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[MOD in the works] Liella, the saucy bard companion

Mod BG2 Liella

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#21 Eric P.

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 05:34 AM

Fantastic progress! Keep up the good work :)


Working and playing under Windows 7 Ultimate on a Mac Pro 3,1 running Mac OS X 10.9.4 Mavericks.

~Buion na 'ell! I serve with joy! Your eyes and ears I shall be. Let us hunt together!~
- Erysseril Gwaethorien: a joinable, romanceable NPC mod for BGII - SoA/ToB, in active development.

A female elf warrior and a Bhaalspawn cross paths during their quests, joining forces to share adventure and companionship. Will they find more?


#22 LiellaMod

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 04:19 AM

Finished the writing this morning. I've begun the rather intimidating process of writing everything into code. Going to be an interesting experience, to say the least!

 

As i finish the first draft of the writing (subject to more reviewing, of course), we've reached quite the impressive number of dialogues, talks, interjections and PIDS. So far, we're quite pleased with the turn-out. 

 

More updates coming once coding takes off a bit :).

 

Also, this is a good time for those of you interested in inter-mod banter to mention what 3rd party NPC's you think Liella should have banters with. Currently, her banters include all of the stock Bioware NPC's as well as all of the BG2:EE NPC's - both in SoA and ToB.

 

Edit: Updated the first post to reflect the current status.


Edited by LiellaMod, 09 March 2014 - 04:28 AM.

| The Liella NPC Mod - adding a extensively written, sensual Bardess to the party | 

 

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#23 -Guest-

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 03:49 AM

I'd love to see interactions with Coran (by Kulyok). Considering his personality, I can definitely imagine some entertaining banters between the two of them :)

In any case, looking forward to your mod.



#24 LiellaMod

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 09:26 AM

Thanks!

So far coding has been a very rewarding experience, thanks to some excellent and quick responses with advice from the people over at G3.

Entering the Banters and Romances has proven to be quite simple - albeit rather time-consuming. I expect to have all of the SoA lovetalks and Banters coded at the end of the week, albeit with very simplified scripts for triggering them. Still, the character is in game, and everything is working out rather well. Once all of the lovetalks, banters and interjections are entered, i'll delve into the more hardcore scripting to make sure that the various events throughout the game work properly and start adding more advanced and accurate conditions for the triggering of certain talks. Many of Liellas talks are triggered by making camp/sleeping and many have certain conditions that need to be met.

Peace out!

Edited by LiellaMod, 11 March 2014 - 09:28 AM.

| The Liella NPC Mod - adding a extensively written, sensual Bardess to the party | 

 

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#25 LiellaMod

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 08:26 AM

Quick update.

Finished coding for all of the dialogue-related SoA parts. Currently, all of the lovetalks, flirts, banters and PID's are entered, resulting in a somewhat barebone but functional mod allowing me to start debugging the portion before moving on. Also need to learn more scripting to bring everything to where it ought to be. Soon, however, i'll apply for a sub-forum and start looking for a tester or two. Liella is currently in alpha, i would say :).

Edited by LiellaMod, 14 March 2014 - 08:26 AM.

| The Liella NPC Mod - adding a extensively written, sensual Bardess to the party | 

 

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#26 LiellaMod

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 08:56 AM

Weekend update!

Whew! Quite an interesting and educational process, scripting the mod.

As of right now, Liella features a large number (9) dreamscrips, most with corresponding morning-after-sleep conversations as well. I'm scripting incremental flirts and PIDS (The further along in the romance you progress, the more and varied flirts and questions will be available). I'm also adding some very specific flirts and questions that become available if the player does very certain things during certain lovetalks. There will also be a forgiveness-PID, if you piss her off but regret your actions , she might (or might not!) forgive you. Apart from a slight bug due to BG2EE, all of the scripts so far work out without a hitch.

The complex scripts for SoA remain - by complex, i'm referring to scripts that will set up encounters (2 of the lovetalks are encounter-based) and this is something i have not yet delved into.

Once these are done however, i will move on to ToB lovetalks and scripts.

Edited by LiellaMod, 16 March 2014 - 08:58 AM.

| The Liella NPC Mod - adding a extensively written, sensual Bardess to the party | 

 

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#27 LiellaMod

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 09:24 AM

Encounter-based lovetalks - DONE. Whew. That was some of the most advanced scripting so far, but it went relatively smooth nonetheless (Thanks to assistance from experienced coders at certain snags). Now i'm sort of working through the SoA part of the mod to make sure that all the variables are acting out correctly, adding a few interjections at certain points and so on :). However, the truly complex scripts of SoA are done.

