DarkRider's Dimension

Home of the Rider's Elder Scrolls Adventures!

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25.May.2010: Time to Amputate!

Posted by DarkRider on May 25, 2010 at 3:47 PM Comments comments (2)

Hail and Fair Greetings My Friends!


Just thought I'd pop in to post a short blurb and keep the progress fairly fresh here on the Dimension! I've been making great strides since announcing my goal to have RST Beta ready by June 16th. On that same day Ladyflcn and I will be going to the doctor's office to find out if we are having a he-baby or a she-baby so it will be a big day for all of us! :)


I have 6 testers slotted to take on RST's BETA testing, lead by Alpha tester Lilith who knows the ins and outs of RST pretty well by now. Lilith will be joining us as a contributor to the RST wiki to help us finish the walkthrough before RST's release. She's been a big help. Windmill Tilter, the Lead modeler on RST, has been working hard to finish the last models, though several will not appear in the beta, they will be replaced with the final models before release. WhoGuru has gone on hiatus with internet issues, I hope she will rejoin us soon as her work on the final dungeon is vital to RST's completion and I just miss having her around as my constant development soundboard.


Just Me and some of my pals hanging out in Sancre Tor


So where is RST now?


I've finished half of the sidequests which should all provide some fun on the side as intended. Most of the sidequests are accessible from the minute you load RST, so you don't have to begin the RST main quest to start them, but you can easily finish the RST main quest first and leave your sidequest fun for later if you like. There are a couple sidequests that are more like mini games and they are not accessible until after you finish the RST Main Quest. I am halfway through Chapter 4 now, I have 3 boss battles to script and a few scenes of dialogue to input, but should be nothing too taxing. I think the June 16th deadline is doable.


That said, this also seems to be the time to start amputating limbs off the poor thing. There are a number of features or goodies I had intended to add to RST that are getting cut from the release to manage things in a realistic time frame. I promise you will still be getting a hell of an expansion when you download RST, it just won't have some little detail things I had wanted to include. I may revisit some of these things in future updates of the mod but they have to be cut for release. I used to think somewhat critically about the way Bethesda dropped some stuff in Oblivion without fleshing it out entirely, but now I totally understand. You have a deadline to meet and you find yourself asking "Is this necessary to the integrity of the finished project?" if the answer is no, it goes in the bin and that's just the way it is. There are lots of things I would love to just piddle around with until the end of time, but that would be a disservice to those who are waiting to play RST for themselves. As long as the integrity of my vision is served then I'm satisfied, details be damned.


I will update the threads and again here as promised on June 16th.


Cheers and Happy Modding!

DarkRider

22.April.2010: Final Stretch and Blog Musings

Posted by DarkRider on April 22, 2010 at 12:40 PM Comments comments (5)

Hail and Fair Greetings RST Fans!


It has been a long and arduous road these last years taking RST from notes on paper to a playable and epic expansion pack, but I think it's safe to say now, we are in the home stretch at last. Lots happening all at once it seems. This is my final semester at University, next week marks the end with final exams. I'll be graduating with a BA in English Literature and I'm very glad to be closing the book on the academics chapter of my life for awhile.


By now many of you know Ladyflcn is expecting our first child, that's very exciting and she's doing well at 3 months along, handling the sickness and the fatigue with all the grace and good humor she can muster. The baby countdown widget is new here, you can watch the baby grow in the bubble as we countdown to his/her [RELz] and as the fates would have it, it's also a countdown to RST's release! :)


For those of you who follow Bethesda's Developer Blog, you'll be excited to know my interview posted this morning! GStaff did some surfing here at the Dimension and came up with lots of great questions to ask, I hope you guys enjoy having another peek into my world. It was really an honor just to be nominated, and an even greater honor to be interviewed, I am humbled to be counted among the names of those past interviews. So for those of you who have been sending me messages asking if I'll do the interview the answer is yes, I did it, had a great time, you can enjoy it here -> BethBlog



Now that you read the interview, where's the project at, right? You guys can't fool me, that's what you always want to know. :tongue:


