Author Topic: Why is/was BG so popular and why is the moding comunity still going?  (Read 7580 times)

Offline Zukn

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 Is it down to the popularity of the FR settings when the games were released, the plot, the combat, the storyline, the offbeat characters, the humour ? All of the above? Something I missed?
 When NWN was released I expected the BG community to transfer. Why are people still working with this old engine when a newer, designed for modification engine exists?

 What are you opinions?

Offline CORVIS TERRIBLE MOUNTAIN GOD

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Re: Why is/was BG so popular and why is the moding comunity still going?
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2008, 06:39:34 PM »
BG2 is a good game.

NWN really isn't.

Offline Caelellowynn

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Re: Why is/was BG so popular and why is the moding comunity still going?
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2008, 06:54:46 PM »
For me I guess the biggest reason would be depth of play. I keep buying games as they come available in the hopes that one will come along that gives the immersion that BGI & II gave. I'm not heavy into the FR side so much as an avid fantasy reader and a game with the scope BG offered still appeals to me old engine and all. NWN simply falls short to me. The quests feel clipped and I was never happy with how the companion system worked. Personally I'm only getting into the modding side of it now, all these years later, but BG is the only one that I came back and played every couple of years. The rest I played once, if that, and then just put them away.

Offline WizWom

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Re: Why is/was BG so popular and why is the moding comunity still going?
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2008, 09:08:44 PM »
er, graphics suck for NWN.  it feels like I'm controlling a doll.  And you only get one NPC, who you really cannot control.

And it being 3D it desn't run well even on my moderately good systems.  And all the zones are small.

BG2 provides a better gameplay, a more complex plot, a LOT less linearity and a LOT more characterization.  Which, of course, is just content, which is less a true limit than the engine.  I mean, Bioware could port the Baldur's Gate saga to NWN, except for the fact you'd only have on NPC.
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Offline jcompton

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Re: Why is/was BG so popular and why is the moding comunity still going?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2008, 11:47:30 PM »
Is it down to the popularity of the FR settings when the games were released, the plot, the combat, the storyline, the offbeat characters, the humour ? All of the above? Something I missed?
When NWN was released I expected the BG community to transfer. Why are people still working with this old engine when a newer, designed for modification engine exists?

There's no question that it's puzzling. But BG and BG2 have simply proven themselves to be eminently (re-re-re-re-)replayable. This encourages modders to keep working, because there are still people interested in "just one more go, but this time, with X, Y, and Z added in."

And for modders, the games are such rich landscapes that it's tempting to say, "Oh, but what if THIS character showed up?" or "What if we were able to TRIPLE-cross that guy?" or "What if the 'when did I eats corn?!' beggar really DOES have the hands of a surgeon?"

Although there's no question the D&D/FR aspect helped make BG2 a huge seller, I don't think it has much directly to do with its longevity.  (Indirectly, of course, it's easier to still have a sizable audience after 8 years if you START with an enormous audience.)

I don't absolutely know for certain that virtually no Infinity modders have transitioned to NWN (although it certainly appears that way), but if I had to guess why, it would be for some combination of the following reasons:

1. As mentioned, the NWN core materials tend to be less compelling to mod than the BG2 core materials, which means you're more likely to have to "do your own game." But because "do your own game" was/is so much harder for Infinity, Infinity modders tend not to think in those terms as often, don't have the skillsets or the interest or whatever.

2. The scripting and dialogue skillsets don't translate over terribly well. NWScript acts a lot more like a "real" programming language, so people who can shuffle by with the crude but easy-to-follow Infinity scripting standards could be lost. And there's no easy substitute for WeiDU, meaning complex dialogue creation is a lot harder and a lot different.

3. The "modding scene" operates very differently for NWN than it does for Infinity. We're pretty much all working with the same independently-operated portal-and-forum model TeamBG had back in 2001, but NWN is much more driven by the massive, professionally-managed community sites. From an outsider's perspective, it's a very different vibe, and I suspect not as inviting for people accustomed to the Infinity scene.
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Offline shiroryu

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Re: Why is/was BG so popular and why is the moding comunity still going?
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2008, 02:59:52 AM »
It is dated, I agree, especially graphically. I find myself wishing for Oblivion-style graphics coupled with BG2-style gameplay. (I'd die and go to heaven if that happened.)

