Most people suggested the vanilla experience. I suggest the same except for playing BG1. "My personal opinion" is that original BG1 engine is ugly and very annoying. You cant pause while checking inventory, it will auto unpause once you visit inventory. I spend half of my time in inventory while playing RPG games so that was annoying for me. Also you cant use TAB to see things you can interact with. I dont enjoy pixel hunting so that was also annoying for me. Finally, the default resolution is 480x 640 which is too small. Install both BG1 and BG2 and play both for a little while and you will see what i mean.
You can use BG:T Mod to play BG1 with BG2 engine. There is also something called BG-TUTU but I have never tried that.
That's why it's better to play it as the first game. The BG1 engine is fine, it only may become annoying once you get used to easier BG2 engine. Besides, using these mods changes the balance of the game a lot. BG1 engine is not worse, it just plays differently. Funny that you call it ugly, where BG2 character models are inferior to the BG1 ones (paperdolls as well). For the vanilla experience in the first playthrough I wouldn't recommend fiddling with changing the engine.
BGT and TuTu are mostly for people who played BG2 before BG1 and can't get used to the earlier version of the engine. For someone who didn't play either a lot it's completely unnecessary.
As for pixel hunting, well that's what secrets and/or easter eggs are supposed to be - really hard to find. Especially in BG1 you can find some relly powerful items very early in the game and it's up to the individual player to decide whether it's fair, or even cheating to easily obtain these. I remember back in 1999 where together with my friend we were looking for one of those items, because his older brother told him about it. We didn't have the internet back then, so no exact coordinates. It took me some playthroughs to finally find it. I really liked the whole mistery about it, after many failed attempts we thought that his brother made it all up.
No pause in inventory is a feature, not a limitation of the engine (there's pause in multiplayer). It's quite similar to Fallout where you have to use action points in order to access your inventory mid-fight. It forces the player to make decisions that are sometimes a bit tricky - should I get that potion from the inventory, or is it too risky in the middle of a fight. This is also an example how BG2 engine messes up with the balance of the game.
Using widescreen mod + TWM-gui is the way to go, if the resolution is too low.
Sorry for that ramble, I don't mean to be nitpicky (though it may seem as such), I just wouldn't recommend such total-conversion mods for the first playthrough.
Interesting. I agree in some way. Sometimes I consider certain limitations or drawbacks from older games (whether intended or not) is the feature of it. That said, I am not a true infinity engine virgin, I still remember a bit
the tech aspect of BG1 and I just tried BGT and found out it's more enjoyable experience technically than what I recall when I played BG1 in the past (I like the item highlighting especially since I don't have much time nowadays, but I tihnk that's the only think I remember different. lol).
Anyway, I finally picked my answer after much consideration. Now I'm doing BG1 (with BGT) and currently just finished Nashkel Mines. Wow so much fun! I remember the game was quite complicated but I found it fun as an older person. Haha.
I'm just using a straightforward fighter cause I don't want to think much of spells (though, technically I still do spells when using spellcaster NPC like Dynaheir). My party is Imoen, Jaheira, Khalid, Minsc, and Dynaheir. I heard good things about Edwin and Viconia but I guess I'll try them later in BG2 (They are also in BG2 right?). After BG1 I'm probably doing Icewind Dale or Planescape.
Thank you so much for your suggestions.
(But if you want to keep discussing, I'm cool with that :) I might add my response later when I finished the game)