July 2004

Neverwinter Nights Forum News
Posted Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 13:26 CET by chevalier

Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

What the Official Word on the 1.63 Patch?
He's putting those threads up about once a month to remind us about the patch. Good thing, prevents Craig from forgetting what he's working on daily I suppose

1.63 is pretty much feature complete and in closed beta at the moment. This will probably followed by a number of fixes and then we'll have one or two open betas, followed by fixes from those and then release. The exact release date for that will be "when it's done". We are aware that it's been quite a while since the last patch, but when 1.63 is out, I think it will be clear why it took that long

More:


Ooh, ooh, can I beta test this patch? (i.e. let us know when it's available for public beta?)

We usually post in this forum when we go into public beta, after all we want people to use it, that's the point of a public beta

Used Neverwinter Nights from Ebay
When thinking about buying a used copy of NWN from ebay you need to remember that you need to trust the person you are buying from about the CDKey. If the person keeps the CDKey as well you might see "cdkey in use" errors or even deactivation of the key, if it's used on too many machines at once. NWN has been reasonably cheap in many stores lately so I would do a bit of shopping around for a new copy before deciding to buy a used one.

What the Official Word on the 1.63 Patch?


Bioware should add remove hardcore levecap in nwnmain, and instead used 2da. IT should have be possible to advance a charchter to become 40 level wizard and fighter.

40 is enough.

eternally green


You should update to the latest patch. I believed that fixed the problem.

The patch that fixes that problem has not been released yet

LinuxDedServer loopback IPs
add a ipchains/iptables rule to deny connection attempts from all unwanted interfaces.

Robin Mayne, Webmaster

21 Jul 2004 - NWN CEP Race Profile - The Wemic


Ooh btw - I wonder if you could do one for the Brownie too. I just HAVE to love those guys, especially being so tiny an' all.

Brownies are on the menu for this Wed

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Dragon Age Forum News
Posted Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 13:21 CET by chevalier

Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

Complexity = good!
I think the optimal experience is easy to learn, hard to master through this has somewhat limited application in a RPG. Complexity is good as long as it is presented in a way that makes it easy for the player to understand what's going on.

Will DA be difficult and long enough?
Let's put it this way: When you are moving on new ground (i.e. own IP, new rules system, etc), you better make sure that the game you are developing still retains some of the elements that made people buy and love your previous games.

It wouldn't be very smart to *completely* change your winning recipe in one step, because if you throw too much of what you've done in the past overboard in a single game you

a) lose the advantage of your team's experience. If you start over with too many things at once, you lose technical and creative experience you gained with your previous games and your development time will skyrocket.

b) run a huge risk of alienating your loyal fans/customers and potentially losing them.

Innovation is good and necessariy to keep on top, but there is no need for radical innovation if your system works. Stepwise improvement is much smarter

BioWare is innovating - with Jade we are entering new ground in many ways (Action based combat, no "classbased" system, etc), with NWN we entered new ground (modable RPG, 3D engine) and with DA we will again enter new ground. But all of these games also have BioWare signature elements that most of the people that buy our games expect from us. NWN went a small bit too far from what people expected and there was quite some critique about it - and we went in with hordes and tried to fix those (i.e. henchman interactivity, number of henchmen) and the review scores tell us that we were on the right track.

In the end there is only space for so much innovation in a single game, and you will do a risk analysis and see if "that piece more of innovation" is really worth a significant higher development time or potential lost base customers.

Finally, not doing certain things doesn't mean we are not willing to innovate, it can also mean that we think these things don't work, don't work in a BioWare game or that market / technology are not ready for them yet. If we think that i.e. "turnbased combat" or "learning by doing" doesn't belong into a BioWare game, there is no way you will see it.

I mean, if it was all about the big buck and such, it would be a lot easier for us to do what most companies seem to be doing these days and throw a couple more sequels at you guys, these are so much cheaper to develop and tend to sell pretty good.

Things that have gone over well in other rpg's



Having played ToEE, and enjoying the combat design, I've since come to the conclusion that the pseudo-realtime combat is the better choice. This is the method where you can pause (or have set autopause) and issue commands to your party members at will. Then you can let it go. If you don't want to have slow combat, you can go at it in realtime as you please. ToEE's combat really slowed the game down to a crawl and I think moving away from full turn-based combat is perfect. Even with games like FO, it could have been easily done with a nice pseudo-realtime system to speed up gameplay.

That way, you can still get all the strategy, tactics, and magic aiming you need, while allowing the player to set it up the way they like. BG2 had it right for a party-based game.

There is a problem with that though

I aim a Fireball, and by the time i'm finished Casting the target has moved out of the spot i targeted, which never happens in PnP or turn based CRPGs

I should be able to aim Magick after casting, or pick a enemey to be the Target and not a piece of terrian

In NWN, when you aimed the fireball on a creature, you would cast it on the creatue, regardless of movement or not...

BioWarez, or level 4 Protection From Piracy spell
Hehe, the monthly copy protection discussion/rant. Copy protection is up to the publisher. This game doesn't have a publisher signed. End of story.

David Gaider, Designer

Seamless Area Transitions and Multiple Servers
Seamless area transitions could work. No-one's saying they couldn't. As Tarmack said, however, if one is going to use them it's a huge design decision that affects many things down the line. So many other game elements will need to accomodate that decision down the road.

Sacred and Dungeon Siege both use the seamless transitions as I understand, and I'm sure those games have their particular strengths as well as weaknesses... including some major differences from something like NWN, some of which are going to be necessitated solely because of those seamless transitions.

So we could have seamless area transitions, but it would change a lot of things about how DA would work compared to NWN. Some good and some bad, no doubt, but eventually we need to decide which effects are most important to us and go that one.

One effect that WILL NOT be taken into consideration when making this decision, however, is how seamless area transition would affect the development of PW's. While I truly find the idea truly baffling that developing a PW-maker for $50 is some veritable gold mine waiting to come into being, that's neither here nor there. Maybe I'm wrong and that's correct, maybe a PW-maker would be a smart way to go. DA can't be everything for everyone and we can't afford to spend our time including features that will work the best for making PW's AND making a single-player game AND making a multiplayer game AND making a good toolset to make single/multi-player modules. We've said where our focus lies and that we will support PW-making as far as that focus allows... and if someone else wants to come along and get rich making a system that primarily focuses on PW-making instead, then God bless 'em. But that ain't us. Period.

Spellcasting time- please not all the same like NWN
The reason all casting times were the same in NWN is because that's how the 3rd edition D&D rules dictated it to be. Casting always took a simple action, no more, no less... unless one used the Quicken Metamagic feat. There's no need to do the same in Dragon Age. What kind of casting times would you prefer to see? Or maybe there should be no actual "casting" at all?

Darcy Pajak, Assistant Producer

Limits to number of PCs in party


My impression was that the number of PCs each player could control within the party was going to be what was limited. Would a BioWaran care to comment?

That's right, we don't want 64 parties of 4~6 people each playing in a module. We haven't set a limit on the number of people on a server, but we are thinking of allowing only one henchmen per player in a multiplayer game.

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Hall of Fame Interview with Chadmium at NWVault
Posted Monday, July 26, 2004 - 3:06 CET by chevalier

This time it's Chadmium, whose module Legacy of the Dracyn has hit 8000 downloads and made it to the Hall of Fame. They talk about a couple of personal things, as well as Chadmium's priorities in module making. Here's a snip:

4) Could you tell us what are the main features of your modules that have attracted so much attention from fans?

I put a huge amount of effort into the visual effects of my modules - I think visuals have a special way of enhancing immersion, and some of the combinations possible with the Aurora toolset are truly breathtaking to behold.
I also like to think that fans enjoy the density of my modules. They are both short in length and small in size, but packed as tight as I could make them. There are no huge, sprawling areas to wander - at no point does the player have to wonder what to do next, they adhere closely to the plot, and I tried to make conversations and battles few in number, but high in quality.

To give you an idea, I spend at least 60 hours of building time for each single hour of play (more when I was first learning to script).


Read the whole thing at NWVault.

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Dragon Age Forum News
Posted Monday, July 26, 2004 - 2:57 CET by chevalier

Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

Visit to BioWare


On second thought, being the perceived pain in the butt I expect Darth Woo and his apprentice David Gaider jump me and stuff me in the trash compactor.

I am not Woo's apprentice! He works in the QA pit for the love of God! ...ummmm, though there are plenty of nice people in the QA pit and all. (trash compactor? Try the woodchipper, dude.)

Tim Smith, Tools Programmer

Visit to BioWare


How did we get from visiting BioWare to scantily clad people?

Are we talking about the games or BioWare? You know it is summer here now.

The Graphics NEED!!!
I can't speak for DA (honestly, I can't), but KotOR used normal maps.

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Dungeons & Dragons RTS Has a Name
Posted Sunday, July 25, 2004 - 20:31 CET by chevalier

The Dungeons & Dragons RTS has finally received a title, athough it's still subject to change. Here's a snip:

As some of you no doubt remember from our coverage at E3, Atari and Liquid Entertainment has teamed up to bring us yet another hot-looking RTS to the already-crowded strategy market -- but didn't give it an official name. After spending the weekend hanging out at the 2004 San Diego Comic-Con, however, your pals here at IGN have discovered the official title after all; which was proudly emblazoned on a playable kiosk that housed the same E3 build we covered a few months back.

In case the suspense has been killing you, the official title for the fantasy strat is Dragonshard Wars, and like its Forgotten Realms console brother, Demon Stone, seems to have lost its inspirational D&D branding to help popularize it with the mainstream crowd. Of course, the title is definitely subject to change and the Dungeons & Dragons influence is still very much in place -- this is just a matter of trying to reach as big an audience as possible.


Read the whole thing at IGN.

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BioWare and Dragon Age Impressions at Ladies of Neverwinter
Posted Sunday, July 25, 2004 - 1:29 CET by chevalier

Shayna Davidson of Ladies of Neverwinter has visited BioWare and has lots to share. Here's a bit of what she says:

I could tell already that it would be a sunny Spring morning in Edmonton. The sky brightened from lavender to pink and orange before finally brightening completely as the sun rose. A bank of fog rolled in
over the river below and slowly meandered by. Birds wheeled past, looking for breakfast. I sighed.

What was I thinking getting up at four in the morning anyway?

Still, I think my excitement was warranted. It wasn't everyday I got invited to get a tour of the BioWare offices. The journey to Canada was certainly an adventure, and did indeed make me late for dinner, but
that's a small price to pay for the dragon hoard of information I was to have access to.


Read the whole story at Ladies of Neverwinter.

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Neverwinter Nights Forum News
Posted Sunday, July 25, 2004 - 1:06 CET by chevalier

Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

What *DO* NWN's many acronyms stand for?!
http://nwn.bioware.com/developers/

Is there going to be a nwn 2?
Possible? Sure, why not. Is it a valid topic for the Hordes of the Underdark Forum? certainly not. There is already a thread about that in the offtopic forum, so I'm closing this one down.

Yet more dispel bugs
Not a bug. We decided that spells will never remove item properties as there is a good chance they would screw up custom plots and more. If you want a spell to affect item properties, you will need to change the spellscript.

New payment method?
We have no plan to make people pay for patches, that would be just wrong. We have plans for a "Digital Distribution" system that would allow people to purchase quality modules or module series specifically created for this project on line through our webpage. This is a project by our Live Team and you read more about it in the Witch's Wake forum.

NwN/SoU/HotU end of life?
"odd"? The list of changes has not been released and will not be released until we hit public beta. But this shows up when I search for posts by myself on the topic "1.63", and frankly, it look a lot like some kind of list to me Click Here Now given that someone with a BioWare tag is talking about stuff like this, it seems to be a reasonable conclusion that there is actually a patch 1.63 planned

Would this speed up multiplayer loading?


Since I'm guessing the game just compresses individual areas and sends them to you when you go to a section of a module, would having the actual module decrease loading time? I ask because I'm on a modem, and my ISP has connections throttled down to 30k, and despite having a very fast comp, going between areas quite a bit of time.

NWN's network stream is compressed and area information is fairly lightweight (one of the benefits a tilebased game offers). What's in the area (creatures, players, etc) and their actions makes the majority of information you get over the network, and as said, that's compressed already. Also keep in mind that it's up to the individiual module designer to make areas "nice", which means resisting the temptation of using 32x32 areas (a module that uses 32x32 areas is a badly designed module).

nw_s0_gate script broken?
You always want to avoid using Actions* inside spellscripts because spells are actions themselves.

Long dialog delays
If you are playing a custom module in multiplayer, keep in mind that if there may be a lot of text, it needs to be transfered down to you. Also the module designer might have gone a bit wild with the number of potential responses on a node, which could cause the server to run so many conditional scripts that it would choke.

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Dragon Age Forum News
Posted Sunday, July 25, 2004 - 0:58 CET by chevalier

Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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.

Jay Watamaniuk, Community Manager

Ratings
As we have mentioned before BioWare is trying to make a good game with its own IP. We are not so concerned about ratings at this time as we are still early in the life development. Previous BioWare games were rated Teen which meant a certain level of violence, suggestive content and harsh language was not acceptable. We also wanted to respect our publishing partner's desire on the presentation of their IP be it D&D or Star Wars. Since Dragon Age is a new IP we do not have any guidelines and so we are creating a game and then seeing where the ratings people place us on their scale.

Will DA be difficult and long enough ?
I can be pretty sure when I say the game will not be BG2 in length. 200 hours is a pretty crazy long game. In this day and age of high gloss graphics nearly taking over how a game is developed creating a game that long would be an unrealistic amount of time before you guys got it in your hands. I believe the big trend in replayability over extended playing time.

The Graphics NEED!!!
I think I may have heard of these "normal maps" you speak of. I am guessing they are different from the regular hard-to-fold-up kind I buy while driving to small town in Alberta Rest assured that the world-class graphics guys we have hired will let go of the 2D sprites they are currently attached to and branch out.

Tom Ohle, Public Relations

First person available or dont make it
While we definitely haven't locked down anything regarding viewpoint, it just might end up being a bit tough to have a first-person view in a party-based RPG... that said, once we have locked down our viewpoints, we'll let you all know.

Georg Zoeller, Designer

DA Toolset Suggestions


As an example, have you ever looked at Bioware convo node code for scripts in the OCs? Don't they all pretty much do the exact same thing, but with a different variable? GetLocalInt(GetPCSpeaker(), "nInsertQuestHere")

Jade has the ability to set an ID to each node accessible from scripting, so for plot reasons, you only need two scripts per plot now - one to set and one to check conditions. I'm sure something along those lines will end up in DA as well.

More:

This is incredibly handy! I can't say how many times I've had players pick from a list of items, requiring one script for every dialog choice.

In a sense this allows for dialogs to be programmatically created, looping through the same dialog branch repeatedly while just changing custom tokens. I suppose you could do it now, but this makes it much easier.

Yupp. Want to play a VFX? Create a play VFX script and use the number field to determine which. Want to give out an item, create a single "handout item" script and use the number to determine which ... you end up with *a lot* less scripts on the long run...

First person available or dont make it
Let's ask Dups to put an order form up where people can order RPGs customized to their vision for reasonable prices (something around a couple of millions).

Interesting article on game publication
Especially around Xmas the possibly largest part of sales happens from impulse buyers who spot your game on the shelf of a major retailer. Moving "digital" would make your game vanish from this market because people wouldn't just magically stop going to the stores or chains (i.e. Walmart) and shop on the internet. This might look different a couple of years into the future, especially with major games such as HL2 pushing digital distribution concepts into the spotlight, but as of today, digital distribution is nowhere near being a competition to the shelves.

Brenon Holmes, Programmer

Different Weapons = Different Fighting Animations


<snip>
But on to the real issue. Yes, I think it would be great if the whole RPG genre could get a make-over. More specifically, if it could go back and time and restore the depth that existed in those old text-interface games. Now I'm not saying that the sweet graphics, voice acting, music, and action of today's games is bad.
</snip>

That's the sort of ironic thing about games and technology... as it improves, the players have to imagine less... so they expect more... etc.


Anyway, I fear I may have just further derailed my original post. To sum it all up: If the combat in Dragon Age is similar to NWN in style (i.e. point, click and watch) I would LOVE it if the developers would add some great new animations for each weapon type. If the action is "twitch" (i.e. Ninja Gaiden for Xbox) style, then BRAVO for taking a chance in the RPG market!

As we've mentioned before, DA will not have 'twitch' based combat elements. The results of an encounter will depend on your strategic choices, not how quickly you can do a combo... or hit the 'p' key.

As for animations, we are planning on including a fair number of different animations for combat. There should be a fairly large amount of variation if we can get everything done that we'd like. However, in all likelyhood there will not be a unique animation set for each and every weapon type.

Stanley Woo, Quality Assurance

Dragon Age title


That doesn't preclude you from naming sequals after the world once it becomes well known. Think of the naming of the Rambo movies.
Quote: Tam:


And the Indiana Jones movies.

Neither of which, I might add, had franchise names, originally.

The movie y'all know as "Rambo" is really "First Blood, Part II", and the first Indiana Jones movie was "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

Then you have titles which intentionally start a potential franchise. I mean, how unwieldy are "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of hte Black Pearl" for the first movie of a franchise?

Even "The Rundown" was originally called "Helldorado" (the better name, in my opinion). But there are many factors to consider when choosing a name.

Think of your own role-playing experiences. Your character's name when playing single-player NWN is going to be way different than your name in a multiplayer NWN game with your friend. Then, in an NWN persistent world, you'll have a different kind of name. And those names will be different than your fantasy MMORPG character's name.

Why? Because of the audience, those people who will base their initial opinions of you solely on your name. When playing single-player, all that matters is your own opinion. In a group of friends, maybe you'll have nicknames and inside jokes in your name. In a PW, you want a number of people to respect your character and his abilities. In an MMORPG, you have potentially thousands of people you want to be unique from.

Now, compare this with a game that needs to reach millions of potential buyers and players. See the problem? It's more difficult than you'd think.

First person available or dont make it
Um... okay, we'll take your post under advisement, since you're the only one who has an opinion on how Dragon Age should be made.

Quick note: if you don't want to argue, don't talk like your opinion is the only one that matters. This entire forum is filled with people who have opinions on the "ideal" Dragon Age, and I'm sure most of them think their own ideas are pretty darn good.

Arnie, the 'Girlie-Man' comment and DA.


I'd like a mature game as well: one laden with ambiguity and choices with consequences. Maybe even inconvenient responsibilities!

I think this is the best response so far.

Are you actually going to test your game this time around Bio?
Ah, hotpants. I've missed your provocative posts and unique conversation style. Long time no see.

To answer your question: if you think that NWN was a bug-ridden mess, then no, the testing will not get better.

To everyone else:

Bugs are bad, but unfortunately, they seem to be a permanent fixture in this age of computer ubiquity and near-infinite combinations of hardware and software. There are many opinions about what a bug is and how to deal with it, and whether they're necessary.

Frustrated people will jump on every single bug as though it were glaringly obvious, saying that dozens of testers simply ignored it or should have found it. People like this have likely never completed a difficult project and sent it off to a large group (ie. tens, maybe hundreds) of people to critique. A million people will, of course, be able to find things that 1 person can't.

Those who think games should be (and can be) flawless will consider any bug to be a gamestopper and say that the testing department has failed. These kinds of people generally have never worked on any kind of collective software project before. Any software application is made up of thousands upon thousands of lines of code, written by more than one programmer. Incompatibilities or potential problems are, statistically, a certainty.

Those who think it's easy to make a game, or to test the kinds of games that are released these days, will state that a blind rat could have done a better job of testing, completely ignoring all the things that were done correctly in the game. Why do you think the best games these days come from a group of developers rather than a single guy?

These "accusations" and complaints are the kind of thing one should expect when one is a popular, successful, or prolific content developer. I'll bet everyone from Nicole Kidman to Avril Lavigne to Howard Stern to Dr. Laura to R.A. Salvatore gets the same kind of thing, from "you are a god" comments to "can't you do anything right?" type comments.

I can tell y'all from first-hand experience that the Quality Assurance department at BioWare is a talented, dedicated, passionate crew who, as much as anyone, wants every game that BioWare releases to be the best it can be. To that end, they work more than they should in order to give the end-user the best game experience they can.

In closing, I'll just say that I'm not going to convert anyone who's dead set on seeing the negatives of BioWare, game releases, or the entertainment software industry as a whole. My point with this post is that there are a lot of reasons for the final state of your favourite game, and everyone's got their own opinion on it. The BioWare forums are here for everyone to discuss one side or the other and/or everything in between.

We welcome intelligent discussions and all manner of opinions here, good or bad.

Thank you, and enjoy the Dragon Age forum.

More:

a record number of excuses in one post Stan, congratulations. Anyway i'll bow out of this thread and let the Bioware lovefest continue.

Just trying to back up my opinion with reasoned arguments, is all. Didn't mean to offend.

The Graphics NEED!!!
*puts away the box of Alberta road maps he's brought to the conversation*

I've seen the results of applying normal-maps, and I must say they do look impressive. It's a darn good thing I'm not scheduling the graphics department, because I would be normal-mapping everything. Also, they would kick me until I fell, then kick me some more.

I'm not a big fan of the ouch-hurting pain.

But I am a big fan of our graphics department. A group of very talented people. I have no doubt that, however we end up doing it, the graphics are going to look awesome-tacular!

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Neverwinter Nights Forum News
Posted Friday, July 23, 2004 - 20:48 CET by chevalier

Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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.

JayWatamaniuk, Community Manager

21 Jul 2004 - NWN CEP Race Profile - The Wemic
I actually ran into the problem that when I change there skin, hair or tatoo colors the bottom half turns silver. If you go ahead and make the change it still works just fine. I never had a problem with changing the clothing however although I may have gotten the same silver thing happening but I ignored it and went about changing the armor and so on without a problem. The files were meant to make using the Wemic easier for players who are obvuiously not quite at the technical level you folks seem to be. We want people using the CEP because it darn cool and using the new Wemic race is a part of that.

Robin Mayne, Webmaster

21 Jul 2004 - NWN CEP Race Profile - The Wemic


The self installer the only files that work are the monk, bard, druid, and rogue. The rest are bunk. Zip file works fine though.

Hey Kalinaar, The initial self installer did indeed have a problem (the character file names were too long), a new one was uploaded shortly after your post correcting the problem. The original installer used character names using this pattern:
"wemic_female_xxxxxx.bic" or "wemic_male_xxxxxx.bic" which were renamed in the new installer to this pattern:
"wemic_f_xxxxxx.bic" or "wemic_m_xxxxxx.bic"These files are located in the "localvault" directory of your NWN install folder.

Portraits added to NWN... how ?


went to unforgotten realms and found some nice portraint a want to use in single player NWN.. site says to download - extract . got that part then add to NWN/Portraints ... i cant see any folder anyplace named portraints . so i extracked all to a file i called portraits . now how do i get then new portraint to work in NWN OC , XP-1,XP-2 ??

Importing your custom portrait is easy to do. Simply copy the portraits into your 'portraits' directory where you have installed Neverwinter Nights. (Default location is "C: \NeverwinterNights \NWN \portraits") . You can find additional custom portrait info here: Creating and Importing Custom Portraits

More:

when i do so only folder s are like .. Ambient , Data , Database .. only folder starting with P is Patch

That is odd... I would just suggest creating a new folder named "portraits", that should solve your problem.

Georg Zoeller, Designer

Techincal Issues


Thanks, what you suggested was not quite what I needed, but it gave me the clue I needed to find the real solution and I am grateful. Basically, it looks like I can transfer quest files from one Temp0 folder to another and move the quests created by the Quest or Plot Wizard with them, then save and get them into the new module. To be safe I will likely import the conversations as well but may test a quest out just to see how it works first.

Hey, you should not copy all files over from temp0, as you would just copy over the corrupted as well. In any case, if you notice any 0 byte files, especially if they are .itp files, do NOT copy those over, as they tend to be the ones causing corrupted modules to crash. NWN is written in Microsoft Visual C++, the Toolset is Written in Borland C++ Builder.

More:

A couple of things to note, don't know if these have been mentioned yet. 1) I remember reading somewhere that having a module open in the Toolset and the Game at the same time is a very, very bad idea, as they will read and write to the same memory space without regard for one another --

Windows memory allocation doesn't work that way, again, you don't specify which blocks of memory you want to read or write, you allocate memory from the OS and it assigns free memoryblocks to each application space, so no, unless you manually open another apps memory space (i.e. when writing trainers and such), this does not happen and toolset and game certainly don't share memory space.


2) While the Toolset backup generally works well, do not rely on it alone. Even if you are careful, the Toolset may crash unexpectedly (for me, this happens when I am several 'levels' deep into the interface -- say, editing a script from within a conversation by opening it from a creature properties screen, or editing an item in a creature's inventory). I make backups every 10 to 30 minutes, and have a version scheme; I just delete all but the most recent 5 or so versions. I also backup my work on another machine, although much less frequently than I probably should.

You will never hear me argue about making additional backups, the more the better. More important to avoid corruption: When the toolset crashes it's safer to revert to a backup than trying to recover.

Crafting System Info
Patch 1.63 has the potential to make 2da caching into variables irrelevant, I did some tests a couple of minutes ago and it looks to me that the changes that were done on the resource management system have significantly sped up the scripting language access to .2da files - so you shouldn't invest too much time in doing that. (Note that this improvement may be dependent on the amount of RAM you have available on your machine )

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GameSpy Speaks on Dungeons and Dragons Online
Posted Friday, July 23, 2004 - 20:30 CET by chevalier

GameSpy have posted an article about the MMORPG genre, covering Dungeons and Dragons Online among other games. Here's a snip:

D&D Online

Wow, it's really hard to not blow my load on this one. Here's the short of it: earlier this week, I went out to Turbine to check out this game for an upcoming feature we're doing, and I have to say, it's not what you're expecting. At all. It hasn't been in development for all that long, but already, the combat system much more fleshed out--not to mention straight-up fun--than pretty much any MMO I've ever seen. Big words, I know, but it's the truth. Maybe it's due to the fact that Turbine has been making these kinds of games for a minute, or maybe the combat designers just struck gold. Whatever the reason, fighting in D&D Online is the business, and sorry, but you're going to have to wait till August 5th before you get anything more out of me.


Read the whole thing at GameSpy.

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Dragon Age Forum News
Posted Friday, July 23, 2004 - 20:27 CET by chevalier

Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

Limits to number of PCs in party
At this point in time, we're thinking between 4~6 people in the party, with additional "tag-alongs" as needed for escort or follow missions. Summoned creatures may or may not be under the player's control, we haven't decided that yet. In multiplayer we expect the "party" that one player controls to be smaller. This is because it may be too difficult to control many people and not be able to pause the game.

What we "DO" know so far...
I'd actually be perfectly happy if the designers don't go into that much detail about this. That way people making modules in Dragon Age have more freedome to do what they think best. In fact, we may use the best user content to define the world over time.

Don Moar, Tools Programmer

DA Toolset Suggestions
Hey, You already have the ability to share packages of scripts across multiple modules - use a .hak pack. Using Torlack's external script compiler, you can make a change to a script, recompile them, package them back up in your .hak and see the effects across all your modules without having to open and / or modify any them. This is even easier now that NWN supports multiple .hak packs.

Reply from Georg : Hey Don,

Forgot about BioWare's external scriptcompiler, eh? (clicompile.exe in the utils folder)

More: Uh... Not at all, Georg. I'm just trying to recognize the amazing work that the people in our community have done (and will hopefully continue to do). Just like how we have our own Plot Wizard, the Script Ease utility and Lilac Soul's Script Generator are awesome, too! Yeah, that's it.

Georg Zoeller, Designer

More words from the Great One - 1st Level Assumptions


Fusion, GURPS, Circe, The Window, Prism.
Now, name one class-based system where it was possible for everybody to accurately represent their characters to the gameworld.

I think a valid question would be "Is that what we want to do?". How much freedom do we want to give the player?

On the first glance the answer is "as much as possible", but I believe this is not it, I believe the answer is "much, but only to the point where it stays predictable enough for writing and balancing". If we were to make a game with a design premise like Morrowind, the answer would be different, but BioWare games are traditionally more story centric and DA is the spiritual successor to some of our previous games, so it is safe to assume this has not changed.

I'm not a writer, I can only guess on how hard it is to come up with decent plots and stuff for everything when working under pressure and tight schedule, but my guess is that the less you can assume about the character, the more unknown variables there are, the less personal the story will get.

I am don't think skillbased systems can't work or that you can not create a AAA game using a skillbased system - I'm saying that it is, by my understanding (as technical designer, not writer), harder to create a balanced skillbased game than it is with the tool of classes at hand ... And I think, because our technical and commercial experience with previous games, it is the right choise to make DA class based (if you have a working recipe, I think you should only change so many ingredience from it at a time to avoid upsetting the gourmets or confusing the other cooks).

Still, keep in mind that DA classes might very well be very different from what you are used to in D&D.

