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Topic: Golden Dragon Interview: Axe_murderer  (Read 8563 times)
« on: August 20, 2008, 10:39:48 PM »
BenWH Offline
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Posts: 945



Today we talk with the winners of the Community Contribution award, starting with Axe_murderer, who won the NWN1 award. In this giant of an interview, he tells you pretty much about everything (EDITOR - you can probably tell I didn't edit this one much), but it's a great read with a whole load of interesting topics, all topped off with a pretty big announcement...

What made you start building for NWN?
I'm not completely sure what exactly started it. And I must point out that I don't really consider myself a builder per se. I have never actually built a proper module. I suppose it was playing that initially led to it. Once I became enamored with the game and had played it for awhile I just decided one day to see what that toolset option I never tried before did.

I played PnP some back in college around 1980 (D&D 1st edition I guess it was), but once I graduated and got my first job I never got back to it. That experience led me to want to create an adventure style RP game and I tried to do it a few times but none of the tools around were easy enough or robust enough and I never did make much real progress. I even tried programming my own engine a couple of times but never had enough time or resources to make it work sufficiently. Mostly I just played those that came out on the market. I remember Ultima V, the one with the shadowlords. It's still probably my all time favorite. Real life kept me too busy during the golden era when Baldurs Gate and the like came out, so I missed all of those. Still, I ended up with tons of ideas and no place to cut them loose..

So naturally when I discovered how versatile and simple the NWN toolset is by comparison, I started messing with it more. Eventually a bunch of my buddies got into the game and we all started up a play group. After exploring some of the PWs online and picking up some more players, we decided to start our own little private campaign and began "building" modules to play. Mostly we just downloaded some PnP conversion modules and lots of prefabs from the vault, butchered them up until they were limping along enough to mess around in, and employed lots of imagination as we played. Pretty much every weekend we got together at my house (I was the one with the 8 station LAN) and we got our own little environment and "story" going. Scott, one of the other group members, is also a programmer (we met at work) so he and I sort of took turns doing the weekly "modules". Occasionally the others would build some areas, NPCs and the like and we would hook it all up for the weekend. They were really only glorified prefabs loosely and often virtually linked together. It was all very chaotic. Never had DMs, we just all played using scripts to do the work. Scott & I tried to keep our mouths shut and resist teasing everybody else on game day. We played two stupid barbarian characters to make it easier. Before too long we had this campaign going with our standard party and we simply kept extending it week after week learning more and more each time. Our world was, and what's left of it still is. a giant collection of fragments with areas pasted from one to the other. I think the biggest one we ever had was only about 20 or 25 areas.

Unfortunately our group eventually broke up. Couple of them moved away, got married, had kids, got new jobs, switched to other games and nobody had the time. It dwindled down to about 4 of us every other week. Then once a month. Less and less until NWN2 came out and they switched over or gave up completely. In the meantime I started spending lots more time on the Bioware forums where I really learned most of what I know about NWN1 by helping others get stuff done and picking the brains of the vast array of great NWN masters that hang out over there with me.

And that is the whole story. If you can find something in there that triggered my building then you have your answer. I think it was your standard everyday addiction that did it.


How much of your time do you spend helping out members of the community and what are the common questions you answer?
Time? What's that? Oh I don't know I never bothered to measure. My work schedule is very haphazard hour wise so it varies quite a bit. I typically drop in and do it during lunch breaks, while I'm watching TV at night mostly, sometimes when I wake up in the morning for a half hour or so, and on weekends & days off I spend a couple of hours there. Sometimes I get pulled away for a week or two, other times I get to spend days in a row doing it. And I take a break from it to play every now and then too. If I had to estimate I guess probably in the neighborhood of about 35 hours a month on the average maybe. Most assuredly a good chunk of time. In general terms I'd have to say LOTS.

