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10/31/06 - Tuesday: TODAY, I PAY TRIBUTE TO THE KINGS...

After the events of today, I think I have to put my "How can I top myself again" series on hold for a while...

So, the day started off as every other day during the week starts off. I got up at 7:00 am, brushed my teeth, took a shower, etc. I was out of the house a little bit later than usual (7:50), and proceeded to head south of Route 9. As I neared the exit for the train station, instead of turning right, I continued straight. That's right folks, no train ride for me today! I was going to Heart Acura dealership to have my car serviced. Joy!

When it came down to it, it was a very nice experience. For those not familiar with my car, it is a 2000 Acura 3.2 TL. This particular car is a mid-level luxury car, in the same league as a Lexus or Infinity. Anyway, the style of the car was very much reflected in the service I received. First off, they have this very nice waiting room with a flat screen monitor, leather seats, free food and drinks, and more importantly, a Wi-Fi connection. Good thing I brought my laptop:)

So, keeping in line with my promise to get out more after the game is released, my girlfriend and I are going to Baltimire, Maryland to stay with one of my best friends and his wife. This is a very special friend to me, as he was the only one I knew of back in 1994 to like video game music as much as I did. I know it's very big now, but back then, it was taboo:) Anyway, I have had my car for 2 years now, and I never really had any real servicing done to it. Luckily, for the past 2 years, I have been working in Manhattan, and the train station is only a 10 minute ride from my house. Moreover, when I was home, I was working on Rose Of Eternity, so I never really put a lot of miles on it. Still, I wanted to make sure it was up to the trip down to Baltimore.

So, when I scheduled the appointment, it was to just be a regualr oil change. Then, over the phone, I was pressing the secretary to make sure they would check a whole bunch of things on the car. I am not scheduled for a tune-up until 100,000 miles, but I still wanted to be sure. I ended up signing up for some $100 or so plan to have them do a thorough check of things, topping off fluids and whatnot.

While the car was being worked on, I pulled old ole reliable, and began to play a game. What game, you ask? Why, Alazander's AL2: Crimson Tides of Tethyr. I promised him way way back in the day that I would play it after I was done with my games, so I actually started it last week, though I never mentioned much about it. I now know why people were raving over this game. It is really, really good. The writing is top notch, and once I hit Chapter 2, things started to really pick up, plot wise. Without going into many details, I really feel as if I am one of the leaders in an army of 20,000. It's that good, and deserves all the praise it has gotten over the past year.

While I am playing, one of the workers comes over to me, and shows me what I later learned was my air filter. It was actually very funny. She walks up to me, shows it to me, and I said something along the lines of "I don't know what this is that you are showing me, but I assume it's broken?" :) Long story short, it was dirty as hell! After some back and forths over when I had last had the car serviced, I ended up changing my plan to the $500 one since it was really in need of a lot of stuff. After some more things were found (i.e. bubble in my front right tire), it looked as everything was going to come to a little over $1000. In my head, I was like, "Whatever, just chanrge my card, and leave me along. I'm trying to figure out who kidnapped the Queen in AL2, and I need to find a Wolfwere pelt to make a cool cloak!".

Now, I'm not rich, but I have been called cheap. But, I like to call it sensible. My girlfriend will tell anyone, one of things I am always nagging her about is taking care of her financial situation. I cannot remember how many times I told her having at least $5,000 in the bank just in case is the way to go. In fact, I always use the "What if your car broke down excuse". Maybe I jinxed myself, but since I literally just stack every paycheck I get into my checking account, I did not care I was blowing $1000 on my car. I knew it was worth it. Plus, the main reason I have been able to save so much is simple. Being a hermit for the past 30 months and making Rose Of Eternity meant I didn't go out that much and spend money. Don't forget that I still live at home with my Father too. Yeah, I pay $300 a month for rent, but that's nothing. At any rate, the goal was to just stack as much money as possible, and then move out at some point, and get a nice apartment/house. So, you can just imagine the money I have amassed over the past 30 months where I didn't really go out anyway. Plus, I work in Manhattan as a programmer, where they pay pretty good, because it is so expensive to live down there. But, I just collect that paycheck, and then commute home where things are cheap. I'm sure when I do move out, things will stabilize (no!!!!).

I am also looking to get the new Acura 3.5 RL, so I figured I would go the showroom while I waited (my laptop batttery was also dying, and the charger wouldn't reach the outlet). You know, going in there, I knew no one would help me. I had on baggy sweatpants, an Ecko hoodie, and a pair of timbs. I just knew they would see me and assume I was one of those guys who come in to look, but never buy anything. Just as I expected, not a single person came up to me... How dare those bastards sterotype me just because of what I look like! In all honesty, I am used to it, so it just rolls off my shoulder. Even funnier, I didn't want one of them to come up to me and start trying to trick me into buying anything, it was just the fact that I knew they wouldn't. Oh well, such is life... Although, I bet if I had my work clothes on with my briefcase and overcoat, they would have all pounced at the opportunity to get some commission:) It really is funny how people can just look at someone and get an idea of what they think they are like. When people meet me, and I tell them I make video games, no one believes me. It's crazy...

After all was said and done, I had my car back, better than ever. And dammit, I really mean that (more of this in a bit)! You know, the reason I bought this car was because the co-writer of the story for Rose Of Eternity, Brian Rhodes used to drive an 1996 Acura 2.5 TL back when we first graduated highschool (1998). As a bit of backstory, his nickname used to be Cash, because he always seemed to have it in piles. He always had the newest cars, and used to always tell me "Leonard, in life, you must always upgrade your cars when getting new ones. Never go backwards". He followed this perfectly, as he went from a 1986 Honda Accord to a 1993 Dodge Intrepid to a 1996 Acura 2.5 TL to a 2000 Class D Mercedes Benz. The funny thing is, he never got where he was by hustling and selling drugs like our other friends were doing. In fact, he was the first person in our group to get out of town, and get a job in the software industry in Manhattan. Definitely a trail blazer. Anyway, he was also a generous person, and when I was going through hard times, he often let me drop him off at the train station for work (never thought I would be taking the same train he was always bitching about!!!!) and use his car for the day. I immediately fell in love with how it handled, and how comfortable it was. I made a decision that day to have one of my own. Once I got my life back in shape, and was making decent money, the first thing I did was go out an buy that car:)

Anyway, when I first got it, it handled so good, it was amazing. Over the past 2 years, things changed a bit, and even though I was still in love with it, it wasn't the same (as all cars are, I assume). Well, after getting my car back, everything is back to normal. For instance, I swear I can use my pinky finger to turn the wheel to make a U-turn. It is that smooth! All I need is some car scent air freshener, and I will feel as if I just drove the car off the lot:)

Wow, see what happens when I'm not working on the game? I ramble on for pages and pages, since I have so much free time. Sorry about that, folks:(

So, the title of this update is, "Today, I pay homage to the Kings". Very simply, I mean Square-Enix, and more specifically, the makers of Final Fantasy XII. While everyone is out getting NWN2, after getting my car serviced, I decided to go back to my roots, and pick up the latest in the series of games that inspried me to do what it is I'm doing right now. After playing for close to 5 hours, all I can say is one word... Stunning...

The last time I felt this way about a FF game was back in 1994 when one of my best friends (the one who I am going to visit in Baltimore) and I played FF 3/6 for the first time. I can vividly remember watching that 16 bit opening intro with the "Terra" theme playing, while the magitek robots walked down the snowy field, with the credits rolling. It totally blew me away, with its top notch presentation and graphics. Back then, the Super Nintendo could only display 256 different colors (as opposed to the Sega Genesis' 64; take that Sega fanboys!!!! MUAHAHAHA) on the screen at one time, and this was the first game to do it. Besides Street Fighter II - Turbo, this was the only 24 MB game of the time. It was just...perfect... The things I will fondly remember till the day I die... I can safely say the same thing about FF 12. I now know why it took 5 years for this game to be released. The production values are crazy high, and in my opinion, this where FF as a series needed to go a long time ago.

Let's start with the opening cut-scene. I mean, since these guys were the ones who inspired me to do elaborate cut-scene sequences, I was really looking forward to what they did with it. Man oh man... Usually, there are CG intro scenes in console games that last about 2 minutes, possibly with a narrator. This sucker lasted for like 5-6 minutes, all the while telling the beginnings of an epic story that is supposed to last 45 hours. What really struck me however was the actual design of the cut-scene itself. It was directed with amazing precision, and the music was spot on (as it should!). I also heard they spent a ton of money on getting good actors, and honestly, it really paid off. It was great. But, I have to go back to the length. I have never felt so drawn into a game like this before. Take it how you want, but I felt as if I was watching the beginning of a movie (i.e. Fellowship of the Ring opening scene). Also, this is the first time in a while that I played the beginning of a game again, just to watch the intro. Again, haven't done this since playing FF 3/6 back in 1994.

But, let's get to the best part... The story... Without a doubt, the best FF story (so far that is!). The reasons are simple. The people who did this game are responsible for Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story, 2 games noted for their political intrigue style games, with realistic characters. The story is a lot more mature, and this is the one thing I have been hoping for for a long time. Usually when I played RPG's back in the day, I was more concerned with the battle system. Now, I am without a doubt more interested in the story. I keep asking myself, "Who is that guy?", or "Man, I wonder what will happen to her". Hell, it is what kept me up late tonight:)

Then, there is the combat system. If you read most reviews, people will say it was inspired by MMORPG's, and that is true. But, for those who only know NWN, it is comparable. No more turn-based, random battles. Everything happens in real time, just like NWN. And, just like NWN2, you can directly controll each person in your party. For most console folks, this is a big change, and I don't know how they are taking it, but for me, the transition was seamless. However, there is one big difference... The AI is impecable. Hell, they have some system (that I won't really get into) called the Gambit system, which basically is a set of AI options you can put on your party members. But, the options you have are ridiculous. For instance, I can tell my healer to heal anyone who drops below 30%. Or, if I don't want to be so risky, I can change it to 70%/

I don't know what else to say, mostly because my fingers are starting to hurt... FF will always be king in my eyes, and nothing could ever change that. This game is a testament to it. I can vividly remember talking about how happy I was going to be when I was done with my game so I could play *other* games. Well, folks, that time has come. All that matters for the next few days in FF 12.

Till tomorrow (maybe...)...

10/30/06 - Monday: HOW CAN I TOP MYSELF AGAIN - PART 7

Okay folks, this is it. I am now at the part of this series where I will talk about my goals for Rose Of Eternity - Chapter 3 - The Last Petal.


So, I really have to ramp things up, with respect to game flow. What I mean by this is, all the events from the opening cut-scene of the game, till the ending cut-scene. My goal is to have everything be epic. Not in terms of levels, or whatever you DnD call it:) But, I want every sequence to be very long and epic. Let's get one thing straight right now... I absolutely loathe repetition. Everyone is different, but I look at it this way...

When Chapter 3 starts, the player would have been playing for at least 20 hours, if not more. I can only do so many fights over and over again before people start saying "Hmm, haven't I done this already?". Now, with The Coming, there was no fear of repitition because the damn thing was so short. With Cry The Beloved, my belief is that things weren't repetitive because at every new sequence, you either had new skills to work with, or new party members, or the fights weren't the standard hack and slash (Fort Brigance comes to mind). Even further, I tried to make boss fights as unique as possible, which can be seen with the Dungeon of Summon boss fights, as well as the fight against Kain. As an aside, I am so happy the way things turned out with the way you are supposed to kill with Trinity Beam. I can fondly remember old school games where I had to always find the "kink in the boss' armor" in order to proceed. But, back to the topic at hand...

So, I am obviously going to keep up this standard of making the majority of the encounters custom and unique. However, I have a new standard that I want to set for myself. I want to continually jump from epic encounter to epic encounter, so the player never gets bored. Moreover, I am looking to have these epic encounters really epic, as in things that last 2 hours at a time. Of course, there will be times when the party will be sitting down and talking, or going through a town, etc. But, I really want to strive to keep the action going the majority of the time. One thing that I think I have mastered is the aftermath scenes after long sequences. I have had many people compliment me about the feeling they got after finally finishing the assault on Bannerman Hill, only to be treated to the cut-scene in the sanctuary where they first meet Kira Allendry. Or, the entire scene after the siege of Fort Brigance. I am definitely going to stick to this paradigm, but the aforementioned scenes will be much longer and epic. I want people to say "Damn, that was the longest and best event I have ever taken part in!".

In terms of length, it would be nice if I could keep the 10-12 hours I was able to get out of Cry The Beloved. At first, I thought that I would never do a game as long as that again, but Cry The Beloved was different. For the record, anyone who is reading this, don't ever question why someone makes a game linear:) It is so much easier to not have to worry about previous areas if you know the player will never travel back to that place. Now, I am not saying non-linear games are crap, and that it isn't possible, but I sure wouldn't want to do it alone! Think about it... Once you can teleport out of Dematol, things really open up for the player in terms of things to do. At first, I thought the only deviation they could take would be to go visit Mathewin, but man, I have really gotten some interesting e-mails from people describing how the played through the game. Hell, someone was able to complete all single matches in the arena in the ghetto, get the Heart Stones, and fight the Cornugon in the Heart of the Boundary before even making it to Khal Rock. Again, these things aren't difficult to get working properly, just a little more difficult to maintain.