I had a heck of a time trying to juggle RST and final projects/assignments for school the last week and so up until yesterday RST had stalled briefly. But yesterday I made up for lost time and got a good bit of work done on the latest dungeon crawl. In the next three weeks I plan to finish RST's MQ, then will turn my attention to the side quests and mini games that need to be finished. Last thing on my Agenda before June is to tidy up AI and general dialogue to make sure the non quest NPCs are all using their new dialogue and their basic routines. Lilith and WhoGuru have been the primary Alpha Testers. I have pulled WhoGuru from testing to work on the endgame bits like our last minute dungeon and such. She's also setting the stage for a couple of the side quests I have yet to implement. Once the June deadline passes I will choose my BETA testers from the pool of volunteers and let them get to work play testing while I get the voice actors started. I'm not sure how many characters I will voice myself, two that I know of for sure, but there are some talented folks ready for scripts!


The rest of the summer will be devoted to fixing BETA bugs, patching known conflicts, and polishing the voice work. I will be packaging the voicework separately I think to save download space for those who would prefer a voiceless RST, but I will not be releasing a voiceless version early. November 1, 2010 is slated as the final release, tying into to the baby being born around then. However, IF the work on RST goes smoothly and I finish before then, I will certainly release before then.


A reminder, RST will only be releasing on TESA for the first few months. Because it is a large quest mod, there is no such thing as a bug free release, someone, somewhere is going to find bugs post release. So that I can find and fix these quickly, I want to limit my upload mirrors until the mod is stabilized. Once it's released, please don't beg me to upload it elsewhere, I will in due time, but this seems the most practical way to handle the release of such a large project.


That's it for news for now! Enjoy the interview on Bethblog, and I'll post again in June!

Happy Modding

DarkRider

10.January.2010

Posted by DarkRider on January 10, 2010 at 11:22 PM Comments comments (1)

Hail and Fair Greetings Blades Fans,


Thought I'd stop in and add a little update while the CS is resting! :D


Progress is moving right along, I've gotten past the small story gap now and I'm tying up the quest for the first dungeon crawl. My rig being down for a week set me behind a bit but I'm making up the time well. Two days ago I created a secret testing category on TESA and uploaded the alpha to begin formal testing. Right now the mod is being tested by two testers and so far the feedback has been very positive and the bugs have been super minor to non existent. I'm very pleased the mod is behaving so well and the testers are enjoying themselves immensely. It's kind of weird to have people actually playing the mod, reporting bugs, and refining the build after having it in my care and possession for so long. Both testers are being very gracious and are making the whole thing a positive experience for the project.



My plan at this point is to keep building and hopefully stay just ahead of my testers. There's enough finished to keep them busy for awhile yet. When I finish the Main Quest I will add 2 more testers to the mix while I finish the side details like side quests and secondary AI sets. When that's done, I'll move RST into BETA with a whole new crop of testers. I will be fixing bugs and any issues that crop up as they test. I will also start mastering dialogue and get the rest of the dialogue recorded while the BETA test is in action. The female voice actors are all on board and reliable, the men have proven a bit trickier to keep, but I think it will work out. Between Slider, Marrx, myself and maybe one other we should have the men covered.


That's it for the news, I'll check in again when there's more to share!


Cheers!

DarkRider

06.January.2010: Back in Business!

Posted by DarkRider on January 6, 2010 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Hail and Fair Greetings Blades Fans,


Thought I would post a quick message here to update the status on my current hardware issues. For the time being, I have been able to stabalize my rig and get the graphics issues squared away so work on RST can resume full steam ahead! The Blades decided to celebrate with a few pints!



I am very grateful to those of you who have donated toward my hardware fund. Though this issue is fixed for the time being, my rig is still showing some signs of its age and will need to be replaced so hopefully between donations and saving I can get that squared away soon before anything else gives out! :lol:


I will resume work on RST and will post again when I've made more progress.


Happy Modding,

DarkRider

01.January.2010: A New Year, A New Challenge

Posted by DarkRider on January 1, 2010 at 10:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Hail and Fair Greetings Blades Fans!


I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday season and I hope you find yourselves ready to embrace a new year with all the challenges and triumphs it will no doubt present each of you.


I had a log entry all prepared to post this morning, but something has transpired today that will pose some challenges for me in the coming weeks, and I regret to say, it will pose some challenges for RST as well. This morning, after a couple hours quest building I went in game to test and found my graphics card is no longer up to the task. The graphics anomalies caused by my failing card make game play impossible, which also makes testing my progressing quest build impossible as well.


