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Default Baldur's Gate - Version, Release and Demo History

April 19th, 2022, 16:31
Dark Savant found an interesting article on Nerdly Pleasures about the version, release and demo history of Baldur's Gate:

Baldur's Gate Version, Release and Demo History

Baldur's Gate is one of my most favorite games and has a surprisingly complex patching, release and demo history. I have written this blog article to help enlighten people on the version and patches available for the original game, significant physical releases and localization changes and finally the three demos of the game which were sold at some point. I will not discuss any unofficial patches (such as the Baldurdash and Dudleyville fixpacks), engine conversions (such as BG1Tutu or Baldur's Gate Trilogy) or Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition.

Version Number History

1.0.4309 - December 14, 1998: This is the original retail release of Baldur's Gate, which came on five CD-ROMs. If you want to obtain a physical copy of the original unpatched release, US Disc 1 must have the text "CD-C95-625-0" on its label. This version would only be released as 5 CDs.

1.1.4312, January 16, 1999 : Beta patch, presumably this was released to the public but due to a crash bug with save games it was problematic and quickly replaced. This patch has probably been lost to time.

1.1.4315, February 1, 1999 : Finalized version of the previous patch. The 5 CD release was updated with this patch, and all DVD releases will have this patch applied. Generally only disc 1 will differ between 1.0.4309 and 1.1.4315 with US releases of Baldur's Gate. The patch is available in an "English Version" and an "International Version". This version is notable for allowing the player to adjust the pathfinding nodes from a fixed 4000 to anything between 2000 and 32000.

1.3.5508, April 28, 1999 : The original release of the Tales of the Sword Coast Expansion on one CD-ROM. May be installed over an unpatched install of Baldur's Gate. If you want to obtain a physical copy of the original unpatched release, the US disc must have the text "CD-C95-898-0" on its label. The Expansion brings several improvements to the base game when it is installed.

1.3.5512, June 22, 1999 : The patch for Baldur's Gate with the Tales of the Sword Coast Expansion. The Expansion Pack's retail CD release was updated with this patch. The patch is available in a "North American English Version", an "International English Version" and an "International Non-English Version"

1.3.5521, August 8, 2001 : This patch came separately for Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate with with the Tales of the Sword Coast Expansions. The Baldur's Gate only patch came in an "English Version" and an "International Version", the Tales of the Sword Coast patch came in an "North American English Version", an "International English Version" and an "International Non-English Version". The patch is an executable replacement (BGMain.exe or BGMain2.exe) for fixing an issue with DirectX 7 or 8 and not being able to join a multiplayer game. Baldur's Gate was designed for DirectX 6, and this patch is not necessary or helpful if you are not using multiplayer.

1.3.5521, August 16, 2001 : The version was released as "Baldur's Gate: The Original Saga" and includes the Tales of the Sword Coast Expansion on three CD-ROMs. The version renumbering was due to changes in the engine to allow the game to decompress the resource files stored as compressed .BIFs on the CDs. Compressing the .BIF files was necessary to fit six discs worth of content onto three. As a result, The Original Saga will not be found on any US retail DVD, a single-layer DVD has more than enough space to fit the whole game plus the expansion without the need to resort to compression. The game can still be played partially from CDs, but loading times could be longer due to the need to decompress the .BIF files compared to the prior 6 CDs or the 1 DVD + 1 CD methods of playing Baldur's Gate with the Tales of the Sword Coast Expansion. A full hard drive installation will result in decompressed .BIF files being made available to the game. I understand this was the version gog.com was offering before the Enhanced Edition was released in 2012. I used to think this version was more prone to crashing than the versions with non-compressed .BIF files, but if anything crashes are only more likely to occur when decompressing .BIF files off the CDs.

1.0.430X - This mysterious version number has been encountered only twice to my knowledge. It can be found in the readme of the Japanese-translated release of the game and in the readme of an obscure DX7 multiplayer beta patch. The 1.0.430X readme has less text in it than the 1.0.4309 readme, suggesting it was a leftover of a near-final pre-release version whose readme somehow got included with much later files.

[…]
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April 20th, 2022, 06:54
24 years old. It's weird that this came out just three years before 9/11. In computer gaming terms this is almost ancient history now. I'll bet many modern PCs can't even load the original disks because they no longer have a media player.
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April 20th, 2022, 11:31
Originally Posted by rjshae View Post
24 years old. It's weird that this came out just three years before 9/11. In computer gaming terms this is almost ancient history now. I'll bet many modern PCs can't even load the original disks because they no longer have a media player.
Go back another 24 years before Baldur's Gate, and you have the Pong arcade game having recently come out, and the Atari 2600 console and Apple 2 computer still being 2-3 years away from launching. So, pretty much right at the dawn of video/computer gaming.

