FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions.

If you have anything to add that's not here, please email me.

Sample some Wizardry 8 Music here.

All news of patches will be available at the beginning of the FAQ!

Patch 001 ∑ - With the fix, Ascension Peak now loads just fine. No need to restart or anything. We suggest that everyone download this file, it may save you some grief later on.

∑ Instructions: ∑ The file is zipped. Use WinZip or similar, and extract it to the ROOT of your Wizardry 8 install directory. It creates its own subfolder called Patches, and places the file within this folder (if, after unzipping, you don't have a Patches folder, make sure you have "Use Folder Names" selected when you unzip the file). If you are using something other than WizZip, make sure the file is placed within its subdirectory.

Patch 001 ∑ - With the fix, Ascension Peak now loads just fine. No need to restart or anything. We suggest that everyone download this file, it may save you some grief later on.

∑ Instructions: ∑ The file is zipped. Use WinZip or similar, and extract it to the ROOT of your Wizardry 8 install directory. It creates its own subfolder called Patches, and places the file within this folder (if, after unzipping, you don't have a Patches folder, make sure you have "Use Folder Names" selected when you unzip the file). If you are using something other than WizZip, make sure the file is placed within its subdirectory.

Patch 12_23 ∑ - IMPORTANT: If your disks are marked with version # 1.2.4 on the CD label, you do NOT need to apply this patch as your version already includes the updates found here. If there is no version number on your CD label, then you should download and install it. Just unzip this file in your Wizardry 8 directory with subfolders intact. Say Yes to whatever it wants to overwrite.

The Wizardry 8 FAQ

Wizardry 8 Release
Character Creations (Races/Class)
Wizardry 8 Monsters
3D & Movement
Importing Characters
Reasons to get Wizardry 8
How Come/How Do I? (General/No Spoilers)
Spoiler Center

Q: When will Wizardry 8 be released?
A: The North American release date for Wizardry 8 is November 15, 2001!

Q: Is there a demo available?
A: Yes. It can be downloaded from 3D Gamers at http://www.3dgamers.com and FilePlanet at http://www.fileplanet.com.

In the demo, players will be able to experiment with the complete flexibility between phased and continuous combat modes, character formations and Wizardry 8's unique magic system with unique targeting characteristics that make for a combat experience exceeding anything previously seen. Characters will be able to pick locks, disarm traps and experience a small glimpse at some of the initial puzzles. The Wizardry 8 demo features the first level of the actual Wizardry game. Players will start with a preset party since the level itself has been modified to be more advanced than the level in the full game.

Q: I've heard a rumor that . . .
A: And it's just that, a rumor.

Q: What are the system requirements for Wizardry 8?
A: System requirements are: Windows 95 OSR2, 98, or 2000; a 233 MHz processor or better; 64 MB of RAM, a 3D accelerator with 8 MB of texture memory, 4x CD drive; soundcard and mouse.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions.

Q: What is the story about?
A: Wizardry 8 is an epic fantasy RPG that picks up where Wizardry 7: Crusaders of the Dark Savant left off. You may recall that all hell had broken loose at the end of Wizardry 7. The Dark Savant had taken flight with a device called the Astral Dominae, an incredibly powerful artifact containing the secret of life itself. Following him are two powerful races, the T'Rang and the Umpani, as well as your own brave party of adventurers. Everyone is headed to Dominus, a world on the cusp of the Cosmic Circle, birthplace of the Astral Dominae and home of the Cosmic Lords. Many paths will converge on Dominus, and many long-hidden secrets will be revealed.

Q: Do I have to play Wizardry 7 before I play Wizardry 8?
A: No, not at all. In fact, there's a special beginning just for those who haven't played the previous game. Our goal is to create a game that you'll love even if you've never played Wizardry or a role-playing game before.

Q: Is the gameplay in Wizardry 8 linear?
A: No, quite the opposite. If you're smart enough and tough enough, you can go wherever you want. You can team up with some of the factions you'll meet - and then double-cross them, if it suits your fancy.

Q: How big is the world in Wizardry 8?
A: Big. There are over a dozen major areas (most with several sublevels), and a large wilderness.

Q: Can you travel in ships?
A: If you can afford it-or steal a boat . . . .

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions.

Q: Is Wizardry 8 a single-character game or a party-based game?
A: You will control a party of six characters in Wizardry 8. Up to two NPCs may join you at any given time, leading to a maximum party size of eight characters.

Q: Can I create characters from fantasy races, such as elves, dwarves, etc.?
A: Definitely. In fact, there are eleven different races to choose from for each of your characters: humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes, hobbits, faeries, lizardmen, dracons, rawulfs, felpurrs, and mooks.

Character creation table:
       Human Elf Dwarf Gnome Hobbit Faerie Lizardman Dracon  Felpurr Rawulf Mook
Fight    40  25   45    40    40     10      50       60       30     35     40
Lord     20  10   25    5     10     -15     20       25       0      20    -10
Valk     25  15   25    10    15     -10     20       25       5      25     -5
Ranger   25  10   0     30    30      0      -5       15       15     10     40
Samuri   20  10   -5    15    25     10      10       20       15     -5     15
Ninja    20  5   -15    15    30      5      -5       5        20      0     20
Monk     25  35  -15    20    20     35     -30      -15       25     10     0
Rogue    40  40   10    35    60     50      25       25       55     35     25
Gadget.  25  20   10    25    30     20     -15       5        25      5     30
Bard     35  30   0     35    40     25      -5       15       35     15     40
Priest   35  30   50    35    20     10      25       30       10     50     20
Alchem.  35  45   10    45    40     50      10       30       35     15     30
Bishop   20  30  -10    25    15     25     -40      -15       10     15     5
Psionic  35  35   10    40    35     45      0        10       35     25     50
Mage     35  45   10    45    40     50      10       30       35     15     30

Dracons ∑ A mixture of blood between the human and the dragon created this wondrous race with incredibly unique abilities. While remaining private, the dracon occasionally ventures out and will accompany another group for reasons of its own. It is strong, dexterous, and hearty, and can make a great ranger, thief, or fighter. The dracon also has a limited ability to breathe acid upon its opponents!

Dwarves ∑ Coming from a long line of forest and cave-dwelling folk, dwarves also have a taste for any adventure. They are small beings, but display a remarkable amount of strength. Their hearty stance and high vitality make them a natural for combat-related professions. Also pious creatures, dwarves make great priests.

Elf ∑ Elves are smallish creatures, with pointed ears and a broad smile. They excel at intellectual persuits, loving not only what they learn but the study that comes with it as well. Armed with these smarts, elves make excellent magic users. Elves are also nimble creatures, moving their small bodies with an above-average ease and speed.

Faeries ∑ Faeries are small, delicate, magical beings. Faeries are quite intelligent, and their small size and lightning speed give them a naturally low armor class. However, their tiny stature prevents them from wearing most armor or wielding larger weapons. Although not much of a fighter, a faerie makes an excellent magic user or thief.

Felpurrs ∑ Like their distant relative, the cat, felpurr are fast, smart and personable. They walk on their hind feet, and are beautiful creatures with a full mane of hair covering their bodies. Felpurr are also intelligent and dexterous. Throughout their evolution, they have relied on their sleek body styling and speed more than actual physical strength, and have the ability to move their bodies with a grace unknown to virtually any other race.

Gnomes ∑ In the underground caves , one might just find whole groups of gnomes in their natural habitat. Typically keeping to themselves, gnomes are sturdy, strong, and agile creatures; their small stance can easily fool opponents in combat. Gnomes are also extremely pious individuals whose zest for learning is virtually unequalled by any other race.

Hobbit ∑ A sleek and tiny race, the hobbit is a dexterous and busy type able to maneuver its body (and especially its fingers) into and out of the tightest situations. The hobbit is also well known as a charming conversationalist and for its amazing friendliness and hospitality. Hobbits with lesser inclinations frequently use their silver-tongues and quick fingers to help themselves to goods and information.

Humans ∑ Humans are the race to which all others in Wizardry 8 are compared. Perfectly balanced in its statistics, having no particular strengths and no decided weaknesses, the human serves as a stable and dependable creature, regardless of the profession a human character eventually enters.

Lizardman ∑ The lizardman is a serpentine-type creature whose origins are somewhat uncertain. Although it is human-like in its ability to talk and walk upright, the lizardman is not intelligent or personable (actually, others tend to avoid him). Its strengths lie in its natural ability to fight... and win. Strong, fast and hearty, with a mind that thinks "kill, kill, kill," the lizardman can be the perfect combatant.

Mooks ∑ Very magical in nature, the mook's exact origins are entirely unknown. Those skilled in the fantasy gaming mythology have gone so far as to speculate the mook may even be of alien origin! Mooks are extremely intelligent and strong creatures, and have a personality sure to charm the likes of most they encounter.

Rawulf ∑ Rawulfs are devoted and hearty creatures. Descending from a race of intelligent, bipedal canines, they share their ancestors' caring personality and thick coat as well as an indication of their speed, strength, and dexterity. The rawulfs desire to learn coupled with high piety also help them to become excellent priests.

Q: What character classes are there?
A: There are fifteen classes in the game: Fighters, Mages, Priests, Rogues, Rangers, Alchemists, Bards, Psionics, Valkyries, Bishops, Lords, Samurai, Monks, Ninjas, and Gadgeteers. Youíll find descriptions here:

Alchemists can bend the very laws of the universe using potions and hand gestures. Their years of study have given Alchemists an advantage that no other spellcasting class has -the ability to cast spells without speaking. When other magic-users have been silenced by foul sorcery, an Alchemist can still strike back.

Skill Bonus: Alchemy
Special Abilities: Can cast Alchemist spells while silenced; makes potions, powders and bombs.

The bard's musical talents are welcome in any party. Bard songs are more than mere entertainment: bards use their musical instruments to weave powerful spells in battle. The bard's clever stories and sweet songs also help weary parties recover their energy more rapidly while resting. Bards aren't all sweetness and light, though. Many have been known to engage in roguish activities such as picking locks, or pockets.

Skill Bonus: Communications
Special Abilities: Can play magical musical instruments; allows the party to rest faster.

Masters of ancient lore, Bishops are experts on all types of magical knowledge. Bishops can learn spells from any spellbook, but the time and effort required to master multiple disciplines cause Bishops to advance more slowly than their specialized counterparts.

Skill Bonus: Artifacts
Special Abilities: Remove cursed items; dispel undead; can cast Alchemist spells while silenced.

Fighters are the shock troops in any adventure. Very tough and trained in all types of weapons and armor, an experienced fighter can hack his way through the foe while his comrades are still fumbling for their spellbooks.

Skill Bonus: Close Combat
Special Abilities: Stamina regeneration; has a chance to knock out opponents; can go berserk.

Gadgeteers are inventive individuals who can make a deadly weapon out nothing but a rubber band and some chewing gum. While some consider Gadgeteers to be harmless eccentrics, their odd but lethal devices can sway the course of battle. Gadgeteers are familiar with a fair variety of weapons, and have special expertise in high-tech weapons such as firearms.

Skill Bonus: Modern Weapons
Special Abilities: Can combine items to make gadgets; come with an upgradable Omnigun.

Crusaders for the cause of righteousness, Lords are natural-born leaders. While their main concern is the combat skills of the fighter, Lords also learn the healing skills of the Priest. Their ability to both dish out damage and heal it makes them a natural candidate for the front rank of any adventuring party.

Skill Bonus: Dual weapons.
Special Abilities: Health Regeneration.

Mages appear puny and frail at first glance. Their ignorance of physical combat prevents them from using most armor and weapons, and they will fall quickly in battle if not protected by the rest of the group. Yet appearances are deceiving. Mages are among the most powerful creatures in existence, for they can call forth mighty spells that wreak tremendous damage. Because they are not distracted by other concerns, Mages learn their spells more quickly than any other class.

