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A thousand mod ideas for BG(2)EE

AlonsoAlonso Member Posts: 662
edited June 9 in General Modding
I have a zillion ideas for mods, so I have decided to try to do my first mod. I've read several times that the first step is to choose the mod you want to create. I've also read that it's best to start with something as simple as possible. I'm not sure of what's simple and what's complicated, so I have written a list with my ideas to get some feedback. Have a look and tell me what seems easiest. Of course, I realize that this list is overkill, but hey, I've written it already and it looks nice, so here it goes. The links point to threads or comments with more information:

IMPROVED COMBAT LOG
  • Extra information in the combat log:
    • A character uses a wand or some other magical item.
    • Successful attack roll, but no damage. Explain why there was no damage. Examples: Stoneskin, Ironskin.
    • When a creature makes a save or has magical resistance, say against what they made the save or had the resistance (when several casters cast spells at the same time it can be very difficult to tell).
    • An enemy casts a spell or uses an ability but the feedback says nothing about it.
    • Dispel spells: Say what has been dispelled. If nothing was dispelled, say “Remove (or dispel) magic didn’t affect <creature_name>”.
    • Item drained: Say what item was drained.
    • Results of spells, scrolls, etc., when they are missing:
      • Save vs. spell.
      • Magic resistance.
      • Immunity.
    • Something important is missing altogether. For example: A character becomes unconscious, but the combat log says nothing about what caused it.
  • Improved feedback options:
    • Improve the description of each feedback option.
    • Divide the option “Actions” in two more specific options: Target Selection and Other actions. Target selection is the part of the feedback that says “X attacks Y”. Other actions is all the other feedback currently included in the Actions option. This allows to remove all the “X attacks Y” messages, which typically are not very useful, and still leave more useful feedback, like which spells are being cast.
  • Jimfix reloaded. Jimfix is a great little mod that (among other things) improves significantly the combat log. Unfortunately, Jim has been offline for almost a year and his mod is no longer supported. I’d like to replicate the notifications part of Jimfix, i. e., the part that displays extra notifications in the combat log. This would allow me to add some customization and fix some minor issues. One such customization would be to display expiration notifications only when in combat.
  • Increase the amount of text allowed in the combat log. Currently it is so limited that for some long fights it doesn’t fit into the log.
  • Searchable combat log: A button or maybe a hot key open a search dialog that allows you to search text in the combat log.

IMPROVED AUTO PAUSES
  • New auto pause options:
    • Item used. This includes wands, scrolls, potions, abilities of items, etc.
    • Skill used (e. g., disarm trap, pick lock, pick pocket, steath).
    • Weapon ineffective.
    • Character state change (e. g., poisoned, level drained).
    • Disrupted spellcasting.
  • Character hit auto pause: Pause only when a character is hit, not when a summoned creature is hit.
  • Fix End of round auto pause.
  • Fix Enemy sighted auto pause. In some cases it doesn’t go off. Examples:
    • BG2: Chapter 6: Fight after returning the eggs to Adalon.
    • BG2: Final fight.

BUG FIXES
Bugs would be the cases in which the behaviour of the game contradicts what the documentation says. Whether the bug is in the behaviour of the game or in the documentation is often unclear, though.
  • Spells.
  • Party formations: When you have summons in your party, the formations become very weird, with the party members in their correct formation, but the summons forming a mile away.
  • Chance to learn a spell of kitted bards, wild mages, and dual classed characters. Also discussed here
  • Pathfinding. Problems that need fixing:
    • Characters refuse to move.
    • Characters moving in the wrong direction.
    • Characters push and move other characters.
    • Faster characters (hasted) cannot overtake slower characters.
  • Inconsistencies with character immunities: Characters attacked with a type of damage to which they are immune behave like they received damage. For instance, a character immune to fire is attacked with a fire ball. He doesn’t receive damage, but he still complains (in audio and in the feedback panel), is held for a fraction of a second, the game displays a damage animation, and it is paused automatically if the appropriate option is selected.
  • Spell disruption: Sometimes dealing damage to a caster doesn’t disrupt his casting. Other times the casting is disrupted even though the caster is immune to the damage.
  • Drink potion button: When you click “Use item” in the quick access bar and then right click one of the abilities listed, a panel with a description is displayed. This panel has two buttons: Done and Drink potion. Drink potion doesn’t belong there.
  • Combat log mismatched text: In long fights, the first lines displayed at the beginning of the combat log are often wrong.
  • Fix the damage stats in the inventory and record screens.
  • Simulacrum.
  • Mazzy's Strength give her a bonus to THAC0 even with ranged weapons, which seems wrong.
  • Any of the other bugs reported in Redmine.

