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BG1 NPC Mods and banters question

Hello friends!
I have a question, rather a rhetorical one.
There’s a huge amount of NPC mods out there. Well, I’ve played only few of them. Just in case I’m not talking about good or bad mods, but there’s a thing that bothers me a lot. Lets take the first BG game. I’m currently working on a mod. Though the original idea was to add new areas - 4 or 5 new dungeons to the game, new mobs, new items etc, but later I’ve decided to add an NPC to my small add-on (actually I’ve added 3 NPCs)… Nevermind… All of them have standart party voicesets (action, battlecry, selecting, reputation change, day\night and etc.), but banter lines are not voiced at all, unlike Dorn’s or Neera’s, though all 3 EE NPCs have no reputation change lines or day\night, dungeon\city lines, but they have a lot of banters and interactions compared to the original ones. And IMO they are breaking the athmosphere a bit with that, standing out from the original NPCs (they look like more BG2 NPCs in the BG1 world, but lacking some important party lines lol). The question that bothers me is what people really expect from a mod? No matter voiced or not – the more banters the better or the NPC should so to say merge with the crowd and get into the original athmosphere? I mean 1 not so complicated personal quest, voiced party lines, 1 or 2 banters and interactions (like Branwen for example), maybe 1 or 2 personal items (ehm.. Rasaad gets 3 =)).
Or maybe I don’t understand the whole concept – NPC mods are all about banters, not about that cosmetic stuff like voicesets and portraits? Does it bothers you if new NPCs do have 1 or 2 banters with everyone in the game while others don’t and keep talking even during a battle =) or if the new NPC is more laconic like Ajantis or Branwen?

And one more question for the DnD fans. Goblins usually have dogs or wolf pets. What kind of dogs are they or may be in the BG setting? Maybe Worgs or War Dogs?

RavenslightSmilingSword

Comments

  • RavenslightRavenslight Member Posts: 1,611
    @Darkdogg
    I personally prefer mod NPC’s to have more dialogue and banters then the original game provided. I think many people do, which explains the popularity of the BGI NPC project. It doesn’t bother me personally, if the mod NPC has more banters with some party NPCs then others. Especially if it makes sense from a personality perspective. Just as in real life, people are going to have more to say to some people then others.

    Saber83
  • SharGuidesMyHandSharGuidesMyHand Member Posts: 2,513
    DarkDogg said:

    The question that bothers me is what people really expect from a mod? No matter voiced or not – the more banters the better or the NPC should so to say merge with the crowd and get into the original athmosphere?

    Speaking personally, I'm a very big appreciator of the original game as is. I like the fact that many of the original NPCs' backgrounds are kept shrouded in mystery, and allow you to form your own image of them in your mind. However, I also don't mind a bit a variety to spice things up here and there - so I don't mind, and in fact would probably welcome, a modded NPC that conspicuously stands out from the others with added banters and quests.

    One of the reasons that I'm in the apparent minority that doesn't like the added banters component of the NPC Project is that it comes to dominate or reshape, rather than merely supplement, the original game. However, I like the fact that the new NPCs for BG:EE add a small amount of "BG2-ish" banters and quests, which add just the right amount of variety (for my tastes at least) while still leaving the original game in tact.

    DarkDoggRavenslight
  • DarkDoggDarkDogg Member Posts: 598
    @Ravenslight personally I think the NPC Project is the best bg1 mod ever. My favourite mod. So I'm with the majority here. On the other hand I clearly realize the thing that all the banters in this mod were written by fans, not by the original storywriters and they may be different from the BG creator's ideas. I got your point. What's your opinion about mod NPCs voicing and portraits? Is it important if they match with the originals or not really?

    Ravenslight
  • DarkDoggDarkDogg Member Posts: 598


    Speaking personally, I'm a very big appreciator of the original game as is. I like the fact that many of the original NPCs' backgrounds are kept shrouded in mystery, and allow you to form your own image of them in your mind.