Skill Bonus: Wizardry
Special Abilities: Bonus to all forms of magic resistance.

The lethal Monks... These wandering sages have mastered the art of self-defense in their travels. Armed only with their hands, feet, and a few simple weapons, agile Monks are capable of defeating even the best-equipped opponents. Their physical self-control allows them to hide and score critical hits; their mental self-control allows them to learn the Psionic spells at higher levels.

Skill Bonus: Martial Arts
Special Abilities: Natural damage resistance; effective while blind.

Ninjas... Silent, deadly killers, Ninjas are the ultimate assassins. Mixing the martial arts of the Monk with the abilities of a Rogue, Ninjas are masters of stealth and surprise. Like Monks, Ninjas can deliver critical hits. Like Rogues, they can pick locks and disarm traps. They also learn a bit of the Alchemist's lore at higher levels.

Skill Bonus: Critical Strike
Special Abilities: Chameleon powers; can cast Alchemist spells while silenced.

Priests are experts at protecting the party from harm. Years of devoted study of the divine powers have enabled Priests to master healing and defensive magic. Talented priests can even call upon the gods to intervene in a battle. Priests learn a little of the warrior's art as well, and can use certain types of weapons and armor.

Skill Bonus: Divinity
Special Abilities: Can pray during combat; dispel undead.

Psionic... These uniquely gifted individuals focus their mental energies into casting magic spells. A psionic can confuse others, charm them over to his side, or even read their minds. Psionics learn mental spells faster than any other class.

Skill Bonus: Psionics
Special Abilities: Immune to mental conditions.

A Ranger's true home is the wilderness. Experts at scouting out hidden doors and secret items, Rangers are best known for their skills with a bow. Rangers receive a bonus when attacking with projectile weapons, and can use a little Alchemist magic as well.

Skill Bonus: Ranged Combat
Special Abilities: Scouting; critical hits with ranged weapons.

While many would simply call them "thieves," these unorthodox rogues... individuals prefer to be called Rogues. Rogues never let a locked door or a deadly trap get in the way of what they want. Experts at picking both locks and pockets, Rogues are capable of inflicting deadly backstab attacks on unsuspecting targets.

Skill Bonus: Locks and Traps
Special Abilities: Free backstabs.

Samauris... Strict discipline and ceaseless practice have made Samurai into unsurpassed masters of the sword. A skilled Samurai can use his lightning speed to score even more hits than a trained fighter. Their mystical side allows them to learn spells from the Mage's spellbook at higher levels.

Skill Bonus: Swords
Special Abilities: Fearless; critical hits; lightning strike with swords.

Valkyries are an elite profession open only to women. Masters of the spear and lance, Valkyries are feared warriors. Valkyries also learn Priest spells, allowing them to heal as well as harm. Valkyries are so favored by the gods that they can cheat death. Many blows that would kill another person outright merely render a Valkyrie unconscious.

Skill Bonus: Polearms
Special Abilities: Cheat death.

Q: Do the characters improve over the course of the game?
A: They sure do. Skills automatically improve with use. When a character goes up a level, he gets the usual increases in Hit Points, Spell Points, etc., plus bonus points to spend on his attributes and skills. (Our new 100-point attribute scale gives long-time Wizardry fans even more control over a characterís growth than they had before.)

Q: How will I know what my characters are thinking, whether they have been blinded by a spell, and so on?
A: They'll tell you. Your characters will talk back as you play. Each character has dozens of lines of recorded speech and a unique Personality. Whether it's the sarcastic asides of a sophisticated Lord or the ramblings of a gruff Lizardman with a box of rocks for a brain, the new personality types will bring a whole new dimension to the characters. Fans of Sir-tech Canada's Jagged Alliance games already know how much this adds to a game.

Q: How will character Personalities work?
A: You choose the personality when you create (or import) the character. There are numerous personality types with multiple voice selections to choose from, so you'll have no trouble creating your eccentric Mage, cunning Rogue or laidback Fighter in the voice you think suits your character.

Q: Does using a skill improve it? For example, does my Pickpocket skill improve as I steal from more people?
A: Yes it does, bless your larcenous little heart. All skills improve with use.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions.

Q: How many types of monsters are there in the game?
A: There are over a hundred unique creature models in the game, ranging from the small but deadly acidvine to a huge, legendary sea beast. Add variations in the size and abilities of each monster type, and there are more than 300 kinds of creatures to fight.

Q: Will monsters be flat bitmaps, or polygonal?
A: All creatures are polygonal, and lit by the environment.

Q: Can non-player characters (NPCs) join your party? Do you have control over them?
A: Certain NPCs will join your party in Wizardry 8. You will have complete control over them while theyíre in the party. Theyíll fight for you, go up in levels, use equipment you give them, and so forth. Of course, NPCs have their own agendas, and may decide to leave.

Q: Can I actually talk to the NPCs I meet in the game, or are they just window dressing?
A: You can have a conversation with any friendly, intelligent creature you meet.

Q: So how do I talk to people? Does Wizardry 8 use a parser (i.e. type in phrases) or a keyword system?
A: Both. You can type in questions using the parser. You can also create your own custom keyword list, which allows you to ask questions with just a couple of mouse clicks.

Q: Can you have two NPCs from races that naturally hate each other in your party at the same time?
A: Not normally. But then, things are anything but normal on Dominus . . .

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions.

Q: Will Wizardry 8 support 3D accelerators?
A: Yes. We plan to support all major acceleration standards.

Q: Will Wizardry 8 take full advantage of my 3D graphics accelerator?
A: Yes. Wizardry 8 has been designed as a 3D-accelerated game from the ground up. We've taken special care to make the 3D effects part of the game, not just showy gimmicks. We want you to think, "Wow, those etched glass windows look fantastic," not, "Oh look, another translucency."

Q: Will Wizardry 8 support 3DNow! ?
A: Yes.

Q: Is there a full-screen mode?
A: Yes. It's 95%-of-the-screen mode, if you want to be picky. There will always be some icons up on the screen, so that you can use all the important game commands while playing.

Q: Can I play the game in resolutions higher than 640x480?
A: Sure, if your accelerator supports it.

Q: Can I enter and explore shops, houses, and so on, or are they just a menu screen?
A: All shops, buildings, and characters are presented in 3D, so you can poke around to your heart's content.

Q: Is there an option for step-by-step movement, as in Wizardry 7?
A: No. The smooth motion in Wizardry 8 is much more natural than the jerky, zigzagging steps of Wizardry 7. (Don't worry-there are no action-style running and jumping puzzles in Wizardry 8!)

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions.

Q: Is combat in Wizardry 8 real-time or turn-based?
A: It's next to impossible to accurately command six characters in real time. While you're helping your mage cast a complicated spell, your fighter may be bludgeoned to death by a pack of vicious varmints. To give you better control, Wizardry 8 uses a phased (not turn-based) combat system.

However, for those of you who prefer a faster approach, the Wizardry 8 designers have added "Continuous Combat." This system that approaches the speed and convenience of realtime combat without losing any of the accuracy of a true phased system.

Q: Phased, turn-based . . . what's the difference?
A: In a nutshell, turn-based systems are "your characters go, then my characters go." In a phased combat system, which characters move when depends on a character's initiative, speed, weapon, and other factors. First, you select all your party's options. Meanwhile, the monsters are deciding theirs. Then, the computer determines the outcome, reporting the action blow-by-blow. If you've played Wizardry 7, you're already familiar with phased combat.

Q: In Wizardry 7, monsters popped up out of nowhere. Is that how it works in Wizardry 8?
A: No. Creatures live and breathe in the 3D world now. You can see them and attack them from a distance. This has led to several exciting new changes in the combat system. For one thing, you can now sneak up on the monsters. For another, monsters can sneak up on you.

Q: So you can be attacked from behind?
A: Yes, and from the sides too. Since danger can come from anywhere, the old ďfighters in front, magic users in the rearĒ system doesnít cut it any more. That's why Wizardry 8 includes a formation editor. The formation editor allows you to determine who goes in front, who guards the flanks and rear, and who gets the prime spot in the heavily-protected center.

Q: How will I know if monsters are sneaking up in back of me?
A: One of your characters will give a holler if they notice danger. Of course, they may not notice especially sneaky creatures. Thereís also a radar map that keeps constant track of creatures that youíve spotted.

Q: Will the engine remember combat settings for the whole party so you can repeat an attack with one click?
A: Yes. This has been, over the years, one of the most requested additions to the combat design. You set the defaults, and click "go."

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions.

Q: How many spells are there?
A: There are over 90 spells in the game, with more than a dozen new ones just for Wizardry 8. Each spell can be cast at different power levels, ensuring that each spell never becomes obsolete.

Q: How will the spell casting and magic systems work?
A: Magic is broken down into six realms: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Divine, and Mental. A magic user can have different amounts of spell points in each realm. You can also choose a power level when casting a spell. Chilling Touch at power level 1, for example, is just a mild pinprick. At power level 7, it packs a much more powerful punch.

Q: Can I see spells as they are cast?
A: Yes, all spells have gorgeous animations and cast light dynamically as they race towards their targets. There are single target spells, area of effect spells, exploding spells, cone spells, and more.

You can download the Wizardry Spell List (which includes all the spells, which are then broken down into Spellbooks for each caster) by clicking here. Or check out the htmlized version of it.

