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Default Project Eternity - Characterisation Blog, Interviews

September 23rd, 2012, 02:39
Chris Avellone has kicked up a blog entry for Project Eternity titled "Characterisation":
Character building for games isn’t easy, and it requires a lot of effort, especially when it comes to companions. I’ve had the good fortune to work on a variety of titles with strong support characters over the years, and I enjoy writing them a great deal. I still can’t believe I get paid to do this (don’t cut me off, Feargus).

There are a few guidelines I try to follow when designing companions (some of these are dependent on the engine and franchise).

- Combat/Challenge-viable. Any companion that can’t hold their weight and help support the home team in some fashion isn’t going to last long in the hearts of players (well, maybe a very forgiving few). This is something I learned way back in Fallout 2 when it became clear that Cassidy was far preferred over Myron, for example (and not just because Myron was an ****, which factors into another point below). It’s also a lesson I picked up while playing Final Fantasy III – every character needs to contribute to the mechanics and challenge mechanics in some fashion (whether combat or stealth or whatever the game’s challenge is).

- Companions should be optional. Whenever possible, the player should never be forced to take them or in the case of true psychopaths, even let them live. The golden rule is the companion should be a support character or a walking/breathing slab of target practice if the players don’t like or want anything to do with the companion.
Head over for the full post. Meanwhile, VG247 has an interview with MCA:
Can you give us an insight into what stage of that process you’re at now?
We’re in pre-production, although most of our efforts at the moment are focused on the Kickstarter. Adam Brennecke is heading up our production and tasking efforts – he’s where we’ve gotten most of our Kickstarter metrics and planning.
Josh Sawyer is our project lead and he’s laying out world elements, races, and systems, I’m working on narrative approaches and character concepting – which should be up this week -Rob Nesler is setting up the visual look and feel of the game, and Tim Cain is working on a number of design elements of the game, including basic stats and armor mechanics, as well as ideas for non-combat ability design.
In addition to the folks above, we have a number of other Obsidianites are working on gameplay and graphics, which you’ll see samples of in the days to come.
…and some comments from J.E. Sawyer at Ars Technica:
In the great RPG debate between real-time action and turn-based battles, Obsidian has decided to split the baby for Eternity, going with a real-time system that allows for the option to pause the action to set party positioning and coordinate attacks. Sawyer said that a purely real-time system was out if the team wanted to keep the feeling of classic "Infinity Engine" games like Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment. But going with a purely turn-based system would have also felt off, he said.
"Because we also wanted to emphasize more open map exploration, with combat taking place in the same space as that exploration, pacing-wise it felt better to use real-time with pause than turn-based. In talking with Tim Cain (who's doing a lot of the system design), most of the problems we've faced with previous systems came from adapting turn-based tabletop systems in real-time with pause. We believe we can eliminate a lot of those problems by designing the system for real-time with pause from the start."
More information.
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September 23rd, 2012, 02:39
Well, I guess the last two days pretty much solve the (faux) debate about how active they are with posting updates and follow-ups.
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September 23rd, 2012, 03:31
They also just added another update on KS, haha. Yeah, they've really thrown it into overdrive. The contrast between this weekend and last weekend, for example, is almost absurd.
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September 23rd, 2012, 03:42
Yeah glad they've been trickling out some interesting details about the process and the world as they go. The update on the 19th was a particularly good one in terms of boosting pledges; getting your all-digital tiers right and adding DRM free options usually do that. More concept art would still be nice - me like purty pictures and all that.

Personally I'd like to see meatier background on the setting; I think a detailed lore post with good concept art might see a nice boost in pledges. Frequent updates are good and I imagine part of the reason they're teasing out a little info with each one is so they don't run out of substantive information to share before the end of the kickstarter. The other reason I imagine is that its pretty damn early in the high level design process.

They said a big update would be coming Monday and the content of those "big" updates might have more impact on pledges per day than the frequency of updates alone. If its a good one we might see another day or two of increases in pledges like we did on the 19th; of coure there will also probably be the normal big spike at the end as well. Still a difference in final average $ pledged/day of $10k is a difference overall for the project of roughly $300k so significant spikes throughout can have a large effect on the end total.
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September 23rd, 2012, 04:05
Poor Dhruin, every time he post the latest news about PE…they do a sneak update or more interviews.

