Baldur's Gate features revolutionary graphics using an isometric view, dynamic lighting, 3D height maps, and real-time light-sourcing and sprites moving through a pre-rendered world of 16-bit color objects and terrain on five CDs full of over 10,000 scrolling game screens.
Baldur's Gate uses the Bioware Infinity Engine.
The Infinity Engine is a 2D, top-down, isometric game graphics engine, which allows for the
display of 16-, 24-, or 32-bit non-tiled, prerendered art, and includes features such as a clipping
map for foreground effects, animated background tiles, search maps, 3D height maps, and luminosity
maps. It is the foundation of Baldur's Gate, and Black Isle Studios has licensed this engine from BioWare for
use in their next RPGs, Planescape: Torment and Icewind Dale
The interface is clean, crisp, and powerful. Character creation is simple and easy, while staying true
to the AD&D system. Inventory can easily be determined for all
members in your party, making the normally challenging process of trading items
a simple task. The game allows you to easily set all kinds of varied formations for the
adventure group, allowing you to place your mages or clerics at the rear while the
fighters take the brunt of close combat. You can import custom portraits and character sounds to personalize your character. This customization is in addition to choosing the hair, skin and clothing colors of your character, which along with their equipment, are all visible as the adventurer walks around the world.
Combat is real-time, with the option for pseudo turn-based control.
Tapping the space bar freezes time, and while the game is frozen, you can plan
out the actions of your party members. Once you tap the space bar again, time
resumes, and the characters act on the directions you give them. It is also possible to set conditions that will automatically pause the game such as each time it is a character's turn or when characters lose a certain percentage of their hit points. This lets players plan out and strategically maneuver their party during intense combat without having to cycle through tons of menus each time, especially when the action is fast and furious.
A maximum of six people can join in a multiplayer game over the Internet with a TCP/IP connection, on a LAN, or by a direct modem-to-modem or serial connection. Upon starting the game together, they each generate a new character, although it is possible for each player to control more than one character. A player entering the game after it has begun may be assigned
control of one or more NPCs by the hosting player, or import their own character.
The host determines what items and experience any character that joins the game can bring in. The host also designates the rights players have in the game such as the ability to talk with NPCs or buy items at stores. The game is saved on the host's computer, but each player will also be able to export their character(s) to their own computers. Even if you can't be there to witness the
adventure one night, your character can continue under the control of another player.
Baldur's Gate features over 100 hours of gameplay in an immense game world
depicted with vibrance and fluidity, featuring visually
impressive special effects like dynamic full-color lighting effects, dynamic changes in character appearance, realistic day to night changes, rain, snow, fog, lightning, all occuring in real-time.
Spells and monsters come to life in accurate detail, appearing in real-time exactly
the way you imagine AD&D spells and monsters to behave.
The character artificial intelligence (AI) involves either premade character scripts or scripts easily modified by the player. The scripting language is
easy to use and quick to implement, and will allow for a party to be managed in real-time more easily than in the games of the past. The
characters in the player's party interact with each other and with their environment - some characters like each other and complement
each other, while others have antipathy for each other and will actively try and fight - either verbal sparring or actual combat! A party
of up to six characters adds a lot to the flavour of the game - the party system, with specialists in different areas all contributing to
the game, adds immensely to the feeling of playing a game of AD&D.