Here you can find information on creating areas.
You may also want to check out this page concerning naming conventions when you are naming your areas: http://www.wendersnaven.com/node/46
ciViLiZed posted the following links for day and night lighting options for areas:
See the Day Night Cycle Prefab at the vault for a great collection of lighting settings for areas.
From the NWN2 Teakguides:
Bloom Effects: Bloom effects change the quality of the lighting to create a more saturated, richer and hazier looking game world. The screenshot comparison above demonstrates the difference between enabling or disabling this option in NWN2. If bloom is not to your taste, you can disable it to gain a few FPS, however aside from making the game world seem more vibrant, it also works to reduce the appearance of aliasing (jaggedness) at far less impact than enabling Antialiasing. Note that the more advanced HDR lighting can't be enabled in NWN2; even though there is a UseHDRIfAvailable setting it does not currently work.
Periodiko posted additional comments in this forum thread:
Technically speaking, if you crank bloom up then it will blur everything you see a little, but it will blur bright things far more than dark things. If you crank it really high it will create a dreamy sort of effect, where the bright lights are a little too bright and everything is a little blurry. If you turn it off then the area will seem darker and more sterile.
The main ways it's used in the Neverwinter Nights Toolset that I've seen is with the "hazy" effect. For example, the Githyanki house in the OC has the bloom cranked up really high so the whole area feels magical and dreamy. It is also cranked higher during daytime lighting settings to reproduce the haze of the sun. I think the default morning setting that you see first-thing when you don't adjust the time-settings has it running pretty strong.
ciViLiZed posted the following explanation of some of the settings:
BloomSceneIntensity (BSI) : Sets the overall brightness level of all lights. (With this, individual light intensity values in effect become relative rather than absolute.) As it brightens light, it will not brighten places where light does not reach. A setting of 0, eliminates all light except the highlights (see below). A negative value creates negative brightness which effectively darkens highlights. A BSI of 1, with other bloom settings set to 0, has the same effect as if bloom was disabled.
BloomHighlightThreshold (BHT): Sets the size and quantity of highlight hotspots. Models and tiles have defined zones (“hotspots”) where light causes highlights when it hits them. Different hotspots will be highlighted depending on the angle of the light (e.g. GroundLight vs SkyLight). A higher BHT value will result in bigger and more numerous hotspots. A negative value (regardless of the number) sets hotspots to their maximum. The minimum value at which hotspots appear seems to be about 0.5.
BloomHighlightIntensity (BHI): Sets the intensity of the highlights. Highlights will expand/flare more and more as the value is increased. A very high BHI value (e.g. 1000) with a low BHT (e.g. 0.5) will show clearly where the hotspots are located. Increasing BHI and BHT will eventually burn out the entire scene. A negative BHI value creates darker and darker highlights (eventually creating a negative effect if BSI is positive)
BloomBlurRadius (BBR): Multiplies each individual highlight and spreads these “clones” around the original, like petals of a flower in… bloom. (Original highlight size though seems to be reduced in this operation, making it seem that the highlight might be broken down and its pieces spread, rather than it being cloned.) A higher value increases the distance (i.e. radius) between the center of the original and the center of the clones/pieces. The clones/pieces are spread regularly in a flat grid pattern around the original highlight. Typically, 8 clones/pieces appear to be created. The angle of the flat grid remains perpendicular to the point of view, while the distance between the clones/pieces varies with viewing distance. BBR value is an absolute, so prefixing a negative has no impact. BBR, BHT and BHI combine to create a blur effect. Increasing the BBR up to a point where the additional highlights detach themselves from their model will result in a ghosting effect.
BloomGlowIntensity (BGI): No effect in interior areas. (In fact, the default interior DayNight stages settings have it set to 0.)
Ovocean added these also:
As I understand it, the bloom effect is a filter applied to each frame by the 3D card.
More precisely, it sorts of make a blured copy of the frame and mix it together with the original. (Consequently, dark parts of the frame spread around as much as bright parts (depending on the BHT). There is no direct link between light sources and the bloom effect.)
The toolset gives us some control over the blur filter and how the blured framed is mixed (I would say 'multiplied') with the original frame :
BloomSceneIntensity : Controls how much of the original frame will be in the final mix (= it's luminosity). Set to "0", you'll only see the blured copy of the frame. "1" stands for "luminosity 100%".
BloomBlurRadius : Defines the radius of the blur (how far colors are spread).
Actually, the blured frame is made by mixing a great number (47, if I can trust my sight) of copies of the original frame, arranged in a repeating pattern. The greater the shift of a particular copy, the more transparent it is. The BBR defines the shift between each copy.
