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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:

    Neverwinter Wednesdays: I need to clear a few things up that have been jumping around the board recently because I am getting the impression that a few things here have the potential to become a bigger situation then they need be.

    I'm talking about Neverwinter Wednesdays. Every Wednesday we will be releasing, to the best of our ability, some new piece of news, information, shiny bit or interview for people to take a look at, discuss, fiddle around with and pick apart because we want to give you the first look at anything we have to show about NWN.

    Now let's get specific.

    This Wednesday (Feb 13th) we will be releasing some good stuff, which is ready to go, but we won't be ready with everything we had hoped to provide. That will, however, make upcoming Neverwinter Wednesdays even better.

    Additionally, we'll be releasing more brain-shatteringly exciting new stuff as we get it, not forcing you to wait until the next Neverwinter Wednesday (though rest assured, there will be something there, next Neverwinter Wednesday). Sometimes we'll give stuff to the press and fan media, and sometimes we'll release it right here on the good-old Neverwinter community message board. The point is, we're going to be releasing lots of stuff.

    We have some new partners in the NWN mix now, and we are working our way through the communication pipelines as we speak. We are both learning a new system for talking to each other and the end is near.

    The bottom line is we don't want to disappoint anybody. I want to make sure that we understand you to the best of our ability.

    Neverwinter Wednesday is about as official as it gets from now on and each week we will get something cool up here, but it will take many forms and suit different tastes week to week.

    Finally, let me say that of course, we will be releasing movies and screen shots; every game releases movies and screen shots. We have, however, built up this community because we want to be sure we understand your unique needs as avid forums posters, RPG advocates, and computer gamers. I wanted to give you the opportunity to ask for different stuff from us and we will do our best to accommodate that when we prepare content.

    So I'm hoping this generates some discussion of ideas. The whole point of these boards to give us an idea of what is important to you.

    Multiple shadows: Yes, but the more light sources you have the more expensive it gets.

    'There can be multiple lights, but shadows will only be cast from one light at a time. I think your answer has given the impression that there will be multiple shadows at once, which we cannot do (I think because of OpenGL limitations).'

    He also cautioned that things are still not nailed down and may be subject to changes.

    Modules and environment: While you cannot set gravity in an area you still can simulate different effects of a hostile environment as was suggested by Dhalgren through scripting.

    Trent Oster, Producer:

    Encounter: Q1. We need to know what system the encounter generator uses to scale the difficulty. The only two plausible options seem to be:
    a) The encounter is scaled by the trigger PC plus ANY characters (affiliated or not) within some arbitrary radius of the trigger (which may or may not be able to be set by the DM).
    b) The trigger PC plus their party members (if any), possibly with the option of being able to exclude party members that are outside a certain distance.

    Option a is what we have planned. A fixed radius check when someone enters the radius.
    Right now we are testing another system which continues to spawn creatures until: a) the encounter is exhausted of cr points (each cr spawned in takes a cr point from the encounter) b) all the creatures spawned currently are killed.
    You can also set a reset timer for when the encounter is reset if you wish.

    Q2. We need to know what happens if another group enters the encounter area (crosses the trigger) while the first encounter is still underway. Plausible options are:
    a) Another encounter spawns, independent of the first, using whatever system (from Q1 above) Bioware implements to scale it.
    b) Another encounter spawns which seeks to "balance" the first encounter according to the new arrivals, adding only enough creatures to raise the CR of the total encounter to challenge the new party.
    c) Nothing happens, as the system will not spawn a second encounter until the first has been dealt with.

    Option b is the closest option here. In the current system the encounter will continue to spawn creatures as new characters enter util the encounter is exhausted or the currently spawned in creatures are all killed

    Portals as Placeable Objects: There will be a placeable object portal.
    It can just be decorative if you so desire or it can be an are transition or server portal.

    Pushing through throngs: We don't have pushing and bumping in yet and boy do we need it.

    As to creature numbers a Geforce 2 MX should be able to handle a reasonable number of creatures on screen. As to what reasonable means, I'd say more than 10 and less than 70

    Realistic lighting/shadow effects: In fact, we discovered a way to make the existing static area lighting more dynamic, giving better day/night transistions. The bottom end can disable the snazzy features for a better frame rate, but when you plunk your hard earned cash down for a GeForce 3 you are going to get all the flash we can cook up.

    Bob McCabe, Writing & Design:

    Changing alignment: You can change your alignment in-game by wildly diverting from your given alignment. As well, you can create modules that take advantage of this alignment-divergence however you see fit.

    Alignment will change based upon actions in-game. For example, threatening people might be a way to change your alignment, as would undergoing a quest that is not suited to your current alignment. For the most part, however, we've tried to keep things somewhat minimal in this regard. If you want something more extensive, my best suggestion is to add in a few rewards here and there that are more in-line with what you feel is appropriate.

    For example, we provide a quest where you have to help an eldery woman cross the street (using your set-up ) and say that not doing so causes your alignment to shift a few points toward evil.

    You don't agree with us, so you look at the reward script and add in the line to shift alignment a few points toward evil, and a few points toward chaos as well.

    Since all of those scripts will be written, it won't even require scripting effort on your part.

    Racial and class modifiers: I'm not really sure about the speed implementations, so I will stay quiet on that topic. As for the humans point - when 3rd Ed first came out, a bunch of us looked it over and thought it was very neat how humans got bonuses that the other raises didn't get. We thought humans would be the most desired race, which would make most gamers play humans, which would mean an on-line 3rd Ed world would be mostly comprised of humans, just as most towns in the Forgotten Realms settings are comprised of humans. Oh well... we thought it was neat

    I think there were similar thoughts about the fighter and rogue for massive feats and skill points, which would balance out with perceived notions that everyone's a fighter or mugger.

    Kits, classes and appearance: You don't have a paper doll - just your 3d model. So you make your character's model match the portrait and off you go.

    The 11 classes from the PHB will be the classes that you may choose from. There will be kits only in the sense of packages that will help you pick through your feats and skills.

    Adventures created by other players: You may download an adventure from the internet, and play it on your own with your PC.

    Speech seen on screen: I believe text bubbles always pop-up. I know you can filter the chat bar, and even split it in half, filtering each half as you will. For example, you might want the right pane to display combat information only, and the left pane to display party-to-party dialogue only.

    Wisper mode for NPC: I'm not sure how it will work in its final incarnation, but as it is - you click on a portrait and you tell that PC information that only he may hear. I'm sure this will be further tweaked.

    Scripting difficulty : A 10 year old will probably be better at scripting than most of us

    Scripting is pretty easy. I had no trouble learning the basics needed to do simple plot scripting. Anything more advanced will be provided by BioWare or more than likely easily found on the internet.

    Initiating dialogue from a distance: This is one of those things where we're all making programmer's lives miserable. At first, you clicked on the NPC, walked over to him, and initiated dialogue. People didn't like this. Programmers changed it. Then, you could click on an NPC and you were instantly in dialogue mode. This seemed funny, too, and we complained again. The main reason was that you could be 20 meters away and still init. The current version seems to init. dialogue if you are within the NPCs comfort zone, which is something like 5 meters at present. If you are outside of that range, you move to within it to init. dialogue. If you are already within, dialogue is initiated normally. The radius seems to change now and then, though.

    What happens if you can't see the NPC (but you know he's there because you can 'hear' him)? For instance: two guys in different prison cells talking to each other: they can't see each other but they can still talk.

    If it was an NPC, then no, you can't initiate dialogue unless you have visibility. If it's two PCs, then it would work like chat. If you were determined to have side-by-side cells, as opposed to cells across from one another, and you needed to have dialogue with a prisoner from another cell, what I would do to get around it is place a trigger that the PC could interact with. To provide one example, the PC approaches the wall of his cell and sees a text pop-up that there is a small crack in the wall, and through it he can see another prisoner. By clicking on the wall, the PC would be able to initiate dialogue.

    Gender based quests: There will be some quests that are modified based upon your gender, but not specifically quests that only females or only males get.

    Burning objects: Ambient objects can be stacked. You can create a roasting pit, drop a fire into it, add a smoke animation, and then even add a particles effect to make it look like little tendrils of burning wood are floating up into the night sky. I've done just this thing before, and if you line it up right, it'll look perfect from all sides.

    As for placing them ON objects, I'm not exactly sure. I would assume yes.

    Imprisonment: Cages aren't like they are in BG2's beginning. They would be larger prison-like devices. As such, you can drop in whatever you want to drop in. Hold Person spell effects are included.

    Invisible wall: Maybe with some fancy scripting you could create an impassable area to simulate an invisible wall. Otherwise, I don't think so.

    Musical Instruments: Since you can put a trigger on anything, it isn't hard to make anything able to be manipulated by the PC. Ambient Objects have a default use action which you would script. In this case, the PC tries to use an Ambient Object and gets a dialogue window. The PC enters into a string of musical notes, and a song is played back afterwards, or step by step. Is that what you're looking at doing? (trying to make sure I answered correctly).

    Shipwreck: There are ships in the rural tileset. I know you can have them off of a dock. I'm sure you can make a free-floating one as well, for just off-shore.

    David Gaider, Designer:

    Debugger for the script editor: The script editor debugs your scripts when you compile them... it makes sure you've got your semi-colons in the right place and that you've used your commands as you're supposed to. This is quite handy, especially if you're not familiar with the 'grammar' of scripting.

    You can use all the commands properly and the end effect may still not work as you wanted it to, though...and to debug those kinds of problems, you have to do it the old-fashioned way.

    Forest tileset: The plain old 'forest' tile in the Forest tileset has lots of versions that you can cycle through. Yes, one of them has no trees on it at all and is just grass.

    More than one tileset per area: You need a transition between them. If what you're envisioning is one massive area where the player travels from forest to grassy plains to the city in one continuous stretch (like, say, you're traveling in Dark Age of Camelot or Everquest or similar), then you need to re-arrange your thinking.

