Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

  1. Welcome to rpgcodex.net, a site dedicated to discussing computer based role-playing games in a free and open fashion. We're less strict than other forums, but please refer to the rules.

    "This message is awaiting moderator approval": All new users must pass through our moderation queue before they will be able to post normally. Until your account has "passed" your posts will only be visible to yourself (and moderators) until they are approved. Give us a week to get around to approving / deleting / ignoring your mundane opinion on crap before hassling us about it. Once you have passed the moderation period (think of it as a test), you will be able to post normally, just like all the other retards.
    Dismiss Notice

Game News Beamdog can't make Icewind Dale 2 Enhanced Edition because the source code is lost

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Jul 9, 2017.

  1. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ I post news Patron

    Infinitron
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Parrots:
    65,660
    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Click here and disable ads!
    Tags: Beamdog; Icewind Dale 2; Trent Oster

    I've always assumed that Beamdog would never release an Enhanced Edition of Icewind Dale 2 because it wasn't worth the investment. It was after all a fairly marginal game, and one that used a very different system than its Infinity Engine peers, so Beamdog's work on them would not be transferable. This week however, we learned that what has stymied an IWD2:EE is not a business decision, but the fact that the game's original source code has disappeared without a trace. The news was properly announced on Beamdog's blog on Thursday, and followed by an interview with Trent Oster on Kotaku which went into more detail:

    The people who make enhanced editions of old role-playing games like Baldur’s Gate and Planescape: Torment want to do the same thing for Icewind Dale II. There’s just one problem: nobody knows where to find the code.

    Beamdog, a Canadian publisher best known for releasing snazzy new versions of old Infinity Engine RPGs like the ones mentioned above, is looking to re-release Icewind Dale II with enhanced graphics and other improvements. But Beamdog’s CEO, Trent Oster, says his team can’t find the source code for Icewind Dale II. Without that code, he says, they can’t make any sort of enhanced edition of the game.

    “We’ve searched all the archives we have access to, including all the data handed over to Wizards of the Coast from Atari and there is no source code for Icewind Dale II,” Oster told me in an e-mail. “We’ve reached out to our friends at Obsidian, as many of them were the development staff behind Icewind Dale II, and they do not have any source code. We’re stalled on the project without source and the project won’t move forward until we can find it. We’ve naturally moved on to other things until there is a change in the situation.”

    Icewind Dale II, released in 2002, was the last game built with BioWare’s iconic Infinity Engine, a set of code used primarily to make isometric RPGs. The game came out during a time of financial turbulence for its publisher, Interplay, which would go on to shut down the game’s development studio, Black Isle, a year later in 2003. (Some of Black Isle’s staff then left to found Obsidian Entertainment, which is now making its own Infinity Engine-inspired Pillars of Eternity games.)

    Perhaps as a result of that turbulence—or confusion over who owns what—Icewind Dale II has simply disappeared. “Icewind Dale II was created by Interplay working off a customized version of the BioWare Infinity Engine,” said Oster. “They took the Infinity Engine variant they used to ship Icewind Dale and started from there. Somewhere along the path of the Dungeons and Dragons license moving from Interplay to Atari and then reverting to Wizards of the Coast, preserving source code and transferring it to the new rights holder, somehow data was lost.”

    While developing enhanced versions of Baldur’s Gate, Planescape: Torment, and the first Icewind Dale, Beamdog was able to get source code directly from BioWare. “I drove over to the BioWare offices and dug through hard drives and backups for a day and a half, building a big pile of everything I could find,” Oster said. “We pulled some of the Planescape source from BioWare archives and some from the [Wizards of the Coast] archives which came to them via Interplay and Atari. The Icewind Dale source code was also from both sources... When we’ve searched for the Icewind Dale II code, there is nothing, not even a pre-release version. We’ve done the math and without source code it is simply too expensive to attempt to reverse engineer from an existing version of the game data.”

    Although anyone can buy and download Icewind Dale II on GOG, there’s no simple way to extract the source code from finished copies of the game. Because the code is all compiled, the data is inaccessible. “There is really no way to go backwards from a compiled game to the source code to rebuild it,” said Oster. “You can decompile the game, but the difficulty of digging through the decompiled blob and extracting anything useful is much too high.”

