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Pillars of Eternity - All News

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Wednesday - July 30, 2014
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Box Art

Wednesday - July 30, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Interview @ RPS

by Couchpotato, 18:07

Rock, Paper, Shotgun posted the second part of their interview with Josh Sawyer.

In the second and final part of a conversation with Josh Sawyer of Obsidian (part one), we discuss how the design of Pillars of Eternity differs from Fallout: New Vegas. That involves a discussion of New Vegas’ post-release support, official and otherwise, and the pros and cons of traditional RPG systems. Of particular note – why Pillars of Eternity does not have a Speech skill, or any other skill of that sort.

With contributions from executive producer Brandon Adler, we also discuss the role of Paradox as publisher and the benefits of digital distribution, and end with a tribute to nineties RPG, Darklands.

Monday - July 28, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - New Interview & Previews

by Couchpotato, 16:23

PCGamesN has a new interview with Obsidian about how they hope sales for Pillars of Eternity will help fund the sequel without using Kickstarter again.

Kickstarter funded Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera from InXile, and Pillars of Eternity and its expansion pack from Obsidian - essentially plotting out the second Infinity Engine Age in advance.

For Obsidian, the hope is that initial kick will be enough to see them through Eternity’s sequel, too.

“That’s the dream of any independent developer,” said project director Josh Sawyer. “That they get the cash reserves that they don't need to ask anybody for money.”

“What I would like, and this is true of any independent developer, is for this title and the expansion to be successful enough that we don't have to go back to Kickstarter to make the sequel,” Sawyer told PCGamesN.

Project Eternity’s campaign in October, 2012 raised $3,986,929 in a month - more than tripling the developers’ initial goal.

“That was rapido,” recalled Sawyer. “The rate that the campaign took off, we did not expect it. At all. We had to come up with where we wanted to take it very, very quickly. 

“We had two or three stretch goals planned. We launched it on a Friday and we had to come in on the Saturday and discuss how we were going to approach it.” 

While “very rewarding”, Sawyer said it was “hard to describe” just how gruelling the Kickstarter process is.

“It’s 30 straight days of campaigning,” he explained. “It's rough. You’re constantly talking to the fans, you're constantly thinking of new stretch goals, you’re constantly generating new content. 

“That process is something I could never look forward to but the overall result of it can be very effective. I wouldn't shy away from using it in the future if I thought here's an idea for a game that a publisher's not going to touch.”

I also found two more previews this week.

USGamer

If it seems like Obsidian is taking extra care with Pillars of Eternity, it's probably because they have big plans for the series going forward. Should it prove to be a hit, they will move forward with a sequel, and possibly other games like it. Sawyer isn't willing to say that Obsidian will only focus on isometric RPGs from now on, but it's apparent that they've found a business model they like.  

Strategy Informer

Even now Pillars of Eternity looks like the real deal, though Sawyer assures me that there's still work to be done getting it ready for a planned launch sometime late this year. Still, what I saw was enough to leave me with a big smile on my face. Obsidian don't want a simple retread of past glories, instead they're taking a beloved genre and looking closely at what it did well and what its weaknesses were.

Sunday - July 27, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Preview @ IGN

by Couchpotato, 16:12

IGh has a new preview for Pillars of Eternity, and posted a new video with spoilers.

When Obsidian developers Josh Sawyer and Brandon Adler ask to drop by the IGN office, you make time to see what they’re up to. The creators of such classics RPGs as Planescape: Torment and Icewind Dale (and more recently, South Park: The Stick of Truth) have a resumé littered with memorable role-playing games that all feature impressive depth, breadth, and overall variety. Their latest is Pillars of Eternity, and if it fulfills its promises, it’s sure to keep me in the world of Eora for a long time to come.

Friday - July 25, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Interviews & New Video

by Couchpotato, 15:51

It has been a busy week for news on Pillars of Eternity. So for today I have two new interviews. and a new developer video of the games Beta.

So let's get started with the two interviews first.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun

Pillars of Eternity was, briefly, gaming’s most successful Kickstarter, at least in terms of funds raised. Like many crowdfunded games, particularly in the early days, it’s a project driven partly by nostalgia. A party-based fantasy RPG in the style of Baldur’s Gate and the other Infinity Engine D&D games, it has a strong heritage to live up to. Obsidian’s Josh Sawyer is the director of the game and I spoke to him late last week about theology, flagellant monks, freedom from licensing and respecting player’s choices. We also talked about his desire to make a historical RPG and his previous work, particularly the design of Fallout: New Vegas.

PCWorld

It's no secret I'm pretty excited for Pillars of Eternity, Obsidian's spiritual successor to 1990s CRPG classics like Baldur's Gate and Planescape Torment. In the past I've gone to Obsidian's headquarters to check out the game and chat with project lead Josh Sawyer, and then I saw a second demo at E3.

This time I sat down with Josh Sawyer here in San Francisco to discuss character creation and...well, a lot of other stuff.

And for last here in the new video from Dealspwn I promised above.

 

We're seeing a fair few nostalgia trips these days, blending old-school sensibilities with updated systems -- distilling the elements that made classics like Baldur's Gate and Fallout and Elite so utterly brilliant and updating everything to provide a smoother experience that feeds our rose-tinted desires and removes any clunkiness or mechanical cobwebs.

Nostalgia is a powerful thing indeed, and it carried Pillars of Eternity (just called Project Eternity back then) to the top of Kickstarter's funded list, giving Obsidian Entertainment the chance to pay homage to the Infinity Engine games that put so many of its employees on the map.

Last week, we got the chance to check out the game and chat to project lead Josh Sawyer, who delivered a half-hour presentation bringing us up to speed on where development currently sits. There'll be a preview coming shortly, but here's the presentation in full for now. Apologies for the awful visuals (had a slight tech fail on the day).

Thursday - July 24, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Another Preview Roundup

by Couchpotato, 16:26

Pillars of Eternity once again had a bunch of sites release more previews based on the games demo. So as usual here they are in another roundup. Enjoy everyone.

Gamespot

The demo came to a close, but not before the three-person adventuring party navigated an eerie temple, where black oozes, spiderlings, and a floor tile puzzle provided the biggest obstacles, while a choir chanted in the background and French horns called out their fanfares. The adventurers emerged into the Ruins of Cilant Lis, where they were greeted by a giant whirring magical device and the guardians protecting it. The game's title appeared on screen, leaving me to wonder if Pillars of Eternity will refresh role-playing traditions or simply replicate them--and whether pure replication is anything to scoff at, given the legacy of Baldur's Gate and its ilk. Nevertheless, I have faith not just in the strength of the Infinity Engine template, but in Obsidian's ability to use that template to craft a journey worth taking.

IGN

After spending some time with Pillars of Eternity, I love how it manages to tap into the nostalgia of old-school CRPGs with its numerous options and deep customization, while also bringing the genre into the 21st century with more dynamic environments, beautiful graphics, and faster combat. Pillars of Eternity promises to have something for everyone, and so far I’m confident Obsidian can deliver on that promise.

Gamesradar

Everything about Pillars of Eternity seems to be hitting on the classic experience you would expect from an isometric view-RPG from the late '90s. There is an extensive character customization system that allows you to choose from races such as the traditional elf, dwarf, and human variety, but there is also a cone-headed race called the Godlike and several others unique to Pillars that change things up a bit. You'll gather loot, outfit your party with abilities and gear, and battle enemies using the game's active combat system.

The Sixth Axis

Going off the game’s initial pitch on Kickstarter, of revisiting the popular classic RPGs of the Infinity Engine, what Pillars of Eternity has actually come to be surpasses what I would have expected. It’s instead aiming for an expansive richness and depth to practically every facet of the game, whether it’s the new fantasy setting and time period or the breadth of playable possibilities which the character creation tools can create.

And as a bonus thanks to Vurt we have a new video from Giant Bomb.

Your favorite muscle wizards, Brad and Rorie, want to know if they can turn off their cloaks. Not that they ever would.

Wednesday - July 23, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Mini-Forum Round-up

by Couchpotato, 15:47

Once again we can thank gamebanshee for another round-up of news for Pillars of Eternity. This time they gathered a few interesting threads from the games forum.

Given I had some time, I've also decided to round up an assortment of interesting recent forum info. This is by no means a full social media round-up, but some of this stuff was interesting enough to deserve some space alongside what Sawyer said about the beta.

Monday - July 21, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - New Podcast @ Guy Cocker

by Couchpotato, 14:13

 Guy Cocker had the chance to do a new audio interview on his blog with Obsidian's Brandon Adler and Josh Sawyer about Pillars of Eternity.

On this week's podcast, games journalist Guy Cocker talks to Obsidian's Brandon Adler and Josh Sawyer about upcoming RPG Pillars of Eternity, and discusses the week's news, new releases, and the games they've been playing.

Thursday - July 17, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Preview @ Game Grin

by Couchpotato, 04:38

Game Grin has a short preview of Obsidian's new RPG game Pillars of Eternity.

With Pillars of Eternity, Obsidian has managed to strike a solid balance between nostalgia for Baldur’s Gate and its late nineties compatriots without ending up with a game that feels…well, dated. Admittedly, much of its appeal rides on players’ rose tinted affection for those old-school DnD-inspired RPGs (myself included), but the game is not without its own merits and feels more like a tribute than a misguided attempt at a resurrection. While its target audience is without a doubt gamers who were old enough to play Baldur’s Gate and its ilk when they first came out—or several years behind the curve, like me—Pillars of Eternity should still hold some appeal for newer gamers as well, if only because it gives them a look at a gameplay style that primarily died with Windows XP.

Thursday - July 10, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Post-Funding Update #82

by Couchpotato, 04:48

Obsidian Entertainment has released the next update for Pillars of Eternity with more information on the games creatures, and the release of the games beta.

Creatures

Update by Rose Gomez, Associate Producer

Hello backers! In today's update, we'd like to show off a few of our creatures that you might have heard us talk about in previous updates. With the end of production getting closer every day, we have some news about our backer updates, and we’re also pleased to announce a date for the upcoming Backer Beta! In our next update, we’ll get into more detail about that.

Update Schedule

Hey, everyone. Brandon here. With production moving into the finalization phase for Eternity, the team and I are hunkering down to finish up the game over the next few months. Going forward, we will be spacing out our backer updates a bit more from now until the project ships. They’ll come a bit less predictably, but you can still expect updates as we have big announcements or special news for you. This will really help us focus as much of our efforts into putting out the best game we possibly can for everyone.

In our next big update, we will discuss the upcoming Backer Beta in more detail as well as what it will entail and how to redeem your copy.

Speaking of the Backer Beta...

Backer Beta

We will be releasing our Backer Beta on August 18th. As we mentioned above, we will get into all of the specifics about the Backer Beta in our next update. Be on the lookout for it over the next month.

Tuesday - July 08, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Beta Release Date

by Couchpotato, 10:35

A short post on the forums for Pillars of Eternity has news from BAdler the baker beta version of the game will be released on August 18th.

Hey, everybody. I just wanted to announce that we have decided on a release date for the Backer Beta: August 18th. We will discuss all of the particulars in a formal Kickstarter announcement, but we wanted you to hear about it first.

Tuesday - July 01, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Interview @ Angry Joe

by Couchpotato, 03:00

Angry Joe had the chance to interview Obsidian at E3, and talk about Pillars of Eternity.

AngryJoe Interviews Obsidian about their popular Kickstarter project the old school throwback style RPG, Pillars of Eternity.

Thursday - June 26, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Post-Funding Update #81

by Myrthos, 12:48

The fighters and barbarian classes are discussed in this update for Pillars of Eternity.

Each class holds the line in its own way. As covered in Update 52, the monk absorbs damage to fuel special attacks through the use of accumulated Wounds. These attacks can stun, push, or weaken individuals or small groups around them. While monks have to be monitored to ensure their Wounds do not overwhelm them, they can absorb a large amount of punishment and hamper enemy movement on the battlefield. In contrast, the fighter holds the line the traditional way: by standing her ground, blocking opponents, and being infuriatingly difficult to knock out. Barbarians are designed to jump into the fray swinging wildly. Lacking the accuracy and strong Deflection of the fighter, the barbarian makes up for his lack of discipline through sheer speed, savagery, and abilities tailored for fighting groups of enemies. We've already covered the monk's Wounds and how they play into their use, but the other two front line classes differ in how they stem the enemy tide and how players monitor and use them over the course of combat. To show you how they differ, let's look at the details.

If one of Pillars of Eternity's eleven classes is the rock (we'll skip the obvious "pillar" joke), it's the fighter. All across Eora, fighters are known for their discipline, skill, and durability. In the Eastern Reach, they are often employed as caravan guards, soldiers, and personal bodyguards. Accustomed as they are to long marches, strange places, and life on the road, all fighters gain a minor skill bonus to Athletics, Lore, and Survival.

Sunday - June 22, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - More Previews & Screenshots

by Couchpotato, 04:57

Here are a few more previews for Pillars of Eternity to go along the others this week.

Gameranx

I left the small cubicle and out of the convention center entirely and into the sweltering heat of downtown Los Angeles after the demo concluded. I wished it was winter. Not because it was too hot out--even though it was--but because Pillars of Eternity is smack in the middle of beta and won't be released until the end of this year. I got the sense that Sawyer and his team were walking a thin line between simplifying a complicated genre while still retaining the depth that made it a beloved genre in the first place. As brief as the demo was, I felt that they were walking that line just fine.

Calm Down Tom

Pillars of Eternity is certainly shaping up to be something special. The game is pegged by Obsidian as being a similar scale as Baldur’s Gate, which means there’s a huge game being made here, and from a technical point of view, it looks stunning – especially when you add that it’s being made in Unity, with very reasonable system requirements and will ship on Windows, Mac and Linux. I’ve worked with Unity as a developer and played a lot of games made with it and frankly I’ve never seen anything look this good from that engine – throw your preconceived notions out of the window about what a Unity game is.

Hardcore Gamer

Pillars of Eternity will feature hundreds of beautiful handcrafted environments, a robust combat system and a completely adjustable story filled with unique characters to recruit. While we were only privy to a small slice, it made us crave the entire pie. There’s so much to explore in this world and so many branching paths to be taken that Obsidian Entertainment may just have one of the most sought-after experiences on the market. While there is still no given release date, expect to play Pillars of Eternity sometime later this year on PC and Mac.

Actiontrip

The Obsidian representative said that they modeled Pillars of Eternity after PC RPGs of the late 90s, in particular, Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale. Players have a top-down view of the scenario before them, and like the original Baldur’s Gate, all combat is done in real time, but the player can pause the game before doling out orders to the party. They have also assured us that there are numerous dungeons and secrets scattered throughout the handcrafted world, and they emphasized that exploration will be crucial. In other words, this game has my name written all over it.

And for last RPGamer has a few new screenshots.

Saturday - June 21, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Interview @ Gamereactor

by Couchpotato, 05:10

Gamereactor is the next site to post a new video interview for Pillars of Eternity.

Obsidian take on the classic 90s RPG with their Kickstarter-funded
project. We talk to them about how they've built their fantasy world and
kept it distinct from other entries in the genre.

Friday - June 20, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Interview & Previews

by Couchpotato, 04:59

Well seems the embargo on information from E3 has been lifted for Pillars of Eternity. So lets get started as I have a new video interview from RPGamer with Josh Sawyer.

Next I have a list of previews that I will just list the links as I'm too lazy to copy descriptions for each one. So enjoy and debate in the comment section below.

Friday - June 13, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Interview@ RedBull

by Couchpotato, 05:47

Red Bull has posted a new interview from E3 with various Obsidian developers.

But since fantasy's isometric halcyon days, the genre has moved on. Fantasy games aren't niche retoolings of Dungeons and Dragons anymore – now the industry's Elder Scrolls, Dragon Ages and Dark Souls are front and centre at every expo and awards ceremony from E3 to Gamescom. We can chop zombies to bits in painstakingly textured, digitally hand-painted 3D these days, so what, if anything, do your top-down, text-rich RPGs have left to offer?

"Skyrim and Dragon Age are both great examples of high production values, each in its own way," says Null. "To achieve these levels of production value, it is usually necessary to cut certain 'old school' features from the equation. Party sizes get smaller, dialogue options become limited and combat is streamlined.

"Now I want to make it clear, I like [those games] for what they are. I also like, and miss, the older style RPGs I grew up on. Pillars of Eternity is being made for over 70,000 generous donors that apparently miss those games too."

Thursday - June 12, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Post-Funding Update # 80

by Couchpotato, 05:09

Obsidian Entertainment has released the next update for Pillars of Eternity from E3 with a new video, and talks about the games Alpha & Beta.

From Alpha to Beta

Hey, everyone. Due to E3 crunch we are going to push off Josh's next class update for a couple of weeks. Instead, I will give an update about the general state of affairs for each department on the project now that we are getting ready to head into our Beta period. The next update will feature Josh's final class update along with info from the Eternity E3 presentation. Let's get into it.

Area Design

All of the areas have been in the game for about a month now, and the area designers have been revisiting each area to make sure everything is in order. They're using specially crafted Alpha checklists to make sure that none of the major items are missed. For example, designers are checking that the area has a proper navigation mesh, ambient sound effects are placed, and scene transitions are working as intended.

Josh (Project Director) and Bobby (Area Design Lead) are heading up meetings to review all of the quests in the game. Each quest is played through by the team and analyzed. We ask basic questions like "Why is this quest fun?", "Does the player care about this quest?", and "What hooks the player into starting the quest?" If anything is lacking, the design team spruces the quest up to make it a memorable one. Over the Beta period the designers will continue fixing bugs and polishing content.

Environment Art

Much like our area designers, our environment artists have been revisiting all of the areas of the game and performing their Alpha checklists to make sure all of the areas pass art Alpha. In addition to the checklists, they are performing polish work that had been identified previously by Bobby and Rob (Art Director) on areas.Currently, the environment artists have done a pass on all of our critical path areas and they will be moving onto our side content once we enter Beta.

Systems Design

Now that our systems are all in place, Josh has been focused on balance and polish bugs that have piled up over the course of the project. For me, this is one of the more exciting times in the project because the game really starts to take shape and become fun.Game balance will continue throughout our Beta period, right up to our release.

