Features | Articles | Official Heart of Winter Chat
Official Heart of Winter Chat in GameSpy Arcade

February 28, 2001 at 4:00 pm PST
Heart of Winter GameSpy Arcade Lobby (http://www.gamespyarcade.com)
Edited chat log prepared by Silverdawn of PlanetBaldursGate
Around 50 people were in attendance for the chat.

Black Isle Studios

BIS_Darren - Darren Monahan, Producer
BIS_JESawyer - J. E. Sawyer, Designer
BIS_John - John Deiley, Designer
BIS_ScottEverts - Scott Everts, Technical Designer
BIS_Kevin - Kevin Osburn, Line Producer
BIS_WILLOW - Jake Devore, Scripter
BIS_Pete_M - Pete Meihuizen, Lead Artist and Animator
BIS_JasonManley - Jason Manley, Artist
BIS_French - Tom French, Programmer
BIS_Hector - Hector Espinoza, 3D Artist
BIS_Danien - Danien Chee, Programmer
Nameless{3} - Bernie Weir, Lead Programmer
BIS_DavePursley - Dave Pursley, Artist
Namless{4} - Steve Bokkes, Designer



Also available in Q & A format.


<[Admin]Cobby> Channel now moderated...
<BIS_French> i'm just kidding
<BIS_French> Ahhh, moderation
<[Admin]Cobby> Would you each like to introduce yourselves?
<BIS_JasonManley> sure
<BIS_JESawyer> Sure.
<[GSI]Silverdawn> Welcome to this official Heart of Winter chat. Sorry for the technical problems but it seemed everyone was having a good time chatting informally
<BIS_JESawyer> I'm Josh Sawyer. I was one of the designers for Heart of Winter.
<BIS_John> I'm John Deiley, one of the designers here at BIS.
<BIS_ScottEverts> I'm Scott. I work with the artists getting all their stuff in the game. :)
<BIS_Darren> I'm Darren Monahan, the producer for Heart of Winter, and a producer on Icewind Dale.
<BIS_Kevin> I'm Kevin Osburn. I was the Line Producer for Heart of Winter.
<BIS_French> I'm Thomas French. Programmer Dork. I did the scripting for IWD & HoW as some behind the scene tool stuff.
<BIS_Pete_M> Pete lead artist/animator. Canadian shred dog.
<BIS_Danien{1}> I'm Danien Chee, programmer on HoW.
<BIS_JasonManley> I'm Jason Manley....painter guy for the HOW team....I make portraits, ad stuffs, promo images, concepts and any other 2d art for the game.
<BIS_Hector> I'm Hector Espinoza, 3D artist on HOW
<BIS_JESawyer> Solid.
<BIS_French> Tight
<BIS_Darren> haXt0R
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *Sir_Kalthorine_ut_Wi* I have heard rumours that new items in Kuldahar stores will only be available if you have not yet entered the individual stores. Is this the case, and will people continuing an old IWD game lose a lot if they don't restart?
<BIS_French> rofl
<BIS_Hector> hey Darren! :)
<BIS_French> Yes and No
<BIS_Danien{1}> Bernie Weir, our lead programmer is still trying to get beyond the Namelessness while logging in.
<BIS_French> The stores are saved in your Saved Games
<BIS_ScottEverts> That's informative!
<BIS_JESawyer> If you have opened a store, it will not change for you.
<BIS_French> So they're not re-loaded when it's loaded
<BIS_French> The Water BWeir!
<BIS_Pete_M> haha
<BIS_JESawyer> However, you are only missing out on the following: +3 weapon of every type, some new spell scrolls, and some of the new containers. However, you can get the cool containers and scrolls in the expansion, in addition to cool new weapons.
<BIS_JasonManley> hmmm...Id restart...that is a lot of cool items
<BIS_JasonManley> but I'm just that way
<BIS_French> yeah
<BIS_Pete_M> he he
<BIS_French> you are
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *Korbundar* I do have a tech question... during multiplay via cable/dsl we kept experiencing periods where we'd be "out of sync" we'd rest and my chrs would heal and hers wouldn't. It only happened on specific maps and I'd have to leave the game and reenter to "resync". Have you guys heard of this before and do you know what causes it?
<BIS_Kevin> Yes, and no. They could continue on with their game and enter the expansion. Or they could restart and get the full benefits of the expanison such as higher resolutions, newer items, more spells, etc....
<BIS_JESawyer> Programmers?
<BIS_John> The out of sync bug has been found.
<BIS_John> I don't know details, only our programmers do. I just heard them talking about it :)
<[Admin]Cobby> *behindspace* I just bought HoW, and I'm wondering how different the original story is going to vary from how it was first laid out
<BIS_ScottEverts> us dumb non-programmers don't know. :)
<BIS_JasonManley> I'll be back...Dave Pursley artist dude...will fill in for me
<BIS_French> The person who could answer that best would be Bernie, but he's having problems connecting
<BIS_Kevin> The size of your cache (located in the config) could help this problem. You might want to raise the size of your cache to about 300.
<BIS_Darren> Korbundar: We haven't seen that per se, but for the patch we've done quite a bit to help lag issues, particularly with a lot of monsters on the screen.
<BIS_JESawyer> The original story is the same. The expansion offers a side story to explore. It is a separate plot.