If this is not clear to you, try setting the BSI to 0 and play with great values for the BBR.
BloomHighlightIntensity : Well, now, it looks like there is even one more filter put somewhere in the process. This filter controls the luminosity of the blured frame and the BHI is the main parameter of it : it's the global luminosity value (of the blured frame).
BloomHighlightThreshold : This second parameter sets the (color's) intensity threshold beyond wich the colors are affected by the BHI. I don't know what threshold corresponds to what intensity, but when a particular pixel's intensity is under the threshold, it's luminosity is set to 0.
Finally, here are the settings I use when I want a bloom effect wich slightly blends the colors without modifying the overall luminosity of the scene :
BSI = 0.8
BBR = 10
BHI = 0.25
BHT = 2
PS : I've seen no effect for the BloomGlowIntensity.
Check out the full thread here:
Information concerning exteriors.
AmstradHero has posted a great list of tips for proofing your areas over at the Vault. It's a good checklist of things to remember both before and after building your areas. He's got it posted as a very nice looking pdf, but I've duplicated it here as well (Rember to head over and give it a vote if you found it useful):
Here are a few guidelines for working with and improving your areas, whether prefab or not. It's useful to keep in mind as a sort of "final proof" of an area before finishing with it.
Avoid Steep Edges
Use The Colour Tool
Darken Terrain Underneath Placables
Fix Your Walkmesh
Check Placeable Heights
Use Height/Position Lock
Convert Placeables to Environmental objects
Limit Non-Positional Sounds
Tweak Your Day/Night Settings
Beware of Shadows
Don't Overdo It
This is just a quick document to provide a few areas to focus on as the final touches for when producing an area – it's not intended to be a full area creation tutorial. I hope you find it useful to glance at before closing an area for the final time.
- AmstradHero aka Shadow Beast
Again, if you found this useful, make sure you head over to his Area Proofing Tips page on the Vault and give it a vote.
One of my favorite builders when it comes to textures is Anduraga. He's given some great tips for the Waterdeep project and other projects over at the Weave. He recently posted a great list of tips for people looking to build good exterior areas. Here's his intro:
I find that many people find area building a very difficult task, and when they do make areas, they are often basic, because of the lack of tutorials, tips, etc. I can relate that to somewhat in a different department. Scripting isn’t really my strong suit, but I can manage to do the basics. But anyway, to the point of this post/thread. I have designed this thread to help new builders, adept builders and even master builders with tips and tricks of the trade. I haven’t checked out many of the tutorials on the vault (Shame on me, I know), so all this stuff I’m throwing out here now might already have been covered.
Check out his list of tips here:
BenWH over at DLA has posted a great tutorial on creating exterior areas in the DLA Toolset forums:
Trying out the NWN2 toolset for the first time? Here are the results of my explorations on building an exterior area, combined with the wisdom of several others…
Read the full tutorial here:
Phoenixus posted a great tutorial on texturing a good grassland area. Check it out here:
You can import terrain data into the toolset to help build exterior areas using YATT. From the YATT website:
Yet Another Terrain Tool (YATT) is a plugin for the Neverwinter Nights 2 Toolset allowing importing of terrain information (including heightmaps, colourmaps, texturemaps, etc) directly into the toolset. It does the importation of height, colour and texture data directly through the TRN stream, meaning it's reasonably nice and fast.
One way that some builders generate terrain data is with L3DT. From the site:
L3DT is a Windows application for generating artificial terrain maps and textures. It is primarily intended for game developers seeking to make large high-quality 3D worlds (eg. for RTSs, MMORPGs, etc), as well as for digital artists who have designs for their landscapes and need a program to build them.
Thanks to nicethugbert for point me in the direction of some of this (I read his sig on the forums). I've known about YATT for a while, but didn't have much luck with other mapping programs. L3DT seems to be more promising. Also check out NTB's Eroded Hills and Valleys, where he has posted some of the areas he generated with these two tools.
The layer with the highest percentage is the one that determines what sounds a creature makes when it walks on that area. Make sure you bake the area in order for the sounds to take effect.
Mike - aka Plane Walker, aka soulraven666 - over at NWN2 Mods has posted a step-by-step tutorial on creating a "roman Colosseum."
I thought I would detail the process I am going through in creating this Arena so this post is going to be an ongoing one that I continue to add to as I progress. Please feel free to reply with comments.
Head over to the NWN2 Mods forum and check it out:
NWNmaster over at nwn2toolset.com has a great set of tutorials for creating areas. His current list of topics include:
Create an area
All about Terrain
Tips for creating an Area
How to add a Start Location
Create a waterfall
Create door transitions
Day and Night Settings
Head on over and check it out:
NWNmaster over at nwn2toolset.com has a great tutorial for placing a bridge.
