I have been a great fan of Jeff Vogle's masterful work in building the world of Exile now called Avernum. Many other people have contributed greatly to the enjoyment of his worlds with their websites that depict graphical walkthroughs. However, only a couple of the games in the series have complete graphical walkthroughs posted on the web; Silver Harloe's walkthrough of Avernum 1, and Rache's walkthrough of Avernum 3. Silver started to do a walkthrough of Avernum 2, but got never past the main map page. And nothing at all had existed for Avernum 4, Avernum 5, orAvernum 6. Here I present my efforts to fill that gap.
Now that Silver's web site has gone the way of Kansas (All We Are Is Dust In The Wind), I have mirrored the web pages for all the Avernum maps here.
As for the original Exile series (1-3), there were many
pages posted about it, but nothing truly graphical and even some of the
early websites no longer exist. I have mummified many pages covering
these games, and it may be time to review them for display.
I got my first taste of RPG's back in the early '80s when Dungeons & Dragons became a huge thing across the country. Our group of adventurers didn't last very long, but I had been bitten by the bug and I began collecting stuff about the game. I even got into the pewter figures and took the time to paint them into almost realistic action characters. (BTW, I still have them, but my wife says it's time to get rid of them. Does anyone out there still collect these things? Email me if you do.)
My first computer RPG was Castle of the Winds. It
was very primitive compared to the stuff that comes out now, but when it came out in 1993, it was the best thing of its
day. This game, which came in two parts, had a graphical interface with primitive but iconic graphics, and it took the load
of rolling dice and cross-referencing charts off the player, leaving him free to enjoy the action of the game.
(Actually, my first one was Adventure, played on the universities main-frame computer, but that's ancient history.)
In 1997, I discovered Spiderweb Software's game Exile. This game was lightyears better than any other RPG to date. Not only were the graphics superior and the game engine more complex, but it had a comprehensive story line involving dialog with friendly NPCs. This was also in the early days of the internet. Both the game and the web took off in a very big way. Some people had the inspiration to share their experience of their favorite games on the internet. ISP's popped up everywhere, and people began populating the web with a flood of websites, including those devoted to the Exile series.
But soon I discovered that the netscape was not quite stable (Planet Genesis). I discovered that a few web sites about Exile were disappearing. Not wanting to lose that knowledge, I began 'scraping' what websites I could find. This became somewhat of a black art, because then the Save Page function did not save all the images, embedded music files or any of the script. All these objects had to be identified, linked to, and downloaded separately. Then I would clean up the html files, fixing the links to my locally stored objects, and getting rid of the ads. In this manner I built my own library of Exile and Avernum websites. This library includes Silver's Avernum Annotated Maps, as well as Rache's Avernum 3 Site.
When Blades of Avernum had come out and Rache had posted her website for the Avernum 3 walkthrough, I became impatient for Silver Harloe to finish his annotated maps for Avernum 2. He had done such a great job with Avernum 1. I was on my third (or was it my fourth) replay of Avernum 2, and I really wanted those maps! So I said to myself, "Self, I guess if I want those maps, I'll just have to do it myself." So I dove in and did it. It was only then I began to appreciate all the work involved in doing a walkthrough of this scale. Since I was only able to work on it part time, it had taken about a year to complete. In July 2009, now that I had something to share, I built this, my first web site. For the sake of completeness, I had links to the sites of the other two Avernum sites that were complete at that time.
I then tackled my next project, to build a complete annotated map of Avernum 4. I started out trying to fit into the Avernum 1/2 template, but it wouldn't fit; the entire world was bi-level, and there was no 'outdoors' to speak of. Avernum 5 had also come out so I also didn't want to spend a lot of time doing the artwork for the flyovers, so I used the <map> tags instead. I finished this in March 2010.
