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Location: Games » Baldur's Gate 2 » Miscellanea
Chat log of a chat with Bioware held on June 27th 2001, 6pm PST
at RPG Vault
& spell checked chat log prepared by Tal
okay please message ulairi with your questions
<Bio_Robin> they do have smarties!!
<Jonric> and as usual, let's ask the team members to introduce
<NinjaStan_Bio> Do they? My sister was in NY and said they didn't
<Bio_Robin> they aren't like ours though
<Nathan_Bio> Nathan Plewes, Line Producer
<NinjaStan_Bio> Stanley Woo, QA Ninja
<Bio_Robin> Robin - Web Monkey
<Bio_Kevin> Kevin Martens, Lead Designer
<Bio_Mark> Hello I'm Mark Darrah Lead programmer of TOB etc...
Lord of Clamato, and new CodApple!
<NinjaStan_Bio> Mmmm, two great tastes that taste great together
<Jonric> ready to go? Are the new low level spells from
Icewind Dale (ie Icelance) in ToB?"
<Bio_Mark> Hmmm trapped out side of the proper place...
<Bio_Mark> Ever rejected...
<Bio_Mark> So sad...
<Bio_Mark> No Icelance isn't in TOB.
<Bio_Mark> We actually ran out of slots for spells at some levels.
(No more then 24 per level)
<Bio_Mark> Done (If I'm even in the right place)
<Ulairi> <JanJansen> Ok first off thx for a great
expansion! Question is simply is there a truly neutral/secret ending
to ToB as supposed to just the Good/Evil ending? Thx
<Drew_Bio> There are multiple endings for TOB, but I don't want
to spoil anyone here. I will say there are more than just 2 endings.
<Bio_Mark> Okay I move...Bye.
<Ulairi> <BigPimpin> Will there be any chance that
you will be able to use boo? I.e. use him in battle etc.
<Drew_Bio> Boo provides wisdom and moral support to Minsc. Other
than that he doesn't have any uses in the game. Done.
<Ulairi> <Flabbyjack> Is this really "the end"? A
pretty unfullfilling ending to an epic series..."
<Drew_Bio> I don't know that I'd call TOB unfulfilling. It answers
all the important questions, brings the Bhaal saga to a fitting conclusion,
and provides 30-50 hours of gameplay. But yes, it is the end of this
particular storyline. Done.
<Ulairi> <Lorax> Will we be seeing any cameo apperances
from Minsc and other BG characters in future games?
<Bio_Kevin> Well, Minsc is popular. You like Minsc. We like Minsc.
Neverwinter is so far away. That is all that I have to say. ;P
<Jonric> <MageDragon> Question: I have covered the
boards for BGChronicles (PlanetBG) for a long time, and have seen a
lot of dedication to the fans from BioWare. Listening to the fans' requests,
complaints and praise while giving feedback when possible. Thanks for
the fond memories, the question is: How many hours a day does David
Gaider spend on the boards?
<Bio_Kevin> Well, Dave goes one during work for a few minutes
every hour. I've also noticed that he goes home and goes on the boards.
Weekends, too. I'm not sure if he does anything else. That's dedication!
<Bio_Mark> I a spaz. Sorry.
<Ulairi> When will the BG2:TOB and Icewind Dale:HoW music
be available like it was for BG2:SoA plz?
<Drew_Bio> There aren't any current plans to make the music available
that I know of, but I suppose if demand is strong anything is possible.
Sorry I can't be more helpful. Done.
<Ulairi> I found the game bosses to be extremely challenging
and some players have said they were too easy... what gives?
<Bio_Kevin> That's a natural byproduct of the ludicrous numbers
of spells and combat options. In some cases, if you know the creature
well or have the right deadly combination of attacks prepared, the creature
goes down fast. If you get some lucky critical rolls in at the right
moment, bye bye boss. If you're not as familiar with AD&D or the
BG system, it may be harder. We balance everything as well as we can
for the average player.
Given that it is the "INFINITY" engine, when will Mark be porting the
engine for Word, Quicken, and Netscape so users can summon djinni's to
do essays, disintegrate bills, and whirlwind attack webspam with that
oh so special top-down isometric flair.
