Baldur's Gate Non-Interactive Demo

The Non-Interactive Demo (NID) takes you on a mini-tour of...

Baldur's Gate Non-Interactive Demo

The Non-Interactive Demo (NID) takes you on a mini-tour of some sites and special effects in Baldur's Gate. However, it is not representative of the final game because the NID's game engine is from September 1997 while the game was released in December 1998.

A message from Scott Greig, Lead Programmer, about the NID:

I will have to say that those criticisms are certainly valid. This almost word for word echoes a conversation that Ray and I had about a month ago. We were discussing

whether to release the NID as is or update it with the latest engine, art, sounds and animations.

The NID was originally written last September. We had it essentially finished, but we had to wait for voice acting, sounds and music. Since both the sound studio and actors

are hired on a daily basis, it wasn't practical to record sounds just for the NID. So we had to wait until we were ready to record the voice acting for both the NID and the final

game. This meant we had to wait until we had the verbal dialog complete, and for Interplay's sound studio to be free. This didn't happen until after Febuary.

So after the voice acting, was complete we were left with the decision, do we release the NID as is, or do we rewrite it using the latest version of the engine. The bad news is

that rewriting the NID would have delayed the final game by another 3 to 4 weeks. So, old NID it is.

Since the NID is based on a 9 month old version of the engine, I would like to tell about some the things that have changed or been improved on since the NID.

-Scrolling

The scrolling in the game is like Command and Conquer. It is completely under user control. You are free to scroll anywhere in the area. Unexplored areas are hidden until the

characters can see them.

-Line of sight

Areas beyond the line of sight of the character are dimmed. The game has true line of sight. It is affected by buildings and terrain features.

-Sounds

The sounds in the NID are not the final sounds. The sound guys at Interplay have not sent us any of the final sounds yet. We had to make due with some misc. sounds that

we scavenged, or made ourselves.

-Voice Acting

The voices are the final voices, although they haven't been mastered yet. There is a lot more voice acting than what is indicated by the NID.

-Monster Sounds

None of the monster sounds are final. We are hoping to get those soon.

-Character Animations

I believe we have redone almost every character and monster animation since the NID. Since we had to adjust the format of the animations, we were not able to insert the new

animations.

-Spell Effects

There has been a lot of effort place into improving the spell effects. If you look at the recent screen shots of the lightning, you will notice it looks a lot better than those that

are in the NID. Almost all of the spell effects have been improved in that way. For example the fire ball and flame arrows have smoke trails, and we have removed most of the

particle effects.

-Character Interaction

The character interaction code was a recent addition the to game. At the time of the NID, all of the character interaction was faked using the scripting language. This is why

the voices and the actions seem somewhat out of sync.

-User Interface

We are still in the process of refining the UI. Since this is highly sensitive to the feedback that we receive from the testers, I believe that this will still be changing right to the

end of the development cycle.

Overall, I would have to say that the final game looks so much better than the NID, that we were strongly considering delaying the game a month, just to update the NID. I

hope that you think that we made the right decision.

P.S. We also could have not released the NID at all. This was also considered since it no longer represents what the game truly looks like.

P.P.S. Keep the comments coming in. Even though we have addressed most of your concerns, we are still listening to your opinions.

Scott Greig

Lead Programmer for Baldur's Gate

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