<BIS_French> Good answer Monahan!
<BIS_Kevin> That's Lord and Master Monahan
<BIS_John> HOW adds to the story in many ways. New features make the original IWD a different experience. Also, we beef up the original game if you solve HOW.
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *Starmoose* If you could make any game you wanted, what would it be, speaking for yourselves as individuals?
<MageDragon> Who made the pointy hats??
<BIS_JasonManley> cobby...can I ask a question for the group?
<BIS_Darren> Korbundar: If you note specific maps where this seems to happen most frequently, please send me a message after the chat or via our message boards. We'd definitely like to investigate that if you get it to happen.
<[Admin]Cobby> BIS_JasonManley sure thing
<BIS_Pete_M> well...that could be on the horizon so i really can't mention that right now.
<BIS_French> I can't talk about the game I want to make! If I tell you all, someone will surly rip my idea off!
<BIS_Kevin> Sim Developer, right Tom?
<BIS_JasonManley> If I were to do some additional portraits...what would you all like to see???
<BIS_French> That's one of them!
<BIS_JESawyer> I would like to work on an idea I've had floating around for a while called Warp World. It's a pretty odd setting -- a little too odd to go into right now -- but it's been floating around for a while. It would be an RPG.
<BIS_French> I bet it's WACKY!
<BIS_Hector> heh
<BIS_John> You scare me, Josh :)
<BIS_ScottEverts> I'd like to work on a game based on the Ogre board game world.
<BIS_JasonManley> yes josh...you scare me too
<BIS_Pete_M> josh did you ever see the sci fi flick warped?
<BIS_JESawyer> Nope.
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *C-Style* I especially like the ALT button feature. That was very nice.
<BIS_Pete_M> cool environment
<BIS_John> I love working on DND stuff and would like to continue
<BIS_French> thx
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *AnnMarieR* To Hector: How detailed do you make the 3d figurines, considering how small a scale they will eventually appear on screen?
<BIS_JESawyer> hextor!
<BIS_Kevin> Yes the ALT button feature definitely came in handy :)
<BIS_French> Hector puts too many poly's in his stuff
<BIS_French> .)
<BIS_Hector> ha
<BIS_JasonManley> what??? more polys hector...more polys
<BIS_French> Our models are pretty detailed
<BIS_Pete_M> the character, since they are prerendered, can be up tp 40 000 polys
<BIS_JasonManley> thats a lot
<BIS_JasonManley> heheheh
<BIS_Pete_M> most are around 8000
<BIS_French> More than some can count
<BIS_JasonManley> thats a lot too
<BIS_Hector> Put as much detail as we can squeeze on it. :)
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *Sir_Kalthorine_ut_Wi* Personally, I think 20-30 hours of gameplay is pretty darned good in an expansion - I am more interested in what "typical" levels a normal group of 6 characters might reach, being thorough and playing through the whole of IWD+HoW as opposed to the original IWD on its own. Nothing specific, just some rough comparisons.
<BIS_ScottEverts> They weren't as complex as Torment since the size was smaller. Plus, in torment, we had those large pics of each character.
<BIS_John> I know a lot of detail is in the chars. The sahuagin models even have slitted eyes. However, it's lost due to size
<BIS_JasonManley> tom speaks for himself
<BIS_Pete_M> they were me e
<BIS_Pete_M> mr e
<BIS_JESawyer> Through *everything*? Hmm. Kevin, how did QA do?
<BIS_French> yes, I can speak
<BIS_JasonManley> actually a lot of the icewind characters are more complex than the torment figures in poly count numbers
<BIS_Darren> Sir Kal: Most of us were in the neighborhood of 14-18 after finishing both. When you replay with Heart of Fury mode using that group, you can expect to get to 26-30th level based on the XP modifications.
<BIS_JESawyer> I'm going to guess that most people who do "everything" wind up around 15th or 16th level. That could be wrong, though.
<BIS_Kevin> Well a party of 6, through both IWD and HOW, I think they got to about level 17-18.
<MageDragon> Who made the pointy hats your mage can buy from Edion's Tower in Burial Island ? I always wanted a pointy hat. :)
<BIS_John> I played through everything on normal difficulty. I made it to around 19th level I think it was. However, I did every single thing I could think of to do
<BIS_Pete_M> I didn't do so well, I kinda got stuck at level 12
<BIS_John> That was my thief though,
<BIS_Kevin> Definitely need to replay it in Heart of Fury mode. It makes it extremely difficult.
<BIS_JESawyer> I made them! Haha! Someone on the message board (matusz, I think) wanted hats and cowls for wizards and thieves, respectively. So, you get the Cyclocone and the Rogue's Cowl.
<MageDragon> Very nice :)
<BIS_French> Good job josh!
<BIS_Darren> The good thing about HoF mode too is that your strategies end up having to change, which makes the experience a lot different the second time around in terms of combat.
<BIS_JESawyer> Rock the vote!
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *Korbundar* My cache was at 400MB. On another note, while playing the Burial Ground in the Expansion I experienced extreme slowness while the person I was playing with did not. I've heard of others having this problem, what's up?
<BIS_JESawyer> Ambient sound can slow down the surface of the burial isle to a crawl.
<Nameless{3}> The area's really full of things happening.