Also created Liella's unique items :).

Peace out!

Edited by LiellaMod, 18 March 2014 - 09:24 AM.

| The Liella NPC Mod - adding a extensively written, sensual Bardess to the party | 

 

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#28 Glam Vrock

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 03:18 PM

The plan and ambition is to make this mod one of the largest (counting amount of written dialogue, not code or quests) NPC mod for BG2 to date.

 

It's probably too late to point this out, but that's a bad goal. To me, this is like saying "I aim to write the world's longest novel." Why? Anyone can write lots of words. I'd rather read a one page masterpiece than a biblical doorstop.

 

I'm impressed with your dedication, but going by this, you're busting your hump for the wrong reasons. Quality over quantity.



#29 LiellaMod

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 12:55 AM


The plan and ambition is to make this mod one of the largest (counting amount of written dialogue, not code or quests) NPC mod for BG2 to date.

 
It's probably too late to point this out, but that's a bad goal. To me, this is like saying "I aim to write the world's longest novel." Why? Anyone can write lots of words. I'd rather read a one page masterpiece than a biblical doorstop.
 
I'm impressed with your dedication, but going by this, you're busting your hump for the wrong reasons. Quality over quantity.
 
 
 
 
 
 



A fair point, and glad you brought it up. However, at this stage this is rather moot. All of the dialogue branches an are already written and checked once. The only thing that's been edited in the dialogue as far as changing it goes is to add additional lovetalks, banters and PID's to provide consistency and further flow where we felt that the conversations/storytelling stagnated or felt a bit choppy/sudden. While i agree that setting such a goal is pretty bad in general if you intend to work on something, i recall something written by someone (don't remember who) over at G3 about treating mod-writing much like work. In this case - thanks to a luxury of time - that's pretty much what i/we are doing.

Additionally, many larger projects like this as far as modding goes seem to fail because either the modders cannot produce the quantity or quality of writing that they like, or the amount of writing require such an insane amount of coding that they burn out, or a simple lack of time. In our case, the barebone bulk of the writing is already finished (barring revisions and additions, it's done), and the coding has proven less tricky than expected (SoA is more or less done, barring polishing).

Still, in retrospect, it's a classical flaw to have a goal such as that - if things had been different, we could very well have set ourselves up for failure as well as being a generally confrontational statement towards other modders. I've edited it out.

Thanks for your input :).

Edited by LiellaMod, 19 March 2014 - 07:45 AM.

| The Liella NPC Mod - adding a extensively written, sensual Bardess to the party | 

 

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#30 Glam Vrock

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 11:28 AM

I’m not worried about it going unfinished, judging by your rate of progress. I’m worried about the standard of the writing. When you say you’re aiming to make “the biggest mod”, that tells me you’re more concerned about writing a lot than writing well. Why does the size matter?



#31 LiellaMod

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 11:52 AM

Why does size matter? An excellent question!

As i wrote in my initial, now-edited post, there are several types of NPC mods out there. The two i find most easily recognizable are the following:

* The type of mod that aims to provide the player with an additional NPC for finishing the game, adding a few banters, maybe a friendship track and/or a smaller romance track.
* The type of mod that aims to provide the player with an NPC with a very in-depth story, adding not only an NPC but quests and very in-depth stories - a separate dimension to the game play, as it were. There are numerous examples of this already published.

Our ambition is obviously to have Liella be part of the latter. Both of us are avid lovers of the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting as well as the Baldur's Gate series. I would further argue that the level of involvement one can reach with an NPC is dependent on two things - the quality of the writing and the length of the romance/friendship, with both having definite importance. Obviously your writing needs to be qualitative to reach your audience - otherwise your NPC becomes stagnant and hardly believable. However - an NPC with too few talks, too few occasions to offer insight into what drives them, their past and their motivations, will fall flat in offering the sort of experience to players that we're looking for. This is not an NPC mod for people looking to plough their way through the game once more as quickly and efficiently as possible - Liella is hardly the most skilled combatant, nor the most prodigious spellcaster out there. Her value in combat - while being able to hold her own - will be limited. Instead, we're catering to those who want to be regaled a story. Furthermore, due to the way we're designing her, she'll have excellent replay-value, like any NPC with multiple possible romance/friendship lines and/or endings.

