Sunday, May 4, 2008

Gaming Parents Studios

Well, I have had a blast writing this blog, but I think it is time to move over to my team blog at Gaming Parents Studios. I'll keep this blog up but new posts will only be done on the team blog site at

So, this isn't the end of my posts - just the end of posting here. :)

One note before I go, looks like Phoenixus has jumped on the bandwagon and started his own blog at

I've known him for quite some time now and it is nice to know that I was part of his inspiration for starting the blog... :D I wrote some of the romance dialogues for Tales of Asberdies and I know his module will be a hit when he releases it!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Duran Duran Concert

I wanted to let you know that I will be out of town for a few days - I am going to the Duran Duran concert in Vancouver! I've been a fan for 29 years. Ever since high school, I have wanted to see them perform live.

Update: May 1, 2008

I'm back from the concert and what an amazing performance! They sounded just as good live as they did in their recorded works. They played all of my favourites like Rio, Wild Boys, Hungry Like the Wolf, Come Undone, Notorious, Sunrise, Planet Earth, Save a Prayer (all of us waving our cellphones and lighters) among many others. I was impressed with their new CD, especially the Falling Down song. The whole band seemed to be really enjoying themselves and I know I won't ever forget the concert.

Testing on the Act I of the Saga is coming along very nicely, beta testing won't be too far off...I hope! I have plenty of encounters and dialogue to still add in, but the main storyline is basically ready now.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Custom Portraits

Now that the latest versions of Neverwinter Nights 2 supports custom portraits, I've been playing around with several portraits trying to find one for each companion that matches the look and personality of their character.

I've found a few that sort of come close to what I am looking for, but some day it would be great to have a talented artist draw one for each that really brings out their personalities.

Here's a screenshot of several companions (Trent, Erik and Logan) with their latest custom portraits - subject to change if I find better alternative portraits.

Tutorial: I place all of the 128x128 .tga portrait images in the My Documents /Neverwinter Nights 2/ portraits folder and then referenced them in the toolset under the companions' property tab - under "custom portrait" without the .tga extension.

For example, Logan's portrait is logan_1.tga and I would use the text "logan_1" in the Custom Portrait slot.

A great place to get ready made portraits are at the Vault: Special thanks to Coli for his portrait packs as well as the Skullport one by Laurna.

To make your own, an excellent resource is - ask the artist's permission before using his or her work if possible. You can edit an image using Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop by cropping it to the required 128x128 size.

Update on April 16, 2008 : Here are the custom portraits (image temporarily removed) that I am using so far for the companions of A Time to Die. All credit goes towards the artists who designed each portrait - I got them off the Neverwinter Nights Vault.

I'd like to get an artist to help me redo the ones for Logan, Ming-na, and perhaps, Ganamiel. I am happy with the rest of them since they fit the personalities and looks perfectly. You can find more information on the companions of A Time to Die on this page of my blog.

Update May 1, 2008 says I am violating copyrights by posting the portraits on their site - so I am temporarily removing the portraits here too until I confirm permission from all the artists involved. Special thanks to Elysius for helping me with several of the portraits (Logan and Ming-na so far.)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sneak Peek of Unicorn Run

I wanted to give you a sneak peek of the area I am currently working on called Unicorn Run... I am entering it into the area design contest if I ever get it finished in time! :)

I will be using this area in "A Time to Die Act III: Kraken's Tentacles" for one of the main side quests in that Act. I've also added a few more screenies from A Time to Die and Unicorn Run at my DeviantArt account:
in addition to the ones at my Picasa pic account

UPDATE: March 30, 2008

Well, I have finished the area and have submitted it to the Vault - now I just have to wait for it to be approved... :)

UPDATE: March 31, 2008

It's approved! You can find Unicorn Run at:

Keep in mind that it is uncharted territory so it takes a bit of work to trek through the wild lands of Unicorn Run! A special thanks to my fellow GPS members for all their support while I worked on the area and for Daronas for making me a Unicorn for the area. Much appreciated! ;)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Time to Die Progress

Just a quick note to let you know that I created a new thread on the NWN2 forums on the progress with "A Time to Die" today.

