December 2003

Happy New Year!
Posted Wednesday, December 31, 2003 - 18:38 CET by Sorcerer

From where I'm posting this (Slovenia), we'll enter 2004 in less than 6 hours, so I wish you all a Happy New Year, and that all you wish for in 2004 comes true. Hopefully your celebration won't be as pathetic as mine, since due to my bad cold and the timely return of my toothache (that blasted wisdom tooth has to GO), I'll be spending it at home, swallowing pain-killers and feeling sorry for myself. Talk about a lousy start of a new year. But the rest of it has to be better, right? Please?

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Hordes of the Underdark Review at Khabal
Posted Wednesday, December 31, 2003 - 17:28 CET by chevalier

Khabal have reviewed the Hordes of the Underdark expansion, giving it an 8 out of ten. Here's a clip:

So now we´ve reached the point where I come up with some rant. Right, here goes. So, is HOTU worth your money? I´d definitely say yes, if you don´t care for the toolset additions, the main campaign is excellent, especially with the introduction of epic levels. For those that aren´t really interested in the campaign itself, the additions to the toolset and the addition of new scripting commands should keep you glued to your seats for a while.

And let´s not forget the fact that most of the NWN stuff you´d use is probably fan created. If you don´t get HOTU, you might slack behind when everyone upgrades to HOTU, since you won´t get a lot of the new stuff that would be popping up in a month or two that´s created by fans.


Read the rest at Khabal.

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SP Happenings #30
Posted Tuesday, December 30, 2003 - 23:09 CET by Sorcerer

Considering I haven't been doing much else all week apart from spending time with the family and going out to dinners and lunches to meet with the relatives, literally nothing got done on the SP front, so please excuse the lack of material to write about here. Maybe next week, after the holiday theme starts wearing off, I'll have more for you. That is, if I manage to get rid of this infernal cold which barely allows me to get up in the morning, let alone do anything productive... *sigh*

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Neverwinter Nights Forums News
Posted Tuesday, December 30, 2003 - 20:16 CET by chevalier

Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

David Gaider, Designer

Sharwyn's songs: Actually, I wish I'd thought of writing some songs for Sharwyn to sing in VO. It was mentioned to me by Shauna Perry (the wonderful lady who organized all the VO for HotU) that the actress who did Sharwyn actually WAS a singer and would have been happy to do some actual singing. But I didn't have time to go back and change it. I was working on Valen at the time, however, so decided on the spot that he liked to sing to himself sometimes (badly). I rather think that I'm going to do an NPC in the near future that does some real singing in VO and who sounds good. I think that would be neat. As for those lyrics you bring up, I made 'em up. I could write the whole thing out for you if you like, though, heh.

Georg Zoeller, Designer

x2_ files: x2_ doesn't necessarily indicate it is only available in hordes. x2_inc_itemprop is available in all game versions, as it is crucial to all spellscripts. Campaign specific x2_ files may have been left out of the compatibility patch. The item property scripting commands should work with all versions of the game.

TileMagic:

Quote: Wondering if more tilemagic could be added though? through a hak or something??


The tile magic constants are just row indices for entries in VISUALEFFECTS.2da. You can easily add different tiles to visualeffects.2da and use the row number of these effects with the tile magic scripts. You may want to check the scripted endbattle of HotU, there is a lot of other stuff going on with that system (i.e. houses blowing up, etc)


Spellhook: The scope of the spellhook system was limited to player spells only because only player can be used for the crafting feats, which were the reason the spellhook system was introduced. We discovered a few other uses (such as the sequencer robe, the UMD check for scrolls) on the way, but still the intended scope was only player castable spells

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Hordes of the Underdark Review at GameZone
Posted Tuesday, December 30, 2003 - 0:38 CET by chevalier

GameZone have posted a review of the Hordes of the Underdark Expansion. The overall score is 8.6. Here's a snip:

The game itself centers around - well below - the town of Waterdeep. Beneath the city lies the Underdark, a vast underground territory with an army that has gathered to lay siege to the town above. As an adventurer that has worked through the terrors of deception in the original tale, or braved the Plane of Shadows in Undrentide, you have arrived and are tasked with working through to the core of the problem and saving Waterdeep.

As mentioned, this is not a light undertaking. Players will find the road quite hazardous, and rife with new monsters to battle. There are some old friends along the way, such as the halfling thief, Tomi, or the strong warrior Daelan.

The game play is immersive, and for those who have ventured forth before in this fantastic realm, you will find this a real treat.

The sound and graphics are much the same as in previous incarnations of the game, though some new character portraits have been added.


Read the rest at GameZone.

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BioWare CEOs Interview at C&VG
Posted Sunday, December 28, 2003 - 20:18 CET by chevalier

Computerandvideogames.com (C&VG) have interviewed the joint CEOs of BioWare, dr Ray Muzyka and dr Greg Zeschuk, about the passsing year 2003 for BioWare and their plans for 2004. Here's a tidbit:

In which key area or areas would you most like to see the RPG progress over the next couple of years?

Dr. Ray Muzyka: We see the role-playing game genre as being quite broad, with story and character interaction being the core elements of a 'BioWare RPG'. Hence, we think it's quite possible to successfully merge elements of other genres into RPGs - for example, with Jade Empire we're merging elements of action games and martial arts combat with a strong role-playing system.

One of the most exciting areas for me personally is seeing games merge elements of different types of genres in this fashion.

It's also great to see games including realistic simulation (physics, artificial intelligence, and so on) - all these elements help make a role-playing experience that much more believable and immersive.

Where do you see technology taking us, in terms changes/advancements it will allow developers bring to the RPG genre?

Dr. Greg Zeschuk: As a developer focusing on character and story development, BioWare is very excited about the great technology coming down the pipe because it will allow us to develop even more immersive experiences.

Our character technology is becoming ultra-realistic, and the environments our characters inhabit are becoming even more stunning. Considering the immersive leap from Baldur's Gate to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic; it's very exciting to image what we'll be able to do with future games like Jade Empire and our other secret projects.


Read the whole interview at C&VG.

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The Temple of Elemental Evil Review at Digital News
Posted Sunday, December 28, 2003 - 20:08 CET by chevalier

Digital News have reviewed the Temple of Elemental Evil, giving it a score of 8.1. Here's a snip:

The graphics are solid, if not groundbreaking. There isn’t a lot that can’t be seen clearly, and the environments are flush with detail. There isn’t anything groundbreaking here, wut what is in the game is solid.

The audio is a bit lackluster, especially the voices. It sounds as if the voices are almost canned caricatures of what people expect them to sound like. The music is decent, and altogether, the over quality of the sound may be the worst feature in the game. That’s saying something.

That’s not to say the game is a shining example of what PC games can be. There are problems, technical bugs mostly, but there have been some patches released. ToEE doesn’t require the latest technology under the hood to run, but it really really helps. This is why I don’t play many PC games. It’s a shame that a console version isn’t planned.


Read the whole thing at Digital News. A short version has appeared in The Seattle Times.

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Hordes of the Underdark Review at RPG Vault
Posted Friday, December 26, 2003 - 20:28 CET by chevalier

RPG Vault have posted a review of the Hordes of the Underdark expansion, including lots of graphical material from the game. Here's a snip:

As with all modules created by BioWare, the tools they used are also available to the player via the toolset that comes with the original game. It should be noted that there are numerous improvements including new scripting commands such as improved merchant controls, dynamic item and tile changing. As for the new elements in Hordes, we have the previously mentioned skies, heads, portraits, voice sets, numerous placeables, and five tilesets - Underdark, Drow Interior, Mind Flayer Tunnels, Beholder Tunnels and Frozen Wastes. Another very thoughtful addition to the toolset is a built in conflict checker for hak paks. These comprise the method by which community members can put their custom content into the game, and if there are conflicts with the developer's resources, this tool will let the builders know. One area that didn't receive a lot of attention this time around is the Dungeon Master client, the special interface that allows change the world and guiding players through adventures.

Read the whole review at RPG Vault.

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Last Week's Poll's Results
Posted Thursday, December 25, 2003 - 19:54 CET by Sorcerer

What we asked:

Q: Currently, no new D&D computer games have been announced for the near future. What are you going to do in the meantime until the next new D&D CRPG is released?
(418 votes total)

(Re)play some of the D&D games I already own, maybe try out some mods etc. (205) 49%
Play some non-D&D games (104) 25%
Buy some of the D&D games I don't own yet and play those (74) 18%
Take a break from computer games altogether (35) 8%

Obviously the majority of our visitors won't be that hard pressed without having any brand new D&D games to play in the near future. 49% of them voted that they will simply either play or replay some of the D&D games they already own, maybe try out some mods etc.

25% of those who voted, however, will take a break from D&D games and play some non-D&D ones.

18% of poll participants will buy some of the D&D games they don't own yet and play those.

Only 8% percent of all who voted will take a break from computer games altogether.

  • Current Poll
  • Previous Polls

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Wednesday, December 24, 2003 - 16:28 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    The community: As for your questions, of course we are learning from our games and of course we will use that knowledge in our next games, one or another way . As for the reasons you are suggesting why HotU is better: I guess most of them played a role.

    - The community acted as "competition" in a way, driving us to do things that haven't been done before.
    - After such a long time with the toolset, most of us have mastered it pretty well
    - We had feedback from the OC and another expansion pack we could build on, find out what people liked, see what worked out and what not.

    Rob? Who is Rob? Ahh I remember, that crazy guy who is working on WW2 ...


    David Gaider, Designer

    HotU campaign: The expansion is a sequel to Shadows of Undrentide. Just because you bring in your character from the official campaign does not mean that suddenly we are going to re-write everything to make it possible for you to be the Hero of Neverwinter... or a "I'm a nobody" option. I understand that sometimes players like to imagine a whole background for their characters, but just like in PnP there will be some adventures that are compatible with that and some that establish a certain background for you. I certainly wish there was some way in NWN for us to do that with a module... have giant flashing letters that leap out and say "THIS MODULE CONTINUES SHADOWS OF UNDRENTIDE ONLY! HEAR THAT? ONLY!! IF YOU BRING IN OTHER CHARACTERS THEY WILL BE TREATED AS THE PC FROM UNDRENTIDE, WHETHER YOU PLAYED IT OR NOT!!". Chances are, some folks still wouldn't get it. As for Deekin, we don't assume that you took him with you as a henchman. If you don't bother with him in Shadows of Undrentide, remember that you still have to deal with him extensively in Chapter 1 and he still travels with the halfling caravan, so would have heard a lot about what you were doing then.

    Further:
    It wasn't my intent to be harsh, Jackhammer. All I'm saying is that we wrote Shadows of Undrentide (yes, Bioware did that campaign, though Floodgate did the tilesets and creatures for the first expansion) and intended for Hordes of the Underdark to be its sequel... the work to make the sequel somehow work either generically or for the original campaign character are more than significant, as has been pointed out. If I seem harsh, it's perhaps just that I don't understand the assumption being made by some folks such as yourself. In retrospect, it seems that we should have gone to greater efforts to make the nature of the campaign more obvious.

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    Hordes of the Underdark Review at Game Revolution
    Posted Wednesday, December 24, 2003 - 16:20 CET by chevalier

    Game Revolution have reviewed Hordes of the Underdark and given it a B+. Here's a snip:

    The graphics, for example, are largely unchanged except for some more detailed texture, especially for characters faces. But the developers added something that’s been available to players as a very popular hack for ages: you can now unlock the camera, look over you character’s shoulder and view the world from a new perspective. You can at last check out the sky (although you wont see much sky in the well-named Underdark) or peer down at that suspicious treasure chest.

    The new epic levels are also great, and again imitate what the community has been doing for years. Many online servers scripted in their own epic levels a year ago, awarding permanent bonuses to players for experience at certain points over level 20.


    Read the whole thing at Game Revolution.

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    SP Happenings #29 - Season's Greetings
    Posted Wednesday, December 24, 2003 - 0:51 CET by Sorcerer

    Since I won't be around as much as usual the next few days (and I presume neither will most of you), I'll take this opportunity to wish you all a merry Christmas and happy, successful New Year on behalf of the whole SP team. SP got its own Christmas present in the return of our sorely missed team member Extremist (in case you don't know, he survived a bad car crash), as for the rest of you, I hope you each get what you wished for.

    I have to especially thank everyone helping me with running SP; people who help me pay the SP bills, the news posters, board moderators and admins, people helping me with various SP-related tasks behind the scenes, chatroom ops, people who submit content to SP and many, many more. Cliche or not, it's the truth - I couldn't keep up the superior level of quality on SP without you all. I'm very proud to be in the company of such excellent people who helped me make SP what it is today, and what it will be tomorrow.

    While 2003 has been a transitional year for SP in many aspects, 2004 is going to be evolutionary, if not revolutionary. Much will change - SP is finally going to get a new look, and we will also change the message board software our community is currently utilizing. Both of these changes are going to be major for everyone involved with SP on a more technical level, while the user experience is going to improve as well.

    So here's to a bright, successful 2004, and many new D&D games! Though the current prospect of that looks bleak (no new PC D&D CRPGs announced), I hope the situation is going to improve in the following months. In the meantime, you can join in on the traditional song of the season:

    "Ring Their Bells", or "The Munchkin's Carol"
    --by the Sea Wasp
    (to the tune of Jingle Bells)

    "Slashing through the Orcs
    With a good two-handed blade
    Over corpses we go
    And through the gore we wade
    Mace on helmet rings
    Making bodies fly
    What fun to sing our SLAYING song
    And watch these suckers die!

    Chorus:
    Oh, ring their bells with swords and spells
    Don't let 'em get away!
    We're brave and bold for fame and gold
    We'll make a lot today!
    Oh, ring their bells with swords and spells
    Don't let 'em get away!
    We'll hack and slash and blast and trash
    And blow these dudes away!

    Crashing through the door
    Into the dragon's nose
    Our mage whips out a Cone of Cold
    And out its fire goes!
    Elven bowstrings sing
    Making balrogs fall
    And our thief finds a secret door
    Into the treasure hall!

    (Chorus)

    Then appears the Lich
    With his demon guard
    Our wizard yawns and wishes
    We'd run into something HARD...
    He begins to cast
    His 19th level spell
    That damn Lich throws a Gate at us
    And drops us all in Hell!

    (Chorus)

    We appear in Hell
    In front of Satan's Throne
    Our cleric waves us out the door
    And takes him on alone!
    Satan's legions don't
    Want to let us go
    Our Techno pulls a bazooka out
    And NUKES 'em 'til they GLOW!

    Oh, ring their bells with prayers and spells
    Don't let 'em get away!
    We're brave and bold and CRAZED, we're told
    To think we'll live the day!
    Oh, ring their bells with swords and shells
    Don't let 'em get away!
    We'll hack and slash and blast and trash
    And blow these dudes away!
    Yes, we'll hack and slash and blast and trash
    And drag our loot away!"

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Tuesday, December 23, 2003 - 16:53 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Area size:

    Let's put it this way:

    16x16 is the max recommended area size. From a design point of view, you should never need to go above that, if you find yourself in the need to go above 16x16, rethink. From a technical point of view, going above 16x16 is bad, just plain bad.


    Stat caps:

    Quote: Any developer insight on why the stat caps are what they are? Are there any plans to raise them in the near future?


    We looked at raising those caps during the development of Hordes and unfortunately it didn't work out. From a design point of view, this isn't too bad, as, according to the rules, ability score increases should not stack anyway (but they always did in NWN, so we wouldn't change that). However, for a variety of abilities (i.e. mighty rage), it would have been very nice to have the stat cap being raised. No prediction for the future, as I am not on the Live Team, but this topic is definitly on their radar.

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    Hordes of the Underdark Review at VideoGamesLife
    Posted Monday, December 22, 2003 - 20:00 CET by chevalier

    VideoGamesLife have posted a review of Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark giving it an overall score of 85%. Here's an excerpt:

    Do the Drow really get a bad rep in RPG's nowadays? A matriarchal society forced to live under the ground of Faerun, having to put up with the appalling gray hue their skin took must have been the final straw to the catalogue of indignities foisted upon them. Is it really the Drow's fault that their alignment is nearly always set around Neutral Evil, does the blame lie solely at the feet of their less tolerant cousin's, the Elves or is it just because they love to sow chaos and havoc on the hated ground dwellers? Whatever your perception of the Dark Elves, expect it to be changed in Bioware's second expansion disk for NeverWinter Nights, Hordes Of The Underdark.