The way the story plays out in The Last Petal, there will simply be areas that the player will not be able to go back to once they leave. I didn't plan it like this, it just happened. From my perspective, this is going to make things easier on my part:) In fact, whereas Cry The Beloved mainly took place in the same contient, The Last Petal will span so many different regions, that the player will really be on the move.

Well, that's it for today. It's funny, I don't really deal with design documents, as I keep everything in my head. However, these updates have really been helping me flesh out my ideas as I go. So, this thing is actually benefiting everyone:)

Tomorrow, I will talk about how to deal with Auden & Raina... That's right, don't forget about them. They have their own story too... Hopefully, NWN2 will allow me to do what I really want to...

Till tomorrow...

10/29/06 - Sunday: I JUST CAN'T HELP MYSELF!!!

So, I'm on vacation from NWN... Everyone knows that... Except for, my brain, it seems:) As much as I have been trying to do other things, whenever I listen to music, I can't help but brainstorm new scenarios in my head. Now, even though I do have the main skeleton of the story for Chapter 3, everyday, I come up with more things to add to it. You all know how I do:)

Even though I haven't spec'd it out totally (in my mind of couse, I don't use no damn design documents!), I have the beginning of what could be one of the most talked about sequences of Chapter 3. I have the music picked out, the general idea of what should happen, and who is involved.

I could go on, but I will leave that for next week when I continue my series of How To Top Myself. Last week was how all the changes worked out in Cry The Beloved. Beginning tomorrow, I will talk about my goals for The Last Petal.

Till tomorrow...


Well, what a week! I haven't really talked about it much, but I honestly thought that after the release of this game, I would finally get some peace and quiet. Boy, was I wrong! Now, I admit that I knew I would have to do basic support for Cry The Beloved, so I'm not complaining about that at all. It is things that have happened as a result of Cry The Beloved.

Now, we all know my goals coming into this, and if you don't know, let me reiterate. I am going to make Rose of Eternity commercially one day, and that is that:) That has been the plan since 1999, and it hasn't changed. Now, to get to that point, I knew I had to break into the industry one way or another, so I took the modding route. Good move on my part...

Now, because of the success of Rose of Eternity, various opportuniites have opened up for me. However, I have been really trying to make the right decision. I don't want to get too hasty. An example is when I was out in San Jose for the Game Developer's Choice Awards. After winning the award, I could have bug the hell out of the various industry people I met in order to get a job. But, something just didn't feel right. For instance, Bioware opened a developmnent studio in Austin, Texas, and I knew they were hiring at the time. What's more, the old games producer at my job knew many people from Bioware was going to put in a good word for me. But, it just didn't feel right, so I never pursued it.

The thing people realize is that I am going for the top, as in, opening up my own development studio. That being the case, I was more interested in building up my catalog of games, not someone elses. I know I am going to have to start from the bottom, and make lots of contacts in the industry, but it just didn't seem to be the right time, so I kept on with my own projects.

Now that I am done, even more doors have been opened up to me, even better than the ones last March. One situation in particular is going to be great for me, and I feel very confident about it. Obviously, I cannot divulge the details right now, but what else is new? :)

But, it doesn't stop there! I recently received an e-mail earlier this week from someone who is also interested in working with me on a different project, as well as another well known community member. It is very interesting, to say the least, but my concern is, will I have time for it? I mean, I am only one person, and can only do so much. Either way, I have to get back to this person at the beginning of next week, so here's hoping something good comes out of it.

But, I'm not done, people! There are things going on with regards to my current job down in Manhattan (you know, my 2nd job, the one that pays the bills :) ). Apparantly, I have some opportunites to go to another company, where I am sure I will get pad significantly more. But, at what cost? I mean, money isn't everything to me, mainly because I am financially secure at the moment, never having to worry where my next meal will come. The thing is, I am comforable at my current job, and they treat me well. They all know about Rose Of Eternity and support me to the fullest. Hell, they paid for my entire trip to San Jose for the Game Developer's Choice Awards.

In short, I have many things on my plate. It's not lie that I am exhausted as all hell, and this just adds to that exhaustion. So, if you send me an e-mail, and it takes me a day to get back to you, I am not ignoring you. I am just deal with the over 100 things on my plate:(

Till tomorrow...

10/27/06 - Friday: HOW CAN I TOP MYSELF AGAIN - PART 6

In this final segment, I will talk about one of the things that has evolved a lot since the beginning design of this game:


So, the goal early one was in fact to have a large ensemble cast of characters in this entire story. For whatever reason, I have always loved stories that have 5-6 separate threads interweaving through the main one. It is probably the reason why I love the shows 24 & The Wire. In The Coming, because of the shortness of the game, this just wasn't possible. I mean, I think I gave a good hint of what was to come, but that was all...

In Cry The Beloved, I knew I had to get the main stories going for a lot more people, and at first, I was quite scared I wasn't going to be able to pull it off. I mean, for reference, go to the Cast page. The funny thing is, there are more people in the game that I forgot to include on that page:)

The thing that made it possible for me to do this was definitely through cut-scenes. There was simply no other way. For instance, ther majority of the time you see Castias on screen, it is in cut-scenes. For Adelas, the only time you would seehim was in cut-scenes. Never underestimate the power of cut-scenes, folks!

Now, there is the interesting thing... A majority of the cast was thought up on the fly. You all know what I'm talking about. It's that damn Extreme Programming thing coming out of me:) The best example of this is Raina.

Now, what I am about to write is very interesting. As I'm writing this update, I knew there was an old update from last year where I was actually talking about how Raina evolved as a party member. Well, after some searching, I found this update. Go to the update I made on 12/29. Heh, life is so funny sometimes. First off, in that update, I am actually talking about how I was trying to create a large ensemble cast! I use an example of the party members you could get in Final Fantasy 6. Even funnier, I go on to talk about how Raina evolved. But, because of the secrets I was trying to keep, I was only vaguely mentioning it. Here is an exerpt:

"Anyways, when I was driving in my car while listening to my Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring earlier this week , I thought up another NPC that the party could encounter in the new area I am designing.  Well, as the week kept going on, and as I kept listening to the same music, this NPC somehow evolved into a possible part-time party member.  So, I began to implement some of my generic party member scripts for this new NPC.  

As I was implementing the scripts, a thought occurred to me.  I didn't want to just make this new NPC a half way party member.  So, I bit the bullet, threw on some music, and began to brainstorm.  Now this new party member has a personality, and a little bit of a side story.  I will be the first to admit that this party member will not be as prominent as the others, but implementation wise, everything is the same as with Clopon & Challseus.  They will have Last Resorts, you will be able to change their AI via their conversation dialog, they will be able to use Tonics Of Rebirth, etc.  I have to say that I am very proud of myself, as by the end of the night, I was testing out combat with the new party member:)  I'm sure there are some places in my various scripts that I missed adding a reference to the new party member, but I will find it eventually.  Which reminds me...I really need to refactor my party member AI scripts:)  I'll save that for another day."

Now, the area I was creating was in fact East Shinkara Forest. I knew I needed a Boundary Warden to guide the party through, which is how she came about. Then, described in the exerpt above, she evolved. Well, sorry for the little tangent, but I really just about all of this as I was writing:) What a coincidence:) But, back to the topic at hand...

So, as you can see, when ideas hit me, I just run with them. One character went from a regular NPC, to having her own backstory, and involvment in the main story line. It just so happens that a lot of ideas hit me during the development of this game, which is why there are so many characters in it. At times, I felt I was doing too much, but from the reactions from the players of the game, it was just fine. Heh, now I just have to keep up this pace:)

Till tomorrow...

10/26/06 - Thursday: HOW CAN I TOP MYSELF AGAIN - PART 5



In this next segment, I want to talk about combat. As mentioned many times before, this was the thing I wanted to define this series from way, way back in the day when Brian Rhodes and I first started coming up with ideas on the riverfront. As a little aside, the name of the place we came up with our ideas was called Khal Rock. I'm a sneaky little bas****, aren't I:)

I myself am very happy with the way this turned out, mainly because of all the options the player had. I was only really getting started in The Coming. With the new game, I was able to let my imagination run wild, as well as the imagination of others. If you all could see the one thread we had at our forums, you would be amazed. I cannot remember, but there were at least 60 ideas, if not more. Every once in a while over the past year, I have checked the thread for ideas here and there.

In fact, the only thing that could have made it better is if I actually had control over the damn party members! I can tell you right now, the Unison Ability system was never supposed to be between just Aramus and other party members. Raina should be able to perform one with Challseus. The only way to make this work would to have all of these annoying gems that Aramus would activate at certain times. Never what I wanted. With NWN2, the system will finally be able to be fleshed out the way it was supposed to. But, back to the topic at hand.

Another reason I think the combat worked out well is because it is so different. People truly feel like they are playing a new game, and that was my intention.

Although, I have to admit, at one point, I thought I might have gone overboard. Just take a look at Aramus' page, and look at all the custom skills. At one point, I thought I might over burden the player with the need to learn all of skills. If I had to go back, I don't think I would have made it as easy to gain so many so fast. I might have made you only get 1 BOB point when killing normal enemies.

The issue was, I really wanted to hit a homerun with this game, but I also needed to keep a lot of things open for the next games in the series. So, to any of you who sent me ideas for new skills, I loved most of them! I just didn't want to overload this game with too many. There is so much more to offer in the next games, and I don't want to run out of ideas yet. I guess what I am saying is, I need to pace myself...

Till tomorrow...


10/25/06 - Wednesday: HOW CAN I TOP MYSELF AGAIN - PART 4


In the next part of my series of things I need to do to top myself:


So, it isn't a secret that The Coming was a pretty short game. As some people have said, more like a prologue. That said, I totally stick to my reasonsing. Let's be honest. I was going out on a limb when I released. I had already worked on it for 15 months, and I had no idea of the thing would fly. It really was a game to see if the community was open minded enough.

There is also another thing people need to understand. * Broken Record Moment* This game was never intended to be broken up into individual games. I never considered NWN at all. So, when it came down to breaking it up u into logical pieces, a lot of thought had to go into it. Think about it. If you are playing 1 game, you only really expect 1 climax, 1 denoument, etc. You aren't worried if at the 10 hour mark of an 80 hour game if the player has learned ALL that there is to know about the main character.

Now, think about broken up modules. With each one, I have to make it a self contained story with the full period of exposition/rising action/climax/falling action/denoument. Every game has to have that it moment, and the player has to feel as if they achieved some smaller goal in the grand scheme of some overarching goal.


What I am about to dislcose is something I never shared with anyone outside of the dev group. The scenes of Fort Brigance was something that I came up with during development, because I knew I needed that cool climax type scene. The fight with Kain was never originally supposed to happen. However, because I knew I had to end the game with a bang, and make people feel as if they were truly fighting an end game boss, I threw him in there.

Now, in the end, these sequences actually made Rose of Eternity a better game in the long run, and I am glad they were added. I just thought people need to know the thought process of what goes into game development when someone is trying to take an originally planned 80 hour, and break it up into smaller self-contained chunks that are enjoyable in their own right.


Getting back to game play duration, I think I really hit the mark with Cry The Beloved. I estimated gameplay around 10-12 hours, but I have gotten e-mails from people who say they played it for 15 hours. To me, that number is perfect for a NWN module. Not short enough that people would complain they didn't do anything, but not long enough that it would be a pain to develop. Most importantly, I was able to reveal a lot of the new cast members, and the player has finally started to get a feel for what they will be seeing throughout the series. In essence, it is was I wanted The Coming to be. Oh well, you live and you learn.

Till tomorrow...

10/24/06 - Tuesday: HOW CAN I TOP MYSELF AGAIN - PART 3

Tonight, I talk about the next thing that needed to be changed as fast as possible.


Ouch... I can still remember the nasty comments I got for The Coming. Heh, those really hit home, so early on, I elicited the help of people from the community to help with the writing. I was also lucky enough to get Jason Melancon to become the Lead Editor. When developing The Coming, I didn't know my fanbase as well as I thought I did. I mean, I didn't think they would let little spelling mistakes here and there ruin a game made by an amateur. Boy, was I wrong... Well, to be fair, not everyone was like that, but enough were, and therefore, I spent a lot of time trying to get it right.

In the beginning, I admit, I was very slow about getting back to writers, and especially, getting conversations that needed to be edited to Jason. When I develop, I get blinders, and I only focus on one thing. That leaves everyone out in the cold, and for that, I apologize (if any of the developers is reading this). About halfway through the development, I believe Jason got irritated with me, and got very proactive in doing the edits himself, and sending me what he had. This ended up working out perfectly. As time went on, I got used to him in his role, and it came to the point where I would more or less trust anything he gave me (there were a few disagreements, but hey, those happen). By and large, he as well as Alistair Gill are the reasons for the success in this area.

I mean, hell, I am SO happy with the change. I went from The Coming which was notoriously known for grammer mistakes to Cry The Beloved, where not one single person has complained so far. I tip my hat to Jason & Allistair *Tips Hat*

Then, there is the writing. From Amy, to Joseph, to Daniel, to Kelvin, to David, to Jason, to Jeff, and myself (hey, I did something too you know!), it was great. It was so great to know I could merely give a description of an NPC to one of them, and have them write an entire piece of dialog. However, one person, Phil Carter, really gave some of the dialogs in the game that extra little something to make them special. He was the one who wrote the dialogue for Kira Allendry, Lord Montolio, and Jarl Thuvik, as well as other little things here and there. He was a very busy man, so I am glad I was able to work with him.

