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K4thos

Writers needed for IWD-in-EET mod

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IWD-in-EET mod needs Writers

IWD-in-EET aims to integrate itself smoothly into the world of Baldur's Gate. In order to achieve this several minor changes have been implemented like the BG like voiced greetings, quest entries that shows as titles instead of text in combat log, sharing the same worldmap as the main game, distributing weapons and spell scroll among the vanilla content etc.

It's all for nothing if BG characters themselves are silent when they visit these areas and participate in the story, though. You know, things like Jaheira talking to Arundel, Anomen mentioning giants, Viconia speaking in the land of the drow (examples stolen from Kuylok post :p). Sure, you can always install awesome Icewind Dale NPC mod, but the immersion would be still broken if only they would speak.

Keep in mind that IWD-in-EET is visitable at any point of the Baldur's Gate Saga, so this leaves us with a large pool of NPCs that can participate in this story. This doesn't mean that the mod requires overwhelming amount of dialogue content though. Gigantic effort like BG1 NPC Project would be far excessive, but adding scenery conversations and interjections in few crucial parts of the story, at least for the fan favourites, would be a really good start to make the mod feel a lot closer to BG experience.

Dialogues for already existing NPCs requires a knowledge about the character personality and it's very easy to discourage player if the writing doesn't portray a character properly, so I think this aspect of the mod requires a lead writer that would coordinate and review the work of others. I'm not really a writer myself and don't have experience with coordinating things related to dialogues. My English skills are also not good enough to offer proofreading. It would be great if someone would take the lead of this aspect of the mod.

 

So, yeah, we're looking for writers and dialogue coders. Please leave a message in this topic if you're interested in joining.

For now I think IWD1 portion of the mod should have a priority, so let's forget about IWD2 related tasks for a while.

Edited by K4thos

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I'd like to volunteer as a writer for this project. I'm only barely familiar with the coding of dialogue, it's something I've been wanting to learn so this will probably be a situation of me learning while I do. But I do a lot of non-professional writing and I think I am very familiar with the entire BG cast, enough to write decent interjections for them anyway. Let me know if you want me to shoot you some example interjections or something.

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Hi, AWizardDidIt. Thank you for showing interest in the project. When it comes to coding it's not really necessary skill here as I can write the code myself. Although if you want to learn it yourself I highly recommend downloading Kuylok's Branwen for BG2, which is not only an NPC but a heavily commented and easily explained tutorial on how to code everything related to NPCs. When it comes to this project we would use almost exclusively CHAIN weidu command functionality, which is used for adding interjections into existing dialogues. From time to time maybe a short conversation initiated by the script could be implemented to (you know, something like Aerie few lines of dialogue when she see Underdark for the first time or Imoen after resting in Irenicus Dungeon), so APPEND command. Take a look at O#BBran.d and O#Bra25J.d for comments how exactly it works internally.

 

Glad to hear that you have knowledge about in-game characters and feel confident enough to write some of them. This is much more important than experience in coding.

 

What about your knowledge regarding Icewind Dale storyline? Would you need some direction in order to decide which dialogue lines would be fine for some additional interjections or you think you can handle it? Which NPCs you would like to work on?

 

As I mentioned in the opening post I don't have language skills or experience to coordinate stuff related to dialogues and to be honest I never gave much though when playing BG series about interjections that were present in vanilla BG2. So unless we find someone who would be interested in taking that role you are pretty much on your own when it comes to such decisions. All I can provide is coding up what you write, if you need such help.

 

I've written a message to Kuylok regarding it, so maybe she will provide some hints based on her experience on writing Icewind Dale NPCs mod here. If no than that mod itself may be a good reference which places of the game could take new line of dialogue or two. Of course not in such grand scope as in that mod. Due to amount of NPCs in game I think we should take minimalistic approach on this (which would be quite true to vanilla BG2 too that from what I remember didn't have that much interjections in the first place).

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Thank you for replying in such detail! I definitely am interested and while I understand as a sole writer it'd be quite the undertaking, I'd like to give it a shot regardless. I'll probably have to set pretty humble expectations for how much banter/interjections each character has given there are over 30 of them I think, but we'll see how that goes. Your offer of taking care of the coding is appreciated. I actually did already download Kuylok's very helpful Branwen mod and I'll probably still try and figure it out myself when I have free time and am not feeling so inspired to write.

 

I'm very familiar with Icewind dale's story and I have it installed so I'll probably be doing a run of it with a word doc to the side considering where appropriate interjections by the BG cast would take place during areas or dialogues. If nothing else I can share that script with you as I go. I'll keep you updated when I feel I have something to share. Thanks again!

