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The options menu of the Neverwinter Nights client provides access to various settings affecting how the game works as well as the ability to load, save, or exit a game. It is accessible from the client's main menu via the "Options" selection, and also while playing the game via either the options box (under the character portrait) or the key assigned to it (the 'o' key—oh, not zero—by default) or the <Esc> key. In addition to its nominal duties, this menu displays the version of the game on the right side of the title bar (v1.59.8109 depicted below). The number after the last decimal point is the build version, while those before it are the version of the game's patch.
In single-player, the game is paused while the options menu is open.
Loading and saving Edit
When the options menu is invoked while playing the game, it begins with a row of three buttons for loading and saving. (When invoked from the main menu, these buttons are not shown since there is nothing to save and the main menu has an option for loading a game.)
- The "Load" button brings up the list of saved games. Selecting one of these will load the saved game, restoring the saved position in a module. As only one game can be active at a time, this will abort the game already in progress (and the game will provide a warning to this effect after selecting the save). This option is only available in single-player and to the host during multiplayer games.
- The "Save" button brings up a list of "slots" into which the game can be saved, storing progress through the current module. This list of slots consists of all existing saved games plus an entry called "EmptySlot". Selecting an existing save will overwrite that save, while the "EmptySlot" option will create a new slot for this save (not overwriting anything). After selecting the slot, the player is prompted to name the slot, for a more natural reference when loading the save. This option is only available in single-player and to the host during multiplayer games.
- Save character
- The "Save Character" button saves a copy of the player's character to their local vault. This saved character then becomes available as a "pre-made character" when starting a new game. This option is often not necessary in single-player, as most modules (including the official campaigns and all premium modules except Pirates of the Sword Coast) will automatically save the character when the adventure is over. In multiplayer, this option can be used (by anyone, not just the host) to get a local copy of a server vault character.
Game options Edit
The game options window provides several options that affect the overall gameplay experience.
- Difficulty slider
- This slider allows the difficulty setting to be changed. Underneath the slider is a description of many of the consequences of the current setting. Both slider and description are hidden for everyone but the host in a multiplayer game. (Although Dungeon Masters do have access to this slider, that access is not through the options menu when they are not hosting.)
- Hide second story tiles
- This choice of three settings affects the display of tilesets that were designed with "fading" enabled. The result of hiding second story tiles is that many features of the landscape (the tiles) will be visually chopped off at a certain height (nominally about 10 feet, but the exact cutoff is defined by the tile). The intent of chopping these features is to prevent them from blocking the view of the player. The choices are to never hide second story tiles, to hide just those the game thinks might be in the way ("auto"), or to always hide them.
- Violence level
- This slider affects how much gore is seen when violence occurs in the game. The choices are "low" (no blood shown and some portraits substituted with less violent versions), "full" (blood splatters when a creature is killed), and "special" (more blood and sometimes bodies explode). The "special" option is disabled in some countries to comply with local laws. This setting is not perfect, as modules and custom content can provide bloody scenes and portraits not controlled by this setting, but it does cover the core content and official campaigns fairly well.
- Set violence password
- This button brings up a window where the violence password can be set, changed, or cleared (with the standard three fields of entering the old password, entering the new password, and repeating the new password). Once the violence password is set and the game options closed, then an attempt to change the violence level will cause the user to be prompted for the password. Correctly entering the password will allow the violence level to be freely changed until the game options window is closed. Not entering the password (there is no second chance) will lock the violence level until the game options window is closed.
- Feedback options
- The feedback options window controls some aspects of how the game communicates with the player.
- Show mouse-over feedback
- Checking this option causes the names of creatures, items on the ground, and placeables to be displayed when the mouse is over them. For creatures, the general health state ("uninjured", "near death", etc.) is also displayed. This setting also controls whether or not creature names and general health are displayed when the "tool tip" key–<Tab> by default–is pressed. (Setting the text bubble mode to "off" overrides this setting.)