    Several months have passed since your escape from the Plane of Shadow(as experienced in the first data-disk, Shadows Of Undrentide), an escapade that has made you the talk of Faerun, thanks in part to one of your companions, the Kobold bard Deekin, his book about your exploits becoming a best-seller. No time to rest upon any laurels however, as the city of Waterdeep is in grave peril. Built above the site of an insane archmage's dungeon known as Undermountain, built specifically to lure in greedy adventurer's desperate to get their hands on the oodles of treasure rumoured to exist within the sorcerer's lair. While not the most desirable tenant to live beneath the houses of the Waterdeepians, Undermountain does have the advantage of being a buffer-zone between the outside world and the Drow homesteads. Until now, that is. The Dark Elves and their dwarven allies, the Druegar, have attacked Waterdeep with no warning and seem to be using Undermoutain as their main base of operations. The Lords of Waterdeep have called all heroes from the realms to gather and help fight this menace and find out how the Drow have managed to capture the seemingly invincible creator of Undermoutain, Halaster.


    Read the whole thing at VideoGamesLife.

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    Interplay Remain Positive at Yahoo
    Posted Monday, December 22, 2003 - 13:35 CET by Yerril

    Over at Yahoo Finance, there's news of Interplay's annual meeting. Despite the fact they're losing money fast, have just closed one of their most profitable divisions (Black Isle Studios), and are now concentrating only on console games, Interplay CEO Herve Caen is very pleased with the way things are going. Here's what he said:

    "2003 has been a challenging period for the company. A down economy, a difficult legal dispute with our North American distributor, and the adventures always associated with being a game developer and publisher all presented obstacles for management and staff.

    "Yet, our trend toward profitability is strong. Our sustained focus on cost control continues to improve our balance sheet position, while strategic sales of certain intellectual properties and development of key franchise titles drive our revenue. We also purchased certain gaming rights, extended the contracts on others, and re-energized some familiar Interplay brands."


    Whatever you say, Herve. See the whole article here.

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    Tom Ohle Interview at Home LAN
    Posted Monday, December 22, 2003 - 12:50 CET by chevalier

    Home LAN have posted an interview with Tom Ohle, BioWare's lead PR guy. Here's a snip:

    HomeLAN - Looking back at the past 12 months, what was the high point in the video and PC game industry in your opinion and what was the low point?

    Tom Ohle - I think the low point definitely has to be the Half-Life 2 source debacle. I don't know too many people who aren't looking forward to that game. As for a high point, I don't think there was a specific one; it's been a great year for PC and video games. The success of PC and video gaming this year has really helped push mainstream acceptance of the medium.

    HomeLAN - What was your favorite game or games that was released in 2003 and why?

    Tom Ohle - I really think this has been one of the strongest years for gaming in quite some time. This generation of consoles has really allowed developers to push the limits of their imagination and create some truly memorable experiences. Naturally, I've had a blast with Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark (I'm a bit of an RPG nut), but a number of other titles really captured my interest this year. Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker was an amazing experience, and Prince of Persia has kept me up until 3am on a few occasions. I'm also hopelessly in love with Winning Eleven 7 and Amped 2.


    Read the whole interview at Home LAN.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Sunday, December 21, 2003 - 15:15 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Coloured names: Colored names have been removed from the game as they were never intended for player use. They will not come back. The color coded names in the game serve a certain purpose and people have been using the (not indended) functionality of changing their name's color to disrupt other peoples gameplay experience. Colored names are gone and they will not come back.

    Fatigue & Starvation: We consider mundane tasks like sleeping and eating boring and non epic, they would disrupt the play experience of 95% of our players - you wouldn't see something like that from us in NWN. But being an incredibly open game when it comes to modification, such a system can be implemented by the individual module builder if he desires - do a search for the words HCR and I'm sure you will find something that suits you needs.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Saturday, December 20, 2003 - 19:09 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Day/night switching: Unfortunately there were so many questions ... fortunately we still got our boards where you can ask. As for this one:
    No DayToNight and NightToDay contain special coding to make the do what they do, there is no generic system in place. They were coded for the specific situation(s) they are used in HotU chapter 2.

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    New Source Speaks on BIS Closure at IGN
    Posted Saturday, December 20, 2003 - 15:57 CET by chevalier

    IGN have posted another article on BIS closure and Interplay PR's subsequent denials. They claim Interplay sticks to "semantic loopholes" in their evasive strategy. Here's an excerpt:

    Late last night, we recieved information from another source backing up the initial claims. "To set the record straight once and for all - Fallout 3 is cancelled, and Black Isle Studios has been effectively shut down, even if the name lives on. Fallout will probably continue to exist in console form, hence the 'Fallout lives' comment."

    Fallout 3, claimed to be nearly complete by our first source, would have been the long-awaited followup to the post-nuclear RPG which hasn't seen a new release in the franchise since 1998. During this time, Interplay released Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel for the PC, a strategy game in the vein of UFO: Aftermath and X-Com, and was working on the action-oriented Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel for the PlayStation 2, much to the disappointment of the community of Fallout fans who'd been hoping for a true RPG sequel.

    Our newest source says that Interplay seems to be relying on semantic loopholes. "Technically, I suppose they are correct: Black Isle Studios isn't shut down (still got two people left!) and Fallout 3 could not be cancelled since it was never announced." According to the previous source, the two remaining employees had been working on an unannounced console title before coming to work for Black Isle.


    Read the whole thing at IGN.

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    Interplay Receives a Warshaw Award from Shacknews
    Posted Saturday, December 20, 2003 - 15:11 CET by chevalier

    Shacknews have posted this year's Warshaw Awards. The Save Costs by Killing Off Your Best Asset Award goes to Interplay. Here's a snip:

    Last week it was revealed that Interplay (who for reasons unknown to me is still alive and kicking), has canceled Fallout 3 and dismantled what remained of the once great Black Isle Studios. Instead, Fallout fans can look forward to Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, a game that is nearly identically named to Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, but is in fact totally different, and will be released for PS2 and Xbox. Platforms, it should be pointed out, which the earlier Fallout titles have never been released on. Meanwhile PC gamers, who are the real market for the franchise, have nothing to look forward to. Good job, Interplay. Good luck pulling out of that financial nosedive.

    Read the whole thing at Shacknews.

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    PC Special Award for the Temple of Elemental Evil at GameSpy
    Posted Saturday, December 20, 2003 - 15:06 CET by chevalier

    GameSpy have given ToEE the Old School RPG Award. Here's what they say:

    No game brought back memories of the old pen-and-paper Dungeons & Dragons days the way Temple of Elemental Evil did. The Troika team is made up of old-school guys who still get together and play using the new 3.5 rules set. Unfortunately, the game had some bugs (many of which have since been patched), exacerbated by Atari's desire to remove children from the game, which broke a few quests. But the bottom line is the game was a lot of fun and really brought back the good old days of playing the famous Greyhawk module by Gary Gygax. Thanks for the memories.

    Read the whole thing at GameSpy.

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    Hordes of the Underdark Review at Just RPG
    Posted Friday, December 19, 2003 - 23:06 CET by chevalier

    Just RPG have posted a review of the Hordes of the Underdark expansion and awarded it 90%. Here's a tidbit:

    Since its recent release, Hordes has garnered wonderful reviews from reputable gaming websites. Every review drools over the engrossing story, and all the new “stuff” that propel D&D character-building gamers to RPG nirvana. I completely agree with these opinions. Online buzz has followed suit. What’s more, I am an up-front admirer of Neverwinter Nights and the first expansion. In my review for this site, I graded the expansion 90% (A). If I had reviewed Neverwinter Nights, I would have given it the same A+ as the reviewer did here.

    Read the whole review at Just RPG.

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    Hordes of the Underdark Review at Warcry
    Posted Friday, December 19, 2003 - 22:59 CET by chevalier

    Warcry have reviewed Hordes of the Underdark, giving it a score of 89%, and including a screenshot of beautiful elven lass in plate armour. Here's a clip:

    The new prestige classes are very exciting, although as any hardcore D&D fan will point out, they don't necessarily translate exactly from the Wizards of the Coast sources material. This can be a little frustrating at first. For instance, Dragon Disciples don't advance in a spellcasting class along with the Disciple class...this can allow you to start the game with a 15th level character that can only cast level three sorcerer spells and will get eaten for breakfast by a troll. Only druids can become shifters, where in the WotC books, any class that can polymorph or change shape can take this class. Aside from these minor issues, the prestige classes are still unique and fun to play. The Weapons Master is an excellent choice for those players that like warriors that focus on one weapon (most warriors do anyhow). Alas, my poor wizard is still missing the Archmage prestige class.

    New player head models are excellent, but a small minority of them don't look very heroic. Instead, they look more like people you'd see in any downtown present-day metropolis: balding, bad haircuts, piercings, and no chins. I'm not sure I'd want to play a cleric that looks like he could be my accountant. The new monsters are brilliant and in some cases I would said are better interpretations than what I have seen in the WoTC books.


    Read the whole thing at Warcry.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Friday, December 19, 2003 - 22:42 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Expansions: Players who do not own an expansion pack can not play modules with content from that expansion pack. That was always the case and will never change. People who have HotU can play on SoU flagged modules, but people who only have SoU can not play on HotU servers.

    Further:
    Sorry I need to clarify. HotU does not contain SoU tilesets, etc, so you need SoU to play on SoU flagged modules.

    Changing outfit: Changing robes is free (DC 0). Changing armor DC is dependent on how many parts you change at once, with the highest DC counting (Torso 17 or 19 I think, neck or glove ~DC 12). Changing weapon DC ranges between 11 and 17. Crafting new objects is between 10 and 19 depending on the object, up to 30 for "special materials"

    Further:

    Quote: I'm thinking you wouldn't want to mod it to have a totally different armor class -- just a torso within that same class, maybe different gloves, a different neck piece, etc.

    That wouldn't work anyway - since players wear the armor while modifying it, changing torso could potentially allow them to create armor they could not wear due to missing proficiencies - thus we don't allow changing the torso outside of the current armor type choise.

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    Interplay Says BIS Not Closed at IGN
    Posted Friday, December 19, 2003 - 22:41 CET by chevalier

    IGN have posted another article on BIS closure, touching especially Interplay's official denial of the rumour. Here's a snip:

    For those of you who haven't been following the story, there have been some rumors circulating the industry that Black Isle Studios, creators of Icewind Dale, has been closed down. After posting the initial story on the rumor, we received more details from a former employee who confirmed that the studio was closed and that Fallout 3 had been cancelled.

    Which brings us up to our new guest star, Interplay's investor relations department, with their official denial of the stories. "For the record," says Interplay, "Black Isle Studios remains open with projects pending, the status of Fallout 3 is under review, and Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel will ship on January 13."


    Read the rest at IGN.

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    BioWare Chat Logs at Neverwinter Vault
    Posted Friday, December 19, 2003 - 17:00 CET by chevalier

    Newerwinter Vault have posted logs from the developer chat they had this evening. Topics covered a range of issues including touching on unreleased and unannounced games that BioWare is working on. Here's a snip:

    BPatryn Of Elvenshae To the crew: Thanks for the support you've shown the NWN community over the past few years. Having said that, what's your real opinion of the community feedback process? We're a cantankerous bunch at the best of times, and has our tendency to over-analyze caused, in your opinion, better work by the BioWare staff?

    Jay Watamaniuk First of all thanks for the praise. The whole purpose of the Live Team is the make darn sure that the people who pay the money for our games get a game they enjoy. That being said we have spent a great deal of time on the forums listening to fans.

    Rob Bartel Community feedback's been invaluable. Creating games in a vacuum is ridiculously difficult. Sometimes the love hurts but we're very grateful to have you all the same.

    Jay Watamaniuk That being said we have spent a great deal of time on the forums listening to fans. And...yes, at times, things can be a bit harsh but you have understand that all things must be taken in a certain light. Every single time someone has come up with a great suggestion we take it into consideration. It is the way that the suggestion arrives is the key point. Be respectful and you get heard- disrespect and you get dismissed and may miss your chance.

    Georg Zoeller And some of the better community modules certainly were another way of feedback ... they raised the bar for HotU and we had to beat them :)

    Derek French One day, I am going to sit down and list out all the community requested and implemented features, just to show how much you guys have contributed.

    Rob Bartel Noo, Derek, noooooo! That's like reading the phone book!


    Read the whole thing at Neverwinter Vault.

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    Neverwinter Nights and Expansions Review at EDBIS
    Posted Friday, December 19, 2003 - 2:02 CET by chevalier

    EDBIS have posted a review of Neverwinter Nights and both expansions, giving a score of 75% to NWN, 86% to SoU and 89% to HotU, which makes an overall 83%. Here's a snip:

    Lets talk about a the story aspects of the game and expansions themselves shall we. The Neverwinter Nights official campaign was, overall, rather lackluster. The story of Aribeth and the assault on Neverwinter was predictable, boring, and best forgotten. After spending five years making
    this game I would think that Bioware would try to make an Official Campaign that would best showcase the hard work they did to make this game the technical marvel that it is. For new players I suggest to forget about the NWN OC and go directly to Shadows of Undrentide or download the myriad of
    user made mods. More on those in a little bit. Shadows of Undrentide's story is far more interesting. Starting off with a new character the player gets a clean slate. You start off as a student to a Dwarven Wizard, one of four, at a rather isolated village of Hilltop. Before you know it the small school and the village itself is attacked by kobolds, moderately competent
    kobolds at that. One of the best joinable NPCs in the game is Deekin Scalesinger, a kobold bard who has much wrongness in him which continues in Hordes of the Underdark. Hordes of the Underdark starts off the character at the Yawning Portal and those with good Realmsian knowledge knows that
    this is the famous home where many adventurers enter Undermountain. A huge dungeon complex created and manned by Halaster, a fairly mad wizard who have populated the dungeon complex with quite a number of traps, pitfalls, and monstrousities, along with a few puzzles as well.


    Read the rest at EDBIS.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 18:15 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Craft Item: For starters, add some magical abilities to the crafting components in the toolset ... you will find out that some of them carry over when you make an item out of them.

    Further:
    We were not allowed to make magical item crafting using skills, as it is against the 3E rules. However, the system itself supports item properties being carried over from crafting components to the final product. Example: Add a property to the item components for a longbow (bowshaft and leather string) either in the toolset or via scripting. Then create a bow ...


    Patches: Sure, there are/will be issues, but mosty of the issues in the ("I have trouble when joining a server with patch 1.60) I've seen so far can be attributed to people not updating their server hakpaks correctly.

    Singleplayer: The patch fixes several issues in the official campaign, you should apply it in any case

    Multiplayer: The patch fixes DM issues and security exploits, you would be stupid not to apply it.


    Subradial Feats:

    Quote: A question... is it possible to make the subfeats have requirements of their own? In other words, say you take the Leadership feat and it gives you two extra henchmen commands (say, Knitting and Sewing) in a subradial menu. Then upon meeting some other condition (another feat taken, a certain skill level, whatever) it adds the Basketweaving command to the Leadership radial menu. Is that possible at all? It's a long shot but it would help tidy up some of my projects.


    The radial will always show all options, but you could of course make the script that is fired by each radial option require a certain feat or whatever, otherwise have it display a floating text "you can't do that".


    Further:
    Quote: Thanks Georg. Let me get this straight, the subradial feats are nowhere listed in feat.2da, right? From a quick look at that file it appears to be so, some kind of virtual feats...The subfeat ID... I suppose this identify the subradial feat for the GetHasFeat, etc, functions, as do the indexes usually? So this should be different from any actual line number used in feat.2da, by Bio or us? You say IDs under 2999 are reserved for Bio, however the "safe index" line in feat.2da is 2000... So I'm probably completly mistaken.

    hehe, you are. Those subradial feats are spells (that point back to a feat - just like the greater wildshapes spells in spells.2da)

    Further:
    Err, short summary

    1) add your feat to feats.2da and a spell to spells.2da
    2) put the feats id into spells.FeatID and the spell id into feats.SpellID
    3) create up to 5 more spells and put their ids into the subradial fields of the new spell in spells.2da

    now comes the tricky part: you need to calculate the value for the featID value of those 5 new spells. To do so you use the calculation method provided in the first post, which requires you to use a SubfeatID value, which you must decide on.

    Hope that clears it up

    Further:
    Subfeat ID's are the numbers you need to put into the FeatID entry of all subradial spells used by the spell connected to your feat.

