Shania of Arroyo

Discussion in 'Fallout General Modding' started by Endocore, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. Endocore

    Endocore Look, Ma! Two Heads!
    Modder

    Mar 14, 2010
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    Shania of Arroyo

    Over the years many players (including myself) have complained about the basic narrative of Fallout 2: why should the Chosen One try to save Arroyo when everyone there is a jerk? Shania of Arroyo is an attempt to address this issue by adding a friendly character to the tribe. She's an older widow with many children who decides to take a personal interest in inspiring the Chosen One with some enthusiasm for finding the GECK. The idea here is if the pc considers Shania a friend (or at least a friendly face), then there's a minimum of one sensible narrative reason to take the GECK quest seriously.

    I originally began working on Shania long ago with the idea of writing another tutorial article on making npcs using her as an example. Yet time for playing and modding is never in abundance, and the article never got beyond some preliminary notes. In an idle recent moment I decided to dust off Shania and at least make her character in full. I think she turned out pretty well, and hopefully others will enjoy her.

    Shania's script was made in the context of killap's Restoration Project 2.2/2.3, and is fully compatible with games using the latest RP. With a bit of revision the script could also be used in regular (1.02d) games or Megamod games. Shania has lots of friendly extra dialogue with female Chosen Ones, addressing some occassional criticisms that the Megamod's use of New Vision presents an outright hostile environment in Arroyo for lady pcs (if one were to make an adaptation). The primary issues involved there would be first to replace some dialogue about Jordan to refer to someone else, and second to gut some game-time based dialogue keyed to Hakunin's dream sequences, since these would be out place with New Vision's AFR plotline.

    I tested Shania with both male and female pcs in brief games, but some of her interactivity is related to events later in the game. The script looks fine to me, but please report any bugs here.

    Files available here. Current version number is 3.

    If you have not previously added new scripts to (as opposed to changing existing scripts in) your RP 2.2. or greater game, then to use Shania do the following:

    1) Copy acshania.int to Fallout2\data\scripts. Copy acshania.msg and aceric.msg to Fallout2\data\text\english\dialogue. Aceric.msg should already exist there, so overwrite the version you had before. acshania.ssl is just a decompiled script if you want to look at such, and is not necessary to play the game.

    2) Open the text file scripts.lst found in Fallout2\data\scripts and add the following as the very last line:

    acshania.int ; Shania of Arroyo #local_vars=20

    3) Open the text file scrname.msg in Fallout2\data\text\english\game and add the following as the very last line:

    {1659}{}{Shania} # acshania.int ; Shania of Arroyo

    4) Open arvillag.map using the Fallout 2 mapper. You need to put Shania somewhere on the map. I thought a good spot was the tent just to the right of the Elder's tent, so I did the following:

    4a) Move the dude standing in that tent somewhere else (or just delete him); his script is self-referential regarding his home tile for wandering around, so as long as you're careful not to move him so he's standing inside a piece of scenery somewhere you can shift him wherever you like.

    4b) On the critters tab, the fourth critter shown from the left is a generic female villager. Right-click her picture, then move the cursor around and left-click to place the critter in the middle of the tent. Right-click again on the ground somewhere if necessary to get out of placement mode, then left click on the lady you just placed in the tent. Click "edit" and when the grey box pops up click script and scroll through the list. Click on acshania.int to assign this lady Shania's script, then click "done."

    4c) From the File menu at the top of the screen, click Save to save your modified arvillag.map. You're all done, so exit the mapper.

    5) Start a new game, and enjoy yourself.

    Please don't overlook step five. Many people seem to think a modder is joking around or something when they see "Start a new game." I can't speak for everyone, but in my case I only ever say "Start a new game" if starting a new game really is necessary. In this case, the main reason is the change to scripts.lst. Adding a new entry there confuses Fallout 2 in regard to saved games and may make existing save-games unusable. In other words if you're in the middle of a game right now, wait until next time to install Shania.

    If you don't know how to use the Fallout 2 mapper to complete the above steps, this would be a fine opportunity to learn. Otherwise, just wait a while and I'll make a bigger dowload including the map change as well as other npcs I'm currently working on.