Edited by AWizardDidIt

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AWizardDidIt, I've written a tool that may be helpfull for analyzing interjections in vanilla game and mods. It does 3 things:

1. Generate "log_short.txt" with information about all EXTERN used in dialogue files that refers to JOIN dialogue files as well as states that the EXTERN points to.

example:

ARAN.DLG contains:
- AERIEJ: 183
- ANOMENJ: 292 274
- CERNDJ: 134
- EDWINJ: 158 159 140
- HAERDAJ: 135
- IMOEN2J: 26
- JAHEIRAJ: 514 517 518 506 507
- JANJ: 174
- KELDORJ: 246 237 209
- KORGANJ: 184 186 170 141 145
- MAZZYJ: 197 188
- MINSCJ: 208 200
- NALIAJ: 311 284
- VALYGARJ: 97 89
- VICONIJ: 171
- YOSHJ: 97 100 103
- HEXXATJ: 295 297 296
- NEERAJ: 498 499

2. Generate "log_full.txt" with more detailed information about EXTERN usage. Example:

///////////////////////////
AERIEJ.DLG referenced in:
///////////////////////////
AEMESS 0 => 194
AEMESS 0 => 193
AEMESS 2 => 195
AEMESS 4 => 196
ANNO1 2 => 42
ANOMENJ 160 => 40
ANOMENJ 185 => 61
ANOMENJ 185 => 60
ANOMENJ 223 => 90
ANOMENJ 276 => 159
ANOMENJ 325 => 227
ARAN 4 => 183

3. all dialogues mentioned in above logs are decompiled to externLister/d directory for easier string analyzing.

 

The tool is attached to this post. It takes the dialogue file names directly from the PDIALOG.2DA file, so it will also work on NPCs added by mods.

 

edit: link removed.

Edited by K4thos

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Hmm I'll check that out. I spent some time this weekend getting through some initial goals and writing a good amount up to cover prologue interjections in Easthaven. It's about 20 pages of text so far sooo... so far so good! I'll check back in with you soon when I've looked at this as over the next week I'll be getting back into the coding side to see if I can learn it well enough to construct it myself or at the very least give it to you in a format that doesn't require you to change much to implement it into the mod.

Edited by AWizardDidIt

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It's about 20 pages of text so far sooo...

:love:

I've extended the tool to eliminate the need of checking d files. You can now read these interjections or find the exact interjection points just by reading the HTML file. You can see the example output file generated on vanilla BG2:EE here. Consider using it on IWD:EE with Quylok's Icewind Dale NPCs mod installed, to check good candidates for insertion states.

 

Here is example usage of that BG2:EE generated file: sort it by clicking on 6th column header (extern dialogue file name). Now you have all vanilla BG2:EE interjections sorted in a way that allows you to conveniently check how each NPC is written in relation to other files, starting with Aerie interjections.

Edited by K4thos

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AWizardDidIt, please take a look at this discussion. Your feedback would be very appreciated considering you are writing the dialogues for NPCs. We can design the implementation differently, if what has been proposed makes your task harder or feel more restrictive.

Edited by K4thos

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just to clarify really quickly the flow of players through the IWD areas in EET and then I can make some edits to a master gdoc I have of the in-progress banter/interjections I've got and share it with you to keep you updated on that. That will be a separate doc from the actual coded interjections/dialogue which will be something I probably chip away at as I get more comfortable with doing so, or when you get impatient and just do it yourself cause I'm a dummy when it comes to coding ;p

So the current plan is the player first arrives in Targos during the Goblin attack there and then from there can either resolve that or just travel to Easthaven? Initially I'm just writing up npc interjections for the main IWD campaign but I have IWD2 and could at least do some writing for that initial Targos area as well and then come back and whip up some script for the areas afterwards as a later update.

Edited by AWizardDidIt

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So the current plan is the player first arrives in Targos during the Goblin attack there and then from there can either resolve that or just travel to Easthaven? Initially I'm just writing up npc interjections for the main IWD campaign but I have IWD2 and could at least do some writing for that initial Targos area as well and then come back and whip up some script for the areas afterwards as a later update.

yes, unless the current solution is limiting you as a writer - in such case we can brainstorm some more linear implementation instead of following TotSC like adventures approach.

 

just to clarify really quickly the flow of players through the IWD areas in EET and then I can make some edits to a master gdoc I have of the in-progress banter/interjections I've got and share it with you to keep you updated on that. That will be a separate doc from the actual coded interjections/dialogue which will be something I probably chip away at as I get more comfortable with doing so, or when you get impatient and just do it yourself cause I'm a dummy when it comes to coding ;p

If you want to keep the doc private than wait a little for EET Workroom access. I've contacted Mike to add you into the group. Of course if you want to post it publicaly than feel free to do so - it's up to you.

