Common problems you see in other modules and PW's

Forum for builders of NWN material.
Post Reply
Sarmanos
World Leader: The Grey Wastes
Posts: 174
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2003 8:54 pm

Common problems you see in other modules and PW's

Post by Sarmanos » Mon Nov 24, 2003 9:31 pm

Well some of us are in the process of building our own pw's right now or already have one up and running. What problems though do you think you see in other pw's that are common or could easily be fixed but aren't?

Sindol
Ambassador: Catara
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 3:33 am
Location: Avlis & Catara

Post by Sindol » Tue Nov 25, 2003 3:48 am

One complaint I have heard more than once is areas being too big, causing seemingly endless load times. Some people only run the minimum hardware requirements, think of them too and don't make your areas too big, or they might avoid your world or places therein for it.
So much fun,
yet so little time to enjoy it.
- Sindol

Teibidh
Clueless Prime
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2003 4:39 am
Contact:

Post by Teibidh » Tue Nov 25, 2003 6:18 am

I think of them every time I open the toolset... But, I work electronics retail on a salary + bonus system :P
You'll see me in Hell? I'm quite sure. Just head for the center. I'll be the guy sitting on the throne with the cold beer in one hand, your sister in the other and your mom as a footrest.

Maska
World Leader: Fairhaven
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2003 12:33 pm

Post by Maska » Tue Nov 25, 2003 7:31 am

I've seen threads that suggest area sizes of between 12x12 and 16x16 with no more than 20 placeables or effects.

Also seen mention that the less doors (even if permanently locked) there are the better the performance...

HTH,
Maska

Nighthawk4
Planewalker
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 7:33 am
Location: Avlis most of the time (GMT)
Contact:

Post by Nighthawk4 » Tue Nov 25, 2003 7:47 am

This is the reason I do not visit Hala.

I only have a 56k Dialup (rural area = no Broadband available and no cable).

I have been there a couple of times. It looks awesome.

However, it is so slow that it is unplayable - so I don't go there any more.

This is a great shame.
Avlis1 Head DM

You mean Avlis isn't Real Life?

Jordicus
World Leader: Avlis
Posts: 91
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2003 3:13 pm
Location: Hackensack, NJ (GMT -5)
Contact:

Post by Jordicus » Tue Nov 25, 2003 8:24 am

As Sindol stated, the size of the area can have serious effects on gameplay. But I think sometimes it's more than that as well. In general. I think you have to work the area designs with a mid-level system in mind. If you work all the aspects (size, number of placeables, number of NPCs, etc) with a high-end system user in mind, the people with slower systems or even just dialup will suffer, even to the point as NightHawk said of no longer visiting those worlds.
"Wow. I can hear my brain." - The Tick

Jeff
World Leader: Ea
Posts: 130
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2003 8:36 pm
Location: EA
Contact:

Post by Jeff » Tue Nov 25, 2003 9:23 am

Here are some if the issues I have seen in new PW's in the past:
1) Areas too big, typically anything over 16x16 makes life hard on players.
2) Areas too small, a 2x2 is ok for the inside of a house, but if you try to make a road from 2x2's your gona drive players nuts.
3) Area linking - As a player I always try to map out the world so I have a clue how to get from a to z, what I find is that some worlds will link areas in imposable ways.
For example:
If the start area is a 16x16 and the player heads north only to find the road forks and passes into the edge on both sides. There is an area transition on each road heading north. I have seen worlds where the other side of both transitions was 16x16. This is impossible to map because the areas overlap. But to make things even worse, sometimes you find that if your head north on the right transition, then head west or left, you don't even go into the area that was linked to the left road! Uggg what a mess.
4) Creature placement drives me nuts too, for example water elementals in a lava cave surrounded by fire elementals and fire giants, or undead fighting alongside clerics.
5) Chests with upper loot just waiting to be camped on reload.
6) Too many traps are an issue. Don't get me wrong I like traps, but place them in logical places.
7) Poorly painted traps. Be careful how you place traps in the toolset. Sometimes it will make them flat on the ground, that's fine. I have seen when the toolset gets it wrong it can paint the trap across the z axis diagonally. The issue is this makes the trap near impossible for a player to see even if their character detected the trap!
Come by and see us at:
http://hanus.is-a-geek.net/

Themicles
Leader: Tairis'nàdur & CoPaP Hak-Master
Posts: 886
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 11:26 am
Location: Michigan
Contact:

Post by Themicles » Tue Nov 25, 2003 1:09 pm

Nighthawk4 wrote:This is the reason I do not visit Hala.