Here's the link to the forum...feel free to post your comments!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Quick Tutorial on Creating Haks and Erfs

I was asked how to create a hak, so I thought I would share the steps here in a quick tutorial.

We will be using Tanita's NWN2Packer on the Vault. Once you have downloaded and installed the NWN2Packer according to Tanita's Readme, open the program:

1. Click on the green "new" button on the left.
2. Click on the blue "import" button on the left.
3. Select all the files that you would like to include in your hak (can be dds, mdb, etc.)
4. Click on the purple "save as" button and name the file with the .hak extension

And that's it! You can include 2da files in your hak, but you make want to mention it to anyone downloading your hak... it may throw off the 2da files already in someone's computer.

Please note that there are some blueprints that won't work in a hak as far as builders are concerned, this would need to be saved as an .erf file and imported directly into the toolset. This is a concern for builders, not players. :)

Part Two: Associating your new hak pak with a module.

1. Open up your module file in the toolset
2. Go to "View - Module Properties" (very top toolbar of toolset)
3. There is a spot there to add the hak, listed under properties as "hak paks"
4. Click on the "hak paks", a button with three dots "..." shows up. Click on the button and a new window pops up.
5. Click on the "add" button and then the button with "..." near the "Filename". Look for your hak from the directory where you saved it.
6. Once you have selected the hak, hit the "Okay" button to finalize the hak selection.
7. Save your module.

Your hak files might not show up until the next time you load the module...

Update #1: Erf files

Erf files are perfect when you need to import files such as mdb's and blueprints into your module from custom content makers. You could also use them to transfer one of your areas into another module. To export an area, choose "File - Export" and select the files you would like to extract from your module, then the toolset will save them all as an erf file. (It is a good way to keep an extra backup of important files such as dialog).

You can also create an .erf file using the exact same procedure as above for creating a hak using the NWN2Packer, except in step 4 where you are saving as .hak, you would save as .erf instead.

You would skip the steps where you would need to associate the file to your module though. Erfs are imported into a module using a different method. Simply open your module in the toolset, go to "File - Import" and choose your erf file that you have downloaded from the Vault or the one you have created and it will be imported. Once the import is finished, the toolset usually lets you know how many files have been imported to your module.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

NWNP Episode 46: Developers Round Table

The Neverwinter Nights Podcast team brought together a group of builders, including myself, to share their ideas on module building and the Toolset for NWN2. The Developer's Round Table has now been posted at their site and you are welcome to listen in! But...don't make fun of my Canadian accent! LOL...

I enjoyed chatting with Delak, ENoa4, Raith Veldrin, Nalencer, and Wyrin as well as Amraphael for a few minutes before he had technical difficulties. Thanks, Liso for all your hard work on organizing the Podcast and for jclef for editing all of it! :)

Monday, March 3, 2008

First Mini-Trailer of A Time to Die

I've created my first video of the A Time To Die campaign - it is a small video of a few minutes where the player runs and fights throughout Red Larch in Chapter One. I wanted to see how easy it would be to make a video trailer. I used Fraps ( for the initial video capture and then used Windows Movie Maker to compress and edit the movie file. I uploaded it to and embedded the code here so you can watch the video. Only took me a whole day to figure out how to do this, thanks to Amraphael and Ayrin on the forums for their advice.! :)

** Update! I discovered how to record the video with sound, here is an updated video trailer below **

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Ladyelvenstar Enters NWN2 Contest...

The NWN2 team is having a new contest at the Vault for area design and I've decided to enter! I will be putting my work on my module on hold for a little while - in order to design a completely new area for the contest.

I am using the YATT plugin to create the landscape with one of Teper's heightmaps ...what a fabulous idea he had when he uploaded the heightmaps on the Vault!

I haven't decided if I will enter one or even three areas... wish me luck!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Back to Life...Back to Reality...

San Juan Cityscape 4 by ~ladyelvenstar on deviantART

Well, I am back from sunny Puerto Rico and I had an absolute blast! The weather was lovely, though it became overcast every day in the afternoon, it happened right when it would have been unbearably hot otherwise. I've included a picture above of the view outside the restaurant in the hotel where we stayed.