All in all, much respect to the writers and editors. It was very much a group effort, and as cliche as it sounds, I couldn't have done it without them! Again, the quality of this from The Coming -> Cry The Beloved is amazing. I set out to make it better, and better it is...

Till tomorrow...


10/23/06 - Monday: HOW CAN I TOP MYSELF AGAIN - PART 2


So, yesterday, I talked about the thoughts I had right before I started hardcore development on Cry The Beloved. It mainly consisted of me talking about things people didn't like in The Coming, as well as things that I wanted to get in, but didn't have enough time. Well, once I added up the aforementioned thoughts, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do, and what I didn't want to do. Let's start with the things people didn't like:) Oh, and there will be many spoilers scattered throughout...


This was real simple. I needed to make them skippable, and I also had to cut down on the duration of ones that didn't need to be cut-scenes at all. The breakfast scene between Aramus & Clopon comes to mind. So, 90% of the time, any scene I would normally do as a cut-scene where the only thing that happenend was talking, I would make it a generic NWN dialog. A couple of scenes that stand out are the scenes that took place between Ashard and the Boundary Wardens, as well as the aftermath scene after the defeat of Castias. These could have easily been cut-scenes, but after the various comments about the length, my whole mind set was different, allowing me to make the right decision. As for the cut-scene skippping, there really isn't anything to talk about. It was just a lot of work:)

Until further notice, I think the change was successful. If my memory serves me correctly, to this date, only 1 person has complained about them, and that was just that the intro was a bit lengthy. Another factor may be that all people who complained about them and therefore didn't like The Coming didn't bother with Cry The Beloved. Either way, I'm happy with the the results:)

Till tomorrow...

10/22/06 - Sunday: HOW CAN I TOP MYSELF AGAIN???


Okay... So, since this blog was supposed to contain information regarding the progress of Cry The Beloved, that original concept is obviously a moot point now. So, time to move on. Oh, the times we have had:) To move on, I thought I would start to talk about the things going through my head as I prepare to make my next decision regarding what to do next. Yes people, there is more than one choice! But, more on that later.

First off, there is the main question. "How can I make my next game better than Cry The Beloved?" To think about this question though, we have to go back to the same question I was asking myself back in July 2005: "How can I make my next game better than The Coming".

So, when I initially released The Coming, there were many things that just had to be left on the cutting room floor. For instance, I really wanted to get the Dungeon of Summons or something like that in the game. That is why that was one of the first things I worked on when I started Cry The Beloved.

Some other things included getting some pretty strategic battles with multiple party members. By the end of The Coming, you really *just* got Challseus on your team, and right after that, the game ended. Now, there is nothing wrong with low level combat with only 2 people. In fact, every once in a while, I like the concept of only having 2 party members. This is one of the reasons why you can only take 1 party member with you for the assault on Bannerman Hill. There is just something better about not having to worry about so many people at once. That said, I still always had the idea of multiple party members.

Speaking of the battles, I need to stress one thing, even though I have mentioned at various times throughout the past year. Rose Of Eternity was always supposed to be a game that had fun and difficult battles. Yeah, it has a story and whatnot, and yes, it is very cinematic, and yes, the music is good, but the thing I had as the standout feature of the game was the fighting. Luckily, I am such a perfectionist that I spent as much time on the other areas as well. Not a big deal, but interesting, nonetheless.

Also Interesting (to me anyway!) is, at the time development started, I only wanted to add more Last Resorts & Unison Abilities. BOB, PA's, and DD were not on my radar at all. I mean, I knew I needed a TON more abilities, but that was it.

Music was also obviously on my mind. Since I already knew the party would be able to travel back to areas they have previously gone to, I knew I would continue to use the same music again. However, I knew I needed some new stuff to be in sync with the darker atmosphere. I have to admit, at the time, I was getting paranoid that I was going to run out of ideas for music. I was quite happy with the selection I had previously used, and I really didn't know how I was going to live up to it. I knew I was in for a wild year of listening to 100's of tracks on repeat until I found everything I needed.

On the biggies, if not the biggest of all was the fact that I knew I had to make the majority of the cut-scenes skippable. I couldn't remember how many votes I got from people who said they loved the cut-scenes, but wished they could skip them. So, this was very high on my priority list, let me tell you...

Let's see... What else... Oh yeah, game length. It's hard to explain to a player the reasons why I ended The Coming where I did, and frankly, they don't care. Going in this time, I knew I had to tell a much longer tale, something people could sink their teeth into for a long amount of time. I always knew I would feel happy if I could just get the sequel to be at least 10 hours long.

Finally, I knew I needed some writers and an editor. Many people obviously had issues with the grammar and whatnot in the game, and if you read these updates enough, you know that isn't my strong point. So, instead of trying to learn something, I figured, hell, let me get someone to do it for me:)

Well, I think that is it. Tomorrow, I will talk about how well these things translated to Cry The Beloved, and what I think I need to do next time around...

Till tomorrow...


10/21/06 - Saturday: I AM SO VERY, VERY PROUD

Well folks, I am proud to say that one of the writers on our team (Jeff Stanley) has taken a professional job in the game industry, with Destineer Studios!

Though he has not been with the team long, I am still very proud nonetheless. It gives hope and inspriation to myself, as well as others who have the same dreams.

Good luck Jeff, and don't forget about the little people!

Till tomorrow...

EDIT - After getting some much needed rest, I should be back to regular updates and whatnot. My apologies, but my body doesn't agree with me wanting to not pass out now :)


10/20/06 - Friday: VERY LONG DAY

So, this has been a very long week. Interesting how I go from the extreme of game development to the extreme of trying to finish a major project in Q3, so that we do not lose our clients. Why, oh why me?!

So, even after I have successfully released Cry The Beloved, I have still been getting to sleep around 1:00 am and getting up at 5:00 am.

Yes folks, literally 20 hours of sleep for the week. I think I have a problem. I am always trying to do the best I can in any situation, even if it risks my health. I always have the attitude that I can rest later. There is another thing...

While this Mapquest Mobile project has been going on, I have really been focusing on Cry The Beloved. Now that I am done with it, I feel the need to refocus that same energy, and catch up, which is why I was playing catch up this week. Luckily, I shouldn't have to subject myself to that next week...

Till tomorrow...


10/19/06 - Thursday: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TODAY...

So, besides answering questions at the download page, and sifting through e-mails, I didn't do anything significant with the game, and as I am writing this, I realize that there shouldn't wrong that I didn't, yet I still have the thought in the back of my head that I need to do something Rose Of Eternity related (development work that is, it's okay if I brainstorm!).

It's getting easier as time goes on, so I am hoping there might be a day where I don't get the urge. Don't take that I am giving up on this or anything like that, I just need my rest. I came close to being burned out doing anything not related to work and sleep before the launch of Cry The Beloved, so this should be good for me.

Speaking of Cry The Beloved, it looks like it has been out for a week. At this point, I DEFINITELY think all the hard work was well worth it. Sure, there aren't as many downloads as back in the day, but what're you gonna do? :)

Well, I'm off now. Need to get some shut eye so I can devote all my time to this damn Mapquest Mobile project:( When does it end for me!

Till tomorrow...


10/18/06 - Wednesday: VERSION 1.4...

So, I uploaded Version 1.4 today. For a detailed report of what was changed, check out the release notes.

In short, I made a bunch of enhancements to various items Auden can use in the hopes of making him a bit stronger. I also fixed 2 bugs that were brought to my attention earlier in the day. I will most likely do another patch tomorrow night, but this will deal with very minor issues that I want to fix just because I'm a perfectionist. Most won't even notice a change, but for my sanity, I need to fix them:)

Till tomorrow...

P.S. Unfortunately, the list of RPG cliches has to come to an end today:( Sorry, but it couldn't go on forever... Without further adieu...


186. Apocalypse Any Time Now
The best time to do side quests is while the huge meteor hovers in the sky above the planet, waiting to fall and destroy the world.

187. "So, Andross, you reveal your true form!"
You will have to kill the evil villain at least twice at the end of the game. First the villain will look like a person or some creature and be rather easy to kill. Then he will grow to about 50 times the hero's size and be much harder to kill.

188. In Your Face, Jesus!
Even if you manage to deal with him that time, you're not done -- the villain will then transform into his final form, which is always an angelic winged figure with background music remixed for ecstatic chorus and pipe organ.

189. The Moral Of The Story (Ghaleon Rule)
Every problem in the universe can be solved by finding the right long-haired prettyboy and beating the crap out of him.

190. Weapon Rule
There's always a hidden creature who is much harder to defeat than even the ultimate bad guy's final, world-annihilating form. It's lucky for all concerned that this hidden creature prefers to stay hidden rather than trying to take over the world himself, because he'd probably win. As a corollary, whatever reward you get for killing the hidden creature is basically worthless because by the time you're powerful enough to defeat him, you don't need it any more.

191. The Ultimate Rule
Anything called "Ultima (whatever)" or "Ultimate (whatever)" isn't. There's always at least one thing somewhere in the world which is even more.

192. Know Your Audience (Vyse Rule)
Every woman in the game will find the male lead incredibly attractive.


10/17/06 - Tuesday: NOT MUCH TODAY...

So, I had plans on getting another patch out tonight, but I ended up getting caught up in a bunch of other things, so it will have to wait until tomorrow.

One particular thing I want to fix is an apparant weakness in Auden (not his personality!). The BETA testers told me about how he was the weakest out of the 4 party members, and I did some last minute fixes to balance him out.

Well, more people than anticipated have been using Auden (take that, Jason:) ), so I have received a few e-mails here and there about it.

The main issue I want to fix is his attack power. Now, at first (I could have misunderstood this), I was told that raising his DEX would increase his attack power. Apparantly, DEX is for ranged, and STR is for melee. Well, I have gotten some conflicting e-mails about this, but I am sure it will get cleared up tomorrow.

Another thing is skills that raise his DEX. Apparantly, because of the armor he has on, his DEX is capped at some arbitrary value. So for instance, Warden's Dexterity wouldn't really help him all that much. I haven't actually verified this in game, but I have been told that if I lower the standard AC of his armor, his DEX cap will be raised. I can then take the AC I removed and put it into the armor's magic property, or something like that. Again, I'm not too worried about it, I just was too busy to get to it tonight.

In general, the testers can attest to the fact that Auden has given me the most issues out of all the party members. He has this horrible bug where he was dropping all his gear when he died, not running away from enemies when they got close, etc. Oh well, I still like him:)


181. Poetic Villain Principle (Kefka Rule)
All villains will suddenly become poets, philisophers, and/or dramatic actors when a) they first meet the hero, b) they are about to win or their evil plan is finally ready, c) some major event in the game is about to begin, d) right before the final battle, and e) right before they die, when they will frequently be feeling generous enough to reward you with some homespun wisdom about making the most of life while you have it.

182. Compression of Time
As you approach the final confrontation with the villain, events will become increasingly awkward, contrived and disconnected from one another -- almost as if some cosmic Author was running up against a deadline and had to slap together the ending at the last minute.

183. Adam Smith's Revenge
By the end of the game you are renowned everywhere as the Legendary Heroes, every surviving government and authority figure has rallied behind you, the fate of the world is obviously hanging in the balance, and out of nowhere random passers-by give you a pat on the back and heartfelt good luck wishes. However, shopkeepers won't even give you a discount, much less free supplies for the final battle with evil.

184. Adam Smith's Corollary
No matter how thoroughly devastated the continent/planet/universe is, there's always some shopkeeper who survived the end of the world and sits outside the gates of the villain's castle, selling the most powerful equipment in the game, like nothing ever happened.

185. The Long Arm of the Plot
Any bad guys, no matter how far they run, will always end up in one of two ways by the end of the game: obviously dead, or on your side. There is no in-between.


10/16/06 - Monday: SUPPORTING A GAME...

So, tonight, I made various fixes for Cry The Beloved, and uploaded it to the Vault. The file version is now 1.3. For more info, check out the release notes.

I mentioned this at the download page, but I just want to repeat it here... Although my plan was to release a patch on the weekend, I decided to do it piece meal for a few reasons.

One is that it is easier on myself to do 5-6 bugs/issues a night, test things out, and release a mini-patch. I don't want to have to worry about doing everything at once, which raises the risk of breaking something, which we all know I am paranoid it could happen.

Second, I underestimated how many downloads I would be getting this week, and this can be seen with the amount of downloads I received today. Long story short, I want to have these fixes in the hands of as many people as possible. I would hate to wait all week to release a patch, and have 100's of people download it without the fixes. Now technically speaking, these fixes are very miniscule. The defense code I put in for various cut-scenes was in direct response to some feedback I received from 1 person. That said, who knows how many other countless people experienced the same issue, but wish to remain silent about the issue.

All in all, everything is going as expected <insert diabolical laughter>. Even though I say I am free of development, I knew damn well (as I am sure everyone else did) that I would be fixing whatever issues came up the first few weeks after the release. It just doesn't end with the release of a game, and I never once tried to kid myself about it. With The Coming, things didn't settle down for many weeks after the release, if not months.

Another thing that takes up a huge chunk of my time is e-mail correspondance. First off, I LOVE getting e-mails from people about my games, so in that respect, I don't mind the extra time it takes from my day. I am notoriously horrible at getting back to people's e-mails, but I am getting slightly better. Now, I usually respond within a day:) I think I'm doing good. As of now, there are only 2 outstanding e-mails, and that was because I was getting very tired last night.

