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Monday, August 20, 2001

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NWN Toolset Saga Continues
12:59 PM | Ben Boffey | Comment on this story

As anyone who's even vaguely interested in Bioware's forthcoming uber-RPG Neverwinter Nights already knows, the tool set which allows you to modify and create your own adventures or 'modules' is not being developed for the Mac, Linux or BeOS. We'll not go into the details here, but it's safe to say this news has caused a bit of an outcry within the non-Windows-using NWN community, which has been looking forward to this aspect of the game.

Neverwinter Vault noted has a comment concerning a possible port of the NWN tool set posted by Wil Shipley, President of The Omni Group. Wil's comments also show Omni's dedication to the Mac and how others are not always as helpful. Here is his post:

Well, I got six mail messages from people interested in having Omni port the Neverwinter Nights toolkit to OS X. At Omni we think NWN is going to be a kick-ass game and we'd love to help out.
On the other hand, we are pressed for time -- we've got to ship Giants and then we've got another paying game to finish, and hopefully the paying games will keep coming.

One of the things we discovered THE HARD WAY with the free ports of games is the publishers aren't necessarily motivated to release them -- we've had two games that we ported get 'thrown away' before we could do anything with them because the publisher wasn't really all the interested in the OS X version, they were just letting us do our free port for a lark.
Needless to say, this made us unhappy.

We'd certainly be interested in looking at the NWN toolset code and seeing how much there is and how hard it'd be to port to Cocoa. While Cocoa is a super-powerful toolkit, if their code is tightly integrated with Windows it could be a real pain to try to extricate the relevant bits, and even if the new code only took us a couple days to write (which is what I suspect) it might take a month or so to rip out the old code for re-use.
Of course, if the publisher actually wanted to get behind the OS X version and commit some dollars to the port, we'd be able to commit to it instead of saying, "we'd take a look."

It's worth noting that every Mac now ships with OS X bundled (as well as OS 9) and has for a month or so, and that probably by the time NWN ships Macs will ship with OS X as their default OS, as well.

It's also worth noting that newer machines which run 3D games well are exactly those machines which will run OS X well. (Or, as we said to MacPlay about the Giants port -- if the person has a video card in her machine that will support Giants, then she can definitely run OS X.)
The full situation is still very unclear but we'll be keeping an ear to the ground for any future developments concerning a possible port of the NWN Toolset. Here's hoping Bioware reads this and gets the message.

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Archives  News  NWN Toolset Saga Continues