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Pekka

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Everything posted by Pekka

  1. Having recently played the Island of Balduran quests in BGEE for the first time, I was again reminded what an interesting character Delainy is. A pity we can't have her in our party... yet. I wish you good luck with completing this mod.
  2. I haven't been actively posting in years, but I do still keep an eye on promising BG mod projects. The series itself is still far from dead (for example the recent release of the BG1 Enhanced Edition) and because big developers like EAware no longer make any proper CRPGs, there's always room for new content. Obviously this mod has been under development for a very, very long time, but that's one reason why it would be such a shame to see all the work go to waste, so don't give up.
  3. I don't post much nowadays, but I've still been following some of the promising BG mods, including Delainy. I have BG2 installed, ready and waiting for Del to get released. So keep up the good work and know that there are still people around who like the BG series and appreciate everything you modders have done (and continue to do) to make these classics even better.
  4. Pekka

    ToB news

    Sounds quite realistic to me, considering the situation in ToB. Just don't overdo it, I don't see Amber as the prophet of Schopenhauerian pessimism. Long is good.
  5. Good stuff. Thank you for keeping this module alive, Bri. Today, with major companies like BioWare concentrating in making shoot 'em ups and beat 'em ups instead of traditional CRPGs a la BG2, the need for high quality user generated content is greater than ever. (I did like Jade Empire, and Mass Effect is a brilliant shooter with RPG elements, but they're not the good old CRPGs I love.) Fortunately we have many talented modders and some quite promising indie game developers around to provide us with that content. So keep up the good work. I'm looking forward to playing this mod.
  6. When I got IWD2 years ago, I played it through twice with different parties, but that was it. The lack of interesting NPCs and proper interaction between party members killed my interest in the game. It's great to be able to create a complete party and play with it, but in my opinion CRPGs should also have a host of pre-created NPCs available, ready to join the player's party, complete with their own stories, agendas and quests. Obsidian did a bad job with the forced party members of NWN2, but at least such characters aren't as dead and silent as a party completely created by the player. So if you're willing to mod IWD2 and improve it, I'm ready to download and play everything you've got to offer. I'm very much looking forward to your IWD2 NPCs. (And I'm too lazy to download and test the Alpha version, since I already have my hands full with NWN2 modding...)
  7. Pekka

