Monday, July 28, 2008

NWN 1.69 is Out

Bioware has just released the last ever patch for Neverwinter Nights 1, and OH WHAT A PATCH! Ridable horses, amazing new tilesets, and outstanding new models. I especially like the new armor models... very western European.

The downside, of course, being that I now need to completely rebuild Rel Mord in the new system.

Sadly I must bid a fond (and hopefully temporary) adieu to the Community Creature Pack.

Picking the CCP creatures out has been a major headache, but it needed to be done anyway as the newer versions were not compatible with the version 4 I was using anyway. I will be re-adding it as soon as it's up to speed with 1.69.

I'll be running out my new mod for NWNCon4.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bad Urk! Bad Bad Urk!

Well, yours truly has been banned by the bioware boards for "Atari Bashing". Not publicly in the forums but privately to the moderators.

Normally I would not air this type of laundry publicly, but now it seems that nobody in the community believes me... so here it is. The entire exchange... complete and unvarnished.

The following messages were logged in that exchange.

Subject: Warning! (R)
From: Selene Moonsong (Add to Buddy List)
Received: Fri, 28 March 2008 04:02PM
Options: Reply | Reply without quote | Forward to my E-mail | Delete


In my opinion, you are attempting to get circumvent the Rules of Conduct and still directly bash Atari. If you have issues with Atari, take them up with Atari, but not in these forums as you have in your last two posts shown below.

Consider this a severe warning since everyone has already been warned twice in this thread , with a reminder of the Rules of Conduct posted by me. Your post has been deleted as per the Rules of Conduct.

As posted by UrKnightErrant:

Quote: Posted 03/28/08 18:02 (GMT) by JBNL

Quote: Posted 03/28/08 17:32 (GMT) by UrKnightErrant

OK... so I'm waiting for a game that's finished because the DRM has not been developed (or tested) yet?

No wonder this game is so buggy.

I feel bad for Ossian. They're a great team of devs that just keeps getting screwed by... those who shall not be named for fear of a thread lock.


I wish I'd never bought this stupid game.

Now now, this is unfair. Don't blame the developers, who really have done their best on this, for the publisher's mistakes and lack of foresight.

I'm not blaming the devs. Re read the post. Obs and Ossian have done thier jobs. The dark force that must not be named for fear of thread lockage must therefore be...


Hint: Rhymes with "Fat Lardy".
Community Member/Moderator
Official Patches
Community Updates

Subject: Re: Warning!
To: Selene Moonsong
Sent: Fri, 28 March 2008 06:45PM
Options: Forward to my E-mail | Delete

Fine. I'm out.

This is why I don't post on the NWN2 boards any more.

You are quite right. I am VERY critical of Atari. I believe that they are milking this franchise into the ground and I find it infuriating.

Atari doesn't need my help to look bad. They do just fine at that all by themselves.

They are mismanaging themselves into the ground. Atari didn't go from like $65.00 a share 5 years ago to todays HIGH of $1.44 because of their astounding foresight and competence. And this AFTER a 10:1 reverse split last year? If you don't know what that means I'll explain it to you... The REAL value of a $65 share of Atari 5 years ago is FOURTEEN CENTS today. There's no nice way to say it. These people are IDIOTS. They shouldn't be running a corner bodega, much less a multi-national corporation.

And now Atari expects me to wait two months or more to buy a finished game which was promised last month so they can bundle in a completely untested software package that will disable the entire application if it doesn't work right?

Now who's being treated with contempt? ME. That's who!

I retreat now back to whence I came... to the NWN1 forums where customer input is welcomed (or at least tolerated), and considered even when it's negative.

Subject: Re: Warning! (R)
From: Selene Moonsong (Add to Buddy List)
Received: Fri, 28 March 2008 07:50PM
Options: Reply | Reply without quote | Forward to my E-mail | Delete

Quote: Sent 03/28/08 23:45 (GMT) by UrKnightErrant

I retreat now back to whence I came... to the NWN1 forums where customer input is welcomed (or at least tolerated), and considered even when it's negative.