Spell Name Realm Cost Spellbook Target Damage Duration Description
Acid Splash Water 2 Alchemist 1 Enemy 4/L Instant Spray acid on enemy
Bless Divine 4 Priest Allies in Radius N/A 2/L Increase AC/Chance to hit
Charm Mental 5 Priest, Psionic 1 NPC N/A NPC Encounter Magically influence NPC
Energy Blast Fire 2 Mage 1 Enemy 4/L Instant Bolt of flame strikes enemy
Frost Water 2 Mage 1 Enemy 4/L Instant Gust of frost hits enemy
Heal Wounds Divine 3 Alchemist, Priest, Psionic 1 Ally 10/L Instant Magically heal wounds
Itching Skin Earth 2 Alchemist Enemies in Cone N/A 1/L Lessens ability to fight/defend
Light Fire 1 Alchemist, Mage, Priest N/A N/A 24 Hours Light for 24 hours
Make Wounds Divine 2 Priest 1 Enemy 4/L Instant Inflicts magical damage
Mind Stab Mental 3 Psionic 1 Enemy 5/L 1/L Jolt to mind/may cause insanity
Paralyze Water 3 Priest, Psionic 1 Enemy N/A 1/L Disable opponet
Sleep Air 3 Alchemist, Mage,Psionic 1 Group N/A 1/L Lulls opponets into dream state
Stamina Water 2 Alchemist, Priest 1 Ally 21/L Instant Rejuvenates Stamina
Terror Mental 3 Mage, Psionic Enemies in Group N/A 1/L Causes fear/some may flee
Blind Flash Fire 5 Alchemist Enemies in Radius N/A 1/L Leaves opponets blind
Cure Lesser Condition Warer 4 Alchemist, Priest, Psionic 1 Ally N/A Instant Cure: Fear, sleep, blind, nausea, irritation
Detect Secrets Mental 5 Mage, Psionic N/A N/A 10 sec + 20 Sec/L Heightens Perception of all party
Divine Trap Mental 4 Priest, Psionic Lock N/A Instant Boost in lock and trap skill
Dracon Breath Water 4 Alchemist 1 Ally N/A 1/L Breath acid on enemy
Enchanted Blade Divine 4 Mage Allies on Radius N/A 5 Minutes/L Enhance attack for party
Guardian Angel Divine 4 Priest 1 Ally N/A 3+2/L Angel takes damage
Holy Water Water 5 Priest Enemies in Radius 6/L Instant Damage to undead or demonkind
Identify Item Mental 6 Priest, Psionic Item N/A Instant Reveal Unidentified Items
Insanity Mental 5 Psionic Enemies in Group N/A 1/L A blast causing insanity
Magic Missile Divine 4 Mage Enemies in Cone 4/L Instant Magical damage
Missile Shield Air 5 Mage Allies on Radius N/A 5 Minutes/L Thick air deflecting most unmagical missiles
Razor Cloak Earth 6 Alchemist 1 Ally 5 1/L Cloak of razors, does damage to attackers
Shrill Sound Air 3 Mage, Psionic Enemies in Cone 3/L Instant High piercing sound causing damage
Slow Water 4 Psionic Enemies in Group N/A 1/L Slows, causing difficult to hit/defend
Sonic Boom Air 6 Alchemist, Mage 3D Spot Incapacitate Instant Cause unconscious/terror:may attract enemy
Web Earth 5 Mage, Priest Enemies in Cone N/A 1/L Restrain enemies in direction of spell
Armorplate Earth 6 Priest Allies in Radius N/A 5 Minutes/L Creates magical armor around party
Chameleon Earth 6 Alchemist, Psionic Party N/A 1 Minute/L Camouflage to make party difficult to see
Cure Paralysis Water 6 Alchemist, Priest 1 Ally N/A Instant Cures Paralysis and/or Web
Cure Poison Air 6 Alchemist, Priest 1 Ally N/A Instant Cure poison from infected person
Fireball Fire 6 Mage Enemies in Radius 5/L Instant Balls of fiery destruction
Freeze Flesh Water 6 Mage Enemies in Group N/A 1/L Freezing blast, causing paralysis
Hypnotic Lure Mental 5 Psionic 3D Spot N/A 5 Strobe light causes lure
Knock-Knock Earth 6 Alchemist, Mage Lock N/A Instant Magically tries to hold lock tumblers
Magic Screen Divine 6 Priest Allies in Radius N/A 5 Minutes/L Increases Magical defense for party
Mindread Mental 8 Psionic 1 NPC N/A Instant Draw thoughts from NPC's mind
Noxious Fumes Air 5 Alchemist, Mage Enemies in Radius 3.5/L 1/L Putrid air causing nausea/unconsciousness
Psionic Fire Fire 6 Psionic Enemies in Cone 6/L Instant Fiery blast to enemy's mind
Rest All Water 6 Priest Allies in Radius 21/L Instant A boost of energy restoring Stamina
Shadow Hound Air 5 Mage N/A N/A 4 Hours/L Ghostly watch dog while party camps/rests
Silence Air 4 Priest, Psionic Enemies in Group Incapacitate Instant Barrier that prevents to sound
Whipping Rocks Earth 6 Alchemist, Mage Enemies in Cone 6/L Instant Cone of battering stones
Acid Bomb Water 8 Alchemist Enemies in Radius 3.5/L 1/L An acidic cloud causing persistant damage
Armormelt Earth 8 Mage, Psionic Enemies in Cone N/A 1/L Thins armor, making it easier to hit enemy
Crush Earth 8 Alchemist, Mage 1 Enemy 16/L Instant Gigantic stone crushing a single enemy
Cure Disease Water 8 Alchemist 1 Ally N/A Instant Attempts to cure diseased person
Ego Whip Mental 8 Psionic Enemies in Cone 8/L Instant Inflects mental damage in front of caster
Elemental Shield Earth 8 Alchemist, Mage Allies in Radius N/A 3+1/L Enhance party resistance against elemental
Eye for an Eye Divine 7 Psionic 1 Ally Varies 1+1/L Magical damage reflected back at caster
Fire Bomb Fire 8 Alchemist Enemies in Radius 6/L Instant A powdery bomb exploding upon the enemy
Haste Fire 8 Psionic Allies in Radius N/A 1/L Speed movement for party during melee
Iceball Water 8 Mage Enemies in Radius 6/L Instant Frozen ice pelts enemies within radius
Remove Curse Divine 8 Mage, Priest 1 Ally N/A Instant Removes cursed item
Ring of Fire Fire 10 Alchemist N/A 3.5/L 3+1/L Places protective circle of fire around party
Soul Shield Divine 6 Priest, Psionic Allies in Radius N/A 3+1/L Protects against Divine & Mental Relams
Superman Water 7 Priest 1 Ally N/A 1/L Increase hit, damage, speed, armor class
Whirlwind Air 7 Priest Enemies in Cone 5/L Instant Swirling path of destruction in front of caster
X-Ray Mental 9 Mage N/A N/A 2 Min+2 Min PL Magically reveals location of creatures/items
Body of Stone Earth 8 Alchemist 1 Ally N/A 1/L Increases Armor class, absorbs damage
Dehydrate Water 10 Mage 1 Enemy 20/L Instant Evaporate fluids causing damage to body
Freeze All Water 12 Mage All Enemies N/A 1/L Freeze enemy into paralysis
Heal All Divine 10 Priest Allies in Radius 10/L Instant Magically heal wounds of party members
Hex Mental 10 Mage, Psionic Enemies in Radius N/A 1/L Cloud of ill omen, cursing performance
Instant Death Divine 10 Priest, Psionic 1 Enemy Death Instant Attempts to instantly kill single enemy
Psionic Blast Mental 10 Psionic Enemies in Group 8/L 1/L Mental blast causing damage/possible insanity
Purify Air Air 10 Alchemist, Priest Allies in Radius N/A Instant Tries to clear air of toxins
Return to Portal Air 50 Alchemist, Mage, Priest, Psionic N/A N/A Instant Returns to personal portal
Sane Mind Mental 12 Priest, Psionic 1 Ally N/A Instant Attempts to restore sanity
Set Portal Air 50 Alchemist, Mage, Priest, Psionic N/A N/A Instant Sets a personal portal point
Summon Elemental Divine 10 Alchemist, Mage 3D Spot N/A Combat Calls for elemental to fight for party members
Toxic Cloud Air 8 Alchemist Enemies in Radius 2.5/L 1/L Cloud doing dmg, nausea, poison, unconsciousness
Banish Divine 10 Mage, Priest All Enemies 15/L Instant Divine damage to undead, demons and summoned
Blizzard Water 12 Mage Enemies in Cone 10/L 1/L Swirling gust of damaging frost, possible blindness
Boiling Blood Fire 12 Alchemist 1 Enemy 20/L Instant Painful damage, causing body to explode, damage
Draining Cloud Divine 10 Alchemist Enemies in Radius Varies 1/L Diminish life, stamina, and magical powers
Firestorm Fire 12 Mage Enemies in Radius 5/L 1/L Cloud of fire causing lingering damage
Lifesteal Divine 12 Priest 1 Enemy 10(7)/L Instant Steal life to transfer to a party member
Lightning Fire 12 Priest Enemies in Cone 9/L Instant Spears of electricity in front of caster
Might to Magic Divine 12 Psionic 1 Enemy 15/L Instant Transfer life energy of enemy to magic for ally
Pandemonium Air 12 Psionic All Enemies Incapacitate 1/L Air blast, causing at least fear, possible insanity
Prismic Ray Fire 10 Psionic Enemies in Cone Varies 1/L Beams of light from caster causing damage
Quicksand Earth 15 Alchemist Enemies in Radius N/A Instant Causes ground to become soft to stick enemies
Resurrection Divine 30 Alchemist, Priest 1 Ally N/A Instant Restore life to deceased member
Turncoat Mental 12 Mage, Psionic 1 Enemy N/A 2+1/L Alter loyalty of enemy to fight for party
Asphyxiation Air 20 Mage All Enemies Suffocation Instant Causes instant suffocation if successful
Cerebral Hemorage Mental 12 Psionic 1 Enemy 25/L 1/L Mental blast, if they survive, they become insane
Concussion Mental 12 Mage 1 Enemy 25/L 1/L Severe mental injury causing possible unconsciousness
Death Cloud Air 20 Alchemist Enemies in Radius Death 1/L Cloud duration causing possible death
Death Wish Divine 20 Priest All Enemies Death Instant Divine prayer to bring death to enemies
Earthquake Earth 18 Alchemist All Enemies 12/L Instant Voilent ground tremors to those in area
Falling Stars Earth 16 Priest All Enemies 9/L Instant Hail of meteors striking powerful damage to enemies
Mind Flay Mental 18 Psionic All Enemies 12/L Instant Mental blast causing intense damage
Nuclear Blast Fire 18 Mage All Enemies 12/L Instant Intense force blasting all enemies
Prismic Chaos Fire 15 Psionic All Enemies Varies 1/L Spectral fire from caster striking all enemies
Restoration Divine 16 Priest 1Ally 36/L Instant Cures and removes conditions except death
Tsunami Water 15 Alchemist Enemies in Cone 15/L Instant Massive tidal wave of water causing massive damage

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions.

Q: Can I import characters from Wizardry 6, Wizardry 7, or Wizardry Gold?
A: You can import characters from Wizardry 7 or Wizardry Gold, even if you didn't finish the game. However, you cannot import characters directly from Wizardry 6 (Bane of the Cosmic Forge). We had previously stated that this was possible - our apologies for this.

Q: How will transferring a character from Wizardry 7 to Wizardry 8 work?
A: Your characters will come in with their skills, levels, and stats reduced to reasonable amounts. Imported parties will still be more powerful than new parties, though. Some of your items will transfer, but the exact list of those is confidential.

Q: Why not just let me bring in my level 50 characters? Iíd kick ass!
A: Because the game wouldn't be much fun. Sure, slaughtering even the most powerful creature with a tiny flick of your pinky is entertaining for about ten minutes, but you'd quickly tire of a game with no challenge. And if your character's skills are maxed out, where's the fun in going up levels?

Q: Can we import multiple "super" weapons if we used an editor in Wizardry 7?
A: You sneaky little Ö no, you canít do that. And thanks for reminding us.

Q: Will all the skills acquired in Wizardry 7 transfer? Including Personal Skills?
A: Your skills will transfer, although not at their current rates. The Firearms Personal Skill is now a regular skill, and will transfer. Other Personal Skills have been made into Expert skills, which become available after you achieve a rank of 100 in certain attributes.

A few skills have been scrapped. The new automap has eliminated the need for the Mapping skill, for example.

Q: Will who we aligned with at the end of Wizardry 7 (like the Umpani ending) have an immediate impact on who we can deal with in Wizardry 8?
A: It will have an immediate impact on where you start the game, but youíre free to do what you like. Your information could be very valuable to others, you know.

Q: How has character creation changed since Wizardry 7?
A: We've revamped the whole process from top to bottom. We wanted to make easier for new players, plus we wanted to give experienced role-players more options and control. Here are a few of the changes weíre making:

Q: How have character classes changed from Wizardry 7?
A: There is one completely new character class, the Gadgeteer. As you can imagine, Gadgeteers come with new skills all their own. Gadgeteers have an incessant desire to tinker with things, to improve them by adding other things to them. Gadgeteers can combine one item with another to come up with something completely different.

The Bishop class has also been overhauled. The Bishop can now learn magic from all four spellbooks, rather than just mage and priest as it was before. Of course, if your Bishop tries to learn everything, heíll be a jack of all trades, and master of none.

We've improved the classes in many other ways. For instance:

Q: Will there be space flight, or will we planet-bound?
A: Hey, when you start the game you've just finished a long, long space voyage in a cramped ship. Be glad to get out in the air. You will eventually leave the planet of Dominus if you do things right, though.

