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#1 Ser Elryk

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 12:07 PM

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How are the Black Pits implemented into the EET campaign at present?


Edited by Ser Elryk, 19 January 2016 - 04:34 PM.


#2 Jarno Mikkola

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 02:14 PM

How are the Black Pits implemented into the EET campaign at present?

It read in one of the threads that essentially:
The game has 3 starts;
1) BG1 start that you end up in ToB, eventually.
2) ToB start.
3) The Black Pits II, default as a campaign, and can go back to the BG1EE's via a "hidden" dialog option.
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#3 K4thos

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 03:20 PM

here is quote from readme:

Black Pits - start Black Pits II and choose new dialogue response during the first conversation in tavern: "You can tell a ballad with more subtleties and nuances if you have experienced something first hand. Listen to my story." (after finishing Black Pits portion you will again end up in Black Pits 2 tavern, so you can continue this adventure with the same party.)

So, like Jarno mentioned it's still a separate story, played with different party, selectable from main menu.

 

We've been thinking about implementing it right into Bhaalspawn storyline, but the idea has been scrapped for now. Here is what was planned (ok, maybe it's not a right word, I came with it after 5 minutes of thinking :p)

Black Pits:
Add a random rumour during any of Tavern visits during BG1 (you know, the text that shows up when you buy a drink) that would mention strange disappearance of the visitors. Than if you would go to sleep in that tavern (flag set during rumour, reset as soon as you leave the area, so you have control when to start this optional adventure) the party would be kidnapped and the BP1 story continue as you know it from vanilla game. It would end up with your party being teleported to the very same place you normally meet Baeloth during BG:EE.

Black Pits 2:

Amkethram tavern from ToB would be adopted to trigger the event. When you enter it and take a nap (also after hearing a rumour first to allow players to skip it) than the same cutscene would be triggered as in Black Pits 2. Late in game due to how ridiculously powerful enemies you fight there.

Spoiler

Some other things related to this (now scrapped) idea for integrating Black Pits into storyline:
- XP reward only for killing actual monsters instead of hundreds of thousands quest XP rewards after each fight.

- very small gold rewards.
- shops without ridiculous things that shouldn't be there in the first place. Only spells, potions and regular equipment. Also a little more powerful variants once the shops are updated after story progress (that's how it works in vanilla BP), but only with common magicial items, not unique artifacts. You fight mostly with items your party brings there.
- no way to fight the same battles again and again like in original BP
- maybe add some way to escape from Black Pits 2 without finishing it (it's harder than ToB at later part, so it's possible that some parties would get stack there forever)


As you can see it was a very lazy concept that didn't require Black Pits 1 and 2 story rewriting or combat rebalancing. Why it has been abandoned? Well, it didn't make much sense. Like what, first your party is kidnapped by Baeloth, than by Irenicus, next in the Underdark and than again by some dudes from Thay? Unlikelihood of all of this would break suspension of disbelief for the player (or Charname would experience Stockholm syndrome, as Tuldor84 from another forum noticed when he saw this idea :laugh:), even if you can actually fight back and win that last kidnap attempt.

Roxanne mentioned different idea for implementation:

 

The Black Pits - when those Mindflayers capture you in the Underdark they make you fight for their amusement. Why not integrate those pits here as an option - you can side with the Githyanki just in the vanilla game or take the hard road, i.e. go through the pits. Instead they hang their without connection to the game.

That would be nice but requires quite a lot of work in rebalancing all combat encounters from Black Pits 1 to fit high level BG2 parties, and adding a lot of new text to the game. Also potential for incompatibilities with mods. It's probably better to leave such project for modders to implement, if someone will be interested in it.

 

edit: newest design for implementation is here: http://gibberlings3....786#entry261176


Edited by K4thos, 05 August 2018 - 06:58 AM.


#4 Roxanne

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 10:49 PM

here is quote from readme:

Black Pits - start Black Pits II and choose new dialogue response during the first conversation in tavern: "You can tell a ballad with more subtleties and nuances if you have experienced something first hand. Listen to my story." (after finishing Black Pits portion you will again end up in Black Pits 2 tavern, so you can continue this adventure with the same party.)

So, like Jarno mentioned it's still a separate story, played with different party, selectable from main menu.

