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Let's talk about/help me make... Black Pits in BGEE


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#1 subtledoctor

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 10:05 AM

Hello everyone.  I've got an itch to try something I haven't done before.  Specifically, I want to look into making the Black Pits "adventure" accessible from BG1.  After all, if you have BGEE installed, then the BP game files are right there, waiting to be used.  All that is needed to add this fun combat adventure to the main game is to simply transport the party to the BP area, and go! 

 

Okay, well, that's not all that is needed.  There are several issues to deal with.  And unfortunately they are all issues with which I have little or no experience.  But, all the problems seem surmountable, so I would like to start a discussion and go step by step toward surmounting them. 

 

Prospectively, here are the things I contemplate that need doing:

 

1) Get the party to the Black Pits

 

2) Deal with the issue of equipment

 

3) Deal with the issue of XP awards

 

4) Get the party back to the Sword Coast

 

5) Deal with Baeloth being in two places at once

 

* I reserve the right to revise and expand this list as it becomes necessary.


Edited by subtledoctor, 13 April 2018 - 10:20 AM.

Faiths & Powers: Spell spheres and kit pack for priests and paladins
Might & Guile: Tweaks and kits for warriors and rogues
Scales of Balance: Game tweaks and rule overhauls
NPC_EE: More options for NPCs in BGEE, SoD, & BG2EE


#2 subtledoctor

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 10:06 AM

So, the first main issue is, how do we get Charname's party from tromping around the Sword Coast, to being trapped in the Black pits with slave collars Geas rings on, fighting for the pleasure of Baeloth?

 

I was considering several ideas, like adding a door and an inn, spiking a meal, something like that.  But then I think about something like IWDEE, where Hobart the Halfling transports you to, and thereby traps you in, the TotLM dungeon.  The goal of this is more or less the same, so why not use someone like Hobart?

 

Heck, why not use Hobart himself??  I could just see that sneaky little jerk staying in the same line of work, for a new master.  (He should really have sent his resume to Irenicus...). The .CRE file is right there in my IWDEE folder, just need to work out his dialogue and script.  (And, spoiler, if I can manage to make this mod, the next project might be inserting Hobart and TotLM into BG2EE.)  The end result should be basically the same: talk to an NPC, choose a particular dialogue branch, and you end up getting teleported.  It seems easy enough to replicate this with a .CRE in BGEE. 

 

What I'm less sure of is how to make sure that teleportation leads to the BP intro cut-scene with the party teleporting into the arena in place of a newly-made party.  And how they get those rings attached to their fingers.  And making sure any BP variables get set correctly.  So that the adventure will continue after the first fight ends.  Etc.  So here come my questions:

 

- Anyone know where to look for the BP intro script, what I need to look at to insert the BG1 party into there?  Which .ARE file, which .BCS file, etc?

 

- Beyond just nudging me where to goo to find the relevant resources, does anyone have any more specific guidance for how to do this? 

 

I've never done anything like this, so we are talking about learning-by-doing.  But the issue don't seem intractable, and I'll post about it so other people can see how it is done, and maybe learn to do more mods like this.


Edited by subtledoctor, 13 April 2018 - 10:20 AM.

Faiths & Powers: Spell spheres and kit pack for priests and paladins
Might & Guile: Tweaks and kits for warriors and rogues
Scales of Balance: Game tweaks and rule overhauls
NPC_EE: More options for NPCs in BGEE, SoD, & BG2EE


#3 Roxanne

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 10:21 AM

Hello everyone.  I've got an itch to try something I haven't done before.  Specifically, I want to look into making the Black Pits "adventure" accessible from BG1.  After all, if you have BGEE installed, then the BP game files are right there, waiting to be used.  All that is needed to add this fun combat adventure to the main game is to simply transport the party to the BP area, and go! 

 

Okay, well, that's not all that is needed.  There are several issues to deal with.  And unfortunately they are all issues with which I have little or no experience.  But, all the problems seem surmountable, so I would like to start a discussion and go step by step toward surmounting them. 

