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Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition gets more graphical upgrades

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Beamdog are really starting to put the Enhanced into Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition and showing just how much they care about the classic RPG experiences as a studio.

A fresh development build for Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition went up recently with a brand new Lighting Engine and the difference it makes is quite ridiculous. They said their aim with this is to "allow much higher quality future content, but also in large to enhance the visual quality of existing content" and since pictures say more than a thousand words they showed quite a few examples. Here's one to save you a quick click:

Left old / Right new. See a bigger comparison on this dedicated page.

What the feature will come with:

  • Physically based rendering (PBR), with emulation of specular reflection, surface “roughness”, Fresnel-effects and gamma correction. All in all, this gives a more realistic and “natural” look.
  • Tone mapping that prevents color distortion of bright lights and enables overbright.
  • Per-pixel lighting rather than per-vertex of the old setup, yielding much more precise light illumination levels relative to distance.
  • Full dynamic lighting, supporting up to 32 dynamic lights (previously NWN effectively only supported 6).

Plus, it is of course fully optional. It's heavier on GPUs, so you can tweak it and turn it off.

Additionally, Water Rendering also had something of an overhaul in the same way. With full configuration and the ability to turn it off: water now renders full dynamic light reflections, including sun and moon. Water will also show wave displacement based on area wide and local wind sources (such as explosions) much more realistically than the previous water did. They put up some comparison shots again but here's one below to save a click again:

 

Left old / Right new. See a bigger comparison on this dedicated page.

Even more is coming like improved Grass Rendering, which is sorted by distance and they fixed transparency issues so it looks denser and more natural. Grass Rendering was also "heavily" optimised. Pathfinding has also be drastically improved, so you should no longer get stuck on random objects. There's also tons of modding improvements with more access to the internals like the SQLite databases for various parts of the game and plenty more of the game has been put into scripting so it's no longer hard-coded like walking animations.

Beamdog said they intend for this all to go live "in the coming weeks". You can see the full breakdown of everything coming to the next build here. Sounds like some really amazing stuff.

You can pick up Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition from GOG and Steam.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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17 comments
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Arehandoro 10 Aug
Amazing! Tempted getting this.

How's the player base nowadays? Is it based on e3.5 or e5? Is the game, and community, welcoming for a new inexperienced player? How easy is to implement mods and player content in Linux?
DrMcCoy 10 Aug
Interestingly, it seems like they're keeping the stencil shadows?

EDIT: Also, uuh, I didn't even see that they had updated the dBase/FoxPro database to SQLite. Makes sense, though.


Last edited by DrMcCoy on 10 August 2020 at 2:46 pm UTC
Tchey 10 Aug
I played a loooong time ago on a RP private server, it was weirdly fun and deep, with good Masters.
Can’t remember names or nothing, just the feeling, a good one.
slaapliedje 10 Aug
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Quoting: ArehandoroAmazing! Tempted getting this.

How's the player base nowadays? Is it based on e3.5 or e5? Is the game, and community, welcoming for a new inexperienced player? How easy is to implement mods and player content in Linux?

Can't really comment on the current community, as I generally don't play multiplayer except with people I personally know (not just for NWN, but in general). But it uses 3.5 edition. Even 4th edition wasn't around when Neverwinter Nights was released.
DrMcCoy 10 Aug
Technically, NWN uses (slightly modified) D&D 3e rules, not 3.5. NWN2 was (again slightly modified) 3.5.

And yeah, that pretty dates when those were released :P


Last edited by DrMcCoy on 10 August 2020 at 3:40 pm UTC
randyl 10 Aug
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The improvements are dramatic. Beamdog puts a lot of effort back into this game and engine. This latest update is dramatic and significant but it follows a string of quite regular updates (the update notes can be found on Steam or their site). Recently they've also updated pathing and many API features.

If anyone is interested in playing again and would like some build ideas this forum is packed with builds, ideas, and information about build mechanics. Tweaked builds aren't necessary for standard difficulty though. I tend to follow build guides loosely and custom fit them to the character. For me D&D is about character development not min-maxing, but a good build template is still helpful as a guide. https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/nwnecbguild/
mcphail 10 Aug
Great to see this. I've become quite obsessed with this game recently. I wish the pathing improvements had been implemented before I played through Tyrants of the Moonsea as the amount of clutter on the floors made pathing very frustrating.

To answer some of the above questions, there are lots of multiplayer servers online so the community still looks to be quite large. I have no idea if the community is still producing many new modules, but the archive of modules is so vast it'd take many lifetimes to play what is there already. The quality of the premium modules has been high, too, so hopefully we'll be seeing more on the way.
mos 10 Aug
So much buzz for an average at best game.. Look! A three-dee RPG!
DrMcCoy 10 Aug
A three-dee RPG that had a modding toolset that created a community of people producing thousands of new stories.

Sure, the main campaign was meh (the two expansions were great, though), but it was more of a showcase what could be done. That's what made the game stand out: the dedication to moddability, letting users create their own content, officially endorsed.
slaapliedje 10 Aug
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Quoting: DrMcCoyTechnically, NWN uses (slightly modified) D&D 3e rules, not 3.5. NWN2 was (again slightly modified) 3.5.

And yeah, that pretty dates when those were released :P
Ha, well in my defense I have only played 3.x once, itherwise only in Neverwinter Nights. I switched to GURPS from 2nd edition AD&D, and never looked back.
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