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Author Topic: NWN Enhanced Edition Information Compilation  (Read 440 times)

Acacea

NWN Enhanced Edition Information Compilation
« on: November 24, 2017, 03:58:47 pm »
Beamdog has announced NWN:EE is in development. This is exciting news! There's a lot of links and information floating around, though, so here's some links and, maybe later, some good/bad/ugly thoughts.Answers to some FAQ:
  • Yes, Master Server will return
  • Server multithreading, but not client/toolset
  • Supports Windows, Mac, Linux, no mobile at this time and currently toolset is (still) Windows-only
  • Backwards-compatible in that most fanmade SP modules should work (some might need tweaking) and old OC saves should work
  • Like patches of old, you'll need an EE 1.74 client to log in to a 1.74 server, and vice versa
  • No additional content/refreshes beyond quality of life for the OC at this time -- most of the work has gone "under the hood"
  • No moves towards assimilating/extinguishing the community-run vault (and the admin wouldn't stand for it, despite working on EE)
  • HAKs will be preloaded (eg for custom classes/skills being selectable at character creation)
  • eventual steam workshop support
  • equipment-hiding
  • Yes, you can buy base and upgrade to DD later (in progress)
  • Creature scaling (besides tail-method)
  • per-part PLTs 
NWNX Specific:
  • A NWN:EE version of NWNX has been developed alongside EE. Currently compiled NWNX plugins for EE (1.74):
    • NWNX_Administration.so
    • NWNX_BehaviourTree.so
    • NWNX_Chat.so
    • NWNX_Core.so
    • NWNX_Creature.so
    • NWNX_Data.so
    • NWNX_Events.so
    • NWNX_Metrics_InfluxDB.so
    • NWNX_MoveSpeed.so
    • NWNX_Names.so
    • NWNX_Object.so
    • NWNX_Optimizations.so
    • NWNX_Player.so
    • NWNX_Profiler.so
    • NWNX_Repair.so
    • NWNX_Ruby.so
    • NWNX_SQL.so
    • NWNX_StickyCombatModes.so
    • NWNX_ThreadWatchdog.so
    • NWNX_TMI.so
    • NWNX_Tracking.so
  • "The initial release (of NWNX) will be Linux only (but) the core is designed to be cross-platform (without the dev needing to know what platform things are running on unless they are doing advanced assembly stuff). We simply don't have the resources while everything is changing fast and new plugins are being written, to make sure they work properly on both platforms and update everything each release."
  • Binaries will be released soon, sources are farther away but ASAP
  • NWNX_Data comes with support for arrays and maps.
  • Server deployment via Docker is being tested
  • Plugin writing example
I've a lot of thoughts and excitement, personally, but I'll spare you the lengthy pontifications for now :) 
 
The following users thanked this post: Lance Stargazer, davidhoff, willhoff

Lance Stargazer

I read about PW's and that
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2017, 04:39:00 pm »

I read about PW's and that there won't be any problems on regards of compability , but well guess we'll know till its get out.  At any rate i did buy The pre-order of 20 usd, Lets hope that the upgraded lists for server works well. 

 

 

LordCove

This may very well bring a
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2017, 10:59:46 am »

This may very well bring a lot of old and new folks to the server!

 

 

Acacea

Lance Stargazer wrote:I read
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2017, 06:39:00 pm »

Quote from: "Lance Stargazer"&cid="2763240"

I read about PW's and that there won't be any problems on regards of compability , but well guess we'll know till its get out. 

That really depends on your definition of "compatibility". It's definitely the same game, and all your custom content, save games, etc will work. SP modules should work, though some may need some tweaking. But patches are rarely "drop-in" beasts for servers, and while there's no content that would cause a lot of 2da merging headaches, there's a lot more going on than a patch of old. NWNX and NWNCX features being integrated into the base game are exciting, but are changes, especially with NWNX getting what looks like a whole new shiny codebase. So even if it's not a huge deal, it's not automated :)

Quote from: "LordCove"&cid="2763241"

This may very well bring a lot of old and new folks to the server!

I don't know. Just like patches of old, you can't log into 1.69 servers with 1.74 clients, and 1.69 clients can't join 1.74 servers -- so if people come back for EE, they're not going to be able to play in servers that haven't made the switch... and servers making the switch early (if they upgrade at all) can leave behind players that never left, you know? I'm personally excited for the NWN community as a whole, but there's some valid concerns about base-splitting as some commit to updating and others either won't or can't. One person was even asking after bulk key buying discounts to bring all their players in; others are talking about keeping both versions up. 

