I mean, seriously? THIS is everything I have been looking for since the close of Metaplace. Some way to make my own RPG and include as much of my own art as I want. And here it is...and has been for quite awhile.
Neverwinter Nights 2.
I have known since DDO beta that NWN was more true to D&D. But DDO was so pretty and fun and lets face it....OTG is the greatest guild ever! So I always meant to try it but never really did. Well, I noticed it was on sale before Christmas at 75% off and that included thier Map and Campagn Creation Toolset.
So I bought it and started digging around. I played the game a tiny bit and visted a couple player made persistant worlds. Discovered it is VERY true to D&D 3.5 which is what all my kids play. Kelly has played D&D before so got it for him for Christmas. Then I got started. At first I tried to do Vale of EbReen from Jamie's campaign. But thats an elf town with buildings in the trees and the tree set included is like linden trees so you can't move the branches around. Plus they wave with the breeze while the buildings stay still. In other words, they don't sway with the branches they are sitting on. In addition, I knew the Vale houses would eventually have to be custom made, so when I came to the conclusion that the trees did too, I back burnered the whole town. (I still haven't checked out GMax yet for object building, and I wanted to focus on one new process at a time)
Ended up starting Balwood's Edge, another town from Jamie's Dastrin Campaign. I had initially decided against it since it is so big, but it is a human town, so more traditionally medieval in style. Only the major RP centers will need to be custom made and really are just fine using one of the buildings in the NWN2 library. (There is also scads of player made assets available, but again, keeping things simple to start with.)
The toolset is pretty freaking amazing. Of course not as powerful as Grome or Unity for exteriors, but it produces beautiful results and allows me to do the bare bones of what I want to do...without bogging down my computer. (Oh if I have been playing Skyrim and WURM and edited a module without a restart I will have probs, but nothing a quick restart won't solve. The only crashing I have run into so far is when I try to choose a character instead of create when I go to view the module with the game.)
Which reminds me...I can view my own module right from the game!
I started by placing all the buildings and outer walls so make sure I had enough room. In Grome I just painted Jamie's map on to the ground to gp by, but I haven't found a way to scale the textures in this toolset. So placing the buildings was the best way I could think of to map it out in scale. Then I painted the roads. The grid system helped a lot with that. Some of the buildings then had to be moved and did some cursing over the unattached doors ...same probalem I always had in SL. The doors are programmed to open and close and therefor not actually attached to the buildings. Anyways....
This is a view of some of the markets as seen through the game: [link]
Then I started putting hills and bumps in the ground so it could stop looking like an SL skybox. I only got about half done with that before I got impatient and started laying down grass, trees, plants and water: (from the viewer) [link]
and (from the game) [link]
What is so exciting is knowing that unlike before where I was only able to do landscapes, this time I can do interiors and caves and have NPCs and monsters and vendors and crafting and D&D style quests! I can include my own objects and textures! I can set things up so I can play D&D with my kids and Jamie and other friends...online! And I don't have to pay for virtual land! (THIS is what I have wanted since Metaplace!)
In the meantime, Kelly gave NWN2 a go. This really surprised me because he hasn't played anything other than UO is years. Turns out he really likes it and now he is researching the mechanical end of hosting a persistant world. Surprisingly, the computer requirements to host a world are not as intense as I expected and do not require a high end graphics card so we can just empty out the computer in the living room that no one is using and run it on there.
I sent NWN2 to Jamie last night so she can at least walk around in her town if she wants to (I will have to send her the module folder until we get the server up) and I wil probably send it to Kevin before it goes off sale on the 1st (50% off at Steam if you want to help me with testing!).
I have lots to learn and do! The server needs set up and a forums made. I can put all the necessary sharing files on my spooningmoons site. Creatively will be finishing the exterior of Edge to begin with. Then the interior of one of the taverns so at least the RPing can start. Then NPC merchants.....
The first quest should be to see who can find the most missing doors...I am sure there at least 50 of them out there!
(warning: if you decide to look around my deviantart site, some of the material may be offensive to some people)