More: I played UO for a couple of years when it came first out, and I vividly remember that it tooks more than two years before the most glaring balancing issues with the skill system had been resolved But yes, these are MMORPGs, they don't need to worry about story

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we thinks that geo mighta' overheard writers mention how difficult it were to write for an ill-defined protagonist and maybe he heard that da were gonna focus story development choices on handful of archetypes and he somehow got confused... extrapolated that class were somehow easier/better than skills for character development. HA! Good Fun!

Bull***. I think I explained quite extensivly why I believe doing a class based game easier earlier on and that I think writing for a skill based game would be somewhat harder than for a classbased game.

It's always easy to claim people with a different opinion are confused, just quit trying to explain how I don't know what I'm talking about and how confused I am- try instead to live with the fact that we are of different opinion on certain matters and there can be more than one opinion in this world, none of them needs to be right.

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i think the main issue is simply that the game designers dont want people creating medieval seamstresses and then complaining that they cant complete the game with their character. you give people the option and those people will expect that their choices mean something. people just dont seem to want to deal with the reality that not all choices are good ones.

If you exchange "game designers" for "georg", then you are in line with what I (and probably other people around here) think. The balance of the official campaign is a major technical design importance for our games and decisions in the core ruleset will be made to accomodate that (and other things). Depending on how open the game will be for modification, this might not be an issue for thirdparty module designers, as they *could theoretically* define as many classes as they wanted to, if the framework allowes for this. RPGs are no longer reserved for the hardcore gaming audience these days, if you want to be a commercial success, you need to appeal to the mainstream gamer as well, on a certain level. I think KotOR was a good indication how this can look like, but not necessarily comparable to DA, which is probably a bit more "hardcore".

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Where's Winski been lately? We need someone in here who knows what they are talking about.

I was on the black isle boards as a community member back then, I remember certain conversations quite vividly ... I think I have some threads archived at home, have to dig, might be good for a laugh these days.

Please note, I never said it's impossible to write a story for an undefined protagonist, I said I think it's harder to do because most work tends to become harder the more unknown variables get involved. As for John, he's a designer on Jade too these days.

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this is back to the argument of skill based vs class based. what is a skill based system except just another interface for making a character? isn't it a refinement of rules to eliminate arbitrary class distinctions?

Well, one could argue from the other side around and say that classes are a more refined way to presenting the skill based complex character creation to the user, so this isn't really leading anywhere

Builder Background Support
I very much like the "builders guide" idea and I guess that the DA team will start to release background information on the world later in the development process, we are already doing this for Jade from time to time.

DA Toolset Suggestions


(*)A script debugger featuring breakpoints, line-by-line tracing, and variable watch-points. Well, this one might be a little challenging to implement!
(/list)

There is a script debugger that features breakpoints, line by line tracing and variable inspection packaged with NWN... It's invoked by calling the SpawnScriptDebugger() function call in your scripts (same as a breakpoint), all you need to do is activate the generation of debug information in your module options

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I do this all the time. It helps to set the game window size really small. After a while it tends to make my computer very unhappy, but the time savings are definitely worth an occaisional reboot.

Don't do it. Not with NWN. It can cause crashes to the toolset that lead to module corruption.

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i really think those are damning words for the crpg. valid from a business perspective, but why bother calling it an rpg then. gauntlet wasn't an rpg, neither was diablo, neither is magic the gathering. call it a fantasy game and do everyone a favor.

I wouldn't be too concerned about the whole "appealing to mainstream" thing, it does not necessarily mean dumb down or deathknell for the whole genre, it can also mean "refine".

Lots of things that made RPGs hard to access in the past were interface issues, and I believe that you can come up with a good interface for nearly everything, so you can still have a deep and complex system, you still need to invest more time to present it the right way. Just think about it, it happens everywhere - Remember us 2nd edition freeks complaining about how they got rid ThAC0 in 3E - the symbol of geekness? Looking back, getting rid of it was smart as it made the game more accessible without dumping it down (unless you think certain complicated mathematical calculations are required for the spirit of the game, even if the same effect (do I hit?) can be achieved by a less mindboggling solution). Yea, I know, ThAC0 was a good filter to prevent "mentally not suited" people from playing the game, but that mentality is not good for business. I don't even say it's not possible for us to do a skillbased game in the future, if we want to do it, we'll do it and we would try to do it right. For DA however, the decision was made to create a classbased game, so it's kind of a pointless discussion here.

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Of course = the module corruption issues Georg mentioned are an important cautionary. I don't mess with jumping back and forth between the toolkit and a windowed game - I let it run in full screen mode to avoid those crashes.

I lost my job application 3 times in a row to this before I could send it off, that taught me!

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Hmm . . . only Georg would write a job application in the NWN Toolset. Most normal people use a word processor.

I can picture it now:
"Dear sir or madame, if you would like to see my past work history, slay the orc behind the stone door. I have imprisoned my previous supervisor in the Dungeon of Woe - free him and hear him sing my praises. If you succeed in your quests, you may hire me and be greatly rewarded with fabulous magic items!"

So close

Tim Smith, Tools Programmer

DA Toolset Suggestions


Excellent point. It would probably help with documentation as well, detailing all the various tags and resrefs that have to be kept track of. I find myself frequently jumping back and forth between the script editor and looking up object tags and resrefs.

Next you will be wanting the toolset to not crash...

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Atari Confirms Baldur's Gate 3 and Neverwinter Nights 2 for HomeLAN Fed
Posted Friday, July 23, 2004 - 20:09 CET by chevalier

HomeLAN Fed have talked to an Atari representative who has pretty much confirmed the PC Gamer news that we posted a couple of days ago. It's nothing we didn't already know, but the near-confirmation itself is worth mentioning. Here's what they say:

The new issue of PC Gamer magazine (the one with the review of Doom 3 on their cover) has a blurb that indicates that their next issue will have a look at several upcoming Dungeons and Dragons themed games, including the previously announced D&D Online and D&D RTS titles plus the previously unannounced games Neverwinter Nights 2 and Baldur's Gate 3. When contacted by HomeLAN to comment on this news bit an rep from Atari (the current holder of the console-PC D&D game licence) said, "There may be some truth to that statement..."

Read the news item at HomeLAN Fed.

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Neverwinter Nights Forum News
Posted Friday, July 23, 2004 - 1:46 CET by chevalier

Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

Can I turn off buff spell graphics?
actually the easiest way would be to blank out the annoying effects in visualeffects.2da However, both methods (modifying scripts / changing the .2da) have the potential to break your game, because some spells use visual effects to track their remaining duration...

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Are you saying that some spells actually use the graphic animation and not some integer so it knows when to go away? Could you please give an example spell please?

All spells that have a reoccuring spell effect over multiple rounds (i.e. melfs acid arrow, some bigby spells, firebrand, etc) and that are not area of effect spells use this as it is far less cpu intensive than the way those spells were implemented before HotU.

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So instead of removing the visual effect then replacing it with something harmless, like the tiny sparks protection from evil give, would be a safe bet? I am going to bug a server admin to get rid of the Epic Mage armor visual as soon as pick the spell.

The VFX_CESSEATE_* visual effects are usually good for such things because they don't show up until the spell duration expires. One more note: changing the .2da is client side which would allow people to disable the effects just on their low end machine. If you change the spellscripts instead, everyone on the server will be affected.

Crafting System Info


At a guess, it seems the x2_p_craftskills conversation has something to do with it. Any more info?

There are two conversations, one for modifying armor and one for crafting new items. The major functionality is in x2_inc_craft.nss (include file). Most of the stuff is 2da driven and comes from the des_crft_* 2da files. hope that helps

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What're these two conversations? I assume one of them is the x2_p_craftskills. I'll do my best to document the crafting system. Perhaps mod scripters can move away from ATS and CNR if needed functionality can be added to the Bioware crafting system.

x2_p_craftskills
x0_ something (not sure about the name, but there are not many x0 files in the global dialog resources)

Need a patch now.
The "high number addresses" you are talking about are probably taken from a "unable tor read/write from ..." error messge in the toolset.

These "addresses" are not set anywhere, are not programming mistakes or bug, it's an issue where the toolset trying to read memory outside it's memory space or at a non existant location, caused by a corrupted module. If your module gets corrupted, which can happen due to power failure during saves, hardware or software failure during save or write processes, it will most likely cause problems like this - nothing we can fix, it's something that can also happen to your word documents or files written by any other application when the write process is terminated prematurely due to a crash.

Bottomline: The problem has nothing to do with high numbers, because those "high" numbers are memory addresses and the problem is that some data in the corrupted module is making the toolset trying to access memory addresses outside the current application space or at invalid locations such as NULL (FFFFFFF). It's not a problem with NWN or the toolset, it's a problem with the module.

And no, 1.63 will not fix that, because we can't magically fix data not written correctly to disk due to an external failure - nobody can. To repair your module I would suggest exporting it area by area and reimporting it into a empty module, that will likely remove the corrupted files from it. There are no direct references to memory locations in your module (computers don't work that way), those errors occur when the toolset/game are trying to read damaged files/objects inside the module into memory. Whether or not data in a file is illegal can not be determined on the fly, unfortunately. Does your module use a hakpak or do you have files in your nwn\override directory?

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Thanks for the information and if you have any suggestions on how I can export the quest that I have in the corrupted mod please let me know.


while the mod is open in the toolset, all files inside it are in the modules\temp0 directory. Yyou can grab the journal (*.jrnl) file from there ( I assume you mean journal by quest) and copy it to a save location. Then you open the new mod and copy the file into the temp0 directory, change something in the module and save.

Well it finally happened
Hey. If you want to discuss the SecuRom copy protection which is required by our publisher Atari, I suggest you do this in Atari's very own community forums at http://www.ataricommunity.com and please contact Atari Support about your problem.

The reason for this is that if you do not contact Support, the numbers on which business decisions are made will not match the situation out there. "Everyone knows ..." doesn't work when it's "Support Says only X people complained about problem Y", so it is important that you contact Support and post it in their forum instead of here where it is not likely that it gets read by people involved making these decisions.

BioWare is aware that some people have issues with SecuRom on NWN, but we can't do anything about it at this point it - is not our call. I will leave this thread open so the original poster can get further suggestions on how his problem might be solved, but if it continues down the predictable road from "copy protection" to "downloadable solutions", etc, I will close it. Thank you for your understanding.

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Dragon Age Forum News
Posted Friday, July 23, 2004 - 1:39 CET by chevalier

Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

What we "DO" know so far....


The Helliconia trilogy. The books were Spring, Summer and Winter. I only got to read Helliconia: Winter, but I did rather enjoy it at the time (about 12 years ago now - man am I old..).

Do I get a cookie?

THAT'S the one!

You get a cookie.


Quote: Or I, Robot?

*shudder*

Oh, don't even get me started on that one. My projectile vomiting reflex is just about ready to kick in.

Different Weapons = Different Fighting Animations


BUT Jade is an action RPG so you can put a lot more manpower going into this than for a traditional RPG.

Yeah, but that's what he's saying, Georg. Because there will likely be a lot of combat that therefore it's the same as an action RPG, like there's no distinction because we obviously don't make "true" RPG's anyway, I suppose? I don't know, I felt the burn. Didn't you? I think I yelped.

properties and protecting them
Those kinds of plot can definitely work in a story... if the story allows for that sort of thing as we did in BG2. Not all plots are such that you can veer off in the middle of them and invest in some real estate. In fact, that sort of thing works better if it IS the plot, I think.

My latest unrealistic expectation: Emotes
I suspect there are going to be a lot more social animations (motion capture is god). I don't know how many will be tied in as "emotes" that the PC can use (as opposed to making them accessible to the dialogue editor, which is what they'd probably be meant for), but if we don't allow them all to be you'll all probably cry until we do so anyhow so it's likely not a bad idea.

There is very likely going to be trouble with having "interactive" animations, though, same as always. Part of the issue is getting the models to "sync up" (especially if the target is doing something else at the time and also consider the possibility of having different-sized models). It's not impossible by any means, but such interactive animations are always going to be more trouble. I suppose we'll see in the end, but the big bonus here is that they're all very useful.

Georg Zoeller, Designer

More words from the Great One - 1st Level Assumptions


More like BG II than NWN, I guess, because how can anyone write a meaningful subplot for a gnome paladin/sorceror/archer?

To get this off the "MMORPGs are slavery/torture" track (you can make a new thread in the offtopic forum to discuss that topic)....

That would mean that this kind of strange combination is something that exists in Dragon Age. We have not yet commented on the availability of multi classing or free/not free availability of all classes for all races.

More:

To put in a concrete example, in BIO's past D&D games you could choose the Ranger class... but there was next to no rangery stuff to do in any of those games. I'm hoping DA wouldn't go the same way (Yes, I know you personally aren't working on DA).

That's actually not true in regards of SoU and partially HotU. Especially SoU, and to some parts HotU had specific options and even quests for Rangers - as a result of the feedback that people would like see more of those class specific quests. Same for other classes.

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This is sounding too much like a cop-out that I had to respond.

What's the point of implementing "roleplaying" skills if they're not useful? This is supposed to be a roleplaying game afterall, so using "roleplaying" skills is what the whole game is supposed to be about, right?

To put in a concrete example, in BIO's past D&D games you could choose the Ranger class... but there was next to no rangery stuff to do in any of those games. I'm hoping DA wouldn't go the same way (Yes, I know you personally aren't working on DA).

By your post, it sounds like you're already assuming the "roleplaying" skills are marginal things only used now and then, and have to be balanced to the combat skills used 99% of the game. One would think trying to take the issue the other way, making the "roleplaying" skills more useful, would be alot better for a roleplaying game, right?

- All class vs. classless issues aside.

My definition of "rpg skill" here is "non combat skill".

CRPGs feature a high level of combat, usually more than PnP (because combat resolution in PnP takes hours, not seconds). Combat is a overall very important factor in CRPGs and the overwhelming majority of people who buy CRPGs thinks that way.

Any skill/ability/etc you add that has impact on combat immediately becomes very useful because it can applied in many, unscripted situations and affects your character in almost every single combat.

Social skills or utility skills however usually need to be scripted - i.e. different dialog options. So if you have a "persuade" or "talk to animal" ability in the game, you need to create dialog for every animal (such as we did in SoU/HotU) and you would need to script many many of those social skillchecks into conversations so they make a difference. Compared to adding a combat related ability/skill, that is *a lot* more work and thus the number of things you can do this way has a natural limit.

We do it because it is a very popular thing that adds a lot to the game, but as said, naturally the number of points where those skills work in the game is limited, and every skill of that type you add cuts it down further.

In addition, taking user created modules into account - a combat skill is useful in any module, immediately - a social skill will only be useful if the module creator scripted for it.

So, unless you scripted ungodly number of applications for those skills in order to get around combats, etc, it will be very hard to create a balanced campaign that a character who selected a focus on those social/utility abilities and completely neglected the combat ones will still have a good time to get through the game.

We had firsthand experience with this in Hordes of the Underdark, which is VERY hard for a pure rogue or bard to play through and very easy for many of the other classes. Partially this was because balancing in this case was not in our hands, we could not just add new things to the rogue class that are not in the rules (to compensate for abilities like "climb" that you would be able to use in PnP to bypass an encounter). Yes, there were a lot of specially scripted bypasses and options for rogues in HotU so they sneak around most encounters, etc, but at some point it still got down to combat, and rogues had a really bad time there.

In DA we will have much greater control (complete control) over the ruleset, so this kind of problem can be solved - but if the game would be "skill based" instead of "classbased", chances are that people would still end up in a situation where they build a character that is not able to complete the game and notice it only 15 hours into the campaign or so... With classes, we can group skills/abilities/whatever they are called in a way that this can not happen.

Note: This is not neccessarily the (only) reason why the team chose to use classes instead of a skillbased approach.

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Gromnir, I don't think he was calling skill systems shallow, but rather the tying in of specific abilities to skills.

For example, take a paladin's lay on hands: a classical class-ability if there ever was one. With classes, you can create abilities like that, yet, with skills you either have to create a skill for the specific ability (not broad enough), or tie the ability in as part of another skill.

He was calling that implementation 'shallow', not the skill system itself.

Much closer to the point than our pluralis-majestatis friend here. Grom is just reading things into my posts that I didn't say (again), but that might be caused by the language barrier we already discovered.

I didn't really say anything about a class based system being less "shallow" than a skill based one, I was more focused on balancing issues and why classes provide better options for creating a balanced campaign (which is a major concern for us) than a skillbased system, which in return will make it easier to write specially themed abilities and classes. I use "shallow" in this regard because:

If I have 6 classes and 60 days of writer times available, I can make 10 different subquests for each class, if I would need 1 day per quest (completely arbitrary numbers)

If I have 60 skills, and 60 days of writer time available, I can make 1 subquest per skill, and assuming a player would pick 10 skills, he would end up with 10 subquests - on the first glance that's the same.

However, those 10 class subquests can be chained to build on each other (partially) and can share a certain theme, reinforcing that one character, while some of those 10 skill subquests will most likely have some very shallow explaination for their existance and can not build on each other or reinforce/further the story or character development. That's why I use shallow.

In my opinion, and you are free to disagree, it's more interesting to play the evil fighter, start with my own background story and have a number of options that allow me to reinforce that image that build up and maybe ultimately lead to a class specific ending of the game than to play the fishing and blacksmithing bow specialist that has a couple of options to use his skills during the game ... because you can't see any skill specific start or end sequence (impossible with 60 skills).

Plus, I imagine writing would probably have a damn bad time coming up with equal interesting subquests for all skills in the game, more something for Dave to comment on.

More:

"Classes are an excellent tool organize abilities into sets that can be used for balancing of the campaign as well as the addition of "class specific options" and themes (instead of skill specific options which would hard to get right and somewhat shallow by nature)."

does geo even read his own posts? we has lifted this portion three times now.

maybe you not mean what you said... and that would be ok with us. just don't try and tell us that you never pointed out the shallowness of skill based system compared to class based in regards to increased opportunities for character focused themes and options.

HA! Good Fun!

My post above should provide you enough information to catch what I meant with "shallow", so stop trying to twist my words.

I have no trouble with you disagreeing with my opinion - thats the point of having a discussion, but a fruitful discussion can't work as long as the two sides speak different languages. So please stop that "I know much better what you meant when you wrote this" crap and get back to the table. Thank you.

I suggest you send me a PM next time you try a personal explaination so it doesn't move the thread out of topic.

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Let's back up a second. What's the evidence that skill- based systems cause balance problems? I think we can expect a certain level of rationality from players -- if the game system is clear enough that they can understand it.

For instance, I'm pretty sure most folks tagged Small Guns their first time through Fallout, even if they weren't really planning on playing a combat character.

First:
With games moving more mainstream in order to keep up with production costs and selling more copies, you can no longer expect insider knowledge from hardcore fans.

This calls for better explainations during character creation (I think the whole industry needs to work on this), but it also calls for preventing people from screwing themselves over within the rules system. If the rules system allows it, it should be a valid choise. I'm not talking about things like "it's easier to play with a fighter', I'm talking about things like "If I don't chose this skill, and this, and this", I'm not able to complete the game because I can't beat boss X- not a problem per se, as you can just make combat easier ... but then the "better" characters suddenly find everything too easy.

It's just easier to balance the difficulty of your campaign if you balance characters against each other first to a point, and that's easier to do with classes, at least in my opinion.

From my experience:

Morrowind - high balance differences between strong melee oriented character and the rest, up to a point where certain setups are unable to complete the game while other characters sliced through enemies without actually fighting at all.

Arcanum - highly skill dependend game, huge balance issues comparing a spellcaster to a fighter, up to a point where it was close to impossible to continue.

Fallout - some skills were useless so I chose to start over later in the game. Today, working and no longer spending nights playing games like in school, I probably would drop it.

Finally, as mentioned above, it's a math question. The number of permutations/unknown variables for possible characters and path for QA to run through is significantly higher for skills than with classes (through multiclassing can ruin that advantage).

Of course, for any of those the point can be made that it's the players fault that he did create the character this way, but with the number of casual, non hardcore players highly outweighting the hardcore fan, this is not really acceptable. Word is that people who get stuck several hours into a game because of such issues will put down your game and never play it again.

I'm sure that with enough time and dedication a skill based system can be made that resolves most of the issues tied to the approach, but right now it looks easier, more time efficient and safer to me to create a class based game based where we can apply our previous experience.

It's a matter of risk taking I suppose, you can chose to make a game that uses several traditional elements you know a lot about and extend and improve based on your previous experience, or you can make this radically different game with a potentional revolutionary new skill system, that would cost some more time to develop and has a risk of containing game mechanic problems you didn't know about.


in as much as building a character that is later discovered to be unable to complete the game... i think having classes results in this failure more than skills. classes cant be adjusted. professions (skills) can.

First - classes can't be adjusted is not true for DA. We create the rule system for DA, we can change and adjust our classes in every way we want.

Classes are easier to balance in this regard so the situation does not happen in the first place. If you have 6 classes, you can have QA run through the game with all those 6 classes in a variety of setups to make sure difficulty is right. If you have 60 skills, the number of possible 10 skill character combinations people can come up with is insane, especially if there are synergy effects between skills.

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as for balance, using arcanum and fallout as examples of why a skill based system has to be unbalanced is a bit like pointing to nwn and noting that class based systems must also be screwed.

I totally agree with you, class balance in NWN was bad, through (imo) not as bad as Arcanum or Morrowind. I just have trouble right now thinking of any reasonably well balanced skill based game that offers more than lets say 8 skills, through I'm sure they are some out there.


... but we suspect that 'cause he is a biowarian, he must know better.

Oh indeed, being infallable like the pope is required for every job here at BioWare, that's why I close every single of my posts with "and if you don't agree with me, you are wrong, because I work for BioWare", right?.
Also you are required to refer to every BioWare employee as "your infallible holyness", did you miss that part of the forum rules? Great, now that we have established some common ground, could we now just get back to the discussion?

More: One thing: I wouldn't necessarily compare 3E skills to the type of "skills" you need when creating a classless system. Most of skills in NWN didn't have major impact on the game, the real impact came from feats/class specific abilities.

About most people min/maxing, I don't think so. A large part of the people playing in skill based MMORPGs with competitive elements tend to max and strive for "the ultimate build", but the same is true for every competitive game, just check the Diablo2 boards. It's in the nature of the game.

Our major balance issue is balance for the official campaign (all classes can finish the campaign, no class finds it excessivly hard or extremely easy to do so), PvP issues are secondary.

Different Weapons = Different Fighting Animations
For Jade we actually have custom, motion captured animations for every weapontype and style (= lots of them)

BUT Jade is an action RPG so you can put a lot more manpower going into this than for a traditional RPG.

More:


BUT Jade is an action RPG so you can put a lot more manpower going into this than for a traditional RPG.

Yeah, but that's what he's saying, Georg. Because there will likely be a lot of combat that therefore it's the same as an action RPG, like there's no distinction because we obviously don't make "true" RPG's anyway, I suppose?

Which is something I don't agree with - combat in jade has a more central place than in most other RPGs - after all you are playing a martial arts master . Playing a martial arts master is playing a role, but that role is a bit more restrictive than booting up NWN and saying "I want to play a ranger, or I want to play a fighter/sorceror". You can still play your martial arts master is a variety of different ways, good or evil or insane, coward or hero, trusted friend or vicious betrayer, physical powerhouse or spiritual leader - that's up to you, but your role is still more defined than in NWN or DA, just by the fact that you are a martial arts master. Just not having to program/design/visualize X different classes/races adds a lot of time that can be used for other stuff...

Games like DA or NWN offer things that are outside Jades' scope and you need some resources on those - which you can't spend on combat.

Example:
- Playing a thief, avoiding most combats with stealth is not an option in Jade, because it doesn't fit into the Martial Arts master theme. You might be able to steal at a couple of occassions, but engaging in combat is expected from a martial arts master, so there's no way to avoid that on the long run

- Being a wizard and having access to a huge number of spells - while you can cast spells in jade, they are tied into the martial arts system, and the focus is definitly more on hand to hand combat, which you won't be able to avoid completely.

Combat in Jade is action (some call it twitch) based (through there is pause and play) and there is an incredible level of detail attached to it as a result, more than in any previous BioWare game - but this is possible because the team did not need to spend so much time on certain things you have seen in NWN or BG.

However, you can also expect DA to have a more diverse animations, detail than any previous PC RPG we did, just because of technical progress and because we get better with each game ... and our motion capture library grows... .

As for the definition of "true RPG", I believe that the word RPG is permanently getting redefined. Some people call Diablo a RPG, others call Silent Storm a RPG so at the end of the day anything that has some elements from traditional RPGs (i.e. "stats") is called a RPG. So in the end the definiton is with us, and I say "play Jade then play NWN" and you can see why we call Jade an action RPG and NWN not.

POLL- The manual containing a complete spell list


Does the game assume that the players know the rule system? In previous BioWare games the game always seemed to.

That's right, and to a certain degree definitly intentional - after all it were licensed games and a good part of licensed property (D&D) actually was the rules system

One thing I remember about Ultima VI or VII was nearly complete absense of technical rulestalk in the manual - it had nearly complete spell lists, weapons lists, etc, but it didn't touch character stats on a technical level ... which I liked. Thought?

More: I think the nontechnical nature of the Ultima manuals has a big plus - it won't get out of date in the time between the manual going to production and the game shipping which usually contains the final period of crunch and a lot of detail changes.

Resting
As you can see from the SoU and HotU campaign we had a couple of problems with resting in the original NWN campaign as well and were investigating other solutions. I'm sure the DA team will put some thoughts into this issue.

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Latest Poll Results
Posted Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 21:51 CET by Sorcerer

What we asked:

Q: Do you buy paperback or hardcover books?
(246 votes total)

Depends on the book (120) 49%
Always paperback when available (67) 27%
Always hardcover when available (49) 20%
I don't buy any books (10) 4%

Almost half of the poll participants (49%) voted that their buying either a paperback or hardcover edition depends on the book itself.

27%, however, voted that they always buy paperbacks when available. On the other hand, another 20% voted that they always buy hardcover editions when available.

Lastly, 4% of those who voted claim that they don't buy any books at all.

  • Current Poll
  • Previous Polls

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    BioWare Makes it to Deloitte's Fast 50
    Posted Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 20:02 CET by chevalier

    BioWare is amongst the ranks of finalists for Deloitte's Canadian Techonology Fast 50 list for a fourth year in a row. As BioWare says,

    The annual program ranks the 50 fastest-growing Canadian tech companies. The actual rankings will be announced on September 29, 2004.

    Read more at BioWare and Deloitte.

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    BioWare to Deliver Keynote Speech at European Developers Forum
    Posted Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 19:53 CET by chevalier

    BioWare's Joint CEO has been chosen to deliver keynote speech to the Forum. Here's what BioWare says:

    Our very own Ray Muzyka will be delivering a keynote speech to the European Developer's Forum in September. The forum takes place September 1-3, 2004 in London, England. For more information, visit the European Games Network site

    Read more at BioWare or European Games Network.

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    BioWare Wednesday
    Posted Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 19:51 CET by Sorcerer

    (Only news relevant to SP posted.)

    Snag The Top NWN CEP Modules For Yourself
    Wanna take your Neverwinter Nights Community Expansion Pack (CEP) goodies for a spin? You can now discover what the top-rated fan-created CEP enabled modules are, download 'em, and play 'em to your heart's content! The top modules are available for download at the NWVault, and you can catch the rankings and links on our modules page and in the Modules side panel of the Neverwinter Nights web site. Discuss.

    NWN CEP Race Profile - The Wemic
    Tired of tripping over your beard in every adventure as a dwarf? Looking to play something that can arm wrestle a half-orc, play footsie with an elf, and disembowel a zombie all at the same time? The CEP offers two new races for your playing enjoyment, and this week we profile the majestic wemic. Included in the profile are 22 customizable character files for download! Discuss.

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    Gary Gygax Interview at GameBanshee
    Posted Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 19:47 CET by chevalier

    GameBanshee have interviewed Gary Gygax, the father of Dungeons and Dragons and the founder of TSR. Despite being very busy with his current work, he took time to answer a set of questions on the phone for GameBanshee. Here's a clip:

    GB: Tell me a bit about your history and how you originally came up with the concept of the miniature ruleset called Chainmail, and, later, Dungeons & Dragons. Were these games originally just a hobby of your own, or did you intend to make it into a commercial game from the beginning?

    Gary: This goes all the way back to Gen Con 1 with a fellow by the name of Jerry White from Portland, Oregon, as I recall. He brought a bunch of 40 millimeter Elastolin figurines done by Hauser. I started playing and got hooked. Jeff Perren happened to collect quite a few of those same scale miniatures and he had gone and set up rules for them. Henry Bodenstadt ran a gaming shop business out in New York, he had got his Siege of Bodenstadt game into Strategy & Tactics magazine at that time published by Chris Wagner. This was what really hyped the 40 mm figurines.


    Read the whole thing at GameBanshee.

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    Dragon Age Forum News
    Posted Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 5:21 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    What we "DO" know so far....


    if it was my choice, I'd scrap those planets and go for rotating disks, solves all those stupid wraparound issues and finally explains why the ocean isn't raising all the time when it rains into it ... just falls off the edges

    If it was my choice, I'd have the setting be a large moon of a particularly radiant gas giant. A close enough orbit could provide enough heat and light to sustain life, and think of the spectacular skyscape!

