Academy for Modding Excellence

Academy of Modding Excellence Public Forums => Academy for Modding Excellence News => Topic started by: BenWH on February 02, 2008, 11:04:33 AM



Title: Golden Dragon Interview: Hugie
Post by: BenWH on February 02, 2008, 11:04:33 AM
In the second of our series of Golden Dragon Award winner interviews, we turn to the modding scene. Hugie won the 2006 NWN award for Best Action Module, with his Perchance to Dream (http://nwvault.ign.com/View.php?view=Modules.Detail&id=5173). We asked Hugie about his plans, why he builds modules and his addiction for awards...
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What made you start building modules for NWN?

I only started tinkering around with the Aurora toolset after about a year of playing many of NWN’s “classics”—mods such as Rick Burton’s Paladin trilogy (http://nwvault.ign.com/View.php?view=Modules.Detail&id=2686) and Adam Miller’s Shadowlords (http://nwvault.ign.com/View.php?view=Modules.Detail&id=1935) and Dreamcatcher (http://nwvault.ign.com/View.php?view=Modules.Detail&id=763) still have a special place in my heart.  More lighthearted works such as the Company of Thieves (http://nwvault.ign.com/View.php?view=Modules.Detail&id=1158) duology were also major inspirations for me.  Long story short, I ultimately realized while playing through NWN’s vast array of user-made adventures that hey, maybe I could make one of these, too!  It also occurred to me that there was a dearth of mage-specific content for NWN players, and so Tale of a Mage (http://nwvault.ign.com/View.php?view=Modules.Detail&id=4129) was born.

To call the first version of The Uvudry Threat that I released on the Vault “amateurish” would be a gross understatement; I had never scripted before, I used the Quest Wizard for every mission in the module, and fights were boring, repetitive, and present without any real purpose.  The adventure evolved significantly over the next two years, during which time a prelude was added and the entire central plot was re-vamped in order to accommodate the sequel, which turned out to be a much more polished product.  I really have the community to thank for getting me hooked on modding; without the invaluable feedback I received in the wake of The Uvudry Threat’s release, which inspired me to improve that adventure and to create the sequel, I doubt I’d still be at it today.

How did you find changing over to NWN2?

Frankly, I had very few issues switching from NWN1 to NWN2.  Apart from area building, which I’ve now come to really enjoy, everything is almost identical.  I learned a bunch of tricks early on thanks to my Ossian (http://www.ossianstudios.com) mates that helped me to avoid any toolset crashes or corruptions during the development of Moonshadows (http://nwvault.ign.com/View.php?view=NWN2ModulesEnglish.Detail&id=185), my NWN2 campaign; thanks to Ossian, I also had little trouble figuring out how to get things like custom music into my module.  The Electron toolset is frankly superior to the Aurora in every way imaginable; it’s more powerful and more flexible.  Figuring the new stuff out just takes a bit of patience and an open mind…but editors aren’t going to get any easier to use, so it’s definitely worth the time investment for serious modders.

Will you create more modules for NWN?

Nope, no more NWN1 for me.  What free time I have these days is spent working for Ossian Studios and on chapter two of Moonshadows in NWN2.  Whether I continue modding in NWN2 or I move on to some other toolset really depends on what Ossian’s future plans are, as well as the quality (or existence) of the toolsets which ship with The Witcher (http://www.thewitcher.com/) and Dragon Age.

How do you find working for Ossian Studios?

It’s a blast and a half, truly.  My teammates are fantastic people who have provided me with no end of inspiration, guidance and friendship since I first joined the team awhile back to beta test Darkness over Daggerford (http://nwvault.ign.com/View.php?view=Modules.Detail&id=5122).  Developing the Mysteries of Westgate Adventure Pack has been a fun and informative first foray into the world of professional game design for me, and I look forward to future such endeavors.

What did you think when you first heard about the Golden Dragon Awards?

“I WANT ONE!” 

Seriously though, I actually hopped on the bandwagon for the Academy of Modding Excellence fairly soon after MokahTGS announced the idea in the Modules forum; if I recall correctly, a certain someone’s enthusiastic blog post actually sparked a small controversy that I think ultimately helped to get a little publicity for the fledgling organization.   I actually joined the AME for a short while, but I quickly realized that I wouldn’t be able to do the group justice from a time commitment standpoint; I just didn’t/still don’t have time to play user-made content these days, which is a shame, but that’s the reality.

From your blog, it seems you're an 'awardaholic', but do you really think another set of awards is useful?

That I am, that I am.  What can I say, I like winning things!  Is there really anything so wrong with that?!?!   In all seriousness, I’ve always been of the opinion that the Golden Dragon Awards are a great addition to the community; they allow “niche” content, or modules that focus on one aspect of the gaming experience such as combat or roleplaying, to gain some widespread recognition, which I think will nicely complement the popularity-contest that is the Module of the Year competition.