Q: Will we see any returning characters from the previous games?
A: The Dark Savant will be back, as will Vi Domina. You'll meet some other old friends from Lost Guardia as well. You'll also encounter some surprises from Bane of the Cosmic Forge.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions.

Q: Is there going to be a larger variety of traps for treasure chests/doors?
A: Wizardry 8 will feature more locks and traps as well as an improved way to open treasure chests (some players told us the old interface was confusing).

Q: Is there an automap . . . and does it have zoom capabilities?
A: There is a highly detailed automap. You can zoom in and out on it, and take notes on it as well.

Q: Can I configure the keyboard and mouse commands?
A: We plan on including this feature.

Q: Is a playable demo planned?
A: We can't definitively answer that question until we announce a publisher. If there's a playable demo, it won't be available until close to release time. Due to the nature of the game, any playable demo will be large (100 MB or more.)

There is, however, a little demo movie that comes with the Wizardry Archives and Jagged Alliance 2. It was done in the fall of 1998, and so it doesn't show off all the cool stuff we've added since then.

Q: Will Wizardry 8 have a multiplayer feature?
A: We thought long and hard about it. In the end, we decided a multiplayer feature didn't fit into the vision we had for the game. That doesn't mean there won't be a multiplayer Wizardry someday, but it won't be Wizardry 8.

Q: I've never played an RPG before. Why should I start with Wizardry 8?
A: One reason is that it's been designed from the get-go with the new player in mind. We've gotten rid of the obscure slang and odd conventions that confuse new players, while retaining all the good stuff. You don't have to struggle with the game. All you have to do is have fun.

Q: I've played a million RPGs, and I hear that there's supposed to be about a million more new RPGs coming out soon. Why should I get Wizardry 8?
A: Lots of reasons. Here are a few:

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions.

Q: Hey, this FAQ did not answer my question! Where do I go to find out more?
A: Check out the Wizardry 8 Discussion Board on the VaultNetwork -- that's where much of this FAQ originated. You'll find lots of fellow Wizardry friends, along with the latest news about the game from Sir-tech Canada.

Some troubleshooting tips:

Please keep in mind, none of these are official solutions, and you do them at your own risk. These are solutions offered by the work of many people on the Wizardry 8 message forums.

Q. W8 installed and played at work. At home, W8 seemed to install correctly but when I try to start the game I get the following:

Debug assertion in Module E: \wizardry 8\Local Code\strings.cpp line 70 failed: Expression [hFile] evaluates to false. failed to open localization string table" What should I do? A. "Debug assertion in module C:\Lancer\Game\Aigeneric.cpp line 356 failed: Expression [0] evaluates to false. Cannot set AI find new target on ship song escort 3 still in fixed gate jump-in." "CAUSE: This behavior can occur if one of the following conditions is true: - The video driver for your video adapter is outdated. - The CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive cannot read the StarLancer CD-ROM. " "RESOLUTION: - Update your video drivers - Troubleshoot your cd-rom drive with windows - Reinstall the game, Full install"

Most problems with running the game are solved by updating device drivers. For your convenience, here are some links to sites where you can get updated drivers for a variety of popular cards. If you don't see your card on this list, please consult the documentation that came with the card.

We strongly recommend that you always use the latest drivers provided by the CHIPSET manufacturer since this will always be your most up-to-date source.

We cannot take responsibility for any system problems you may experience as a result of modifying your drivers and suggest that if you do not feel comfortable updating your own drivers you seek the advice of a knowledgeable computer person or the store where you purchased your computer.

First of all, make sure to visit the OLD DRIVERS section since out of date drivers may cause set-up problems. If you continue to experience problems, please try the following:

For sound:
In the root of the game, create a subfolder with any name. Move all .M3D files found in the Wizardry 8 directory where you installed the game into the subfolder EXCEPT the .M3D file that pertains to your sound card (e.g. MSSEAX.M3D or MSSEAX2.M3D for SB Live cards, and MSSA3D.M3D and MSSA3D2.M3D for Aureal products). Rerun 3Dsetup.exe.

For video:
Follow the same procedure as for sound, except done in the DLL directory. You'll be moving srDD_*.DLL into the subfolder. Select a video service that you wish to run with (either srDD_OpenGL or StDD_DirectX7 should work fine) and move all other files to the subfolder.

Auto-detection problems are being researched further and updates will be posted as we learn more.

If your problem is repeatable, please email us at bugs@sir-tech.com with a full explanation. Please include full system specs, including driver version numbers, a detailed description of what happens, and savegames if applicable.

First of all, make sure to visit the OLD DRIVERS section since out of date drivers may cause a variety of problems.

In this section, we will be listing any known "report to developers messages" that occur in the full game and will be periodically updating this section to reflect the status.

1.3b.i. Debug assertion in module E:\Wizardry8\Local code\Strings.cpp line 70 failed

The apparent cause of this problem is the library file (DATA.SLF) being truncated during install such that the game fails to find a necessary file. Players have successfully solved this problem by reinstalling. Please make sure your CDs are clean and not scratched. You may also be able to get around this by manually copying the file DATA.SLF (in the Data directory on CD1) to your hard drive, overwriting the file that was installed during installation.

Should you experience this error message, please try the above, then send us feedback with your results at bugs@sir-tech.com.

Please visit the retailer where you purchased Wizardry 8 for any problems resulting from damaged or unreadable CDs.

When installing Wizardry 8, when prompted for a new CD to be inserted, please make sure the CD-ROM drive has completely finished accessing the CD before you hit continue.

If you experience any problems during the install, please make sure to clean the CD carefully... if you touch the CD it can leave fingerprints on the disk that may interfere with your CD-ROM drive's ability to properly read the disk. Some CD-ROM drives are more sensitive to this than others. Cleaning CDs has solved the "An error occurred during the move data process: -117" for many.

Alternatively, you can manually install the game since the data is not compressed on the CDs. You need to copy everything on the CD, from the root on down, to a folder of your choosing on your hard drive. Do this for CD 1 & 2 -- CD 3 is at your option -- if you want Levels and Cinematics on your drive (speeds up loading times) then copy it. Don't copy CD 3 if you need to conserve space - the game will read this data off the CD 3 in your CD-ROM drive.

If you do a manual install, the only thing you need to be aware of is that you will have all the InstallShield files in your Wizardry 8 directory. This won't hurt anything, just don't run the InstallShield setup.exe. Wizardry 8 uses 3DSetup.exe for audio & video configuration.

The first time you run the Wizardry exe, it will automatically run 3DSetup.

It has come to our attention that some people are having a problem loading the Ascension Peak area of the game. We have tracked down the cause of this and have a fix for it! With the fix, Ascension Peak now loads just fine. No need to restart or anything :-). We suggest that everyone download this file, it may save you some grief later on.

The file is only 38K. It is available here.

Instructions: The file is zipped. Use WinZip or similar, and extract it to the ROOT of your Wizardry 8 install directory. It creates its own subfolder called Patches, and places the file within this folder (if, after unzipping, you don't have a Patches folder, make sure you have "Use Folder Names" selected when you unzip the file). If you are using something other than WizZip, make sure the file is placed within its subdirectory.

This is an open forum to provide Wizardry 8 players with a place where users can share information about problems, and solutions, to a variety of problems. We appreciate any advice that other players can contribute to this forum, though we caution everybody that following advice listed here is an your "own risk". We can take no responsibility for system problems that may result and suggest that if you do not feel comfortable with anything described here, that you seek the advice of a knowledgeable computer person or the store where you purchased your computer.

This forum is supported and visited by a number of Wizardry 8 development staff.

This forum is moderated and any offensive or abusive posts will be removed.

It is critical that you provide us with complete information as indicated below as any missing information severely hampers our ability to help you.

Rest assured that we read each and every email that we receive and will do everything in our power to help you get running as quickly as we can. We regret that we are unable to respond to emails concerning general game questions, foreign release dates or product versions, or any non-technical support related matters.

Please make sure to tell us:

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions.

Q. Did i miss this in the manual? My Valk is not able to put more than 75 skillpoints in Polearms.
A. You can only go up to 75 on skills (not just Valk's, but any class). Beyond that, it's up to learning it by doing it. It works with the theory, there's only so much you can learn, until you actually go out and do it yourself. Q. What's the effect of Senses?
A. If you have the Demo, Right clicking on pretty much anything, including an Attribute or Skill will give you an explanation.
A skill generally has two controlling Attributes. Off the top of my head Senses is one of the influencing Attributes for the following skills:

Scouting, Close Combat, Ranged Combat, Dual Weapons, Critical Strike, Artifacts, Mythology, Communications, and Psionics. It also has an impact on intiative.

The Alchemist only starts with one skill Senses influences, Mythology, thus its not as important an Attribute for she/he.

The Priest starts with only one as well, Communication.

As for when you should invest in that Attribute? That is primarily dependent on the Profession you play as well as the Skills that character is concentrating on. The more Skills a Profession is using that are affected by a particular Attribute, the more important that Attribute becomes to that character.

Since Senses is one of the primary controlling Attributes for a Psionic, directly influencing the Psionic skill, which in turn heavily affects the learning of new Psionic spells, I would say it's an Attribute you may wish to concentrate on raising for that class.

You could say a general rule of thumb might be to more heavily concentrate on raising an Attribute if it influences one or more of a Professions Primary Skills. (or the skills you have chosen to have that character concentrate in)

Be aware Wiz 8 was balanced such that you most likely will never max more than 2-3 Attributes/character by the conclusion of the game. Of course depending on how long you choose to play you could possibly have maxed most of them They max at 100. Achieving 100 in an Attribute opens other Expert Skills.

It's really not as complicated as it sounds. We tried extremely hard to make sure any party was capable of finishing the game.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions.

Wizardry 8: Interview with Linda Currie by 3Dfiles.ru
Part 1: General Questions

3Dfiles.RU: Hi, Linda. First I want to thank you for your consent to answer our questions. Certainly, Wizardry VIII will be the main theme of our conversation, but all of us are very anxious about current situation with your company, sad news about Wizardry VIII publishing and development of your future projects. If you not mind, we will ask you some questions to clear this situation.

Linda: I'm ready.

3Dfiles.RU: Is it true that you tried to establish long-term relationships with publishers not only to release Wizardry VIII, but also for already scheduled Wizardry IX? Tell us about your current steps in this situation: are you still aimed to strategic partnership with publishers or for now you only want to find a publisher for Wizardry VIII?

Linda: One of the major influences in our search for a Wizardry 8 publisher was to also secure the future of Sirtech Canada. The costs to develop a game like Wizardry in a studio the size of Sirtech Canada had become just too prohibitive to continue to do so without the backing of a larger player in this industry. When the publishing office of Sirtech Software was closed in 1998, we were already in the midst of Wizardry 8 development, and so we persevered knowing that we could not continue this model for future projects. Obtaining longevity and security for the people here was of critical importance. While we would still very much prefer to see a strategic partnership that would enable us to continue to develop games, the focus at this point is solely on bringing Wizardry 8 to market.

3Dfiles.RU: Buka Entertainment informed us (with the reference to your company) that the Russian version of Wizardry VIII will be released this autumn, and the date of release will be independent from international release, as was planned earlier. Is it possible, that the game will be released only in Russia or it just will be published world-wide considerably later?

Linda: I hate to go out on a limb and say this since comments like this have come back to haunt us, but I am hopeful that there will be news on an English release date soon. We expect that if the English version is not actually simultaneous with the Russian release, it should be very close to it, by maybe a month.

3Dfiles.RU: There are rumours, that if Sirtech will get no investments during next month, the company should be closed. What about tech support of Wizardry VIII and other already released titles in this case?