    Pan's Labyrinth

    Pan’s Labyrinth (What a stupid translation for El Laberinto del Fauno, I can’t understand why they use that English title also in Finland) is undoubtedly an interesting movie. I wouldn’t say it’s the best fantasy film ever made, but it’s definitely worth watching. It’s very similar to Víctor Erice’s (if you know anything about Spanish films, you’ve heard about him) El espíritu de la colmena (’The Spirit of the Beehive’) from the early 1970’s - in fact the similarities are so obvious that I was surprised how few critics mention them in their articles. Erice’s film was released while El Caudillo Franco was still in power, so the social criticism is skilfully veiled, but it’s there. I think Erice did a more realistic job than Guillermo del Toro at portraying the mysterious world of a ’special’ young child, but that’s just my opinion. In any case, I heartily recommend the film.
  8. It seems to me that many people gave up on NWN1 when they played the miserable official campaign that came with the game and never gave it another chance. The expansions were quite good, Hordes of the Underdark in particular, and did much to improve the product. But what really made me like NWN was the countless modules, some of which are truly amazing and clearly the products of talented people with a lot of love towards serious roleplaying. NWN2's official campaign is much better than its predecessor's, but I think we're once again going to see the best adventures come from the module developers. Already there are several quite promising mods and mod series in development. Having been involved in a NWN2 modding project for two years now, my advice for everyone who's planning to try his or her hands at NWN2 modding is this: gather together a team of intelligent, patient and determined people who *really* want to invest their time into module development. The workload can be quite staggering depending on how ambitious your plans are - I don't think it's even possible to create a long series of mods with dozens of hours of play time all by yourself. BG modding community is so full of gifted individuals that I'd love to see some of them try their luck at NWN modding. I'm sure the results would be well worth the effort for all players and friends of real CRPGs.
  9. True. Maybe we need more developers devoted to these hardcore players (though I’ve always thought that people can’t really be so stupid that they only appreciate the eye-candy factor of a CRPG), but then alternative methods of distribution are needed, because it’s not economically feasible to release such products world-wide in every single store that sells computer and console games. In addition to CRPGs, I’m a fan of hardcore strategy games. Practically every developer in that genre has now moved on to selling their products from digital stores as digital downloads, with packages available on request (and extra cost), if at all. This development has saved such games from extinction. Markets are limited, but so are the development costs, and grognards are faithful (if somewhat demanding) customers. Obsidian Entertainment has a surprisingly negative attitude toward CRPG romances. I really don’t understand it. Of course romances should never be forced on players who don’t want them, but they should definitely be included and properly done for those of us who enjoy such interaction in CRPGs. The more choice players have, the better. Anyways, NWN2 has a steadily growing modding community. Quality products are on the way, with interesting stories, complex character interaction and also romances. I’ve been involved in such a project for two years now, and the first part of our mod series should be ready for release in the near future.
  10. Hehe, it seems nothing has changed over the last 30 years! As a teenager, I spent several summers in Britain with my father who was working as an engineer for Rauma-Repola Oy, a major Finnish pulp and metal industry company back then in the 70s and 80s. It was quite amusing to see how unbelievably little most people knew about Finland. If someone knew something, it was mostly about Lapland, reindeers and all that stuff. However, I did meet some Brits who knew even the name of our long-time president, Urho Kekkonen. Finland was in the news for some time in the middle of that decade, thanks to the big Conference on European Security and Cooperation held in Helsinki in 1975. And of course the business associates of my father were well-educated people, some having quite high-level jobs in their companies (one of them was actually a very civilised nobleman, and not at all haughty and arrogant as such people are often thought to be). But generally speaking, most of the so-called common folk knew next to nothing about my homeland. But that’s understandable. After all, Britain is a former superpower, and just like France, it tends to pay more attention to the major players on the international stage (and Finland is definitely not one of those). Such historical trends are naturally reflected also in the school systems of present and former great powers. I’ve never been an exchange student, so unfortunately I can’t add much to that discussion.
  11. I think the new Battlestar Galactica is now the best American sci-fi show. So far the series has been the most brilliant depiction I've ever seen of the dangerous tension between civilian and military authorities in a time of great crisis. This theme of civilians meddling in the operational plans of the military (which they shouldn't be doing) and the military meddling in the political workings of a civil society (which they shouldn't be doing) has been topical since the early days of civilised human governments and their systems of military. In my opinion, Firefly doesn't have much to offer compared to BSG. Unfortunately the story of Serenity and her crew isn't the finest hour of Whedon's career...
  12. Pekka

    Amber Feedback (Spoilers!)

    Not a bad idea at all. It's often very difficult to spot such actions in IE games. But anyway, last night I was replaying the last two chapters in order to test certain things, when something caught my attention, viz. the chapter talk n:o 6 that contains some interesting material on the racial memory and mutual hatred between the elves and the drow. My PC is an elf in this playthrough, so I took a quick look at the code to see whether there are any special dialogue choices available for all pointy-eared protagonists, but I couldn't find any. I think it would be neat to expand this conversation a little with such options. Having grown up in Candlekeep, the elf protagonist probably wouldn't have all the same prejudices as his or her 'normal' cousins when talking about the drow, but I still think this would be a golden opportunity to take up such issues with Amber. After all, having multiple choices like this in conversations is just the thing that improves the immersion and replay value of every CRPG. (At least this is how I try to defend my point of view to our NWN2 mod team, when its writers and coders are angered by my constant demands for more content.) Just a thought...
  13. Pekka

    Amber Feedback (Spoilers!)

    Interesting. I hadn't noticed that that little machine was operable, nor that Lorraine used it. But I did notice a typo in the machine's description: ~The main part of the strange-looking machine seems be a large tank filled with some kind of dark green substance.~ (seems *to* be)
  14. Pekka

    Amber Feedback (Spoilers!)

    What about the other gems? (I know what the green one does.) I sold them to get some money, because I couldn't find any other use for them.
  15. Definitely worth seeing, as was the first movie. The PotC series is in my opinion Jerry Bruckheimer's best production so far. Unlike his other films, like King Arthur and especially Pearl Harbor, which was such an awful history-raping piece of **** that I wanted to strangle somebody when I left the theatre...
  16. Pekka

    Amber Feedback (Spoilers!)

