1. SPS Accounts:
    Do you find yourself coming back time after time? Do you appreciate the ongoing hard work to keep this community focused and successful in its mission? Please consider supporting us by upgrading to an SPS Account. Besides the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from supporting a good cause, you'll also get a significant number of ever-expanding perks and benefits on the site and the forums. Click here to find out more.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
You are currently viewing Boards o' Magick as a guest, but you can register an account here. Registration is fast, easy and free. Once registered you will have access to search the forums, create and respond to threads, PM other members, upload screenshots and access many other features unavailable to guests.

BoM cultivates a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. We have been aiming for quality over quantity with our forums from their inception, and believe that this distinction is truly tangible and valued by our members. We'd love to have you join us today!

(If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us. If you've forgotten your username or password, click here.)

Neverwinter Nights Forum Update

Discussion in 'Game/SP News & Comments' started by NewsPro, Feb 18, 2002.

  1. NewsPro Gems: 30/31
    Latest gem: King's Tears

    May 19, 2015
    Likes Received:
    (Originally posted by Arwen)

    Jay Watamaniuk, Community Manager:

    User-made content: We have given considerable thought to how players will be able to add new art, sound, and music content to the modules they create. We have a designed a system that we think should make people happy. I'm not going to discuss it though until we've totally nailed it down though. Once we've got it totally figured we'll be sharing it with all of you.

    With regard to tools such as GMAX used to create art - it's something we're certainly open to (and coincidentally we use 3DS MAX for all of our 3D development at BioWare) and we will consider when the time is right.

    People will be able to create their own AI scripts within our toolset - we are shipping a basic text editor and compiler that will make creating scripts fairly easy (it includes descriptions of commonly used functions and similar little features to make script creation more smooth).

    More details on Henchmen: a. You can only have one henchman. You can have a total of five types of companions, but only one of each type. Therefore you could have one henchman, one summoned monster, one animal companion, one familiar and one dominated monster.

    b. Yes, they can level up, BUT this is a designer scripted function. There is no built in level up system for henchmen (as in BG). What we do is replace the henchmen with a new higher level version of the henchmen when you ask him to level up through dialogue.

    c. There are no built in features to support henchmen at this time. All of a henchman's actions must be done through scripting and dialogue. We'll probably include a henchman template that mimics the actions of our campaign henchmen.

    How many people/monsters/items can be onscreen: This is a very difficult question to answer in an accurate fashion. Right now we are still optimizing the engine on a daily basis so our benchmark changes. The largest issue with creature numbers is the hardware you have running the game. For our extremely low minimum spec system (PII 300mhz, TNT2, 96Mb of Ram) you can turn down the graphical detail to bring up the frames per second the game is rendering. For a higher end system you can turn on every graphical option and witness NWN in full glory. It is possible on a high end system to cover the entire visible area with creatures if you so desire. On a lower end system to keep performance up it is best to limit the number of creatures in one area to a more reasonable level.

    Screenshots and movies: We apologize for the relatively quiet period in PR recently - this will change momentarily (in fact, it probably has already by the time you read this!). Out of courtesy to our new publisher, Infogrames, we wanted to ensure we approached future PR for Neverwinter in way that was consistent with both BioWare's and Infogrames' preferences and goals. We've now met several times with Infogrames staff, and the great news is that we are both very excited about the potential of Neverwinter, and we have a plan worked out for the PR on the game - hence, the PR (screen shots, movies, community site, and a few very cool surprises in the next couple of months) will be rolling out soon! We have a lot of great ideas that we're looking forward to providing to our fans.

    Chat: For chat you have the basic options such as shout, whisper (which is also tell), a normal chat mode, an OOC(Out Of Character) chat, a party wide chat and a special DM chat. As a user you can toggle which messages appear in your chat display. You also have the option of splitting your chat into two panes and setting different filters per window. You can for instance set it up so all the in-game combat rolls appear in one panel and only party chat appears in the other window. Right now all chat types are enabled and server operators do not have the option of disabling them. This has been a request from our fan base in the past and if we can fit it in before ship we will.

    NWN for a console system like Xbox: This is a really interesting idea - one that we have and will certainly talk about with our publisher, Infogrames. In many ways Neverwinter has always been designed with other systems in mind - after all the game is being co-developed for Mac and Linux, for example, and the interface (the radial menu system) is one that would potentially work well with a console controller. We don't have any specific plans at this time for the Xbox but it would be something well worth exploring - the Xbox is a great system and one that BioWare definitely plans to support as a company.

