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Interview Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear Interview at Rock Paper Shotgun

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by Infinitron, Jul 18, 2015.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Tags: Amber Scott; Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear; Beamdog; Cameron Tofer; Phillip Daigle; Trent Oster

    Rock Paper Shotgun have published a two-page interview with the developers of Beamdog's upcoming Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear expansion. Namely, with co-founders Trent Oster and Cameron Tofer, writer Amber Scott, and a couple others. The first page of the interview is concerned mostly with the efforts that are going into the expansion's writing, but from a Codexian perspective, it's the second page that provides the juiciest quotes:

    While Beamdog have now sold millions of copies of their Extended Editions across both PC and tablets, receiving a generally warm reception from critics, there’s no doubt that they had rough and imperfect launches. Both at the reveal and after, Oster spoke about Beamdog’s ”direct” relationship with fans and customers. If there’s one thing people on the internet can be relied upon to do, it’s volunteering their opinions when they’re unhappy with something. Beamdog have not been given an easy ride and many Baldur’s Gate fans have insisted that the original versions of the game, supplemented by mods, are still the way to play. Oster does not agree and he has a lot of confidence in the work that his team has performed over the years.

    “What’s hilarious is how much of the [Infinity] Engine is really left. When we started, we deleted about three hundred thousand lines of code and replaced them,” he says. “A lot of it was written around Windows 95, a lot of hacks and workarounds that would allow it to work well on Windows 95. Computing has changed a lot since Windows 95! Baldur’s Gate was built around the idea of having a lot of hard drive space that was huge and slow, as well as very limited real-time memory.” Part of the Beamdog’s re-write was performed in order to get the game functioning on devices like the iPad, but Oster says it has also mades for a slimmer, more efficient game, even if it took a little while to get there (and Oster is no stranger to radically rebuilding things to try and get them to run better, as his racing blog testifies).

    “When we have a fan saying they’re never going to buy the Enhanced Edition, they’re going to mod their version, I think, well… Okay, I’m going to read through their feedback.” he continues. “And I’m going to get the old version of Baldur’s Gate. I’ll put all those mods on and I’ll play it and then I’ll still be like ‘You can’t be serious!’ It’s so clunky. It’s so clunky compared to what we have now, which is really slick. We’ve learned our lesson, we’ve made updates and fixes, and with Siege of Dragonspear we’ll have a whole new user interface. We’ve torn it down to the ground and rebuilt it.”

    What may not be so apparent to many of those Baldur’s Gate purists is that half of the team now working for Beamdog are modders themselves, people who have known the ins and outs (and imperfections) of the Infinity Engine for many years and who initially took it upon themselves to make what they did out of their love for the games. Furthermore, Beamdog are hoping that, after Siege of Dragonspear is released, some players might try modding it themselves. Their plan is to make some of the development tools they’ve been using available for everyone else to tinker with.

    Perhaps most important is the time that Beamdog have invested, because Siege of Dragonspear is certainly not a new idea. It’s been gestating, in one form or another, for nearly four years. “We started talking about it as we were working on the first Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition and we actually started working on it before [the Enhanced Edition of] Baldur’s Gate II shipped,” says Oster. “Then we were going to try and ship it before we shipped Baldur’s Gate II, but Atari really started ratcheting up the pressure on us they and were exceptionally firm on the release date, so we just had to put it aside.”

    And here we return to that idea of compromise, or at least of obligation. One of the things Oster and his team are happiest about now is being free and independent, not being compelled to hit a release date by an inflexible publisher nor, he adds, having to argue the value of a property with them. Their sales figures, he says, tell that story, and he’s clearly endured frustrations with pushy publishers in the past. While Oster hopes that Siege of Dragonspear will see release some time this year, he says there’s no need to rush and is adamant that “A game that ships on time and is not great is not remembered. A great game that ships late is still a great game.”

    Time has given Beamdog the chance to thoroughly digest their ideas and, Oster says, “really get to grips with the story we want to tell. It’s great to come back to something and say, ‘Yes, I still really like these aspects of this,’ but also see what you thought was a really good idea at the time and be able to say ‘In retrospect, I don’t think so.’” Speaking just after the reveal, Tofer described the team as having a particular sense of confidence. “We’ve established ourselves now,” he says. “We’re free to plan our own schedules. The company is financially stable. We’re independent. Now, we can choose our own destiny.”​

    According to Trent, Siege of Dragonspear will be larger than Tales of the Sword Coast and Throne of Bhaal combined, and its script has about three hundred thousand words. The UI improvements they're introducing in it will also be ported to Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition, along with some unspecified additional tweaks to account for the player's higher level upon importing a character. Beamdog's not fucking around, it seems. And if they've really sold "millions of copies", I guess they can afford it.
     
