Legends of Aria/Shards Online Post-Alpha

This is a general open discussion for all ALFA, Neverwinter Nights, and Dungeons & Dragons topics.

Moderator: ALFA Administrators


Yes, I'd be interested in moving to that.
Yes, and I'd be interested in building and/or developing for it.
Total votes: 29

User avatar
Teric neDhalir
Posts: 1495
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 10:04 pm
Location: Manchester UK

Re: Legends of Aria/Shards Online Post-Alpha

Postby Teric neDhalir » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:05 pm

Looks like time to download Unity again (gulp).
*big smiley wave to all*

User avatar
Infrastructure Admin
Posts: 1286
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 6:00 pm

Re: Legends of Aria/Shards Online Post-Alpha

Postby FoamBats4All » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:34 pm

So I had a half-hour-ish call with Supreem, the CEO of Citadel Studios to talk about some of the concerns of the NWN communities. It was mostly from a technical perspective about what is/isn't going to be moddable in the future. Questions were gathered from Skywing and a few other community members. From the start, I just want to say how open to modding this company seems to be. Supreem was helpful, friendly, and open to discussing engine and license limitations. Here were the highlights from my perspective.

  • License and limitations for the hacky shit we've done with NWNX, but there's less of a need for that stuff. We can get it in the future, maybe, but they don't want it done generally.
  • The game is as super-moddable as originally thought, and they have a strong support for modders. NWScript sucks, so we had to do CLR eventually. Lua won't have the limitations of NWScript, so that's nice for future scripting.
  • Client-side code is limited, but we only really used it for GUI in NWN2, and we don't need to do that in LoA.

The Big One: Cluster Extensions, Long-Term Reliability, Server Extensions:
In NWN2, the vault (character data) is stored on the server you are connecting to. In LoA, the vault is stored as part of the cluster. The cluster holds the character data, that is shared. This solves a lot of issues for us. We don't need to artificially create a central vault, and manually sync character data between servers. That's just part of the game.

But, losing EA/BioWare/GameSpy support wasn't fun for us. We had a big advantage though: we had complete access to the software, and no one really cared if we hacked it apart and did whatever we wanted with it. So we (read: Skywing) got us things like the Client Extension and xp_bugfix to ensure that for the most part people can just continue to use the game as normal. Can we do the same, with LoA, when the developers have moved over to LoA2, or if the company goes under? No. That's sort of the hard answer. If Citadel Studios dies, we may well lose the work we did. As I said at the start, Supreem seemed a really good guy. My impression from talking with him is that if he's in control at that point, he'd see software put out to not leave us hanging. But I don't know if we can guarantee that is the case.

Similarly, they don't want people hacking on their server executables. This comes from the perspective of security of their project and IP. They don't want a bunch of hacked apart servers. They are, however, open to providing different licenses to trusted groups. It may be possible in the future to do something to get around some of these issues, and get a more trusted/secure relationship with Citadel Studios.

General Moddability:
So, licensing is more of a concern, but moddability is where we would win huge. These guys want to make the server-side game as moddable as possible. The network stack and the like are hardcoded, but the game is systems-agnostic. Supreem didn't see any reason we couldn't implement something like D&D into the game. In NWN2, a lot is hardcoded. If we want to add Sneak Attack to spells, we have to work in Obsidian's systems, and their limitations. In LoA, we have to make our own spellcasting scripts, but we have access everywhere, because we're in our own systems. Furthermore, with Lua, we have easy access to writing native extensions via DLLs. We had a big boon adding CLR scripts, but that really won't be needed with Lua and its versatility.

So that sounds neat. Downsides: client-side modding is limited. In NWN2, our client-side modding is mostly UI-based. But we have the capability to create and send UIs from the server. Part of this is because Unity doesn't allow C# scripts to be shipped in asset bundles, which are streamed to the client. Another aspect this restricts? The camera. I'll talk about that next.

All game modding is done through Unity, where you can do extensions fairly easily. All data is serialized into XML files, or put into asset bundles.

