Working on a new Book II mod

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MyGameCompany
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Working on a new Book II mod

Post by MyGameCompany » June 5th, 2014, 10:29 pm

It's been awhile since I released my previous Book III mod, and I know some of you are wondering if I'm working on another mod. As a matter of fact, I am! But my next mod is a large, ambitious expansion for Book II. I thought I'd give a quick progress report on it.
[+] SPOILER
My new mod will be called "Return to Bastion Spire", and it adds about 20 new maps to explore. The story is that the Taurax are preparing to invade Mistfell, after having conquered Thaermore prior to the start of Book II. And while they're sending scouts ahead and gathering their army, you soon learn that they are also searching Bastion Spire for a weapon that will speed up their conquest. In fact, that's the only reason why they haven't already invaded. So your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to go to Bastion Spire and stop them from finding and using this weapon. To do that, you'll need to find a way past the Taurax army and travel through occupied territory. This will be a very challenging mod for high-level characters. It's also a great opportunity for a rogue to utilize his/her stealth skills, though other character builds should also be able to complete it with a little help from the right spells and/or potions.

Ever since I first played Book II, I've wondered what it might be like to travel from my new home in Mistfell to some of the old familiar places in Thaermore. This new mod will let you travel south through Midlande, the Mighty Mountains, and Western Thaermore (all previously uncharted regions) and revisit two locations from Book 1 - Bastion Spire and Darkford. You will be able to access the new area from either the Yoma Narrows (I've added a way to cross the river, since the merchant destroyed the bridge) or Port Edon (I made the barrier on the Eastern Road destructible so you can blow it open with powder kegs).

With such a large area to explore and no way to add new Quick Travel locations, I had to get creative. It's a long way to Bastion Spire, and it would be difficult to go that whole distance with no way to restock food and ammo or unload the junk (ahem, treasure) that you collect along the way. So I came up with my own custom "quick travel" mechanism using a set of portals. It's similar to the building in Crakamir in Book I that contains 3 portals that take you to different locations throughout Thaermore. The portals can be found near the start of the mod, but I set it up so that you have to visit the distant location first and find the portal there before you can use it. But once you find a portal, it will allow you to return to Mistfell to restock or sell your stuff, and then quickly get back to the new area without having to walk all the way back.

So far I've finished about 1/3 of the new maps. Others are partially complete, with large areas that have yet to be filled in. I've been working on the key locations first, so some of the in-between maps were created and filled with empty terrain just so I can travel between the key locations and test things out. I'm hoping to finish it in another month or so.

So far, I like how its turning out. I've been able to build some interesting areas, and I've found some ways to use the scripting engine to do some unique things. One of my favorite parts of the new mod is the map that contains the Taurax army. It is literally an army, and with all the enemies the map takes awhile to load. But it is exciting trying to sneak through the enemy camp with my rogue without being detected by the dozens and dozens of Taurax milling about all around me. If they spot me, they all pounce on me and I'm dead before I can react! The army blocks the Misty Pass, which according to BW's map, is the only way over the Mighty Mountains. (Of course, I added an alternate route that may be better suited to other character builds, but in some ways it's going to be even more dangerous than the Taurax army.)

Well, hopefully that whets your appetite and gives you something to look forward to! If you've been thinking about replaying Book II, you might want to start soon and build yourself a good, strong character to tackle the new mod with! :D
Troy
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Check out my Book III mods: The Mystery of Rockhammer Mine and Expedition into West Mirkland

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Re: Working on a new Book II mod

Post by Ssschah » June 7th, 2014, 10:51 am

Sounds cool. :)
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Re: Working on a new Book II mod

Post by MyGameCompany » June 24th, 2014, 3:44 pm

Here's a quick update, for those who are interested. So far I've finished 9 of the 17 outdoor maps, and am close to finishing the 10th. I've also finished 8 dungeons / building interiors out of about 15 planned.

Here's a shot of Bastion Spire level 5, which I've rebuilt in the Book II engine:
clip_bastion_spire.jpg
clip_bastion_spire.jpg (142.9 KiB) Viewed 6651 times
And here's a shot of the same map from Book I, for comparison:
clip_bastion_spire_orig.jpg
clip_bastion_spire_orig.jpg (171.3 KiB) Viewed 6651 times
I think it looks pretty good, considering I had to substitute some textures for those that aren't available in Book II. (Of course, with the Taurax occupying Bastion Spire, the room won't look this pristine in the final version, but I just wanted to show a side-by-side comparison).

I might post additional screenshots of some of the completed maps later this week.
Troy
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Check out my Book III mods: The Mystery of Rockhammer Mine and Expedition into West Mirkland

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Re: Working on a new Book II mod

Post by SpottedShroom » June 24th, 2014, 8:18 pm

Looks great! If it would help you, please feel free to nag me about adding support for conversion between books to the map editor :)

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Re: Working on a new Book II mod

Post by MyGameCompany » June 25th, 2014, 7:48 am

Consider yourself nagged! hehe!

I'd love to port a few of the Book I maps to Book II (Bordertown, Aridell, etc). I've thought about opening up Darkford and allowing the player to wander back to the old Book I stomping grounds and seeing how it has changed since the Taurax invasion. Looking at the Eschalon world map, Darkford seems like a natural invasion route for the Taurax to get from Eastern Thaermore to Mistfell. However, I'm leaving Darkford closed (even though it probably wouldn't be if the Taurax used it) because this mod is already big. And from a story standpoint, there's no reason the player needs to revisit those parts of Thaermore. But it might be fun to do later as a separate mod.