    Further:
    Hmm (* smashes head against the wall * )
    Hi word (top 16 bit): The FeatID (it is not only OK to use the feat ID there, MUST BE the featID).
    Low word (low 16 bit): 16 bit integer of your choise, above 2999

    Their use by the engine is to allow the game to associate the spell that is cast from the subradial entry with it's parent feat. You couldn't just put a featID into that row because the featID <-> spellID relation between feat.2da and spells.2da is a 1:1 relation (as opposed to 1:n or n:n).

    Further:
    Ah, sorry for confusing you,

    65536 * subfeat + feat ID is correct, ignore my former statement regarding that.

    Let me try to put it into pseudo code, much easier for me

    Further:
    You added a feat at line 3000 that points to a new spell at line 2000 that has 3 subradial spells, lets say at 2001, 2002 and 2003 in spells.2da

    feat[3000].spellid = 2000 // point to the master spell

    spell[2000].featId = 3000 // masterspell point back to feat

    spell[2000].subradial1 = 2001 // register subradial 1
    spell[2000].subradial2 = 2002 // register subradial 2
    spell[2000].subradial3 = 2003 // register subradial3 3

    spell[2001].featid = (65536 * X ) + 3000 // link to feat
    spell[2002].featid = (65536 * Y ) + 3000 // link to feat
    spell[2003].featid = (65536 * Z ) + 3000 // link to feat

    where X,Y,Z are numbers of your chose above 2999 which may not be reused in the entire scope of spells.2a. They are used to generate a unique entry for the featId field and still point back to the original feat, so the engine doesn't have to resolve the featid by looking it up on the master spell.

    Further:
    Exactly, don't do it, the programmers said not to do it. Also the engine has reserved "subfeat id's" below 2999, so you would be asking for dire trouble if you would select any number below 2999

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    Hordes of the Underdark Review at 1UP
    Posted Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 18:04 CET by chevalier

    1UP have reviewed the Hordes of the Underdark expansion and given it a score of 8.5. Here's what they say:

    I found while playing Hordes that I was really, really enjoying not partaking in my real life. It was easy to look past the now aged and overripe core graphics and lack of facial animations and dive face first into an engaging storyline more inline with traditional D&D adventuring I never played because I was too cool and preoccupied with the fairer sex. I won't attribute this newfound joy to typically chop-chop heavy Neverwinter gameplay or the workable interface that's not seen a graphical retooling since its inception, but rather to the pacing, design, story, familiarity, polish, and subtle additions that help round out the expansion's already robust offering. Things like a little shop in a bottle that lets players toss out inventory filling bootie looted from the corpses of monsters and even a few puzzles that range from numbing fetch quests and flip switching contests to more clever plays on traditional brainteasers really help drive the experience home. And the ultimate conclusion (the only one I've experienced, anyway) sums the game in a solid manner that left me satisfied.

    Read the rest at 1UP.

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    News on PC Game Retailers Quitting at GameSpot
    Posted Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 17:57 CET by chevalier

    GameSpot have posted an article on uncertain future of PC gaming. EBGames and GameStop are supposed to remove PC games from their shelves after the holidays, which has been denied by EG CEO.

    PC games have come in for their share of bad press recently. In the current issue of Game Developer magazine, respected game designer Feargus Urquhart commented on "the lack of support for the PC as a gaming platform." Of course, the game conference circuit just wouldn’t be the same without the requisite "Is PC Gaming Dying?" panel.

    Recently, the hot topic took a decidedly darker turn. Last week, a number of widely read game forums posted entries suggesting that EBgames and GameStop, two of the nation's biggest specialty retailers, would remove all PC games from their inventories as soon as the holidays passed.

    While gamers debated the finer points of retail strategy, analysts had a different view of things. "I don't think that PC games are dying out," IDC analyst Schelley Olhava said, although she did acknowledge, "they definitely are a much smaller proportion of the overall market."


    Read the whole thing at GameSpot.

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    Last Week's Poll's Results
    Posted Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 15:12 CET by Sorcerer

    What we asked:

    Q: Which of the new prestige classes in Hordes of the Underdark excites you the most?
    (339 votes total)

    Red Dragon Disciple (127) 37%
    Weapon Master (77) 23%
    Shifter (47) 14%
    Champion of Torm (36) 11%
    Dwarven Defender (28) 8%
    Pale Master (24) 7%

    Very much unsurprisingly (dragons never seem to lose that coolness factor), the Red Dragon Disciple HotU prestige class excites the majority of the people who voted (37%) the most.

    Second places goes to the Weapon Master with 23% of people voting it for the most exciting PC.

    The Shifter prestige class is next on the popularity scale with 14% of votes.

    Champion of Torm also has its fans. 11% of the people who voted, to be exact.

    The least popular two prestige classes are the Dwarven Defender with 8% of votes and the Pale Master with 7%.

  • Current Poll
  • Previous Polls

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    Neverwinter Wednesday
    Posted Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 14:35 CET by Sorcerer

    Another week's around and here are the latest NWN Wednesday goodies:

    Dracolich and Adamantine Golem
    Two Hordes of the Underdark creatures are revealed this week! Nothing says 'paladinhood is for chumps' like a giant dragon shaped skeleton. The Adamantine Golem has been also been released to fan sites (see below), and is truly one of the most feared and unstoppable juggernauts in existence! Discuss.

    BioWare Holiday Card
    Check out this year's BioWare Holiday card featuring Jade Empire. You can download and print the pdf version for cardboard cut-out action! Happy holidays from BioWare! Discuss.

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    Article on BioWare's Move at GameSpot
    Posted Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 21:44 CET by chevalier

    GameSpot have posted an article about BioWare's move to a new office.

    And so it was in weather-beaten Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Word came down the pike last week that BioWare was moving its offices to larger digs. "Everything's absolutely nutty right now," said the usually calm Tom Ohle, BioWare pr specialist. "We're still sticking around in Edmonton, just moving about five minutes south of our current office," he added.

    Elaborating on the reasons behind the move, Ohle said, "BioWare is currently nearing the 170 employee mark, as opposed to around 130 at the start of the year, and our new office is about 60 percent larger than our current space. Now we have more space, a dedicated demo room, some focus-testing rooms, more meeting rooms, more coffee stations (very important), more lounge-type areas, a massive rec room, and a far more comfortable space for internal and external quality assurance staff."


    Read the rest at GameSpot.

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    More on BIS Closure at IGN
    Posted Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 21:38 CET by chevalier

    IGN have posted another article on the dissolution of Black Isle Studios by Interplay, revealing some interesting facts. Here's a snip:

    The dissolution was prompted by an apparent political "ass-kissing battle" within the separate divisions of Interplay. Black Isle Studios' director quit in frustration, leaving Black Isle unofficially under the management of Digital Mayhem's director. Citing disharmony with the new management, Black Isle Studios appealed to Interplay to adopt a more hands-off approach.
    Interplay agreed and the team continued work on Baldur's Gate 3. The title was cancelled after management failed to retain the license for the D&D system, so Black Isle decided to focus development exclusively on Fallout 3. The design was finished, the engine was written, and the work on the maps had begun when Interplay asked for a playable demo of the game.

    By Black Isle's account, the demo as delivered was 95% done, including all game functionality but only one finished demo level. (Work on the rest of the levels was approximately halfway complete; all that remained to be done was to populate and script the maps.) The next day Interplay began laying off people at Digital Mayhem. Since the Fallout demo was so polished, employees at Black Isle felt (relatively) secure.


    Read the whole thing at IGN.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 17:09 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Patch 1.60: If a beta patch is not failed, it will be converted into a full version. Yesterday night it was not apparent what was wrong with the patch, so it was pulled, because it would have disabled a significant number of players from playing the game at all - a far larger number of players than we have server admins or even people playing NWN in multiplayer. One one hand you demand information, and you got them, as much as we knew at that point, on the other hand you start complaining about exactly that information, even if we stressed that we did not know what's wrong with the patch (it was 12am) - Result: You don't get "hot" information anymore, you will have to wait for it being verified in the future.

    Further:
    Quote: See, the problem here is that if they'd been honest about their schedule, and the ETA for the release, instead of making up one excuse after another, server admins would have been able to warn their players, and make plans. Nevermind the fact that integrity is important. They should just come right out and say it's going to be two more weeks, at least. I can tell you this: I've seldom seen such a blatantly BS post as the one stickied on this forum. Anyone who doesn't recognize it as an excuse.. well, I hope you're not registered to vote.

    Ok, here is the deal: How about you don't get ETA's anymore because people do not understand the meaning of E in ETA and take it as a promise. The advantage of not giving out any estimations seems to be striking to me, I sometimes wonder why we still bother to do so - but then, not everyone here has misconceptions about the word "estimated" and it would be unfair for the rest of the community to cut communications because of just a few people who feel "lied to" because they don't understand the concept of open communication.


    Further:
    Quote: I -know- that any announcements made on forums which are open to the public need to be run past marketing people.

    Then you do not know OUR forums. Up to date, I never thought about submitting everything to PR ... but maybe I should do so in the future - sure, this would result in about 99% less posts from me, but at least it would be "safe speak" then, leaving as much open to interpretation as possible. The server binaries are going to be released and the website will be updated. Following the logic in your initial post you could, of course, ask us to delay the release of the next patch until the web team has finished the proper patch webpage and the server binaries have been made available - After all, why shouldn't everyone wait for the patch until the web team is available to update the webpage.


    From 1.60 to 1.61: You won't need to revert if you are already on 1.60 - the plan is to have a patch 1.60 to 1.61 available through the auto updater.

    From 1.59 to 1.61:

    Quote: And what of those of us that already reverted? Will there be a 1.59 to 1.61 patch?


    Yes


    Patch 1.61: Patch 1.60 that went up yesterday wasn't compatible with the gold version and caused people with that version who updated to be unable to play, thus we had to pull it. If you are not running the gold edition, you are fine with yesterday's patch. You can update to 1.61 as soon as it comes out. A couple of minor resource issues (i.e. the wrong 2da files in the source directory) were identified with yesterdays patch and will be corrected soon, but I do not know if these are already fixed in 1.61. 1.61 will be out as soon as possible -
    (this not estimated date was sponsored to you by the "but bioware promised us..." faction(tm) on this board)


    Third expansion: There are no plans for a third XP.

    Sky:

    1) Enable skies in the game on the video options page. They are off by default

    2) Create an area in the toolset and a sky to it in the area's visual properties

    3) place the starting location in that area, save the module and start the game

    4) enter the module and look up

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    Neverwinter Nights Patch 1.61 Released
    Posted Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 16:58 CET by chevalier

    BioWare have released Neverwinter Nights Patch 1.61. It fixes several bugs in HotU campaign, crash bugs and adds some cheat prevention. Different versions are available for the original game or with expansions installed.

    The latest update for all English versions is now available! 1.61 includes fixes to the HotU campaign, compatibility for HotU and non-HotU owners, and adds the Demonflesh Golem. Full details about 1.61 and how you can update can be found in the patch section. Update 1.61 is available for for Mac, Linux, and Windows, as well as the Stand-Alone Server.

    See the complete list of patch features (with HotU) at BioWare.

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    BioWare Reveals the Adamantine Golem
    Posted Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 0:32 CET by Sorcerer

    This week BioWare provided us with something much better than another Hordes of the Underdark spell - the full scoop on the fearsome Adamantine Golem!

    Adamantine Golem

    The Adamantine Golem is truly one of the most feared and unstoppable juggernauts in existence. Adamantium is one of the hardest substances known within the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Only the really hardcore magic-using uber-nerd would even attempt to mess with this stuff to create a golem. Success would elevate the creator into the near-unreachable stratosphere of magic-using heights such that all the other magic-using nerds would only be capable of making that incoherent wailing sound through the nose when they saw him:

    First magic-using nerd: (walks into the main room at the ‘House of Fantastic Nerds’ with Adamantine Golem holding his groceries)
    All other magic-using nerds: (make that incoherent wailing sound through their nose).


    AC: 38
    Hit Points: 220

    Abilities:
    Str 51
    Dex 9
    Con 10
    Int 10
    Wis 11
    Char 3

    CR: 32
    Alignment: True Neutral
    Class: 40 Construct
    Special Abilities: Immunities

    Check out these two shots of the monster: Shot #1 and Shot #2!

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    SP Happenings #28
    Posted Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 0:17 CET by Sorcerer

    Apart from the fact that the belated site update finally went up today, I don't really have much to write about here. It's been a busy week for me in real life, and when that happens, all non-essential SP things are put on hold. I've got a bit more free time now so I'll spend it by working on the new design some more. I'm really just polishing the details at this point and doing minor corrections, so that next month I can start the conversion in earnest. Yes, we're getting close now...

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    BioWare Chat at The IGN Chat servers
    Posted Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 23:52 CET by chevalier

    IGN have scheduled a chat about Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark with BioWare staff on Thursday night.

    When: Thursday, December 18th at 5pm MST (4pm PST, 7pm EST).
    Where: The IGN Chat servers

    IRC Client:

  • Server: chat1.ign.com
  • Port: 6667
  • Channel: #neverwinter

    If you don't have an IRC client, you can use their own chat applet.

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    Interplay Speaks on BIS Closure
    Posted Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 22:00 CET by chevalier

    Interplay have replied to a user's inquiry on BIS closure, claiming nothing special has happened. Here's what they wrote:

    Thanks for your note and comments on Interplay, its games, and recent actions.

    For some reason, there has been a high amount of speculation about Black Isle Studios and intellectual property surrounding the Fallout license. My only guess is that the source of these rumors must be an employee/employees who recently departed Interplay.

    My response to these rumors is quite simple: Interplay management makes decisions and takes action on items relating to product, personnel, costs, revenue, and more on a day-to-day basis, none of which would be deemed material by SEC regulations, and none of which would merit a public announcement or press release.

    Accordingly, if Interplay management had closed its most valuable development asset or chosen to abandon one of its most prized intellectual assets, the Company would have made an announcement.

    As always, Interplay management is focused on delivering great, profitable games and maximum shareholder value.


    Read the whole thing at Interplay.

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    BioWare Pulls Neverwinter Nights Patch 1.60
    Posted Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 21:34 CET by chevalier

    Patch 1.60 is broken with NWN Gold Edition because of a CD check that makes Gold users unable to play. The team are currently building Patch 1.61.

    We are currently building a 1.61 patch. The only change will be a fix to the CD check that was causing NWN Gold users to be unable to play.

    You will not have to revert as a 1.60 to 1.61 patch will be available.

    If you have reverted, that is fine as a 1.61 patch will be available for you as well.

    ---------------------------

    1.60 has been pulled. The following files will allow you to revert back to the previous version. Download the appropriate file to your NWN directory and run the nwupdate.exe program or click on the update button on the launcher.


    Read more and get the files needed to revert at Bioware.

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    Hordes of the Underdark Review at Jolt.co.uk
    Posted Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 21:23 CET by chevalier

    Jolt.co.uk have posted a review of the Hordes of the Underdark expansion, awarding it a score of 84%. Here's a clip:

    There are two parts to Hordes of the Underdark, really. One is the campaign, and one is the technical upgrades that can be used when building new custom content. Among the upgrades is further improved henchman control. You can actually have two henchmen now, and better yet, they will converse with you, NPCs and each other. Occasionally other characters can join your party. These characters you have less control over, and they will leave when they please, but, even without being able to control henchmen directly, the fact that you can actually have a party of four addresses one of Neverwinter Night's more significant shortcomings.

    There are a number of graphical upgrades to Neverwinter Nights too, and among them are robes. Actual, proper robes. Other technical upgrades are more closely tied to the gameplay, and these include new item functionality and gameplay dynamics. Hordes of the Underdark is a much more puzzle oriented game than anything else in the series. Everything feels more interactive, and skill checks are used more frequently and in more interesting ways. There are new crafting skills, which is great. And while the main use of the persuade skill in the original campaign was to talk people out of more money, here it is more often used to talk characters into helping you directly or giving you information and clues.

    Read the rest at Jolt.co.uk.

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    Hordes of the Underdark Review at GamersHell
    Posted Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 21:18 CET by chevalier

    GamersHell have reviewed the Hordes of the Underdark expansion, giving it an overall score of 8.2. Here's a snip:

    What attracted me a lot was the fact that the story unfolds in a really interesting way. For example the conversations unfold depending on what kind of a player you are, what henchmen you have with you, and how you play your cards. I should also note that Hordes of the Underdark is considerably funnier than the previous games. Deekin, whom you may have met in the first expansion, can be a great asset to your little gang - and not just because of the boost spells he provides, but also because of the witty banter between him and other members, or his rather strange monologues.

