This week I have been looking over some of the new things that come with "Storm of Zehir". This includes the new scripting command SetPause, which allowed me to add a simple bit of script that supports auto-pausing combat every 6 seconds - on a module heartbeat. As some may know, my group of players and I have a preference towards turn-based combat - probably because we stem from the "very" old school of PnP playing. And while auto-pausing every 6 seconds is not exactly turn-based combat in the sense we like to play, it is a welcomed compromise that allows the game to accurately pause every 6 seconds somewhere between a combat round. Rest assured though, this feature is fully toggable for those who want to keep their combats free from any such facility.
Sorry Feat - Cooldown
I have finally managed to get the "cooldown" feature to work with feats, many thanks to Kaedrin who helped me to pin down where my problem was. As it turned out, the issue was nothing to do with the actual information I was trying to add to the feat.2da file, but the fact that it was not always saving between my tests - and so settings I was making were simply not there! I required this feature for a "Althéa Feat" that allowed a player to say "Sorry" to a neutral that they may have attacked. It is part of the "Life System" where a player will be permitted to attack any creature they can see. However, on the off-chance an attack was made in error, then I needed a way to allow a player to prevent the neutral remaining hostile with them. This is where the "Sorry" feat comes into play. By clicking this option, any neutrals (now made hostile) will return to being non-hostile. However, I decided to give this feature a 30 second cooldown usage so that players could not exploit the situation by hitting every few seconds between saying sorry.
My friend and I finished MotB the other day, with the cutscene conversation bug unfortunately, which was introduced with the SoZ add-on. So, we had to play the last section again with me pausing between lines so we could actually read the ending.
With that over, we started to play SoZ, and were pleasantly surprised at the way the new party conversations worked in a multi-player game. The ability to allow both players a chance to speak or ignore and do their own thing was a great joy. It did remind us more of good old traditional PnP style play where anybody in the group of players could join in.
So, coupled with my own party conversation code, this will be a welcome addition to the campaign and future adventures I intend to build.
Storm of Zehir
My first impressions of this game are very good. I already enjoy the facilities introduced as mentioned above, and I look forward to delving more into the "recipe collecting" system, which was an area I felt needed improving. To me, SoZ has been a big step towards actual gameplay with respects to the spirit of the game. While I can see this will compromise some companion interaction (that the players build themselves), I thoroughly welcome all the great advantages that the game brings instead.
So, even though I am not even off the first beach (we only just started the game), I give SoZ a high score already simply because of the feel it has given me and the added benefits I can already see. In fact, I would even go as far to say that SoZ is probably one of the biggest improvements to the NWN franchise since its release. Good stuff!
Actually, there is some bad stuff that I forgot to mention: There appears to be a bug with the AI since the update and I have heard there are one or two other issues with the latest add-on that require fixing. I have encountered the AI bug myself, in that NPCs do not appear to arm themselves properly and they like to run away from a target before they use ranged weapons. This is most annoying, but something I can fix if Obsidian do not fix it first - which I obviously hope will be the case.