<[GSI]Silverdawn> nameless 4 = Steve Bokkes, Designer
<BIS_Kevin> Hmmm, depending on your video card, you might want to turn off your ambient sounds
<BIS_JESawyer> Bokkesian Rhapsody.
<Nameless{4}> Tnx Silverdawn
<Nameless{3}> Part of it is the number of creatures pathing, ambient sounds tend to slow things down on that level also
<BIS_John> I found that sound was the main trouble for me. I had slow downs till I turned it off.
<BIS_French> That area can get extremely complex AI wise.
<[GSI]Silverdawn> nameless 3 = Bernie Weir, Lead Programmer
<BIS_JESawyer> Daddy Weirbucks!
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *AnnMarieR* Would you like to make a virtual world game, such as EQ/AC/UO, and if so, would you choose the realism you've done or do something different (if you got SSI permission of course)
<BIS_John> Bernie!!!!
<Nameless{3}> one thing that helps a bunch is to hide the interface using the 'H' key while you're walking around
<BIS_French> We'd love to do a MMORPG
<BIS_JESawyer> If I were just allowed to make any MMORPG that I wanted to, I would make Fallout: Online. WOOOOOOO DOGGIE!
<BIS_French> Interplay is doing one
<BIS_John> I would die to make a game like that. However, it would probably kill me if I tried to make a game like that
<BIS_Danien{1}> Icewind X?
<BIS_Pete_M> I wanna do something different (can't say). but I dig fantasy stuff so another game in the realms would be cool
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *Korbundar* Are there any "special features", easter eggs, etc that aren't publicized that you could mention here?
<BIS_JESawyer> Raise your "Reload Spent Ammo Shells" skill!
<BIS_John> I would stick to strict AD&D rules and try for the isometric view
<BIS_French> There's a cool combat that isn't part of the critical path
<Nameless{4}> Interplay.com has announced they'll be doing one. There has been no indication that BIS will develop a MMORPG any time soon.
<BIS_John> I don't know of any Easter eggs
<BIS_JESawyer> Hmmm. Easter eggs? Yeah, THOS is right. The Host Tower Wizard encounter = dope.
<BIS_Darren> Sure Korbundar, here's a few things, play with the squirrel at the end of Icewind Dale, also the cheat code prefix was changed in HOW... If you'd like to "Get Your Cheat On", have at... :)
<BIS_French> There's a funny Easter egg in End Easthaven that I put in the expansion pack!
<BIS_Kevin> Kill the Squirrel in Destroyed Easthaven at the end of IWD.
<BIS_Kevin> Thanks Tom:)
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *Starmoose* About Jasons Portrait question, I would like to see a couple fighters with blunt weapons for a fighter-cleric
<BIS_Kevin> posse up
<BIS_JESawyer> Also, there's an amulet you can get in Gloomfrost if you have Dimension Door.
<Nameless{4}> Ah, the famous "Sqirrel Mob" scenario
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *ericka* did you all realize that these ppl were running around in the snow and there were no boots to be found or even able to be purchased...
<BIS_DavePursley> I'll tell Jason.
<BIS_Pete_M> they're tuff!
<BIS_French> That's because the people purchased them!
<BIS_JESawyer> All residents of Icewind Dale are Shurpas (sp?)
<BIS_John> Boots... must have slipped my mind :)
<Nameless{3}> probably Canadians :)
<BIS_Pete_M> ha ha
<BIS_Darren> Designers, my office after the chat :)
<BIS_Kevin> ha ha
<BIS_Danien{1}> They had human-skin sandals...
<BIS_John> damn, not again
<BIS_Pete_M> ha ha
<BIS_JESawyer> Don't be trying any of your twisted Singapore humor on us, Danien.
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *AnnMarieR* when I'm not doing consultancy to keep the money rolling in, I'm developing several game projects of my own..... are BI interested in external ideas and worlds etc?
<BIS_Danien{1}> In Singapore, it's spelled humour, btw
<BIS_JESawyer> Well, we *is* in the publishing bidness...
<Nameless{4}> Actually, there are plenty of boots scattered throughout the original release, and some in the expansion to boot. Ack, that was awful.
<BIS_JESawyer> Danien: Quit making trouble, troublemaker.
<BIS_Pete_M> steve?
<BIS_JESawyer> I think we're always looking for new talent. We're publishing BG:DA for Snowblind. BTW, Snowblind = da bomb.
<BIS_John> Anne: You can contact Interplay/Black Isle with ideas and such. we do look at them
<BIS_Kevin> Snowblind rules!
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *Balthus_Dire* Question: I'd like to get into the gaming industry. Can you give me any advice?
<BIS_Darren> AnnMarie, yep, but typically we don't take submissions from individuals, just because of the difficulties of setting up NDA's and such. We are a publisher however, and if a developer is willing, we do take submissions, although we prefer some kind of prototype to play with.
<BIS_Pete_M> school!
<BIS_Darren> QA is a great starting place in the industry.
<BIS_Kevin> Most people start out in QA, I did.
<BIS_ScottEverts> what did you want to do? Programming, art, design?
<BIS_French> those guys at Snowblind should all register as "Programmer God's when they go to GDC so they'll get junk mail like me
<BIS_French> that says that
<BIS_Darren> For those of you not sure what QA is, QA is the Quality Assurance department, where they test and write reports about bugs on our games.
