Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What A Character! Contest

The world of Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale comes alive because of its beautiful areas, its rich history, its religious and political orders, and its ferocious monsters. Those components form a backdrop from which the really memorable aspect of the game can shine: the characters.

Everyone has a favorite lineup of joinable companions. Perhaps you're the canon party type, adventuring with Minsc and Dynaheir, Khalid and Jaheira, and Imoen. Maybe you prefer an evil party and recruit Korgan Bloodaxe, Viconia, and Edwin to back you up. You could be partial to the enhanced edition characters, Neera, Rasaad, Dorn, and Hexxat, and collect them for your journey.

The villains too are memorable. Who could forget the terror of [spoiler redacted], and of course the shocking reveal of [spoiler redacted]? (Hey, just because the games are over a decade old doesn't mean everyone has played them.)

Who could this spiky figure be? It's a mystery!

But there are more characters in the world than just the companions. Many players have a favorite character in the game, be it the annoying Noober in Nashkel, or the goblin Weenog in Orrick's tower, or the wild mage Zaviak who's, like, totally radical, man.

For this week's contest, we want to know: Who is your favorite non-companion* character in any of the enhanced edition games? As with our favorite area contest, we'll publish the results of our poll when we announce the winners. We probably won't have a pie chart because the likelihood of even two entries having the same answer is pretty low. But we can list off the entries for your amusement and edification.

Email us at with the subject line “Character Contest.” Include your favorite non-companion character in the text of your email. The contest begins today, May 26, and ends at midnight on June 2, 2015. We'll post the list of responses and congratulate the winners in a blog post once the contest ends. If you've won a prize from us in the last six months you're not eligible to win one in this draw.

As for prizes, well, we couldn't think of anything better to offer than the history of one of the most popular characters to ever come out of the Forgotten Realms. The randomly drawn winner will receive a copy of The Legend of Drizzt 25th Anniversary Edition, Book I. This tome contains the first three novels detailing the life of Drizzt Do'Urden by R.A. Salvatore. Two runners-up will receive a Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition t-shirt.

Good luck!

*If you enter with a companion name, we won't disqualify you but we won't publish the answer in our results either. There are plenty of polls and discussions about the best companions on our forums, and we're interested in seeing what other characters stick in your mind.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Baldur's Gate Wallpaper

Last month we offered three free wallpaper designs for Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition. We got such a great positive response from the fans that we decided to offer another freebie this month. Behold! Art for everyone!

Below you'll find brand new desktop wallpaper for Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition. These stunning designs capture the excitement of adventuring along the Sword Coast and depict the terrifying antagonist you face on your journey. The wallpapers are available in both fullscreen (1024 x 768 and 2048 x 1536) and widescreen (1280 x 720, 1280 x 720, and 1920 x 1200) formats.

Next week we'll launch another contest and offer more great prizes to be won. In the meantime, you can talk about the wallpaper in the comments, on our forums, or tweet us at Beamdoginc.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

How To: Watch Us Live

Last year we dipped our toes into the loud and brightly colored waters of Twitch streaming. We streamed a charity event, in which we played Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition for eight hours and raised over a thousand dollars for the Edmonton Stollery Children's Hospital. We also streamed our Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition 1.3 update. Now we're starting to stream our office Dungeons & Dragons game that runs on Fridays.

That means you can tune in on Friday afternoons and watch us get paid to have fun!

What is Twitch exactly? It's an online site where you can watch people play games live. Most of the channels show video games, but there are a handful of live roleplaying game channels as well. Twitch also broadcasts gaming events, like tournaments, and awards shows. Anything live and gaming-related you'll likely find on Twitch.

Watching a live stream is easy. Plug your headphones or speakers in, find the channel you want on the Twitch website , and start watching. You can follow the Beamdog stream  (the Streamdog!) by clicking the “Follow” heart icon on the right-hand side of the page. Then you'll get an email whenever we go live.

When you watch a live stream, you'll also gain access to a chat window where you can talk to other people watching the stream. It's a great place to chat about Beamdog, the games we make, or the ridiculous situations we've somehow created in our D&D game. The Twitch help page can answer any questions you have.

So Much to Watch

Once you start watching Twitch, you might find it difficult to stop. There are so many great channels with tons of different games streaming all the time.

One of our favorite channels is the official Dungeons & Dragons channel run by Wizards of the Coast. You can watch the Wizards team play D&D live at their offices, including the new Princes of the Apocalypse campaign. 

Fan TinyTurtle has also done a comprehensive series on Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition, with the archives available on YouTube.

If you know of any other great streams, post a link in the comments or share with us on Twitter or on our forums. And tune in May 22nd, at 3 pm mountain time, to watch us live on the Streamdog*!

*I've just been informed that if I try to make a cute pun out of “Beamdog” one more time there will be dire repercussions. It's a miracle I got “Beamblog” to catch on. Streamdog may be the last one I can get past the bosses, so it had better catch on.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Contest Winners Announced

The results of the Happy Faerûn Day contest are in! Over 35 people entered the contest, each one telling us their favorite area in any of the Enhanced Edition games. Some went above and beyond the contest rules, writing paragraphs or even short essays on their favorite area and why it stayed with them. It was so much fun to read all the comments about our players' favorite areas. We're glad we can help keep them alive for you.

Congratulations to Gerelos, winner of the hardcover copy of Ed Greenwood Presents Elminster's Forgotten Realms! His favorite area, Kuldahar, was the most popular answer we received. Our runners up, MorphGroups (De'Arnise Keep) and Procco (Spellhold exterior) will receive Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition t-shirts.

Favorite Area Breakdown

You might be curious about the breakdown of replies we received. We were curious too—curious enough to make a pie chart!

That business degree is really paying off.

The most popular area among our contest entrants was Kuldahar, with 5 votes out of 39 replies. Beregost and Durlag's Tower tied for second place with 4 votes each.

Town and city locations made up 44% of replies. Dungeon areas made up 26% of replies and wilderness areas the other 30%. Some of the replies we got were:

Adoy's Enclave; Aquarium of Alkonos; Athkatla (Graveyard and Bridge districts); Baldur's Gate (of course); Candlekeep (including dungeon); Coast Way; Cloud Peaks; Dragon's Eye; Easthaven (top floor of the Temple of Tempus); Fire Leaf Forest; Lion's Way; Planar Sphere; Severed Hand; Underdark; Vale of Shadows; Valley of the Tombs; Wild Mage Refuge; and Wyvern Cave.

As you can see, a great deal of variety and a lot of love. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Kuldahar, we think you're swell.

Twitch Recap
Last Friday we successfully broadcast a live stream of our office D&D game. The party had to choose between assisting a priestess of Talona in stopping a plot to poison the Dragonmere and traveling with a priest of Ilmater to cure everyone plagued by the disease spreading over Cormyr. Having developed a working relationship with the priestess and not convinced the priest's plan would work, the heroes chose the former. Look for a recap on our forums.

We think we have this live stream technology business nailed, and so we plan to stream our game most Fridays at 2 pm (mountain time) from now on. The forum thread will contain alerts for upcoming streams, and we'll tweet and post when we have upcoming streams as well. Tune in on our Twitch channel to watch the hilarious hijinks and monster-smiting ensue! And of course check back on the Beamblog weekly for game updates and other news from Beamdog.