    As for a binary/trinary star system, the other suns would have to be pretty far away (a bright star to the world's POV, as someone mentioned) else the "green zone" around the one sun is going to be disrupted by the second/third star's gravitational pull and radiation... the reason why in most such systems they suspect no "green zone" exists at all (if any planets are even able to form with such alternating gravitational pressures).

    One weird planet might exist in a binary system with two strong suns with the "green zone" existing just exactly in the middle between them (what are the odds of that, anyway?) ...that would be a very interesting planet to calculate such oddness as seasons and day length and such, but we're talking sci-fi at that point and who knows if it would even sustain much life?

    Mind you, I do recall one fantasy series that was quite excellent which took place on a world with an erratic orbit... the entire world would get plunged into an ice age for centuries at a time as the world hit its far orbit and then warmed up considerably as it came close. Wish I remembered what it was called.

    A Better Sneak Attack
    I think the stealthy/dextrous fighter is basically attempting to do two things with this sort of attack:

    1) Bypass armor.
    2) Hit a critical area.

    So if fighting someone in plate, you're trying to plant the dagger in the unprotected armpit, or slip it between the plates or go for the eyes... and if performed successfully, any benefits that armor gives to the target should be ignored.

    Doing the attack really well should give the additional benefit of doing a critical hit. The same as if someone else had deliberately aimed for the head or so forth... except that in the case of a stealthy/dextrous fighter, this is the sort of strike they excel in and rely on.

    Not that this is what DA is doing, but these are my thoughts on this sort of attack. I don't really understand the implentations it has gone through to date in D&D. Like needing the target to be flanked... why? Surprise isn't the issue (though it should help). The problem with using a dagger is the need to get in close to the target, especially when they're using a weapon with greater reach than yours. That's the issue. Get past that and you should be able to use a stealth strike on anyone.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    More words from the Great One - 1st Level Assumptions


    In the interests of actually distilling this down to something useful and general..... (I.e. - the underlying mechanic rather that how it is used).

    There are to related mechanics which would be useful to us.

    1) OnPCLevulUP: This exists in NWN already, but it doesn't fire until AFTER the player levels up. It should be changed to work the way OnPCRest does - so that an event fires when they START the levelup process (allowing us to detect it and interfere with it) as well as firing again when the rest concludes.

    2) Variables to allow ALL classes to be taken which work exactly as do the variables in the PrC class 2da files, allowing access to specific classes to be turned on and off through scripts.

    The addition of these two features would give us nearly all the control over leveling up that we might ever want.

    Assumptions here again such as the free availablity of multi classing without limits. Just a reminder that you don't really know the system yet - not saying whether or not there will be multi classing in DA.

    As for skills being easy and we should crap the class system .. that's highly deceptive, on a base level it's far harder to balance a skill based system where you do not only have to account for balancing the usefulness of skills against each other (which will usually screw over the roleplaying skills) but also have to deal with the usual "extreme builds" that are hard to catch through development and can ruin the game for either being too hard or too easy. Classes are an excellent tool organize abilities into sets that can be used for balancing of the campaign as well as the addition of "class specific options" and themes (instead of skill specific options which would hard to get right and somewhat shallow by nature).

    Yes, it forces to make decisions and some people could feel that they are restricted if they had to make a choise between sword or sorcery - but then again, that's traditional RPG and if it's a party based game, I don't think thats a bad thing.

    Again: Talking on a non DA specific level, I don't know what the plans are for DA in this regard.

    More:

    So the key to class advancement is twofold: skills and credentials. Skills come with exposure, aptitude, and practice. But the credentials can come only from other people or organizations. Will any of this be considered in DA's class system?

    To answer your question I doubt this stuff will be affecting things on rules level, but on level of story and official campaign, credentials or past experience (i.e. selected character background story) usually plays some kind of role at points in the game.

    Dungeon Siege, by the way, has a pretty simplistic rules system, at least compared to what you've seen in NWN or will see in DA.

    POLL- The manual containing a complete spell list


    Why is this even remotely controversial? Of course it should.

    Oh, you can argue about that one. You see, I'm an exploration fan - I like to find stuff in the gameworld, things I didn't know about beforehand (as opposed to "I want to look forward to finding spell X).

    I think that most of the basic content (spells, weapons), etc of the game should be in the manual for the "looking forward" and "planning" effect (through I somewhat despise the whole "build" business), but I feel there should be a part (maybe 33%?) of those things left out of the manual for exploration. ("There are rumours of even greater swords...").

    I agree that things like "class abilities" should be completely in the manual so the player knows what he gets into.

    In the end that heavily depends on how you like to play those games, if you are more the powergamer, you will probably want to know all the stuff right beforehand - through manuals usually aren't so detailed about these things since they need to go into print well before the final balancing passes are made over a game.

    More:

    But I think you should not just give a shortened spell list in the manual and then leave it at that, forcing the designers to extract the information they need manually.

    If it's for designers (which are, granted, not the primary people who buy a game), I'd put the full spellist into the toolset... (especially since the toolset is able to read game data)

    More:

    Why? A complete manual is a standard of the genre, and I'm not willing to accept a reduction of the quality of the product without raising a hue and cry. That product includes a complete manual.

    Actually, the recent price drop of AAA games must come from somewhere. In March, several top titles, including Splinter Cell 2 and Unreal Tournament 2004 were available, during launch week, for 39 CDN (30US?, 27EUR?) and these had all one in common - a non existant or .pdf manual. Publishers seem to be dropping manuals and fancy packaging for competetive pricing, and full manuals seem to move more and more into the "special edition" realm. The most popular web store feature special sales events about every week selling AAA titles that have been out for only a couple of weeks for insanely low prices.

    [Note: I know, from personal experience, that the above is not necessarily valid in some european countries where you still pay the same price as you did 2 years ago in the US and only get a DVD box without a manual anyway, but that seems to be connected to the local market].

    I am not saying that his is a good or bad development, but right now it looks like that's the way publishers go (and they ultimately decide on this issue) and it seems like a good part of the customers are fine with this (trade 10$ for a pdf manual) - the rest gets to pay for the manual as special edition, which has about the same price a full price game had 2 years ago. Personally I don't think that's a bad deal, through I can see people who love a fancy manual being opposed to this.

    However, it's way to far out to even think about this stuff for Dragon Age specifically, no publisher has been signed yet, and we understand that a lot of people want a nice manual with a BioWare game, so I wouldn't start worrying about it at the moment, there's nothing you or we can do about it at this point. I doubt the manual is more than a obscure figure in some of the later schedules for us at the moment, the difference in time investment to make a 60 or 200 page manual is insignificant to all the other numbers on schedule, which are more in the man-year range.

    More:


    I am not saying that his is a good or bad development, but right now it looks like that's the way publishers go...

    And I, as a consumer, have every right to object.

    A hand-held, coil-bound manual is far more useful than a PDF unless the PDF is formatted such that I can print and bind it in a similar style - full letter or A4 sheets are too large.

    I'd rather have a text file than a PDF that's formatted for a full page.

    You indeed have and you should if you don't like it, probably best by writing to some of the major publishers. In the end it will come down to market acceptance (10$ down of full price vs. pdf or "full" price and bound manual) and without feedback (except from sales numbers), publishers are likely to assume that most people are fine with that tradeoff - what I personally think is the case.

    As for "full ruleset in the .pdf", it's again a publisher thing. They might insist on getting the final manual for editing at a certain point and from there on, it is out of your hands as the developer, you can't do anything about it anymore. But I agree, the optimal thing would the manual to be complete (through, I can say from personal experience, that it sometimes happens that you send in a final manual and what gets printed for foreign versions miraculously is a version of the manual that's 1 month older than the final one...)

    What we "DO" know so far....


    Why woudl the moons necessarily have to be very small? You could have two medium sized moons orbiting a planet of similar size to Earth.

    if it was my choice, I'd scrap those planets and go for rotating disks, solves all those stupid wraparound issues and finally explains why the ocean isn't raising all the time when it rains into it ... just falls off the edges

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 5:16 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    Could we have a 1.63 status update please?
    Yea, locking this for getting offtopic with "will 1.63 include" and "They should put XXX in 1.63" posts 1.63 is in internal beta and is basically feature frozen, which means it's unlikely that we add new stuff from this point on. Once one or two internal beta tests have been performed, we will have a public open beta. stay tuned.

    Help Scribing Timestop Scroll
    Certain spells need components to be present in the characters inventory to be scribed.

    This is actually a feature I added to aid the PW people so they wouldn't have to cope with Hordes of people running around with certain very powerful spellscrolls that would cause server problems (such as perma timestopping the whole server). Also some spells in PnP cause aging or have other negative effects on the player that can not be simulated in NWN, which causes balancing issues with them freely available on scrolls. It's all .2da controlled (des_matcomp.2da), so you can easily remove the need for those components if you don't like them or add your own components to the spell list.

    Need a patch now.
    Hello

    - BioWare does not offer official technical support - this is done through Atari. Check the link to the official support resources on the lefthand menu for more information. You can seek help from people in the community by posting in the Self Help Forum on our webpage.

    - BioWare does not release patches "now" or on demand, but when they have been sufficiently tested and approved by all parties involved. Releasing patches before they are done would cause more harm than good. Patch 1.63 is in testing and will be released when it is done and approved, not earlier, not later.

    - The issue you are experiencing is likely tied to a problem on your local system, such as a driver issue, copy protection issue or hardware conflict. In any case, please contact Atari support about it, we can not help you with those problems.

    Thanks for your understanding

    More :


    Basically programming is not a matter of perfection but of reaching the attainable and if 1.63 is not attainable in its present form Bioware should admit it and find something that is.

    I'm sure our programmers will be delighted and thankful for your great suggestions.

    NWN is a 2 year old game and obviously there is no longer a 100 man development team working on it, so greater feature additions or larger changes take more time and take longer to test with fewer people. We do not see any pressing issues why we should rush out the current patch without sufficently testing it (which is happening currently) - we do not want "rushed workshedules", right?.

    Chances are that the issue you are experiencing will not be fixed by 1.63, because it does sound a lot like a problem with your local machine. I can understand that this is not what you like to hear, but unfortunately I can not offer you any more help or hope, you need to contact Atari Support with this, they are the people who are more likely to be able to help you with this.

    Make your own shields
    quick answer: yes
    long answer: it depends on what you understand under "own shields". You can create your own magical shields in the toolset with a variety of different properties available. If you are skilled with modelling/art, you can create your own shield models and import them into the game using a hakpak as well.
    I think iron and wood makes shields if I remember correctly. I you manage to find a bar of mithral, you can make some pretty decent shields out of it.

    Tim Smith, Tools Programmer

    DLLs?
    I doubt we will ever open the game engine up to DLLs.

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    Haze Persistent World Spotlight and NWVault
    Posted Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 5:13 CET by chevalier

    NWVault have posted a spotlight of a Persistent World named Haze. Here's an excerpt from what the world's homepage:

    So what does a week in Haze get you? DM's who will lavish attention on you, polish your nails, wash your dishes, brush your teeth, just sit back and relax on the island of Haze. A technical experience that may well melt your eyes, systems completely unique to Haze, too many to list....too many...to...list. Roleplay! yes you heard it here first folks, real honest to goodness roleplay crafted from players dream and nightmares. A community larger than just NWN, check out a group of gamer dedicated to all things Fantasy. So come on over and check it out folks, what have you got to lose?

    Read more at Haze homepage.

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    SP Happenings #59
    Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 19:14 CET by Sorcerer

    Although it took a bit longer than I expected, the new site design is now finally complete and fully operational (as you have undoubtedly noticed). You can read a short introduction in my editorial, and browse the site for the rest. The thread to comment on the new design can be found here. Thanks again to all who have helped make the new face of Sorcerer's Place a reality - especially Catbert, who invested countless hours into coding the whole thing to make it exactly as I wanted it to be.

    Of course, the implementation of this new design is only the beginning. Now I will have to make sure to bring all its extra features to life, not to mention clear a mile of backlog that piled up, since content updates have been sparse around here lately to ease the transition to the new site layout. Expect some additional nice surprises in the near future as well.

    In other news, I've upgraded our message boards a couple of days ago. Although I've been going on about the switch to a PHP-based board for a while now, I've put it off again. The reason? vB, the board software I am planning on switching to eventually, has seriously limited polling capabilities. In fact, they are so basic, that the majority of our polls could not be imported, if we decided to switch now. I'm prepared to make some compromises when switching to a different board software, but this one is just too big for me to swallow. I guess I'll be looking into what can be done about this issue for a while longer.

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    Codepoetz Interview at NWVault
    Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 18:02 CET by chevalier

    Neverwinter Vault have posted an interview with Codepoetz, the author of the Kiss of Fate module that has made it to NWVault's Hall of Fame. Here's a snip:

    1) Could you tell the readers something yourself? Where do you come from, what do you do, what are your hobbies
    etc.


    I'm in my early thirties, and have a lovely wife and two wonderful young sons (Kalen is two years old and Malcolm is two weeks old). In real life, I design computer software for a large telecommunications company -- the complex software that switches voice and data over world-wide fiber optic networks. I love my job because it gives me a chance to touch the lives of so many people around the world; it's very likely that everyone reading this interview uses some bit of software that I wrote every day (while talking on a cell phone, making a long distance call, or surfing the Internet). Although my career has taken me all over North America and Europe, I decided to raise my family here in Eastern Canada. When time permits, I love reading classic literature, particularly 18th century French and Russian novels.

    2) What is your experience with regard to computer games, and RPGs in particular? What are your favourite games?

    I only own a few video games, most of which I've never played, and I don't know very much about RPGs. I only purchased NWN to goof around with the toolset. I'm a compulsive programmer and I can seldom resist the opportunity to experiment with new programming languages.


    Read the whole thing at NWVault.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 17:53 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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.

    Rob Bartel, Senior Designer

    Witch's Wake Cameo in SoU?
    Yup. The benefit of being a writer is that you get to find all manner of creative outlets for your daily frustrations. It's just a fun little moment that I enjoyed slipping into Undrentide's Crypt Tower when nobody was looking.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    HotU Crafting in NWN?
    No, you need HotU to access the crafting system. Besides, using HotU resources without using it would be a violation of the EULA and copyright laws.

    NWN 2 and BG 3 Coming out!!!
    This is the NWN: HotU Forum, not the -rumor forum. BioWare's next PC Project is called Dragon Age. Therefore this thread is "offtopic" in the NWN:HotU Forum and gets locked.

    is this a silly question?
    Those load hints are stored in the string database (dialog.tlk). You could download a tool to view this database, i.e. from the Vault. The string refs can be found loadhints.2da.

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    Dragon Age Forum News
    Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 17:48 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    Dragon Age title


    I still figure they should've named the game after whatever they called their world. That way you're not stuck in an age and you're not cornered for sequel titles. Dragon Age would make a better chapter title over a series name.

    We were tempted to name the game after the world. The only trouble there is that you can end up with a name that doesn't mean anything to anyone. Eventually it would, but not at first.

    "Scallywagland? What the heck is that?"
    "That's the name of the world."
    "Oh."

    (No, it's not called Scallywagland.)

    "Dragon Age" at least has some meaning to it. Or so we decided when we ended up going with it.


    Quote: THink of this: the name has to be marketable. In DA's case it has to be vague enough to build a series around. It has to relate in some way to the world. It has to be clearly indicative of what kind of game it is. It has to be catchy enough that people remember it. Etc.

    And the copyright has to be clear, as well. You'd be surprised how many titles are taken up somewhere by something.

    The hardest part about a name is that it's completely subjective as to what people prefer... so therefore everyone on the team has an opinion on it. The process to come up with one is so painful... never ever ever shall I reveal the details of how we went about it. Sheer trauma.

    What we "DO" know so far....


    What 'PvP rumour'? I suspect that special balance for PvP is getting little to no special consideration so

    You're right, it isn't. We're doing what works on the computer. If and when we ever decide to make a PnP version... well, I guess we'll cross that bridge when it's time to blow it up and not before.

    Can we get a Boo easter egg?


    Boo was pretty cool but if I could have one character from the BG series back, it would be that beholder dude.

    Considering that that character never had a name (I have often referred to him as "Spec" but that's completely unofficial), he's never been trademarked. I suspect, however, that the beholder creature itself is unique enough that it's a trademark of D&D.

    Which means that HotU was my last chance to bring him back. Alas, the plans to make him a henchman who you could find in HotU's beholder caves got cut about halfway through development of the expansion pack. Oh well.

    Darcy Pajak, Assistant Producer

    What we "DO" know so far....


    Do we know it it will be aa binary star system (in other words, will we have 2 suns) or even multiple or no moons?

    The exact number of sun's has not been defined by the Design team yet. And we're not creating the skyboxes for the levels so Art hasn't needed to ask. Sooner or later James, and his merry band will decide how many suns and moons there will be.

    Don Moar, Tools Programmer

    DA Toolest: More Editing-Wizards please
    Hey,

    Actually, Monferrat, if the DA Toolset were to lack a script wizard similar to the excellent ones created by Lilac Soul or the Script Ease team it would not indicate that we weren't paying attention or don't care about the shortcomings of NWToolset. As I said earlier, which tools ultimately get created depend entirely upon where it falls in terms of priority and the priority of other tools that are needed at or around the same time.

    Some tools make the cut, others don't.

    Think about it like this: Suppose you've only got enough resources to make either the super-easy painting system or the super-easy scripting system; which would you choose? Personally, I'd recommend the area painting because users will typically encounter that system first and if it acts as a barrier to entry, they're not going to even see the script wizard. If, on the other hand, the area painting is easy, people are more likely to hang around and stick through the more challenging parts of the toolset. Besides, we have very talented scripters on staff and they might prefer that the tools programmers work on improving the actual IDE instead. That being said, I don't think the guys have ruled anything out at this point.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    More words from the Great One - 1st Level Assumptions
    A CRPG is usually about the character's current exploits, not playing through his childhood / training
    - I mean, people tend not to care about playing their character through highschool

    Through, as already mentioned, DA will have the "origin stories", which will give you the opportunity to add a bit more background to the character (more diverse than the "school" from SoU - which a lot of people didn't like)


    ...
    "Characters who have achieved 'name' level must merely spend game time ... in training and/or study."

    Ah, I see, he anticipated the time sink/threadmill that defines most of today's MMORPGs. Or could it be that todays MMORPG designers didn't listen to Wayne but some geeky RPG nerd instead? Now that's it, trading awesome fistfights for level threadmill...

    As for taking levelup for granted ... that's somehow the point of it, at least when you have a relation between gaining XP and gaining levels in your game - making the player seek out a trainer each time he wants to level up would have impact on the way the story needs to be written without actually adding to it (except to litter the world with trainers for every class to make sure that nobody gets stuck. Forcing people to travel back from the 15th level of the dungeon of ultimate doom to train just to train sucks - unless you go the town portal route...).

    This is the reason why most D&D games on the computer dropped this part in the first place. You see it in MMORPGs a lot because you want people to invest time and give them something to waste time on ("oh, I dinged" ... only 15 minutes to the next trainer, great stuff!) - and I don't think we need to add this stuff in order to get a higher "gameplay hours" figure in the end.

    In PnP the player can just say "and while the rest of the party recovers from their wounds, I'll travel to my master and train a lot". DM: done, 2 weeks later the party reassembles. In a CRPG we could do that with a "travel home, train and come back button", but I suspect that's not really what people want (plus it would be a wast of time)

    Can it go to Xbox 2?
    DA is developed for the PC platform.

    XNA is a framework, not a magical "make your code run on all platforms" kind of tool, and it's a couple of years before anyone will be able to buy games based on XNA.

    Tim Smith, Tools Programmer

    DA Toolest: More Editing-Wizards please
    Don, Stop using the words "Super Easy". When you say that I get a cold chill and I swear I can hear chains and the word "Ebeneezer".

    Sydney Tang, Programmer

    DA toolset : What is in this ERF?
    Yep, as stoffe pointed out, the Hak Pak editor works for editing ERFs too, and since everyone already has it (nwhak.exe in your utils folder), you don't even need to get the ERF editor.

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    PC Gamer Boasts Exclusive Baldur's Gate 3 and Neverwinter Nights 2 Preview Rights
    Posted Monday, July 19, 2004 - 18:52 CET by chevalier

    PC Gamer folks say they have secured first looks at Baldur's Gate 3 and Neverwinter Nights 2, Dungeons & Dragons RTS and Dungeons & Dragons Online. Click here to see a portion of the scan posted on NWVault.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Monday, July 19, 2004 - 18:47 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    Php status pages no longer work.
    Since there have been no changes to the nwn server binary since 1.62 came out a couple of month ago, it's somewhat unlikely that it just "stopped working". Besides, for me it's still working fine (using C#). I'm pretty sure however that there is some kind of response time and size limit now that prevents you from exploiting a status query from a potentially spoofed IP address to generate a response with a large payload that can be used to generate a dos condition (which was possible with the old protocol). So try not to send too many queries in a row (i.e. every time your webpage gets loaded) and instead cache the results for 30-60 seconds before triggering a requery (much less expensive on bandwith as well)

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    Dragon Age Forum News
    Posted Monday, July 19, 2004 - 18:43 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    DA Toolest: More Editing-Wizards please
    Hey, You have to remember that the tools we build are first and foremost intended to make the development of the core game faster / easier and there are fixed resources we can apply to their creation. Therefore which tools get built depends entirely upon how difficult the task currently is (i.e. without the tool) and what other tools could be built instead. Could we build a spell wizard? Probably. Is a spell wizard more important than the tools necessary to properly manage the localization of the game audio and text into foreign languages? Not by a long shot. Keep in mind that with each game, the complexity increases and there is corresponding increase in the need for good tools as do the requirements for what is considered a "good" tool. So while I can't say anything specific about the DA tools, I will say that Tim, Scott, James and Zousar are doing an excellent job building on the lessons we, as a tools team, have learned on BG, NWN, SW:KotOR and JE.

    Tim Smith, Tools Programmer

    Some Humor to retain my sanity
    *cough* Troll comes from a shortened form of the word trolling which means "To fish in by trailing a baited line". http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=trolling. Logically that makes a much better description of trolling than some creature hiding under a bridge waiting for people to walk by. And no, those comments aren't true forms of trolling by any stretch of the imagination. But they are great sources for humor, frustration, dismay and a healthy smattering of WTFs. We love you guys and your enthusiasm, but it sometimes get scary how off hand comments become sacred lore. And no, I'm not complaining.

    Database System to Use
    Codebase? That is what NWN uses.

    What we "DO" know so far....


    "After our first viewing of the game, this will definitely be an RPG to watch until its release sometime in 2005." From GameSpy website.

    We have not said when the game will be released.

    Sydney Tang, Programmer

    DA toolset : What is in this ERF?
    It's still to early to say anything in terms of how DA will support importing resources, but as for here and now in NWN, you can go to http://nwn.bioware.com/developers/ and scroll down to the bottom where there is a link to an ERF Editor. You can use this to preview the contents of any ERFs that you wish to use. You can drag and drop the ERF file onto the editor or set up a double-click file association in Windows.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Monday, July 19, 2004 - 3:06 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    Writing a UDPSocket query
    Here you go:
    Click Here

    How to tell if a PC is moving?
    GetCurrentAction can be tested for ACTION_MOVE_TO_POINT or so.

    Could we have a 1.63 status update please?
    1.63 is in internal testing.

    More :


    Thanks for the update. Question. Is there any plans for NWN platinum?

    That would be up to Atari - there are certainly some things that hint that we might see something like NWN platinum Click Here

    Robes in the OC
    Crafting robes is not available without the expansion.

    Any chance of a LAN NWN?
    Hey, NWN plays just fine in a LAN environment...

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    Dragon Age Forum News
    Posted Monday, July 19, 2004 - 2:17 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    Is it at all possible to step back from the precipice of mediocrity? (classes)


    With all due respect to the designers, I do feel this is a rather [important] topic to leak to us gamers. Classes or non is a very important issue; and one I really feel should be addressed asap.

    As Carl already mentioned, we've already stated that the game will be class-based. The reason we won't get into any more detail than that is because of the questions that such information naturally engenders. It would be a disservice to the system we're making to only provide partial info... when we're ready we want to give out everything so you can see that we've actually put some thought into it and not set ourselves up to have people jumping to conclusions over the parts we haven't specified.

    That's why while we may have some things set in stone, sure, we still can't talk about it for quite a while yet.

    My amusement was simply over the whole thing about classes being either "open" or "closed", words which don't really mean anything in this context. Some of the explanations of why people favor one or the other have been much more revealing. I could go on, but I'm certain it would only cause Carl to come back and explain very reasonably why I am wrong or (far worse) decide that perhaps more classes of classes are needed.

    ANYHOW, I don't want to squelch the dialogue. And like I said the information will roll out eventually. At this early stage, though, a little info would be more hindrance than help though I know you're all dying to participate and give us feedback. You little eager feedback beavers, you!

    More:

    I think it will be more interesting when and if something is leaked because they are about to make a decision and want to stimulate some discussion about it.

    Actually, I suspect there will be points where we will likely ask the community directly for input on specific topics. That should prove... interesting.

    What we "DO" know so far....


    - the world will be colder than a desert

    Mmm. Except for those parts of it which actually are desert. We got all wild one night while we were drunk on Tequila and decided to have multiple terrains and climates.


    Quote: - there won't be space flying gaider monkeys

    There won't be spacefaring gaider monkeys. Get it right, dammit.

    More:

    SO - there might be space FLYING monkeys. As in: "Flying is IN!"? (And if monkeys can fly in space, that means a fantasy cosmology with ether or some other substance rather than a vacuum in space. Hmm - could be interesting).

    *begins violently stabbing out own eyes*...*then pauses... and begins violently stabbing out Carl's eyes*

    Dragon Age title


    We know that it's called Dragon Age because it's like Stone Age, or Ice Age, in this case an Age of Dragons.

    It's an Age where dragons exist, meaning it is an age of the fantastical. It does not necessarily mean that the story revolves around dragons or even that they are numerous.

    If that means that you think the title doesn't make sense, then... well, okay. Thanks for the input.

    More:

    is a generic fantasy title... the kinda title you can build a series 'round.

    Yep. If you make the title too specific to the story (like "Baldur's Gate", for instance) then the title stops making much sense for sequels (if any), which is not good.

    DA Toolest: More Editing-Wizards please

    OOooh, so we can make entirely new classes in DA?!
    We don't know yet. But the plan is to make a lot of things more open than in DA. At the very least, we know what things we did in NWN that ended up hindering the builders significantly. Experience is good.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Subdual damage, grappling, etc.
    The number of options you would have to provide for a global "nonlethal damage" system to work and make sense is mind boggling - as already mentioned,

    If there is no difference between a knocked out/sapped/etc creature and a killed creature (i.e. like in Splinter Cell, the only difference is that your mission fails if you kill someone you should knock out) - then there is not much point in having a global system (through it would be easy to do, of course).

    If you are only able to subdue certain creatures you better use a scripted event as a global system would be inconsistent and mostly useless

    If you want special option to knockout every possible information giver in the game, you are asking for a *major * investment in both scripting and writing - large enough that other major features of the game would have to die for it...

    So the question is - is it enough for the "pacifist" player to knock out a creature, we treat it as dead but instead of playing the death animation you play the knocked out animation ... and if it's hit again, it's splattered? Would you want to sacrifice another major game element (i.e. the Origin Stories or a class) for this to make up for the need in writing/scripting?

    DA Toolest: More Editing-Wizards please


    Though they did say it would be "easier than NWN"...

    because in NWN it's not possible to make entirely new classes without overwriting existing ones and performing some serious GUI hacking.

    Tim Smith, Tools Programmer

    Modder Tools
    We have NOT said that we will release the toolset early. It is way too early to know if we will or if we won't. I haven't been involved in ANY discussion regarding early release and I doubt I will be for a long time.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Sunday, July 18, 2004 - 1:08 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    Neverwinter Nights 2 - who will develop?
    This is the NWN: Hordes of the Underdark forum, not the NWN 2 rumour forum. BioWare's next PC RPG is called Dragon Age and you can find it's website here: http://www.bioware.com/games/dragon_age/

    If you want to ask questions about a potential NWN 2, you should do that in the Atari Community Forums. When there is something like NWN 2, I'm sure they will send out a press release.

    Need help with AI scripts
    Monsters actually use custom items.

    ping 1.63 ... respone timedout
    1.63 is being tested internally at the moment. IF not major issues come up, we will move forward to a public beta test once internal testing is concluded.

    Php status pages no longer work.
    The Gamespy protocol was changed a while back in response to a potential denial of service condition. You can still query the server status using the new protocol, but you can't get things like the current list of players on the server anymore.

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    Dragon Age Forum News
    Posted Sunday, July 18, 2004 - 1:03 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    Is it still "We design the game with the same toolset we're giving to you" thing


    We were talking about DA. What are the reasons for not letting us create a new class/race/spell/ability in DA?
    Why the realm of data editing must be unsupported?
    Can't we have a supported way to modify spells.2da, xxx.tlk, classes.2da, races.2da or even have them integrated in the .mod file?
    It's all Bioware stuff now.