- Text bubble mode
- This choice of three settings controls what is displayed when mouse-over feedback is provided and when a creature speaks (if the dialog panel is not displayed for that speech). The choices are "none" to not display these things (on the main screen; dialog is still shown in the chat window), "text only" to display (just) the text over the creature or object, and "full" to show the text next to the creature's (or object's) portrait, both enclosed in a shaded text bubble over the creature or object.
- Targeting feedback
- This choice of three settings controls when the target of the player's current action is indicated with a visual effect on the ground. This can be shown never, only when the game is paused, or always. Examples of the visual effects used are a blue circle around the feet of a creature being talked to and small red arrows pointing at an attack target's feet from four sides.
- Enable floaty text feedback
- If selected, various activities in the game, such as sneak attacks, will be identified with text that floats over the head of the creature that is performing the activity. This can help players keep track of details that might otherwise be lost in the combat log, but for some players it might be distracting.
- Tool tip delay
- This slider allows setting a value from 0.1 to 2.7 seconds. This value is the time the mouse has to hover over an item (in an inventory, including stores) before the name of the item is displayed near the mouse cursor.
Video options Edit
The video options window provides several settings to fine tune the game's appearance and provide an optimal balance of performance versus features.
- Set resolution
- This allows the player to select the video resolution (number of pixels across and down) at which the game will run. The available choices are dictated by the player's monitor, video card, and video driver. (Neverwinter Nights itself supports arbitrary resolutions, but subject to a minimum of 800x600.) The larger the resolution, the more of the game's world can be seen, and the smaller the interface elements will appear. When the horizontal resolution is at least 1280 (e.g. a resolution of 1280x760), three display panels (character sheet, inventory, journal, etc.) can be open at once.
- Overall graphics quality
- This slider allows the player to select from a few preset configurations that provide different levels of balance between speed and graphics quality. That is, moving this slider causes (most of) the other video settings to be changed, rather than directly affecting any display element. This allows players to quickly change the balance between performance and quality, utilizing collections of settings that cover most computers (or at least that covered most computers available when the game was released). The possible settings are "fast", "low", "good", and "best".
- Texture quality
- This slider affects the size of textures used. Smaller textures require less memory and are less demanding on a video card, while larger textures provide finer details on the surface of objects seen in the game. The options are "compatibility mode", "16 meg", "32 meg" and "64 meg or higher", with most current computers having no problems at the highest setting.
Unlike most settings, the selection made by this slider is not immediately reflected in the game. The "Apply" button next to the slider (or the "OK" button for the window) needs to be clicked in order to see the results of this setting. Clicking the "Apply" button commits (just) the change to the texture quality; it is not undone by later clicking "Cancel".
- The apply button applies the texture quality setting (but no other settings). This cannot be canceled (but the texture quality can be set back to the previous setting).
- Enable sky boxes
- Selecting this option allows the game to display an image of the sky above the landscape, if the area in question was given a sky box by its creator. The alternative is for the sky to be represented by a solid color matching the fog color.
- Enable environment shadows
- This on/off setting controls whether or not shadows are generated by landscape features (tiles).
- Creature shadow detail
- This slider has three settings, which determine how detailed shadows are. At the lowest setting, shadows are simply dark circles under creatures. In the middle setting, shadows acquire the outline of the creature they belong to. At the highest setting, placeables have shadows.
- Gamma slider
- This slider controls how bright the screen is, allowing players to compensate for differences in video cards and monitors. Sliding this to the left makes the screen darker, while sliding it to the right makes the display more luminant.
- Advanced video options
- The advanced video options are grouped into a separate window, opened with the "advanced video options" button in the main video options window. These allow fine-tuning some of the less commonly accessed video features in the cases where the overall graphics quality slider is insufficient.
- Grass slider
- This controls how (and if) stalks of grass are rendered, in addition to the grassy color of the ground. There are three settings—"grass off", "fast grass", and "full grass".
- Creature wind slider
- This controls how creatures displace grass (primarily) and other "flexible" surfaces. When this is on, a weak breeze is generated around creatures, causing grass, etc. to bend out of the creature's way. (For small creatures, this breeze can be enough to distort loose clothing into awkward-looking positions.) The three choices are no creature wind, wind for only player characters, or wind for all creatures.
