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  1. Love Talks OK. Looking through both BioWare materials and all of the NPC modded romances I can find out there, we have a couple of things to think about with regards to the lovetalk sequence. The standard approach is to ask about family, share some personal background, develop a sense of friendship and intimacy, and to hold off on any deep pronouncements of attraction until late in the game. This is a solid model mimicking real life; gradual expansion of the idea that a person is interesting, developing a sense of rapport, and slowly building intimacy. (OK, so not so much for Saerileth, but what do you expect from a massively hormonally driven 15 year old Paladin of Tyr who has obviously read way too many romance novels back on her home plane - all that power, energy, lust, and excitement coupled with a heavy dose of Romatic Idealism and first love, and you have a "Mine Own True Prince Charming True Love At First Sight with a heavy dose of Shakespearean Angst® and Faustian Promise©. She feels things so deeply that if you break her heart, she dies of it - only a massive convergence of Tyr's power, the rush of first adolescent love, and the intense focus of a fanatic could produce that result even in a fantasy setting. So let's just forget she exists for the purposes of this discussion. If anything she is the anti-Aran, anyways. If he gets thrown over for someone else, he is more likely to get very angry, very drunk, and hit every bar and brothel in Western Faerun, starting in Amn. He probably ends somewhere deep in the pleasure quarter of a backwater Calimshan dock, running the "Extra-Planar Casa Blanca Humphrey Bogart Gin Joint for Disposessed Lovers and Angy Young Men" (courtesy of Billy Joel, with an infinite loop of Angry Young Man, Shades of Grey, and All for Leyna running over Film Noir backdrops.) The commonalites: Gradually developing storyline exploring eachother's background, usually driven by the NPC (showing increasing interest). Indistinguishable from friend talks for the first several in the series. Mimics the RL "I am talking to <prohimher> more than to other folks because I think I might like him." Increasingly tailored responses, with several opportunities for the NPC to "break up" - the NPC is evaluating PC and determining if they meet the criteria. And vice versa, of course... Attempts to shut down if the romance goes committed to another NPC, or if the criteria set is no longer met. There is another commonality - the "Conditioned Lovetalk". You know, the one where you have to be resting outdoors to get the next lovetalk, or resting in an inn... basically, the author needs to set the scene a certain way for the interaction to occur - and the lovetalks go into a holding pattern until the player meets those conditions. Those, well... I hate 'em. They work beautifully from a storytelling standpoint, they make sense, and they are some of the nicest vignettes in game - and they even have good gaming value because they stretch content out across the entire game. My absolute favorite is Domi's BG1NPC Dancing With Dynaheir lovetalk. And I still hate 'em. They are in character, like Nalia needing to return to the Keep for consummation because that "wait for the special person and everything should be just right" is a fantasy that people try to play out in real life, too. And it is silly for Ajantis to try to do a rose flirt under the stars when there are no stars and you are in Underdark, making it imperative that conditions for the talk are set to make it fit. It makes sense from a "relationship plateau" standpoint, where the will-she-or-won't-she-show-some-interest stalls while characters get up the nerve. It even makes sense for the player to have to "work for it", because a game where there is no challenge is a game played once and forgotten. A character has to play hard to get just like a human does, at times and situations, to show self-respect and self-awareness. But I can't get past the fact that I hate 'em. I hate them because they demand that the sequence wait for a set of conditions to fulfill, for the "stars to be aligned"... for the player to do something specific without realizing it. Which leads to metagaming. Which makes folks post stuff like "Aran hasn't talked to me in three chapters - was I wrong to tell him to sleep with whom he chooses... did I break the romance?" to which I have to reply "No, not at all - you need to be a Half-Elven Female Lawful Good Paladin with a Charisma of 18, Intelligence of 16+, wisdom of 12-, after sleeping in an outdoor area three times, be resting in an inn in Brynlaw, have only elven female Fighter/Mages in the party, have killed three vampires in the last 14 script cycles, game time must be greater than 16 hours, it needs to be night, and you must have installed Divine Remix. Oh, and it only works if you have correctly answered three riddles in the 12 riddle sequence while battling vampiric shades in Firkaag's Lair." So, what ideas can I twist to make the standard NPC format work, but avoid this? Well, "Floaters". Aran's "Sequences vs Floaters" For Aran, let's try straight friendship track, based on the timer and no other basic conditions. The player gets to set how often they might be triggered. straight romance track, based on the timer and no other basic conditions. The player gets to set how often they might be triggered. a pool of "Floater" talks. These talks/events can be triggered after certain lovetalks, and tightly conditioned. They become "Easter Eggs", or unlocked content after a lovetalk has passed, just like the Filrt Sequence "I have had enough teasing, I want you" material. This separation allows a simple and easily scripted sequence that still can be derailed by either player or NPC based on reactions and answers, but provides the opportunity to have event-specific or conditioned content. Most of all, the main sequence of the story can play out even if Player1 decide to never, ever, ever rest in an inn, becuse their Druidess absolutely would die rather than sleep in the Great Blight That Is Civilization. Since I like music, and it can serve as inspiration for either mood or content, let's play around with using musical analogies/temes/evoked mood to gain inspiration. No need to re-invent the Bb Major Scale; love has been around as long as humans have, and the themes are good fun to play arond with and take in different directions. We follow the standard Romantic Comedy sequence - attraction but separation, leading to attraction but conflict, leaading to resolution, leading to misunderstanding and/or barriers and self-sabotage, leading to breakup. leading to soul-searching, leading to a. Dissolution (Tragedy: It Was Never To Be), b. Resolution (Comedy/Romance: Happily Ever After) or Transmutation (Comedy/Romance: The Other Girl Was the Protagonist's Soul Mate From The Start). This is more risky than the standard story/film/play/anime-based graphic novel line; the player still has to work through these things with a real chance of failure. The escape lines for both NPC and PC mean that some content may never be unlocked; but it frees us up to a new idea necessary for an NPC - how do you write for diferent players? Remember, he is a Companion Mod. The fun is figuring out how it all works for Aran and PC, and gives them a chance at having the romance in a roleplay that takes players into account. The same lovetalk, under this model, could be four separate scenes, even before we add in pathways for the PC to alter the action and direction: EVIL vs ARAN GOOD vs ARAN (and if you don't know the scene that sparked this idea, go see Notting Hill again. Good screenplay, if trivial). CHAOS vs ARAN LAW vs ARAN With that in mind, let's get an outline of a set of ovetalks that follows the Romantic Comedy conflict setup of will she? Won't she? Does she? SHE DOES! EWait a sec... you mean i have to... Hey, that wasn't good. No Fair. Who is *he*. What is going on here? [misunderstanding/conflict] Central Lovetalk Pathway Index: Inspiration Playlist 33 base sequence talks, combined between SoA and ToB. Only 4 fit with ToB, with Marriage and Eternity talks, so either move some around or add some, or cut some, I think. This is an inspirational playlist, not a guide direct content - the idea is to either evoke the song's feeling for the female player, or to provide what Aran is feeling, depending on the song. Please note I am still a dude - and I like