I invite you to re-read the Rules of Conduct you agreed to and be advised that those rules apply to the BioBoards, not just NWN 2 and will be enforced when necessary.
Community Member/Moderator
Official Patches
Community Updates

Don't BS me Selene. You want me to stay off your boards, fine, I leave you to your ever diminishing support base of sycophants and fan-boys. But we both know that Bio doesn't use the TOS the way Obs does.

I know the rules of conduct. I did not spam, slander, flame, stray off topic, telephone, impersonate, fight (I was in fact agreeing with the tone of the thread), or promote any illegal topics.

I did lay in a backhanded dig on you mods for being lock-happy. Maybe that's what really pissed you off, I don't know. Don't really care.

And I've been on these forums for 8 years. I only changed handles because I lost access to my old Email account when I moved last year.

Bio doesn't lock threads because they or their bosses are getting razzed. Case in point...
Click Here

11 pages. No lock. SCATHING criticisms of EA and Bioware.

That's how you handle angry customers. You let them say what they need to say, and you either help them or stay out of their way. You don't fan their anger by bullying them into silence.

Subject: Banned (R)
From: Chris Priestly (Add to Buddy List)
Received: Sat, 29 March 2008 10:53PM
Options: Reply | Reply without quote | Forward to my E-mail | Delete

Since you asked to be banned, you are gone from these pages.

If you want to come back, you can ask me to allow you to return.

Subject: Re: Banned
To: Chris Priestly
Sent: Sun, 30 March 2008 11:24AM
Options: Forward to my E-mail | Delete

Who am I? Oliver ***ing Twist? I quite willingly volunteered to stay off your boards.

Atari is the most pathetic excuse for a game publisher in business today, and if they were based out of any country but japan they'd have gone out of business years ago. Sooner or later the japanese government is going to get tired of carrying them and that's going to be that.

That's not "Atari Bashing". That's called "reading a financial report".

Like I said in my post...
I wish I had never bought NWN2. As much as I want to support my beloved D&D franchise, my NWN2 experience has been a long, drawn out MISERY. I believe that Obs and Ossian have done the best they can do. I blame Atari.

This is not "Atari Bashing". This is how I feel. That this is unspeakable on your boards says volumes... but the only message that matters is, "Fan-Boys Only."

Atari is in such a hurry to produce salable content to shore up their ridiculously low bottom line that they are releasing buggy games and failing to provide the devs with the zots needed to patch them. You know it. I Know it. Everyone in the industry knows it.

Now... In the Game Publisher equivalent of "Jumping the Shark" they have convinced themselves that if they can just stop the evil pirates from stealing their games their problems will be solved and they will be magically transported back into the black.

Like I said. Pathetic.

This strategy will fail. It always does. Some pimple faced german kid will crack the game in a week, and their new DRM software, not properly tesated on the thousands of possible hardware/software configurations, will cause the application to fail on hundreds if not thousands of machines. This will piss off tjousands of paying customers, while thousands of game pirates fail to run out and buy the game.

Atari will do what it always does... ignore the problem in favor of devloping more salable content.

No doubt you will then have to ban more angry customers from their boards.

Then Atari will find itself right back where it started... A failed business with incompetent officers and a self destructive corporate culture.

You offer two choices.

1) Fall in lock step and march joyfully in lock step to our party line.

2) *** and get out of here.

I choose option 3.

Subject: Re: Banned (R)
From: Chris Priestly (Add to Buddy List)
Received: Sun, 30 March 2008 11:48AM
Options: Reply | Reply without quote | Forward to my E-mail | Delete

Well, I think it is a shame you feel that way since you were a great NwN1 advocate and a long time supported or NwN1. You could have voluntarily stayed off of the Neverwinter Nights 2 forums and refrained from bashing them on the NwN1 boards and simply enjoyed the NwN 1 games and fan content and waited until our next games, like Dragon Age came out and then enjoyed those.