Either way, I strongly believe that if you take care of the people who you provide services for, whether it be through timely patches, or spending 20 minutes of your time typing out answers to questions they have, everything else will work out in the end. When I was younger, little things like that never really affected me. If someone got an attitude with me at a restaurant or whatever, I could care less. For whatever reason, as I have been getting older, I have found myself not going back to places where people were pricks to me. I do remember the places that took care of me, and I have never had an issue giving them my money. Man, time does fly... Okay, no more introspective posts from me today! I did that yesterday:)

All of the above said, I am still having without a doubt one of the best weeks ever. It is sort of how I felt after winning that IGF award back in March. I just felt vindicated for all of the work I had did the previous year. Well, with the way things are going now, I am now feeling that the last 15 months of development time were worth it in the end.

Now, if I could only finish off my current project:( No, notjing NWN related, rather real work related. I am sure you all have heard my rumblings about the Mapquest Mobile project I am leading up at my real job (yes people, I do other things than Rose Of Eternity, unfortunately...). This project is a pain, if for no other reason, than because of the Product Manager. Quick lesson from those not in the industry.

So, I am a Senior Software Engineer. That is just a fancy title for a monkey who knows how to program:) Anyway, the way the company is structured, we have a development team, called Downloadable Apps, which are responsible for the creating and maintenance of applications people can download to their phone, hence the name. Now, before my old company Vindigo merged with Zingy, technology drove the business. Now, it is the opposite. We have a team who we refer to as the Product Development team. These are the slick dressing ones who all look like models, and actually come up with the ideas that my team implements. Although this is my first job, I am sure this is quite standard.

Now, I never get things confused at the job. They tell me what to do, I implement it. I know my role, and I play it. I have also had a good relationship with them, which is key to a healthy business. However, we have a new Product Manager who is assigned to Mapquest Mobile, who is driving me crazy. It's her first project since joining the group, so of course she wants to do a good job, and who can blame her. But, the way she rides us everyday about our progress is beginning to take a tole on the team.

I won't really get into specifics, but just to get them off my back, I will be coming in early/leaving late just so that I can finish off the product, and get them out of my hair (what's left of my hair that is:) ). Heh, there is no worse feeling in the world then being in a meeting of 20 plus people, and being called out for something you supposedly did wrong. I'm not a big fan of that. If I need to question something someone did, I will do it outside of the meeting, as to not put someone on the spot. Everyone is different, but that is just me. It's a respect issue, really... Anyway, enough about work, no one cares about that:) Let's just say I have transfered the "When will it all end" from Rose Of Eternity to Mapquest Mobile:)

Yes, I still have more to talk about. Can't fall asleep on the train, which as I mentioned yesterday, is freaking crazy, because when I needed to stay up these past 15 months, I couldn't! Arrg!

So, as I have mentioned before, I have been listening to a lot of new music. Out of these pieces, I have already been picking of ones that I want to use in my next game. Now, with Cry The Beloved, I purposely tired to make the game as dark and gritty as possible. This can be seen with the way Dematol looks, to the sound effects in the town, to the music, to the dark skies and constant rain in 90% of the outside areas. It was definitely a conscious decision. With my next game, I believe things will change.


For Rose Of Eternity - Chapter 3 - The Last Petal, those that finished the game know, the party finally gets out of Dantiras, the continent that seems to have constant rain fall all the time. On a side note, talk about stretching out a storyline:) The original deisgn had them getting out of Dantiras early on, not after 20 hours of gameplay:)

Anyway, now that they are in Aurora (I had this name BEFORE I knew of the Aurora Toolset!), things will change dramatically, starting with the weather. Although it does rain every now and again, for the most part, it is sunny. The fact that the Defenders of Legacy have next to no prescence there means you won't be seeing many towns like Dematol. Towns will resemble Aribine in The Coming. So right away, the entire mood is lighter.

Now, you all know that for me, the best way to set the mood is with the music. This is where the new music I have been listening to comes in. If anyone has ever played the Grandia series, they will know that the music is very cheery and whatnot. Now, I am not going for that extreme, although there are a lot of pieces I will probably use from that series. Just not the super cheery crap:)

Another game that has excellent music is Albert Odyseey. I believe it came out for the ill-fated Sega Saturn, and although I never played it, I came across some of the music while listening to RPGFan Radio. I then found a site that had downloads for he entire soundtrack. I think I already mentioned this, but it has some great music that could be played on a world map, or in early areas when the game starts out. There is a good cave theme too.

Next is Xenogears. There is one particular song that is so inspirational, it is a must have. It has the great pomp and circumstance feel to it, and I will definitely find a place for it. Interestingly enough, a year ago, someone played The Coming (I think his name was Arik), and told me I needed more Yasanoru Mitsuda in the game. He then went on the tell me of Xenogears, which I never played, and I took it with a grain of salt. Now, I bow to that player:) But getting back to this piece, I think it has the potential to be the main theme of the game. It's just... perfect... The way things are going, I don't think I will ever run out of music. My only fear is when I create this game commercially (if I say it enough, it might come true!). Where will I ever get a musician to live up to my standards? I mean, I can't use music from other games in a commercial title! Ah well, I'll deal with it when it comes. If I am in that position, that is a good problem to have:)

All in all, music wise, things are shaping up pretty good. I doubt I will even start an major design work for many weeks, but the way I work, I like to have my music ready to go from the beginning, as I use that to brainstorm ideas. Oh, and just for clarification, just because the beginning of the game starts out with a lighter mood doesn't mean I will be losing the darkness of Cry The Beloved. It just won't be the main theme. Nope, something else will be the main theme. Something that people have been waiting for for a while. Something that I know will be hard, but will be appreciated more than anything I have ever done before. And that folks, is my teaser of the day:)


Till tomorrow...


176. "Evil will always triumph, because Good is dumb !"
If the villain needs all ten legendary medallions to attain world domination and you have nine of them, everybody in your party still thinks it is neccessary to bring the nine to the villain's castle and get the final one, instead of hiding the ones they've already got and spoiling his plans that way. After you foolishly bring the legendary medallions to the villain's hideout, he will kidnap one of your companions (usually the main love interest) and you will trade the world away to rescue your friend.

177. Dark Helmet's Corollary
After you give up the medallions to save your friend/parent/lover/other miscellaneous party member, don't expect to actually get that person back. Sucker!

178. It's Not My Department, Says Wernher Von Braun
All space stations, flying cities, floating continents and so forth will without exception either be blown up or crash violently to earth before the end of the game.

179. The Best-Laid Schemes
The final villain's grand scheme will have involved the deaths of thousands or even millions of innocent people, the clever manipulation of governments, armies, and entire populations, and will have taken anywhere from five to five thousand years to come to fruition. The hero will come up with a method of undoing this plan forever in less than five minutes.

180. Pyrrhic Victory
By the time you've gotten it in gear, dealt with your miscellaneous personal crises and are finally ready to go Save the World once and for all, nine-tenths of it will already have been destroyed. Still, you've got to give your all to save the remaining one-tenth.


10/15/06 - Sunday: ANOTHER DAY OF RELAXATION!!!

I have to tell you, I was probably in the best mood I have been on a Sunday in a long while. I again was amazed at how good it felt to just lay around and watch football all day. Hell, even the NY Giants won. Plus, now that I am able to devote more time to it, I am doing much better in the football pool we have going on at the office. Such a cliche, right? Like talking about Survivor around the water cooler:)

I did go through a TON of e-mails, as well as answering a few posts made at the download site of the game. There are a bunch of other things I need to do in the coming days, but the great thing is, there's no rush!

So, my laptop is a complete mess right now. I have so many files laying around, it is unbelievable. Over the course of the past 2 weeks, my organizational skills broke down under the pressure. I must have about 50 different builds of Cry The Beloved on my hard drive right now, which stem from my push to do benchmarking with different builds on different machines. It will take at least a few hours for me to get rid of all superflous files, at which point, I will need to defrag my machine.

Oh, and obviously, the Daily Journal migration process has started. I will continue to post new updates here, and slowing move over all the old ones. Currently, August 2005 is finished.

As far as bugs go, there hasn't been anything reported that is major. I am going to make fixes for the ones that were posted, and get a new build up soon. I held off on doing anything major this weekend because 1) I know I would get a lot of downloads on the weekend, so I wanted a fair amount of bug reports before I did any extensive and patching and 2) Because I am FREE and I don't have to! :) Seriously though, I can only assume that during this week, not many people will download the game, which will give me enough time to patch it up pretty good for the next weekend, where more people will be downloading it.

Well, I'm going to try to get 20 minutes or so of sleep on the train right now. How crazy is this? When I am working like hell to get the game done, I couldn't stay awake for nothing. Now that I have relatively speaking, nothing to do, I am wide awake! Life is crazy sometimes...

Till tomorrow...

P.S. - Now that I use Dreamweaver for my website, it doesn't have the spell checking ability of Frontpage and other Micorsoft products. In other words, typos and such might become more common. Hell, I am sure there is a typo in these last 3 sentences:) At any rate, anyone know of a free spell checker plugin for Dreamweaver?


171. World of Mild Inconvenience
The devastating plague, noxious gas, planet-obliterating meteor or other large-scale disaster that led to the death of millions will affect your party (and your party's friends and family members) in no way whatsoever, save that a few party members may become lost and you can find them later.

172. Golden Chocobo Principle
There will be at least one supremely ultimate improvement for your weapon or some way to make your trusted steed capable of going anywhere and doing anything, requiring hours and hours of hard work to acquire. Once you do achieve this, you will use it once, and it will be completely useless for the rest of the game.

173. Golden Chocobo Corollary
The magic formula for acquiring this supreme upgrade will be only vaguely alluded to in the game itself. Ideally, you're supposed to shell out $19.95 for the strategy guide instead.

174. Flow of Goods Rule
The quality of goods in the world is dependent upon the shop's distance from the final dungeon. It doesn't matter if the town you start in has a huge thriving economy and is the center of world trade, it will always have the game's worst equipment; and even if that village near the end is isolated and has only three people in it, it will have the game's best equipment.

175. Master Key Rule
Any and all locked doors that the characters encounter will be unlocked by the end of the game.


10/14/06 - Saturday: IS THIS WHAT IT IS LIKE???
Well, today I did something I haven't done in 2 years or so... I was out and about, and I didn't have that nagging feeling in the back of my head that I needed to get home to do some work on some game:) It was great! But, as my title says, "Is this what it is like??? Is this what the real world is like???". Seriously, it feels so weird, and I will explain why... Yes people, it is Chall's monthly update of reflections on life:)

I got my 1st job at the local McDonald's at age 15, back in 1995. Like, literally the day I turned 15, I got the job:) Even though my parents were well off financially, they wanted to instill the value of having a job early on in my life. I can safely testify 11 years later that it worked, but more on that later.

In 1998, when I was about to graduate high school, I ended up having 2 scholarships. One to Iona College (NY), and the other to Niagara (NY). At this point, my manager at McDonald's asked me if I wanted to become a shift leader, as she was going to be quitting very soon. Now, bear in mind, I was young and dumb. I thought "I can go to community college, while getting managerial experience". Right...

A year later (1999), I left McDonald's, and started working at CVS. Mid way through the year 2000, I left CVS and did overnights at K-Mart. In the summer of 2000, I moved into a house with 3 of my best friends, and did the whole "I'm gonna be a man and move out thing". Yeah... So, in the fall of 2000, I got a job at Price Chopper, and from then until 2002, I worked at Stop and Shop, Mobil, Hess, and somewhere else, just can't remember. Yeah, I was a job hopper. Wasn't focusing on school and whatnot, just about what new video games I could get, and other things I will not mention...

After the whole, "I'm gonna be a man and move out thing" didn't work, I moved back into my childhood house with my father. This was THE turning point in my life. I got back into school, majoring in Computer Science, and got a pretty steady job for the next 2 years. Oh yeah, and I was just starting this at age 22... While in school, I ended up getting a job with them working in the computer lab, so I made more connections there. I then got an internship with a software house in Poughkeepsie, where I really honed by Java skills.

Now, what is the common thing about everything from 1995-2004? I ALWAYS worked weekends. I never really had the 9-5 job. In the fall of 2004, I finally got the job I knew could support me comfortably for the rest of my life. Monday - Friday, very good pay, benefits, etc. But oh, something else was going on in my life. Yeah, that something is Rose Of Eternity! I actually started implementing it in April of 2004, before I got the job down there. So, ever since I have had that job (where I commute everyday mind you!), I have been doing the game. Even after those longs days at the office, and those long train rides, I was still coming home to do more work.

So, I go back to my original question... " Is this what it is like??? Is this what the real world is like???" Because, I sure as hell haven't experienced it in a while :) I woke up today, and for the first time in more than 2 years realized, I had nothing to do. And it felt GREAT! At the same time, it felt weird though. I have been used to a particular pattern for so long, that it was hard to break out of it. Hell, I woke up, and went to the forums to see what bugs were posted, and then I realized I didn't have to. At one point, I was laying in bed, and as silly as it sounds, I felt good to know that I could actually lay down for the next 48 hours, and not have to worry about getting up for any reason, other than to relieve myself:)

So what did I do? Well, my girlfriend and I went to some farmer's market to get a pumpkin. I'm not really into that sort of stuff, but we went nonetheless. Once we went inside to pay however, I was strong armed with the sweet smell of freshly baked goods. Because of this, anything I looked at looked good, and I ended up spending close to $30 on various baked goods (apple danishes, candied apples, bread, etc). Hey, I'm a sucker! After we did other various things, like go to the mall, and go out to get something to eat. When we got home, we watched some DVD's, and again, I was so happy I didn't have to develop a game while watching the movie:)

Long story short, I am enjoying my time so far. Of course, there are other things on the horizon, but for now, this is my time:)

But just know, even if I am not actually implementing anything, my mind is always going. Always... As I continue to listen to more and more music, I keep coming up with new and revised scenarios. I obviously haven't made a decision on exactly what I will be doing, but I am going to get some polls going about. Look for them in the future.

