Neverwinter Nights 2 Tweak Guide
Author: Koroush Ghazi
Last Modified: August 2009
Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) has a very special place in my heart. Many years ago, back in the 1980's when I was a teenager, I played pen-and-paper D&D. I recall very clearly the three very large rulebooks I had to almost totally memorise: The Dungeon Master's Guide, The Player's Handbook, and The Monster Manual. D&D players really didn't have much choice; the game involved a very complex series of rules covering virtually any circumstance, and a D&D gaming session was often as much about debating or scrambling through pages of a manual to clarify a particular rule as it was about role playing.
Fortunately that same complex web of rules and dice rolls which made the original D&D a bit of a chore, also made it perfect for translation into the basis for computer role playing. Once the computer takes over the role of checking and implementing all the rules, the player can actually focus on the gameplay instead of dice rolls and rule checks every 2 steps. As early as 1988 the Pools of Radiance D&D computer game proved that D&D was perfect for computer gaming. Almost twenty years later, the D&D system is still thriving as the inspiration for Neverwinter Nights 2, the sequel to the very popular Neverwinter Nights.
This year has seen several new fantasy role playing games released, including Gothic 3, Dark Messiah of Might & Magic and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Although comparisons with these other fantasy RPG games is inevitable, Neverwinter Nights 2 is fairly unique. It combines both the classic elements of a D&D RPG adventure with a richer, more atmospheric 3D game world not seen in the traditionally 2D D&D computer games of old. While it's not a first person RPG, nor a genuine real-time strategy game, it allows you to customize it to suit your particular preference. You can change camera views from the more traditional RTS-like 'Top Down' to the more FPS-like 'Drive Cam'. You can have a party of characters, but you only control a single character at any one time, as in an FPS game. However you can micro-manage the party or allow the other characters to act as they see fit. There's some world freedom, but the storyline is essentially linear.
All of these features make NWN2 unique, but also potentially problematic. Neverwinter Nights fans complain of issues with the interface, bugs in the AI, and importantly a real problem with getting the game to run smoothly on their systems due to its 3D graphics and engine issues. Given my fondness for D&D, and after a fair bit of research and testing, I've compiled this guide to help NWN2 players hopefully achieve better results with the game. The guide runs through clear descriptions and comparative screenshots of all in-game settings, including the new ones added as of the latest patch, as well as all the .ini file settings which allow further customization and optimization, and of course the console commands and a few neat tips to wrap things up. I genuinely believe NWN2 players will benefit from this guide, so give it a read-through to see if it can help you.
Note: This guide refers to the latest version of Neverwinter Nights 2 Version 1.23. Make sure to refer back to this guide often for updates.