Nard, все еще не вижу твой аватар, жду
я пока не придумал ничего путного ,да мне и так не плохо
кому-нибудь еще мало новостей ?
ловите добавку :
NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer Preview
With Mask of the Betrayer, the first expansion pack for Neverwinter Nights 2, now complete, the folks at Obsidian Entertainment invited the press and some of the community to check it out at their offices in Orange County(OC), California. Normally these types of events are only covered by the large mainstream gaming news sites like IGN Gamespy PC. and IGN Gamespot UK , however it was great to see that the community sites like us, RPGVault and WarCry got invited, as well the guys from the Robinson's Workshop and RogueDao Studios, who are working on the Planescape Trilogy.
The flight to the states started at the crack of dawn on Wednesday, with the first stop in Denver. However the connecting flight was booked so close together that I barely had time to get onto the plane. I thought to myself, "there's no way my bags made it" and sure enough when I got to the OC, my bags were still in Denver. I've travelled quite a bit and that was a first I've had trouble with my luggage.
After getting to the hotel, Kevin Saunders, Lead Producer for the expansion, sent word that they wanted to take all of the community guys out to dinner to a place called Claim Jumper. The main presentation was the next day and who am I to turn down a free meal and a chance to hang out with the dev team.
At 6:30pm, Obsidian CEO, Feargus Urquhart, and assistant producer, Nathan Davis, came to the hotel to pick up Jonric from RPGVault and myself. Joining us at the restaurant was Kevin Saunders, as well as Montgomery Lee Markland (Project Leader) and Daniel Haas (3d Art Lead), from The RogueDao Studios, and Patrick "Hellfire" Robinson and Baron from the Robinson's Workshop. The portions of food were huge and a good time was had by everyone talking about RPGs, learning more about our backgrounds, and chatting about things like what are your favorite classes to play.
We also learned, the expansion has gone gold, meaning they've delivered the final production master to the duplication house, and the game is scheduled to ship late September in Europe and October 9th for North America. The reason for the Europeans getting the game first, is that early on in the development, it looked like the localization for the game would take longer, so they pushed out the delivery date to October 9th. However the translations were completed ahead of schedule and they were able to meet the September window in Europe. Unfortunately in North America, commitments were already made for October 9th which couldn't be changed so for once Europe will get the game first.
When I got back to the hotel, I found out that my luggage finally landed but United had delivered someone else's luggage to the front desk. My bag was at some other hotel and they promised to send a courier in the morning to make the switch. I made a mental note that when traveling for only a few days, make a really small bag to carry on the plane with you. Makes getting in and out of the airport much faster without the risk of losing your luggage.
THE PLANESCAPE TRILOGY
The next morning, Kevin Saunders, came to pick us at the hotel and I finally got to meet Kalia from NWN2 Warcry. We've always helped each other out and it was great to meet her in person. Just before we headed off, the courier came with my luggage so I got to change clothes after living in them for over 24 hours. The Obsidian offices are practically next door to the Embassy Suites hotel so it was a very short ride and when we got to the main boardroom, Monty and Daniel were doing a demo of the Planescape Trilogy on the widescreen TV they had set up. I actually got to sit in on the demo several times as it was being shown to various groups throughout the day and each time there was something new to check out.
This community mod will span three modules set in the Planescape setting. For those of you not familiar, there are numerous planes of existence, some of which are very bizarre with a steampunk feel to them, others where Gods and Devils reside in the depths of hell, and not to mention the prime material plane where most of the D&D settings take place. Some of these planes have their own slang, so much of it that it's practically a different language with words like Berk, Barmy, Cutter, Cager and much more. What's cool is that the team have built a word dictionary of all the Planescape terms right into the game, so you can popup an interface window and find out what a word means.
The Planescape setting hasn't received much love in computer games, but from what I've seen, there are going to be a lot of people introduced to it when they release their work. While some have attempted Planescape before using the NWN engine, it required the player to use their imagination as to the setting they were playing. Not so with this trilogy.