Till tomorrow...


166. Key Item Rule
Never discard, sell, or otherwise remove permanently from your possession any items you begin the game with or acquire within the first town. This is especially true for items that seem to have no practical use, because of...

167. The Law of Inverse Practicality (Key Item Corollary)
Any item that you can acquire will have some sort of purpose. Those that seem to be useless and have no practical value at all, always tend to have great power later on. The earlier you get the item, the later in the game it will be used. The longer the span of time between acquisition and use, the more powerful the item is.

168. Way To Go, Serge
It will eventually turn out that, for a minimum of the first sixty percent of the game, you were actually being manipulated by the forces of evil into doing their sinister bidding for them. In extreme cases this may go as high as 90%. The clear implication is that it would have been better to not get involved in the first place.

169. Gilligan's Prescription
Any character who has amnesia will be cured before the end of the game. They usually won't like what they find out about themselves, though.

170. Luke, I Am Your Tedious, Overused Plot Device (Lynx Rule)
If there is any chance whatsoever that major villain X could be the male lead's father, then it will turn out that major villain X is the male lead's father.

10/13/06 - Friday: AFTER THE DUST SETTLED...

I wonder if I set myself up for a fall with this blog:( I'm having Deja Vu:) It seems that the only votes I can get are 10's, or 5's and lower:) I wonder if people's expectations were too high...

I have gotten a few e-mail regarding the Dungeon Of Summons, so now there is a walkthrough specifically for that part of the game. The only other complaint was that the Arena area was too difficult. I guess I have to put something else in the ReadMe to remind people that just because you see something you can fight, it doesn't mean you have to fight it. If it is killing you a lot, come back when you are stronger. I seem to remember stressing that in The Coming, but I guess I should mention it again. Heh, maybe I need to make a custom load hint for it:)

It sucks, but I have no one to blame but myself. If something isn't that intuitive to the user, then I did something wrong. 

Can't sit here and lie and say that I'm not disappointed, all the same. Either way, hopefully, some time away from NWN will be good for me. I can come back refreshed, and better than ever. I know myself all too well, and regardless of how well Chapter 2 does, I will always have ideas spinning around in my head. Hell, as long as I have my RPG music, I'm good to go.

Well, I'm off to connect with the real world again. Yep, the actual real world! I have a full day ahead of me, so I will try to make the most of it, and try not to think about going to the download page.

Oh, and if anyone has any comments about things they didn't like, please e-mail me, so I can try to fix it in an upcoming patch.

Oh, and for the record, I saw this coming. I know I mentioned that no matter how much work I put into Chapter 2, it would never do as good as Chapter 1. Too lazy to dig up the old daily update, but sometimes my pessimistic attitude is warranted:)

Till tomorrow...


161. General Leo's Exception
Honorable and sympathetic people who work for the Other Side are always the genuine article. Of course they'll be busily stabbing you in the front , so either way you lose. Eventually though, they'll fall prey to...

162. The Ineffectual Ex-Villain Theorem (Col. Mullen Rule)
No matter how tough and bad-ass one of the Other Side's henchmen is, if he bails to the side of Good he'll turn out to be not quite tough and bad-ass enough. The main villain will defeat him easily. But don't weep -- usually he'll manage to escape just in time, leaving you to deal with the fate that was meant for him.

163. All The Time In The World (Rinoa Rule)
Unless there's a running countdown clock right there on the screen, you have as long as you want to complete any task -- such as, say, rescuing a friend who's hanging by one hand from a slippery cliff edge thousands of feet in the air -- no matter how incredibly urgent it is. Dawdle or hurry as you will, you'll always make it just in the nick of time.

164. Ladies First (Belleza Rule)
When things really start falling apart, the villain's attractive female henchman will be the first to jump ship and switch to the side of Good. Sadly, she still won't survive until the end credits, because later she will sacrifice her life out of unrequited love for the villain.

165. Trial By Fire (Cecil Rule)
Any dark and brooding main characters will ultimately be redeemed by a long, ardous, quasi-spiritual quest that seems difficult at the time, but in the great scheme of things just wasn't that big of a deal after all.


Right... What can I say... THE GAME IS OUT!!! Seriously, I have been waiting for this day for oh, a year and 3 months:)  I have gone through SO many ups and downs during the development, that I cannot even remember how I got here:) Luckily, I have these updates to remind me what I was going through. So, let's see... What was I writing about on 10/12/05? 

Interestingly enough, I was writing about how people should never drink and code, because even if your code compiles, there could be TONS of logical errors. The particular custom system I was alluding to (hell, I alluded to so many things, it must have been pissing people off!) was the summoning system. As I write this, I can laugh at a particular bug that was in the summoning system for well over a year. Well, now we know where that bug came from:) Man, I guess these updates are good for something.

I then go on to talk about how good I am at estimating schedules, which I know for a fact is just BS now:) Well, it wasn't that I couldn't estimate things. The issue was that the scope kept getting bigger as I kept coming up with ideas. Oh well, such is game development...

So yeah, the feeling of finishing something that has been the driving force in my life since mid July of 2005 hasn't set in yet. And, that is no lie. Even after I uploaded it, I found myself thinking about the next thing I had to work on. I had to keep reminding myself there are no more deadlines. As a small example, I was watching a bit of TV earlier in the night. While watching it, I began to turn it off, and think in my head happy I will be when I can just sit an watch TV without having to work on the game. I then realized I was doing just that. It will take some time, but I am sure I will readjust.

But, let's not kid ourselves. I will be available to fix bugs, and patch the game over the next few days (that is, if people come across things that warrant it). Then, there's the walkthrough that I wanted to do. There is so much more to this game compared to The Coming, and even The Coming's walkthrough was quite big. My plan is to keep working on it on the train rides into/from work. As I continue to complete parts of it, I will try to update it piece meal on the website. Of course, that is if it is needed.

At this point, it is hard to gauge the feeling people are getting about the game, because, well, there is no feedback yet:) Which makes sense, because it was just released at 3:00 pm EST, and the game could take people over 10 hours to complete. It's a bit different from the release of The Coming, and for good reason. Back in July 2005, the community was still going strong, and most people were off on summer vacation. Compare that to now, where the community size is dwindling, and where most people are still in the middle of their work week.

Hell, I'm not naive in any way. I KNOW this game will not be as successful as The Coming, in terms of votes/dl's. However, my hope is that I can just get my niche audience, because when it comes down to it, those are the ones I made the game for. Again, stuff happens, but I don't want to feel like a year and 3 months of work is all for naught:( Anyway, that is just me being my usual pessimistic self. Whoever can guess what party member's personality was partly formed from mine will get a cookie! But yeah, I'm sure once the weekend hits, people will have more time to dive in and get their feet wet. So, what's on my plate for the next few days?

Well, obviously, I will be fixing bugs as they come in. There are always bugs, right?! :) As mentioned earlier, I will try to start work on the walkthrough. The only thing holding me back might be the style I want to do it in. We'll have to see about it.

I have also been downloading lots of good music from a website that Alistair referred me to. I love it! I will be the first to admit that I am damn sick of the pieces of music I have been listening to for the past year or so. So, I finally finished downloading all the music for Secret Of Mana. Listening to the music really brought me back. Back all the way to 1993 when I was in 8th grade. Man, I getting so OLD!!!!! NO!!!!!! And no snickering from anyone who is older than 26! Seriously though, I am putting together a new set of play lists of music, to expand my horizons. Just listening to this music will help me mentally design scenarios for my next game.

But, I can have fun too, right?! Well, unfortunately, nothing new comes out until October 31st, and I'm not talking about NWN2... Nope, I can't wait to get my little grubby hands on Final Fantasy XII. I still have Dragon Quest 8 from last Christmas, so maybe I will dust that off. Plus, I need to get in contact with Rick Sanderson, so he can give me his set of emulator files for all of our old school games. Heh, him and I still have to play through Secret Of Mana together:) Can't wait! Then, there are the TONS of module out their on the Vault that I never played. But, I will wait a bit on that, cause I am NWN'd out. If I have to hear that music at the title screen again, I may destroy my laptop:)

Oh, and before I forget, shout out to EVERYONE who has supported me during the development of my game. This not only includes the dev team, but people who would just send me e-mails, telling me to keep my head up when I was getting too stressed. Yes dammit, I'm getting sentimental, so let me have my moment:) *Wipes tear from eye* Never in my entire life would I think I would meet so many good willed people. Especially those of which I have never seen face to face. Believe it or not, those who have supported me have kept me going. I don't think I would have finished Cry The Beloved at the quality I did if I wasn't constantly encouraged by so many people. I hope the game is a testament to that.

Oh, and you all haven't seen the last of ole Challseus. Yeah, I'm on *vacation*, but Rose Of Eternity is my heart, and things are only getting started. We haven't even gotten to the 1/3 mark of the entire story. If you think things are getting good now, just wait until you see what we have in store for you next time!

Till tomorrow...


156. Sephiroth Memorial Escape Clause
Any misdeed up to and including multiple genocide is forgiveable if you're cool enough.

157. Doomed Utopia Theorem (Law of Zeal)
All seemingly ideal, utopian societies are powered by some dark force and are therefore doomed to swift, flashy destruction.

158. Party Guidance Rule
Somewhere in the last third of the story, the hero will make a stupid decision and the rest of the party must remind him of all that they have learned from being with him in order to return the hero to normal.

159. Bad Is Good, Baby!
The heroes can always count on the support of good-hearted vampires, dragons, thieves, demons, and chainsaw murderers in their quest to save the world from evil. And on the other hand...

160. Good Is Bad, Baby!
Watch out for generous priests, loyal military officers, and basically anyone in a position of authority who agrees to help you out, especially if they save your life and prove their sincerity innumerable times -- they're usually plotting your demise in secret (at least when they can fit it into their busy schedule of betraying their country, sponsoring international terrorism, and stealing candy from small children) and will stab you in the back at the most inconvenient moment, unless they fall under...



Edit - CRY THE BELOVED IS OUT NOW! Now, back to your regular scheduled update...

The following is being written at 11:44 pm on Thursday, 10/12/06, after a long night. Sorry for the delay, but I am sure you all understand:)

Man, what a night. Seriously... Longest night in a while. But, let me back up, and catch my breath. Yes, let me start from the beginning...

So, I woke up feeling energized. I could just feel that I was going to finish everything today. I got on the train, and started working on the final 5-6 issues I noted last night. As expected, I finished them up in no time. There was one little issue that I put a fix in for. I mean, come on, a simple fix won't hurt anything? Right?! More on that later...

So, work has been pretty hectic, as we are coming to the end of our Mapquest Mobile Project. Let me tell you, trying to finish this game and be the lead on the project at work has been stressful. I mean, all day, I program stuff, show it to QA, fix bugs, try to argue about bugs that I don't think are bugs, etc. Then, I go home, develop the game, show it to the testers, fix bugs, and try to argue with them about bugs that I don't think are bugs. Heh, see the parallel? :)

Anyway, after leaving work, I ended up passing out on the train, and then stopping off at McDonald's to get some dinner when I got home. Once I did get home, I began putting together the ReadMe and some other things. I then decided to check the forums. Earlier in the day, I had uploaded a Release Candidate just for the hell of it. I wasn't expecting anyone to have anytime, as I knew that they would have to complete testing in one night. Well, of course a game breaking bug was found. Remember that aforementioned little fix I made in the morning on the train? Yep, it broke the game horribly. I quickly gave Jason (the one who reported the bug) some DM commands to run so he could continue playing, and quickly found the problem, and fixed it. And this is where things got interesting...

So, from being a professional software developer, I know all too well about how one little bug fix you make could end up introducing 5 more bugs. I also truly understand the thought process that drives QA teams. Yes, I fixed the bug, but was it really fixed? I mean, I thought I fixed it before, and look at the issue Jason ran into. At this point, I knew I was going to be going through the game again:( It's just one of those things I had to do to ensure that everything would play out the right way.

Before that though, I thought, "Let me make some changes to the ending movie". So, I am using Camtasia Studio for all my multi-media needs, and the demo only lasts 30 days. That was one of the reasons why I whipped up the movie so fast. At any rate, when I opened it up to make some changes, I found out the 30 days had just passed... My luck, huh? Well, I figured, what the hell, I'll shell out $50 or whatever it costs to buy a license. It's all for the greater glory! Then, I come to find out it would cost me $299! Yeah... I will be downloading the demo on my Father's machine, and making my changes there. Those changes will also come later than expected, because the machine was free. Oh well, it is what it is.