    Roger that. I'll send the list to you ASAP. Doesn't work on my version. But saving and reloading doesn't take long on my brand new dual-core processor, so... Like Lord Ernie already wrote, HD isn't yet in the party at that point. In my game, he did manage to hit Amber quite hard with magic missiles and his special swords. Good to see my criticism wasn't wasted in this case. How about the Tree of Life? It's pretty near the final battle, and from a dramatic point of view, not a bad place at all for some love confessions. (Not being able to say the three words reminded me of a typical Finnish relationship; "Real men don't spend time quoting poetry and speaking sweet words to ladies, they just grab the girl and get the job done." You know, the Conan the Cimmerian method. ) Edit: Giving players the opportunity to avoid the kidnapping but still complete the Ymmyrt quest sounds good to me. The more options a CRPG has, the better it is.
  17. Pekka

    Amber Feedback (Spoilers!)

    It's been a long time since I last wrote any extensive feedback on BG mods, so here's a constructive broadside aimed at Amber. Hopefully you modders find some of my thoughts useful. SPOILERS BELOW! PRO: + Portrait. Beautiful - one of the best BG portraits I've seen. + Music. Non-intrusive, blends nicely into the background. + Banters. Excellent. Writing was faithful to the original characters. Some of the conversations were absolutely priceless and made me laugh; I especially liked the ones with Imoen, Haer'Dalis and Viconia. + Underdark. Simply the best Underdark content I've yet seen in any NPC mod. This is how it should be done! + Story and writing. Brilliant. Almost everything was written really well and all aspects of Amber's character are believable and consistent. I think Amber is a textbook example of how major characters in CRPGs should be designed. The romantic interaction was tactfully written, and, well, mostly romantic. There were also a couple of moving scenes, which is a rare treat in any computer game. The mush warning in the FAQ is unnecessary in Amber's case - her talks were neither annoying nor made me feel embarrassed on the authors' behalf. + Flirts. Good writing, see above. I could almost see the sparks flying in the air among all the flirts and counter-flirts between the protagonist and Amber. Little things, like Amber remembering the colour of the protagonist's hair and eyes, are really the type of interaction I'd love to see more in all CRPGs. Wonderfully immersive. + Lots of dialogue & character development. Amber has much to say on many subjects, which greatly improves the immersion effect. The writing style is intelligent and often downright poetic, which you don't see in every game. (I half expected Amber to start quoting Aristotle's Ethica Nicomachaea or Kant's Die Metaphysik der Sitten when talking about happiness and freedom... ) I'd have liked to see the age-old question of determinism vs. free will receive more attention in the original game (would have been appropriate, considering the protagonist's background), so kudos to Meira & Darios for dealing with it in your mod. I also liked the fact that you actually have to ask Amber about her opinions and thoughts, and not every talk is force-fed down the players' throats. It must have been tedious to write and code so many conversations and descriptions, but if you ask me, the end result is well worth the effort and makes her personality that much more believable. This is one of the things that really separates Amber from many other NPC mods, in a very positive way. Such realistic interaction is sadly lacking in most games, and I can't help but wonder if I live long enough to see the day when some new CRPG takes the place of modded Baldur's Gate in this regard... + Voice acting. Sterling work! There were no bad actors at all, and voice quality was very good throughout the whole game. Special thanks go to Amber's actress, who sounded very professional in every single dialogue and gave a lot of character to Amber. BTW, I think she should try to sing that pirate song... + Useful addition to a party. Not too many fighter/thieves available, so Amber fills this gap nicely - and she's also quite capable in combat, in addition to her thieving skills. + Multiplayer romance. Not too many of these around, either. An excellent idea. CONTRA: - Kidnapping. Why must practically every romanceable NPC in existence become shanghaied at some point of the game, some even multiple times? Amber's quest is quite well designed, I did mostly enjoy playing it, and I really appreciate the work you've put in the new areas and NPCs, but if there must be an abduction, isn't the one by Bodhi enough? Kidnapping is a good way to add some emotional force to the game (the "OMG! Somebody just stole my beloved!" effect), but it should be used with care. In my case, the quest