    Minimum specs: Definitely not! We want Neverwinter Nights to be playable by as many people as possible! Just because we support slower systems doesn't mean that the game won't look amazing on higher end systems. Our graphics group is working very hard to make the graphics engine in Neverwinter Nights extremely scalable - the game will look good on a lower end system, but it will look sizzling on a higher end system.

    Number of CDs: We're still working out how our data will be arranged. We haven't received all of the final voice, music, and sound effects so we aren't able to determine how we're going to structure the data on the final version (this is something we learned from the Baldur's Gate series). Our goal is certainly to use less CDs than the Baldur's Gate games.

    Our publisher, Infogrames, would be responsible for determining if Neverwinter Nights will also be shipping on DVDs. I'm quite certain we're never going to ship on DVD only (CDs are still the essential media for most gamers), but there's also no reason why Neverwinter Nights won't be able to ship on DVD that I'm aware of. I believe it will end up being a Marketing and Sales decision.

    Importing of BG and BGII characters: In NWN we will not be supporting the importing of BG characters. In the past we had expressed a desire to do so, but after recent events we revisited the earlier decision. We now have a slight conflict regarding this feature, as NWN in published through Infogrames and the BG line of games are published by Interplay. We also found this planned feature to be somewhat redundant after we noticed our QA team had already re-created all their favorite character from the past using the toolset.

    Expansion packs features: I have to be honest. At this time the entire team has a serious case of tunnel vision. Every thought is on how to get NWN finished and polished to a level we are happy with.
    After NWN releases we will all take a break and then we can start thinking again about the future.

    Derek French, Assistant Producer:

    Graphics placeholders for custom graphics: Custom content needs to be in a hackpack. If you don't have the hackpack, you won't be able to connect to the server.

    This does not affect portraits as those are downloaded to the client a la Half-Life decals.

    On faction values :I think a system from 1 to 100 offers a good range. Baldur's Gate and BGII used a much smaller range for one global reputation.

    Sheathing weapons: In the cities you typically get a negative reaction when you talk to someone with a drawn weapon. In the city of Neverwinter you usually have to put your weapons away in order to get useful dialogue.
    It will take time to sheath and draw weapons, so make your decisions before you enter combat.

    Toolset vs scripting: The goal with the toolset was to release an adventure development environment where you could quickly create simple adventures. With added skill, time and desire you could create more in-depth adventures. In the end, we use the same tool you will be using. We have writtien many of the generic scripts required for basic adventures and many more complex scripts for specific plots. So you should be able to create an adventure without ever looking at the scripting language, but if you can script you can do everything we can.

    Scripted events: We provide a number of events which can fire of specific scripts, such as onattacked and ondisturbed (failed pickpocket, etc...) These event scripts are much more efficient than basic heartbeat scripting so I would encourage you to think of things in a more event based framework. Heartbeat scripts have some overhead, not a large amount, but when you load an area with NPC characters all running complex heartbeats you will notice a framerate hit.
    We still have a lot of optomizing to do so I can't even attept to give an accurate picture of the hit. (to head off the next question in advance)

    David Gaider, Designer:

    Scripting and NWToolset: I posted another message like this, before, calming down someone who had the same concerns you do. I wish I could link to it.

    At any rate, let me say a few things that may alleviate your concerns...

    First off, the language isn't based on C++...it's based on C. There's no object-oriented stuff involved, and it's fairly easy to get the hang of. Easy for me to say, right? I do this for a living? Not really.

    I came onto NWN from the SW project not having a single clue about scripting. I knew a couple of basics about C programming from a course I took last summer...but that didn't give me much of an advantage except that I knew that you didn't put a semi-colon after every statement (but I couldn't remember which ones you did and which ones you didn't).

    I learned the basics of scripting without anyone showing me how to do it in about two days. Mostly I looked at the vast array of generic scripts that are available in the toolset...all of them are heavily commented to instruct you on how they work and what they do. If I was stuck on a script, I could easily scroll through the generics and find something that gave an example of what I wanted.
    The script editor has built-in debugging for the grammar, as well. This is expected, I guess...but I didn't have it when I was scripting for BG2, and grammar is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome for a beginning scripter. In the BG2 script editor, if I mixed up the Object and Target in a command, it didn't tell me that that was my problem and point out the line where the problem occurred...it just said I had an error.

