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Outlook on PW's in NWN2?

Polls for Avlis homepage.

How is your outlook on whether or not PW's will work well in NWN2?

Super! Thanks for asking!
11
6%
Optimistic
79
41%
Good, but not great
26
14%
Ok
12
6%
meh
20
10%
Pessimistic
26
14%
Atari needs to die, then maybe ok
17
9%
 
Total votes : 191

Outlook on PW's in NWN2?

PostAuthor: Orleron » Thu Jul 06, 2006 1:25 am

Given all we know about NWN2 today,

How is your outlook on whether or not PW's will work well in NWN2?
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PostAuthor: szabot » Thu Jul 06, 2006 2:36 am

Good, but not great.

The thing that makes me wonder is what I've read about the limited number of outdoor areas that will be able to be supported by NWN2 servers. I've seen something else about a World Map feature that might mitigate the issue, but, not having really played other games, I'm not familiar with that feature.

But other than the servers possibly being too small, I haven't seen anything else to make me worry. Unless it won't be supported well. I guess that would be another problem, but I don't know whether to expect that or not.
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PostAuthor: chilingsworth » Thu Jul 06, 2006 2:50 am

I was going to answer "pessmistic" but I realised that I don't actually know enough to warrent that.

Meh,

If there isn't a DM client shipping with the actual game, I see little reason to expect anything grand from NWN2. Personally, I'm pretty happy with good old NWN, so I see NWN2 as likely to be little more than a pain to adjust to, not to mention the likelyhood of dispruption on crossover.
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PostAuthor: Final Shinryuu » Thu Jul 06, 2006 2:58 am

chilingsworth wrote:If there isn't a DM client shipping with the actual game, I see little reason to expect anything grand from NWN2. Personally, I'm pretty happy with good old NWN, so I see NWN2 as likely to be little more than a pain to adjust to, not to mention the likelyhood of dispruption on crossover.


It's been stated that the DM client will be available for download on the day that NWN 2 ships.
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PostAuthor: chilingsworth » Thu Jul 06, 2006 3:01 am

Final Shinryuu wrote:
chilingsworth wrote:If there isn't a DM client shipping with the actual game, I see little reason to expect anything grand from NWN2. Personally, I'm pretty happy with good old NWN, so I see NWN2 as likely to be little more than a pain to adjust to, not to mention the likelyhood of dispruption on crossover.


It's been stated that the DM client will be available for download on the day that NWN 2 ships.


I wasn't aware of that.

Even so though, I still am inclined to expect little, untill I am shown otherwise. I find such a view to result in fewer disapointments. *shrugs*
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PostAuthor: Fuzz » Thu Jul 06, 2006 3:02 am

Pessimistic, for no other reason than I don't think Obsidian will be able to continue to support and patch NWN2 for nearly as long as Bioware has, and PW development is not a function of months, it's gauged in years.

Obsidian is still a relatively new company, with a smaller staff than Bioware and a lot more pressure to "produce and proove", particularly after the mess they made of KotOR2. People are bitching and moaning about how 1.68 will be the last revision of NWN1, and for all the complaints about how NWN is coded, particularly in the combat department, and all the grief that people give Bioware (Biounaware, anyone?) over it, they have stuck with NWN1 FAR longer than pretty much any other company would ever do. Hell, the only reason they aren't supporting it anymore is because of Atari, not personal choice. That says a lot.

The other issue is the proactive community stance that Bioware had, namely an elaborate and accessible website, features like the Bioware Wednesdays, official support for user content like CEP, and support for mod websites like the NWVault. They wanted a community, and they helped to proliferate and support that community. Anyone that's been involved in other modscenes knows how much of a difference that makes to a game's lifespan and utility, and Obsidian has really fucking big shoes to fill.
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PostAuthor: Orleron » Thu Jul 06, 2006 3:24 am

I wouldn't write Obsidian off either. Bioware is a darn good company, for all the faults of its programming. The company's image is important to it, and it manages it very well. I would bet Obsidian could give it a nice try.

Unfortunately, it's one of those things where one big flaw can kill the whole project: If we cannot make a lot of outdoor areas (like more than 50, let's say), there cannot be an Avlis PW. Simple as that. With or without the world map feature. It's a show stopper. Dead. Done, unless they fix that somehow.

I don't know if this is Atari's doing or not, but I picked the "Atari must die" option.


Unfortunately again, I see why Obsidian/Atari is making the decision. It's economics. PW users have been shown to be a small minority of the people who buy the game. The largest portion of revenue comes from the 13 year olds who buy the game for the single player and use it for five minutes before uninstalling it from their hard drive. Executives care about the revenue, not how the game is used, and when it comes to revenue, they need to do what the 13 year olds want, which is make kewl l33t graphix that roxx0r.

Making killer graphics is something that RP'ers and PW makers don't care about as much as user features and customizability to enhance combat and roleplay. But since our mathematics don't add up, our desires for the game do not get first priority. They get prioritized lower.
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PostAuthor: Cindare » Thu Jul 06, 2006 3:42 am

Anyone that's been involved in other modscenes knows how much of a difference that makes to a game's lifespan and utility, and Obsidian has really fucking big shoes to fill.


Yes, indeedy. My hope is that when Obsidian acquired the community that goes along with it. If this game doesn't have the right kind of support, then it will not only have the limited shelf life of most video games, but will also lose the NWN community.

We can list some great games of the last five to ten years that have had active mod communities and see how long they've lasted... Half-Life (Counter Strike), The Sims, NWN, Vampire the Masquerade: Redemption, the Unreal franchise, TES: Morrowind, and so on. The greatest things about these games were often not the games themselves but rather the community experience.

Seriously... how many FPS players picked up Half-Life for the sake of playing the single-player game, or even deathmatch? Most folks picked it up to play Counter Strike.

I am optimistic because Obsidian has built wonderful games on the Aurora engine already and I think they understand why NWN has lasted as long as it has. Community generated online multiplayer content is the wave of the future.
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PostAuthor: Fuzz » Thu Jul 06, 2006 4:00 am

Cindare wrote:Vampire the Masquerade: Redemption

VtMR had a terrible mod community... I should know, I was one of the heads of the WoDMod and the Society of Lost Days back then, which were two of the bigger projects, as well as one of the coordinators of VVV.

It's actually the perfect example of an RPG mod community that sputtered and died because the developers offered no support to the mod community.
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PostAuthor: Tigg » Thu Jul 06, 2006 4:09 am

I voted 'meh', because I think the world map feature is going to be limiting for traditional campaigns.

On the other hand, I think certain kinds of PW's will be able to do alright, but they'll be the ones that basically start first with the game features/limitations in mind, meaning that it will be unlikely that they'll be able to come in with a rich history.

For instance- some sort of Earthsea setting with a bunch of islands might be perfect for how things are sounding with NWN2. Or, a Diablo-type setting. So, I do think there will be some successful PW's, but they'll be more geared around NWN2 itself rather than like with NWN where it's been more conducive to bringing a PnP campaign to life. The latter is far more preferable to me so hence the 'meh' vote.
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PostAuthor: deejayvee » Thu Jul 06, 2006 4:17 am

I voted pessimistic (although I was tempted to vote for Atari must die).

I voted this way because of my experience with KOTOR. The first game was really good, but fairly limited compared to what was offered by KOTOR2. However, at the end of the day I played KOTOR more times than I did KOTOR2 simply because KOTOR2 wasn't finished. Obisidian were under pressure from LucasArts to release the follow up game as soon as possible so the final product was rushed and ultimately a let-down. It seems to me that Obsidian are facing a similar sort of pressure from Atari on this one, so I think it likely there will be a similar result for NWN2.
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PostAuthor: bolo » Thu Jul 06, 2006 7:19 am

At this point, I'm more on the fence about it than before.Not just the issue of the big memory footprint, but also other things they've said but not really given good answers to. Like the mention a few weeks back about how players of a PW will need to download the mod in order to play because of the walk meshes.
I'm more optimistic about the game as far as Obsidian supporting the community, they've already been talking to many of the better known mod makers, and seem to have a desire to offer support in that area.
And I think for folks who just want to run DM'd multiplayer mods ( not worlds) things will be ok.

We just don't know enough about it yet.But I'd be more inclined to take a wait and see approach, see what Bioware has up their sleeves in regards to Dragon Age, which will also have a toolset, and will supposedly have a DM client as well.The thing is being Bioware, it's a safe bet that product won't see the light of day for at least a couple more years ( they never showed or talked about GA at this year's E3).

I do plan to buy NWN2 when it comes out, because I think the single play game will be good,hopefully even great. And quite a few mod makers like Adam Miller are working on NWN2 projects.The whole PW thing remains a mystery though.