began in a most inconvenient situation; I had just finished killing all the slavers inside their stronghold at the Slums District, and was descending the stairs outside when those idiots came out of nowhere and ZAP! - took Amber away. I then had to go back and butcher everyone AGAIN in the same building. I don't know, maybe I'm just tired of constantly mounting these commando-like rescue operations that would leave Otto Skorzeny himself standing in silent awe. SoA = Shadows of Abduction? - Somewhat abrupt ending. There really should have been a lovetalk just before the final battle(s) so that players could confess their love to Amber, if that is their wish. She says the magic words at least twice, indirectly in a banter with Imoen and then directly in one of the last lovetalks, but players don't get this chance at all. - No ToB content. Unfortunately, a common design decision by module developers. I'd prefer to play the game through SoA + ToB at once, especially when having interesting NPCs in the party and when their stories are still fresh in my memory. However, I do understand that modding is a hobby and that you don't have the resources of Bioware at your disposal, so please don't take this criticism the wrong way. Stopping at the end of SoA is just so... anticlimactic, and leaves too many questions unanswered. All in all - with no national bias whatsoever - I dare say Amber is a brilliant addition to BG2 and instantly earns a place in my list of top 5 NPC mods. Meira & Darios: You can't go wrong with Amber in ToB if you follow the same recipe you had in SoA; just no more abductions, please? Random stuff: I noticed quite a few typographical errors in several conversations (over 20 in total). I recorded them, but since you may already be aware of them (you do have proofreaders), I won't post them unless you want me to. Occasionally (quite rarely) Amber refused to talk to me. This usually happened after a lovetalk when I tried to activate her dialogue choices by using the Talk icon. The only way to solve this problem was to save the game and then reload the same save, which reactivated her dialogue menu. Not a big issue really, but annoying nevertheless. It takes aeons for Amber to recover from her shaken state after she's been saved from vampirism at the sun god's temple. (At least on my version of the mod.) I spent approximately 2-3 hours (real time) waiting for her talks to reactivate, in which time I could have easily completed the game. Although her normal lovetalks & flirts were still inactive, Amber did talk about the big trees of the elven forest and the architectural beauty of Suldanessellar. Kind of strange, considering she's supposed to be brooding over her experiences as a vampire at this time. I noticed that Amber's flirts are unavailable in the svirfneblin village; she just mumbles something about the dangers of Underdark. In my opinion, if there's one place in that dark corner of Faerûn where the party can be at relative peace, it's the gnome village. While Raelis Shai was opening the planar portal in the theatre, Haer'Dalis repeatedly attacked Amber with spells and swords. This was rather strange and somewhat humorous - maybe this explains why Amber is so ice cold toward Haer'Dalis in their banters... P.S. Is the hilarious Easter Egg somehow related to a certain place of ill repute, where you can do something too much? If it is, I've found it... And just how old is Amber? And what about her mysterious friend Sasha? Because I got the distinct impression that Amber's hiding something in this case. I hope these intriguing questions will be answered in ToB, because in SoA there are only a couple of vague hints about Amber's long life and her relationship with Sasha. But I digress. Best of luck with future Amber development, and may the ToB Tuesday come quickly and not delay. Oh, and sorry about the length of this post. I tried to be brief, but the words just kept coming... at least you can't complain about not getting any feedback!
  18. Having just finished SoA with Amber in the party I can say this mod's definitely worth the SoA-only runthrough. But I do hope that the ToB Tuesday won't be too far off in the future... I don't like leaving such a good story as Amber's unfinished.
  19. Pekka

    Amber doesn't like me

    Yes it was, but not any more. The next talk was activated with a slight delay, which is perfectly normal for BG, and also effectively destroys the right context of lovetalks such as this one. Now it was more like the day after tomorrow than the morning after, but who cares when the writing is so good as in Amber. This was one of the best "interaction" episodes I've yet seen in the wonderful world of BG modding. Hopefully the next time I post here it is to give you feedback about the whole mod rather than having to report strange problems. *knocks on wood*
  20. Pekka