a very large range of stuff musically, so while all this stuff has complete playthrough in my head, it shares it with avante-garde classical, Stravinsky, Grateful Dead, Dave Mathews band, Green Day, Feist, and a heavy dose of grunge, alternative, pretty much anything except mysogynistic rap. Oh, and I can't get "Amish Paradise" out of my head - thanks alot, Al Yankovic. MAIN LOVETALK SEQUENCE >>> /* Romance ended, buddy - it's Over. Go back to work, SellSword. //* Dixie Chicks - Hello, Mr. Heartache */ >>> 1. /* Hey - I'm available, even though you aren't or might be on the fence */ //* Mary Chapin Carpenter - I Take My Chances */ //* BG2 LoveTalk 1, c-aranbg2rom = 1 c-aranromtimer,C-ARAN_ROM */ //* Dixie Chicks: Ready To Run */ //* BG2 LoveTalk 2, c-aranbg2rom = 3 c-aranromtimer,C-ARAN_ROM */ //* Queen - Somebody To Love */ 2. /* I like you - do you like me? */ //* ABBA - Name of the Game */ //* Billy Joel - You may be Right/We Didn't Start The Fire mixology */ //* ABBA - Take A Chance On Me: */ /* I want you - do you want me? */ //* Dixie Chicks - If I Fall: */ //* Police - Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic */ //* Dixie Chicks - Long Time Gone: */ //* Billy Joel - Blonde Over Blue */ (I really love this one) 3. /* You have me - do I have you? */ //* Billy Joel - Up Town Girl */ Uptown Girl //* Journey - Any Way You Want It */ >>>>I was alone >>>>I never knew >>>>What good love could do >>>>Ooh, then we touched >>>>Then we sang >>>>About the lovin things 4. /* You don't really want me, do you. */ //* Billy Joel - Shades of Grey */ //* Police - Wrapped around Your Finger */ /* Dating a Once and Future Goddess stinks. */ //* Police - Roxanne */ //* Billy Joel - Everybody Loves You Now */ Visiting the very dark side, the great subtext - like ABBA, upbeat and funny, fun, interesting, until you listen carefully... and then the irony kicks you in the teeth and you realize that all the pretty colors are the side-effect of a 20th level mage casting Color Spray.. Everybody Loves You Now //* Police - Every Breath You Take */ Sinister and loving at the same time. Creepy. 5. /* I hate you. */ //* ABBA - I'm A Marrionette */ //* Billy Joel - Big Shot */ //* Billy Joel - Captain Jack */ 6. /* I can't live without you. */ //* Billy Joel - All for Leyna */ //* Phil Collins - Take a look At Me Now */ //* Mary Chapin Carpenter - Shut Up and Kiss Me */ 7. /* Will you be here forever? */ //* Billy Joel - Honesty */ //* ABBA - One Man, One Woman */ 8. /* I am yours, completely, without reservations. */ //* 10,000 Maniacs - Because the Night: Because the night belongs to lovers, Because the night belongs to us */ This one may have to move to the middle of SoA if we are going for Romantic Comedy - or it might have to be a close to the end of ToB full Destiny or Desire moment. Save this one for the full on heavy duty erotic moment. Apparently, it is alot more popular than I thought, judging by the videos available. I thought only old dudes like me listened to this stuff. [EDIT - Wow. Agressive Copyright Enforcement. Cutting out six links that no longer work] Original - Bruce Springsteen's version doesn't capture the raw energy even though they wrote it together. But, I'm a sucker for more smooth and demanding, yearning, insistent voices that curl around your psyche and sweep you along - so 10000 Maniacs with Natalie Merchant instead - Wow. I must really like this song. //* Mary Chapin Carpenter - This Shirt */ //* Billy Joel - She's Always A Woman To Me */ 9. /* Marry me? Or just live together forever? Or even if you become a goddess... can I worship you? //* Peter Gabriel - In Your Eyes */ //* Lee Ann Womak - I Hope You Dance */ /* Choosing to Be A Goddess Or Not */ //* Mr. Mister - Kyrie */ >>>>Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel >>>>Kyrie eleison, through the darkness of the night >>>>Kyrie eleison, where I'm going will you follow >>>>Kyrie eleison, on a highway in the light //* Chicago - Love me Tomorrow */ OK, this gives us an outline. Some of these will be slashed and burned, too - if it just doesn't work, it just doesn't work. But we have a basic framework to build from. Let's try a first lovetalk: /* Mary Chapin Carpenter - I Take My Chances */ /* BG2 LoveTalk 1, c-aranbg2rom = 1 c-aranromtimer,C-ARAN_ROM */ /* Link to net reference, but the CD is much better :: www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYhjNDFMMc0 */ IF ~Global("c-aranbg2rom","GLOBAL",1)~ THEN BEGIN c-aranbg2romtalk1 SAY ~[ARAN] Are ye needin' somethin', <charname>?