Friday, May 19, 2017

Planescape Scramble: The Hidden Easter Eggs of Sigil

PST:EE references the works of Franz Kafka, William Shakespeare, Li Shangyin, and more.
Planescape: Torment is a special game that goes deeper than meets the eye. One should not only look for doors to other planes, hidden dialogue lines, and secret spells that can only be taught by NPCs, but also references to the real world. Let’s have a look at a few of the easy-to-miss Easter eggs players can stumble across as the Nameless One.

Warning, Planes dwellers! These barrels are radioactive!
During your travels in Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition you may discover barrels with radioactive warning stickers on them. The images above show a couple of those barrels in the Wrecked Home and the Tenement of Thugs. These are a nod to Fallout, a game many of the original Planescape: Torment team members worked on.

There’s another Fallout Easter egg in PST:EE that wasteland wandering fans may notice - picking up or dropping the Pet Lim-Lim in the inventory screen is the same sound as in Fallout's inventory screen.

The Lord of Murder shall perish…
This one should stand out to all Baldur’s Gate players. A symbol of Bhaal marks one of the gravestones from the Coffin Maker’s Shop in the Lower Ward of Sigil.

Zombie #1041 in the Mortuary recites a poem by Li Shangyin.
Li Shangyin was a Chinese poet of the late Tang Dynasty, "rediscovered" in the 20th century and famous for his tantalizing "no title" poems. If the Nameless One talks to Zombie #1041 on the ground floor of the Mortuary and uses the Stories-Bones-Tell skill, we’re treated to part of a Li Shangyin’s poem which can be translated as:

It is difficult to meet as it is difficult to part,
The north wind has weakened; hundreds of flowers fade way,
When the Spring worms die, the silk shall never come again,
When the candle wax becomes ash, tears shall stop.

According to David Maldonado, a member of the original Planescape: Torment team, this “translation was a little soddy”. This is what David said once: “Apologies; the game deserved better. Still, it's not as bad as our "Slating" flub. Whoops! I still can't explain/understand that how that managed to happen - much like the Nameless One's true name, it's a Big Fancy Mystery".

This item in Planescape: Torment removes the basic human need for food and drink.
A Theory of Human Motivation by Abraham Maslow was released in 1943. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid with physiological needs as the largest, most fundamental needs at the bottom and the need for self-actualization and self-transcendence at the top.

A “conqueror on a distant prime material world” is Alexander the Great. Earth is D&D. It’s Planescape canon!
The Gordian Knot, a legend associated with Alexander the Great, is often used as a metaphor for an intractable problem solved easily by "thinking outside the box".

The Sensory Stone reflects upon the experience of a insect which has awoken as a human once.
The story told by the Sensory Stone is a reversal of the plot in Franz Kafka's "Metamorphosis". This novella, often called one of the seminal works of fiction of the 20th century, centers on a story of a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, waking to find himself transformed (metamorphosed) into a large, monstrous insect-like creature.

Inspiration for Annah-of-the-Shadows and Fall-From-Grace?
The original team on Planescape: Torment liked many books, comics, and games. According to Chris Avellone, Annah and Fall-From-Grace were inspired by Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge from Archie comics. In the comics Veronica enjoys a very posh lifestyle but chooses to hang out with her less affluent friends. Her best friend (and sometimes arch-rival) is Betty Cooper, and the two enjoy countless activities and interests. However, they are also at constant competition for the love interest.

It’s also interesting that Annah is derived from the Hebrew name Hannah, which in turn means "Grace." Since the Nameless One can meet Fall-From-Grace during his travels, the party can include two female members literally named "Grace" and "Fall-From-Grace”.

There is no sadder story on the Planes… than that of Montague and Juliette.
There are at least two references to works by William Shakespeare in Planescape: Torment. If Dak'kon dies, Morte will utter the words: "Alas, poor Dak'kon, I knew him well”. It’s a nod to the Act V of "Hamlet" (and funnily enough, the same statement could apply to Morte himself, considering Hamlet speaks his famous words looking at the the jester Yorick's skull).