    FAQ

    Q: THIS IS DUMB BECAUSE TEH ELDER IS CHOSEN ONE'S MAMA!!! INTERPLAYS SAY THIS!!!!!!
    A: I looked through the Arroyo folk text files, and I did not see this stated in any text that is actually used in the game. Maybe I missed something, though. If so change it, or don't use the mod, whichever you prefer. Think about it, though-- if the Elder was really the Chosen One's mother, isn't it frankly pretty creepy that she's so impersonal and always calling her kid "Chosen One?" The only plausible outcome of such parenting is to manufacture a perfidious sociopath.

    Q: What are these "chat-manager" variables?
    A: I used them to control how much text is displayed in the response area at any one time. Otherwise there are too many lines to display and they run off the visible area of the response box, leading to the possibility of circular dialogue bugs.

    Q: Some local variables don't seem to do anything useful.
    A: No big deal. They won't hurt anything. If changes are made in the future, they're there and ready to go.

    Q: You've got some nodes where all the conversation choices lead to the same response. Is this a bug?
    A: Nope, they're just for variety. In other cases, deliberate ambiguity in writing is intended as a means to facilitate imagined narratives the player may wish to privately construct.

    Q: Lines like "if msg text string 100 contains text then" don't make sense. Why did you write that?
    A: It's like a flag that says "this line is contrived to comply with the syntax of the Fallout scripting language while constructing complex if-then-else clauses." Some other writers use lines like "if (1 == 1)" to serve the same purpose, but I don't like that technique because in that case anyone other than the original author trying to read the script may have considerable trouble determining if the line is a bug. Did they mean to write "if (numeric variable 1 == 1)" and if so what exactly was variable 1 supposed to represent? This is actually a big problem in many original BIS scripts. Authors often devised fruity little text snippets and assigned them numbers, apparently believing the numbers referred to proto data or hard-coded engine data (for example, look at any door script); then someone else would apparently see these snippets, think them clever and think that the use of numbers indicated some scientific certainty had gone into the thought process somewhere previously, and then put them in a header file thereby spreading the error to numerous scripts (for example, look at all the door scripts). In general, though, message file checks are designed to prevent bad code the various compilers will variously accept anyway like:

    Code:
    if (hungry == true) then
    begin
     display message("Your stomach grumbles for food.");
     decrease concentration skills by 1;
    end
    if (smelly == true) then
    begin
     display message("You stink. You need a shower.");
     decrease popularity by 1;
    end
    else
    begin
     display message("You're squeaky clean. You must have bathed recently.");
     increase popularity by 1;
    end
    
    or

    Code:
    begin
     check pants for car keys;
     check under couch for car keys;
    end
    begin
     open car door;
     insert key in ignition;
    end
    
    or

    Code:
    begin
     if (have food == true) then
      display message("You put on your chef's hat and open the fridge.");
     else
      display message("You won't be able to cook dinner until you go to the market for supplies.");
      begin
       if (car keys == lost) then
        display message("You'll have a long walk to the nearest market.");
       else
        display message("Your car awaits in the driveway.");
      end
    end
    



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    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014
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  2. hexer

    hexer It Wandered In From the Wastes
    Modder

    Dec 7, 2013
    Good idea but you must make the installation easier or else only the modders will install this. And there are not that many modders around here. Just include Arroyo's map with Shania in the zip.
     
  3. CPL

    CPL Still Mildly Glowing
    Modder

    Mar 16, 2013
    This looks interesting, but I could never get the mapper to work on my PC (probably because it's Vista and a rat bastard) without it even loading up properly and just a black screen and crash. So if you decide to do a version where I could just copy and paste, I want to check this out. Perhaps even Killap would even include in a future version of RP, unless he decides to completely bail from modding anymore, which I hope he doesn't. After all, he did add that Petey junkie in the Den for whatever reason he was for.
     
  4. UniversalWolf

    UniversalWolf eaten by a grue.

    Aug 28, 2005
    If you can convince me to stop wanting to eradicate everyone in Arroyo, I'll be impressed.
     
  5. CPL

    CPL Still Mildly Glowing
    Modder

    Mar 16, 2013
    Really. It's a shame you can't without the game ending.
     
  6. Endocore

    Endocore Look, Ma! Two Heads!
    Modder

    Mar 14, 2010
    Depends. I think male Chosen Ones will be convinced more easily after meeting Shania; for female Chosen Ones, it may depend on whether a man or a woman is playing the Chosen One. I encourage everyone to mod the dialogue to their own specifications.