They have gone all out into transforming NWN2 into the Planescape universe and it shows. There are massive tilesets with towering structures covering huge cities. The level of detail and quality of the tilesets is top notch and what you'd expect from a commercial game. There are 20 new creatures, new faction system, new feats, tons of custom content like new weapons and over a hundred new placeables. In one area you can even pick up a two by four plank of wood with a rusty nail to go on the attack or be attacked by someone wielding a femur bone.
On top of that there is over three hours of new custom music and voiceovers for many of the cutscenes. It's all very professional and even had the folks from Atari and Obsidian impressed with what they've done. This will be an amazing new new world for even seasoned Planescape players to explore and a great opportunity for people new to the setting.
The first module will have 20 hours of gameplay, and even more if you do all the side quests and interact with all the citizens in the over 100 areas. Some of those areas included the Hive, the Doomguard Firehouse, the Ditch, the Gatehouse, the Mortuary, Tea Street and much more. Each of those places have their own look and feel as well their own idiosyncrasies that make them unique in the Planescape multiverse.
One of the more interesting gameplay mechanisms is the faction system. Because the Planescape setting has many different groups of people, all with their own agendas, how you treat one group will affect the others, either turning them even more against you or becoming your allies. Nothing is black and white and a good example of it was shown when you are in a bank that is about to be robbed. You are given a list of choices such as to intervene, try to join them, negotiate, or do nothing. Each of those choices will have an impact on other factions in game who may change their feelings about you based on what you do. To make it even more interesting, if you choose to do nothing at the first opportunity, you are given more chances to change your mind as the robbery progresses.
With a team of over twenty active people and over sixty that have made some contribution, this trilogy is sure to be a hit when it releases. As to when that will be, depends on the voice over work that is being done now. They are looking at between two to three months from now depending on how that goes. It's really great to see the amazing talent that the community has, and the steps they are taking to prove themselves for the next level.
NWN2 : MASK OF THE BETRAYER
Just prior to the start of the presentation of MotB, Nathaniel Chapman (Assistant Producer), took an opportunity to install the Deep Halls tileset created by the Hall of Fame Robinson's Workshop who also mentioned they plan on doubling the size of it. They've also filed their own report on the day which includes a lot of good technical info, as you would expect from their putting in hundreds of hours with the game.
Then at 11am, Kevin Saunders took over with Feargus on the side, as they gave an overview of the NWN2 : Mask of the Betrayer expansion. Kevin spoke about his concerns when they were first starting on the expansion, that they might have trouble putting together a story that would have more than ten to fifteen hours of gameplay. In the end, the expansion will offer between 25 to 30 hours of gameplay and Feargus pointed out that while it's an expansion, the level of story and amount of content delivered would easily qualify for a full game. From what I've seen, it definitely looks that way.
Speaking of looks, the game looks great. The new content and improvements that have been made to the engine really stand out. These improvements along with many optimizations, will also show up for everyone in patch 1.10 which is the next patch after 1.07. Yes, they are skipping straight to 1.10.
NWN2 Original Game Spoiler Ahead. The storyline is more focused on your own personal character versus trying to save the Forgotten Realms. You start out waking up from where the first game left off, after you were caught in the collapsing cave, though now with a gaping wound in your chest where the shard was. You then are introduced to the first of your companions, a Red Thay Wizard by the name of Safiya, who helps you get out from the cave system where you appear trapped. To give you an idea of how much they've put into the expansion, the three most vocal companions, have double the lines of conversation from the original game. This expansion should tie up any loose ends from the original game and since it's a continuation of your character, it's an epic adventure starting at 18th level or whatever your character has if it's above that, and can be very challenging at times.
For those that were wondering the new narrator voice is being done by Rodger Bumpass, and there are all new sounds replacing some of the original NWN sounds as well as a full music soundtrack that has been improved from the original game.
While the death system is the same from the original game, there is one twist that should have some really interesting gameplay results and is directly tied to the story. Your character has a hunger to devour spirits that is insatiable and must be satisfied to restore your "Spirit Energy". If you go too long you become weak and die. However if you eat too many souls, you'll become very strong but as it wears off, you'll now need to eat even more to get back to that level. There will be a meter that shows the player their spirit energy level, which slowly drains as time passes.
