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Monday, April 16, 2001

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Neverwinter Nights Interview
10:55 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Stomped recently posted an interview with Rob Bartel of BioWare, the company currently working on the upcoming title Neverwinter Nights. NN is an RPG based on the 3rd Edition of the official Dungeons and Dragons rule book, and it features solo and multiplayer modes as well as what is shaping up to be one of the most powerful senario-building and dungeon-mastering editors ever developed.

Though many details have already been revealed for this title, Bartel manages to reveal yet more relevant info for NN. He comments that the graphics engine, from a writer's perspective, should be fun to work with. It includes dynamic shadowing, colored lighting, a robust particle system, reflective surfaces and tons of animations, all of which should help a story designer create just the right mood for adventures.

Character generation for the game is taken almost straight from the 3rd edition D&D rules. The Point-Buy system outlined in the DM's guide will allows players to tweak their ability scores. All 7 races and 11 character classes outlined in the 3rd edition Player's Guide will be available, both male and female. As a character develops in-game, a player can choose various special skills and feats with which to flesh out their character. For people who don't wish to roll the dice, several pre-fabricated characters will also be available.

In terms of weapons, there will be 35-40 different types in the game, including kamas, shuriken, and double axes. Interestingly enough, treasure will be randomized in the game, creating a slightly different experience for each player.

One of the aspects of the editor that BioWare wanted to make sure of was its ease-of-use. A user with no art or modeling experience, using the tile-based map editor in NN, could build an eye-pleasing map in about 5 minutes according to various reports.

Bartel has some additional comments regarding the multiplayer aspect of NN:

One thing to clarify is that BioWare is not creating a massively multiplayer world like of Everquest or Ultima Online. That said, a number of our fan groups are! Provided you have a cable- or xDSL-based modem, you’ll be able to host an estimated 64 Neverwinter players on your home machine. From there, you will be able to use in-game Portals to connect your server to servers run by friends or guildmates. Connect enough servers together and your players will have a massive realm to wander and plenty of fellow adventurers to interact with. The really neat thing is that the concept is infinitely expandable. If you ever want to increase your geography or player capacity, just find another friend willing to run a server.

But all of that is really icing on the cake. The core focus of Neverwinter Nights is the classic D&D experience of a small party adventuring under the guidance of an all-powerful Dungeon Master. You can create your own modules to support this or you can use the official campaign that we’ll be shipping with the game. The official campaign will be playable both in single-player or online, with or without a Dungeon Master present. It will be an epic game in its own right and, even if you never so much as dabble in the toolset, download player-made modules, or jump online to adventure and compete with friends, we still intend to give you your money’s worth.

This game has many players aching for the chance to access its features, especially the highly-touted level editor. Bartel remarks on the possibility of a pre-release beta, but nothing is set in stone. The beta, if it were to be released, would most likely feature the editing toolset, which Bartel hopes would generate some player-made campaigns even before the release of the title itself.

For the full interview, be sure to check it out at Stomped. NN is currently set for a near-simultaneous PC/Mac release, sometime at the end of this year.

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Neverwinter Nights Official Site
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Other Mac Games News for Monday, April 16, 2001

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Kids Domain's Easter Update9:04 AM
Oberin Updated9:02 AM
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View all of the Mac games news for Monday, April 16, 2001 on one page

Mac Games News for Friday, April 13, 2001

Detailed GeForce 2 MX/Radeon Comparison3:00 PM
Myst III Delayed Until Fall for Europe12:54 PM
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Quick Red Faction Q&A10:03 AM
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Mac Summoner Questions Answered9:24 AM
NWN Chat Transcripts, OS X Plans8:12 AM
Unreal II Preview6:00 AM
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