Neverwinter Nights 2 Designer Diary #5 - Build Your Own Role-Playing Adventures

Senior designer Tony Evans tells us how easy it will be to create your own custom adventures in Neverwinter Nights 2.

Neverwinter Nights 2, the sequel to 2002's acclaimed fantasy role-playing game, went gold this week, which means that development is finished and the game is currently in production and on the way to shelves later this month. The series is set in the popular Fantasy Realms campaign setting of Dungeons & Dragons, and you will once again be able to create a D&D character to explore the city of Neverwinter and its environs, battle all manners of creatures, and be the kind of character you want to be, whether that's a thief or a mighty warrior.

Yet another cool aspect of Neverwinter Nights 2 is that the game comes with a powerful toolset that will let you create your own custom adventures, called modules. If the experience with the original Neverwinter Nights is any indication, expect hundreds of user-made adventures and campaigns to be shared online, and that translates into hundreds of hours of gameplay. Or, you can create your own modules and share them with others. This new toolset is a big step up from the Neverwinter Nights toolset in terms of power and flexibility, and we have senior designer Tony Evans of Obsidian Entertainment to explain some of its cool new features. The game should arrive in stores around the end of the month.

You can create your own role-playing adventures using the toolset.

The Neverwinter Nights 2 Toolset

By Tony Evans
Senior Designer, Obsidian Entertainment

There are far too many great things about Obsidian's Neverwinter Nights 2 toolset to list in a mere developer diary, so I'll restrain myself and list only what I think are the toolset's most exciting features.

10. Waypoint Paths - The toolset has many options to allow you to create living, breathing environments with ambient life that goes about its business. Using waypoint sets is one of the simplest ways of adding ambient life to an area, and it requires no scripting. Using waypoint sets, you can diabolically make peasants walk continuous circles.

9. Tinting - The toolset comes with many, many placeable objects, creatures, exterior terrain textures, and interior tilesets. But if you want even more variety, you can use tinting to create different-colored variations of almost everything. You can tint creatures, placeables, exterior terrain, and even tilesets to create dramatically different looks for your areas. Not happy with the look of your umber hulk? Tint him orange and turn him into an amber hulk.

8. Scaling - In case tinting isn't enough, the toolset allows you to change the scale of any creature or placeable. So if your adventure calls for a 40-foot-tall chicken or a dragon the size of a dog, you can make it so in the toolset. You can individually adjust the height, width, and length (x, y, and z). So if you want a female elf that is tall and superskinny, simply decrease the width and raise the height, and presto, your very own fantasy version of Kate Moss.

Turn that umber hulk into an amber hulk thanks to tinting controls.

7. Run Module at Waypoint - Testing changes to your modules is easy. The standard way of doing this is to use the run module, which will load the module and put you at the start location. However, if you want to test a specific area, or a specific room in an area, you need only right click on a waypoint and choose "run module at waypoint." You can also choose to enter the area in free camera mode, which enables you to fly through your area.

6. Armor Sets - The toolset provides dozens of different creatures and races, each with multiple variations of faces, genders, and hair. In addition to this, clothing and armor is extremely customizable. You can choose from several different types and variations of armor, helms, boots, gloves, belts, and cloaks. Beyond that, you can add 22 different armor attachments, each with multiple variations. And, as with many other things, you can tint them all as you see fit. This allows you to create very unique appearances for your non-player characters. Best of all, you can save any armor sets as an item and give them to other characters to wear.

5. Static Cameras - Using static cameras in conjunction with Neverwinter Nights 2-style cutscenes creates impressive cinematics, such as the ones featured in the Neverwinter Nights 2 campaign. Adding a static camera is easy. Drop down the camera object and adjust its location and facing so that it points at what you want to show. You can use the preview window to see what your shot will look like in the game. Once your camera is placed, you can plug it into any dialogue node in a conversation.

4. Visual Effects Editor - Neverwinter Nights 2 comes with hundreds of different stunning visual effects, which you will see in action when you play the campaign. Even cooler, you can use the visual effects editor to make your own effects or make variations of existing effects.

If you want to build an adventure featuring giant chickens, you can.

3. Terrain Editor - The toolset allows you to quickly and easily create realistic-looking terrain. You can raise and lower terrain and paint the ground with a texture or a color. Then, complement your terrain by painting down grass or placing dozens of different kinds of trees. And last, but certainly not least, add water!

2. Conversation Editor - There are enough cool things in the conversation editor that it could easily fill a developer diary of its own, so I will briefly describe a few or the more revolutionary things:

You can specify parameters on action and condition scripts. This means that many users can avoid having to write custom scripts of their own and can instead take advantage of the hundreds of multipurpose global scripts provided by Obsidian.

Instead of laboriously copying and pasting individual links in a conversation, you can use the "link to main question node" feature, which creates a set of several links that can be copied. The link will automatically update if you add or delete nodes in your conversation.

And if you need your NPCs to cycle through random lines of dialogue, you can use "make bark cycle" and it will automatically fill in the scripts for you.