After seeing a few people having problems with placing bridges I thought I would give it a go and see what the fuss was about. First thing I did was to create two raised areas like so:
Head on over and check it out:
A great tool for making changes to your area is TerraCoppa, by Tani. The most obvious benefit of this tool is being able to rotate areas, so that north matches with north. Here is Tani's description:
TerraCoppa is a toolset plugin allowing you to copy and rotate parts of one (exterior) area to another, including:
- terrain (heightmap)
- tinting (colors)
- objects (creatures, placeables, ...)
of course you could copy objects via toolset as well, but it lacks the ability to copy or rotate terrain (heightmap).
Go grab the tool here:
Documentation is a bit light, but here is a quick rundown on how I got it to work:
For additional reading, here is a thread on the forum talking about "North Direction" and rotating the area.
I came across this post by TheStoryteller01 asking about making creatures hover above terrain. Grinning Fool posted some really amazing looking screenshots that he created using the walkmesh helper.
The walkmesh helper is a tool on the vault by Zarathustra217. Here's the description:
This is a simple package intended to make a builder's life easier. It consists of simple squared invisible placeables with a walkable walkmesh. When scaled, the Walkmesh Helper objects are handy to use along with Walkmesh Cutters (found under trigger) to have more control of the walkmesh. This especially is evident when using a combination of placeables, like several bridges. Place the Walkmesh Helper just above the walkable plane of the placeables, scale it to properly cover the desired area, and cut away with Walkmesh Cutters as fit. You might get the best result by converting the placeables to environment objects, but it shouldn't be required.
It is intended to work as an override, and doesn't require that the end users of your module have this package in place. They will still experience the effect it has on the walkmesh without it installed.
Here's an additional tutorial on using this that Feargus Urquhart posted in the developer blog:
As far as I can tell, the tool on the vault contains a flat plane and a ramp, while patch 1.05 adds two flat planes: a stone version and a wooden version (I'm guessing these are for the footfalls.)
Warning: At the time of this writing, putting the walkmesh helper files in your override seem to cause problems with the official walkmesh objects that came out in 1.05. Hopefully OEI will add the ramp objects soon.
For those of you looking to use it for those annoying house placeables that don't allow you to actually walk up the stairs, try the ramp with a scale of 2, 10, and 7. Getting in place can be a bit tricky, just because it is hard to see exactly where it is sitting. Try baking the area and viewing it with baked and surface mesh enabled and you should see a seamless yellow path onto the roof. I had pretty good results with house 1, but house 3 would only work if I created an additional plan on the roof.
jlf2n posted a great thread about how to reverse engineer methods for shading. In his post, shading refers to using the color brush to add shadows. You'll also see this sometimes refered to as "grayscaling." Here's his intro:
Being new to the NWN2 toolkit I set out in search of a tutorial to show me a terrain shadowing tricks. I couldn’t find any so I set to dissecting one of the areas that came with the main quest to see what I could see. The process I used was very helpful to me so I thought I would run through it here for you guys.
He goes on to walk you through opening an area from the OC, removing all the shading, and trying to recreate it. A great idea for learning how the people at Obsidian put some of the areas together.
Check out the thread on the nwcitade here:
ScreminMemes and Miserere posted some great advice in the Toolset Q&A thread on the official forums on making seamless exterior areas:
Quote: Posted 10/13/06 02:03 (GMT) by ScreminMemes
The off limits area is there to create the illusion of seamlessness. All you need to to to make your areas seamless is copy one then move it to the side until the last two in-bounds rows from the original area are the first two out of bounds in the next area.
Quote: Posted 10/16/06 17:28 (GMT) by Terror2001
I've been looking for a way to copy sections of a map to create this seamless effect but have yet been unable to. I understand the copying of the map to a new map, but how do you select and move a group of tiles?
Don't try to copy sections of a map. Instead:
(1) Make a copy of the entire area (i.e. copy the area itself, not the terrain and stuff in it). Just select the area in the area list, right-click, and select copy.
(2) Identify the edge you want to carry over (let's say it's the North edge of the original area, so you want to preserve the *North* edge of the new area as well).
(3) Select and delete all objects that do not fall within the 4 tiles along the edge you are preserving (otherwise all those objects will collapse to the new edge when you do the next steps, which will screw up the areas you want to preserve). So in our example we delete all objects that are not within 4 tiles of the *North* edge of the new area.
(4) Use the Resize option (I think it's in the Edit menu, but I don't have the toolset in front of me right now) and reduce the size of the edge *opposite* the one you are preserving until you have only 6 tiles in width, total (4 of which will be off limit areas). The 2 off-limit areas from the other area will now be the walkable areas of the new area. In our example, we would remove most of the tiles on the *South* edge of the new area.
