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The Academy for Modding Excellence is pleased to announce the Golden Dragon Award winners for the NWN1 2011 AME cycle!

Golden Dragon Award Winners for the NWN1 2011 AME Cycle

This cycle included awards for works released in 2010. Feel free to use the thread below to discuss the nominees and the awards, and congratulations to all the winners!

AME 2011 Cycle GDA Finalists and Winners Discussion thread

Summer 2011 NWN and NWN2 Finalists

The Academy for Modding Excellence is pleased to announce the Summer 2011 finalists for the Golden Dragon Awards for Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2!

NWN1 2010 Community Contribution Award

  • The Neverwinter Nights Podcast — The only podcast devoted to the Neverwinter Nights roleplaying games, it does absolutely invaluable work in creating a sense of a community that is still thriving, still producing things, and still worth getting excited about.
  • NWNCQ by Chico400 — This amazing piece of work completely revamps most of the default Bioware tilesets. An essentially “drop-in” update, it allows modders to quickly, easily, and radically update and improve the look of areas built using them the default game resources.
  • The Custom Content Challenge — This outstanding contribution has breathed new life into the NWN community, inspiring and encouraging both CC veterans and beginners alike to produce custom content on a regular, nearly monthly basis for themed compilations of brand new, high quality work.

NWN1 2010 Veteran Author Award: Modules

  • Baldecaran — Author of the highly acclaimed Hall of Fame modules “The Cave of Songs” and “Honor Among Thieves”, he’s been providing the community with quality modules since 2003. His chef-d’oeuvre, the continueing “Prophet” series, features one of the most clever and intriguing plots ever seen in a NWN module, the equivalent of a perfect page-turner.
  • Fabien Cerutti — His genuinely original and extensive series about “The Bastard of Kosigan” (translated from French by Ginni Swanton) steeps in a real knowledge of and appreciation for European history, with lots of complex ideas, roleplaying opportunities and witty dialogue. He’s seriously committed to the series and his enthusiasm and dedication shine through in all of his work.
  • Andarian — “Sanctum of the Archmage” is an ambitious story with a rich setting that’s heavy on character interaction and believable romance, and another of its prominent features is the ongoing support and high level of polish. Andarian has regularly upgraded and completely overhauled the available chapters over the years, which now include some of the community’s best available custom content.

NWN1 2010 Veteran Author Award: Custom Content

  • Lord of Worms – is widely recognized in the NWN community as one of the finest CC builders in its long and illustrious history. He’s a three time GDA finalist for Undersea Tiles in 2006, Seasonal Forest in 2007, LOW’s Creature Pack in 2008, and winner of the NWN 2007 Best Tileset GDA for his legendary Seasonal Forest tileset.
  • Six_Six_Six – Gavin “Sixes Thrice” Jones is in the forefront of excellence of tileset building in NWN. He works tirelessly and diligently to produce the finest work in NWN and is the author of Wildwoods, Wildlands & Wildlands Winter, Undead Redux 2, Dwarven Chasms / Catecombs / Dwarven Lands / Deep Dungeon / Undercity Sewers, and Colossal Arena / Spectral Woods / Rural Interior.
  • Helvene – Helvene has shared her work with the NWN community since 2006 - a lot of it tileset-related (original, reskins, merges and fixes) but also placeables with very nice texture work. Her 2006 reskins of (and additions to) BioWare’s Castle Interior tileset include White Marble Castle and Arcanum Castle. Her Maze (2006) is a limited set with few tiles, but with beautiful mosaic textured walls, and a mini map version of empty squares that prevents the players from cheating their way out. She is the author of the famous Wood Elven Interiors tileset (2006/07) that’s also part of CEP 2 now, as well as the Suspended City (2008/09) tileset.

NWN1 2010 Best Tileset Award (by Andarian)

  • Wild Woods by Sixesthrice — This is a truly extraordinary NWN tileset, both in terms of visual quality and creative use of effects. Wild Woods is gorgeous, effective, and has an efficient design that doesn’t try to be everything — allowing for greater depth to the design as a result.
  • Senemenelas’ Underdark Tileset — This tileset package brings Terror back to BioWare’s tamed Underdark, along with both claustrophobia and agoraphobia. Vast halls and caverns or deep dungeons, large or narrow staircases, well of souls and irradiating mushrooms - Senemenelas’ tileset finally offers us a convincing impression of what the Underdark really must feel like.
  • Roman City Tileset by Zwerkules — Part of the November 2010 Custom Content Challenge, this tileset looks good and has a number of original features in it. Zwerkules tilesets excel not just in how they look, though, but how well they play. Form and Function are well linked in his work.