Your category (Best Action Module) was pretty tight. Have you ever tried out the other finalists?

Can’t say I have.   By the time the 2006 nominations and awards went public, I really just didn’t have any more time for playing user-made content, particularly NWN1 work.  Savant’s Aielund Saga (http://nwvault.ign.com/View.php?view=Modules.Detail&id=3920) is obviously one of the heavy-hitters as far as NWN1 series’ go, but I’m ashamed to say I never got past the start of the second module.

What are you up to currently?

Well, I’m just starting my second semester of freshman year at Harvard College, so I’m going to be pretty busy with school for the foreseeable future (just the way I like it!  ).  On the videogame/modding front, I’m working on chapter two of Moonshadows on a fairly regular basis; interested parties can keep track of development at my blog (http://www.hugiegames.com/blarg.htm).  I’m also continuing with my various duties as a writer at Ossian…oh, and I’m anxiously awaiting the 2007 Module of the Year voting to commence and am eagerly checking the AME site so I don’t miss the 2007 nominations being announced, of course! [Editor: you need to get that addiction looked at!]

Thanks to Hugie for taking the time to do this interview. Good luck with your future projects!


Title: Re: Golden Dragon Interview: Hugie
Post by: Tybae on February 02, 2008, 11:15:02 AM
Another good read.  Congrats Hugie!  You are one of my favorite mod authors.  Any word on TLS?


Title: Re: Golden Dragon Interview: Hugie
Post by: Alex Hugon on February 02, 2008, 12:03:40 PM
Thanks for the interview, Ben!  And thanks very much, Tybae. :)  I actually went and reminisced in the old NWN1 toolset for a little while a few days ago...you know, looking through the areas I had finished and listening to the ambient music and sounds playing, heh.  TLS is still part of the plan, but only after Moonshadows is done.  I intend on making it available using some different (non D&D-ruleset) toolset in the future.

One last thing: I actually wrote "Honor Among Thieves" (not "lighthearted" at all!  Still very good, of course ;) ) when I was referring to the "In the Company of Thieves" series!  ::)  If someone could change that, I'd me much obliged.


Title: Re: Golden Dragon Interview: Hugie
Post by: Alban on February 02, 2008, 03:46:34 PM
I see there is a [ulr=http://www.ossianstudios.com/]Ossian[/url] there that should be corrected :)

Other than that, great interview too here.

When you say Harvard, you mean THE Harvard, like the serious school that makes people go SEO ? Geeh... Tremble in fear, EA Games leaders !


Title: Re: Golden Dragon Interview: Hugie
Post by: Alex Hugon on February 02, 2008, 04:20:32 PM

When you say Harvard, you mean THE Harvard, like the serious school that makes people go SEO ? Geeh... Tremble in fear, EA Games leaders !

Oui, monsieur.

(je suis demi-francais!  ;) )


Title: Re: Golden Dragon Interview: Hugie
Post by: kookoo on February 02, 2008, 07:38:45 PM
Very impressive.  Congratulations.  Good luck with Harvard


Title: Re: Golden Dragon Interview: Hugie
Post by: Wyrin on February 05, 2008, 05:57:07 AM
Great interview!


Title: Re: Golden Dragon Interview: Hugie
Post by: Estelindis on February 05, 2008, 02:39:56 PM
Enjoyed the interview.  It's very light-hearted and pleasant to read.  Thanks for this and good luck with all your work.  :)


Title: Re: Golden Dragon Interview: Hugie
Post by: lord rosenkrantz on February 06, 2008, 07:14:02 AM
Good reading Hugie, and as others have said, bonne chance with Harvard (is it right? My french is rusty to say the least)


Title: Re: Golden Dragon Interview: Hugie
Post by: Alex Hugon on February 06, 2008, 11:26:13 AM
Thanks guys, I'm honored to have been the recipient of the award and I'm thrilled y'all liked the interview!  And yes, right on lord rosenkrantz ;)  Congrats to you as well!


Title: Re: Golden Dragon Interview: Hugie
Post by: sirchet on February 06, 2008, 03:36:11 PM
Congratulations! Hugie.

Soooo...does this mean we won't be seeing any more of your work, with Harvard and all? If so, the community will be loosing one of it's best assets.

Good luck, I'm sure you'll do well.


Title: Re: Golden Dragon Interview: Hugie
Post by: Alex Hugon on February 06, 2008, 03:59:25 PM
Nonsense my good sirchet--development will just be slower (for Moonshadows 2, for example), as I have to be careful with my free time.  Add to the fact that Ossian takes priority and you see why I won't be able to work quite as quickly on my own pet projects. ;)  But I'm far from done with modding!


Title: Re: Golden Dragon Interview: Hugie
Post by: sirchet on February 07, 2008, 12:56:15 PM
That is some welcome news!