An online chat was recently hosted by Linux.com with several members of the Bioware development team, who are currently working on the upcoming RPG title, Neverwinter Nights. As might be assumed by the discussion hosts, much of the talk was oriented towards the Linux version of the title, though there were other types of questions answered as well. Bioware has intended from the start to go completely cross-platform with Neverwinter Nights, with plans to support the Macintosh, Linux, PC, and even BeOS platforms right out of the box.
This ambitious decision has required Bioware to incorporate a very specific development process into their work. They have managed to write the majority of their code so that it compiles on all platforms, leaving only platform-specific elements, such as hardware drivers, to be updated later. Bioware strongly feels that the Linux user base is much more significant than they are credited by most publishers, and are determined to deliver them with the same high quality game. It is felt among the Bioware chat participants that "Linux hasn't really been acknowledged as a gaming OS," and that "people should have no more difficulty discovering a linux version than windows."
Because of this initial multiplatform decision, Bioware is incorporating OpenGL and OpenAL for its graphical and audio systems, leaving any thoughts of Direct X and DirectPlay out of the game. These development decisions were crucial in making the process quick and easily ported to all the target platforms. Further, Mac gamers can look forward to a carbonized version of Neverwinter Nights, fully capable of running under Apple's OSX, which will be released next month. This will allow the game to take advantage of the new operating system's stunning performance and unmatched speed.
Neverwinter Nights is shaping up to be an exceptional title, and the game's multiplatform development is sure to make it not only widespread but also a great step for Linux gamers when it is released later this year. While Bioware's current goal is to ship the game as a hybrid, one CD in one box that will work on all the specified platforms, that decision will ultimately be up to the publisher. The full IRC chat transcript can be found here, and contains a myriad of information on the highly anticipated upcoming RPG title, as well as extensive discussion of gaming on Linux systems. There was no talk of the previously mentioned console possibilities, although that process would almost certainly take place after the release of the game.