Saturday, September 6, 2008

War in the City

In my last post, I mentioned that my computer self-destructed for reasons unknown, which prompted my sending it to the repair shop. Well, my computer is still at the shop, awaiting delivery of replacement parts. It seems that the supplier has a delivery schedule to follow and won't deliver the parts that I need before the allotted time. I'm hoping that deliveries are made at least once a month. It certainly doesn't look as if the supplier does weekly deliveries.

In the meantime, I have to content myself with using Old Unreliable, a computer of mine whose specs barely meet the system requirements to play NWN2.This machine is slow and has a tendency to shut itself down twice a day (but thankfully not more often than that). I'm fairly certain that the more I use this machine, the quicker I'll be sending it to its grave, so I'm hoping that I can get my other computer from the shop before that happens.

Speaking of the grave and all things dead, I created yet another area of the death god's city. This particular area is just beyond the Supplicants' Gate and is the first section within the City of Judgment to have a taste of war. By the time the PCs enter it, the crusaders who have gone ahead will have wreaked much damage.

As with nearly all my outdoor areas, I created this by modifying an area prefab that I downloaded from the Vault. In this particular case, the prefab that I used is jlf2n's The Fugue Plane, which is derived in turn from the Supplicants' Gate area that Obsidian Entertainment created for Mask of the Betrayer. The area that jlf2n created is set during Myrkul's reign as the god of death. As such, it is a grimmer, more hellish place than the city that Kelemvor now presides over. With its gutted shells and burning buildings, jlf2n's prefab looks just like a war-torn city.

Using Tanita's TerraCoppa plugin, I merged various sections of the Supplicants' Gate by OEI with the Fugue Plane by jlf2n to create Kelemvor's city at war. I also smoothened the height map and lowered a number of placeables that I found floating in mid-air. By the time I was done, I had a section of the City of Judgment that has clearly been ravaged in battle.

When I first took in-game screenshots of this area, I found the lighting too dark. My initial lighting settings were lifted straight out of the Supplicants' Gate area from MotB. To brighten up the lighting a bit, I doubled the value of the SunMoon Intensity but retained the original SkyLight settings to keep the shadowy portions of the city in darkness. In this way, I managed to keep the atmosphere dramatically gloomy without making it difficult for players to look around.

Considering how well jlf2n's prefab captures the look of a city at war, I'll be designing the rest of the exterior areas of the City of Judgment with that in mind.

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