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Making new stuff, or editing existing content

Ingame content is managed through a web interface called FWN. Changes can be made by any player, to almost anything ingame, and updates are live immediately and with no restart required.

Info: We're still on a case-by-case manual approval process for write access. To get write access, you will have to talk to niv. Once you have access, you can start uploading content - and everything will be live ingame immediately, no restarts required.

More Info: By default, new authors are only allowed to upload areas (.are, .git) and dialogues (.dlg). All other templates (interchangably called resrefs, files) are restricted to those maintaining shops, encounters, and so on and are not needed for area updates.

It is strongly recommended to read the proper article pertaining to the changes you want to make. For example, if you want to work on a new or existing area, check out Areas before getting to work. Nearly all maps have a "maintainer" - someone responsible for the general feel for things, and what should happen to it in the future. It's best to talk to them beforehand.

If you have any questions, post here in the comments or contact niv directly.

Getting Started For Reals


Now, FWN may look daunting at first glance, but it's really not. Let's go through an example on how to edit a area. The general workflow is very simple:

  • Lock
  • Edit
  • Upload (interchangably called Stage, or Index)
  • Check & Commit
  • Unlock (or edit some more)

Commit is simply means "Apply the complete uploaded changeset and record it".

Lock It

First, you need to make sure noone else is working on it, so no work is wasted.  This is something FWN helps you with, and all you need to do is lock the area you are working on.

Find the area you want to edit by inputting it's partial name (or resref) in the search box:


 



Select it, then click on "Actions" to find Lock for editing.

 

Get it

Get back to the Build board (on the top navbar) and find your lockbox. The area you just locked appears there, alongside a download button. Click that and fetch the .mod to get started. It will be named after your area(s) - in our example, it'll be frk_main.mod.

Place that module in your NWN\modules directory and then open it in the toolset. You'll see the area(s) you just locked.

Caveat: For now, you will have to rebuild your Palettes ONCE when loading a .mod or you will not see any placeables.

Build -> Build Module -> Check "Palettes" only and click Build.

Sidebar: NWNTX, Why mod?

NWNTX is recommended for editing our areas. It fixes various performance issues. Download it from here (Version 1.0.5) and unpack it into your NWN directory. Run nwntx_loader.exe instead of nwtoolset.exe.

Sidebar: .mod or .erf?

You can download and upload both mod and erf files from your lockbox. erf files are for import into existing modules, whereas .mod are best to keep edits contained in individual modules. This is up to you.

Downloading .mod files has the advantage that all palettes and resrefs are already contained.

Tweak It, Break it, fix It

Edit. Once you are satisified with how it looks in the toolset, click the Save icon (in the Toolset).

Tip: You can test your area simply by setting a starting location and hitting F9.

Take the same .mod you moved before and drag&drop it back onto the FWN webpage. It will be uploaded, unpacked, and all files will be analysed for changes and potential issues.

Read the messages for each file carefully. They are there to advise you of problems or side-effects you might not have intended.

Informational messages are simple text; most of those can be ignored safely and are just advisory.
Warnings are yellow; they might indicate problems. For a detailed overview of messages produced by FWN, see Checks & mangling.
Errors, however, are red - those indicate conditions that cannot be fixed automatically and need looking at (by you). You cannot commit changes until all errors are fixed.
Sidebar: What gets updated?

When re-uploading a .mod, only files in your Lockbox will be looked at, and the rest is silently discarded. This is to prevent accidental upload of other files in your .mod.

Alternatively, you can upload unpacked files itself from NWN\modules\temp0, again just with drag & drop. This will not limit you to your Lockbox and is currently neccessary to introduce new resrefs.

Commit

Once you are satisified with your edit (it's okay to not finish something in one go!), type up your change in the edit box and click "Commit". Devising a good commit message helps people follow your changes easier.

At this point, the files you just updated are still locked by you - this means that noone else can upload changes to them. If you want to continue updating them, just keep them locked; otherwise, unlock them.

Once again, please note that you need to re-download your lockbox after you unlocked files and someone else made changes to them. FWN will prevent you from committing files that would overwrite changes by other people.

More

All changes are live immediately with no restarts required: Changes to most file types will affect newly-spawned content only (like creatures), whereas changes to areas will trigger a live area reload, as long as no players are in the area.



Sidebar: Writing a neat commit message

It's enough to simply write what you did, for example: Fork: interior for Wildlands Inn, connect to frk_main. You don't need to write an essay, just something other people will understand the first time when glancing over it.

  • Always write your commit messages in the present tense.
  • Say where your change happens, not just what.

Something went wrong!

Don't worry. Just make another commit with a fix.

As well, FWN records all changes, and everything that breaks can be un-broken with minimum effort. Just contact a staff member to help you out!

Do not be afraid to break things, or to stagger your edits. Multiple commits in sequence are okay, too!

 

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