    So Icewind Dale II remains in limbo—at least until someone finds an old floppy disk in their attic. Or goes to the right garage sale.
    Regardless of one's opinion of Beamdog, it'll be pretty sad if Icewind Dale 2's source code is really lost. The game's D&D 3E implementation made it a unique artifact that could have been expanded in interesting ways. It's interesting that BioWare had the Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment source code. Maybe if Interplay's relationship with them hadn't been severed after the loss of the D&D license, they would have had the IWD2 code too. I don't suppose Herve might have it? >_>
     
    • incline x 15
    • Funny x 4
    • Informative x 4
    • Despair x 2
    • hopw roewur ne x 1
    • Agree x 1
    • decline x 1
    • it is a mystery x 1
    • WTF am I reading x 1
    • Balanced x 1
    ^ Top  
  2. J_Cgender: ⚧ One Bit Studio Patron Developer

    J_C
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    Parrots:
    12,728
    Location:
    Hungary
    Project: Eternity Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    What the fuck is with these companies losing source codes? These people are working with computers in all their lives and the concept of backup is not known to them?
     
    • Agree Agree x 11
    • it is a mystery it is a mystery x 2
    • Despair Despair x 1
    • :M :M x 1
    ^ Top  
  3. i.Razorgender: ⚧ Educated Patron

    i.Razor
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2014
    Parrots:
    88
    Well, at least we know.
     
    ^ Top  
  4. Make America Great Again Zed Duke of Banvillegender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

    Zed Duke of Banville
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2015
    Parrots:
    2,213
    Codex Fundraiser to purchase IWD2's source code from Herve. +M
     
    • :M :M x 1
    ^ Top  
  5. Wehraboogender: ⚧ Unwanted

    Unwanted
    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2017
    Parrots:
    544
    Location:
    The age of the Golden Baby
    They couldn't make BG extended edition either, but they didn't let that stop them.
     
    • Agree Agree x 10
    • Funny Funny x 1
    ^ Top  
  6. Quantomasgender: ⚧ Educated

    Quantomas
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2017
    Parrots:
    133
    It amazes me how careless those companies are with their assets. Didn't they loose the original art of BG too, so they couldn't remaster it? Which was the original plan and really had made the re-release worthwhile.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • it is a mystery it is a mystery x 1
    • Bad Spelling Bad Spelling x 1
    ^ Top  
  7. I'm With Her Metrogender: ⚧ for prison Arcane Beg Auditor

    Metro
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Parrots:
    25,551
    Would be plausible if we're talking about 1992... but 2002? Come the fuck on...
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    ^ Top  
  8. Flougender: ⚧ Learned

    Flou
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2016
    Parrots:
    266
    So... now they actually have to create something of their own for a change?
     
    • Funny Funny x 10
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Brofist Brofist x 2
    • incline incline x 1
    ^ Top  
  9. hivemindgender: ⚧ Arcane

    hivemind
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2014
    Parrots:
    6,273
    Location:
    Snapcity
    couldn't they just make the game anew

    I mean you could just copy paste all the dialogue and item descriptions from a working copy of the game so it shouldn't take that long right
     
    • WTF am I reading WTF am I reading x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • No No x 1
    • Interesting Interesting x 1
    ^ Top  
  10. Yaar Podshipnikgender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

    Yaar Podshipnik
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2011
    Parrots:
    1,817
    Codex 2012 Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Codex USB, 2014 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    I think this is due to the source control governance being Someone Else's Problem. I never worked for a game company, so it might be different there, but usually the devs write, and test the code, they don't own the source control system used to actually track it. That usually is in hands of some infrastructure team. During mergers/transfers the infra teams are usually the first to get "streamlined", knowledge of systems gets lost, some script doing backup fails and nobody who could notice this is there anymore, maybe there's a move to a new VCS and not everything gets ported either by human mistake or crappy software. The boxes hosting the VCS then get decommed, old backups recycled (for various reasons companies might actually only want to have backups up to 5-7yrs). The VCS team doesn't really care what's in the system, as long as they can pass all the audits/checks.
    If there is no dedicated team for maintaining source control, it's even worse, as the actual system is something put together by devs into good enough shape to work, but not much care is put into it.
    As for dev having backups - a dev workstation could have the whole tree checked out, but it's also quite possible that each dev would work only on a part of the thing, and not even have the whole tree on his box. Possible even with git if you use subprojects, very popular with larger projects based on svn with sparse checkouts (probably have similar features in whatever MS has, perforce, etc.). Of course workstations are upgraded/recycled even more frequently than servers...
    Now even if a dev had a whole copy of the code in his personal archive, they might be reluctant to admit it - see, code is company property. If you take it with you when you leave, you're (most likely) committing a crime. While beamdog might be grateful for the whole code from some former dev, that could open the dev to litigation.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Informative Informative x 3
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    • Despair Despair x 1
    ^ Top  
  11. buru5gender: ⚧ Very Grumpy Dragon Patron

    buru5
    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2017
    Parrots:
    1,882
    That would require real work though
     
    • Agree Agree x 6
    • Funny Funny x 3
    • :M :M x 1
    ^ Top  
  12. purpleblobgender: ⚧ Learned

    purpleblob
    Joined:
    May 16, 2014
    Parrots:
    131
    Location:
    Sydney
    More like, because they aren't competent to make IWD2: EE. It's more of a stunt going, "See fans? We care, and we tried but we can't find the source code. What a shame *cough*not*cough*we don't want to*cough*". If anything needed "enhancement" the most, it was IWD2.
     