I only have a 56k Dialup (rural area = no Broadband available and no cable).
This is a common misconception when it comes to load times. I connect
to my server directly, as in localhost. Photak, who is on a sub-56k
connection, loads most of my areas faster than I do. And I'm talking about
the two largest in Travellers.

Thats not to say that large areas with lots of content wont play slow after
its loaded...

-Themicles

Red Golem
World Leader: Abyss404
Posts: 109
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2003 8:19 pm
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii (GMT-10)
Contact:

Post by Red Golem » Tue Nov 25, 2003 3:07 pm

Another common mistake with trigger-based transitions is that folks often forget to adjust the destination waypoints.

When you go through a two-way transition between triggers, make sure the destination waypoints are outside the return trigger with a little bit of space so that the player won't accidentally just click it and reenter that transition.

Also make sure the waypoint is facing the right way. This sets up what directions the new enterer will be facing. Too often I've seen the case on servers where you're facing the direction you came from after you cross a trigger transition.
[url=http://nwn.bioware.com/guilds_registry/viewguild.html?gid=6231]Autobic Guild[/url]

Sarmanos
World Leader: The Grey Wastes
Posts: 174
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2003 8:54 pm

Post by Sarmanos » Tue Nov 25, 2003 11:40 pm

One all too common thing I find wrong with mods is bad encounter trigger placement. Whenever I am building I try to place the actual spawn point out of view of players. Also when something spawns right on top of your head it'll sometimes get an advantage over you.

Morbid Ridicule
Clueless Prime
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 6:33 pm
Location: Avlis (GMT - 6)

Post by Morbid Ridicule » Wed Nov 26, 2003 1:21 am

Maska wrote: I've seen threads that suggest area sizes of between 12x12 and 16x16 with no more than 20 placeables or effects.
Do placeables add a lot of lag?

I'm in the process of creating an area that would probably have close to 100 placeables by the time it's done. The areas just look so empty without them.

Is there any difference by having the placeables usable vs. not usable or static?

Is there a way to get the feel of having lots of placeables without actually having them all?
Player / Hala DM

Red Golem
World Leader: Abyss404
Posts: 109
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2003 8:19 pm
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii (GMT-10)
Contact:

Post by Red Golem » Wed Nov 26, 2003 2:33 pm

With placeables, it depends on a variety of factors and there are different distinctions between lag:
- latency lag vs area loading time vs client-side frame jumping
- how many show up on a screen at the same time (client side frame jumping)
- placeables count (module loading, ai-pathfinding for serverside)
- type of placeables used (visual effect ones are a lot worse than normal ones)
- placement of placeables (could make pathfinding attempts fail)


My Abyss 404 server uses many placeables since it does not inherently use any hakpacks in development (only needed to support other worlds' chars in live server). Here's some things I find to be true:

- If you have too many placeables in sight of the player, then there will be a big slowdown in client side performance since the graphics card has to paint all these. If you spread them out though, there's no noticable effect. Try this - create a 16x16 area with many placeables on one side, and none on the other. Test out performance/fps when in the heavy placeables side and no placeables side. Though they are in the same area, it only matters what the PC is around.

- Static/nonstatic: the performance of static is better since when doing certain area effect spell effects and things, they won't be included in the loop. Usable items will definitely cause more of a performance hit than non-usable or static items if used in very large quantities, and they can mess up the PC's navigation by making their navigation hard to click.

- polycount: some placeables are more complex than others. If you have 100 of those visible in one screen, then you'll see a difference between when one uses many high poly placeables vs many low poly placeables.

- visual effects and animations: nothing can kill performance on the client side as good as visual effects and animations if used in bulk

- lighting: how the lighting is done in the area could make a big difference in performance for the same set of placeables. Remember that doing shadows is a hard thing, especially if it has to try to calculate which light sources to use for lighting. By making it bright day or number of light sources, it could help performance greatly.