 

We've been thinking about implementing it right into Bhaalspawn storyline, but the idea has been scrapped for now. Here is what was planned (ok, maybe it's not a right word, I came with it after 5 minutes of thinking :p)

Black Pits:
Add a random rumour during any of Tavern visits during BG1 (you know, the text that shows up when you buy a drink) that would mention strange disappearance of the visitors. Than if you would go to sleep in that tavern (flag set during rumour, reset as soon as you leave the area, so you have control when to start this optional adventure) the party would be kidnapped and the BP1 story continue as you know it from vanilla game. It would end up with your party being teleported to the very same place you normally meet Baeloth during BG:EE.

Black Pits 2:

Amkethram tavern from ToB would be adopted to trigger the event. When you enter it and take a nap (also after hearing a rumour first to allow players to skip it) than the same cutscene would be triggered as in Black Pits 2. Late in game due to how ridiculously powerful enemies you fight there.

Spoiler

Some other things related to this (now scrapped) idea for integrating Black Pits into storyline:
- XP reward only for killing actual monsters instead of hundreds of thousands quest XP rewards after each fight.

- very small gold rewards.
- shops without ridiculous things that shouldn't be there in the first place. Only spells, potions and regular equipment. Also a little more powerful variants once the shops are updated after story progress (that's how it works in vanilla BP), but only with common magicial items, not unique artifacts. You fight mostly with items your party brings there.
- no way to fight the same battles again and again like in original BP
- maybe add some way to escape from Black Pits 2 without finishing it (it's harder than ToB at later part, so it's possible that some parties would get stack there forever)

As you can see it was a very lazy concept that didn't require Black Pits 1 and 2 story rewriting or combat rebalancing. Why it has been abandoned? Well, it didn't make much sense. Like what, first your party is kidnapped by Baeloth, than by Irenicus, next in the Underdark and than again by some dudes from Thay? Unlikelihood of all of this would break suspension of disbelief for the player (or Charname would experience Stockholm syndrome, as Tuldor84 from another forum noticed when he saw this idea :laugh:), even if you can actually fight back and win that last kidnap attempt.

Roxanne mentioned different idea for implementation:

 

The Black Pits - when those Mindflayers capture you in the Underdark they make you fight for their amusement. Why not integrate those pits here as an option - you can side with the Githyanki just in the vanilla game or take the hard road, i.e. go through the pits. Instead they hang their without connection to the game.

That would be nice but requires quite a lot of work in rebalancing all combat encounters from Black Pits 1 to fit high level BG2 parties, and adding a lot of new text to the game. Also potential for incompatibilities with mods. It's probably better to leave such project for modders to implement, if someone will be interested in it.

I did not take into account the XP and loot provided by the pits, just the *storyline*. In fact any variation of including the pits into the main game would need to take care of that. Kidnappers do not pay you a compensation, or do they?


The Sandrah Saga!

another piece of *buggy, cheesy, unbalanced junk*

 

 

 


#5 Ser Elryk

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 01:20 AM

I haven't played The Black Pits. And from what I've seen of it I probably wouldn't be interested in playing it at all unless it was implemented into the EET as a side-quest that I could play through with my main character and BG NPC's. At present I could really take it or leave it.



#6 subtledoctor

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 06:31 PM

Roxanne mentioned different idea for implementation:
 

The Black Pits - when those Mindflayers capture you in the Underdark they make you fight for their amusement. Why not integrate those pits here as an option - you can side with the Githyanki just in the vanilla game or take the hard road, i.e. go through the pits. Instead they hang their without connection to the game.

That would be nice but requires quite a lot of work in rebalancing all combat encounters from Black Pits 1 to fit high level BG2 parties, and adding a lot of new text to the game. Also potential for incompatibilities with mods. It's probably better to leave such project for modders to implement, if someone will be interested in it.
I like Roxanne's idea a lot - at least for BP1. How about, instead of rebalancing BP1, just strip the party of all items. Even without gear the early fights would be easy, but early arena fights are always easy (look at the vanilla drow arena, it's super easy) - so that's okay.

What happened to the gear? The party's gear goes into the BP store inventories. You can buy it back... but whatever you *don't* buy back, is gone for good.

OR don't allow the player to buy any of their gear back, but make it all a drop in the last fight.

