Thursday, October 6, 2011


Recently I was doing some testing of a yet unreleased version of NCCS (for newcomers, that's the NOSCO Companion System for Fallout New Vegas), a mod with which I've been affiliated for some time now. While the latest version hasn't been released yet, I've probably done about as much field testing as I can at the moment until our beloved NosCo CEO either sends me an updated version of the mod or decides he's satisfied with his own work.

Now, you might think that this testing has renewed my interest in playing Fallout New Vegas on a regular basis. Such, however, is not the case (but is in no way the fault of the mod I was testing). Instead, running around with all those companions reminded me of another game in which I had an entire party of cohorts: Neverwinter Nights.

I haven't played NWN since January, I think, which was when I uploaded the Female Portrait Pack that I created after I discovered OHS, a mod that would allow me to, in a convoluted sort of way, create my own cohorts for use in the game. Now I'm feeling the mood to not just play the game again, but also to put together an update to my portrait pack.

The images I used in my first portrait pack were not of my own creation; they were images that I gathered from a few specific CG sites. (This should please all my DoomWorld fans who will gladly tell you that all I know how to do is copy & paste the works of others.) I could just as easily have used pictures of celebrities, but that's already been done and the game is CG after all, so I wanted to stick with CG images without swiping them from other games. If you're interested, here are the 30 images that were included in the first portrait pack:
I tried to include faces that seemed appropriate to all the races, classes and alignments but obviously must apologize to all you Orc fans. Sorry. Also, I have no plans to do any male portrait packs. Hey, I'm a Lesbian after all, and make no apologies for that. Besides, I think I forgot to give the blue-skinned ones red eyes after I ran them through the color filter, so they're not lore-correct anyway.

While I admit that there was indeed quite a bit of copy/pasting involved, the project actually required a few more skills and a lot more time and work. You see, the way that NWN utilizes these images requires that there actually be five different copies of each image, each being a different size and resolution. Thus, my pack of 30 female portraits actually consisted of a total of 150 TGA images.

I'm certain it wouldn't be any trouble to round up another 30 or more faces from my collection that I'd be happy with using in the game. The real question is whether or not I'll follow through with making all the extra copies necessary to make them usable in the game. Now that I think of it, though, I could probably run a few through a color filter to give them green or gray skin that would seem Orc-like (though they'd certainly have better dental work). But like I said, they're not designed to please the lore-mongers anyway.

Yeah... I think I'll go flip through some of my image files...


  1. It has been so long since I bothered looking at the world editor for NWN that I had forgotten about the multiple image requirement for the npcs. It is bloody irritating, that the game won't let you upload an image of the largest required size and reduce it itself when needed.

    It is nice to see you currently being so prolific with your posting. This way, I get to see more similarities in our interests :) Looks like I will have to be starting a modding blog soon myself...

  2. Fortunately for me, adding new portraits to the game doesn't require the use of the world editor. I launched that program once and it didn't look like the sort of thing I'd pick up very quickly. But then, I felt the same way about DoomBuilder when I first looked at it and now I can throw around terms like "vertice", "linedef" and "sector" with the best of 'em.

  3. You know, I have a folder full of NWN mods (made by me, I mean); one of which had like ten "companion" NPCs in it. Feels like a lifetime ago. Had started a couple as an alternative to writing books -- attempting to tell the story via game modules instead.

    Also: for the record there's not a whole lot more I can do to the current version of NCCS until and unless I get a better handle on what's causing those scripts to fail.

  4. @Nos:

    Any of those modules finished and playable? If not, any plans to finish them? Not poking with sharp sticks or anything; just askin'.

  5. Well, most of them ended up being just methods of getting particular items and XP onto a character (like to play Hordes of the Underdark with a new character without having to suffer through Shadows of Undrentide again).

    The actual story modules didn't get far. I found the game was a little open-ended for story-telling. Too complex for my taste; what with the multilayers of scripts and locations and dialogue -- remembering that is one of the main reasons I don't do quest mods for Oblivion/FO3/FONV. Nobody wants a 100% linear story in a game; there have to be choices and options and pseudo-moral consequences. It's a hell of a lot to keep straight, even with notes.

    So... in short: no, none ever got finished. Really couldn't have, anyway; as the one story that one of the modules was based on now sits at near six hundred pages, and is probably only 2/3 finished. Lotta stuff to shoehorn into a module.

    Sadly, couldn't really be finished even if I had a mind to -- as I've almost completely forgotten how to script in Aurora. Looks like the last edit date on the one story module was in July of 2004. Oh, look; here's one from November 2002. Wow. Comin' up on nine years...

  6. I totally understand. This is one of the reasons why I prefer to create things that I can simply drop into a game world; it's one thing to put a lot of work into a mod, but it's totally another to spend years of your life working on something that people are going to play for free and just tell you it's stupid anyway.

  7. "but it's totally another to spend years of your life working on something that people are going to play for free and just tell you it's stupid anyway. "

    Huh. That sort of explains how I feel about RR for FO3...