IMPROVED DOCUMENTATION
  • Spells descriptions:
  • Items descriptions:
    • Protection from Magic scroll: List forms of magic that can go through it. It’s not invisible.
    • Periapt of proof against poison: Doesn’t protect against poison.
    • Cloak of the stars: The darts only last for 24 hours.
  • Abilities descriptions:
    • Thieving abilities: Add the information in this thread.
    • Set snare. Add info on the risk that the thief hurts himself.
      All this extra info will be available in:
      • The level up screen.
      • The description of the set snare ability that pops up when right clicking.
      • A tooltip displayed when hovering the mouse over the ability name in the record screen.
  • The defensive and offensive spins of the blade cancel each other.
  • Add info from the thread on typos and text errors.

USER INTERFACE
  • Better enemy identification: Fighting a group of enemies with generic names can be very confusing. For example, you fight a party of drow that includes five generic drow. The game simply identifies each of them with the word “drow”. One of them casts Mantle. The feedback screen just says “Drow: Casts Mantle”. It doesn’t tell you which of the five drow cast it. When you want to use Breach to remove the mantle, you don’t know which of the five drow you need to target.
    Solution: Give a number to each drow: Drow 1, drow 2, drow 3, drow 4, drow 5. When one of them casts Mantle, the feedback says “Drow 4: Casts Mantle”. The tooltip that identifies each drow also includes this number.
  • Improved level up screen: Add the current score of thieving abilities, i. e., the score including bonuses from items, potions, etc.
  • Improved record screen:
  • Add missing effect icons, like Invisibility, in the character buttons.
  • Aiming helper:
    • When a ranged spell or ability is selected, it highlights all the points (i. e., the area) at which it can be cast from the current location of the character. This allows to know whether the character needs to move to cast the spell. Useful in multiple situations, specially when you want to cast a spell at a point located in a different room.
    • Improved area of effect indicator: Displays the actual area of effect of a spell, I. e., it removes from the indicator the areas which are blocked by a wall or other obstacle. It also displays the area of effect for spells centered on the caster, like Chant or Protection from Evil.
  • Improved labels: Separate the labels of creatures (displayed when pressing tab) to prevent them from hiding each other.
  • Improved combat log UI: Dock the combat log to one corner and make its width adjustable. Modern screens are wide and not very tall, as opposed to the almost square screens that existed when the game was created. That means that a combat log that displays about a dozen lines of text covers half of the screen. Most of that screen space is wasted because the lines of the combat log are typically very short, so about three quarters of the combat log space are typically empty. Docking it to one of the corners would make much better use of the screen space.
  • Summons and enemies panel buttons. Similar to the characters buttons in the right column.
    • Located below and/or besides the character buttons.
    • Clicking the button of a summon selects the summon.
    • Clicking the button of an enemy centers the camera on the location of the enemy.
    • The buttons display icons with info about the buffs and debuffs that affect each of them, just like the character buttons.
  • Buff manager: Panel that allows to select a sequence of buffings to be cast before a big fight. Features:
    • The player selects all the spells, potions, and items to be used in the buffing.
    • The mod automatically selects the order in which the buffings will be performed. It sorts the buffs by order of decreasing duration, to make the buffs last for as long as possible during the fight.
    • The mod automatically sorts the buffs to avoid conflicts among them, like trying to cast a buff on a character that is invisible.
    • Once all the buffs have been selected, the mod makes all the spell casting, potion drinking, etc., automatically, without user interaction.
  • Improved Inventory: The AC subsection lists several contributors to the AC simply as "Ability bonuses". That's not very informative. Break down these ability bonuses line into the actual origings of those bonuses, like Blur, defensive stance or the improved bard song.
  • Improved spell selector: Depending on their duration, spells are best suited for different moments of the game. Long duration spells are best cast as soon as the party awakes from their rest or after travelling. Medium duration spells tend to be more helpful when entering potentially dangerous areas. Short duration spells are best cast during or just before combat. This mod uses background colour coding to distinguish between spells of different durations (expressed in game time, not real time):
    • Green: More than one hour.
    • Orange: Between two turns and one hour.
    • Red: Less than two turns.
    • No colour: Instant effect.
  • Order queuing: A new UI control allows the player to queue orders for a character: First cast spell x, then move to spot y, then attack enemy z with your axe. The character performs all three actions in succession with player interaction.