<BIS_John> Advice: read a lot, watch lots 'o movies, try writing, play board games, try out your ideas with pen and paper games
<BIS_Kevin> In QA, you learn how the industry is, how it works. You also make good connections, right Darren?
<BIS_JESawyer> Balthus: It can be hard to get into the industry, but dedication is always the best starting point. Some people come from QA, some come from other programming jobs, and some come from other art jobs. You just have to work hard, have a good creative mind, and find connections to help you.
<BIS_Danien{1}> Do a demo if you are an artist or programmer, custom mods for existing games for designers.
<BIS_French> Tons of BIS guys are from QA, even Feargus!
<BIS_Darren> Yep
<BIS_French> And Darren
<BIS_Darren> Yep
<BIS_Kevin> and Kevin
<BIS_French> And Joshn
<BIS_John> and me
<BIS_French> and Steve
<BIS_JESawyer> I'm the lone Webman of the Apocalypse.
<BIS_ScottEverts> and me
<BIS_Hector> me too
<BIS_Pete_M> i went to school
<MageDragon> First, thank you very very much for putting a Dragon in the game!! DRAGONS!! My question would be, did you make the animation from scratch, or did you modify a BioWare Dragon from BG2 ? Either way, wonderful job.
<BIS_Danien{1}> Also, try and get your foot in the door even if the 1st game dev job you are offered isn't what you want exactly.
<BIS_Darren> Pete, your question :)
<BIS_ScottEverts> all new on the dragon
<Nameless{4}> coffee drinking and cigarette smoking skillz are a must
<BIS_John> Pete did it :)
<BIS_JESawyer> That's all Black Isle modeling and animation.
<BIS_WILLOW> and cs
<BIS_Pete_M> me no understand
<BIS_Pete_M> yes coffee chugging
<BIS_Danien{1}> we wanted Pete to make the dragon a lot larger than it is but it took up too much resources and slowed the game down too much.
<BIS_ScottEverts> Pete animated it. Aaron build it? I think.
<BIS_Darren> Mage, to answer your question, we did the dragon in house from scratch.
<BIS_JESawyer> He's asking if the agondray was made using BioWare's model or animation.
<BIS_French> The dragon model was the work of a bunch of artists
<BIS_French> The animation was clearly Canadian
<BIS_JESawyer> Including CRYIN' CRILLZ!
<BIS_French> huh?
<BIS_ScottEverts> of course, the art processing was the best part
<BIS_French> I don't understand that slang stuff
<BIS_JESawyer> Amaral.
<BIS_John> Bloody Canadians
<BIS_Darren> That is, IF there IS a dragon in the game... uh hemm.
<BIS_French> Yeah, Scotty processed the art!
<BIS_Pete_M> i had made him about 10% bigger than he currently is but he killed memory and speed
<BIS_DavePursley> Resume and Demo CD. Just keep improving your portfolio till someone lets you in. Whether you go to school or not.
<BIS_French> Yeah
<Nameless{3}> Balthus Dire: What job would you like... Programmer, Designer, Producer? Many here start in the QA and Customer Service departments, and pay their dues that way. Others do mundane things that tend to make them qualified for the jobs they desire. I did graphics software and device drivers for a long time before switching to the games bis.
<BIS_ScottEverts> yeah, he couldn't be more than 511 pixels! Darn artists never listen!
<BIS_Pete_M> you got it scoot
<BIS_ScottEverts> hehe
<BIS_Pete_M> uh scott
<BIS_John> he's a scoot
<BIS_Pete_M> my tiping not so gud
<[GSI]Silverdawn> BG: Dark Alliance has a large frost giant that looks a lot like the IWD ones. Did BIS have hand in designing it?
<BIS_French> scott, you forgot to pick up your pink slip in HR
<BIS_Pete_M> I don't' think so
<BIS_ScottEverts> ohh. So that was what that extra stuff was in my check packet
<BIS_Darren> Only it's presence in the game via design. Snowblind has done all the artwork.
<BIS_WILLOW> you better be careful tom, Scotty will crush you
<BIS_JESawyer> I don't believe so. Frost giants have a very "particular" look, though.
<BIS_DavePursley> If Scott goes who's gonna get my coffee?
<BIS_Pete_M> ha ha
<BIS_French> I crush all
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *AnnMarieR* With the hardware and software development so rapid these days, where do you draw the line between developing the game and developing the engine?
<BIS_WILLOW> that's not what i heard
<BIS_Darren> <-- Right here :)
<BIS_John> Good question, Anne. We ask that every day of every year.
<BIS_French> BIS has the idea that we're not really in the Engine game
<BIS_French> We'd rather make games than technology for the most part
<BIS_ScottEverts> You'll notice a lot of game companies are buying engines now. I think that's a good idea as that allows more time to develop the actual game.
<BIS_Kevin> It takes a lot of time to develop an engine.
<Nameless{3}> AnnMarieR: The producer has to wade in kicking some butt once in a while to make that decision.
<BIS_Pete_M> i think it would be more cost effective to license an engine and let someone else worry about the trubs of creating the darn thing and focus more on making the game more fun
<BIS_JESawyer> Designers develop the game, and the programmers help the engine do whatever it needs to do to support the design and art. In a lot of cases, we start with an engine already. For instance, in Lithtech 2, the renderer and whatnot is already built.