    New to this expansion is that you can keep two henchmen with you at all times, provided they stay alive of course. Reviving is easier this time around, which is fortunate, because the game can be very hard at times. I must say, neither of the two previous games were insanely difficult, and Hordes of the Underdark isn?t for the most part, but it can be during the last chapter. These especially difficult fights have been rather heavily discussed on message boards, but I also think the puzzles have become viable challenges too. You could pretty much run through Shadows of the Undrentide if you had a fairly good character, but you can forget about it this time around.


    Read the rest at GamersHell.

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    Site News - New Additions
    Posted Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 18:44 CET by Sorcerer

    Subsection Updates -> Fantasy Books

    Forgotten Realms Books subsection: Paths of Darkness Collector's Edition (Paths of Darkness) added, Insurrection paperback & Extinction (R.A. Salvatore's War of the Spider Queen) added, The Yellow Silk (The Rogues) added, The Rage (The Year of Rogue Dragons) added.

    Dragonlance Books subsection: Hope's Flame & A Dawn of Dragons (Chronicles Trilogy - Young Reader Adaptation) added, The Wizard's Fate (Ergoth Trilogy) added, Tides of Blood (The Minotaur Wars) added.

    J.R.R. Tolkien Books subsection: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers [Extended Version] DVD added.

    3rd Edition D&D Books subsection: Creature Collection III: Savage Bestiary (Sword & Sorcery Studious Accessories) added, Map Folio One, Deluxe Player Character Sheets (3.5e), Deluxe Dungeon Master's Screen (3.5e), Ravenloft Player's Handbook, Ravenloft Dungeon Master's Guide (Various Accessories) added.

    Subsection Updates - Games -> Baldur's Gate

    Editors, Hacks & Custom Characters subsection: Baldur's Gate NPC Add-on added.

    Subsection Updates - Games -> Baldur's Gate 2

    Tips, Tricks & Hints subsection: Rastor's Item Making Tutorial added, BG2: SoA Monster Encyclopaedia added, Scythesong's Guide to Blades added.

    Editors, Hacks & Custom Characters subsection: 1 mod updated, 3 portrait packs added, 3 mod links added.

    Subsection Updates - Games -> Icewind Dale 2

    Editors, Hacks & Custom Characters subsection: 1 pre-made party added.

    Subsection Updates - Games -> Neverwinter Nights

    Walkthroughs & Guides subsection: NWN Expansion Details page updated, Hordes of the Underdark official strategy guide added.

    Tips, Tricks & Hints subsection: NWN/SoU Fighter Character Guide added.

    Modules subsection: IGN Insider Contest: Hordes of the Underdark Pre-Modules added.

    Miscellanea subsection: 1 HotU trailer added (previously posted on the SP front page).

    Toolset & Related subsection:

    Subsection #1: 2 new additions.

    Subsection #7: 2 new additions.

    Subsection Updates - Games -> The Temple of Elemental Evil

    Walkthroughs & Guides subsection: ToEE Walkthrough updated.

    Tips, Tricks & Hints subsection: ToEE NPC Listing updated.

    Editors, Hacks & Custom Characters subsection: 1 trainer updated, 1 mod added, 1 portrait pack added.

    Miscellanea subsection: ToEE Official Patch added, ToEE demo added.

  • Direct Links

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Monday, December 15, 2003 - 16:55 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Water tiles: There is a function in x2_inc_toollib to remove those effects as well. This allows for powerful plot devices where the player can trigger the changes himself (i.e. drain that lake or open a valve to flood a level). There are some limitations to doing tileset alterations like this (fog, lighting releated). Also that stuff is not limited to ground tiles as well, you can also script a lot of other neat stuff using this technique (i.e. buildings getting destroyed like in the final battle in XP3). If I find some time, I'll post some tutorials in the scripting forum.

    More on water tiles:

    Quote: Would it be possible for me to change the water in the sewers tileset to lava?


    Yepp, that's entirely possible. Also remember that you can use TLResetAreaGroundTiles(?) to remove your dynamic tiles. This allows you to change your areas on player interaction (i.e. open valve, flood level) and that's always a very cool thing to have as it gives some sense of power to the player.

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    The Temple of Elemental Evil Review at Quandary
    Posted Monday, December 15, 2003 - 16:36 CET by chevalier

    Quandary have posted a review of The Temple of Elemental Evil. Here's a tidbit:

    If The Temple of Elemental Evil lacks in the story department it sure makes up for it with the wonderful turn based combat. This is where I was in my element because there’s no rush, you can take your time to work out a strategy. Just right click on screen and this opens a radial menu for each character where the combat choices are many. There are various defensive or offensive moves for fighters; triple, double and single attacks, and charge attacks, for instance, not to mention all the spells for your spellcasters, and you can also choose to reposition your characters. For movement during combat a gauge to the left of screen tells you how much time there is but I mainly watched the colour coded cursor. Move it on the screen and if it stays green then your character can take their turn from that point, maybe cast a spell or fire an arrow, if not then their attack is forfeited.

    Read the whole thing at Quandary.

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    Hordes of the Underdark Review at GamerDad
    Posted Monday, December 15, 2003 - 16:32 CET by chevalier

    GamerDad have reviewed the Hordes of the Underdark expansion, giving it a score of 4.5/5. Here's a snip:

    The original Neverwinter Nights took a cue from Diablo II by offering the ability to teleport back to town for healing, the selling of equipment, identification of magic items, or raising of henchmen. Underdark gives your character an interesting ability (that turns out to be more than it seems) in a "reaper stone." If you die, you appear in a parallel realm in front of a winged figure, who lets you return to the inn and rejoin the adventure. The going gets rough in this game so you'll appreciate the ability to keep your equipment, experience, and only lose the time it takes to return to the fray.

    Needless to say, the story is strong, contains all the typical Bioware twists, turns and quality writing, and fans of power-D&D will have a lot to crow about. It's in three pieces and the three are cleverly put together and unique in their own right. That alone makes this a necessary purchase for NWN fans already groaning under a huge pile of free content. What makes Underdark more fun is the ability to fight these massive monsters in multiplayer. A well-balanced party fares much better against Beholders, Blue Dragons, and much, much worse.


    Read the rest at GamerDad.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Sunday, December 14, 2003 - 21:39 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Don Moar, Tools Programmer

    Patch 1.60: Since we cannot finalize the European versions of the 1.60 update until it is properly localized, we plan on making beta versions available so that those players can connect and play on updated servers. These beta versions will, obviously, include some untranslated text in the areas corresponding to new functionality introduced in HotU. We will be working with Atari to finalize those versions ASAP.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    The secret project: Bioware is not working on a D&D game at the moment. The secret PC project is based on our own IP.

    Craft Wand:

    Quote: I'm trying to do this in the NWN OC, don't know if that makes a difference. I can cast stoneskin on the wand, but nothing happens. The same thing with mage armor..Plus several of the more useful spells - improved invis. for instance, do not scale up past lvl7..


    Make sure you cast the spell on a "bone wand", I used stoneskin to craft wands a lot when I last played through the campaign. You can craft bone wands from the large bones dropped by several creatures in the HotU.

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    Hordes of the Underdark Review at Game Banshee
    Posted Saturday, December 13, 2003 - 23:09 CET by chevalier

    Game Banshee have reviewed the Hordes of the Underdark expansion, giving it a nice 8.8 of 10. Here's a snip:

    In almost every aspect, Hordes of the Underdark brings a change to the Neverwinter Nights experience that’s expected, then goes one step further. First of all, setting the story in the Underdark obviously meant new tilesets for the Drow, Illithid, and Beholder communities and new monster models for their denizens. You could already give your character the skin and hair color of a Drow, but the designers went ahead and upgraded the clothing models so they could preserve the Drow leather fetish, even going so far as to include new texture packs for robes. The tilesets, models, and robes all look great and you can use them all in your mods.

    In addition to cosmetics, we knew that gameplay would be enhanced by the ability to play as new prestige classes. After the relatively tame prestige classes in Shadows, I was astounded by the imagination put into the prestige class offerings in Hordes. Instead of getting more bonuses in the feats already present, several of the new classes come with completely new abilities.


    Read the rest at Game Banshee.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Friday, December 12, 2003 - 23:38 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Missile Storm: Hey, it's not a bug. Since missile storm now correctly checks SR on the first missile, the game won't fire any subsequent missiles if the first one is resisted, as they all would be resisted.

    Mark Brockington, Lead Research Scientist

    DelayCommand Bug: The intended behaviour has always been to run the events that were delayed at the same time in the order that they were run.

    DelayCommand(0.5f,SpeakString("1"));
    DelayCommand(0.5f,SpeakString("2"));
    DelayCommand(0.5f,SpeakString("3"));

    should be forcing a character to say "1", "2" and "3". Why did we make the optimization? Because there are many more events in Hordes than in Shadows or the NWN Official Campaign. Handling of events came up as a major use of CPU time during profiling, and we rationalized that a lot of your modifications would probably also benefit from the speed increase of delayed events.

    Imagine all of the events are stored in a ordered linked list. Now, when it comes time to enter an event, we have to scan the list from the top down until we pass all of the events with the same time (time being stored down to a millisecond as an integer, not as a floating point value). There are many events to be run immediately (such as AssignCommand()s), so these are still handled the same way. The huge delays were coming from events that were delayed by a couple of seconds. They had to hop over ALL of the events that were stored at the front of the queue every time we added them. Thousands of comparisons didn't make the CPU very happy.

    So, the optimization was to reverse how we handled *delayed* events. Instead of starting at the head of the sorted list, we turned the queue around and started at the tail. But, we forgot to examine what specifically happened when events had equal time. Because we simply reversed all assumptions about ordering, our CompareWorldTimes() function went from == -1 to == 1. (Note that when times are equal, the result is 0). So, to preserve the intended ordering, the code should have been != -1.

    There is a significant risk with making this fix. There is also a significant risk associated with removing the optimization. We will investigate the repercussions of restoring this to the proper ordering for a future patch. In the meantime, wrap your Delays in a function (as Georg mentioned earlier) or, if that is not an option, I would wholeheartedly recommend separating all DelayCommands by at least 2 milliseconds or 0.002f to avoid any rounding issues associated with bringing floating point numbers into the game engine. This will ensure that if we restore the proper ordering in a future patch, we won't break your scripts a second time. However, there is another point that was brought up recently about the DelayCommand(0.0f,foo()) versus foo() which runs immediately ... this is not a bug. Commands that are assigned or delayed are always run subsequent to the end of the currently running script completing successfully. This is the intended behaviour. So if I do this in code:

    SpeakString("1");
    DelayCommand(0.0f,SpeakString("2"));
    SpeakString("3");

    Your character will say: "1", "3", and "2". Similarly, if SpeakString("2") is assigned to another character, your object will say "1" and "3" before the other object says "2".


    Craig Welburn, Live Team Programmer

    Launching The DM Client Directly:

    Yes you can do this (This is for WinXP).
    - Create a normal shortcut to nwmain.exe.
    - Then right click on the shortcut and select properties.
    - Click on the Shortcut tab at the top.
    - Under "Target" add the command line switch "-dmc" to the end.
    - Apply the change.

    It should now launch the game as the DM Client.


    Tom Ohle, Communications Assistant

    The Live Team: Rest assured that the live team is extremely busy We definitely plan on supporting the Neverwinter Nights community in 2004, though we're not quite ready to talk about any details yet. We are planning on holding a chat in the coming week or so, where that may be one of the potential topics of conversation.

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    Neverwinter Nights Patch 1.60 Delayed
    Posted Friday, December 12, 2003 - 2:18 CET by chevalier

    Bioware have sent to their community members a message about patch 1.60 being delayed until after December 15th. Until then, players with HotU installed will not be able to play online with those who don't have it.

    With the move of the BioWare data center, we will have to delay the release of the Neverwinter Nights 1.60 English Update until the week of Monday, December 15th. If the move goes well, the English Update could be released as early as Monday.

    Due to the publisher's choice of release dates for the non-English version of Hordes of the Underdark, we will not have a final version of the 1.60 Update for non-English versions at this time. We will, however, create 1.60 Beta updates in the coming week for these people that don't mind seeing some English in their non-English game version. This 1.60 Beta update will allow the non-English versions of the game to play together with the 1.60 English versions, as always.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Thursday, December 11, 2003 - 23:23 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Tips on shifters:

    A few tips.

    1) Get items that have magical improvements to AC, will be adsded with your shifted form: If you wear a +5 armor, your shifted form will get a +5 to AC - Same with bracers of Armor, etc

    2) Learn which form to use against which enemy. Some forms have resistances and immunities against certain types of attacks that will make fighting a certain enemy easier - other forms will have certain damage types that can hurt enemies that are immune to mundane attacks.

    3) Use special abilities. Especially the petrification ability of some forms is very helpful as there is no immunity to petrification in the game. Mindblast is also very helpful as it does additional damage to creatures that have been stunned by previous mindblasts. Some forms have debuff elements in their special attacks (i.e. green dragon shape, rakshasha staff), that really can help to soften up enemies.

    4) Try to pile up elemental damage on your attacks. I found myself using a dagger with additional elemental damage all the time, because the elemental damage will transfer to any form that is using a melee weapon - Example: If you are shifting into a whipmaster, you get a whip with lousy base damage (1d2), but you also get electricity damage and the ability to stun enemies for a short duration. If you carry a weapon with additional fire and acid damage, your whip will have 3 types of elemental damage, making it very hard for monsters to resist your attacks.

    Further:
    I think Dodge bonus stacks, while for other bonus types the highest of those is taken into account (but that's nothing shifter specific). AFAIK this is "by the book". While testing through the campaign, only Dwarven Defenders in defensive stance had significantly better AC than my shifter in certain forms. One more tip: The mindflayer's psionic armor ability is pretty powerful for a short duration.


    David Gaider, Designer

    HotU storyline: The HotU story doesn't continue the story of the original campaign any more than SoU did. If the first expansion didn't continue the original campaign, why would anyone just assume the second would? Mind you, that didn't stop a few people from taking their 18th level character from the original campaign into SoU (even though it clearly stated that it started a new character at 1st level), finding it incredibly easy and then coming here to complain.

    When HotU's story was first written out, it was a completely new story just as SoU was. We decided a bit later to tie it into SoU and include some old and familiar faces as heroes who had been drawn to Waterdeep by the Council's call. We figured that a few people would probably try dragging their original campaign character all the way to HotU, as well, and there's nothing to stop you from doing that... but we certainly didn't have time to write the all-new dialogues for Deekin, the four original henchmen and especially Aribeth that that would have required, not for the few who would have tried that.

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    Neverwinter Wednesday
    Posted Thursday, December 11, 2003 - 20:36 CET by Sorcerer

    Another week's around and here are the latest NWN Wednesday goodies:

    Prismatic Dragon
    These magnificent magical creatures are fun, festive, and prone to unexpected mood swings. Prismatic Dragons keep a very neat lair with tasteful, yet bold use of space and color. They're also 40th level, and have over 1000 hit points! Discuss.

    Deekin's Big Adventure Part 5
    Hordes of the Underdark takes adventurers to a vile, lightless world of festering evil and corpulent nightmares fashioned from horrors undreamt. Who better to brave this dark world of creeping malice and lurking doom? Deekin of course! Check out the last installment of Deekin's Big Adventure, featuring the new Drow Interior tileset! Discuss.

    Deep Rothe and New Spell
    Similar to the very unterrifying cockatrice for sheer undiluted lack of horror, the Deep Rothe is a big cow. The only way that a party of adventurers might give these creatures a second thought would be if the Deep Rothe fell asleep on the road! There is also a new Paladin spell released to fan sites this week, Deafening Clang (see below). Discuss.

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    Hordes of the Underdark Review at FiringSquad
    Posted Thursday, December 11, 2003 - 20:20 CET by chevalier

    FiringSquad have reviewed the Hordes of the Underdark expansion, giving it a final score of 84% following a long list of pros and cons.

    Every single aspect of Hordes of the Underdark is better than the original campaign. The story is tighter, more gripping with more believable twists (not to mention dialogue.) In many ways, Hordes of the Underdark reflects Knights of the Old Republic. Veterans of BioWare games will be able to pick up a familiar vibe that goes deep beneath the obvious stylistic similarities. The NWN team’s writing and design have clearly matured and taken a page from the crew behind KotOR.