UI

Kaz (Concept and UI Artist) has been finishing up the last remaining UI screens. He is now working on Scripted Interaction images, icons, area paint-overs, and portraits and will be doing so for the foreseeable future.

Animation

The animation team has been wrapping up the last B priority items and will moving into full-time polish until the end of the project. B priority animations are things like special creature attacks, class-specific spell casts, or animations for minor creatures (animal critters, for example).Once the animation team has finished up creating the animations, they will be focused on animation polish.

 Character Art

Our character artists have completed all of the creatures and creature variants we planned for the game (and even a few that we hadn't planned on). They have also created all of the base weapon and armor variants, and now character art is focused on finishing up all of the unique armors and weapons. Once they complete the last bit of gear, they will move onto creating a few additional head and hair variants for each race. Like the rest of the team, they will also be polishing content for the remainder of the project.

Narrative

The narrative team finished up the critical path a few weeks ago and now they have their focus on completing side content in our various regions. Eric (Lead Narrative Designer) has been tweaking and polishing the E3 demo areas, while Carrie (Narrative Designer) has been hard at work finishing up some of our companions. Narrative is also polishing up the areas that will be used in for our Backer Beta. Over the next few months narrative will finish our companions, and we are going to start finalizing and locking down on the writing to prepare for localization and voice over.

Programming

At this point, the project is completely feature locked. The programmers are fully focused on fixing the mountain of bugs that have built up over the course of the project. There are still some items that need to be finished (installers, for example), but the majority of the work will be put towards fixing and polishing existing systems. This is where the build (that may have been unstable throughout development) really starts to come together.

VFX

The team is continuing to crank away at VFX. It is one of the areas of the game (along with narrative and audio) that are not at an Alpha level, which is intentional. The later on the project that you can bring the VFX team on, the lower the amount of rework that they will have to do on assets that may get changed. We have added VFX on a little less than half of the spells and abilities, on all of our VFX creatures (creatures that are VFX driven instead of our normal creature pipeline), and on all of the critical path areas. We are scheduled to be finished with VFX in a couple of months.

Audio

Much like VFX, audio usually comes onto our projects a bit later than other departments. Many of our areas have had an ambience pass and are sounding really good. Same goes for our creatures - more and more of their SFX are being hooked up every day. We have also completed our initial pass on things like UI sounds, and very shortly, our audio team will create sounds for our spells and abilities. Justin (Audio Director) has been working on finishing all of the music tracks for the game. In fact, he just finished composing our main theme. Much like VFX, this audio team is scheduled to finish in a couple of months.

Overall

Overall, the project is coming together nicely. We have a ton of work that still needs to be done, but the team is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There are no major roadblocks ahead of us at this point and now it's a focus on getting as much polish done as we can before our final release candidate.

Thursday - May 29, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Post-Funding Update # 79

by Couchpotato, 03:04

Obsidian Entertainment has released the next Kickstarter update for Pillars of Eternity that focuses on Graphics and Rendering, and they mention the game will be at E3.


Graphics and Rendering

Update by Adam Brennecke, Lead Programmer and Executive Producer

Over a year ago, in Update #49, we showed you the first movie of Pillars of Eternity. The movie showcased a beautiful scene in the Dyrwood complete with dynamic lighting, per-pixel occlusion, dynamic water and waterfall, and a day-night cycle. In this update I would like to give you an inside look on how these images are put together and rendered in the game, and I will cover new rendering features that we've added over the past year to address feedback from our backers about how our characters look in the scene. Warning: things might get technical!

E3

We are going to be going on update hiatus for the next three weeks as we prepare for E3 in Los Angeles. After E3, the next update will feature the final classes covering The Front Line (fighters and barbarians).

At E3, the team will be showing Pillars of Eternity at the Paradox booth behind closed doors. To avoid spoiling what we will be showing, we will be saving these moments until you get to play it. Because we want to include you in the experience, we will be taking photos at the booth, and in a future update we will be sharing more screenshots from the demo. To give you a small taste, here's a sneak peek at a scene that will be shown at E3:

Thursday - May 15, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Chanters & Priests

by Couchpotato, 06:09

The next post-funding update for Pillars of Eternity has information about two more classes called the Chanter & Priest. The update also has two short video clips.

Update #78: The Leaders of the Band: Chanters and Priests

Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director

For our third class update, we will be covering chanters and priests. Along with paladins (covered in Update 56), these classes provide parties with their core support bonuses and healing effects. Different games refer to these types of characters using different terms -- usually "leader" or "support" -- but at their core, they excel when they are providing assistance to their teammates. The benefits they provide to the group often outstrip the contributions of individual party members in the final tally, but their abilities must be used carefully to maximize their impact.

Our next update will be from Adam Brennecke. He has some great graphical enhancements to share that we hope you'll enjoy. After that, our final class update will be on The Front Line: fighters and barbarians.

All three of the leader classes have a balanced suite of offensive abilities and though there is overlap in the effects of their various support abilities, they differ significantly in how they are used. Paladins utilize persistent auras to provide strong bonuses to allies in their immediate vicinity and limited-use single-target commands to grant powerful buffs to individual teammates. Chanters' phrases create a rotating cycle of bonuses that shift over the course of combat, building up energy until they can utter powerful invocations. Priests are traditional casters, relying on large area of effect bonuses mixed with small area offensive spells to direct combat from afar.

Saturday - May 03, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Interview @ JustPressStart

by Couchpotato, 00:42

Josh Sawyer talks about Pillars of Eternity in a new audio interview on JustPressStart.

I was thrilled to be able to snag Project Lead Josh Sawyer from Obsidian Entertainment for a few minutes to get into some more detail about the upcoming RPG Pillars of Eternity.  We talk about the intricacies of the combat system, ruminate on the challenges of creating a new world for gamers to explore, and relive the glory days of the Infinity Engine, during our conversation.  The more I learn about Pillars of Eternity, the more excited I become, and the more impatient I get to actually play!

Wednesday - April 30, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Post-Funding Update #77

by Couchpotato, 05:19

The next post-funding update for Pillars of Eternity is with Associate Producer Rose Gomez who talks about the games Art, and shares some new images.

Art in Alpha

Update by Rose Gomez, Associate Producer

Greetings backers! In today's update, we've got some great new character and area art for you to check out. Our artists have been hard at work creating beautiful new areas and lots of new armor for the game. Our next update will be the next chapter in the class series, all about chanters and priests, by Josh Sawyer.

Sunday - April 27, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Interview @ RPG Codex

by Couchpotato, 06:24

The RPG Codex's Crooked Bee notified me they have posted a new interview on their site with Obsidian's Carrie Patel about Pillars of Eternity. Here is a small sample.

Speaking about games, you’re working on Pillars of Eternity: In your opinion, what are the differences between writing a book and writing for an RPG like Pillars of Eternity?

When you're writing a book, much of the process is between you and the voices in your head. Since games are collaborative, there's lots of play between narrative, level design, and art (oh, and programming!). That means that your contributions have to fit with the tapestry that everyone else is weaving, but it also means that you get to collaborate with incredible people with very different skills whose work will ultimately enhance yours.​

Can you tell us what you’re currently working on?

Currently, I'm writing dialogue for the end of the critical path.

This is sort of a process question. In speaking to other narrative designers, we understand that they are not the only ones that contribute to dialogue writing in a game: sometimes area designers contribute too. Does it work the other way around? Are you involved in writing and designing quests for Pillars of Eternity?

Most of the quests in Pillars of Eternity have received some level of area design implementation by the time they get a narrative pass. So the degree of wiggle room varies from one quest to another, but we always look for ways to tie the story and lore more closely to individual quests without discarding the excellent design work that's gone into them. This may mean changing the backstory of an NPC to make him more relevant, changing quest dialogue while keeping the quest's original sequence of events, or, sometimes, changing a few of the quest's steps to build a more engaging narrative. We always discuss larger changes to make sure that the end product results in a good story and a satisfying gaming experience.​

What is the most interesting thing to you regarding the lore? Have you been able to contribute to the lore yourself?


Unfortunately, I can't share my favorite lore tidbit! But I love our take on the undead, which Eric Fenstermaker described in one of the project updates. Much of the lore was in place (in some form) before I started, but it tends to get tweaked and refined over the development process. When I've contributed to lore, it's most often involved taking components we already have -- creature designs, cultural traits -- and molding them into something specific that fits in our world (for instance, bestiary lore and tribal identities). It's like Top Chef for worldbuilding. Here are your ingredients! What can you do with them?​

One of the most important aspects of an RPG for many players is the quality of the writing and, especially in an Obsidian game, the companion dialogue. Working with Chris Avellone, Eric Fenstermaker and Josh Sawyer, does that leave you with any room to contribute companion dialogue as well? Anything that you can share or does Eric Fenstermaker just steal all of your best ideas and share them as his own?

I will be writing one or two of our companions, and this is one of the things I've looked forward to the most. I couldn't possibly agree that Eric steals my ideas (if I did, he'd probably steal my desk chair, too).​

Tuesday - April 22, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Interview @ Newegg Arcade

by Couchpotato, 05:09

Newegg Arcade interviews Obsidian Entertainment's Feargus Urquhart & Josh Sawyer in a new video to ask a few questions about Pillars of Eternity.

Paul, Steve & our newest correspondent Nick travel to Irvine, California to talk with Obsidian Entertainment's Feargus & Josh. These gentlemen, especially Feargus, have quite a bit of experience with amazing IP like Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights 2, Star Wars -- Knights of the Old Republic II, South Park -- The Stick of Truth & their newest RPG title: Pillars of Eternity. We were graciously corralled around the studio by Brandon who was keen to keep us out of places we shouldn't be filming ;) -- although we tried. We all had a spectacular time and enjoyed talking with their team. We also can't wait to get our hands on their new RPG, Pillars of Eternity.

Saturday - April 19, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Interview @ PC Gamer

by Couchpotato, 05:45

Josh Sawyer is interviewd on PC Gamer to talk about world-building, magic, psychic warriors, and more for Pillars of Eternity. Here is a small sample of the interview.

PC Gamer: Memorable party characters are a big part of why people love Infinity Engine games. Do you have a favourite of the Pillars of Eternity companions?

Josh Sawyer: Well, there’s the one I’m working on now, Pallegina. We like to write our companions relatively late in development because it gives us time to react to stuff in the world. She’s cool because she has an interesting character arc and conflict. The game takes place in Dyrwood, which is a super European setting, and feels kind of like the Dalelands from Forgotten Realms. It’s very continental European, and it’s full of regular dudes and ladies going about their business. But one of the nearby countries, the Vailian Republics, are kind of like black renaissance Italians who have colonised this area. So her character is from that culture and she’s sworn to protect her homeland. But she thinks she can do it in more effective ways than she’s being told to.

Visually, she’s an interesting character, because she’s godlike. The godlike in this world are kind of like the planetouched in Forgotten Realms. She has aspects of a bird as part of her features. So she has feathers growing out of her face, and golden bird-like eyes. She’s very striking-looking and interesting, and she’s just been really fun to write. We have a lot of cool characters and a bunch of different writers are working on them, so it should be a neat mix.

PC Gamer: What kind of fantasy RPG standards or cliches are you trying to avoid or subvert?

Josh Sawyer: I just try to avoid doing things that I don’t personally like. For example, the class balance stuff was done because I’ve made a bunch of these games, and I’ve been playing D&D for most of my life, and I keep seeing very strong trends towards behaviour that I don’t think makes players happier. It doesn’t give them as much choice as the systems claim to give them, and I think we can do a better job. If someone wants to make a brilliant, weakling fighter, that is a build that is viable in our game, and it’s rewarded within the conversations and the fiction of the world. That’s not something that’s really true of playing Dungeons & Dragons.

If you want to make a muscle wizard, who is mighty and powerful and a stupid idiot, you can do that. Mechanically what happens is that you’ll do a lot of damage, but their durations and areas of effects will be very small. Then in conversation they’re total idiots. [laughs] You can bully people and you can pick them up off the ground and slap them around. It’s not like I’m setting out to subvert stuff. I play tabletop games with a lot of people who have really great ideas for characters, but mechanically they’re shitty characters. So when I try to fix that stuff, it’s not because I think it’s inherently better, but that it gives more opportunities to players to create more diverse characters, and feel rewarded for doing so.

Wednesday - April 16, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Post-Funding Update #76

by Couchpotato, 05:35

The next post-funding update for Pillars of Eternity has information on the new Heartbleed bug , and has a lengthy update with Audio Director Justin Bell.

Music in Pillars of Eternity

Public Service Announcement by Darren Monahan, web guy

Before we get started on this week’s update, we wanted to make all of you aware of a very serious website vulnerability called “Heartbleed” that was discovered since our last update. This bug affected a huge number of sites and services across the internet, potentially exposing passwords and other sensitive information to hackers that understood how to exploit it.

Unfortunately, the Eternity website was running an affected version of this software, and as soon as we became aware of it, we took the appropriate steps to close the vulnerability. While we have no evidence or other reasons to believe any passwords or personal information was stolen, we do recommend you change your password if you have an account, especially if you reuse this same password on other sites.

To change your password, visit your Account Profile, click on the E-mail & Password tab, enter your current password, and your new password twice and click Save Changes. Please leave the e-mail address boxes empty.

Update by Justin Bell, Audio Director

Hello awesome backers. My name is Justin Bell and I’m the Audio Director at Obsidian, and the Audio Lead/Composer for Pillars of Eternity. I know a lot of you have been waiting patiently to hear some news about the game’s music. Thanks for waiting, I’m happy to say this update will focus entirely on music! In it we’ll cover the high level creative guidelines we’re using to write the score. I’ll also provide you with an in depth look into my music writing process. For those of you who are chomping at the bit for more info about the sound design for PoE, don’t worry... We’re going to do another update in the future that focuses on that as well. But for now, let’s talk about music!

Saturday - April 12, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Interview @ Stevivor

by Couchpotato, 05:02

Stevivor had the chance to interview Feargus Urquhart about Pillars of Eternity, and talk about the Paradox Interactive distribution deal.

Steve Wright, Stevivor: First, before we get into what’s probably a set of obvious questions, let’s focus on Pillars of Eternity first. Can you give me a bit of a backstory on how the game came to be? Influences, design strategies, that sort of thing?

Urquhart: A lot of us worked at Black Isle, you know; that's where the five owners of Obsidian came from. We were the external producers on a lot of BioWare projects, which were Neverwinter Nights for 95% of its development, plus Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II. I did work on Shattered Steel, which was one of BioWare's first products.

Internally, we did Icewind Dale and its expansion packs, which were Infinity Engine games, and between Baldur's Gate… between the numbers of all these games, we're talking 10 to 15, maybe even 20 million units were sold between all of those. People enjoyed those games, and people remember them. To this day, people still walk up to me and tell me how much they enjoyed those games. And they just stopped being made.

We moved over to Obsidian, and indies really needed to start focusing on consoles; BioWare started focusing on consoles, and these games – not because people didn't want them – just stopped being made. And so that kind of went out of our heads for the next six or seven years. Then, John from GameBanshee, which is an RPG journalism, hobbyist kind of site, talked to me at E3, probably four years ago and asked why I wasn't making those games.

I really didn't have a good answer, other than I couldn't get them funded. We thought they'd be cool, I'd love to make them, and I'd still want to play them, though. Then the PC started to gain more Steam…

And then, Kickstarter blew up in 2012 with Double Fine and In Exile and the guys who made Shadowrun Returns, and us, with Pillars of Eternity. It was a chance for us to go back and make something that we loved, and we certainly can make that type of game. A modern version of it, that's something that we want to play. Luckily, people were totally in to it.

Wednesday - April 02, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Post-Funding Update #75

by Couchpotato, 05:42

In the 75th update for Pillars of Eternity Obsidians talks about how they bring the creatues to life, or as they call the update "Animation on Pillars of Eternity."

Bringing Creatures to Life: Animation on Pillars of Eternity

Update by Rose Gomez, Associate Producer

Hello backers! After a successful week at GDC everyone is back in the office energized and inspired. This week we'll be taking a look at what the life of an animator is like on Pillars of Eternity, from what an average day looks like to how an animation goes from concept to being in the game.

In our next update, look forward to an update all about the audio design on Pillars of Eternity, featuring Justin Bell, our Audio Director.

As a reminder, the survey deadline has passed. If you still need to fill out your surveys, we encourage you to do so by going to the backer portal and completing your order. We will attempt to accommodate as many late surveys as we can, but we can't promise that the content will make it in to Pillars of Eternity. Late survey entries may have to go into a future Eternity product instead.

GameCrate

We have a bunch of new interviews and articles out on Newegg's new gaming site, GameCrate! GameCrate visited our offices in February for a behind the scenes tour of the studio and got to take a firsthand look at Pillars of Eternity. Take a look at their article, The Factory Level: Obsidian Entertainment to see what they experienced.

Check out what Josh had to say about the game in his interview here then take a look at an interview with Feargus here about the business side of Pillars of Eternity.

If you're in a hurry and want to get down to the quick details, check out their article 10 Pillars of Eternity Details We Picked Up During Our Tour of Obsidian Entertainment.

Sunday - March 30, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Josh Sawyer Interviews

by Couchpotato, 05:53

Josh Sawyer was a busy man at GDC 2014, and managed to get interviewed a few times about Pillars of Eternity. The first interview is from VG 24/7 where he talks about exploration, story, and murdering dudes.

“For people who like New Vegas but aren’t necessarily experienced with this, you know, six-party-member type of [RPG], I think they will appreciate how we reward their choices and allow them to branch and form alliances and screw up alliances with people,” Sawyer said.

“How we let them build reputation, I think they’re going to dig that. We’ve actually expanded that more than we have in previous games. You get personality-specific reputations, where if you’re an asshole repeatedly, you meet people who are, ‘Oh, you’re that huge asshole guy,’ Some people are like, ‘I love how you’re a fucking crazy asshole!’”

For Sawyer, the Pillars of Eternity experience is supposed to be truly about role-playing and all that has entailed from the tabletop era to now. In the common parlance, “role-playing elements” refers to stats and levelling and gear, but those things are not literally what role-playing is. They are methods of execution. And so there will be dungeon crawling, sure, yes, of course, but there will also be equally significant portions of exploration and dealing with NPCs.

