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Toolset Guide - Or: A newbie's guide to playerhousing.

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Toolset Guide - Or: A newbie's guide to playerhousing.

PostAuthor: Krator » Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:16 am

Last edited by Krator on Mon Jul 10, 2006 1:02 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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PostAuthor: Krator » Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:30 am

1. Introduction

The intended audience for this post is people who want a playerhouse.

Before you start reading, please do the following:
  • Open up the Playerhousing Guidelines (Sticky in world dev) in another tab. (If you use IE, go here first.)
  • Open another tab, and go here , view the pdf in firefox. That document is a reference - if you don't understand a part of this thread, search in that doc. You might want to only read that one instead of this thread, but it's more specific to creating single player modules than building a player house, like this thread is.
  • Close all other tabs. Now you have one tab with this thread, one with the playerhousing guidelines, and one with a Toolset reference.
Last edited by Krator on Mon Jul 10, 2006 12:25 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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PostAuthor: Krator » Mon Jul 10, 2006 12:01 pm

2. The very basics.

This is copied from here mostly.

Before reading this part, open up the toolset, and create a module as shown on pages 13-17 of the reference document. Then load the module properties as shown on page 17 of the reference document, and load the "Custom content" tab. Switch to your playerhousing guidelines tab, and make sure the hak order is as shown there under hak order, by adding haks from the list. DO NOT FORGET THE TLK!

Some Terminology

Module: A file with the extension .mod that can be opened with the nwtoolset.exe.

Module Creator: That's you. If you're making a module with the Toolset you are officially a Module Creator.

Resref: Every object (=area; creature; placeable; item; etc), such as a Krator's Staff +2, or the Mikona Marketplace has a resref. This resref can only be edited when creating a new object, or copying an existing one.

Area: One set place within your module such as the inn, the evil castle or the underground caverns for example.

Palette: The word palette is used to describe the panel where anything you can add or 'paint down' to an area exists. For example, in the Toolset you have a list of monsters located in a specific place on the screen in the Toolset that you can put into your module's area; that is called the Palette of monsters. You would select a monster from the Palette to add to your module.

Tile: The smallest piece of the Tileset that can be painted down in an area. For example the inn is a separate tile within the Rural Tileset that can be painted down in your rural area.

Tileset: A group of tiles that follow a similar theme. For example, the Forest Tileset includes Tiles of trees, stone ruins, a stream, water, a campsite etc. that all could be found in a forest.

Getting Started

1. Click on the Toolset button upon starting Neverwinter Nights to enter the Toolset. The first time you open the Toolset it launches a Welcome dialog where you may choose to create a new module, open an existing module, or start normally. Choose to create a new module, which launches the Module Wizard. Name your module at this time. Remember this is not for a specific area (like 'The Inn') but for the entire adventure from start to finish (like 'Assault on the Cave of Doom'). Select the Area Wizard next, as every module requires at least one area.

2. You need to select what Tileset you want to use for this initial area. For our module we will choose the City Interior because I want my adventurers to start the module in a tavern or Inn in the middle of the countryside.

3. How large do you want to make the area? Each square in the Toolset is a 10x10 metre area (A metre is 1.09 yards). You can make an area 32 squares by 32 squares. You can also make an area some combination of this size for example 4 squares by 20 squares. The only limit is 32 squares on one side.
<p align="center">Image</p>

4. There are four main areas of the Toolset:

A. Toolbar- List of commands and preferences.
B. Palette- Contains all content that can be placed within your module.
C. Module Content- An organized list of all the content you have already placed within your module.
D. Area Display- Where you do most of your work on your module.

5. In order to make this area more interesting you need to paint down specific Tiles to make this an area the Players can explore. Also note that a Start Location has been automatically set down. When your players start this module they will appear around this Start Location.

