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DavidW

Changes in Ascension v2.0

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This was quite a large project and I may well have missed some small changes, but these are the main changes from the last version (v1.7):

  1. The main component of Ascension has been split into 8 subcomponents: rewritten chapter 10; redeemable Balthazar; restored Bhaalspawn powers; improved Sarevok/player dialog; improved Imoen/player dialog; improved Slayer transformation; extended epilogues; tougher Balthazar. (Ascension is so old that when it shipped, it was necessary to bundle as much as possible into one place because you could only add dialog lines once.)
  2. The components have been reorganized into three groups to make the mod's structure more transparent: the Ascension (the various bits of the main component, less Tougher Balthazar); Tougher Enemies; Additional Content (added to Ascension well after its release).
  3. Dozens of small (mostly cosmetic) bugs were fixed, and the logic of the final chapter has been tightened to correct a few persistent reported bugs 
  4. Tightened up the cosmetic features of some cutscenes and abilities (the line between this and bugfixes is a little blurry.)
  5. The code for the pool powers fairly clearly allows that Imoen should be able to receive them instead of the player, but for technical reasons that wasn't working; I've restored it.
  6. Added additional code (though no additional dialog) to permit a redeemed Balthazar to help you even if you're using the original (non-Ascension) version of the final chapter
  7. If Balthazar is allied with you, you should get much finer control of him (the previous AI is quite wilful) and can use any of his powers from the innate bar
  8. Lots of small changes to allow for better compatibility with the Enhanced Edition (e.g., the save-for-half flag is implemented; new innate powers have in-game descriptions instead of being described in journal entries)
  9. David Gaider's original Readme laments the fact that the hardcoded bits of the difficulty slider can't be disabled. Since they can be disabled in modern BG (either on the Enhanced Edition or on ToBex) I've disabled them, and taken the opportunity to spread the difficulty settings a bit more evenly. 'Insane' is still just as hard as ever, but on the lower difficulty settings the mod's combats are slightly less brutal than previously. (This is all documented in some detail.)
  10. Slightly tweaked the implementation of certain abilities to make use of modern tools and techniques (again, see the documentation.) 
  11. In the original Ascension there is a (pretty edge-case) scenario where Sarevok is redeemed but then leaves the party only to be summoned by Melissan. I've allowed for this in Sarevok's dialog: he gets the 'redeemed' dialog option even if he has left the party, and can fight for you.
  12. The original mod's documentation suggests that there is a route through Balthazar's redemption for a high-wisdom Evil character. That wasn't actually the case in the distributed version so far as I can tell (and I checked the logic pretty thoroughly); I have tweaked the parameters of the conversation very slightly so that a narrow route now exists.
  13. Added a very small component of my own that fixes an anomaly on the cutscenes with Yaga-Shura and Gromnir (it could have lived in SCS but it seemed a more natural fit to Ascension).
  14. Added another small component of my own (for EE only) that sharpens the portraits for Gromnir and Abazigal (for some reason, BG2EE sharpens all the other portraits, but not those ones).
  15. The cutscene in 'tougher Abazigal' is a bit of a mess; I've rebuilt it.
  16. Restored the original Bhaalspawn powers as part of 'Restored Bhaalspawn powers': it doesn't seem logical that you get new powers and Imoen gets old-style powers but you never get the original ones.
  17. Ascension now has an ini file that allows power-users fine control over some features of the install. For instance, most of my tweaks that aren't straight bugfixes can be disabled there, and I've externalized some other features, e.g. the XP thresholds to upgrade the Slayer.
  18. Very thoroughly documented the whole mod, including detailed information (behind a spoiler link) on the effect of the difficulty slider.

These are the player-facing changes; under the hood, I've rewritten pretty much all the code and added pretty extensive documentation in the comments of the new code.

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