Wow this is an enormous question. There are so many of them that are common. First off it's my observation that the majority of the question are not common at all. Most of them are pretty unique and that's cool. If they were all common I would not have lasted as long as I have. But there are indeed plenty that do get asked over and over again and again, and over again. I see two different types of questions over there that I would classify as common: typical noob questions and the more complex ones related to scripting systems, custom content, or one of the more confusing parts of the game engine or programming in general. Guess I'll start with noobies. Noobs always ask the same simple most frequently needed things so that's where most of the more common questions come from. As a veteran of the forums these are also the most frustrating for me to answer. Usually the answer is all over the place and they'd find them straight away if they would only spend 2 minutes looking around before asking. After you have answered a question 200 times and seen others answer it another 1500 times it tends to irk you a little to see it popping up yet again. I used to answer them all the time, but not so much anymore. I have the patience of Job but eventually it just runs out. These are the ones that make you feel like you aren't really making any progress getting the word out. You can probably guess what they are. Sitting is a popular one...How do I get my NPC to sit? How do I make a chair sittable? How do I make my NPC stay sitting when the player talks to him? General toolset operation and event related questions get asked pretty constantly by noobs. Where is the rest event? How do I set the date/time? How do I give scripts to my item? Porting and transitioning are always crowd favorites. How do I hook areas together? How do I get my NPC to send me somewhere from a conversation? That kinda stuff. Just the very basic things you must learn to start making a module.

And speaking of conversations, that's another common category for everybody not just noobs. Builders always have trouble with conversation scripts and organization. How do I make a TextAppearsWhen script that checks for something? I want this conversation to do something, how? I want him to take all the plot items and give 10 GP for each one but it only does one at a time? I set up the quest so he says line 2 when it's done but he still always says line 1 no matter what? Or How do I make a quest conversation? -- that's very common. Conversations aren't the easiest things to learn and they usually require the use of conditional expressions so it isn't real surprising to see them alot. In my opinion coding expressions is the single most confusing basic thing any programmer studying any language has to learn. Conditional expressions in particular. I would rank loops as a close 2nd. Most people really struggle with loops initially.

Ambient activity is a frequent puzzler for people. All my NPCs just stand there and I want them to move around? How do I get my guard to walk a patrol? Anything having to do with spawning or loot generation is a guaranteed query. Once a day somebody will show up asking about spawning, respawning, or loot. You get a good share of strip & equip requests. How do I start players at level 5? How do I give players starting equipment? Cutscene questions are fairly frequent among the more complex ones. Noobs usually don't get into cutscenes straight away so typically these are a tad easier to help out with since the people know what they're doing more. Also among the more experienced people are questions concerning making their worlds persistent using the database.

Then you get your cyclical questions which are more often than not real toughies. They happen in cycles where you get lots of them then don't see them for awhile then they come back again with a vengeance. Like whenever a new game patch comes out or some author of a really popular custom content package like CEP updates their stuff. Sometimes it seems nobody understands that every one of their hak based custom content packages are suddenly invalid and full of conflicts when this happens. Unfortunately they always assume it's the new stuff that's messed up too. So for about 3-4 weeks you get people with white or invisible textures and models, missing content, screwy palettes, scripts that stop working, none of the new stuff is showing up, creatures changing appearance, crafting conversations don't work right, sudden lag spikes, cloaks look funny, toolset crashes, module won't load or run, etc. Very difficult to diagnose and pinpoint the problem sometimes because it can affect so many things and you never really know what they have hooked up to their mod. Half the time the guy you're helping doesn't know either! Then it dies down until the next major update comes along. Also since the stuff is new nobody really knows how it works so you get lots of the same question about that over and over again. In fact that's going on right now due to the 1.69 patch. Everybody's asking about the horses! Thankfully for that particular subject we have Proleric on our side. He made an excellent tutorial so we can all answer the majority of the horse questions by simply posting a link yahoooo!

One of the more fascinating phenomena I notice during these update cycles is seeing people who normally will ask their question by prefacing with a statement about what a noob they are, even if they aren't really, or how they always mess things up, even if they don't, suddenly discovering lots of "bugs" in the new code and putting the blame everywhere but in their own scripts. They become strangely resistant to accepting help for it too when directed to look at their own scripts. It worked before so it can't be my script! is the prevailing assumption. You'll see them go digging and exploring through all the bowels of every script they can get their hands on looking for the problem there first. They aren't always wrong or way off base mind you but it's something I've noticed always happens more during update cycles and I just find it kind of interesting to watch. I always let them dig for awhile. They learn too much doing that to stop them prematurely. It generally has plenty of entertainment value when they discover the truth too. Half the fun and reward of helping people sometimes is just watching them learn and especially how they learn.