    You answered your own questions, I see, but just to further clarify:

    We are not saying you will not be able to create new classes/races/spells/etc in DA. In fact, as Brent said, it's very likely going to be much easier.

    That kind of data editing will most likely, however, still be officially unsupported. That means that if our focus is on the toolset working to allow you to create stories set in the DA world, we will make sure the toolset does exactly that. We will give priority to bugs that prevent you from doing that. And when we look at new features, our first question is whether it helps our supported features.

    That does not mean we will not work on data entry and make sure it's possible to use, of course, just as with NWN. Since our focus is not to make a build-your-own-RPG-system toolset, however, it does mean it takes second priority and that bugs submitted regarding it are not truly bugs per se but certainly fixes we might consider.

    So at the end of the day you will likely have much more flexibility with the toolset, but modding on the level of changing the rules is still something you're not likely to see inherently supported (ie. you won't find a menu option to "Edit Class" or so forth).

    That is simply my supposition, however. We are far from that kind of consideration. Mind you, we also have a better idea of how to go about this now so that it's easier for the end user to use/mod than when we did it the first time.

    More :

    I have an idea that would help give the community the "exact tools" that BioWare uses. Have nightly builds posted online like they do with FireFox. Obviously they would be completely unsupported, but say you needed somethign in patch 1.63 in the toolset - just download the nightly beta build. What do you devs think of this idea?

    The nightly beta build?

    Somebody make the bad man stop.

    Subdual damage, grappling, etc.
    I think it's a cool option, too, though a bit superfluous. And if subduing someone is an option when you go into combat, then I as a designer have to take into account the possibility that every enemy might possibly be rendered unconscious rather than killed and what effect that would have on the ensuing plot.

    I suppose you could have it that someone lays there unconscious until they recover and then they go hostile again, but what's the point then? If you allow them to be tied up, what's to be done with them? Can they be questioned? Released? All stuff that would have to be accounted for.

    You could also set it so only certain combats are set so that subdual may be used... but how much would that benefit? If I want to set up a specific subdual combat in NWN I can do that with scripting as it is.

    So, yes, cool if one has a specific use for it but a lot to account for design-wise if it's a full combat option. And if it's just something to use occasionally and meant to be easier than scripting, than it's of questionable use. But still cool.

    More :

    Superfluous? Two words: Bar. Fights.

    And? Two words right back at you: Script. Them.

    More :

    ...and do the grappling animation ourselves.
    Two words: oh boy!

    Now that's quite something else. The question was subdual damage... not an entire grappling system complete with animations.

    There would be a payoff with that, sure, but at that point we're talking even more work involved. And for what? So you can have a bar fight? Make all the cheeky comments you like, but unless there's some more compelling reason to implement a system like that, when it comes to resources allotment it's a questionable feature. Still a cool idea, and the kind of feature that would make me go "ooooooo" if it was implemented, but I can't imagine it being very important even then.

    More :

    even so, we would like to see more big/major/important battles where we can negotiate with enemies.

    Done.

    But also quite aside from subdual damage or a grappling system per se.

    Merchant request for DA


    the more non-essential side-quests you got, the more total 1007 you will have available. is inevitable.

    in any game where you can collect gold, silver, gems etc, you is gonna have to be able to buy stuff. is no real point otherwise... there will always be some kewl items/stuff that can be purchased, and the obsessive compulsive gamers (the folks who post on boards like this,) will be the folks who probably do every stinking side-quest and can afford more neato stuff. has to be 'nuff 1007 for folks who just does critical path to feel satisfied, and that necessarily means that crazy folks like carl and Gromnir, who does every quest available, will have more 1007 to spend on the items available in stores.

    the developers can keep progression o' items relatively slow, and they can make sure that items in stores is never better than stuff you can find, and they can try to make purchase items more a matter of Kewlness as 'posed to power… buy house/keep or title, or fancy looking stuff as ‘posed to powerful stuff. heck, they can even make having large quantities of 1007 more annoying... (get robbed more often.) even so, as long as you has 1007 in games, you will have to make stuff available to purchase, and the folks who does all side-quest will always have more 1007 to purchase stuff.

    While there's still quite a bit of wiggle-room, Gromnir is quite correct in his assessment of the money sink situation.

    Is it at all possible to step back from the precipice of mediocrity? (classes)


    when is somebody gonna get sick of this open v. closed nonsense?

    *raises hand* I'm right there with ya, Grom.

    More :

    So shut us all up by leaking a bit of information about how the classes will work in DA.

    Why? So you can proceed to argue about how "open" or "closed" you think they are?

    It boggles the mind, a bit.

    Listeners and Conversations
    I think it would be easier (according to the use that the original poster is asking for) to have a command that called up a small GUI by which the player could input text directly.

    What you're talking about, Sysuro, still calls for scripting. Anything is possible, though.

    Certainly the direct input GUI would be useful for riddles... I hate multiple choice with a passion reserved for seal clubbers and the folks who cancelled "Firefly"... so it's certainly a possibility.

    You know how it is with GUI's, though. You go to a programmer and ask for a new GUI and they have a heart attack on the spot. Bunch of fakers.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Merchant request for DA


    But if you want to shed some light on how the weapon skill system will work (BAB, skill points in specific weapons that can be raised individually, whatever) that would naturally be welcome and might make it easier for us to provide feedback.

    Carl

    What's BAB? And what's skill points ?

    Sorry Carl, but it will be a while until we will be able discuss here how the system will work

    More : The whole +x stuff is a D&D signature thing... and DA is not D&D

    More : I agree with Carl when it comes to items granting character abilities or signature powers (such as feats in NWN) - I don't like them. Character defining elements should not be available through items.

    Can we get a Boo easter egg?
    Boo is part of the Baldurs Gate IP, which not only is a D&D game, it's also not in BioWare's possession, so no, there is not chance you will see Boo in DA. If there is a playable giant minature space hamster race however, has not yet been decided.

    Is it still "We design the game with the same toolset we're giving to you" thing
    Hey Wiz,


    Since when the discussion diverged on NWN?

    Check the stuff you cut from the quote


    We were talking about DA. What are the reasons for not letting us create a new class/race/spell/ability in DA?
    Why the realm of data editing must be unsupported?
    Can't we have a supported way to modify spells.2da, xxx.tlk, classes.2da, races.2da or even have them integrated in the .mod file?

    Unsupported means that we will say "sorry, can't help" if you make changes to unsupported things and experience problems after doing so. It does not mean that you can't do those things.

    Why call adding new races, classes, etc "unsupported". Because modifying those core parts of the game rules has a lot of implications. A lot of things can potentially go wrong here and to create a tool to allow the end user to perform those changes in a safe fashion is not an option because:

    a) It's far faster for us to dump our data from the db into the .2da files - we don't need a userfriendly editor. Unlike the toolset there would be no internal value to such a tool, making it an expensive toy.

    b) It's expensive - Creating a foolproof tool that can handle whatever crazy ideas the enduser has and that provides a clear structured and well thought through GUI is incredibly expensive. (especially the foolproof part)

    Yes, sure it would be nice to have a sweet tool for the community for everything you could possibly want to do - but that's utopia.


    Or your vision of a supported DA world is a world limited to four races, no more than four races, forever four races? What if in my DA module I want ducks as a playable race? I give you an update: a large part of the community will build their own world with the toolset (look at the ratio NWN D&D modules/NWN "my own world" modules). How will they judge the unsupported possibility to add new races, to stick to that example?

    NWN was our first try on a mod friendly game, we hope to significantly improve modability in DA (i.e. less hardcoded limitations).


    The average mod-makers full of beautiful ideas cannot put them into their modules in a easy and fast way.
    If there is a module with new spells (1 out of 100?) you can bet it will have the Spellman Project hak attached to it.

    That's unfortunate, especially since creating new spells is really easy I'll see if I can hold a seminar on that topic for the next NWCon.

    However it's also just a reflection of the game development process - you have to develop within your limits and lay to rest to things that are outside your reach, be it because you don't have the manpower or missing expertise.

    It's not different for us. Once programming is in "code complete", we can beg and cry and whatever, they will not add anything new for us to the game - we have to either kick that fancy new idea we had or work around it.

    I know it doesn't sound nice, but the realistic solution is to make your plans within your abilities (good thing: You can easily learn new stuff and get rid of those limitations).

    The sad truth is: people who play your module will never know what you cut or couldn't fit into the module - We cut some stuff from Hordes and I thought "damn, this is bad" but in the end nobody ever knew it was there in the first place, so it wasn't missed. Another solution is to work in a team and get a member on board who knows how to do the lowlevel stuff.


    Remember that for many creating a nice story for a RPG means basically writing the story and do a "customization" of the rules.

    Again, you will probably be able to make quite a lot more changes in DA (compared to NWN), but it will likely not be much easier once you start messing with things outside the toolset.

    Things are likely to become a more mod friendly (i.e. adding new content without huge .2da merging sessions) but the core difficulty (understanding the process) will probably also stay about the same.

    Power usually comes at the cost of a bit more complexity. But then again, there will hopefully be a bit more documentation this time around

    More :

    I have an idea that would help give the community the "exact tools" that BioWare uses. Have nightly builds posted online like they do with FireFox. Obviously they would be completely unsupported, but say you needed somethign in patch 1.63 in the toolset - just download the nightly beta build. What do you devs think of this idea?

    You do not WANT our exact tools. Again, the "debug build" of the toolset is the same as the normal toolset with the exception of added debug symbols (and as such, slowness), more crashes and untested features and a couple of localization related functions that are of no use to the community.

    I'm not exactly sure why people want to think that we are using some powerful secret tools behind their backs that give us an advantage over the community - we don't.

    Subdual damage, grappling, etc.

    Bar fights are chaotic. Extremely. That is, I think, basically the whole point of the barfight: wholesale destriuction and chaos without actually killing anybody. Have you noticed that there aren't any template scripts that set up an area for a barfight in NWN? It's because subdual damage is really something you need to hard-code for it to work propperly.
    Bah, you don't need subdual. Just set everyone involved immortal and if they hit 1 hitpoint, put an effect sleep on them. You don't need subdual damage to do nonlethal combat. We already had the Sap feat in the game when NWN shipped and removed it later for balancing purposes.

    Bane of class discussion!
    DA will have classes, that's one of the things that are already set in stone.

    Brenon Holmes, Programmer

    Will there be a physics System?


    My understanding of Half-Life 2 physics is that they went all-out. Things can have either server-side physics (when it matters for all players) or client-side physics (where differences don't really matter). I think the server-side physics is tied into their client prediction system too so that things are hopefully not too choppy during gameplay.

    That being said, I bet you're right that the single player game has lots of physics stuff, while multiplayer will have less. I'm sure someone will make some broadband-only maps with lots of physics entities that eats up the bandwidth like nobody's business. Should be fun to play, though.

    Interactivity within the context of an CRPG is what I'm looking for. I don't need to be able to rip off the limbs of my enemies and use it as a weapon. It was funny once in Rune, but I think I'm done now.

    Ah, well I guess that thought was way off. I haven't been keeping up with B&W2 or HL2 very much (besides drooling over pretty eye-candy), thanks for the links... sounds like they'll have some pretty nifty features when all is said and done.


    Temrek the wizard wrote:

    If it has the same result, why should you care how it is done? If every barrel is scripted to catch fire, is that worse then having a physics engine tell the barrels to catch fire?

    Exactly. As an end-user, you have no idea if something's physics based or script based. So does it matter if you can't tell the difference?

    The amount of pay-off we'd get versus the amount of work required to implement the system is quite low. So, as I've said... there will be physics in the game - just not a physics engine.

    Brent Knowles, Co Lead Designer

    "What's yer beef" with NW-Script
    In regards to overriding the AI... I'm pretty sure there's a variable that you set on the creature (load up one of beholders and check out the variable panel). This string variable is the name of an alternative script that is ran instead of the creature's standard combat round -- Georg implemented the system so he'll correct me if I'm giving you false information...

    Dynamic wildlife in DA?
    On Dragon Age we plan to have environments that look more realistic/interesting than anything we have done before. That said, as has been suggested above, we will be using placeables and triggered events to fake it. There won't be any AI per-se running behind the scenes simulating how many bugs Bird X has eaten and then having him fly back to his nest once he is full.

    But we will implement many triggered events that will make the player feel that the world is realistic and that things are happening even when he is not around.

    Is it still "We design the game with the same toolset we're giving to you" thing
    Actually in NWN you can modify the existing classes. You can also add new spells. It all involves editing the 2das. DA will be much the same but hopefully with fewer restrictions.

    Post Comments (1)


    Interplay Retains Distrubution Rights to "Some" D&D Games
    Posted Saturday, July 17, 2004 - 3:25 CET by chevalier

    According to Yahoo Business, Interplay has reached agreement with Atari and Vivendi and they can resume distribution of some of their D&D games. Only the Console Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 2 is mentioned, though.

    Read the disclosure at Yahoo Business.

    Post Comments (0)


    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Saturday, July 17, 2004 - 3:19 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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.

    Rob Bartel, Senior Designer

    Will WW2 have...
    Sorry, we're not ready to discuss the specifics of WW2 quite yet as it's tied in quite closely to our larger plans for the Digitial Distribution Project as a whole.

    b-day request
    Hehe. The resting system now scales according to the difficulty settings? Happy Birthday, Wish I could divulge more,

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Enforcing RP, how?


    I run a PW that is primarily RP, but I dont enforce it. I dont really want to get over stringent with RP play as I dont believe that players can do it 100% of the time. Lately though, it seems more arent at all rather than are even a bit. How can I put some enforcement into RPing aside from being on the server all the time and also not having to ban players for not RPing. The suggestions would of course be forwarded to my DMs as well. They are the eyes & ears on the server when mine arent.

    IMO the only way to create RP on your server is through giving a good example. "Enforcing" it will just help you to get rid of your players, the key is "drawing them in" instead

    b-day request
    Hmmm, I think you opened a bad can of worms there Rob Nearly 2.000.000 members, 365 days a year ... at that rate you will need to disclose and average of 5479 newsbit a day for people's birthdays...

    Stanley Woo, Quality Assurance

    Riddle me this!
    These are fantastic. My only regret is not being able to answer first all the time. Keep it up!

    Post Comments (0)


    Dragon Age Forum News
    Posted Saturday, July 17, 2004 - 3:13 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    Pay to play?


    As for Bioware not making a toolset so other people could profit from it: you mean like the makers of various compilers, debuggers, 3D modeling tools, text editors, and the like not making their tools so companies like Bioware could make money writing games with them?

    Just to point something out, Yeti, we make many of our tools ourselves that we use. And for those we don't, like said compilers and programs such as Maya or 3dMax, we pay many thousands of dollars to acquire (often per copy).

    Obviously the situation is not that different... if 3dMax can make a program that companies can use to make commercial products, why can't Bioware make a toolset which would allow the same? The answer is we probably could. There is, no doubt, a lot of legal rigamarole that we would need to go through, first, in order to set something like that up. And we also have a situation where we have publishing partners (whereas Discreet(sp?) and similar companies do not) who would also have to agree and take part in such a process, but it's not impossible. Would we charge many thousands, then, for such a toolset? Maybe not, but charging $50 for a tool that gives laissez faire to end-users to make commercial use of it would not be very smart.

    Maybe there is a middle ground that could be found, legally, but in the end the question is where we choose to focus our time and effort. PW's, for instance, are not part of our focus... but there's also not a great deal we need to do to allow that as an unintended side-benefit. That's not the same with trying to arrange this kind of commercial-use situation... and especially considering that PW's do not fall officially without our design scope, bringing them up as a reason to include commercial-use will not get you far.

    And as far as Dragon Age needing high-quality content from the community and that allowing them to make money on it is the only way to do so... perhaps. That's something that Bioware may wish to explore further, but it's not quite the same as pay-for-play. I wouldn't rule it out, though I would be leery of reaching a situation where any content actually worth playing/using required more money. That might get better content out there, perhaps, but would it be worth it to the players?

    Anyhow, that's my take on it.

    Is it still "We design the game with the same toolset we're giving to you" thing


    No other words about it. It's a different toolset:

    It's different only in that ours is constantly changing. The stuff that you eventually receive in a patch we are having added into our toolset on a daily basis... which means we have to debug those changes, as it often causes problems or crashes (nothing like having nothing to do all morning while you wait for the toolset to be rebuilt). Essentially, though, it's the same tool.

    Merchant request for DA

    I liked the theft system in the Realms of Arkania games.

    In regards to a barter system, my only concern would be logic. If I want a valuable magic item from a merchant and I trade him some other valuable magic item for it, now he just had another magic item in stock that he can't sell.

    More:

    Why can't he sell it?

    Sell it to whom? Coin puts food on the table, not yet more stock.

    I think the functionality that was added in HotU to cap gold or cap the amount he will offer for an item is realistic enough.


    Quote: That said, will magic items even be that common? Please say no.

    Maybe. Maybe there are magic items in every shop. Or nowhere to be found. Or maybe they're just "quality" items rather than magic per se. I'm just using NWN as an example and not talking about DA specifically.

    More:

    I'd love to see a RPG that drastically downplayed "stuff".

    I believe in Lionheart you could practically go through the game with the same equipment that you started with.

    As far as bartering goes, I suppose those are good points. I'm not sure we'd really have a need for such a system in the OC, however, but perhaps something can be included for the builder's option.

    Derek French, Technical Producer

    About the implementation of LUA


    I have some questions about de implementation of LUA inside de DA Engine

    I have questions, too. Such as, "What implimentation of LUA?" We haven't used it since MDK2 days.

    Installation types


    I would like to see several installation types, wchich i think were not included in nwn (or i must have missed something)
    - Only single player game(for people without internet connection )
    - Only multiplayer game (i have completed singleplayer game, and dont want to play it anymore)
    - Both singleplayer and multiplayer game
    In my oppinion it would give much flexibility to the game

    English is not my native language so dont beat me if i made some mistakes...

    We could have done this, but it would have made a grand total of 200 Megs of difference in a 3700 Meg install. The short version is that it wouldn't have made much difference and would have been a PITA for us to allow for people to change their minds after the fact.

    Don Moar, Tools Programmer

    Is it still "We design the game with the same toolset we're giving to you" thing
    Hey, There is no significant difference in functionality between the debug version of the NWN Toolset used internally and the release version used externally.

    The only exception would likely be any new features that have been implemented for an update that hasn't been released yet. That would be like the Plot Wizard we added post-ship of the original NWN; it was available internally for several weeks before it hit the community. As with NWN, the DA team will be using the same toolset that will ship with the game. What this means, in terms of specific functionality, hasn't been locked down yet as the game and, consequently, the tools are still in development at this point.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Visual realism vs story depth


    Different zots. Pointless 'vs.' argument.

    Visual realism is strictly art department, and last I checked the graphics guys tend not to write the story of the game.

    Exactly. The question just doesn't work that way. It's not "either art or design" as completely different people work on different content and a writer will not suddenly start to model creatures and an animator will not suddenly write dialog.

    If you want a "vs." question, you need to ask them department specific like "either horses or cloaks" or "either 6 background stories and 3 romances or 6 romances and 3 background stories" or something like that.

    Sure, making a creature takes stuff from all departments (art to model, texture and animate), Design for AI, description, placement and backstory and programming to make the creature actually show up in the game and perform actions, but most of those tasks are pretty general - all creatures need to perform actions, show or have AI, so a new creature is mainly a question of art as animating and modelling consumes more time than popping it into the game.

    Pay to play?


    with them?

    It is in Bioware's best interest to have amazing content available, so that everybody wants to buy the game. The best way to produce amazing content is to recruit professionals, not teenagers with extra time. That's only going to happen if there's a business model, which may or may not include Bioware getting a license fee for each copy of a module sold.

    Wrong.

    We got amazing content by the community available already, more than anybody here dreamed off. Some of the modules on the Vault have BioWare quality, granted not a lot, but thats what happens when you release an entry level toolset.

    Adding cash will *not* suddenly increase the quality of content available nor will it make "professionals" suddenly jump over to NWN/DA because they can make cash. "Professionals" don't need to create NWN modules to make money, they make enough cash at their job to treat stuff like this as their hobby.

    Frankly, many of the really talented modmakers/content creators out I remember are far away from being classified as teenagers with extra time:

    - Adam/PipBoy3000 (Dream Catcher, Demon Cards) is beyond his teens
    Click Here

    - The DLA team (around 20-30 people?) requires you to be 18 to join, and some of their stuff is en par with of BioWare's content, if not better.
    Click Here

    - Tseramed is a former Origin employee who worked on Ultima 7
    Click Here

    - Papermonk isn't really a teen anymore, nor are most of the CODI team
    Click Here

    (Not that there is something wrong being a teenager with spare time in the first place. There are a couple of really bright people in their teens working in the community and their stuff is amazing)

    No, I think we are pretty happy with the community we attracted with the non commercial approach for NWN, I don't see any good reason why we should suddenly switch that off.

    You are proposing changing the whole structure of our community to a pay for play environment - because, as I explained above, adding cash radically alters the custom content experience for anyone involved:

    Throwing "pay for the module" randomly into the community will alienate most of our valued customers as they will potentially buy a bad module and regret it. It will inspire all the grief associated with cash into our community, people stealing content/modules, people switching teams and take code with them, etc, etc.

    Want an idea what cash will do to your community?
    Take Diablo II - People were willing to pay money for items in this game. The potential for quick cash attracts shady people that try to trick other people into giving up their items, hack the game in order to dupe items or otherwise cause disruption and cause guilds/clans to turn on each other.

    There are no valuable items in NWN (through I heard some idiots tried to sell some when NWN was released), but the whole point is extendable to anything - add cash and you attract people you don't want in your community and they will alter it or even destroy it.

    I don't think I want that for the BioWare community.

    Also I do not see any hard evidence from other game communities that adding cash would significantly increase the quality or availablity of content. I can just find examples why adding real world cash to your community causes distrust and fraud (take MMORPGs and "gold auctions").

    Again - add cash and it's no longer a game. We primarily make games, not small business startup kits. If you want NWN/DA to be more than just a game, you got some options:

    a) Go professional, join the industry (that's what I and several other NWN builders did - apply for a job at BioWare)

    b) Create a damn good module and potentially get contracted by BioWare to create a DD module (which is a lot of work, it's really no longer a hobby at this point).

    c) Create content and use it to get hired at another company.

    More:

    I'm a disappointed consumer willing to SPEND a buck. And, potentially, an investor willing to back a group that was selling 3rd party modules.

    In that case, we might have something for you in the future. You can read more about our Digital Distribution Project in the Witch's Wake forum.

    And, by the way, you are correct about the writing part. Writing is among the most difficult things on the design side, you can be a scripting god and your module will still suck if your writing is bad. Only few people have the talent to do both, writing and scripting, so it's not surprising that there is only a small number of really good modules out there. NWN has an entry level toolset so everyone who "wants-to-be-a-game-designer" can get started with it - but as an individual, it's not easy.

    Here at BioWare we have writers and technical designers and people do what they can do best - an individual module builder in the community needs either a lot of skill on both sides, or join a team.

    More: Hey, don't move this into a PW supported / PW unsupported thread. This thread is about "pay for play", not about the significance of PWs and if they should be supported, there have been other threads about that and I think they have been reasonably clear on what you can expect from DA (through nothing is final). We know a part of the community likes then, we are not going to hinder PWs and it might (nobody knows yet) actually be easier to run them with DA - but they won't be officially supported and pretty sure you won't be able to charge money for the service.

    You are right, if we would officially support them, there would be more PWs and they would be more popular, but the point is - we are not making a PW construction kit, we make Dragon Age, a story driven CRPG with multiplayer and toolset. We are not interested in creating a PW construction kit at this point, and that's not just because of we think it's not a sizeable market, it's also because we are not interested in creating one at this point.

    Those 80% were made up to demonstrate the problem, they would also include normal modules people would run and ask money for. If we would allow people to charge money for their modules or servers (PW or not), I would imagine that up to 80% of the people would do so. Probably a too high number, but it was a worst case scenario anyway.

    More: I think the reasons why I think pay for play for PWs is bad and why I don't think it will be wildly successful but instead harmful to our community can be found earlier in this thread.

    The moment you enter a pay for service relationship with your players it is no longer a game.

    You can be sued for your server not being available enough, your character vault getting hacked, investigated for not paying taxes on the income from the whole thing and people below 18 would be barred from running servers and playing on them as they are not able to make legally binding contracts. Add in it the joys of country specific laws affecting the cyberspace (Oh, you got a casino in your PW? Too bad you can now be sued in Utah for violating their anti-online-gambling act - Oh, some griefer made fun of a poor texan kid on your server - Sure the "Puritan Texan Mothers against RPGs league" will sue for the mental damages their kid got while watching that demon summoning ritual on your server ).

    Believe me, you don't WANT to charge money for your hobby and most players don't want to pay for it - they bought their game for 50$ and don't want hidden side fees to play on most servers (because once you allow to charge for it, most people will do it).

    I understand people are willing to pay for good modules they can play - we plan to deliver that with DD - but PWs that charge for the right to play on their servers are something I would rate very unlikely for DA.


    Just provide the tools not pre-fabricated parts!

    That's the point - we are not interested in creating a PW toolkit. If you use NWN or DA to do it, fine, we won't hinder you and every once in a while a feature that is added will be useful for it, but it's not the scope of the game. To make this clear: at this point we don't even know ourselves for sure what our engine will be capable of handling, so we won't promise you that you will be able to create your own PW using DA - The only thing I can tell you is that we don't have plans to artificially prevent people from creating their PWs and that the plan is to make the overall game more open to modding.

    If you are looking for a supported PW Toolkit that allows you to make your own PWs and make money of them, I would suggest starting to look elsewhere - or create your own, by either licensing an engine or creating your own from the scratch.

    Is it still "We design the game with the same toolset we're giving to you" thing


    Just like the NWN toolset the DA toolset does not allow rules editing. The toolset is for the creation of adventures not rules.

    Internally it is useful for us to use 2da files. Currently all rules information is in a database that we periodically "export" to update the 2da files. The database lets us do analyzing/modification of the rules without us wasting zots developing a tool that would do the same thing.

    Consistency of player experience is also important, when players jump from server to server, module to module, they should not have to relearn a rules system with each adventure -- as would happen if the toolset allowed custom rules modification. The good news is that for those who are really dedicated to modifying the rules there will be less hardcoding this time around. Most of the rules information will be in the 2das.

    That's actually the first time I hear brent use the word "zot"

    More:


    if you think about it, the things I referred to as "modular" in a RPG rule system are not many.

    Classes
    Races
    Subraces
    Skills/Abilities
    Spells

    The interesting question is, even if we can't make NEW versions of the above, will there be capabilities to modify the existing ones?

    It was possible to make new spells for BG2 using modding tools but it required the skill to make new BAMs or spell animations. Seeing as I lacked said talent, I certainly did tweak the existing spells and make them behave different ways.

    I could be wrong, but AFAIK not only can you not make new spells for NWN, you can't even modify what the existing ones do.

    Making things more modular and putting more in the 2DA files gets us off on the ground. That means that even if Bio doesn't provide in the Toolset proper, SOMEBODY will write a kick-arse 2DA editor with some wizards to give you the guidance to make the tweaks you want.

    Or so we hope.

    I'm with you -- I hope if nothing else the CAPABILITY to make new classes, races, spells, abilities, and rules is in there -- maybe even monsters and placeables and not just magic items -- moving as much as possible out of hardcoding and into 2DAs opens the door -- I'm ok if Bio doesn't provide the tools but opens the door for the capability, as the community will step in and provide the tools.

    As is, on the Mac side, we're waiting for basic functionality viz. Aurora, but we digress.

    What Brent said -

    New Spells - The Spellman Project (awesome stuff, including VFX): http://smp.digitaldreamscapes.org/main.php

    New Spells, PRCs - Click Here

    Editing spells in NWN is really easy. Just open the spellscript in the toolset and change what it does

    More:


    Quote: What Brent said -

    New Spells - The Spellman Project (awesome stuff, including VFX): http://smp.digitaldreamscapes.org/main.php

    New Spells, PRCs - Click Here

    Editing spells in NWN is really easy. Just open the spellscript in the toolset and change what it does

    I dislike how it was touted that you could create a game simply and easily with the toolset, and then I have to edit all thes 2das and use thises and thats'ses. The game should come packaged with one of the bioware developers to help me with that conflabbed contraption.

    Actually NWN was advertised as "create your own D&D forgotten realms module", not "create your own rules system" The 2da editing part is unsupported and not recommended for the average user (hence the warning when you associate a hakpak with your module).

    More:

    Some questions, Brent and George (or any non-Bio folks who want to jump in):
    (and forgive my ignorance, as you're dealing with a person who hasn't used the NWN toolset, only read about it and observed its products)

    1. When you say you can modify classes, well, I know you can do things like adjust the BAB 2DA tables, or increase the frequency of gaining feats, but ....
    a. can you make NEW feats for that class?
    b. could you change (for example) Rangers so that they gain Arcane instead of Divine spells (I'm not saying this makes sense, I'm just asking if you can do it).