So, where does that leave the project?




 

 For the time being I am still able to run the CS and quest build, but with no testing ability I will be building blind. It's also probable that the graphics card will continue to degrade, so I don't know how much longer I will have the ability to run the CS at all. I will continue to build on the quest as long as I am able, using WhoGuru where I can to test the progress, and I will continue moving forward with RST as long as my rig holds out. The degrading parts in my rig will need replacing, which can be pricey as my current rig's low profile nature makes replacing parts difficult. It may end up being cheaper to buy a new tower altogether. If my graphics card goes completely and I am no longer able to use the CS, progress on RST will be suspended until I can afford to replace it. As much as I dislike the notion, I have made donations possible here on the Dimension for any benefactors out there who would like to graciously help and donate toward replacing my equipment for the future of RST.Any donations are much appreciated. :)


Before my graphics card climbed into its coffin this morning, I did have some good things to report on RST as well. The quest build is going well, chapter 3 is at last done technically. There is a gap I discovered in the story, and I'm having to tweak it a bit so it makes sense throughout. Heading into RST's first really good dungeon crawl. It's a short one, but has some challenging enemies and interesting innovations in its design. It also marks the climax of chapter 3 where the story turns going into chapter 4. Chapter 4 is mostly dungeon diving as the player begins to piece together the story one dungeon at a time. I'm looking forward to this chapter immensely. The end of chapter 3 takes progress on the quest build to more than halfway and into the down slope.


This week I hope to get the dungeon sequence finished and into chapter 4. I have moved BETA tester lilith to Alpha/Beta status and she will begin the testing at the start of next week to start tracking down bugs in preparation for release. While I still have a functioning CS I will also export the rest of the quest dialogue for the voice actors.


My focus is to continue moving forward no matter what. I believe that the generosity of RST fans and a little magic money from lady luck will take care of the tech issues so the project can return to full speed ahead. I will post updates frequently as things develop further with my equipment and with the project in general,


Happy Modding!

DarkRider

28.November.2009: A Good Month Gone

Posted by DarkRider on November 29, 2009 at 2:44 AM Comments comments (2)

Hail and Fair Greetings Blades Fans,


Just finished updating the RST threads on BGS and also on TESA so thought I would take a moment to update the log!


Some of you may have noticed a new look here on the Dimension. I started seeing a lot of ES Mod sites utilizing the same theme on webs.com and not one to go with the flow I decided to try something new. The custom header is a screen from the dojo of Sancre Tor in RST; one of my favorite screens. Looking through the screens from RST really takes me back, the screenshots captured moments in the last two years of development and as I browse through them I can recall special moments of triumph or epic failures! LOL I've decided to add a new featurette here in the Projects section called "RST:About the Screenshot" which shares some of these screenshots along with an anecdote of what that image captured for me. I thought it might be a neat way to share and recap the journey with all of you.:D



So what's new with Reclaiming Sancre Tor you ask?


I'm so glad you asked! Things with RST's quest build are finally moving forward with haste. The first 90% of chapter three proved very challenging to make manifest from dev plan into the CS. I learned a lot on the way and my skill set increased as well which probably adds to the road getting easier. This screenshot above here is from chapter three where you will be questing with a companion, Any time you add horses to the mix things get trickier to stabilize. There will always be moments where a mounted NPC wanders a bit off task, I'm just doing my best to reduce the number of misadventures they take in RST.


This week I think I should be able to finish chapter three, I'm at a really good place, only another 10% to go, then a short dungeon dive, and chapter four begins! Such a good place in the story too. The thing I like most about RST is that its a story that keeps giving and keeps you moving forward on a journey that is about discovering your destiny as a Blade; truly epic fun.


Armor master Nicoroshi has been working on RST's missing armor concepts and is nearly finished! WhoGuru is about to begin Alpha testing round 2 now that the quest is more stable. I will be moving forward striving for the finish line always. Wind is still working hard to finish his model work and of course, my mates around the Alliance are always willing to help tweak a script or edit a .nif, anything to help me finish. RST has been my journey, but all of you have been there with me the whole way and I am proud to be sharing this with so many of you.


