Sunday, July 7, 2013

Silverwand Software

A collection of freely downloadable software developed by Brendan Bellina. This software is made available for download for individual usage only. It cannot be re-distributed, modified, or included in any distributed works without the express permission of the author.

Currently Active Software Locations

Silverwand Software (hosted at Google Drive) (all of my free software is available here)
NexusMods (filter search where uploader is KaldorSilverwand)

Software Categories

Web Browser Enhancements (Bookmarklets)

All Macintosh Software
- AppleScripts
- Dashboard Widgets
- HyperCard stacks
- Kaleidoscope Themes (Mac OS 9)

All Apple IIGS Software
- Hypercard IIGS stacks
- GS/OS Finder icons
- Generic Drive Images
- Apple Users Group of Michiana (AUGM) newsletters

Yahoo! Widgets

Apple Dashboard Widgets

Baldur's Gate Enhancements - compatible with BG2 and BG1Tutu

Icewind Dale II Enhancements

Neverwinter Nights Mods and Documents

Neverwinter Nights 2 Enhancements


About this Page

I began publishing my software under the name "Silverwand Software" in 1982. I have always recognized that any success I have had writing software has depended greatly on the work and generosity of other software developers and engineers and so I have never charged anything for my work. Over the years I have used several distribution channels for my work, including, but not limited to: GEnie, America Online (AOL), personal websites hosted by various educational institutions I have attended and/or worked for, and public type-specific websites such as the Apple Widget Gallery, Yahoo! Widget Gallery, the Neverwinter Nights 2 Vault at IGN, and the NexusMod site. For various reasons most of these solutions have not withstood the test of time. My hope is to create a single publicly accessible repository for all of my work that will survive for the foreseeable future.

This blog post will serve as the launch page for my software. It will include links to more specific blog posts and those will include download links for the actual software. I will host the software sites that will not require accounts to download from. In the event that those services are retired I will try to relocate the software and then update the links on the blog pages.  One advantage of using the blog pages is that any comments or feedback people may have about a piece of software can be posted on the appropriate blog page.

Thank you for your interest.

Brendan Bellina
July, 2013

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Do the Dead Use Google?

I awoke this morning from a vivid dream. I was attending a reunion (my college 25th reunion starts tomorrow) and I was led by an old high school friend and somewhat egotistical jerk John (I bet you thought this post was about you) Papandria to another old high school friend John Pasman. I felt shocked and happily surprised.  Shocked because I knew that John Papandria and John Pasman didn't really get along so it was odd that Papandria would lead me to Pasman. This thought was easily overwhelmed by the happy surprise of seeing a friend I believed to be dead for nearly ten years. Exit John Papandria.

"How is this possible?," I asked John Pasman. "You're dead."

"No. Obviously not." And you laughed.

"How can this be? I attended your funeral. If it wasn't you then whose was it?"

"It was my brother."

"That's so strange." I could remember seeing his brother at the funeral and they looked enough alike that for a brief guilty moment I did imagine they were switched. But it wasn't so.

And then we were suddenly apart. And that feeling of not-quite-right-ness that always comes before the death of a dream and bad CGI was there and it was over.

John, you were a dear friend taken so quickly that you quite literally were gone before I even knew you were ill. Our friendship was episodic at best, but you mattered a great deal to me. Apparently after nearly a decade I still can't accept that you are gone. Thank you for your friendship.

If the dead search Google for their names, I hope you find this.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Useful NWN2 Modding Resources and Forum Posts

I am going to use this blog page to keep track of the posts that are of most interest to me as an NWN2 modder.  Sometimes searching for a post just doesn't take you to what you hoping to find.

