I’ve now finished a full playthrough of the soon-to-be-released remake of the Neverwinter Nights module series, Sanctum of the Archmage: The Sight and The Quest. I found a handful of bugs and issues that I still need to resolve, which I’ll need to plan time for over the next few weeks. After one more playthrough to ensure they’re worked out, I should be able to release the remake sometime this summer.
The Sanctum v4.2 update will include a number of new and updated features to The Sight. More importantly, though, it will include a complete remake of the second module in the series, now titled The Quest. Originally released in 2007 as “The Miracle Worker, Act I,” it has never been published in a form compatible with the v4.x remake of The Sight. And it has been unavailable in any form since IGN’s Neverwinter Vault died in 2014.
The second module in the Sanctum series was very well received by the NWN player community of the time, receiving the Bronze Award for Module of the Year and the Golden Dragon Award for Best RPG in 2007. I’m very happy to finally be making the soon to be released (and I think, greatly improved!) version of it available to the Neverwinter Nights player community.
I’m pleased to announce that after a three year break to focus on my career and on writing my novels, I am returning to work on completing the remake of my NWN adventure module, Sanctum of the Archmage 2: The Quest.
Formerly released under the name Sanctum of the Archmage 2: The Miracle Worker, Act I, the second chapter of my adventure module series has been unavailable for the last two years since IGN’s Neverwinter Nights Vault went off-line in the spring of 2014. The most recent version, v3.4, was also incompatible with the v4 remake of Chapter 1 that I released in 2013. I had wanted to release a remake of Chapter 2 as well, but was forced to put that work on the shelf to focus on re-booting my career, and on writing the saga’s novels.
I have worked sporadically on the remake over the last three years, though. And there is still some additional re-work that I want to do, particularly in re-making the “flying areas” at the end using the wonderful “Sanctum Flying Skyscape Tileset” that Estelindis built for the series. But I’ve decided that can wait for a future update. And without those changes, I think that another month or so worth of work would bring it close to a releasable (or at least beta-testable) state. So I’ve decided to move forward with that as a plan.
With that said, my work on the series over the next months should be as follows. In June I expect to be finishing work on The Quest, and completing my full edit of Dawn of Chaos. In July and August I hope to get the novel out for a professional edit and to finish production, and to set up a beta test for the module remake. In September I’m hoping to be able to release both to the public.
After that, I’ll work on remaking the flying areas for The Quest, and getting started on my next projects: producing an audiobook version of Prologue to Chaos, and starting work on my second novel: Wrath of the Peregrine King.
I’m thinking that should keep me busy for a while. 🙂
It’s been a while since my last post about the status of my writing projects, so I thought it was time to offer a quick update.
As of this morning the word count on Dawn of Chaos, the first full-length novel in the Sanctum of the Archmage Saga, stands at eighty-eight thousand, six hundred and seventy one (88,671) words. After some chapter and scene restructuring that I realized was needed to not rush the climax, that puts me in the middle of Chapter 17 out of 24, with fifteen out of a planned total of sixty-one scenes left to write. Since the chapters and scenes tend to shorten as the story moves into the climax, I’m estimating that this will probably involve another twenty to twenty five thousand words, with the final manuscript ending up somewhere in the range of a hundred and twelve thousand.
Another item of good news is that some of the unfortunate work-related distractions that were taking my focus away from writing are continuing on a path toward… well, not doing that quite so much anymore. I finally managed to complete a career change this summer into a position working in Data Science. As I settle in to that, I expect to be able to devote more of my spare time once again to my writing projects.
As for when Dawn of Chaos should be ready for publication: I think it’s likely now to be sometime early next year. On the one hand I’ve gotten much better at writing quickly and well, and can probably turn out at least a scene a week going forward. On the other I’m recognizing a need as the story evolves not to rush the climax, and I still have to figure out how to provide for a final editing of the book. I’ve gotten very good at being my own editor, but I’m not certain I should trust myself to do the full job on my own.