The second interview is hosted at Games.on.net where he gives his opinion on how to deal with hardcore fans who are very picky, or as he calls them grognards.

We caught up with Josh Sawyer, project lead on Pillars of Eternity, in a brief moment of calm at this year’s GDC. He explained that Obsidian were undertaking a careful balancing act when it came to just how much weight to give the opinions of old-school RPG grognards.

“There are certain aspects of that that we think are okay,” said Sawyer. “For example we don’t have quest markers in Pillars of Eternity. At all. In our journals we try to be very descriptive and clear in our updates so that you can read them and figure out where you need to go but we don’t use quest markers. And we’re okay with that, because it’s a different style of exploring and feeling and figuring things out on your own.”

Sawyer warned however that other elements, what he described as “GM-sucker-punch kind of stuff”, were being carefully filtered by the team because “the vast majority” of Pillars of Eternity’s backers simply won’t enjoy them.

“Combat encounters that can only be completed a certain way or (situations where) you have to have one of these characters, or you have to have these two characters,” said Sawyer, “those ‘gotcha!’ moments that some gamers love, well… God bless you I guess, but we’re not gonna do that.”

Saturday - March 22, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Interview @ Ausgamers

by Couchpotato, 05:36

Obsidian Entertainment's Josh Sawyer was interviewed by Ausgamers to answer a few questions about the recent Paradox deal, and other topics about Pillars of Eternity.

AusGamers: Now I don’t know how specific you can get on this but, how many separate projects are in the works at Obsidian now? Even with South Park wrapped, it seems like there must be a few? Has the team expanded significantly in recent years?

Josh: Recently it did expand, because South Park was winding down, so we’ve wrapped up on that, and of course we’ve just had our announcement about Armored Warfare, which there’s a lot of folks at Obsidian working on that. Then we always have other projects that are in progress -- things that we’ve started up and are working on in the background. So we always try to be a two or three project studio, and that will probably continue for the near future.

AusGamers: Has the creative freedom afforded by the crowdfunded Pillars of Eternity noticeably altered studio culture at all? Has there been a measurable envy from the devs working away on the big publisher licensed stuff, or do you even have strictly defined teams for each project in that sort of way?

Josh: Well I wouldn’t say it’s strictly defined, but people don’t just kind of float around. People will move over to our project sometimes then work on something else for a while and maybe come back later. Obviously it’s nice to be able to work with your own IP, but there are other certain nice advantages of working with someone else’s IP, but you know, the grass is always greener.

It’s very hard to build an IP from scratch. We’re not really making any bones of the fact that we’re trying to make a game that feels very much like Forgotten Realms; we’re trying to capture the feel of those old Baldurs Gate and Icewind Dale games. So there is a certain framework to what we’re doing, that we’ve already pre-established, but even so, we do have a lot of freedom to make up things: we don’t have to run them by a publisher; we don’t have to run them by an IP holder; we’re the IP holder, we’re the ones making it.

Really we’re just beholden to the fans. So for example, early on when we were developing the races during the Kickstarter, something I talked about internally with people was: I’m pretty sure there are plenty of people that want to play elves and dwarves [laughs]; I’ve got a feeling a lot of people want to play those two races. I don’t necessarily know if anyone wants to play gnomes or halflings, so we’ll just kick those guys right out and make up some new races. But elves and dwarves I’m pretty sure people want to play those guys.

So it’s not about whether I personally like elves or dwarves, it’s about, if you played Baldurs Gate, you probably have some sort of an expectation of elves and dwarves. So we do still have sort of boundaries and restrictions about how to develop things, but it is nice to be able to take those in directions that we want to.

Thursday - March 20, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - GDC 2014 Press Conference

by Couchpotato, 09:14

Paradox Interactive released a video from the GDC 2014 Press Conference with Fred Wester, and Feargus Urquhart. They even throw in a little game footage at the end.

Obsidian Entertainment and Paradox Interactive announced an exciting new partnership at GDC 2014 in San Francisco to launch the upcoming role-playing game (cRPG), Pillars of Eternity.

Watch the announcement with Fred Wester (CEO of Paradox) and Feargus Urquhart (CEO of Obsidian) as they discuss what roles each company will take on for the game, and why we're a great fit for each other!

Pillars of Eternity - AMA & Two More Interviews

by Couchpotato, 04:35

Obsidian has been busy in the last few days with the latest update about them teaming up with Paradox, They did a few interviews and released a new AMA on the games forum.

So lets get started witht the AMA on the games forum with some of the developers.

What is this partnership about?

Simply put, Paradox is assuming responsibility for the marketing and distribution of Pillars of Eternity. What this means is that Obsidian can now devote all of their time and resources to the development of Pillars of Eternity and make the game the best it can be.

Why Paradox?

Paradox has its roots in PC gaming and is known for publishing and developing some very niche titles. Like you, they’re fans of RPGs from the Infinity Engine days and have been around almost as long. Heck, some of them are even backers! If anyone can appreciate the passion and dedication of this project, it is certainly Paradox.

Will Pillars of Eternity still be released this year?

As communicated previously, we’re confident that Pillars of Eternity will be wrapped up by year’s end. The partnership has no influence over our projected launch date.

Next I have two new interviews with more information. So if you want more information that isn't biased like the RPS interview then read on.

Eurogamer - Paradox and Obsidian: "We both know there's no BS

"What we both know is there's no BS," Obsidian boss Feargus Urquhart said.

"A lot of publisher handling is just relationship management. It's asking what's going on, it's handling that relationship, everybody patting everybody on the back and burping them.

"I feel like I could just call Paradox and say - excuse my language here - 'What the f***?!' I probably never would, but we could have a quick conversation about a situation and not do this dance. And that's great."

"

Paradox boss Fredrik Wester agreed. "It's a personal relationship that I feel works. This is not like our first awkward date. We've both been in the industry for a while, we know the ups and downs. We've both had some failures, both had some successes. We've both released some buggy games in the past and now we both want to release a really great gaming experience.

"Two or three years ago we had to publish games we couldn't really stand behind and that damaged our reputation, because we needed the cashflow," Wester added. "Now we're in a totally different position.

"If we don't think Pillars of Eternity is up to standard, we're going to tell these guys. And we're opinionated people, we're going to come back with tons of opinions. We have a QA team of eighteen people who're going to play the game for weeks and weeks and give their feedback."

Polygon - Pillars of Eternity Deal Built from Mutual Respect

Paradox and Obsidian will remain independent companies but will continue to foster their mutual relationship. Urquhart said he feels he can "call out" Paradox if something is uncomfortable, and both company heads are confident that lines of communication will be open and strong.

"This is a partnership between two strong independent companies that remain strong and independent," Wester said. "That's the reason we're doing this. We also want to build a new genre within the RPG genre as well, and we will work long-term with Obsidian to build that new genre and grow a community."

"You can feel independent even if you're owned by someone else," he added. "We are both privately held and centered around small ownership groups, and because of that it's much easier to get along. We've eliminated a lot of the initial threats to the relationship not working. We can focus on the thing that matters, and that is the game."

Wednesday - March 19, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Interview @ RPS

by Myrthos, 12:24

Rock Paper Shotgun talked to Feargus Urquhart and Fred Wester the respective CEOs of Obisdian and Paradox on the publishing deal for Pillars of Eternity, potential other opportunities for Paradox and the bugs in South Park: The Stick of Truth.

RPS: But it’s an interesting situation to be in. The notion of publishing a Kickstartered project is new. One of the things that you don’t necessarily know is, you had all this interest in the Kickstarter, but is that the full amount of interest for the game? Did everyone who might have thought about buying the game contribute their bit?

Wester: No, not really. For everyone who will pay up front for the game, there are 10 who will buy the finished game. That’s always the math. I wouldn’t call this a traditional publisher-developer relationship either, because that’s very important to emphasize. This is more of a partnership between two strong and independent companies. When we truly publish a game, we go in and fund it from day one and we have a lot of things that… This is a project from Obsidian, by Obsidian, with help from Paradox to bring it to market and reach the maximum audience. It’s different.

Urquhart: I hate the use the way to associate… It’s almost a mindkill for me to say this, but I don’t want to associate the idea of Kickstarter with preorders… It’s not the same thing. However, it is kind of the same. There’s a certain similarity in some ways. There are only so many people who go out and preorder a game versus the people who end up paying for the game, ultimately end up buying the game. It’s just different. So these are the people that… I would love to say that I could say ice to the Eskimos, but I can’t. People need to see proof of something and its success before they buy it. And maybe it’s just our gut. We’ve been doing this a while. Our gut and our hope is that this will work. We could have a conversation in however long and say, whoops, we were wrong! And we’d still be drinking beer and crying.

Wester: On the other hand, it wouldn’t be the first time we were wrong either, so it’s not a big deal that way. I would be kind of devastated if this project tanked, though. When you look at it, it fulfills all the boxes for me as an old-school RPG player. If the game is crap, of course it’s going to fail. But if the game is good and we still don’t reach that audience we want to reach? I would be disappointed. I think this game deserves to be played by a lot of people.

....

RPS: There’s the slight elephant in the room, which is that on consoles especially, South Park had some complaints about bugs and glitches and whatnot. What ended up happening there? You’ve been pretty adamant recently about having QA locked down. How did a rather worrisome number of bugs slip through so easily?

Urquhart: There were some bugs and some glitches. I don’t mean to sweep it under the rug. All in all, it was a pretty solid game, though. Everyone who bought the game could finish it.

RPS: That’s kind of a low bar, though…

Urquhart: I’m not saying that’s the whole bar. But the first thing to say is, when we talk about this whole thing about how, oh, it’s buggy… 13 hours after it was on Steam, I had people emailing and saying, your game is awesome! So obviously it worked and it worked well. On the console side of things, I can also tell you… It’s hard for me. I can’t give you any exact things, because it’s all one person saying it’s buggy and another person saying it’s not.

All I know, which I even told Fred earlier, is that we passed PS3 with zero points. When we submitted to Sony in America, we got zero points. Which is, you can have 20 points on their scale and get approved. We passed with zero. So on a scale of how buggy [it was or wasn't], to me it was a pretty solid game.

Pillars of Eternity - Post-Funding Update #74

by Couchpotato, 01:56

The lastest post-funding update for Pillars of Eternity was posted on the games website with information on a new publisher deal, and talks about Wizards & Druids.

Thanks for sending in the link purpleblob, and make sure the rest of you read the full update for more information. Here is the video part with Josh Sawyer.

Partnership

A few minutes ago, Obsidian made an important announcement about a new partnership with Paradox Interactive for Pillars of Eternity. We wanted to give some information to our backers to give you a full understanding of what this partnership means and to let you know that nothing has or will change when it comes to the making of Eternity. Pillars of Eternity is still our product, we're making 100% of the development decisions, and we will still be communicating directly with you every chance we get.

So, you are probably asking, why are we doing this? Obsidian is really good at making games. Everyone here is focused on that goal every day and we are heavily invested in our work. That said, Obsidian's focus is in creating games and not in marketing and distributing them. It takes a lot of time and effort to do those things properly - time and effort we want to use to make Eternity the best game it can be. We chose to partner with Paradox because they can help us with those things and really believe in PC games in particular. This lets us spend 100% of our time (and your money) towards making Eternity great. Every dollar you have given us will to go into making the game.

We have setup a FAQ on our forums that will go over any questions you may have about what this partnership means for Pillars of Eternity. Please take a look and let us know if you have any other questions. And now, on to the magic of the mob rulers!

Tuesday - March 11, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Developer Forum Q&A

by Couchpotato, 04:51

Adam Brennecke hosted a Q&A session on the Pillars of Eternity forums. If you have any you want answered it's not to late to join in. He might still respond to them.

Adam at Work

Hey Everyone,

I'm working all day today (yup it's Sunday, and I have no life). Feel free to ask some questions about Pillars of Eternity, or being a programmer/producer at Obsidian, and I'll do my best to answer them. Some things I can't answer - sorry in advance!

Today, I'm working on a few odds and ends - bug fixing and miscellaneous features. Right now I'm looking into an occasional bug that causes party members to get stuck-in-place permanently after they get knocked down. That's no fun, so I'm going to fix it.

Anyone get a chance to play South Park: The Stick of Truth yet? I'm looking forward to doing a complete play through hopefully soon.
 
-Adam

Wednesday - February 26, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Post-Funding Update #73

by Couchpotato, 05:28

The lastest post-funding update for Pillars of Eternity talks about Narrative Design.

Narrative Design: A Day in the Life, Companion Goals, & Undead

Hey everybody. I'm Eric Fenstermaker and I'm the lead narrative designer on Pillars of Eternity. Before this I held the same position on South Park: The Stick of Truth, so if the dialogue in Eternity ends up being a long string of obscenities and fart jokes, you know who to blame. You can direct all hate mail to my work email account, brandon.adler@obsidian.net.

I know we suggested last week that I was going to give you a lore update, but I thought, this is a crowdfunded project. Why not completely fail to deliver on what was promised and instead give our backers something no one asked for?

I have three things for you today - the first is a look at what my daily experience is like, then I'm going to talk a bit about some high-level goals we have for writing our companion characters, and finally I might just have some lore about Eternity's undead.

On the next episode of Pillars of Eternity: Josh Sawyer writes a class update about wizards and druids, and Adam meets a wacky goblin neighbor only he can see!

Monday - February 24, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Joshua Sawyer Video

by Couchpotato, 04:25

Joshua Sawyer answeres a question from the Pillars of Eternity tumblr page.

Answering truewarriorpoet's question on tumblr: "What are some cliched rpg or d&d tropes you are personally tired of seeing, and how do you plan on creating your own vision in PoE so it introduces familiar but unique twists on them?"

Wednesday - February 12, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Post-Funding Update #72

by Couchpotato, 05:13

Obsidian has posted the next post-funding update for Pillars of Eternity with more information on stretch goals, game art, surveys, and the expected ship date.

Death Godlike and Expected Ship Date

For this update, we've got some awesome new character, area, and concept art that we're excited to show. However, before we get to the art, we wanted to officially update everyone that we are looking good to release Eternity by Winter 2014. So, look forward to getting your hands on Pillars of Eternity later this year.

Stretch Goals

After much discussion and consideration of the poll on our forums we have decided not to pursue any additional stretch goals. Rest assured that the team is working hard on completing the game and including our current stretch goals.

Surveys

Our designers are working hard to implement the designs that our higher tiered backers have come up with. If you have a survey that needs to be filled out, please do so by March 31st. It's important that you get your surveys completed by the deadline because we are closing in on Alpha quickly. The team needs ample time to get your content into the game. We can't guarantee your in-game contribution will make it into the game if you are late. This includes inn/tavern designs, adventurer party designs, portraits, NPCs, and items/weapons, so make sure you get your idea in before the deadline! You can fill out your surveys on our Backer Portal after you've finished managing your pledge. They can be found on your account page under the Surveys tab.

Pillars of Eternity - Preview @ Eurogamer

by Couchpotato, 04:38

Eurogamer has a new preview for Pillars of Eternity based on a talk with Josh Sawyer.

Why do the game's characters look mundane?

Pillars' characters are not flamboyant fantasy heroes, not wizards with pointy hats, not knights with elaborate armour. 'Why?' people asked after watching the recent trailer (embedded above). 'Why are the characters so... normal?'

"Some people might not like that our characters' proportions and outfits look comparatively drab and dressed down and not exaggerated," answered Sawyer, "but that's also kind of what the original [Infinity Engine] games were like. They don't look like [World of Warcraft] characters, they don't look like Diablo characters. They're not super-exaggerated.

We're not doing romances

Romances between you and fellow adventurers seem to be a de facto feature of role-playing games today. But Obsidian isn't doing them in Pillars of Eternity.

"We're not doing romances," said Sawyer, "but [the other characters] do have pretty detailed stories, they do have their own personal motivations and goals that sometimes align with yours and sometimes they don't. They interject into your conversations, they argue with you, they argue with each other."

And if you play on Expert mode, or if you enable character death, then followers can die. But Obsidian's "not real big on having characters die in scripted sequences". (Incidentally, if you don't like the given, storied crop of party members, you can make your own, using the Adventurer's Hall.)

Tuesday - February 11, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Preview @ PC Gamer

by Couchpotato, 05:55

PC Gamer has a short preview of Pillars of Eternity.

Obsidian isn’t giving away much about the plot, only that your created character is caught in the middle of an ‘incident’. This causes a series of consequences that build into your story. Vague – but it’s a character arc designed to give the player options. “We want to let the player feel like they have a lot of control over where the story goes, who they help, who they punish, and what the ultimate resolutions of major story points are,” says Sawyer.

Expect plenty of choice in how you deal with individual encounters, too. Sawyer uses the example of guards protecting a sacred dungeon you need to explore. “You can trick them, talk them out of it or intimidate them,” he says. “But the default is to just walk up to them and kill them.” It’s good to have options.

Monday - February 10, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Josh Sawyer Q&A Videos

by Couchpotato, 11:18

Josh Sawyer released two videos to answer qestions about Pillars of Eternity.

Attributes and Character Archetypes

Answering silkvalley's question "Do you think it is important for attributes to allow certain archetypes? For example, a clumsy and physically weak wizard, yet she deals tons of damage with her spells. The priest who's outstandingly accurate with his spells, but is not a master in sleight of hand and pickpocketing (Dexterity). Similarly, should increasing the damage he deals with spells (via attribute) also increase the number of items he can carry?"

Sympathy for Villains and Antagonists

My rambling answer to the question: "I notice in recent years many "popular" evil characters are written in a way so that they're too sympathetic or relatable so that their status as a villain whom the audience should not overly sympathize with is diminished. How does one write a villain or evil character in a way in which their motivations are well-defined and even sympathetic without defeating their purpose in the story?"

Wednesday - February 05, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Interview @ Eurogamer

by Myrthos, 12:33

Eurogamer has made an article style interview with Josh Sawyer on Pillars of Eternity. The first thing they asked was when the game would be released:

When is Pillars of Eternity, your 10th most anticipated game of 2014, coming out? Spring? That's what developer Obsidian said during the game's Kickstarter campaign.

But no, according to project lead Josh Sawyer, who spoke to me recently, "It's not going to be in spring." What about summer? Probably not.

