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Neverwinter Nights Toolset Features and Tips
Originally from the old NWN forum thread "Lesser known but helpful features of the toolset".


Quick Jump:
Areas: Direction: North
Areas: Edit Size
Areas: Quick Jump to an Area
Build Module: Get Results List
Camera: Movement in the Toolset
Constants: Magic Numbers
Conversations: Add Some Colors
Conversations: Looping
F5
Items: Properties Help
Items: Put on a Placeable
Merchants: Quickly Add a Store to an NPC
Objects: Clear the Paintbrush
Objects: Copy & Paste
Objects: Get ResRef or Tag
Objects: Painting Down Multiples of the Same
Placeables: Adjust Location
Placeables: Adjust Location (Warning)
Placeables: Combine without a Flicker
Placeables: Rotation
Placeables: Set at Illegal Locations
Resources: Quick Deletion
Resources: Quick Deletion 2
Resources: Quick Deletion 3
Scripting: Completion Help
Scripting: Custom OnSpawn Behavior
     without a Script

Scripting: Quick Find a Script
Scripting: Quick Reminders
Scripting: Quickly Find a Script
Scripting: Use Includes to Reuse Code
Tiles: Copy & Paste
Tiles: Cut & Copy Bug Feature
Tiles: Cycle Through Options
Tiles: Desert as Desert Cave
Tiles: Easily Raise Terrain
Tiles: Homogenize an Area
Tiles: Illithis Interior to Spaceship
Tiles: Ruins Exterior Used as Elven Area
Tiles: Rural Bridge to Cliff
Tiles: Rural Footbridge
Tiles: Shadows Near Edges
Tiles: Underdark Used as Outside
Triggers: Polygon Drawing
Triggers: See Polygons Better
Wheel Mouse


Areas: Direction: North - When an area is loaded in the toolset, the top of the screen is North, the bottom South, the right is East, and the left is West. This information can help when creating areas so that exits and entrances are placed properly.

Areas: Edit Size - Tiles are always added or subtracted from the top or right, so if you add to or subtract from the bottom or left edge of you area, rotate it 180 degrees, make the changes, and then rotate it back.

Areas: Quick Jump to an Area - If you are testing an area, you can put the "start location" in the area. When the toolset loads, click the button with the start location graphic and an arrow to jump right to that area. No need to scroll down the area palette!

Build Module: Get Results List - After Building a Module, right click in the Results and select Export to File to create a nice text file of the list.

Camera: Movement in the Toolset - Hold down the Ctrl key, left-click a spot and don't release the button, now move the mouse. Now while doing this, don't let up the left button, and also depress the right button without letting up, now you can move the camera on the z-axis, too. If you're really coordinated, you can also keep both buttons down and rotate the scroll wheel to move the camera in or out.

Constants: Magic Numbers - For many things, like applied visual effects, spells, polymorphs, poisons, etc. you have to type in a constant, like VFX_FNF_FIREBALL.

Not really true. These constants represent numbers. Not all of the possible things that you can use have constants, so some of them have to be referenced by number.

These numbers can be found by looking at the leftmost column of the appropriate .2da file in your NWN/source directory. You can open them with notepad.

Conversations: Add Some Colors - You can add colors to key terms in a conversation by right-clicking in the conversation to pop-up the Select Token pop-up window, the first tab (called Standard) lets you add a large number of predetermined tokens to spice up your conversation (boy/girl, GameMonth, quarterday, lawful/chaotic, and many, many more). The second tab (called Highlight) lets you highlight words in the colours described above by simply typing whatever you want in either the Action, Highlight or Skill Check fields. This pop-up is also accessible BTW from a little red [A] next to the conversation text in the bottom of the window.

Conversations: Looping - To repeat a part of a conversation or to loop back to a previous part of the coversation, right click on the part that you want to repeat/loop and select Copy, then right click on the node where you want to start the loop and select Paste As Link.

F5 - Do not use this, as it will likely reset all your non-ground-height placeables down to ground level, causing the loss of predetermined height settings. Instead, you can enable/disable shadows to display proper shadows in the toolset.

Items: Properties Help - Making an item? Use F1 to find out what that item property does.

Items: Put on a Placeable - If you want to try putting an Item on top of a Placeable, you can do so by putting it underneath the placeable. When you load the module the Item will be on top of the placeable instead of underneath. This works well with Swords and Sheilds on top of Tables. You can still pick the items up too. Very usefull.

Merchants: Quickly Add a Store to an NPC - What kind of shopkeeper would you like to have run the store (including a tavern or inn?) Use the NPCs palette and select your proprietor (you can even pick hostile ones).

Place your intended proprietor on the map where you wish him/her/it to stand. Now, right-click on your proprietor in the module. A little box will come up with options, including: Setup Store and, of course, that's the one to select. This opens the Setup Store Wizard and it really is a breeze. When you finish doing what you set out to do in each section, just click "Next." When you are complete, the window will warn you if you have a shopkeeper with a Hostile faction setting. It will all be in BLUE. There is a selection window with the title "Merchant" defaulted and a check box near it that indicates that if it is checked, it will automatically select this faction for you when you click done.

Objects: Clear the Paintbrush - Either hit Esc button or right-click the tile somewhere.

Objects: Copy & Paste - You can use the Windows control commands on selected objects (Ctrl+C: copy, Ctrl+V: paste, Ctrl+Z: undo, Ctrl+Shift+Z: redo) to make things go faster. You can even use them on multiple objects for doing things such as copying all of a room's placeables, triggers, sounds, and creatures to another area.

Objects: Get ResRef or Tag - If you want the resref, name, or tag of an object or creature, you don't have to plop one down to get its properties. Just select it in the palette and use the view menu (or the gold button that looks like a magnifying glass) to see the info. You can swipe over it and copy/paste it where you need it.

Objects: Painting Down Multiples of the Same - Normally "painting" an object clears the "paintbrush". To keep the object on the paintbrush, and so paint multiple instances: Select from palette.. Holding down the Shift key, and click as many as you want to place.

Placeables: Adjust Location - If you have placed something like a placeable on your map and you cannot get it to face the exact direction you wish, or it is not at the exact location you desire, you can change this. Either right click on the object, or find it in the area contents panel on the left of the screen and right click on it. You can 'adjust location' and position the placeable precisely by changing the compass degree settings (for the direction of facing) or the x, y, and z (height) coordinates (for exact placement).

Placeables: Adjust Location (Warning) - If you have added a placeable and adjusted the height (z-azis coordinate) where it is not sitting right on the ground, DO NOT left-click on the object in the area window, or else it will likely drop to ground level, losing your predetermined height setting.

Placeables: Combine without a Flicker - If you try to put two or more placeables together to make it look like a larger placable (such as 2 drow bars to make a longer, curved bar) you'll notice there is a flickering between the two that shows them as being two seperate objects. To solve this, go into the 'adjust location' menu of one of the objects and raise or lower its Z-Axis position by 0.01 . This is so small a change that you cannot see it, but it gets rid of the 'flickering' between them and makes them look like one object. This can be done (as far as I know) with all placeable objects.

Placeables: Rotation - Select your placeable object (left click or from the area content panel on the left). Keeping the shift key depressed, hold in right mouse button and move mouse back and forth.

Placeables: Set at Illegal Locations - You can set placeables off the bounds set by the map.

Aurora normally restricts X and Y locations for placeables from 0.0 to ten times the number of grids (so an 8x8 map can handle XY locs of {0.0,0.0} to {80.0,80.0}. If you drag a placeable beyond these bounds, it will snap to {0.0,0.0}. Also, Z-axis is restricted from 10 to -10.

BUT if you right-click on an item and select "Location", you can edit ONE of the XYZ values to be WHATEVER YOU WANT, so long as you press the RETURN key and don't click the button or tab out of the field. Apparently this bypasses the error correction, and the toolset, it seems, doesn't give a damn.