Monday, I hope they will have some news about localization. That news should bring a big boost (and more sales once the game is released too). Feargus said that they were looking into it and he got pms of people wanting to do the translation (he used Portuguese as an example).
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September 23rd, 2012, 04:07
I like to have a few weaker characters like myron as they tend to add variety. Not everyone wants the most powerful party.

Favourite RPGs of all time: Wizardry 6, Ultima 7/7.2, Fallout2, Planescape Torment, Baldurs Gate 2+TOB, Jagged Alliance 2, Ravenloft: The stone prophet, Gothic 2, Realms of Arkania:Blade of destiny (not the HD version!!) and Secret of the Silver Blades.
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September 23rd, 2012, 04:28
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
Poor Dhruin, every time he post the latest news about PE…they do a sneak update or more interviews.
Well, I did originally complain about their communication so I guess it serves me right!

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September 23rd, 2012, 08:28
I wish mod support were higher up in their priority. I trust the game will be excellent, but people have different tastes and mods will allow us to get closer to our own ideal game preferences
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September 23rd, 2012, 09:13
Originally Posted by SonOfCapiz View Post
I wish mod support were higher up in their priority. I trust the game will be excellent, but people have different tastes and mods will allow us to get closer to our own ideal game preferences
My guess is this is the new stretch goal they plan to announce next week
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September 23rd, 2012, 09:52
Originally Posted by bjon045 View Post
I like to have a few weaker characters like myron as they tend to add variety. Not everyone wants the most powerful party.
Not only players want some weak companions but they also demand companions that do not take the light from them, being too powerful…
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September 23rd, 2012, 14:34
Originally Posted by SonOfCapiz View Post
I wish mod support were higher up in their priority. I trust the game will be excellent, but people have different tastes and mods will allow us to get closer to our own ideal game preferences
I guess that depends a lot on Unity's capabilities and also the terms of use. Does anybody have a deeper familiarity with this?
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September 23rd, 2012, 15:04
Originally Posted by himmy View Post
I guess that depends a lot on Unity's capabilities and also the terms of use. Does anybody have a deeper familiarity with this?
Unity team doesn't mind people making moddable games with their engine, but the dev need to provide the custom tools. Basically, it's a question of time and resources. So having it as an higher tier would be possible.
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September 23rd, 2012, 15:17
Originally Posted by jhwisner View Post


Personally I'd like to see meatier background on the setting; I think a detailed lore post with good concept art might see a nice boost in pledges. Frequent updates are good and I imagine part of the reason they're teasing out a little info with each one is so they don't run out of substantive information to share before the end of the kickstarter. The other reason I imagine is that its pretty damn early in the high level design process.

I'm totally the opposite. I want more updates about the actual gameplay: combat, classes, spell system, skills, etc. I don't care about the lore or the setting, game could be about a group of white cells fighting an evil disease overlord in someone's bloodstream for all I care, as long as the actual gameplay is fun.
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September 23rd, 2012, 20:53
Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
game could be about a group of white cells fighting an evil disease overlord in someone's bloodstream for all I care
I fail to see why you're offering this as a bad example of story idea.
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September 23rd, 2012, 23:14
Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
I'm totally the opposite. I want more updates about the actual gameplay: combat, classes, spell system, skills, etc. I don't care about the lore or the setting, game could be about a group of white cells fighting an evil disease overlord in someone's bloodstream for all I care, as long as the actual gameplay is fun.
I don't want less updates on gamepley - I'm just a huge lore fiend and I know I'm not alone there. While a good and interesting gameworld can't make for a game lacking in core gameplay, it can certainly make a game with solid gameplay mechanics all the more attractive. I also think core mechanics will be harder to get solid details on this early in the process than background of the setting; that is they will have to refine and possibly totally rework planned gameplay mechanics many many months from now once they have a testable build.
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