<BIS_John> I would agree with Scott. We can spend more time on the quality of the design that way.
<BIS_ScottEverts> Why re-invent the wheel for each game.
<BIS_JESawyer> BTW, Scott, I need a new wheel tomorrow.
<BIS_Pete_M> and then we tweek it to meet OUR specifications
<BIS_John> what wheels?
<BIS_DavePursley> We improve on existing engines.
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *Sir_Kalthorine_ut_Wi* What about providing voice overs for games with an authentic heroic English accent? :)
<BIS_Kevin> If it ain't broke why fix it?
<BIS_WILLOW> but also using someone else's engine has it's own problems
<BIS_ScottEverts> ON it
<BIS_Danien{1}> So we can make a rounder wheel that has more rubber polygons. :)
<BIS_ScottEverts> hahaha
<BIS_JESawyer> Sir_K: Perhaps someday, your dream will come true.
<BIS_WILLOW> the programmers don't usually know the code as good as the people who wrote it
<BIS_Pete_M> true
<BIS_Darren> As a follow up to John's response, using a newer version of a pre-built engine also allows us to know our limitations up front, which allows designers to take their ideas and mold them with what is available.
<BIS_JESawyer> Willow is right. Even with a good engine, programmers seem to loathe messing around in other authors' code.
<BIS_Pete_M> true
<BIS_Pete_M> also true
<BIS_John> Yeah, and Darren has to beat us less if we know our limits
<BIS_Danien{1}> Verd.
<BIS_Kevin> Or I will
<BIS_ScottEverts> It still requires a lot of work. Torment had a lot of modifications done by programmers.
<BIS_French> It's because programmers are stubborn and generally hate adapting to other coding styles/conventions
<BIS_DavePursley> Either way you gotta merge code and wade through coworker code.
<Nameless{3}> The new hardware makes a lot of teams bite the bullet and decide to build a new renderer to increase the poly count, particularly on 3D games. The PS2 and X-Box will require a lot of new development pushes, as will the new video cards on the PC
<Nameless{4}> Especially Rich "if I wrote this code" Finegan
<BIS_WILLOW> and we also end up modifying the engine a lot
<BIS_Pete_M> ha ha
<BIS_Danien{1}> Luckily, Jake defends us programmers with his baseball bat and putter.
<BIS_John> not Finegan again
<BIS_JESawyer> Jake charges bulls head-on.
<BIS_Pete_M> awe rich!!!!
<BIS_Darren> (of which he stole from me -- The Motivation Bat +5)
<BIS_French> awe com' on
<BIS_John> i got tired of that bat...
<[GSI]Silverdawn> There are no other announced projects that the Icewind Dale team can talk about. How will you all deal with your message board addictions?
<BIS_Pete_M> surfing
<BIS_JESawyer> I will stop. It's become quite wearing recently.
<BIS_DavePursley> hehehe
<BIS_Danien{1}> We start a message board internally and flame one another.
<BIS_French> I'm over the whole message board thing. I'm back to coding.
<BIS_French> hahah
<BIS_WILLOW> I think last time I stole it from Kevin
<BIS_John> Well... I don't mind the exposure but I'm just not a web person
<BIS_DavePursley> snowboarding?
<BIS_Kevin> Hey
<BIS_Pete_M> ya that too
<BIS_JESawyer> Hopefully the Torment team will be announcing their project very soon.
<BIS_French> i'm gong to forget about work this weekend at mammoth
<BIS_Pete_M> nice
<BIS_Pete_M> see you there tom
<BIS_French> well it's been "announced" kinda
<BIS_John> is this really work?
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *Korbundar* The spell knock is in the game but I couldn't find ONE DOOR that it would work on. I imagine I just didn't use it at the right time... but it seemed pointless to have a spell designed to unlock/open doors and not have it work 95% of the time. What was the logic behind this?
<BIS_JESawyer> I mean the official fancy announcement.
<BIS_DavePursley> not my fault
<BIS_John> I don't know how to answer that one. Sorry.
<BIS_ScottEverts> many quests would be broken if you could bypass doors with the spell. That was one of the problems. We probably should have left that spell out.
<BIS_JESawyer> Korb: Good question. There aren't a lot of locked doors in the game, and most of those are critical path doors (like, go get the Red Key, man). You got us; there's not a lot of use for it.
<BIS_Kevin> I don't think QA ever reported any problems with this. I tried it a few times and it seemed to work for me. We will look into it though. Maybe we can address this for the patch.
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *Cyanstorm* will there be another IW expansion?
<BIS_Danien{1}> That spell was actually meant to initiate knock-knock jokes but we forgot the jokes...
<Nameless{4}> There weren't too many non-magical, locked doors in the expansion. However, there were quite a few locked chests that can be opened with the Knock spell.
<BIS_ScottEverts> oh Danien...
<BIS_JESawyer> Cyanstorm: asdhlASDAKjdahdasda;lsdADasdadasd
<BIS_Kevin> If a door is magically locked. I don't think Knock will open it.
<BIS_John> Another expansion... don't know. Darren?
<BIS_JESawyer> That's my thought on the matter.
<BIS_Pete_M> D-Ron?