 

Prospectively, here are the things I contemplate that need doing:

 

1) Get the party to the Black Pits

 

2) Deal with the issue of equipment

 

3) Deal with the issue of XP awards

 

4) Get the party back to the Sword Coast

 

* I reserve the right to revise and expand this list as it becomes necessary.

Try not to kill me...

You can look at how it is done in the SandrahNPC mod. You can probably take most of those files and adjust them to the starting area of your choice. Then remove references to Sandrah in dialogues or scripts (maybe give that part to the protagonist instead).

It should give you an overview.

Content- wise :

- you get your BG1 party into the pits with whatever items/gold etc they have

- you do the challenges but get no extra xp just little gold so you can buy things in the pits (this was done with EET in mind and to prevent entering BG2 at too high level, but easy to add xp if you want, that is done by adjusted Baeloth dialogues).

- you need to do the full campaign and defeat Baeloth to get out again

- some of the final higher level fights are adjusted to your party level as you may be still too low to do the full fight

- to go there, Baeloth cannot be in your party, he will not appear during BG1 if you did the pits, but SoD is unchanged.

 

Those are the files you may want to inspect

Spoiler

Edited by Roxanne, 13 April 2018 - 10:24 AM.

The Sandrah Saga!

another piece of *buggy, cheesy, unbalanced junk*

 

 

 


#4 subtledoctor

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 08:40 PM

You can look at how it is done in the SandrahNPC mod. You can probably take most of those files and adjust them to the starting area of your choice. Then remove references to Sandrah in dialogues or scripts (maybe give that part to the protagonist instead).
It should give you an overview.


Cool - thanks! Looking now...

Hmm, I fear this is still a bit over my head. Gonna need to take some time to digest and understand that. Reminds me of when I first started looking at Weidu code, a lot of it seemed like hieroglyphs, and me without my Rosetta Stone. Unfortunately time is not something I have much of, so this project might be a bit of a slow one.
 

Content- wise :
- you get your BG1 party into the pits with whatever items/gold etc they have
- you do the challenges but get no extra xp just little gold so you can buy things in the pits (this was done with EET in mind and to prevent entering BG2 at too high level, but easy to add xp if you want, that is done by adjusted Baeloth dialogues).
- you need to do the full campaign and defeat Baeloth to get out again
- some of the final higher level fights are adjusted to your party level as you may be still too low to do the full fight
- to go there, Baeloth cannot be in your party, he will not appear during BG1 if you did the pits, but SoD is unchanged.


I'm trying to think about this in the abstract, if nothing else then to have some good conversation and see what people think of these decisions.  And talking about it, at least, is something I can do now. 

 

- The Baeloth thing seems easiest to deal with: if the party enters the Pits, set a variable, and if that variable is set, then patch the area script to make him disappear as a joinable NPC.  I assume you did something like that. 

 

- The question of XP seems fairly easy... assuming the entrance/Hobart is added to a late-game area, like Baldur's Gate or Ulgoth's beard, so that the party is a decent level when they go to the Pits, then we can simply eliminate all of the quest XP rewards after each fight.  The monster XP for ~15 fights, split 6 ways for mid-level characters, should not make much of a difference in your level afterward when you face Sarevok/SoD/SoA.  Probably.  I haven't done the math, but I'll do a back-of-the-envelope calculation at some point. 

 

- Being stuck in the Pits until you win seems perfectly fine to me.  Maaaaybe add some sort of escape valve, for the random player who gets in over their head and doesn't have a save from before entering.  But honestly maybe not.  Anyone can always just turn down to difficulty and fight through the end.  I'm playing through it now, and my party is about level 7 in the middle of the tier 3 fights, and it hasn't been a problem so far.  (And I'm playing with a mod that restricts all worn magical items to the ring slots so you can only have two at a time, instead of (ring+ring+boots+belt+cloak) five.  And BP occupies one of those ring slots, which means this mod is doubly challenging.  And still it's basically no problem at least getting to the last fight with a level ~7-8 party, which is more or less where you are after completing the Cloakwood mines and a bit of Baldur's Gate.

