A First Look at Dragon Age (Part 2)

DA Deamon Blackrazor had the decency to admit he didn’t sleep because he was so looking forward to seeing the toolset. I just blamed it on jet lag. Either way, we were all pretty keen to see how the day unfolded, and after stuffing a couple of the free Hershey minis in my swag bag, I was ready to get to the ‘real deal’.

After a pretty sumptuous breakfast we headed over to the studio for a live look at the game, presented by Project Director Dan Tudge. You can check out the demo they are showing off at the Dragon Age site. I have to say though that the videos don’t really do it justice. Up close and personal the game looks awesome, and you also get a much better feel for how it plays. You won’t find any spoilers here, but I will say I was impressed both with the camera control and also how the game ‘felt’; a sort of combination of Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights. For me, looks come after gameplay, but I felt pretty satisfied with both, though we didn’t actually have hands-on time on the game itself. The ogre fight in particular was pretty cool - see for yourself in the demo vids.
DA Gameplay

During the game presentation itself and also during the whole event, we got to meet a lot of the ‘Bioware legends’ who make the games and lurk on the boards. It really impressed me that, despite a clearly busy schedule, many of these guys were on hand to help out and to give us tips, and what’s more, they were clearly passionate about the game and genuinely interested in seeing what our impressions were. One couldn’t help wondering before we got there whether us rather lowly amateurs and half-amateurs would actually be worth listening to, so the attitude of the folks at Bioware and EA in getting this event scheduled and then following it through with such passion was a big positive that I took away. These guys are really serious about the community, and that bodes well for all of us. As far as I’m aware, this was the first time there was a hands-on of the toolset for anyone outside Bioware. Whatever your hopes or fears about Dragon Age: Origins, you can’t argue with that kind of commitment.

I’ll talk a bit more about my toolset impressions in tomorrow’s update, but first a little about some of the Bioware names. Unfortunately I didn’t get to meet up with Stan Woo or Rob Bartel, but I did meet many of the other names you’ll all be familiar with. I got lots of unpublishable insights into Derek French and Ferret Baudoin, and it’s also pretty clear that Georg Zoeller is some kind of scripting god, even in Bioware. I also got to spend a bit of time with Lead Writer David Gaider, and gain some insights into how the writing and the world of Dragon Age came into being (he’s the guy on the right in the picture). The biggest scoop for sure was the Incontrovertible proof that Brian Chung does not have any bikini clad fans.

DA Visit
David Gaider talks to (from left) Alazander, B G P Hughes, Alex ‘Hugie’ Hugon and Beerfish

To get your own view of the Dragon Age Toolset, why not head over to the Dragon Age site and check out the videos?

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About AME

The AME (Academy for Modding Excellence) is a group... for Neverwinter Nights.