- Number of dynamic lights
- This six-position slider controls how many light sources the game will account for when illuminating the game world.
- Shadow casting lights
- This three-position slider controls how many light sources the game will account for when generating shadows.
- Antialiasing slider
- This five-position slider controls how much effort the game puts into smoothing jagged, pixelated edges. More effort tends to produce nicer images, but the overhead can cause jerky motion with some hardware/driver combinations. The options are (from least to most effort) "off", "normal 2 sample", "quincunx", "4 sample", and "nice 4 sample".
- Enable texture animations
- Enabling this option allows the game to animate some surfaces (water, lava, etc.) rather than using a static image on them.
- Environment mapping on creatures
- Enabling this setting allows the color of reflective surfaces (e.g. metal) to be affected by the color of the surroundings; the colors from the environment get mapped to the reflective surface. This is a more realistic rendering of metallic armor, but takes more computing power.
This option also affects transparency in some cases, as there is significant overlap between the coding that makes something reflective and the coding that makes something transparent. When objects are incorrectly made transparent, toggling this option sometimes corrects it.
- Visual effects high enabled
- Enable shiny water
- This option gives water a glittery appearance, as if light was glinting off the crests of each wave.
This option has historically caused problems, with symptoms depending on the video card being used. (Cards from NVIDIA have at times produced highly corrupted images when this setting is enabled, while cards from ATI tend to crash Neverwinter Nights when loading certain saved games if this option is enabled at the time of loading.)
- Enable VSync
- This option allows the game to try to force the vertical synchronization of the display, which can compensate for tearing and some vertical scrolling of images. Unlike the other advanced video options, this is not an option intended to make images look more realistic or impressive, but it is intended to fix specific problems that can arise. For those not experiencing these (fairly uncommon) problems, enabling this option does nothing but add processing overhead.
- Use high resolution font
- Selecting this option causes the game to use a larger font in the game screens (not in the menus, aside from the label for this particular check box). The default font was designed for legibility at a display resolution of 800x600, but the game has no upper bound on the resolution. Recognizing that letters get smaller and harder to distinguish at higher resolutions, BioWare included this option to switch to a secondary font. This larger font also gets smaller as resolution increases, but since it starts larger, it maintains legibility longer. (The font can be replaced by even larger fonts if desired, using custom content.) The downside of the larger font is that the game does not allocate more horizontal space for text, so text gets spread over more lines.
The use of "high resolution" in this option's name is descriptive, not limiting. The larger font can be enabled at any resolution, even the minimum 800x600.
Sound options Edit
The sound options window provides several options to fine tune the game's production of sounds, and in some cases improve performance. Some of these options may be disabled if the selected sound provider (in the advanced options) or the computer's hardware does not support that particular setting.
- Sound effects volume
- Sets the volume at which sound effects (including spell casting chants and background voices) play, expressed as a percentage of the maximum volume and using increments of 5%.
- Voices volume
- Sets the volume at which voice overs and emotes play, expressed as a percentage of the maximum volume and using increments of 5%.
- Music volume
- Sets the volume at which background music plays, expressed as a percentage of the maximum volume and using increments of 5%.
- Enable EAX
- Selecting this option will enable "environmental audio extensions", which causes sounds to be modified by the environment, such as having sounds echo off cave walls.
- Enable hardware sound
- Selecting this option will cause the game to shift audio processing from the CPU to the sound card.
- Speaker configuration
- These radio buttons specify how many speakers are to be used. The options are 2 (stereo), 4 (quadraphonic), 5.1 (five plus subwoofer), 7.1 (seven plus subwoofer), surround sound, and headphones.
- Advanced sound options
- The advanced sound options are grouped into a separate window, opened with the "advanced sound options" button in the main sound options window. These allow adjusting some parameters related to overall sound generation.
- Sound provider
- This is a list of software libraries that the game can use to process audio data. Different libraries support different hardware functionality and software features. (The most notable sound provider may be "Miles Fast 2D Positional Audio". While this provider supports very few features, it has a history of being compatible with most hardware configurations.) Selecting a new sound provider will set the 2D/3D slider to the default position for that provider.
