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Tuesday, October 31, 2000

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Neverwinter Nights Interview
3:30 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Fan site Neverwinter Nexus has spoken with Rob Bartel of BioWare, currently developing the online RPG Neverwinter Nights. This ambitious title hopes to rekindle the spirit of the Dungeon Master, bringing the Third Edition Dungeons & Dragons rule set alive with a stunning 3D engine and unlimited, free online play. Players will be able to create a character and pursue a long solo adventure, or join other players online for cooperative or competitive ventures through huge indoor and outdoor areas. The game will also ship with a complete tool set for creating dungeons from pre-made parts, hosting them online and participating dynamically in the role of DM as parties attempt to conquer your creation.

This interview is fairly informal, and does presume the reader has some knowledge of the game itself, but many interesting issues are raised. NWN is a radically different approach to online RPGs in comparison to EverQuest or Ultima Online (two PC-only titles) and will be unique in its strict adherence to official D&D rules. More importantly, it will be cross-platform for Mac and PC right out of the box. Here's an excerpt from the interview concerning character creation:

We're all definitely excited about what you and your team have shared with us so far. What do you think is NWN's most intriguing feature that will make players go "Wow!" when we finally get it in our fat little fingers?

I canít speak for everyone but, for me, the big "Wow!" factor lies in the sheer variety of character and NPCs I can be and create. Some of this is the result of all the work Wizards of the Coast has put into the new 3rd Edition D&D rules. I can be any of D&Dís 7 distinct races and every one of those can be of either gender and any of D&Dís 11 distinct classes. I can further customize my character from there with a broad selection of skills and heroic feats and I get to continue that customization as my character grows and develops. Weíre taking the same approach to the art in Neverwinter, even allowing you to choose a body type for your character, such as fat, muscular or frail. You can also choose from a wide variety of heads for your character and alter the color of your skin, hair, and the numerous fabric, leather, and metal parts of your armor and clothing. The armor and clothing system, themselves, take advantage of our piece-based animation system to allow for literally billions of possible unique-looking sets of armor and clothing. Neverwinter is all about giving power to the player and we feel that the ability to customize your character and the various NPCs through which you tell your story is a vital part of that.

Read the rest of the interview for more details and a glimpse at the development process itself. The release of NWN is so far off in the future it is truly painful to contemplate, but perhaps we will be crawling through its dungeons in late Summer of next year. For more information, visit the Neverwinter Nights web site.

Interview With Rob Bartel at Neverwinter Nexus
Interview with Trent Oster of BioWare
Neverwinter Nights
First Look at Neverwinter Nights
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights

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