<Bio_Mark> Its already been ported to Word, Quicken, and Netscape.
Unfortunately it will only work with the new Netscape/Word/Quicken Hybrid
version 9.A3455353453456356 on Windows 3.11a
<Ulairi> What did you think of the VO work after it was recorded?
< /me thinks of Cespenar and shudders>. Any particular character's
voices you especially liked?
<Nathan_Bio> I've always liked Viconia's VO (done)
<Ulairi> Any chance for a BG editor, like for NWN?
<Bio_Mark> Long Answer...
<Ulairi> <Iarwain> When will we hear about the future
beyond NWN, or is NWN the only thing in the oven?
<Alan_Bio> Releasing the music for ToB is something we're looking
at, but I have no definite answer at this time. I think it was pretty
fantastic myself :)
<Bio_Mark> BG was never designed for user created content.
<Bio_Kevin> There is of course, the Starwars RPG, Knight of the
Old Republic. There isn't much we can say about that right now but it
will be supercool. More...
<Bio_Kevin> We apply everything we learn from previous games to
make the next ones into the best game experience possible. After Star
<Bio_Kevin> We always have plans. :P
<Ulairi> <Ainamacar> It seems like the romances are
much more fleshed out, both in quality, and particularly in bulk. Is this
a correct judgement, and about how much more is there compared to SoA?
<Bio_Kevin> We've added quite a bit of romance into TOB. There are
numerous additions to each of the four romances and all of them come to
their logical conclusions...
<Bio_Kevin> Some with surprising results.
<Bio_Kevin> I don't know exactly how much more.
<Ulairi> <Hosun> Does every NPC get a conclusion to
their story in ToB?
<Bio_Kevin> Every NPC has a post game bio that brings their stories
to a close. Some are happy, some are sad, some are... Jansen-esque. There's
been a lot of positive feedback about it on the boards so we're quite
<Ulairi> <Lorax> What's the deal with the big metal
unit? Is it an inside joke, a real D&D relic, or what?
<Bio_Kevin> I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't played the game
by telling them what it is but...
<Bio_Kevin> The BMU is the ultimate silly ending to an extremely
silly easter egg. Always keep the pantaloons...
<Bio_Kevin> It is completely made up by us. And it's silly. Did
I mention that? Done.
<Ulairi> <Dave-MMORPG> What are you're favorite D&D
Modules? (Any chance for an other PlaneScape game, or a Birthright, or
<Drew_Bio> Favorite modules... so many to choose from. I'm partial
to the old ones... I've always liked the Giants-Drow-Demonweb Pits (more).
<Nathan_Bio> Well I'd say the Temple of Elemental Evil and the Return
to. Good for party paranoia.
<Bio_Mark> This will sound somewhat self serving but I generally
created my own adventures.
<Drew_Bio> And of course the Tomb of Horrors. I haven't played the
3rd Edition Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, but I've heard good
<Bio_Mark> I'm just that nerdy.
<Nathan_Bio> no arguments here :)
<Bio_Mark> Okay not so self serving I guess.
<Drew_Bio> Funny how we tend to like the broad, multiple module
campaigns. How many total hours was the BG series?
<Ulairi> <MageDragon> Are there any Easter Eggs in
ToB anyone would like to share ?
<Bio_Mark> Well there is this myrthical rabit that comes around
once a year...
<Bio_Mark> of course in his world mythical is spelt with an 'r'
<Bio_Mark> The big metal unit is a easter egg.
<Bio_Kevin> Look for the chinchilla. Also, never forget the value
of subcontracting eyeball retrieval quests. That's all for now. :)
<Drew_Bio> And we do have a "mirth" ical rabbit... or is it a chinchilla?
I can't remember.
<Nathan_Bio> Watch for tiny dogs
<NinjaStan_Bio> There's one under the tree, and one behind the couch...
<Ulairi> <Lunix> Black Isle made a free dungeon addon,
with a few new weapons etc, does Bioware have any similar plans in store?
