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Does BG2 need a remake?

Discussion in 'BG2: Throne of Bhaal (Classic)' started by Proteus_za, Feb 11, 2008.

  1. Elfen Lied

    Elfen Lied The Bird of Hermes is my name, eating my wings to

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  2. cmorgan Gems: 6/31
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    With the increaing quality and availability of mods, many of these points are being addressed by the fan base.

    But...

    I would love a remake. No big changes, just a serious cleanup and integration of the currently available materials, all BG2 Fixpacked and leveraging years of work by the fan base, redesigned to take advantage of modern hardware with support for the bigg's widescreen AV materials. You could even throw in IWD and IWDII reverse engineered into a better (older) system, more modder-friendly than the current engine "upgrades" in place.

    Of course, I would cry great tears if it ever happened, because it would mean rebuilding huge numbers of mods... but it would reopen all sorts of new audiences to great fan-built content.
     
  3. Lynx Lupo Gems: 6/31
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    [​IMG] This isn't as far-fetched as it would seem. There already exists an IE engine reimplementation (with some bonus features) - GemRB :cool:.
    You can read about it over at gibberlings3 or at the main page at http://gemrb.sourceforge.net

    So mainly new (legal) content is needed.
     
  4. cmorgan Gems: 6/31
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    I am holding on for GemRB to become stable; when it does, I will have had my biggest wish fulfilled - and I will gladly help port materials over.

    As for the new (legal) content, that one is tougher... the existing mod base covers everything from hack-n-slash to deep roleplay banter to (mildly) erotic fantasy. Heck you can even get 4th wall breaking characters. Not sure what more could be done, except to realize working versions of Lands of Intrigue, a (non-violent and non-sister-romancing) Imoen expansion, Keldorn, Valygar and Cernd finished off as real romances (I think all under investigation in one modding community or another) - basically, with active and inactive projects and a legion of modders dedicated to Faerun it is hard for me to see what even a highly funded development company could add. A completely new set of NPCs, I guess? By now, the mod added materials are actually much tighter coded than the pro materials - we have the advantage of no-cost development time and hundreds (even thousands) of playtesters providing feedback - the only thing that a development company would provide better is speed of delivery and coordination between add ons.

    But it would still be nice :)
     
  5. Lynx Lupo Gems: 6/31
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    GemRB doesn't require any materials to be ported over. ;) Interested people are encouraged to try it and report bugs. If you can code, that much better (c or python). But it is "just" a reimplementation with some added perks, designed to be compatible with that great bunch of games and their mods. No extra work needed and you already can do some stuff you couldn't with IE.

    The problem is that most of the mod content relies on the one provided by the games. We need a set of completely original artwork and that could then be freely distributed. GemRB is already good enough to be a base for such development and any more interest would only speed up gemrb's own. With such a great need for these kind of games, I'm amazed nobody grabbed the opportunity yet. Sure it could turn out into a huge project, but I think the motivation is there and other big opensource projects are there to prove it is doable.
     
  6. cmorgan Gems: 6/31
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    I'm sorry - I misunderstood, I think - I was under the impression that an operable BG2-SoA/ToB game was not yet possible, and that the ToB scripting and effects were not yet coded up? Are we now able to run BG, BG2 and ToB under GemRB? (Scurries off to SorceForge and to sections of G3)
     
  7. Kulyok Gems: 11/31
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    Well, there's the Broken Hourglass, for one thing. :) Other indie games are in progress, though I'm not sure they'll have joinable talking companions and romances, like TBH does.


    There are other ways: enhancing the already existing games. I recommend visiting IWD2 NPC mod by Domi - it adds ten joinable talking companions into IWD2, and as a result, well, it's another game.

    (I am trying to do something like this for IWD, though my efforts are much more modest - there will be only one party, with five talking companions, but I promise that it will be entertaining).

    And, of course, it was Blucher, Domi, Kish and Andyr, who started BG1 NPC, a huge undertaking I very much enjoyed writing for a few years ago, too. Though the quality of the material is uneven at times (try to compare Hendryk's and Merja's materials with your average mod banters, and you'll see what I mean), I'm very happy the project exists.