You also get these cycle deals when new hardware comes out. I remember when dual-core processors came out there were hundreds of technical bugs. And they can be really strange too. No idea where to even start looking. You see a big group that can't open the toolset. Another group that gets a laggy server. Another group that can't load their modules or has video glitches. All due to the same hardware change. Sometimes you see a flood of questions about some specific thing, say factions for instance. They get answered and you don't see them again for awhile. Then sometime later you'll get another flood of people asking the same thing when all the solution threads drop off the first few pages of the forum. You can't sticky everything I guess.

There are a few other technical questions that are quite frequent and constant. Problems with video drivers are real common because there are lots of people that all use the same drivers and operating systems so they all see the same problem. Unfortunately as with most hardware issues there never seems to be one solution that works for everybody so those are really hard to answer. I always just give them a link to some other thread where two dozen others have been struggling with the same thing. I doubt I provide many solutions for those poor folks. The single most common question I think I see is a technical one. My script won't compile what am I doing wrong? Everybody makes those mistakes the compiler can't decipher so naturally you see them all the time. I don't think anybody at all is immune to them no matter how experienced they are. Except possibly Cereborn and SirElric. Something about those two is awfully odd...personally I think they are alien spies -- no human is that flawless. Probably Sunjammer too but I suspect he's from a completely different galaxy.

And of course my very favorites of all are what I'd have to call off-the-wall requests. And when I say off-the-wall I mean off the wall in deep left field. I saved these for last because they always refresh you after a long read. Typically asked by real first time noobs that almost always wreak of youth. These aren't technically common because they are never the same question. It would be completely impossible for two different humans to come up with the same otw question. But you do seem them periodically. Sadly, not so much lately. They all carry the same awesome entertainment punch I can assure you. These are just the most bizarre questions you can ever imagine. So weird you can't really figure out what the hell they're asking half the time. Often they aren't even questions, just some indecipherable or rambling statement with horrid grammar. Or huge long wish-for-the-moon requests that you know will never be possible and just make you laugh. I want a script so my player to have his arm grow into a giant sword with 3 blades green blue and yellow and dripping balls of color with fire rays that shoots from his eyes and kills the boss and he flys into the wall to make all the bricks fall on him ok? And oh yeah then his wife come in and......Can never get enough of those. Like ice cream on a scorching hot afternoon. Wish there was a sticky for them all. Stumbling across a single otw request makes plowing through all the reams of boring easy ones worthwhile.

The interview continues in the next post!
« Last Edit: August 20, 2008, 10:44:05 PM by BenWH » Logged

B G P Hughes
NWN and NWN2 works: Click Here

Wyvern Crown of Cormyr
 
Reply #1
« on: August 20, 2008, 10:40:47 PM »
BenWH Offline
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Gold-tinted Silver Dragon
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Posts: 945



What is the single thing you have done with NWN that you are most proud of?
Pride isn't something I associate with my work. To me they are all merely stuff I did to help out and that's it. If I am proud about anything it would be the fact that I've somehow managed to be able to teach some people more about NWN mechanics and helped them reach the point where they are better able to get their modules finished on their own than they would have had I not been there. I think my best contributions have been made in that way. Those are the most rewarding contributions for me as well.

But you're looking for something I have actually done myself with NWN. For that it would have to be one of my vault packages... but which one hmmmm. Because they were all put there in the hopes they would help people build their modules, I go by download count. I don't pay much attention to votes. It is nice that people take the time to rate my work but I would much rather see a comment asking for an improvement or stating that it helped them to learn or to create their module or something specifying what they like/dislike about it..