And of course, it would also be neat to be able to convert Book I and Book II maps to Book III - not only to port those games to the new engine, but also to create some interesting new mods.
Troy
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Check out my Book III mods: The Mystery of Rockhammer Mine and Expedition into West Mirkland

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Re: Working on a new Book II mod

Post by MyGameCompany » July 3rd, 2014, 9:10 pm

I've got 11 of the planned 17 outdoor maps finished, and am working on the 12th. I also finished an unplanned 18th outdoor map - I had a sudden inspiration last weekend, started experimenting, and was pleased enough with the results that I polished it up, finished it off, and added it to the mod.

Here are a few screen grabs, to show you a small part of what I've been building.

This is a shot of Western Midlande, which you might note from your Eschalon World Map is southeast of Port Edon. (Yes, this mod connects Port Edon with the Yoma Narrows, where the caravan leader destroyed the bridge near your home in Eastwillow)
b2mod_west_midlande.jpg
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This is from The Greymarks, which is in the southern part of Western Midlande. I'm rather pleased that I was able to use the Book II textures to create a swamp-like area. No annoying insect swarms, but plenty of other surprises.
b2mod_the_greymarks.jpg
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And this is one of the signature locations in this mod: the enemy camp of the Taurax army. Good luck getting through here undetected!
b2mod_tauraxarmycamp.jpg
b2mod_tauraxarmycamp.jpg (133.36 KiB) Viewed 6573 times
At minimum, I need to finish 2 more outdoor maps and the rest of the Bastion Spire interior before I can even think about releasing a beta of this mod. The remaining 4 outdoor maps can be completed later, as they mainly fill in some miscellaneous areas of the world map. I'm hoping to release something playable by the end of July.
Troy
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Check out my Book III mods: The Mystery of Rockhammer Mine and Expedition into West Mirkland

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Re: Working on a new Book II mod

Post by SpottedShroom » July 4th, 2014, 12:01 am

Looks awesome! I'm looking forward to playing it.

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Re: Working on a new Book II mod

Post by Kreador Freeaxe » July 4th, 2014, 6:21 am

Those do look great, Troy! Looking forward to it!
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Re: Working on a new Book II mod

Post by Painted Lady » July 4th, 2014, 10:40 pm

I can only say - wow! Sounds like great fun. Can't wait.

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Re: Working on a new Book II mod

Post by IJBall » July 5th, 2014, 7:42 pm

Yeah, this looks awesome! :D

I'm almost off work for the summer, and will definitely give this mod a shot when I've got the free time.

One request: please also post something about this to the Modding - Eschalon: Book III forum, especially once it's finished and ready for downloading! - Yes, I know it's not a "Book III Mod", but I think a lot of people are only checking that forum for mods right now, and wouldn't think to look here for one. (I know I personally only discovered this thread by accident!...)

So, if it's not too much trouble, I'd drop a line to the Modding - Eschalon: Book III forum, and maybe just link to this specific thread from there.

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Re: Working on a new Book II mod

Post by MyGameCompany » July 5th, 2014, 8:41 pm

IJBall wrote:One request: please also post something about this to the Modding - Eschalon: Book III forum, especially once it's finished and ready for downloading! - Yes, I know it's not a "Book III Mod", but I think a lot of people are only checking that forum for mods right now, and wouldn't think to look here for one. (I know I personally only discovered this thread by accident!...)

So, if it's not too much trouble, I'd drop a line to the Modding - Eschalon: Book III forum, and maybe just link to this specific thread from there.
Done!
Troy
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Check out my Book III mods: The Mystery of Rockhammer Mine and Expedition into West Mirkland

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Re: Working on a new Book II mod

Post by MyGameCompany » July 24th, 2014, 8:32 pm

I'm getting close to releasing the first beta of this new mod - I just need to fill in some missing details in the last Bastion Spire map, and then do one final play-through to make sure it all flows properly and fix any bugs or details that I might have overlooked.

There are 5 outdoor maps that will be missing in the first version, but those places are aren't necessary for the main storyline, and are at the outer edges of the expanded area. (Four of them make up the southern portion of Western Thaermore (southwest of Bastion Spire), and the other is the mouth of the Yoma River.) Even with that many missing maps, this mod will still add 12 new outdoor maps, several huge dungeons, and lots of smaller caves and dungeons. Plus there are dozens of hidden areas and secrets.

I'm hoping to make it available in a couple of days. I'm eager to get some feedback, and find out if I've made it too hard, too easy, or just right.
Troy
Former indie game developer
Check out my Book III mods: The Mystery of Rockhammer Mine and Expedition into West Mirkland

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Re: Working on a new Book II mod

Post by raverdave2k » July 25th, 2014, 12:14 pm

Such anticipation, can't wait :D
My modifications for Eschalon Book I: RaverDave's Book I Mod
My modifications for Eschalon Book II: Port Kuudad Tower - Now Open, Treasure Of The Orakur

All previous versions avaliable here

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Re: Working on a new Book II mod

Post by MyGameCompany » July 26th, 2014, 3:57 pm

A beta of this new mod is now available! See this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=34&t=9355
Troy
Former indie game developer
Check out my Book III mods: The Mystery of Rockhammer Mine and Expedition into West Mirkland

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