Joint NWN1/NWN2 2009 Best Sound/Music Award

  • Christopher Escalante (author body of work nomination) - Christopher often works variations on a common theme. From a modder’s perspective that’s actually incredibly helpful because it allows choosing an underlying theme for some aspect of your mod, and then using different variations on it in different situations and circumstances as appropriate (much as one would do in scoring a movie). From the light guitar to the more serious piano, heroic, call to arms and sad themes, Christopher delivers a wide range of musical themes that provoke the listener to lean forwards in anticipation!
  • “Outcast” by J ‘Wildfire’ Town (individual composition nomination) - “This conjured images in my head immediately. At first I thought of Faeries, then as the piece went on, I pictured walking through a forest. The pictures fit together, which is a sure indication that the music has no jarring qualities.” Simply beautiful, soft and unobtrusive but still memorable, creating great atmosphere - soothing, sad or strange. Great music like this just serves to remind us how poor the engine is for allowing us to properly choreograph game play.
  • Travis “Darklord Snafe” Richards (author body of work nomination) - Mr. Richards has been an active musical contributor to the NWN community for a long time, and has continued that tradition through 2009. Always experimenting and striving to improve on his works, Travis’ compositions range from the battle theme, lullaby’s, triumph, remorse, love, sadness and much more. There is something for every scenario and his creative flow is constant.

NWN2 2009 Veteran Author Award

  • Azenn – Azenn won the AME’s Debut Author Award in 2009 for Asphyxia. He’s now earned a Veteran Author nomination as well for his 2009 module, Live Forever — a story based module with thought-provoking ideas and entertaining characters.
  • John McA — John McA released the module Hyborean Hack in 2009. A prolific “crossover” author from NWN1, his Conan Chronicles modules were notable for their excellent storytelling and sense of drama.
  • Markus “Wayne” Schlegel — A prolific author of both NWN1 and NWN2 modules, Markus released the NWN2 module Lolthanchwi in 2009. He has also been recognized for his excellent NWN2 work in the past with the 2007 GDA for Most Replayable module for Pool of Radiance Remastered.

NWN2 2009 Best Storytelling Module Award

  • Dark Waters III - Dark Waters presents a complex story set in a custom world with an extensive history, and a quest to save the world by solving an ancient mystery from another time. It has many many unique and innovative gameplay elements, but at its core is an ambitious tale that helped to set a new storytelling standard for NWN2 modding.
  • Sands of Solvheil III: Crusaders of Shalihir -  that my main appreciation for this author’s work springs from his embrace of adventuring as “aggressive archaeology”.  There’s often a sense in games that “story” is the thing that happens with all the words. What makes this module stand out is the way the story is embedded in the places you visit, often more so than in conversations you have or books you read - to make a story not just something the player reads, but something the player can walk around and look at.
  • Serene - One of the longest NWN2 modules out there, and a pure storytelling one — with a great story as its main focus, plot twists and lots of characters with well developed personalities.

NWN2 2009-2010 Best Roleplaying Module Award

  • Dark Waters 3 - The conclusion to Adam Miller’s epic NWN2 saga, Dark Waters 3 has many many unique and innovative gameplay elements, including strong roleplay options.
  • Trinity - Trinity has a strong “old-school” feel reminiscent of a P&P game. It features different quest paths, custom abilities like jumping and climbing, lovely music, awesome custom loadscreens, wonderful looking areas, a nice story & interesting companions.
  • The Maimed God Saga - “This is a module for Clerics of Tyr. It has a great story and dialogues, but roleplaying is also great because it makes you feel like a real Cleric, not just a buffed up warrior with some spells. You have to pray in altars, you can use spells in conversations and use them to advance or complete quests, there are many skill checks, and also important moral decisions about what is just and what isn’t.”

Congratulations to all of the finalists! In the coming days and weeks we’ll be posting the rest of the finalists for those awards, new categories as they are identified, and, of course, the winners.

The Academy for Modding Excellence is actively recruiting for new members to help us in our mission to give recognition to the content creators who keep this great community alive. Thanks to those of you who have already answered our Call for Volunteers! If you are an avid NWN1 player, modder or reviewer, and think you might be interested in helping with the AME’s mission, then please feel free to contact me (andarian at ame-gda dot net) about joining or learning more about the AME panel.

AME 2011 Call for Volunteers

I would like to take this opportunity to invite members of the Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2 communities to consider volunteering to join the Academy for Modding Excellence, or AME.

For those who may not know, the AME is a group of community players, builders, and reviewers who are dedicated to RPG “modding.” We award the annual Golden Dragon Awards, or GDAs, in recognition of excellence in module and custom content design for NWN and NWN2. Our members turn their passion for NWN modding, including playing, building and reviewing modules and custom content, into an opportunity to support the players, and to give recognition to the content creators, who keep this great community alive.

Despite the aging of the NWN communities, we in the AME believe that these games still have some life and interest left in them. We also believe that the AME mission would be a valuable one to at least consider expanding at some point in the future to other moddable games, such as Bioware’s Dragon Age. For the last couple of years, however, the AME roster has been declining due to members moving on from the community or to other projects, and to fewer new members joining each year. This has made it increasingly difficult for us to meet our goals for awarding the GDAs — especially for NWN2, which we had to forego entirely last year due to lack of particpation. For that reason, I would like to take this opportunity to issue a special appeal to members of the NWN and NWN2 communities to consider joining the AME, and helping us to maintain what we consider to be a valuable community tradition: awarding the AME Golden Dragon Awards for Achievements in Modding Excellence.

