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Default RPGWatch - Icewind Dale: EE Interview

October 27th, 2014, 07:48
We had the chance to talk to the fine folks at Beamdog about the new Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition just before its release, and ask them some questions.

RPGWatch: Before we start with the questions about Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition, I would like to ask you to introduce yourselves.

Alex: I am Alex Tomovic, Project Manager at Beamdog. I've been active in the Infinity Engine modding community since 2002 and joined Beamdog in 2013. I led the development team behind Neera and Rasaad for BGII:EE and was in charge of gameplay and battle design for Black Pits II. People probably know me better by my forum name, "aVENGER", and from mods such as Rogue Rebalancing and aTweaks.

Liam: I'm Liam Esler, Associate Producer at Beamdog and Assistant Producer on Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition. The majority of the team on IWD:EE are modders, and I'm no exception, as the administrator of IE modding community Spellhold Studios. I joined Beamdog in early 2013 to work on Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition as lead of the development team on Dorn, Hexxat and the content implementation of The Black Pits II. Earlier this year I worked with Obsidian Entertainment on Pillars of Eternity, and am now back at Beamdog working on IWD:EE and an unannounced project!

Pete: I'm Pete Camagna, Technical Designer with Beamdog and founder of the Gibberlings 3 modding community. I've been with Beamdog since 2013 and have been modding the Infinity Engine for well over a decade under the name CamDawg. My best known projects would be the BG2 Fixpack and BG2 Tweaks, where I am project lead and co-author respectively. Most relevant to IWD:EE would be my IWD mods--IWD Fixpack, Unfinished Business (UB), and Item Upgrade (IU).
More information.
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October 27th, 2014, 07:48
Thank you for the interview Couch & Beamdog.

I like that they restored lost content. If the lost content is interesting -
sometimes content is cut out by the original developers late in a project, because it's simply bad.
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October 27th, 2014, 07:53
Excellent interview, nice work. Well worth reading.
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October 27th, 2014, 08:33
Thanks for the interview!

I think I'll skip it. But of course all of you need to buy it, so perhaps they'll implement companions.
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October 27th, 2014, 08:42
I don't want them to implement anything major that wasn't in the original game. Just give us the higher resolutions, improved UI, and zoom feature.

They're already adding spells and classes that weren't in the original game, and I'm not sure how I feel about that to be honest.
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October 27th, 2014, 10:04
Best part of the interviews is the improved pathfinding. I just hope it is not a token improvement but that it can really be noticed. I have been waiting for this since BGEE.
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October 27th, 2014, 14:39
Yes, improved pathfinding which is also integrated into the other EE games is most definitely interesting.

Here's hoping it's significant.

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October 27th, 2014, 14:40
I hadn't realized how many people working on these came from the modding community.

Disappointing that Overhaul continues to ignore Surface (or windows tablets in general) and Intel GPUs.

Interesting to see that they have an 'unannounced project', but then they say there are no plans for IWD2:EE or Ps:T:EE
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October 27th, 2014, 15:12
I really like the little things that they fix in these versions, makes the games much more playable, imo.
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October 27th, 2014, 15:19
They didn't exactly answer my question on if IWD:EE would support join able NPCs, but since a lot of the work was based on their IWD->BG2 mod, I'm guessing it will.
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October 27th, 2014, 16:36
Do we have a release date for this yet?
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October 27th, 2014, 16:59
Originally Posted by Andhaira View Post
Do we have a release date for this yet?
I think it is 31st this month.
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October 27th, 2014, 17:15
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
Interesting to see that they have an 'unannounced project', but then they say there are no plans for IWD2:EE or Ps:T:EE
That's not what they said.

RPGWatch: You have told before that it is not that easy to create EE versions of IWD2 and PST. So, it's hard. When will you start on them?



Liam: It's definitely something we want to do!
But it is a little surprising that they don't have specific plans for post IWD:EE yet.
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October 27th, 2014, 18:23
Originally Posted by rjshae View Post
But it is a little surprising that they don't have specific plans for post IWD:EE yet.
I imagine they have to get advance permission to work on any of these rebooted titles on a game-by-game basis, and that likely hinges on the profitability of IWD:EE.
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October 27th, 2014, 18:24
PTS is probably a big project that cannot be enhanced in same way as these others as it is modified a lot from Baldur's Gate 1. They cannot do what they did so far and charge good $ for it.

IWD2, there was a interview earlier with their boss and he said IWD2 is tough to Enhance as it is pretty different with it being based on 3.0E rules. Their modus operandi is to just use the effort they put into BGEE to get easy bucks off other IE games.
Just like with PST, they cannot do that with IWD2. They need to do it from scratch, at least the enhancements connected with adding BG2 options.

One thing I could see them do is update IWD2 to 3.5e D&D and add prestige classes if that is possible with IE. Also fix encounter system where you would get 0 XP for fights because IWD2 incorrectly implemented ECL system from D&D 3.0 and counted each enemy as separate instead of the whole group.
And I guess they can use the work done on IWD UI and use that for IWD2 and also implement widescreen and some other UI enhancements. And add more spells from D&D 3.5e
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October 27th, 2014, 18:38
Originally Posted by Archangel View Post
One thing I could see them do is update IWD2 to 3.5e D&D and add prestige classes if that is possible with IE.
I'd like to see them update to the d20 OGL, which is based on 3.5e D&D, and then use the code base to either build an entirely new game or a reboot of a classic game. Perhaps this is engaging in wishful thinking, but one can dream…
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October 27th, 2014, 21:52
Great interview!
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October 28th, 2014, 05:22
hmm, reading this actually made me a little more interested. Thanks for posting.
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October 28th, 2014, 15:02
Originally Posted by Archangel View Post
PTS is probably a big project that cannot be enhanced in same way as these others as it is modified a lot from Baldur's Gate 1. They cannot do what they did so far and charge good $ for it.
From what I know, PsT was developed at the same time as Baldur's Gate and because of that uses a kind of WIP version of the infinity engine. Also it seems, Black Isle did some modifications on their own. According to JES it contained some scripting possibilities that you don't have in the other infinity games. So I think it would mean serious lot of work. I don't think it will pay off.

IMHO a modern engine remake of PsT would make more sense.
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October 28th, 2014, 19:53
for me what these "enhanced" games need are better avatars. Higher res(more sprites?), whatever it would take to make them look and path better is such a needed improvement. This would be THE defining enhancement of the EE series!

As for IWDII, they made some odd decisions during the original development like leaving out 3d acceleration. I don't know what that even does for the Infinity Engine, but it made the graphics a little dull compared to IWD1, especially the FOW.

How about using IWD1 engine for the IWDII EE?
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