I'll try to keep this short. I'm one of those fans that was somewhat disappointed by the cancellation of the new renderer. I understood it to be a series of changes that would port NWN to either DirectX 11 or DirectX 12, allowing it to look significantly better with the addition of modestly improved textures and shaders (likely to come from the community instead of Beamdog). However, I understand Beamdog is a small shop juggling a variety of efforts and changes this significant may not necessarily be worth the ROR. I respect the decision and kind of appreciate the news being disclosed transparently.
With that said, I also know Beamdog is not your usual corporate-influenced and hype-driven game developer. As a company there is no doubt that you employ gamers who take pride in their work and are passionate about the industry, including the D&D CRPG niche.
I think Beamdog should consider open-sourcing parts or all of Neverwinter Nights. Open-sourcing
enough of the code to allow for major graphical updates, while providing a fork that is an already in-progress effort towards modernizing NWN with respect to DirectX and/or Vulkan, would go a long way towards keeping the game popular for several more years. I am pretty confident that OSS programmers would eventually finish what was started. If you want a case study in modding potential, look no further than Skyrim
. Freelancing modders in the Skyrim community have advanced the game more than Bethesda ever could. We aren't talking about just the addition of new content here, but rather fundamental graphics and engine improvements. While Bethesda has not open-sourced parts of Skyrim, they have participated in efforts for community developers (under NDA) to improve the game.
While I don't think NWN could reach the level of modding popularity shown in TES, the point is by open-sourcing a fraction of the game you could punt the effort toward improving the graphics over to the community while ensuring that the game stays popular and remains a potential source of revenue with respect to new DLC. Since Beamdog isn't as tied down with corporate strategy and stuck in a legal morass as many other game developers are, I implore you guys to consider it as an option towards keeping NWN popular and advancing CRPGs in general. By far the weakest aspect of NWNEE currently is its outdated graphics and DirectX model. That wide demographic of gamers generally don't want to play games that look dated.
Finally, if Beamdog or anyone else reads this and thinks "that's crazy, no game developer could ever open-source their game
": EA- arguably the epitome of commercialized game development- has allowed
the open sourcing of the remastered Command & Conquer. While there are other precedents for open-source in games, this recent example is one of the most high profile ones to date.