Linda: Well, if we get no investment it's probably more accurate to say that there will be no further products developed by Sirtech Canada versus saying the company will be closed. From an actual business perspective, Sirtech Canada will continue as a legal entity but won't actively be working on any new products. As far as supporting Wiz 8 goes, we have made arrangements with key team members that will allow us to produce a patch should one be necessary and there will be a complete hint guide that includes lots of in-depth info about game content.

3Dfiles.RU: What is the current progress in development of Wizardry IX and Jagged Alliance 3, because the news about the last one appeared several months ago? Whether it is enough for further development of these titles if you'll find international publisher for Wizardry VIII, or it is necessary to find the publisher especially for these projects?

Linda: For us to continue working on these projects, it would require finding a publisher specifically for them. As is obvious from the current predicament, the business model used for Wizardry 8 has not worked very well for us.

3Dfiles.RU: What actions will you going to take in case of the worst development of situation? What future awaits famous series of Wizardry and Jagged Alliance? Are you going to sell copyrights for these titles?

Linda: What happens with the copyrights and trademarks of these titles is not something that I can comment on.

3Dfiles.RU: Please, Linda, tell us honestly, do you and Yan feel yourself able to stand in this situation and to continue to please us with your remarkable games?

Linda: I've loved working on games and I'm hard pressed to come up with something that I'd rather do. At the same time, living with the uncertainty of not having a publisher for Wizardry 8 has been quite difficult. I'm not speaking for Ian when I say this but I think I'm going to give myself a little time before ultimately deciding what to do.

3Dfiles.RU: There were a lot of sad events for all the CRPG fans these days. I mean not only events with your projects, but also, for example, cancelling of Black Isle's Torn, problems with the international release of Gothic (very similar to your problems), which has received very enthusiastic response in German media, cancellation of some other less important RPGs, etc. Moreover, game consoles becoming very popular platform for developers, and there is some financial crisis in game industry. So please tell us about your thoughts about the nearest future of game industry.

Linda: There has been financial crisis of one form or another in the game industry in years past as well, just like there has been great concern over the consolidation of so many companies some years ago, the entry of big money investors who pump lots of cash into questionable game talent and the departure of that same money, worry over the impact of consoles have on the PC, etcÖ also. And yet here we are. The game industry is, well, an industry and while it may change with the times, the games go on. What is troubling is just how large an investment it can take to make a game, and just how few PC games actually sell "big" numbers. It makes it a highly risky endeavour and so it's not surprising to see so many companies having difficulties in this area of development. As far as console development goes, I can't really say since I've not been involved in this area and am really just a casual console player. It will be curious to see the nearly back-to-back release of Xbox and Nintendo platforms though.

Part 2: Wizardry Questions

3Dfiles.RU: We hope that all your problems will be solved, and we will try to help Sirtech with all we can do. Let's now talk about Wizardry VIII. Wizardry VIII was in development for such a long time, so I can't even remember whether I played computer games that time or not :-). Please tell us in a few words about a history of Wizardry VIII creation. How it was started, what was the biggest problems during the process of development, how engine replacement was made in the middle of development, and, in general, how the game became what it is at this moment?

Linda: We started Wizardry 8 in late 1996/early 1997 but much of that first period was coming to terms with 3D technology (not to mention all the design work). It was our first foray into 3D and there was not the wealth of 3rd party engines available for license that there are today. We ended up going with the SurRender engine, which gave us really just the renderer and required us to build a lot of 3D systems on top of it. As it turned out, the rendering engine was not as finished as we had thought and so while we were working on the other pieces that we had to build in-house they continued to work on the engine that we were building on top of. Well into the development of low level systems like the physics, collision, optimisation and with lots of other layers that hook into the renderer to handle the 2D screens, etcÖHybrid changed the SurRender engine from C to C++. We ended up doing a major port of everything that we had worked on from C to C++ and this, combined with our inexperience in 3D easily led to a year of delay. I guess it was a little like putting the roof on the house while the foundation is still going in. Also in this time, another team was working furiously to bring Jagged Alliance 2 to gold master. Since we were confronted with this technical rework on Wizardry 8 and had to delay the gameplay code progress because of it, some team members moved onto JA2. And as happens, these team members became critical to getting JA2 complete (and took a well-deserved vacation afterward ; ). So there was some delay in getting them back on Wizardry 8 once the technical rework had been completed. But I don't want to give the impression that these were black and white reasons behind the delays. Wizardry 8 is a huge game and there are a lot of complex systems behind the scenes. Moving from the 2D and rather abstract implementation of previous Wizardry games, into the true 3D environment of Wizardry 8 was an enormous undertaking in everything from the design to the implementation to the refinement. We've been fortunate to have been able to produce a very thorough, very tested, and very refined Wizardry that we are confident is the best Wizardry ever. Phew, sorry for such a long answer.

3Dfiles.RU: Obviously, Wizardry VIII has one of the most advanced role-playng systems in CRPG. The number of choices in characters development is so great, that it should provide very high replayability and force us to spend a lot of our time behind the computer. We think that you, as developer, know your game much more better then others. Please tell us about you favorite character in the game? What is the perfect party from your point of view?

Linda: You know, I don't think I can pick a favourite character from either the perspective of my party, or the characters that I encountered in the game. And as far as a perfect party goes, it will rather depend on your playing style. The "safest" party of course is one that balances the hacker types with the magical types but the beauty of Wizardry is that this is hardly the required party. My party was a Fighter, Samurai, Rogue, Ranger, Bishop and Mage and each character meant something to me - well, OK, actually my Fighter, Mage and Bishop were more favoured just because of their sheer killing power ; )Ö But if I were starting again with a new party, I'd probably try one that is more magic heavy just to see how it went. As I answer this question I'm also trying to pick a NPC character that I encountered that I'd say was a favourite and I just can't - there are just too many that I got a huge kick out of as I encountered them in the game.

3Dfiles.RU: I know a couple of hardcore gamers who like to play through the game with only one or two characters. Is it possible to play Wizardry VIII with just one character or there are some critical points designed especially for interaction of whole party?

Linda: It is possible that you could play with one character but it's going to be hard. We actually modified a couple quests to make sure that the game would handle a single character party. But I have to really stress that it will be a real battle to go through it with only 1 character and it's not going to be something for the faint of heart player. But at least you can get a couple of NPCs to travel with you.

3Dfiles.RU: We found some screenshots on the demo CD, and obviously images indicating the following facts. First, player can join 2 NPCs to his party, so the size of a party will be increased up to 8. Second, some characters can use firearms (there was a pistol in Tac's hand, isn't it?). How many NPCs can be chosen as our brothers in arms and how long they will stay in a party - for a certain period of time, or unless the player will ask them to leave? How powerfull will be the firearms and whether it will be the disbalancing factor for the game or not? In general what is the situation with balance of gameplay?

Linda: Yes, you could have up to 2 NPCs joinÖ we actually refer to them as RPCs (recruitable player characters). Not all NPCs will join you, and some will stay a long while but some might have their own agendas. You can ask an RPC to leave your party pretty much at any time. And yes, there are some firearms in the game. A character's ability with these sorts of weapons is influenced by the Modern Weapons skill. We've made sure that a character using a firearm will not unbalance one using a more traditional weapon. Believe me, a skilled fighter wielding a powerful sword doles out plenty of damage ;). And keep in mind that though there may be firearms, we're not talking about modern day military weapons or any such thing.

3Dfiles.RU: Your game is really beautiful, especially design of locations and dungeons is very good. The well-balanced architecture of an underground monastery has struck me directly in my brain, and the atmosphere of dungeon, filled by monsters, was so real, that only a cup of strong coffee helped me return to our world. Please tell us how many locations you prepared for us, how big is the world of Wizardry VIII? How many hours of gameplay do you expect from the game?

Linda: How many locations? This is almost hard to answer because the game world is not broken into equal sized or traditional areas. Some levels are enormous, some less so. Even within a single "area" you'll find the look changes depending on what the game content is in the area. But if I have to put a number on it, there are more than 30 areas to explore. As far as game hoursÖ a lot of that will depend on your style of playing. At a minimum 80 hours, up to 160+ depending on how thorough you are. There are also a lot of things that are not essential to winning the game. We've had testers on their 5th or 6th time through the game tell us they still find new things.

3Dfiles.RU: By the way, are there any secret rooms, dungeons, carefully hidden artefacts and those similar surprises in the game?

Linda: Oh, yesÖ you betcha ; )

3Dfiles.RU: We are very pleased with local bestiary, in particular comrade Swallower - he eated up a couple of my characters just before I had time to do something. Are there a lot of similar unique monsters prepared for complication of player's life? What can you tell us about any other Bosses?

Linda: There are a lot of very unique creatures in the game. There's lot I could tell you about some of my experiences with them in the game but I'd really worry about sort of spoiling some things. Often, the first time you meet a new creature is so memorable because you are learning about what they can do, that I'd hate to ruin this for someone.

3Dfiles.RU: The demo-version allowed us to enjoy practically all the aspects of gameplay except social interaction. But, as far as we know it is one of the most interesting features of game. Please tell us about your revolutionary dialogue system and options which will be accessible to us during the conversation with others NPC.

Linda: The interaction system is fantastic and is something we are very proud of. It gives you flexibility to ask about anything you want, an easy way to keep track of all the topics and brings it all to life with recorded dialog for each and every character. Basically, when conversing with an NPC, you'll learn certain key pieces of information. You can keep track of these things in your keyword list and you can add words to or delete words from this list very easily. There is also an option to have keywords be added automatically. You can sort your list of keywords so that it's easy to find different things, and you can add keywords merely by highlighting the dialog said by the NPC. It's a really creative system that retains depth and combines it with convenience.

3Dfiles.RU: We know about four starting points in the final version of Wizardry VIII (one for the novices and three for those who has finished the previous part and managed to keep his savegames). Are there also several endings just as in the previous parts of the game? In general, how non-linear will be the gameplay? Are there some possibilities for player to leave the main plot for some time and to get involved into some side quests?

Linda: Yes, there are also several endings to Wizardry 8. As far as how non-linear the game isÖ well your overall goal is somewhat linear, else this wouldn't be a story driven game. But you have a lot of flexibility in how you solve different quests, in what order you do them and even whether you do them at all. There are definitely side quests that the player can choose to do or not. All in all, the game is designed so that you always have something to do and are never left just wandering aimlessly. Sure, there are some things that you just have to do to progress in the game, but in lots of cases, you might get a quest and whether you follow it up or not won't stop you from getting to the end.

3Dfiles.RU: You already have pleased the press-media with the demo version of Wizardry VIII. Are you planning to release a public demo, and when?

Linda: Yes, we do plan to make a demo available before the game is released but I can't comment on when.

3Dfiles.RU: Thank you for the interview.

Linda: My pleasure ; ).

Interview with Lee Haneman
Wizardry 8 Animator.

Wizardry 8 will be released this week, but itís been finished for almost a year. Sir-Tech wasnít able to sign a publishing deal for a long time, and that compromised the future of the company, and now thereís little chance weíll ever see a new chapter in the Jagged Alliance or Wizardry series.

Lee Haneman worked in Wizardry 8 as Animator, and also took part in the Jagged Alliance 3 project. In our interview he speaks about his work on these titles, the challenges of being an independent developer, and more.

Q. How did you get started in the gaming industry?

A. I knew I wanted to work in the gaming industry since I was very young, but I wasnít exactly sure of how to get Ďiní.

While I was still in high school, I read somewhere in a gaming magazine that animation was becoming a very important aspect of game development. The article also mentioned that the need for artists and animators was growing. Although I was mostly interested in the aspects of game design, I realized that my best opportunity to break into the industry would be as an artist or animator.