Some NWN2 websites:

Neverwintervault.org
NWN2 at Nexusmods.com
NWN2 Mac Free Forums
NWN2 Steam Forums
Neverwinter Nights series forums at GOG.com


And those gone but not forgotten:

The original Bioware NWN2 forums at nwn2forums.bioware.com (d. 2013?)
The second Bioware iteration NWN2 forums at social.bioware.com (d. Aug 24, 2016)
The Neverwinter Citadel site
The Wendersnaven.com site
The original NWN/NWN2 Vault formerly at nwvault.IGN.com (d. 2013?)
The NWN2 Atari community forums
The NWN2Scripting.com site


Useful posts, resources, and such:

Online Patch catalog at Neverwintervault.org: http://neverwinterva...rements_tid=103
Manual game patcher: http://neverwinterva...-patcher-tnt220


Useful tips on other websites:

Tutorial - How to Design a Quest

Polished interior floors using water



Friday, March 15, 2013

Comparing Neverwinter Beta to SWTOR

This is a brief assessment of Neverwinter Online having played it now on two occasions using two of the 4 classes it currently allows: Mage and Rogue. I haven't tried Cleric and Fighter and don't expect to. In both cases I played up to about 15th level taking several hours. I have posted this assessment also on the Bioware NWN2 forums in this thread.

I have very limited experience with MMOs other than SWTOR (Star Wars the Old Republic) which I have been playing for a year and now have 18 created characters on three servers. I also briefly played DCUO (DC Universe Online) and played for only one evening WoW (World of Warcraft) and STO (Star Trek Online).

For starters, I found the character graphics to be terrible. They look like NWN. That was fine in its day, but they should look far better now. As in any MMO you spend all of your time looking at your character's backside so it is important that they look good. They just don't. And you have very few options as far as armor or clothing and almost no customization ability (there is a way to dye armor but you have to find the dyes). DCUO does this best because you can easily create very unique looking uniforms and each time you get an item you get to keep the look of it if you want to even if you switch items. SWTOR is ok at this because the graphics are sharper and the number of clothing types is fairly large. But in Neverwinter everyone just looks bad.

Combat is incredibly repetitious. My mage could shoot an infinite number of magic missiles by my just holding down the left mouse button and all I needed to do was change who I was aiming at. You have only a few types of special hotkey attacks (by comparison in SWTOR you have well over a dozen) so you find yourself watching the cool downs all the time to see if you can use one again or have to go back to the left or right mouse button attacks that always work. The one feature I liked was that as a Tiefling I could teleport myself short distances while fighting in order to attack from behind or avoid being hit. This involved holding shift and pressing one of the WASD buttons. I found myself constantly hitting CAPS LOCK instead of shift and never got very good at it.

The UI interfaces are all lacking compared to SWTOR. In SWTOR you can bring up the map and turn your character while the map is shown, and even move your character while the map becomes semi-transparent. Not here. While the map is up you are frozen and as soon as you move the map is gone.

The follow-the-sparkles way of getting to quest areas was buggy. I had to frequently press the Z key to make them reappear. And sometimes you just have to walk around blindly until they show up. Again, the SWTOR map and functionality is far superior.

Unlike SWTOR where the areas are huge and you can easily navigate around mobs you do not want to deal with, Neverwinter is cramped - almost claustrophobic - and I often found myself accidentally fighting 2 or 3 mobs at a time just because while fighting one mob I accidentally got too close to another. There is no death penalty though, you just get sent back to the last healing campfire you used.

The UI for shopping is also inconvenient. Things that should be simple are not. Like the fact that to start a conversation with a vendor you need to press F but to end the conversation you have to move your mouse to the "Finished" button instead of just pressing F again.

While I only experienced 2 crashes to the desktop, I had to logout and back in several times to correct odd graphic glitches. Most irritating is that after being killed my character's running would be affected. Once he was running sidewise all the time and another time he looked like he was moon-walking. Logging out and back in was needed to correct this.

I also experienced a large amount of rubber-banding, which is when you are running and all of a sudden you are moved back a second or two from where you were. This happened all the time and in some cases I would end up in a completely different room of an interior.

The nice thing about the game is the chance to see what 4e Neverwinter should look like. That should prove useful as I am (still) working on my Gems of Power campaign which takes place at the same time as Neverwinter and the city of Neverwinter was going to be one of the cities I allow travel to. Of course with the NWN2 toolset I won't be able to do everything, but I think the visuals from Neverwinter may help.

I haven't been able to use the Foundry yet, but I'm hoping it offers a decent alternative to the NWN2 toolset. I am certain the NWN2 toolset will be more capable, but the reality is that if you want people to play something you build you have to use the platform they are on. Besides, maybe if some of us NWN2 modders build some good Foundry content it may lead people to try NWN2 out.

I don't see myself ever being a regular player of Neverwinter though.