 

edit: as for the Targos - if you want to write something for IWD2 than yes, that would be the most safe part of the story (whole first IWD2 worldmap content) since it doesn't really need any changes to the overall plot. Just removing some minor conflicts with IWD1 story (Oswald removed from Targos, changed date in 1 dialogue). Overall IWD2 content should have lower priority than IWD:EE, since the latter is already in playable beta phase. IWD2 is still in development and the details how to tweak the story to make sense when there is IWD1 stuff going on in parallel have not been decided yet. Before making such decisions I would like to have IWD2 fully playable within EE engine, than we can start thinking how to adopt it context wise.

Edited by K4thos

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No limitations here! Just trying to tailor my approach. I was planning on just sending you a DM of the gdoc link to access for privacy. I have spoken to a few other friends who will be editing/proofreading and maybe even pitching ideas there too.

 

I think I'll hold off on IWD2 writing to start then and just focus on IWD. Thanks!

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Hi! Reposting my PM here, sorry to cut in:

 

 

Okay, about NPC mods. We may or may not have different positions here, but here's what I see: the number of NPC modders is waning more than a little, and unfortunately, it's no longer possible to gather a big team like the one on BG1 NPC project or maybe even Romantic Encounters.

So I would suggest to welcome any and all writers, point them to the tutorials and encourage them to write standalone small mods. Maybe just a few NPCs at a time. Eventually those little bits and pieces will be incorporated in a larger mod, and it will be great. But for the time being, "gather here and start writing!" may actually *prevent* people from participating, because let's face it, creative guidance doesn't sound so great when creative freedom is the only thing you have when you write mods. You don't have a big audience, you don't get money, but you can write whatever you want for your favorite Jan or Minsc, right? So I wouldn't take it away from any writer, being very fond of my own freedom. I don't want anyone to sacrifice.

(then again, the lead writer probably has to help a lot with coding, which is why I would say - people, please, look the tutorials and Branwen NPC first, and at least write in .d format - add the scripting later)

One more thing before I forget - fuzzy, sleepy, sorry. In BG2, we know what to write - Imoen kidnapped, Jaheira lost Khalid, Minsc is an old companion. Nalia is a new companion. In BG1, Gorion's dead, Imoen is your best friend, Xan is a lamenting guy from the mines, and so on. But it's practically impossible to write for all cases: "go to IWD from BG1, go to IWD from BG2 (which chapter?) or from ToB". That's why it might be good to set boundaries. I mean, when I was writing Heart of Winter's material for my IWD NPC , I was totally lost, because I had to write generic plot-related dialogue, and I couldn't touch the character's arcs at all, because I didn't know where they were - before the Severed Hand? After it? Were romances progressing? So, yeah, that's a problem.

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Yeah I know this is kind of a crazy undertaking for one writer to do so I'm starting out small with just limiting myself to interjections in existing dialogue, no elaborate questlines and probably not any kind of banter, at least for now, and really no "development" of the characters, just writing to slide their personalities into the existing storyline. I do luckily have some help of some friends to proof read and edit my work and the tutorials in the Branwen mod looks like they will be *very* helpful when I get to that side of it. Also I have quite a bit of free time during work hours (my job is in a slow period) so it gives me a good amount of time most days to bang out a good amount of writing :)

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Just wanted to pop in and say my first milestone is complete and I have done the first writer's pass on the main IWD campaign. I probably went a bit overboard... all said, I've written about 30 interjections per character (except Baeloth and Sarevok who received a smaller number of lines) into the existing dialogue in IWD which equaled to almost 1200 lines in total.

 

>.> oops. During editing I'll probably reduce the total interjections per character but make them a tad more substantial. I started out feeling like it was good to just have characters pipe in occasionally even if they didn't have much to say, but I'm feeling now like I should cut anything that doesn't convey a decent amount of personality, especially since I ended up writing so much. Also I want to add a few more back and forths between party members and npc characters so it doesn't seem like everyone's just making random asides all the time.

 

So next up is going through HoW and TotLM which shouldn't actually take that long (a quick glance leads me to believe HOW has substantially less dialogue than the main campaign and TotLM very little at all). After that it'll be time to put together the proper script for use in the mod.

Edited by AWizardDidIt

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Remember to dissociate TotL from the context of IWD for now because maybe there will be a component that moves it out of IWD to (probably) Athkatla

 

And 1200 lines wow! You seem like a pretty focused guy, I'm sure you did an amazing job.

Have you remembered to include comments about the environment? That's easy to write i think and always sounds relevant. I mean reactions to new areas such as:

Dragon's eye - it stinks! (Lizards stink)

Severed hand, burial isle - creepy place!

Most outdoor places - it's cold!

Barbarian village - stupid barbarians i hate/despise/pity them! (Snobbish city-dwelling characters)

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