(There is nothing official in any of these comments, so I'm not trying to speculate on what's going to happen Layo-wise -- just that there's other factors at work, you know?)

 

Chuckles_McChuck

If you keep both versions up,
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2017, 12:42:10 pm »

If you keep both versions up, I wonder if that will split the player base and some characters would just not interact with each other.

If Layo updates to 1.74 the staff might have some work ahead of them in order to make sure everything added prior still functions appropriately (or removed if now redundant with 1.74 changes).  This might actually become a load for the current staff (depending on how compatible it is) and will either take a while or have a need to add some willing members of the current player base to help out.

Will the Layo team want to do this?  I brought up the idea of this maybe bringing some people back as well, but even if Layo does update to EE another question that can be raised is how many people (old and new player base) would want to actually rebuy the game as an EE to eventually play on Layo?

This might also take the team away from other projects they might prefer to do.

 

Acacea

I don't know if there are any
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2017, 01:35:00 pm »

I don't know if there are any plans or discussions in either direction at the moment. EE release is still being actively developed with community input, and the potential to split bases is a concern for more servers than just ours. The ones that I've seen talking about mirroring were bigger servers that might have the log-in numbers to warrant it.

In Layo's case -- and this is just me talking out my @#%$, to be clear, and in no way reflects anything official or "team branded" -- even if upgrading became a possibility for the server (no idea, there!), I guess we'd need to get an idea of how many of our remaining players would be able to upgrade along with it and see where we were at. I'm not sure doing all the work of updating (and buying, at that) would be a great investment if you were going to lose what players you had in hopes of getting some unconfirmed old ones back :) I think we have some people still running on XP here, which could be a problem. Still, NWN is getting a lot more eyes than it has in awhile.

Anyway, the news is still in early stages, that whole situation is still evolving, and Layo isn't going anywhere at the moment, so no one should feel compelled to drop $20 for EE on Layo's account. Or,

Don't panic! 

Hehe. I'll be picking it up hopefully soon, and am excited for NWN. My GOG client isn't going anywhere, though, so sitting tight seems the sanest option for the nonce :) 

 

Acacea

Re: NWN Enhanced Edition Information Compilation
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2018, 01:27:57 pm »
I keep intending to update this post as there's been more and more things happening on this front, but just haven't had the time! So much for my information compilation! I looked at editing it just now and the formatting went all weird, so I'll think about how to categorize information a little better for a rewrite in the future. For now, some updates and links:

  • The master server is back (Obviously these are EE-only servers!) There's been some vague assurances that if BD were to ever go out of business or otherwise not be able to maintain NWN, that there would be contingencies for the MS so that it never disappears like before.
  • Current roadmap for EE It's worth looking at the things that have already shipped.
  • Input board for commonly-requested features gauging community interest (you can vote on these)
  • Steam Workshop support is now in beta - if you have a beta copy of EE, you have a Steam Key. (Not sure how long this will be true.)
  • Some resource manager work needs to be done for non-Steam users for the same ease of downloading, but implementation is/was still up in the air.
  • Any requests regarding the toolset or UI are long-term projects
  • Many very cool things added that open up modding potential - normal and spec maps are in, some arbitrary limits are gone, scripting support for shaders is still in progress

There's still some bugs and breakage (beta is beta), but my hopes for EEs are generally pretty "low" - cleanup for modern systems and resolutions, cross-platform fixing, bugs, some "modern" features or quality of life changes. NWN is different though, and I appreciate greatly that they seem to recognize this and are thinking long-term adds that would tempt an existing community. This WIP Aribabe is a good example of a potential asset refresh using some of the engine changes they've made (though there are already some remixes of it), but it's important to note that just because some CC makers or servers may get the ability to go "higher quality" and skinmesh routes, doesn't mean anyone will have to. Other people are using low-poly models and shader capabilities to go in different directions*, which is awesome. The cool thing about that shot is not just the obvious "pixel" shader, but also the way an existing shader helps - generally areas at the bottom of cliffs or buildings or water edges and such are darkened manually in the texture itself, but an Ambient Occlusion shader is handling that here to good effect.

(I'm really happy with the shader potential, which is probably no surprise as I've jumped on every shader train that ever drove past NWN :D It's not the "vibrancy" or "high contrast" shaders that are exciting, it's that it supports shaders at all, which offers so much my mouth gapes stupidly open thinking about it.)

On the NWNX front, Windows support still languishes, waiting on a rewrite of a thing. This is a pretty major roadblock for Windows servers, but some people seem to just be rolling with the offered Linux containers. Several 1.69 plug-ins don't yet have equivalents in EE, though there's obviously also lots of new stuff.

*Yeah, that's a Quest for Glory attempt, if anyone recognizes the look. It's a childhood favorite, so I'm pretty excited about that too :P
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 01:40:42 pm by Acacea »
 

Tobias

Re: NWN Enhanced Edition Information Compilation
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2018, 04:18:27 pm »
In regards to Aribabe image,  is this what Beamdog is shooting for or is this something individual communities will have to implement? It looks amazing and would def inspire old and new players to play the game I think.

Really excited what other changes get released to us as it works through it's beta testing.
 

Acacea

Re: NWN Enhanced Edition Information Compilation
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2018, 01:17:31 am »
EE is will be released out of beta on Steam before the end of this month - March 27.

While this FAQ could probably get a couple updates, it's a pretty good summary of what will be included at release. Mainly, it's the EE itself: works on modern systems and resolutions, lots of  old bugs fixed and exploits closed, performance improvements, some glitter (the default shaders, with the exception of the SSAO shader, are pretty filtery), Steam Workshop support, NAT punching, etc. I hate to etc all of that, because it's easy to overlook, but for NWN veterans that aren't going to be all "aw, I haven't thought of this game in years", some of the most fingers-crossed parts are still in development (ie still a lot of hardcoding, can't add new shaders without replacing old ones or do anything scriptable with them yet, UI is an eternity away and toolset is still Windows only and doesn't work in wine).

They seem pretty committed to the longevity of NWN though, and they've been patching BG for 5 years, now. They see NWN's future more as a platform for people to make their own stories and content for, so I'm happy with this. They're also responsive to feedback; while I wasn't keen on them tackling a refresh of core assets (there's just so many things I'd rather them prioritize, I don't play NWN for the eyecandy), it was one of the most requested features, so that seems to be a long-term project they're doing.


(This was a WIP and still needs work, but does demonstrate the addition of normal/spec maps. PC model has also "had work done". I think things like this will be released on Workshop - and Vault, I'd assume - for now, so they'd be optional overrides. There are a LOT of objects/tiles/creatures in this game...)

Normal maps are in, which is pretty sweet. When you look at surfaces in games, whether objects or characters or whatever, most of the grooves and wrinkles and rivets and, well, "bumpiness" comes from bump/normal maps, not actual modeled geometry. Being able to fake detail on custom NWN models will be great. Specular maps, which define your highlight color and how glossy something is and where, could also make for some interesting changes. Both of these can also have some downsides in that they are new ways to overdo things, hah, and also that it will be awhile before there are many things taking advantage of this (so mixed quality additions).

Player and server-wise, I expect it will still be some time before most PWs migrate, and thus most of their players, etc, especially because a good chunk of that will be dependent on NWNX progress (currently Linux only, several plug-ins not yet ported, others merged into core, etc), which is a separate thing. I'd guess that most initial activity would be on nostalgia plays of the OC and downloading modules from the Workshop (of which there won't be too many to start), but I could be wrong. Mostly, I'm just really excited for NWN to have been adopted for the long haul. There are changes coming down the road that will make PW players lives easier, if nothing else - autodownloads are nice, and so is killing resource duplication wherever possible, like how every robe needs to be duplicated for every phenotype, blowing up hak sizes.

Once some kind of material system is in and proper shader-script communication, you could tackle seasons with the ability to change textures on the fly, or apply shaders to make leaves disappear or snow accumulate on roofs/ground, making skyboxes with moving sun/moon/stars, plus being able to properly scale PCs and objects ... my brain hurts. It'll probably be awhile before unhardcoding some of the deeply entangled things happen, but there's a whole lot of people waiting on it :P

I'd encourage anyone that wants to support NWN's future to buy EE (it's worth noting that Steam takes a big bite out of that if you get it from there), though obviously if you are only interested in NWN insofar as it involves Layo, don't rush to the bank because I think you'll be alright until further notice :)
 
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