Note: These posts are drafted in advance and then scheduled for publishing, so it’s actually taking a bit longer to do all this than might be ascertained from the posting-dates. Each post represents 2-3 days’ modding, at a couple of hours per day during the week and much more at weekends.
The next challenge with Canterbury Commons is building a believable hotel that the player, just passing through, would actually want to stay in. I found the Office_b tileset with the dark red carpet ideal for the task – stained and heat-warped but still warmer than bare stone. After laying down the rudimentary reception furniture I set about building the bar – normally the first thing guests see while they wait to check in – to set the tone. As always, my focus was on clutter.
Here’s what it looks like under game-lighting, as viewed from the reception desk:
The next thing I did was to write notes for the desktop computer, with information about the hotel’s guests. I wrote the information first and will use that to inform both the layout of the upper level and the type of NPCs I make.
After building a lounge area and dining room for guests, it’s time to build the upper floor, where the guest rooms are. I started with the bathroom since that seemed the one I’d have to think the least about, and then referred to my guest-notes. One guest requested a room overlooking the street, so her room would have to be to the front of the floor. Poor Peter would get one of the more luxurious rooms on the other side. I also made a suite that the player can stay in, which is also comparatively rich.
It is only after I’ve finished navmeshing and linking the doors to the exterior that I realise that I’ve done something incredibly stupid! There’s no kitchen! There’s a bar and a lounge and a restaurant but no kitchen where food can be prepared.
It occurs to me then that the player doesn’t need to see every square inch of the hotel – just as they wouldn’t in real life. There would be areas sealed off and out-of-bounds to the player so it should be easy enough just to create a door to a non-existent kitchen.
First off I examine my cell for an obvious place to put the door.
Then I write a script and accompanying messagebox to tell the player that they cannot open the doors:
and then finally I navmesh around the new door to stop characters from getting stuck in the new layout …
… and then as a final touch, I create a newspaper for guests to read, which will appear on their Pip-Boy display: