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Wishing to Start Modding: Some Question


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Hello everybody^^


I have discovered modding some months ago (6 or so). And since them I have been, I don't know, addicted? Seems a good description :p

Now I have the irrational wish to start making a mod myself. I admit, a NPC Mod.

Only I am just a teeny tiny bit terrified.

I have started perusing the tutorials, and they are awesome, but I am still terrified.

So, a question, not about the "coding" part (they will come I fear, but not for now)


Where to begin?


Do I begin by starting the coding, following a tutorial? By plotting down, maye in an Old Fashioned Way (Pen&Paper) what I plan for the NPC?


I know, I know. The noob is panicking. So sorry. But I am really at lost here, and some little bit of advice (what do YOU do when you start a new NPC?) would be welcome like water in the desert.


Thank you^^

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Build a back story to define the base of the character.

write out what you want to have happen with your character throughout the whole of the game, at least throughout the length of the game you want your character available.


You really need the basics of the dialog for joining and quests as well as any inter party banter and interjections or side comments on other npc's dialog written out in advance before you consider doing any coding. That way you've already developed the story and it will be much easier to apply it to code rather than trying to write the story as you code and having to keep going back and making changes.


That was advice given to me when I tried to do my own NPC. I've since yanked her from the public as I had been given that advice AFTER having done 90% of the coding. I've not gone back to her in years and i highly doubt that i will to be honest. If i do, it certainly won't be the same....

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Definitely agreed on building a backstory and figuring out exactly what you want to do before writing, but I would not say to hold off on the coding. I personally wouldn't actually script anything until you're sure that nothing is going to change substantially, but changing around things that are written in .d file code is actually not that difficult (and I think it's easier to write branching dialogue if you've written it in the correct format in the first place), whereas going back and adding coding to everything after the fact is extremely tedious.


But yes, plot and brainstorm first. Look at the tutorials to figure out what you're going to need to do, and look at the files of other NPC mods to get a more complete picture of how other people have handled things. And keep in mind that you may end up scrapping or rewriting 75% of anything you write.

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but I would not say to hold off on the coding
guess i should have been clearer, by coding I meant dealing with the tp2 and trying to get the NPC into the game, items and stuff for quests, etc. It does make sense to to a basic IF ~~ THEN SAY ~~ DO ~~ etc as the story line is being developed...
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It is a little overwhelming, isn't it? Don't panic. It gets worse. :D


Definitely, code dialogue as you go. For one thing, writing everything first and then going back to code it later is a pretty good way to make sure the mod is never finished. For another, you will write differently when you code at the same time. When you write first and code later, there is a strong tendency to write for a specific PC. Branching dialogues become mere banters and other PC response options sound like afterthoughts.


Get a proofreader or plan to release your mod in your native language and let translators deal with it later. No mod is ever linguistically perfect, but players expect a high level of technical accuracy. Many players list poor spelling and grammar as one of the biggest potential irritants about a new mod.


The last bit is a little touchier. Resist the urge to do the technical aspects of the mod before the writing (and dialogue coding) is done. Don't bother making a CRE until you're ready to begin testing. Don't bother with items, art work, or voicing. You won't need any of these things until later and since you will probably need to rely on outside help for at least a few of these things, you will have an easier time recruiting it if the mod is nearing completion.


Oh, and test as you go. Nothing is worse than spending three days just getting the mod to install.

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Thanks everybody!

I think I'll need a proofreader then, I doubt there are many italians around (shame really).

I'll search for one as soon as I am ready to start writing :D


I am starting to plan the character and guess the pacts I want it to make.


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I also want to try my hand at a NPC mod. I plan to go thru the tutorial page by page and do things as I go. I'm afraid that if I read the entire thing first I'll panic.


Or should I read it all the way thru first?


Well, that's question number 1. Read it all first or section by section?


Second question - for a new modder, would it be easier to create my own NPC from scratch rather than create an expansion for an existing one? Namely...Xzar. Firstly, he is already in SoA, and secondly, he dies. I really want to make him joinable (even if only for myself, and perhaps even romanceable...yes, I'm weird!) or would the technicalities be too difficult?

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In some ways, it's easier to create an NPC from scratch. You don't have to worry about your impression of the NPC clashing with anybody else's. On the other hand, Xzar's appearance in BG2 is minimal. You could probably let Jaheira's friend kill him, spawn a new NPC on the same spot once the whole thing is over, and carry on as if it were a new NPC.

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Thank you! I will seriously consider both possibilities, as Jaheira's friend does indeed pose a problem. I've really wanted to find a way to keep Xzar, but what you advise has merit. With a new NPC there would be no differing impression problems. :) But respawning is an idea I had not considered... :)

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Not a respawn, exactly. More scripting your own NPC to appear after the encounter is over. You may want to look at how Quest Pack handles Reynald de Chatillon for guidance. A word of caution. If you have never dealt with script before and dive in blind, your head will explode and you may become discouraged. It might be better to start small: create a "one-day style" NPC with minimal dialogue to get a better feel for scripting and coding. Once you have that under your belt, more complicated scripting will make much more sense than it would if you went into it cold.

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