<Nameless{3}> Perhaps it was useful for locked trunks?
<Nameless{4}> exactly
<BIS_ScottEverts> maybe for trapped chests
<BIS_ScottEverts> never actually used the spell myself
<Nameless{3}> Probably more useful if you don't have a thief in your party
<BIS_John> nor did i. hmm
<BIS_ScottEverts> good point
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *Sir_Kalthorine_ut_Wi* WIth the advent of the PS2 and X-Box, what do you guys in the business feel about the future of our humble PC as a games vehicle?
<BIS_Darren> Cyanstorm: Well, that comes down to something I'd like to talk about :) Several of us on the IWD are working on a new free downloadable dungeon pack for Heart of Winter. I can't give away any details about it at the moment, but it will be free for Heart of Winter owners :)
<Nameless{4}> it is quite useful for parties that lack a decent thief
<BIS_JESawyer> I like PCs. The keyboard and mouse alone provide enough reason to continue developing party-based RPGs for PC.
<Nameless{3}> The PC will rule the world if Nvidia keeps things going...
<BIS_John> I don't think the PC will go away. Some people (scoot) just don't like consoles
<BIS_French> I think the PC monster will continue to crush. I think with the X-Box being closer to developing for the PC, I see them kinda starting to come together in some ways!
<BIS_Pete_M> they're different
<BIS_John> I like both, but I'm told that I'm weird
<BIS_ScottEverts> I think the PC is an excellent game platform and will NOT be going away anytime in the near future. Console games are for a different market.
<BIS_Darren> Although, the market separation is closing rapidly...
<BIS_Kevin> With more powerful consoles coming out, some people feel that PC's will fade away. But that is not the case, PC sales have been moving up over the years.
<BIS_Pete_M> it's nice to kick back on the couch with a beverage playing Tony Hawk 2 or GT2
<BIS_DavePursley> Porting a PC game is always an option but best on what it was made for.
<Nameless{4}> There are some things you just can't do with a gamepad
<BIS_Kevin> Or Crazy Taxi :)
<BIS_Danien{1}> I think consoles are going to be refined further until ANYone can use them while the PC will soon become the platform for hardcore gamers.
<BIS_ScottEverts> Look at console games compared to PC. They are very different.
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *fens* Have you found its more fun developing games than playing them?
<BIS_French> I'd really like to do the a good control scheme for one of our games to make it play great on a console!
<BIS_ScottEverts> PSX2 BG is a lot different game than the PC game.
<BIS_JESawyer> Both are enjoyable, but playing games often frustrates me, and designing games often disappoints me.
<BIS_John> I like making games, I like playing games. I have trouble playing games I make. They lose some of the excitement for me :)
<BIS_Kevin> Fens: It's like a double-edged sword. It is fun to make them, but also very hard work. But it is always fun to play games :)
<BIS_ScottEverts> I agree with that.
<Nameless{3}> Fens: It probably depends on the game company. Black Isle is a hoot to work at. We do a lot of things that are fun when the games are being made, and have a good 'corporate culture' here
<BIS_Darren> (did he just say hoot?)
<BIS_French> I'm not 100% sure if anyone is going to do any Infinity "engine" games after we're done
<BIS_JESawyer> Don't pollute.
<BIS_Kevin> Yes he did
<Nameless{4}> Bernie said "hoot." :)
<BIS_John> nah, he wouldn't
<BIS_Danien{1}> A lot more fun than databases, I can tell you.
<BIS_JESawyer> Bernie, you're such a card!
<BIS_DavePursley> I like putting stuff in games that i want to exist but don't exist on the shelf yet.
<BIS_Pete_M> fens: i think i do prefer making games. i find that there are so few games that really captivate me. Making a game and putting your heart into it, and seeing the final product you come up with to me is extremely rewarding.
<BIS_John> bloody Canadians
<Nameless{3}> what's the emoticon for FU?
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *ericka* you all asked for people to email you played game prior to the release of HOW .. What did you do with them?
<BIS_Danien{1}> I think you just made it.
<BIS_John> hahahaha
<BIS_French> We tested them to make sure they worked ok with the expansion
<BIS_ScottEverts> tested them with HOW to see if they worked
<BIS_JESawyer> We loaded up several of them and ran around to see if there were any problems with imported characters.
<BIS_Kevin> JuanGolbez: There are no current plans to make any more games with the Infinity Engine.
<BIS_French> It's a good thing too, it helped find a couple of strange problems
<BIS_Darren> They were very helpful -- Some of them were *extremely* entertaining as well :)
<BIS_John> We played a lot of them to test for compatibility between HOW and IWD
<BIS_French> I didn't see any entertaining ones so I can't attest to that
<[GSI]Silverdawn> How many were hacked?
<BIS_French> tons
<BIS_Danien{1}> I liked the character names...
<BIS_Kevin> Ericka: We tested them to make sure they were working properly :)
<MageDragon> :)
<BIS_Darren> Hahah, a lot of them :)
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *Korbundar* I imagine this isn't very important in the grand scheme of game development... but why doesn't IWD and/or its expansion have a lengthy "eye candy" movie at the beginning and/or end of the game? Other game manufactures seem to do it and it is a well-appreciated reward to complete the game and get a really awesome movie at the end. Thoughts on this?