We had a street party in old San Juan, danced in the rainforest amidst the sounds of thousands of coqui frogs in the background, and dined at Tantra, an award winning Indo-latino restaurant with one of the best belly dancers in the World performing right at each of our tables.

Despite the amazing time I had, I must admit it is good to be home. Here's a picture of the view outside the window of the plane flying over the West Coast of Canada. Back to life...back to reality...back to snow! :)

I've got more pictures of the trip at :

Monday, February 18, 2008

Soaking up the Rays

Two Palms by ~ladyelvenstar on deviantART
Well, I wanted to let you know that I will be gone for a week on a business trip - in sunny Puerto Rico! I will be back around the 28th of February to my snow-ridden town in Northern Canada. :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Skype Broadcast Update

I had a blast participating in the Modules in Development broadcast last night. I could feel Michele's frustration at the technical difficulties, but she handled it all with style (I sent her some virtual valium to calm her down - just kidding!) Once we got started, I didn't want it to stop. A special thanks to Michele, Jay and Jonny for setting up this broadcast.

I must be honest that I was quite nervous on the broadcast, but I managed to get a few pointers across. :)

I got a lot of ideas from other builders such as Duncan (Wyrin), Ernie (ENoa), Ethan (Nalencer), Brian (Raith) and Kevin (Delak). Thanks for sharing! I missed Ronnie (Amraphael) not being there but he had too many difficulties to stay on the call.

It was also comforting to have E.C. and Sirchet listening from the GPS team as well as Kaedrin and jclef. Thanks to everyone who participated and I hope you got some ideas to use for your own modules. :)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Modules In Development Live!

February 10th at 8:30 pm or 20:30 Eastern Standard time -05.00 (US & Canada)

Any participants must create a Skype account. To join the VoIP, you will need the latest version of Skype (It's FREE) There will also be a text chat available. Guest will be able to voice questions or text them. All guest using a mic will be voiced one at a time per queue. Text questions will be answered in the order they are received.

Briesence Launches Blog!

Briesence is a talented custom content creator for NWN2 and has just launched a brand new blog to let us know what's being worked on next!

Check it out at

I think I will choose Bachelor #3. ;>

Friday, January 25, 2008

City Hak from Vault in A Time to Die

Tupoun has just released an amazing hak on the Vault with several hundred placeables to create your own unique city area. I will be using it to create both Triboar and Yartar...thank you, Tupoun!

Here is a picture of my PC exploring the sample module of his using the City Hak placeables (sorry the pic is a bit dark but I wanted to catch the moon in the background). Can't wait to use them for my cities! Long Live Tupoun!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Meet the Companions of A Time To Die

Okay, it's about time that you meet your potential companions for at least Act I of A Time To Die. I will be updating this as I make changes to the characters, since I am possibly adding a prestige class to several of them.

Persistent Companion Roster:

Erik Tarnlar is a long-time friend of the player. He grew up in Red Larch and is a cleric. He will be a romanceable companion for female players. I am working on adding the prestige class of Shining Blade to him.

Karena Tarnlar is Erik's sister and a long-time friend of the player as well. She has become a druid, following in her mother's footsteps...though her mother has been missing for years now. I hope to add the Lion of Talisid prestige class to her, since it would suit her personality perfectly. She will be a romanceable companion for male players.

Trent is a rogue that hopefully will become a Nightsong Enforcer. He'll try sweeping any female player off her feet with his charm, but she might want to be a bit wary around him. ;)

Ming-na is a sorceress that is as skilled with her magic as she is with her wit. She will be a romanceable companion for any male players ready to take her fiery personality on. :)

Update #1: January 16th, 2008

Ramina is a bard from Yartar who has agreed to accompany the player to supposedly collect information for a new that so? What we do know is that she will be a romanceable companion and possibly evolve into a Stormsinger.

Here is a picture of another companion, a wild elf by the name of Celendir...though he will not be a persistent one like the others above. He is determined to destroy the drow for murdering his brother...

