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Meira

Meira & Darios proudly present: Amber

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Hello everyone!

 

We would like to invite you all to visit the website of Amber, an upcoming NPC mod for Baldur's Gate 2.

 

The address of the website is: http://koti.mbnet.fi/amber/index.htm

 

Amber is something we started to work on in July 2003, just a few months after being introduced to the mysterious world of IE modding. The reason we have been keeping a low profile about her is that we did not want her to be yet another highly anticipated mod that faded into oblivion for one reason or another. Now that her release seems almost inevitable *knocks on wood* – the writing is more or less done and proofreading & coding is well past halfway – we would like to share some details of our project with all of you with hopes of receiving your initial feedback before the release of the beta version.

 

Another reason for the publicity is that we will very soon be in need of a voice actress for Amber. When the time comes, we will also be needing beta testers to help us in getting rid of the last of those nasty bugs that haunt the dreams of every modder.

 

We would already like to warmly thank all those who answered our questions on the way and wrote excellent tutorials and tools - without you we would have not got very far.

 

-Meira & Darios

 

PS. We'll also post some information about Amber in this thread for those that are not bold enough to venture outside of these boards. See below.

 

Cam edit - fixed your link :rolleyes:

Edited by CamDawg

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Here's a brief description of Amber:

 

She's a dual classed fighter / thief of a chaotic good alignment.

 

Initially Amber appears withdrawn, suspicious and restless, as tieflings often do: she never seems to stay in one place for very long and always seems cautious and highly aware of her surroundings. Her natural curiosity is both a blessing and a curse: she has learned a lot because of it but it has never kept her out of trouble. Being both a prime - she doesn't recall ever having been to Sigil or any other place outside the prime material plane - and a tiefling, she feels as if caught somewhere in between these two worlds. While she can never pass for a normal person, she also lacks the otherworldly grace of a seasoned planewalker, leaving her with a strong feeling of being on the outside wherever she is.

 

It is said that no tiefling is quite like another, and Amber is no exception to this rule. Her unique features include amber-coloured irises, cat-like pupils and delicately pointed ears. Her hair is flaming red and her skin of a warm brown - almost copperish - hue. Due to her fiendish background, her body temperature is also a few degrees above that of a normal human. Her skin is bedecked by strange tattoo-like shapes that seem to have a life of their own. It doesn't seem as if they actually move, yet they seem to be at slightly different places and of slightly different shapes every time one looks at them, sometimes sharpening into clear and intense patterns and sometimes fading almost into nothingness. She has often been mistaken for a demon of some sort due to her outlandish appearance and the uneasy feeling of something being slightly off-kilter that hangs about her, like an aura that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

 

Amber also possesses some innate magical aptitude that may not have reached its full potential when you first meet her. However, she seems somewhat reluctant to take advantage of her abilities, as they - in her mind - make her fiendish background - which she is not particularly proud of - even more apparent than it already is. After all, demons are embodiments of evil and destruction, and she does not feel comfortable associating herself with such attributes. Unfortunately, people are often more than willing to make that association for her.

 

As to her more mundane attributes, Amber has a low and deep, yet not harsh, voice - one that you would not except from a petite creature like her. For a human she is indeed relatively small and slender, barely 5' (152 cm) tall, but surprisingly strong, agile and very fast. Her mind is equally quick and her sense of humour witty, even bitter. She is not used to expecting any kindness from others; most of the time she is not even accustomed to being tolerated. Amber is more than capable of taking care of herself, and you might grow to regret it were you to step on her path. While strong and independent, she is still compassionate towards those that are weak and downtrodden. The harshness of life has not yet made her heart cold even though it has made her wary and mistrusting of people.

 

AmberBG2.jpg

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As for the more technical side of the mod:

 

Included with Amber there are three mini-quests, one of them with new areas. These new areas will be introduced in a manner that does not require you to start a new game. Amber will also romance the Protagonist if he is agreeable, or another suitable multiplayer-game player character.

 

With Amber's dialogue I've tried to break down the Bioware-style straightforward dialogue in which everything occurs pretty much in the same order every time. I've done this by dividing her dialogue with the PC into different "tracks" that - although not entirely independent of each other - should provide a little variation within the limits dictated by continuity, the game's events and dramatic structure.

 

I have also tried to avoid the habit of the original NPCs of shoving information about themselves down the PC's throat regardless of whether the PC wants it or not. While Amber is not entirely innocent of that sin, there are a number of click-talk options that you can either explore or ignore.

 

Additionally, the Bioware NPCs lacked the ability be your friend if they were not romantically interested in you or vice versa. Amber's friendship path will enable you to discuss your beloved, have an argument, and cry on her shoulder, should you feel like doing so.