6. Under the Palette you will note that there are two sets of buttons. The upper left green button is the 'Paint Terrain' button and the upper right is the 'Paint Start Location' button. These are the two basic things you need to include in your module. You need some sort of terrain area for Players to move around on and you need to place that Start Location arrow somewhere where Players can stand.
<p align="center">Image</p>

7. Paint down some terrain for your first area. You will notice in the Palettes section a wide variety of individual tiles to use in your area. These tiles change from one Tileset to another. We are using the City Interior Tileset so we should have Tiles like Kitchen, Living room, Barn and so on. Paint a few Tiles down to give some shape to your area.

Tool Tip:
The Toolset can fake the end of your area by putting in an endless repeating tile into the distance. This, however, can be pretty jarring for a Player. What is recommended is to put down Tiles that a Player cannot move into such as walls, deep water, pits or whatever is available to you depending on the Tileset you are using. With these 'borders' in place you area looks much better.

8. Look through the Tiles to see what sort of things you would like to put down in your area. We are making the interior to an inn so I can put down Inn, Inn Room, Kitchen and so on depending on big of an inn I want to make. You will notice that when you put a room down a few things come with that room (tables, torches, rugs etc.). You can right click when an area is highlighted to cycle through the different looks of a single tile.

9. How do I rotate a Tile? Left click on what you want (say a Kitchen Tile) you will notice that a ghost image of the Tile is attached to your mouse pointer. When you find an area where you can set this down (you will see a green box appear around your Tile) right click on the Tile and it will rotate 90 degrees. When you have found an orientation that pleases you left click and the Tile will be painted down.

10. Take note of a special feature within some of the Tilesets called Raise/Lower. This allows you to raise up some of the terrain you have created making a hill or valley.

Tool Tip:
The Tiles have been engineered to fit together very well and look great. If you grab a specific Tile and the Toolset shows a red square where you want to put it it's because that specific Tile is not designed to go in that specific area. Try rotating the Tile or choosing a different Tile.
If you right click on a specific tile you will bring up a Properties window. From here you can manually change the lighting within a specific area. Every Tile has Main Lighting and some have Source Lighting (such as a torch) both of which can have their color changed. Some Tiles have animated parts such as the Smithy in the City Interior Tileset, which can be set as on or off.

11. Now that we have some sort of space created in our Inn we need more stuff to fill the place up- now we get to the rest of those buttons on the Palette.

From Left to Right they are:

Creatures- A huge list of all monsters and NPCs in NWN. This list is split into two sections: Standard, which are available for all modules, and Custom which are Standard Creatures that have been altered by you for your current module..

Doors- Doors are special in that they are can be Area Transition points. See below for details on Doors.

Encounters- Allows you to put down scalable encounters for Players to trigger. For example an Encounter can be anything from a lone bandit to a group of angry pigs.

Items- Armor, Plot Items, Weapons and so on.

Placeable Objects- Everything from beds and Catapults to flames and signposts. This is broken into categories like Military, Battlefield, Parks and Nature and so on.

Sound Objects- Allows you to place sounds like objects within your area.

Merchants- These are a very special thing in NWN and have their own category. This is large list of different types of merchants like General Store or Temple Store.

Triggers- Can be Area Transitions, Traps or Generic Triggers.

Waypoints- Mark important places within an area such as the two points a guard walks between on his rounds or the exact spot you appear when you travel through a portal.

12. Getting familiar with the sheer number of things you can place in your module takes some time. Searching through the lists and lists of things is the most time consuming activity in the Toolset until you are familiar with what you have to work with.

The Bigger Picture

13. Now that we have put a few things down on in our inn lets look at some of the Toolbar options:
<p align="center">Image</p>
Edit: Allows you to make large global changes to the module or the specific area you have open. Examples: Resize, Rotate, Area Properties, or Modules Properties.

View: Allows the user to change what they see in the Toolset Main Screen. Examples- remove Items, Triggers.

Scene: Change some of the visual aspects of the area you are working in. Examples- turn Fog off or on while working.

Build: Gives details concerning the current area or module.

Tools: Contains the Conversation, Faction, Script and Journal Editors.