Is it realistic, then, for people not to expect Pillars of Eternity in the first half of 2014? "Yeah," he answered. "It's going to come later."

And then he explained: "We foresaw needing a bit more time when the Kickstarter ended. It's understandable that people don't know this but when you start a Kickstarter, once it goes live, you can't change that [estimated release] date. You're not allowed to change to that date.

 

 

"When we started with a million-dollar budget and a relatively modest game with five classes [there are now 11], that was assuming if we get $1m we can make this game and we'll probably get it done by April. We got almost four-times as much money and that's a much bigger game, and that doesn't mean that immediately we just dump four-times as many people on it and it also gets done in April. There's a lot more stuff to do.

 

Monday - February 03, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Class Poll for Next Update

by Couchpotato, 02:53

There is a new poll on the Pillars of Eternity forums to see what character class you want featured in the games next update.

As per Update #71: "We will be doing three more class pair updates in the future: The Leaders of the Band (chanters and priests), The Front Line (fighters and barbarians), and The Mob Rulers (wizards and druids). Let us know what you think of today's update and please vote on which of the three class pairs you'd like to see covered next."

Wednesday - January 29, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Post-Funding Update #71

by Couchpotato, 04:09

Obsidian has posted a new post-funding update for Pillars of Eternity with more information on the games Rogues and Rangers.

The update is a wall of text so please read the link as I can't fit more than a part of it.

The Heavy Hitters: Rogues and Rangers

Welcome! First things first: if you have backed Pillars of Eternity but not yet completed your order on our website, please do so as soon as possible. Even if you have an all-digital order, we need information from you to make sure you get everything you are supposed to. If your backer tier includes an NPC, item, portrait, or other custom piece of content, an early response will make it easier for us to work with you on your designs and preferences. As always, we appreciate that our backers have made Pillars of Eternity possible and we want to ensure that you get your money's worth.

Heavy Hitters

In Pillars of Eternity, the designation of a character as a "rogue" signifies their vicious, brutal style of fighting, not a propensity for theft or deception. More than any other class, rogues exemplify the adage that the best defense is a good offense. If fighters are the disciplined, reliable, well-trained units that hold the line, rogues are the shock troops that attempt to break through that line to take out vulnerable units before they can effectively retaliate. When pinned down, rogues can suffer from their weak defenses, but ideally they carry their momentum from one target to the next in short order.

Rangers are expert sharpshooters with any ranged weapon. Though they traditionally rely on bows and crossbows, some use firearms or even magical implements. Regardless of their choice of armament, even novice rangers can strike swiftly and leave severe wounds that quickly wear down an enemy's stamina and movement. They are assisted in their efforts by their animal companions, incredibly tough and loyal creatures who share their lives (literally) with their masters. All rangers start with the following three abilities:

Thursday - January 16, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Social Round-up #6

by Couchpotato, 03:17

GameBanshee has once again compiled a list of updates for Pillars of Eternity found from a variety of social websites.

Given we're now well into January and it's been roughly a month, if not more, since we last heard news on Pillars of Eternity, it seemed like a good moment to do another social round-up on the title, mostly (but not entirely) based on info coming from lead designer and project director J.E. Sawyer.

Wednesday - January 15, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - Post-Funding Update #70

by Couchpotato, 04:24

Obsidian has posted a New Year Project Update for Pillars of Eternity.

New Year Project Update

Hello, everyone. Like everyone here at Obsidian, I hope you had a great holiday season and were able to gorge on lots of treats and good food. This week I am going to go over a bit about the new Backer Portal (please log in if you haven't already), give a general update about where we are in our production, and show off some of the cool things that are happening in the game. In our next update we will be taking a more detailed look at some of the classes in Eternity.

Areas

As most of you know, we finished up Od Nua (our mega-dungeon) in our last milestone. I have to say, I think it looks pretty amazing. Currently, the area team is working on our second big city, Twin Elms, and it is looking just as good. Here, take a look for yourself.

Ancient Engwithan ruins near Twin Elms

Without getting into too much detail, the Area Designers are fleshing out the end of the game right now and everything is really coming together. The area in the screenshot above looks like the perfect place for a big fight, huh?

Characters

Our character team has been cranking out new creatures and equipment.

We are almost completely through all of our A priority creatures. Soon we will be working on our B priority creatures and lots of equipment variations.

One of the creatures that was just finished to Alpha quality is the Cean Gŵla. These banshee-like undead are the spirits of women who died under particularly tragic or traumatic circumstances.

Take a look at the comparison images below.

UI

Most of our UI has either been implemented or mocked up to an Alpha level. The interface that we would like to show you today is the character sheet, which shows character and party information. You can find lots of useful info on the sheet including various party statistics, your reputations with Eternity factions, and character stats.

The character sheet has many useful player and party statistics.

Saturday - January 04, 2014

Pillars of Eternity - GDC Next Presentation

by Couchpotato, 04:59

Josh Sawyer gave a presentation for Pillars of Eternity in November at the GDC Next conference. The good news is you can now watch it on the GDC Vault.

Session Name: Gathering Your Party with Project Eternity (GDC Next 10)
Speaker: Josh Sawyer
Company Name: Obsidian Entertainment
Track / Format: Future of Gaming

Overview: This talk will feature the retro-evolution of classic 2D RPG elements in Obsidian Entertainment's Project Eternity. From the challenges of creating massive, dynamically-lit isometric environments to trusting in players' vivid imaginations and problem-solving capabilities, Project Eternity poses some interesting challenges to its veteran team. To find the right balance between using contemporary development practices and meeting classic RPG expectations, the developers have solicited community feedback, returned to past titles and, of course, played a bunch of D&D. Join us on an adventure fraught with wonders and perils more dazzling than the Warlock's

Sunday - December 15, 2013

Pillars of Eternity - Interview @ PC Gamer

by Couchpotato, 04:55

PC Gamer interviews Josh Sawyer to talk about combat, companions, and character building in Pillars of Eternity.

PC Gamer: Were the new systems you've designed for Pillars of Eternity in any way responses to problems to you had creating the old Infinity Engine games?

Josh: Yeah, some of them were really fiddly sort of things. Dungeons and Dragons is based around the idea of people sitting around a table and doing basic arithmetic with a twenty-sided die. When you're on a computer a lot of those calculations can go a lot faster. You can do real-time division very easily, you can use a 100-point scale for things where normally that would be kind of onerous in a tabletop environment.

The thing that allows us to do is give finer granularity and do more complex calculations that scale better over the course of the game. Also things like combat rounds could be very limiting, so we're doing something else in the spirit of a fully real-time, continuous, purely time based system, while still feeling like you're controlling little RTS-type units. In the sense that you're not making guys do individual attacks, as much as assigning them actions and watching them go about them.

PC Gamer: In terms of combat: going back to the Infinity Engine games, one of the stranger sights is these two characters facing each other, swiping away with their swords and waiting for the dice rolls to hit. Is that a quirk you wanted to retain?

Josh: Well, we have eliminated the fake attacks, so that doesn't happen. We're not trying to have a super-high level of verisimilitude in the sense of having everyone attacking and parrying and stuff like that, because the characters are pretty small, and having all these weird creatures doing all these synchronised parries would actually be pretty difficult. Because we're not using rounds they can be active on more than just a once every six seconds basis. They're more continuously active and they have combat stances, which is something the Infinity Engine games did not have. They look a little more involved and engaged, but there still is a little hand waving there where they're pantomiming what they're doing.

Thursday - December 12, 2013

Pillars of Eternity - Interview @ RPS

by Couchpotato, 03:59

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has another interview with Obsidian about Pillars of Eternity talking about the games mega dungeon.

RPS: How long do you think a run-through of the mega-dungeon will take?

Brennecke: I don’t want to say, but it’s probably going to be hours and hours?

Adler: It’ll be pretty beefy.

Sawyer: My direction for designing it has been that the ramp in difficulty goes up faster than you can level while in it. [laughs] So I kind of want the player to hit… You go through, you go down a couple levels, then you go to the next level and you’re like, “WHOA! Okay!” Either it forces them to get really serious about tactics, or they’re like, “You know what? I’m gonna go out to do some more quests, come back, and go deeper down.”

RPS: So it’s something you work through gradually.

Sawyer: Yeah. And we’ve come up with some ideas for mechanics that encourage continuing to return to the dungeon, so that it becomes kind of like a cyclical thing. You go down for a while, you back off, you deal with some things, and then you find a reason to go back down.

RPS: Is there a story surrounding the dungeon? Something huge and labyrinthine like the dungeon itself?

Sawyer: Yeah, yeah. You’ll start to learn [that there's a lot more to it than you first suspect]. Initially it just seems like a cursed, abandoned place. The Glanfathans warn people away from it. But they kind of say, “If you wanna go buck wild in here, it’s your funeral. Go down in there if you want.” As you go deeper you start learning more about what it was and what it is now and what’s going on in it. There’s a mystery. It’ll be a fun mystery to solve and get to the bottom of it.

Tuesday - December 10, 2013

Pillars of Eternity - Gameplay Teaser & Interviews

by Couchpotato, 23:11

Well it seems Project Eterinty is now called Pillars of Eternity. I reported on this a month ago, and you all didn't believe me. Anyway here is a new trailer from Obsidian.

I also have a few interviews to go along with the announcement.

GameBanshee Interview
Eurogamer Article
PC World Summary Article
PC World Interview
Rock, Paper, Shotgun Interview
VGS - AM 640 Interview (YouTube version here)

Wednesday - December 04, 2013

Project Eternity - Twin Elms Fan Art

by Couchpotato, 01:51

Obsidian has a new forum post from a developer under the name of BAdler were he posts a special piece of fan art from Chris Bischoff.

Hey, everyone. I just wanted to share a really awesome piece of fan art that we received this morning from Chris Bischoff. It's inspired from the Twin Elms concepts that we released in our last update.

If Chris' name sounds familiar it's because he has his own Kickstarter going for the game STASIS. If you haven't checked it out yet you should. What's not to like about a 2D, isometric, sci-fi, horror adventure game? It's in its last few days so lets help him push it over the edge and get it fully funded.

Wednesday - November 27, 2013

Project Eternity - Post-Funding Update #68

by Couchpotato, 06:11

Obsidian has a new Project Eternity post-funding update that shows off new game art.

ART!

Hey, everyone. We decided against releasing the Backer Portal right before the holiday break. We wanted to make sure that we had a full staff on board to solve any technical issues that might arise on the site during its launch. We are just as excited as you are for the Backer Portal and we want to make sure it has a smooth release.

To keep you sated in Project Eternity goodness we decided to show off some of the artwork we have been putting together this milestone. We are pretty proud of it. Hope you enjoy.

Areas

Last week on the forums Sensuki, Tagomika, and coffeetable brought up questions about areas we were outsourcing. I figured it would be better to show you the areas instead of talking about them. Take a look.

(A shrine to the goddess of the hunt.)

(A drake skeleton amid thick overgrowth.)

Both of these images come from the same wilderness area. While this area appears thick with foliage now, it was previously the site to horrific fires caused by drakes. Large swaths of ground were burned and only now has the land started to recover.

Concepts

Kaz and Polina have been hard at work getting concepts prepared for our current milestone and the next.

Polina has been focusing on creating the look and feel for our next big city - Twin Elms. Twin Elms is a unique mixture of ruined architecture from an ancient civilization with a layer of Viking-inspired Glanfathan buildings built into it.

(Glanfathan buildings built into ancient ruins).

(Line work for environments in Twin Elms.)

While Polina has been helping to plan the future, Kaz is firmly entrenched in our mega dungeon, The Endless Paths of Od Nua. Take a look at some of the prop work that Kaz is doing for one of the Engwithan-inspired areas.

(Engwithan props for use in Od Nua.)

Creatures

One of the creatures that has gone in recently is the troll. You can see a few of them in the area below.

(A group of trolls in-game.)

Friday - November 22, 2013

Project Eternity - Video Interview @ CGM

by Couchpotato, 04:09

Comics Gaming Magazine interviews Chris Avellone from MIGS 2013 to talk about Project Eternity in this new five minute video.

CGM's Alex Leach got a chance to sit down with Chris Avellone at MIGS 2013 to talk about his work on Torment: Tides of Numenera and Project Eternity. He talks about the advent of Kickstarter and how it helps projects that could not get funding otherwise.

Wednesday - November 20, 2013

Project Eternity - Josh Sawyer GDC Next Panel

by Couchpotato, 04:07

The GDC Vault has a new PDF slide presenation for Josh Swayers panel from GDC Next.

This talk will feature the retro-evolution of classic 2D RPG elements in Obsidian Entertainment's Project Eternity. From the challenges of creating massive, dynamically-lit isometric environments to trusting in players' vivid imaginations and problem-solving capabilities, Project Eternity poses some interesting challenges to its veteran team. To find the right balance between using contemporary development practices and meeting classic RPG expectations, the developers have solicited community feedback, returned to past titles and, of course, played a bunch of D&D. Join us on an adventure fraught with wonders and perils more dazzling than the Warlock's Crypt!

Tuesday - November 19, 2013

Project Eternity - Interview @ IncGamers

by Couchpotato, 04:11

IncGamers interviews Project Eternity’s Lead Programmer Adam Brennecke.

IG: It‭’‬s been just over a year since‭ ‬Project Eternity secured its Kickstarter funding,‭ ‬which seems kind of crazy to me because it feels much more recent‭. ‬Are you roughly where you thought you‭’‬d be at in the development process at this point‭?

AB: We are further along in development than I thought we were going to be‭ ‬at this stage.‭ ‬We have a great team,‭ ‬and we’ve been cranking for over a year now.‭ ‬Everyone is being productive‭ ‬and making‭ ‬a lot‭ ‬of content.‭ ‬The passion and dedication to the project is outstanding.

And I’m really happy that the game is fully playable with all‭ ‬11‭ ‬classes.‭ ‬In terms of balance and playability this is huge,‭ ‬because Tim [Cain] and Josh [Sawyer] have more time to iterate and polish all of the spells and abilities in the game.‭ ‬There’s still a lot to do,‭ ‬and we are still pushing ourselves to keep going and to keep momentum heading into next year.

IG: The most recent update seemed to indicate that the game will be called‭ ‬Pillars of Eternity when it launches,‭ ‬although that doesn‭’‬t seem to have been confirmed yet.‭ ‬Are you able to confirm it‭?

AB: I can confirm that we have an official name for Project Eternity.‭

IG: That same update also hinted at a major update to come for Thanksgiving.‭ ‬Can you provide any clues or hints as to what that may entail‭?

AB: The‭ “‬Big Update‭” ‬will contain access to our backer portal along with a new Project Eternity website.‭ ‬For people that pledged money you can log in to our system and manage your pledge,‭ ‬fill out surveys,‭ ‬and set up your forum backer badge.‭ ‬We have other exciting‭ ‬and wacky‭ ‬things planned for the update,‭ ‬so keep an eye out for it in the next few weeks.

Wednesday - November 13, 2013

Project Eternity - Post-Funding Update #67

by Couchpotato, 05:27

Obsidian is back with a new Project Eternity post-funding update asking, "What's in a Game?"It's mostly a behind the scenes look at how the game is developed.

What's in a Game?

Update by Brandon Adler, Literal Task Master

 Welcome to my world...

As a producer, one of my jobs is creating and understanding the game's master schedule. It's a never-ending task that requires constant refinement and adjustment. Anything that is added or changed can cause a cascade of unintended consequences which is why as game developers we have a responsibility to vet everything that goes into the game.

Today I'd like to give you a glimpse into how we approach game development from a scheduling perspective and what our typical thought processes are when figuring this stuff out. You will be able to see how each part of our area creation fits into the schedule and why changes and modifications can lead to difficult decisions for the team. Hopefully, it will give a bit more insight into the tough decisions that we make each day when crafting Project Eternity.

Wednesday - October 30, 2013

Project Eternity - Post-Funding Update #66

by Couchpotato, 05:04

Project Eternity has a new post-funding update with news about the backer reward system, and a dev Q&A with Lead Environment Artist Hector Espinoza.

A year already...

Unbelievably, a year has passed by since we launched Project Eternity on Kickstarter, and a lot has happened. We’re almost to seventy project updates; we’ve made lots of levels, characters, classes, monsters, loot, and a whole lot more over the past year with more being made almost every day.

November’s right around the corner, and here in the States, we have an upcoming holiday called Thanksgiving near the end of the month. It’s supposed to be a time where we give thanks for the harvest and reflect on the past year.

It seemed rather appropriate to have a bigger than normal update coming before this holiday and we’re cooking a big one for you! This turkey dinner is going to be large and in charge... It’ll show a bunch of new stuff we haven’t shown anyone outside the studio yet and one of the side dishes coming with it is the new site.

Backer Website: Main and Media Pages

Backer Website: Main and Media Pages

All of our previous updates are now easily available in one place, easy to browse through and include futuristic RSS technology! We’ve also got a one-stop shop for all of the screenshots, wallpapers, artwork, and videos that we’ve released and will release.

Backer Website: Pledge and Rewards Pages

Backer Website: Pledge and Rewards Pages

On the left here, you can make sure all of the pledges you made are connected to your account. If you backed the game on Kickstarter and then later added money via PayPal, you can make sure that’s all been confirmed. If it doesn’t show up, you can link it in by providing the e-mail addresses you used if they don’t match.

…and then, confirm that your reward is correct, or maybe even upgrade if you like! Did you give maybe give us more money thinking you chose one reward tier but accidentally chose a lower one? No problem, you can fix that up. Oh, and slacker backers… you might have some upgrade opportunities… :) Onward is the addon screen where you can browse through the available addons and confirm those choices as well.

Backer Website: Add-on and Game Info Pages

Backer Website: Add-on and Game Info Pages

Then finalize everything! Don’t worry, even though you’ll be confirming your pledge selections, if you picked up physical rewards, you’ll be able to change your shipping address up to the point where we need to lock them. You’ve got plenty of time, and we’ll keep that open as long as we possibly can in case you move or want to have your stuff shipped elsewhere.

On the right there is our “Game” section of the site, where over the coming months more information and art about the various races, classes, characters, critters, and locations of interest in the game can be found.

OK, we’ll be back in a few short weeks… For those of you who have designs as part of your rewards, get your thinking caps on!