Or any extra goodies in the future that we can look forward to?
<Bio_Kevin> Throne of Bhaal is enormous. There's a huge dungeon,
an epic conclusion to the story, about 80 areas split over 16 main adventure
areas, numerous spells items and monsters, and 30-50 hours of gameplay.
I think that people will be very happy with the value of this mission
pack. It is already bigger than most full release games. Plus, everyone
keeps bugging us to get NWN done. We're hard at work on that.
<Ulairi> <[SoCoM]> Have you thought about the possibility
of making a DVD Special Edition? (and if this is possible, ships in Spain
<Bio_Alan> We are thinking about doing a special edition to DVD
with perhaps SoA and ToB, but there's nothing concrete yet.
<Ulairi> <Hosun> Have any of you read the Baldur's
Gate novel adaptations? They were pretty bad in my opinion. I'm wondering
what you guys thought.
<Drew_Bio> Adaptations of novels are tricky... I speak from experience.
I think some of the problems with the BG novels comes from too many cooks
stirring the stew. (more)
<Drew_Bio> Mr. Athans was working on the novels while we worked
on the games, and whenever changes came up he had a hard time working
them in. Between all the designers here, the editors and the author, it's
tough to come up with something that closely resembles the game experience.
<Drew_Bio> As a side note, the next BG novel has been written by
me, and since I was closer to the design team I think people will find
it more closely resembles the plot and characterization of the TOB game
- although even my version has some elements that weren't changed for
the computer game.
<Ulairi> <Dave-MMORPG> Any chance that BGII will be
ported to the Xbox or Gamecube?
<Bio_Mark> While I would never rule anything out, BG is fundementally
a PC game. It relies heavily upon the user interface available. Further
it is truly a memory pig. Even the XBOX with 64megs of memory would be
swamped by BG. This would require writing a virtual memory system. A pretty
<Ulairi> <Kaine679> Could you please somehow find out
more about Druids and whether they equal to the other character classes
since they were somewhat low in SoA?
<Bio_Mark> In the end a port probably isn't that feasible though
a re-write inspired by the original might be.
<Ulairi> Is it feasible that all the games you develop a
year from now including NWN will be playable on a pentium2-266 with no
<Bio_Kevin> Druid answer: Druids are very fun to play in Throne
of Bhaal. They have some unique, super powerful high level abilities such
as the ability to summon elemental princes. They also gain levels a lot
faster than they previously did. They level up quite quickly, especially
at the beginning of TOB. They also have unique class items. Druids are
a powerful and fun class in TOB.
<Bio_Mark> NWN is fundementally a 3D game. As such its requirements
are different then BG.
<Bio_Mark> However the visual payoff is also much greater. AND other
things are possible as bandwidth is freed up for greater AI.
<Ulairi> I'd like to become the new Lord of Murder, I've
built up an impressive resume of dead references, will I be hired?"
<Bio_Kevin> As a matter of fact, we have several openings for Lord
of Murder. They're primarily janitorial in nature but the title is quite
cool. And the mop. It's definitely a sharp looking mop. (Note: I refuse
to spoil any potential endings to TOB)
<Jonric> <Sartaeus> What new kits/classes will be added?
<Bio_Kevin> We've added a brand new kit to Throne of Bhaal, the
ever so cool (and dangerous!) Wild Mage Kit. A wild mage is a wizard who
specializes in the control of unpredictable wild magic. He/she tries to
bend it to do what they want it to do.
<Bio_Kevin> Other than that, we've also added a ton of new high
level abilities and spells that characters can pick an choose from to
customize their character and kick more butt!
<Ulairi> Were there any favorite side stories, NPC interactions
or quests you had to drop in ToB? Can you share some with us?
<Drew2_Bio> Unfortunately we always have to drop plots because we
don't have infinite resources. One in particular I liked was a trial we
had, where you could use the red/blue/green circles to see how well you
had influenced the jury. It may show up in another game.
<Drew2_Bio> Still, we did manage to put in more than a fair amount
of stuff for the player to do. All in all I think people will be very
satisfied with what actually made it in.
