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Thursday, July 19, 2001
Rob Bartel on Neverwinter Nights Tools for Mac
6:23 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

A post by Trent Oster on the Neverwinter Nights message board recently has touched off a firestorm of controversy in both the Mac and Linux gaming worlds. Oster's post suggested that the tool set for this game, which will allow players to create and manipulate entire online dungeons for others to explore, may be Windows only.

Obviously this a great disappointment to Mac gamers who were anticipating becoming an online DM for the game. IMG has been talking with several BioWare team members to clear up this issue, but we can't print all the details just yet -- there are still some contacts to make. In the meantime, BioWare co-founder Rob Bartel has posted a message in the forums that both makes the issue clearer and yet just as hazy at the same time:

Wow, that should teach me for taking a coupla days off, huh? Yikes! Okay, here's the skinny:

As Trent explained, the nature of our development cycle has required us to build the toolset using Borland Builder, an environment that speeds up development time by providing programmers with a lot of pre-built components (scrollbars, text fields, radio buttons, and so forth - the standard Windows schtuff). Basically, it keeps you from having to constantly reinvent the wheel. Without a product such as Builder, the Neverwinter Toolset would probably take about 5 years to build (and that's just for a Windows version).

So the big question in everyone's minds seems to be "Why did you wait this long to tell us that the toolset is Windows-only?" That's a fair question and the honest answer is that we didn't know, we still don't know. As Brent mentioned, we haven't ruled out Mac and Linux versions of the toolset yet although they do seem unlikely at this point. The truth is that we want our toolset to be available on all platforms... Unfortunately, we don't always get what we want, either.

In his post, Trent explained that Borland did have plans for a Linux version of Builder and we had been pinning a lot of our hopes on that (and who knows, it still might happen). Sadly, their development seems to have stalled somewhere along the line whereas we need to keep moving forward. Likewise, we had been in discussions with Macintosh about getting a third-party developer to port the toolset as either a simultaneous or a subsequent release but that discussion seems to have dried up as well. Now all of these things may still happen but we have to look at the situation realistically. Neverwinter is really starting to solidify and take shape right now and, while that's a really good thing, it unfortunately means that some of these outstanding issues need to be put to rest, at least for the time being. We'd rather tell you now and have to retract it later (Yay! Toolsets for everybody!) than keep it under wraps any longer and give you this kind of a shock on the day your pre-order arrives.

So if you really feel that not having a native Linux or Mac toolset kills Neverwinter for you, then I apologize. We would have loved to have you as part of our community, we would have loved to have a toolset there for you, we'll definitely miss you and all of the creativity that you would have brought to bear. Ultimately, however, you've got some tough choices you have to make, just like we do. Welcome to game development...

We caution Mac users not to get disheartened just yet -- the third-party developments concerning this game are quite active, according to our sources. Two IMG staffers recently went to BioWare HQ to see NWN in action, and when their article is published we hope to clarify some of the issues involved.

Neverwinter Nights Forums

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