The process of resting has changed which is directly tied to the spirit energy as well. You can now either camp for eight hours or wait till dusk, and all of this shows up in a new dialog and actually affects the passage of time. So eight hours will pass if you choose to rest which will also drain your Spirit Energy, which makes resting much more strategic now. On one hand resting give your hitpoints and spells but at the same time can kill you if your spirit energy gets too low.
Interestingly enough, one of the companions that can join you is an undead creature called "One of Many" that looks great and has some interesting interactions that affect your influence. Many people will be happy to note that influence changes now appears in the main screen as well can be seen in the character sheets. If you upset your companions enough, they will leave you for good, so it's important to take care in how you treat them and handle yourself.
A major new system in the way players navigate is in the new "eye level" view where you are brought down to head level and and play similar to games like World of Warcraft. This is great when you want to get close and personal or check out the detail. The other view is a more Baldur's Gate II top down strategy mode, where you can drag your mouse to group things and have a bird's eye view of the action. Each of these playing modes has their own configuration screen to control different aspects and you can now decide how you want to handle highlighting of objects such as having it always highlight, or only for certain things or never. That's been a request since NWN1 so it's great to see people will now be able to have that choice.
Some of the new things in the expansion include over twenty new creatures such as Armored Knolls, Wyverns, two new dragons (A bronze one that will come in patch 1.07 and a blue dragon), Treants, Planetars, Solars, Uthraki, Leopards, Two headed Trolls, Shambling mounds, Spirit wolves and more. There are two tilesets which are the Sunken Ruins and Estate, as well as six new retextured cave and interior tilesets. Check out the Robinson's Workshop report for more info.
The retextured tilesets comes from a new texture swapper that is available in the toolset with the 1.07 patch and allows interior tilesets to have each part of them defined with a new texture. So you can set the roof, walls and floor to all have different textures. This is a great way to expand the look of the interiors and in one example, they turned a standard room into a mix of rocky floors and wood floors but you could do pretty much anything. Thanks to Obsidian's Rob McGinnis, here are the instructions on adding our own custom textures.
Some of the new environmental effects include ground fog, and blowing sand as well as darkvision for those that are allowed it. When turned on, dark areas in their cone field of vision light up to help reveal more detail. Another really cool environmental effect is seen when you travel from your base in the city of Mulsantir to the Shadow plane. Obsidian has implemented a new desaturation setting that can be adjusted from 0% (no color) to 100% (full color). So the Shadow Plane is set at around 10-20% desaturation and gives a really black and white feeling you'd expect from such a place. This new control can be used by anyone making a module so it's sure to be used in some creative ways.
There are now six new sub races which include Wild elves, Half Drow and four elemental Genasi. With those races also comes a new heads and hair types including some very cool flaming mohawks. There are new Prestige classes which include the Red Wizards of Thay, Favored Soul (Sorcerer Cleric), Spirit Shaman (Druid Sorcerer), Invisible Blade, StormLord and Arcane Scholar of CandleKeep, which is a prestige class Obsidian created themselves.
Of course with these new classes you can also expect new epic feats and spells, such as Epic gate and Mass Foul, which can turn your victims in chickens. What's hilarious is they created a new animation for the chicken, where it delivers a comical leaping kick as it tries to attack you.
WRAP IT UP
It's no secret that when NWN2 shipped there were a lot of issues. In fact there are still issues even today, but a lot of people have forgotten that when the original NWN released, it too had a ton of problems that took BioWare many patches to fix. Thankfully Obsidian has risen to the same challenge and has really put the effort to support the game, and while I can't get into details, they've done things even beyond their contractual obligations and enough to probably make their accountants pull their hair out. There's no doubt that Obsidian cares about the game and the community. This expansion really shows that commitment to deliver something they are passionate about because they love making games.
To give an example of how polished the game will be, virtually all games these days have a "zero-day" patch. Basically it's a patch for things that couldn't make it before production that players need to make sure the game will play ok. Obsidian was able to complete that patching process before they delivered the gold master. So that's not to say that game will never get patched, but it does show the high level of polish they were able to deliver for what is sure to be a great Epic level game that will probably score higher than the original.