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Baldur's Gate X 3
(NesCartesius, 18:10:44 - 11 Apr 2012 - / )

Some of you may know that I am a fan of the Baldur's Gate Saga. So, I would like to share with you some great news (Enhanced Edition in the making) and my insights into a still quite active modding community, that not only sought to improve the game, but recently proceeded to bring it to android devices.

1. First of all, Imagine my delight when i discovered that both games in the series are being revamped and reissued later this year. All those interested should visit the official enhanced edition relevant page here. What is also interesting is that there is also going to be an edition for Ipad. How come, you might ask. Well, perhaps items 2 and 3 will shed some light.

2. Baldur's Gate II had a very active modding community almost from day one. There are literally dozens of mods for the game. Some of them introduced new content, some of them reintroduced subplots and other things the developers had to leave out due to time restraints and never got round to finish. One very interesting product of this community was the "Baldur's Gate Trilogy" mod, that let gamers play BG I content through the BG II interface, and go through the entire saga as a single game. I actually installed this, and can verify that it works. The game has some glitches, though, as it is not compatible with some of the later patches. Now, you might think, this is ancient history, the mod community has been inactive for years, right? Well, no. Read No3.

3. Some time after buying an android tablet I discovered that there is actually a freeware version of bioware's infinity engine for android called GemRB, available through the android market (i am told there is also a linux version). It even comes with a free download of BG II's 1st chapter (Irenicus's dungeon). Now, you 'll think, what's the point? Are they trying to sell you the rest of the game? Actually no.

The whole point of this project is that you copy all game files, except the executables, from your PC installation to your android device, edit the configuration file, and presto! Baldur's Gate II for Android. Tried it and it works, with some minor problems. Like, i found it difficult to handle without a mouse, there was no space bar to pause quickly without using the icon, and when I created a new character I was unable to enter text for his name. I solved these by using the tablets hardware keyboard, but if you don't own one, or don't carry one around (as most people), it might get frustrating. It is still playable without a keyboard though. It is also possible to install the aforementioned mod, then copy the files, and play the whole Saga, although I didn't go that far. Also, I hope that this won't make porting the new enhanced edition for android irrelevant.

Now, is there something to learn from all this. Well, from the programmers and game developers point of view, it is a great victory for talent and dedication to quality. It shows that game design may be the strong point of a game when graphics and interface begin to age. From a gamers point of view, and I can't stress this enough, it may mean that BG III may finally come out some time in the future. Yeay!

jlucard's picture
11:40:47 - 12 Apr 2012
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Hey, I love this game :) Hardcore RPG games are difficult to find this days due to the concole market (can't display too much text - interface too complicated) which is a pity since some of us like those (and no Dragon age doesn't quite do it). That said playing anything like this on a tablet will be a problem - not everybody has your transformer that comes with a keyboard.

One last commend regarding GemRB - Android is essentially a Linux distro, so you could argue it runs on Linux already :)

Chain smoking makes you thin

NesCartesius's picture
22:28:00 - 12 Apr 2012
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Indeed, android is built around a linux kernel. From what i gather though the kernel itself was altered by Google, resulting in some disagreements between the google team and the rest of the linux community.

As far as GemRB is concerned, i looked it up at Wikipedia (it is mentioned in the "infinity engine" article, as it can also ran other Games using it) and it seems it is cross platform and can run on FreeBSD, Linux, MacOS X (linux for Macintosh), Windows, aaaand... AMIGA OS 4. People can play Baldurs Gate on an Amiga! Wow.

P.S. You got me thinking. What if the modern features promised for the enhanced edition of the game result in a more action oriented rpg game? That could prove to be detrimental to the spirit of the game. Or very refreshing. I guess we'll have to see.

jlucard's picture
12:27:26 - 18 Apr 2012
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The reason to go the action way is to appeal to more users - those that played D&D when young are few. Hard core RPG players have never been many and they get less by the day. Let's face it, the slow chess like pace of some older games (turn based anyone) no longer appeal to people. That said, the new is not necessarily bad, just different.

Chain smoking makes you thin

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