In the end, however, the gameplay trumps the graphics for me. I think this is true to an extent of all games.( Pacman, Tetris etc.)Even the graphics aren't too bad...maybe 10 years down the road, they'll be archaic, but the new content that the modders turn out will still be fresh. Each time I tell myself that there's no way I'm answering the Spellhold statue's trite questions, up pops a mod NPC and I have to take him/her thorugh the game. Not just the interaction, but also the tactical aspects of the battles.
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Offline LizDiggory

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Re: Why is/was BG so popular and why is the moding comunity still going?
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2008, 10:32:00 PM »
One Word. Kelsey.  :-*

Offline Pigeon

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Re: Why is/was BG so popular and why is the moding comunity still going?
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2008, 09:20:20 PM »
I disagree strongly that the graphics are dated. They will never look that way to me. They are gorgeous and timeless and I will love them forever and ever. Oblivion's graphics? Barf.

Offline shiroryu

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Re: Why is/was BG so popular and why is the moding comunity still going?
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2008, 12:01:22 AM »
I disagree strongly that the graphics are dated. They will never look that way to me. They are gorgeous and timeless and I will love them forever and ever. Oblivion's graphics? Barf.

Have you played Oblivion? Just curious. It's a pathetic RPG gameplay-wise(gave up playing halfway through), but its graphics, especially the environment, were simply stunning. Faces were not as good - there was an element of uncanny valley about them, but otherwise Oblivion was really good at immersion.

Re: Bg2 graphics, there's a difference between 'dated' and 'good'. I love the graphics myself, but a stronger graphics engine could make the great gameplay even better, don't you think? BG2's top-down view means that I can't be up-and-close with my character and the NPCs, which I like to do in an RPG. The portrait, soundset, and BAM doll combo do a really good approximation, but being able to see your character in full glory, and customise his/her appearance? Eagerly awaiting Dragon Age for this reason.
"Kneel before the Lord Dragon, or you will be knelt." - Mazrim Taim, Wheel of Time

"Right. I had to get up at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down at the mill and pay the mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our mother and father would kill us and dance on our graves singing Halleluja. "

Offline Kulyok

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Re: Why is/was BG so popular and why is the moding comunity still going?
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2008, 12:52:30 AM »
From the Oblivion screenshots I saw at Studios/NWN2 screenshots in Domi's galleries, I didn't find either game much of an improvement. On the other hand, I am working with IWD now, where graphics are dated but stunning, and I know what I prefer. (Taking sneak peeks at TBH and TBH screenshots, and rather enjoying graphics there, as well).

Besides, there's the plot, the romances, the villain, and, naturally, the IE modding scene, which is always a lot of fun.

Offline Pigeon

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Re: Why is/was BG so popular and why is the moding comunity still going?
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2008, 07:56:42 PM »
One of these days I'll buy the IWD series just so I can experience the pretty, pretty graphics.

Shuryoki, I have not played Oblivion. I tried but it was like "haha you silly bitch, no way will I run on this computer!" And I was like "well I didn't really want to play you anyway, just thought I'd try you out." However I have seen screenshots and not enjoyed them. Uncanny valley? Hell yes! The top down view is my favorite. I don't want to be up close and personal with the super fug creepy dead-eyed NPCs. I don't want to see the jerky, repetive actions that are supposed to be a character emoting. The far away view lets me use my imagination, and until technology can make it look as good as it does in my head, I will prefer graphics like BG's.

Offline shiroryu

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Re: Why is/was BG so popular and why is the moding comunity still going?
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2008, 05:25:55 AM »
Shuryoki, I have not played Oblivion. I tried but it was like "haha you silly bitch, no way will I run on this computer!" And I was like "well I didn't really want to play you anyway, just thought I'd try you out."