    In other words, are the changes you can make to classes superficial or fundamental?

    2. When you say you can MAKE classes, I notice the PRC Consortium has made several new prestige classes, but I don't see anybody making non-prestige/base classes. Is that even possible - i.e. making an entirely new base class that is not a prestige layer on some other base class?

    3. I guess I'm surprised to hear you say you can make spells, because I peek at NWVault once in a while, and I've never seen too many new spells posted there. I also never saw too many modified versions of existing spells there, either. Whereas folks using the TeamBG tools seem to have made a whole bunch of spells in the BG2 mods like Darkest Day...

    Anyway, as I say, I'm glad you're moving even more features into 2DAs, may I humbly suggest you put a decent 2DA editor into the Toolset, have a bright red warning scream "TOUCH THESE FILES AND YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN, JACK", and then get out of the way?

    You should really ask these questions in the NWN Custom Content Forum.

    You can indeed change feat gains, add new feats or spells to a class, etc.

    Adding new spells is easy really easy, but only since Hordes of the Underdark which added custom talktables.

    About .2da editor - Notepad is fine for most situations, for larger .2das it's trivial (with a small bit of programming knowledge of course) to import .2da files into Excel or Access. If you need documentation for NWN, I suggest digging here: http://ccg.dladventures.com. DA will have far better documentation for content creators than NWN.

    As Brent said, things like adding new classes or races or whatever will require .2da editing and more indepth knowledge of the game, it's not really a priority for us to include wizards to do this stuff as it's not something the average user should do without understanding how the system works. The primary scope of the DA tools will likely be "create your own story in the world of DA" through it will probably be easier to create completely new content for the game than it was for NWN.

    Mac Support?!?!


    That's the rub. BioWare is not a publisher AT ALL. They are a developer and will need to come to an agreement with a publisher (Atari, et al). Whether that publisher wants to deal with a Mac release or PC/Mac co-release cannot be known at this time.

    As always, accurate and totally true.

    About the implementation of LUA
    I think the Witcher Team is using LUA in their modified version of Aurora. This however has nothing to do with Dragon Age.

    Merchant request for DA
    That throws up an interesting question: What relation do you think is a healthy one in terms of the impact equipment and spells should have on your overall character "power"

    character : equipment
    90:10 - You kill almost anything with your characters special abilities and fighting power - only for bosses you need to resort to special items

    75:25 - You can tackle most creatures without your equipment on, however lieutentants will hurt you somewhat damage, and bosses will likely to kill you.

    50:50 - You will be able to fight easy and some medium monsters without equipment, but lieutenants and bosses can't be killed without decent equipment

    20:80 - Like diablo. You are unable to beat anyone but the weakest enemies if your equipment is lost

    Your thoughts?

    More:

    (Aside: I assume that when you say 'with/without your equipment on' you are referring to with/without magic items, not literally naked characters.)
    Carl

    Basic equipment (rusty shortsword and such )

    Keep in mind that if you go 90:10, your are dramatically decreasing the value and impact items have on gameplay and the variations they can have, in fact, you the difference between a high and a low magic item would be neglegtible and you would have to offset the need for constant advancement/reward of the player by rapidly gaining abilities/levels (adding lots of exploration and other reward moments (i.e. fighting a new monster for the first time) might help as well, but is far more expensive).

    Will there be a physics System?
    The point is - you don't need a physics system for most of that. Today, having a "physics system" is new and cool and people will hype your game for it, but you can fake most of the stuff using traditional triggers or scripting quite well. Your barrel got hit by a weapon - get the position of the attacking object and move it 5' away from it, playing a movement animation - or just destroy it and play a "debris fly around" animation.

    I lately played Deus Ex and Farcry and I was not too impressed with what the physics engine actually adds to gameplay. Sure, it's fun for the first 5 minutes to throw garbage cans onto the basketball field but after that. Those 5 situations in the game where you shoot on the beam that holds the roof over the enemies and make it crash can easily be scripted - at a much lesser cost.

    I agree that stuff like deformable terrain can add to your experience by reinforcing the immersion and sense that your character has actually impact on the gameworld, but whether or not a corpse "behaves" realisticly under the impact of bullets or a rope swings into the correct direction when you hit it with your gun is irrelevant for your gameplay experience after 5 minutes, especially in an RPG where you don't control your avatar in first person view.

    More:

    Problems with scripting:
    1) Each situation has to be scripted independantly, unless it is exactly the same... and if it is then what's the point?

    2) Lacks consistancy if one developer scripts an object (barrel, boat) to do something (catch fire, explode) in one area, and another one doesn't in a different area.

    3) Extra work for builders to script functionality into each object. Even just selecting the "roll down a hill" script for every barrel in an area would be damn tedious.

    I somewhat disagree:

    1) If there are only a handful of situations where you would make use of the physics engine for major game impact (like in recent games) - shoot the beam, bring the roof down on the enemies, etc, you can easily script them and the player will notice no difference. In fact, I have the strong feeling that those situations in some of the recent "physics engine" games were scripted (i.e. roof collapesed the same way, regardless from where you hit hit.

    2) That would be an unprofessional approach. You would have one designer responsibe for scripting interactive placeables, not every designer cook their own soup. Blessed be templates.

    3) Same here, you rather write a generic script for that, add some terrain checking scripting functions and make it default for all barrels. Long live templates.

    One reason why I believe that you are better off with scripting than a generic physics engine for many things is that the physics engine opens a whole new level of uncertainty for QA. It sure would suck if you shot the truck with the barrels with your sniper rifle from 500 meters away and the explosion would position the wreck in front of a vital door ... and when you finally reach the point where that happened after 5 savegames and 20 minutes later, you realize that you are stuck...

    I think a lot of the fascination for simulated real world systems, physics engines, etc is that they make people think they are in a limitless world where they can do things in ways the developers never thought off - endless fun, the game plays different every time. In reality the impact of a physics engine in small in that regard, especially when you think of a traditional, story driven BioWare role playing game - because the story has a finite number of branches and endings and there is a finite number of subquests you can do. Yes, you have nonlinearity in some parts of the game and a lot of different choices you can make, but still, they are finite.

    Selected systems, like Jade's cloths physics system add something to the game because they make the character - which you are close up with for the whole game - feel more natural and allow you to convey some more atmosphere (i.e. strong wind brushing aside hair and cloth) - and make for cool screenshots, but there is no real need to track velocity, height and movement of any object in the game to make it fall or roll down the hill realisticly if it doesn't really impact the gameplay (like the logs that smash down the hill and kill the attackers) - and those key situations can easily be scripted with a custom art placeable - no need to waste valuable CPU cycles during the 90% of the time players are not even close to triggering such a key event.

    Merchant request for DA
    It's actually an interesting observation that you can use this system to describe the impact of "equipment" through human history.

    While a caveman was nearly independent from equipment (take that rock or stick to bash the food - you just need to be strong and smarter than the food, not too hard), the importance of equipment would increase as time progresses - major inventions like armor, ranged weapons or gunpowder would significantly shift the impact of equipment on the outcome of a particular fight (bad idea to show up with a knife to a shootout).

    So to speak, todays world would probably be something that's more like 40:60 to 50:50 in terms of personal skill : equipment.

    There's also one thing that's kind of blurring the lines is skill with equipment (i.e. weapon skill). And, btw, there will be no "Master Work Items" in DA, that is D&D stuff.

    Brenon Holmes, Programmer

    Will there be a physics System?


    <snip>
    ...
    </snip>

    all that aside, it just seems that having one (phys engine) is better than not simply for the convenience of having a unified function with consistent behaviour. apply it to whatever specific situations or objects you want, dont for everything else.

    It really depends on what kind of behaviour you want the engine to exhibit. Generally you look at physics engines if you want the whole package and if it's going to be a part of gameplay... objects bouncing, colliding, reflecting, tumbling, rolling... etc.


    for predefined behaviour such as with weapons and combat, i would think that arbitrary effect numbers (damage or damage absorbtion) would be applied independant of the phys and only have some force vector applied to simulate the impact. games like wolfenstein or battlefield seem to get away with such shortcuts just fine...

    In most Multiplayer FPS games, if you pay really close attention... you'll probably notice that they cheat. Most of the 'physics' are either specific scripted sequences with animations or they're things that don't affect gameplay (ragdoll physics on dead guys).

    For example, when you're shot your character doesn't actually react to the bullet... you don't spin around and fall down from the impact of getting shot. That sort of thing doesn't add appreciably to the gameplay experience as it's more likely to annoy the player ('specially in an FPS game ).


    balancing the thing between simulation and game would be difficult, i'm sure... dying all the time isn't fun but being able to manipulate the environment is... and honestly, who ever thought a 3 ft halfling could tank a 50 ft dragon...

    I'm curious, what kind of environment manipulation did you have in mind? Normally when I hear people talking about these sorts of things, they seem to be thinking of knocking over crates, pushing chairs, flipping tables... etc.

    Assuming that you had the option of doing things like that... how would you interface with that sort of thing? Generally it works well in an FPS style view, but in a 3rd person BG-style view?


    if the arrow's behaviour is self contained or something, wouldn't it be a bigger hassle to have to code for every situation? where having a phys engine results in unintended consequences, the lack of having one results in chasing unforseen situations?

    Again it depends... calculating arrow trajectories is rather simple and while the end result may not be absolutely realistic the results generally look good enough that you can't tell the difference.

    If we needed to apply physics simulations to a large number of situations then yes there is some potential application for a physics engine. But, that said, there is not.


    even without a pe, nwn has displayed emergent behaviour. corner sneaking. kd avoidance. dc 127. bows of see invis. 254 stats. 10k+ skill points. bugs... bugs... bugs... it happens... of course, increased complexity adds to that, but the writing's on the wall...

    Heh, well... I'm not sure I would call that emergent behaviour... some of that is simply a nasty manipulation of the rules (some refer to that as exploiting). The rest are bugs. Bugs are errors, whereas I'd argue that emergent behaviour plays by the 'rules' but is simply not predicted or forseen.

    Take Black & White for example... you could teach your monkey to go to the bathroom on rocks, then set them on fire and throw the rock into the ocean... I'm fairly certain the devs at Lionhead didn't think that that sort of thing would occur when they were working on the system. However it isn't violating any rules (except maybe some health codes ).

    Oh, one last thing before I go pass out in the corner. We are going to be using physics for certain things... (as I mentioned before) just not an engine, there hasn't been a demonstrated need for one (again, ignoring the technical issues).

    More:

    The interface would not be that huge problem I would say. You could click on an object and chose push, grab etc... and if you wanted to throw it you could chose the target with the mouse (or the force that you throw the object with can be detremined depending on how you move your mouse).

    Im not so sure that it would be the brandwith hit of doom but it would not exactly help... one can simply transmit the objects cordinates and rotations to the players in the area.

    Say I wanted to push something at an angle, like lifting one end of a table to lean it up against a door? Or tilt a chair back?

    Also, there's no way to communicate the amout of force you want to apply in your suggestion... what if I only want to move the table 0.2 meters instead of the default 1.0 meters?

    Essentially what you're talking about there is constraining interaction of objects to a 2D environment, and in that case you could probably just as easily do it with animations instead of going with a full blown physics engine.

    As to the last part... no. You couldn't do that. What you're talking about (from what I understand) is a few things.

    1) Running the simulation on the server, which means that the server instead of simply knowing some basic information about objects would need a full view of the world including models/animations. Something it does not currently do. As well as being computationally expensive when you take into account all the things the server is already doing...

    2) Sending down snapshots of the current worldview for physics objects. This *would* be a 'bandwidth hit of doom'. To put it into perspective... a complex animation (without keyframe reduction) runs around 20-24 keyframes a second (average number). Even assuming we reduced that number down quite a bit, that's a crazy number of updates per object per second even with an interpolation system of the gods. That's also not even going into the data we'd have to send... position, orientation, velocity as well as a host of other miscellaneous data. What you end up with is 'prohibitive'.

    3) Clients don't always show the same picture, lag, packet loss... etc. All these things can cause the client to go out of synch. If you're simply forcing the client to show the server's simulation there are cases where it will look (possibly drastically) wrong.

    I'll poke my head back in here later if there are more replies. But please take a moment to carefully read over what I've written. Just saying that you don't think it would be hard doesn't make it so...

    I'm sure that someday, someone will include a full physics engine into a MP game with all the bells and whistles... if that happens, you can bet that it will figure quite prominently into that game's gameplay.

    More:

    Half-Life 2 is shipping with MP using a full physics engine, but since it is a FPS it is probubly less brandwith intensive then an RPG (they are also making the small objects (like soda cans) to be purly client side).

    You are right about the model thing. But some box kina thingy might be a way to work around it.

    How about sending the position information to the client just once a second? Leaving it up to the client "fill in" the missing data, might not make the server and the client perfectly in synch but it should be close enough.

    What I really want is fully interactible enviroment actually, I would not give a jack about physics if physics did not help that.

    Regarding upcoming games (FPS) with physics in them... I'm guessing that most likely the SP game will feature all sorts of nifty physics bound things you can do... however in the multiplayer component? Most likely scripted situational with animations... and physics fluff (like shooting the leg off a table, getting tossed back by grenade blasts, etc...). That said though, I'll happily chew thoughtfully on my words if/when I'm wrong.

    Interactivity I can definetly understand... but as I said before it has to be specifically intended interactivity. Unforseen behaviour breaks plots.

    You'll also note that in FPS physics style games you normally run missions... you have specific objectives that are based around the player and usually only peripherally involves NPC's.

    So, interactivity == good. Gotcha.

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    Latest Poll Results
    Posted Thursday, July 15, 2004 - 16:26 CET by Sorcerer

    What we asked:

    Q: Have you ever accidentally physically damaged (cracked, scratched etc.) any game CDs so severely that they became unusable?
    (274 votes total)

    Yes, but not often (132) 48%
    No (96) 35%
    Yes, many times (26) 9%
    Not sure / don't remember (20) 7%

    Nearly half of the people who voted (48%) have already accidentally physically damaged one or more game CDs so that they became unusable.

    On the other hand, 35% of poll participants have never so severely damaged any game CDs.

    9% of those who voted are quite clumsy when it comes to handling CDs, and have voted that they have accidentally physically damaged game CDs many times.

    Finally, 7% of participants in the poll are not sure or don't remember if they ever have.

  • Current Poll
  • Previous Polls

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Thursday, July 15, 2004 - 16:20 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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.

    Rob Bartel, Senior Designer

    Can't summon creatures
    Yes, it was something done to correct a balancing error in the original NWN. The issue has since been patched and you won't see the same limitations on WW1: Remastered. That said, we did remove the damage resistance from some of the lower-level summons as it was making them virtually invulnerable against a lot of the potential enemies early in the module. Anyhow, I'm glad you're enjoying the module

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Stolen Mod


    im sorry to change the topic abit.. but what do you guys think about scripts? me personally i release all scripts that i make.. but there are a few servers out there where i see such things as "this script is only on this server you will not see it anywhere else" stuff liek that and i dont think it right to hold out on something like that.. but to each his on..
    but my question is if you see something like this and cant get permishion to use it but you can figer out how to make it is that wronge to use? i mean its your own creation thay would not give the code. just there idea what do you think is that on the smae line as this or is that something someone can do without a big fight like this

    BTW i do think it is wronge to steal a whole mod and call it your own go out and make one dont use others mods thats there heart and soul there hard work so for you guys that stole the mod you should really give it back and work soemthing out with the maker if you like it so much

    If you can figure out how to recreate something you see online, I don't see a problem. In fact, since you didn't have access to the code, your implementation is likely to be quite different from the original. There are no patents on NWN scripts.

    bard/palemaster can get all the epic spells
    that's intentional - as a pale master you get full access to epic spells.

    Major Item BUG
    There will be no patch for that, if an item requires a higher level than 40, you can not use it on ILR servers. period.

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    Servilan (Cormyrean Nights) Hall of Fame Interview at NWVault
    Posted Thursday, July 15, 2004 - 16:18 CET by chevalier

    Neverwinter Vault have posted an interview with Servilan, the creator of the Cormyrean Nights module which earned him a place in the NWN's Hall of Fame. They talk about his personal attitude, his way of creating captivating modules and tips he has for beginner module creators. Here's a clip:

    4) Could you tell us what are the main features of your modules that have attracted so much attention from fans?
    Many players mentioned the attention to detail and the characterisation of NPC's and Henchmen, which was very gratifying considering the number of hours I spent on this. Things like the distinct day/night cycle with shops opening and closing, NPC's going home at night and re-emerging in the morning which gives the city a "lived in" feeling were applauded. Also the fact that there were lots of side quests with many having more than one solution seemed to find favour. Finally the replay value was a factor with quite a few people playing it through and then discovering after reading the walkthrough that they had missed large sections and went back to play it again.


    Read the whole thing at NWVault.

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    Dragon Age Forum News
    Posted Thursday, July 15, 2004 - 16:11 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    BioWare: do we have any impact?


    I'm only asking because I'm wondering if it's even worth engaging in these huge debates over skill and magic systems, races, campaign flavor, the role of the Hero, etc. Some subtle guidance, such as participation in threads relevant to ongoing internal debates, would be hugely rewarding and confirmatory.

    It's difficult to trot out a list of things that have been changed at the community's behest because except for very minor things it's simply not a matter of the community requesting something and we directly change it. It's a matter of influence.

    If someone from Bioware comes here and hears a persuasive debate on a topic, it will influence our thoughts on the topic as it might influence anyone else. When we make a decision on it later, can we directly say "the community is responsible for that decision"? Not really. But they had a part in it. We have to take a lot of other things into consideration than your average community members might even be aware of, so I'm not sure that the community could play a larger role than that... but that doesn't make them insignificant.

    We will also look for feedback on the things we've already done. Voice your opinion. I would be willing to say that an example of where this worked was the extra mile that was taken to put robes into NWN... I don't think they would have made it had it not been apparent the community wanted it. Mind you, for those who think otherwise we can tell the difference between general consensus and a few very loud voices. And in this respect especially, one well thought-out argument is worth more than a hundred whines.

    Insofar as influencing some of the broader topics like the general game systems, that's a tough one. Many of the more general things are at least already partially hammered down, as I've said before. We couldn't have proceeded past the early stages of rules-making without doing so, after all. Some things could change (we've done massive changes to the rules on short notice before) but most will not... but we're also not ready (yet) to start saying what's set and what isn't. So if you argue a general topic about which little has been confirmed, you're taking your chances.

    How you feel about that level of influence is up to you. Obviously the game isn't being made by committee. We do, however, listen to our forum-goers more than some companies and look forward to having an active and participating community ready for the post-release era where things really get exciting. I hope that answers your question.

    More : I think the process involves re-using the infrastructure from another engine to save time, but the guts are entirely ripped out and replaced. With entirely new guts, similarities between such engines are mostly superficial, so that may be a distinction that's more apparent to programmers than end-users I guess.

    is it possible that dragon age will be an epic saga


    Bioware obviously doesn't agree with me on this, it's selling point and reaoning seems to be; "why be a king when you can be a god".

    And why do we obviously think this? Please explain. I'd be interested in hearing what our thoughts are.

    More :

    because your reasoning seems to be "why be a king when you can be a god"

    Is that our reasoning? Oh. I guess we shouldn't vary from it if it's a rule or something, then.


    Quote: or is just me who ends up being a God in all of your games?

    I'll assume by 'god' you mean 'a very powerful character' since you actually become a god in only one of our games.

    But maybe you don't mean 'very powerful', as that's a pretty relative term. Maybe you mean 'ridiculously powerful', in which case I ask (speaking from the level-based standpoint, as that's been our MO to date) what would be appropriate for the stories we've done? 5 levels? 10? Would it have been a better story if the PC had been 8th level by the end of Throne of Bhaal?

    If the answer is yes, then what about the gameplay aspect? Isn't that equally important? Don't some people find character development fun? Aren't rewards necessary?

    I have my own thoughts on the matter, as well as to why in the NWN OC in particular leveling was uber-quick, but since you seem to know what they are please do explain them to me. I'm curious.

    More :

    do we get a cookie?

    Yep, you get a cookie.

    And I'd also have to agree with the comment bumf made about it sometimes being too much of a good thing. We go on and on and the leveling continues until, by necessity, you are fighting overly-powerful opponents. Especially in a scheme where level 20 is (well, at least it was back then) the be-all and end-all. We could end the story earlier, and I agree that often shorter would be make for a tighter and better story (BG2 should have ended in the Underdark, in my opinion, or skipped the Underdark completely and ended in Suldanessalar) but ask some folks around here about shorter games and you're likely to get heart attacks as a response... to many, game length == game quality.

    So to a point, it's story considerations battling against gameplay considerations (and, in the case of D&D, game system considerations). But no, we're not attached to the "god-like" power levels as a rule, and considering we not only are not obligated to follow the 20-level scheme anymore but also are back to the party of NPC's whose leveling up you (maybe) will control, a lot of that pressure is removed.

    About the only reason to achieve high levels of power in the Dragon Age OC that I can think of would be to display as much of our new game system as we can... but how far that takes us remains to be decided: we're writing the story through first and will nail that part down later. So this is a good time to comment on the subject.

    More :

    Surely the story would, to a significant extent, dictate the level of power achieved?

    To a point. Just because epic deeds are in the offing does not necessarily mean godly power must be possessed (that's rather the gist of this thread, I think). Regardless, we have rough ideas of how powerful the player should be at any given point in the story... but nailing down exactly what's fun and what's excessive is a job for later.

    More :

    why not let the PC witness some really high level characters duking it out, and add the option to interfere even though the PC is facing certain doom (you did something to that effect in Kotor with that bounty hunter). it's a nice touch

    That's certainly an option. As was pointed out as well, there's also the consideration of leaving room for further possible sequels down the line. It's not an easy decision, we don't want to paint ourselves into a corner but we also don't want to underwhelm, and you never see it quite so clearly until after it's done (hindsight being what it is. )

    As for game length == game quality, perhaps that wasn't the best choice of words to illustrate what I meant. Certainly there are many people who expect a long game, period, outside of other considerations.

    Dynamic wildlife in DA?
    For the concept demo, I believe that was scripted. Mainly to show more of the whole "look! facial animations!" thing (that's no small change, ya know, not that anyone mentions it).

    Not that we couldn't do more wildlife AI, I suppose. It all depends on how important it is in the campaign.

    Derek French, Technical Producer

    BioWare: do we have any impact?


    My understanding is that Dragon Age does use the NWN engine

    Pretty much no.

    The main problem in understanding things like this is that people have trouble (including myself ) between what is the engine and what is not.

    We have used BIFF files, talk tables, 2DAs and the like since BG1. Yet we constantly read on our forums on how KotOR used the NWN engine, because people saw BIFFs, talk tables, and 2DAs. There is more to an engine that just data file formats.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Pay to play?


    ...
    Yeti

    Hey,

    While nothing has decided yet as far as I know, I am very sure Dragon Age will have the same/similar restrictions.

    As for some of the legal issues, please refer to my previous post, I think someone linked to it. I'm not a lawyer so I can't/won't talk about specific legal issues and how they might impact the game, that's what we have lawyers for and that's why publishers have an army of lawyers.

    Like I already said, the problem has multi facets, not just legal:
    - Negative impact on the community
    [A creates a module with custom content from B and C decides to host it and ask for cash. A & B are pissed because they created the stuff for the community, not for commercial exploitation, etc (see previous post)]
    - Publisher level (Some might remember the month long discussion about the EULA for NWN here)
    - Support (if we would sublicense PWs, we would have to officially support them, which is not in the scope of DA)
    - Legal (see previous post)
    - User Experience/Consistency [people buy your game for 50$ and suddenly find out that they can't play on 80% of the servers they try to join because people want cash for it, people get pissed at BioWare]

    Short: The chances of buying DA for i.e. 50$, building your own PW and getting rich are virtually non existent. There might be other solutions for module builders associated with our DD initiative - but I doubt they will have impact on the PW sector.

    Yes, it may be hard to assemble a good team without using cash to keep them reliable, but believe me, it also opens a nightmare of other problems, including fraud, distrust, legal and tax implications and possible lawsuits - because as soon as you start paying people, you are running a business and the rules change dramatically.

    It is possible to run huge scale teams without cash for a long time, feel free to discuss this with the larger community projects like DLA, SMP or CEP. Adding cash sounds like a magical way to make volunteers reliable and solve your motivation problems - believe me, it isn't.

    More :

    Simple solution: GPL. (open source "general public license"). If it works for Linux, it'll work for Dragon Age.

    Uh, I don't think that would work.

    a) If it's "I put so much work into my PW, I want to make some cash with it", being forced to open source your module will not be very well received.

    b) If you have a successful PW module and open source it, people will grab it, run a server as well and collect cash with it as well. I doubt many PW builders would agree with that. Just check out the complaints about "stolen PW modules" we already have on these boards. Add money to the equation and it will get exponentially worse.

    c) It cuts out the creative people in the community that make the content. Since they can't charge for their content, they will have to watch how others make cash from their work (i.e. that cool werewolf script or that cloak model) while they can't make anything themselves.

    d) It will alienate a part of the community. Before I joined BioWare, I scripted a lot of generic scripts and objects - http://gulbsoft.de/phpBB2x/g_viewcat.php?f=23 , at some point I would find these scripts in nearly every single module published or PW I joined. I personally would not have liked to see anyone making money of my work. I contributed it to a non profit community for global use, not for commercial exploitation.

    e) It would collide with our approach to make the game modules open source as well. We could never release any part of our work under a viral license like GPL.

    No, using the GPL will not solve the trouble that money will incite into your community, in fact it will aggravate it.


    Aha! But that leaves an opening for buying the "DA Developer's License" for $500 building my own PW and at least trying to break even. Doesn't it?

    I wouldn't rule anything out at this point, but I doubt it's very likely


    "- User Experience/Consistency [people buy your game for 50$ and suddenly find out that they can't play on 80% of the servers they try to join because people want cash for it, people get pissed at BioWare]"

    Well, again, I'm not talking about the servers, I'm talking about selling modules. As for consistency, (also) again, you face that issue whether or not the modules are free.

    NWN was very successful with the open module approach. I doubt that the community we have right now would exist in this form if the open module approach was abandoned.

    However we are investigating the possiblity of contracting some of the talented members of the community to create modules for our Digital Distribution project, you can read more about it in the Witch's Wake Forum.

    BioWare: do we have any impact?
    I can give you some things that were added to NWN after release and Hordes of the Underdark as a direct result of the forum community:

    - the Robe system (which is far more than just robes, as you will soon see:)

    - The whole item property merging thing for the Shifter Class (quite some impact on this class) came from a board suggestion.

    - A whole load of engine changes to make things more accessible/hakable for modders. The "average gamer" wouldn't really care about these. More of those to come in 1.63.

    - New scripting commands like SetAppearance, SetDeity, SetSubrace, ...

    - Disable the "edit character" functionality in HotU for Server Vault games.

    Not so sure:
    - A certain drunken halfling in SoU
    - A certain dialog between goblins and kobolds in SoU

    That's very specific things I remember to be a direct result of community input - the biggest impact of the community however is probably that they supply team members with convincing arguments for their favourite features for use in feature/team meetings, etc.

    More :

    I was wondering about the issues that are more about trade-offs and the concomitant difficult and (dare I say it) philosophical choices. I doubt anybody actually _complained_ about robes and secret doors being added, whereas the decision to remove in-round target-switching in HotU was far more controversial. (At least for me!)

    Yeti

    Hey,

    Keep in mind that every decision is a conflicting one. Adding robes may have meant not adding horses or cloaks :P

    More :

    you may not be aware of all the nasty cameo nonsense that has gone on with these boards, but please don’t even suggest that cameos is somehow given as a result o’ fan suggestions.

    What about the ":P " part was unclear above?

    This thread is titled "do we have any impact?", so if we add cameos of certain boardies, that's some kind of impact, through not neccessarily a very useful one, I have to agree with you on that one.


    "The "average gamer" wouldn't really care about these."

    if geo thinks that we is suggesting that bio only makes changes if they think that the Average Gamer would want, then you is misreading again.

    right "if" I think that. You got it. 100 points.

    More :

    For that matter I'd rather have horses or cloaks than robes, since I tend to play Paladins.

    --Yeti

    Wrong decision Robes lead to cloaks and robes ( http://www.dladventures.com )

    More :

    Even IF they would choose to use an expanded aurora engine, whats so wrong with that ? I never understood why every game has to start from scratch consuming huge resources for the development and then they are short on zots when it comes to designing the actual game, not merely the envelope. It seems strange to me. Why not develop it further ? Why always start by zero ? Is that so bad ?

    You rarely start with zero anyway, it would be stuipd and a waste of time. An engine is defined by it's capabilities, the framework/workflow required to use it and it's main features. The file formats (.2da, .bif,...) are just one way to store data, if it works, there is no need to change that - you copy over the appropriate classes from your previous project.

    For graphics it's a bit different - every new generation of graphics cards offers new features and ways to do thing better, faster, more efficiently, etc - and in order to make use of those features, you usually need significant rewrites.