The Camera:
So, areas in NWN2 tend to be relatively small, segmented areas. Compare this to a game like Skyrim, where the world is in far larger chunks, with some magic trickery to make it all seem like one big space. LoA is more like the later than the former. But it's also not really designed with the same magic trickery. In a dynamic world, you're not really sure what is in the distance, while in one like Skyrim's, you can assume it will be the same and optimize everything (typically with load on demand distant terrain chunks). So. For now, the camera is stuck to that top-down thing that it currently is. They are open to changing it in the future, especially based on community feedback. But for now, it's unappealing.

I should note that DMs can have free cams, and are less restricted by all that nonsense.

- - -

If we have further questions, I'm sure we can ask them, but that's what I've learned from the call with him.

User avatar
Rumple C
Posts: 3399
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2004 9:38 pm
Location: The ceiling.

Re: Legends of Aria/Shards Online Post-Alpha

Postby Rumple C » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:41 pm

Sounds positive. A lot of the tech stuff went over my head, but if you say it's ok, I think it is ok.
12.August.2015: Never forget.

User avatar
Orc Champion
Posts: 415
Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2005 7:41 am
Location: British Columbia, Canada

Re: Legends of Aria/Shards Online Post-Alpha

Postby ImStrokerAce » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:56 pm

Thank you for spending your time doing this Foam! Unless I completely missed something, it seems mostly postive direction to move in.
Current PC:
Aglorus Stamaraster

User avatar
Tech Admin
Posts: 1493
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 2:28 pm
Location: Idaho PST

Re: Legends of Aria/Shards Online Post-Alpha

Postby Arianna » Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:06 pm

Thanks for getting the Info on this Foam

the Top down camera is a really big turn off for me though I do hope they give us more options in that regard soon
Current NWN2 PC: BG- Lessa
Current NWN1 PC: WD- Marisha

Past NWN2 PCs : Kata Joradotter
Vila Kelven aka Red

HDM of Moonshae Server DM on TSM
Builder Everywhere
DM times - 7-11 PM Saturdays PDT . . other times as I show up

Tech Admin

User avatar
Haste Bear
Posts: 2298
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2004 9:10 am
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Re: Legends of Aria/Shards Online Post-Alpha

Postby Galadorn » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:40 am

Thank you very much Foam!

Brown Bear
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:49 pm
Location: Youngstown, Ohio

Re: Legends of Aria/Shards Online Post-Alpha

Postby SCI-kick » Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:35 pm

All I ask is that the majority of the world be areas to explore and adventure in, not mostly pretty buildings that no one ever goes games in.

I'd say a good gaming world should be 80-90% areas to explore and adventure , and the rest towns and such.

User avatar
Dungeon Master
Posts: 7085
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 4:17 pm
Location: US CST

Re: Legends of Aria/Shards Online Post-Alpha

Postby HEEGZ » Fri Oct 20, 2017 4:05 am

Thanks for doing that Foam. Good to get info straight from them directly. Very encouraging.

Also, I agree with SCI kick. I think a hub and spoke model would work well. Having a place for players to congregate and form groups and then tons of adventuring locations... can't go wrong. We can expand by adding more hubs and so on.

User avatar
Rust Monster
Posts: 1148
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 4:22 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: Legends of Aria/Shards Online Post-Alpha

Postby jmecha » Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:34 am

If you build it, I will come play.
Current Characters: Xandos of Chessenta NWN2 and Vale Clearwaters NWN1

User avatar
dergon darkhelm
Fionn In Disguise
Posts: 4198
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2005 1:21 pm
Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Re: Legends of Aria/Shards Online Post-Alpha

Postby dergon darkhelm » Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:44 pm

jmecha wrote:If you build it, I will come play.

NWN1 .... Waterdeep. I am in game right now.

Play now.... play later :)
PCs: NWN1: Trailyn "Wayfarer" Krast, Nashkel hayseed

NWN2: Toraedhien Starspire, Dancehunter of Solonor Thelandira
Bhaerynden Steelcrag

Retired: Rathalan Whitsword, Watchknight (later Overblade) of Helm
Hulurin Tosscobble, Master of Shadow & Servant of Brandobaris
Gone but not forgotten: Tragnar Ironsworn, Uncut of Dumathoin

gsid: merado_1

Return to “ALFA / NWN / D&D Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest