The Community Patch Project is an effort by ShaDoOoW to supply the Neverwinter Nights community with updates and changes to the game's functionality now that BioWare has officially ended support. The project acts like a patch in that it modifies the core game data files (thanks to ElgarL BIFManager), rather than relying on overrides or hak paks. However, unlike a patch it does not affect connectivity in multiplayer — players with this project installed can connect to servers without it, and vice versa.
The current version (as of November, 2011) is 1.70 beta 6, available in English, Polish, German, Czech and Russian.
This project is (at least) the third endeavor to consider providing an unofficial patch after BioWare's final official patch. The first was a proposal by DLA made in June 2006. At the time, their premium module Wyvern Crown of Cormyr had been canceled, which prevented BioWare from releasing most of the custom content from it. So DLA suggested that they could release that content themselves, using the same .bif/.key format (core game data files) as a patch would. However, BioWare recommended against the .bif/.key format for community projects so DLA abandoned that approach. (They probably would have still released that content in hak pak form, but at the last minute their module was uncanceled, which allowed BioWare to release the custom content in the final patch.)
The second endeavor to provide an unofficial final patch was Project Q, informally called "Patch 1.70" during the testing of patch 1.69, and formally announced in September 2008. The Project Q endeavor, however, focused on graphics rather than functionality, and it was always intended to be in hak pak form rather than .bif/.key form (possibly because a number of DLA members were involved with Project Q, and DLA had earlier decided to follow BioWare's recommendation on this point). It was disappointment with Project Q's goals that led ShaDoOoW to begin to gather various fixes and other modifications to functionality from the Neverwinter Vault and BioWare forums, in expectation of someone else deciding to organize another "Patch 1.70" project, but one that would focus on functionality rather than art resources. After two years, nobody had stepped forward, so ShaDoOoW at that point decided to found this project.
The most important objective of the Community Patch Project is backwards compatibility, so that using it does not break any existing content. This is important for this project since, unlike other community projects, the Community Patch Project is intended to be used at all times, rather than just when a module calls for it. (While the project will not be compatible with any future projects using the same method of delivery — the concern BioWare had when they recommended against the community modifying .bif's — the Community Patch Project is the first to use this method, so this does not impact backwards compatibility.) The cornerstone of this backwards compatibility is the priority system the game uses for resources; the Community Patch Project files will have priority over BioWare's files, but still be a lower priority than custom content that comes in the traditional forms of hak paks or overrides. This means that in the case of a conflict between the patch and other custom content, the other content will suppress the patch, retaining the functionality of that content.
The secondary major objective is that nothing in the patch should require clients to have the project installed when connecting to a multiplayer server with it, nor prevent clients with the project installed from connecting to a server without it. In either of these scenarios, there are to be no crashes, missing textures, invisible monsters, or missing text. This is important since the project does not use hak paks or a custom .tlk file, which means there is no way for the game to detect if this patch is installed. Thus, installing this project will not restrict multiplayer connectivity.
Finally, the core objective is to provide unique content that no other project has brought so far (excluding projects that do not provide as much content as the Community Patch Project) and that fixes and improves pre-existing resources.
The Community Patch Project comes (since version beta 6) as an installer with multiple language choices, which extracts its files into the NWN directory. The extraction will attempt to replace the files
xp2patch.key. Some language versions might install also some files into override etc.
Players need not do anything else. Builders, however, will want to merge the changed .2da files into their hak paks and incorporate the changes to spell scripts into whatever spell scripts exist in their modules (in other words, the same sort of things that were required after any official patch from BioWare). This task is made easier by the tool "Auto 2DA Merger", which automatically applies the changes to .2da files introduced by the Community Patch Project, and which is included as an optional installation component. (If installed, it is placed in the "
1.70 builders resources" subdirectory, along with full 2DA and script sources.)
- General changes
- Client-side changes
- Module building changes
- Script changes:
- Talk table changes