Also if there is an area with too many placeables, try breaking that area down into smaller parts so that the area load time is not as huge when transitioning, since having many placeables does increase area load time.
[url=http://nwn.bioware.com/guilds_registry/viewguild.html?gid=6231]Autobic Guild[/url]

Mistcaller
Groundling
Posts: 137
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 7:29 am
Location: Avlis Team - Tairis'nadur Team

Post by Mistcaller » Mon Dec 01, 2003 8:55 am

IMO scripts should be as much generic as possible. When you create a script, think of it in the long run. Think of possible applications and ask yourself: Can I make it more generic to include all possible cases or at least most of them? If yes, try and make it as such. It will save you a lot of precious time in the future, while reducing the amount of what-the-hell -this-one-does scripts in your panel. :wink:

Pitched Black
World Leader: Hala
Posts: 76
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2003 5:59 pm

Post by Pitched Black » Mon Dec 01, 2003 11:46 am

Nighthawk4 wrote:This is the reason I do not visit Hala.

I only have a 56k Dialup (rural area = no Broadband available and no cable).

I have been there a couple of times. It looks awesome.

However, it is so slow that it is unplayable - so I don't go there any more.

This is a great shame.
Is this from the new mod or the old mod? The old mod was made completely from 32x32 areas (looked and felt really cool, very epic) while the new one is all smaller areas but with a lot of lighting and placeables. The whole point of the new mod was to reduce the lag but if I've just created more, someone's gonna have to die.

Morbid Ridicule
Clueless Prime
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 6:33 pm
Location: Avlis (GMT - 6)

Post by Morbid Ridicule » Mon Dec 01, 2003 5:30 pm

*gulp*

Pitched on a killing spree.
Player / Hala DM

TimeLord
World Leader - LoT: Cormyr
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2003 11:43 pm
Location: LoT - Cormyr
Contact:

sloppy transitions

Post by TimeLord » Sun Jan 04, 2004 10:59 pm

Personally I dont like it when you go to a world and waypoints are sloppy. Whether its perfectly square or your tracing an outline design that your wanting it should be neat and generally keep these transitions the same size.

I have seen tiny little slivers of a transition to a ultra wide transition.

?Tip?:
If your not using a transition system its a good idea to make a dummy area with say the crypt tileset and make 2 perfect transitions the way you want them to look throughout the mod. 1 Horizontal, 1 Vertical - Plus any size variations that you want. Saving the area in your mod - you will be able to cut paste it and move it around to your hearts content. You just have to rename it and do the waypoints.

IMO the best thickness of a blue transition box is about the same as a blue waypoint from arrow tip to tail (this is a good marker to use to get perspective when drawing by hand). and as wide as necessary.

ALSO, sometimes in areas you will see parts of the blue transition marker clip underground and not be completely shown, raising the height of the transition in the properties of the transition a smidge will look much better.


~TimeLord
legendsoftoril.com

void
Noobie
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 8:42 pm
Location: The Void, Abandoned Village
Contact:

Post by void » Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:17 pm

One thing that drives me insane: NPC waypoints. Aww!

NPCs keep on bumping at each other on various places I have been.

One just has to see the winged paladins at the gates of Celestia, Hala, nudging and rubbing in quite the kinky string-puppet manner. Mind the fact that they need more space than the common humanoid guards ... or it will be gettting hot in here. :twisted:

And while this may be little bother: one thing to freak on in Avlis, Ferrell hills tiles. Try going up and down the hill a dozen of times and you may find the right way to do it, and meanwhile you might even get the chance and enjoy watching your character walking in the air. :shock:

.

Also, time to set this right: "The quest is not working! - Well, everyone knows it is not working ..." No, no, no, and no. Make it work. It is not that hard, you know you CAN do it. ("Don't freak out, it's not that bad." - Aurora Toolset Manual) If for any reason you cannot set the quest "Z" to work, then just don't put "Z"-related stuff there, IMHO.

.
If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and you have to make fortitude saves, you know it's a druid. -- Capn Charlie, www.candlekeep.com

Mabus
Planewalker
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 6:42 pm
Location: Washington State, USA
Contact:

Post by Mabus » Thu Jul 06, 2006 9:18 am

One thing that drives me nuts on Gray Waste is as you're leaving the last gate out of town, the ground spikes (stalagtite...mites? Don't know what to call 'em...in the Subterranean tileset) are right in the road and the pathing is extremely picky. So you have to mini-click your way around it. Same with the ones right outside the doors into the center of the zoo. Other than those minor nitpicks, I don't have a problem there. :D

I'm building the city of Sigil right now to (hopefully...if I can get a team together to script, DM, draw and host [/em end advertisement plug-in]) add to CoPaP in the future and I use few 32 x 32 zones (like 2 I think so far...) but many are like 8 tall and 32 wide, so they're thin. You think having an 8 x 32 would be the equivalent as a 16 x 16 (not exactly, since a 1 x 32 would be like a 16 x 16, but you get the idea)?