I was very fortunate to discover that there was a college in Ottawa (Algonquin College), which coincidentally had a 2-year animation program. I consider myself very fortunate to have been accepted, since there were only 30 people chosen out of 400. It was a very intensive course and taught me the basics of traditional animation as well as some 3D.

At the time, I had no idea what 3D was, but it intrigued me and I knew it could (and would) relate to the gaming industry. During my second year, I specialized in 3D, where my work caught the attention of a former graduate who was working at a local game company called Artech. They needed 3D animators and artists, so I was able to work part time while finishing my final year of school. I ended up working on a title called Moto Extreme, which was published by Corel.

Artech seemed content with developing titles primarily aimed towards children. I was not though, so after working there for about 3 months, I moved on to another gaming company called Future Endeavors.

Q. Which are the best and worst experiences you had working in the industry?

I really enjoyed going to E3. Iíve only been twice, but it was a blastÖ however, my best experiences have yet to come. The moment I lay my hands on the Wizardry 8 box and strategy guide will be my best experience of working in the industry.

I also love hearing and reading about gamerís opinions and thoughts on the Wizardry 8 demo. Thatís what itís all about. As a developer, you can end up spending several years working on a single product. Itís great to know that itís appreciatedÖ which leads into my worst experiences.

You can spend several years working on the most revolutionary or amazing game in the world, but itís risky business. When I was at Future Endeavors, we were working on a very ambitious and revolutionary title. It had a great story, a fantastic engine, and the gameplay would have been top notch. The game was called the Gatherer. Ever heard of it? Thatís what I thoughtÖ

Working on a title for over 2 years, only to have the company fold underneath you, simply Ďsucksí. Thereís no better way to describe it. I worked at 3 companies where that happened. It unfortunately happens all the time in this industry, but thatís the risk you have to take sometimes if you want to develop ambitious and quality titles.

Personally Iíd rather take a risk in developing fun, quality titles than work for a company that churns out buggy and horrible products year after yearÖ but thatís just me.

Q. What can you tell us about your time at Sir-Tech?

My time at Sir-Tech was terrific up until the end. I made some great friends and contributed to the development of an amazing title. The people at Sir-Tech were a very talented group. By the end of development on Wizardry 8, there was a great amount of chemistry with the team. We all knew each otherís strengths and weaknesses and we utilized that knowledge. I donít think that can be said about most game companies.

Q. Did you anticipate things would turn up this way?

When I started at Sir-Tech over 2 years ago, I knew they didnít have a publisher for Wizardry 8. I knew that was not a good thing, but we were working on a quality title and the Jagged Alliance series was excellent and was doing very well in Europe at the time, so I was pretty confident about the companyís future. It wasnít until we had finished Wizardry 8 and were waiting (and waiting) for a publishing deal to get done, that I suspected that we were heading for trouble.

Q. What did you think when you knew Sir-Tech was going to be shut down?

I couldnít help but think Ďhere we go againí, since I had already been through similar scenarios before. At the same time, I was very disappointed and angry that a deal didnít get done because as most gamers know by now (after playing the demo); Wizardry 8 is a stellar product. Iím at least glad that it finally got out the door and will see the light of day, even if it is almost a year later than it should have been.

Q. How were your last days at the company?

My last days at Sir-Tech were not very pleasant. There was a tremendous amount of uncertainty. Everyone made sacrifices in hopes that a deal would go through, but obviously that didnít happen.

Q. What do you think are the main difficulties for an independent developer in general, and Sir-Tech in particular?

I think that the primary difficulty for an independent developer is money. Without it, a company simply canít survive. And the sad part is that most publishers know this and use it to their advantage. Thatís basically what happened in Sir-Techís case. Wizardry 8 took over 4 years to develop and cost an awful lot of money. Despite how well (or poor) Wizardry 8 does, the chances of it earning back its development costs are slim. Iím not saying itís impossible, I just think that itís highly unlikely.

As most PC gamers have noticed, the quality of PC titles has significantly reduced recently. 2001 was a very poor year for PC gaming IMHO, and I think this has everything to do with publishers trying to make a quick and easy buck. The problem is getting out of hand, and theyíve dug a nasty hole that I believe will be quite difficult to get out of. Developers are forced (metaphorically speaking) to release buggy and unfinished products, while gamers are required to download patches just to run the darn things. In a way, itís kind of sad that people are so surprised and happy about Wizardry 8 being so stable. Sure, it may be a stable product, but isnít that the way itís suppose to be? It seems that gamers and reviewers have been treating it as if stability is a bonus feature for a PC title.

Itís my belief that if an independent PC game developer wants to survive in this day and age, they have to go back to creating quality products within a reasonable amount of time (2-3 years)Ö They also need strong distribution methods, and that is where the problem lies.

It wouldnít surprise me if in another year or so, we started seeing a shareware distribution type of model appear (avoiding the publisher altogether). Publishers are getting too greedy to the point where itís probably more profitable for a developer to distribute a game on their own (even though it might sell fewer copies).

Q. What is your opinion about Wizardry 8, from a gamer's perspective?

My opinion may sound biased, but I think Wizardry 8 is an amazing game. It has a ton of details, secrets and almost endless replay value in it. Although the graphics may not be Ďmoderní, with the first person perspective, ambient sounds, music, voices, etcÖ itís one of the most immersive games Iíve ever played. It sucks you into its world and doesnít let go. The subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle touches of humor only add to the game. Iíve been playing this game in one form or another for over 2 years, and I still love hearing the characterís voices and chatter. This is by far the best bang for your buck that you will be able to find in a computer gaming store this year. And donít worry about next year, because youíll still be playing it then.

I unfortunately wonít earn a single penny off any sales of Wizardry 8, so Iím saying this honestly as a gamer to a gamerÖ if you ever enjoyed playing an RPG (console, or PC), then you owe it to yourself to pick it up as soon as itís available in your area of the world. You wonít be disappointed.

Q. Will you be involved in the support of Wiz 8, if necessary?

Unless there are any unforeseen issues relating to the monster animations or models, it will not be necessary for me to be involved in the support of Wizardry 8. Iíll certainly be on the forums helping out wherever I can though.

Q. What was your involvement with the Jagged Alliance 3 project?

I was the Lead Artist and Lead Animator on Jagged Alliance 3. I was also involved heavily in the design of the game.

Q. In what stage of development was JA3 when it was put "on hold"?

I canít comment too much on that. It was relatively early in development, but we still had done quite a bit of work on it (especially from a design point of view).

Q. Was there ever a playable prototype of JA3?

We did have a multiplayer prototype working, though it was a very early work in progress with placeholder graphics and limited gameplay.

Q. Would you say it would have been a step forward in the tradition of the series, or a different kind of game?

It initially started out as a different kind of game (taking place in the future), but we collectively decided to go back to the root of what made the Jagged Alliance series so fun to begin with. It would definitely have been a step forward in the tradition of the seriesÖ a giant step forward.

Q. Do you plan to keep working with games?

Yes, till the day I die. That may sound harsh, but thereís simply no other type of job that embraces technology, artwork, storytelling, music, and escapism like developing games. I may not end up animating or modeling for the rest of my career, but I will most certainly be working on games in some form or another as long as I have anything to say about it.

Q. What would be the ideal game for you to be involved with?

I like almost all genres of gaming, however Iím a huge fan of co-operative gaming, as well as strategy games and RPGs. I also have tremendous interest in game design, so my dream job would consist of aiding in the design and artwork for a strategy, RPG hybrid game that supports co-operative play. Ultimately Iíd like to create a game of my own someday, but thatís a little unrealistic at this point in time.

Q. What can you tell about what you're currently doing?

I can tell you that I canít tell you anything about what Iím currently doing (at least not just yet). ;)

GameSpot spoke with Sirtech's director of product development, Ian Currie, about the upcoming role-playing game Wizardry 8. We asked him about the game's current status, its long development, and how it differs from the previous games in the long-running series. We also asked about Sirtech's efforts to find a publisher for the game, now that it is nearing completion, and about the company's plans for the next games in the series. The full interview is posted below.

GameSpot: First, let's talk about the Wizardry 8 development team. How many people worked on the game? Did most of them work on the previous Wizardry games?

Ian Currie: Hmm. I don't have an exact count, but the team was fairly large, and not all the people worked on it the entire duration of the product cycle. The core team was about 14 people, but it probably goes up into the 20s. We've never had so many people work on one game before. I'd have to take a look at the credits and count them all...

GS: How long has the game been in development?

IC: The game has been in development for four years. It hasn't always been full steam ahead, though, although the last year and a half was very intense. At the beginning, we didn't have the full (or proper) staff complement or the technology. We had to overcome a few bumps related to this. We've never been so much a technology-oriented company as we are one that specializes in gameplay, and back then the various 3D engines that exist now weren't available. So, while we did license some 3D technology, a lot of it we've had to build ourselves. There were other complex issues as well--from a design perspective. One of our dilemmas was how to modernize Wizardry without completely changing the type of game it was, and another was the transformation from 2D to 3D and all the issues that come with such a change.

GS: You've announced that the game is mostly finished. What's left to do on the game, if anything?

IC: All we're doing at this point is trying to break some of the more complex quests in the game. The game is huge and very nonlinear, so there are lots of possibilities for things to go wrong. We try to do quests in reverse order or other (sometimes stupid) things to try and break or confuse the game. Balancing the game was a huge undertaking (nonlinear games are always more challenging in this respect), but we're quite happy with it now and aren't making any more changes. Everything is pretty much done and "locked down" at this point.

GS: How does Wizardry 8 differ from the previous games in the series? What new features does it include?

IC: A million things are different in Wizardry 8. It'd take all day to list them all! But I'll mention just a few of the highlights. New features include a full 3D engine and world, 3D monsters, hugely improved monster AI, scads of new spells, a formation editor for your party (so that you can have your strong fighters protect your weak mage), full speech for both your characters and all the NPCs in the game, 36 different personalities you can choose for your characters, a new class called the gadgeteer (he makes odd-but-deadly devices out of pieces of junk he finds lying around), new special abilities for all the classes, a sophisticated NPC interaction system that combines the best aspects of both parsers and keyword systems, and a new "real death" iron man mode. Whew!

GS: Were there any mistakes in the previous Wizardry games that you specifically tried to avoid in this game?

IC: One drawback of Wizardry 7 was that it was hard for newbies to get started--they could be killed quite easily early in the game. We've designed the beginning of Wizardry 8 to be much more forgiving for new players. We've also eliminated Wizardry 7's random dice rolls in creating and leveling up characters. It was confusing to new players, and it was frustrating to experienced players, too, because they had to continually re-roll to get the character they wanted. So, we've gone to a point-spending system that gives players much more control over their characters.

GS: You've released some tracks from the game's score, which was composed by Kevin Manthei. How does the music tie in to the game? Did Kevin work on any of the other Wizardry games, and if not, how did you find him?

IC: Kevin worked on Jagged Alliance 2 as well, and we enjoyed working together. He is unbelievably quick to zero in on the exact mood for every piece, and the quality of his compositions is top-notch. He's really captured the "epic" feel of Wizardry. Having his music in our game is a big plus.

GS: What kind of progress have you made in finding a publisher for the game? When can we expect to hear more about an official release date?

IC: Well, the whole publishing side of things is so complex. We've worked too long and hard on this product to simply give it away. As you know, a successful game doesn't just depend on the quality of the game, but the marketing effort involved. We need a marketing commitment that is commensurate with the quality of the game we've developed, or nobody wins. Obviously, we have been in negotiations for a while, but until a deal is signed, it doesn't do any good to speculate.

GS: Now that Wizardry 8 is mostly complete, what will the team work on next? Is there a Wizardry 9 in the works? If so, can you tell us a little more about it?