BG sits at roughly the halfway point of gaming as we know it. So much innovation and change in the 24 years before BG… The post-BG era seems so stale in comparison. Playing BG back in 1998, I would have expected so much more out of 2022
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April 20th, 2022, 12:16
Originally Posted by Stingray View Post
Playing BG back in 1998, I would have expected so much more out of 2022
Absolutely. I'd even say gaming has regressed in some ways since then.
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April 20th, 2022, 12:43
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Absolutely. I'd even say gaming has regressed in some ways since then.
For PC gaming as a whole, no question about it. Largely due to changing audience. For a developer making a PC game in the 90s, the audience was the people who were educated/affluent enough to afford and actually own a PC, and "geeky" enough to play games on it. Nowadays, the games that a company like BioWare would make are targeted not just at computers, but also consoles, and especially when you combine both, the audience is pretty much the entire population - where the tastes are going to be considerably different than the much-smaller group of people who were gaming on PCs in the 90s. There's still the same size (at least) market out there for the more intelligent games we had in the 90s, but there's no reason for the big-budget AAA companies to target that market anymore because they can make orders-of-magnitude more money by targeting the entire population instead.
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April 20th, 2022, 17:01
I still have the original paper case and cd's for Baldur's Gate and remember buying the game for my first PC along with Fallout in the 90's. Nowadays I use the GOG version.

I also remember the game didn't run good on my old PC with slow stuttering.
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April 20th, 2022, 18:22
I was playing this game whenever EQ 1 testing was down or I was in-between sessions. I've played it a few times since, still excellent, and far superior to most of what is being released these days, in my opinion.
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April 20th, 2022, 19:23
Originally Posted by Stingray View Post
Playing BG back in 1998, I would have expected so much more out of 2022
What kinds of things would you consider great advancements?
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April 20th, 2022, 19:55
Seeing the comments in this thread proves that one thing has definitely gone stale in the last 24 years, and it's not video games.
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April 20th, 2022, 21:46
Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
What kinds of things would you consider great advancements?
Couldn't honestly tell you with any specificity. But if you're old enough to have been playing games through the 80s+90s, or probably even just the 90s, and witnessed the rapidity of advances in, well, just about everything up until that point….I'd say it was pretty reasonable to expect that some really crazy shit would be available in 2022. That has certainly not happened.
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April 21st, 2022, 00:24
Originally Posted by Stingray View Post
Couldn't honestly tell you with any specificity. But if you're old enough to have been playing games through the 80s+90s, or probably even just the 90s, and witnessed the rapidity of advances in, well, just about everything up until that point….I'd say it was pretty reasonable to expect that some really crazy shit would be available in 2022. That has certainly not happened.
That's interesting, because if you'd asked me that question I could have answered it in great and fine detail.

Unfortunately, I'm looking at the Black Geyser steam discussions and someone's 'complaint' is that they wont play the game until the game has 'improved the banter between companions'.

*rolls eyes*
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April 21st, 2022, 00:33
Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
That's interesting, because if you'd asked me that question I could have answered it in great and fine detail.
Ok, so in '98, what were you hoping games would be like in 2022?

Unfortunately, I'm looking at the Black Geyser steam discussions and someone's 'complaint' is that they wont play the game until the game has 'improved the banter between companions'.
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April 21st, 2022, 00:55
Originally Posted by Stingray View Post
Ok, so in '98, what were you hoping games would be like in 2022?
It's a bit late in the day for a wall of paragraphs, but let's start with the easy ones.

Civilisation. What needed improving from Civilisation II?

1. AI - just trying to find an AI that wasn't as abusable and acted in a bit more rational way, which could be adjusted for difficulty rather than adjusted for giving the AI physical bonuses.

2. An end to end-game slow-down, when there were so many calculations at the end of each turn by the industrial/modern era that pressing end-turn would result in a 2 or 3 minute 'loading screen'. Surely more computing power would naturally 'solve' this at some point. Alas, no.

3. Structure the game so that it didn't race you through the ancient eras but instead provided an even gradient of time-passing, thereby removing the inevitable technology mad-grab to simply advance yourself away from the AIs.

