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  BioWare Among Canada’s Top 100 Employers  
Posted 2005-10-22 by Tony Walsh
Edmonton, Alberta-based game developer BioWare has been recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers by Mediacorp Canada Inc., who compiled and analysed data from 55,000 applicants nationwide. BioWare's inclusion in the elite ranks is intended to indicate that the corporation exemplifies outstanding Human Resource practices, exceptional growing success and contribution to the community.

I had the pleasure of being invited to BioWare two times over the last 5 years, where I interviewed for (and failed to score) a designer role on Neverwinter Nights and writer role on Knights of the Old Republic. Both times I was received graciously and was introduced to a number of friendly staffers, including BioWare's joint CEOs, Dr. Greg Zeschuk and Dr. Ray Muzyka. These guys are genuinely interested in running a healthy, happy workplace, and tend to hire from within the game community where possible. Congrats to BioWare for showing Canada (and the game industry at large) how to run a profitable but people-oriented corporation.
  NWN2 vs. NWN:  Officially Incompatible  
Posted 2005-02-17 by Tony Walsh
It's official. Neverwinter Nights 2 will be incompatible with modules designed for Neverwinter Nights 1, dashing the hopes of legions of content-creators. Says Jason Keeney of NWN2 developer Obsidian: "The terrain/environment system we have in place for NWN2 is so wildly different that what existed in NWN1 that there is basically zero hope of being able to re-use any kind of tilset or module data. With the amount of effort it would take to make NWN2 backwards compatible in this regard we could be halfway done with NWN3..." Earlier this year, the NWN2's lead designer had suggested the team was shooting for backwards-compatability. I guess they missed.
  Gloomveil Campaign Concludes  
Posted 2005-02-06 by Tony Walsh
After almost 4 years of Neverwinter Nights gaming, my Gloomveil campaign has come to a conclusion. The campaign, which I operated with the help of several other "Dungon Masters" peaked at around 25 participants early on, but settled on around 10 dedicated and talented roleplayers. This number further dwindled over the final year, resulting in a core group of resolute players and their amazing characters.

Running the campaign taught me much about governing a multiplayer gamespace, about interactive storytelling, about building interactive content within contraints, and about human interaction through the medium of a game. After nearly 4 years of semi-regular campaigning, I feel richer for the experience.

Thanks to DMs Titus, Arkangyl, and Shard; thanks particularly to the players behind characters Blue Max, Cymro, Fel, Halfdan, Janice, Nona and Ras. Together, you made a dream a reality.
  NWN2 Nixes NWN Noodlings  
Posted 2005-02-02 by Tony Walsh
Word from Obsidian Entertainment, the folks working on Neverwinter Nights 2, is that the new game will likely invalidate the old in at least a few respects. Says the unfortunately-named Ferret Baudoin, Lead Designer on the project: "Whenever possible we want to make it easy for mod-makers to convert NWN1 mods to NWN2. But if the choice is between adding some spiffy new feature that breaks some aspect of conversion or stay conversion-friendly, we'll usually opt for the new feature."

With hundreds--if not thousands--of user-created modules out there, the lack of backwards-compatibility will be a crushing blow to fan developers. Not to mention that NWN2 isn't planned for Mac or Linux systems, unlike the original. Will the new game be compelling enough to entice gamers to switch from the old?
  Neverwinter Nights Modules on Tap  
Posted 2004-10-27 by Tony Walsh
BioWare has announced the "coming soon" availability of several pay-to-download modules for their Neverwinter Nights D&D game. This is the first new NWN content since the "Shadows of Undrentide," the most recent expansion-pack for the game, and also marks the first time BioWare's opted for an online publishing method.

The Modules:
- $7.99 USD: "Neverwinter Nights: Kingmaker"
- $4.99 USD: "Neverwinter Nights: ShadowGuard" (co-designed by a NWN community member)
- Free w/purchase of Shadow Guard: "Neverwinter Nights: Witch's Wake" (redux)
  User Input on NWN2  
Posted 2004-08-25 by Tony Walsh
Feargus Urquhart, CEO of Obsidian Entertainment, chats with HomeLAN Fed about the early stages of Neverwinter Nights 2. Although the title isn't expected until 2006, Obsidian is taking advantage of its lead time to listen to fan input on the next installment in this standard-setting RPG series.

Urquhart: "A lot of the development team is up on the Neverwinter Nights 2 Community forums ( every day to see what people are talking about and requesting. There have been a lot of great posts by people and they are getting included in our list of things that we need to do or consider during development."

Provided Obsidian is truly listening to players of the original NWN, it's looking more hopeful that the next chapter will be a success. However, there's an active and creative community pouring buckets of effort into custom content for the original NWN. Many fan-made improvements are of professional quality, and extend the functionality of the game. Will users drop everything and switch to NWN2? I guess we'll see in two years.
  Neverwinter Nights 2 Musings (Updated)  
Posted 2004-08-06 by Tony Walsh
How appropriate that I am two days late in mentioning the second edition of the successful Neverwinter Nights game. This time, the developers will be Obsidian Entertainment, using tools, technology, and game assets from the original Neverwinter Nights provided by Bioware, the original developers. Bioware will also "lend creative input and oversight to the development process."

This doesn't sound promising. It sounds like rehash (even the artwork on the official site seems to be the handywork of Marc Holmes, NWN's original Art Director). Obsidian had best address the shortcomings of the DM Client and Aurora Toolset for Neverwinter, because otherwise we're looking at another expansion pack, not a new game (i.e. Battlefield: Vietnam vs. Battlefield 1942).

Continue reading: Neverwinter Nights 2 Musings (Updated)
  NWN Gets Community Expansion Pack  
Posted 2004-03-25 by Tony Walsh
Since the release of versatile, Canadian-made multiplayer RPG Neverwinter Nights there have been two commercial expansion packs published, neither of which I've bought. Not enough value for the money, in my opinion. But "free" is a price point I think I can handle. The talented Neverwinter community has put together a massive, polished, freely-downloadable expansion pack of their own, which may inspire me to spend more time tinkering in NWN's Aurora Toolset.
  Computer-Moderated RPGs Not There Yet  
Posted 2003-08-11 by Tony Walsh
Neverwinter Nights is a single- and multi-player RPG based on the Dungeons and Dragons rules set. I've been playing Neverwinter Nights (NWN) since the Beta last year, and really didn't enjoy any of the single-player campaign. Computer-moderated "roleplaying" isn't very meaningful-- the AI is just not sophisticated enough to immerse me in the story and/or the environment.

Continue reading: Computer-Moderated RPGs Not There Yet
Posted 2002-06-18 by Tony Walsh

Neverwinter Nights' End-User agreement has been amended. There is now wording that precludes BioWare/Infogrames from redistributing your original server-side modules, although downloadable modules are still fair game. [discussion>slashdot, my rambling comment here]

Thanks to Jos and Titus for individually pointing my browser to the Bloop story. Strange sound data suggests Godzilla may be real.

Just what we need-- yet another Instant Messaging service. This one's via file-sharing app Morpheus, and foolishly hopes to compete with AOL Instant Messenger and MSN Messenger.

Looks like Micro$oft isn't the only one to screw up Web server security. The iron-clad Apache Web Server for Windows (oh, wait, maybe I was wrong about that M$ comment) is subject to DOS attacks. [bulletin>]

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