Then I undertook to do the same for Avernum 5 and I got the maps completed, but before I could start the annotation, Avernum 6 came out. Now that those maps are done,I intend to go back to complete Avernum 5 with annotations as well, but please be patient. I can only devote an hour or two a day (maybe) to this project, and these worlds are the most intricate worlds Jeff Vogle has ever written (eat your heart out Rand Miller).
I sent a few emails out to a few webmasters to advertise my website, but I never knew how much attention it got. Then I got an actual email! Apparently, silverchat.com had gone the way of Kansas (All We Are Is Dust In The Wind), he was letting me know so I could remove the link to nowheresville. He also informed me of the heated discussion on the Spiderweb Forums regarding this sad event. Someone had a copy of the old maps, but didn't get the fly-over pictures, so it did not have the same feel as the original site. I had initially run into the same problem when I had first scraped Silver's site. But being a programmer by profession, I had learned to read raw HTML, and I had discovered the trick to finding those graphics. Anyway I logged back into the Forum after a two year hiatus, and asked if anyone would mind if I posted the full version here. I was greeted with enthusiastic approval, so here they are.
I also plan to review my library for websites about the Exile series that provided good value, but have been derezzed. I have already identified a few of them.
I have finally completed the full walkthrough for Averum 4. I am now going to try to finish the walkthrough for Avernum 5.
I have gotten the maps for Avernum 5 done, but now Avernum 6 calls. I'm going to try to get it mapped out and then see how it goes as far as completing each of them. Please bear with me.
I have !finally! gotten the maps for Avernum 6 done. Sorry it took so long, but I do have a full time job so I don't have a lot of free time to do this. Now I plan to go back and finish the narrative for Avernum 5. Let's see how long that takes me.
I have been intending to complete the narratives for Avernum 5 and Avernum 6, but unfortunately I have been buried with real work. After a few weekends and a couple of 36 hour days, it kind of gets to you. Anybody want to be an Oracle Data Base Administrator???
Got an email from Derek Plote that I have a little case-sensitivity issue with a couple of links. I very much appreciate the feed back Derek.
Sorry about that; computers are such idiots - they do what you tell them to do, they do !!exactly!! what you tell them to do, and if you tell them to do something wrong, they will do it !!exactly!! wrong, every time. Anyway I have fixed the links.
Derek was also kind enough to tell me that Silver's site is down. Like so many fans of the Spiderwebs games, I have kept a local copy of many sites, just in case of this eventuality. When Exile I came out, it was in the early days of the Internet, and many web sites kept disappearing as ISP's got eaten or abandoned. Now that Silver has been abandoned, I will post my copy of his excellent work here. By the way, I had already taken the liberty of completing the maps and annotations for Avernum 2.
I have also been persuaded to publish another effort that was left incomplete back in 2006, Rache's Avernum 3 page (Version 2).
By the way, if any one notices another site that has been discontinued, let me know; I may have a copy. However, I won't put any one else's work up here until it has been abandoned. If the original author objects, I will most happily take it off again.
Updated my biography, fixed the homepage links in Avernum 1,2,3, plus some general housekeeping.
I have uploaded my Visual Basic version of the Blades of Exile Scenario Editor. If anyone out there working on the now open-source code wants to pick up on my ideas and incorporate them into the C++ code, please feel free. I haven't updated the help file that goes with it, but most of the help from the original program still pertains here. The interface is heavily modified from the original version, but it is more intuitive, at least to me. Here are the FAQS.
Ginormous bug found in Avernum 6. Enjoy everybody!
Added my searchable Blades of Exile Graphics engine to my BoE section.
Added the beginnings of the Exile series, including Cartography 101.
It has been over a year since I last updated this page. I have been working, albeit slowly, on the Exile 3 maps. I have finally completed the main map of Valorim, but I still need to flesh out the Province maps and the section maps.
You can find me on Spiderweb Forum
or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please let me know if I missed or misspelled anything.
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"Avernum" and "Spiderweb Software" are trademarks of Spiderweb Software, Inc.
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