NWN - Interview with Trent Oster
It is the 15th anniversary of Neverwinter Nights. The Neverwinter Vault decided to talk to Trent Oster to commemorate the game.
Learn the story behind one of the true RPG legends' creation.
Bernhard "niv" Stoeckner and other members of the Neverwinter Vault community put together this in-depth interview with the game's Project Director/Producer Tent Oster.
If you're interested in learning about the creation of a legend, you're in for a real treat.
Nowadays, when most people hear the name Trent Oster, they think of him as the CEO of Beamdog and the Enhanced Editions of Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II, Icewind Dale, and Planespace: Torment released on GOG and elsewhere.
But fans of Neverwinter Nights will remember Trent as the Project Director/Producer (and other roles) of the game they love so much. I've had the opportunity to reach out to Trent with a few questions about the development of NWN and how it changed in the last fifteen years.
Fifteen years later, Neverwinter Nights is still going strong with thousands of online players every day. What do you think about what the NWN community has done since NWN took flight? What surprised you the most?
Trent: I think the community has done awesome work. The volume of really cool adventures even in the early days was amazing. I've probably been most surprised at the longevity of some of the online worlds and the lengths the operators have gone through to enhance and improve their worlds.
What are the key elements for a pen & paper campaign? Was there ever an adventure you'd wanted to play in? How does that translate to a video game?
Trent: The key elements of a pen and paper game are a fun group, a flexible DM who can tell a great story, and enough snacks to last till the wee hours. When I was younger I would occasionally buy a module and want to play it, but our group was typically too low level. Lost caverns of Tsojcanth comes to mind as one such adventure. I think playing with friends in a video game can translate well, it removes all the logistics management and simulation load from the players and the DM, but computer games impose some hard limitations in what a player can do. Having a live DM and some powerful tools can help mitigate that a bit, but you still don't have the full freedom of pen and paper.
NWN is sometimes considered as a self-owned, self-hosted mini-MMO toolkit. This model might not be profitable in modern times which could be why we haven't seen other games following it. What do you think about the online gaming landscape in 2017?
Trent: I think we really focused on a simple plan: to give players value for their money. Anyone who buys Neverwinter Nights gets a fun game, the tools to tell their own stories, and the potential to run their own server. When we launched new content, players got an expansion with a new single player story, some new tilesets, new monsters, and new items. I think today the cost/value is still a good metric and some companies are doing well while others are not.
SP/MP: Single + MP