Jason: With the impending release of Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, what challenges did you face updating the game for modern systems? Specifically, was it difficult to port the game for Android and iOS?
Trent: It was very hard to remove all the windows specific coding in the engine. The code was started back when Windows 95 was just coming to market and it had a lot of assumptions on how windows works which are no longer true. We found the game was in some cases spending 70% of the time doing null operations as it was waiting for a thread (bits of code) to complete so other code could run. We tore down the whole threading model and started over. Once we had completed the core refactoring away from Windows, which took about six months, we moved on to a core re-write of most of the rendering systems, audio and input. After all that effort, we moved on to data wrangling. All told, we spent over a year getting BG:EE to run.
PCGN: I’ve always considered Baldur’s Gate an evolutionary dead end for BioWare. Baldur’s Gate 2 was wonderful and sorted the structural blueprint for KOTOR and Dragon Age, but wasn’t nearly so open on a grand scale. In BG every blank square on the map represents a new, undiscovered area, and each of those areas holds at least one nasty surprise, self-contained story or easter egg within. Is that something you’ve looked to retain?
TO: We've kind of asked ourselves, ‘What if BioWare went left and focused more on open world areas instead of going right and betting it all on hand-crafted story?’ Our goal with Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition is to capture everything that was great about the original BG and add in some BG2 depth and polish through the new characters and adventures. With our work on BG2, we'll probably to do same, try to inject a little BG1 magic into our new content.
I've been asked a few times, ‘Are you trying to build BioWare 2.0?’ The answer is no, I'm trying to build kind of a ‘Bioware 0.6 Mark 2’. A small team, oriented at the sweet spot of RPG development with a commitment to making great games as our first priority. Basically trying to recapture the awesome feeling of the early days of BioWare with the benefit of nearly 20 years in the industry to lend us direction. A company with a strong commitment to building empowering, efficient technology and a talented content creation team focused on making amazing games.