OTHER
  • Remove the pointless gas animation of spore colonies.
  • Improved Melf’s Minute Meteors: MMM are a great weapon, but they can be very dangerous. If an enemy attacks the mage in melee, the mage cannot drop the MMM, so he suffers the big penalty for using a ranged weapon in melee combat. This mod simply allows the mage to drop the MMM, which enables him to select a melee weapon and eliminate the penalty.
  • Improved contingencies and sequencers. Contingencies and sequencers fail when their target is out of range of their spells. For example, a chain contingency that casts Mordenkainen Sword fails if its target is the nearest enemy. This mod prevents the player from putting in a sequencer or contingency spells that are guaranteed to fail due to their range limitations.
  • Party AI off affects summons. The AI of summoned creatures is not very good. Examples:
    • A demon casts Fire Storm on my party. I move my summoned creatures away from the fire damage. However, as soon as they become idle, the AI kicks in and they attack the demon, thus returning to the Fire Storm area and killing themselves with the fire damage.
    • An enemy charms my summoned elemental. In order to avoid killing it, I neutralize it for the duration of the charm with a wand of paralyzation. However, my other summons keep attacking it, and the only way to stop them is to move them far away from the elemental.
      The easiest way to fix this would be to turn off the AI of summons. A possible way of doing so would be to turn off their AI when you turn off the AI for the whole party.
  • Allow summons to move between areas. It doesn’t make much sense that a summoned kobold cannot follow you into or out of a house.
  • SCS tweak: Add more options to the ease of use script:
    • Mage/thieves, like Imoen and Jan: On top of their magic scripting, they can also search for traps or hide in the shadows automatically when they're idle.
    • Bards: On top of their magic scripting, when enemies are around they can sing their bard song instead of attacking enemies.
  • Join the nine areas of Baldur’s Gate into one.
  • Allow targetting of enemies who have their red circle behind a door.
  • Remove the "dead magic" effect from the rooms in the maze level of Watcher's keep. It works in unpredictable and weird ways and it's unfair because it affects the party but not the demons.
  • GUI for Weidu. Includes:
    • An update feature that updates all the components of a mod to the newest version with one click.
    • An uninstall feature that uninstalls all the components of a mod with one click.
    • A reinstall feature that reinstalls all the components of a mod with one click.
[*] Improved game saving: Games can be saved at any time, including in the middle of combat.

Obviously some of the mods in this list are very complicated, but I thought I’d just have the whole list here for reference anyway. So what would be the easiest thing to do in this list?

Note: Years ago I studied engineering and worked as a programmer, that should help with the modding.

Edit: Fixed some typos and mistakes.

Post edited by Alonso on
cloudkillbeatsallStummvonBordwehrJuliusBorisovGusindaTimbo0o0o0FlashburnJames_MRik_Kirtaniya

Comments

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,002
    The spell description edits would likely be easiest. 85% writing, 15% coding.

    I made a little mod a long time ago for droppable MMM... I think. I honestly don't know where it is, but you might run some searches for it. Could save you the effort there, at least.