~ ++ ~[PC] No. Why do you ask?~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-aranbg2rom","GLOBAL",1) RealSetGlobalTimer("c-aranromtimer","GLOBAL",C-ARAN_ROM)~ GOTO c-aranbg2rom1ask ++ ~[PC] I was about to ask you the same question.~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-aranbg2rom","GLOBAL",1) RealSetGlobalTimer("c-aranromtimer","GLOBAL",C-ARAN_ROM)~ GOTO c-aranbg2rom1question ++ ~[PC] Yes. After I box your ears. Touch me again without my permission, and I will do far worse.~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-aranbg2rom","GLOBAL",1) RealSetGlobalTimer("c-aranromtimer","GLOBAL",C-ARAN_ROM)~ GOTO c-aranbg2rom1boxed ++ ~[PC] Yes, I do. I need you to watch our surroundings, and stop watching me.~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-aranbg2rom","GLOBAL",1) RealSetGlobalTimer("c-aranromtimer","GLOBAL",C-ARAN_ROM)~ GOTO c-aranbg2rom1watchingme ++ ~[PC] You flatter yourself, boyo.~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-aranbg2rom","GLOBAL",1) RealSetGlobalTimer("c-aranromtimer","GLOBAL",C-ARAN_ROM)~ GOTO c-aranbg2rom1boyo <<standard exit="" block="">> END IF ~~ c-aranbg2rom1ask SAY ~[ARAN] Well, you keep strayin' your eyes my way, is all. An' I do believe I was a mite forward, back there, with my hands. You should box my ears but good. Sune knows I deserve it. Or was you goin' to tell me that I have permission to be a scoundrel?~ ++ ~[PC] You have my permission, Aran. If you are man enough for the task.~ + c-aranbg2rom1manenough ++ ~[PC] Scoundrel. Aran, you surprise me. You actually know a word longer than 'aye'.~ + c-aranbg2rom1wordlonger ++ ~[PC] Again with the romance. Some men don't take a hint. Look, drop it, Aran. And touch me again and you will be very sorry.~ + c-aranbg2rom1verysorry ++ ~[PC] You flatter yourself, boyo.~ + c-aranbg2rom1boyo <<standard exit="" block="">> END IF ~~ c-aranbg2rom1question SAY ~[ARAN] Well, I hinted back there, is all. My eyes be strayin' your way too, I guess. An' you didn't box my ears back there when my hand kinda wandered a bit.~ ++ ~[PC] Touch my rear again without my permission, and I will do far worse.~ + c-aranbg2rom1boxed ++ ~[PC] You have my permission, Aran. If you are man enough for the task.~ + c-aranbg2rom1manenough ++ ~[PC] You flatter yourself, boyo.~ + c-aranbg2rom1boyo <<standard exit="" block="">> ++ ~[PC] Scoundrel. Aran, you surprise me. You actually know a word longer than 'aye'.~ + c-aranbg2rom1wordlonger END IF ~~ c-aranbg2rom1boxed SAY ~[ARAN] Aye, I do believe I was a mite forward. You should box 'em but good. Sune knows I deserve it. Or was you goin' to tell me that I have permission to be a scoundrel?~ ++ ~[PC] Scoundrel. Aran, you surprise me. You actually know a word longer than 'aye'.~ + c-aranbg2rom1wordlonger ++ ~[PC] Forward is good. But there is a time and place.~ + c-aranbg2rom1timeandplace ++ ~[PC] *whack*~ + c-aranbg2rom1whacked ++ ~[PC] You flatter yourself, boyo.~ + c-aranbg2rom1boyo <<standard exit="" block="">> END IF ~~ c-aranbg2rom1watchingme SAY ~[ARAN] Well, I do admit you are a sight to be watched, <charname>. But I can watch you an' keep lookout too.~ ++ ~[PC] You misunderstand me. If you think I am watching because you are attractive, you flatter yourself, boyo. I just can't trust you to keep your mind on the job.~ + c-aranbg2rom1boyo ++ ~[PC] I don't mind the glances, Aran. But there is a time and place.~ + c-aranbg2rom1timeandplace ++ ~[PC] Oh, Aran, my dearest love, come and we shall frolic freely among the stars, and be one together for all eternity... + c-aranbg2rom1joking END IF ~~ c-aranbg2rom1joking SAY ~[ARAN] Aye, that's right. Make fun o' the poor lad what just was flirtin' with you. Go on wi' ye. ~ ++ ~[PC] Well, stop with all the love stuff and let's just stick to business, shall we?~ + c-aranbg2rom1chances ++ ~[PC] No, no, it's true. You are my destiny, Aran. That, or I am supposed to be the doing something about prophecies, or something. We can't just leave all that to chance, can we?