Our story won't be for everyone. It's doubtful that everyone will like it. Still - that's our thinking with regard the amount of writing quoted. All said and done, it comes down to a matter of preference as to the length of an NPC.

As to quality? What can i say?

Neither of us are native English speakers, but we've been writing for quite some time. Will our writing be free of spelling, grammar and articulation errors? Absolutely - to the best of our ability and the input we get. Will it be engaging and interesting? We'll try our best. Will it appeal to everyone? Probably not.

But to the most important question, and perhaps what you're wondering - are we looking to push something out as soon as possible? No. Absolutely not. The mod will be done when it's done. If certain portions feel half-assed, we'll rewrite them. If lovetalks feel superfluous, we'll remove them. If something is missing, we'll add it. That's the portion where we'll look to our future potential testers to help out.

The initial comment was meant only as an indication to our audience. Many players of the series don't even *like* drawn-out romances or friendships. What they want is a new kick-ass NPC with some fun, humorous banters and a few comments or so. It was meant to clarify who we're trying to appeal to - it was not meant as an indicator as to the amount we plan to spend on revising, correcting or polishing what we write. :)

Edited by LiellaMod, 19 March 2014 - 12:05 PM.

| The Liella NPC Mod - adding a extensively written, sensual Bardess to the party | 

 

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#32 Rhaella

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 03:47 PM

* The type of mod that aims to provide the player with an NPC with a very in-depth story, adding not only an NPC but quests and very in-depth stories - a separate dimension to the game play, as it were. There are numerous examples of this already published.

 
There are, but quite a few of them are criticized for taking over the game. And rightly so, in my opinion. An extensive mod doesn't necessarily mean an attention hog, but it's a real danger. NPCs should be supporting characters, not stars, and their stories should never supersede the PC's.

On another note, I would be careful to make sure that the romance isn't so long or complicated that people have trouble getting through it in a reasonable amount of time. You've said you have 9 at rest dialogues--if they're worked into a romance track, I would strongly recommend taking as many as possible out and letting them trigger independently. Players get stuck on those things all the time. If you've already scripted them separately, great. Either way, if you haven't already, I'd suggest taking a look at Aran Whitehand over at G3, since cmorgan has a fascinating way of balancing a vast amount of content.

The initial comment was meant only as an indication to our audience. Many players of the series don't even *like* drawn-out romances or friendships. What they want is a new kick-ass NPC with some fun, humorous banters and a few comments or so. It was meant to clarify who we're trying to appeal to - it was not meant as an indicator as to the amount we plan to spend on revising, correcting or polishing what we write. :)


I don't think that's really true. It's a bit disingenuous to shove NPC mods in two categories: those that never say anything and those that never shut up. Most are going to be somewhere in the middle, and I doubt too many people installing NPCs are as interested in the most bare-bone variety.

Anyway. I personally tend to favor a somewhat more minimalistic approach, but if you can write a branching storyline without going crazy, more power to you. I would just be careful to make sure that there isn't more writing than necessary, because if there's a lot of superfluous content, it will show.



#33 Glam Vrock

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 05:08 PM

There are, but quite a few of them are criticized for taking over the game. And rightly so, in my opinion. An extensive mod doesn't necessarily mean an attention hog, but it's a real danger. NPCs should be supporting characters, not stars, and their stories should never supersede the PC's.

 

I disagree. Nobody would complain about Saerileth (we all know that's who you mean) "taking over the game" if the writing was good. I can't imagine anyone saying "Wow, this was a really well-crafted character, all their dialogue was so clever and meaningful, but they stole the spotlight so I didn't like it."

 

Personally, I download mods because I already experienced the original and now I want something new. I encourage people to do whatever. Hell, rewrite the whole damn game if you think you can make it better. BUT, when someone drops a word count that size and cites bigness as a goal for any reason, I'm immediately wary of wordiness. Wordiness is not depth.



#34 Rhaella

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 05:32 PM

If the writing were good, the character wouldn't have taken over the game. I have seen people complain that an NPC was so clever, a PC couldn't get a word in edgewise, so... yeah, I can imagine it easily enough. There are any number of ways to take over the game, and they pretty much all involve the author overextending. I don't think any concept is unfeasible, but the more ambitious you are, the more careful you should be.

 

(Also, wasn't thinking about Saerileth. More her evil twin.)



#35 Glam Vrock

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 05:49 PM

Well, by “clever dialogue” I meant inspired and memorable, not a character who’s always right all the time and constantly pipes up to remind us how perfect they are. That is bad writing.