    Like reading a book or watching a movie. May I ask whats your favourite npc mod if there are any?
    The reason why I'am asking - I'm looking for the golden mean, a strong moderate position so to say. I know many npc mods have their downsides. It reminds me so much of the Sir Gilmore NPC mod for DAO. It's an outstanding mod, one of the fans favourite and the only high quality NPC mod for DAO. But his main disadvantage is from what I learned from other gamers - "shitty banters and voicsets". Some people thought that the author went too far in the wrong direction storywise. But still it was a superb mod. On the other hand there was an official DA2 NPC DLC a hawkeye, that the majority of the gamers found "bad". Still he had original game quests and voicesets, but his personality was so poor, that...

  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    When designing NPCs, it's important to note what the original (and EE) characters all have in common.

    For example:

    1. They can have their own storylines, but the PC must be seen to have a direct influence on its outcome. Without your help, Edwin can't get the Nether Scroll; Anomen can't solve his sister's murder; Nalia can't retake De'Arnise Keep. The reason they need you is because of their own individual flaws: they're either too weak on their own or they lack the focus you can provide.

    2. Party members are meant to relate not only to the protagonist, but to each other as well. The EE NPCs actually do a pretty good job of this: Hexxat flirts with Viconia, Dorn and Korgan develop a grudging friendship, Rasaad and Edwin exchange shaving tips - the idea being that no matter what combination of characters in your party, any two should have at least one conversation that tells you more about them.

    3. Nearly every party member in BG2 has at least one unique attribute: Jaheira can cast Harper's Call, Viconia has drow magic resistance, Mazzy has pseudo-paladin powers, etc. That said, you want to be very careful not to go too far and make them overpowered, which is one of the reasons the Solaufein mod gets so much criticism even though damn-near everyone wanted to be able to recruit him.

    4. Voiced lines are a nice addition, but hardly mandatory - it's not like every single line of dialogue from existing NPCs is voiced either. And, as the Ser Gilmore mod proves, bad voice acting can bring down an otherwise-good mod.

    DarkDoggRavenslightDJKajuru
  • RavenslightRavenslight Member Posts: 1,611
    DarkDogg said:

    @Ravenslight personally I think the NPC Project is the best bg1 mod ever. My favourite mod. So I'm with the majority here. On the other hand I clearly realize the thing that all the banters in this mod were written by fans, not by the original storywriters and they may be different from the BG creator's ideas. I got your point. What's your opinion about mod NPCs voicing and portraits? Is it important if they match with the originals or not really?

    Voices are like everything else. What appeals to one person may not to others. In the scheme of things my opinion doesn’t matter much, but since you asked. :) In a perfect world, all mods would have voiced NPCs done by professional actors. Not very realistic. I personally appreciate it if the NPC has a voice set so that when you click on them they are not completely quiet. They start feeling eerily quiet to me if there is nothing.

    Having said that. An NPC with a voice that sounds grating to my ears does tend to turn me off to the possibility of replaying a mod. Though that's not limited to mod NPCs. Take Neera for example. I didn’t mind her so much in BGI EE, but by BGII EE I had as much as I could take of the child. In the end I started to feel like she didn’t even fit in the BG setting. But that is just my own impression. Many people love her.

    As much as I like Anomen in the original game, there is one thing he says when you click on him that just sounds like nails on a chalkboard to me. I’ve often wondered if that single sound contributed to his unpopularity. :) I love the rest of his voice set, but the way he says that one line...

    Fully voiced lines are not so important to me. If I am finding the NPC interesting enough, I can do without any sound. I’d rather have the opportunity to play an interesting NPC rather then have it held back because they were not able to give them a voice.

    As for portraits. I really appreciate an interesting portrait, but it is so commonplace to be able to change portraits that you don’t like in the game, that I don’t think it matters much if I don’t find the ones the modder chose to use appealing. For example, I always change Xan’s in my game to one that I find perfect for him. I once read a set of mod reviews where the reviewer “took points off” if he didn’t think the mod had a good portrait. I find this utterly ridiculous.

