Professor Lyons of MIT explains how Neverwinter scripting works
Dear readers: With the explosive popularity of Neverwinter Nights, and with the many many questions we’ve fielded regarding the use of its complex editor, we’ve decided to bring back in Professor Lyons of MIT to clarify the use of this complex tool. Professor?
Why thank you, thank you. It’s a pleasure to be back on the Daily Victim imparting knowledge once again to the masses. Let me fire up the Neverwinter Nights editor and I’ll show you just what myself and some of the graduate students here have worked up after intensive studies. Yes, the Neverwinter Nights editor may be complex, but there’s nothing that this flexible tool is incapable of doing should you be willing to commit yourself to years of painstaking schooling at the expense of friends family and loved ones.
First, remember that character AI is handled by what are called “scripts.” They’re called scripts because each and every one must be written in longhand. It’s handy to think of them as scripts, though, because it helps to think of the little people in the game as “actors” who are “acting” out the “script” that you “wrote” while eating “Cap’n Crunch” right out of the “box.”
To continue the analogy, if the AI is the actor, that means that you’re the Director. You tell the actors how to interpret the script. To do so, I recommend hooking up a microphone to your PC for the more interpersonal communication, Francis-Ford-Coppola style. Allow me to demonstrate.
[Taps microphone. Blows into it three times to ensure that it works.]
“Hello? Hello? Mr. Shopkeeper? Okay, in this next scene, the script calls for you to run from here to the front of the tavern. Now, when you scream out that you’re being attacked by Gnolls, I don’t want you to be disassociated from the action. I want to FEEL that the Gnolls are attacking you. I want the audience to see the pain that the Gnolls have caused you when they attacked the village. This is an important cornerstone in the motivation of the main characters. Are you ready? Now, ACTION!”
“What do you mean ‘error parsing variable list?’ How hard is it to run from some Gnolls? Oh you weak, weak little spastic colon of a man!”
[Grabs microphone, causing feedback to squeal. His voice becomes distorted with volume]
“I AM THE GOD OF YOUR FATHERS, LITTLE MAN!! OBEY!! OBEY!!”
Ah, well, I see we’re almost out of time. I’m sorry you had to see that. The AI can be a little temperamental. He’ll cool down after he spends a little time in his trailer. That’s all for today! Thank you, and good night.
[Professor Lyons is a critically acclaimed scenario author responsible for such classic modules as “Big Empty Room” and “Big Empty Room II: A monster and a Barrell.”]
[One by one, the lights in the auditorium turn out. The large screen still shows the Neverwinter Editor, sitting open. Slowly the screen zooms in. There, on a stump, all alone … the little tiny shopkeeper weeps.]
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