Neverwinter Nights Chat Transcript and Interview
Neverwinter Nights

The last two days have brought us not one, but two new discussions of Bioware's highly anticipated PC RPG, Neverwinter Nights. On April 11th, Neverwinter Stratics hosted an online chat with twelve members of the game design team. A total of 358 individuals joined into the moderated talk, which lasted an hour and a half and revealed a large amount of new information about the upcoming title. The following are several of the questions asked during the chat:

Q: With you losing the license for future D&D products, what will happen to Neverwinter Nights continuing success and expansion?

Ray Muzyka (Joint CEO): The license for D&D products is held by our publisher Black Isle/Interplay, not BioWare, but as I understand it expansions to the NWN realm are still feasible. Black Isle/Interplay would have to comment on any time issues associated with their license but NWN shouldn't be impacted by any licensure issues with Hasbro/Infogrames as far as I am aware.

Q: Will amulets, cloaks, quivers of arrows, etc show on character models?

Marc Holmes (Art Director): We are of course showing armor and weapons in-hand, but we have decided not to show the full range of 'accessories.' There are two main reasons I can think of right off, one being performance. We want the game to run on as many computers as possible, so keeping the total number of parts in play at once as low as possible is very important. Also, you have such a wide range of characters you can play, we simply can't be sure that cloaks and quivers will attach properly to every possible armor combination... You do have your custom portrait, and you can show yourself equipped any way you like there...if that helps...

Q: Is the Mac/Linux versions of Neverwinter Nights on par with the Windows version at this point in development?

Trent Oster (Producer): Linux trails a few weeks behind and the Mac is in the process of getting "Carbonized"

Q: Like Han Solo?

TO: Carbonizing broke a number of things with the Mac, so it is a little further behind right now. Better than Solo, Way better.

Bioware also mentioned that the graphics engine is basically finished, and that the focus has now moved to the game's artwork, which is about 60% complete. The full chat transcript contains many further answers to fan questions, including details on the manner in which games can be customized and scripted by DMs, and what players can expect to find in the way of online multiplayer gaming. It should be remembered that Neverwinter Nights is not a true massive multiplayer online game, but at least 20 to 30 player servers should be able to link together via portals. With each of those servers supporting up to 64 players, there will still be the potential to have hundreds or even thousands of people sharing adventures. The entire transcript of the online discussion can be found here.

Providing further information on Neverwinter Nights, recently held a short interview with Teresa Stevenson and Trent Oster, Bioware's Communications Coordinator and Producer, respectively. The talk delved into details on just how a DM will manage and construct a game world, among other things. Here are some of the topics covered in that interview:

To help the DM prepare a module or session, will most of the information needed be available to them through the game interface, or will it still be helpful or required to have the actual AD&D 3rd Edition manuals in front of you?

As most of the rules are handled automatically within the game engine, prior 3rd Edition knowledge or rulebooks are not a requirement. We'll provide the core information in a separate game manual for the DM and we'll also be including an in-game tutorial for them as well. That said, the 3rd Edition rulebooks are still great reference material and a good investment for anyone interested in learning more about D&D.

Is there going to be any way to introduce the DM's favorite tool, the Fudge Factor, without making it blatantly obvious to the players? Kind of like allowing them to get through that door they really need to get through, but the Thief blew their picklock roll.

Ah, the Fudge Factor... While players rarely notice it, the so-called Fudge Factor is a vital tool for any DM. Within Neverwinter, we plan on giving the DM quick in-game access to an all-encompassing difficulty slider that manipulates all sorts of stats and rolls behind the scenes. Aside from this, the DM will also have a number of more specific powers at his or her disposal such as locking and unlocking doors, giving temporary skill or combat bonuses to a creature, temporarily protecting a creature from damage or death, and so forth. Additionally, the DM can always spawn and/or possess NPCs and manipulate the situation in that manner (the city guard arrives on the scene, providing the player with some extra backup). We'll have more details on the DMs specific Fudge Factor powers closer to release.

While its release remains some time away, Neverwinter Nights is certainly shaping up as an impressive new level of RPGaming, and Bioware seems to be making sure that their fans' concerns are all taken into consideration. The interview with Teresa Stevenson and Trent Oster can be read in its entirety here. RPGamer will keep you updated on new information as it becomes available on this intricate and exciting new adventure into the Dungeons & Dragons gaming world.

by Matthew Wanlin
Sources: [ , Neverwinter Stratics]
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