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Monday, July 23, 2001

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More on Neverwinter Toolset Saga
6:00 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Many Mac users have expressed grief over the news that Bioware would likely be unable to include the toolset in the Mac and Linux versions of Neverwinter Nights. While it's not unusual for such tools to be left out (such as is the case with Unreal, Quake and others), many felt the Neverwinter Nights level creator was an integral part of the game. Bioware's Rob Bartel has provided another large post to their forums in an attempt to provide some explanation for their reasoning, as well as to say all hope is not yet lost. Here's his post in full:

Hi again, folks. Many of you are still expressing feelings of being lied to and for that I apologize. As I mentioned in my last post, we had always hoped for full multiplatform capability for the toolset. We had reason to believe that Borland-for-Linux would be available by this time and that a third party would be handling a Mac port on our behalf. For reasons beyond our control, these once-feasible options have both fallen through. Again, we regret this deeply and understand how many of you feel - we want a multiplatform toolset, too. But I promise you that we have not been lying to you - we told you what we understood to be true and we continue to do so now that that understanding has changed.

As for concerns that, as a developer, we are abandoning alternate platforms, I sure hope not. Many of you on the boards have mentioned that games of any sort on these platforms are few and far between and top-of-the-line roleplaying titles even more so. Well, with NWN, you're still getting that - a simultaneous multiplatform release of a rich D&D RPG from the developers of the Baldur's Gate series. On top of that, you're also able to experience the adventure with other players, regardless of platform, in multiplayer mode. Plus there are competitive play modules, random dungeons, persistent worlds, user-made campaigns, and so forth that you'll be able to download off the 'net or simply join in and play via the matching service. While that may or may not include the toolset, that's still something bigger and better and cooler than a lot of things out there - to ignore it entirely is to do yourself a disservice.

Another thing I've heard alternative-OS users on this board say is that it's good to support developers who cater to their platform of choice because it shows the developer (and other developers who happen to be paying attention) that their platform has market potential. That holds true in this case, as well. If Linux and Mac users make up a good portion of the traffic on our Matching Service, you can bet that that will turn heads and make it easier for us to pitch the toolset to a third-party porting company or convince the powers that be that we should do the port ourselves. For that matter, if you really want to the toolset ported to your platform of choice, consider emailing some of these porting companies and letting them know that there is a market for such a product (as it's "just a toolset" and not the game itself, many companies are understandably reluctant to take on such a risk).

As for open-sourcing the toolset itself, I'm not enough of a tech-head to assess the feasibility of such a move, nor enough of a legal beagle to know if there might be unforeseen complications along the way. Personally, I'd love to see it but it's really not my call to make.

Hope that helps...

While Rob makes some very good points, please don't bother inundating Westlake with email saying you want the toolset. They are aware of the situation, but it's really going to take an effort from a publisher (be it a Mac publisher or Interplay) to pay for a third party to develop the toolset. If there's any new word on the situation, you can be sure we pass it along.

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