    Even though NPCs are not nearly as important in NWN as they are in KotOR, they are fleshed out in a similar manner, always revealing a little bit of themselves at a time. They go through their own struggles and always resolve them (based on the player’s input) just in time to get through the toughest parts of the quest. The NWN team has grown skilled at masking the “fetch this” aspect of quests, so skilled, in fact, that even though you still are constantly the FedEx boy, you rarely feel like it.


    Read the rest at FiringSquad.

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    Last Week's Poll's Results
    Posted Thursday, December 11, 2003 - 15:06 CET by Sorcerer

    What we asked:

    Q: Which new Hordes of the Underdark tileset are you most looking forward to seeing?
    (196 votes total)

    Drow Interior (103) 53%
    Exterior Underdark (53) 27%
    Mind Flayer Tunnels (23) 12%
    Beholder Tunnels (17) 9%

    Apparently, the most popular new tileset introduced with Hordes of the Underdark is going to be the Drow Interior tileset with 53% of votes.

    With quite a few votes less (27%), Exterior Underdark is the second tileset people are looking forward to seeing the most.

    The Mind Flayer Tunnels tileset is third in order of people's interest (12% of votes), and the Beholder Tunnels tileset is last with only 9% of votes.

  • Current Poll
  • Previous Polls

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    Bioware Scheduled Internet Downtime
    Posted Thursday, December 11, 2003 - 0:22 CET by chevalier

    BioWare has sent word of upcoming downtime via their PM service:

    Please be advised that all BioWare online services will be unavailable for a 24-hour period starting 6am Friday, December 12th 2003 (MT) and ending 6am Saturday, December 13th 2003 (MT).

    What Does This Mean?

    During this time period there will be no access to any of BioWare's web sites and forums including:

    Star Wars: KotOR
    Neverwinter Nights
    Jade Empire
    BioWare web site

    The BioWare Neverwinter Nights Master Server will also be unavailable during that time. This should not interrupt your play experience. We apologize for any inconvenience.

    Why Is This Happening?

    Friday, December 12th BioWare is moving its datacenter and must relocate all our servers. This process will begin early Friday morning and continue all day until each of our many systems have been packed up, moved, unpacked, reconfigured, and checked for pesky Gnomes and dire squirrels.

    Thank you for your understanding.
    BioWare Live Team

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Wednesday, December 10, 2003 - 18:23 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Timestop: Timestop was exempt from being used on scrolls for balancing purposes. It is too easy to bring down an entire multiplayer game with this spell if you want to grief. Module builders can edit a certain 2da to remove that limitation or to add an existing material component to the spell.

    Further:
    You can create scrolls of timestop (and the other two restricted spells) in HotU, but you need the appropriate material component - a vial of Dragon Blood. The three spells that require a material component by default are:
    Harm
    Timestop
    True Seeing

    The material component for all these spells is NW_IT_MSMLMISC17 (Dragon Blood) which is usually dropped by dragons. You can spawn in the material component from the console if you don't like this restriction. Technical Stuff:

    There is a 2da file called des_matcomp.2da

    It only needs to exist on the serve side, so you can put it into the server version of your hakpak or even your override directory (which would also affect singleplayer). Inside that file there is a comp_tag column. In this column you can put the tag of an item that must be present in the player's inventory when he wants to cast the spell. If you make the column empty (****), the spell does not need a material component. We restricted a couple of spells to make them unavailable for scrolls for balancing reasons (and that's not only true for multiplayer, chaincasting timestop will wreck balance in any campaign).


    Summoning Circle: Yepp, that placeable is special, you need to activate it via scripting to show the pentacle. (It was created for those nice cutscenes you see it in).

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    Hordes of the Underdark Review and Screens at ActionTrip
    Posted Wednesday, December 10, 2003 - 18:16 CET by chevalier

    ActionTrip have posted a review of the Hordes of the Underdark expansion, giving it a score of 88 out of 100. It also includes twenty screenshots from the game. Here's a clip:

    This expansion pack allows gamers get to try out six new prestige classes: Pale Master, Champion of Torm, Weapon Master, Shifter, Dwarven Defender, and Red Dragon Disciple. Since you start your adventure at level 15, all characters are skilled and trained in accordance with the prestige class you've chosen. This aspect sets off an excellent pace, which is more or less perpetuated throughout the entire game. The important thing you must realize, is that Hordes of the Underdark adjusts any character profile to level 15 automatically, so you won't have to worry about insufficient experience points or low-level characters (we've already mentioned this in our previous coverage, but just to be on the safe side). Regrettably, there's wasn't enough time to see each new prestige class in action, but we did manage to put two of them to the test - a skillful and sly Barbarian/Weapon Master and a cunning Wizard/Pale Master. Starting the game with high-level character classes allows for some serious action right from the beginning, relying, of course, on new skills and feats. We were impressed to see some of these in action. For instance, the Weapon Master, apart from being able to use an amazing variety of ranged and hand-to-hand weaponry, can use a significantly Improved Whirlwind Attack, which effectively deals out damage points to multiple enemies. The Pale Master counts on the powers of the Underworld, resurrecting the dead and summoning deadly creatures into the fray. The coolest innovation is being able to beef up your characters all way to level 21, after which they unlock epic level spells and skills. That's when the good stuff begins. With such powerful prestige classes, you'll be able to tackle with some of the deadliest foes around the block. Raising the level cap to 40 was a no doubt a welcomed move by Bioware. In practice though, your characters are likely to achieve the level of 30 by the end of the last chapter.

    Read the whole thing at ActionTrip.

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    Hordes of the Underdark Review at GameSpy
    Posted Wednesday, December 10, 2003 - 18:10 CET by chevalier

    GameSpy have reviewed the Hordes of the Underdark expansion and given it 4 stars out of five. Here's a tidbit:

    Hordes of the Underdark is geared towards high-level characters (at least level 15), which is most definitely reflected in the story. The odds you're up against and the monsters you fight give the game a more fantastic feel than the previous single-player adventures (the official ones anyway). I was impressed with the story as a whole; it didn't have the drop offs and dead spots found in its predecessors. The writing and acting really bring it to life in a way that reminded me of playing the Baldur's Gate games.

    From a gameplay standpoint, Hordes is also well balanced. In addition to the monster killing and treasure hording that's synonymous with RPGs, there's a fair amount of puzzle solving and exploration to be done. The three chapters have very distinct feels, partially from their locale but also partially from the gameplay focus. My favorite was chapter 2 since I'm a Drizz't fanboy that's fascinated with the Underdark; it was cool seeing Drow political games, creepy Beholders, and those funky Illithid. My least favorite was the third chapter, but it's mostly a personal thing. There's something about otherworldly settings that just doesn't jive with me (as great as Planescape: Torment was, I never got into the setting). That said, it was still easy to see that Hordes is the most polished and balanced single-player Neverwinter offering out there.


    Read the rest at GameSpy.

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    New HotU Spell Revealed
    Posted Tuesday, December 9, 2003 - 23:57 CET by Sorcerer

    Here is the latest (last?) Hordes of the Underdark spell revealed by BioWare:

    Deafening Clang

    Caster Level(s): Paladin 1
    Innate Level: 1
    School: Transmutation
    Descriptor(s): Weapon Enchantment
    Component(s): Verbal, Somatic
    Range: Touch
    Area of Effect / Target: Creature's main or off-hand weapon
    Duration: 1 Round / Level
    Additional Counter Spells:
    Save: None
    Spell Resistance: No

    You empower the touched weapon with a +1 attack bonus and a +3 sonic damage bonus. Also, the weapon gains the ability to deafen the creature that is struck with it. If you or your target dual-wield and your main weapon either is magical or has some spell cast on it, this spell will target the off-hand weapon.

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    More on BIS closure at RPGDot
    Posted Tuesday, December 9, 2003 - 22:05 CET by chevalier

    Also RPGDot have posted an article on the dissolution of BIS by Interplay today, laying off BIS people and suspending the works on BIS titles. Here's a snip:

    Sources close to Black Isle Studios let us know today that Interplay has effectively closed BIS and laid off around 14 staff. Here's a quote from our source:

    I hate to be the bringer of bad news, but the "good" folks at Interplay have laid off everyone at BIS. Van Buren has been "shelved," as tha geniuses at IPLY have put it. Console only is the word of the day now. Even though Van Buren was half-way finished, the 'tards in charge have decided they want to do Exalted console and FOBOS 2. The simple fact they are making FOBOS2 even when FOBOS hasn't shipped and is hated by the Fallout community says a lot about their intelligence. Not to mention Van Buren would be the only game they could possibly ship by X-mas next year.

    So, BIS is no longer. Anytime you see the BIS logo on a future product, know that no one who was associated w/ BIS actually worked on it. BIS is nothing more than a sticker that IPLY slaps on their future product.


    Read more at RPGDot.

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    More on Black Isle Studios dissolution at GameSpot
    Posted Tuesday, December 9, 2003 - 21:56 CET by chevalier

    GameSpot have posted an article on today's BIS closure. Here's a clip:

    After months of bad omens, the end has finally come for the veteran RPG developer.

    It looks like role-playing gamers will have a boulder of coal stuffed in their holiday stockings this year, as GameSpot has received reliable reports that Interplay has shut down Black Isle Studios.

    While nothing has been confirmed by official sources as of press time, Damien "Puuk" Foletto, a member of BIS' art department, broke the news on the Interplay forums late this afternoon. "Today was my last day at the (former) BIS, as it was for my whole team," he said. To date, Foletto's posts have been one of the most reliable sources of news on the development of Fallout 3 (aka Van Buren) including the departure of his former co-worker J.E. Sawyer.

    Black Isle's closure is a sad end for the once-great developer. BIS had a hand in some of the most acclaimed PC RPGs of the late 1990s, including the Fallout and Baldur's Gate series. Recently, though, the studio fell on hard times. Its forthcoming Dungeons & Dragons title, code-named "Jefferson," was canned earlier this year, reportedly a casualty of a legal tangle with D&D rights-holders Wizards of the Coast. A host of top-quality talent has fled the studio, including legendary producer Feargus Urqhart.


    Read the rest at GameSpot.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Tuesday, December 9, 2003 - 21:42 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Shifters: Unfortunately the engine was not able to handle ranged weapons with dynamic item properties correctly and since I added the property merging pretty close to the content lockdown date (after someone brought up the idea here on the boards), there was no way we could make it work. Another problem was the limited damage scaling ranged weapons offer in NWN, which would have made those forms obsolete at higher level. Thus the following changes were made:

    - The lizard crossbow man was changed to be the whip master
    - The stone golem got the hurl rocks attack
    - The rakshasa got the ice storm attack
    - The manticore spikes got set to unlimited uses.
    - The mindflayer mind blast got a damage component added

    All in all I feel this is even better than the former ability to shoot with ranged weapons on the lizard man and the medusa, because damage is scaling much better on these abilities than on a normal crossbow and you don't have to worry about ammunition and merging item properties.

    Further:
    I personally never had trouble hitting anything in the hordes campaign, epecially both undead form have a pretty nice AB.

    How to get a better AB:
    - Casting buffs or using potions before shapeshifting
    - Casting debuffs on enemies before shapeshifting or by using special form abilties (i.e. mind blast or the green dragon form's poison breath)
    - Magic items

    You need to understand that the shifter is not there to compete with a fighter when it comes to damage. You have incredible versatility to react to any opponent, and thus you pay a price when it comes to raw combat abilities - mainly AB, your damage should be pretty good. Just a note: I didn't copy properties to creature weapons on purpose, most of the forms with natural attacks have very powerful special qualities on their creature hide or claws, so giving them the power to merge item properties will be very very unbalancing.

    Quote: How does the shifters scale up ? I heard somebody saying the forms would stop improving at lvl 17 (shifter lvl) ? Is this true ?

    save DC and damage on special abilities scale up indefinitly. At level 17, humanoid shape receives the last "big" update with new weapons and appearances (new sneak attack for kobold commando, etc), that's probably what people are talking about.

    Only some forms get the "big" updates (appearance and such): If I remember correctly:

    Greater Wildshape II - level 13
    Greater Wildshape III - level 15
    Humanoid Shape - level 17


    Z-offset: The z-offset always depends on the tileset. These ground tile constants are actually references to new VFX in visual effects.2da ... which aren't too new. In fact these are just tileset feature models copied into visualeffects.2da

    Constant Invulnerability Bug: Yes, the patch should fix that. Save and reload if you notice this happening is the best workaround for this until the patch is out.

    HotU Properties: It's the same as using the SetLocal* commands in the scripting language. You can now set these local variables right from the start in the toolset if you want.

    Could you give a concrete example as to why this is an advantage? As in a quest example or something like that?

    Example: You can set SpawnCondition variables on a creature instance in the toolset. This way you don't need to create new custom OnSpawn scripts to set them, saving you millions of new scripts on the long run

    2nd Example: You write one generic OnUsed script for all your ambient placeables in your module. Instead of testing against their tag (what would limit your flexibility), you test against a new variable you save on the creature.


    Hidden colours: You need to go to the last row of the toolset color palette for an armor. Now click on a color in that row and hold the button pressed. Drag the mouse cursor just right below that last row, you should see the green selection move down. Release ... and you got one of the hidden colors

    Fear: In case you didn't notice, most enemies don't run away when frightened, they are frozen to their spot, so there is nothing to chase down.

    New Found Persistency: yes we added this feature to make everything consistent with the ability to initialize variables on objects in the Toolset. AFAIK there are no strings attached, except for the rather large memory footprint/increased loadtime (as pappilon_ pointed out) you will generate when going too crazy on this. Please keep in mind that using functions like CopyObject on these items will NOT copy the variables unless you specify the bCopyVars parameter as TRUE.

    Sword properties: A sword can only have 8 item properties. If you add more, the smith will not upgrade it.

    Finished HotU Review: Thanks for taking the time to write this review, we really appreciate it, and are happy that you liked the campaign. It's good to get this kind of feedback from time to time. As for more game experiences like this ... start looking forward to our next RPG (or you might want to consider playing KotOR, many people who worked on HotU also worked on KotOR). Also the Live Team is certainly cooking up some interesting stuff for the community

    HotU Cutscenes: You won't have much luck with taking these cutscenes outside of the HotU module, they are by far the most complicated stuff you can find in NWscript and rely on dozens of different things to work correctly. If you want to see how they are done, I would suggest having a look at the gelatinous cube cutscene in the underdark, it's a good way to start

    Effect stacking:

    Quote: Neither Diamond Soul nor Epic Spell Resistance stack together. They both their EFFECTSSTACK set to zero in the feat.2da so they can't stack with other feats including each other. So a level 40 monk would end up with 50SR even after taking all of the Epic Spell Resistance feats.


    EffectsStack does not determine this. EffectsStack determines if feats that are in a Successor - chain stack.


    David Gaider, Designer

    HotU feedback: I'm interested in what everyone thought of the audio? How did you like the VO and new voicesets? Were the new creature sounds good? How about the new spell effects? Did you think the music fit the atmosphere? Also, if you are a builder, did you like the new sounds we provided? Be honest and brutal (well not too brutal )

    Don Moar, Tools Programmer

    NWN MMORPG: Let's not forget that Turbine Entertainment Software is already in the process of making D&D Online. So on top of all the other fantasy MMORPGs out there to compete with (AC, AC2, DAoC, EQ, EQ2, MEO, UO, UO2, WOW, etc.), a NWN MMORPG would have to compete with another product in the exact same market space (i.e. one that uses the D&D ruleset). This is not including all the _other_, non-fantasy MMORPGs (AO, Matrix, SWG, etc.) that are, or will be, gobbling up market share. Therefore, it doesn't seem like the right time to get into MMORPGs.

    Jay Watamaniuk, Community Manager

    Comments about fan concerns: BioWare spends a great deal of time and resources and maintaining close contact with the fans because it does make our games better in the long run as these are the people who are buying our products. It does however get a bit...tough at times to come to these boards as sometimes folks who are having trouble or did not get the special feature they were looking for get upset. We do realize that those who are not having problems and enjoying the game are playing it and not here to speak their mind.

    We know that these forums are a bit like a retail store where you need to be able to deal with a variety of people some good, some good-challenged. We love constructive criticism from people who play our games- that is the honest truth. If people don't like our games we stop making them and go do other jobs. We don't want that.