    The "game engine" is a complex thing with hundreds of components, and some of those components (i.e. basic file IO) rarely change at all, while things like the graphics or the rules engine could be scrapped and redone (obviously since we are not going to use d20).

    Radial Menus


    As long as the menu is intuitive and the controls easy to use, I am all for them. I too prefer good old fashion text over icons however.

    Text is problematic as it will cause localization issues (different length of text in different languages).

    More :

    As long as the menu is intuitive and the controls easy to use, I am all for them. I too prefer good old fashion text over icons however.

    Text is problematic as it will cause localization issues (different length of text in different languages). Unless you allow the user to enter the text (if they choose to have text instead of icons).

    Hehe good idea, "localize it yourself" - I'm sure some publishers will be jumping with joy when hearing that idea

    Brenon Holmes, Programmer

    Appearance of cloaks and such
    If we were going to include something like cloaks, I don't think it would be a horribly large stretch to imagine that we might borrow (in some form) any related technologies we might need from Jade...

    Will there be a physics System?
    Ignoring the fundamental issues with using physics engines in a multiplayer environment...

    Whether damage is calculated from a physics based perspective, force, collision, penetration of materials (density)... etc. or as a simple roll of the die, would you as a player be able to tell the difference?

    (Aside from the simple fact that in one case it's incredibly difficult to know (as a player) how much damage you'll do in a given swing...)

    If we were going to do a fully realistic simulation of real life (tm), your character would probably die quite often and quite quickly... a lucky slip and your character is breathing through the hole in his throat. Reload time! In other words... un-fun.

    Personally, I just can't see the benefit of having a full physics engine in the game (assuming we could even do so in a MP environment). Especially as if we need to do something physics-like we can usually implement a simulation for that specific feature.

    Example: I want to implement a system where arrows ricochet off of walls/rocks properly then fall to the ground in a realistic manner... do I need a physics engine for that? Nope.

    Additionally, addressing one of the issues of emergent behaviour and environment interactivity... would you really want a fireball to light a house on fire? As a module maker, what happens then when some psychotic PC sets off a blast in the centre of town? Uh oh... city burns down, all the NPC's die (except children and quest NPC's). In the meantime a burning, physics-based wall has probably fallen on the PC and their party... killing them instantly .

    I'm overstating the issue... but basically, you generally don't want unforseen things to occur. You want your world to be able to react to what's happening; the people that live in it to be able to respond intelligently... meaning you have to know what the possibilities are. Emergent behaviour kind of flies in the face of that.. as the very definition of the word means behaviour that the game designers did not anticipate or predict.

    Having small things that can't directly affect the plot be affected by some sort of physics simulation isn't bad... and visually can be quite appealing.

    A wave of force blasting back from a fireball flattening grass or blowing leaves/small brush for example... or the wind fluttering the character's hair (or *gasp* cloak? <- does not mean we're including cloaks )... Glass shattering from a sonic blast spell... etc. The list goes on, all these small things do not affect the game state - but visually are quite additive.

    We will be using physics in the game for all sorts of things. There will most likely be no physics engine.

    Edit: Forgot the blurb, the things mentioned in this post are not necessarily indicative of what will be in Dragon Age... well except for the last bit

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    BioWare Wednesday
    Posted Thursday, July 15, 2004 - 16:07 CET by Sorcerer

    (Only news relevant to SP posted.)

    New NWN Epics: Sorceress & Archer
    'Lo an' behold all ye adventurers, the Bewildering Archer! A skilled missile combatant who utilizes spell powers to supplement her amazing archery, she is also a competent illusionist with many talents who can hide from enemies and deceive them into devious traps. The second epic character is the Exalted Sorceress who is the embodiment of an epic spell caster. Not to be trifled with, she has focused her studies on the art of necromancy and specializes in death-like spells. She dislikes little dogs too. Discuss.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 22:59 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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.

    Derek French, Live Team Producer

    Can't Log On To Multiplayer
    Hi there. I would like to clarify a few things with regards to this issue. First, there is nothing that we can do currently to correct this issue. The error message you are seeing is coming from GameSpy when you try to get to the server browser. This is why you won't see this error going to your Favourites. This issue has been around since NWN was released. We have always been aware of it, but we have never been able to duplicate this error neither at BioWare or at Atari.

    Unless we can duplicate this error in our debugger, there is little chance that we will be able to discover the cause and fix it. Whenever we see a new report of this, we do try to duplicate the issue, but we have been unseccessful each time. This error has nothing to do with your CD Keys. This error has nothing to do with the Master Server. If a solution presents itself in the future, we will be more than happy to investigate it.

    Rob Bartel, Senior Designer

    What's the latest word on the WW series?
    Yup, there's substantial ongoing progress but we're not prepared to discuss it yet. Stay tuned, though, as it won't be long now. Patience, patience

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Stolen Mod


    The reason why you feel you can't share any content you create in the toolset is beyond me. My advice? Read your licence agreement and grow up!

    That's a stupid advice

    There is nothing wrong with creating content for yourself and not sharing it - it is allowed under the NWN license agreement. Yes, NWN benefits from people sharing their work, but we also recognize that people may to keep sole possession of their work, so as long as you do not put your module for download to the Vault or distribute it in another way, you possess it and in my (IANAL) opinion, people taking it from you when you did not initially make it available to the public are commiting copyright infringement/theft.


    4. Distribution and Serving of Modules and User Conversions. So long as you
    fully comply at all times with this License, Infogrames grants to you the
    limited, personal, revocable, non-exclusive right to: (i) distribute your
    Modules or User Conversions by means of providing a copy of the actual Module
    or User Conversion code to other users (e.g., via ftp, email, disc copies, etc.)
    (collectively "Distribute"); and (ii) to allow other users to play your Modules
    by means of hosting your own NEVERWINTER NIGHTS server whereby you retain
    sole possession of your Module (collectively "Serve") (Serving User
    Conversions is not possible).

    nwserver successfully running under NetBSD/i386
    Thanks for posting that, I'm sure it will be useful for some NetBSD users out there.

    Need help with AI scripts
    One more thing: It should be possible to examine the item properties of your amulets and get the spell id for ActionCastSpell from there.

    Druid dragon shape dispellable?
    not dispellable

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    Dragon Age Forum News
    Posted Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 22:52 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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.

    Scott Greig, Project Director/Producer

    Should people in DA use east London dialect? discuss
    Actually the characters will be speaking with an elven accent. Well at least the elves.

    More :


    Regardless it fits well into a fantasy game and you Bioware guys should consider coming over for a vacation...er...um...field research.

    No need. I grew up in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Biggest Newfie city west of the Rock. I can summon the dialect at will, but the resulting mental trauma is rarely worth it.

    More :

    Now we know why you want to make Dragon Age cold.

    Gah! I meant too cold to be running around in your underwear, not that the game takes place in the middle of the Second Ice Age! Which would not be much unlike Fort McMurray, mind you... But m'laird tunderin' jaysus buy! How many times I gots t'be repeatin' meyelf, eh? Me nerves! Rubbed right raw!

    More :

    Quote: For some reason, I always thought you were from Grande Prairie.

    Nope. That would be James, plus several others of the original crew at Bioware.


    Question more on topic: Do you know yet if the humans of DA will be using a varient of English(common) as per this thread or a new language?

    Well, that all depends on where they come from, nation-wise.

    More :

    On a similar note, why does "Common" always have to be English?

    It isn't. Technically it's whatever language the game is translated into, isn't it? That's rather the point.


    Quote: Couldn't a form of Dwarvish be the cultural norm?

    I believe the dwarvish tongue is the norm in Earthdawn, actually. Though since it's the common tongue, naturally it is still English if you or I speak English, right?


    Quote: Humans always seem to be the people in control, and the idea seems to get a bit over used.

    One tidbit I like about how our languages are being built is with regards to the absorption of cultural-specific words into other languages when the cultures have interacted for long periods of time.

    So if you have a human nation and a dwarven nation that interact and trade a lot, you might find that human tongue start to pick up various dwarven words (and subsequently start changing them to suit), especially with regards to dwarven concepts that a human society wouldn't readily have words for already (and vice-versa). Organic languages are fun!

    More :

    I sure am glad I'm not working on that language of yours for DA. Just imagine how frustrating it must be to have this new language "pick up" words from "common", which could be English, French, German etc.
    Must be a real pain that one

    Heh... well, that's true. If the human nation is one that speaks the "common tongue", you're not going to be pulling much out of it on purpose. You could, however, add "common slang" words that come from other cultures. If the dwarven word for something is "bhairen" and the common tongue picks it up and turns it into "bharn" then "bharn" it is whether we're speaking English, French or German, right?

    So long as the reference is explained in-game as soon as it's used, naturally.

    At any rate, I never thought it would be that complex until I listened to a PhD explain what's involved. Believe me, you'll think you're plenty smart and educated until you try to follow that conversation.

    Will there be a physics System?


    So, it's not just a simple matter of throwing zots at it. I think of it more as a trade off as to what's critical to making a quality CRPG.

    That would be my thoughts on the subject, as well. A full physics engine is far from an impossibility, but it all depends on where you want to spend your focus. A game like Half-Life is an excellent engine for what it does, but the reason they spend so much time making realistic physics is because that's integral to what the game is all about. Movement and combat are the priorities there.

    And taking such an engine and turning it into something that can support an RPG is certainly a possibility as well. But it doesn't save us much (if any) time, to be honest, and it depends on what kind of RPG you were focusing on to begin with. There are certainly types of RPG where it could work. A multiplayer-capable party-based RPG is probably not that animal, however... at least until advancing technology and an increase in broadband use/speed makes its integration that much easier I suppose.

    Derek French, Technical Producer

    DVD or CD?
    That would be a publisher decision, and since we don't have one yet, this not only can't be answered, but is something that needs to be looked at closer to ship.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    DVD or CD?
    More and more games get at least a special DVD edition. I think The Sim 2 is going to have one as well, which might be a sign that the bigger publishers are slowly pushing for DVD distribution. But again, for DA this topic is not current for a long time to come.

    More :

    I heard EQ2 was being planned for a two DVD release.

    Carl

    *Shudder*, don't want to think how many CDs that would be

    More : That pretty much sums it up.

    In addition, take this:
    Click Here

    Quick reality check:

    Do you have to pay to play Unreal Tournament, Battlefield, FarCry, etc - no.

    Do people that create maps/mods for those games get money from it - no.

    Do people that run those servers pay for the hardware and bandwith - yes. In fact, in Battlefield you can rent servers in game - but you can't charge people for using them.

    Do internet caffee's have to pay licensing fees because they make money off a product they let their users use - yes.

    If you want to commercially exploit a product, you need a special license, and yes, these licenses come a bit more expensive than 40-50$.

    If you think that's not justified and that you should be allowed to make money off your work, you need to redefine your definition of work, because either the game is entertainment and hobby for you, or you need to make a business out of it with all the legal and financial responsibilities attached to it.

    And yes, Atari's legal department had some serious talk with some PW owners that wanted to make money off NWN - so don't think this part of the EULA is not enforced.

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    Interplay Shares Rise for Short
    Posted Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 22:42 CET by chevalier

    Interplay's shares rose to $0.04 after Fallout 3 license purchase by Bethesda had been announced, but they have fallen to $0.03 by now. Check Interplay's Summary at Yahoo Finance.

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    NWN Module Editor for Mac and Linux
    Posted Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 23:19 CET by Mollusken

    A new version of NeverEdit, a cross-platform Neverwinter Nights module editor, has been released. You'll find more info about it and links to download mirrors at Neverwinter Vault.

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    SP Happenings #58
    Posted Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 18:31 CET by Sorcerer

    I have just completed the conversion of the last page of the Games section. This means that the redesign is, for the most part, complete. During the conversion I've noticed several legacy links to content on Interplay's site, so before bug testing starts, I'll replace all the content links with local copies of the content. There are a few pages which will have to be converted just before the new design goes online (since the content on them is regularly updated), but this can all be done in a hour or so. Basically, the only real work left to be done on the redesign is the implementation of the expanded login system for the SPS accounts. Which would have been done already, had I been able to get ahold of Catbert over the last few days...

    Anyway, with some luck, I expect the new design to go up in a matter of days now.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 15:33 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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.

    Rob Bartel, Senior Designer

    DD and NWN itself?
    There has been discussion about it although we don't consider the issue to be particularly pressing at this point. From what I understand, Atari still has plans for further NWN retail SKUs so I suspect you'll still be finding NWN on store shelves in one form or another well into the future. If DD is still going strong but NWN and the various expansions are no longer available on store shelves, however, we may consider making it available for purchase through DD at that time. But that's still a ways in the future.


    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Need help with AI scripts
    No need to rewrite the AI for that, you can hack it fairly fast using the Override AI feature

    a) Create an override AI script that runs on top of the original AI like the mindflayer ai (x2_ai_mflayer (?))
    b) In that script, perform a GetItemInSlot check to see if the amulet is equipped
    c) If it is equipped, have the NPC cast the associated spells using ActionCastSpell with the bCheat flag set to TRUE
    d) if not, fallback to default AI.

    More: For Hordes I modified the main NWN combat AI function (DetermineCombatRound in nw_i0_generic) to support additions or replacement scripts by specifying a variable on a creature:

    Check the "variables" page on the default mindflayer in the palette - he got a variable (forgot the name) set on him that points to x2_ai_mflayer(?) or so. This script is run every time the default combat AI kicks in to determine if he is able to use his brainsuck ability.

    In the same fashion you can create a script that determines if the creature has the amulet equipped and make it cast some spells using the cheat flag on ActionCastSpell (because you can't really make creatures use certain items directly in NWN).

    There's a demo creature availabe for download on my private webpage that demonstrates the feature: Click Here

    More:


    Georg, won't that always prioritize using the amulet over any other thing the NPC might be capable of doing? Edit: had another idea. You're assigning the item properties dynamically, right? Well, what if you put the properties on the NPC's hide?

    You can code it any way you want. You can have certain conditions for the amulet to kick in (i.e. below a certain amount of health, only every x rounds, etc, etc) or you can go crazy and replace DetermineCombatRound alltogether (like the beholder ai)

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    Dragon Age Forum News
    Posted Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 15:29 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    Should people in DA use east London dialect? discuss
    We've actually decided this time around that all evil people must sound French. (...kidding, incidentally...)

    More:


    No is that French from France or French Canadian from Canada? IF French Canadian then i agree make all the evil guys sound like them.

    If we made them sound French Canadian then nobody would understand them. Can you imagine?

    Irenicus: (blah blah blah blergh)!
    PC: What's he saying?
    Imoen: No idea.
    Irenicus: (blah blah blah blergh arf)!
    Minsc: I sense evil!
    PC: Shhh! I think he said "hockey"...
    Irenicus: (blah grrr maple syrup blah)!
    PC: Hmmm. Get the shovel.

    (...half-kidding, incidentally...)

    Cosmology
    The world isn't any crazy shape... it's the regular spherical shape that most planets are. There is a larger cosmology, however, which was fun to create... especially seeing how it's all mixed in with religious belief and such. My preference is that such things be kept at least partially mysterious.

    kind of dragons in game


    Dragon Age is a period of time like the Iron Age, Bronze Age or "Middle" Age. This age is where Dragons are the driving force.

    We've said the first part is true, but the second part does not automatically follow. Dragons are not the "driving force". Nor are they even necessarily numerous. The fact that they exist is what is significant.

    Dragon Age is meant to represent an age of the fantastical.


    Quote: One of the playable races is Dragonlike.

    That was the reviewer's impression of that race, incidentally. Nowhere did we say they were "dragonkin" or had anything at all to do with dragons. Another website said they were reptilian, I believe.

    More:

    [sarcasm/]I always thought dragons were mammals or amphibians, who would have ever thunk a dragon could look reptilian.[/sarcasm]

    The point is that people have been ascribing the "dragonlike" phrase to us, when the word was the reviewer's.

    More:

    True but considering they have mentioned that there are humans elves and dwarves plus one other race and that one race seems very kobold-like and the game is called DRAGON Age and kobold are related to dragons, it would seem very silly if that race didn't have anything to do with dragons

    I'm pretty sure we didn't say anything about the fourth playable race being kobold-like. At any rate, assuming that they have anything to do with dragons simply because the game was called Dragon Age would only have merit if the game was about this fourth race, wouldn't it?

    Because otherwise that would be a mighty big assumption. Especially when we've already said that the title simply refers to an age of the fantastical.

    More:

    The nature of the fourth race could still be indeterminate. Perhaps there are unforeseen modelling issues which are leaving BioWare largely uncertain as to what the fourth race is going to be. We may never see the race the reviewer did.

    The details on that race may change, certainly, but for the most part we know exactly what that race is. The reviewer was commenting solely on some of the concept art that was done for it, that's all.

    Why panties on top of normal clothing? It looks weird
    OKay, this has wandered into the realm of Silly. As a matter of fact, it's wandered all the way to Silly's capital, and we can see the land of Ludicrous from here.

    More:

    Last I heard they were going to really get into the details of each playable race by doing the Tolkien thing and giving them unique languages Possibly spoken) and very detailed cultures.

    Then again I could have heard wrong and getting my hopes up.

    No, you heard correctly.

    Darcy Pajak, Assistant Producer

    Guns


    Are there going to be guns or some sort of fire-arms in Dragon Age? (I'm not talking about M16's or F-15's, I'm talking about classic weapons like flintlocks and muskets)

    I think they would be a good addition, infact a lot of NWN modules already have guns implemented. Dragon Age doesn't have to follow the crappy DnD standards anymore, which means we can now have fully functional guns.

    If not guns, then there should atleast be CANNONS or something that a player can use somewhere in a quest. It would be cool to use a cannon against a horde of enemies right?! Perhaps in Ship to Ship combats? Will there even be ships or some vehicles in Dragon Age?

    And just to keep things balanced with archery, you can just make Guns require more maintennance and have less flexibility than arrows (for instance, arrows can be poisoned, lit on fire, etc)

    There will be no guns in Dragon Age. We're sticking with bows, crossbows, and magic spells for ranged combat.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Trolls and Half-Orcs
    troll, half orc - all the same.

    Pay to play?


    Can I charge people a monthly fee to play on my Dragon age server?

    Unlikely. If you do a search on this topic, you'll find some more posts about it.

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    Dragon Age Forum News
    Posted Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 2:47 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    Cosmology


    The world will be cold, right?

    Not really. That comment of mine was regarding the whole "half-dressed" thread, and I just said the actual Dragon Age world was a bit colder than the desert shown in the demo, and a bit too cold to run around in your skivvies. Naturally everyone took that to mean an Ice Age was in progress.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 2:45 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    Experience broken again in v1.62
    XP distribution in the official HotU campaign is intentionally different from all other modules. It's using a seperate branch in the XP code that only kicks in if you play the HotU campaign modules.

    no text, labels, nothing - is this right?


    When I start up NWServer.exe there isn't any text on the GUI. So, I don't know what the checkmarks do, I don't know what any of the fields in the drop-down boxes are, I can see an IP address with a port number, but that's it. Please tell me this is not normal, and there's a fix. I'm running HOTU, SoU, and ver 1.62.8047 on an Intel 2.3 with 512 MB RAM and WinXP Thanks

    Your dialog.tlk file that contains all the text for the game is corrupted.

    Uh Oh! 254 Loadscreen Limit - Bioware???
    Hey. You should indeed pad your .2da file if you modify it, it is possible that you see new loadscreens in the future. As for changing the limit, I suggest sending a bug report to nwbugs@bioware.com, even if it's not technically a bug, we are still removing hardcoded limits from the engine from time to time.

    Max tilesets limit : a thrue problem!!


    Same Problem here !! Our Development Team is forced to wait for 1.63 ... Hope that they 'll release Beta1 1.63 ASAP !! We REALLY need this nasty Bug removed ...

    Yepp, the limit has been raised in 1.63. It is NOT a bug however - and we can not recommend using that many different tilesets in the same module as the memory requirements on the server will be significant, especially when using some of the popular "all in one" tilesets. Walkmesh data for different tiles is held in memory so creatures can perform movement operations even when the player is not around and while this is not really a problem when just using a couple of tilesets, it will become very expensive if you go overboard with your tileset usage.

    Craig Welburn, Live Team Programmer

    Can DM's read player tells?


    DM's recieve messages pretty much the exact same way as PC's with 1 notable exception. A DM can hear ALL party speaks. So if you have 3 groups running around it ccan get rather spammy.

    If you are getting spammed with too much chat, you can right click on the bar at the top of the chat window and filter out differen't types of messages.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 19:27 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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.

    Derek French, Live Team Producer

    Does someone have reason to believe that their will be a New NWN expansion


    I was just wondering if any one has heard any rumors

    There are no plans at this time for a third expansion to Neverwinter Nights.

    More:

    Something to note is that the 1.63 patch has been said to be enourmous

    False, the next update to NWN will probably not be any larger than the previous ones. If you mean that the number of changes are large, that may be true, but size is a very relative thing in this case.


    Quote: as BW has said they are fixing as many bugs as possible because it's the last patch.

    False, we have not stated any end date to supporting Neverwinter Nights at this time.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    1.63 patch
    The way hitpoints work won't be changed. And, btw - nothing takes just 15 minutes when your project is spanning a million + lines of code. I'm going to lock down this thread because it has become just another wishlist at this point.

    How to not loose your cd-key ideas.
    Our website allows you to configure CDKey retrieval when entering your CDKey...

    Multi-player PW Exploits
    Just wanted to let you know that Craig apparently added logging to 1.63 that will leave the players public CDKey in the logfile when a character fails some of the validity checks. This way server admin can detect people who repeatedly try to enter the server with modified characters and take precautions.

    sj_tilemagic_i 2.0
    Some really interesting ideas here!

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    Dragon Age Forum News
    Posted Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 19:22 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    Percentage done?


    vis ain’t no profeshnul writer or programmer, but as we recall, before gaider got into this business he weren’t no profeshnul writer or programmer neither.

    True. But I didn't go around back then claiming I could do better then experienced professionals could given the same resources, either.

    I never said he needed to prove himself to get a job, per se, I simply said that if he can't make a decent story with what he's already got, why should he get more? Does he think having investors and more team members with their own ideas and trying to build an engine from scratch actually gives him more freedom to make his "kickass game"? In what universe?

    Having an opinion is one thing, but if you're going to talk the talk (and Hades has done so repeatedly, I might add) then you better be prepared to walk it,too. I don't think that means I'm putting on profeshnul "airs", Grom, does it?


    Quote: is not like gaider had to prove to somebody that he could build a nwn module. maybe if vis played some pnp with the bio guys in edmonton and showed some folks his pnp design docs, then maybe he could get hired too

    Incidentally, I had to build an entire game system (with a rulebook I made and published myself) to get Bioware's attention and then had to prove to them I could actually write. It wasn't as if I submitted a couple of short stories, swapped stories about my PnP campaigns and I was given a job because I'm a nice guy... but thanks for suggesting that.

    More:

    I don't have the same resources though, David.

    Yeah. Duh. That's why I said that you claimed you could do better given the same resources. Oh, forget it.

    More: Okay, enough, enough, sheesh.

    I did use short stories to help prove I could write, along with a writing test (which anyone can take). My amusement (and I wasn't really offended) was at Grom's implication (perhaps unintended?) that it didn't take much effort on my part to get noticed by Bioware, a luxury which Hades supposedly does not have.

    Which is not true, incidentally. Neither a BA nor a NWN module are required for writers even now. Those are suggestions to help one get noticed compared to other applicants. If a NWN module was an actual requirement back when I started, I probably wouldn't be working as a professional now (which I have been doing for 5 years, starting from the very bottom of the department in fact).

    But I didn't talk smack, either (nice word, that), and nobody else is around here except Hades himself. If I implied he wasn't worthy or that he was unskilled, than I apologize. I have no idea how skilled he might be (and indeed he may very well be), but that he's not going to prove anything if his requirements to work are so outlandish. He may not make his dream story with NWN, that's true, but at least he has NWN.

    Though he could certainly prove plenty with a great screenplay or whatever else he happens to be working on, I've no way of knowing... but that's not what we were discussing.

    At any rate, enough. This is way off topic now and I'm sorry I brought it here. Apparently I need Woo Ninjas to bring me into line or I send threads awry.

    Tint maps
    Not that I have anything really to comment on the graphical side of things, but whoever is working on the creatures posted in that thread is pretty talented. I especially like the earth variation with all the vegetation on it --- cool!

    Derek French, Technical Producer

    Open GL or D3D?
    No decision, one way or another has been made.

    Gender issues


    Male PC's should be stronger, faster and much better fighters than their female counterparts.

    We have said several times that we aren't going to do anything like this.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    server verification?
    I agree that some kind of server registry would be nice to get rid of those griefers that create servers with the same name as others on gamespy.

    PreReleased Content for PW builders


    BTW, i am helping design a website for Dragon Age already would like some suggestions on it.... tell me what you all think. Bare in mind, IT IS VERY ROUGH so far.

    www.rv.arandoir.com/checkmeout.jpg

    Nice - reminds me a bit of PS:T, not sure why.

    I'm sure we will have a fansite kit ready at some point later in the project for those who are not masters of web design

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 16:21 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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.

    Robin Mayne, Webmaster

    Feature re-request - Dynamic "Dev Post" icon that shows if there are new dev posts.
    Hey Torias - thanks again for the suggestion - it's a good one. Unfortunately it isn't feasible for us to implement at the moment, but we will add it to our long term wish list. Keep em coming!

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    1.63 patch


    I tried to roll maximum HP with epic RDD, bu there's a bug: It states that on epic rdd you get d12, don't you? I know that nwn rolls 50% maximum possible of hitdice without con bonus as minimum. Result of minimum with CON 14: +7 that means: 5+ con bonus 2 = 7 It rolls d10 instead of d12! could you please fix it in 1.63?

    I think that's fixed.

    How does directx 9.0b affect NW?
    NWN runs fine. It uses OpenGL for the graphics anyway.

    Craig Welburn, Live Team Programmer

    Unable to level up spellcasters?


    Some people have complained that they cannot level up due to having to choose 2 spells and having only one left on the list to pick from. I have had this problem and bypassed it by clicking the recommend button. Hope this helps!

    I believe that bug was fixed in one of the previous patches.

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    Dragon Age Forum News
    Posted Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 16:16 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    how realistic/futuristic will the world in DA be?


    I guess since we didin't get an answer to my starting question - people are expressing their opinions.

    That's true. Opinions on how dressed characters are/should be needs to be in a seperate thread if folks wish to discuss it. As for your starting question, Lavia, the DA world will be largely similar to our own, visually-speaking. There might be some fantastical elements, but it certainly isn't going to be an alien landscape.

    Percentage done?
    Just to clarify:

    A "mock up" is something that is done to show what the end game might look like visually when it's done... you have a GUI visible on the screen that doesn't actually do anything and everything you're seeing is essentially just art without a functioning engine behind it.

    a "concept demo" like what we showed at E3 actually has some engine behind it and demonstrates the technology involved, while still being far from complete. Some elements of gameplay might work, but only those elements we intend to show and even then not final.

    The artwork at this stage is also in its concept stage, meaning that we are still trying to develop the "look and feel" of the game. When the artists do concept work, they generally provide many visual options that we select from and narrow down exactly what the end game will be like. Somebody obviously had to select one style to use for the actual demo, and while it's possible that some or many of those style elements might make it into the final game don't assume that the demo is as a whole indicative of the final game's style. At this stage, we've still got plenty of options to choose from, visually. Hope that makes sense.

    More:


    The one thing that gets me with this whole business with DA is why did you announce it now?

    For many reasons, some of which are business-related and not the least of which is so that we can get feedback at an early enough stage so that it isn't useless.


    Quote: I mean, didn't you guys make the same mistake with NWN and the OC blew up in your face and it was a made dash to make an OC, all the while the hype built up and up and up just to have the game disappoint withthat rush job of an OC.

    The problems we had with the NWN OC had nothing to do with how early the game was announced. And it's important for us to get the information out about a game, especially as one as different as NWN was... perhaps you may have followed its production during its entire period and then been disappointed, but that's hardly a universal attitude and considering your expectations is not something we can avoid anyhow.


    Quote: I know you guys say you have learned from the mistakes of the past, but I mean come on now. By the time 2 to 3 years come by most will be tired of the hyping.

    Every game will be hyped regardless of the time frame involved, and I wouldn't consider us to be hyping the game right now at all. Indeed, we announced at E3 and have done nothing really since... if you consider THIS to be hype than it's no wonder you go tired of it so quickly.

    More:



    As for the community contributing things, ever heard of too many chefs ruining the meal?

    Interesting point, however, the community hardly constitues the "chefs" here. IMO, the "chefs" are the relatively few Bioware developers - these are of course the ones that will make the final decision on things. The community is merely generating ideas. And I say the more ideas the better!

    Indeed. Were the game being made by committee (as some people seem to believe), then the "too many chefs" comment might apply. That's not the case. Getting feedback and ideas and community-building are not the same as catering to the whim of every armchair developer out there who has an agenda.

    More:


    Yeah, so T-man, are you going to give me those resources so I can prove to you and the world the kickarse game I could make or not.