IC: Well, we're very ambitious, and we're trying to plan things smartly. Wizardry 9 is already in the works. We've mapped out a lot of the design already, and we're already starting initial plans for some drastic technological and gameplay changes for Wizardry 10. Our goal is to start production on Wiz 9 as soon as the design is wrapped up and simultaneously start R&D on Wizardry 10.

GS: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

IC: Did I mention how great Wizardry 8 is? Make sure you try the demo!

GS: Thanks for your time.

XTR: Hello, Linda, can you tell us about your way to and through your buisness. How much your childhood influenced you onto game industry?

L.Currie: When I was about 14 or 15, my brothers teamed up with 2 other guys and Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord was the result. As it turned out, I became addicted to the game, playing it constantly. Seems I turned out to be the "gamer" in the family. The fledgling Sir-tech Software began to get phone calls about the newly released game, people calling with game questions. My brother asked if I could answer one of these questions one day, and Sir-tech's phone Hotline was born. I've been involved in this industry ever since.

XTR: How much does you work in game buisness affect your personal life, relationships with common people?

L.Currie: Well, I met my husband, Ian Currie (creator of Jagged Alliance) because of the game industry so I guess it has affected my personal life quite a lot! We work together and are basically together 24 hours a day, every day. We both love games so we end up talking games a lot when we're home: and we of course enjoy playing games together.

XTR: After the closure of Sir-Tech you got into a difficult situation. How did you make it to keep doing well, even to produce specific games ( not a secret, that if you create 3D action games you'll get more money, rather developing RPG)?

L.Currie: Sir-tech Canada was never closed. You're thinking of Sir-tech Software, the publisher. Sir-tech Canada has always been a separate company, strictly a development office and our development has not actually been impacted by the closure of the publishing office. As far as the games we do, well, for many of us, our experience lies in creating detailed games like Wizardry and Jagged Alliance and since these are branded titles, it also makes business sense to continue to develop games in these series.

XTR: The Wizardry series - one of the oldest computer series, and the last of them (Ultima, Eye of The Beholder, Zork, Elvira - all are out of the way). How would you like to satisfy experienced fans, may be, what kind of a surprise you are preparing?

L.Currie: We've concentrated heavily on making sure that Wizardry remains a full-featured RPG as opposed to watering down game elements or changing the core game to emphasize "action" or "adventure" as many RPG's have tended to do. As far as actual game details go, your best bet is to check out our website at www.wizardry8.com. We put up updates and news bits weekly.

XTR: Aren't you afraid that the big pause in developing the game would cause, for example, the rendering engine to become out of date? And this can lower the amount of potential players. May be it is reasonable to a buy ready engine instead of correcting and redeveloping the old one?

L.Currie: We did license a portion of our technology, basically the renderer, but back when we started, the variety of 3D engines available today did not exist and so we were somewhat limited in what we could choose from. As it turned out, what we did license was itself not totally complete. As the licensed technology went through delays and revision changes, so did we.

The fact that we weren't licensing a complete game development system meant that we needed to create our own foundation of game technology and we ran into a number of problems along the way both with the delays in the licensed technology and in stumbling blocks of our own creation, primarily due to inexperience. Part of our original intention was to gain skills and tools on which to build our internal development by developing and "owning" a portion of the technology in-house. While we did achieve the objective of learning a heck of a lot about 3D development and in creating some nifty internal tools, had we realized the complications and delays that we would experience, we likely would not have chosen the same route. Then again, hindsight is always 20/20 isn't it?

Also adding to out development time is the fact that we have a lot of legacy behind us and so the move to 3D was not trivial. Wizardry has long been based on many "abstract" pen and paper type concepts. Physical 3D space was never a factor in previous products and the move to 3D meant that many game elements had to be carefully reconsidered and a significant design period ensued. Since maintaining the "feel" of Wizardry was of utmost importance, we had to make sure that the changes made did not negatively alter the core of the game but rather enhanced what we were building from. There is always an element of refinement that occurs in any solid game title, and it was also important to us that every design idea and game element be refined and polished carefully along the way. (Yes, on occasion things did not turn out as we expected and so we'd review and revise some of our decisions).

Our primary goal however is to make sure that what we release is true to our goals, upholds the Wizardry standard, and of course is a fun and stable product. While we don't enjoy frustrating the fans that have been waiting for Wiz 8, we'd rather have our games take longer and be solid, than rush out something incomplete or poorly implemented. (Of course, we have learned a few things along the way as well so the next Wizardry product won't experience the kinds of issues we faced on Wiz 8!)

XTR: Will Wizardry VIII become the last of Wizardys or you plan to make more sequels? If positive then are there any features such as porting the party from the VIII prt, or network support?

L.Currie: We definitely have plans for more Wizardry products: Wiz 8 will NOT be the last in the series. Unfortunately I can't go into details at this time.

XTR: About multiplayer: Do you plan to make something like Ultima Online or EverQuest? If you plan? then when can we expect it's release or first details?

L.Currie: Again, its one of those things that I can't go into details on but let me just say that we have lots of thoughts and ideas about multiplayer ; ).

XTR: Please, tell us something more about the fighting system and gaining experience system in Wizardry?

L.Currie: The fighting system in Wizardry 8 builds upon the roots of previous Wizardry games. To give you better control, Wizardry 8 uses a phased (not turn-based) combat system. However, for those who prefer a faster approach, we've added a new combat feature called "Continuous Combat." This system that approaches the speed and convenience of real-time combat without losing any of the accuracy of a true phased system and you have full control over switching between the modes at any time. You can find more details about combat in Wizardry on the FAQ on our website.

XTR: To my mind, the creation of the Wizardry VIII was inspired not only by the plot, but by other games too, isn't it?

L.Currie: The largest "inspiration" for Wiz 8 was: the previous product. There were a lot of loose ends left open in Crusaders of the Dark Savant and so we felt we had an obligation to satisfy gamers who completed that product. Also, you can import your previous characters into Wizardry 8, another reason to build upon the previous product. And of course, we don't try to reinvent the wheel. Many gamers have loved previous Wizardry games. While we're not just creating "more of the same", and always look to introduce new things, we do want to make sure that Wizardry 8 lives up to the expectations of our fans. As far as the influences of other games goes, playing other games is very important when you work in game development. No matter how long you've been working on game development, you can learn a lot of things by playing other products.

XTR: Did you use the gamer's advices during developing the game or not? Did they make many changes?

L.Currie: We always listen to what people have to say. If what we hear contributes something to the game, makes sense with the other complexities of the game systems, then sure, we do look to incorporate these suggestions into our design plan.

XTR: What are your forecasts for the development of the games in future 3-6 years? What are your place out there?

L.Currie: There are so many changes that go on in this industry that I wouldn't even know where to start talking about forecasts. One way or another though, my place will be working on more games.

XTR: After finishing the work, borrowing money and good rest you'll start a new project. Can you tell us some words about it or maybe some ideas?

L.Currie: Well, future products in the Wizardry series and the Jagged Alliance series sit solidly in our future. We also have some other game ideas that we're just dying to do but given their early design stages, I can't give you any comments on them at this time.

I used to watch the credits at the end of movies and wonder how people ended up with bizarre job titles like Best Boy and Chief Grip. Now I know. In the credits for Wizardry 8, I am listed as Writer, Designer and, of all things, Monster and Item Wrangler.

Now Writer is pretty straightforward: that means creating level documents, working out bits of the story, and writing sensitive, thoughtful dialogue like, "I crush! I crush them all!" Designer is a less specific category that spans a huge variety of tasks. My own design contributions ranged from specifying game features to dreaming up spell ideas to working out exact monster generation formulae with the programmers. But what on earth does a Monster and Item Wrangler do?

Like most games, Wizardry 8 has monsters you can kill, characters you can meet, and items you can pick up. What makes Wizardry 8 different is the sheer variety - there are more than 500 types of monster encounters, and over 700 types of items. As Monster and Item Wrangler, it was my job to create, place, tweak, and generally ride herd over this unruly mass of data.

Creating the monsters was the easy part. The animators gave the monsters form and motion. Meanwhile, I gave the monsters their statistical souls using Wizardry 8's powerful monster editor. I specified both basics like strength and intelligence, as well as minutiae such as the monsters' chance of being stabbed in the foot or whether they were more vulnerable to kicks than punches.

Once the monster had both statistics and graphics, he was ready to be placed in the world. Many monsters and NPCs were carefully hand-placed in specific locations. Other creatures were spawned in monster generators, and then set loose to roam freely in the game world.

This is where things got a bit tougher.

For starters, the world of Wizardry is a big place. Like Johnny Appleseed, I wandered from place to place, scattering beasts and broadswords as I went. Yet covering the entire 3D game world was an adventure in itself, even using editing tools. I had to know each nook and cranny of every level - and there are dozens of levels, each one covering up to 6.5 million square feet of terrain.

Secondly, our creatures turned out to be strong-willed and unpredictable. This is a good thing, because one of our goals for the game was to build a better monster. Many RPGs still feature static creatures that stubbornly stand around in one spot until the player happens to get too close. We wanted our creatures to wander throughout the terrain, so the player would constantly be surprised and challenged by their behavior.

We clearly succeeded in making unpredictable creatures, because they often succeeded in surprising their creators. Sometimes these surprises were due to bugs, as when the creatures began to spin in place like dervishes, or when the fish would sometimes jump out of the water and pursue you over land. (The fish may still do that, if you provoke them in juuuuust the right way. I guess they're lungfish.)

More commonly, the surprises came from the monsters doing what came naturally. For example, if a fight broke out in town, the shopkeepers used rush out to see what was going on. We had to give these gawkers strict orders to stay at their posts because they had an annoying habit of getting killed during the street fights. Another example: bandits would spot you through a second story window and creep downstairs to kill you. This showed great foresight and initiative on the bandits' part. Unfortunately, the script called for them to stay in their room. So we glued them to one spot, and then carefully turned them so they couldn't gaze out the window and daydream.

Once the monsters were placed and then bullied, bribed, or tricked into following the script, it was time to balance them. Using feedback from our testers, we made some critters tougher, some easier. Of course, the testers and the Monster Wrangler didn't always see eye to eye on what monsters needed changing. (Let me make a preemptive strike here and say that the Juggernauts are supposed to be tough. The trick to defeating them is to not let them get too close; once you realize that, they're not a threat.)

Monster wrangling seemed like a never-ending task - perhaps the worst was rebalancing all of the 500-plus monsters in one day to hit a deadline - but the reward came in seeing our creations come to life. Whenever I see a pack of Picuses peacefully wend their way through the forest, or a group of Higardi guards proudly patrolling the city, or a Swallower eagerly devouring a player's party member, I think, "I taught them to do that."

So when you're hacking and slashing your way through Wizardry 8, take a moment to step back and appreciate how much work went into creating that Death Lord you're fighting. Think of the animators that built it and made it move, think of the programmers who gave it life, and think of the Monster Wrangler who taught it everything it knows. Then kill that bastard dead - Death Lords drop really good loot.

My name is Steve Taylor and I worked as a programmer for Wizardry 8. I joined Sirtech and the Wizardry team about a year ago, and by then most of the major game systems were in place. Since then Wiz 8 has evolved from a barely functioning skeleton to a polished, exciting and modern game. It's been really great to be a part of that evolution.

My background is in Engineering Physics and image processing. I've always been an avid gamer and game programming enthusiast. I still have disks full of simple games I made long ago on the Apple II. My favourite game genre is the RPG, and I used to design and host pen & paper RPGs for my friends at school. And of course I played every CRPG I could get hold of, including most of the Wizardry series. So after five years working in remote sensing, I decided I'd give a shot at working on games professionally, and Wiz 8 seemed like the perfect fit.