Finally, I decided to just do my damn test run. I didn't expect to go through the entire game, just to the point where it broke before, which of course was halfway through:) Oh yeah, at this point, it was 12:00. After stopping my play though to do some other things, I finally finished around 5:00am. Let me tell you how happy I was to see Jason online posting that he finished the game in 12 hours, as well as Alistair doing his play though:) Alistair is 12 hours ahead of me, so it made sense he was playing at 5:00pm his time. However, Jason was just as crazy as me, as we are both on the east coast! So, Jason ended up going through the entire game, and Alistair focused on side quests. Heh, even Oli was up (she is in Spain), letting me know (rightfully so!) that she doesn't want to see me stressing myself like this again. We also talked about some new pieces of art she is going to do, and you can see the next progression in the piece above. Anyway, after finishing my part, I was finally convinced everything was good to go. I started the submission process around 6:00 am, and when I went to submit the larger files, I realized that since my hard drive crashed, I didn't have the username/password to the vault FTP site. I e-mailed Maximus, and then decided to get some sleep for 3 hours or so. Maximus let me know it had to be submitted by noon, so if I woke up at 10:00 am, I would have enough time. Well, around 6:30 am, guess who was just getting up for school? Yep, you guessed it. Hugie! I knew he had the FTP info, so shout out to him for getting me that information.

So, after talking to another co-worker (man, I talked to everyone this morning!), I finally went to sleep at 7:00 am, only to wake up at 10:00 am to finish the submission. So, at this point, everything is in the hands of Maximus. I will update this post accordingly when the game is posted. I now bid you farewell.

Till later tonight...

*Passes out*


151. Gender Equality Addendum (Rynn Rule)
In the unlikely event that the main character of the game is female , she will not be involved in any romantic subplot whatsoever beyond getting hit on by shopkeepers.

152. Stealing The Spotlight (Edea Rule)
The characters who join your party only briefly tend to be much cooler than your regular party members.

153. "Mommy, why didn't they just use a Phoenix Down on Aeris?"
Don't expect battle mechanics to carry over into the "real world."

154. Gold Saucer Rule
The strongest weapons/items/spells in the entire game can only be found by doing things like racing birds.

155. Evil May Live Forever, But It Doesn't Age Well
Even though it took the greatest armies in the world and all of the world's greatest magicians to seal away an ancient evil in an apocalyptic war, once said ancient evil breaks free three fairly inexperienced warriors can destroy it.

10/10/06 - Tuesday: ALMOST GOLD!!!

Folks, Rose Of Eternity - Chapter 2 - Cry The Beloved is almost gold!!! Seriously... I busted my ass today playing through the game after finally making all the bug fixes from the last BETA. Guess what?! I got through, with no plot breaking bugs. I did end up writing almost a page of notes, but that is nothing compared to the 6 pages I used to get! It was a rough day, and I was beginning to feel the pressure at various times during the day. The thing that got me out of it was the thought that it is almost over. Sure, there will be subsequent bug fixes/patches, but compared to what I have been doing these past 2 years, it will be nothing.

So, let's break this down, so everyone is on the same page:

  1. I have exactly 5 issues to wrap up. When I say issues, I mean simple things like add more placeables to a plain area, make sure the player cannot go through a certain door during a particular event, etc. Real easy...
  2. Rebuild the ending movie. I noticed a typo in them (figures!), so I will take the time to add another tester to the list who came through in the clutch last week (you know who you are!)
  3. I need to actually update the module description.
  4. Create a ReadMe. Now, I will just make a copy of the ReadMe from The Coming, and add/remove things accordingly.
  5. Pack up all files. This to me is the biggest issue. I have said this time and time again, but I will say it again. Cry The Beloved uses ALL FILES FROM THE COMING!!! Even though I will state this on the download page, in the readme, and on this website, I know I will still get some people to complain about missing haks or something. The thing is, I don't want to duplicate the stuff in a new hak. Either way, I am prolly over thinking it, but that is the main issue. It's gonna suck for those that never played The Coming, but for those that did, I hope you kept all the files from it. If not, download them now! :)
  6. Upload all files, and PRAY LIKE HELL that no one posts something like, "I found a plot stopping bug!". Man, will I be pissed. Not at the person, but at myself. I pride myself on double/triple/quadrupal checking everything, and I had testers who were of the same mind. 

Please, please let me have a successful launch. Nothing ruins a launch like having a plot stopping bug found after hundreds of people have already downloaded your game. Again, maybe I am worrying about nothing, but we shall see very soon.

Oh, and if I didn't specifically say it, it would be nice if all of this could be done by the end of tomorrow night:) We'll see... No promises!!!

Till tomorrow (and hopefully, some good news!)...


146. Seventh Inning Stretch (Elc Rule)
At some point in the game the main hero will receive a deadly story-driven injury and will be put in a hospital instead of having a mage heal him. This will leave him out of commission for at least the length of two sidequests; the female lead will also be temporarily out of commission as she steadfastly refuses to leave the hero's side. Ultimately a simple vision quest is all that will be required to bring the hero back to normal.

147. Vivi's Spellbook Principle
Over the course of the game, you will spend countless hours learning between twenty and one hundred skills and/or spells, approximately three of which will still be useful by the end of the game.

148. Gender Equality, Part 1 (Feena Rule)
Your average female RPG character carries a variety of deadly weapons and can effortlessly hack or magic her way through armies of monsters, killer cyborgs, and mutated boss creatures without breaking a sweat. She may be an accomplished ninja, a superpowered secret agent, or the world's greatest adventurer. However, if one of the game's villains manages to sneak up and grab her by the Standard Female Character Grab Area (her upper arm) she will be rendered utterly helpless until rescued by the hero.

149. Gender Equality, Part 2 (Tifa Rule)
If any female character, in a burst of anger or enthusiasm, decides to go off and accomplish something on her own without the hero, she will fail miserably and again have to be rescued.

150. Gender Equality, Part 3 (Luna Rule)
All of the effort you put into maxing out the female lead's statistics and special abilities will turn out to be for naught when she spends the final confrontation with the villain dead, ensorcelled, or held hostage.


Don't worry, the title of this update is not referring to Chapter 2. Rather, it is what was going through my head as I have been listening to RPGFan Radio for the past few weeks. Seriously, I really thought the only credible Japanese RPG composers were the likes of Nobuo Uematsu, Hitoshi Sakimoto, and Yasonoru Mitsuda. I have been proved wrong time and time again over the past couple of weeks.

I have been proved wrong so much in fact that I have already been building the soundtrack for Chapter 3 solely off of what I have been hearing on that particular station. At this point, I already have travel/world map type music, I have some pretty epic boss battle music, and I have some music for a scene which I will obviously not talk about it, among other reasons, because no one has even played Chapter 2 yet:) Seriously though, I have been having a ball, and look forward to find new tracks.

In particular, one track has really stuck out for me. It is called Communication Breakdown, by Yuki Kajiura . It is from the game, Xenosaga Episode II . This music is just so epic, and so great. I tried googling it, and it appears to be everyone else's favorite track from the game as well. The only problem is, I have been having one hell of a hard time finding a place to download it from. If worse comes to worse, I will shell out the $35 to get the full soundtrack, but I would rather not. So, and of you music fans out there, if you have this track, or know of a good game music download site, give me a holler at gamecoder@optonline.net

So umm, yeah... Game stuff... The real reason peeps come here. Well, let's just say that I have been busy. Even though the date for this is Monday, October 9th, I am really writing in on Wednesday, October 11th. Yeah, that is how busy I have been. And, I knew I wanted to talk about music in this update, but couldn't remember the work I did. Well, long story short, I finished a TON. Read the next update to know what I mean:)


141. Guards! Guards! (or, Lindblum Full Employment Act)
Everything will be guarded and gated (elevators, docks, old rickety bridges, random stretches of roadway deep in the forest) except for the stuff that actually needs to be.

142. Thank You For Pressing The Self-Destruct Button
All enemy installations and city-sized military vehicles will be equipped with a conveniently located, easy-to-operate self-destruct mechanism.

143. Falling Rule
An RPG character can fall any distance onto anything without suffering anything worse than brief unconsciousness. In fact, falling a huge distance is an excellent cure for otherwise fatal wounds -- anyone who you see shot, stabbed, or mangled and then tossed off a cliff is guaranteed to return later in the game with barely a scratch.

144. Materials Science 101
Gold, silver, and other precious metals make excellent weapons and armor even though in the real world they are too soft and heavy to use for that purpose. In fact, they work so well that nobody ever melts their solid gold suit of armor down into bullion, sells it, and retires to a tropical isle on the proceeds.

145. Materials Science 201
Everyone you meet will talk enthusiastically about how some fantastically rare metal (iron, say) would make the best possible armor and weapons. Oh, if only you could get your hands on some! However, once you actually obtain iron -- at great personal risk, of course -- everyone will dismiss it as yesterday's news and instead start talking about some even more fantastically rare metal, such as gold. Repeat until you get to the metal after "mythril" (see The Ultimate Rule .)

10/8/06 - Sunday: OPTIMIZATIONS GALORE...

Going to really keep this short, as I want to get to bed an hour earlier than usual, so I don't break down before releasing the game. Yes folks, it is imminent:) Why no release date? Well, I have learned my lesson in this community, and I will not put out a date I cannot stick to. I will say this week, and that is it *looks both ways*

So today was a long and boring day full of optimizations. No more for me:( I cannot possibly support every machine out there (I am only 1 person!), so we'll see what happens. In the bug forum, there are only about 3 left, though two are more of a reminder to do something, and not a bug per se. I also have various things left in my notebook, but nothing too serious. You know, a typo here, don't let a player bring this item in here, etc.

Once that is done (I am hoping by the time I get home tomorrow night), I will do my obligatory final run through of the game. What, I hope you folks didn't think I would release it with my final seal of approval:) In the process of making bug fixes, it is so easy to break something unrelated that you had no idea about, and I will not chance putting a game out that has a major plot breaking bug, or anything like that.

I will be contacting some of the people who e-mailed me last week to see if they are able to do the final test run with me. Most of my regular testers are busy during the week, and I need the testing done in like 1 night *gasp*. I don't want to force anything on anyone, so if no one steps up to the plate, I will. The last BETA was pretty rock solid (no reports of anything game breaking that I can recall), and 3-4 of the testers made it all the way through the game. So, I am pretty confident that all I have to do is put the game on easy, and speed play through everything.

Oh damn, I just remembered I had some edits from Jason, but I will just knock those out tomorrow on the train I am thinking. Enough editing for one night:)

Till tomorrow...


136. Dealing With Beautiful Women, Part 1 (Yuffie Rule)
All good-looking young females are there to help you. This rule holds even when the girl in question is annoying, useless, or clearly evil.

137. Dealing With Beautiful Women, Part 2 (Rouge Rule)
All good-looking middle-aged females are out to kill you. This rule holds even when the woman in question has attained your unwavering trust and respect.

138. Well, So Much For That
After you have completed your mighty quest to find the object that will save the known universe, it will either a) get lost, b) get stolen, or c) not work.

139. The Ominous Ring of Land
The classic Ominous Ring of Land is a popular terrain feature that frequently doesn't show up on your world map. Just when you think things are going really well and you've got the Forces of Evil on the run, monsters, demons and mad gods will pour out of the center of the ring and the situation will get ten times worse. The main villain also usually hangs out in one of these after attaining godhood. If there are several Ominous Rings of Land or the entire world map is one big ring, you are just screwed .

140. Law of NPC Relativity (Magus Rule)
Characters can accomplish superhuman physical feats, defeat enemies with one hand tied behind their back and use incredible abilities -- until they join your party and you can control them. Then these wonderful powers all vanish, along with most of their hit points.

10/7/06 - Saturday: YES, FOLKS, SHE'S AT IT AGAIN!!!

Off the heals of a successful new website launch, Oli is back at it again. I was sitting at work on Friday afternoon, and got an IM from here that just consisted of a link. I always begin to get giddy with glee when this happens, because I know the link will bring me somewhere cool. As usual, I was taken to the image you can see to your left.

It should go without saying that this concept sketch includes Aramus, Challseus, & the Keeper of the Rose. Even more surprising was the fact that I didn't prompt her to do this for me. I think in general, most people who work with me know that I am not a manager  (I use the term loosely since I cannot think of any other term) who nags people to get stuff done. I don't like making all the decisions and ruling with an iron fist. I like to have people around me who are proactive in what they do. It is getting easier because 

1) I have been working with the same people for damn near a year now

2) Said people know the Rose Of Eternity just as well, if not better than me (no, seriously!).

This leads to them being able to do things I don't need to know about, whether it be writing a new piece of dialogue to flesh out a character, to fixing inconsistencies in the story that they find (hey, I'm not perfect), to coming up with new pieces of art that I never even thought of.

Getting back to the art, she had a bunch of things she said she was working on, and I have to say, I was amazed. There is one scene that occurs in The Coming that she says she is going to do a portrait for. In fact, anyone who played The Coming will immediately recognize it when it is done.

When all is said and done, if I was to get the funding to open up my own development studio, say, next week, I would try to hire everyone I am working with now to do some contract work with me immediately. Hell, I would even see if they wanted to join the company period. That is how much I trust them. Of course, who knows if they would even want to work with me, but that is a different subject:)

Right, so, I did do some work today, I just don't want to elaborate. Lots of editing (read: lots) to get in, as well as some bug fixes. Speaking of which, I have some more to fix right now...

Till tomorrow...


131. First Rule of Politics (Chancellor's Axiom)
Any advisor of a major ruler has been scheming after his throne for quite a while. Thanks to the miracle of timing, you will arrive at the king's inner sanctum just in time for the coup.