 

Basically there are three separate (but interlinked) dialogue tracks between Amber and the PC:

 

1. Chapter talks - they are triggered by events that happen only in certain chapters (for example arriving to Brynnlaw and exiting the Underdark).

 

2. Casual talks - they start from her joining dialogue and her miniquests are tied to this path.

2a. Friendship talks - they start after the casual talks, after you've come out of the Underdark and if you're not romancing Amber.

2b. Love talks - they start right after casual talks if you end up romancing Amber. If you turn her down nicely during the first few love talks, she will pick up with the friendship talks when/if you are out of the Underdark.

 

3. Click-talk options - these topics become available (and unavailable) in various ways: if certain conversations has occurred, if certain dialogue options have been chosen, after certain banters with an NPC have occurred, if certain game events occur, etc.

 

In addition to these there are few talks that I call 'floating talks', as they are part of the 'casual talks', 'love talks' or 'friendship talks', but have special requirements and occur independently of the above mentioned sequences, as long as their requirements are met (if they are met at all).

 

Also the Underdark will not be a dead zone anymore: there will be suitable banters, interjections and more for your entertainment.

 

As a special treat to any multiplayers lurking out there, we will provide an option to have Amber's flirts (both Amber and player initiated) as non-pausing dialog. The idea behind this is that you can cuddle with your loved one while other player(s) do that time consuming party management business: buying and selling, arranging their inventories etc. The downside to this is that her dialogue file arrangement is rather... special. However, at this point we seem to have managed to successfully squish out all the bugs and problems related to this special feature.

 

There's more information regarding the contents of this mod at the website. Feel free to post any questions and comments here in this thread.

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What's her fiendish ancestry, if that's not too much of a spoiler?

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Hi Meira, that sounds lovely. Great job! :rolleyes: Heh, looks like someone has a thing for redheads :D

Edited by Domi

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What's her fiendish ancestry, if that's not too much of a spoiler?

 

Well, that is something you will have to ask Amber. Gives you good reason to try and get to know her better, doesn't it? :rolleyes:

Edited by Darios

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Great news, another interesting & very promising mod! :rolleyes:

I'll definitely give it a try when it's released...though it's hard for me to find enough time for BG these days. *sigh*

 

Erityisen kiinnostavaksihan tämän tekee se, ettei ainakaan minun tietääkseni Suomessa ole pahemmin modattu BG:a - voin toki olla väärässäkin, kun en pariin vuoteen ole seurannut alan kehitystä.

 

Mutta jo ihan suomalaisuuden takia tätä on ehdottomasti kokeiltava! :D

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Thoughts:

 

- While Amber's portrait looks reasonably BG2ish, Lorraine's does not.

 

- The dialogue looks almost free of ESL issues... but only almost. If you haven't already, you might consider asking someone to give it a scrub. It's minor things like joining word choices, or "Athkatla prison" instead of "Athkatlan prison."

 

- That'll be 50 cents to license the flirt system, thank you. :rolleyes:

 

- CHA of 8? Rare is it that you see someone challenge a modder for setting a statistic too _low_ but I'm curious if this plays out in-game. Sub-average charisma, to me, should indicate something genuinely unpleasant or off-putting about the character--that she expresses herself poorly, seems (or is) vaguely untrustworthy, or so on. I'm guessing this is where it is due to her obvious non-standard-humanoid origin, but I'm wondering if it's a larger part of her character. So far I haven't seen anything in the limited previews that would suggest there is something genuinely displeasing about her company. (Perhaps there is? Or perhaps there should be?)

Edited by jcompton

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- CHA of 8? Rare is it that you see someone challenge a modder for setting a statistic too _low_ but I'm curious if this plays out in-game. Sub-average charisma, to me, should indicate something genuinely unpleasant or off-putting about the character--that she expresses herself poorly, seems (or is) vaguely untrustworthy, or so on.

 

Or is intravertual (which she looks like from the description) - same as Kivan (Mr. Charisma-of-Eight )... :rolleyes:

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- While Amber's portrait looks reasonably BG2ish, Lorraine's does not.

I know, and I am reasonably sure that I will make a new version of Lorraine's portrait at some point. It is in fact a rather early edit (one of my first tries at "baldurisation", actually). You should see the early Amber versions from the same period: they were absolutely horrible. :rolleyes: So yeah, something will definitely have to be done about that, but it just hasn't been too high on the priority list.

 

- The dialogue looks almost free of ESL issues... but only almost. If you haven't already, you might consider asking someone to give it a scrub. It's minor things like joining word choices, or "Athkatla prison" instead of "Athkatlan prison."