    • Brofist x 1
    • Agree x 1
    • Yes x 1
    • [citation needed] x 1
    • Creative x 1
    • WTF am I reading x 1
    • retadred x 1
    ^ Top  
  13. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ I post news Patron

    Infinitron
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Parrots:
    65,660
    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Silly conspiracy theory is silly. By announcing this they've put out a call to locate the source code. If it exists somebody will tell the world. If they wanted to avoid making IWD2:EE they would have shut up about it.
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
    • Nuke it from orbit Nuke it from orbit x 1
    ^ Top  
  14. Make America Great Again Parabalusgender: ⚧ Arcane

    Parabalus
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2015
    Parrots:
    1,257
    Too bad, IWD2 is the one that's aged the worst.
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 7
    • Agree Agree x 3
    ^ Top  
  15. Transfiguring Roargender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

    Transfiguring Roar
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2007
    Parrots:
    1,197
    Location:
    Australia
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    This is an interesting development.

    I was once a bit more enthusiastic/hopeful about Beamdog, but with some of the things that have happened along the way I'm a bit more indifferent about them not being able to do an IWD2EE.

    It's a shame that the source code has been lost, though, for sure.
     
    ^ Top  
  16. Goralgender: ⚧ Arcane Patron The Real Fanboy

    Goral
    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Parrots:
    2,028
    Location:
    Poland
    lol
     
    • Funny Funny x 9
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    ^ Top  
  17. Braykogender: ⚧ Arcane

    Brayko
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2012
    Parrots:
    5,314
    Location:
    Best America
    They're still asking for $19.99 for Baldur's Gate EE

    LOL BEAMDOG
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • :M :M x 1
    ^ Top  
  18. Make America Great Again Rogueygender: ⚧ Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    Parrots:
    20,969
    One of those "Don't you think those were the first people we asked?" moments.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • meh meh x 2
    ^ Top  
  19. ilitaristgender: ⚧ Learned

    ilitarist
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2016
    Parrots:
    474
    It would probably be easier to remake BG2 without the source code than to remake IWD2 due to all the differences with the systems.

    Sad but understandable. Much more so than, say, Heroes 3 HD circus with expansions code lost. All those 10 new buildings and 10 creatures and random map generation are impossible to code, yeah.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    ^ Top  
  20. purpleblobgender: ⚧ Learned

    purpleblob
    Joined:
    May 16, 2014
    Parrots:
    131
    Location:
    Sydney
    Sure, because some random person happened to know whereabouts these lost assets :roll:
     
    • retadred retadred x 1
    ^ Top  
  21. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ I post news Patron

    Infinitron
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Parrots:
    65,660
    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    It wouldn't be a random person, it would be somebody who worked at Black Isle or got their hands on hard drives that Black Isle threw away or something.

    Surely you're not suggesting that the source code was actually never lost and Beamdog have convinced all of the original developers to cooperate with their conspiracy to hide it?
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    ^ Top  
  22. Drog Black Toothgender: ⚧ Self-Ejected

    Self-Ejected
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Parrots:
    2,636
    I don't get this.

    The only difference in code between IWD1 and 2 is the rule set. They already have a working engine that can load the assets, dialogs, scripts, everything. Is it really a deal breaker to code the spells from scratch?
     
    ^ Top  
  23. ilitaristgender: ⚧ Learned

    ilitarist
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2016
    Parrots:
    474
    Spells, all the progression systems, different UI (though they probably do it from scratch anyway), most significantly special AI for all monster abilities and scripted scenes. IIRC IWD2 has plenty of scripted fights with monsters doing something as soon as they see you, especially with shamans in the beginning. To copy this behaviour you'd need to do a lot of checks on the original game and you'll still have a game that is slightly off.

    Also no one in the universe knows how this damned forest works and you wouldn't want to play IWD2 without authentic damned forest experience.
     
    ^ Top  
  24. Quantomasgender: ⚧ Educated

    Quantomas
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2017
    Parrots:
    133
    Budgetarianism and Excusionism.

    Only the fans who buy this are more dumb.
     
    ^ Top  
  25. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ I post news Patron

    Infinitron
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Parrots:
    65,660
    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Actually an interesting thing about Icewind Dale 2 is that it turned out to be surprisingly easy for Black Isle to convert the IE to 3rd Edition. They had Feargus himself sit down and script all the spells.
     
    • Informative Informative x 4
    ^ Top  

(buying stuff via the above buttons helps us pay the hosting bills, thanks!)