132. Second Rule of Politics (Scapegoat's Axiom)
If the advisor works for an evil ruler, the advisor is as bad or even worse, and there's a good chance he's the final villain. (See Fake Ending Rule.) If the advisor works for a good ruler, he usually has the good of the kingdom at heart; not that that helps, because your party will invariably be made the scapegoat for all that's wrong with the nation and immediately thrown in the dungeon.

133. Last Rule of Politics
Kingdoms are good. Empires are evil.

134. Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics (Ramus Rule)
Twenty-three generations may pass, but any person's direct descendant will still look and act just like him.

135. Pinch Hitter Rule
Whenever a member of the hero's team is killed or retires, no matter how unique or special he or she was there is a good chance someone will show up to replace them that has exactly the same abilities and can use the same weapons with the same proficiency.

10/6/06 - Friday: PASSIVE ABILITIES...

Today, I finished off the getting all the custom load screens in the game. Man, I didn't realize how many areas there were, so it took a while. I also finished up adding in all the edits Jason did for all the items in the game. I actually had almost finished these like a month ago, but the toolset crashed during the process, and I hadn't save for 20 minutes or so, and I was so mad, that I just went to bed. One month later, I finally finished it:) As I am writing this, my inbox is filling up with more normal edits, though luckily, he is at the end of the game. I still have some object/creature edits to finish up as well, but I will do that Saturday morning.

So, without further adieu, here is my take on one of the new systems, Passive Abilities...


Taken from the website - "These are abilities that are triggered automatically in combat after you have been fighting for over 1 minute. PA's can be all sorts of types of skills, such as damage dealing, buffing, or healing. In extra long fights, these abilities can really save the life of the player."

So, early on in the development of Cry The Beloved, I knew that I wanted to expand on the custom systems. I knew I wanted to give the people something new to play with. I just didn't know what... So, for the first month or so of development, I didn't test any fighting whatsoever.  I was busy building up the main town of Dematol, as well as doing some of the first cut-scenes of the game. 

When I did get around to testing some combat, I realized I wanted to move in the direction of battles that lasted longer. As I continued to test and test the combat, I realized how cool it would be (to me anyway!) if the longer Aramus fought, the stronger he would get. So say you were fighting an enemy for 2 minutes straight, at this point, I was thinking about how cool it would be to have Aramus get a little boost for a short duration. And this is how PA's were born.

Now, I call them Passive Abilities because the player does not have to do anything to make them activate. Next, I had to figure when these would be used. I then determined that I would keep track of how long Aramus was in combat, and if it hit over a minute, some skill would be activated. . As he is a fighter (or some variant, depending on how people decide to multi-class him), I figured his first one could be something that raised his STR. The ability actually used to be called Mighty Rage, until someone kindly pointed out there was a feat with that name. He then came up with the name, Crimson Wrath, since Aramus glows red while the ability is activated.

As I continued to test this skill out, I was beginning to learn how dynamic it made battles. I cannot tell you how many times I thought I was going to die, and then Crimson Wrath kicked in, allowing me to hit the enemy for a lot more damage, which would in the end let me kill them before they killed me. It was during these moments that I fell in love with it. Then, something else happened...

I was fighting with another party member, who learns the PA, Warden's Vision. This particular PA raises the attack bonus of the user by a LOT. Now normally, when they use this, all their blows more or less land successfully, which makes sense. Well, one day, this party member was being beat to death, and their Last Resort, Flurry Attack activated. Those of you who played The Coming should know that this makes the user hit faster in combat. Well, you can imagine the look on my face when not only did Flurry Attack go off, but then Warden's Vision right after it. For the next 18 seconds or so, the party member must have gotten 10 blows to land very fast, thanks to the combination of both of these skills. It really was a beautiful thing to see.

And that is the beauty of the new combat skill systems in general. They all work their way into the combat system so seamlessly that things I never would have imagined (like the above example) started happening all over the place. It was also this particular instance when I fell in love with this particular party member. And to think, they were never in the original story from 1999:)

I am very happy with this new system, and the best part is that it also was not part of my original design so many years ago... Adding new dynamics to the fighting is what I was looking for, and I think I have achieved this. Contrary to popular belief (I know I have said this so many times before), this game was always supposed to be about the over the top fights. I'm closer than ever before...

Till tomorrow...


126. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely (Althena Rule)
If a good guy is manipulated to the side of evil, they will suddenly find a new inner strength that will enable them to wipe out your whole party with a wave of their hand.

127. All Is Forgiven (Nash Rule)
However, when the trusted member of your party turns against you, do not give it a second thought. They will return to your side after they're done with their amnesia/mind control/hidden noble goal that caused them to give away all your omnipotent mystical artifacts.

128. First Law of Fashion
All characters wear a single costume which does not change over the course of the game. The only exception is when characters dress up in enemy uniforms to infiltrate their base.

129. Second Law of Fashion
Any character's costume, no matter how skimpy, complicated, or simply outlandish, is always completely suitable to wear when climbing around in caves, hiking across the desert, and slogging through the sewers. It will continue to be completely suitable right afterwards when said character goes to meet the King.

130. Third Law of Fashion
In any futuristic setting, the standard uniform for female soldiers and special agents will include a miniskirt and thigh-high stockings. The standard uniform for all male characters, military or not, will include an extraordinarily silly and enormous hat.

10/5/06 - Thursday: EDITS, EDITS, EDITS...

So, I just went nuts on edits today. It wasn't that they are hard to do. I mean, the work is already done by Jason, so all I have to do is get them in the game. The issue was the fact that there were SO many. I gotta say, I don't know how I created The Coming without an editor. The mistakes I make while writing are ridiculous. So, after about 5 hours of work or so, I finished up all the edits he had for me.

I also worked on getting all the custom load screens into the game. I left these till the end on purpose, because in reality, it is just annoying busy work. Luckily, I have over 300 screenshots to sift through, so I am sure I will find everything I need.

Tomorrow, I plan on clearing out all the bugs in the bug forum, and going through the game again myself. It should be a real quick run through, as there are some areas that luckily, I don't have to test, as I am confident they are rock solid. Till tomorrow...


121. Child Protection Act (Rydia Rule)
Children 12 and under are exempt from death. They will emerge alive from cataclysms that slaughter hundreds of sturdily-built adults, often with barely a scratch. Further protection is afforded if the catastrophe will orphan the child.

122. Missing Master Hypothesis
Almost every strong physical fighter learned everything he/she knows from some old master or friend. Invariably, the master or friend has since turned evil, been killed, or disappeared without a trace.

123. Missing Master Corollary (Sabin Rule)
If a fighter's master merely disappeared, you will undoubtedly find him/her at some point in your travels. The master will challenge the student to a duel, after which the student will be taught one final skill that the master had been holding back for years.

124. Gojira Axiom
Giant monsters capable of leveling cities all have the following traits:

  • Low intelligence
  • Enormouse strength
  • Projectile attacks
  • Gigantic teech and claws, designed, presumably, to eat other ginat monsters
  • Vulnerable to weapons 1/10,000th its size
  • Ecologically sensitive

125. "You Couldn't Get To Sleep Either, Huh?"
If any character in the game ever meets any other character standing alone at night looking at the moon, those two will eventually fall in love.

10/4/06 - Wednesday: MISCELLANEOUS STUFF...

As the title suggests, I was busy with lots of little things that have to happen before I release the game. In terms of actual game work, I did none, mostly because all the major things are really done. Some of the testers are going through the game, and reporting various issues, but everything is polish related. Or, at least the things I am going to work on:) I will be home tomorrow, so I need to knock out these edits Jason did for me (been meaning to for a while). I will also put to rest some of the minor issues being reported to me.

Till tomorrow...

P.S. Oh, and I will go into more detail about Passive Abilities on Friday. Things were just too hectic today.


116. You Always Travel In The Right Circles
Whenever you meet a villager or other such incidental character who promises to give you some great piece of needed knowledge or a required object in exchange for a seemingly simple item, such as a bar of soap or a nice straw mat, be prepared to spend at least an hour chasing around the world exchanging useless innocuous item after item with bizarre strangers until you can get that elusive first item you were asked for.

117. Talk Is Cheap Rule
Nothing is ever solved by diplomacy or politics in the world of RPGs. Any declarations of peace, summits and treaty negotiations are traps to fool the ever so gullible Good Guys into thinking the war is over, or to brainwash the remaining leaders of the world.

118. Stop Your Life (Setzer Rule)
No matter what kind of exciting, dynamic life a character was leading before joining your party, once there they will be perfectly content to sit and wait on the airship until you choose to use them.

119. Don't Stand Out
Any townsperson who is dressed oddly or otherwise doesn't fit in with the rest of the townsfolk will either:

  1. Join your party after you complete some task,
  2. Be in the employ of your enemy, or
  3. Befriend any female member of the party, and then be immediately captured and held hostage by the villains.

120. Little Nemo Law
If any sleeping character has a dream, that dream will be either a 100% accurate memory of the past, a 100% accurate psychic sending from the present, a 100% accurate prophetic vision of the future, or a combination of two or all three of these.

10/3/06 - Tuesday: A NEW BEGINNING!!!

I'm not sure the path of everyone who got to this page, but if you have this book marked, go to http://www.roseofeternity.com and hit refresh! . So, this is the little surprise that I was talking about for the past month or so. I mean, come on, with a brand new spanking game, I gotta have a brand new spanking website to go along with it.

Much respect to our Lead Artist, Oli Ferrando, she did the initial work on the overall design and flow. After she worked her magic (and what magic it is!), I took over the reins, and started filling the site up with tons of content. And, as you can tell from reading this update on the old site L&F, I still have more things to do.

This isn't the end of this blog update, just the end for right now. I will fill the rest in on the train ride into work tomorrow, and upload the rest. For now, enjoy the new site!

EDIT - Okay, on with the rest of this update.

Right, so just to reiterate, I want to publicly thank Oli for her wonderful work on the look and feel of the new site. This process actually started way back in December of 2005, but I then put it on hold, so that she could spend her time working on the portraits for Aramus, Clopon, & the Keeper Of The Rose. After she was done with those, she ended up getting extremely busy at her real job, so it was put on the back burner. Then, earlier this summer, she sent me two screenshots of a new design she wanted to use for the site. I immediately fell in love with the one that is being used now. Once that was finalized, she did the majority of the main flow for the entire site, like how to display custom skills, and whatnot. If I recall correctly, this was finished in late July. At this point, the only thing that really needed to be done was for me to fill the website up with all of the new content. I was obviously extremely busy, so I didn't even get the actual website itself on my laptop until a month or so ago. Then, I was just left with the task of slowing adding all the new things, mostly new screenshots, and the content for the new custom skills pages ( Bonds of Battle, Distinctive Development, Passive Abilities, etc ). This past week, I really put the effort in high gear, because I just needed to get it out of the way, as well as introduce folks to the things I have been working on this past year.

Over the next couple of days, I am going to take one of the new systems, and break it down, including where it was inspired from, who helped design/refine it, and issues I had. Well, without further adieu...


Taken from website - "The concept of BOB is quite simple. The longer 2 allies fight alongside each other, the greater the bonds that forms between them. As this bond continues to grow, so too does the skill of both allies when they are fighting side by side. In game terms, whenever an enemy is killed by one ally, and the other ally landed at least one blow on them, if the 2 allies were near each other when the enemy died, BOB points are earned between the 2. Once certain tiers of points are achieved, specific abilities will be unlocked so that while the 2 allies fight near each other, they will be stronger."

Ah yes, Bonds of Battle, or BOB for short. So, in The Coming, there were only 2 custom skill systems: Unison Abilities & Last Resorts. This was all good and fine, but back in September of 2005, I started to think about new systems to implement, for a few reasons.

1) I wanted to further distinguish this game from the rest of games out there, so people could never say they had a similar experience playing any other module.

2) I wanted to keep things new and fresh. Sure, I could have just stuck with what I had, and expanded on it, but I felt people may start to get too tired/too used to the current systems.

So, just to clarify, don't think I just added new systems just for the sake of adding new systems. I would always think of the ramifications of adding said systems, and try to determine if it was needed or not. Trust me, there are about another 3-4 in my back pocket that I wanted to implement, but when it came down to it, they wouldn't make sense.

So, as I have always stated over and over again, I am really into a true sense of full party member combat. The party members are so integral to Cry The Beloved, that I began to think of ways to create new systems around them. Now, of course, I have the Unison Ability system, which is obviously centered around them, but BOB takes it to the next level.

There will be points in the game where you can only bring along a certain party member. As I have been slowly learning, some people really connect with some party members over others. Well, I wanted to reward people who tended to stick with one party member. For instance, let's take Aramus & Clopon. She seems to be the person people love to hate, but deep down inside, you all know you love her! Anyway, it would only make sense that the longer you fight with her, the bigger the bond between the 2 would grow. On a purely conceptual level, this is what BOB is all about. Likewise, if Aramus never decides to take Challseus long on any missions, it would make sense that their  bond would not grow.

So, back in October of 2005 I believe, I was having tons of back and forths with community member James Gawne, but most of you would know him by the name, ShrikeKnight. We were just talking about new custom skills to add to people in the game, and I decided to present my idea to him. It was a very general concept, but over the next few weeks, it involved into what it is today. Shout out to James for the help with that!

When it came down to actually implementing BOB, it really went well. For you scripting heads out there, the hardest part was coding the part which would determine if BOB points would be allocated for a kill or not. First, whenever any enemy is hit, I set a local variable on them, with the TAG of the person that hit them. Then, when an enemy is killed, I check to see who the killer is. Depending on who the killer is, I do a check for nearby party members. I then compare the tags of said party members to the tags of people that have hit the enemy, and if I find a match, I allocate BOB points accordingly.