However, since you feel you cannot be a part of this community and NOT bash Atari (and there are a great many peopel who are forumites where who have zero interest in Atari or NwN2 in any way), then your account remains banned.

Hopefully, someday, you will realize there is more to this community than Atari and again choose to take part in it.

Subject: Re: Banned
To: Chris Priestly
Sent: Sun, 30 March 2008 02:15PM
Options: Forward to my E-mail | Delete

Like I said.

"Fan Boys Only"

Got it. Enjoy your little circle jerk.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Well, I've made it into the Neverwinter Connection's DM Hall of Fame. Special thanks to all my players, especially Dave_O who would rather run his foot over with a car than forget to review me, and has me on his favorites list like 3 times!!!

We'll be moving our Neverwinter Nights game night to Mondays from now on. I'm always looking for Noobies to join our merry band, so if you would like to join us for some vicarious high adventure please, set yourself up with an account at and PM me. My handle there is "Urk".

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Real Thing

My wife and I are moving to New Orleans in the not too distant future, and while driving home from an appointment to view a potential apartment my lovely wife allowed me to stop and explore the Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile. Foolishly I told her I'd be back in a half hour, then dashed from one side of the museum to the other furiously clicking away at everything I could find. An hour later she crossly pulled up next to me as I was snapping quarter bow shots of the Gato Class sub USS Drum.

I'll recommend some good WWII naval warfare games in the not-to-distant future, but this experience was the real thing, so sorry folks... no game talk today.

The star of the park is the battleship Alabama.

Designated BB-60 she's a South Dakota Class Battleship. Launched in 1942 she served in the South Pacific theater of operations. She was nicknamed the "Lucky A". During her active service not a single crewman was killed in enemy action.

The Battleship was the largest most sophisticated machine of that era. All due respect to the devotees of Aircraft Carriers, the floating flat-topped buckets of WWII pale in comparison to the floating fortress of the BB: 2500 highly trained men integrated with the same clockwork precision of the CV crew into a single machine with a single function...

Destroy anything in sight.

And it was very good at it's job.

Lucky-A's armament would still strike fear into any foe not equipped with a state of the art guided missile system. Truth be told, most of today's anti ship missiles would be hard pressed to penetrate her foot thick armor plating. Mind you, if ships like this were still on the line that wouldn't be the case. These behemoths no longer have a place in the modern navy, but as recently as 1992 they served with distinction.

Shown here are 2 of Alabama's 10 Double 5" Gun turrets. Secondary weapons, any destroyer or submarine foolish enough to blunder into range of one of these batteries broadside would not likely live long enough to abandon ship. In the foreground you can see 2 of her 12 40mm Anti-Aircraft Auto Cannons.

The main armaments of the Alabama were 9 16 inch guns organized into 3 turrets, 2 mounted on the foreward deck, and one aft.

These guns were able to launch steel shells packed with explosives a little over 23 miles. Each shell weighs about as much as a Volkswagon bus.

On the aft deck you can see the catapult rail that would be used to launch one of Alabama's 2 OS2U Kingfisher Scout planes (pictured below) right off the deck. These planes would be used to scout the surrounding waters for enemy forces. The crane was used to recover the aircraft once they had landed in the water. Also seen here are 3 of Lucky-A's 52 20mm Machine Guns for use against enemy aircraft.

It was sad to see the condition of the old girl. She needs a face lift in the worst way.

The steel structure is in excellent shape, almost timeless, and the three degree list that is apparently left from Katrina is not even noticeable. But the wooden decks need to be completely replaced. The once polished teak is now gray and warped.

Most infuriating, however, is the thin layer of paint on the starboard side barely managing to conceal years of graffiti.

Sadder still was the condition of the Drum. Damaged in hurricane George she is now consigned to living the rest of her days mounted on blocks, her tail section a frayed and rusted out tangle of steel.

Many of the aircraft in the museum's collection are piled next to her, likewise twisted and mangled by storm damage.

But the saddest blow is the Vietnam Veterans memorial. The Huey, the foot soldiers angel of mercy in that conflict, was once mounted over the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in eternal flight. Now it is gone, leaving only the skids freakishly suspended in the air over the rest of the sculpture.