 ;D Agreed. The game was a resource hog, thrashing around my hard disk and 'cutting-edge' graphics card, heating it to fry-an-egg temperatures. Probably contributed more to the Earth's global warming - there's an ozone hole up there because of Oblivion's greed.

However I have seen screenshots and not enjoyed them. Uncanny valley? Hell yes! The top down view is my favorite. I don't want to be up close and personal with the super fug creepy dead-eyed NPCs. I don't want to see the jerky, repetive actions that are supposed to be a character emoting. The far away view lets me use my imagination, and until technology can make it look as good as it does in my head, I will prefer graphics like BG's.

Again, can't fault you there - but having played it, I think that but for the horrible twitchy dead-eyed faces, the graphics are good. Flowing rivers, shining stars, bird calls - really great immersion.

 And I doubt technology can ever make it as good as the images in our head. Who'd read books then? I dread movies made on books for that reason - they always manage to kill the characters.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2008, 05:27:47 AM by shiroryu »
"Kneel before the Lord Dragon, or you will be knelt." - Mazrim Taim, Wheel of Time

"Right. I had to get up at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down at the mill and pay the mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our mother and father would kill us and dance on our graves singing Halleluja. "

Offline Manveru

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Re: Why is/was BG so popular and why is the moding comunity still going?
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2009, 07:41:06 AM »
I have been asking myself the same question for a very long time... there were many CRPGs before Infinity Engine games and now BG series is considered as "classic". There are a lot of  CRPGs which appeared since 2002, yet I have to find one that will go beyond Planescape: Torment or Baldur's Gate 2. I have played almost everything of importance with exception of Gothic series and the Witcher and the question is still not answered. In my oppinion there are at least two reasons for BG2's popularity:

- At the time BG series and PST were out, there was some kind of cultural wave of creativity. It started in the second half of 90s where we have got a lot of good CRPGs and JRPGs. It has diminished roughly after 2001 and actually died around 2004. By "cultural wave" I mean that CRPGs were not only "games" but the pieces of art, their status was reduced to the "game" with appearance of such games as NWN, Morrowind and all set of MMORPGs. Typically even if BG2's graphics is not 3D and has relatively low resolution it has its specific style and ambiance which is so different from sterile, generic graphics of many other more recent CRPGs. Somehow, since 2007 the cultural wave seems to restart, though for example Mass Effect is still quite far from BG2's achievement (and it seems to be barely moddable AFAIK) and Fallout 3 (aka mod for Oblivion) is a deception for me, veteran fan of Fallout 1 & 2. I really hope that Dragon Age will bring some new breath in the stagnating CRPG scene.

- the game development industrial organization went into wrong direction: consolidation in a sort of oligopoly of several companies did and does a lot of bad to the quality of the new games: I am very worried about the fact that Bioware belongs now to Electronics Arts which has already proven to destroy good developers in the past, I am even more worried about Bioware's recent merger orchestred by EA which shows their instrumental way of doing business. Even if probably Dragon Age publication will not be greatly impacted by this change or even the publication of Mass Effect 2, I fear that third installment of Mass Effect might suffer the consequences... Already Dragon Age's publication date was switched by EA for the commercial reasons from the beginning of 2009 to the end of the year. We talk here only about Bioware, but what has happened with Fallout franchise shows well the problem.

In conclusion: since 2001 the game developers and their publishers above all were lazy gaining easy cash by exploiting new audio/video technologies without adding real innovation and artistic value. BG series and PST will never become obsolete in my opinion (contrary to some other games from that period, like Morrowind, NWN...)
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Offline Sir_Carnifex

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Re: Why is/was BG so popular and why is the moding comunity still going?
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2009, 04:59:22 PM »
Ah, well, so long as it's been brought back up to current...

I have to say that the level of interaction that BG provides is unsurpassed by anything I've seen since.  The number of ways one can go about, actually having NPCs that feel alive, the artwork and general game play make it something one can come back to time and again and still feel like it's something new.  The addition of mods just make it even more re-playable (though I think I'd still have it installed even if mods did not exist). 