~ + c-aranbg2rom1chances ++ ~[PC] What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, Aran. You have been teasing me with all this looking and touching.~ + c-aranbg2rom1chances ++ ~[PC] You have a good deal to learn about women, Aran.~ + c-aranbg2rom1chances END IF ~~ c-aranbg2rom1boyo SAY ~[ARAN] Well, not to flatter myelf, exactly. I just believe in takin' some chances, is all.~ ++ ~[PC] Chance is fine when it comes to some things. But you are treading dangerous ground here.~ + c-aranbg2rom1chances ++ ~[PC] Chance is something to be avoided at all costs. There is an order to all things, Aran.~ + c-aranbg2rom1timeandplace ++ ~[PC] So you believe that taking your life into your hands and accosting me is worth the risk?~ + c-aranbg2rom1chances ++ ~[PC] If you want a chance with me, you had better behave.~ + c-aranbg2rom1chances ++ ~[PC] No chance here, Aran. I have my attentions placed elsewhere. Stop bothering me.~ + c-aranbg2rom1chances END IF ~~ c-aranbg2rom1manenough SAY ~[ARAN] Oh, I be man enough. Just not sure where the rules an' regulations put us, you bein' you an' all. Then again, I do believe in takin' chances.~ ++ ~[PC] Chance is fine when it comes to some things. But you are treading dangerous ground here.~ + c-aranbg2rom1chances ++ ~[PC] Chance is something to be avoided at all costs. There is an order to all things, Aran.~ + c-aranbg2rom1chances ++ ~[PC] So you believe that taking your life into your hands and accosting me is worth the risk?~ + c-aranbg2rom1chances ++ ~[PC] If you want a chance with me, you had better behave.~ + c-aranbg2rom1chances ++ ~[PC] Some things I leave to chance, Aran. But I like the odds better when the person is much better educated. + c-aranbg2rom1wordlonger END IF ~~ c-aranbg2rom1wordlonger SAY ~[ARAN] Oh, you know how to hurt a lad, you do. I didn't do all this scribin' blind. There be some words I can't pronounce, but I can even do a bit of Dwarven an' Illuskan script. 'Scoundrel' has been used about me before, too. Sometimes for good, sometimes meanin' bad... an' always meanin' trouble.~ ++ ~[PC] Your mother must be so proud.~ + c-aranbg2rom1mocking ++ ~[PC] And you chose to use this extensive vocabulary on me because...~ + c-aranbg2rom1boyo ++ ~[PC] Good, bad, or indifferent, you are welcome to try sparring with me, Aran. But aren't you taking a big chance, here?~ + c-aranbg2rom1chances ++ ~[PC] Somehow this conversation has gotten sidetracked. Keep your eyes and hands to yourself, sellsword. I won't give many second chances.~ + c-aranbg2rom1chances END IF ~~ c-aranbg2rom1timeandplace SAY ~[ARAN] Now, I don't rightly believe that. There is naught but little time to spend on Faerun, an' it don't serve the time we have to play it so safe.~ IF ~~ THEN GOTO c-aranbg2rom1chances END IF ~~ c-aranbg2rom1whacked SAY ~[ARAN] SUNE'S RUMP! That bloody well hurt!~ ++ ~[PC] Forward is good. But there is a time and place. Learn it, and yours.~ + c-aranbg2rom1timeandplace ++ ~[PC] Keep your eyes and hands to yourself, sellsword. I won't give many second chances.~ + c-aranbg2rom1chances ++ ~[PC] Shall I kiss it and make it better, Aran?~ + c-aranbg2rom1mocking ++ ~[PC] I mean what I say. Stop flirting with me, or risk my wrath.~ + c-aranbg2rom1chances END IF ~~ c-aranbg2rom1verysorry SAY ~[ARAN] I already bloody well am sorry I brought anythin' up. You need to lighten up, <charname>, an' take some chances. ~ IF ~~ THEN GOTO c-aranbg2rom1chances END IF ~~ c-aranbg2rom1mocking SAY ~[ARAN] Selune's Sweet Breath, you are mockin' me! Well, now, can't say as I blame you. I did come on a bit strong.~ IF ~~ THEN GOTO c-aranbg2rom1chances END IF ~~ c-aranbg2rom1chances SAY ~[ARAN] Look, most times it is better to dive in, an try. An' if there be some problem, the folks you want to be around forgive you freely, an' the folks you want naught to do with try to extract some price. When Tymora lets fly a coin, I jump right in an' wager high. I take my chances every chance I get. ~ IF ~~ THEN EXIT END </charname></charname></standard></standard></standard></standard></charname></charname></charname></charname></charname></charname></charname></prohimher>
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