Well the TLK editor is by far the most downloaded package I have, and I am exceedingly satisfied that so many have found it useful. However I have written much better code in the past than I did programming that. And it is a 3rd party tool I didn't use NWN to create so I can't include that one. The NPCs and secret object trigger have been there the longest and it really took hardly any effort at all to make them so I will ignore those as well. The horse system is irrelevant now that 1.69 is here and I never did think that was one of my better jobs so that one is out too. Although I think the flagsets package was one of the most useful things I did and I felt my work on it was up to snuff, it is really only an extension to the scripting language and never was very popular so I can't choose it. My stacks package is extraordinarily useful in my opinion. Maybe more than any of the others. But as far as creating it goes, well a text editor and playing with a bunch of images I didn't even author in photoshop was all that was necessary. And it isn't popular at all so I gotta throw it out too. I also must eliminate the other packages that are either tutorials, unpopular, or stuff I consider poorly done junk.

Which leaves, in order of popularity, the treasure generator, death system, walk waypoints system, and caravan quest plug-in. The death system took the most time to make but it is most appropriately used in MP or PW modules so its usefulness is more limited. The waywalking system presented the most technical challenges. Both turned out well and I am comfortable with the features they provide to builders. Comments from users on those, and in fact the majority my vault pages, seem to confirm this too. The treasure system is one of my rare packages created mainly for myself. It worked out perfectly for my purposes so I got no complaints with it. The fact that others have been able to make use of it as well is a bonus and I received plenty of great feedback on it. There really isn't much to it scripting wise so I can't say it would ever be something I could be either proud or ashamed of. But I guess I feel a certain amount of pride for the design I came up with. I think it is fairly elegant for what it is. And finally, my most recent addition to the vault, the caravan quest plug-in. In my opinion I did a fine job coding that one up. Just due to the fact that it is the most recent, I found it one of the easiest to make and I was able to leverage all the best tricks and practices I've picked up over the years. It isn't one of the simplest things I made so I am happy it turned out as planned. In addition, I think it's one of the more useful packages I made...everybody needs a new quest idea and this one can fit into most stories just fine. It could use some enhancement I think like persistency, but I doubt I will ever get around to doing that work as late as it is. Still I'm pleased with the result.

Overall I have to say it's a toss up between the treasure generator and the waywalking system with caravan close behind. They are the two that are utilized in more areas of the module than the others. And I think they both address the more important module building subsystems, one for immersion purposes, the other for balance. If I was to be proud, it would be these two I think. So that's what you get for asking for a "single" thing. You ought to know better than that by now heheh. EDITOR: You can find a list of all Axe's works here

If you could make two changes to NWN, what would they be?
Boy you do have a knack for asking the hard ones. Well the first one is easy and obvious actually. I would love to see relocatable 2da files. This is an idea I came up with a couple of years ago and suggested to Bioware but they apparently weren't overly impressed with it. It would be pretty darn hard to get it to work I imagine so it is understandable. By relocatable 2DA I mean that rather than making custom 2DA files that totally replace the base Bioware version, they could be constructed as independent units. They would only contain the lines that are changed or added by the CC author not any of the base Bioware lines. The author would always number his lines from 0 to create a block of custom lines. At the top would be a new line that specifies an offset into the base Bioware file where the block of custom lines would be inserted (added or overridden).

Since they would not contain all the Bioware lines, any Bioware changes would not have to be carried over into every custom version of the 2DA each time a patch comes out. Relocating a CC author's "block" of lines when a conflict did occur would be as simple as changing the offset number specified at the top with no other changes necessary to the lines themselves. It would be equally simple to resolve conflicts between 2DAs created by separate authors -- just set their offset values such that they don't overlap and you are done. Each relocatable version of the same 2DA would have a code or number associated with it to distinguish them. References in the 2DA to other 2DAs would be encoded to identify whether they are absolute (refer to Bioware base lines) or relative (relocatable references in another relocatable 2DA block).

At load time all the relocatable 2DAs would be merged automatically producing an absolute "2DA Space" for each of the 2DA files that the engine would be able to use exactly like they work now. The engine would see no difference. Thus the custom 2DAs get "relocated" to where they belong at load time in the final 2DA Space based on the offset specified by them. All internal 2DA references would be resolved at the same time so they all point to the appropriate row in the final 2DA Space. Even if the custom blocks get moved around, the addresses all get updated at load time to account for the new block locations.

