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On the fallacy of sunk costs


DavidW

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... so about eight months ago, I spent a week coding up an automated animation converter. Since I didn't want it to go to waste, I've now spent far too much of the previous month trying to get the rest of Cam's project done. My wife, who's an accountant, informs me that there's a fallacy in the reasoning here.

 

Obviously this is still Cam's project as and when he wants it - I'm just on the team. But since he's on extended sabbatical, I've pushed ahead fairly freely. (I have tried talking to Cam via PM about this but he's not around right now.)

 

Anyway, I've now converted about 98% of the spells, items and innates in the game, via heavy automation. I've given up on 1% (Seven Eyes etc) since I can't immediately see how to do them, and I've got 1% left to do - mostly tedious manual conversions, since I'm now close to the limit of what my automation process can handle. This is a bit of a departure from Cam's original plan (he intended to leave the spells till a later version) but I reckoned that by the time the work had been done to automate the innate conversion process, it might as well be done for everything.

 

Here's my updated version of Cam's to-do list, sorted by file type.

 

Areas (ARE): Cam basically did all these; I haven't touched them and I don't think there's much left to do.

Graphics (BAM): I've been trying to keep things tidy by copying these as and when they're needed. I think the main things left to allow for are area ambient effects, and I need to copy these over in bulk (and probably BIFF them).

Scripts (BCS): Ditto. I haven't looked at these; there are a few touch-ups that will have to be done because of IWD actions not available in BG2.

Creatures (CRE): Combining my animation converter with Cam's code means these are mostly done. The main remaining tasks are (i) assign primary death variables (easy); (ii) work out what to do with secondary and tertiary death variables (harder, and manual); (iii) work out which soundsets go with which animation (ok, though will probably involve some detective work). I also need to add BIFFing to my converter. And Cam made dark comments about some animations causing crashes, which I don't know much about yet.

Dialog (DLG): Again, basically done by Cam, without much left to do. I'm looking into ways of tweaking the way we bring dialog.tlk over, to give fixed string refs (something Sim flagged last April).

Game file (GAM): Cam did it.

IDS files: Cam just reused the IWD baseline ones, but I'm trying to do something closer to a merge with the BG2 data. That's to facilitate mods which use IWD and BG2 resources together.

INI files: these are IWD-specific and need doing. Cam's original plan was to do this manually, but I think it's actually going to be safer and more reliable to write a Perl parser that can input an INI file and output a chunk of TP2 that will fake it.

Items (ITM): Cam did everything except opcodes and descriptions. I've done opcodes; descriptions remain. (I may even leave this until after a semi-public beta is available). I've also changed Cam's code so as to rename (and BIFF) all the BAMs and WAV files needed, rather than overwriting; again, that's to facilitate BG2-IWD resource coexistence.

Music: I haven't touched this yet. Cam said just copying it over doesn't work so I'll need to mess around a bit.

Movies (MVE): Cam did this.

Projectiles (PRO): all hardcoded in IWD. Cam originally wrote a substitution table so that each IWD projectile got mapped to a BG2 projectile, but this was always only a stopgap. Nythrun wrote very elegant code to hot-generate the projectiles, given the data; I've done lots of in-game research, worked out most of the relevant BAM and WAV files, and augmented Nythrun's code; we now do almost all projectiles. The exception are area-effects like Shout, where I'm running out of animation slots and unsure what to do.

Spells (SPL): done, bar one or two special cases. This needs extensive in-game testing, though, as there are bound to be lots of glitches that need sorting.

Stores (STO): done.

 

And there are some other tasks that don't fit this framework:

 

GUI: LadeJarl's beta seems to work pretty smoothly, with only one or two tweaks left to do.

 

Worldmap: as Cam pointed out, the main problem is the IWD-HOW transition. I'm inclined to go with my first suggestion of using the SOA-TOB transition and requiring a one-off exit from the game and running of a converter to get back. This isn't great though. The alternative is to find someone who knows what they're doing to stich the two worldmaps together, a la BGT.

 

Character abilities: all are hardcoded in IWD, so I need to write 2DAs to generate them. This shouldn't be too bad. I can't offhand work out how to handle Evasion and Timeless Body (let alone Sneak Attack), so we'll leave them.

 

For distribution etc: I've given up on Cam's plan to go to a more elegant programming language: WEIDU's okay. I hope the eventual package is a prepackaged override, plus a gadget to generate the dialog.tlk and to BIFF the bams and wavfiles. (That should combine manageable-sized downloads and multi-language friendliness with EasyTutu-style user-friendliness). At the moment, though, it's all hot-generated, like TutuV4.

