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Friday, May 11, 2001

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Neverwinter Nights Interview
9:41 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka, founders of Bioware, were recently interviewed by Computer Games Online with the focus on their upcoming RPG Neverwinter Nights. Following their string of successful D&D conversions, including the famed Baldur's Gate series, NWN takes the next logical step by allowing players to create and command their own senarios, effectively becoming online Dungeon Masters.

As far as creating senarios goes, the Bioware team is making sure that the construction tools are completely scalable according to the user. A casual user could create a map and drop in monsters quite easily and quickly. More advanced users who wish to affect the game at a deeper level can take advantage of the scripting language to implement more complex commands. The file formats will also be left open, meaning that players will be able to do things like create custom art and textures, though Muzkya mentions that it won't be easy. The toolset will also allow for something Zeschuk terms "hackpacks," which allow hacks to be enabled. There are also conventions for expansion packs so that NWN can be officially or unofficially expanded at any time.

One of the interesting parts about the Dungeon Master aspect of the game is that, if desired, a live Dungeon Master doesn't have to be present in order for the game to run. The computer AI is more than capable of running an adventure, particularly if the senario is well-scripted by the creator. The DM doesn't have to be present on site either if they wish to run a game - any client can remote-DM when connecting to a server.

Almost frighteningly, NWN can potentially be without end regarding senario sizes. When asked about the number of areas that can be linked together, Zeschuk replies that it's simply an issue of memory. Theoretically, a player could create a bottomless dungeon if desired. Players in a party can also split up and go their own separate ways if need be, again with the only real limitation being memory.

For D&D players out there, the question about level caps was asked. Zeschuk and Muzyka that it's exactly the same as in the 3rd edition rules. The rules for higher-level characters are also included.

The rest of the interview goes into even greater depth regarding NWN details, and even reminices a bit on the old title Adventure Construction Set for the Apple II. Anyone interested in NWN information should definitely check it out, as it is a well-done piece. There is no solid release date yet on any version of this title, other than sometime this year, but Muzyka mentions that the game is currently in the latter stages of the "implementation" phase, meaning that actual content is being created. The next phase will be the QA and testing phase.

Computer Games Online - Neverwinter Nights Interview
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