E3: Neverwinter Nights News
9:32 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story
As with other highly-anticipated games, E3 brought with it a flood of information for Neverwinter Nights, the upcoming D&D based RPG currently in development by BioWare.
First on the list is GameSpot, which posted a huge number of very large screenshots that really show off some serious NWN eye-candy. The first group of shots consists of character sketches guaranteed to swell the heart of any D&D addict out there. The next group shows off the polygonal 3D goodness of the game's characters and environments, with some close-up shots of demonstration characters in the game. One shot, which already seems to be posted on practically every NWN E3 story now, shows a close-up of what appears to be an Elf in armor, complete with a sword in each hand. Later shots show other intriguing tidbits, such as spell effects, various dwellings, and multiplayer games in action, complete with text chatter.
Next up is Firing Squad, which focused on the famed senario-editing capabilities of NWN. They note that the toolset takes care of all the lighting, clipping issues, and shadow effects automatically when building environments. As the game is in 3D, creators can zoom in/out and rotate around objects with ease. Creature creation is just a matter of point and click, where people can click on a monster and edit a variety of stats, including behavior scripts. The scripts themselves are being made as intuitive as possible, with pre-made scripts and open-sourcing being made available for those with less programming knowledge.
Firing Squad makes an interesting note regarding the multiplayer game as well - it will feature a "Quick Chat," in which players can hit a quick keystroke combo to say a specifc thing. Besides being handy, this feature will also automaticaly translate the message into one of several languages, making rudimentary communication possible on public servers between international players.
Gamer's Pulse also got their two cents in with a guided tour of the senario creation tool, from dungeon creation to actual play. Creating the dungeon itself was mostly point and click, with corridors being dragged out to lengthen them and textures being automatically added. Monsters were then picked and added (all familiar names from the D&D Monster Manual), including an ambushing goblin party consisting of grunts, archers, and shamans. To add flavor, a cowardly creature was also added (programmed to flee) and was given branching dialogue that had him begging for his life in case of any player encounters. For an end boss, a large nasty demon complete with a lightning sword and flaming wings was added.
Weapon creation was also demonstrated, with items being customizable by appearance, stats, name, and the like. For example, a sword can have a customized blade, hilt, and hand guard, resulting in thousands of unique combinations.
Total time for dungeon creation: 10 minutes, including all the slowdown time as the demonstrators had to do verbal explanations as well.
The team then proceeded to actually play through their little senario. Gamer's Pulse notes that, when encountering the cowering creature, the conversation took place in realtime, with the players choosing to hack the creature to bits in mid-sentence. They also make note of the automatic lighting effects mentioned earlier, with players torchlight and spells creating appropriate effects, including reflecting off the armor of players and creatures alike.
RPG Dot makes note of some of the more interesting features regarding multiplayer play of NWN. The current number of players per game is currently at 64. There are three player vs. player options, including free-for-alls, team battles and a third option which denies players the abilities to attack or cast harmful spells (this sounds like a grace option admins can use to keep itchy players from killing each other while staging a competition). There are also three ways a multiplayer character can be saved: on the player's computer, on the DM's computer, or as a "vault" character on BioWare's server, which will automatically make checks for hacked characters and other cheats. The vault itself will act as a verifier of sorts, making a character "official." Servers can be set up so they only allow official characters to play, protecting those servers and honest players from hacking cheaters. Look to the FAQ on BioWare's official site for more information on this system.
RPG Dot - Neverwinter Nights Preview
If RPG addicts weren't salivating profusely over this title before, they surely are now. There is, as of yet, no solid release date on this title, though an end-of-year time period has been floating around for a while. Be sure to check out the various stories at the links below for more information guaranteed to make players weep that this game isn't out yet.
RPG Planet - Planet Neverwinter
BioWare - Neverwinter Nights FAQ
Gamer's Pulse - Neverwinter Nights Preview
FiringSquad - Neverwinter Nights Preview
GameSpot - Neverwinter Nights Screenshots
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