Wizards: Contains a variety of Wizards to help in the creation of game content. Examples- Encounter Wizard, Door Wizard, and Item Wizard.

Help: Contains link to NWN Community Site support area and information about current version of Toolset.

Tool Tip:
In the Edit drop down menu. 'Area Properties'- opens a window to allow you to change such visual qualities as day/night cycle, color of lights, fog etc. Also has a list of pre-made settings such as Interior Dark or Exterior Raining.
Under 'Scene'- You will see 'Fog' this turns on and off fog when you are working with an area. Heavy fog can make working on the module difficult. Also you will see 'Use Area Lighting' which turns on and off the lighting you have set which also makes working on an area easier.

New Places To Explore

14. There is a whole big, dangerous world out there and so one of the key things you will need to be able to understand is Area Transitions. Unless the entire module takes place within the closed confines of the inn you will need to include different areas for the Players to explore.

15. Right Click on the word 'Areas' in the upper left hand corner and then click 'New'. This will take you through the same area wizard you have completed once before when you started. Name your area and pick what new Tileset you want to use. We wish have our Inn in the rustic countryside so we pick Rural as our Tileset.

16. I make the area pretty by painting down specific Tiles , Placeable Objects, Creatures and so on until I have a nice area for the Players to explore. One of the things I make sure to paint down is an inn. You will notice that the inn has an open doorway that can be used to gain entrance to the interior.

Making the Connection

17. Still in our Rural area I click on the Door icon in the Palette. I see that I can select doors specific to this Tileset or pick from some Universal doors that are the same whatever Tileset I am currently using. We click on a door and we see this rotating wooden door attached to my mouse pointer.

18. Doors are special because you cannot place them just anywhere. Doors will only snap into place where a 'hook' has been placed. These hooks are places like doorways, cave entrances and so on. You do not have control over where these hooks are- they are welded to specific parts of tiles. In our example we need a door in the doorway of our Inn. I click on the entrance way and voila, a door appears.

19. If you right click on this door you will see a variety of Properties about this door (open or locked, hardness, trapped etc.). the important one for Area Transitions is under the 'Basic' tab. You will see 'Tag'. A Tag or ScriptTag is the name that makes this door different from every other door you may place in your module. Think of a Tag that will help you remember what door this is. In our example I am using the Tag "RuralDoortoInn" so that I can tell at a glance what door this is.

20. Having named that door I need to go back to the inside of my inn and add a door there as well. I double click on the inn area I first created (go over to the left side of screen and find your first area) and click on the Door icon like before and add a door to our doorway. We then right click and use the Tag "InsideInntoRural" so we can identify it easily.

21. Stay in the properties window and click on 'Area Transition' and click the Setup Area Transition button. You will see a red grid that has all the doors you have placed in this area. We need to open the Rural area you made earlier. You will notice that your door RuralDoortoInn is listed. Click that and make the transition both ways and bam!, you have just setup your Area Transition. Now Players will move from one area to another in your module.
Last edited by Krator on Mon Jul 10, 2006 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostAuthor: Krator » Mon Jul 10, 2006 12:23 pm

3. Controls

Controls are important. Hotkeys save time. That's why I'll devote one post to the controls only. Make sure you have View - Interface Panels - Camera Controls ON. This is copied from another guide. All keyboard shortcuts apply to the NUM-pad with Numlock ON.


From left to right:

These 4 red arrows allow you to move your view in the Area display in any of the cardinal directions. By clicking and/or holding the arrow you can move Left, Right, Up and Down to see other areas of the map.

Mouse shortcut:
Keep the mouse cursor in the area display, Hold control and the left mouse button down, and you can move the area display quickly in any direction by moving the mouse.

Keyboard shortcut:
Pressing the numbers 8,2,4 and 6 represent Up, Down, Left and Right respectively.

These horizontal aligned blue arrows will rotate the Area Display view clockwise and counter-clockwise.