#36 LiellaMod

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 01:28 AM

On another note, I would be careful to make sure that the romance isn't so long or complicated that people have trouble getting through it in a reasonable amount of time. You've said you have 9 at rest dialogues--if they're worked into a romance track, I would strongly recommend taking as many as possible out and letting them trigger independently. Players get stuck on those things all the time. If you've already scripted them separately, great. Either way, if you haven't already, I'd suggest taking a look at Aran Whitehand over at G3, since cmorgan has a fascinating way of balancing a vast amount of content.

Anyway. I personally tend to favor a somewhat more minimalistic approach, but if you can write a branching storyline without going crazy, more power to you. I would just be careful to make sure that there isn't more writing than necessary, because if there's a lot of superfluous content, it will show.


My biggest concern at the moment (The romance length/complication) and one i'm spending more time researching now that the triggering scripts for SoA are finished. It's mitigated somewhat by the fact that many of the dreamscripts have their corresponding wake-up-dialogues, making them essentially connected and, as such, cutting down on the "actual" length of the romance in terms of in-game days. I *could* probably remove many of the dreamscripts from the romance and let them trigger regardless of the current LoveTalk-variable but since the storyline is somewhat progressional (even though many of the dreamscript dialogues are more or less independent in character and *could* be independently triggered), i'd prefer having them appear and progress in the way i "intended" for the moment. Currently i'm doing a play-through of the game to see just how things pace in a "real" gaming scenario and where some more of the glaring flaws in the mod are and if certain parts of the romance require some extensive remodeling. Once that's done, i'll see where and if the structure of the romance needs to be reworked. It's only a few weeks ago now that the entire romance was still very much a "story", in much different shape than it is today. I'm sure there will be extensive revisions before getting even close to a RC.

I don't know if you mean that their stories shouldn't supersede the PC's in terms of how "epic" their story is or how many words/dialogues the story has - or something completely different that i am missing.

I do agree that making the NPC an attention whore who's not only always right but has an inflated sense of self-import (in story terms) and seems to feature a ridiculous amount of perfection is annoying - which is why i'm working hard towards making the NPC appear and seem the way i/we want, as a flawed but quite believable character. I most definitely agree that the story of the Bhaalspawn should be the center of the game - not to be superseded by an NPC's supposed "more" epic backstory or motivation.

I have to disagree with you as far as the purpose of NPC's however. Don't get me wrong - this *is* the Bhaalspawn saga and the PC should be the main character. I do however believe there is room to make the NPC more than a tag-along - which in this mod we express by only making her available to a very specific subset of characters fulfilling a rather narrow list of requirements. This is her story - it doesn't come at a greater importance than that of the PC or at the expense of focus on said main story, but it influences it and meshes with it. The Baldur's Gate series is, after all, such a fantastic adventure, offering the possibility of featuring a multitude of interesting and diverse characters in a great setting and adventure - i feel it is a waste to try to make an NPC who's story somehow carries greater weight than that of the PC. There is of course always a very precarious balance to be maintained between an NPC that's merely extensive and one who becomes the focal point of the story - and that's something i'm both aware of and looking for input into.

The way that we write this mod is pretty much how *we* want a mod to be written for BG2 these days. Having experienced what the original game can offer, a new playthrough is usually justified by the addition of a new, interesting NPC. Of course, this may not at all be the same as the reasons that others have for playing through the game again - or how others want NPC's to be.

Thanks for all of the suggestions - this being my first mod (though co-written to some degree), i am *always* looking for input regarding everything about it - the actual "in-game" length of the SoA romance is foremost on my mind at the moment. It may indeed prove to be a real problem and necessitate a cut in content. The ToB part won't have the same problem - it being shorter and more on par with other Mods in terms of number of love-talks and length. I look forward to getting input from testers once the mod is in a state where we feel it is ready to be tested.

Thanks also for the suggestion of the Aran mod - the files look very promising. I'll take a look at how exactly things have been structured to perhaps get some ideas for improvement/s :).

I've also removed references to actual word length from the initial post to combat supposition that length is of greater import than quality.

(Just out of curiosity, not being familiar with such colloquial references - who is Saerileth's evil twin?)