I will update again when I reach the next goal line in the questbuild!


Happy Modding!

DarkRider

01.November.09: Back on Task

Posted by DarkRider on November 2, 2009 at 1:34 AM Comments comments (0)

Hail and Fair Greeting my Friends,

The hot sticky days of summer are officially behind us and the essence of autumn is in the air. The cooler weather stirs my spirits and my creativity! Thought it was time to dust the cobwebs off the Dimension, give her a face lift and update my log! :D


Many of you followed along the recent activity on TES Alliance regarding the Halloween challenge: The Oubliette. In an unprecedented manner, 16 modders from the Elder Scrolls Community, novice and veterans, Oblivion Modders and Morrowind Modders, came together to create one massive dungeon crawl in less than a month. Truly a unique feat! For my part I got to play coordinator and helped to tie the whole thing together into a functioning mod. The end result is a truly wonderful playing experience, and I thank everyone who participated in making it happen. Learned a lot of new things that will be applied to next year's Halloween Challenge!





The Oubliette is now released and relatively stable so of course my thoughts return to Sancre Tor, which has been sadly neglected for the last 9 days as finishing The Oubliette required my full attention (even school got sidelined :ohmy:). With the beast feeding happily on the masses I can return to my work.


I will be diving back into the Main Quest build tomorrow. I tested out a number of techniques for RST during The Oubliette that I will now be able to implement further. I have also found a mate to replace my quest building helper so I should have more steady backup. Very good news is that I have bartered a small modding deal with another well known modder, nicoroshi. He is now assisting with some top secret things for RST in exchange for some assistance on his dialogue. This sort of fair trade is a great way to get help when it is scarce....help someone else and get help!


This week I will be modding steadily on RST, with The Oubliette out of the way now WhoGuru and Windmill Tilter will also be back into RST mode to help me get things finished. I have been giving some recent consideration to releasing a non voiced version of RST early and releasing the voiced version later as modder Middark did with Heart of the Dead. The reasons would be of course, faster release, and also, I can take the time to get really solid actors on the cast rather than taking who I can get. I haven't made this decision yet, but I am considering it.


I will update the log again in a week or two with progress news, and I will update the progress bars on BGS then, I haven't been able to do it of late because I need to re-examine my dev plan to see where I'm at. Being focused on a large quest can be disorienting.


Until Next Time!

DarkRider

02.October.09: Into the Breach Dear Friends

Posted by DarkRider on October 2, 2009 at 4:52 PM Comments comments (1)

Hail and Fair Greetings Blades Fans!


Fall is in the air, and there has been much rumoring of late and a bit of chatter about RST's release. I know that, not being one for idle concern, if Crashpilot comes seeking word of my whereabouts on BGS, I have gone too long without updating my log. LOL I'm grateful for the reminders, it's not that I desire to be derelict in my update duties, it's just that when my mind is focused on RST, I sometimes lose track of things. In the first phase of RST's development there were clearer progress markers, I knew to update whenever I had finished a new block of building. Now, it's a little grayer, my triumphs seem less grand somehow, not worthy of mention until I'm finished, but a good mate reminded me today, even those small victories hold meaning for those who are watching in earnest. So, for you good knights, I will endeavor to give more frequent updates.




So, two months eh? This is gonna be a long entry! :D


Quite a bit has happened since my last update, both for me and for RST. This semester I have gone back to school to finish my English Literature degree. My classes are online so I don't lose as much time out of my day by going to traditional classes. Aside from essay papers, school is fortunately not taking much away from things I'd rather be doing. TESA continues to grow; the site is going to be a wonderful home for RST when she's finished! I'm very proud of the people working to make TESA one of the great ES fan sites, it's just a fantastic group of people to chat and work with.


Progress on RST remains steady, but still slow going. I'm trying to tweak and test as I build the quests to reduce the number of bug reports in the BETA testing phase. My goal is to release the most stable finished product I can so that, when added to your varied load orders, there will be fewer issues in the long run.