The second reference is an alternative version of Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet". Juliette is one of the many students of Fall-from-Grace working in the Brothel for Slaking Intellectual Lusts and the Nameless One can help in her relationship with Montague.

There are many more secrets and Easter eggs in Planescape: Torment. Which have you found? Let us know in the comments!

New to the planes? Find out more about Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition at

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Beamdog Client Update: Physical Enhanced Edition Support

Exciting news! Patch 3.1 for Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition is coming soon! To prepare, the Beamdog team has just updated the Beamdog Client with a few new, exciting features. Watch out for a patch beta available announcement on Facebook, Twitter, and the Beamdog forums!

The Beamdog Client now includes a much-requested feature for owners of the physical editions of Beamdog titles. If you own a copy of Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition, or Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition on disk, you can now get the latest updates using the Beamdog Client!

With the latest update, owners of the physical Enhanced Edition disks can now use this new feature to add games to their Beamdog account. To do so, log onto the Beamdog Client and use the new “Redeem Physical Copy” button on the game page to get started. Once done, games added to your Beamdog account in this way can be downloaded and updated through the Beamdog Client on any supported platform.

Redeem your copy in three easy steps!
Please note, the Beamdog Client does not support Windows XP. Users of that operating system will have update their OS to add physical products to their account.

To celebrate this new feature, we’re giving away a few copies to some lucky fans! Check out the Beamdog Twitter, Facebook, and forum for details on how to win!

Read the full list of the Beamdog Client patch notes below:

  • Added the ability to redeem physical copies of games through the Client
  • Provided the ability to set a download speed limit
  • Included an option to retry signing in while in offline mode
  • Accounts now auto login to Beamdog game and soundtrack store pages when opening them through the Client
  • Minor bug fixes

Friday, May 5, 2017

Developing Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition - Found Artifacts and Oddities

The original Planescape: Torment is filled with hidden gems.
During the development of Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition the Beamdog team dug deeply into the code of original Planescape: Torment and uncovered a treasure trove of secrets hidden within. Here are a few of the oddities we stumbled across while working with the original Planescape: Torment source code.

Not your ordinary test NPC.
Meet the infamous test character, Testocles. Like many cRPGs of its time Planescape: Torment was filled with text, however the conversation  mechanics of PST take speech option outcomes to the next level. In Planescape: Torment, the Nameless One can not only gain XP during conversation, but also be granted extra stat points, new abilities, or have his class change between fighter, thief, and mage.

Updated journal to “check shops with Robert Holloway."
Testocles’ dialog text tree is full of choices ranging from the aforementioned ability to make the Nameless One change class to a simple demand that the test character fidget. Here, Testocles fields a demand to view merchant stores for Robert Holloway, a programmer on the original game.

All hail Holloway! Merchant king!

These stakes are real! A successful test cancels plans for world destruction.
A secret message uncovered 18 years later.
As you can see in the above image, Technical Designer and Voice-over Coordinator on the original Planescape: Torment, David Hendee, left his mark on Curst’s Automap Screen. In the original Planescape: Torment this message was hidden and we found it only by adding the zoomed out map and uncovering the walkable path for the area. Learn about this discovery in the Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition launch livestream.

Run away from me, if you can. Like you’re scared. “RunAwayFrom ((PC), 2000)"
If we didn’t eat cheesy poofs, we’d be lame!
A sign of the times. The C language programmers on Planescape: Torment encrypted the data type void as a reference to the brand new hit show, South Park.

Japanese popular culture not only influenced Planescape: Torment, but also some of the test dialog.
Here, we’re introduced to Dak’kon in a test dialogue with some Hive thugs. According to the original team (watch our livestream with Chris Avellone!), the Planescape: Torment developers played a lot of Final Fantasy VII which may have influenced many of the higher level spells and the preference of each of the Nameless One’s companions to favor a single type of weapon based on their personality.

The original team had some fun with test text.
During our journey back in time, we found this bit of early UI and discovered the two most popular spells in development.
Creating Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition has been an unforgettable experience for the whole Beamdog team. Watch out for more on the making of PST:EE in the weeks ahead!

New to the planes? Find out more about Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition at