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Thursday, March 29, 2001

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GameSpot Previews Neverwinter Nights
9:34 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The crew at GameSpot recently paid a visit to BioWare, creators of the upcoming
Neverwinter Nights, and came away with a king's share of information that they were kind
enough to share with the public in their recent preview. Neverwinter Nights is BioWare's upcoming
RPG, based of the 3rd edition rules for table-top Dungeons and Dragons, which offers the ability to create
and be dungeon master for potentially huge campaigns.

Though campaign creation and multiplayer options are probably the biggest draws to this title,
the single-player campaign has not been neglected, and is currently shaping up to be just as interesting
as any of BioWare's previous stand-alone titles such as Baldur's Gate. The backstory starts
the player off as an inexperienced guild member, located in the city of Neverwinter, who is charged with the task
of finding the cause and cure of a mysterious plague that is sweeping across the city. The overall campaign is said to clock
in at over 60 hours of total gameplay time.

Though the single-player campaign is designed to be finishable with just one character, the option to bring in up to five friends
for assistance will be included. To compensate for the shift in power, Neverwinter Nights comes with the ability
to compensate by adjusting the difficulty of encounters. For example, a single player might encounter but a few low-level monsters, while
a party of six would encounter a larger party of monsters, with perhaps a more dangerous mix of monster types. What makes this scaling more impressive
is the fact that Neverwinter will do all this on-the-fly, a feature that can be implemented in player-created
campaigns as well. This will assure that no campaign will ever get too boring or too unfair.

The scripting language that can be used to flesh out player-created campaigns is "very easy to use," according to Bioware. It can be used
to create character personalities, special events, and the like. Triggered events, which would occur when "triggered" by an action or
another event, can be strung together to create entire sequences. Ask a character a difficult question and a script could have that
character pace back and forth as they ponder the question. Speaking of conversations, the ability to create dialogue trees, like those found
in Baldur's Gate and the like, will also be included. Neverwinter will even include the ability
to add text and dialogue into multiple languages, for those that would like to localize their campaigns for worldwide play.

As Neverwinter does tout online multiplayer play, the question of customization inevitably arises. BioWare is making sure that
repeat characters are not too much of an issue:

Even though most 3D role-playing games do
give some flexibility in choosing your character's appearance,
there usually isn't much variety. But, in fact, the combination of
different possible player-character appearances in Neverwinter
Nights ends up somewhere in the trillions.
Needless to say, "in the trillions" is a fairly large number. This type of customization will be necessary, as Neverwinter
will support up to 60 players in a map, with up to 20 on-screen at any time.

For even more voluminous information on Neverwinter Nights, be sure to read the entire preview. Neverwinter is tentatively scheduled
for release sometime this year, but BioWare is quick to point out that their main commitment is to the game's quality, rather than its
shipping date. Given the huge scope and potential of this title, it'll be well worth the wait.

GameSpot - Neverwinter Nights Preview
Neverwinter Nights Official Site
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights

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Update on ATI Technologies9:39 AM
• GameSpot Previews Neverwinter Nights9:34 AM
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Unreal II Details Emerge8:55 AM
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Archives  News  GameSpot Previews Neverwinter Nights