Mouse shortcut:
Keep the mouse cursor in the area display. Hold Control and the right mouse button down, and you can rotate the camera angle quickly by moving the mouse. In addition, if your mouse has a mouse-wheel you can accomplish this by pressing the mouse wheel down.

Keyboard shortcut:
Pressing the numbers 7 and 9 will rotate the display left and right respectively.

These vertical aligned arrows change the angle of pitch, or rather, how you view the area itself. The arrow pointing up reorients the camera
toward the default overhead view, and the down arrow rotates the view downward so you can view the area from the sides.

Mouse shortcut:
Keep the mouse cursor in the area display. Hold Control and the right mouse button down, and you change the pitch of the camera angle up and down quickly by moving the mouse. In addition, if your mouse has a mouse-wheel you can accomplish this by pressing the mouse wheel down.

Keyboard shortcut:
Pressing the numbers 1 and 3 will change the pitch up and down respectively.

Zoom magnifying glass allow you to zoom in on an area. By simply using a combination of these buttons you have complete control on how you can view the area. This comes in handy when placing doors, and other objects.

Mouse shortcut:
If you have a Wheel on your mouse, you can quickly zoom in and out by scrolling with it. A definite time saver !.

Keyboard shortcut:
The + and - keys allow you zoom in and out respectively.

These red circular arrows allow you to rotate any object within the area display.

Mouse shortcut:
The same can be achieved with greater precision and speed by holding shift and your right mouse pressed while moving the mouse left and right. This is very handy for rotating Start Points, NPC's and monsters.

Unless Bioware has fixed this bug (as of patch 1.26), this is the ONLY way you can correctly rotate a StartPoint. As is, you can rotate it with the little buttons, but once you exit the toolset, the StartPoint will be reset to face north.

The 'question mark rotation arrow' is a rather new addition and allows you to set an object's facing to a random angle.

Wish I knew. I'll design a house for the one who tells me these.

In short

Once you get used to the controls a bit, the only ones you'll be using are pressing the mouse wheel for camera angle, NUM 4-8-6-2 for camera moving, and right click&hold + move mouse for object rotation. All other hotkeys and buttons take more time from my experience.
Last edited by Krator on Mon Jul 10, 2006 1:05 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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PostAuthor: Krator » Mon Jul 10, 2006 12:50 pm

4. Before you start

Reading this part carefully will save you a lot of time later on.

Think up a 'tag' for your house

You'll need to make sure that your house uses unique resrefs, persistent chest tags, and door tags for area transitions. Otherwise other PCs will be able to access your chest from their house, your basement door will lead to people cybering in the Romini baths, or your house will override the Start Area.

A good tag has the following properties:
  • It includes an indication of the server your house is on.
  • It includes an indication of the name of your guild or character.
  • It is longer than 3 characters, and shorter than ~12.
  • Contains no punctuation and spaces except "_".
A few good examples:
  • Fer_OoG
  • Vis_Igor
  • Wild_Trethl
And a few bad examples:
  • N
  • Elysia_AmakiirElfGateHouseNearThePlantsInTheNorthEast
You can then do all kinds of stuff with that tag:
  • Use it as the tag of a chest: Yourtag_Chest1
  • Use it as the area resref/tag: Yourtag_grndflr (Name the area like this before creating, then change the display name manually afterwards.)
  • Use it as the tag of a door: Yourtag_GroundTo1
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PostAuthor: Krator » Mon Jul 10, 2006 3:12 pm

Aesthetic tips

To make things look more hawt.


There are only so many things you can do with the CEP statues. The statue of Andrinor in the High Temple of Andrinor looks exactly the same as the statue of Angadar in the Temple of Angadar. Because there are few models available, making a generic statue look like your character/your character's father/some god, might be difficult. A few ways to do this are lights, flames, and other additional placeables.

Image Image

Left: Julaspium Temple of Valok || Right: Julaspium Temple of Senath
Playing as: Sir Douglas Hope of Gorethar, old school paladin | Krator Blackfist, gold mage | Warren, half nymph barbarian
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