 

- Equipment is a far more troubling issue.  I don't think it's possible to strip everything from the party and deposit into a chest somewhere for retrieval later, so I see two options:

 

1) Hardcore: strip everything away, start the arena fights with nothing and no gold, but give the standard gold rewards and the standard shop fare.  And let you keep what you have if and when you win and escape.  You will lose some very cool stuff, and it will almost certainly hamper your power level afterward.  BUT that's kind of great.  Suddenly the end-game, which is probably fairly simple for most folks on their umpteenth playthrough, will have a bit more bite, because you won't have all of those amazing magic artifacts you've been hoarding all game.  (No Ring of Wizardry!!)

 

However, this could be a problem for quest items.  It would be dangerous to simply strip away the party's inventory willy-nilly.  So...

 

2) Let the party keep all their gear, and remove the gold rewards for winning each fight.  Maybe that's part of Baeloth's motivation for kidnapping you: if you die in the Pits, he gets to keep your loot!  It would be extraordinarily risky to try to rob you directly, so he sets up the fighting pit and hopes you'll succumb to your opponents.

 

This would make a fair portion of the Pits very easy.  It would be building to some cool fights where you face BG2-level enemies.  And this we we wouldn't have to worry at all about quest items.


Faiths & Powers: Spell spheres and kit pack for priests and paladins
Might & Guile: Tweaks and kits for warriors and rogues
Scales of Balance: Game tweaks and rule overhauls
NPC_EE: More options for NPCs in BGEE, SoD, & BG2EE


#5 Roxanne

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 11:17 PM


Hmm, I fear this is still a bit over my head. Gonna need to take some time to digest and understand that. Reminds me of when I first started looking at Weidu code, a lot of it seemed like hieroglyphs, and me without my Rosetta Stone. Unfortunately time is not something I have much of, so this project might be a bit of a slow one.


I'm trying to think about this in the abstract, if nothing else then to have some good conversation and see what people think of these decisions.  And talking about it, at least, is something I can do now. 

 

- The Baeloth thing seems easiest to deal with: if the party enters the Pits, set a variable, and if that variable is set, then patch the area script to make him disappear as a joinable NPC.  I assume you did something like that. 

 

 

The global is set by the cutscene that makes you leave the pits again. It is the global used by the other cutscene that makes Baeloth appears in BG1 so that one never fires. Also, if you already met Baeloth and send him to wait at an inn or such, he self destroys by a block added to his script.

 

 

- The question of XP seems fairly easy... assuming the entrance/Hobart is added to a late-game area, like Baldur's Gate or Ulgoth's beard, so that the party is a decent level when they go to the Pits, then we can simply eliminate all of the quest XP rewards after each fight.  The monster XP for ~15 fights, split 6 ways for mid-level characters, should not make much of a difference in your level afterward when you face Sarevok/SoD/SoA.  Probably.  I haven't done the math, but I'll do a back-of-the-envelope calculation at some point. 

 

The enemies you kill in BP do not give XP, that is the good thing. You would get XP after each tier battle by Baeloth. I modified the dialogues that do this by giving you some money for the stores instead.

 

 

- Equipment is a far more troubling issue.  I don't think it's possible to strip everything from the party and deposit into a chest somewhere for retrieval later, so I see two options:

 

The two big scripts that you need to tweak for a BP-from-game mod anyway are the entry/exit ones. I have done it in a way that cuts out all the magic fiddling around that BP originally does like stripping the party and also giving them some irremovable rings etc. This is all gone, party stays as they are. Given party level, monsters can be added or removed/replaced by minor ones in individual challenges.

I have done it quite minimalistic, due to my fading interest at that point, but it would be no big deal to add a bit of sophistication at any time. Once you have the basic skeleton of scripts, it is no deal to add a few blocks that do that.

 


The Sandrah Saga!

another piece of *buggy, cheesy, unbalanced junk*

 

 

 




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