Wednesday - October 02, 2013

Project Eternity - Post-Funding Update #65, Ciphers

by Couchpotato, 04:26

Project Eternity has a new post-funding update were Josh Sawyer talks about the cipher.

Cipher Mechanics

Contemporary ciphers are fighting casters, like the Glanfathan "mind hunters" who invented the discipline. When engaged in physical combat, they use an Ability called Soul Whip to contact and drain the psyches of their targets. Recognizable by the purple flames that engulf a cipher's weapons, Soul Whip generates a Focus resource that ciphers can use to power their abilities. Though ciphers begin combat with a modest amount of Focus, their more advanced techniques demand large expenditures of Focus. Additionally, repeated uses of even minor powers will quickly drain a cipher's Focus, requiring them to dive into physical combat to generate more.

Cipher powers are not limited to mental manipulation. They have abilities that allow them to use a target's soul energy to "leak" and burst into flame, to generate a physical shockwave of that knocks down everyone behind the target, or even to bend back toward the cipher, creating a field of protective energy around him or her.

With the exception of Soul Whip, all cipher powers require Focus and a nearby target other than themselves, one with a "housed" soul. In practical terms, this means that ciphers must always target a nearby ally or an enemy with their powers. It is impossible for them to target themselves, a distant target, or open ground.

Here is a sampling of some of the cipher's abilities:

  • Soul Whip (Modal) - At close range, the cipher's weapons generate fields of parasitic energy that lash out at a target's soul. The Soul Whip mode reduces the amount of damage caused, but each successful hit briefly lowers the target's Psyche defense and generates Focus for the cipher (attacks Psyche).
  • Mind Wave - The cipher violently intrudes into an enemy's mind, Stunning the target (attacks Psyche) and generating a cone of concussive force behind him or her that can knock down anyone in its path (attacks Fortitude).
  • Soul Shock - The cipher causes an ally's soul to "crack" and violently release energy into the physical world. The resulting explosion of electrical (Shock) energy damages everyone nearby except the target (attacks Reflexes).
  • Psychovampiric Shield - The cipher drains Intellect from enemies and uses it to temporarily increase his or her Deflection. The increase in the cipher's Deflection is dependent on how much Intellect he or she successfully drains from victims (attacks Psyche).
  • Mind Blades - The cipher uses the souls of nearby enemies to generate attacks against the subjects themselves. Each target is attacked once by a slashing "mind blade" which then moves on to the next nearest enemy up to a maximum of five targets (attacks Deflection).
  • Recall Agony - The cipher causes the target to re-experience the pain of a wound moments after the target originally suffered it. The damage is a percentage of the original value, but it ignores the armor of the target (attacks Psyche).
  • Ectopsychic Echo - The cipher and an ally generate a bolt of psychic energy that periodically rebounds between them, causing Crush damage to anyone caught in the area (attacks Reflexes).

Tuesday - October 01, 2013

Project Eternity - Social Round-Up #5

by Couchpotato, 01:12

Gamebanshee has another soicial roundup gathered from various social sites for Project Eternity. So visit the link for all the news as the list is very extensive.

Stronghold tax income is more for balancing maintenance costs (i.e., paying hirelings and repairing damaged upgrades) than a major source of income. Your major source of income will almost certainly be finding money and loot in the world.

Your player house is located within the boundaries of the stronghold, but it is its own building with its own upgrades/benefits.

I think physically splitting the house and the stronghold increases the likelihood that the player will choose to not visit one or the other (most likely, the house) over the course of the game.

It doesn't need to be a major source at all.[stronghold income] It becomes a problem if it's an endless source.

It isn't an endless source.

Good. Because in your other games with keeps/strategical resources, it was endless.

I didn't design the stronghold resources/systems in any of the previous games I've worked on. If a system gives out a resource periodically, it should either expire after a number of periods have elapsed or the periods should stop elapsing.

Sunday - September 22, 2013

Project Eternity - Interview @ Hold The Line

by Couchpotato, 00:39

Hold The Line interviews Obsidian co-founder and Narrative Designer Chris Avellone about Project Eternity.

Q: You guys have stated that Eternity will be a pretty mature and dark-themed game. Slavery, drug use, etc. Are you afraid that might turn off some potential fans, or cause some unintended controversy within the gaming media?

Chris: If it’s true to the story, we’re afraid of nothing. There are a lot of elements we’ve often wanted to explore in previous titles that we haven’t had an opportunity to do, and Eternity gives us free rein to deal with those subjects. We don’t include elements like these for shock value – if they fit in with the game’s themes and if they add weight to the player’s moral choices for the player, then they are absolutely worth adding to the world. Similar themes worked well in interesting ways in Fallout 2, for example, and seeing some of those same evils explored in Eternity from a different perspective is something we’re looking forward to - and that’s only a small part of what we have planned.

Q: Will Eternity allow players to explore companion storyline/quests like they might have experienced in Fallout: New Vegas?

Chris: Each companion is intended to have a storyline, background, and quest that either advances them, ties them to the game story, or ties them to the theme, and preferably, some combination thereof. It may not be exactly like the New Vegas quest structure (we go as far back as Torment internal quests and the KOTOR2 advancement arcs), but companions will have agendas and quests of their own. More on this will likely come out in the coming months (and it may change as the companions are fully fleshed out), although the specifics will likely wait until the players are actually playing the title.

Wednesday - September 18, 2013

Project Eternity - Post-Funding Update #64, Developer Q&A

by Couchpotato, 01:22

Project Eternity has a new post-funding update with a new Developer Q&A with Concept Artist Kazunori Aruga.

What are you most looking forward to on Project Eternity?

Just the fact that we can put an IE inspired game on the market is enough to get me excited. It's been long overdue. I'm looking forward to seeing all the hard work we are putting in coming together as one complete package, and seeing reactions of people playing the game!

Which concept that you have done has been your favorite?

Artists are typically never happy with their own work. Next question! :p

I've enjoyed working on art for scripted interactions, and been pretty happy with the results. I've also been putting a lot of work into inventory UI recently and am happy with the results coming out of that.

What's your favorite Infinity Engine game? Why?

BG1 for exploring the vast wilderness. I can still recall the music and hear the birds chirping in the distance. BG2 is a close 2nd for its story and companions. The only title I haven't finished is IWD2 which I am playing through currently, and I will say I'm enjoying the combat.

Wednesday - September 04, 2013

Project Eternity - Post-Funding Update #63, Strongholds

by Couchpotato, 01:36

Obsidian has released a new post-funding update for Project Eternity giving out more details about the games stronghold.

Hello! I have spent much of my time for the last few weeks devoted to making the game’s stronghold system, which was one of our Kickstarter project’s biggest stretch goals, into one of the best systems in the game. Josh has created an amazing and detailed stronghold design, with lots of upgrades and activities and random events that really make owning a stronghold fun and exciting. I want to spend this update explaining what we have made in the game, but first, let’s talk about the stronghold itself.

First, a caveat: I am going to describe the stronghold as it is currently designed. This design is mostly programmed already too, but as with all development, it might change as we finish the art and audio, fix any bugs, and tune the game play. So please view this as a snapshot of the stronghold development as it exists today.

You will be offered the stronghold early in the game, before you finish Act 1. But the stronghold itself is old and dilapidated, and you will want to upgrade it as soon as you can. These upgrades will, in turn, open up new activities and events that can happen, which will make the stronghold a dynamic and fun place to own.

Wednesday - August 21, 2013

Project Eternity - Post-Funding Update #62, State of the Project

by Couchpotato, 03:20

Obsidian has posted another post-funding update for Project Eternity. In this update we are told the about the state of the project. Topics include new hires, areas, characters, and features of the game.

Hey, everyone. As you know, over the past six weeks we have been working on our first production milestone - the cleverly titled Production 01 milestone. Our first target has been Defiance Bay (our first BIG city) and the team has been busting their collective butts to get as much fantasy roleplaying goodness as possible into the city.

In George Ziets' own words, "Defiance Bay is the capital and largest city in the Dyrwood, gateway to the riches of Glanfath, teeming with adventurers and explorers from all over the region. Defiance Bay is a city of the common people, where the most prominent and respected citizens are self-made men. It stands at the forefront of experimentation in soul magic and exemplifies the age of discovery."

A ton has been accomplished in a pretty short amount of time and we would like to share some of it with you.

Wednesday - August 07, 2013

Project Eternity - Post-Funding Update #61, In-game Art

by Couchpotato, 05:03

Obsidian has a new post-funding update with a new screenshot.

We showed you this concept that Polina Hristova had developed, back in Update #55:

And here is the in-game level--about to get violent--as developed by environment artist Sean Dunny:

We think it looks pretty good. Thoughts?

Tuesday - August 06, 2013

Project Eternity - Social Round-Up #4

by Couchpotato, 00:49

Gamebanshee has posted another round of news gathered from various social sites for Project Eternity. Visit the link for all the news as the list is very extensive.

The main issue I have with the attribute system in P:E (I admit we don't know much about it) is that it limits a player's ability to "role-play" a certain type of character (i.e the dumb brute). Any plans on expanding RP opportunities outside of LARPing

It doesn't at all -- conceptually or the specific example you gave. You can very easily make a dumb brute fighter character in PE and role-play him or her as such. You can also make a brilliant weakling fighter character and role-play him or her as such. The difference between doing this in PE and, for example, D&D, is that in PE this is a fully viable character concept who emphasizes different elements in combat.

I have to say I think it's an odd complaint considering that to even arguably have ability score-based role-playing opportunities against type with A/D&D, you are required to build a character that is bad at his or her class. It's better in later editions of D&D because they put more effort into providing some universal values for ability scores, but there are still fundamentally horrible builds. A decent number of feats allow for viable Int-based fighters (for example), but a Cha-based fighter is flat-out bad at being a fighter.

You can find ways to work around it, but they're almost all splat book-based prestige classes and feats that try to put a band-aid over the fundamental problem, which is an imbalance of class-specific and universal benefits provided by the ability score array.

Thank for your response. I’m actually not concerned about the combat implications of your attribute system (no dump stats? Great!), but rather what the proposed implementation implies for PE as an RPG: attributes are nothing more than modifiers for combat. It takes away what little cRPGs COULD have in terms of mechanically interesting chars to RP, e.g. low int chars in Arcanum had worthwhile dumb convo options (yes, it was gimmicky, but it has potential). Do P:E's stats also help "define" our chars?

Yes, of course they do. All attributes are used in both scripted interactions and standard conversations to unlock options -- as in PS:T, but with a heavier emphasis on equal use of the attributes.

One of the reasons we don't have a dialogue/speech skill is so a character's attributes can be used as dialogue prerequisites with greater frequency.

Wednesday - July 24, 2013

Project Eternity - Post-Funding Update #60, Companions

by Myrthos, 11:58

Chris Avellone is taking care of this latest update for Project Eternity on companions. It is a long but interesting update with several scribbles from the master himself and an update of his Arcanum playthrough.

Really quick, I want to clarify what I meant about “challenge mechanics.” That doesn’t always mean combat – it’s whatever the primary challenge in the game is. If we were doing a Thief-style RPG, then stealth and avoiding detection becomes the primary challenge mechanic, not combat. Depending on the RPG and its range of challenges, a character can still be fairly weak in combat, but if that’s the case, we try to think of how they’re helpful with regards to the game’s other challenges (giving an edge in dialogue, healing, fast travel).

For all the characters I’ve seen or designed for games that don’t cater to at least one of the game’s primary challenge mechanics, those guys are often unpopular or unused because they’re not helping out with the systematic gameplay, regardless of how cool they might seem. And the more actively these characters can participate in the mechanics (vs. passive), the stronger their appeal.

Also at the same time, I try to be careful that the companion's skill set doesn’t overlap with the challenge roles of the other characters. We try to indicate in the companion briefs how each companion's challenge role is intended – one thing I learned as a pen-and-paper Gamemaster is you want to be careful about two players sharing the same role (Tank, Mage, Priest, etc.) – if one is clearly stronger than another, then the second one needs something else to make them stand out and be “special” in the party and fulfill an equally cool role in the party dynamic, otherwise one ends up getting upstaged by the other. And feelings get hurt. Which isn’t something you want in a game designed to entertain.

Warmachine Tactics Logo

For Eternity, we’re setting it up so even if players choose the same classes as some companions, the companions are designed to assist those character types and make them more special (ciphers, for example, can chain, and even priests with the same religion can discuss theology and combo attacks).

In addition, we wanted to be careful about personality overlaps as well. I wanted to make sure any companion design didn't overlap with ideas or “concepts" of the other characters (or across projects – so for example, while I’m doing a Glaive for Torment, I’m not doing any fighters for Eternity) ...and that extends to personalities as well. As an example, I told Colin for Torment it might be a good idea if I didn't do a female rogue with a ruthless hidden agenda who can shape-shift according to your personality and have her/it be redundant with the Toy or the Cold, Calculating Jack in Torment.

So knowing the general class-focus, role, and personality for each, as well as ones that would be useful, we try to include in the character briefs and get that info to people as quickly as possible so everyone can get a sense for what direction to take their characters.

As for me, after much begging for the class itself and begging for the specific companion, I asked for the cipher. The cipher is near and dear to my heart, it felt like the first brand new class we were introducing that was tied into the soul mechanics of the Eternity world, and the freedom to explore it is a great opportunity.

Saturday - July 20, 2013

Project Eternity - RPG Codex Community Q&A

by Couchpotato, 00:48

RPG Codex has a new article were Josh Sawyer answers questions asked by the sites users. How I pity the poor fool. They even provide a nice image of him before and after.


With Eternity as Obsidian's own IP, how do you guys feel about taking risks (in game design and narration)? With this in mind: Have you talked about where you want to take Eternity as a franchise in future titles? A continuation of the Baldur's Gate-like formula as set by Project Eternity, or perhaps derivations towards something that plays more like IWD/ToEE, or perhaps something more like Torment/MotB?

Project Eternity is relatively conservative as far as new IPs go, but I think we can grow it in more unusual ways over time. One of the best ways we've found to test out potentially "wild" (sometimes more wild than others) ideas is through expansions or DLCs, but as the IP grows overall, I think we can find a lot of opportunities to create more risky stories and corners of the world to explore.

Kickstarter Update #3 and various other postings have hinted that the game will allow temporary characters to join the party under special circumstances. Has this 'follower' mechanic been kept and would it be possible for a non-cNPC to join the party for a certain quest while remaining separate from the party size? Would this possible allow for some larger battles?

The party size can never be larger than six standard characters, but some quests may have NPCs who come along with the party or arrive at a location when the party does. Additionally, the stronghold design currently features hirelings that help protect the stronghold and offer additional benefits, but they do not accompany the party out in the wild.

Source: RPG Codex

Wednesday - July 10, 2013

Project Eternity - Post-funding Update #59, Meet Polina Hristova

by Myrthos, 12:27

In this latest update for Project Eternity you can find a short Q&A with Creature Concept Designer Polina Hristova, who really likes her creatures.

Q: What is your typical work day like on Project Eternity?
A: I guess in comparison to most, my work day is pretty simple. I get to draw pretty pictures. The days differ based on the assignment and I do sometimes change my methods since creativity does flow differently day to day, but my general pipeline goes like this: I meet with Josh and the designers to get a description on what I'd be working on. Sometimes these descriptions can range from a simple word to an extremely detailed description on facial structure, hair length and color, outfit, tattoos, amount of skin pores... (okay I'm exaggerating the skin pore part)... and anywhere in between. I'll also talk with the animators if the creatures would share rigs or any other potential problems we can have (it's best to design with these problems in mind than having to change the design a lot later). After that (and depending on schedule) I'll do a number of variants fitting the description and summon a mini-character scrum (Josh, the designers, Rob, our modelers, and our animators). Together they'll discuss any problems or make any suggestions and pick a variant that I'll take to final. 

Q: What are you most looking forward to on Project Eternity?
A: I am really looking forward to playing it. =) But for now I'm really just enjoying watching the game come to reality. I love watching peoples' creations come to life and I give many props to our modelers and animators for all their hard work. I love how they animated skuldr and his sneaky "I'm gunna getcha!" walk.

Q: Which Project Eternity creature that you have concepted excites you the most?
A: This question's a trick question. Creatures all excite me. I LOVE creatures, aliens (not relative) and things that go bump in the night. I guess if you had to make me pick right now I would have to say the drake. =) but I have a weakness for dragons and it’s also the thing most current in my brain. I also really enjoyed designing the godlike heads.

Saturday - July 06, 2013

Project Eternity - Drops Crafting Skill and Item Durability

by Couchpotato, 11:41

Project Eternity Project Director J.E. Sawyer has announced on the Obsidian forums that the team has decided to drop the crafting skill and item durability mechanics. The decision was based on the feedback he received, and his own doubts on the system.

Based on discussions on the forums and conversations I had with people on the team, we will be doing the following:

* Removing durability as a mechanic on items.

* Removing the Crafting skill (specifically).  The crafting system and its associated mechanics will remain, as-is.

Ultimately, solving skill imbalance and endgame wealth abundance problems is not worth what players perceive as uninteresting and unenjoyable gameplay.  I can still solve the skill imbalance problems by removing the problem skill.  As for endgame wealth abundance, we will continue to create places for you to use wealth in the economy: unique items, the stronghold, optional quest/dialogue gates, etc.  Ultimately, if those options go unused, I'll have to trust that the majority of players won't be significantly troubled by an excess of wealth in the late game.

Thanks for all of your feedback.

I have to say I'm glad they did.What about you?

Project Eternity - Various News Roundup

by Couchpotato, 03:04

Chris Avellone has been very active with interviews, and previews for Project Eternity. So today I have three more to add.

Eurogamer-"Eternity, as a series, could run for eternity"

Project Eternity isn't a one-off trip down memory lane nor a mere Kickstarter curio for Obsidian Entertainment, it's a series in the making - a potential future upon which the studio could be based.

"We would like to keep it going for as long as..." What, eternity? I butted in, when I spoke to Obsidian's creative director Chris Avellone at Rezzed 2013. "Exactly!" He replied with his easy smile.

The plan was always to grow Project Eternity, or whatever it ends up being called, with expansions post-release - that was talked about during the Kickstarter campaign. But it's not a future that's set in stone.

"If the first game does well enough and generates enough profit beyond the backer amounts we got..." 'Well, then it will happen,' were the words Avellone intimated but left unsaid.

"We would need the same amount again."

But what if Project Eternity doesn't do very well, doesn't raise enough money through sales - what happens to the series then?

"The way we structured the plan is I don't think there's ever an instance where it would be put on hold, because as soon as the first game is completed then we're still working on the expansion," he said.

"And during that time when we're working on the expansion, we have a good sense for how well Eternity is doing in the marketplace, and if it's doing well then we will have a sequel going on, and if it's not, no worries, at least we delivered what the backers were happy with."

Strategyinformer - "Project Eternity would translate to Pen and Paper"

“I think it'd translate very well to a pen and paper game, which was part of the intent. As for whether there'd be a core rulebook for the game, I don't know if that was always the destination as far as we're concerned, but the fact we wanted to create a system that felt very turn-based and pen and paper rules, that was important.”

Not that D&D has been forgotten, as some of the team get together and use it as a reference, “We do play Dungeons and Dragons actually, twice a week and sometimes over the weekend, in one of the rooms in Obsidian, just to get a sense at how the old-school pen-and-paper RPGs feel like, and some of the things we learn sitting around the table would be really good to incorporate into Eternity. I'm not part of those sessions, it's Josh and a few other designers and our Lead Area Designer Bobby Null, and Area Designer, Jorge Salgado. They all sit around the table and go through one of Bobby's campaigns which works out pretty well.”

Strategyinformer-"Chris Avellone would love to work on more established franchises"

Things get really interesting when he started talking about TV shows, such as crime programs like The Wire, and Sherlock, the latter of which “was really really good at creating really interesting dialogue gameplay mechanics without realising it, for how Sherlock analyses a crime scene, and I think that could lend itself to a game really well and I'd be really excited to work on, especially if Benedict was a part of that. He's awesome. “

Then there's Adult Swim's absolutely hilarious Archer, partly because of a game Obsidian have been working on recently, “Especially as we've been doing South Park, the way of creating game mechanics in that sort of high style comedic environment, especially with the 2D images, there's a lot of possibilities to explore in that space that Archer would be really good for.” There's also his previous work on Alpha Protocol which Avellone mentioned. “We had a lot of ideas based on what we learnt on the first one. I think those things could translate in to a brand new espionage game.”

However, there was one franchise that got him really excited about possibly working on, “OH! Doctor Who! Absolutely Doctor Who! Oh My God, it's so much dialogue conflict in that sense.” There's also the small matter of regenerations being “a perfect character avatar creation sequence. And you know it's very companion-focused in terms of the gameplay, like who you have in your party in terms of how the adventure plays out is really really important. And just the fact The Doctor solves more things through research and interaction with NPCS and the environment whereas he's not blasting them apart, he's usually running from them.”

For fans who want to see sequels of franchise games Obsidian did in the past, Avellone wasn't counting those out either. “I mean, we loved working on Fallout, we loved working on Star Wars, if that became a possibility in the future I'm sure we'd be open to it”.

Thursday - July 04, 2013

Project Eternity - Post-Funding Update #58

by Couchpotato, 04:19

Project Eternity has a new post-funding update, and the topic this time is crafting.

Crafting Basics

Crafting is the skill that you use to make equippable items like armor and weapons, and consumable items like potions and food. To begin crafting, you must find an appropriate crafting location.

  • Forges – these blacksmithing locations can be used to make all of the equippable gear. From helmets to armor to boots, if you can wear it, then you can make it here.
  • Labs – these alchemical tables are used to make any enchantments, as well as all alchemical consumables like potions, scrolls or figurines (which let you summon a creature that will fight for you). If you want to improve your gear or brew a potion, you need to find one of these labs.
  • Hearths – these cooking spots are used to make food and drink that can give you long-term benefits when you ingest them. Many rest areas will have hearths, so crafting of this sort can often be done “in the field”.

When you use the central object at these locations, such as the anvil at the forge, you will enter a crafting interface that displays all of your forge recipes, broken down into categories such as armor, weapons, boots, helmets, rings, etc. You pick a category and can see all of the recipes you know for that category. Each recipe has a set of ingredients needed to make its item (or items, as some recipes will make batches of items). Some recipes will have additional prerequisites, including requiring you or a companion to have a certain talent or ability or even skill at an appropriate level. Higher level recipes have more prerequisites and need rarer ingredients.

Item Durability

Most items don’t degrade over time. This means that boots, rings, helmets, gloves, amulets, cloaks, and belts are not worn down by use. However, weapons, shields, and armor (that is, chest armor) do have durability values and are worn down by use. Specifically, every attack with a weapon degrades that weapon by one unit, and armor and shields are similarly degraded when the wearer is attacked.

Items have lots of units of durability, and they do not suffer any negative effects until those units are completely gone. When an item has reached 25% of its maximum durability, it will become “worn” and appear that way in your inventory, but it will not behave any differently until the last unit of durability is lost. At that point, the item is “damaged” and the following effects will happen:

  • Weapons – damaged weapons do less damage and have less accuracy
  • Armor – damaged armor has lower damage thresholds and the wearer’s attack speed is slower
  • Shields – damaged shields lose part of their defense bonuses

Items can never become worse than “damaged”. They will not break or become more damaged. They just stay damaged until you have them fixed.

Friday - June 28, 2013

Project Eternity - Interview @ Strategyinformer

by Couchpotato, 01:06

Strategyinformer has a new interview with Chris Avellone talking about Project Eternity. Read the link for more questions dealing with Fallout, Wastelands 2, and other topics.

Strategy Informer: Why do you feel like the isometric RPG kind of fell out of popularity?

Chris Avellone: I’m not sure that it did. I think that at some point people realised that the controller schemes for consoles don’t lend themselves to controlling a party of multiple people. They have to either be two people flanking you or an AI set, but you can’t have a party of six people all going on an adventure with the controller setups that they had. I think that was enough of an obstacle to knock the idea of “well, if we can’t do isometric RPGs on these particular systems then we shouldn’t do those types of RPGs”. I think things became more consolized after that.

Strategy Informer: It’s a bit sad really.

Chris Avellone
: Yeah, and I think it was also much harder to sell PC-only products when it seemed like there was much more money to be made doing console ports and SKUs.

Strategy Informer: On a more positive note, consequently why do you think there has been a resurge in their popularity recently?

Chris Avellone: The interesting thing is that there has been a lot of discussion about isometric RPGs. New ones are being developed but I still think the percentage of gamers that support those titles isn’t actually a huge part of the gaming community, they’re just really passionate and they’re going to show how passionate they are about those games. For example between Wasteland 2, Project Eternity and Torment [Tides of Numenera] the backers consisted of around eighty thousand people, which to a much larger publisher those numbers are insignificant, they wouldn’t even get out of bed for numbers like that. But because the fanbase is so passionate, they’ll pay much more beyond the core price of a product, they’re willing to talk about it much more, they’re a stronger and much more vocal community, and there’s much more information being given about these games too, so I think all that creates a much higher level of attention.

Strategy Informer: And there’s always going to be an audience who will simply wait for the game to go on sale rather than back it.

Chris Avellone: Which is fine too! And I think we’ll probably see the acid test of how well this model’s doing when Wasteland 2 goes into distribution, then Eternity then Torment. We’ll get a sense of how many numbers are out there beyond just the backers, which is important to figure out but we’re just planning on the backers right now, they’re our target audience.

Strategy Informer
: Have you thought up a title yet for Project Eternity?

Chris Avellone: No! I believe that is in Adam [Brennecke] and Josh [Sawyer]’s court, but currently it is just Project Eternity.

Thursday - June 27, 2013

Project Eternity - Post-Funding Update #57

by Couchpotato, 00:58

Project Eternity has a new post-funding update on it's kickstarter page. Also project director J.E. Sawyer posted about new screenshots on the games forum. That's not all though we have more Project Eternity screenshots from gamestar.

Hello, everyone. I'm Brandon Adler - Project Eternity's newest Producer and general schedule wrangler. I'm the dude that helps make sure the game's product is on time, on budget, and totally kickass.

I worked at Obsidian previously for over six years on projects like Neverwinter Nights 2 (base game, Mask of the Betrayer, and Storm of Zehir), Alpha Protocol, Dungeon Siege 3, and South Park. I came back to help make Project Eternity (which is about as close to my dream project as you can get) and I look forward to interacting with all of Project Eternity's passionate fanbase.

Rezzed

One new development is our very own Chris Avellone presented Project Eternity at Rezzed in Birmingham, UK. He showed off the approaches we’re taking with Project Eternity for the vertical slice and pipelines, and showcasing new concepts like the animat and Defiance Bay.

Concepting process for one of our creatures, the bronze-armored animats (Larger Version)

Animats are animated by the souls of ancient warriors that were extracted, purified, and bound into the armor.  Copper is an especially strong binder for soul energy, which is why bronze is used for the animats.  Copper is also often used in Engwythan (ancient residents of Eir Glanfath) architecture and magical items, including "skein steel", a fantastic alloy created with sinister soul magic.

Color concept and reanimation sequence of the animat. (Larger Version)

If you are interested in watching Chris' full presentation at Rezzed you can see it here (some language mildly NSFW).

Avellone's Arcanum Playthrough

Well, that's it for now. Over the next few weeks we will be talking about the vertical slice, the fulfillment system, and other goodies. So, stay tuned. As always, we love your feedback on our updates and game direction, so head over to the Project Eternity forums and let us know what you are thinking. Thanks for reading.
Also

Chris has been prepping (and presenting) Eternity at Rezzed, once he’s back, you’ll get a new playthrough video in a future update.

Sunday - June 23, 2013

Project Eternity - Chris Avellone at Rezzed 2013

by Couchpotato, 00:47

Chris Avellone had a presentaion at 2013's Rezzed the UK PC and indie gaming convention organized by RockPaperShotgun and Eurogamer. The plan was to talk about and show more detail for Project Eternity.

Update: Due to technical issues, the presentation didn't actually start until around the 31 minute mark, so there was no time for a Q&A session.

Chris did however find the time to show a bunch of new screenshots, concept art and even some design documents from Wasteland 2. He also ran some gameplay footage, but it was just the prototype demo that we've already seen.

 

 

 

Wednesday - June 19, 2013

Project Eternity - Post-Funding Update #56, Paladins

by Myrthos, 12:07

Josh Sawyer talks about the Paladin class in Project Eternity.

In Project Eternity, we wanted paladins to maintain their sense of selfless passion and zeal without being bound to concepts like "alignment" or a universal moral code.  We also wanted their mechanics to be distinctive from the other classes while reinforcing their role in the world.  Area designer Bobby Null has always liked the marshal class from D&D 3.5, which is conceptually similar to the warlord in 4E: combat leaders who are at their best when they are augmenting their teammates.  This is the approach that I took when developing Project Eternity's paladins.  They have persistent modal auras, strong single-target healing and buff abilities (contrasting the broad AoE effects of clerics), and can passively grant bonuses to teammates in close proximity.
 
In the game's lore, paladins are zealous champions of a cause that may be religious, philosophical, or cultural in nature.  The "foundational" paladins in this part of the world were the legendary elite guards of Darcozzi Palace in the Grand Empire of Vailia (now Old Vailia).  They set standards for selfless dedication, unwavering loyalty, and inspiring leadership that have become the pillars for similar orders that have sprung up in the two millennia since they were founded.  Even among orders where the chosen cause is perceived as bleak or malevolent, paladins always place the cause ahead of their own personal interests.

And he also shows what Wild Orlans look like.

Though we've previously shown one concept of a hearth orlan (the "orlan detective"), many people have asked and speculated about what the other orlans, the so-called wild orlans, look like.  Wild orlans have the same general range of stature and build as hearth orlans, but are almost entirely covered with hair.

Monday - June 17, 2013

Project Eternity - Social Round-up #3

by Couchpotato, 00:28

Gamebanshee has another round-up of forum posts, and social network activity from the developers for Project Eternity. Most of the topics cover the UI mockup from a few weeks back.

Thanks for the feedback, everyone, divergent though it may be. Here are some things we are going to continue to look into:

* Better use of space overall. Not all of the decorative elements need to be there. We would like to have more room for the ability icons in particular.
* Re-working and re-positioning of the player menu (inventory, etc.).
* Possibly vertically orienting the character portraits and ability icons on one side of the screen. The combat log pretty much has to be horizontally-oriented, but other than scrolling through it, that's a non-interactive element of the UI.

I have to say I think it's strange that people are requesting UI layouts with character portraits far away from action icons, floating wireframe UIs, and similar features. While it's true that BG1 and IWD1 used wrap-around UIs, that was because 640x480 base resolutions didn't allow us to fit all of the elements along one edge of the screen. As soon as we went to 800x600 in IWD2, we immediately went to a consolidated UI layout that made mouse movement much more efficient. I understand that a lot of people use hotkeys and we certainly plan to support that, but GUIs need to be functional for people who use them. Putting abilities 75%+ of the screen width away from the character portraits is really inefficient.

While I certainly think the idea of a bone and obsidian UI could be really cool looking [note: he's referring to a forum user's idea], it would also be very stark and high-contrast. I think it would wind up dominating the screen, regardless of the environment. Our outdoor environments, especially, will fall more in the BG and BG2 spectrum of colors, which is why we went with more subdued natural tones and copper accents. We can certainly look at alternatives, but I wanted to give feedback on that particular idea.

Monday - June 10, 2013

Project Eternity - Video Interview with Adam Brennecke

by Couchpotato, 00:53

A Brazilian gaming website called vgBR caught Project Eternity producer Adam Brennecke for a short video interview.

 

Source: RPG Codex

Wednesday - June 05, 2013

Project Eternity - Post-Funding Update #55

by Couchpotato, 07:23

Project Eternity has a new post funding update.

The Vertical Slice is just that, a cross section (think of it as a slice of bread cut out from the middle of a loaf) of the world of Project Eternity. At the end of this phase the game will be feature complete, and the content building portion of the team, including area designers, environment artists, and character artists can make shippable content now. Our Vertical Slice is eleven maps large; encompassing our village and dungeon from Prototype 2, and the dungeon and wilderness area from Prototype 1 (we call this area "The Valley of Hector" internally).

The content from the prototypes are refactored to fit within the context of the world and overall story of the game. Feature-wise, we are targeting to have the majority of the world building tools complete and all of the character classes playable up to level five.


Larger version - The above image is a vertical slice dungeon concept by Polina. Her paint-over will be used as reference for the polish pass.

Here are our current tasks that we are working on right now:

Art

  • Modeling Hide Armor for Male and Females - Hide armor has been challenging to model and texture with skin tinting because there's a lot of skin shown.
  • Creating Orlan Heads - This includes modeling differences for the Wild and Hearth ethnicities.
  • Polishing Prototype 2 Areas to "Beta" - Extra shine is put into the areas to make them feel more alive and varied.

Design

  • Creating the Vertical Slice Area Design Document - The designers are adding more content to the world and fleshing out the village with additional quests.
  • Designing and Coding the Class Abilities for the Cipher and Chanter - The Cipher and his "focus" powered spells are working, and now Tim Cain is working out the Chanter phrase system.

Programming

  • Coding up the Save/Load and the Persistence System - This entails saving and loading games, and making sure the current map state is preserved across area transitions.
  • Wrapping up the Area Designer Toolbox - Doors, encounters, traps, triggers, loot, NPCs, and creatures can all be placed and manipulated through script.

Spells and Ability Audit

This morning Josh emailed me a list of working class abilities and spells. I'm excited to say that we have 54 abilities and 51 functioning spells as of today! Most of the spells are at the alpha stage, meaning another pass will be done at a later date to add visual effects and sound effects.

UI Version #2

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback on our UI mockups that Rob posted last week in Update #54. We loved everyone's proposed mockups and your discussions sparked some great ideas for the next iteration on the interface. We've already mocked up a new version that takes up less vertical space and is more compact overall. Once we feel it's ready to be critiqued, we will post it in a future update for more discussion.

 

Wednesday - May 29, 2013

Project Eternity - Post-Funding Update #54, Art Update

by Myrthos, 10:43

Art Director Rob Nesler brings us this art update for Project Eternity, which includes a UI mockup.

Above is a UI mockup that Kaz has put over the original Kickstarter image. What do you think?

I know what you are thinking. What the hell have the artists been doing?? The art in this game should be half done by now! Right?

That's what I want to know! Why isn't the game half-done already?

Well, as I've said before we're "professionals." We proceed in a highly-complex collaboration/iteration loop of blending design wants and dos, programming cans, think-they-cans and dos and artist wants, cans, can-but-don't-know-how-longs and dos. As you can see - and please don't get angry - this is all very technical. Know that: work is progressing.

Yeeeargh! Enough with your silly stupid words, Rob!! What the hell does that mean??

Uhh... not sure, but I'll tell you what I think it means:

You've read about Prototype 1 and then Prototype 2. Those were efforts to implement features that represent the functional and playable standard of our goal: an Infinity Engine style of game. Those efforts were focused collaborations of designing, programming and art-ing things, trying them out, addressing problems as they came up (visual, functional or otherwise failing to live up to our standard) and repeating. The art goals were held to an 80-90% complete (aka: unpolished). The remaining 10-20% of work will be left toward the end of the "next phase," as always there will be edits and modifications after initial implementation of art. The basic truth of this interactive artistic endeavor that we are involved in is that you can't know it's a worthwhile experience, until you make it, people play it, and then provide feedback. We adjust our work to that feedback - a feedback loop. Boom! Consider yourself educated.

The "next phase" is a Vertical Slice. This is a goal in which we focus on one part of the game within a shell of what is essentially the fully-featured game - relying on the things developed in the prototypes, as well as implementing a fully-functional UI, attempting to finalize all art and gameplay to a more polished standard, and accommodate design changes that are required to make the player experience more complete - as if this part were a finalized, short game in itself.

Besides this also environment artists, animators, character artists and concept artis share what they have been up to.

Friday - May 24, 2013

Project Eternity - Social Round-up #2

by Couchpotato, 00:22

Gamebanshee has more info on Project Eternity gathered from various social websites. Here is a little snip as it would be impossible to post eveything.

So, Project Eternity will have a unified inventory for all party members, as opposed to the Infinity Engine games' per-character inventory. That doesn't bother me so much, but what's your opinion of per-character inventories? You don't like them?

In a game where one player controls all party members, I don't think it adds anything to the game to split gear up across 6 screens. There's no mental challenge to the process of organizing items across the screens. It's just busywork.

If each companion has different encumbrance thresholds, it's not as simple as just splitting the inventory..There's also a roleplaying factor involved.

"This is my strong fighter, he carries the heavy stuff. This is my mage, he carries all the scrolls."


You could accomplish the same thing by color-coding a single grid to represent what parts are carried by what character. In practice, people playing IE games just drag items onto any available slot until a limit is hit, then drag it to someone else.



...

What limits will be imposed upon inventory? Weight? Size of items? Slot size? Will we see weak elf stuffed with 100 full plates of feather weight? Or party of barbarians and paladins with inventroy filled with 100 slots of beans?

In the current design, party Stash size (withdrawals only available at rest locations) is unlimited. Worn Equipment is slot-based and is the same for all characters (barring abilities or talents that do things like increase available weapon sets). The one area we haven't decided on in terms of capacity is the shared Pack, which is gear that is not actively worn but available for access outside of combat. However it is defined, it will always be displayed as a unified UI for the player so they aren't flipping between characters for what is, practically-speaking, a shared inventory.

 

 

Wednesday - May 15, 2013

Project Eternity - Post Funding Update #53, Monsters

by Myrthos, 12:37

In this latest post funding Kickstarter update for Project Eternity designer Bobby Null talks about the design of the creatures in the game.

One of my responsibilities has been creating the bestiary for Project Eternity. I'll admit, it's been a lot of work, but it's also been a lot fun. Like most of the things we do here at Obsidian, the process has been very collaborative. We have a few high-level goals regarding this process on Project Eternity.

  • Creature Variety - The goal is to have a large library of creatures to use for the final game. Thus far, we're on track to meet this goal. The concept artists, modelers and animators have been tearing through the bestiary and delivering quality assets at a rapid pace.
  • Recognizable is Good - We don't want to try to reinvent the wheel with every single monster. As we've shown in an earlier update, we feel some classic monsters, like the ogre, are essential to capture the adventuring feel we are aiming for. Moving forward, we are committed to including monsters that we feel fans will appreciate, while giving the beasties flavor appropriate to the world of Project Eternity.
  • Different if Cool - We've already shown one of the unique creatures for Project Eternity in an earlier update, the skuldr. We will continue to create other unique, and often times bizarre, creatures to populate our world, but unique doesn't always need to feel bizarre. Different because it's cool is the goal.

So now that I've briefly discussed our high level goals, let's talk about a new creature: The Cean Gúla (KEN GOO-lah, "Blood Woman", Glanfathan), and the pipeline we use to get it through the concept phase.

Wednesday - May 08, 2013

Project Eternity - Post-funding Update #52

by Couchpotato, 08:45

Project Eternity has a new post-funding update that shows concept art, and gives information on the monk class.

                 

Monks in Eternity are different than you might expect. There are no restrictions on armor and weapons – you could wear plate and use a sword, if you wanted to, and the talent system is flexible enough so you could build a great monk that specialized in that gear. But at the core of this class is a little rule about how monks take damage. You see, when a monk gets hit, only part of the damage is inflicted on him or her immediately. The rest is redirected to a Wound, which is an effect that causes damage over time (called a DoT effect) to the monk. That slowly-ticking Wound would only seem to be delaying the inevitable result except for one thing: the monk can get rid of that Wound by using special attacks.

The monk gets all kinds of cool special attacks that do extra effects beyond simply damage and, as a side effect, also eliminate his Wounds. Some of their special attacks include:

  • Torment’s Reach - this ability increases the range of melee attacks by 200% for a short duration. Enemies between the monk and his or her target are also attacked. Costs 1 Wound to activate.
  • Turning Wheel - if the monk suffers from a DoT effect (including Wounds ticking down), he or she adds a proportional fire bonus to his or her melee damage. This is a passive ability which works automatically whenever the monk has any DoT effect.
  • Clarity of Agony - when used, this ability cuts the duration of hostile status effects in half. It lasts for a brief amount of time, halving both incoming effects and ones that are currently on the monk. Costs 2 Wounds.

Each of these attacks makes monks stronger in battle, and many also consume their Wounds, hopefully before those Wounds have done the damage the monks were originally supposed to take.

Culture Concept

Concept artist Kaz Aruga has been developing the look of some of Project Eternity's various cultures. So far, he's created concepts for people from the Dyrwood, the Vailian Republics, the Aedyr Empire, and the Valley of Ixamitl. We hope you like the range we've come up with. Let us know what you think!

Tuesday - May 07, 2013

GameBanshee - Project Eternity Social Round-up

by Couchpotato, 00:03

GameBanshee has posted a newsbit on Project Eternity that's been made available by devs through social networks and their official forums. Visit the link for more information as there is allot of it.

Josh Sawyer:

Wood elves make up almost half of the population of Aedyr and orlans are also found near savannah folk, north of Readceras (which is north of the Dyrwood).

Even the elves and orlans in Eír Glanfath migrated to the area within the past two thousand years; they don't have any apparent connection to the original residents and builders of the ancient structures.

...

Ethnicity and culture are separate characteristics in the game. Individual meadow folk can be from the Vailian Republics just as coastal aumaua can be from Aedyr. The common-name descriptions of ethnicities don't restrict where they can be from. Literally every ethnicity in our race document has a bit-by-bit description of what physical characteristics they have, including facial features, skin tones, hair colors (and textures), eye colors (and shapes), etc. E.g., only savannah folk, pale elves, and boreal dwarves have epicanthic folds. Of those, only boreal dwarves have them consistently.

...

Just as a point of reference, we've seen the use of Gaelic names for places and people, and now are told that the old English/Norse languages are being referenced, does this indicate a clash of cultures at some point? Or have the two arisen in unison and merged beyond the telling apart?

It's less a clash of cultures and more of the intermingling of them. Places settled by Aedyrans in the Dyrwood tend to have Eld Aedyran or regular Aedyran (i.e. plain English) names. The common names for some creatures are Glanfathan but others are Eld Aedyran or (rarely) Vailian. The cultures borrow terms from each other, too. The title of duc (ducs bels and ducs panits) is used in the Vailian Republics for the sovereign ruler of a city-state, but the Dyrwoodans borrowed it when they rebelled against the Aedyran Empire. Admeth Hadret was originally an erl palatine (palatine/palatinate also being borrowed from the Vailians), but he styled himself as a duc of the "free palatinate" during the rebellion.

...

At first it seemed the different cultures would be more in a high/late Middle period. From your recent answers, it seems that pretty much all the big human factions are actually in what would be a modern, colonial period. 1. So PE is more of a Renaissance/early modern world than a High/Late Medieval one? 2. Is there still some place for knights (vassal system...), Gothic Architecture, Medieval weaponery and other typical Middle Ages characteristics?

The Dyrwood is in the equivalent of a Renaissance/early modern tech level, but even Europe’s own Renaissances didn’t abandon earlier architecture and technology. Swords and armor were used alongside firearms for centuries (as they are in the Dyrwood, where firearms are still uncommon).

Rural communities in the Dyrwood tend to have Romanesque/Norman architecture, with Renaissance features (e.g. domes, symmetrical façades) found in large urban centers. Previous colonial cultures also tried to settle in the Dyrwood and their ruins tend to be more traditionally “Medieval”. In the village concept we released, the buildings are vaguely Romanesque with a few Renaissance features, but they are built adjacent to much older, rougher remnants of a castle and bridges from centuries ago.

...

Hi Josh.You said that Aedyr are white humans and elves with green and blue eyes. But they are from very hot, tropical regions of the world. Wouldnt people living in a climate like that develop a darker skin and darker eyes?

If they had been there for more than a few thousand years, yes. Most people living in Aedyr are Thyrtan humans, "meadow folk". Their ethnic group is not native to Aedyr, but comes from the far north (like the Sceltrfolc elves). They migrated south over thousands of years. Their nickname, "meadow folk", is seemingly a misnomer but is still used because of their origin.

Similarly, the Grand Empire of Vailia (from which the Vailian Republics sprang) was farther south in the southern hemisphere, but the Calbandra people originally lived near the equator for many millennia (hence their name -- Calbandra = warm ring).

Additionally, no one really got why their name meant "warm ring" for a long time because the Vailians pioneered cartography and theories of the world's shape. To most others, Calbandra are "ocean folk".

...

Can you tell us where the spelling of Direwood (Deerwood) comes from?

"Dyrwood" (DEER-wood) is the Eld Aedyran name for the forest north and west of the Bael River. The letter y in Eld Aedyran is pronounced /i/.

...

Can you tell me anything about the clothing and architectural styles of the cultures in Project Eternity? How do you deal with situations where the climate/environment is quite different from that of the real cultures that were the inspiration?

Kaz is working on the clothing right now. It's interesting, because we have combinations of people and styles that aren't usually seen together (e.g. Vailians are essentially black Renaissance Italians) and I think Kaz is doing a good job of making each culture feel distinctive. We've already developed the Dyrwoodan and Vailian styles, and now Kaz is revisiting the Aedyrans to reflect their home climate more.

In Earth's history, Spanish and Portuguese explorers/conquistadors were often overdressed for the hot climates they found themselves in. Aedyrans have the opposite problem when they visit the Dyrwood. Their home climate is very hot and humid, so they are relatively underdressed for the Mediterranean/temperate climates of the Dyrwood.

For Dyrwoodan architecture, Rob and Polina are looking at Renaissance European architecture and also some of the colonial-era South American architecture. Because the Dyrwood is heavily colonized (and very recently), many of the urban buildings look much newer than they might in a traditional Medieval fantasy setting.

The Glanfathan architecture is much more fantastic. We can create shapes and structures that would not be possible/appropriate when using strictly Renaissance-era technology alone.

...

The PE world map was one of the first things shown for the game. How much has it evolved since then? Will we see an updated version in the near future?

It has changed somewhat, mostly how the rivers flow, but a few other details here and there. We haven't revised it in a while, but we will eventually release an updated version.

Wednesday - April 24, 2013

Project Eternity - prototype 2 Update

by Myrthos, 10:28

Adam Brennecke, Executive Producer and Lead Programmer, updates us on the status of prototype 2 in this update for Project Eternity.

Last month we finished our prototype 1 build. In Update #47, Josh outlined our goals for the first prototype, which focused on establishing "that IE feel". Not only did we hit that mark with the look of our characters and environments, but we also hit our target with movement, combat, and gameplay systems. Core basics that you all expect from Project Eternity such as party movement, melee and ranged combat attacks, containers (with loot!), doors, using special class abilities and spell casting, area transitions, inventory and equipment are all in the game and functioning. We also established working character and environment pipelines - the art team is now able to create beautiful rendered areas, and we can model armor sets for all of our uniquely proportioned races. Additionally, we've established that we can efficiently concept, model and animate creatures for our soon to be growing bestiary.

More details on their first creature, art, design and programming can be found in the update.

Thursday - April 18, 2013

Project Eternity - George Ziets on the Setting

by Myrthos, 23:01

Obsidian's George Ziets has shared his views on the Project Eternity setting with Examiner.com.

1) Soul mechanics. I like the fact that this defining feature of the world affects almost every element of the setting. For example, we had a creature meeting this week, and we kept coming back to questions like, “Okay, given our soul mechanics, what does it mean to be (for example) undead in this world? What does it mean to be this other creature type? What kind of soul would this creature have? Why would it exist in our setting?” Our soul mechanics give us a strong foundation upon which to build the rest of the world, and in most cases, they result in logical reasons for subtle (or significant) differences between PE and other fantasy settings.

Wednesday - April 17, 2013

Project Eternity - Update #50, What is Project Eternity

by Myrthos, 09:01

Josh Sawyer provides an overview of what Project Eternity is for everyone who doesn't know, forgot or just likes overviews.

Project Eternity is a party-based fantasy roleplaying game inspired by the Infinity Engine games (Baldur's Gate 1 and 2, Icewind Dale 1 & 2, and Planescape: Torment) set in an original world created by Obsidian Entertainment.  The camera has a fixed axonometric (high angle) perspective (with zoom!).  The environments are 2D backgrounds combined with 3D characters and visual effects.
 
Project Eternity's team is focusing on three core ideas that will capture the Infinity Engine experiences players loved so much:

  • Unique, beautiful, dynamic environments that encourage and reward exploration.
  • A story that is both personal and far-reaching, with believable characters and factions that create compelling dilemmas for players.
  • Fun and challenging tactical combat that can escalate in difficulty through the use of optional game modes.

In addition there is an update of MCA's playthrough of Arcanum.

We’re doing something different with the Arcanum playthroughs with this update – instead of filming a large portion at once and then releasing that one session over several weeks in small 10 min chunks, we’re going to release smaller updates that allow us to respond more quickly to your feedback on the playthrough and then iterate on the next playthrough. In this episode, Avellone explores the small town of Shrouded Hills, deals with cowardly constables, explores trash bins, and finds out more about the cryptic ring from the Zephyr’s zeppelin crash. Virgil guest stars.

Wednesday - April 10, 2013

Project Eternity - Update #49: Water, Trees, Day/Night, Lighting

by Couchpotato, 08:25

Odsidian promised they would release a video showing some gameplay elements and they have delivered. I think it looks beautiful. What's your opinion?

Welcome. Today's update is a big one, though not by volume of text. Today we’re showing you our game in action. Specifically, we're showing what we've been doing for our exterior environments. The Infinity Engine games were known for their art, and we wanted to hit the high standard of visual quality established by games like the Icewind Dale series. We also wanted to introduce dynamic elements into the environment that were mostly absent from the classic games, like dynamic water, movement in foliage, and dynamic lighting of the scene.

In a 2D game, this required our programmers and artists to come up with some creative solutions. What they came up with surprised us initially and it continues to amaze us. While we are still working on refining some of the dynamic elements, we're very happy with the progress we've been able to make and hope you feel the same way. Special thanks to Hector Espinoza, our lead environment artist, and Michael Edwards, our rendering programmer, who did a lot of amazing work to bring this environment to life.

 

Thanks go to WorstUsernameEver and Dr. A

 

Source: GameBanshee

Wednesday - April 03, 2013

Project Eternity - Update #48, Documentary and Arcanum

by Myrthos, 12:44

This update for Project Eternity gives some insight on the documentary that is being made of the development of the game.

In Update #23 Feargus announced that Obsidian would fund a documentary of the making of Project Eternity without using a dime from the Kickstarter funding. Here's a behind-the-scenes of the behind-the-scenes and some other tidbits about the documentary.

We've been working with the documentary team, Tony Jacobsen and Michael Mitchell from Creative Lane Media, for some time. Tony and Mike are very professional guys with years of experience making films, and have experience working with the games industry. They will be with following us with their fancy cameras for the entire production of Project Eternity.

Our documentary will be a full movie and released in its entirety when the game is complete. We are targeting a 45 minute film that covers the entire process of the making of Project Eternity from the early days of the Kickstarter, into preproduction, all the way through production to finishing it up and going gold. There will be footage from our team meetings, informal discussions, scrums, and major milestone events.

When can I get the Documentary? The documentary will be released when Project Eternity is finished. We will have more details when we get closer to the Project Eternity beta.

How do I get it? If you already backed at the $20/$25 tier level (and Slacker Backers via PayPal thus far) and above you will be able to stream it. At the $35 tier level and above you will be able to download it, and at the $140 tier level (and physical tiers above) we will include a DVD / Blu-ray. You can still get access to the documentary stream if you donate to the project today via the Slacker Backer pledge at the Eternity website.

And there are some videos of the Let's Play Arcanum activity by MCA.

Saturday - March 30, 2013

Project Eternity - Interview with MCA @ PC Gamer

by Aries100, 20:58

PC Gamer talked to Chris Avellone at GDC on varius subjects from Fallout: New Vegas, Wasteland 2, to Torment: Tides of Numenera.  In the interview, he also talks about Obsidian's own title, Project Eternity. As always, a quote:

You mentioned the different cultures. We saw some of that in the early concept art, where we had the Inuit-inspired dwarf. Do you have a particular favorite culture that puts a spin on an existing fantasy trope?

Well, my favorite race is the Orlans. They're feline-based, and I don't think there's actually an equivalent of them in standard fantasy fare. Partially because I'm a cat person, and I really like the idea that they're sort of the stealthy, guerrilla class. That kind of appeals to me. And you know, the trap-making. They're very anti-slaver, because the slavers love to pick on them. So that's caused some interesting paranoia and hostility in their culture.

Wednesday - March 27, 2013

Project Eternity - Update #47, Odds and Ends

by Myrthos, 12:03

In this update Josh Sawyer talks about the current development status of Project Eternity now that they have the first prototype done and are working towards their second prototype. Furthermore the Torment and Dwarven Forge's Game Tiles are promoted.

We've got a lot of things in progress on Project Eternity right now. As Darren wrote in the last update, we're winding down our first prototype. We just did an audit of the work that remains from the first prototype and where we will be going with the next prototype. Our first prototype allowed us to prove a lot of the basics of movement, character design, stealth, combat controls, inventory, resting, quests, scripted skill interactions, dialogue, status effects, and the ability and spell systems. There's still a lot of work to do on all of those elements, but by the end of the prototype, it really did have "that IE feel". How I organized and moved my characters, how I used them differently in combat, how I explored areas very much captured the feeling of the Infinity Engine games in gorgeous high-res environments.

Tuesday - March 26, 2013

Project Eternity - Interview @ DigiPen

by Myrthos, 12:39

DigiPen interviewed Obsidian's Adam Brennecke (former DigiPen editor) on Project Eternity and its Kickstarter.

While the pitch for Project Eternity was an indisputable success, the project likely wouldn’t have gotten off the ground without a period of uncertainty for the studio. Obsidian had been several months into development for an unannounced title when the game’s publisher pulled the plug, leaving the California-based studio little choice but to lay off staff and start shopping for more work.

As one of the programmers who worked on the canceled game, Brennecke joined in the effort of pitching new game ideas to publishers. That meant spending weeks writing design documents, prototyping game ideas, and typically getting nowhere fast.