If you're a code junkie like me you probably recognize the technique is the same idea used by compilers and operating systems to build and relocate software object modules in memory at run time. Of course there are plenty more mechanics required with blueprints, scripts, and the like to get it all to work, and load time would probably increase like 10 fold, but I think my point is clear. Eliminate or greatly reduce the 2DA upgrade conflict nightmare. My guess is that players just might go for it if you twist their arm 2 degrees.

The second change I would want most is really too hard to narrow down. There are several NWScript language changes I'd like such as real data structures and the ability to save or tag effects. Some new events, graphics engine enhancements, game engine changes, and major toolset improvements would also be nice. I really don't think I'll be able to pick just one so I'll put off answering this part and see if I can rank them or something,,,

Ok after pondering on this for awhile I have selected one. Before I describe it though, if I had access to the game's source code the very first place I'd dig in would definitely be the toolset. I'd add subfolders to the script list, put in some mass edit tools, some search features, try to make some performance and interface improvements and fix the compiler limitations. But that isn't the change I would want the most.

At the top of my list would be a series of new script events. There are three areas I'd focus on. The first is player events. Currently there are none, so I would add in combat events for them like OnPlayerAttack, OnPlayerAttacked, OnPlayerHitScored, OnPlayerAttackMissed, OnPlayerScoredCrit, OnPlayerFumbled, OnPlayerDamaged, and maybe OnSpellCastAtPlayer. In addition I'd throw in some player related adventuring and MP events such as OnPlayerPerception, OnPlayerPickPocket, OnPlayerPocketPicked, OnPlayerRecivedInvite, OnPlayerIssuedInvite, OnPlayerRejectedInvite, OnPlayerJoinParty, and OnPlayerLeaveParty.

The second area I would mess with is the way the engine event system interacts with builder scripts in general. The scripting system in NWN1 is tied to the game's event system in strictly a post-event manner. What I mean is that scripts only get involved after the engine causes an event to occur by carrying out an action or user request to completion. So, for example, the OnEquipItem script only runs after the player is made to equip an item. For builders, this means that if they want to prevent players from equipping a certain item, they only have the opportunity to script that restriction after the player has already equipped it. So the solution is always to undo an action that has already taken place. This is neither an efficient nor a realistic method of accomplishing the builder's desire. A long time ago I came up with a way to extend NWN to provide more flexibility in this area by adding some new events. Bioware never took me up on it so I assume they didn't like it much or never saw it -- my events didn't show up in any case.

The scheme is similar to how the TextAppearsWhen events work in conversations. That's the only place in the game where a script is triggered before the action is performed. You write a script that tells the engine whether or not to display one of the branches or lines of the conversation and the engine calls the script before the conversation line is presented to the player. If the script returns FALSE, the line is not presented. If there were events in other places that worked this way the game would be far more flexible in my opinion. I suggested they add some "Can" events to bring about such flexibility. For instance, OnCanEquipItem. The scripts for these events would work like conversation conditional scripts and return a TRUE/FALSE result to the game engine. If the script returns FALSE, the regular event associated with it would not fire at all and the engine would prevent the player or creature from performing the action in the first place. It would save plenty of CPU cycles by not running animations to perform then un-perform actions, and it would look more realistic to players as well. I would add OnCanAcquireItem, OnCanUnacquireItem, OnCanEquipItem, OnCanUnequipItem, OnCanPlayerLevelUp, OnCanPlayerRest, and OnCanActivateItem in the module events. For triggers and encounters OnCanTrigger, and for creatures OnCanPerceive. Finally, in conjunction with the player events I mentioned adding earlier, OnCanPlayerIssueInvite, OnCanPlayerRecieveInvite, OnCanPlayerJoinParty, OnCanPlayerLeaveParty, and OnCanPlayerPickPocket.

And the third area I'd throw some new events in just for good measure would be time related stuff. These aren't really that necessary but they would go a long way towards making some scripts simpler and helping builders to better organize the scripting in their modules. OnDawn, OnDay, OnDusk, OnNight, OnNewYear, OnNewMonth, OnNewDay, OnNewHour and OnNewTurn. Having all these events would greatly improve the builder's ability to come up with unique, realistic, and varied module behavior systems for his players to enjoy.

If only wishes were real.


