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Default Baldur's Gate - How Fans Translated "close to a million words"

November 18th, 2012, 14:18
PC Gamer talks with Trent Oster about hooking up with community efforts to translate Baldur's Gate into 19 or so different languages. Here's an amusing story on localisation back in the NWN days:
PC Gamer: I’m curious to know if, going through all those source files, you know just how much writing is in Baldur’s Gate. It must be tens of thousands of lines.
Trent Oster: I’m not sure the exact number of lines, but if I remember correctly, I think there’s close to a million words of dialog.
PCG: Wow, a million? I ask because the other day the Dishonored guys were talking about the number of dialog lines in their game. I thought it was an interesting statistic, because we don’t always think of it in that sense—that these are novel sized or bigger works.
TO: Yeah, the most hilarious example I can think of is when we [BioWare] signed Neverwinter with the Atari guys. So they sent us their localization form and it had three boxes on the form, and it said: “Number of words of dialog: Less than 100; 100 to 1,000; 1,000-plus.”
I made a fourth box on there, checked it off, and wrote “1.2 million words.” I sent the e-mail back to them, and got a call the next morning from the translator saying, “You’re kidding, right?”
And I’m like, “No, I’m dead serious. There’s 1.2 million words of dialog in Neverwinter Nights.”
And they’re like, “Oh my God, oh my God.”
And they hung up on me and I didn’t hear from them for a week. Apparently they had a big meltdown in their localization department as they realized the volume of what they committed to.
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November 18th, 2012, 14:18
Less words = more action
Action sells better => less words.
Imho.

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November 18th, 2012, 20:27
NWN was already "done" by the time Atari latched on. The lawsuit to wrestle it away from Interplay resulted in Interplay keeping the royalties from BG2 they weren't paying.

The funny thing is they had to scrap the original plot as well as a lot of content, like tilesets, as part of the settlement. This came out a long time after (you can see screenshots of the game that weren't included at sorcerer's palace).

They weren't going to even release a game with it, just make it a toolset, until marketing showed them that it would never work. And had they done that they wouldn't have gotten ripped to shreads because most users (and gaming magazines) didn't bother with the toolset - its best feature.

1.2 million words for that dud that was hacked out in 6 months. wow.

There was a lot of people shocked when the original Interplay got leaked. It probably would have just slipped through the cracks too if I hadn't made a noise about it everywhere I could.

One can't help be reminded of all the great dialog in TOEE that came after.

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November 18th, 2012, 21:27
Far as I know the toolset, the DM client, and the game were all a part of the initial concept. At no point was it ever decided that NWN would be released as a toolset sans game.

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November 18th, 2012, 21:33
Originally Posted by bobisimo View Post
Far as I know the toolset, the DM client, and the game were all a part of the initial concept. At no point was it ever decided that NWN would be released as a toolset sans game.
it was. i was following the game for quite some time after BG2. I'd post a link but they wiped the forums at launch.

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November 18th, 2012, 21:36
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Less words = more action
Action sells better => less words.
Imho.
So that's why Diablo and clones are called "action".

Dunno what sells better, I'm in love with words so I don't buy wordless games no matter how much "action" they have.
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November 18th, 2012, 21:39
Action grinders
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November 18th, 2012, 22:05
Originally Posted by Lucky Day View Post
it was. i was following the game for quite some time after BG2. I'd post a link but they wiped the forums at launch.
A playable story was a part of the package at least as far back as the beginning of 2000 (which I know because I was the first designer hired on to work with the pre-existing story, and that was at the beginning of 2000), though NWN was announced in August '99 — so that does leave about 4 months where they may have been considering going without playable content. I'd love to see the link; too bad the forums got wiped.

EDIT: Actually, I'm going to guess that the idea of "no story included with NWN" was a myth or rumor or misinterpreted comment or speculation that may have been repeated enough to be considered a true statement. Back in August 1999, the week after the game was announced, Marc Holmes (who was the art director for NWN) wrote on the forums:

Single player is NOT an add on! Rob and James have been working on it for months. We will probably have two man years of implementation planning for the single player story. We love single player RPG's ! We're not going to let that slide. We did it in BG right? Why would be not do it in NWN. I wish I could talk about the single player story, but there are so many twists, we are under strict orders not to leak anything. All I can say, is you're gonna to love it!
Rob and James being, of course, Rob Bartel (lead designer) and James Ohlen (design director).

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Last edited by bobisimo; November 18th, 2012 at 23:31.
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November 18th, 2012, 23:32
Well whatever was decided the original campaign was the weakest part of the game. If it wasn't for the toolset I wouldn't have been able enjoy mods and tilesets better than anything Bioware created.

Hell even NWN2 with it's story was better than the first. At least the NWN expansions improved and made the game better.

I still play both games years after they were made so that says something there compared to recent games.

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November 19th, 2012, 15:27
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Dunno what sells better,
I think I have an easy way to measure "what sells better" : Count the number of clones and copycats of a game.

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November 19th, 2012, 21:37
Originally Posted by bobisimo View Post
A playable story was a part of the package at least as far back as the beginning of 2000 (which I know because I was the first designer hired on to work with the pre-existing story, and that was at the beginning of 2000), though NWN was announced in August '99 — so that does leave about 4 months where they may have been considering going without playable content. I'd love to see the link; too bad the forums got wiped.

EDIT: Actually, I'm going to guess that the idea of "no story included with NWN" was a myth or rumor or misinterpreted comment or speculation that may have been repeated enough to be considered a true statement. Back in August 1999, the week after the game was announced, Marc Holmes (who was the art director for NWN) wrote on the forums:



Rob and James being, of course, Rob Bartel (lead designer) and James Ohlen (design director).
well that's interesting. were you part of the original story that got scrapped? the 1999 timeline sounds about right for the original, unreleased story (link above) because at that the expectation was that Interplay was still going to publish it. There may have been some confusion at that time as well.

I'm contending it was the story that was released was a last minute addition around 2001/2002 which potato points out was so weak - just as the companions in it were slapped together in two weeks were even more last minute.

There wasn't much planning or work done in it and the game was already late. It makes sense it was only the result of a change of plans.

In other words, I agree there was a planned a story; but that was the original story that had to get scrapped "for legal reasons" as Rob Bartel pointed out. It was after they wrestled the game away from Interplay for Atari to publish it was only then they planned to release the toolset without a story because the game was late and ownership of the original story, the original tilesets, etc. were in legal limbo.

It was only when marketing data showed this wouldn't work did they delay the game and slap one together and was so well received that a new rule was put into forums that showed if you actually owned the game or not.

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
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