Also, with regards to transitions, I'll have like a NE corner transition go to a SW corner transition and next to the NE transition one next to it looking like a corner pointing SE but go to another zone to a NW corner. So in essence two transitions, one goes NE, one goes SE. Both go to separate zones but they're linked correctly. Hard to explain without having people there to see. :P

Anyways, I try to make them realistic. I'm very picky about making things realistic. When something's not realistic it drives me nuts.
"In the end all things betray you. Honor. Ideals. Heroism. Allies. Comrades. Lovers. Your eyes. Your limbs. Your heart. And in the end, you betray yourself. And that is the greatest betrayal of all.\"

~Lament of the cambion Zaxarus, hero of the Blood War

Mabus
Planewalker
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 6:42 pm
Location: Washington State, USA
Contact:

Post by Mabus » Thu Jul 06, 2006 9:55 am

Oh I remembered one thing that I see often (that drives me nuts!!!), even in single-player games, where you can customize your character, such as the Baulder's Gate-type games. The whole game's usually geared for good-aligned players. (ie. if you're evil, everyone attacks you and you never get any quests or anything because choosing the "rude" answers makes the NPCs pissed at you and don't reward you with information. There are players ranging from Lawful Good to Chaotic Evil. When speaking with an NPC there should be varying types of answers to choose from to reflect your character's alignment. Often I'll speak with an NPC with my CN character (although he's currently CE. But he's not REALLY evil...just misunderstood :p) one and the only respons is something a paladin would say.

Is there a way to tie the answers in with your alignment so that if you choose the wrong one it alters your alignment a point or something? Not sure if answers can be set up to match a specific answer to a character's alignment. But if it can be done, then perhapse some NPCs can reward a player for RPing his alignment in a conversation with an answer that gives a quest or some valuable information or something...

Ideas/thoughts?
"In the end all things betray you. Honor. Ideals. Heroism. Allies. Comrades. Lovers. Your eyes. Your limbs. Your heart. And in the end, you betray yourself. And that is the greatest betrayal of all.\"

~Lament of the cambion Zaxarus, hero of the Blood War

Zebranky
Ambassador: The Grey Wastes
Posts: 187
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 4:31 pm

Post by Zebranky » Sat Jul 08, 2006 11:43 pm

Mabus wrote:I'm building the city of Sigil right now to (hopefully...if I can get a team together to script, DM, draw and host [/em end advertisement plug-in]) add to CoPaP in the future and I use few 32 x 32 zones (like 2 I think so far...) but many are like 8 tall and 32 wide, so they're thin. You think having an 8 x 32 would be the equivalent as a 16 x 16 (not exactly, since a 1 x 32 would be like a 16 x 16, but you get the idea)?
Best practice is to limit yourself to 12x12 or 16x16 tops. A lot of smaller areas is all-around better, both technically and for conveying a feeling of distance, than a few large ones.
Mabus wrote:Is there a way to tie the answers in with your alignment so that if you choose the wrong one it alters your alignment a point or something? Not sure if answers can be set up to match a specific answer to a character's alignment. But if it can be done, then perhapse some NPCs can reward a player for RPing his alignment in a conversation with an answer that gives a quest or some valuable information or something...

Ideas/thoughts?
It CAN be done, technically. The general stigma behind alignment shifts, though, is to minimize scripted ones, especially in the good and lawful directions. Scripting options to shift you in any direction could lead to the "exploit" of shifting to any desired alignment at will, or at least to TN.

terryrayc
World Leader: Arkaz
Posts: 571
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2003 10:34 pm
Location: Florida
Contact:

Post by terryrayc » Sun Jul 09, 2006 10:54 am

I like 10x10 areas, that's what we use on Arkaz. They are big enough to be very usable but small enough to not hurt 56kers.

On and remember HB scripts kill things...try not to use them unless you REALLY have to and if so limit them big time.
Visit the Arkaz [url=http://www.arkaz.com/wiki]Wiki[/url]
Or the Arkaz [url=http://www.arkaz.com]Website[/url]

Post Reply