Community Expansion Pack - NWN

CEP Blueprint Basics

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The following is just a very brief tutorial on how to make a new creature with the NWN toolset for the CEP.  The same basic process is used for making blueprints for placeables, items, and other objects as desired.

In the NWN toolset, a "blueprint" is a premade object that is stored in one of the game's palettes on the right-hand side of the toolset window. There are sections for creatures, items, placeables, etc. A blueprint can be used to "paint down" a creature, an object, an item, or something else without it having to be recreated from scratch each time

Step 1: Prep the ModuleEdit

If you wish to contribute to the CEP by creating pre-made blueprints for creatures or other objects, you'll want to start with the CEP starter module (currently cepv24_starter.mod).  Open the module in the toolset.

So that duplicate entries are not created, add two haks to the list of custom content for the module: cep2_build.hak and cep2_add_sbv1.hak.  These two haks contain premade scripts and blueprints for content that do not need to be recreated.

To add a hak to the module:

Go to Edit > Module Properties > Custom Content. Use the drop-down menu to pick the desired hak and Add it to the list of haks.  You can use the buttons to move the new hak up or down in the list.  The best spot is probably right below the most recent "top" hak.  After adding any desired haks, click OK.  It's a good idea to then save the module under a new name, exit the toolset completely, then restart it with the new module (to make sure the toolset uses all content in the new hak(s)).

Once the haks are added, the "Custom" toolset palattes on the right side of the screen will have many new objects already added.  These are ones that do not need to be recreated.

Step 2: Choose Your Creation MethodEdit

Creatures are a good place to start in creating pre-made (aka "prefab") objects. Placeables, items, and other objects have fewer needs and options, so they're easier to pick up later.

There are three ways to start a new creature blueprint:
1. Go to Wizards (in the top menu) and pick the type of object you want to create.
2. Go to the palette on the right, pick the type of object you want to make, go to the "Custom" tab, right-click on a category, and select New.
3. Go to the palette on the right, pick an existing object similar to the one your want to make, right-click on it, and select Edit Copy.

This little tutorial will use method 1 to use the Creature Wizard to make a new critter.

Step 3: Get CreatingEdit

1. Go to Wizards and select Creature Wizard.

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2. Click Next to get going.

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3. Pick the basic racial type. This can always be changed later.

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4. Pick a class and level. I would suggest 1st level, you can level the critter up later.

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5. Pick the creature's appearance and the portrait that will be used in-game.  You can change this any time later.

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6. Pick on of the standard factions this creature will belong to.  This can be changed later.

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7. Give the creature a name. Since this initial name will be used to create the blueprint's resref (aka, filename), you should start it with "zep_". You will change the name to the "real name" in a later step.  This file name (resref) will be used later for organizing blueprints by object type later.

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8. The palette category is how builders will locate and use the blueprint when building modules. Just pick the one that best matches the racial type you picked earlier.

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9. Just click Next here.

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10. Tick the Launch Creature Properties checkbox (so you can make more changes to the creature after the file is created), then click Next.

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11. Now that the Creature Properties window is open, you can start making all sorts of changes to your new critter. You can change the name to something better, update the tag if you want (the tag is used by scripts for identifying the creature), make a description, add objects to the creature's inventory, change portrait, change classes, alignment, statistics, and more.  The tabs here open up spaces for really customizing a creature.

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12. The scripts tab opens the list of scripts that control a creature's behavior.  It's best to just use the default NWN scripts so that builders can do their own customizing and use of NWScript (the NWN scripting code).

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13. Once you have everything the way you want it, just click OK to close the properties window and save your creature's blueprint file.

14. For placeables, make sure you've selected the checkbox to make such items "Static". This means that once a builder puts them down in an area, they'll become part of the scenery but player characters won't be able to interact with them.  Leave it up to builders to decide if a placeable should be "useable" or remain purely as decoration.

15. Save your module on a regular basis!  This will combine all of the blueprints (and other content) in the module file and save it to the hard drive.

Step 4: Get your files to the CEP.Edit

Once you have you creatures (and/or other objects) created, you'll need to get them to the CEP for inclusion.

The easiest method is to just send your entire "building module" file via email. Compress it as a .7z or .rar archive and attach it to an email to  Be sure to include your name or community username so that you can be credited for your work.

The slightly "more work" method is to go to File > Export in the toolset (with your module open), pick Add Resources, and find your creations (listed by resref). You'll have to "Add Resources" for each object type you made. Highlight them and add them to the list. You can then save everything as an .erf file (the file time NWN uses for importing and exporting content), compress it, and email it.

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