“My name is Enemigo Monstruoso. You killed my minions. Prepare to die.”
Well, that’s what the big boss seems to be saying in the picture to the right. It may look impressive, but I’ve found that from a modeling standpoint, this monster has a whole slew of new challenges to hurdle. The most obvious problem is the sheer size of the thing. Having a monster this large means that in combat, players will almost never see it in its entirety. To make it more visible, I lowered the height at which the creature hovers above the ground, but I can’t get it lower than fifteen to twenty feet without its appendages sinking below ground during its animation cycle. I could bring the mob to a more manageable size, but its background story would hardly make sense unless the creature is as large as possible without making it unplayable.
Another problem is that I may have made the creature’s collision spheres too large, because even at fifteen to twenty feet away, a player character can still hit it in melee. I’ll have to confer with the other core designers of Shattered Dreams to see if this is going to be an issue. I can always shrink the collision spheres if necessary, but that might mean having to make more of them to cover the parts of the creature that are exposed.
Another problem that I’ve had to deal with revolves around the limit that the NWN2 engine imposes on the number of bones a model may have. According to Jonny Ree, a single model may have no more than fifty-four bones, although there is a way to work around this limitation. Creatures with separate models for their tail and wings can have another set of fifty-four bones in each of them. I decided to model the creature’s tentacles as a separate wing model, something that I’ve never done before. (Considering that this is only the second or third model that I’ve had to animate from scratch, there’s really a lot that I don’t know about yet.)
I managed to get the tentacles to appear in the toolset as an animated wing attachment on the boss creature, but in the game, the tentacles were nowhere to be seen. For two days, I tinkered with the 2DA, GR2, and MDB files to try to get the tentacles to appear. After long hours of experimentation, I eventually discovered that the tentacles appeared in game when attached to creatures like humans, pit fiends, and mind flayers but not when attached to horses, dire boars, and One of Many. The salient difference between these two groups of creatures is that the first group has a head model that is separate from its body, but the latter does not. In other words, creatures from the first group are built from two or more MDB files, and those from the second group have all their meshes in one MDB. Because I had originally constructed the creature’s head and body as a single mesh, I had to make changes not only to my MDB files but also to my 2DA entries. Fortunately, that solved the problem.
I haven’t finished making all the animations that the big boss will need, but I expect that this task will be easy going from here on. Then again, I said something to that effect in my last blog post, so one never knows what surprises I may come across. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.