    All in all, the thing you are talking about - modders getting together and providing a new game - is difficult, because it requires a whole new level of cooperation and trust. It requires a project leader whom everyone respects and trusts, regardless of possible differences, it requires a strong editor. Without Domi, BG1 NPC would collapse. Without Jason, there would be no Broken Hourglass(getting more and more complete each day, stay tuned, etc :) ).

    And even with a leader, there's another thing: a vision. You have that many modders working on BG2, because they love the game, the plot, the vision it provides. But would they work on another game(a huge module, Total Conversion)? No is my answer, because it would require submitting to someone else's vision, it would require limited creative freedom, and so on.

    And "everyone writes whatever they want, and anyone can modify their work afterwards" approach just wouldn't work. Ask any writer worth their salt: would they want their work modified by just *anyone*? I think you can guess the answer.

    I'm working on IWD NPC writing on my own for precisely this reason: I don't want anyone to tell me what to write, except for my editors and playtesters, and even then I still have the final word. I'm pretty sure Domi worked on IWD2 NPC writing alone for the same reason.

    Collaboration is possible. When there's trust, when there's respect(again, see my paragraph about the leader), when there are possible benefits, from improving your CV to money to contributing to a story you want to be told. The latter is the most important thing for me. But all these factors rarely come together.

    So, while there're various NPC projects for BG1, IWD and IWD2, and indie games like the Broken Hourglass, I wouldn't hold your breath for an open-source BG2 remake just yet.
     
  8. Gavial Gems: 1/31
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    If someone would implement a new game using GemRB would that not be on the limit to breaking copyright rules. Does GemRB force a user to use dungeons and dragons rules? Did not find any info about that when quick-browsing through their site. (am at work). Although they did say that it was geared towards old D&D games for IE.
     
  9. blob Gems: 2/31
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    I completely agree with you. I think bg2 is perfect the way it is. I don't want to see any remake for sure.
     
  10. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    As far as I know, they couldn't use the D&D rules legally even if they wanted to. They'd need approval from WotC and Atari, which is unlikely even if they could afford to pay.

    I don't think the "open" d20 is allowed to be used in such software products either. And it'll be even more restricted with 4e now.
     
  11. Lynx Lupo Gems: 6/31
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    Depends on your definition of operable. It definitely isn't a full substitute yet, but the games do run. For a gamer it isn't much fun yet though, since the combat support is only partial and you can't level up. :p

    Gavial: yes, currently gemrb only supports dnd (adnd and dnd3). Users already requested the SPECIAL system, but such things are a low priority at the moment.
    So it appears that even with Free content, the demo/game would be infringing. :aww:

    Kulyok: It doesn't have to be huge. If you don't start small your chances of success are reduced.
    If the data isn't free, we can't distribute it (as a Free project).
     
  12. cmorgan Gems: 6/31
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    (Lynx Lupo - I will grab some books on Python and begin taking a look, but my skills are substantially lacking for assisting with this sort of stuff. That being said, I will definitely be available this summer to assist you guys in playtesting, now that berelinde and Jastey are cleaning up the last of the BG1 NPC materials for distribution, and translations will take more than a summer, that's for sure - so my own project work tempo will be kicking up to normal.)


    Well, there are ways of skirting the copyright issue. The X-Com modders have basically implemented a similar project, and the Jagged Alliance modders as well. There are certainly ways to provide a new free open-source game (as long as no one is making any money on it) that may push the envelope without breaking anything.

    Tough to get a saleable product, though. Lots of cash (if it is even possible to get the lisence in the first place). And Taluntain is right, I think... with 4e rulesets coming out, I suspect things will get tighter rather than looser. Who wants to sell rights to material that they are developing for internally, even if it is just speculative?

    I think as long as we can keep the BG2 engine running on modern platforms, BG2 is going to provide new and varied content. There is just something about the storyline. Folks will participate in modding, no matter the frustrations or personalities involved, because the story is strong enough and deep enough to allow many interpretations and playstyles to enjoy the same basic framework.