As for my modding work: I’m still planning to finish the v4 remake of The Quest (formerly The Miracle Worker, part I) after Dawn of Chaos is complete. Sadly, though, I think that will have to be my last foray into modding the story, at least for some time.
Dale just asked (on my 2011 post of the opening scene) whether there was any news on Sanctum 3. Since my comments on the status of the game modules is probably somewhat scattered throughout my blog over the last couple of years, I thought I should probably clarify the situation here. I added the following about this last year on the main modules page:
*As of summer 2013, further work on the game modules has been suspended until further notice, in order to work on completing and releasing the initial Sanctum of the Archmage novels. This includes the unfinished v4.2 update of Chapter 1 and remake of Chapter 2, as well as completion of Chapter 3 and work on Chapters 4-7.
Since there’s not a great deal of work left to do on the Sanctum 2 v4.2 remake, I do expect to be able to release it early next year. That will probably be just after I publish the first of the Sanctum novels, Dawn of Chaos.
At this point, however, I’m afraid I have to admit that it’s not clear to me when or even if I’ll be able to complete Sanctum 3 (much less the rest of the series), in module form. I very much want to do it, and if it were my only project I’m confident that I would be able to. Unfortunately, though, it’s not. As I wrote in the post when I announced that I was resuming work on the novels,
I’ve also had to take a hard look at my somewhat ambitious plans for the module series, given a realistic assessment of my other goals and the amount of time I actually have to work on it. My “real life” career as a computer scientist demands most of my time and attention, and I have plans for developing it further that will require additional focus on learning certain new technologies. Both writing and modding are things that I can only afford to do in my (unfortunately, not especially plentiful) spare time — which I need to be more hard-nosed about rationing. Some reflection has consequently forced me to the conclusion that while I’m not quite ready to give up on Sanctum as a modding project just yet, that I need to make more time in my schedule for other efforts as well.
I haven’t yet cancelled work on the modules. They remain in my mind as projects that I want to find time to get back to, when and if I can. At this point in my life, however, I simply have no choice but to put other priorities ahead of them. And at the present time, those have to be the demands of my career (and of striving to remain employable in today’s dysfunctional economy), and publishing Sanctum of the Archmage as a series of novels.
I’ve had some inquiries about the status of the Sanctum 2 v4 module remake, so I thought it would be a good idea to re-consider my plans for it and to address them on my blog.
I’m currently about halfway through my original plans for the remake. Unfortunately, as I announced here, I had to put finishing that work on hold in recent months in order to allow time for other projects and priorities. Modding and writing are both things that I do in the spare time allowed by my career — and finishing and publishing the first book in the Sanctum series, The End of the Beginning, and completing the Sanctum 2v4 remake, were both competing for that time. Given how much more work was still left on Sanctum 2v4, I felt that I could no longer delay starting to get the novels ready for publication.
But I do miss modding, and after a few months away from it I think that I may be able to fit in the time for a more limited module update for Chapter 2. The good news is that most of the important work — especially the custom content implementation and the linkages from Chapter 1 — are already done. Most of the rest of the work I had planned centered around an extensive new quest sequence that I was going to add. If I skip that, then it shouldn’t take me too long to get the rest of the remake ready for release.
So I’ve decided to go ahead with that, splitting time on Sanctum2 v4 with my novel writing. Aside from one new encounter that I’m already halfway through, the only thing I really still have to do is to re-build the flying areas at the end with the new Sanctum Flying Skyscape tileset. So fingers crossed, it should be possible for me to get the update out for beta test by the holidays.
After our recent scare, and in the face of growing uncertainty about continued availability of IGN’s Neverwinter Nights Vault, I have gone ahead and created a new project page for the “v4” remakes of Sanctum of the Archmage – The Sight on the New Neverwinter Vault:
Sanctum of the Archmage – The Sight at the New Neverwinter Vault.
I strongly encourage everyone who wants to download, play, comment, and vote on the V4 releases of the Sanctum of the Archmage modules to do so here, or to use the project’s new page on the New Neverwinter Vault.
The old (v3.4) versions of Chapters 1 and 2 will remain available for now on their historical pages on IGN’s old Neverwinter Nights Vault.