Update #2: January 21, 2008

It looks as if Celendir might not be able to accompany the player. His sister, Ganamiel is insisting that she be the one to avenge their brother. Let the battle begin!

Update #3: January 22, 2008

Our final persistent companion will be the half-elf, Logan, a fighter/wizard all the way from Mirabar. He is training to become a bladesinger, after his elven mother. His father is a powerful human who sits on the Council in Mirabar.

A special thanks to Briesence for creating the custom content that makes it possible to customize Logan and for making him a better looking half-elf than I was expecting him to be. :)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Logo for A Time to Die

If you have been here before, you might notice that I have a new logo for my blog. I took jclef's and nalencer's advice and used the Neverwinter Font to create a logo for A Time to Die.

It was easy to use black with a red outline and then just use a red shadow effect to make the letters stand out more against the black background. I still want to add a timepiece and sword or dagger when I find just the right images to use.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Kaedrin's PRC pack and more...

Okay, enough strolling down memory lane. :)

Back to some serious modding! I have decided to incorporate Kaedrin's PRC pack (along with Reeron's spell fixes and Tony K's AI) into "A Time to Die" and bump up the levels of the companions to be able to use the new prestige classes for them. Karena, Erik, and Trent will definitely have the new prestige class. I am not sure about Ming-na, Ramina, and Logan yet. Ming-na is powerful enough as a straight sorceress, I believe.

That means that a PC is going to need to be at least a level 9 or 10 to play the campaign now. I'll include a leveling up option at the start of the campaign. I have to wait for Kaedrin to do some more adjustments for this to work for companions and monsters. He is working on a fix this week.

The Combined Hak Pack is at:

Kaedrin's PRC Hak is at:

Reeron's and Trekari's Spell Fixes and Improvements are at:

Tony K's Companion and Monster AI is at:

Retro in Retrospection

As I am coming to terms with the loss of my Uncle, I was looking back at what I was doing when I spent time with him. It was in the 80's that I would visit him every summer and I found that Youtube has lots of videos from music I listened to then. It brought back some great memories to comfort me.

U2 - With or Without You!

The Cure - Just Like Heaven!

Depeche Mode - Enjoy the Silence!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Farewell to my Uncle... :(

It's so sad when we lose a dear member of our family or a close friend. My uncle lost his battle with cancer today and he will be sorely missed. :(
I remember when he used to take me trout fishing when I was a child and how much he loved the outdoors. He loved tinkering with cars and was able to fix even the most complicated large trucks. He taught me to follow our passions and to always have a hobby. Mine happens to be building modules for I dedicate my work to you, Uncle Henry and I will miss you!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Logo Design

Well, I haven't worked on my module for a few days - I've been busy tinkering with Paint Shop Pro creating a logo for our Gaming Parents Studios blog site. Check out my progress if you are interested.

I was playing around with the bevel text effect and there are some really cool effects you can create with it. Here are some examples that I came upon, just by randomly generating the effects.

Update on Jan 12 - I found the fancy Neverwinter Font at the Vault and will see if it looks good for my logo. Thanks to jclef and nalencer!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Best List for NWN2 Toolset Tutorials

For module builders wanting to learn how to use the toolset, the best resource list I could find was at the Wendersnaven site:

There is also a great list at the NWN2 forums at this post:

Plus, I have found the tutorials at the Vault very useful:

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

Have a wonderful New Year and I hope that you'll have many more to come. I have been having a blast this past year working on several projects at the same time. I hope to finally release Act I of "A Time to Die" this year as well as help Jacky to finish off his sequel to "Night Howls in Nestlehaven", with the help of the rest of the Gaming Parents Studios team!

Hope you are having as much fun with Neverwinter Nights 2 as I am having, don't think I've ever come across a game that has kept my interest for so long. Hope they make another sequel this year!

Thought I'd post another pic of my snow-ridden backyard - this is the view out my kitchen window of another heavy snowfall that is happening today. I think we must be at about 6 feet in total or maybe even more by now! :)