 

I'd also like to produce a BG2 mod (working title, "A hint of snow") which moves lots of the IWD content (animations, spells, character abilities, possibly GUI) over to BG2.

 

I still don't know what we should call it. IWD-in-BG2 isn't that snappy.

 

- Snow Tutu?

- Ice Tutu?

- Baldur-Ice?

- Baldur's Dale?

- Even More Northern Tales of the Sword Coast?

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Ice Tutu, Baldur's Ice, and Baldur's Dale all roll off the tongue nicely.

 

I started doing the area scripts. They weren't taking all that long. Don't know if the process could be automated. I kind of stopped, though, when Cam dropped out, because I got distracted by something shiney.

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:p Wow, DavidW! That's a lot of stuff! And progress I didn't expect! :worship:

 

Maybe with this progress Cam will make a brief appearance and use some of his magic, because it's way beyond me...

 

Legends of the North works for me, but I'd settle for Baldur's Dale. Right now getting a working version is much higher on my list...

 

I've done some looking for maps of the Dale area, and I've not found much. I'll keep looking, though. You've given me a little more motivation to dig into the world map side. I just wish BIS had used a map system more like BG. IWD looks nice, but where is it all at?

 

Edit: "The North" box set, or the WotC download (one in the same) has a possible map. I have both. I'll see if I can get a workable scan of the Ten Towns map...

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Now that I've a working scanner, I've an image of the "official" map of the Ten Towns area from TSR. The problem is it's JPG, and over 4 megs. Guess I'll have to lower the resolution so I can post it here. Looks like I'll also need to see if the site FAQ tells someone how, and what size limits there are...

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Now that I've a working scanner, I've an image of the "official" map of the Ten Towns area from TSR. The problem is it's JPG, and over 4 megs. Guess I'll have to lower the resolution so I can post it here. Looks like I'll also need to see if the site FAQ tells someone how, and what size limits there are...

 

... I think I've got confused - what are you after the map for, so that we can have a combined IWD-HOW map? I think even if we did, I'd rather do it by patching the two existing maps together -which isn't to say that there wouldn't be a cool mod using another map.

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...I'd rather do it by patching the two existing maps together - which isn't to say that there wouldn't be a cool mod using another map.

I love the art of the maps, as well. The problem is they are done in two completely different styles, and with two different perspectives. They can't be cleanly patched together into a single WMP.

 

This leaves two options. Leave it as IWD HoW does it, or create a new integrated one. Maybe I'm getting ahead of things, but the map will have to be addressed sooner or later. I'm just trying to get some idea of the area for when/if a new map is created.

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...I'd rather do it by patching the two existing maps together - which isn't to say that there wouldn't be a cool mod using another map.

I love the art of the maps, as well. The problem is they are done in two completely different styles, and with two different perspectives. They can't be cleanly patched together into a single WMP.

 

This leaves two options. Leave it as IWD HoW does it, or create a new integrated one. Maybe I'm getting ahead of things, but the map will have to be addressed sooner or later. I'm just trying to get some idea of the area for when/if a new map is created.

 

Can't we just put a border between them?

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Can't we just put a border between them?

If this project succeeds, we will need a unified map for modders. There's a lot of area they can work with. A border would certainly break immersion for some. I've just looked at the maps again, and it appears there's also a scale problem between the two WMPs, as well as in the locations because of the fisheye lens approach taken for both.

 

As I said before, it's not important right now. I'm just trying to get a jump on it when/if we get a working install. And placing things properly will not necessarily be easy in a WMP like Yacomo created for BGT/Tutu.

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Like so many things, there's nothing "canon" in IWD, other than Easthaven. Looking at the game map can give an idea where the rest of the areas *may* be, but again the design of the maps leaves some questions. So I'm hitting the manuals and hint books to find anything I can to locate them (HoW is far easier in this regard).

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Like so many things, there's nothing "canon" in IWD, other than Easthaven. Looking at the game map can give an idea where the rest of the areas *may* be, but again the design of the maps leaves some questions. So I'm hitting the manuals and hint books to find anything I can to locate them (HoW is far easier in this regard).

 

OK, cool. Though I say again: I think any new-graphics map ought to be a mod to the core conversion, not part of the conversion itself. Like TUTU, and unlike NEJ, I'd like to separate out the basic stuff required to move the game into the BG2 engine, from changes to game content.

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