    The basic scripting I learned works for about 80% of the scripting I do. Occasionally I run into something a bit more complex...and at that point I again look for an example, work through it based on the list of commands (most of them are self-explanatory...what would you suppose ActionGiveItem() does?) or change what I want to do so it's a bit simpler.

    Don't get me wrong...there is no way we can put together a wizard which will script for you and make things easy like the wizards for mapping and module-making. There IS a learning curve involved...and people who are already familiar with C will have an easier time making advanced scripts off the bat. It just appears more intimidating than it is, however. Trust me... after a few days working with the script, you'll look at stuff like the code you posted and automatically be translating it in your head to English (or whatever language you happen to speak).

    Bows: There are both longbows and shortbows...quite distinguishable from each other even at a glance. Both, as well, have three 'areas' (top, middle, bottom) which have four appearance settings each. These change things like the appearance and elaborateness of the grip, the shape of the bowshaft itself and any ornamentation on the the top...giving you bows from plain jane to some elaborate double-shafted bow with ivy swirls and curls ends (or anything inbetween).

    Each area may also be set to one of three colors (light brown, dark brown, grey).

    The end combination of appearances and colors gives you not only a different icon but is represented in the bow on the character, as well.

    Bow animations (off-topic): I know. I keep telling the animators you don't use a bow by smacking the enemy over the head with the shaft repeatedly... but they never seem to learn.

    Custom appearance: All the menus for selection of creature faces & weapon appearance and such were recently changed to drop-down menus... primarily, I assume, to make it easier to use custom material.

    Does EXP have to = Combat: You can tie XP rewards to a plot through the toolset's journal system and give the players XP through scripting... none of that involves killing anything.

    Monks: From personal experience, a monk with high stats is THE most powerful character in the lower levels. Only when the party starts getting higher in level does the monk lose a bit of power... simply due to the fact that his fists don't become magical weapons (for purposes of penetration) for a long time.

    A Monk with at least a decent Wisdom has as good an AC as a heavily armored fighter, has Flurry of Blows for a decent number of attacks, stunning attack and Improved Trip that he can use with any of those attacks, extra fast speed, he can heal himself...

    ...the Monk is basically a ninja, hands down.

    As for how the Monk will translate into NWN, exactly, remains to be seen. We are not here to balance the 3rd edition ruleset, tho... any balancing we will do is with regards to how those classes are translated onto the computer.

    Designing scriptable romances with henchfolk you travel with: Triggering conversations at certain spots many not work if the PC doesn't visit those spots. Triggering conversations on timers might mean you have a romantic conversation in the midst of a real time battle.

    What you have to keep in mind, though, is that NPC's don't initiate dialogue...not even if they're henchmen. You can have them speak or display a line that might indicate to the player that they wish to speak, perhaps...but they can't initiate a dialogue tree on their own.
    So a romance written via henchmen will work the same was as an NPC romance. It requires the player to initiate dialogue and progress the romance. You can engineer timers (or other prerequisites) in the dialogue script that 'reveal' new dialogue paths whenever conditions are right, if you want to have the romance progress over time.

    So no mushy stuff as a brigade of umber hulks descends upon the party.

    Issuing quests: That's essentially correct...your NPC cannot start into a dialogue sequence without the player's initiation. They can start a 1-box dialogue (a dialogue that has no responses selectable by the player) or they can display strings over their head (and these can get as complex as you like, via scrpting...and it's an easy command).

    So you could have a quest initiator approach the player and say 'Excuse me, adventurer... might I have a word with you?'. Perhaps wait a moment and, if still not selected, "I have an offer that I think you might want to hear." If you want to put in an effort, you can have a whole conversation in this manner (there are examples of NPC's in the official campaign who talk to each other extensively this way...great for eavesdropping).

    And the villain can still rear up and display 'How dare you enter my abode!' before he attacks.

    Or whatever variation you would like. It just isn't pathed dialogue.

    It takes a bit of getting used to, but the point is that it's up to the player whether or not actual dialogue is going to be initiated.

