BioWare Bio, NWN Preview
6:00 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
Those of you who are just now enjoying Baldur's Gate might be interested in an article posted at Daily Radar which features a short history of BioWare and bios of the founders. This Canadian company began making medical imaging software in 1993, and by 1996 had moved on to games, publishing the mech title Shattered Steel. Baldur's Gate was their next title, and they have since moved on to Baldur's Gate II, due to ship very soon for PC, and Neverwinter Nights, an ambitious 3D RPG due to ship next Summer. NWN is of special interest to Mac gamers, as BioWare has promised to produce a Mac OS version of this online RPG.
Lead developers Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeshuck are known for their attention to detail -- Baldur's Gate II is said to feature 200+ hours of gameplay. However, their focus does not mean that NWN will be forever stuck in development:
But could Ray and Greg's commitment to perfection lead to a bloated development schedule for NN, resulting in it becoming an E3 staple for the next few shows? Not likely. The game is already quite far along. According to Ray and Greg, "We follow a project management frame at Bioware. So a project starts up with the design phase, and then we do prototyping. Neverwinter Nights is now through those two phases and into the implementation phase, which is about a year in duration, and testing is implemented towards the end of that as well. It is coming along nicely. The graphics engine is complete now The editor's suite is being developed. We're putting all the third-edition rules into the game. We're making the final tile sets to lay out the terrain. So things are moving along."This is excellent news, as the very prospect of playing this game leaves us drooling. NWN is an attempt to meld the latest in 3D and online technologies with the pen-and-paper origins of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, by adhering to a strict AD&D Third Edition rule set and bringing the Dungeon Master back to RPGs. Players will be able to adventure online, solo or in parties, with up to 64 characters per dungeon. You can also turn the tables and become the DM of your own dynamic dungeon, actively participating as players try to conquer your creation.
Sound intriguing? If you're eager for even more details and some screen shots of this game, GameSpot has posted a preview based on a recent visit to BioWare HQ. Along with details on gameplay and the magic system, the preview discusses NWN's powerful dungeon creation toolset, which uses a drag-and-drop system of pre-made tiles to ease the creation process. Here are details:
The game is tile-based, so the editor is as easy to use as any of those that have shipped with real-time strategy games, and it is considerably less intimidating than the editors that are used to craft first-person shooter levels. The editor displays the area being created, using the same vivid graphics that the players will ultimately see in the gaming world, which lets you constantly review the progress of your construction. It likely won't take long for gamers to craft impressive reproductions of some of D&D's most famous pen-and-paper modules, just as they did when SSI released its D&D Unlimited Adventures construction set.As we reported on Monday, the BioWare team recently received a present from Apple, in the form of a loaded G4 with a Cinema display -- this should provide sufficient motivation to keep the Mac OS version on track. Although the prospect of a nine-month (or longer) wait is almost to painful to bear, this is one game we are going to be watching closely.
History of Bioware at Daily Radar
GameSpot Neverwinter Nights Preview
Buy Neverwinter Nights
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