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PostAuthor: Reinstag » Thu Jul 06, 2006 7:46 am

I'm more optimistic than most world leaders I think since I believe that a NWN2 PW is a viable critter as long as the engine's limitations are kept in mind by the developers. When NWN was in development, a lot of people thought the game would die because DMs couldn't be with two groups of people at once. As we all know, this hasn't been a limitation on the game. Also, a lot of people forget that, when NWN first came out, Bioware said that the max number of areas a server should have would be in the neighborhood of 250. The last I heard was that the Wilderness was up to 10 times that number. I know Spire has about 2000.

The NWN community found limitations in the game and overcame them (true persistancy anyone?) and they will be able to do the same thing with NWN2.

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PostAuthor: Orleron » Thu Jul 06, 2006 1:07 pm

Overcoming a non-graphics issue is different than overcoming something that deals with the game's graphics. Granted, it might be possible that some modder will redo all of the tilesets to have less mesh and cut down on the graphics of the game so that more outside areas can be made. That would work, maybe.
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PostAuthor: Heed » Thu Jul 06, 2006 2:57 pm

Orleron wrote:Overcoming a non-graphics issue is different than overcoming something that deals with the game's graphics. Granted, it might be possible that some modder will redo all of the tilesets to have less mesh and cut down on the graphics of the game so that more outside areas can be made. That would work, maybe.


Nah, outdoor areas are height mapped. That means the toolset is also a 3d modeling tool for those areas. The indoor areas make use of tilesets, but tilesets aren't the problem. It's the outdoor height mapped terrain that balloons the area size.

You can't reduce the the polys used for the heightmapped terrain without major core changes to the whole shebang (i.e. engine level changes), I would think.

The problem is the walk data associated with the terrain. And the terrain needs those polys in order for it to be manipulated without looking like ass. There's also pre-calculated pathing data in there that most likely is generated when you "bake" an area -- I bet it constitutes a good portion of the extra size. And you can't really reduce that or pathing would be super stupid.

The most optimistic use of tilesets would be for custom outdoor tilesets to be produced so you could use tilesets outdoors instead of the height mapped terrain. But then you are denying yourself a pretty nice enhancement, but it might be necessary for those wanting tons of outdoor areas at max size.

Keep in mind the quoted figures are for max. sized outdoor areas -- 32x32. The suggestion was somewhere around 20 megs. A 16x16 area would most likely be something like a quarter of that -- 5 megs.

No one will really know until it ships and people start trying things out.
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PostAuthor: PlasmaJohn » Thu Jul 06, 2006 3:14 pm

Heed wrote:The problem is the walk data associated with the terrain. And the terrain needs those polys in order for it to be manipulated without looking like ass. There's also pre-calculated pathing data in there that most likely is generated when you "bake" an area -- I bet it constitutes a good portion of the extra size. And you can't really reduce that or pathing would be super stupid.

:shock: gods, I hope you're wrong, otherwise that would be the death of ad-hoc multiplayer on anything but a GigE lan. Assuming that the client does its own pathfinding locally like NWN1. If not... at the very least, bandwidth will need to be increased (buh-bye dialup users) and any sort of lag will be fatal.
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PostAuthor: szabot » Thu Jul 06, 2006 3:17 pm

Well, if outdoor areas might be a problem, but indoor areas will not be, then maybe NWN2 Avlis should be centered in the Underdark. ;)
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PostAuthor: markschouten » Thu Jul 06, 2006 3:30 pm

I think that, with some creativity, there's a lot of potential in NWN2 for PW's. Don't forget that the "tiles" on the outdoor areas are a lot bigger then the ones in NWN1. I don't know the exact figures, but I think something like 3 or 4 times. So if you make a 10x10 or 12x12 area, it would be a really large area in NWN1 terms. But still, I think that it's almost a must to have 2 gigs of memory in a NWN2 server.

However I've learned to expect nothing, and hope for the best. So we'll see.
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PostAuthor: markschouten » Thu Jul 06, 2006 3:34 pm

PlasmaJohn wrote::shock: gods, I hope you're wrong, otherwise that would be the death of ad-hoc multiplayer on anything but a GigE lan. Assuming that the client does its own pathfinding locally like NWN1. If not... at the very least, bandwidth will need to be increased (buh-bye dialup users) and any sort of lag will be fatal.

