GB: The game assigns feats to the characters at the appropriate level. How will the game take into account multi-class characters with respect to assigning feats? Is there a list available of how feats will be assigned, so that fans can take this into account when creating their party?
Garrett: Each class has a certain number of feats assigned to them. The feats were chosen from what would best suit a character of that profession, and can be mixed and matched if one multiclasses. The basic mechanic works something like this....every three levels when a feat is called for, the game looks at the list for that class. If a feat has already been assigned it assigns the next one on the list. Whatever class you have chosen to advance in will determine which of the feat lists the game draws from.
GB: Garrett can you please explain why you had to drop the ability to jump on tables and the ability to move tables and other things to block doors from the game?
Garrett: The ability was neat, but we were having problems making it have an actual effect on game play - there are only so many ways you can make pushing a table relevant to the game. We still might have left it in, except that it was also causing huge problems with pathfinding and clipping. If the effect of moving a few things were at all impactful in the game, we would have found a way to fix all the bugs and keep it in. But, the effect was really turning out to be eye-candy, so it was dropped.
GB: Is there any chance of getting Paul Robson's voice for a character in POR2? His deep authoritative tone would be perfect as the last thing an evil creature would hear.
Garrett: We finished all the voice work in September. I'm very happy with the voices we have in game - especially Nottle, Kya and Pelendralaar.
There are no sound files associated with the player characters. A decision was made early on that leaving that out would allow the player to create the personality of the characters in his/her own mind and not have to choose from a few, pre-determined voices/personalities.
GB: Garrett, could you please introduce yourself to the fans? What has your interest been in RPG's before you became producer of Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor?
Garrett: I took over on Pool of Radiance in November, when the previous Producer left the company. Chuck Yager is the Associate Producer on the game. We work with Game Studios (a division of The Learning Co. (formerly Mattel Interactive)). I've been playing DnD since I was in the sixth grade (1980). I've also dabbled with Gurps, Shadowrun and Rolemaster. I've played BG, BGII and a little of Icewind Dale and all the Gold Box games. My favorite games are Warlords II and Dungeon Master. I also like RTSs, FPSs and board games. I think I'm a pretty well-rounded geek.
GB: Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor is often being compared to Baldur's Gate 2 and Neverwinter Nights. Do you feel that this is fair? Is there anything that you would like to say about such comparisons?
Garrett: Fair or not, the comparisons will be made. I think there are some things that we've done better than the competition, but only time will tell whether the gaming public agrees with us. For instance, I love the turn-based combat in POR and the look and feel of our characters and maps. It is very close to what goes on in my head when I play the pen and paper DnD game. However, its hard to argue with the success that Black Isle has had with their games.
GB: SSI has gone through some turbulent waters the last couple of months. Has this affected the enthousiasm with which the development team is working on the game? What sort of steps do you undertake to keep a pleasant (working) atmosphere (ie. lighten up the mood)? Does the development team still come together to play P&P sessions of the D&D game, and if so what type of character do you play?
Garrett: In the four and half years that I've worked here, we've been bought four times. Still, Chuck and I wouldn't be here if the work wasn't fun. And what could be better for two such shameless DnD geeks than working on Pool of Radiance?
As for playing the P&P game - Chuck is currently running a 1st level campaign for some the Game Studios guys. I'm playing a Lawful Evil Fighter named Tslalloc. Its been a lot of fun trying to role-play him in an otherwise good party. And next week Chuck is starting a mid level campaign that will also have some of the guys from Stormfront (Stormfront is just down the road from us). This time I'm playing a Chaotic Good, Half-Orc, Barbarian/Ranger named Uttoxxitter. In Chuck's world, the Ranger is a prestige class. I really like to pick a character that challenges my role-playing skills.