1. Customizable Layout - If you don't like the way the toolset is laid out by default, you can change it however you like. Almost all of the windows in the toolset are mode-less, which means that you can, for example, have an area (or two or three), conversations, and scripts all open at the same time. Customizing your toolset is as simple as drag and drop. If you prefer a more streamlined appearance, you can easily hide window tabs and bring them back again with a single click.

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Discussion

37 comments
7_armageddon_7
7_armageddon_7

What are the system requirements? Looks great, so I want to know if I can play it.

Thanos_of_MW
Thanos_of_MW

Can't wait until it comes out. I'll pick it up right before I go to work on Tuesday :D

august_king
august_king

Neverwinter Nights 2 keeps sounding better and better. I can't wait to play it.

Approxx
Approxx

Hope there are crabs in nwn2. Giant Enemy Crabs ftw.

redvodka
redvodka

Say, would anyone tell me is it good to multi-class warlock with any other class or is it better to just play Warlock class by itself?

sdmaruf
sdmaruf

This will be the first game for me to start creating my own builds having my own adventures. Hope I'll be able to achieve what I want to.

sdmaruf
sdmaruf

This will be the first game for me to start creating my own builds having my own adventures. Hope I'll be able to achieve what I want to.

Nhax14
Nhax14

Exctied. Simply excited.

antz13
antz13

is there a demo available?

a12345a
a12345a

nice screenshot of the giant chicken

SR_Caveman
SR_Caveman

Miles: You can only import a few things from an NWN1 module. I believe the scripts are a yes. But I can't remember the other things. As for hundreds of mods and hundreds of hours, it should be thousands (as there are thousands of mods available).

fradam
fradam

cjcr_alexandru: The best of them will still be those Adam Miller makes though!!!!! Im looking sooo much forward to play his mods, im gonna go strait to them and dont think about starting the campaign if it was just out before NWN 2 hits the street!! (which i know it isnt) His mods for all the NWN 1 was THE BEST!! If you dont know what i talk about go to: http://adamandjamie.com/nwn2/ you want regret it:)

csg180
csg180

sounds awesome... i luv being able to build my own world and levels and what not.. its a definte plus for me in games that have it

_Sam_
_Sam_

some of the tools seem pretty cool

cjcr_alexandru
cjcr_alexandru

Cool. A month from now the Internet will be swarming with NWN2 mods.

Dragonstring11
Dragonstring11

wow...this puts the aurora toolset to shame. I don't normally use editors to make serious mods, but in this case...muahahahaha! It actually sort of reminds me of "the Movies"(although i never played it so i don't really know).

silvya1980
silvya1980

NWN2 might be the right cue to upgrade my 2-years old PC. I'll see once I get hold of the game (I'm a tad too broke at the moment). On a sidenote: dear Obsidian, now that you're done with NWN2 and apparently have no other ongoing project (not a known one, anyway), could you remake KotOR2 the way it was meant to be, or start working KotOR3 (the plot of the first two episodes clearly hinted to a trilogy thingie, so we're expecting this)? Thanks.

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

i think i need a big bang PC to run this game ... which won't happen anytime soooooner!

J_u_s_t_i_n
J_u_s_t_i_n

You know, just because of that example there will be hundreds of modules uploaded to the internet with giant chickens when the game is released.

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

Giant chicken is the best:lol:nice screenshot of it

Alcotamaysees
Alcotamaysees

If you can make an adventure with penguins in it I'll be happy.

Rhubarb9
Rhubarb9

If you want to build an adventure featuring giant chickens, you can. thats great ima take my current NWN campaign project and make it with the new toolset so I can have a giant chicken in it

gord_mose
gord_mose

But will the game run decently on my 2Ghz Pentium 4? I know, I've seen the system requirements and that's whats scaring me...

MilesTormani
MilesTormani

I don't mean to sound like an idiot, but I'm still kind of wondering if you can import modules from the first Neverwinter Nights.

Ol_skool_Gamer
Ol_skool_Gamer

That'll add a lot of value to the game for me at least.

Georgezzz
Georgezzz

Ah man this game will be as nice as 1st NWN I hope.. :)

teh_leeto
teh_leeto

i. cant. wait. for. NVN 2. just hope the tinting gets a bit improved, cuz the image is a bit iffy.

Jedi_Caesar
Jedi_Caesar

Neverwinter is one of the best RPGs. I played the first one and liked it a lot because it reminded me of Baldur's Gate(this is the best RPG ever)... Toolsets are something you need to put a looooooot of time into to just make some simple adventure so I probably won't use it.

alijib
alijib

I am not very found of toolsets , however this seems very powerfull & focused on developing, Definitely use it to create my own fantasy.

zsaz1029
zsaz1029

[quote]Fantasy Realms campaign setting of Dungeons & Dragons[/quote] Uh, it's called the Forgotten Realms.

Whiteknight1981
Whiteknight1981

As long as the characters, when fighting, don't swing their weapons like a chicken with its head cut off I am all for it!

karlhunguss
karlhunguss

i lost interest in this game awhile ago but now it looks awesome and it reminds me of baldur;s gate 2 (except with a lot more immersion). i'm not really an rpg fan but this might be the game that settles any of my rpg cravings.