I read on the NWN2 forums that the walkmeshes will be seperate downloads.. So all it really affects is the ability to do a lot of updates.. So it's a PITA for people with a limitation on the ammount of internet traffic they can have per month.
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PostAuthor: Heed » Thu Jul 06, 2006 3:49 pm

PlasmaJohn wrote:
Heed wrote:The problem is the walk data associated with the terrain. And the terrain needs those polys in order for it to be manipulated without looking like ass. There's also pre-calculated pathing data in there that most likely is generated when you "bake" an area -- I bet it constitutes a good portion of the extra size. And you can't really reduce that or pathing would be super stupid.

:shock: gods, I hope you're wrong, otherwise that would be the death of ad-hoc multiplayer on anything but a GigE lan. Assuming that the client does its own pathfinding locally like NWN1. If not... at the very least, bandwidth will need to be increased (buh-bye dialup users) and any sort of lag will be fatal.


They've already said min. requirement is a broadband connection -- no specifics on speed, but that rules out 56k.

And as was said above, the client will need the walkmesh from the module. It's still up in the air if it will be streamed to the client on enter (i.e. first time you join or when a change is detected) or if it will be a download like haks are now (external link, grab before you play). This is the difference with tilesets -- the client already has those walkmesh files for each tile already. Tiles are also given a letter assignement which tells the engine some pathing hints (i.e. what tile edges are available for exit). With a "free form" terrain approach it's impossible for the client to have that data before hand.
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PostAuthor: Pekarion » Thu Jul 06, 2006 3:50 pm

I am looking forward to it. It's new and fresh, I'm not really concerned about what NWN has that NWN 2 hasn't. I don't see how so many are distrustful of it and how it will end up. I'm looking forward to it, not because it has been hyped, and I KNOW It will be good. But because I'm curious, it has all the pre-req's to be an interesting game for me really.
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PostAuthor: Woody » Thu Jul 06, 2006 3:59 pm

Optomistic.
Because:
As long as they don't mess the toolset we'll have good people in the community (like we do here) who can create virtually anything they want in a PW.
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PostAuthor: Orleron » Thu Jul 06, 2006 4:06 pm

Heed wrote:The most optimistic use of tilesets would be for custom outdoor tilesets to be produced so you could use tilesets outdoors instead of the height mapped terrain. But then you are denying yourself a pretty nice enhancement, but it might be necessary for those wanting tons of outdoor areas at max size.

Keep in mind the quoted figures are for max. sized outdoor areas -- 32x32. The suggestion was somewhere around 20 megs. A 16x16 area would most likely be something like a quarter of that -- 5 megs.




Yeah, that would probably be the thing to do: create custom outdoor tilesets and use them instead of the height mapping.

There are not that many 16x16 areas in Avlis, and AFAIK there are zero 32x32 areas, because those are just horrible on the mod. A lot of "big" areas are only like 10x10 or 8x10. Most are not even that large. Having said that, even if a single area takes up "only" 2 megs, that still puts a significant limit on what we can do wtih the height mapped areas for a multiplayer PW.

IF someone made tilesets for the outdoors and we used those instead of the height mapped areas, we might be in business, but as PJ implied, I really can't see us making a viable Avlis with height mapped areas if those numbers are true.
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PostAuthor: Heed » Thu Jul 06, 2006 4:20 pm

Orleron wrote:Having said that, even if a single area takes up "only" 2 megs, that still puts a significant limit on what we can do wtih the height mapped areas for a multiplayer PW.



I'm not so sure. It depends on how the NWN1 server deals with its walk data. The walk data for an average 16x16 area in NWN1 is probably about 1.25 megs or so. That assumes a 5k average per tile which is probably about right, the average might be a bit higher than that even.

So, you'd be looking at a 4x increase for a comparable area in NWN2 if the info. we have is correct. The thing I'm usure about is how the NWN1 server constructs that data and holds it in memory -- since tiles are reused there might be some decent savings if it only needs to hold one chunk of walk data per tile and can reuse it when the same tile is encountered again.

You have 4 gigs of ram available max. per application under a 32 bit OS, so that gives some decent room, I think. Will you have less areas than now? Oh yeah, but compacting your design somewhat, I would argue, is a good thing.

Still, the only way these things will become clear is when its out.
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PostAuthor: markschouten » Thu Jul 06, 2006 4:33 pm

Heed wrote:
You have 4 gigs of ram available max. per application under a 32 bit OS, so that gives some decent room, I think. Will you have less areas than now? Oh yeah, but compacting your design somewhat, I would argue, is a good thing.



Actually, it's 2 gigs of ram per application. If they optimized the server for a 64 bit OS (which would allow the server to use more ram.) the increased memory footprint wouldn't be a problem.
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