a formal solicitation for help in that regard but I am considering it.

I'll keep you posted...

Jan 15, 2006

Now that my personal affairs are taken care of, I can resume my work on the Valen Expansion. Hopefully, I can get something ready for release (even if it is only a limited-function beta) in the next couple of


Let's see what happens...

Mar 18, 2006

I have played through the game and have created all of the savepoints.

I will begin with coding and testing simple interjections and then progress to more complicated coding.

Mar 23, 2006

I have successfully tested some very basic interjections, and now I will move on to inserting all the simple interjections that I have written.

The coding phase has now begun, in earnest, but I'm still a bit intimidated by the advanced coding elements that will come in later stages.

The next step is to include Booter's interjections, most of which are attached to Valen's material.

Mar 28, 2006

I'm taking a break from coding to perform some system maintenance.

Overall, the coding seems to be moving along without any major issues.

Apr 8, 2006

Some more work on coding and some revisions on the writing.

Also, I am considering adding some "hidden" features to the Valen Expansion, with the loadscreens or some books scattered in the game as clues.

Apr 22, 2006

Coding is turning out to be harder than I thought, and to think- I'm still doing the interjections.

I'm taking a small break from the Valen Expansion to do some computer reconfigurations that I have recently discovered the need for.

That shouldn't take long, so I should be back to coding soon.

May 2, 2006

An unwanted computer reconfiguration due to a defective sound card has eaten into my Valen development time.

Also, tomorrow, I interview for a job at a blood plasma collection center... an irony, perhaps?

Sep 9, 2006

The past couple of months have been filled with computer problems that left me offline and unable to work on coding Valen.

Now that I have a functioning computer again, I can get back to work on Valen.

I know better than to make predictions about a timetable, but I am setting a goal for an alpha release by the end of the year.

Nov 14, 2006

By the end of the week I will have my new computer assembled and my laptop repaired. This will allow more time for my work on Valen.

I'm still on track for an alpha release by the end of the year.

Feb 6, 2007

Alright. I just returned from a trip away from home where I was able to get a good chunk of work done on the Valen Expansion.

As of now, all dialog is written and all scripting mapped out. While away I tried my first attempt at coding.

Unfortunately, not a damn thing worked.

Clearly, I'll have to look at this thing from the ground up and give myself a good, disciplined education on WeiDU coding. This will be a deviation from my plan to mix and adapt code sampled from online tutorials and other mods.

Apr 2, 2007

So far, I have managed to work some simple interjections and build a few items. I plan to move on to more complicated scripting by the end of the month.

Jul 27, 2007

Simple interjections are a success, and the more advanced scripting seems to be functioning as intended.

Dec 9 2007

Minor story content cleanup and proofreading.

Jul 28 2008

I've just returned from a business trip and completed work on three new computers, two for friends and one for myself. I've done some script testing while away on my laptop and discovered many problems. Now that I have a (hopefully) stable computer to work with, I can now begin anew.

Aug 10 2008

My desktop computer goes under the screwdriver again to diagnose a bad memory module.

(Note to all system builders: get a freeware memory diagnostic tool, burn it to CD and run it on a machine before installing the OS. It can save you a ton of trouble.)

Nov 10 2008

I was making some hopeful progress on the Valen Expansion the past couple of months, so naturally something unexpected has to wreck it.

I turned on my laptop to find it pretty much dead and unresponsive, all I could get out of it is a power light- no display, not even a POST beep.

My laptop housed all the updated information I had on the project, but not all is lost. I will remove the hard drive and put it into an external drive case to and see if I can recover my files before sending the laptop back to be repaired.

Worst case scenario, the hard drive is toast and I will have to reconstruct stuff from my older notes that I have backed up before working on the laptop.

June 26, 2009

Still problems with the laptop. I'm dealing with warranty repair with Alienware to get it fixed. I have, however, managed to extract the hard drive and recover my work from the laptop.

I'm having some issues with my desktop now, but none are critical (yet). I have a few issues that I want to sort out before I can do any in-game stuff. I don't want to risk anything.

In the meantime, I'll just continue to do dialog and proofreading, as I've been doing until I can get back into a serious attempt at coding.

Edited by Thorium Dragon, 22 November 2009 - 07:26 AM.