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Neverwinter Nights News Interview
Turner 'Bulldog' Hopkinson :: 12:00 AM @ March 18th, 2002 :: In-House: Interview
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GameGossip: Neverwinter Nights has been discussed in great detail by more than a few, yet there is still confusion on the part of some as to whether or not the game is designed primarily a single player game with multiplayer abilities, or a multiplayer game with a single player campaign tacked on. How would you describe it?
Greg: Neverwinter Nights is both a singleplayer and a multiplayer game. We are creating a story as detailed as anything we�ve ever done for the Baldur�s Gate series which can be played through in either singleplayer or multiplayer modes. One of the big features of the game is an encounter system that scales the difficulty of an encounter based on the number and level of players challenging the encounter � this system allows us to create a game which offers challenging gameplay for a single player or a group of players. The official campaign can be played alone or with a group of friends, allowing you to experience a true multiplayer story based adventure.
GameGossip: How long can we look forward to the single player campaign being and roughly how many different areas does the story encompass?
Greg: We�re aiming for roughly 60 hours for the single player campaign. The story takes the player to a number of areas � rumor has it there are more playable areas in Neverwinter Nights than in Baldur�s Gate.
GameGossip: The toolset is another favorite topic for NWN. While Bioware has said in the past that it will be easy to use, some may have doubts. After all, Nihilistic said the same thing for Vampire and yet very few could actually make new levels/modules/etc. How well will a person without any programming experience (like me) be able to use the toolset to create new levels or new scripts?
Greg: I had limited experience with the Vampire toolset so I am unable to comment on it, but I do know that the Neverwinter Nights toolset is ridiculously easy to use � it�s a simple click and point interface. Area creation in Neverwinter uses an intuitive painting algorithm so the builder never worries about how the tiles fit together. Creating creature and weapons is as simple as a click and drop maneuver. The power of the tools is their scope � it takes literally minutes to make a simple hack and slash module, but the tools can also make an incredibly detailed story-based module. People aren�t going to start out scripting detailed modules, so everything we build will be available to learn from and to create new content.
GameGossip: This will be the second game to come out using the 3rd Edition of the Dungeons and Dragons rule set. We all know how badly Pool of Radiance turned out and more than a few are worried about the same deal with NWN. How closely to the Pen and Paper rules have you been able to remain and what are some of the examples where a change was needed due to limitations?
Greg: We are using experience gained adapting the 2nd Edition AD&D rules for use in Baldur�s Gate to make sure that our 3rd Edition D&D rule implementation is impeccable. We are allowing extreme player customizability with regard to Skills and Feats, as well as careful attention to all of the rules. Even though we�ve got over 5 years of experience working on D&D games we�re still being very careful in our adaptation of the rules � the first rule we learned on Baldur�s Gate was don�t change the system, and we�re sticking to that with Neverwinter Nights.
GameGossip: Aribeth and Lara sign up for the same modeling job. Who would get the gig and why?
Greg: That�s a tough one � I think it would depend on if you want pointy ears or not. Aribeth is an elf so she�d fit more into the exotic model category.
GameGossip: How many different tile sets will be available for budding Dungeon Masters to built modules with? Castle sets and city sets, etc?
Greg: There are 9 distinct tilesets that come with Neverwinter Nights � these include a variety of indoor and outdoor settings with a good number of thematic variations in each tileset.
GameGossip: Will Feats and Prestige Classes be fully implemented? Will players be able to select sub-races (ie: drow) for their characters?
Greg: We are not implementing any Prestige Classes with the initial release of Neverwinter � we want to fully implement the base classes before doing any of the snazzy stuff. There are a ton of Feats in the game. When creating a character players will be able to either choose each Feat individually, or choose a Package. A Package groups Feats together into a functional set for people that don�t want to build their character from the ground up. For example if you pick the Dual Wielding Swordsman Package you will get all of the Feats and Skills needed to be a dual wielding swordsman. Finally when you level you will be able to pick the Feats you learn.

We have implemented sub-races including hooks back into the game scripts. For example, when you converse with someone they could check your sub-race and if you are a Drow and act accordingly. You could also script special powers only available to Drow in your modules.

GameGossip: How will cheating be prevented? After all, the only thing a cheater needs to do is create his own module with nothing but gold and treasure lying around, build up some custom weapons, then spawn monsters for awhile to up their level. By the time they come back to a regular game, they have jumped 10 levels. How will server admins be able to control this?
Greg: We�re using a concept called House Rules where the person running the server sets the rules. Our perspective is that people can cheat all they want on their own servers, but if they try to take that character to another server they have to follow the rules of the host. The host might limit the maximum class or items that can be brought into the module or choose to let anything in. It�s quite simple system � it ultimately will be automated so the host won�t even have to be on the system to screen players.

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