    You CAN use all the tilesets for what you need, you just need to compartmentalize how you're going to use them. You can even use different tilesets within the same building, so long as you don't mind a really short load between rooms.

    The only trouble some people will get into, and this is unavoidable, is when they want features in a single area that the tileset doesn't cover (and where transitions just won't cut it). The only thing that can solve that is the use of custom tilesets... and while that will certainly be possible (and there are already plans for these) I wouldn't suggest it will be the easiest customization for people to learn.

    Recombining tiles from different sets: I hesitate to say yes simply because I haven't seen it done. I imagine, however, that this is how most custom tilesets are going to be made.

    I think you're talking about the walkmesh... and yes, that's one thing that would make custom tilesets more difficult. But some changes would be primarily graphical in nature.

    What if you wanted the height transitions in the city tilset to be cliffs (like in the rural set) instead of brick walls? What if you wanted to change the architecture of the buildings? What if you wanted to change the grass in the city tileset to sand, for a desert city?

    Hard to say what will actually be do-able, as the method for adding user-content hasn't been finalized, but none of them involve playing with the walk-meshes and are far more conceivable than, say, swapping entire buildings or large objects and changing the pathways by which characters would walk around them.

    All I can say for sure, though, is that we want to make it as easy for users to put their own content into their modules. What is the easiest way to implement that has yet to be determined.

    Female monsters in NWN: I must admit that the lack of anything other than male versions of monsters irritates me to no end as well. Some creatures (beholders, lizard men, kuo-toa, etc.) you're just not going to get much physical variation on, sure. But they would be dressed/adorned differently, wouldn't they?

    I remember when I was looking at doing caves with goblin and orc tribes and such... where are all the female and child goblins and orcs? I remember playing the Hill Giant portion of the giant series... that had female hill giants and even giant children.


    I know why the official release won't have it. We're trying to include as many different monster types for people to use as possible, and some of them already have more than one variant for the same model (shamans and chieftans, for instance, for some of the humanoid monsters).

    Maybe some artistic type out there will come up with some more skins for the models to get some more variants. Or maybe this could be a suggestion for an expansion... certainly coming up with more skins is easier than coming up with more models.

    New features: A lot of people, upon hearing about NWN, automatically have ideas flying through their head about things they'd like to do with the game or modules they want to create. The major limiting factor for us is time... given enough of it, we could implement everything that technology would allow. At some point, though, we have to cut out things that we just can't do right now and put out a game that works and has most of what people want.

    I think everyone understands that, thankfully... just as everyone understands that 'most' means 'not everybody'. Everybody hopes that 'most' includes them and all their ideas...whereas 'most' will likely mean most of their ideas but not all. Disappointing, perhaps, when you realize that part of the campaign you imagine just can't be done unless you wait for either user-made content or an expansion. How you react to that will depend on whether you're a glass-half-empty person or not... the fact will be obvious, in the end, at how much CAN be done.

    That's not going to stop people from being disappointed. Being a hardcore D&D fan, myself, I know my first reaction upon seeing the monster list was "where are the XXXXX's?"... followed soon by "what do you mean there aren't any XXXXX's?! Are you kidding me?". Then I saw the rest of the list... wow, that was huge. I still grumbled about not having my damn XXXXX's... only my favorite critter in the world... but I can understand why they're not there (I guess) and I'll live with it. And let's face it, with a monster list like that, living with it won't be that hard. I have a feeling, too, that in time content (official and not) will build up for the game until it is staggering.

    For now, though, I know what everyone's thinking. Why don't we just tell you all exactly what is and isn't in the game so we can plan our modules accordingly? Well, beside the fact that we still aren't 100% sure what will end up in the release (and that's a pretty big 'beside' all on its own)...can you imagine? An 18-page thread on the color of fire giants and you want us to tell you that XXXXX's aren't in the game, too? Egads! Storms of protest, chaos everywhere! God forbid we try to keep anyone focussed on the positive side of things!

    Seriously, though, that stuff will come, no matter how far off it might seem. Pr building up to release is a fact of life. We do know that the hardcore fans want, well, basically everything in the game... which means some will be naturally disappointed and will express it here with varying degrees of vehemence. We know it and expect it... and it will, to a degree, gauge what we work on when and if an expansion is made. Expect people to groan if their plans for NWN don't meet the reality. And while we at Bio may not need to be 'taken to task' for every decision we make (they are all hard... do you think we as gamers jumped up for joy at the prospect of no climbing/swimming/riding?), everyone has to keep in mind that feedback is what this board is for.

    David Chan, Audio Producer:

    What is NWN coded in?: The engine is written using MS VC++ and the Toolset is in Builder.

    John Bible, Programmer:

    Multiple shadows: Multiple shadows at the same time are not, nor will be included for the initial release of NWN --- once, multiple shadows were supported but they were subsequently removed. This decision had nothing to do with OpenGL or Direct3D, since the technique we use is generic to any particular API; the problem is that the fill and polygon rates required for multiple shadows on every object in the game are excessive (extremely excessive actually).
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2018
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