With just a week to go until release, Tor.com has sat down with Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition head honcho Trent Oster. Though there's no real new information in the interview considering how close we are to launch, it does go into some more technical details about the updated game engine, as well as discussion about why the game was delayed until November 28.
Tor.com: BG: EE is being developed on a revamped version of the Infinity engine the engine upon which the original Baldur's Gate games were built. How much of the engine did you have to re-build or re-write to bring it up to speed, and what kind of technical enhancements have been added?
Oster: We initially planned a very surgical rework for the engine technology. Our plan was (to ninja in, fix a couple things and ninja back out.) That ninja plan died a horrible death early on. We realized the scope of work required to improve the engine how we wanted, and a simple Ninja effort would not suffice. I would guess we've rewritten over half the engine at this point. The major enhancements from the re-work are:
- Shader-based upscaling of artwork: We can display the art at much higher resolutions than the original game and it looks much improved.
- Performance: The old engine was spending 70% of [its] time blocking memory; this bottleneck and many others have been eliminated, allowing the game to run much better.
- Multi-platform support: BG was never meant to run on the iPad/Android or Mac. We've rebuilt the core of the engine to run across all these platforms.
- Multi-platform multiplayer: We rebuilt the engine such that an iPad can play with a Mac, with an Android tablet, and a PC. Any device can play with any other device.
- All new UI support, re-based at higher resolution, which means the game looks better from top to bottom.
Tor.com: What factors led to delaying BG: EE until November 28? Anything significant, or just taking the time to really polish the final product?
Oster: We simply were not happy with the quality of the product. We played the build of the game, laid out all the [must-fix] bugs and we could not ship the game we wanted by the original date. We immediately contacted out partners and started working out terms for a delay in the product. The fellows at the Wizards of the Coast were very supportive. Our team strongly believes in the idea that if we make a great game, we will be successful. We would not have had a great game in September. As an independent developer, the financial burden of that decision rested on us and I'm happy we were able to shoulder it to make a better game.