    Actually, Hades, as I recall you've had the resources for at least two years now and at one point announced far and wide on these forums how you were going to make your own module (with a better story and implementation than Bioware could, naturally). That died out pretty quickly, with various excuses given by yourself as to why that was not possible (even though others have done it).

    So if you can't prove yourself on the same, simple resources that we use, what difference would more resources make?

    Now, naturally, one doesn't have to be an expert to have an opinion on what you like and don't like, but saying you can do better is quite a different story, isn't it?

    More: Bring it on, Woo! I got yer mojo right here! (Just kidding. )

    More:


    Does this mean that, since the game is still in very early stages, some of the bigger ideas on these forums (like the combat system, hit point system, or magic system) might actually be implemented?

    Something that is very general, like the magic system or the general form of the combat system, is something we're already going to have pretty nailed down... we would have had to have done so or we'd never have proceeded past those points. The chances that we would go back and change something so fundamental even now is unlikely.

    However, that said there are still many, many things left which can change... far more so than when a project is normally announced.

    We may not be able to go around just yet and say exactly what those fundamental things are (like whether we're using a mana system or a spell slot system for magic or whatever) simply because folks would jump to conclusions and responding to that would require more details than we are not ready to give... BUT we still do read the debates and suggestions that go on here and draw from them whether you are aware we are doing so or not. As time passes we will be able to supply more info on what we do know and have and narrow down the feedback we're looking for... and I have little doubt that occasionally we'll even come straight out and ask for feedback on very specific issues in the game. In time. Hope that all makes sense.

    More:

    So a thread like "Do away with Clerical Magic" isn't likely to be relevant in terms of the stated topic -- you've already made that call -- but the specifics of how we'd like to see the system might be valuable?

    Exactly. And while you might not know just yet whether we have Divine magic or not, the comments that are made in that thread either way are ones we'll read.

    I suppose it sort of sucks if you make a whole post based on a premise that we've already decided against, but until more details are available for you folks that's the risk you take.

    PreReleased Content for PW builders
    That's not impossible. Certainly it would be advantageous to have community content available upon release, right? But that's a decision that will be made much, much further down the line.

    More:

    Perhaps a lengthy PR plan involving:
    * Release of a model viewer and periodic models. Slipping some documentation to the nwmax guys would be great too.
    * Listing functions with simple code comments is extremely handy.
    * Releasing a beta toolset (or at least a command-line script compiler).
    * Passing out information about intro movies (e.g. Bink again? Resolutions supported? Only at beginning and ending, or any time within a module?)
    * List of dialog tokens (e.g. )

    Of course, all of this is a couple years away, but perhaps the subliminal seed can be planted early.

    I think such dissemination of information by PR is very likely (though the thought of surmounting such a hill likely gives folks like Tom Ohle heart palpitations). We have a much better idea now, of course, as to the sort of info the community needs from us... as do you. Frankly, I expect the later stages of pre-release to go much more smoothly than NWN's did.

    Chests, barrels, etc


    A little request: Please do away with the "chests / barrles / crates everywhere" syndrome.

    We haven't done that since the NWN OC. It was a bad idea then, and we realized it, and that's why we haven't done it for the expansions or for KotOR since.

    Brenon Holmes, Programmer

    Chests, barrels, etc
    But... crates are the foundation for a good review!

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    Lilac Soul Hall of Fame Interview at NWVault
    Posted Friday, July 9, 2004 - 23:48 CET by chevalier

    NWVault have interviewed Lilac Soul, the author of the NWN Script Generator that has been of great help to scripting newbies. Here's a snip:

    1) Could you give our readers some background on yourself and what you do in real life?
    Well, my real name is Carsten, I live in Denmark with my girlfriend, I'm 24 years old, though I hate to admit it. I study public health at the University of Copenhagen. I have been programming for a long, long time, but for various reasons I have never had a good programming environment. I do now :)

    2) You recently submitted a new tool for the community to help create scripts, called the NWN Script Generator. Could you tell our readers more on what it does?
    What I think it does, and apparently a lot of people agree with me on this, it enables non scripters to make working scrips for Neverwinter Night, simply by choosing and providing the relevant information. The Script Generator then spits out a script which can be copied and used. From what I understand, just about everybody can figure out how to use it easily - and even people who know scripting find it useful, because it makes a lot of scripts very fast.


    Read the whole thing at NWVault.

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    Neverwinter Nights Platinum Package
    Posted Friday, July 9, 2004 - 23:42 CET by chevalier

    Finally, Neverwinter Nights is going to be sold together with both expansions. Amazon.com already has available for pre-order, and Atari Australia confirms. Check it out at Amazon.com and Atari Australia.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Friday, July 9, 2004 - 23:35 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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.

    Jay Watamaniuk, Community Manager

    07 Jul 2004 - New NWN Epics!
    If there are errors please let us know...it looks like a bit of debate on the Kensai stats. When it is resolved be sure to let me know so we can get the corrections in. Also, these builds are for interests sake and should not be taken as an indication of powergamer taking over NWN. I did a set of articles on PW's to showcase where I think NWN is finding an excellent home for the future. I have a series of items coming up that should again remind player of all kinds that roleplaying is why this game continues to be crazy popular in addition to the powergaming aspects. I see the epic builds as one poster mentioned an aspect of the game.

    Craig Welburn, Live Team Programmer

    Cleric scrolls only usable by Bards?


    Patches are fixes to the game engine, scripts, toolset, networking and other bugs. Bioware has repeatedly stated that they do NOT patch, fix or otherwise alter the Official Campaigns once they are released. That is why HotU will never be made multiplayer even though there are official Bioware scripts in HotU to specifically support multiplayer. Luckily the user community made the few simple changes to make HotU multiplayer friendly. Now, back to the original topic: I'm not sure, but I think I know where these broken scrolls are comming from. I will have to post it in the "Spoilers" forum though. I'll do some testing and see what more I can find out. - 420

    I believe some of your statements are incorrect.

    I don't remember anyone at BioWare ever stating that we don't patch the official campaign modules. Its possible that it may have stated that we had no plans to change the HotU campaign modules to make them more multiplayer friendly.

    HotU was designed as a single player campaign, so there currently are no plans to change the HotU official campaign to make it work in multiplayer.
    However, its not impossible that we might decide to revisit that decision some time in the future. Although I wouldn't hold my breath waiting.

    We have patched some of the OC modules in the past.
    We will fix problems in the OC modules in the future.
    I know for a fact that we have fixed some problems with the OCs internally since the release of the 1.62 patch (for the both the original OCs and some of the HotU chapters). I suspect the fixes will be in the 1.63 patch. Hope that clarifies things.

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    Dragon Age Forum News
    Posted Friday, July 9, 2004 - 23:29 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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.

    Jay Watamaniuk, Community Manager

    07 Jul 2004 - Download A New Dragon Age Wallpaper!
    This is concept art folks...because it is a concept of what you may find in the game.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    Multiple Attacks Per Round are awkward
    The problem is the word "round". Who said there will be rounds in DA?

    You don't need rounds - you can use other factors such as weapon/action speed, etc to determine what characters can no in which time.

    I'm not saying that we will or will not have rounds in DA, I just want to remind that DA will not be D&D but a completely new rules system that is developed to play best on a computer, not PnP.

    Brenon Holmes, Programmer

    Percentage done?
    Because it's easier to show what your ideas are rather than to have a simple list of bullet points ... not to mention a heck of a lot more interesting...

    just for fun's sake...
    One.

    Then we'd take the money and run.

    Come on, it's American money! That's worth at least eleventeen times what Canadian money's worth!

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Friday, July 9, 2004 - 2:22 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    Allowing Players to Use Debug Mode
    Nope, unless you allow them to log in with the DM client

    Thieving of server identity
    While we are not policing servers in NWN, I think this threads brings up an interesting possiblity for our future games like Dragon Age: Verified server identities (i.e. register your unique server name with your CDKey). I agree that some kind of protection for server names would be very nice to have, so feel free to carry this topic over into the Dragon Age Discussion Forums http://forums.bioware.com/viewforum.html?forum=84 so the team can add it to his evergrowing list of potential features for DA

    1.63 patch
    Patch 1.63 will primary contain bugfixes, performance optimization and various new features/fixes/changes to support the custom content, scripting and module builder community. It also contains significant security improvements and some helpful features for the server admin community. It will most likely not contain significant changes to classes, new spells or feats, but I think that some content (i.e. creatures) are planned for inclusion, as well as some other functionality. As far as "will XXX be in the patch" you will have to wait for the beta patch for the answer, I'm a bit tired of those questions right now (and on vacation, so I can't look up the answers anyway)

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    Dragon Age Forum News
    Posted Friday, July 9, 2004 - 2:18 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    Can’t we have a game based on characters and not saving the world?


    And I have a question then, whats so wrong with having a character with a history?

    Nothing, really, provided your player buys into the history that's been provided to them. If not, then anything that follows isn't going to be of much use to them no matter how well written. I've seen many comments about Planescape: Torment from folks who didn't like the Nameless One character... and thus couldn't get into the game at all (which is a pity).

    That element of choice in your character creation is also arguably one of the defining differences between role-playing games and adventure games. I say arguably, of course, because to some people this is less important and some much, much more so.

    To a point, we're actually taking a middle ground with DA by allowing the option of choosing their background... though even in those we need to allow for a wide variety of character types, and has already been noted the more freedom a player has in establishing their own background the harder it is to make a concise story path. EDIT: ANNNND it appears Lady Shayna beat me to the punch, saying almost word-for-word what I did. Sigh.

    More:

    I do read quite a bit, but whats wrong with wanting RPG's to be better? (at least in my eyes)
    I'd like a company to take a game plot serious since it doesn't happen that often. Bioware at least consistantly puts thought into their plots and characters; whats wrong with me wanting them to take it one step further and portray our protagonist as a real person?

    Err... have you even read the responses here? Obviously we want to try to improve our storytelling skills, as well, but what's being said is that telling a story in a game format where the protaganist could be anyone is NOT the same as telling a story with prose with a specific protaganist.

    And while you could advocate that we go ahead and make an RPG with a very specific, pre-defined protaganist, it really at that point is no longer your protaganist anymore, is it? You didn't make him. And that's the difference.

    how realistic/futuristic will the world in DA be?
    Yes. Tongue-in-cheek, as in "not freezing or barren, but certainly a bit too cold to be running around in your skivvies all the time" sort of cold. Some of you folks are so literal.

    Character Development
    "learn by doing" == giant, winged monkeys with fangs

    Not going to happen, for reasons already described.

    There are plenty of other ways to add interaction and realism in the world rather than converting useful abstractions into pointless make-work.

    Now, if we're talking about special skills that are part of the plot, that's different. But as a regular way of building your character? Nuh-uh.

    More: Architect's post is the nicely-worded version of my "thppppfffft" response, essentially. Thanks, Architect.

    10 Foot Pole!


    I didn't play a single game of D&D (and I played a lot in my youth) where any party member chose a 10' pole for their starting equipment. 50' rope, yes. Hooded lantern and torches, yes. Sacks and pouches, yes. Thieves' tools and holy symbols, yes. Parchment, scroll cases, tinder box and wineskins, yes.

    10' pole? nope.

    I had the occasional character who used a 10' pole back in the days of Basic/Expert D&D. Funny, but as I recall it always ended up getting lost (my DM liked to pick on me for carrying around something so unwieldy) or being used for something it really wasn't meant to. Usually after about the 100th lame joke made in reference to it I would start thwacking fellow party members with it until it broke.

    Special Encounters/Easter Eggs/Comedy


    As Dragon Age is using Bioware's own IP, I think it will be difficult to restrain the humor. I suspect most of it will be subtle and in the context of the game.

    WOMAN: Well, how did you become king then?
    ARTHUR: The Lady of the Lake,... [angels sing] ...her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. [singing stops] That is why I am your king!
    DENNIS: Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
    ARTHUR: Be quiet!
    DENNIS: Well, but you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just 'cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!
    ARTHUR: Shut up!
    DENNIS: I mean, if I went 'round saying I was an emperor just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away!
    ARTHUR: Shut up, will you. Shut up!
    DENNIS: Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system.
    ARTHUR: Shut up!
    DENNIS: Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help, help! I'm being repressed!
    ARTHUR: Bloody peasant!
    DENNIS: Oh, what a give-away. Did you hear that? Did you hear that, eh? That's what I'm on about. Did you see him repressing me? You saw it, didn't you?

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

    Heh... I dunno, we Bioware writers are a very serious lot. No monkey business from us, you know.

    Special Encounters/Easter Eggs/Comedy


    No,No Patryn it should be(Unless, of course, they are of the winged,poisoned-fanged,anal, Gaider variety.)

    Nope. There are no Gaider Monkeys that I'm aware of, regardless of what kind of simian ecology might be imagined within my posterior region.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer



    Tim Smith, Tools Programmer

    Scripting Language Request: C# or similar
    C# is indeed a very nice language but it won't be the scripting language of DA. DA's scripting language will be very similar to what you have seen in NWN.

    DA Toolset
    Wooohoo, I question I can answer... well sort of. To be perfectly honest, that decision won't be made until very late in the game.

    Brenon Holmes, Programmer

    Stupid question in need of an answer
    Welcome to the Dragon Age forums!

    Consulting my magical Bioware 8-ball, it says:

    Unclear, ask again later.

    There is no release date for Dragon Age, it will be finished when it's finished. If there ever is a release date, you should see it on the forums here fairly quickly from an official source (not Amazon, not EB Games, etc...).

    how realistic/futuristic will the world in DA be?
    I believe that was more a tongue-in-cheek comment about how our characters will most likely be wearing more clothing than what was in some of the released concept demo screenshots.

    Stanley Woo, Quality Assurance

    10 Foot Pole!


    Though I have fond memories of 10' poles, this is probably one of those things that works better in P&P and not so great in a CRPG.

    And it didn't really work in PnP, either. I didn't play a single game of D&D (and I played a lot in my youth) where any party member chose a 10' pole for their starting equipment. 50' rope, yes. Hooded lantern and torches, yes. Sacks and pouches, yes. Thieves' tools and holy symbols, yes. Parchment, scroll cases, tinder box and wineskins, yes.

    10' pole? nope.

    Can’t we have a game based on characters and not saving the world?
    I think people play RPGs to, as the "role-playing game" genre suggests, play a role. The more sympathetic the player is towards his in-game avatar, the more immersed he is within the game world and the more he cares what happens to that character. The less say the player has in what his character is like, physically or personality-wise, the less he can identify with that character.

    So, with RPGs, it becomes less of a "my character does this" experience (as in most action games) and more of an "(i)I(/b) do this" experience. It's that extra bit of immersion that allows players to have ownership over their characters and take pride in their accomplishments.

    It's what I enjoy in the RPGs I play, and why I enjoy RPGs most of all. Different strokes for different folks.

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    Latest Poll Results
    Posted Friday, July 9, 2004 - 0:03 CET by Sorcerer


    What we asked:

    Q: On how many online message boards do you post regularly?
    (168 votes total)

    None (50) 30%
    1 (42) 25%
    2 (41) 24%
    3 (17) 10%
    4 (7) 4%
    More than 5 (7) 4%
    5 (4) 2%

    Interestingly enough, the majority of poll participants (30%) do not post regularly on any message boards at all. I suggest giving ours a spin for a change...

    A full quarter (25%) of those who voted post regularly on one message board.

    Almost as many of the participants in the poll (24%) post regularly on 2 message boards.

    10% of those who voted regularly post on 3 message boards, followed by 4% of those who regularly post on 4.

    Another 4% of poll participants regularly post on more than 5 message boards, followed by 2% of those who regularly post on 5.

  • Current Poll
  • Previous Polls

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Thursday, July 8, 2004 - 0:12 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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.

    Rob Bartel, Senior Designer

    DD and mod teams


    Hi Rob, If you pay someone to create a kuo-toa, for example, will BW be able to "flesh it out" as needed to make it "ready for prime time?" In other words, if the person hired to create the kuo-toa does an "OK" job, but the skin, AI, etc. need tweaking by BW, will BW be legally able to do that? Thanks, JP (Scrotok)

    We would never put ourselves in a position where we obtain content but then not be able to modify it to suit our needs or quality standards. That said, our obvious preference is to have that content meet our needs and quality standards in the first place.

    Don Moar, Tools Programmer

    I'm looking for a tutorial on tlk files
    Hey, You also might find this information on the .tlk file format useful. Click Here

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    NEW EPIC BUILDS - SWEET!
    Hey The Epic builds are done by the people in the community and prepared by Jay for the Web team. The people from the Live Team working on Patch 1.63 and some other NWN related project are not involved with them, so nobody needs to fear that the Epic Builds have any negative impact on our release schedule. As for the bonus pack monsters, the last information I had was that they will be released in a future patch, whether or not that will be 1.63 remains to be seen.

    Trouble downloading patch 1.62
    SecuRom has nothing to do with the patcher. Either the download got corrupted and failed the CRC/MD5 check or your executable has been modified, which could be caused by a virus or by using unsupported patches (like a no cd hack or the camera hack)

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    Dragon Age Forum News
    Posted Wednesday, July 7, 2004 - 23:59 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    Handling Resurrection


    From dev announcements, it seems the game will support both styles. But that does leave us with a legitimate argument about how to handle death and resurrection.

    Yes, let's not forget that there will be a seperate single-player and multiplayer game here. By necessity they will have to operate on slightly different rules.

    What I find a bit amusing are the people who cling to the D&D principles of permanent death as if this is the only way to go, as if having characters repeatedly dying and being cheaply ressurected was indicative of not only a good RPG but their tenacity as a player. Quite simply, such systems allow quick death simply because magical healing and revival are also readily available.

    You want to have a system that introduces downtime or setbacks for having party members defeated, true, but not have it be so punishing either that all but the most stubbornly hardcore reload and try the battle again to get around the sheer annoyance.

    Multiple Attacks Per Round are awkward
    I think the concept of the "6-second round" is the real culprit here.

    Please don't start the game with a city under siege.


    1) I also dislike the "...you're our only hope..." storylines, unless a) you're Obi-Wan Kenobi, or b) it's a peasant farmer saying it. In other words, it makes no sense for powerful NPCs to be entrusting everything to 1st level characters.

    Not without good reason, no, I would tend to agree. Concurrently, it isn't much fun if there are folks around who are all better than you and send you to fetch the water buckets. Let's hope we can find a happy medium.


    Quote: 2) Why does the Big Plot always have to involve unleashing ancient magical powers that threaten to destroy the world? Personally I'm happy with just vanquishing the bad guy. Well, and getting lots of loot. EVERY adventure doesn't have to involve saving the world.

    Every adventure doesn't. But the epic ones often do. Well, maybe not "the world", but the stakes involved are generally pretty high and that's appropriate. If you're expecting a plot where nothing much is at risk and you can wander around willy-nilly for half the game before you even find out what it is... well, that's not exactly a story-driven game at that point, is it?

    I sense that's not the point of most of the posters anyway, though. My sense is that we're being mostly asked to try hard and avoid tired cliches. Or at least to disguise them real well.

    More:

    My personal preference tends to stories which start out personal, but that gradually reveal that the players involvement is really a tiny corner of a much larger plot. But then, even that can become cliche.

    Some people are going to tiredly dismiss whatever plot we come up with as cliche, no matter what we do. And for every person that would prefer more personal motivation as opposed to exterior motivation, someone else would cry that they didn't buy into personal motives because that's not what their character would do (like, for example, rescuing Imoen).

    But we know that going in.

    I can say that we haven't taken this kind of path with a story before (which I like as a writer) and that the multiple origin paths do allow for a great deal of personalization for your character's involvement in the overall plot. That said, there's no dilly-dallying around and it's definitely story-driven, but in the end either you buy into that story or you don't, regardless of what it is. Our job is to choose our course and make that story as easy to buy into and as enjoyable as possible.

    Evil:
    I don't think "evil" needs to necessarily involve killing at all. Not unless it's necessary, as someone with no morales wouldn't let a simple thing like murder stand between them and whatever it is that they want.

    Really good evil motivations are more long-term, however, then simply what you're going to do with a damned puppy... and they're the ones that are hard to do in a CRPG as ulterior motives aren't easy to handle. We deal with what the player does, but we don't get into why he does it much.

    As for those who feel the need to be psychos ("why can't I slaughter this whole village?"), they're really in the wrong ballpark to begin with.

    More:

    Where's my option to kill the boy's parents and feed them to the puppy, and then convince the boy it was all his fault? Not to mention than raising the (now tormented) boy and puppy to believe in what I believe in? Besides - I gotta raise my doggy up to be big and strong, with a taste for human flesh.

    We'll eagerly await the release of your module "A Boy and His Dog: A Family Story". As for our efforts along such a line, see the part of my post regarding psychos.

    More:
    Look for the X-Box / PC title Enclave.


    I know it's a FPS type game but that's not the important part. It has a Good and an Evil story. The stories are not identical and as the game is mission based the Good and Evil mission are very different.

    What it does do is tell the same story from opposing sides.

    And it does so in a very different manner from a CRPG, considering that it's mission-based.


    Quote: So, I'd say that you can have an Evil option. But I'd also say that it will need a seperate story arc. Will we see that in Dragon Age? Go on, go on, go on, go on, go on BioWare

    A completely seperate arc? No, not at all. There will be evil options and evil goals, but there is no seperate story where you wander around being the villain. Period.

    More:

    You know, this might work. You could create an evil motivation where you do wander around being the villain, such that the villain needs to do all the same things the hero does is his own story arc. Same dialogue - same plot points - different implicit motivation. Aside from the beginning and the end the game wouldn't actually be that different.

    But the things the hero must accomplish are heroic. The villainous player being forced to accomplish heroic acts is what is being objected to here in the first place, if I'm not mistaken.

    Brenon Holmes, Programmer

    Pace of combat


    How about something similar than in Drakan or Legacy of Kain - Soul Reaver 1&2? Maybe a few combat moves and basic attack and defence (like primary attack left mouse button and defence right mouse button and special moves from key combos or maybe F.. keys). It would have worked like a dream in Drakan if it had been made better. This would also require either mouse+keyboard combination or Soul Reaver style "console like" keyboard use. I don't think it's a bad idea.

    We are playing PC games that's true, but I have to admit that using a contoller for attacking sounds much more intriguing than clicking a mouse.

    You most likely won't see this sort of thing for a couple reasons...

    1) Again, this is something that's relying on the skill of the player as opposed to the skill of the character. We're looking to involve the player in other ways besides timing moves (eg. hit spacebar when the screen flashes to do 2x damage!) or fighter style moves (eg. roll bottom to forward + B for a fireball).

    2) The party. Fighter game style moves don't translate well to party based games, yes it can work when you're only controlling one character - however the style of game for these types of control schemes is usually instant feedback without the ability to queue up multiple actions...

    Percentage done?
    *clears throat*

    *looks around and taps the mike*

    It'll be done when it's done.

    I wouldn't draw any conclusions based on the concept demo, as most likely you'll be wrong (too pessimistic or optimistic).

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    BioWare Wednesday
    Posted Wednesday, July 7, 2004 - 23:17 CET by Sorcerer

    (Only news relevant to SP posted.)

    New NWN Epics!
    Two new Epic Character builds are out this week. The first is the Versatile Kensai, a jack-of-all-trades of epic proportions with a skill list a mile long. A veritable Swiss army knife of characters. The next one gives us the willies--the Infernal Warrior. Here's a dude who'd just as soon eat your soul as look at ya. Yikes! Discuss.

    Download A New Dragon Age Wallpaper!
    Download a brand new wallpaper for our exciting PC fantasy roleplaying game in development, Dragon Age. This wallpaper depicts a barbarian from some of our early, early concept art for the recent E3 trade show demo. Check out a full body shot, a profile, head shots, and a couple of conceptual equipment items. Discuss.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Tuesday, July 6, 2004 - 18:29 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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.

    Rob Bartel, Senior Designer

    DD and mod teams
    ::sigh:: I should know better than opening up a big can of worms before the long weekend.

    Okay, first of all, let's set the record straight regarding some of the big mod teams out there (someone took this thread as an opportunity to slag CODI & DLA, for example, which I think was in poor taste). To my knowledge, the reason why a number of the big mod teams for NWN have not yet released their initial modules to the community has NOTHING to do with them 'holding out' in the hope or expectation that their modules will be included in BioWare's DD project. The reason they've been taking so long is simply a result of their respective projects being massive undertakings. These guys are perfectionists. They're managing large teams of hobbyist contributors. Team members come and go, morale ebbs and flows (posts like the one I'm responding to here certainly don't help matters), data gets lost or corrupted, unforeseen pitfalls or engine limitations are encountered, but still they plug onwards, trying to create something that you, the community, can enjoy. Let's face it, it's a pretty thankless job at times and definitely an uphill battle.

    Will we be approaching these teams in our search for DD content? Yes, I'm sure we will and, to a degree, we've already done so. Will we be looking for ways to support them and help them make their ongoing contributions to the community? Absolutely! Will we make an occasional purchase from them, either of actual modules or of art content to support internally developed projects like Witch's Wake 2? I sure hope so but I don't see why we would limit that to just the large-scale teams (to be honest, individual contractors are easier to work with from a legal standpoint). Also, I don't foresee anyone getting particularly wealthy off of this (the DD project is pretty experimental, after all, and is designed to operate on a shoestring budget). Will these mod teams and individual mod developers continue to develop free content for the community? I honestly don't see why not. They're contributing to this community because they have a vision and a passion. Sometimes those visions and passions may mesh with those of the DD project but, in many cases, they'll be better served by pursuing them on their own, without money and contracts and approvals and licensing issues getting in the way. I'm a firm believer in the notion of mutual benefits. Everyone can help each other and, together, we can make the community better as a whole. Free, community-created content is a vital part of what makes NWN what it is and the Live Team has no intention or desire to jeapordize that. We're just here to enable new directions and options for the community that weren't previously possible.

    I hope that clarifies things, at least a little.

    DD and mod teams

    Just to make sure that I understand correctly and please correct me if I'm wrong. So you're saying that Bioware would actualy be ready to sub-contract Talented Mod Teams to create Modules or/and Custom Content? I mean as in "Possible".

    Yes, you are correct. We may not have all of our infrastructure in place for that yet or be ready to open the gates wide and yell 'come what may!' but the subcontracting of Talented Mod Teams (tm) is a likely direction for the DD project as it evoles.

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    Dragon Age Forum News
    Posted Tuesday, July 6, 2004 - 18:23 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    Do away with Divine Magic
    I find the D&D cleric kind of strange, myself, and it's put some funny notions in the minds of gamers.

    For instance, why are religious spellcasters the only source of healing? I could see that if their god was one of mercy or healing specifically, but for most of our own history most major religions were renown for anything but mercy or healing.

    I mean, not saying that this is what we do in DA, but if you were to give a generic "divine" magic to clerics so that they were able to do what they do better, we'd be talking about spells of charisma, mass influence and showy miracles, no?

    I like the idea of clerics having magic to suit their individual god, but that does of course presume the existance of a pantheon.

    At the very least, since religion exists as such a large part of any medieval-esque society, those that serve said religion should both reflect that power and have abilities that service the dogma and nature of that religion. Meaning they (and the religion) should exist in the context of the world and its history first and their place in an adventuring party second. But that's all I'm going to say about that.

    Monks
    Monks are historians and scribes who live in monasteries.

    Monks


    If you want to drop the Monk from DA, then I think it only fair to also drop the European Paladin, Druid and Bard.

    Maybe. But what does fairness have to do with it? If Paladin, Druid and Bard-type classes fit the setting (and I'm not saying they do) and a Monk-type class does not, then we will have Paladin, Druid and Bard-type classes and no Monk-type class. Clinging to the D&D mindset of what classes could or should exist will get you nowhere.

    And, incidentally, in order to "drop" anything from DA, it would have had to have existed there to begin with, no?

    More:

    Please, PLEASE tell us that you will have Paladins (my favorite class)and Rangers(my second favorite)

    I want to know (So I can get outta this forums if there is none!)

    It's not gonna kill you if you mention a few clases....

    We MAY have some classes that have a few things in common with the Paladin and Ranger, I suppose... but those classes specifically? No, of course not. We're not starting with the D&D rules and classes and then modifying them until we get DA, the DA rules are being built from scratch. Off you go, then, I guess.

    A questions regarding windows (not MS) in buildings
    It's definitely not impossible. One reason not to do it, however, is something Sysuro mentioned... interiors are generally going to be fairly detailed and have a lot of textures that are completely different from those used on the exterior areas.

    Another hurdle is having pathfinding and AI that can handle the existence of such barriers as walls.

    Both of these problems can be surmounted, and it's primarily just how you intend to model the area to begin with... but either way the end result is a cumulative hit on the framerate. When we started working on NWN a long time ago, the seperation of interiors from exteriors was just one of the design decisions made while allocating where system resources would be allocated.

    One of the results of having a fully-3D world, I suppose. With mostly-2D worlds like Fallout, Arcanum or BG you can easily have non-seperate interiors (on smaller buildings, at least), but those kinds of systems are going to have their own drawbacks as well.

    More:

    If such is possible, but improbable (if I read correctly), could an alternative such as if inside looking out, proper Sky and time of day be displayed? Or if gazing inward, main non-placables being in view?