All of which would enable:

4. Actually interesting and properly tactical conflicts or interesting tactical methods to avoid conflict, via a combat system that was slightly more evolved than watching a single knight attacking a single swordsman and a diplomacy system that isn't solely geared towards providing opportunities to either gauge money or incite war.

and

5. The ability to zoom in and out whereby zooming into an area allows for intricate city building as oppose to "your city now has a barracks", a field of battle that isn't one troop covering 50 square miles and a visual representation of your growth as planned by you. Zooming out for the strategy and zooming in for the tactical. An economy based on real limited resources rather than generic money from squares.

To effectively combine in perfect unity the 4x and city building genres to create a wonderful sim that is still abstract enough to not be pure busy-work and above the level of the individual but at the same time with enough sim detail to actually feel like you're running a slowly expanding culture in a completely random environment (as oppose to a mathematical race to XYZ tech or city limit threshold).

I'll do RPGs tomorrow or something.

If you like?
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April 21st, 2022, 01:07
Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
I'll do RPGs tomorrow or something.

If you like?
Sure. I'm not much of a Civ player (haven't touched it in >30 years) so it'd be a lot easier to relate to.

edit: also, I checked the Steam forum for Black Geyser and was expecting to find a giant wall of text in the thread where the guy said he needed companions banter. Don't see anything though - disappointing.

edit2: one thing that, in 1998, I probably figured would be standard in RPGs by 2022 is NPCs having day/night schedules, or something along those lines. ie more of a living world.
Last edited by Stingray; April 21st, 2022 at 01:17.
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April 21st, 2022, 01:24
Originally Posted by Stingray View Post
edit: also, I checked the Steam forum for Black Geyser and was expecting to find a giant wall of text in the thread where the guy said he needed companions banter. Don't see anything though - disappointing.
It's currently the first thread, it's titled something like "Quality of life improvements".

Originally Posted by Stingray View Post
edit2: one thing that, in 1998, I probably figured would be standard in RPGs by 2022 is NPCs having day/night schedules, or something along those lines. ie more of a living world.
Dungeons don't have days/nights.

Immediately your 'priority' is a pointlessly detrimental focus to what should be a core focus.
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April 21st, 2022, 01:28
Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
Immediately your 'priority' is a pointlessly detrimental focus to what should be a core focus.
Wouldn't really say it's my priority, or even something I care that much about. Just something I figured would have been standard fare by 2022.

Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
It's currently the first thread, it's titled something like "Quality of life improvements".
Yeah I saw it, but didn't see any reply from you in it. Unless you're InEffect…
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April 21st, 2022, 01:32
Originally Posted by Stingray View Post
Wouldn't really say it's my priority, or even something I care that much about. Just something I figured would have been standard fare by 2022.
It is pretty standard, it's been in a lot of games I've played recently. I usually find it adds nothing but having to retrace your steps in order to cover the same ground twice to find objects or people who populate an area dependent on time.

It effectively enforces increased back-tracking, enforces a focus on human interaction and becomes entirely pointless when exploring a dungeon.

It's a good fit for games that base their gameplay around it, but bad for a general RPG. It works well in city environments but is a pain in the ass in wilderness environments when all it does is tend to make it harder to define (see) your surroundings, especially if you play in real life daytime.
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April 21st, 2022, 01:32
Originally Posted by Stingray View Post
Yeah I saw it, but didn't see any reply from you in it. Unless you're InEffect…
Oh god no, I didn't bother replying to that, lol.
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April 21st, 2022, 05:04
Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
It's a good fit for games that base their gameplay around it, but bad for a general RPG. It works well in city environments but is a pain in the ass in wilderness environments when all it does is tend to make it harder to define (see) your surroundings, especially if you play in real life daytime.
It does depend on the type of RPG for sure. Schedules (+day/night) fit best in immersive open world games like Kingdom Come: Deliverance and Ultima.

I think you did play KC: Deliverance right? Did you not think it added to the feeling that you were really in the middle-ages?
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April 21st, 2022, 05:30
Originally Posted by Carnifex View Post
I was playing this game whenever EQ 1 testing was down or I was in-between sessions. I've played it a few times since, still excellent, and far superior to most of what is being released these days, in my opinion.
Funny enough, I bought BG because I had lost interest in Ultima Online and needed something to tide me over until Ultima IX came out. I remember looking at the box thinking "Well, this doesn't seem to bad, might hold my interest for a little while." Little did I know I'd still be playing it in 2022!

Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
Unfortunately, I'm looking at the Black Geyser steam discussions and someone's 'complaint' is that they wont play the game until the game has 'improved the banter between companions'.

*rolls eyes*
I love good companion banter. It really helps the immersion for me. That said, most games don't seem to do it that well. I'm finishing up Pillars of Eternity and some of the dialogue with the PC and companions is good, but I haven't really liked any of the banter between the companions.
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