<Ulairi> <Kaine679> Will the werewolf form of the shapeshifter
improve with levels in ToB?
<Bio_Kevin> The Shapeshifter kit has been improved in several ways.
Like all druids, he/she gains access to the high level abilities. They
also can shapeshift into their werewolf forms more often and the Greater
Werewolf is more powerful and regenerates at a faster rate.
<Ulairi> <WGBanshee> Now that the series is concluded,
looking back, what was your favorite bit out of all the games?
<Drew2_Bio> It's gotta be Bondari, Nanoc and Tim. Pure genius. (Kevin's
baby, I believe.)
<Ulairi> <Sartaeus> Can you add a system where one
could build a character from scratch (starting from level one). I.e. you
could make a dual class fighter/mage level 2/10. It's kinda frustrating
to start off at around level 8 and have to work from there.
<Bio_Mark> Essentially no, we can't add a system to allow you to
start a character from level 1. At least not in game. Allow me to explain
why. Of all places in the entire Infinity engine, the character creation
screen is truly colapsing under the weight of 4 games. In order to allow
what is suggested (a good idea BTW) the entire screen would have to be
stripped to the ground and rewritten. Further it would complicate a screen
that many novice users already
<Ulairi> Thanks for coming out with the dialogue fix for
ToB so quickly, but i'm wondering how your beta testers managed to miss
it... is it possible to apply to be a beta tester for your games?
<Bio_Kevin> My favorite bit is the one that Drew mentioned. I hope
you like it. Also, there is a distinct reference to text adventures that
should make old school players grin. Enjoy!
<Bio_Mark> Actually the reason that the Dialog bug was missed can
be explained quite simply.
<Bio_Mark> This bug ONLY occurs with Win2K SP2 (and Win XP). Since
SP2 didn't come out until May 5 it was simply missed.
<Bio_Mark> As simple as that. Once it was tested the bug is pretty
hard to miss. Beta testing wouldn't have helped as it would have all happened
<Bio_Mark> SP2 came out. In the end it really is a stupid programming
error rather then a testing problem.
<NinjaStan_Bio> Oh, good. It wasn't me. *whew*
<Bio_Mark> The bug itself has been in since BG2 but only shows up
<Ulairi> <Howdy> Are the BG games considered canon
Forgotten Realms history by WotC?
<Drew2_Bio> Because of our multiple endings, the BG games can't
be considered "official" in the FR world. However, the novels (including
the upcoming TOB novel - another free plug for me!) are considered canon.
<Ulairi> I could have sworn I hear the voice of Minsc in
a Courage the Cowardly Dog cartoon. Is the cast also employed elsewhere?
<Jonric> just to let everyone know, we're going to finish
up in about 5 minutes
<Bio_Mark> While I can't speak specifically to this instance, YES
voice actors are very prolific people.
<Bio_Mark> For example Sarevok is in Voltron.
<Bio_Mark> We have Whiney the Pooh
<Ulairi> Do you have tigger too?
<Bio_Mark> Pinky from Pinky and the brain.
<Drew2_Bio> Brain, brain, brain...
<Bio_Mark> Half the cast of Transformer Movie (Though it almost
seems like every voice actor did that)
<Bio_Mark> Also I'm not sure about this but I think we also had
Wilbur from Mister Ed. (Though that could just be random synapsis in my
<Ulairi> <Zipnab> will the next BG games still be in
2D or will they change into 3D like NWN?
<Bio_Alan> Well, we can really talk about possible future BG games
that haven't been announced. But you can tell that the trend lately has
been for 3D games. I think they both have their advantages/disadvantages
and both look good.
<Ulairi> <Dave-MMORPG> Whose ass do I have to kiss
to get put on the beta list? :)
<Bio_Mark> Mine. Note however that while I'm small I'm pretty damn
<Bio_Mark> Oh and I have a 400 man militia living in by yard.
<Bio_Mark> Actually. We don't currently do external Betas.
<Jonric> There's a problem at Bioware so we're going to close
the chat thanks to all of you and to the team for coming and enjoy ToB
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