However, I think BP2 is too hard for that stage of the game. That should be in TOB. Or something.

Edited by subtledoctor, 24 January 2016 - 06:31 PM.

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#7 K4thos

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Posted 25 January 2016 - 05:15 AM

What happened to the gear? The party's gear goes into the BP store inventories. You can buy it back... but whatever you *don't* buy back, is gone for good.

:blink: that's hilarious :laugh: And actually can be done in EE engine thanks to the new AddStoreItem action. I think we could add it into EET Tweaks or a separate mod. Any other ideas?



#8 K4thos

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 11:42 PM

reviving this topic, it's time to implement this idea into separate mod (BP-in-EET, or whatever).

 

Black Pits1:

As Roxanne proposed, the vanilla Captured by Mind Flayers sidequest will be altered like this:

1. This conversation will be tweaked (just new variable) so that the second option will result in hostile Githyanki during the fight

2. Defeating Githyanki (you can attack them even if they are not hostile during the fight) will result in a new cutscene where Najim shows up with his "You have qualified" vanilla text and teleport your party into Black Pits.

3. The quest can be completed the normal way if you didn't attack Githyanki, Black Pits is just an alternative solution.

4. During the cutscene all party inventory is taken away and will be distributed among Black Pits shop keepers.

5. After each fight you are granted gold, just like in vanilla Black Pits, but it's not extra gold - you are given back  portion of your own gold (yep, we're taking party gold too via TakeObjectGoldGlobal and distribute it, decreasing the gold pool)

6. No extra XP after each fight, no option to battle the same enemies again

7. The last battle with Baeloth will take place in the Illithid City arena, no BP one, so after defeating him you still need to escape the place on your own

8. If you've chosen the Black Pits path, there will be conversation with Najim here regarding Master Brain, instead of Simyaz group

9. Your items that you didn't manage to buy back during Black Pits will be lost  :spanking:

10. Remaining gold will be given back via GiveObjectGoldGlobal after returning from the Black Pits.

11. Ideas how to balance it:

- super lazy approach: don't do anything special, like subtledoctor mentioned taking away party inventory and limited amount of gold available to buy it back may be enough to make it interesting

- lazy approach: add opcode 216 (Level Drain) into the vanilla BP Slave Ring that characters are forced to equip. The same ring could also have protection against spells that have opcode 224 (Level Drain Restoration). There could be several variants of the ring (swapped as you progress), so that we have full control over party level during different portions of the Black Pits

- if neither of the above approaches will be good enough an actual effort will need to be made in order to make the fights interesting (new enemies, buffed up stats etc.)

 

Black Pits 2:

1. Vanilla Black Pits 2 tavern cutscene triggers if you finished BP1 and go to sleep in Vyatri's Pub (Trademeet) during ToB

2. Minor tweaks to the BP story (Najim instead of Baeloth teleporting you back at the end?)

3. You can try to win the tavern battle in order to skip the capture all together (unlike vanilla BP2 here you can prepare for the fight properly - items, sequencers, traps etc.)

4. Again both items and gold is taken and you need to buy back your items from stores with (your own) gold received after each fight

5. Adjusted or removed reward system (not yet sure how to handle it)

6. BP2 battles are hard enough, so I don't think additional balancing is really needed here for ToB characters

 

---------------------

 

Of course nothing is set in stone, please feel free to leave feedback and ideas how to make it better.

 

I'm looking for a save file with a party of 6 and tons of items in inventory, including stuffed Bags of Holdings (so a normal save file from later point in game - either EET save or vanilla BG2:EE save). The save is needed, so that I can test if the engine will handle the idea proposed by subtledoctor (huge script with tons of PartyHasItem triggers generated during mod installation, based on all droppable items found in the game at the time of installation). Even better if the save was made somewhere in the underdark, without many mods, so that I can test difficulty of Black Pits fights with a party that has amount of XP and items strength expected during that portion of the game.


Edited by K4thos, 04 August 2018 - 07:12 PM.


#9 Shin

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 12:07 AM

reviving this topic, it's time to implement this idea into separate mod (BP-in-EET, or whatever).