    We don't like personal attacks on people here. The people that work here are some of the most talented and creative people anywhere and I don't take kindly to them being maligned by individuals who have no idea what they are talking about. That doesn't help us make better games. We do appreciate the support that is shown for BioWare on these forums and every once in a while I get to send out a post to everyone in the company from here that serves to pick everybody up and demonstrate that our community is with us which, in turn, encourages more BioWare people to come here and communicate with you.


    You know NWN is addicting when... I played until a sharp, stabbing pain in my shoulder hit me following by an ominous voice saying "Jay..you need to stop this madness." It was my friend Danielle with a letter opener.

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    SP Happenings #27
    Posted Tuesday, December 9, 2003 - 19:43 CET by Sorcerer

    The Sorcerer's Place Merchandise Shoppe has been updated again with a few new items, so take a look.

    Aside from doing some minor corrections on the SP merch (and adding a few items), I didn't really get around to doing anything very progressive on SP. The site update promised for the end of last week is hereby rescheduled for the end of this week. I just love it when a ton of worthy content shows up just before I decide to do a site update. Mmm, yes.

    If you have been following the news here lately, you have undoubtedly noticed that there is quite an uproar going on at the official BioWare forums regarding the Hordes of the Underdark campaign being single-player only. Though admittedly, the problem probably wouldn't even exist had BioWare provided warnings about this early on, I am 100% supportive of BioWare's decision. It is clearly evident that the time that would otherwise have been spent on adjusting HotU to be multiplayer-friendly has been well spent on making HotU more of a CRPG we came to expect from the makers of the Baldur's Gate saga, and not just a quickie hack & slash fest with a rather shaky story. Don't get me wrong, a healthy dose of hacking and slashing every now and then suits me just fine, but I think the original NWN and SoU had more than enough of that, so I can only applaud the direction BioWare has taken with HotU. It just might help bring some disappointed fans of the Baldur's Gate series to give NWN another shot.

    The other historical event is yesterday's shutting down of the Black Isle Studios division of Interplay, and the almost certain end of Interplay looming on the horizon. To the D&D fans, the end of BIS means nostalgia for the Icewind Dale saga and Planescape: Torment. To others, much more (Fallout 3 etc.). Grasping at straws now, Interplay will only produce console titles from now on, since profit-wise, even a completely shitty title released on the console market usually does better than a number of good titles on the PC market. Whether this will keep Interplay alive (or, better, for how long) remains yet to be seen. As far as the majority of gamers are concerned, however, Interplay died along with BIS. Rest in peace, old friend.

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    Black Isle Studios Shut Down
    Posted Tuesday, December 9, 2003 - 15:14 CET by chevalier

    Interplay have dissolved the Black Isle division. To quote designer John Deily:

    Today marks the end of an era. Black Isle Studios is no more. In yet another sweeping layoff of employees, Interplay has officially let go the last of it's Black Isle employees (save two that I know of) and dissolved the division.

    Damien "Puuk" Foletto from the late BIS has posted a "Farewell but not goodbye":

    Today was my last day at the (former) BIS, as it was for my whole team. I just wanted to say farewell to the best fans in the industry, and thanks for all the great feedback and support. I don't know where I'll end up, but know that we were all avid gamers and wanted to make the PC games that not only we wanted to play, but also the fans. But this isn't goodbye. Puuk will still flow through various boards (even this one, but without the BIS logo), and I still look forward to shooting ideas back and forth with my fellow gamers.

    All of you take care and have a great holiday.

    Damien Foletto.


    Read the rest at Interplay.

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    Hordes of the Underdark Review at GameSpot
    Posted Monday, December 8, 2003 - 22:54 CET by chevalier

    GameSpot have posted a review of the Hordes of the Underdark expansion to Neverwinter Nights, giving it a score of 8.2 in 10. Here's a snip:

    The expansion pack offers some other interesting features, such as all-new professions for your own character to specialize in. Hordes offers several new advanced prestige classes, like the champion of Torm, the weapon master, and the red dragon disciple. (The latter eventually grows a pair of wings and even gains the ability to breath fire.) All classes can benefit from the use of the gatehouse, which is an interdimensional hub area that your character can jump to and from at will. The gatehouse is especially useful because, when used in conjunction with magical rogue stones, it lets your character establish a recall point. This means that you can jump back to the gatehouse to rest and recover from injuries sustained during some difficult exploring. Then you can return to the dungeons with fresh legs. Early in the game, your character also recovers a djinni bottle, which contains a portable merchant. This allows you to quickly and easily sell off all of those heavy magical treasures you'd otherwise be carrying around.

    Read the rest at GameSpot.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Monday, December 8, 2003 - 19:09 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Terrifying rage: Terrifying rage causes your barbarian to make all enemies that come within 10m of him to make a fear save or be struck with fear. Depending on their hit dice they are paralyzed or get massive penalties to their attacks. When you get terrifying rage, everytime you rage the fear aura is automatically activated. The more points your barbarian has in the intimidate skill, the more difficult it is for enemies not to run in fear from him. Creatures with more than 2 times the barbarians hit dice are immune to the effect. Also there is thundering rage that will upgrade the barbarians weapons to have additional massive sonic critical damage while raging if you get that feat. Both feats stack

    David Gaider, Designer

    Merchant stuff: Also keep in mind that HotU introduces a bunch of new stuff to merchants that will allow persistent world more control over their economy. Permanently adding a light property to an item probably should make that item more valuable, no? What is unrealistic is for a merchant to have unlimited gold to keep buying some enterprising mage's items. You can decide for yourself which end you wish to apply control... adjust the value of the item by making the effect temporary (as mentioned) or limit the merchant's gold resources. As with many things now, the power is in the hands of the module builder. Where it should be.

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    The Temple of Elemental Evil Review at GamesFirst
    Posted Monday, December 8, 2003 - 18:58 CET by chevalier

    Games First have reviewed The Temple of Elemental Evil and given it an overall score of 4/5, despite quite a large number of problems with the game. Here's a clip:

    In most elements of the gameplay, Elemental Evil covers up the complexity of its roots rather well. Arrows fly by their targets with a hit or miss, battleaxes fall without a single die roll being evident. This doesn’t hold true for character creation, and rightfully so. In a game such as this, creating and developing your character is half the fun. Killing the monster isn’t fun, getting that really big and expensive weapon so you can play with the monster like a cat does a mouse, then and obliterating the monster – that’s fun. In order to customize your character, you have to go through the options of choosing his alignment, his skills, his class, and race. Unfortunately, that means that if you’re unfamiliar with the D&D universe, the first half hour of so of the game, before any story takes place, before any fighting, you’ll enjoy it hunched over the starting pages of the manual, reading about every option on the list. So the slow part, the tedious part, the part that will have the average, non-RPG gamer out there on the fence giving up and walking away, hits you right up front. Once you get passed that, however, Elemental Evil lays out a stunning graphic adventure for you.

    Read the full review at GamesFirst.

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    Darcy Pajak speaks on HotU official campaign
    Posted Monday, December 8, 2003 - 14:12 CET by chevalier

    Darcy Pajak, Bioware's Assistant Producer, has posted a new sticky in which he addresses problems people have with HotU campaign being single-player only, providing reasons why that decision was made.

    I’d like to take this time to address the concern some people have brought up about the fact that the Hordes of the Underdark campaign was developed for single player only.

    I will describe the process we went through in coming to this decision so people how it came to be. I don’t believe it will please everyone and we cannot control that, all we can do is tell you why we did what we did and leave it to you to agree or disagree.

    First I want to be clear, that many of the features added on the Hotu Disc are for Multiplayer. We have added crafting skills, we have added more heads, we have added robes, added skyboxes, more monsters, and more scripting commands and upgraded some toolset features to make Module building better. So please do not think we ignored the multiplayer aspect of the entire Neverwinter Nights game.

    The biggest problem all software developers have is how to make a high quality product in a set amount of time with a set amount of money. We wanted to release Hordes of the Underdark for X-mass 2003 because of the potential increase in sales this would provide. In addition, we wanted to time its release with the North American release of the Gold Version of Neverwinter.

    When deciding what to include in this expansion pack we looked to the community for inspiration and requests. Many polls were sent out, and certain community leaders were consulted. We also looked at what the most popular downloads people were getting for the game. We were surprised by the overwhelming request for a greater single player campaign with an in-depth story and rich characters. This was the #1 feature people wanted BioWare to make for them. In addition, we had more people dissatisfied with the single player campaigns for both Neverwinter and Shadows of Undrentide, because we adapted them for multiplayer. (They were both still critically acclaimed, but not as much as previous stories our writers and designers created). Also at the time, the most popular modules for download were single player based.

    We looked into what would it take to make a kick *** single player adventure and came up with the story Hordes has, (and extra cinematic features). We then looked at what it would take to make it compatible in multiplayer. The effort to make the story as in-depth, personal, and rewarding as the single player was immense. (Who would get the relic of the reaper? What happened if that person left the game? Who would see the cut scenes, what happens if all the players were not at the right place at the right time?) We would have to change the plot, change the new systems (cut scenes), or make the plots more generic to support the mechanics of multiplayer. All solutions led to the realization we could create a great single player experience, or a great multiplayer experience, but not both in the time we had.

    We were worried about the community response if we removed multiplayer support for the campaign, but we were more worried about the community response if we didn’t create a great single player experience because far, far more people buy the game for the single player experience then the multiplayer experience. (A ratio of about 100 to 1). We cannot be expected to please everyone, so we have to take what TIME and MONEY we have and use that to please the vast majority.

    Let me be clear on this point as well. This does not mean that only 1 out of 100 people play NWN in multiplayer, it means that only 1 out of 100 people wanted to play the official campaigns in multiplayer.

    We hoped that the community of module builders would take these elements and create some fantastic Multiplayer modules. We are not going out of our way to place this burden on them, but trust them to make modules and adventures that cater to their friends, and fans.

    In addition, setting the expectations for the small minority who only want Hordes to play multiplayer was done as well as we could be expected to. We used what tools were available to us to tell people what Hordes IS. We did not have the resources to reach every person who bought Neverwinter to tell them what Hordes IS NOT.

    What is difficult is to show is how much the rest of the game would be compromised by making it work in multiplayer. I cannot supply enough information to put into context specific instances where multiplayer would break down the rest of the game. It has to do with time, money, personalizing the single-player campaign, the environment at the time of the decision, and the information we had at that time.

    Going forward we will not patch the game so that Multiplayer will work in the three Modules included on the Disc. Our priorities will be to take care of the needs of the majority of people who bought Hordes for what it is now.

    I understand by reading some posts that feel very strongly about this, and we do hear you, we hear everyone who comes to our forums or sends us messages and is constructive and reasonable. And for those people we regret having to say no.

    I am sorry If you are so disappointed with this decision that you feel you must return the game or will never buy it. I still hope you will try the game and enjoy it for what we did include, and not judge it by what we did not include.


    Read the rest at Bioware.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Sunday, December 7, 2003 - 22:26 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Devastating critical: Eh ... you need to chose devastating critical for a specific weapon, right? When shapeshifted, most forms won't allow you to execute devastating criticals, that's by design.

    Further:
    Unfortunately (for you) many forms are not considered unarmed, they are fighting with creature weapons (claws, bite, special attack), which is not considered "unarmed" in NWN. So, no it is not a bug, you will need to find the forms that have no creature weapons if you want to use your devastating critical ability.


    Georg's own HotU:

    Ok, I finally got my official copy (NWN:HotU US)

    - The manual has 111 pages, there are no missing pages.
    - The text is english only
    - The CDKey is printed into the inside of the cover
    - The first word on page 56 is Great Constitution
    - My firstname is spelled wrong in the credits for the manual.

    Note that this information is true for the US Version only. European versions seem to be different most of the time, usually because they try to fit it into a DVD box


    Holy sword: Hey, also check out that new paladin spell called Holy Sword (it works with non sword's as well ... holy avenger whips rock)!

    Kensei leftovers: No secret here, the weapon master was originally planned to be a Kensei, but we were informed later that this would not fit into the Forgotten Realms setting, so we changed it to Weapon Master. The files are just leftover, you can disregard them

    Epic Weapon Specialisation: Only epic fighters can get epic weapon specialization.

    Include file:

    Here we go ... how includes work:

    Making a change to an include file requires you to recompile any single script that includes that file. Why? because include files themselves are not compiled, there is no .ncs file for them. Their contents is compiled into the scripts that include them. So if you change a function in an include file, the change will not take effect until you recompiled the scripts that include this function. However ... if you "build" module frequently anyway, all your scripts get recompiled each time and you never will have found the need to recompile dependent scripts. I hope that sheds some light into that matter


    1.60 changes: Just a small heads up, 1.60 will fix a talktable related bugs (if you save and reload, the game seems to forget your talktable in 1.59). It will also have some small changes to spells and feats.2da, so make sure you catch them when updating.

    OnHit:

    Quote: In the toolset, I've noticed an "on hit" property for ARMOR. Does this effect the wearer or the attacker? If one, it could be used for cursed items...if the other, I could finally fake my favorite spell: Chain Contingency. (I'm a big fan of Timestop+Gate+Teleport.


    It will affect the attacker. i.e. if you put lightning bolt onto the armor, it will blast the attacker on each successful hit that deals damage. However you can make your own scripts (see the sticky in the scripting forum about 1.60 new functions) that would i.e. heal the wearer of the armor or teleport him away, by adding the OnHitCastSpell: Unique Power itemproperty to the armor.


    Overwriting Default Scripts:

    Quote: Georg, respectfully, my point is that all the EXISTING spells need to be messed with and recompiled. I've done fixes for 80% of the Bioware spell scripts, so now I'd have to go back and add your header to all of them and recompile.


    With all due respect ... that was to be expected. Every time you overwrite a default bioware script, you need to know that this script may change in a patch. We did a lot of bug fixes and enhancements to most of the spellscripts and you really can't expect us not to do them because someone may have overwritten these spells. Every time you touch any resources starting with nw_ x0_ x1_ or x2_ you must know that the file you are touching is subject to change. There is even a warning in the toolset when you try to overwrite an existing script. If you want to make your own additions to the header, you can do so by using x2_pc_umd or x2_pc_craft without having to recompile all the scripts.


    Dave McGruther, Client Care Specialist

    Dye types: There are different types of dyes. Make sure you are using a metal dye.

    Darcy Pajak, Assistant Producer

    HotU levels: It is very much harder when you are 12th, it was the lowest level we felt a person could play and still survive. On the bright side, you should advance levels slightly quicker.

    Deekin disarm:

    Quote: I forgot to ask... How do you get Deekin to disarm traps?


    If Deekin spots a trap and he has the skill to diarm, he will automaticly disarm it. However you can also right click on him, and select the "disarm trap" icon. If he does not have the skill to disarm the trap, he will walk over it and trigger it


    Whips: Yes, with the whip in hand you get the disarm feat.

    Run animation: The main reason we put in the new run animation was not for the Robes, but for the new camera angle. When we played in 3rd person view, the "bounce" the player made seemed very silly. It seemed to us that so much bouncing would cause serious internal damage.

    Jay Watamaniuk, Community Manager

    Presale Creatures: We will probably deal with pressing issues first before we begin including the presale creatures. We want people playing the game first and foremost before we do anything.

    Bob McCabe, Writing & Design

    HotU Weapon Effects: I'm not sure, statistically, but I get the feeling that sonic is the best (as was said), followed by, for HotU, electricity. I would probably suggest that acid, fire, and cold damage are all around the same level of effectiveness.

    Rob Bartel, Co Lead Designer

    Tilesets: We've used them for both in the campaign. Lighting, weather, placeables and sound (and now skies!) are your friends. They really help when trying to define a particular atmosphere. I once used the Sewer tileset to create the slums of Victorian London, for instance. It worked out surprisingly well.

    Hiring community members: We've hired some community members but not Gagne yet. I believe we offered at one point but he didn't bite.

    NWN with both expansions: I'm sure such a package will come out at some point but I don't know of any specific plans to do so at this time, nor have I heard any internal speculation as to when it might be released. It could very well be a longer wait than it was for the NWN Gold bundle.

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    Jay Watamaniuk Interview at Jeux Online
    Posted Sunday, December 7, 2003 - 22:01 CET by chevalier

    The francophonic Jeux Online have interviewed Jay Watamaniuk, Bioware's Community Manager.

    JoL Staff: Can you introduce yourself and tell us what is your role in the BioWare team, and particularly concerning Neverwinter Nights ?