To make two or all three axes (axises?) "illegal", just repeat the "Location" trick, selecting a new field each time. (Since x autoselects, do the X axis last).

This is great in conjunction with CEP, BTW, since you can place all those cool "ship" placeables offshore, without having to actually make your map bigger.

Resources: Quick Deletion - Anywhere that you can open multiple files (such as in the script editor or when exporting files to an .erf), you can delete files by rightclicking them - even selecting and deleting multiple files at once. You may need to, for instance, refresh the palette when deleting blueprints. NOTE: Bad Stuff (tm) may occur from doing this, so make sure you have a backup of your module first.

Resources: Quick Deletion 2 - Ever try deleting a creature/object/script/whatever from the toolset and it takes FOREVER? If you KNOW the "whatever it is" isn't placed already somewhere in the module and know all refereces (scripts) are gone, just go into your nwn directory, into the "modules" directory and open up the temp folder in there. Look for the blueprint for the "thing" you're trying to delete and remove it. You will probably have to refresh the toolset menu to get rid of the ghost entry for the "thing", and then resave the module, but it sure beats waiting over 30 mins to get rid of a creature you created by accident in the toolset.

Resources: Quick Deletion 3 - Select the Export function from the File menu; select Add resources and then select the resources list you're looking for, once listed, delete the ones you no longer want, you can select as many as you like by using either the Ctrl key to select random or the shift key to select a range. Once you've deleted them, click on the cancel button to cancel the export and return to your module.

Right click on the custom palette and select, refresh palette, you're all done. It works for everything, but in case of scripts you get a warning per script that you need to acknowledge.

Scripting: Completion Help - Use F2 to complete a line (I use it all the time when typing the lengthy DURATION_TYPE_TEMPORARY lines in coding. Also eliminates most spelling errors, as long as you know the first three letters of the words. Works for constants, functions, etc. Double-clicking the words in the right-hand box also adds them nicely.

Scripting: Custom OnSpawn Behavior without a Script - Open the script x2_inc_switches.
Copy the switch you want activated it will be in quotation marks.
Close the script editor.
Open the creature properies -> advanced -> variables
Paste in your value. Set Int to 1.
Save your blueprint.
Your NPC now has ambient animations without requiring a custom script.

Scripting: Quick Find a Script - Adding a script to an event? If you don't like to scroll through the entire list of scripts in the game, type in the first few letters before hitting the triangle button. You will go directly to the first script with those first few letters.

Scripting: Quick Reminders - Even if you're familiar with programming in general, you may need a helpful reminder of the exact usage of IF, WHILE, DO etc. in NWScript.

You can copy this text, paste it to a simple text file, then save the file as some name you'll remember to the directory: C:\NeverwinterNights\nwn\scripttemplates

Back in the script editor, when you need a quick reminder, click the Templates button, and there is your cheat-sheet. You can make lots of them, and they can be used to store frequently used code that is too different with each use to warrant an include file.

Scripting: Quickly Find a Script - To quickly find a NWN script file, but you're not sure what it's called, you can find it by category. Simply Ctrl-O, click the "Open all files" radio-button, then use the bottom most of the three dropdown-lists. This will then give you options like "Include Files", "Spells-Monster Abilities", etc.

Scripting: Use Includes to Reuse Code - To re-use your code, and make sure you remember (or can be reminded) what those functions do, create your own include file scripts. Remember to prototype them and comment these prototypes well. The downside is that if you ever change anything in the include file, you have to recompile all scripts using it. This isn't that difficult, since you simply search "All Files in Module" for the include files name to get a list at least.

Tiles: Copy & Paste - You can use the Windows control commands on selected objects (Ctrl+C: copy, Ctrl+V: paste) to copy one or more tiles (in their current orientation) to another location, either in the same area or in a different area.