What did you think when you first heard about the Golden Dragon Awards?
Here's how it went. You'll laugh but my first initial impression was one of suspicion. I was notified of my nomination by an e-mail. I win awards almost every single day by e-mail but collecting them always involves money, so I was very skeptical and suspicious when I first saw it in my inbox. I had never heard of the AME or the GDA or if I did I'd forgotten what it was all about. I almost discarded it as spam but the sender was Academy for "Modding" Excellence and that one word caught my eye and made me look twice. I thought wow that's a strange organization name for junk mail! How would they know I'm into modding? Then I saw Golden Dragon Award and it started to click that it might be something NWN related so I decided to go ahead and read the thing.

At that point what I saw was not an actual nomination notice, but an invitation to sit in on an IRC chat. Now my reaction was one of confusion. Who the hell are these people, how did they get my name, and what do they really want from me? I was kind of busy so I just closed it up and left it for later. When I got back to it I followed the link to the AME site, browsed around a little, and found out about the awards,,, yup sure enough it's an NWN thing and somebody probably volunteered me for this chat session or they picked my e-mail from the Bio boards. The last thing I thought was that I was involved in any way with getting an award. I went back to thinking it was some kind of solicitation for money or test drive a new game, maybe particpate in some voting or something. I knew it was going to be a chat session but about what I had no clue. I believe that was obvious if you were there when I showed up or read the transcript of the session. I had some free time so I figured if I was home and not doing anything I would see what it was all about anyway. Hopefully I could meet some of the forum people over there -- I had never chatted with any of them before. Well when I arrived I made some joke about "ok where's my award" and to my astonishment somebody replied "you're not getting one you're just nominated." And the rest is history.

I was surprised that I was nominated to begin with. After all I have never put out a module or any custom content packages or even any big scripting systems. All I have ever done "for the community" is to answer questions in the forums and drop a few simple scripts and tools into the vault. After meeting the people in the chat session and learning the whole deal I went and checked out my competition over at the NWNC and the ONLY podcast sites. I've known about NWNC for years but hadn't been there in ages. However I was unaware of the ONLY podcast group. After exploring their sites I figured my chances were pretty frickin slim to win. Knowing what the NWNC has done for community contribution over the years my vote would have gone to them. I expected a very very distant 3rd place nod. Sorry podcast guys, you're great too but you would have gotten ONLY second place from me. NWNC has that years upon years of consistency thing going for them. Hope you don't hate me for saying that. You were amazingly gracious towards me on the awards show which I appreciated greatly. And I think you showed heaps of class in the way you accepted your defeat. I could tell you were bummed too and that made it all the more impressive. You all poured out a fountain of praise on me that day and it was flattering and exhilarating to say the least coming from a bunch of people I've never met or even heard of. I am tremendously honored to have been selected the winner. If I could write worth a damn I would come up with a better word to describe it because "honored" is really an extreme understatement. I still think you guys were stoned or something on vote day to choose me over either of them. I cheefully accept, yet I feel like I rolled up several max DC saves along with a few crits in a row to get it.


The interview continues ion the next post...
Logged

B G P Hughes
NWN and NWN2 works: Click Here

Wyvern Crown of Cormyr
 
Reply #2
« on: August 20, 2008, 10:41:46 PM »
BenWH Offline
Inactive Member
Gold-tinted Silver Dragon
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Posts: 945



What do you think of the other finalists in your category?
I think I covered part of this in my previous response yet I just can't say enough about either one of them so I'll gladly say some more!! NWNC has been around for much longer than I have. When I first got into NWN they were well established and booming as usual. They have got to be one of the most dedicated consistent groups in the community. They always have been and I see no reason why they won't always be. They've lasted for good reason too. What they have done is nothing short of miraculous from where I'm sitting. The whole idea behind what they do is so innovative and selfless it's staggering. When I contemplate all the connections, friendships, and just damn fun times they've fostered for what must be literally millions upon millions of people over the years.. well it just really takes you back when you actually sit down and think about the magnitude of it all. It is quite an amazing accomplishment. You people ought to be tremendously proud of your contributions. For every one person I've helped they've served some 10000 at least. I said it before and I'll say it again... I would happily hand my trophy over to them in a second because in my book, they are really the most deserving of this award.