<BIS_Pete_M> i want to do them!!!!!!
<BIS_JESawyer> It consumes a LOT of art resources. Lots and lots and lots and lots.
<BIS_French> We preferred to spend that art creation time on creating game content
<BIS_DavePursley> Good point
<BIS_ScottEverts> Rendered movies are extremely time consuming to do.
<Nameless{4}> Time and money.
<BIS_Darren> It's really a resource question to be honest. It consumes a huge amount of art resources.
<BIS_Pete_M> ya but they're awesome
<BIS_John> Eyecandy takes a lot of resources and time. We decided on a simpler approach to get the game done in a reasonable amount of time
<BIS_JESawyer> Yeah, they are.
<BIS_Danien{1}> And movies aren't something you can really reuse for another project...
<BIS_French> More creatures or a 2 minute move that people will watch once? not too tought of a choice really
<BIS_Pete_M> you can use them to tease on the net and advertise
<BIS_ScottEverts> I love them, but its either more content, or fancier movie.
<Nameless{4}> Trust me, I would've loved to script a lengthy cinematic intro.
<BIS_JESawyer> That's quite true, Danien "Focus Your" Chee.
<BIS_Kevin> Most people would prefer more content if they were given a choice.
<BIS_Pete_M> i good teaser catches peoples attention!
<BIS_John> I love eye candy myself but there has to be a line drawn somewhere...
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *Balthus_Dire* Another Question: I'm really creative and have good art skills. I'm also planning on taking Graphic Arts or a similar program in college. Do you think the Concept Art/Sketches genre is hard to get into?
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *Balthus_Dire* I'm from Canada. I was wondering if any of you are Canadians and if so which Canadian college/university would you recommend for someone trying to get into the Games Industry?
<BIS_Danien{1}> That is what me master told me too. Focus your chi, boy!
<BIS_DavePursley> HoW had more animation and 3D than plus the great epic 2D of IWD.
<BIS_Kevin> Hey Pete, this one's for you.
<BIS_JESawyer> I think it is very competitive. Perhaps DP or JM can answer...
<BIS_Pete_M> thanx kev
<BIS_Darren> We've got quite a few Canadians down here, we just hired two more recently :)
<BIS_John> bloody Canadians :)
<BIS_ScottEverts> they will outnumber us soon!
<BIS_French> I think Pete's friend wrote that one for him
<Nameless{4}> Hang on... let me put down this Molson
<BIS_Kevin> hehe
<BIS_Darren> lol French
<BIS_Danien{1}> I'm not Canadian but isn't DigiPen or something located in Canada?
<BIS_John> why is Bernie nailing my door shut?
<BIS_Pete_M> ya i'm from Montreal, moved to Vancouver. Took 3d animation at Vancouver film school.
<BIS_JESawyer> Canadians and Asians are slowly dominating BIS. It's a plot.
<BIS_French> Pete's good too
<BIS_French> hahahaha
<BIS_French> rofl
<BIS_Pete_M> but I also had four years of illustration and design in Montreal.
<BIS_John> bloody Asians :)
<Nameless{3}> It's not a plot, it's an improvement :)
<BIS_JESawyer> An invASIAN, if you will
<BIS_ScottEverts> we will soon be making Canadian Anime soon.
<BIS_Danien{1}> I see you have discovered the Canasian plot! We must silence this one!
<BIS_Kevin> Communication breakdown can mean one thing, Invasion.
<BIS_John> boo, josh
<Nameless{3}> It's the Canada/Singapore alliance
<BIS_Kevin> Ur funny Danien
<[GSI]Silverdawn> Five more minutes and we'll call it a day
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *Dark-]{night* Is there a weapon that can be above a +5 or is that some lame DnD rule that they can't be higher than that?
<BIS_Pete_M> ah sooo
<BIS_French> That's for JE
<BIS_JESawyer> Dark: Pale Justice is +7 vs. evil creatures.
<BIS_John> It can be done, don't know anything in the rules that would not allow it
<BIS_Kevin> Pale Justice is +7 vs. Evil Creatures
<BIS_John> It can be done, don't know anything in the rules that would not allow it
<BIS_Kevin> Pale Justice is +7 vs. Evil Creatures
<BIS_JESawyer> As a general guideline, it's "supposed" to stay in the +1 to +5 range.
<BIS_Kevin> Pale Justice rocks!!
<BIS_French> Justice
<BIS_DavePursley> geeks
<BIS_French> Justics
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *Cwolf* when will the new patch be out for HoW for the multiplayer concerns?
<BIS_John> Not sure on that one. Darren?
<BIS_Darren> We're targeting some time in mid-March for a general patch.
<BIS_JESawyer> Dillz?
<BIS_Kevin> Cwolf: There is no set date yet. We are watching the Message Boards for Bugs, then trying to fix them for the users. Keep watching the website for an update.
<BIS_Kevin> Snillz?
<BIS_Pete_M> illz gillz
<BIS_JESawyer> Websillz.
<BIS_French> scrilz dilz jilz nilz pilz filz
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *AnnMarieR* how much of the location artwork is just block assembly of ready-drawn parts, and how much pure drawing with the go/no-go info put in afterwards?
<BIS_John> canasians? i just got that one
<BIS_Kevin> hahaahah
<BIS_Darren> I definitely encourage people to post on our message board any problems they are experiencing, we draw feedback from these forums to investigate problems people are having.