Posts on the Sanctum Blog have been fairly sparse recently, though I hope to be able to start changing that again soon. The main reason for the dearth of updates is that I’ve temporarily had to set aside work on the saga (especially on Chapter 3) for a couple of other priorities. The main one was professional: my career was badly in need of a reboot, and I needed some time this year to work that out. The good news is that I have a new position now, with better prospects and in a better area. I’ll be moving over the course of the next month, and hope to be able to get back to modding again in a more serious way once that’s done.
One thing that I have been working on, though, is a final remake to the first two chapters to implement a lot of the design changes I’ve made to the series for Chapter 3. I mentioned this in a recent blog post, and the changes are actually quite major. Part of my motive in doing the update was that I wanted to get some of the good work I’ve done for the third chapter out there. Some of it is custom content related, such as integrating Project Q and CEP 3.4, using the fabulous Sanctum Flying Skyscape tileset that Estelindis built for me to remake the flying areas at the end of Sanctum 2, revamping the score with some of the new tracks from the expanded Sanctum 3 soundtrack, and so on. The technical base of haks used by the v4 update will be the same one used by Sanctum 3 when it’s released, which will make integrating the third chapter with the first two a much easier task.
Some of the changes, though, are to start removing some of the unnecessary D&D references included in the modules. I originally did a lot of that for convenience, and to help make the setting feel a little less unfamiliar to NWN players. When I first built the modules my ability to do things like create new races and appearances was limited, and using player-familiar ones from the toolset was much easier. Most of these elements really don’t fit well with the non-D&D story world of the Sanctum novels that I’m working on, though, and on which the modules are based. Some examples of this are the Drow and the Deep Gnomes, which don’t even exist in them at all.
I’m reworking a lot of that now, and including a lot more of the lore from the original world of the novels — including things like history, religion, custom races, and the like. (For a spoiler hint about what will replace the Drow, and the new face of General Y’Thra, see here and here.) I expect to have the v4 update out before the end of this year, and be back on track building Sanctum 3 for release sometime next year.
My schedule’s been very hectic this year, for example with work for the AME and preparing for a big job move. In keeping with a desire to keep my blog more up to date, though, I wanted to announce that I’ve started work on a major update to Sanctum 1 and 2, to add a number of features to them that I’ve been developing for Sanctum 3. I’m hoping to get that out in the fall, and it will include (among other things):
- Updating all the modules for Project Q compatibility, and to use new content from it
- Adding a number of new tracks from Sanctum 3’s expanded musical score
- Rebuilding the flying areas in Sanctum 2 using Estelindis’ fabulous Sanctum Flying Skyscape Tileset
- Updating the first two chapters to use much more of, and be much more consistent with, the original lore from the Sanctum novels (including some new custom races)
- Creating many more custom items, and a “randomization” system for them that will mix up which items are found, when, and where
and many more things besides.
I just posted an update to the “patch hak” (to level 3.4a) for Sanctum of the Archmage Chapters 1 and 2. The patch adds a couple of very minor playability features, and fixes the following bugs:
- There was a problem in recent releases with Len and Robin frequently not engaging in combat in the North Forest in Sanctum 1. That’s now resolved, and Len is back to his old spellcasting self.
- The Pegasi in Sanctum 2 were gaining an extra pair of wings when played with CEP 2.4 installed, due to a bug with the new models introduced in CEP 2.4. I added the correct models to the patch hak to fix that.
The updated patch hak is available on the module download pages for Sanctum 1 and Sanctum 2.
After some last-minute tweaks, the Sanctum of the Archmage version 3.4 update is finally online, and the Vault pages have been updated to include the new links. The major change, as I’ve blogged about recently, was the addition of Chico400’s NWNCQ, which significantly upgrades the appearance of the Bioware default tilesets. The update also contains a number of additional features (including some new high-quality player-selectable heads, some new special abilities for Robin, and some new items), and of course a number of bugfixes.
Here are a couple of new screenshots to whet your appetite (for more, see my earlier blog post here):