It's important to note that I only learned about the ONLY NWN podcast during that initial AME chat session I attended. I met Skunkeen there and he briefly filled me in about it. I don't have all that much to go on other than my initial observations to this point but I'll try to do my best. I am still getting to know these guys. Oh and Michelle too, Wouldn't want to leave her out! I'm pretty sure she is the one with the alluring voice and the giggle laugh. She's wonderful with the news announcements by the way. Definitely the best in the group at that in my estimation, and I think she adds a nice contrast to all the guys on the show. I have since been over to their site numerous times and have been listening to the shows pretty regularly. Even browsed the archives a little. There's plenty of good listening material there to kick back and enjoy when you're looking to relax and be motivated.

Just like the NWNC team, they have come up with an unusually innovative concept for our community and are amazingly adept at what they do. The whole thing comes off as a real professional operation I think. Something that struck me when I poked around the bios page over there was their professions. They're all a bunch of moms and dads and engineer types! I believe the pungent one is the only member with any performance art background listed. I had the pleasure of chatting with him by the way and found him awfully friendly and pleasant when you're upwind of him. Of all of them I think he's got the best broadcaster voice. He has one of those rich deep voices that you get from like the narrator guy on the science channel docs. Dave is kinda like that too. I really expected at least a few of them to be involved with broadcasting or be performers of some kind because they could be successful doing that I think. It is difficult to relax when you know you're on the air but they all make it seem quite natural. Especially Jay and Trey. Not that they're necessarily any better or worse than the others but they are software guys! Now I've been around software guys my whole life and they just don't usually sound so articulate like that trust me. I've known a few that sound like Michelle but most of the programmers I know are more like that bald walrus dude from the Mythbusters TV show. That's what programmers are supposed to sound like. These two remind me more of sportscasters or those announcers you hear on TV commercials plugging some cheesy product for $19.95. While I'm on the subject of voices, you know I listened to a few of the AME shows and I think our good friends BenWH and Tybae would both fit in really well in that group. BenWH in particular comes across great on the air. I find him pretty clever and mellow plus he's got that cool accent and dialect too. Would not mind seeing him join the show.

In any event I find the shows entertaining and really like their idea. The topics are interesting and the interviews are engaging most of the time. I especially like the format they've come up with. Mess around a little then talk about all the news and then on to the interview. It makes for a great warm up to the main event. I hope we'll have them around for a long time to come. They are also warm considerate individuals. They took the additional time and effort to look up my address and sent me congratulatory e-mails when they found out I won, To be honest I'm not sure I would have thought to do the same if things were reversed. A thoughtful decent move in my judgment. For me, even if they weren't the ONLY NWN podcast out there, they would still be THE only NWN podcast out there.


What are you up to currently?
To start with, the same old deal over at the forums -- which I'll probably be continuing with in the foreseeable future, Most everything I've ever added to the vault has been in response to requests made on the forums that were either solutions for real common simple problems I thought would help the most people or things that were too difficult to explain in that context but I found particularly interesting as a short little project. I always left the big projects to the big groups to do and put my focus into the little guys and noobs. Things like my death system, treasure generator, NPCs, secret object detection thing, and, most recently, the caravan quest plug-in all came into being that way. As long as those kinds of requests keep rolling into the forums I hope to be rolling out my solutions to them into the vault. I'm also helping out a little bit with the 1.69 Lexicon update. And if I can squeeze it in I might help the CTP team test a couple of the new tilesets they're working on for Release 2. I have also agreed to sit in on another IRC chat for NWNCon4 coming up next month. I toyed with making some scripting tutorial videos about a year ago and I've been thinking about returning to that effort, but at this stage I don't think it would be productive enough to warrant the time it takes to make them so I am shying away from that idea. I'm also a bit of a golf fan. Could be I'm more addicted to golf than NWN if you can believe it, so I "play" at that roughly once a week.