    If there is no seperation of the interior of a building from the exterior (it's all part of the same area architecture... the only reason you can't see into or out of a building are the walls in the way), then yes... you'd be able to see in and out of windows (if the windows were set up to be transparent, that is).

    But with all those different textures and geometries, you're going to really slow down lower-end systems. I guess it depends on what you need to allocate the computer's resources for.

    Another way to allow windows (if it was that important) would be to "stage" them. You walk by a building that, when you enter it, brings you to a seperate area... but you can look through the window into what is essentially a small "boxed stage" on the other side that shows only what you would see of that interior area and itself only exists for looks (the actually interior is completely seperate). Does that make sense?

    I guess it all depends on what you need to accomplish. Certainly if the spec requirements for DA are higher, more things are possible... but all that extra processing power might be useable elsewhere (like with massive amounts of AI calculations) rather than this, so you might still want to keep interiors and exteriors seperate. Nothing would please me more, personally, if we could forgo the Tarsis effect of NWN buildings (tiny exteriors, massive interiors), but I suppose we'll see.

    Now take off your pants for me.


    Late reply but... I'd be willing to give up at least 25-50% of the combat in exchange for more customization.

    Ummm... let me understand what you're saying here. You'd like a prettier and more unique avatar that could actually do less in combat? As in less combat animations, a smaller selection of weapons and maneuvers in the game? Or less combat encounters in general?

    Because if it's the former, I might be a bit baffled by the request but so be it. If it's the latter, then it's not a comparable thing at all... placing combat encounters is a use of resources that already exist, having less of them does not add time for the animators and artists to do more work.

    Please don't start the game with a city under siege.


    Ack. No, not beyond my control. I want my character to be able to choose the adventure - not have the adventure choose him.

    If you're going to have an adventure that's actually story-driven, at some level it's always going to be "the adventure chooses him", isn't it? The freedom to choose is essentially illusiory.

    As to the first poster, no... the game does not start with a city under siege. Though only because we've done that before, not because there's anything wrong with that approach.

    Handling Resurrection
    What's sometimes strange is how magic often exists in settings in a moral and logical vacuum. If the possibility of raising the dead exists without ethical complication, then no matter how rare it is it is still a setting-killer (as Shir'le said, essentially). And that's bad.

    Equally strange, why does nobody consider the ethical considerations of every 1st-level mage having access to Charm Person? Or, far worse, Dominate?

    Just a random thought. Insofar as DA is concerned, anyhow, we are trying to keep the practical place of magic in the setting in mind as we proceed.

    More:

    Magic that makes sense...Hmmmmm? Magic use that has certain ethical considerations... Hmmmmm? Would that interfere with my desire to raise demons to deal with those pesky villagers.

    At the very least it would complicate it.


    Quote: In the World of Time series the Aes Sedai are regarded with suspicion if not open hostility.

    Considering that every one of them is this close to boxing your ears, that reaction isn't exactly without its reasons.

    Do away with Divine Magic


    In fact, it looks like the only thing people haven't called for is elimination of arcane mages. BUT WHAT IF THEY DO *THAT*!...

    Tut. Such scandalous thinking.


    Quote: Looks like we have some people who would be happy if there were only three classes, warrior, rogue, and mage. (It wouldn't be.)

    Wouldn't it? You seem to be making some assumptions yourself.


    Quote: but I'm still semi-petitioning for one that looks a bit like the cleric which appears in not just D & D but a few PnP and computerized RPGs...

    How much is "a bit"? What role is the cleric filling that you are trying to preserve? Is it a healing role? I think it's already been established that this need not be restricted to clerics, nor even be magical. Is it a religious servant role? Because priests aren't the only folks who worship gods, even as devout and dedicated servants. So I'm curious as to your meaning.

    Brenon Holmes, Programmer

    Recoverable weapons
    Quick question: Assuming we had something like this in the game... would you (as a player) seriously spend the amount of time required combing the landscape to recover all the arrows you've fired?

    Even if in a particularly long encounter your two archers may have emptied a full quiver with their uber special moves... meaning maybe upwards of 50 arrows in and around your foes?

    Please note that none of the above is indicative of what we may or may not be doing in Dragon Age, so any attempts to draw conclusions about the game/rules/etc... will most likely be fraught with peril. (Yes, I'm considering putting this in my .sig)

    Ability to throw any type of weapon.


    <snip>

    But if you are able to throw any weapon (or just normal throwable weapons like daggers and spears), there should be some protection against griefing in the recoverabilty of the weapons.

    If i had thrown my expensive magic sword at the enemy, i would not wish it to be picked up by another player. Even if it was non magical, and a packrat player grabbed it up in the confusion, i'd still be short a weapon until i found a merchant again.

    May be thrown weapons have like a 5-10min owner tag (visible to anyone if they look at the description), where only the owner can pick it up during that time... or at the very least give the player a message stating who actually took the weapon.

    Griefing? Assuming you were able to throw your ub3r sword at an enemy... why would it be griefing if someone in your party picked it up? Just ask for it back?

    Plus I'd assume that throwing your shortsword (something that's not really meant to be thrown, balance of the blade and all that jazz) would probably be more of a desperation type of thing...

    More:

    Well in a multi player game you could find yourself playing with someone dishonest/greedy or who just likes to be a pain in the butt for everyone else (i know everyone has met at least one or two while server hopping)

    but besides griefing, other things could happen too. Joe has picked up my weapon but before he can return it, his internet connection dies or his wife pulls the plug and he don't come back before i stop playing for the night.

    This is why in the NWN OC plot items that quitting/timedout players had appear in that pool in the temples so they won't break the quests. *** happens, so you have to keep timed out players from ruining the other players playing experience... or from them timing out with my sword in their inventory

    That's not even counting the cases where you can get screwed over in a non multi-player environment... for example, what if you throw your precious dagger of dhoom (with the optional microwave attachment) at a plot character who then teleports away (for spooky plot reasons)?

    What if you end up throwing it into a bottomless chasm? Or a secluded floating island? What if you hit a flying creature (if we end up having flying creatures) and it flies away? What if you end up throwing it into the ocean or a fast flowing river?

    It's almost explicit that if you throw your weapon, you're agreeing to whatever the consequences may be...


    Just because it could be an act of desperation, doesn't mean i wouldn't want my sword back afterwards

    I just used a shortsword as an example.. Another way throwing weapons could be used is the fighter types of your party throwing a "volley" of spears at the enemy before engaging with their normal weapons.

    In the case of the shortsword, I meant to indicate that that sort of thing probably wouldn't be happening incredibly often... ie: You wouldn't throw your expensive blade at some guy every fight, you would probably only do it if you really really really needed to do some near-instant damage...

    Generally for weapons that are meant to be thrown, you care quite a bit less about where they end up as usually it's pretty easy to acquire new ones if you lose the old ones... (spears, arrows, throwing knives, etc...).

    I'm not certain if we'd consider doing some kind of reserve system (saving the item for the player who threw it) if we did the 'throw anything, including the kitchen sink' system... especially as most likely you probably wouldn't be chucking your usual melee weapon about anyways, but it is something to keep in mind if we end up doing something like this.

    More: Dodgeball! Er... dodge-blade... er, nevermind...

    Tim Smith, Tools Programmer

    If kids ruled the world......


    its an expression. in this context I think you can safely assume it to mean 'if we had everything our way...'

    The problem is that it is never just about getting things "our way". It is about getting things "his way", "his way", "her way" and oh "his way" too.

    This is why our primary goal is to produce a fun game. If we let of focus waver too much, we end up producing "Frankenstein Age" where tons of bullet features are just sort of wired together. Nobody would enjoy that.

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    SP Happenings #57
    Posted Tuesday, July 6, 2004 - 17:48 CET by Sorcerer

    I have been uploading & testing the pages of the new design for the last few days, and I have to say I'm quite pleased with the results. Since I'm also correcting things on the fly it's taking a bit longer, but it means that by the time I'll invite a few more people to test the new site, the majority of the kinks will have been ironed out. I expect to finish all the sections apart from Games by the end of the day, and start on Games tomorrow.

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    Penny Arcade Pokes Fun at Interplay
    Posted Saturday, July 3, 2004 - 22:25 CET by chevalier

    Penny Arcade have posted a comic strip about Interplay. Here's the link to that.

    Post Comments (1)


    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Saturday, July 3, 2004 - 15:22 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    Disappointed-- Hasbro & WotC
    Something is weird with the quotes in that post, indeed. About D&D's current state - D&D today is a different game than it was around 2nd Edition. It's geared toward a far younger audience and the overwhelming majority of people who buy a D&D game on the computer never even touched 3rd Edition Books or know about PnP.

    There are no hard sales figures available to my knowledge but you can try to salvage some information from the internet, i.e. by checking the sales ranks of certain products (i.e. Players Handbook) on amazon or by reading some of the articles posted by various people. A couple of threads I found on those topics:
    Click Here
    Click Here
    Click Here

    Ah, while looking up those links I found this gem I'd like to pass around for public amusement
    Click Here

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    Dragon Age Forum News
    Posted Saturday, July 3, 2004 - 15:19 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    Should Bioware haggle with WoTC?


    Why do the letters MMORPG make me nervous for some reason?

    They shouldn't. I think after the last couple of month most people around here are pretty happy that BioWare is not interested in MMORPGs at this time.

    Mythica - cancelled
    TFO - cancelled
    UltimaXO- cancelled
    Warhammer online-cancelled

    these are high profile games by the big guys, some were close to alpha release. there are more to come and there will be bloodshed among the remaining ones when EQ2 and WoW enter the arena. No, the MMORPG space has far too many companies competing for a very small crowd of gamers (compared to the market for normal games) and due to the subscription fees it's not like "They buy game A this month and game B the next month", it's game A or game B. Also the whole genre is missing innovation, basic gameplay (with some variations) is still pretty much diku mud meets graphics engine (grind + social networking) and as long as that doesn't change the base audience isn't likely to expand significantly.

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    Dragon Age Forum News
    Posted Friday, July 2, 2004 - 14:44 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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

    A quote from the Great One concerning Henchmen


    We already know that is not the way DA will handle parties, so what is the "focus" solution going to be? What are James Ohlen's instructions to the writing staff? Has James even considered this yet?

    Err... yes, James has considered this. The focus of the story is always on our minds. But thanks for the reminder. As for what his instructions to the writers, I'm not sure what answer you're looking for. This isn't our first party-based story, after all. At any rate, it's too early to talk even in generalities, so I guess there's no need for us to "whine" about it right now, is there? (Incidentally, I was around for those conversations, and I don't particularly think we did any whining on this topic back then, either.)

    Visible Cloaks/Capes?
    Yes, we understand about the cloaks. "Cloaks are neat. When my character puts his on, he looks cool. I want my cloak to billow lots." Got it. Written down, even. "billowing essential to story and gameplay" noted and hi-lited. Moving on. (Obviously we can do cloaks. For the person who suggested that doing them was easy and killed that poor kitten, perhaps they might talk to Heed or any of the community members who have done cloaks and ask them what the inherent difficulties seem to be? Just a thought.)

    Gnome!


    But I've read a few DnD novels, that predated BG, where the gnomes had a Jansen-like personality (except not as amusing).

    Really? Wow. You mean we did it right by accident? *scratches head* Huh. Who knew?

    More:

    I bet the marketing people would love to change this, just to get the obligatory "cover-of-box" chick like that from the wallpaper sample.

    Yeah, well, I suspect you don't have to have pointy ears in order to be the obligatory cover chick. Just check out your local magazine rack sometime. Sigh.

    Derek French, Technical Producer

    About some engine limitations
    The short answer is "dunno" as we are still building the engine.

    What, exacty, is Dragon Age the name of?


    It seems like "Dragon Age" would be a period of time.(i.e. as in "stone age", "ice age", etc.) Just a guess though.

    MrPhysics has it right.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    A quote from the Great One concerning Henchmen


    Well, I don't think that it's impossible to have both, but I think that it would be easy to be distracted with your monster-bashing to romance the NPC.

    Gor some reason this conjured the following image with me:

    Romance Interest: Oh my dearest !
    Player: Oh my beautiful
    Romance Interest: How can I brighten your live today?
    Player: Grant me a kiss so I may have fire and strength in the upcoming battle
    Romance Interest: My dear , you have not yet gained sufficient fame with my person, please slay 30 more goblins and ask again
    Player: Oh crap.

    Should Bioware haggle with WoTC?
    In case you didn't notice, we actually enjoy building our own system and IP.

    More:

    Just tell me one thing.... Do the DEV's like some of the thing we wrote around here? Are they actually considering a few of them?

    That's one of the points of having those forums that early in the project. Usually games get announced much later in the development cycle but by having these boards that early we can have feedback on things way earlier. Since most of the stuff in DA is in flow right now and not much has been decided, there is not much solid information to post for us right now, but that doesn't mean we are not considering things we read here on the boards. Every once in a while a cool idea is thrown around here that will make it's way to one of the meetings about DA and eventually end up on the To Be Investigated list. As the project progresses and things become more solid, you will probably see more posts with questions or descriptions about thing that we want input on.

    Certain things won't change no matter how "loud' they are posted (i.e. "please BioWare, make it d20", "please, make combat FPS like", etc), but a lot of things are up for discussion at this point, a lot more than in any previous project, because in this case we have full control over ruleset and implementation.

    Hope that helps

    AoE spells hurting allies- Poll
    One mistake in NWN in regards to AoE spell behavior was to tie it to the difficulty setting, which is incredibly untransparent. If there was something like an AoE FF switch in DA, it would most likely not be tied to the difficulty setting.

    More:

    I think friendly fire is unlikely to make it into DA, simply because it makes the AI much simpler.

    Not neccessarily. The main problems with friendly fire came from the horrible auto faction system in NWN (I don't think anyone really likes it around here, it's probably the worst nightmare of anyone who had been involved with AI scripting in the past).

    Assuming that there will not be a faction system that has automatic adjustments, a whole level of complexity is removed.

    Adding evaluation functions to area of effect spells that make NPCs evaluate whether or not it's justified to throw that fireball on the 10 trolls that surround that one party member is still not trivial but hardly too expensive not to try (plus you could have some interesting options, i.e. an evil wizard might have a little lower threshold of firing that fireball...)

    Personally I like friendly fire because it adds some tactial depth to battles, but I also understand people who hate it, especially when they got knocked off their feet by Deekin's for the 10th time in a row (or anyone remember what happened if you gave a party member the "firedoom staff" in U7?). Regardless how good your AI is, there will still be a good amount of players who will not be satisfied with how it reacts.

    The optimal solution would probably be to make it an optional switch and retain special AI routines for the "FF on" setting so NPCs still would be somewhat careful about what they do with their AoE attacks, but only time will tell what ends up in DA.

    Will D&D fans support Dragon Age?
    I think the number of people who say "I'm not playing any CRPG except D&D" out there is very very small, and as chris said, it's not that you are divorcing with a certain game/ruleset when you try out others.

    I'm sure there will still be lot's of D&D games in the future so it's not that our decision to pursue our own IP is going harm that franchise.

    I for my part will still buy any CRPG out there that get really decent reviews, regardless which IP they are using, because I like playing CRPGs.

    More:

    I'd like to know what the final numbers for it would be, say, a year after DA gets released, as to HOW MANY of the buyers are "hardcore" DnDers (ie. PnP foamers).

    I would guess it's less than 1/50 *active* PnP players per total buyers on NWN. More people probably played PnP in the past, but it's not that there are a lot new PnP players among the teen generation these days. Probably 1/100 of these guys is a religious fanatic who would never buy anything else than a D&D CRPG.

    Reality vs Fantasy (All Aspects of Gameplay)
    Realism is overrated these days.

    Back in the days where you could tell pixels from each other on the screen, adding elements from the real world helped us to jump the barrier and get immersed into the virtual world. "Hey they have to eat food too, just like real people".

    Today facial expressions and animations, VO and very close to real graphics already help to make those computer creatures look more real, the additional step of introducing things for the sake of realism isn't needed anymore.

    I'm not saying that you need to cut all realism because as soon as you stray to far from the world as we know it (i.e. different physics), it's getting very hard for people to believe the world you are painting there. I just say that the industry has correctly identified that adding more and more realism does not neccessarily add fun or immersion - things like "food and water", "bathroom break", "using cloth to manage body temperature" have proven to be more annoying than helpful in the past (to the majority of players) and got rid of it.

    Take encumbrance. An encumbrance system can serve as a balancing tool, but so can limited inventory space (in a more apparent way). If you overdo your encumbrance system by going "real life", most character would barely be able to carry around the armor or weapon they have. That would lead to people engaging in boring activity such as continuously travel between places to pick up all the treasure they found, because it is seriously unfun to throw away 50% of your loot in order to pick up that one armor that happens to be heavy. People WILL engage in boring, repeating activities in order to get around barriers like that and they will hate you for that.

    IMO, if your RPG moves focus from "role playing game" to "every day life simulation" , you screwed up (unless you are trying to run a MMORPG and need to keep people busy with minor stuff in order to keep them long enough for the social network effect to kick in).

    As for "realism" in combat, I think mostly we are talking about "realism" as it is perceived on the movie screens - the flashy kind of stuff.

    Opinions on customizing party members
    What do you think about the solution BG had? Either completely custom create every of your party members or take the ones that are in game with all their personality?

    How about the stuff in HotU (tell your henchmen what class to specialize in)?

    Why reinvent the wheel, world-wise?


    again, don’t let self get confused. this is not ‘bout whether “repackaged” is an appropriate term. geo claims that since we disagree as to term that reasonable discourse is impossible…

    Yea yea whatever you say. I'm sure somewhere inside that pile of broken grammar is a piece of truth, if you read it backwards and in the correct language. But I'm also sure it's not on topic. Maybe once you got to the point where you can get more than 3 letters of my name right, we can continue this discussion on the appropriate board.

    Arttibutes List (New Thread)
    Lots of interesting thoughts here, we will see how everyone will react when our system is unveiled

    More:

    We will hate it at first, then play it and get used to it and finally love it. How could it be any other way?

    You forgot the part where you will take the book of rules and keep finding any discrepancies between it and the implementation and ride on them for all eternity

    E3 Demo; where is it ?


    On the contrary - I believe that what they showed at E3 was actual game code, not a 'trailer'. And they did not allow the press to tape the demo. As a result, there is nothing to show us.

    Yepp, the demo was live code, not video Of course it has since then been destroyed, the CD broken down to bit level and the remains are now guarded by Skwikky in the basement along with the corpse of the guy who tried to tape it during the demo session.

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    Neverwinter Nights Forum News
    Posted Friday, July 2, 2004 - 14:27 CET by chevalier

    Here are today's BioWare forum highlights, collected by NWVault. 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.

    Jay Watamaniuk, Community Manager

    30 Jun 2004 - New Epic Characters - Magical Marauder & Combat Medic
    Imna "Mithdradates" Lias- for the Magical Marauder and David "Grini" Villareal for the Combat Medic. Both are listed on the write-up for each.

    More : Very interesting. I went and checked to make sure the .bic I used for the screenshots was the final .bic and it was. The character I actually took shots of is the 40th level Combat Medic who does,in fact, have 16 levels of Pale Master BUT seems to have kept her normal arm. Anyone have an explaination for that...I suspect that this is a bug or am I missing something. You can test this out for yourselves as the .bics are available for download.

    NEW EPIC BUILDS - SWEET!
    It does take a loooong time to get the builds up and running and out to the public. There are a lot of people involved and a lot of detail things to make sure of before they see the light of day but I think they are solid gold and so the work required is worth it. My thanks to those who continue to strive to beat the crap out of the leveling system to produce these crazy powerful builds!

    Rob Bartel, Senior Designer

    DD and mod teams


    So my questions to those out there is this:

    1)What assurances would be required for a piece of custom content to not breach copyright?

    2)How can these be evidenced

    3) are there any peice of Custom content that fufill these criterea?

    4) is my rant at all relevant?

    Community content is a bit of a minefield but still something that we are actively exploring. Generally, we will try to address the legal questions by commissioning works from scratch - that way the builders know the terms and conditions when they begin and can build their content accordingly.

    Some content, such as tilesets, can have too long of a development cycle for from-scratch commissioning to work. In these cases we'll try to obtain the content at some point in the middle of its development cycle. Once it gets publicly released, however, we tend to steer clear.

    In all cases, we would obtain the content under a signed contract whereby all components of the content and the people who contributed to it are accounted for. In other words, as a mod group, the smaller and more focused you can keep the group, the better. And document *everything*.

    Your rant is very relevant, primarily because internal resources on the Live Team are currently insufficient to maintain a steady stream of DD content to you, the community. In other words, we'll be needing your help in getting us to where you need/want us to be.

    There will be some bumps along the road, I'm sure, and we will have to be very sensitive when addressing the issue of selling supposedly 'free' community-made content back to the community via the DD initiative. Our hope is that, in doing so, we will be improving the quality of the content itself (1.63, for instance, will include a number of features that have come as direct requests from the custom content community), increasing the likelihood of its continued creation, providing ongoing Live Team support to the NWN community, and extending that support to future titles.

    Don Moar, Tools Programmer

    help me out please, toolset takes...
    Ensure that your computer is running in 32-bit colour mode. Anything else, any you will likely run into serious performance problems.

    More: In the toolset options, disable environment mapping. This has been known to cause problems on some video cards in the past. Although I don't recall anyone with an nvidia card ever experiencing it, it's still worth a shot.

    Georg Zoeller, Designer

    1.63 Patch


    It would still be nice to read something about how the optional auto fail/succes on 1 and 20 will work. BW or any other with insight please enlighten our feeble minds

    Nobody said anything about 20 and there are no plans to change the way 20s are handled in the game (or make it optional).

    The rule that there is a critical failure on saving throws on a natural 1 is now optional, meaning you can change this behavior in your server's .ini file.

    Since I see all those familiar questions again:

    Q: Will bug XXXX be fixed in 1.63?
    A: Maybe.
    Thanks for understanding

    More: While I partially agree with you, the point is: A good DM creates a world with a service mentality for his players. He draws his satisfaction from knowing that his players enjoyed a good adventure that was challenging but not unfair, funny but not ridiculous and memorable, not everyday ware. When you, as a DM, realize, that your players enjoy hackfest a lot, you can try to bring them closer to other types of playing, but you should also make sure that they enjoy what they do while playing with you. It's a very thin line to balance your campaign between giving in to what the players want and maintaining challenge and atmosphere.

    It is up to the server admin/builder/DM to create a world where players want to play in and that players enjoy, and I agree that many DMs/Server Admins/Builders unfortunately do not follow that guideline but instead create "their world and force people to live in it"

    The good servers out there I've seen have ingame feedback systems and guild forums where people can give suggestions, feedback and allow the DMs to see what their players want and react to them. These are the servers that will ultimately get the most dedicated players and have the best atmosphere.

    There are decisions in NWNs game design in order to to make it harder to change signature (selling) elements of the game: One of them is "devastating critical is working as intended".

    Why? Because, apart from the fact that it's implemented by the book and thus hard for us to change, I think that people who bought HotU for the potential to create an epic fighter with that feat, which is a popular one, can expect this signature ability to work when they play online. This is one of the reasons why we currently have no interest in making it any easier for builders to change how devastating critical works. Yes, you can remove devastating critial and come up with alternate implementations, but it's not very easy to do, and that's completely intentional at this point. I don't expect everyone to agree with this assessment, but I thought it can't hurt to give you our view on that matter. And no I don't think devastating critical is unbalanced.

    Keep in mind again: NWN is "create your own FR module", not build your own rule system or world in the first place - To a degree some design decisions in NWN were actually made to protect the common player from zealot DMs/Builders (i.e. making it a bit harder to change summoned creatures than other creatures) and to keep the multiplayer experience consistent over the first few month of the game.

    I would reevaluate some of those decisions today after knowing what our builder community is capable of, but I still think they made sense at launch time as because of NWN's integrated feeling. Joining a server doesn't give away what house rules are in effect and can cause frustration from the unsuspecting game owner who isn't aware of the fact just how much gameplay can change from the manual on a custom server. It's mainly an interface design issue in NWN (not making "mods/changes" apparent on the GUI) however.

    Back to the change on the 1 rule. I am a big fan of the 1 rule. I think it keeps the thrill in the game by having a good chance that this swarm of level 1 goblins will land an attack sooner or later. I think 5% is good because in my opinion it's a large enough chance to counter a lot of min/maxing and immunity racking.

    However as far as I can remember it is indeed a rule that is optional (I could be wrong) AND we added it after NWN was out, actually more by accident than by intent. We found that it is a very useful rule that made balancing HotU a lot easier (i.e. Mindflayers or Beholders are weak creatures for a hero of your level in HotU but they are also signature creatures of the Underdark we wanted in the expansion pack. Without the fail on 1 rule, they would have been completely and utterly pointless). Bottomline: Craig found it reasonably easy to implement a switch in the .ini file and put it in. It's there now and I'm sure people will use it, but I would urge them to think twice about flipping that bit, because it affects your whole world far more than immediately apparent.

    A general observation: For some reasons CRPG players expect games to treat them "fair" and fair almost always means the absense of random or unexpected penalties (there are some excellent essays about this expectation of fairness out there, I can try to dig them out). Regardless of the fact that the real world isn't fair, many players hit critical twice in a row by a lonely thief will complain about the game being unfair (because that lonely level 2 thief should have never touched the shiny level 20 hero) or the random number generator being biased. I think people need to be protected from this expectation. A good amount of random unfairness keeps the game interesting and prevents it from completely degrading into numbercrunching.

    And yes, I agree with spura that the shifter class will be impacted if the 1 rule is disabled. We designed several of the abilities that can cause nearly instant death (i.e. shifter) to work with the 1 rule (same for the Pale master) in mind. If you switch the rule off, those classes will be hurt.

    Disclaimer: Keep in mind that a lot of this stuff is my personal opinion and might very well differ from other opinions on the team.

    1.63 fixed script function(DecrementRemainingSpellUses)?
    Craig fixed several issues with subradial and cleric domain spells, my guess is that this is fixed, but I didn't test it, so I can't tell for sure.

    Level Cap


    Not needed by Bioware due to no future plans to continue the series . However Those of us that love this game and want to make continued use of it and our characters do have need for it.

    Seriously, is more than enough for a D&D game. It's not that there are nearly unlimited combinations of levels or objects in the game like Diablo, creating good modules takes time and creating good epic modules takes a very long time due to balancing issues. At some point you always reach the point where you have to part from your character and retire him, because he has achieve the highest level possible. That point is level 40 in NWN and the amount of work that would be required to raise this barrier is very high.

    More:

    I would like to see the cap raised only because I want every option at my disposal. I agree that it's pretty useless unless your persistant world alows the players to become deities or other such advanced types. So all and all it's a silly thing...

    Exactly the point why I would be opposed to any change to the level cap. It makes the concept of having different classes even weaker than it already is and I think having to chose what your character is and what his signature abilities are is one of those things that make class based RPGs good. If at one point you can do anything, there is no point in having classes at all. And don't think that this is different from skill based systems, they all integrate methods of preventing players from getting it all - just a bit less apparent than classes

    Newbie help...
    to create items for your character to use, you need to

    a) Create a new module
    b) Create a new area inside the module
    c) Select the Item Creation wizard from the menu
    d) Create the item you want. When you are done, place the item in your module on the ground
    e) Start NWN, select custom game and select Join the module you just created with your character and pick up the item
    f) Leave the module and make sure to select Yes when you are asked if you want to save your character.

    More questions about the toolset can be asked in the toolset forum. Good luck!

    sj_tilemagic_i 2.0
    The prison scene is now vfx #511 in 1.63.

    Cloth Styles


    Anyone have an explaination for that...I suspect that this is a bug or am I missing something.

    Latter. Certain cloth styles override the skeletal arm

    Improved Expertise and Spell Casting; an exploit?
    I put a scripting level fix for this into one of the previous patches. If you feel overly aggressive I suggest to check x2_pc_craft.nss (or x2_pc_umd.nss) and add a ClearAllActions(TRUE) to the code that handles expertise, which will result in the player becoming flatfooted if he tries to cast spells while the ability is activated.

    Improved Expertise and Spell Casting; an exploit?
    It's an exploit yes. Expertise is geared toward melee combatants, not spellcasters.

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    BioWare Wednesday
    Posted Thursday, July 1, 2004 - 19:23 CET by Sorcerer

    (Only news relevant to SP posted.)

    New Epic Characters - Magical Marauder & Combat Medic
    The epic characters are back with a pair of cool new builds. The Magical Marauder is a harmonious combination of magic and might who can dish out arcane mayhem and devastating greatsword criticals. With a measely AC of 70, the Combat Medic is a bastion of defense who can leap into battle, grab those bandages, and patch up the fallen so they can jump back into the fray. Discuss.

    CEP in Spanish!
    The Neverwinter Nights Community Expansion Pack now includes Spanish versions of all the CEP items, creatures, clothing, and placeable names and descriptions. As a special bonus, it also includes updated crafting scripts in Spanish. Download it today from the NWVault. Discuss.

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