    For those interested in such things, I'm trying to get a fair-sized group of npcs together before I package them all together in a format easy to use for those who aren't familiar with the mechanics of modding. I've got my Brahmin Bess adaptation almost ready, and for example yesterday I was working on some stuff with John Sullivan and another npc at the Golden Gecko in Klamath. The trouble with, for example, including a map with Shania is that my Arroyo map has all kinds of extra stuff of which Shania is only one example, and trying to keep track of different maps, scripts, text files, protos, and so forth is way too much of a hassle. If you just stuck my Arroyo map in your game, your game would be broken. In the past, I haven't released more stuff because my own game is based on the RP, and in the past killap was regularly making drastic revisions with each new release of the RP. This meant any mods I released would become obsolete on a regular basis, and spending time combing through work I've already done to check for minor changes isn't my idea of fun. Now that the RP seems nearly at its apex or final form, I feel more comfortable about making some of my own stuff available.
     
  7. Dude101

    Dude101 Vault Fossil
    Modder

    Aug 3, 2005
    This sounds a lot like the "less generic NPCs" mod for Morrowind which was great. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.
     
  8. MIB88

    MIB88 Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!
    Modder

    Feb 22, 2005
    I'm interested! I fully intend to add her to the next release of the MM (unless you object, of course). Really looking forward to the other NPC changes you have in mind.
     
  9. Endocore

    Endocore Look, Ma! Two Heads!
    Modder

    Mar 14, 2010
    I'm interested in telling stories. I know a lot of people are interested in technical modifications, actions points, weapons, etc and that's great stuff, but the main thing that brings me back to Fallout, Arcanum, etc for the fiftieth time is the characters. So almost all my work is in either creating new characters or embellishing existing ones. Anyone should feel free to make any use of my ideas they like, but for example some things I've got further down the pike (my work process is somewhat erratic, I jump back and forth between this or that frequently) are: Vic and Jenny can get married and move to Reno, Sulik and Maida Buckner can get married an move to the Umbra village, Myron can atone for his past bad karma by opening a free medical clinic for the poor along with nurse Phyllis from VC, and so forth.

    For those interested in such matters, the main thing is to let the character you're working on develop himself rather than be rigorously tied to any preconceived notion. Who knows who may turn out to be the most interesting character you've ever made? For example I started a small incident where the pc could get John Sullivan to beat up a guy at the Klamath bar, and now I've got a very long dialogue and complicated script (almost finished) where the guy standing next to Sajag can become a potential long-term boyfriend for female Chosen Ones. I didn't have that idea when I started with him, but I'm glad I pursued it because the game will be more rich and enjoyable.
     
  10. CPL

    CPL Still Mildly Glowing
    Modder

    Mar 16, 2013
    That is the cool thing about Fallout. There are so many possibilities of what you can do with it, as long as it can successfully be implemented without the game crapping out on you. I can see why people still like to mess around with it years after it first came out. It's too bad that there have been so many ideas that have been suggested that never were finished or ever got off the ground. For example: the slaver expansion mod (if think partially done, but not to it's maximum potential,) or even the whole food concept. Another thing was the radiation thing. I've really never had to use radiation drugs, since it was rare to be afflicted, unless you run into that toxic waste dump encounter. I know the main reason is the lack of time, because of that pesky thing known as real life and this stuff takes a lot of time to mess with.
     
  11. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Jun 14, 2013
    Having nurse Phyllis open up a clinic in the Den after you've got rid of Metzger is something I always think about whenever I return to Fallout 2. Involving Myron in it is a stroke of genious.
     
  12. Ardent

    Ardent A Smooth-Skin
    Modder

    Jul 24, 2009
    Fun fact: one of the characters in Mutants Rising is called Shania. They are completely unrelated though.
    @Endocore: I really dig your work, man. I played some RP with your Miria mod and it was awesome! I'll make sure to include Shania on my next playthrough.:clap:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2016
  13. Endocore

    Endocore Look, Ma! Two Heads!
    Modder

    Mar 14, 2010
    [HR][/HR]

    Update 2-18-14

    1 bug fixed, files link in the first post updated. There was a foul-up in Node040, where a stat check meant to check Intelligence instead checked Endurance. If you had already made Shania, the new script can be plopped into an in-progress game with no trouble and the change will be instantly available after re-entering Arroyo one time.

    Updated 2-19-14

    Wrong file included in version 2, updated to version 3 (see first post for link).
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014