Edited by LiellaMod, 22 March 2014 - 05:22 AM.

| The Liella NPC Mod - adding a extensively written, sensual Bardess to the party | 

 

Comments, Suggestions & Feedback are to be mailed to

 

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#37 Rhaella

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 04:39 PM


My biggest concern at the moment (The romance length/complication) and one i'm spending more time researching now that the triggering scripts for SoA are finished. It's mitigated somewhat by the fact that many of the dreamscripts have their corresponding wake-up-dialogues, making them essentially connected and, as such, cutting down on the "actual" length of the romance in terms of in-game days. I *could* probably remove many of the dreamscripts from the romance and let them trigger regardless of the current LoveTalk-variable but since the storyline is somewhat progressional (even though many of the dreamscript dialogues are more or less independent in character and *could* be independently triggered), i'd prefer having them appear and progress in the way i "intended" for the moment. Currently i'm doing a play-through of the game to see just how things pace in a "real" gaming scenario and where some more of the glaring flaws in the mod are and if certain parts of the romance require some extensive remodeling. Once that's done, i'll see where and if the structure of the romance needs to be reworked. It's only a few weeks ago now that the entire romance was still very much a "story", in much different shape than it is today. I'm sure there will be extensive revisions before getting even close to a RC.


Hmm. You could take the at-rest talks out of the main track and script them so that each one will only trigger once the romance has progressed to a certain point. If necessary, you could also script each one to no longer trigger after a specific point, so that they would still be tied loosely to the romance track. If you did it that way, you'd lose some of the continuity, but not all of it. Obviously if you have an at-rest talk which is integral to the dialogue track, you're going to want to leave it in, but for anything less crucial, it's definitely an option. People may miss them, but that may be preferable to stalling the romance indefinitely.
 

(Just out of curiosity, not being familiar with such colloquial references - who is Saerileth's evil twin?)

 
Tsujatha.

Speaking of which, if you haven't already, I would also recommend looking into the more divisive mods (and the criticism about them) to see what doesn't work. Sometimes that's more educational than looking at the ones that are put together well.



#38 Glam Vrock

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 05:08 PM

I actually think Tsujatha is superbly written. For example, the authors are careful to mention his “silver eyes” at least once per conversation. This is important as it helps you visualise the character, which can be difficult when there isn’t a portrait next to every line they say.



#39 Glam Vrock

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 06:55 PM

zTWCQKq.png

 

(Tsujatha grabs your ass, meaningfully, with silver eyes.) Pow pow pow. (He whispers.)



#40 LiellaMod

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 01:36 AM

 Hmm. You could take the at-rest talks out of the main track and script them so that each one will only trigger once the romance has progressed to a certain point. If necessary, you could also script each one to no longer trigger after a specific point, so that they would still be tied loosely to the romance track. If you did it that way, you'd lose some of the continuity, but not all of it. Obviously if you have an at-rest talk which is integral to the dialogue track, you're going to want to leave it in, but for anything less crucial, it's definitely an option. People may miss them, but that may be preferable to stalling the romance indefinitely.
 
Many of the wake-up talks are already dependant on certain variables that the preceding dreamscript sets in order to trigger. For instance, unless <CHARNAME> answers with option A or B, option C will be set in effect, advancing the romance beyond the next wake-up-talk. Similarily, if <CHARNAME> has neglected to answer a certain way in the past and the romance track is at a certain standstill, it will skip certain lovetalks entirely.

Taking some of the dreamscripts out of the main track is a very intriguing notion, i have to say. I'll definitely have to see which of them would be suitable for this, but i know there's at least 3 that could work out that way and have them trigger at certain points in the romance progression.

Currently on the first playthrough where i'm testing pacing of the mod. I've already run into a number of issues that i'm currently taking care of - mainly related to conversation flow and pacing. So far the pacing isn't *too* terrible (but not that great either) but there are a number of places where i can imagine players going "So what the hell am i supposed to do now to advance the romance? She's just being silent!". I'm solving this by scripting some indicative dialogues where - unless the player is trudging through the underdark/spellhold - Liella will subtly voice something that'll indicate how to progress the romance.
 
Tsujatha.

Speaking of which, if you haven't already, I would also recommend looking into the more divisive mods (and the criticism about them) to see what doesn't work. Sometimes that's more educational than looking at the ones that are put together well.


Already doing so - though i admit this to be currently limited to the Saerileth mod. I'm not *too* familiar with the ones aimed at female players or some of the more extensive ones that i *haven't* played. I'll start taking a look at the Tsujatha mod as well! Thanks for the suggestion!

Edited by LiellaMod, 23 March 2014 - 01:37 AM.

| The Liella NPC Mod - adding a extensively written, sensual Bardess to the party | 

 

Comments, Suggestions & Feedback are to be mailed to

 

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