    Jay Watamaniuk: My name is Jay Watamaniuk and I am BioWare’s Community Manager. I am responsible for communication between BioWare staff and the vast community of gamers, fans, fansites, and custom-content creators. For Neverwinter Nights, the challenge was to help create a central place for the fans of Neverwinter to gather and exchange information with each other and with BioWare staff, and to seek resources to help them get the best experience out of the game. Our ultimate goal was to ensure that, no matter what category our fans fit into—dungeon masters, players, content creators, etc.—they could have one central place to go for all the info they need. Our current site design is quite different from the one we had originally designed, as it has grown and evolved as the community has changed.


    Read the rest at Jeux Online, in English or French.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Saturday, December 6, 2003 - 16:45 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    HotU tilesets:

    Quote: I like the new , small, high quality, tileset.


    Yes, the new tilesets, especially the drow tileset, have an incredible level of detail, the artists really put them to a new level. The idea was to have the tilesets build to fit our campaign and I guess that worked out pretty well. Example: we needed a well room - we got it made for the campaign and if you see the reaction to most people when they see the wellroom scene, you know that's the way to go. You will also find that using different lighting and skyboxes can help a lot to make the tilesets look cool for different settings ... The underdark tileset with a clear skybox can make a very impressive mountain terrain tileset, etc.


    Use Magic Device:

    You don't need to recompile any spells:

    I would rather modify x2_pc_umd. It is the use magic device check that is called from x2_inc_spellhook. You can run everything you would change in this file and it would take effect for all spells, without requiring you to recompile all spells.

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    Dungeons and Dragons Online Interview at MMORPGDot
    Posted Saturday, December 6, 2003 - 2:18 CET by chevalier

    MMORPGDot have interviewed Turbine Dev Team on Dungeons and Dragons Online MMORPG. Here's a snip:

    MMORPGDot: How did the Dungeons & Dragons license end up with Turbine and what is the current influence of Wizards on the design of the game?

    Turbine Dev Team: I can’t tell you how many different games we pitched to how many different companies – and with the odds of any particular idea or deal coming to fruition, we tried to keep perspective. Still, D&D Online is the game that many of us have always wanted to make, so coming to an agreement with Atari, Hasbro, and Wizards of the Coast was a great thing indeed. Jubliation. Dancing in the streets.

    MMORPGDot: What do you consider to be the most important advantages of using the D&D system over other systems more commonly used in mmorpg's? Why do you think people will prefer a game using the D&D system over another one?

    Turbine Dev Team: The characters. D&D is the game that started it all – it was the game that made many of us here at Turbine gamers in the first place. And to work with the rules, characters, classes and monsters that so many people grew up with, well, it’s just plain cool.


    Check out the rest of it here.

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    The Temple of Elemental Evil Review at Armchair Empire
    Posted Saturday, December 6, 2003 - 2:09 CET by chevalier

    Armchair Empire have reviewed The Temple of Elemental Evil and awarded it 8.0/10.

    I was excited when The Temple of Elemental Evil arrived in the mail. I have played and reviewed a number of role-playing games in the past year, but most of the games were real-time, action-oriented titles like Morrowind, Grandia Xtreme, Neverwinter Nights, and Dungeon Siege. As a near-elderly gamer who still counts the Interplay classic Wasteland as my favorite RPG of all time, I looked forward to an old-fashioned, turn-based game set in the venerable World of Greyhawk from the classic Dungeons and Dragons years. Now that I have played through The Temple of Elemental Evil, I can’t say that it completely met my expectations, but despite an almost unbelievably high number of bugs, the game is enjoyable and, if one is able to look over said bugs, can be quite addictive.

    Read the full review at Armchair Empire.

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    NWN patch 1.60 beta released
    Posted Saturday, December 6, 2003 - 1:51 CET by chevalier

    Bioware have released a beta of the 1.60 patch. It's only for HotU and comes in two versions, depending if you have SoU installed or not. Betas are not officially supported and need to be uninstalled prior to the installation of the final version, which should be ready next week.

    Read more and get the files at Bioware.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Friday, December 5, 2003 - 21:48 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Jonathan Epp, Quality Assurance

    Penguins: Penguins have always been in the game. We've never used them in any of the campaigns though, for the obvious reason that it really wouldn't make a whole lot of sense. I don't think we planned to put them in, I believe one of the artists did it as a test or for fun or something, and we just had no reason to not put it in. I still think we should have put in an Epic Penguin battle somewhere.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Tileset walkmeshs: Creatures can not ignore tileset walkmeshs, we are just creating the illusion they are doing that using a variety of different techniques, i.e. the floating beholder in the well room cutscene uses his second appear animation (we added the ability to have different appear / disappear animations on a module). He is spawned on a walkable area inside the pit that can not be reached outside. It's all about illusion. If you want to create creatures that can fly over or pass through other creatures, you can use the new EffectCutSceneGhost() - our gelatinous cube uses that.

    Harper Scout: The Harper scout class can not become epic in D&D, thus we were not allowed to enable that option.

    Sky: You don't need to change your fog settings because of the skies (through you still will have to go through the areas to attach the skybox anyway). If you find that some areas may not look as good as you want with a skybox, you should finetune these areas.

    Projectiles: Want the giant to throw a chair? No problem, just open placeables.2da, copy the Model column entry for the chair and paste it into the projectile column of the hurl boulder spell in spells.2da

    Scripting variables:

    Quote: Speaking of the cube, does that mean the RACIAL_TYPE_OOZE has been added? Any chance of adding RACIAL_TYPE_PLANT ?


    Yes. No.

    Further:
    A few misconceptions here:

    a) if a player logs out, all his locals are saved in memory. If he returns into the module, the locals get reapplied to the character

    b) If you destroy an object it is not gone until the script that destroyed the object has finished - this creates the illusion of variables still being there.

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    Last Week's Poll's Results
    Posted Thursday, December 4, 2003 - 20:11 CET by Sorcerer

    What we asked:

    Q: Which character are you going to use to play Hordes of the Underdark?
    (225 votes total)

    A new character I'm going to create in Hordes of the Underdark (81) 36%
    Haven't decided yet (44) 20%
    The one I've played both the original NWN & SoU with (38) 17%
    The one I've played the original Neverwinter Nights campaign with (30) 13%
    The one I've played the Shadows of Undrentide expansion with (26) 12%
    Other (6) 3%

    Interestingly enough, the majority of poll participants (36%) are going to create a new character in Hordes of the Underdark to play the NWN expansion with.

    The second large group of people who voted (20%) have not decided yet which character they are going to use to play the second NWN expansion with.

    17% of those who voted, however, are going to play HotU with the character they've played both the original Neverwinter Nights & the Shadows of Undrentide expansion with.

    13% of poll participants will play HotU with the character they've played only the original Neverwinter Nights campaign with, and 12% with the character they've played only the SoU expansion with.

    The remaining 3% of people who voted will play with a character other than what was available to choose to vote on.

  • Current Poll
  • Previous Polls

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Thursday, December 4, 2003 - 19:08 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Crafting Robes: You can even add the robe in game, just use the "craft skills" radial option, the check for attaching a robe is against DC 0, so anybody can do it.

    Magic defences: Epic Mage Armor and Epic Warding together make you pretty much invulnerable to anything ... plus they have the best VFX in the game

    1.60 2DA files: After 1.60 is out. Since you own HotU you can extract all relevant 2da files from the game's data files by using a third party tool like NWNExplorer, which can be downloaded from nwvault. Patch 1.60 most likely has some minor fixes to a few 2das (compared to HotU 1.59)

    Mindflayers: The mindflayers will only eat a targets brain if the target is of a playable racial type and disabled (stunned, dazed, paralyzed, etc).

    Sneak Attack damage: You need to target specific vital areas on a creature to do sneak attack damage. This is the reason why creatures without these features are immune to sneak attack and you can not target these vital areas when doing a whirlwind attack. I was still able to use hide in plain sight by quitting combat mode (i.e. via a hotkeyed attack button) last time I tested, no change here (except for a fix to monster AI to make them loose more reliably you when you go into stealth)

    Deekin and David Gaider: David Gaider IS Deekin ... well, at least sometimes you could think so ... but then again you hear Deekin and Dave argue in his office, so I'm not exactly sure...But I know for sure that all interview requests to Deekin have to be approved by Dave

    Improved Whirlwind: Improved Whirlwind improves the range of your whirlwind attack to 10'. This is very handy in crowds, as you can reach the monsters in the second row as well.

    SetFogDistance: SetFogDistance is now overridden by the area's visual properties. This is required because the module builder needs to fine tune the fog distance for each area to match the skyboxes. Thus the commmand does not work anymore.

    Wings and robes: All playable races get wings and robes

    Scripting commands: I think about 15% of all scripting commands were changed or updated. A short list out of the top of my mind:

    GetFirst/NextInPersistentObject - now accepts object type as bit field, allowing you to make AoE's that damage placeables and doors

    LevelUpHenchmen - Major changes here

    EffectPolymorph - Now has a parameter to make the polymorph forced, removing the option to cancel it from the PC

    EffectSummon - Now has a parameter to play the appear animation

    GetFirst/NextObjectInShape - The bLineOfSight paramter has been fixed, beware


    David Gaider, Designer

    Beholder Mages: Seeing as the central eye constantly casts antimagic, it would be difficult for a beholder mage to cast spells with it... unless he squinched his eye shut constantly. So, yes... that's intentional. Beholder Mages gouge out their central eye before beginning to learn magic.

    Tom Ohle, Communications Assistant

    Sky: There's a good possibility that you don't have "Enable Skyboxes" checked in your in-game Visual options.

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    Hordes of the Underdark Review at IGN
    Posted Thursday, December 4, 2003 - 18:43 CET by chevalier

    IGN have reviewed the Hordes of the Underdark expansion and given it an overall of 8.6 and Editor's Choice Award. Here's a tidbit:

    Bioware uses in-game cutscenes to great effect to tell much of the story this time around, which really lends to the dramatic feel of the expansion pack since it keeps you in the game world. While the story is a bit confusing and slower-paced in chapter one, the game really gets revving and becomes much more interesting by chapter two, and chapter three is a whirlwind of back-stabbing, double-takes and larger-than-life schemes complete with multiple endings. As fulfilling as the story is, one thing I did notice is that there aren't as many alignment changing events and choices as there were in the original Neverwinter Nights or the first expansion, but there are plenty of chances to role-play your character's alignment correctly, and the branching dialogue choices allow you to be the goodie-two-shoes type, the apathetic type or the truly evil type.

    Because it uses a tile system, dungeon design has always been a little repetitive in Neverwinter Nights, but the expansion does add a few new tilesets, so the dungeons tend to look different than the ones from the original. Since the plot revolves around the Drow, most of the game takes place underground. The dungeons tend to focus on one race or type of creature, like Beholders or Golems or Undead, so there's not a lot of creature variety in the individual levels, but there is in the overall game, and you never really feel like you're just having the same encounter over and over again and you play through the game.


    Read the whole review at IGN.

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    Darcy Pajak Interview at Warcry
    Posted Thursday, December 4, 2003 - 18:36 CET by chevalier

    Warcry have posted a brief interview with Darcy Pajak, Assistant Producer for the Hordes of the Underdark expansion to Neverwinter Nights. Here's a snip:

    Warcry: Creating a compelling addition to a game with so many fan-created mods must have been difficult. What has been the most challenging aspect of developing the Underdark expansion?

    Darcy: The most challenging aspect of developing this expansion was to implement a good story and features which would blow away our fans by exceeding their expectations of what we could do. I think we did that with an incredibly fun and challenging adventure, adding epic levels, new prestige classes, and an assortment of hidden and subtle features to the game.

    Warcry: What do you feel Neverwinter followers will most enjoy about the expansion? What will really surprise them?

    Darcy: The Epic levels really take the game to a new level. Each class has so much added to it that we feel the player will have a new sense of power and ability with each class. There are numerous ways to get through a lot of the challenges you'll face in Hordes of the Underdark, as well.


    Read the whole interview at Warcry.

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    Official Hordes of the Underdark Press Release
    Posted Thursday, December 4, 2003 - 17:46 CET by Sorcerer

    Just in case you need official confirmation that HotU has shipped, check out this press release provided by Atari:

    ATARI RELEASES NEVERWINTER NIGHTS™: HORDES OF THE UNDERDARK

    Award-Winning Neverwinter Nights™ Universe Expands With New Campaign, Epic Levels, Prestige Classes, Creatures, Spells and More

    LOS ANGELES ­ Dec. 3, 2003 ­ Atari and BioWare Corp., under a licensing agreement with Hasbro, Inc., have expanded the award-winning Neverwinter Nights™ with the release of the highly anticipated expansion pack Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark™. Available today, Hordes of the Underdark is a companion to the best-selling, fantasy roleplaying game released last year in Neverwinter Nights, which is based in the Forgotten Realms® world from Wizards of the Coast’s classic Dungeons & Dragons® game. The second official expansion pack, Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark™ pits players in a conflict to save the embattled city of Waterdeep from an ancient evil buried deep within the earth and stone of Undermountain. Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark is available for PC CD-ROM at retail stores nationwide.

    “Neverwinter Nights has changed the very nature of roleplaying games,” said Steve Allison, vice president of marketing for Atari, Inc.’s Los Angeles studio. “Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark, will expand on those great gameplay elements with an extensive new single-player campaign and a host of exciting new options allowing players to create their own adventures with the Neverwinter Nights Aurora Toolset.”

    Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark will include a new 20-hour single player campaign, designed for high-level characters and set amidst the famous city of Waterdeep and the foreboding Underdark from the D&D® game’s Forgotten Realms campaign setting. Hordes of the Underdark will significantly expand upon the Neverwinter Nights universe, most notably with the addition of Epic Level gameplay. Based upon the rules published by Wizards of the Coast in the D&D game supplement Epic Level Handbook™, Epic Levels will be available for characters who have reached level 20, allowing them to advance as far as level 40.

    In addition, Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark will introduce several new prestige classes, including the Shifter, a druidic class specializing in shape shifting; dozens of new feats, such as Epic Reputation, Craft Weapon and Armor Skin; a multitude of new weapons and spells, many designed solely for epic level characters; challenging new creatures pulled straight out of the Underdark, including Mind Flayers, Beholders and Driders; several new character voice sets for even greater character customization; and 17 new epic soundtracks from composer Jeremy Soule.

    “Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark will expand on the already massive Neverwinter Nights franchise by adding a number of features requested by the extensive fan community,” said Dr. Greg Zeschuk, BioWare Corp. joint CEO and Co-Executive Producer of Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark. “The inclusion of Epic Levels alone should open up great new ways for people to play the game and create their own high-level adventures, further extending the value of their original game purchase, “ added Ray Muzyka, BioWare Corp. joint CEO and Co-Executive Producer.

    Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark will equip module makers with two new tilesets and additional content for the Neverwinter Nights Aurora Toolset, the groundbreaking software included with the full game that allows players to create their own universes, quests and storylines. The two new tilesets will be based around the new campaign and will include exciting new features specific to certain denizens of the Underdark itself.

    Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark is now available at retail stores nationwide with an estimated retail price of $29.99 and an ESRB rating of “T” for Teen. Additional information about Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark can be found online at www.bioware.com.

    About BioWare
    BioWare Corp. is an electronic entertainment company that develops computer and console games. BioWare's developers are currently hard at work on Star Wars:® Knights of the Old Republic™ (to be published by LucasArts) for the PC. Development continues on the Neverwinter Nights™ expansion pack (to be published by Atari) - Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark™ planned for a fall 2003 release. Two currently untitled projects, one an Xbox title (to be published by Microsoft), the other a PC title (no publisher yet announced), both featuring original BioWare intellectual properties, are also in development. Star Wars:® Knights of the Old Republic,™ released July 18, 2003 for the Xbox is currently enjoying critical praise and great commercial success with its opening weekend launch ending with Microsoft proclaiming the title as the fastest selling Xbox game in history. Previously published projects include: the award winning Neverwinter Nights,™ the genre-defining Baldur's Gate™ role playing game series for the PC, MDK™2 for Dreamcast and PC, MDK™2: Armageddon for PlayStation®2 and Shattered Steel™. BioWare information can be found online at www.bioware.com.