    Singleplayer: Not having a whole party (and their interactions) is certainly a different style of play, but it doesn't have to automatically default to hack-and-slash. I miss the party banter, myself, but that doesn't mean all interesting conversations, romantic possibilities and roleplaying are automatically dashed.

    Party moving together: Well, there's nothing keeping players together on the same screen or in the same area or anything like that. Quite the contrary... in the official campaign, if the party wants to split up and go to different corners of the city to pursue quests, they can do so.

    The scripting is set up to support this, as well... NPC's will remember who they talked to or gave quests to, so if another party member haplessly wanders by the object of someone else's quest, they won't be treated to dialogue that they shouldn't be getting. "You want what from me? What letter?"

    There's no method of toggling the party movement that I've seen or heard of. If you want to keep the party together, it's going to have to be through environmental or story means rather than by slowing movement artificially.

    Actually, we've been playing with the movement interface quite a bit. I've seen both the point-click-and-run type of movement as well as the 'train' movement (you move the mouse to face the direction you wish and hold down the mouse button to move in that direction).

    I don't know which of those will end up in the game, or if it will be some version...but you do have more control over your movement than, say, in BG2. There is walking and running, for instance...it won't solely be a matter of run & wait for the monks and barbarians in the party.

    That said, a monk may still have to slow down and walk for a bit or wait at the end of the hall for the little halfling to catch up. Fact of life... time to get that little bugger some boots of striding

    PC models: Having a bunch of models using the same basic skin saves a lot on processing speed. In the official campaign, stock characters will look a lot alike, yes. That said, you don't have to do that in your own campaign...NPC's are constructed just like PC's are, so you can have a crowded city street with 50 individual-looking peasants if you wish.

    You will notice a performance hit for it, tho.

    Armor covers basic clothing...pants, boots, gauntlets and such. These show up. Rings and amulets and small things... while it would be cool... are not seen on the model.

    The only problem I forsee with it, personally, is that the color palette of the armor determines the palette of everything the player is wearing (which is 6 different color options). Without making the gauntlets, boots and so forth seperate from the main skin (as helmets, shields, weapons and other hand-held stuff is), those items would have to conform to the palette.

    It may be possible to change the style of boots on the player when they put on a pair of Boots of Striding...but they would change color depending on who wore them. A minor point, perhaps?

    Then there's the complexity of seperating the boots, gauntlets, et al from the main skin. It may have been done that way for simplicity's sake (due to the sheer number of skins, as is).

    Maybe someone from the art department can comment, but they're pumping out content at a frenetic pace as it is to meet the requirements as they exist.

    What do you think? Would it make that much of a difference?

    Class specific quests: The official campaign isn't as long as BG2 was... so there's far less time to devote to lots of quests that will only be seen by one class. There are some class-specific quests, however... as well as some quests that could be done by anyone (conceivably) but are more beneficial to one class.

    As far as the story goes, we're trying to offer enough recognition of a player's individuality and options for alignment (man can evil people ever make money hand over fist) without sacrificing too much of game length.

    Trent Oster, Producer:

    Scripting and NWToolset: Quote:
    just a little elaboration on the script wizard thingie....
    as i understand it, you will for your example create the transition.. in it there will be a requirements area... you check it for yes and it will prompt you for the item requirment.. you scroll through the list till you find (kobold leaders killer sword) and click it... then you set it to party only.. then you are done the toolset will automagicly generate the script for you that sets that transition to be party only and only work if they have the item specified
    the only time you will actually have to drop down and do scripting yourself should be when you want to do some really kewl effects.... for example in this case with scripting you could have a horde of kobolds appear on the horizon getting slowly closer then have it fade out and go to transition

    Sadly, this is not so. We pre-cook the work for the most common cases. There is no item in the form to active a transition. The easiest way to do what you want would be creating a door type transition. You could lock the door and put the key at the end goal of the area. Without any scripting you have the plot you desire.

    Nathan Frederick, Quality Assurance:

    Bows: There's also crossbows in addition to the long and short bow... with its combinations of sections and colors.

    XP: You can use the DM client to directly grant XP.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2018
Sorcerer's Place is a project run entirely by fans and for fans. Maintaining Sorcerer's Place and a stable environment for all our hosted sites requires a substantial amount of our time and funds on a regular basis, so please consider supporting us to keep the site up & running smoothly. Thank you!

Sorcerers.net is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on amazon.com, amazon.ca and amazon.co.uk. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.