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Neverwinter Nights Feature at Gamasutra

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Neverwinter Nights Feature at Gamasutra

Editorial - posted by Mistress on Thu 5 December 2002, 16:33:40

Tags: Neverwinter Nights

Gamasutra have posted a "postmortem" of Neverwinter Nights, written by director of programming, Scott Greig and others on the Neverwinter Nights team.

The article discusses what they felt did and didn't go right with the development of the game, together with the pitfalls of working on such a large and ambitious project.

Here are a few excerpts that caught my eye:

"In Neverwinter Nights, the multiplayer systems were integrated directly into the original design. Even in single-player, the game acts like a multiplayer game with a single client attached. Although this deep integration increased the time to develop each system (compared to a single-player-only system), it did result in an overall reduction in the time required to integrate multiplayer and ensured that all the systems were optimized for multiplayer play."

I think that just about sums the NWN single-player campaign up. "Multiplayer game with a single client attached".
"We hired a number of new people during the course of the game, practically all of whom had no prior game development experience, but we were very fortunate that a number of people that had worked on the Baldur's Gateseries also worked key roles on NWN. Their RPG development experience served as the cement that held everything together on the project and enabled them to circumvent many of the pitfalls typically encountered when developing a story-based role-playing game."

So fortunate!
"BioWare relies heavily on our ability to draw upon manpower from the rest of the company to help out on a project in the final stages of production. All of our projects have done this in the past, and NWN was no exception. Designers, artists, and programmers came on from the old Infinity engine team as soon as Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaalwas completed. Many of these people were responsible for key aspects of the project, in the same way that many of the NWN team members had been responsible for systems in MDK2and Baldur's Gate II. The development teams weren't the only people who helped out at the end; systems administrators, front-office staff, and the PR department also helped test the game."

....and what about the janitor?
"As with any new-engine game, there was too little time available to prototype gameplay. Our prototypes focused instead on technology and the individual features of the game. While this kind of prototyping was important, it would have been very useful to have early feedback on how the game played, particularly with regard to the interface and story line."

I would say it certainly would have been useful.
"In the end, BioWare is a reflection of the people who work at the company; Neverwinter Nightswas completed by people devoted to a project they believed in completely; as with many similarly successful products, without their hard work it never would have been possible. But we still have a lot to learn, and we can only try to improve each game in relation to the ones that we released before. Our future games must and will be better still than Neverwinter Nights."

One can only hope....

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