I have discovered that Radiant AI is not quite as radiant as we'd like it to be. Even with identical factors in three different tests, the NPCs can do three different things. This is frustrating when I need them to do one thing, the same thing, every time with some predictability. During this middle part of the main quest there are a lot of NPCs, characters who interact with the player, those who interact with each other, and the more NPCs you have the wider the margin for error becomes. The good news is, I'm nearly through this part of the main quest. The next part involves dungeon diving so there are far fewer NPCs and fewer chances for random hiccups, for which I will be grateful.


I have been able to recruit a bit of help with RST's remaining armor concepts from PacificMorrowind and DaMage, though both blokes are fairly new to armor modeling, so this is a bit of a learning experience. While it would have been ideal to have a single experienced person working on them, I run the risk of stalling RST's release by waiting for said person to appear. This way, they are being worked on and Pacific and Mage have both shown themselves to be dedicated to doing the best job possible. I am confident that RST's armor will be as stellar as the rest of the new models.




I have also recruited InsanitySorrow as an assistant to lend a hand in fine tuning some things here and there so I am not pulled away from quest building to sort them myself. At the moment he is working on a small new world space that was planned, and binned, and re-planned, and almost binned again recently until IS stepped in to finish it in my stead. It's definitely an element of the main quest I did not want to discard, but it was taking too much time away from quest building. This way, it gets done and so does the rest of my work. I couldn't ask for a more easy-natured bloke to help out.


Despite the progress, RST has suffered a couple setbacks in the voice work area. A couple folks who were cast have backed out, one was carrying a rather large portion of the male dialogues, and replacing him will be no easy task. Fortunately, there is some new talent coming into the voice actors project on TESA and I should be able to recruit some extra help. Dialogue is currently being recorded, as I finish each quest I dump the dialogue into quest scripts for the actors to record. I do think the voice work is going to ultimately take longer than forecast and may delay the release. If I have to record every male role myself, I will, but I have faith that I will find the talent to help.


Let's talk about release dates, there are some rumors flying about as far as release dates so I thought I should clear up some things. Truly the only one capable of knowing when she will release for sure is RST herself; I take my cues from her. But the only actual announcement you should take as valid is mine, because regardless of other estimates, no one but me can see the scope of the whole project so those estimates thrown out there may be light. I expect a lot of great work to be done in October, but at this time I don't see us releasing that soon. Not knowing for sure is frustrating for me too, I wish I could say with certainty we will release by X date, but for now X date is still elusive to pin down. I had hoped to finish by end of summer, but with Fall beginning now that hope has passed. There's still a bit to do. I am determined to get her released this year, I just can't foresee what's coming up and what setbacks the project may encounter.


I can say one thing for all certainty, and this is my pledge to all of you as a man of honor: I will finish what I have begun. There is no chance, regardless of the success/failure rates of large projects, that RST will not be finished. I will continue to work on this project in earnest and will release her as quickly as humanly possible.


On the horizon, I hope to finish the main quest shortly here, I've already set up the side quests, they just need dialogue added in now, but the characters and markers are in place. I have finished adding NPCs and AI to all the towns except for the characters in MorDradig.  I'll be relieved when the main quest is done; I know it seems to be taking forever it feels that way to me too. Just remember, the vanilla Main Quest has 14 chapters, RST's has 20 and I'm just one bloke so it takes time! LOL WhoGuru is currently doing ALPHA testing as I build; WindmillTilter is working hard as ever to finish the remaining models for RST.

 

I will update again soon, hopefully with more progress news now that I have some helpers taking a bit of the stress and the workload off my shoulders.


Cheers!

DarkRider

 


11.August.09: Into Blackout

Posted by DarkRider on August 11, 2009 at 6:32 PM Comments comments (0)

Hail and Fair Greetings RST Fans!


I thought I would take a minute to post a brief update here in the log and to share some new pictures from my last testing session. I heard there were many anxious voices on BGS crying out for some glimmer of progress news. So, here is your glimmer. Progress on RST had slowed during the website upgrade on TESA, but since that upgrade I have gradually begun to withdraw as my staff is capable of running the daily business of the site without me. Starting today, I have entered what I call a blackout phase which basically means except for a brief checking on messages across the net in the AM, I am offline, and 100% focused on RST.


I took these occasional blackouts early in RST's development to push through long LONG hours in the CS building her many wonderful locations. Because of the stall during the upgrade I felt this was a good time to go offline again and to turn all of my attention and energy toward the goal of completing RST's quest build.



