Develop Magazine continues their coverage of the Paris Game Developers Conference with an overview of Josh Sawyer's comments about why the advancements made to the Neverwinter Nights 2 toolset hindered its adoption by the modding community.
A sequel to Bioware's original Neverwinter Nights, NWN2 had to not only provide a better game than its predecessor but also to expand upon Bioware's hugely popular Aurora toolset to give users greater modding potential.
"BioWare's approach to the Neverwinter Nights toolset was to go for ease-of-use, so that people could get small things running quickly and then expand from there," said Sawyer. "Obsidian's approach was to cater for the hardcore, though - dramatically increase the level of control, meaning that more things could be altered. That would make the barrier to entry higher, but we thought that would similarly raise the quality of what was produced."
As such, Obsidian ditched the tile-based exterior sections for heightmapped terrain - which, while giving a lot more scope for variety and finely-designed areas, increased the construction time by ten times with artists having to hand-place trees and paint textures onto the terrain by hand.