There are definitely still language issues, mainly stylistic ones with the text being too "bookish" and not sounding like spoken language. The problem with style and register in the PC dialog choices is that they will have to fit a wide variety of player characters and thus be as neutral as possible. The other option would be to write different stylistic variants of each dialogue option, which would get rather massive rather quickly. :D If we can find a suitable native to proofread the whole thing, we will definitely be grateful, since although being an effectively bilingual English major, I am not a native speaker and thus not that intimately connected with different variants of spoken English usage.

 

- That'll be 50 cents to license the flirt system, thank you. smile.gif

 

Do you take credit cards or do we have to write a check. :D

 

- CHA of 8? Rare is it that you see someone challenge a modder for setting a statistic too _low_ but I'm curious if this plays out in-game. Sub-average charisma, to me, should indicate something genuinely unpleasant or off-putting about the character--that she expresses herself poorly, seems (or is) vaguely untrustworthy, or so on. I'm guessing this is where it is due to her obvious non-standard-humanoid origin, but I'm wondering if it's a larger part of her character. So far I haven't seen anything in the limited previews that would suggest there is something genuinely displeasing about her company. (Perhaps there is? Or perhaps there should be?)

 

Yes, her charisma is bound to be somewhat controversial. Our justification for it is basically that most people will find her rather unpleasant and unsettling. And she hardly ever does anything to discourage this perception. Explaining it gets rather complicated, but basially it is a kind of vicious circle or self-fulfilling prophecy of her not being used to treated positively and always expecting the worst of people, thus getting off on the wrong foot right from the start. This will hopefully be a recurrent theme with Amber; she is not exactly an easy person to live with.

 

In addition to being rather defensive (offense often being the best defense) she is also somewhat inept socially and does not have any leadership or group skills to speak of. She is pretty much used to taking care of herself and thus has had very little practice in cooperation. There are of course exceptions to the rule and she can and does show a different side to those people she grows to trust, but even then, she has a certain "edge" that you will just have to live with. She can also be blunt to the point of obnoxiousness. And she thoroughly enjoys being right (but would never admit it). And yes, as Domi pointed out, she is also a rather introverted person, which tends to obscure more of her positive than her negative traits...

 

At her worst, she can be a real ornery bastard, and even at best, she is pretty much a human like everyone else (well, technically not, but anyway...), which averages out to a rather more difficult person than most.

 

Our goal is that after spending the game with her, they will agree with her charisma score. :)

Edited by Darios

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The problem with style and register in the PC dialog choices is that they will have to fit a wide variety of player characters and thus be as neutral as possible. The other option would be to write different stylistic variants of each dialogue option, which would get rather massive rather quickly. :rolleyes:

You're not telling me anything I haven't dealt with myself a few hundred times here. :)

 

At her worst, she can be a real ornery bastard, and even at best, she is pretty much a human like everyone else (well, technically not, but anyway...), which averages out to a rather more difficult person than most.

 

Our goal is that after spending the game with her, they will agree with her charisma score. :D

 

It would be interesting to see a screenshot that exhibits this, then.

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Amber is something we started to work on in July 2003, just a few months after being introduced to the mysterious world of IE modding.

 

After viewing the website that's an aweful lot of work completed. Congrats! And now that the word is out yay for us fans as well. :rolleyes:

 

Don't know if this was asked before but what is the expected download size of the mod? Just curious, of course I'd download it irregardless, but for people like me stuck with dial-up just wanted to know how much time to allocate. Or just set the download and crash for the night.

 

New areas and a romance with a tiefling... how can you go wrong? :D

 

Hopefully the remainder of the project goes smoothly for you.

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Heh, looks like someone has a thing for redheads

Me, too.

Unfortunately my voice is probably not deep enough when recorded on tape :rolleyes:

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It would be interesting to see a screenshot that exhibits this, then.

I'll see what I can do about that. :rolleyes:

 

Can't put up anything too spoilerish, you know.

 

Don't know if this was asked before but what is the expected download size of the mod? Just curious, of course I'd download it irregardless, but for people like me stuck with dial-up just wanted to know how much time to allocate. Or just set the download and crash for the night.

 

The areas alone take quite lot of space and we are planning to voice her too, so a wild guess could be 15 to 20 MB, or something like that. Her uncompressed install folder is now 17 MB, including all the areas and voicing of two quest NPCs, but as I said everything there is uncompressed.

 

But we are planning to have (in addition to the single download package) the files packed into several small packages for the dial-up users.

 

It's really quite early to discus distribution, though. :D

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