Since I joined the project late, I inherited responsibilities for a diverse set of game systems, including monster pathing, encounter generation, some 2D interfaces, and various game world special effects (such as monster shadows). Getting monsters to path around the world was my first task, and proved to be quite a challenge. Outside of combat, all monsters move simultaneously (we call it "on patrol") and have to avoid walls and each other while they roam around in packs searching for a good fight. At any given time, there might be as many as 60 monsters patrolling around the world this way. Our levels are basically free-form, and the monsters have to avoid getting stuck in jagged narrow passages and tight corners despite the fact that they come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes. And of course this all has to be done without dragging down the frame rate! To tackle the pathing problem I adapted some ideas from Craig Reynolds' Steering Behaviors For Autonomous Characters, a great resource on the subject of pathing for games. Containment steering, crowd path following, leader following, unaligned collision avoidance, and queuing behaviours are all implemented in the game. Have a look at the leader following demo from this page, and you'll have a good idea of what wandering monster packs look like in Wiz 8. Thanks Craig!

Working with Wizardry team has been as exciting and challenging as I hoped it would be. The problems are difficult but solvable, the feedback from changes is immediate and satisfying, the people are great fun... even the bugs can be a riot! Wizardry 8 is the kind of addictive old-school RPG that got me interested in RPGs in the first place. I hope you enjoy playing Wizardry 8 as much as I enjoyed being part of creating it!

Sir-Tech hired me on in September of 1999 to take over the 2D interface work for Wizardry 8. It's the first game I've ever worked on and I have to say it's the coolest job I've ever had. The people at Sir-Tech Canada are a lot of fun to work with and are dedicated to making great games.

I play a lot of different games from a lot of different genres, but RPGs have always been my favorite so I was thrilled to get a chance to work on Wizardry 8. I grew up on the RPG classics like Wizardry, Ultima and Bard's Tale, so it was a real blast to work on a game that has that same type of depth and feel but was created using the latest technology. We have a vast, immersive 3D world filled with a large variety of monsters and NPCs that roam around with their own agendas. The view is first person, and if you are into first person games like I am, you can set-up your navigation controls to be just like the ones you use in those types of games. The game is turned-based (Phased Combat) under the default settings, but players who are more action oriented (again like me) can play in Continuous Combat mode for a more real-time feel.

Wizardry 8 has all of the things that veteran RPGers like myself love. There are so many classes, races, stats, and skills that every experience is guaranteed to be unique. Each character can perform a variety of actions during combat including protecting other characters, casting spells, and using class or race specific abilities like the Dracon's ability to breathe acid. There is a huge amount of spells and items that characters can use to inflict damage and conditions (like insanity and poison) on the enemy. But beware, they can do the same to you - when your Lizard Man Fighter is turned insane by a Screaming Head, the rest of your party better watch out!

All of this depth and variety made developing the 2D interface very challenging. We needed ways to display all of this information while at the same time not overwhelm players. We had to make all of the characters' actions available and lay out the controls in such a way that commands could be entered quickly, especially for those who want to play in Continuous Combat. We also wanted an interface that was intuitive so that players could jump in without reading much of the manual.

The system we came up with accomplishes these ambitious goals better than we could have hoped. All combat actions can be entered through a concise combat panel that pops out over each character's portrait. Navigating between screens is done using the main toolbar at the bottom of the screen. Most actions can be carried out in a variety of ways, making the interface more intuitive, and almost all actions can have configurable shortcut keys. The radar and monster group list keep the player well informed of the enemies nearby, and condition and action icons let them know what their characters are up to. All of this plus the options to have your characters auto-target and auto-swap weapons make managing a party of eight characters a breeze at any pace of game play. The main game screen is customizable, allowing you to hide most of the interface to increase your view of the game world without losing important visual cues. I'm happy with the results, and I hope everyone who plays the game will be too.

Hello there. My name is Lee Haneman. I'm an Animator for Wizardry 8 and Lead Artist and Animator for Jagged Alliance 3.

I started work on Wizardry 8 just over a year and a half ago. Since then, I've animated over 60 of the creatures in the game, created several monster models from scratch, and touched up a few others.

Animating monsters all day may sound like a fun job - and it is. However, that's not to say there weren't any challenges with animating so many creatures. The thing that was both most difficult and most interesting about doing the animations for Wizardry 8 was that they were almost all unique in their appearance and attitude.

Some games just feature a bunch of human-like monsters who run around and shoot you. Not Wizardry 8. There were monsters with four legs, monsters with ten legs, monsters with no legs at all. A centipede should obviously look and animate differently than a wasp, which should be different from a ten-foot tall badass rock golem.

Then there were the totally original and bizarre monsters such as the T'Rang, an intelligent cross between a spider and a slug, and the Swallowers, big, weird looking creatures that swallow people whole. What the heck is a T'Rang or a Swallower? More importantly for an animator, how do they move? Good question. It required a lot of thought and experimentation to find the answers. I guess you'll just have to buy the game and see for yourself how we did it! The one blessing in disguise with all the unique monsters was that I had a lot of creative freedom in their look and behavior because there was no real comparison to anything seen before.

Getting these monsters into the game from 3D Studio Max (our main tool used for modeling and animating monsters) was generally a trivial task thanks to our terrific tools from our programmers. Our tools allowed us to do many 'cool' things to monsters to add a tremendous amount of variety. Some of these features included the ability to have slightly different scales of monsters based on its hitpoints (monsters with lots of hit points are big, small monsters are pushovers) or to have monsters randomly mirrored to allow for left-handed or right-handed characters. We were also given the ability to create fancy particle effects to simulate spells, fire, water and other cool things.

I have to say that out of all the monsters in the game, my personal favorites include the translucent Slimes, Golems, the four types of Elementals, and the Swallowers (I have a few other favorites, but I don't want to spoil any surprises for you ;). If I've done my job right, you'll have a few favorites of your own.

Wizardry 8 is a very detailed and immersive game that I'm very proud to have worked on. I certainly hope that my work on the game has added to the look, feel and addictiveness of Wizardry 8.

A number of years ago, I was playing a game called Wizardry 7: Crusaders of the Dark Savant. Being a veteran of many classic CRPGs since the dawn of PC gaming in the early 1980s, including the first three Wizardry installments, I quickly recognized Crusaders as a great game. But, as inevitably happens with such games, the more I played, I began to make a mental checklist of things that I thought could be done to make it even better. When I finally finished it (this took a while!), I proudly and carefully stored away my saved game file, anticipating a satisfying sequel. While I had done the same with numerous other RPGs, this one would turn out to be very special.

A couple of years later, I stumbled upon a small ad in the local paper - a company named Sirtech was looking for game programmers. Amazingly, it was indeed THAT Sirtech, and they had just opened a new game design studio in my home town! This was not an opportunity to be missed, and I was soon on board. My first assignment was helping to complete a game called Jagged Alliance. Its success led to my next role as a programmer and assistant designer on Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games. Then came the news that I'd been hoping for: Sirtech Canada was entrusted with designing and developing Wizardry 8. I loved RPGs even more than strategy games, and this was the chance I'd been waiting for! I was selected to be a key member of the Wiz8 design team, and also its lead gameplay programmer. I would actually get to help design and implement some of those improvements that I'd only dreamed of earlier. Any gamer would jump at the chance.

Many long, exhausting yet exhilarating days of design meetings followed. It was clear that we had a tough job ahead of us. How can we retain the feel and excitement of the Wizardry series while taking full advantage the many technological advances in graphics and sound technologies, 3D engines, and friendlier game interfaces? In a time when CRPGs were still thought to be a struggling, dying breed, how do we bring back the fun that made these games such a popular genre in the '80s and early '90s? Fortunately, we had a group of extremely talented developers on hand, many of them veteran RPG fans like myself, to brainstorm, evaluate, and flesh out the various ideas proposed and separate the wheat from the chaff. And, slowly but surely, Wizardry 8 began to coalesce from all those debates about the merits of various engine types, points of view, combat systems, NPC interaction models, character development schemes, interface prototypes, screen layouts, magic systems, and thousands of other such details.

I wore many hats besides simply being a designer in those days.

To begin with, I had to carefully analyze Wiz7 to determine exactly what it was that went on in it, and document this for the rest of the design team. The details of that game are sometimes very complex, which is what gives it such tremendous depth and replayability. After fully understanding Wiz7, I would try to keep everything that worked, and improve or replace anything that didn't or that we thought we could do better. Our goal was to retain the core feel of the previous Wizardry games and indeed classic CRPGs in general, while doing everything possible to make the game more accessible to a modern audience. One of the earliest working parts of Wiz8 was my mock-up of our new character generation and leveling system, using nothing but simple text. I was also maintaining various gameplay and interface design documents, making spreadsheets and tables of all sorts of gameplay components, and of course continuing to participate in meetings to flesh out one piece of the game after another. At the same time I was also the programmer responsible for coding all the gameplay related elements.

As more and more of the design was maturing, it became obvious that I was going to need help. The rest of the programming team was still busy with the technical aspects of the game, and we had a nice working engine, but there wasn't a game there yet. So additional programmers were brought in to take over the coding of the various screens and interfaces, NPC interaction, implementation of the huge number of spells, etc. I became more of a full-time programmer and less of a designer. I now got involved primarily with implementing our detailed combat system, the monsters' combat AI, and the sophisticated combat sighting and targeting systems. I also continued to stay on top of the character generation and development systems and game balance.

Things were moving ahead very rapidly now. All the groundwork had been laid down, and we could focus on adding content, fleshing out details of everything, and actually being able to playtest the game as something more than just a 3D engine walkthrough. While a hundred little tweaks and additions were being made every day by everyone, we all began to sense the same thing: It was going to work! It was Going To Be Fun. This is a very key moment in the lifetime of a long project like this one. You spend an awful lot of time up to that point busting your buns on something that you recognize is essentially an experiment, a form of R&D, without really knowing for sure that in the end it will turn out to be what you'd hoped for. This isn't the cure for cancer we're working on here, and if a game isn't fun, there really isn't much point in making it. Because CRPGs in particular are so complex, and because in our case the technology was actually ahead of the gameplay, this moment came particularly late for Wizardry 8. Personally, this was a great relief for me and a great source of motivation for those long hours of meeting deadlines, alpha- and beta-testing, and bug-hunting. There's probably very little worse than being in charge of gameplay on a game that just isn't fun. Fortunately, I can't really say how that feels :-).

Wizardry 8 is great fun to play. We, the developers, think so, our beta-testers have told us so, and I know so, having finally had enough time to really try it myself. That to me is the most important thing about it.

Oh... that Crusaders party I saved way back when? It now happily lives once again, continuing its long journey in the lands of Dominus. It means something special knowing I had so much to do with making it happen. Someday soon, I hope we too will be judged worthy of becoming Cosmic Lords... As long as Wizardry 9 doesn't get in the way first!

To see any of the answers to the riddles, to prevent anything from being accidently spoiled, you must highlight the text after the question to reveal the answer.

Q. What is the answer to the riddle in Trynton (with the flowing water)?

A. Life.
Q. In the Monastary, there's a metal bridge with a broken lever - how do I fix it?

A. You don't fix it. You will have to go upstairs, where the lever works.
Q. In the Monastary, I have crossed the metal bridge and there's a door which requires a strange key! I can't find it anywhere!

A. It's not in the Monastary. You will have to go to Arnika to find the wheel key.
Q. Where is the wheel key located?

A. In Arnika. Look for the Brotherhood. There is a room with several undead there. Kill them and get the key.
Q. In Arnika, how do I get into those doors with the bars at the bank?

A. Open the chests by the caged door. You will get keycards. Show them to the banker.

∑ Don't forget to visit the official Wizardry 8 website! ∑