Ever since I won this award I seem to have become a bit more popular. I've gotten some requests for various things recently that I really can't get involved with right now. But one of the things popping up lately has been people wondering if I'm ever going to do a module and encouraging me to do so. Some may have already figured out from a couple of my recent forum posts that the hottest news on my end, and this is actually the first real public announcement I've made, is that I've decided to see if I can put one out now that 1.69 is rolling. I question whether I'll ever be able to finish what I have planned, as any builder will tell you it takes a ton of time and effort. But I've decided it's high time I buckle down and give it a serious go. If I am ever gonna do it, now is probably the best time to try it. So I've pulled out some old ideas and other bits I had laying around, picked out the doable ones, fleshed out a basic story line that needs plenty more detail and started piecing together some of the major scripting systems and quests in a base module. I've never been keen on coding to guard against exploits and griefers which takes about as much time as all the other scripting combined, and I don't have the desire to host anyway, so it will be a single player game. If I can stay motivated and schedule my free time wisely maybe you'll see my first real effort popping up in the vault one of these days.

Thanks Axe - you must have spent a considerable amount of your time answering the questions - and good luck with that module!
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Reply #3
« on: August 21, 2008, 07:17:43 AM »
Tybae Offline
AME Whippinig Boy
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Platinum Dragon
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Great interview Axe.  Although could you elaborate on your answers a little more next time?  Wink  Really, it was a great interview.
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Reply #4
« on: August 21, 2008, 10:24:58 AM »
kookoo Offline
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My total time logged in has significantly increased, and the end of my workday has come much closer.  Wink  Thank you for that.

That said, brilliant interview.  Axe is one of those people where everytime he talks/writes, everyone around him gets just a little smarter for having listened, providing they comprehend the subject he is talking about.  He's lost me a couple of times on more technical subjects.  But I for one have been helped immensely by Axe as have quite a few others.  The nice thing about Axe is that he always tries to get the people he's helping to understand the problems the're having in the hopes that they can overcome them in the future.  I was really glad to see him get this award.  Sometimes the people who casually and selflessly help others without asking anything in return are the ones most deserving of an award, and often the most overlooked.


Out of curiosity, has Bioware taken any of your suggestions?  Hopefully they will use them on future games if nothing else.

Well done and well deserved Axe.
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Reply #5
« on: August 21, 2008, 12:21:00 PM »
Skunkeen Offline
NWNPodcast
Hatchling
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Posts: 44



I was slow to catch on who the "pungent one" is.  was good getting to chat with you too Axe. looking forward to doing so again.
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Reply #6
« on: August 22, 2008, 05:55:00 AM »
sirchet Offline
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Another good one Ben.
Thanks Axe murderer for giving us your thoughts and motivations.
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Reply #7
« on: August 29, 2008, 07:06:36 PM »
Ashercon Offline
NWNPodcast
Brass Dragon
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 Grin I just got around to reading this novel you wrote!! HA! I started and all the sudden it was 3 hours later! Just like a good NWN module! Awesome you express yourself very well! And it always neat to hear others stories about NWN.

Thanks for review! I think that was our first one!!! And nothing about me sounding like a hick!

I must agree with you I was for sure NWC would get the win, no offense, since I had never heard of you as well as you us.

Anyway good job and keep it up, see you Saturday for you voice interview!!
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Reply #8
« on: August 29, 2008, 08:03:59 PM »
Tybae Offline
AME Whippinig Boy
Administrator
Platinum Dragon
*****
Devourer of Worlds, Lover of Kittens Posts: 2010



This category went back and forth between all 3 finalists.  I was very excited when Axe won.  Truthfully, if it wasn't for people like Axe, the community, and half it's modules, wouldn't exist.  I love this category because it really showcases the people who go out of their way to help others.  Axe is such a person.  Just by vault submissions alone, nevermind all the countless posts you have on the Bio Boards helping others.  This was the most interesting nomination I saw out of the whole cycle.  When I saw it, I thought, "you know, that's not a bad idea at all".

Congratulations, Axe and I too will talk to you tomorrow night! 
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Reply #9
« on: August 30, 2008, 05:17:28 AM »
sirchet Offline
Silver Dragon
*****
Force For Goodness Posts: 528

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I must agree with Tybae, I had no idea of all the other work Axe was involved in until the debate began, then I quickly realized how inefficient I had been in my research.

Good job Tybae and Congrats Axe!
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better when needed.


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