Tiles: Cut & Copy Bug Feature - Bug or not, this has some interesting implications. Normally you can't alter individual tiles of a tile group because OnMouseUp the whole group is selected. HOWEVER, you can do whatever you want before you let go of the click, which means that you can hold down the mouse on one tile of a multi-tile group and delete it, or Ctrl-X, or whatever. Now you can get a 1x1 Windmill. Naturally some of the groups get sorta messed up when you do this, but you can extend, say, the Temple Good 3x2 to as long as you want. I did test it out ingame and found that the module behaved as expected, that it wasn't corrupted, and so on. Also note that sometimes it glitches a little bit with some Invalid Tile errors, but reloading the area fixes that for me. I'd definitely make a backup copy before trying this. But there's no guarantees if they decide to fix this little thing in the future...

Tiles: Cycle Through Options - In tile select mode (not tile paint mode), Shift-right-click is a little better than eraser because it cycles through the tiles in order, instead of randomly choosing one.

Tile select cursor is an arrow, tile paint cursor looks more like the tip of a paintbrush. Press ESC to change from paint to select mode.

It is a great way to get rid of all the rocks or trees randomly strewn about your terrain, or to make a nice floor pattern -- especially when combined with copy/paste.

Tiles: Desert as Desert Cave - The desert tileset with no lighting and set to always night makes a good underground desert cave, as long as you don't put any of those pesky cacti around.

Tiles: Easily Raise Terrain - If you just cooked up a pretty big area and you decide you want to raise most of it, clicking each tile with the raise tool and take a while. Instead, shrink the area to 2x2, raise those 4 tiles, then expand it again. All the new tiles will be raised.

Alternatively, if there is some reason you don't want to shrink it temporarily, clicking the same tile twice then right clicking will raise 9 tiles at once.

Tiles: Homogenize an Area - Got a larger area and you want all the tiles to look the same? Say you have a standard forest area and want to clear all the trees and leave just the ground? Do this by using alt-right click to cycle through terrain tiles in order until you get the one you want. Repeat this for about a 5x5 section. Then highlight those tiles and use ctrl-c to copy then ctrl-v to paste over the remaining areas. When you start to get more and more cleared out you can copy larger areas to speed things up.

Tiles: Illithis Interior to Spaceship - The Illithid interior tileset makes a great alien starship interior.

Tiles: Ruins Exterior Used as Elven Area - Exterior ruins tileset with clear daylight and lots of doors and placeable trees make a beliveable elven like city.

Tiles: Rural Bridge to Cliff - Something that is rarely seen is building a bridge over water tiles to a cliff in the opposite shore in the rural tileset: You can get a nice little castle like door in the cliff. You may need to delete/add the bridge to cliff section several times to get door to appear.

Tiles: Rural Footbridge - In the rural tileset, you can drag a road across a stream and a footbridge will be placed over the stream. The road will actually connect to the footbridge if you do it that way.

Tiles: Shadows Near Edges - In caves, or along the bottom edges of cliffs, you sometimes see the shadow is "disconnected" from the ground at the base of the cliff. This is very apparent in the desert tileset. Make sure your area is at least one tile bigger than the edge of the cliff. You need the blank high area behind the cliff (or cave wall) to provide the shadow for the bottom of the cliff.

Tiles: Underdark Used as Outside - The Underdark tileset makes great outdoor mountains with the lighting all adjusted.

Triggers: Polygon Drawing - When drawing your polygon for triggers, transitions or encounters, left click on your map to start drawing the polygon, left click each time you want to change the direction when drawing. Double left click to close the polygon. If you are drawing a four sided polygon you just have to start the last line of the polygon and double click. It will automatically close the polygon for you.

Triggers: See Polygons Better - When you are working on a trigger on a white area and cant see that same line to create the polygon, simply set the area lighting to something dark and then you can see it ten times better. Reset your area lighting when you finish.

Wheel Mouse - If you don't already use one with the toolset, get one. In both toolset and game, you can hold in the Scroll button and then use the mouse to adjust the camera location. Use the wheel to scroll in and out with the camera, and the wheel makes it a breeze to scroll through scripts.