- 2D/3D bias
- This slider adjusts the relative volumes of regional (2D) and positioned (3D) sounds. Symptoms of a bad slider position include voices being extremely faint even when the voice volume slider is set to the maximum.
- This button allows the user to test the 2D/3D bias setting. When this button is pressed, the game plays a short sound twice—first as a 2D sound, then as a 3D sound. The ideal position for the 2D/3D slider is wherever these two test sounds are produced at the same volume. (If the first sound louder, move the slider to the right. If the second is louder, move the slider to the left.)
- EAX level
- This slider controls the degree to which the environmental audio extensions affect sounds. Its positions range from 0 to 100, going in increments of 10.
The controls window provides customizations for how action within the game is controlled, including input and camera reactions.
- Change key settings
- Sets the keys associated with various keyboard instructions. This brings up a new window, divided into four sections.
- Move/Cam covers movement and and camera angle.
- Game covers the radial menu, resting, quickchat, the various in-game panels (journal, character sheet, etc.), and the key for calling up the options menu.
- Misc. covers some miscellaneous controls that did not fit in other categories: toggling on and off the game user interface (GUI—comprising basically what is seen by the player but not by the character), quicksaving, making (capturing) an image from the screen, pausing, and highlighting usable objects (the "tool tip", set to <Tab> by default).
- DM covers the special commands only available to Dungeon Masters (and to players who have turned on debug mode with a console command).
- Restore defaults
- This button will restore the key settings to what they are for a newly-installed game.
- Camera mode
- These radio buttons determine how the camera (player's viewpoint) reacts when the player's character moves. In each mode, the camera stays firmly centered on the character's position, but the direction the camera faces varies with the current mode. (The camera's facing can also be changed with the keyboard; the reaction to movement occurs the instant a movement command is issued and can be overridden before the reaction is complete.)
- Chase cam
- When the character moves, the camera "chases" it, slowly rotating until it is facing the same direction as the character. The default position for this mode is mostly zoomed-out, with a 3/4 perspective.
- Top down
- The direction of the camera does not react to movement, staying in a fixed perspective until the player changes it via the keyboard. The default position for this mode is slightly less zoomed-out than "chase", with a 3/4 perspective.
- Driving camera mode
- When the character moves, the camera quickly rotates to face the same direction as the character. The default position for this mode is mostly zoomed-in, and a bit more horizontal than a 3/4 perspective.
- BioWare designed the "chase" and "top-down" modes for controlling movement with the mouse, and the "driving" mode for keyboard movement, but both mouse and keyboard navigation can be used with any camera mode.
- Enable dialog zoom
- When this option is enabled, the camera zooms to a preset perspective while engaged in dialog (with a non-player character), bringing the focus of the player to the dialog. The perspective used is approximately the default zoom and angle for "driving" mode, facing a bit to the character's left (so that the non-player character can be more easily seen). Once the dialog window is closed, the previous camera position (not necessarily the default for the current camera mode) will be restored.
- Enable screen edge camera turning
- When this option is enabled, moving the mouse to the left or right edge of the screen will cause the camera's facing to rotate in that direction.
- Mouse wheel sensibility
- Determines the speed of zooming in or out, when using the mouse wheel to control that zoom. This slider has nine positions, with greater sensitivity (faster zooms) to the right.
- Camera turn speed
- Determines the speed that the camera rotates when manually turning it with left or right with either the the keyboard or the mouse. This slider has nine positions, with faster rotation to the right.
The remaining buttons on the options menu provide ways to leave the menu. Which buttons appear depend on whether the menu was invoked from the main menu or from within a game.
When invoked from within a game, the following buttons are displayed.
- Exit to main menu
- Returns Neverwinter Nights to its main menu, losing the current game in progress (after the most recent save). The player is asked to confirm this selection (with the prompt "Quit Neverwinter Nights?").
- Resume game
- Closes the options menu and returns the player to the game. Pressing the <Esc> key is a shortcut for this button.
When invoked from the main menu, the following button is displayed.
- Closes the options menu and returns to the main menu.