One of the perennial responses that we’ve always received to invitations to join the AME has been that, while interesting, it sounded like it would be more work than they could afford the time for. In past years, this has been a legitimate concern: the AME has had an often considerable workload, especially with the sometimes limited number of members available to do it. So upon re-assuming the Chairman’s position earlier this year, I undertook to reorganize the AME’s rules and procedures to try to make them significantly more friendly toward potential members who would like to participate in the awards, but who may have limited time with which to do so. I believe that with these changes, helping to fulfill the AME mission is something that individuals with limited time would be able to undertake effectively.

To help explain how the AME and its new procedures work, I’ve posted the following summary:

Overview for Prospective Members of The Academy For Modding Excellence (AME)

The basics are fairly straightforward. The AME maintains a running “queue” of award categories that are currently being worked on, which move through several stages — starting with “Nominations,” then proceeding to “Finals,” and finally to “Awarded.” At the end of each quarter, each award category is checked for eligibility to move from one stage to the next. For example, a category with four or more nominations having three or more seconding votes each will have the top three nominees proceed to the finals. Members can work on whatever categories they are interested in, with whatever time they have available. Which awards proceed through the stages to being finally awarded, and at what pace, will depend on member interests and choices regarding which categories to work on. Categories include things like “Best Storytelling Module,” “Best Custom Content,” “Debut Author,” and so on.

Member eligibility for the AME basically depends on having some experience as a player, builder, or reviewer for one of the games and some of the categories that the AME covers. The main qualifications for membership are:

  • A genuine enthusiasm for the game and modding community that they serve;
  • Experience as a player, builder, or reviewer of modding content for their game; and
  • An ability to carry out the AME’s mission of giving awards for modding excellence in a responsible and trustworthy manner.

I hope that some of you will consider volunteering to join the AME. If anyone is interested in or has questions about the AME or about AME membership, please feel free to email me (at andarian at ame-gda dot net), or to post followups here, or on our forum thread:

AME 2011 Call for Membership

Sincerely,

Andarian
Current Chairman, The Academy for Modding Excellence

AME Forums Site Maintenance

The recent AME Forums maintenance is now complete. If anyone notices any problems, please let me know. Barring any reports of problems, I’m officially declaring them to be back online.

-  Andarian, AME Site Admin

The Academy for Modding Excellence is pleased to announce the NWN1 Golden Dragon Award winners for 2009:

NWN1 AME Golden Dragon Award Winners for 2009

Also, please feel free to visit our our forums for information and discussion about the AME 2009 awards:

AME 2009 GDA Finalists and Winners Discussion Thread

Andarian
AME Site Admin

The Academy for Modding Excellence is pleased to announce the NWN1 Golden Dragon Award finalists for 2009:

NWN1 AME Golden Dragon Award Finalists for 2009

Also, please feel free to visit our our forums for information and discussion about the AME 2009 awards:

AME 2009 GDA Finalists and Winners Discussion Thread

Andarian
AME Site Admin

AME on the Neverwinter Nights Podcast

Last Tuesday, Andarian and I recorded with Jay, Trey and Striker B from the Neverwinter Nights Podcast.  We discussed coming changes in the awards, leadership and all around questions to inform the public on what to expect from the AME this year.  Please check it out and let us know what you think.

Neverwinter Nights Podcast Episode 125

Tybae, AME Chairman

Greetings folks. We have officially started our new cycle for Golden Dragon Awards. We have made a few changes to the awards this year that will be beneficial to everyone. Some of the changes include:

  • The Veteran Author Award has been modified to include extensive updates to current releases.
  • We have changed the award system to reflect 2 types of categories: Core and Non-Core.
  • We have added an International Recognition Award.
  • We have added a new position to the AME Ranks: Dragon Age Leader.

To read the full article click here.

Posted by Andarian for AME Chairman Tybae

A New AME Chairman for 2010

Now that we’re approaching a new year and beginning preparation for a new awards cycle, it’s time for me to announce that I’m stepping down as Chairman of the AME. After a call for volunteers and a vote, I’m pleased to announce that 2009 Vice-Chairman Tybae has been elected as the new Chairman of the Academy for Modding Excellence.

Although I will be remaining as a member of the AME with a minimal workload, I also have a set of very ambitious plans that I need to start focusing more of my time and energy on during the coming year. Among them are a serious return to my modding and writing work, and to development of my Sanctum of the Archmage Saga. That will involve finishing the current part (The Miracle Worker) in NWN, as well as developing the final part (The Alliance) in Dragon Age. I’m in the process of forming a modding team to undertake those projects, so it’ll be a lot of work and I’m taking it very seriously.

I’ve known and worked with Tybae about two years now, and I can definitely say that the AME is in good hands with him. Congratulations, Tybae, and best of luck!

Andarian

We are very pleased to announce the winners of the AME 2008 Golden Dragon Awards for Neverwinter Nights 2! To see the list of finalists and winners, please visit our Announcement Pages linked below. You can also listen to the NWN2 GDA Show on Episode 115 of the Neverwinter Nights Podcast. And if you’d like to discuss the finalists and winners for 2008, please feel free to visit our forum thread.

Andarian - AME Chairman

 

About AME

The AME (Academy for Modding Excellence) is a group... for Neverwinter Nights.