Monday, May 28, 2007

Re: NWN 1.69

I posted the above on the NWN forums. Bioware is taking a long time on the 1.69 patch, which will be the last for NWN 1. If they do not move the game to some sort of open source arrangement, they will be missing a tremendous opportunity for the most modular game ever made. Link.


Mr. Alex said...

(please start extremely nerdy voice now)

I don't think it will happen due to all the Wizards of the Coast "intellectual property" (eh-hem) that's tied up in the game's code.

I mean, don't get me wrong, it would be fantastic if they did make the source for NWN open, but Bioware's recent very public walk aways from both the Starwars and D&D licenses to develop their own Sci-Fi/Fantasy settings (Mass Effect and Dragon Age) make me think that they just don't want to fucking deal with lawyers anymore.

I could be totally wrong and the ultra-secret MMO Bioware is working on down in Austin could be a Starwars title.

If I had development money for a game, I'd make a "Micro-MMO" where you could build and explore with your friends (like Blockland, but with multiple pre-built settings, character advancement options, and the possibility of a plot). I think whoever ends up doing this is going to make a shit-load of money...

(end nerdy voice)

Pete said...

Yeah, I know. I'm just hoping that some heroic developer loves the game as much as the community and decides to leak the source.

The micro-MMO, or creativity-by-kit game is certainly a fertile idea. It'd have to appeal to casual gamers in the same way that the Wii does.

I've always liked toy-themed games because they can mix genres freely. Sort of like the time-travel genre, it's aimed at novel combinations of story elements.

Pete said...

I'm not trying to spam the comments here, but I think this next post I made gets at the uniqueness of the hobby. Imagine me chugging Jolt cola and rolling a ten sider while elucidating these points. First, the forum post to which I am responding:

The other person: "I think there's Intellectual Property issues involved here, so rather being released into Public Domain, wouldn't it have to be released to Wizards of the Coast for them to put into Public Domain? I'm pretty sure that they own the rights to the rule set that NWN, and much of the Aurora engine, is based on and that BioWare had to pay to use them."

Me: "There sure are intellectual property issues; huge, convoluted ones; Though it is not as impossible as it may first seem. Wizards of the Coast has a class of information they call "open game content" which is essentially the core of the game, which follows (kind of) an open liscence. They did this to encourage 3rd party developers to make D&D content; because TSR had lost a lot of market share in the 1990s by being very proprietary about the AD&D system (and getting 'sourcebook-itis').

NWN might be able to be stripped down to this level of simplicity, with instructions on how to write your own game resources, and then released as a foundation for something new. Something really unique might develop that way. Think of all the D&D copy cats from the first years of the hobby: Tunnels & Trolls, Runequest, etc. D&D is better because of them, not in spite of them.

We forget that the flexibility of the games rules were a novelty when they were written. That if a DM came across a situation that the rules did not cover, or if they disagreed with the rules, they could change them and still be playing D&D. That means that each group that plays the game takes ownership of the game in a way very different than, say, a film buff owns copies of movies.

This open framework, I think, was the mental leap that made modern RPGs possible and playable."