    A lot of this (feedback stuff) looks like it might be impossible... :( Though maybe people who have done some UI modding would know better.

    The "turn off summons AI when party AI is off" is a fantastic idea. Summons management drives me up the wall, it's like swimming against the tide.

  • kjeronkjeron Member Posts: 1,903
    Alonso wrote: »
    IMPROVED COMBAT LOG
    Alonso wrote: »
    [*] A character uses a wand or some other magical item.
    [*]When a creature makes a save or has magical resistance, say against what they made the save or had the resistance (when there are several casters casting spells it can be very difficult to tell).
    [*]Something important is missing altogether. For example: A character becomes unconscious, but the combat log says nothing about what caused it.
    Should be doable by adding various display string effects to these abilities.
    Alonso wrote: »
    [*] An enemy casts a spell or uses an ability but the feedback says nothing about it.
    Some monster abilities do not have names set, so nothing is displayed when they are used. Just giving them a name will generate the feedback. Otherwise ... examples where no feedback is given?

    The rest of these are controlled by the engine, so unless your altering the exe, modding won't likely help.
    Alonso wrote: »
    BUG FIXES
    Zone of sweet air. - Append projectile index entries to CLEARAIR.2DA
    Time stop. - add Baldur.BCS script trigger to rewind time by (duration) before triggering the Time Stop effect. (It might not fix everything, but is a start).
    Grease. - (not sure what the issue is, aside from BG2EE lacking one of the sound files)
    Inconsistencies with character immunities - See this thread https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/64821/blazing-inferno

    Spell disruption
    Drink potion button
    Combat log mismatched text
    Party formations
    Chance to learn a spell of kitted bards, wild mages, and dual classed characters.
    Pathfinding
    The rest of these are controlled by the engine, so unless your altering the exe, modding won't likely help.
    Alonso wrote: »
    Descriptions
    Chant - ??? Bad link - I assume replace the entire description with
    "+1 luck and saving throws to allies, -1 luck and saving throws to enemies, multiple chants do not stack?"
    Emotion Hopelessnesss - The relevant opcode is used for a wide range of effects, including Wake on Hit (Sleep), Unconsciousness, Knockdown, Trip, Hopelessness - anything that causes the creature to fall to the ground. But it is not "Sleep" that is used here, hitting them will not wake them. (The portrait icon does need correcting though).
    Enchanted weapon - The effect is applied to the creature, not really their weapons, it affects all attacks they make.

    AlonsoGrammarsalad
  • FlashburnFlashburn Member Posts: 1,681
    Probably best not to actually remove Magic Fire/Magic Cold, as I know some mods actually do use these damage types, like SCS Improved Bodhi and AionZ's Warlock kit. I'm pretty sure these damage types don't appear in vanilla, however.

  • AlonsoAlonso Member Posts: 662
    IMPROVED COMBAT LOG
    kjeron wrote: »
    Should be doable by adding various display string effects to these abilities.
    Nice. Doesn't sound too scary. Could you give me any pointers as to where to start?
    kjeron wrote: »
    Some monster abilities do not have names set, so nothing is displayed when they are used. Just giving them a name will generate the feedback. Otherwise ... examples where no feedback is given?
    That sounds like something quite easy to try to get my feet wet. Unfortunately, I have to admit that I wasn't very careful when I was writing this list, sometimes I just wrote down quick notes as I played, thinking I would expand them further when needed. Of course, this mod idea isn't very useful without some specific examples to work with. Off the top of my head the only case I remember is the final fight in BG2. If my memory serves, the balors cast Stoneskin a lot, but sometimes the combat log says nothing about it.
    I guess it's probably better to skip this one until I have a couple of confirmed cases with screenshots and saved games to tinker with.
    kjeron wrote: »
    The rest of these are controlled by the engine, so unless your altering the exe, modding won't likely help.
    Altering the exe sounds like the kind of tinkering that will make my PC explode, so I think I'll skip that.