Now, I haven't actually played or seen many other games, but what I have doesn't compare in the least bit.  NWN2 is the only one I've had a lot of experience with besides the BG series and it's falls WAY short of hitting the mark that BG did.  Dialogue not as good, the options aren't as good, one feels railroaded through a plot that is inflexible, and there's no artwork.   Say what you will about graphics, but just having those portraits on the side in BG2 was a great part of it.  NWN you get these ugly 3D models that are quite lacking.

I have to say BG2 is a great game when it can pull someone like me in.  When I first saw it, I thought "Oh, another fantasy game.  Booooring!".  In fact, I didn't bother to try it until years after it came out and when I did, I was hooked.   It's not the setting for me (I don't really care for fantasy all THAT much) but the game play.   That's good enough for me.   
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Offline nurgles_herald

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Re: Why is/was BG so popular and why is the moding comunity still going?
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2009, 11:42:54 PM »
Also, it helps that we have remixes like Gather Your Party and Irenicus [Redeem This Mix] to boost morale.  And, of course, The Kelsey Song.

Don't even get me started on the Bad Kelsey Challenge.
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Offline nmodd

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Re: Why is/was BG so popular and why is the moding comunity still going?
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2009, 01:52:08 AM »
For me, it's partly because of the depth of the game, and partly from the absence of it from recent titles. I had high hopes for NWN 2, and it looked promising, but when then the ending events came.

Offline MrFrost

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Re: Why is/was BG so popular and why is the moding comunity still going?
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2009, 02:03:46 PM »
to put it simple they just dont make em like the use to, even with "Dragon Age" i fear it wont quite capture our hearts as the Baldur Gate series had, though I dont doubt it wont be a good game just nhot "as" good.
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Offline nurgles_herald

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Re: Why is/was BG so popular and why is the moding comunity still going?
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2009, 09:11:13 PM »
Dragon Age, from what I can tell, is less of a spiritual successor to BG than it is to Mass Effect.  Don't get me wrong.  I liked Mass Effect.  Aside from the elevators.  But I will be honestly surprised if Dragon Age *feels* more like a BG game, considering what I've seen from the previews.  A shame.
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Offline Fawna

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Re: Why is/was BG so popular and why is the moding comunity still going?
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2010, 09:03:06 PM »
 Never really played games on the pc until 2002 or 2003. Grew up w/ an atari and nitendo. I read but never any d&d books or the board game.  Anyway one of my friends need money an just wouldnt take it so i payed the rent for them, and they gave me bg1 and bg2. Put it up cause when you have little ones its hard, christmas rolled around and wow I was bored. Anyways Thank you all From the bottom of my heart cause whatever Bg1 an Bg2 have is a whole world that you get to imagine. The city the streets people here an there the homeless. Sometimes I can smell the flowers an the yuck stuff too, the sounds wow Bgs series will be my all time fav. I went out an have both sets brand new still in boxes with expan. that i dont know if i will every open.  I use the other ones.  I thought wow rpg games are my type of games, so ive tryed almost everything nwn, mirrowind, obliv, two worlds, fable, its not a pc game but final fantasy.  Nope sorry havent been able to find the magic that they put into BG1 and BG2. YOU can into a whole new world that needs saving but u dont do it alone you have Minsc, Jeh, Anomen, and whoever else you want.(Yes I admit love Anomen)  I just really sad that it seemed to end with them there isnt a game I can compare them to cause they havent made anything like them. I had hoped.. Maybe Dragon Age just afraid to hope too much you know.
So I love BG1 and BG2 because I have never played a game that drew me in and made me feel like I was there with my imagination. I love writing stories and I love bg1 and bg2 and everything you all do here at Pocket Plane Thank-you  If I could pay for you guys to make a game I would cause these big companys keep crushin my dreams like NWN did. 

Offline Martha

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Re: Why is/was BG so popular and why is the moding comunity still going?
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2010, 01:00:14 PM »
I had a warning that I should consider opening a new topic but it fits into this one and I'm not sure if anyone would react to a thread titled "what's your funniest baldur's gate experience?" or something along the lines.

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