Then I reminded myself that God did this. He reached down from heaven and swatted down that Huey. And it is God's contribution to this memorial that makes the starkest and most important statement of all. Have we done with the veteran's of that war exactly what we have done to their memorial? Have we left them underfunded and neglected? Have we let our shame of defeat and unwillingness to admit our own fallibility obscure the contribution these men made to our country and our culture, many with their lives?

To me that missing helicopter is a challenge to put up or shut up. It is a divine reminder that not all heroes fight and win. Sometimes all a man can do is fight and die.

I cannot recommend strongly enough a visit to this place. You have the opportunity to explore a battleship stem to stern. Take the whole day. You won't regret it.

And leave a few extra dollars in the collection jar at the ticket desk. Let's get that Huey put back up.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hail The Hamster!

It's been about a year since I last logged into The Fantastically adequate Hamster Republic Home Page.

This is more than the home of Jame's Page's OHRRPGCE, it is also, I suspect, a clever reference to Boo the Space Hamster.

OHRRPGCE is an old school CRPG engine. Remember Final Fantasy 2? It could be easily reproduced using the OHRRPGCE (Short for Official Hamster Republic Role Playing Game Creation Engine). The system is VERY flexible, though. I'm using it to build a Star Trek Game that will likely never be finished but has allowed me to explore the system. A good stable core system supported by Hamster Speak, a powerful yet ridiculously simple scripting language.

I was surprised to find an updated released as recently as January. No longer a DOS system the system is now Windows Based, and is capable of supporting better sound, better graphics, and larger files. The only downside I can see is that the system can no longer build self executable games. An OHRRPGCE game file can only be played with a full install of the engine.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Alcohol Anonymous

The Event with Skunkeen last Saturday was a success, but a less than stellar one.

The module, Alcohol Anonymous, was a very clever one. The build was amateurish and entirely Dependant on DM participation, but the plot and NPCs were amusing and the whole game had a very survival-horror feel, which is... to say the least... right up my alley.

This event was intended for aspiring DMs. As PCs died (and oh how horribly they died) they were given DM passwords and we taught them tricks of the trade as the adventure progressed. After the adventure the survivors also logged on as DMs and we began a question and answer session on how to use the DM client.

Now as a rule I run Open events. No passwords or anything. I'm always happy to field new players, or shall I say, I USED TO BE happy to field new players.

One of our invited players was running X-Fire during the game, and while we were playing an X-Fire Griefer calling himself RagdollKnight piggybacked in.

I've been running events on Neverwinter Connections for about a year, and in all those games... say 20 or more... I've yet to run into a griefer.

So this guy starts wreaking all the havok that a DM can Wreak, and a DM can wreak a lott of havok. He basically ruined the question and answer session.

I wasn't running a dedicated server, so it forced a server reboot and password change to boot him off. Very frustrating.

What is is with Griefers? I simply do not understand the mindset that ruining other peoples experience is somehow intrinsically fun. It seems even more pitiful than it is aggravating. Is your life so empty? Are you so small and useless in RL that you can only assert yourself by being a bully in cyberspace? I shall ask my wife about it. She's a doctoral candidate working on her degree in Psychology.

Anyway... Many thanks to Skunkeen for the event. We'll do it again... but next time it will be a password protected application only event on a dedicated server.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Nerd Porn

YES! Someone gets it!

"If you're an intelligent woman that wants to break into the adult film industry..."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Horror Update: Sweeney Todd

That's right... I said SWEENEY TODD. Truer to horror than the endless stream of prequels and sequels that Hollywood has been shoving down our throats for the past 5 years, Sweeney Todd is an elegant and terrifying return to what horror is supposed to be.

It's been so long since I've seen a truly GOOD horror movie that I had actually convinced myself that maybe Hostel 2 wasn't just a contrived, formulaic excuse to see some 2 seconds of inverted boobs. I was distressingly undisturbed by the image of a chick cutting off some jerks (ridiculously unrealistic latex) penis. I mean c'mon. What guy hasn't already lived through the same thing at least a half dozen times?