    And with Macready's EasyTutu and Ascension64's BGT, there are great approaches to the entire BG series that allow mods to provide good added content. The other i.e. games lack much in the way of mods because they are tougher to mod, and the stories told are popular but not as widespread in appeal as the BG series, I think. Domi's IWD2 project is a great example of adding a new dimension to an older game. It provides a new view and party interaction, with a gentle move towards BG2 interactions. It can provide newer cntent (though changing and adding to the stry is beyond the scope of her project). Within BG2, there are already "remakes" - an EasyTutu or BGT game with the BG1 NPC Project and a BG2 game with 1PP and Moinise's Avatars, a few of BG2 Tweaks, and Keto/Kivan/Taisha/Gavin, or even Saerileth, and the whole game is renewed.

    While groups and communities of modders can and do successfully create materials together, giving freely of themselves and their time (c.f. X2-The Threat, Civilization III/IV, X-Com, Jagged Alliance 2, MechWarrior 4, heck, even the whole Elder Scrolls Series especially the Morrowind "Living Cities project - and within the i.e. community BG1 NPC, BG2 Unfinished Business, BG Unfinished Business for BGT/Tutu, BG2 Fixpack, BG2 Tweaks, development of community projects at SHS and G3 - it is not groups of people who fail to create, it is individuals who fail to build as teammembers), creating a remake or reeingineering a game from top to bottom is a daunting prospect. It takes years of development when cash is tight or non-existent, and often is centered around an existing copyrighted base.

    Bottom line; no real need for a new build of the BG series, as long as the platform can run on materials. If GemRB can get a full run of the i.e. engine games, that might be the ticket to keeping things going into the next decade, without requiring folks to start mounting virtual machines to run it. And lots of mods coming along to keep things fresh and new :)
     
  13. Lynx Lupo Gems: 6/31
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    Yep, that's one of the great things about open source projects - they are intrinsically future-proof, only some will and skill is required to maintain that. GemRB will allow you to play IE games on your cellphone, fridge or in your personal implant. :D

    When I say Free, the capitalisation is intentional to make it clear I mean it like free-as-in-freedom not free-as-in-beer.

    The new demo/game doesn't have to augment bg. It could be (for example) a one-map racing game (spellcasting allowed).:outta:

    (I didn't know anything real about python when I joined the project either. You only need to know the basic syntax - that part of the code is pretty simple and unoptimised. Much of the effort is spent on researching how the original games work.)
     
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  14. cmorgan Gems: 6/31
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  15. Kulyok Gems: 11/31
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    Quite so, I fully agree. Small projects are successful, because they are manageable.

    But when it's a big project, which involves much creative material(not just coding, but writing, writing, and a lot of writing), it has a pretty good chance of failing, as the World Transition Project over at BWL did, and as DragonLance total conversion(site dead) did. I'm primarily speaking of BG2, since it's BG2 forum.

    (Some total conversion projects survive, like Classic Adventures(a total conversion, and essentially a whole new game in BG2 engine), but I cannot praise it, I'm afraid.)

    From what I have seen, I have become convinced that each "community" modding project is first and foremost the work of one individual, often the project lead, prepared to work 24/7. (CamDawg for G3 Fixpack, japeth and Macready for Tutu, Weimer for Weidu and Weingine, the_bigg on Weidu and so forth). Granted, with (sometimes huge) help from other contributors, but the essential core remains the same: one person. Without him or her, at the right place in the right time, the mod would collapse. They are holding the whole development process together, which can be both stressful and exhausting; add personal time commitments to this, and pretty often, if this person disappears for stretches of time, the project is dead until he or she returns. When Domi said "Enough", BG1 NPC slowly came to a halt. When CamDawg disappeared for a while, the whole forum was in panic. :) If Jason decides to take an extended break, the Broken Hourglass will be dead.

    Of course, we are lucky to have other talented people who come in place of the retired modders: the_bigg taking up Weidu, new tactical mods like SCS and Improved Anvil, appearing on the scene, and so on.

    But the core remains the same: someone must stand at the helm. And their dedication to the project, their skill and their personality often determines the outcome.

    Domi pretty much summed it up here.
     
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