    In the end, I need to personally find the NPC interesting. Give me a strong personality. All the rest is just icing on the cake.

    DJKajuru
  • DazzuDazzu Member Posts: 946
    The thing about voiced lines, especially in SoA, is that they're helpful. I don't always play with subtitles on, so I sometimes need to hear someone whine about their interrupted magic or how I forgot to go back from shooting arrows to my magical weaponry. Maybe I left a stealthing script on and would like to know that it worked or my trap worked... something.

    A nice verbal indicator to help me manage a fight, or a small warning that my good deeds are pissing the character off. TBH, those action lines are most important.

    These are less vital in the first game, except maybe the disruption notice, but it makes battle management easier.


    In a perfect world, all mods would have voiced NPCs done by professional actors. Not very realistic.

    While I doubt you could get Jim Cummings or Frank Whelker, it might not be a bad idea to seek new talent that just want to be heard.

    I even made a thread on it: http://forum.baldursgate.com/discussion/33483/your-mod-deserves-a-voice#latest

    Nobody has taken advantage of the service from either end, as in nobody is trying to provide their ham voice for this ham game and nobody is seeking voice actors.


    And if that's not enough, you can always go to http://voiceactingalliance.com/board/forum.php

    You WILL find eager people, provided you provide enough information on what you need for your character.


    So finding someone isn't that hard at all. They'll work for a low, low price of demo reel material, if even that. Everyone wants a pro, but we must remember that pros have their beginnings somewhere.

    DJKajuru
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 16,181
    edited August 2014
    Personally I'm of the opinion that if you want to write up a bunch of banters and flesh out your NPC go for it. The tougher part will be writing banter lines that match the existing NPC's.

    Ravenslight
  • DazzuDazzu Member Posts: 946
    It's hard for me to really explain voiceover work, but I could say that if a mod is worth whatever efforts you've given it so far, it deserves some sort of audio representation as well.

  • Saber83Saber83 Member Posts: 93
    edited July 2016


    Fully voiced lines are not so important to me. If I am finding the NPC interesting enough, I can do without any sound. I’d rather have the opportunity to play an interesting NPC rather then have it held back because they were not able to give them a voice.

    In the end, I need to personally find the NPC interesting. Give me a strong personality. All the rest is just icing on the cake.

    Totally agree with this.

  • VbibbiVbibbi Member Posts: 229
    shawne said:

    When designing NPCs, it's important to note what the original (and EE) characters all have in common.

    For example:

    1. They can have their own storylines, but the PC must be seen to have a direct influence on its outcome. Without your help, Edwin can't get the Nether Scroll; Anomen can't solve his sister's murder; Nalia can't retake De'Arnise Keep. The reason they need you is because of their own individual flaws: they're either too weak on their own or they lack the focus you can provide.

    2. Party members are meant to relate not only to the protagonist, but to each other as well. The EE NPCs actually do a pretty good job of this: Hexxat flirts with Viconia, Dorn and Korgan develop a grudging friendship, Rasaad and Edwin exchange shaving tips - the idea being that no matter what combination of characters in your party, any two should have at least one conversation that tells you more about them.

    3. Nearly every party member in BG2 has at least one unique attribute: Jaheira can cast Harper's Call, Viconia has drow magic resistance, Mazzy has pseudo-paladin powers, etc. That said, you want to be very careful not to go too far and make them overpowered, which is one of the reasons the Solaufein mod gets so much criticism even though damn-near everyone wanted to be able to recruit him.

    4. Voiced lines are a nice addition, but hardly mandatory - it's not like every single line of dialogue from existing NPCs is voiced either. And, as the Ser Gilmore mod proves, bad voice acting can bring down an otherwise-good mod.

    hehe I thought the main criticism of Solaufein's mod was the completely out of character dialogue he has from his vanilla character, and adding extremely difficult combat encounters that aren't optional if Charname wants to complete the storyline.

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