(5) Use the Resize option again to increase the size of the area back to what you want it to be, this time on the other edge. Now you have extended out the walkable area in the other direction and can build it up however you want. So, in our example we would add several tiles to the *North* edge. Et voila.
Think of the process as kind of inch-worming your way from area to area. You move to a new area (by making a copy), contract the area to eliminate the parts you are leaving behind, and then extending again in the direction you are moving. Does that make sense, or do I sound like I'm on crack?
Anyway, hope that helps. I've tried this and it works like a champ. Where this method falls apart is if you try to create four areas arranged in a square pattern, since the fourth area you make will only be able to "inherit" the edge of one of its two adjoining areas, not both. That's where you'd have to do some fudging.
Project Lead (Retired)
Tales of the Pendragon (Defunct)
You can find the conversaion here:
Information on interior tilesets.
BenWH over at DLA has posted a great tutorial on creating an interior area in the Toolset forums as a follow-up to his exterior area tutorial:
Thanks to the Halloween 2008 discussion over at bouncyRock Entertainment, I came across four links for creating load screens:
A tutorial at the nwn2toolset site:
A conversation in the Custom Content boards:
A conversation in the Scripting Boards:
Most people have had better luck after patch 1.05, but apparently it is still happening. Here is some basic information to help:
Check out the Toolset Corruption thread on the Toolset forum.
One of the most common corruption problems comes when you don't properly set the variable type on a trigger. As a general rule, set the variable type first.
There seem to be additional problems when working with speak triggers. stg_why and mattaus have posted how to recreate these issues:
- open an existing area
- change an attribute of an existing object (or simply add a speaktrigger, although its not 100% of time for everyone causing corruption)
- save , close toolset
Some people are advocating turning off the auto save function because of this.
There's also an issue where some areas are getting corrupt and are not noticed until further down the development process.
Phil5000 posted some frustrations in the Toolset forum about this:
Hi there. Ever since my mod was corrupted and I lost half of it I've been saving backups regularly. Well it got corrupted again but in a different way. The game wouldn't load the mod but it seemed ok in the toolset. So I opened up every area to check and when I hit one particular one I got a 'program has caused error and must close' message.
So I loaded a backup and checked that same area and I got that same message! I know for a fact the area is ok having played it through several times. So what could have happened?
This time the game would load it though so I went in there to have a look. Everything is black. There's nothing in there at all. I can turn the camera around and access my inventory but the PC isn't there. It's just like a void in space.
The idea that your area could have been corrupt long ago will make any builder nervous.
Chris_Rocks posted a possible back-up strategy about exporting your areas as .erf files. While this may be a bit cumbersome and will require more space, it will definitely give you a good backup that you can easily bring into your module. Remember that there's never such a thing as backing up too much.
jackyo123 posted a comment suggesting that it's always a good idea to shut the area down when you are done building with it:
one thing that is ESSENTIAL to do -
I was in the habit, because of the ridiculous load times of anything to do with the toolset, of simply leaving my large areas open.
I would happily go along, making edits here, edits there, etc. Saving multiple backups, everything looks good.
Then, a night or 2 later, the toolset crashes. Ok, no biggie, i have a hundred backups. I open up the toolset, go to open my big area - NOPE. Gives me a CAST error or something. Ok, go back 1 version. NOPE, same thing. Go back 10 versions. Nope, same thing.
What was happening is that the area i had open the whole time had become corrupted, but i had not known about it, since it was open already in the toolset, and i didnt try to reload it.
So I no longer do this. I close down an area as soon as i am done working on it, then re-open it to verify its ok. THEN i close it again and move on to my next piece of work.
He also offeres some additional backup strategies:
Also, you need to be making backup copies of the DIRECTORY (usually has a temp^&^E%^%^%&&$modname associated witn it) by manually copying this directory to a safe place every once in a while. I copy the directory every 3 or 4 mod saves. I can often pull scripts, blueprints, etc out of there, and merge them with the last known 'good' copy of an area before it got trashed, and everything is ok.
Thanks to these fine people for their thoughts.
It may also be helpful to check out my stragety for versioning your modules when working with a campaign.
Kivinen has some great tools for working the the toolset on his site here:
One of the best tools for debuging your module is his check module tool, which can be downloaded here:
You can find the documentation here:
Some have suggested you will actually need to save the module out to a directory.
After you find errors, you can try fixing them with his update-ifo tool:
Here's the documentation:
He also has perl versions of everything, if you want more up to date options, but I've included the exe files since that's what most people will probably be grabbing.