 

Black Pits1:

As Roxanne proposed, the vanilla Captured by Mind Flayers sidequest will be altered like this:

 

It would be great to have it in, ideally the ultimate goal should be an EET supporting inclusion of both BPs and IWD. Why put BP1 as far back as in the late stages of SoA though? As it's already more or less designed and balanced as BG1 content, this just seems like creating extra work.


Edited by Shin, 04 August 2018 - 12:07 AM.


#10 K4thos

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 04:03 AM

Why put BP1 as far back as in the late stages of SoA though? As it's already more or less designed and balanced as BG1 content, this just seems like creating extra work.

 

because of existing quest that in my opinion fits Black Pits 1 implementation. Instead of adding yet another farfetched capture scene without proper context, we’re taking advantage of the existing content, making alternative path in it.

 

Adjusting creatures that you will face (or applying restrictions like the above mentioned cursed Slave Ring) is a lot easier for me to implement compared to writing a new quest that doesn't feel like junk (I'm not a writer or quest designer, English is not my native language).

 

If you prefer BP1 to be available in BG1 please feel free to present how you would like it to be implemented. If you can offer designing proper context for it (keep in mind that Baeloth is joinable character in both BG1 and SoD, but not in SoA), and you’re interested in writing dialogues then we can think about it.


Edited by K4thos, 04 August 2018 - 05:05 AM.


#11 Shin

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 04:30 PM


If you prefer BP1 to be available in BG1 please feel free to present how you would like it to be implemented. If you can offer designing proper context for it (keep in mind that Baeloth is joinable character in both BG1 and SoD, but not in SoA)

 

 

My suggestion would have three basic aims:

 

1. Put BP1 relatively early in the trilogy, preferrably inside the BG1 part. This would avoid heavy balance changes and make BP1 still feel like BP1, and also imo keep the pacing somewhat level. Putting it in the underdark would seem to place both BP episodes in the later parts of the trilogy, which feels weird because there's supposed to be a big power gap between them, signifying that a fair amount of time should pass during which the player grows stronger.

2. As much as possible make it an open choice for the player to start the BP content at will at any point in the playthrough.

3. Keep the transition between the rest of the world and BP short and to the point.

 

 

And yeah, Baeloth does present a bit of an issue. If we assume BP1 would be somewhere inside BG1; that game has Baeloth literally appearing out of nowhere, so could in theory be handled by altering his spawning conditions so he only spawns once BP1 has been completed.

SoD is trickier as he's part of a larger event there. So with BP1 accessed from a BG1 area it would be theoretically possible to recruit Baeloth in SoD then go back to the BG1 areas and start BP1 with him in the party which is undesirable. It could be solved e.g. by disabling the BP1 trigger event once you get that far into SoD, or making the BP1 access area one of the BG city areas that end up closed off anyway after progressing to SoD. Either way this would reduce the options of the player in some ways, like you can't get Baeloth before doing BP1, and you'll eventually reach a point where you'll be forced to do BP1 if you want to do it at all. So it seems there's bound to be some restrictions on when the player will have to engage BP1, but I'd say this would still give more freedom of choice than having to do it while captured by the illithids or not at all.

 

 

As for how to implement it, I can think of two thematically different ways:

 

- Put a trigger event in some secluded and vaguely suitable part of BG1. There aren't all that many subterranean areas: the undercity, the Nashkel/Cloakwood mines and the Candlekeep catacombs come to mind, but they're all closed off for big parts of the game. I'd suggest either the firewine or the ulcaster ruins, and upon the player reaching a certain point or interacting with someone having a party of Baeloth's henchmen appear and capture the player, akin to the EET-ending of SoD.

 

- Do it all through dialogue, like e.g. Thalantyr or Shandalar talking to the player about something they urgently need done in the underdark, and then teleporting the party away much like Shandalar does with the ice island. Maybe they didn't tell the player everything about the complexity of the situation -- again like with the ice island, like the players could be tasked with obtaining an item from one of the characters/opponents inside BP1 -- or maybe they were given an unrelated task but Baeloth had wards set up to intercept anyone teleporting nearby.

 

 

I'll admit none of these ways are super refined, but I also don't see that they absolutely need to be. I mean, the exposition for the original BP1 is pretty weak as it is. I guess it comes down to whether it's considered more important to have the transition into BP as natural and integrated as possible, or to preserve as much of the BP experience as possible.