    About Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast
    Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE:HAS), is a worldwide leader in the trading card game and tabletop roleplaying game categories, and a leading developer and publisher of game-based entertainment products. The company holds an exclusive patent on trading card games (TCGs) and their method of play and produces the premier trading card game, Magic: The Gathering®, among many other trading card games and family card and board games. Wizards is also a leading publisher of roleplaying games, such as Dungeons & Dragons®, and publisher of fantasy series fiction with numerous New York Times best-sellers. For more information, visit the Wizards of the Coast website at wizards.com.

    Hasbro (NYSE:HAS) is a worldwide leader in children's and family leisure time entertainment products and services, including the design, manufacture and marketing of games and toys ranging from traditional to high-tech. Both internationally and in the U.S., its PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER, and WIZARDS OF THE COAST brands and products provide the highest quality and most recognizable play experiences in the world.

    About Atari
    New York-based Atari, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATAR) develops interactive games for all platforms and is one of the largest third-party publishers of interactive entertainment software in the U.S. The Company’s 1,000+ titles include hard-core, genre-defining games such as Driver™, Enter the Matrix™, Neverwinter Nights™, Stuntman™, Test Drive®, Unreal® Tournament 2003, and Unreal® Championship; and mass-market and children’s games such as Backyard Sports™, Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues™ and Dora the Explorer™, Civilization®, Dragon Ball Z® and RollerCoaster Tycoon®. Atari, Inc. is a majority-owned subsidiary of France-based Infogrames Entertainment SA (Euronext 5257), the largest interactive games publisher in Europe. For more information, visit www.atari.com.

    # # #

    Neverwinter Nights, Shadows of Undrentide, Hordes of the Underdark, Epic Level Handbook, Forgotten Realms, Dungeons & Dragons, D&D and Magic: The Gathering are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. in the United States and other countries. © 2003 Wizards

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    Neverwinter Wednesday
    Posted Thursday, December 4, 2003 - 0:17 CET by Sorcerer

    Another week's around and here are the latest NWN Wednesday goodies:

    Red Dragon Disciple Prestige Class
    It is rumored that the magical powers of sorcerers and bards are somehow connected to the presence of dragon blood in their family tree. Red Dragon Disciples are sorcerers, and sometimes bards, who use their magical power as a catalyst to ignite their red dragon blood, and are one of 6 new Prestige Classes in Hordes of the Underdark. Discuss.

    NWVault Module Contest has Two Winners!
    In a flurry of voting, the community has selected Papermonk’s The Nether Scrolls and Xxtayce’s Shadohaunt! Both will receive prizes, and sometime this month the overall winner will be choosen. All 11 entries from this talented community are impressive, so give them a try! Discuss.

    Shadow Dragon
    Many, many layers of oil-black evil coat this vilest of the living dragons. So baby-seal taunting evil is the shadow dragon that prancing do-gooders simply detonate in a shower of law-abiding fragments within 30 feet of this foul wyrm. One of 16 new creatures in Hordes of the Underdark! Discuss.

    New Game Owner Forum and Portraits, plus Spell!
    Register your copy of Hordes to unlock 21 new class-specific account portraits, and gain access to discuss the Official Campaign in the HotU Spoilers Forum. Then check out the new Hordes spell released, Stone Bones. Discuss.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Wednesday, December 3, 2003 - 21:44 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    HotU Official Campaign: The HotU Official Campain is designed for Singleplayer only.

    More on HotU Campaign: As Papermonk pointed out, the story of HotU is written to be single player - things are centered around your main character, the whole story would make no sense if there were multiplayer - as in KotOR. We did research and had a poll a while back and found that the time we would need to invest to make a really solid multiplayer campaign (including a story that would make sense in multiplayer) would not be justified by the small target audience that actually played the NWN or SoU OC in multiplayer. Things like the cinematic cutscenes would not have been possible to the extend we ended up in with Hordes. I think most people agree to that assessment after finishing the Hordes Campaign. Nevertheless HotU brings lots of improvements to the multiplayer/PW community, all the new builder and toolset additions, custom talktables, etc will support the creation of even better community modules ... hopefully very soon. And of course, all global additions like feats, spells and special abilites are coded with multiplayer in mind.

    Experience cap: The overall player character level cap is level 40. Prestige classes can only advance above level 10 if you have a character level of 20, which results in an effective level cap of 30 on prestige classes.

    Dyekits: Dyekits can be used on armor and helmets, not on weapons. Builders will find that it is very easy to create dyekits for any color on the palette.

    Craft Wand experience cost: We had to include the XP cost for crafting a wand, but I don't think that's a bad tradeoff. My pale master would often craft wands of stoneskin and other protective buffs so he would not need to memorize them all the time (and he could use them on all party members before a major confrontation) - and that's damn handy. And no, you can't loose a level, if you don't have enough XP for crafting left, the craft wand process will fail.

    Expansion goodies: You could use the SoU prestige classes in the original NWN campaign, you could also use the new spells and feats, heads, portraits, voice sets in the original NWN campaign. Same with HotU - you can use new classes, spells, heads, voicesets and feats in the original NWN campaign and SoU.

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    Hordes of the Underdark Review at Games Domain
    Posted Wednesday, December 3, 2003 - 21:28 CET by chevalier

    Games Domain have revied the Hordes of the Underdark expansion and given it a whooping 4.5 out of 5. Here's a snip:

    The original Neverwinter Nights took a cue from Diablo II by offering the ability to teleport back to town for healing, the selling of equipment, identification of magic items, or raising of henchmen. Underdark gives your character an interesting ability (that turns out to be more than it seems) in a "reaper stone." If you die, you appear in a parallel realm in front of a winged figure, who lets you return to the inn and rejoin the adventure. The going gets rough in this game so you'll appreciate the ability to keep your equipment, experience, and only lose the time it takes to return to the fray.

    Needless to say, the story is strong, contains all the typical Bioware twists, turns and quality writing, and fans of power-D&D will have a lot to crow about. It's in three pieces and the three are cleverly put together and unique in their own right. That alone makes this a necessary purchase for NWN fans already groaning under a huge pile of free content. What makes Underdark more fun is the ability to fight these massive monsters in multiplayer. A well-balanced party fares much better against Beholders, Blue Dragons, and much, much worse.


    Read the whole thing at Games Domain.

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    New Hordes of the Underdark Screenshots at IGN
    Posted Wednesday, December 3, 2003 - 20:55 CET by chevalier

    IGN have posted 35 screenshots from the expansion.

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    Neverwinter Nights Patch 1.60 for Multiplayer Compatibility
    Posted Wednesday, December 3, 2003 - 20:50 CET by chevalier

    Jay Watamaniuk, Community Manager

    Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark Update Advisory

    Hordes shipped to retail stores as the 1.59 version which is a departure from the expected 1.33 build. The first update to bring Neverwinter Nights, Shadows of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark is currently completed and being tested at this time. The patch is somewhat complex in order to properly service different update combinations that are present in the community and because of this we wished to take extra care in its preparation. Currently those with Hordes installed will find they are unable to play online with those who do not have Hordes installed. We wish to bring everyone up to date all at once before the holidays so that everyone can play online with little problems.

    The 1.60 update is expected to be ready for early next week.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 22:05 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Metamagic silent spells: Taking the feat once will cause all your level 1 - 3 spells to be cast still. Taking it twice will make all spells from 1-6 silent and so on. A really handy feat

    Trent Oster, Producer:

    Robe model system: I'm glad people are getting excited about the robe system. The "Robe" is really a skinned skeletal model and comes with a 2da for specifying which character parts are hidden when the robe is worn. With this underlaying architecture you can make skirts, pants, heck, almost any kind of models you want. There is one caveat though. I had to make a robe for each sex/race/phenotype variation for them to be usable by player characters. So, if you want to make robes to fit all player characters you've got some work ahead. I hope to post up a few files down the road to make the process easier, but I have some cleanup to do first.

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    Hordes of the Underdark Review at ToTheGame
    Posted Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 21:58 CET by Yerril

    ToTheGame have reviewed the second Neverwinter Nights expansion, Hordes of the Underdark. They give it an overall score of 9 out of 10. Here's what they said:

    Being that Underdark will be one hell of a battle, Bioware has given gamers a little bit more help this time around. You’ll now be able to team up with two henchmen through-out the quest. Added to this is some much appreciated repartee between the group. Every so often there will be a few moments of discussion between your henchman adding a little bit to the story and a nice deserved break from your quest. Depending on who is in your team, the discussions can be deep-thought or perhaps a bit amusing, either way, it’s a nice added feature. There is even the possibility of developing some close kinship with one of your teammates (if you like that sort of thing).

    See the whole thing here.

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    Temple of Elemental Evil Review at Game Chronicles Magazine
    Posted Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 21:51 CET by Yerril

    Game Chronicles Magazine have posted their review of The Temple of Elemental Evil. They give it an overall score of 7.2, and, rather oddly, an Editor's Choice award. Here's what they said:

    Troika has made the most of the screen space to give us a non-invasive command system that is very similar to the one found in Neverwinter Nights only much more refined. You basically click on the character or their portrait to get a circular menu hub. Click on menu items will either execute a command or open up an additional ring of options. As good as this concept is there are just so many actions you can do at any given time that the menu become unwieldy and downright counter-intuitive. You will find yourself navigating through multiple rings to do the simplest of tasks.

    Read the rest here.

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    Hordes of the Underdark Preview at GameBanshee
    Posted Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 21:40 CET by Yerril

    Gamebanshee have posted a "hands-on" preview of the second Neverwinter Nights expansion, Hordes of the Underdark. Here's what they said:

    BioWare has put quite an arsenal of new features and equipment at your disposal, though, which makes your journey a little bit easier. Most of these additions are geared for the higher levels, since your character won't be starting out from scratch. Take the feat Blinding Speed, for instance, which allows you to cast Haste on yourself once a day. A powerful ability, but only available to those characters with a Dexterity of at least 25. Additionally, for those of you who played Shadows of Undrentide, you'll recall that magical equipment was increased to a maximum of +5 enchantment. Hordes of the Underdark brings the maximum enchantment all the way up to +7 and adds a whole variety of interesting and unique weapons and armor. For example, while searching through some skeletal remains, I happened upon an intelligent longsword that had its own personality and dialogue (on top of its very powerful statistics). Although a talking sword may not sound like much, it adds flavor and a definite fun factor to the already impressive expansion.

    Did somebody say "Lilarcor?" Read the whole thing here.

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    Second Temple of Elemental Evil Patch?
    Posted Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 21:27 CET by Yerril

    Rumours abound as an interesting post by Steve Moret (Lead Programmer for the Temple of Elemental Evil) is found on the Atari forums:

    HI EVERYBODY!

    Sorry I've been away so long, I've been working on other things (if you can believe that). But Christmas is coming and that means VACATION! And you know what vacation means, yup I get bored, and that means... you guessed it I'm gonna work on Temple code in my free time! Weee!

    In a nutshell I was planning on taking the Temple Code home over the Christmas break and fix up any bugs I notice (or that people inform me of). Rumor is that Huy will probably come and visit and help out a too. This isn't a promise of a second patch, because, quite frankly, it has to go thru Atari. But it is a promise that we will deliver a second patch to Atari to hopefully release (which I don't see why they wouldn't want to do so).

    So lets get a post-patch bug thread going so I have plenty of things to work on this Christmas break, keep in mind that I don't want to see my family or loved ones. So a big long heafty list is good. Also, if there is someone from Circle of Eight that would like to get ahold of me so we can coordinate our fixes that'd be appreciated.

    Any questions private message, or e-mail, or reply to this thread.

    Spoiler: p.s. to my family and loved ones I'm just kidding, I really do want to see you, but I also want to make a rockin game, hope you still love me after new years


    Head down to the forum to check it out.

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    Hordes of the Underdark in Stores!
    Posted Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 20:11 CET by Sorcerer

    HotU in Stores!In case you've been wondering when this baby is finally going to ship - the wait is over. Hordes of the Underdark either already is, or will shortly be available in stores, depending on your location.

    You can also order the expansion from our online Game Store.

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    New Hordes of the Underdark Spell Revealed
    Posted Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 19:53 CET by Sorcerer

    This week is no exception to BioWare's revealing a new HotU spell, so check it out:

    Stone Bones

    Caster Level(s): Wizard / Sorcerer 2, Cleric 2
    Innate Level: 2
    School: Transmutation
    Descriptor(s): Magical Armor
    Component(s): Verbal, Somatic
    Range: Touch
    Area of Effect / Target: One undead creature
    Duration: 10 minutes / level
    Additional Counter Spells:
    Save: Harmless
    Spell Resistance: No

    You cause the target undead to gain a +3 natural armor class bonus, due to the thickening of its bones.

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    SP Happenings #26
    Posted Tuesday, December 2, 2003 - 14:41 CET by Sorcerer

    I have added some half-dozen new items to the Sorcerer's Place Merchandise Shoppe, so if you haven't yet, now is a perfect time to check it out.

    Though my urge to keep redoing some parts of the new SP design is definitely strong, I believe that with the final adjustments made this week, the whole thing is more or less capped (for real this time). I have received some helpful feedback on the look and fell of the new design, and all of it has either been implemented already, or is on the to-do list. The design will probably be kept under wraps for the majority of people until it is all ready, as I don't want people to criticize an unfinished work, and to maintain a bit of a surprise for the time when it actually rolls out. Kudos definitely goes to Catbert and BTA for not going insane with all the changes I keep doing to the new design, and for keeping up with the requests I keep making of them.

    In other news, we have a new moderator on the boards, a rare event on Boards O' Magick. You can congratulate Beren in the Moderator Changes thread in the Sorcerous Sundries forum, in case you've managed to miss his inauguration.

    Next site update: hopefully by the end of this week.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Monday, December 1, 2003 - 14:25 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's Neverwinter Nights forum highlights. Please take into account that these are only single parts of various threads and should not be taken out of context. Bear in mind also that the posts presented here are copied as-is, and that any bad spelling and grammar does not get corrected on our end.

    Darcy Pajak, Assistant Producer

    Psionics: To add Psionics we would have to re-write the spell system. That took us a long time to do for Neverwinter, and we wanted to get this expansion out for x-mass so people could get it as a gift. In addition, the size of the patch we would have to make for the original game servers would be huge. The Mind flayers in the game do use mind blasts which we simulate using our current engine. That and the addition to all the other things in the game we think will make it seem epic enought.

    Weapons: We've added a whip, and the dwarven war axe to the game. Also every weapon can have a black colour to it. The whip is pretty cool too. The ability to disarm, and the crack SFX make it great.

    David Gaider, Designer

    Heads: I find it a bit funny, myself. At first, people thought that we were doing no additional heads. They begged us for more heads... any more heads, please, because it adds variety to the game and the folks in PW's especially were tired of seeing the same player heads. So we put heads in... and now some people would like to take exception of what heads were included. Well, gee, sorry you weren't in on the committee. Seriously, let's face it... we could have added 100 new heads and there would still be both looks people thought were missing as well as looks that some people don't like. The goal here was to provide as much more variety as we could, not to add stuff solely geared for the Forgotten Realms. And that has been largely accomplished, I think.

    Fact is, we approached the new heads with the same idea as we did the original set, though this time with an eye geared more towards what was specifically missing. And I mean missing for NPC's as well as PC's. So we needed some "mature" faces... got them. So we needed some more ethereal-looking elves... got them. Add to that the fact we also include options for facial hair and mask/hats occasionally, just as we did before (actually, more of the elven heads had facial hair earlier... the facial hair was removed from most because the complaint about them had been made previously). Keep in mind, as well, that we're not making Forgotten Realms-specific elves and never have. We're doing the shorter elves from the 3rd edition Player's Handbook, same for all the other races. Why? Because that's the way WotC wanted it.


    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Mind Flayers: I don't think they can have weapons, I know they could wear them a few month back, but I think that changed as their model was updated. But the previous poster was right, even if they could, they wouldn't do it, they suck in melee. (i.e. they try to stun you and then walk over and suck your brain)

    New Portraits:

    A) No portraits were rushed, someone spent time (as far as I know, his own free time) to add these portraits because the community asked for them a long time ago. They even are not included in the "new portraits" count.

    B) If you don't like them, don't use them, or replace them with a photo of yourself.

    C) MY opinion: The portraits are ok - What sucks are people that just trample on other peoples work. You know who I am talking about.

    Voicing critique is one thing ("I don't like the portraits because...") - and there is nothing wrong with that (otherwise Visc wouldn't be here anymore... ), just dissing other peoples work ("it sucks") another.

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