As for the implementation of the actual skills you receive once you gain enough BOB points, it is even easier. The way the skills work is, whenever Aramus and the party member who he has formed a bond with are near each other, their skills will be activated, whether it be a STR increase, or HP regen, or whatever. So, I just have a heartbeat script that is constantly checking to see if 2 members who have formed a bond with each other are nearby, and if so, activate the skill. Easy, and efficient.

Over the past year, things have changed a bit, with regards to the actual skills. For instance, Aramus & Challseus get a magic immunity skill when they achieve enough BOB points. Well, this was just recently changed, as it used to be a spell resistance of either 1, 2, or 3 (depending on the amount of points they have). Well, not being too familiar with spell resistance, I just figured this would be good enough. That is, until some of the guys on the team started pointing out how worthless it was. I won't go into the details, because I am sure all of you DnD heads know about spell resistance, but let's just say I now have a better understanding:)

The only other issue was trying to balance the amount of points you get over the course of the game. 300 is the absolute peak for this game, and I can only really think of one situation of how someone would get that many points. The original design decision was to make it extremely hard to get them, so that the player would really feel good when they got their first 100 BOB points. I ended up changing this, when some people complained how hard it was to get them. I think I found a good middle ground now.

And that is BOB. Out of all the new custom systems, I like this one the best, which is why I chose to speak about it first. I think it is a nice spin on the Unison Ability system, and that people will generally like it. Oh, and I already know how I can expand on this in Chapter 3:) Yep, my mind never stops!

Well folks, that's it for today. Tomorrow, I will talk about Passive Abilities.

Till tomorrow...

P.S. Special thanks to all of those that reached out to me after my little rant yesterday. Trust me, I saw the e-mails, I was just so busy getting the new site up, that I could respond. But yes, I would be happy to have you help with the baselines. Thanks for the support! Oh, and for those wondering, everyone that did test the baselines got back to me with positive feedback. So ,I guess those 8 hours I spent on Monday weren't wasted...


111. Principle of Archaeological Convenience
Every ancient machine you find will work perfectly the first time you try to use it and every time thereafter. Even if its city got blasted into ruins and the machine was then sunk to the bottom of the sea and buried in mud for ten thousand years, it'll still work fine. The unfortunate corollary to this rule is that ancient guardian creatures will also turn out to be working perfectly when you try to filch their stuff.

112. They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To (Cid Rule)
Modern-day machinery, by contrast, will always break down at the worst possible moment (for example, when you only need one more shot from the giant cannon to defeat the final boss.)

113. Place Transvestite Joke Here (Miss Cloud Rule)
If the male lead is required to dress up like a girl for any reason, he will be regarded by everyone as much more attractive than any "real" girl. If the female lead cross-dresses as a man, she will be immediately recognized as who she is by everyone except the male lead and the main villain.

114. Make Room! Make Room!
There are always more people in a town or village than there are houses for them to live in. Most of the village is made up of shops, temples, bars, secret passages, inns, and the mansion that belongs to the richest man in town.

115. Law of Scientific Gratification
If the hero needs a new invention to progress, he will find out that somewhere in the world someone has spent his or her entire life perfecting this invention, and usually just needs one more key item located in a monster-infested dungeon before it is completed.

10/2/06 - Monday: I WOULD BE LYING IF...

...if I said I wasn't in an extremely pissed off state of mind. I wake up this morning to only 3 bugs, but one of them, super serious, depending on how you want to look at it. I admit I made the mistake of testing solely on my laptop, which happens to work perfectly I might add, so slower machines are having little hiccups here and there. So, when I get a bug report about a cut-scene that isn't running the way it should, and when I can't reproduce it on my machine, I feel as if I am going to have a heart attack/stroke. It's been a roller coaster, but right now, people, I am not having fun, and dammit, I should:)

The other issue is trying to justify to people why things hiccup now and again. It's hard to tell them that, when they can run any NWN module perfectly, or any next gen game for that matter. It's hard to explain that the NWN engine can only take so much, and the things I am doing, it just wasn't made for. Hell, I wouldn't be so quick to believe this if I was one of the testers:) Now, as I mentioned before, I never ran into these issues before while testing on my laptop, so when I know I am about to release the game, it is quite stressing.

You all know I worry a lot, so imagine what is going through my head right now. Now, I know what some of you are thinking. "Screw em if they can't run the game. Don't compromise the game's excellence because they can't run it". In fact, I see this attitude in the community everyday, especially with certain Premium (read - NOT cancelled ) modules *looks both ways*. Well, having that attitude isn't in my personality, and ultimately, it might lead to my demise. I try to please everyone, knowing damn well I can't, yet I still try to. Heh, I guess I am a download whore:) I don't want to alienate any people, and that includes people will machines slower than mine.

So, I went into today determined to make things work. Remember, I have good old reliable (my computer from 2000), so I started what would end up being like an 8 hour project to benchmark some things. I first made a copy of the current game, and created different versions of said game with different starting points. The comp is too slow to actually try to open up the toolset and changed the locations at will, so I figured I would save time. All in all, each game would be setup to run a specific cut-scene. After I set that stuff up, I then began to create my solutions to the issue, make various games with different starting points, and then take all these versions of the game, and put them on my desktop. Did I mention the Desktop cannot connect to the internet, so I have to use a memory stick? Did I also mention that if I put the stick in, then take it out, then put it back in, my machine restarts. Did I also mention it takes 10 minutes for it to restart? Yeah, I was having that type of day...

So, I definitely saw results between the 2 versions. Things definitely seemed to run a bit smoother. However, I still needed to test these things out on testers machine. Unfortunately, because of time zones and school/work/mothers, not a single person was able to test these hot fixes out.

So, imagine I am about to finish the game I have spent that last 15 months of my life making, and the one thing that is holding me back, I cannot even test? No, I'm sorry, more like 30 months, because I started this game right after The Coming. You know, I talked to a lot of developers at this years Games Developer's Conference, and they all told me their horror stories of crunch time. Well, I know I cannot really compare it to theirs, but man, this crunch time is killing me.

Sorry for the rant folks, but I  just had one of those days. I remember community member El Dano made a post where he said something along the lines of how a developer needs to stop doing what they are doing if they aren't having fun. Well, I am this close to putting it out, and saying you need 2GB of ram to play it:)

Okay, begging time:) Please, please, please, if anyone out there (I know someone is out there, I get 200 visitors a day to these updates!) has 20 minutes to spare in your day, please email me, so you could possibly try out these baselines I created. It really would be painless, and help things out a lot. If so, my e-mail is gamecoder@optonline.net .


So, I have found some really new music that I absolutely love, and I have already designed 2 of the areas for Chapter 3 (in my head of course). Yeah, before you guys start screaming HYPOCRITE, do remember that even though I want to be done with Chapter 2, it doesn't mean I don't think about Chapter 3:) Hell, I know I won't have to worry about testing on a super machine, because mine can barely run NWN2 anyway:)

So, as promised from yesterday, here are reasons I should just go to Chapter 3.

1) Time... Plain and simple... I mean yeah, all the convos and scripts are done for Chapter 1 & 2, but trying to make those areas again will be a pain, especially with outdoor areas not being tiles... Speaking of which...

2) Will all the tile sets I used even be available for NWN2? I am sure they will be someday, but will I be able to recreate every monster, every NPC, every item, etc?

3) The fans. Do they really want to wait for an updated version of Chapter 1 & 2? I would think not, but who knows. Actually, posting a poll might be the best thing to do...

4) My personality. What does that mean, you ask? Simple. I know I couldn't just redo everything. It would be more of a remix. All the things I wanted to do, I will try to fit in. Again, this could be good or bad, depending on the answer to question 3).

Well, off to bed with me. Gotta be up in some hours to go to work...

Till tomorrow...

EDIT - Just got done talking to Alan Miranda, CEO of Ossian Studios. He just informed me the issue could be related to 1.68, especially since the testers weren't reporting these errors before it... Now, if I could just get someone to revert to 1.67 for me for one night...


106. Law of Traps
No matter how obvious the trap, you can't complete the game unless you fall into it.

107. Arbor Day Rule
At some point, you're going to have to talk to a tree and do what it says.

108. You Do Not Talk About Fight Club
Any fighting tournament or contest of skill you hear about, you will eventually be forced to enter and win.

109. Invisible Bureaucracy Rule
Other than the royal family, its shifty advisor, and the odd mad scientist, the only government employees you will ever encounter in the course of your adventure are either guards or kitchen staff.

110. The Miracle of Automation
Similarily, any factory, power plant, or other facility that you visit during the course of the game will be devoid of any human life except for the occasional guards. There will not be a single line worker or maintenance person in sight.

10/1/06 - Sunday: IT'S ABOUT THAT TIME!!!

So, where do I begin... Yet, another month passes by. Well, I'm not usually into guarantees and whatnot, but I can guarantee the game will be released this month. I already have a target date in mind, but I don't want to say anything yet. I am sure I will have a better idea later in the week.

Anyway, I have to admit, when I woke up, I was scared to go to the forums. I had this really bad feeling that the BETA bugs forum was going to be filled up. Well, I went to the page, and sure enough, there were so many bugs, that I wanted to go back to sleep:) It is a bit discouraging to see so many, but as the day went on, I consistently squashed them. In reality, they were for the most part easy to fix, but the number was what really got me... 

Luckily, after all the fixes, I was able to post BETA V0.22 (2nd iteration since Saturday morning). Among other things, it also includes the ending movie credits (not to be confused with the epilogue cut-scenes). Speaking of epilogue cut-scenes, Alistair was the first to get through the entire game (this guy works fast), and I was so happy to hear that he really loved the ending scenes. Now everyone knows why I spent my last vacation making them.

It's too bad that he has exams this week, as it looks like I lost him for the week. Others either have school or work, so anyone out there that has a few hours to spend, e-mail me at gamecoder@optonline.net . For the fans out there, the game is 99% content complete, so you won't have to worry about playing a half done game or anything like that. In general though, it really helps to be able to have as many people as possible play, because everyone has different play standards, and a couple of the more interesting bugs this morning were ones created when a player did things I did not even think of. So, please, if you have any spare time, let me know. The more people I have, the quicker the game gets out!

So, let's look to the future... I will obviously be done with this game soon, and will soon after take long needed break (I'm not a robot!). But, I have to admit, I have been lurking at the NWN2 forums, and some of the things people can do with the new toolset is looking pretty cool. Therein lies the dilemma...

I'm not going to beat around the bush. I really, really want to go back and remake the past 2 chapters for NWN2 before I do chapter 3. Why, you ask?

1) Full companion control. You all have no idea how many ideas I had for Unison Abilities that just wasn't possible with AI controlled party members. Don't get me wrong, there are tons in Cry The Beloved, but I can do more:) Following that, the idea design for this game back in 1999 assumed the player could control their party members, so you can only imagine how many things are different from what I initially envisioned so long ago.

2) This is most likely the main reason. Rose Of Eternity obviously isn't your normal DnD game, so let's say I release chapter 3 first. There will be TONS of people that play it, that wouldn't have played the first 2 chapters. Now, this wouldn't be a problem if the games were independent of each other, but you all know that they aren't. The game is so deeply rooted in the story, that it wouldn't make sense for them to start so far ahead in the story. I mean, there are ways to get around this, but...

Next is the issue of all the abilities you have gained up to that point. Again, since everything is custom, it is sort of hard to throw someone into the mix with a level 12 Aramus who has tons of abilities he has gained throughout the series (you will really know what I mean when I release the info regarding that). There are certain things you get accustomed to using, like Illuminate. By the end of Cry The Beloved, I expect the player to be an expert with this. Can I expect the same thing at the beginning of chapter 3? Again, there are ways around it, but I am just throwing out random thoughts.

Well, I am about to do some more work on some other things, so goodbye for now...

Till tomorrow...

P.S. Hope you dig the screenshot!

P.S.S. Tomorrow, reasons why I just want to get to Chapter 3!


101. Law of Productive Gullibility (Ruby Rule)
Whenever anybody comes up to you with a patently ludicrous claim (such as, "I'm not a cat, I'm really an ancient Red Dragon") there's an at least two-thirds chance they're telling the truth. Therefore, it pays to humor everyone you meet; odds are you'll be glad you did later on.

102. Perversity Principle
If you're unsure about what to do next, ask all the townspeople nearby. They will either all strongly urge you to do something, in which case you must immediately go out and do that thing, or else they will all strongly warn you against doing something, in which case you must immediately go out and do that thing.

103. Near-Death Epiphany (Fei Rule)
If the party is not dealing damage to a boss character, then there's a better-than-even chance that someone in the party will suddenly become enlightened and instantly acquire the offensive skill that can blow the creature away in a matter of seconds.

104. Wutai Rule
Most RPGs, no matter what their mythology, include a land based on ancient Japan. Full of pagodas, shrines, shoguns, kitsune, and sushi, this completely anachronistic place is the source of the entire world's supply of ninja and samurai characters.

105. Law of Mooks
Soldiers and guards working for the Evil Empire are, as a rule, sloppy, cowardly and incompetent. Members of the heroic Resistance Faction are, as a rule, dreadfully weak and undertrained and will be wiped out to the last man the moment they come in contact with the enemy.


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