    BUG FIXES
    kjeron wrote: »
    Zone of sweet air. - Append projectile index entries to CLEARAIR.2DA
    This one sounds like a doddle! :smile: Do you know where to find the projectile indexes?
    kjeron wrote: »
    Time stop. - add Baldur.BCS script trigger to rewind time by (duration) before triggering the Time Stop effect. (It might not fix everything, but is a start).
    This, on the other hand, does sound quite scary. Like something I might dare to try after I have completed half a dozen easy ones.
    kjeron wrote: »
    Grease. - (not sure what the issue is, aside from BG2EE lacking one of the sound files)
    It's not that it lacks the sound file, it's that the sound file sounds horrible (somebody said it makes his ears bleed). The most straightforward solution is to replace the offending file with a blank sound file. When I created that post my problem was that I couldn't figure out which file was the problematic one. It turns out you answered that in your post in that thread, so I'd say that's my first mod right there! Except, of course, I didn't do it, you did it! :lol:
    kjeron wrote: »
    Inconsistencies with character immunities - See this thread https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/64821/blazing-inferno
    Nice one! Looks like this fellow did exactly what I had in mind. I'll install it and see how it goes.

    Descriptions
    kjeron wrote: »
    Chant - ??? Bad link - I assume replace the entire description with
    "+1 luck and saving throws to allies, -1 luck and saving throws to enemies, multiple chants do not stack?"
    Yes and no. I mean yes, of course, that's exactly what the spell does. The problem is that luck is not described anywhere, so most people would need more detail to actually know what the spell does, so I'm thinking about something a bit more descriptive:

    CHANT
    Gives these benefits to allies:
    • -1 to saving throws.
    • +1 luck:
      • +1 to attack and physical damage rolls, up to the maximum roll.
      • -1 to damage rolls for magical damage received, with a minimum of 1 per roll.
      • +1 to healing rolls, up to the maximum roll.
      • Improves reaction times.
      • Slightly improves the chances of success when using some thieving skills.
      • Improves the effectiveness of the spell Mirror Image.
    Applies the opposite effects to enemies.
    Chant does not stack with itself.

    All of this written in a more colourful and interesting way, of course.
    kjeron wrote: »
    Emotion Hopelessness - The relevant opcode is used for a wide range of effects, including Wake on Hit (Sleep), Unconsciousness, Knockdown, Trip, Hopelessness - anything that causes the creature to fall to the ground. But it is not "Sleep" that is used here, hitting them will not wake them. (The portrait icon does need correcting though).
    OK, so this seems like a two parts task. First correcting a bit the description (according to which the victims say things like "I'm going home", which doesn't fit the idea that they're unconscious), and fixing the portrait icon. Sounds quite doable, but since we've already identified one or two that look even easier, I might just start with those instead.
    kjeron wrote: »
    Enchanted weapon - The effect is applied to the creature, not really their weapons, it affects all attacks they make.
    Interesting. Then the mod idea doesn't change, it's still about correcting the spell description, but specifically to explain what you just explained here.
    Flashburn wrote: »
    Probably best not to actually remove Magic Fire/Magic Cold, as I know some mods actually do use these damage types, like SCS Improved Bodhi and AionZ's Warlock kit. I'm pretty sure these damage types don't appear in vanilla, however.
    Thank you for pointing this out. Still, I feel that it might be nice little mod for some people. But it would definitely have to come with a big warning that says "don't use with mods x, y and z!", of course. Anyway, I'm not planning to start with that one for now.

  • DavidWDavidW Member Posts: 653
    Oops, that’s what I get for just borrowing resources from Tactics without reverse-engineering them... will fix in next SCS version.

    AlonsoRaduzielGusindaMantis37
  • AlonsoAlonso Member Posts: 662
    DavidW wrote: »
    Oops, that’s what I get for just borrowing resources from Tactics without reverse-engineering them... will fix in next SCS version.
    It's inspiring to see how committed you are to making your amazing mod even better.

    RaduzielLudwig_IIGusindaMantis37
  • AlonsoAlonso Member Posts: 662
    Bumping this thread in the hope that I get some more feedback.

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