The feeling of relief I got when I watched Sweeney Todd is hard to describe. It feels like the end of a 5 year crap.

I saw Sweeny Todd in the 80's when it was on Broadway, so I was VERY skeptical when I saw it was being adapted to film.

I was wrong.

Tim Burton adhered elegantly to the original script, intent, and vision of what Sweeney Todd was meant to be. It was not a "re-imagining" or whatever the heck the Hollywood buzzword is these days for taking a classic and turning it into pop feces. They only changed a handful of lines, and only when it was appropriate to the change of medium. The changeover from stage to screen was done with astounding grace and skill.

The choice of stars, which had bile churning in my stomach as soon as I heard it, turned out to be extraordinary.

Let me explain... I LIKE Johnny Depp, but I still see 21 Jump Street any time he opens his mouth. The guy STILL looks like a kid, and the Benjamin Barker character is supposed to have just gotten out of prison after 14 years. Boyish good looks are just not gonna cut it. As for Helena Bonham Carter, she's hot. Every movie she's ever done has tried to ugly her up, and it never works. Mrs Lovette is NOT supposed to be hot! When I saw the stage version all those years ago the part of Mrs. Lovette was played (brilliantly) by ANGELA LANSBURY.

There's no way a pair of Hollywood Hotties were going to pull off Sweeney Todd.

Wrong again. I could go on for hours, and may yet when I have some more time... but the short version is...

What a fantastic freakin' movie!!! I mean nothing will ever touch the Broadway experience that, as a child, made me decide that I was going to dedicate my life to stage acting (yeah... well that's a different story). The stage version was much funnier. Stage happens from a distance which makes the whole serial killer thing a little less gruesome, but film is up-close and personal so it couldn't help but be a very different experience. Still... standing on it's own it's tons of stage blood n' latex fleshy fun!

Ummm... Don't bring a date, though, unless she's turned on by the sound of skulls being crushed on cobblestones.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Witcher Burned at the Stake by Yahtzee

Well, I've decided not to buy "The Witcher", even if it is my beloved Aurora Engine. I won't get into all the people that have warned me off it. Yahtzee put it best...

My Brain Hurts!

I understand User Defined Events!

Last night, while working on my Neverwinter Nights campaign, I finally figured out how the bloody User Defined Events work, and they are AWESOME! It's very simple really, you call a user defined by number, and this triggers a script stored in the area, module, or object that the event is stored on. I used it to script a battlefield sequence in my next Broken Heart session. I can't wait to test it out.

Special NWN Event

I have some excitement scheduled for tomorrow. I'm going to be teaming up with the legendary Skunkeen and co-DMing a Neverwinter Nights event geared towards teaching noobies how to DM! If you're interested in learning more about Skunkeen you can see his NWC profile page.

He was also interviewed once for the NWN Podcast. You can hear his interview here. He was on episode 44.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Freeware Version of MechCommander 2

Mech Commander 2 is one of the greatest Battletech Games ever made. Battletech was never meant to be a first person shooter. It was meant to be a strategy game. Mech Commander 2 captured the flavor of the original battletech game in a way that has yet to be matched.

Microsoft released the source code for the game more than a year ago, and Wolfman-X has created a freeware version of the game, MC2X, that can be downloaded here...

Unfortunately the Driftwood campaign he designed and bundled into it is HARD. If you are an MC2 veteran than by all means, grab it, but if you are an MC2 noob you might want to hop onto Ebay and get the original game first. There's also a stand alone campaign available on Wolfman's site by StarFox called Rebirth of the White Company. I haven't looked into it, but it looks like a much better starting campaign for noobs than Driftwood.

MC2X Does not support one of MC2's most outstanding features: multi-player. While this sucks, what sucks even more is that MC2 multi-player is pretty much dead anyway.

Like all my favorite games, MC2 and wolfmans MC2X both have mission editors.