    Amber doesn't like me

    Well, setting Amberlike at 111 did the trick - I got the next talk instantly when resting at an inn. Variables look like this now: M#AmberMatch = 1 M#AmberRomanceActive = 1 M#AmberTalk = 60 M#AmberLike = 116 I checked them before changing the AmberLike variable. My dozens of clicks didn't have any impact at all on AmberLike which remained stubbornly at 110, so there's definitely something wrong with the flirts. (Or something wrong with something - I have absolutely no idea how all those variables are linked to each other!) Do you need any files from me check this problem? Seems I'm the only who's come across it (now lucky me), but if it happened to me, it can happen to someone else too. If I can spare anyone the pain of clicking those flirts all for naught, I'll gladly do it. (By the way, I probably scored a new world record of flirt clicking in BG2...) Thanks for your help.
  21. Pekka

    Amber doesn't like me

    Hmm... The problem is that I've said and done every nice thing available on the list to Amber, with no concrete results. I've also tried resting at several inns, in every different quality room available. At some point clicking the flirts over and over again is simply not enjoyable anymore. Believe me, I've done it so many times already that my mouse button is probably going to break in half! (For the record, I just finished a long round of clicking with a grand total of 50 different flirts and 30 "Amber-you're-a-valuable-traveling-companions".) Result: Nothing. Nada. Nichts. Ei niin mittään. So can't I just change some of those mystic numbers so that the next talk is properly activated? Because at this rate I'm afraid something will click in my head first before me and my friend Jim have clicked through enough flirts...
  22. Pekka

    Amber doesn't like me

    Character info: Elf Fighter Mage, level 13/13 Int: 18 Wis: 12 Cha: 15 (If this clever pointy-eared Adonis doesn't appeal to women, I don't know who does...) M#AmberMatch = 1 M#AmberRomanceActive = 1 M#AmberTalk = 58 M#AmberLike = 110 (Those numbers are like Hebrew to me...) And yes, the lovetalk in question is the one you mentioned. I distinctly remember having selected only the lines that lead to a positive outcome (at least according to my logic - I hadn't yet opened the bottle of Jim Beam, so I wasn't under the influence!). Anyway, Amber's response was that she'd be a fool if she didn't pursue the relationship and see what fate has in store for both of them, or something like that. It may be just me, but I wouldn't use those words to end a relationship. Hope that helps. It's been several hours (real time) since there was any kind of automatically triggered interaction between the characters, so it's SNAFU time, I think... And thanks for your willingness to help. I've noticed on several forums that it's easier to get valuable aid from people who aren't getting paid for their work than calling the helpdesks of certain companies... here's to all of you modders!
  23. Pekka

    Amber doesn't like me

    Maybe there's indeed something wrong with certain Amber lovetalks, because I think she's pretty much kaputt in my game. The last lovetalk I had was the one where she's thinking about ending the budding relationship with the protagonist, and where you can persuade her to give them a chance nevertheless. After that I've heard nothing from her. Flirts and all the other things you can access through the talk icon seem to be working fine, but that's it. I left the game running today and went for a walk with my dog, after which I read the latest Helsingin Sanomat and drank a cup of Chinese green tea. Plenty of time for new talks to kick in, but it didn't help. Then I systematically clicked through all the flirt choices, beginning from the very first, and repeated it a couple of times. I even told Amber repeatedly how valuable a companion she is, but to no avail. Then I tried resting at inns, forests, docks, backyards, streets, castle courts, forests and just about every possible and impossible corner of Faerun you can go to in chapter 2, but alas, nothing. Oh, and I've been a perfect gentleman to her all trhough the mod. At this point I got tired and quitted the game. Am I doing something wrong? I do hope this is not a bug, because I'm really starting to like your mod and I think your writing style is excellent. But it wouldn't be the first time that an early version of a mod screws up my gaem, so... P.S. Sorry for any typos and general madness, it's about 2 AM and I'm somewhat drunk... (The emoticon says beer but actually I've been drinking whiskey.)
  24. Yep, problem solved. Hyvää (ja nopeaa) työtä.
  25. Pekka

    trouble installing

    Same problem here. I've downloaded Amber from all possible locations, but it doesn't help. Good thing I have a fast connection. Hope you can fix this problem ASAP. I'm on vacation now, so I'd really like to give Amber a try.
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