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Author Topic: NWN Enhanced Edition Information Compilation  (Read 1221 times)

Acacea

NWN Enhanced Edition Information Compilation
« on: November 24, 2017, 03:58:47 pm »
Whew, okay, I've redone this post with more up-to-date information. I think it's shorter overall because of more links available and the removal of NWNX:EE info. There is no freed space I cannot fill.

Beamdog has released Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition! It's $19.99 through Beamdog, Steam, or GOG. (Note that if you buy from BD, you will also get a Steam key!)

There's a FAQ here with good info, check here first if you have a question.
Here's the Roadmap, which notes what is currently in development as well as what has already shipped.

Cumulative patch notes so far

Greatest hits -
  • Master server is back
  • properly cross-platform again (toolset is Windows only but works with Wine)
  • works on modern hardware
  • UI scaling
  • shader support
  • fancymaps
  • toolset QoL, eg clicking a placeable in the area view no longer resets its position on the z axis, hold key to scale along z, etc
  • new scripting functions
  • area instancing
  • Steam/Galaxy "join friend" support,
  • workshop support (not that great for anything but overrides and modules, but still nice to signal NWN is a game for modders)
  • nwsync option which autodownloads and deduplicates PW custom content (so a nwsyncable server changes a single file, you only download that one file!)
  • completed language support (1.69 was English-only)
  • general performance/stability
  • new ini options like StickyCombatModes, customizable NWN theme, camera settings, limits to various bonuses/penalties, upping max texture memory
  • also selling on Android (iOS "coming soon" ? after 64bit update most likely)
  • The primary NWN dev at Beamdog was/is a member of the existing NWN community and an nwnx maintainer, plus a few other members of the NWN community are volunteering their time and have been given source access or are otherwise working with BD

I didn't include things there were some rumors of that we haven't seen yet, or even things we know they're working on but haven't shipped, and some of those entries are reaaaally packing a lot in one sentence, like "fancymaps" could go on for quite some time, hah. Same with "new scripting functions", which includes being able to translate/rotate/scale objects/creatures/etc. (Though engine-wise, they are still in the same place, so it can be tricky to use in some instances.)

For single-player fans on the fence, I'm not sure - if you do zero modding, don't like the stock shaders, and 1.69 already worked fine for you, I'd take a look at what's there and decide if it's worth it to you. Same goes for people who play exclusively on a pw that has not migrated. For anyone that hits even one of those fields though, it's a good investment and goes on sale often. Your favourite old modules will still work on EE, and even your OC saves will still be compatible. As time goes on, more servers and players will migrate, more content will be made that takes advantage of EE capabilities that 1.69 doesn't have, while 1.69 things will continue to work on EE.

Also, I hate to gloss over so many things that take so much time and $$, that are easy for players to take for granted. When "enhanced" versions of anything get released, I generally have fairly low expectations on the user end - lots of bug fixes, maybe some quality-of-life and translations, works on Mac and at higher resolutions, that kind of thing. Don't get me wrong, sky-high hopes and dreams, but it's a small company and stuff takes time and money. So I'm excited about what's already been done and for things to come.

At the same time, I think when anyone reads "enhanced", every person thinks of something different - the amount of people that clamoured for a full-blown redo of every asset in the game surprised me almost as much as Trent of Beamdog doing a 180 on his "let's not waste time/money revamping old content when we could focus on making new" stance. There have been some experimental overrides releasing every now and again that you can check out on the vault or the workshop.

It sounds like they may have signed up for a long-term refresh, which seems crazy to me - there are so many models in NWN. It will take a lot of time and a lot of money, and people really forget how small a company they are and how few people they have working on NWN. It sounds like they've gotten Ossian working on it, so we'll see. I can understand being concerned that new things would clash with the old, and I can reluctantly agree that a graphical refresh may be more likely to pull people back in off the street, in addition to being cool in general. I just hope it pulls enough, because in the meantime I've got a lot of other things on my wishlist :)

Meanwhile, there are some things just about anyone who has ever tinkered with NWN is hungry for, like unhardcoding certain class features, allowing custom spellbooks, and other things that are really complicated/entangled changes which may also rely on very long-term possibilities, like a UI overhaul. Scriptable GUI is the dream, but so far they've had a lot on their plate already.

Right now, there's a bit of a lull as Beamdog's cofounder is apparently ripping out the rendering engine and redoing it, so while there's a lot of awesome things that may come from it, there's also some trepidation in the custom content community about how that will impact things they are already working on. There are also some fixes/changes which have been gated behind the 64bit update for some time, so while it's mainly Apple users that will care about that particular change in the short-term, there's also a lot of desk-slapping waiting for it to come out so other things can be gotten on with  ;D

Overall, I'm personally really happy that NWN was adopted and brought back to life, and I think it will be in a much better place as a platform once they are done with it. (Assuming they become done with it, at some point.)
« Last Edit: February 03, 2019, 04:46:50 pm by Acacea »
 
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 wineAcacea 2019 update, this was fixed a couple patches from the time I wrote that, toolset works well with wine now).

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 :)
« Last Edit: February 03, 2019, 04:38:17 pm by Acacea »
 
The following users thanked this post: Tobias, willhoff

Chuckles_McChuck

Re: NWN Enhanced Edition Information Compilation
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2018, 03:48:12 pm »
Hey.  Want everyone to know that NWN:EE is 70% off on steam today!
 


Acacea

Re: NWN Enhanced Edition Information Compilation
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2019, 04:43:48 pm »
(I've updated the OP with more current links/info, but it somehow did not get any shorter.)
 
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ShiffDrgnhrt

Re: NWN Enhanced Edition Information Compilation
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2019, 11:49:36 am »
It's currently $6.99 US on Steam.  Only for another hour or so!
 

Hellblazer

Re: NWN Enhanced Edition Information Compilation
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2019, 07:37:01 am »
When Warriorofthelance told me about EE I was like hey ok kool, if they actually do get the graphic updated and improved to a more morden level then this will be swell. It's partly what brought me back in as NWN was showing it's age and there was nicer looking things elsewhere. Hopefully we'll see Layo go that way.
 

 

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