#12 subtledoctor

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 05:23 PM

I've discussed in another thread that BP1 could fit fairly easily in BG1 by something like, cut-scene to the first fight upon entering [choose a tavern or maybe upon breaking into some house], remove all equipment, remove all BP1 quest XP.  Remove Baeloth from the game upon the start of BP; and remove the abduction/cut-scene upon taking Baeloth into your party.  So you can do BP1 or you can have Baeloth, but not both - for story reasons.

Not terribly complicated, and level-appropriate, and importantly, not dependent on EET.  Don't get me wrong, EET is cool and all, but it doesn't work on my platform and arbitrarily making things require EET that don't actually require EET is some Roxanne kind of thing... EET works with plenty of BGEE mods; it would work fine with a "BP1-in-BGEE" mod.

(Similarly, I'd like to import Hobart and TotLM as a standalone adventure in BG2EE. It works fine as a matter of logic and story, and it's level-appropriate, and it would be fun for those of us who can't play EET and thus can't play IWD-in-EET.  I think that would be worth a standalone mod release for is sad souls... unfortunately, though somebody already has already done a lot of the work, nobody will let me look at it to see whether a TotLM-only part could be branched off ... :( )


Edited by subtledoctor, 04 August 2018 - 05:27 PM.

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#13 K4thos

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 06:41 PM

Not terribly complicated, and level-appropriate, and importantly, not dependent on EET.  Don't get me wrong, EET is cool and all, but it doesn't work on my platform and arbitrarily making things require EET that don't actually require EET is some Roxanne kind of thing... EET works with plenty of BGEE mods; it would work fine with a "BP1-in-BGEE" mod.

what platform? EET is compatible with windows, mac, linux. For android you can use Argent's DLC maker (I assume, don't have such device to test it). Did you try it? What makes this mod different compared to other mods that it can't work on a tablet? I'm interested in making necessary changes to make it work there, just need to know what's the problem.

 

I've discussed in another thread that BP1 could fit fairly easily in BG1 by something like, cut-scene to the first fight upon entering [choose a tavern or maybe upon breaking into some house], remove all equipment, remove all BP1 quest XP.  Remove Baeloth from the game upon the start of BP; and remove the abduction/cut-scene upon taking Baeloth into your party.  So you can do BP1 or you can have Baeloth, but not both - for story reasons.

implementing it is not a problem. If you want to do it in BG:EE just teleport the party to the starting BP area. Making it nicely integrated with the overall BG story is the hard task here and something that is easily solved by using existing quest in SoA (which also solves Baeloth problem). If I had to choose between Baelth the party member or playing Black Pits I would choose the former. Baeloth is like the most powerful NPC in BG:EE and SoD, so removing him seems wrong to me.

 

(Similarly, I'd like to import Hobart and TotLM as a standalone adventure in BG2EE. It works fine as a matter of logic and story, and it's level-appropriate, and it would be fun for those of us who can't play EET and thus can't play IWD-in-EET.  I think that would be worth a standalone mod release for is sad souls... unfortunately, though somebody already has already done a lot of the work, nobody will let me look at it to see whether a TotLM-only part could be branched off ...  :( )

Porting IWD:EE content is almost the exact same code as EET (which ports BG:EE). Minor changes that have nothing to do with TotLM content. You can go right to github and use whatever you wish (or wait until IWD-in-EET lands on Github).

 

I'm not interested in doing separate version of IWD-in-EET that only ports TotLM because that would be extra work that I'd prefer to spend on other things - such option would require analyzing which portion of the game is related to TotLM only (scripts, resources, spells, dialogues, art etc.) instead of importing everything that is not present in EET, making on the fly changes if needed.

 

 

I'll admit none of these ways are super refined, but I also don't see that they absolutely need to be. I mean, the exposition for the original BP1 is pretty weak as it is. I guess it comes down to whether it's considered more important to have the transition into BP as natural and integrated as possible, or to preserve as much of the BP experience as possible.