This shot was taken outside of one of my favorite ruins in the vanilla game, Lipsand Tarn. While RST has a host of large, completely new, dungeons, I've also made use of some of these beautiful, but not quest related, dungeons from the vanilla game; adding to them as locations for more minor quest tasks.


I've added some new pics from my dungeon crawl here on the projects page, but don't get too excited, I'm not revealing any secrets just yet! :wink:


Now, for more info on progress, I am hesitant to update the progress bar on BGS just yet because I just went into blackout this morning, and only came back to update the log here at WhoGuru's behest. The reason is because I expect progress to radically increase over the next few days so better to wait until I come out of blackout next week and do a proper update with more pics, and increase the progress bar at the end of this period, rather than at the beginning.


The next planned phase for RST, phase 03, is the BETA testing and voice acting phase. Originally it was planned that this phase would begin after the questbuilding. However, due to the bulk of what's left, I decided that would not be the most time efficient way to handle the process. So, as I finish each leg of the quests, I am exporting dialogue and posting it for my cast to begin work on. Several actors have already submitted finished lines for the release. Also, WhoGuru and I are testing the mod as I build it to greatly reduce the number of bugs that will crop up in the next phase of BETA testing.


While I was hopeful for a summer release I'm no longer certain that will be possible. I do know phase 02 will be complete by the end of summer, but I believe there will be loose ends to tie up at that point before I can release her to the public. Those loose ends partly involve finishing the dialogue/mastering and the second BETA testing  phase. The rather large issue, in addition, is that the armor concepts that were unfinished when Rayn left the project an age ago, and remained unfinished when AlienSlof left the project, are still unfinished. This is a blow to release I have been anticipating. The task of completing them has now fallen to Windmill Tilter, who has been modeling for RST since the beginning; but he has quite a bit of work of his own to finish already. If there is an experienced armor modeler willing to finish these armor concepts, please get in touch.


So, I return now to my blackout to build as much as I can in this one week uninterrupted. Check in again next week for news and a proper update on BGS.


Cheers,

DarkRider

20.July.09: Winds of Change

Posted by DarkRider on July 20, 2009 at 1:28 AM Comments comments (0)

Hail and Fair Greetings My Friends,


I find myself in much better spirits these days, feeling more like my old self again. I want to thank everyone for their kind words and support, it's good to be surrounded by friends at times like these. I know so many of you have been dying for some word on RST's progress this week. I am still making progress, just not as quickly as any of us would like unfortunately. I had not expected the last burst of financial support toward the site change goal from the Allies at TES Alliance to come so soon! Upon reaching the goal line, it was time to kick the site change into high gear. This change has been a long time coming.


When I started TESA, I always knew we would get to this point, so I guess it's been in the works since the beginning. It's very important that the site come to full power before I finish RST, because that will be her home when I finally pass her into your waiting hands!




The site change is rather dramatic, although the workload is a bit daunting. As you can see by this graphic, the old blue of TESA has been replaced by this rather medieval charcoal and black theme. I've added several more ES images throughout the site. Also added some new music to the jukebox. We're doing away with the site features that were in little or no use, such as the lousy nuke evo downloads module, and adding some new things to really make it a real hot spot for ES fans. I won't spoil it for you! We are at about midway through the change right now. I suspect the forum conversion to be finished tomorrow and after that, my team and I will have to get things set up and we'll be ready to open our doors again!


There will be a whole host of new things to explore so be sure to drop by and check it out when we launch! Modders, be sure to bring your mods to TESA and be among the first to host with the hottest upcoming site!


LOL Okay, enough plugging TESA. Once things settle down a bit, probably by about mid week, my attention will be returned to RST in force. Things for RST have not stopped through this, despite my heavy workload with the site I still find time to work on it a bit. I hope by next weekend to have enough done for a proper update and some new screens. I am quickly running out of summer, so things have got to stay in high gear for awhile it seems! :ohmy:


I will do my best to finish by the end of August at the latest. Have had some set backs in the voice actor area so don't know if they will be ready by then. We'll see. Proper update next weekend, and new pics too!


Happy Modding,

DarkRider


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