<BIS_Darren> (Shameless plug: http://www.interplay.com/icewind)
<BIS_French> rilz
<BIS_Kevin> Please post on the Message Boards. We are reading them and responding to help people with their problems.
<BIS_Kevin> Nice plug D.
<BIS_John> I give my ideas to an artist and they make them a reality. all from scratch :)
<BIS_JESawyer> A lot of the artwork is pure geometry, texture, and lightning, with a healthy amount of 2D touchup.
<BIS_Pete_M> we make it all from scratch. just like mom used to make
<BIS_JESawyer> Lighting, not lightning.
<BIS_JESawyer> pchoooo!
<[GSI]Silverdawn> Last question
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *Korbundar* Where do you see the "next generation" of RPG going?
<BIS_ScottEverts> the 2d touchup really adds a lot to the backgrounds.
<BIS_JESawyer> Yeah, I remember when I was a kid, my mom was always animating monsters.
<Nameless{3}> The lightning makes them taste better
<BIS_Pete_M> i want the first/third person thing to come into realization.
<BIS_French> I see a couple of the future BIS RPGs becoming some of the most important games ever created
<BIS_French> Like Tetris
<BIS_John> Everything seems to be going online... I hope that is not the case. I prefer to be the hero in a single player game
<BIS_JESawyer> Korbundar: Hmm. I don't know. I think that we're going to see a lot of experiments with game play, multiplayer aspects, and massive multiplayer games.
<BIS_French> The RPG
<BIS_Darren> heh French
<BIS_Danien{1}> A lot more interaction. Maybe one day, we'll get to literally talk to NPCs. Environments will feature more in games (not just RPGs).
<BIS_Kevin> I agree French, BIS is going to set some new standards for RPG's.
<BIS_WILLOW> don't dis Tetris
<BIS_French> I like Tetris
<BIS_Pete_M> me too
<BIS_DavePursley> To drive people insane.
<BIS_John> what do i do to the falling thingies again?
<Nameless{3}> Tetris needs blocks with evil alignment to make it challenging
<BIS_WILLOW> i hope so, many hours of my youth were lost to that game
<BIS_French> I think they'll become less like playing and more interactive, pulling the player in deeper
<BIS_Pete_M> werd French
<BIS_JESawyer> Majestic!
<BIS_John> agreed, tom
<BIS_Kevin> That Tom is a great guy :)
<[GSI]Silverdawn> I'd like to that everyone for coming. I'll Dave sum it up:
<[GSI]Silverdawn> *HeavyMetalDave* u guys rock long live D AND D
<BIS_Pete_M> (oyo)
<BIS_ScottEverts> Yeah!
<BIS_Kevin> Thanks Dave :)
<BIS_JESawyer> Thanks a lot, guys. We appreciate it.
<BIS_John> Thanks for coming all!
<BIS_Darren> hahaha, thanks Dave :)
<BIS_Danien{1}> Use the Hold Block spell to prevent the block from falling. Position it, then cast Haste to let it fall.
<BIS_Pete_M> thanx doo
<BIS_French> People will start jumping off their roofs with capes, thinking they're magic capes are real
<BIS_Kevin> You guys rock for chatting with us :)
<BIS_Hector> thanks
<Nameless{3}> Thanks everyone for showing up :)
<MageDragon> Thanks guys, my pleasure as always
<BIS_Kevin> Thanks for the support and the Feedback.
<[GSI]Silverdawn> I'd also like to point out that this lobby is also the place where you can play multiplayer HOW, and rooms are also available for regular IWD and BG2.
<BIS_Danien{1}> Thanks, everyone.
<BIS_JESawyer> i am going to go fly in my magic cape now!
<BIS_Kevin> Shameless Plug #2
<BIS_French> hehe
<BIS_DavePursley> good bye from jason manley too.
<Nameless{4}> Thanks Gamespy! You guys ROOL!
<BIS_Hector> Adios Amigos!
<MageDragon> who came up with the eye the sky thing
<BIS_Darren> In Gloomfrost?
<MageDragon> in gloomfrost ?
<MageDragon> yes
<BIS_Pete_M> chilz everyone
<BIS_JESawyer> Thanks again, everyone. We couldn't do this stuff without you.
<Nameless{4}> What about the Gloomfrost?
<BIS_ScottEverts> we could, just not for pay.
<BIS_Darren> That would be Dave Pursley. That was a friendly artist contribution :)
<MageDragon> who came up with the floating eye
<MageDragon> oh..it was funny
<BIS_JESawyer> In the words of Scott Warner, "AIDOS!"
<BIS_ScottEverts> Steve, I think (on eye)
<BIS_French> The eyes and faces were Steve things
<MageDragon> :) Okay, thanks again guys.
<BIS_French> Pursley did the art for them
<BIS_Pete_M> Dave did the effects though
<BIS_ScottEverts> I processed them!
<Nameless{4}> and Scotty implemented them
<BIS_Pete_M> coffee
<MageDragon> :)
<BIS_Kevin> good job Scot
<BIS_French> Scotty ran a batch file on them
<BIS_Darren> Yup Steve Bokkes (the designer for that area) and Pursley for the art (and that ScottE guy for putting them into the game)

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