Thanks for the suggestions, I will think about it more after testing the cursed ring and buffed stats/altered encounters ideas. If the community feedback will remain in favor of BG1 implementation then I'm interested in making such design change, although as mentioned, someone actually interested in writing whole new quest and dialogues for it has to offer help first. I do think smooth story that doesn’t brake suspension of disbelief (how many times the party has to be captured before typical player reacts to it with eye rolling?) is more important than doing the exact same encounters. Both Black Pits adventures are selectable from the EET main menu already if someone is interested in pure vanilla experience.


Edited by K4thos, 04 August 2018 - 07:37 PM.


#14 subtledoctor

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 08:44 PM

If I had to choose between Baelth the party member or playing Black Pits I would choose the former. Baeloth is like the most powerful NPC in BG:EE and SoD, so removing him seems wrong to me.

 

No, not removing Baeloth. Just preventing him being in in your party IF you go through the Black Pits (because of course he is already there). So if you want to take Baeloth in your party, then the inn/house/whatever with the teleport script will be locked; whereas, if you go to that house first and go through the Pits and defeat Baeloth, then naturally he will no longer join you against Sarevok. You can do one or the other, in any given playthrough, but you'll have the choice either way.
 

what platform? EET is compatible with windows, mac, linux. For android you can use Argent's DLC maker (I assume, don't have such device to test it). Did you try it? What makes this mod different compared to other mods that it can't work on a tablet? I'm interested in making [/size][/font]necessary changes to make it work there, just need to know what's the problem.

 
iOS. It's been a while since I bothered to try, but off the top of my head the big problems are:

1) Biffing. EET biffs and biffs and biffs everything. I think you can't replace the main data folder in the mobile versions, so biffing all of the BGEE content into the main BG2EE data folder could prevent playing.

2) PVRZ file format. The mobile game versions use a different, more compressed, PVRZ variant then the desktop versions. Someone (I think it was Argent77) made a conversion utility, and most mods that add new content can now be installed. But we can't just grab the EET PVRZ files and convert them, because a) there are tons of them; and b) they are all biffed, and thus not easily available to be identified and manually converted by an end-user.

3) UI. I got EET to start up on my iPad, and could select a campaign, before the it crashed upon starting gameplay presumably because the Candlekeep PVRZ file was in the wrong format. But the UI was all screwed up, some elements were not shown, some were only visible when interacted with, etc. I don't remember whether this might have been related to the PVRZ issue (are UI elements in that file format?) or because the iOS game has a set resolution... I think the main menu screens are rendered at 1024x768, whereas most UI mods I've seen, possibly including EET (I'm not sure) seem to assume the player has a 1080p or better display.


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Might & Guile: Tweaks and kits for warriors and rogues
Scales of Balance: Game tweaks and rule overhauls
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#15 K4thos

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 01:13 AM

1) Biffing. EET biffs and biffs and biffs everything. I think you can't replace the main data folder in the mobile versions, so biffing all of the BGEE content into the main BG2EE data folder could prevent playing.
making biffing optional is trivial. It's not like it's crucial for anything (it's there so that files that you're never going to edit don't show up in override)
 

2) PVRZ file format. The mobile game versions use a different, more compressed, PVRZ variant then the desktop versions. Someone (I think it was Argent77) made a conversion utility, and most mods that add new content can now be installed. But we can't just grab the EET PVRZ files and convert them, because a) there are tons of them; and b) they are all biffed, and thus not easily available to be identified and manually converted by an end-user.
adding option to convert pvrz to different format (if such tool is indeed available - where can I download it?) is trivial. Converted files could be available for download in correct format or made on the fly if Argent's tool is fast enough to use it like that.
 

3) UI. I got EET to start up on my iPad, and could select a campaign, before the it crashed upon starting gameplay presumably because the Candlekeep PVRZ file was in the wrong format. But the UI was all screwed up, some elements were not shown, some were only visible when interacted with, etc. I don't remember whether this might have been related to the PVRZ issue (are UI elements in that file format?) or because the iOS game has a set resolution... I think the main menu screens are rendered at 1024x768, whereas most UI mods I've seen, possibly including EET (I'm not sure) seem to assume the player has a 1080p or better display.
if pvrz doesn't work then that's the problem here. EET uses pretty much vanilla GUI with just minor adjustments. Should be fixed if above stuff is implemented.
 
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In other words if you're interested in testing it I can prepare additional EET weidu flag for installations meant to be used on iOS and android.




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