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  2. Excidium II Self-Ejected

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    Amazing. :thumbsup:
     
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  3. Bester ⚰️☠️⚱️ Patron Vatnik

    Bester
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    It's slick without mods. Wow. A game without mods that's being slick. A revelation. The Holy Grail of video games has been delivered unto us. Let's all dance in a religiously fanatical trance around these Gods of game development and sing praise to Jesus Oster.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015
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  4. Kem0sabe Arcane

    Kem0sabe
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    This guy is a piece of work... He's like a white Derek Smart.

    He actually thinks that the added shit they wrote for the enhanced editions qualifies them as proper developers.
     
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  5. Rivmusique Arcane Patron

    Rivmusique
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    Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    :x

    I'm somewhat keen to give this a go (a bunch of new IE encounters at levels 8-~12, it'd be difficult to fail so bad that I'd not enjoy them at all), but shit like this makes it hard. You're new UI's ugly as fuck mate.

    I really hope the chick in this doesn't end up being just another bhaalspawn with an army, or at least not an evil one like most of those from ToB.

    Never really felt this plothole or disconnect. Were we an outcast? How is this shown? Because we didn't go back to BG for help? I just thought we didn't do that because of time, we were kidnapped and found ourselves in Amn and had to get on with it.

    Wish they went with a new adventure instead, Bhaalspawn story isn't even that interesting.
     
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  6. Sensuki Arcane Cuck

    Sensuki
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    Codex 2014 Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong A Beautifully Desolate Campaign
    slick hahaha

    That's the last word I would use to describe the EEs
     
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  7. Ellef Deplorable

    Ellef
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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015
    Looking forward to a sequel to one of the biggest selling CRPGs of all time, written by a bunch of code monkeys proud of improving loading times of a game made in 1998.
    :thumbsup:
     
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  8. lurker3000 Arcane

    lurker3000
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    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
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    One day, we'll actually get information about this game they're making. Not, you know, "there's a lot of maps! and a lot of words!" Sounds like an RPG!
     
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  10. ROARRR Learned Possibly Retarded

    ROARRR
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    No serious argument against using mods! Why?
    1. The mods are for free and are also community driven!
    2. The BG EE is still not in a finished state
    3. The content of mods are much more than the BG E-Editions even have

    Show Spoiler

    Much love for modders from me!
    Maybe I will not always defend their work but definitely defending them as modders!
    :bunkertime::popamole:
     
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  11. Jedi Master Radek Arcane

    Jedi Master Radek
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    What?!
     
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  12. himmy Arcane

    himmy
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    I like how their initial selling point was "EVERYBODY LOVES INFINITY ENGINE", which they subtly changed to "IT'S SHIT!".
     
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  13. Kz3r0 Arcane

    Kz3r0
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    :balance:
     
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  14. Bumvelcrow Bellator Sempervirens Patron

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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 Make the Codex Great Again! Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Jeebus, I really want to give them the benefit of the doubt but they do give every impression of not understanding the difference between an enhancement and a regression. New is not automatically better.
     
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  15. Volrath Arcane Patron

    Volrath
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    :lol:
     
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  16. Jasede Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

    Jasede
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    Man MCA, what are you doing? Hopefully he's just collecting a paycheck for his usual four lines like in the other recent Avellone offerings and spending it on hookers and blow rather than actually working with these inept, slimy weasels.
     
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  17. Rean Codex Grammar Police Patron

    Rean
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    Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy
    He's just paying the bills. I don't begrudge him that.

    Torment: Tides of Numenara is surely not far away now, and we'll finally get to fall in love with MCA all over again. He might have only written one companion, but one companion from MCA in a new RPG interests me more than anything Beamdog can come up with for a 17 year old game.
     
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  18. Thonius Erudite

    Thonius
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    How about sewers?
    I got some affection for sewers levels in a rpgs.
     
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  19. Excidium II Self-Ejected

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    MCA loves it.
     
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  20. darthaegis Savant

    darthaegis
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    Wow, they're really modernizing the BG series with putting a definitely needed big-ass "JOURNAL UPDATED" notification :troll:
    Or is that just for tablets?
     
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  21. Bester ⚰️☠️⚱️ Patron Vatnik

    Bester
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    No,

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015
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  22. Excidium II Self-Ejected

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    It has other stuff too, like bullet point quest log so people don't get confused with loads of text.
     
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  23. Morality Games Arcane Patron

    Morality Games
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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Wind Through the Keyhole was the best Dark Tower novel since The Wasteland. I'm in.

    Wonder if they'll make a sequel "expansion" to the Throne of Bhaal if this is successful.
     
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  24. Ulrox Arbiter

    Ulrox
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    I dont think it's an :"if", more of a :"when" - their fanbase appears to be pretty big.
     
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  25. ArchAngel Arcane

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    What kind of idiots are Obsidian than whose loading times approach infinity for many?
     
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