“It takes a lot of time to go through the pitch process. And right now is not the best time in the world to pitch new games,” Brennecke says.

Fortunately, Brennecke realized that working with a publisher wasn’t the only way to fund their next project. A shift was occurring in the industry, as many game companies began skirting big-name publishers altogether by going directly to the fans to fund games, primarily through Kickstarter. One of the biggest success stories happened in March 2012, when indie studio Double Fine Productions brought in more than $3.3 million to fund an old-school adventure game. Months later, Obsidian’s friends at developer InXile found similar success with their game Wasteland 2.

Source: GameBanshee

Wednesday - March 13, 2013

Project Eternity - Update #46

by Woges, 09:22

Darren Monahan on nearing the end of Obsidian's prototype stage.

In this week’s update, we’re back with me for one more! We’ll cover what the team’s up to currently.

To start, every one of Obsidian’s games goes through a series of phases. Those phases, chronologically, are: Prototype, Vertical Slice, Production, and Finalization. At the end of each phase, the team and owners do an analysis of the progress; we verify that we’ve hit key goals, and (hopefully) officially move the project into the next phase.

Wednesday - March 06, 2013

Project Eternity - Update #45, FATE: Fulfillment, Arcanum, Torment, Egads

by Myrthos, 16:39

This update on Project Eternity shares information on the backer portal, 3 videos of MCA's play-through of Arcanum and a promotion for two Kickstarter games (of which one is Torment).

Q: So, what’s happening with the backer portal?
A: I’m personally busy putting together a whole new Project Eternity website, which includes our backer portal, RSS feeds (popular request!), as well as including information and artwork about the universe of Eternity. What we know about classes, races, the gods, and more, and this site will continue to evolve as more and more is designed and released.

It is a big job though for just little ol’ me, so it’s still going to be a few weeks as I work everything out, but we’ll keep you in the know. Oh, and backer badges come with this system as well.

The backer portal will also be a great resource for those of you in the upper tiers who are submitting item, character, or location designs. Speaking of which...!

Q: When will I be able to start submitting my item, character, or location designs?
A: The guys have been talking quite a bit about this recently and have already started designing out the forms. Our current plan is to have those of you with those tiers be able to input them directly in our backer portal, and you can revise them at any time up to a certain point down the road (which we’ll let you all know – this point is when we would send out your text for translation, and it becomes expensive from this point to make edits.) But until then, start thinking about the concept for the thing you’d like to add! Adam will have an update on that in the coming weeks with more detail. We’d like to make sure there’s enough backstory and content available for you to draw connections from, and our new website will be the place for that.

Tuesday - March 05, 2013

Project Eternity - Interview @ NowGamer

by Myrthos, 00:13

As part of their series of Kickstarter interviews NowGamer talked to Project Eternity's Executive producer and lead programmer, Adam Brennecke.

Have you made or anticipated any changes to the original pitch? If so, how did the community react?

So far we haven’t really changed much of anything. Since it’s a pretty clear project, the idea is very clear and I think that’s why it’s so successful. People understand what we were trying to pitch. And we’ve got a really good idea of how to make this game.

There are little details here and there, since it’s an RPG there are tons of little rules and other things here and there that, through development, somethings work and somethings don’t and we have to make those changes.    

Since we’re pretty clear and honest with our backers they’re pretty cool about us having to make changes to stuff. As long as we explain it properly and explain why we’re making that change most people have been pretty cool.

How has Kickstarter funding changed the development process?

We try and do an update every week and it is a lot of work for us to do that, but we like sharing what we’re doing and discussing it with the community. The community has a lot of great ideas and they’re a good sounding board. Josh Sawyer might have an idea for combat and we can just get it out there and see what people think about it.

Then we can make adjustments as necessary. It’s very different to traditional game development where you have to do a lot of work behind closed doors. It’s great that we can be really open and get things out there as we make them. It’s been a lot of fun.

Thanks Omega.

Wednesday - February 27, 2013

Project Eternity - Update #44, Rules of Engagement

by Myrthos, 13:21

In update #44 Josh Sawyer informs us of melee engagements in Project Eternity.

Last week, our art director, Rob, showed you our godlike concepts and dazzled you with an in-depth technical breakdown of how we're doing animation rigging on the project. This week, we'll be talking about a different technical subject, but one that's more connected to gameplay: engagement -- specifically, melee engagement.

Melee engagement is a solution to two common problems in the Infinity Engine games: melee characters' inability to control an area and ranged characters' ability to "kite" melee characters. In the Infinity Engine games, melee characters could be quite powerful in toe-to-toe combat, but many opponents found ways to foil those characters with little difficulty. Fast characters could easily rush around a slower melee character with impunity and ranged characters could backpedal perpetually out of reach.

If you're familiar with D&D 3E/3.5/4E/Pathfinder's attack of opportunity mechanics, Project Eternity's melee engagement fills a similar role by making melee combatants "sticky". Coming near a melee combatant means being drawn into Engagement with him or her, a state that can be risky to get out of.

Here's how it works: when two opposed combatants come near each other and one of them a) has a melee weapon equipped b) is not moving and c) is not currently at his or her maximum limit of engagement targets (the standard is 1), the other character will be Engaged.

When an opponent is Engaged by an attacker, moving any significant distance away from the attacker will provoke a Disengagement Attack. A Disengagement Attack has an inherent Accuracy bonus, does significantly more damage than a standard attack, and will call a hit reaction animation while momentarily stopping the character's movement.

When it's initiated, a Disengagement Attack automatically breaks Engagement on the target, but if the target is also the attacker's current melee target, the attacker will typically be able to re-establish Engagement before the target can move farther away. In this manner, melee combatants, especially ones that have high Accuracy and damage per hit, have a solid mechanic for keeping enemies close to them -- or making the cost of escape extremely expensive.

Of course, there are other ways to end Engagement. If the attacker switches to a non-melee weapon or performs a non-melee-based action, Engagement immediately ends. If the attacker moves away from their Engagement targets, is paralyzed, knocked down, or otherwise prevented from maintaining a threat, Engagement will also immediately end. If the attacker has a limited number of Engagement targets (as most do) and switches his or her attack focus to a different character, Engagement immediately ends.

We believe that Engagement can give AI a clear "decision point" where they can evaluate the threat of their new status and choose the appropriate course of action. For player-controlled characters, it makes melee enemies more potent threats and presents players with tactical challenges to solve.

We want Engagement to be a mechanic that players and enemies can mess with using a variety of class Abilities and general Talents, so we will be experimenting with a variety of elements to that end:

  • Fighters' Defender mode allows them to engage two additional targets and increases the range at which they engage targets. This gives fighters much greater capability to control the area around them.
  • The limited-use Escape ability lets rogues break Engagement without provoking a Disengagement Attack. It is generally best used when the rogue's enemy is preoccupied with another target.
  • Barbarians can use Wild Rush to temporarily ignore the movement stop and hit reactions from Engagement and Disengagement Attacks, respectively -- though they can still suffer massive damage while powering through.
  • The wizards' Grimoire Slam allows them to attack an enemy in melee with their magically-charged grimoires, unleashing a concussive wave of energy on contact. If it hits, the attack knocks the target back, usually far enough to break Engagement in the process.

Additionally, creatures may have their own special abilities related to Engagement and Disengagement Attacks. We hope that the system itself is easy to understand but allows for increasingly complex tactical considerations over the course of the game.

Saturday - February 23, 2013

Project Eternity - Interview @ RPGFrance

by Aries100, 18:09

RPGFrance has made an interview with Adam Brennecke and Chris Avellone from Obsidian Entertainment.  The interview is in French; if you scroll down the interview will be
translated into English. A quote on how Obsidian decided to start a Kickstarter campaign:

When did Project Eternity really become something concrete you knew you would work on ? Why did you specifically choose Kickstarter to launch your game ?

Kickstarter was something we'd been examining for a while, several months before we launched, in fact - I'd put a poll up on the Obsidian site (http://forums.obsidian.net/blog/1/entry-158-if-obsidian-kickstarter/) which got us a lot of interest, and then once Wasteland 2 proved that there was a market for the seemingly-dead old school RPG model, we started to chew over methods for tackling Kickstarter and seeing if we had any ideas that would be a good fit. Even after Eternity, we're still examining Kickstarter in case we want to do another in the future. 

 

Source: GameBanshee

Wednesday - February 20, 2013

Project Eternity - Update #42, Pretty and Technical

by Myrthos, 14:03

Art Director Rob Nesler brings us the latest Project Enternity update about the work their technical animator Antonio is doing and an image of a godlike made by Polina.

The godlike are the children of humanoids (most often humans) who have been "blessed" (or cursed, depending on personal or social view) with the physical manifestation of a divine spark granted by the gods. Godlike manifest their divine heritage in a variety of ways: wings, horns, strange birthmarks, talons, odd eyes - but they always manifest it somehow. BTW, in case you missed it, this is a playable "race".

And on the work of Antonio:

If you recall, in the last update, I wrote this little nugget:

"Antonio Is our Technical Animator. He makes rigs, writes scripts that make rigs, and rigs the rigs. It’s all very technical. You wouldn’t understand. He’s a professional."

So, specifically ROB, what does Antonio do that will make Project Trenton/Eternity awesome?
Generally, technical animators program scripts using languages like MEL or Python to extend or enhance the functionality of existing off-the-shelf apps like Maya, Max, or Softimage. These scripts are often programs running within the larger app, but sometimes they are utilities that exist outside the application to assist in conversion or batching operations. These often can be purchased, but sometimes they themselves don’t have all the features our animators want so...

NO! Specifically ROB! What the hell does he do???
Okay, okay, for Project Trenton/Eternity Antonio has written, a few, and re-written a couple times the following, and it's all called DNA (Design New Actor).

Firstly, there is the Export Rig, and this is not so unique to 3D character animation. This is a highly optimized skeleton that represents only the bones that the actual actor mesh is weighted to. For a humanoid character these bones would be named: Pelvis, Femur_Rt and Femur_Lt., etc. Vertices of the visible textured geometry, that the player sees, are all attached to these bones with various amounts of strength, so the character will appear to bend and flex more naturally. Sometimes these bones will have physics applied to them, like pony tails. This is less a rig and more of: simply the skeleton that the other rigs interact with, but these are the only bones that go into the game, and we call it the "export rig". Antonio builds this skeletal hierarchy to fit the expected proportions of the character, and character modelers build character meshes to match visible body parts to the locations of bones, so that -- for example -- the bendy part between the upper_arm_rt and lower_arm_rt ends up being where a humanoid creature, as designed, would expect an elbow to be.

Wednesday - February 06, 2013

Project Eternity - Update #41, Dwarves and Doors

by Dhruin, 21:11

Adam Brennecke has posted an Project Eternity update on Kickstarter, discussing equippabe items, dwarves and door placements:

One of the goals in preproduction was to figure out how we could make character modeling pipeline be as efficient as possible. The problem is fairly complex: All of the six playable races, human, elf, dwarf, aumaua, orlan, and the god-like can wear armor, boots, gloves, helmets (...well, some have trouble wearing helmets, but we will talk about that some other day...) and have other options that the player can customize like facial hair, hair style and skin color. We also have tons of armor variations and types of armor, like plate, brigandine, leather, and mail. (Josh loves his armor). Ideally, our artist would only need to model one armor piece - let's say plate body armor - and have it fit all six of our playable races even if the races are all of different proportions and body structure. At the end of the day the same model for plate armor could fit a slender four-foot-tall orlan and a burly seven-foot-tall aumaua. The goal for January was to build a system to allow us to do this very thing.

Thanks for the reminder, Thrasher!

Wednesday - January 30, 2013

Project Eternity - Update #40, Ziets on Pantheon Design

by Dhruin, 11:28

Project Eternity Update #40 offers concept art of the orlan race but the meat of the post is George Ziets on designing the deities:

Building a Pantheon
One of our first steps was to think about gods. Deities can be a good starting point when developing a world. They reflect the views and beliefs of the world’s inhabitants, and they can inspire ideas for characters, organizations, and conflicts.

You’ve already heard a few of our gods mentioned in passing: Magran, goddess of fire and war; Berath, god of cycles, doors, and death; Eothas, god of light and redemption. Josh invented these gods when he was first developing the world, and they play important roles in the region where the game will be set. But we’ll need a lot more gods to fill out the pantheon.

Here are a few of the elements we consider for each new deity:

  • What is the god's name, and what are his/her "aliases" (e.g., "The Twinned God" for Berath).
  • What is the god's portfolio? That is, what aspects of life or the world do they represent (e.g., mortality, greed, summer, commerce)?
  • What allies and foes do they have amongst the other gods?
  • What are their symbols?
  • How do they manifest in the mortal world?

We list this information for each deity, as well as providing a detailed description. Players won’t necessarily get to see all this stuff, but it’s useful background for the art and design teams, so that the world feels like a consistent, coherent whole.

One other thing to bear in mind: for the most part, our deities aren’t good or evil. They’re somewhere in between – closer to the multi-dimensional gods of the ancient world. Every deity has his or her own agenda, which isn’t bound by notions of alignment. Sometimes they can be helpful and benevolent. Other times – not so much.

Wednesday - January 23, 2013

Project Eternity - Update #39

by Myrthos, 12:21

In the latest update of Project Eternity, Josh Sawyer talks about the basics of the "non-core" classes, cooldown system (or lack thereof), how attacks are resolved, and on the evolution of the armor system. In addition it shows the dungeon tileset test render is shown and a shakycam of some of the combat basics running in engine. With the exception of the last, everything is both in text and in a video.

 

Thursday - January 17, 2013

Project Eternity - Update # 38 - Meet a Developer

by Aries100, 00:50

The Kickstarter Page for this page has been updated witn an interview featuring Lead Animator Mark Bremerkamp.  We learn about his eagerness to animate the RPG's many creatures, his inspirations, and also about his day-to-day responsibilities, and much more.
Here's a snip from the interview:

Q: What is your typical work day like on Project Eternity?

A:
First drink coffee then check my e-mail and look to see if there are any meetings that I need to prepare for. Then I usually look over the work from the day before. I like to always go back with a fresh set of eyes to see what worked and then I'll make some notes/changes. After all that I get to animating the fixes or I'll move onto a new animation.

 

Source: GameBanshee

Wednesday - January 09, 2013

Project Eternity - Update #37

by Myrthos, 12:53

Obsidian's Adam Brennecke posted a Kickstarter update for Project Eternity summing up the pledges and recent activities.

The team has returned from our cozy elfhomes, and we are re-energized and excited to get back to work on Project Eternity. Without further adieu, we had promised backer details in this update, so let's start off with those. Thanks to all of your extremely generous donations, our final backer numbers for our crowdfunding phase are: $3,986,929 from 73,986 Kickstarter backers and $324,650 from roughly 5,698 unique PayPal backers (not including the almost 500 slacker backers who have contributed since the crowdfunding phase ended!) For the phase, we earned about $4,311,600 before any fees from Kickstarter and the payment services. (This does include some losses from failed charges, returns, etc.)

We are continuing to work on fulfillment and are slowly getting in contact with our backers about specifics. The last of the $350 tier loot bags are being sent out this week, and Chris Avellone is starting to draw Troll Avatars for the $750 tier backers. As we continue forward in pre-production, we will have more information for the higher tier design and art related rewards and how backers will be able to participate in designing your items, NPCs, adventuring parties, etc. The backer site is coming together and the plan is to have it up and running by the end of the month. Thank you for your patience and for those of you who will be designing goodies for the game, we’ll be in touch once we’re ready with your templates to fill out.

Wednesday - December 19, 2012

Project Eternity - Update #36

by Myrthos, 12:41

Josh Sawyer brings us a lengthy update on Project Infinity about resolution and scaling, movement and combat feel, UI design and the four core classes and advancement.

As players advance their characters, they have the ability to choose class-specific abilities and more class-neutral talents (more like perks or feats) to customize their character capabilities. If you want to keep your fighters very low maintenance, there are a large number of passive fighter abilities and combat-oriented talents that you can buy. If you'd like to make a fighter that's much more "active-use" (more like a 4E fighter), you can choose to buy more modal and active abilities. Similarly, while all wizards gain additional spells, you can use talents to boost a wizard's damage with implement weapons and Blasts, making them more useful when you're not having them chain-cast a series of limited-use spells.

The same also applies to skills, which are used for a variety of non-combat purposes. All classes start out with bonuses in the skills that their classes most commonly use, but players can choose to reinforce or play against that top. If you want to make a paladin who delights in picking locks, you can do that and get a lot of utility out of the skill -- though the character will never be quite as good as a rogue who specializes in it.

Friday - December 14, 2012

Project Eternity - Interview @ Gamers.de

by Dhruin, 23:28

Thomas sends word of a Project Eternity interview with Josh Sawyer at Gamers.de:

G: The setting reminds me of some kind of a „new world”-scenario. It is planed that your group will be able to use a ship to venture to another continent at the course of the adventure? Personally, the thought about an Infinity Engine-quest line on a ship excites me. It would be a perfect scenario for romantic adventures as well!

JS: We have not yet decided all of the places you can travel in this game, but the Dyrwood is the "new world" for the settlers and there is a lot of ship travel in the area.

G: Regarding romances, relationships were always important elements in the IE-Games, especially in "Baldur's Gate 2".  Will it be possible for our PC to engage in a relationship? 

JS: We aren't currently focusing much attention on romances on Project Eternity.  I would only want to include them if they feel like a natural fit.  As we develop the companion characters, we'll see where their plot arcs take them.

Wednesday - December 12, 2012

Project Eternity - Utility and Balance in Game Design

by Myrthos, 12:45

Josh Sawyer has made a new video as an answer to a question posed to him on his Formspring account.

When you write about how all classes in Project Eternity should be "useful", what does that mean? Does it mean they need to be equally powerful and "balanced"? If so, what does that even mean in a single player, party-based RPG?

Project Eternity - Update #35, Meet Developer Berman

by Myrthos, 12:13

In the latest Project Enternity update we are introduced to Lead Character Artist Dimitri Berman.

Q: Hi Dimitri! What do you do on the Project Eternity team?
A: Hi everyone! I make sure all characters and creatures meet our set quality bar as they enter the game, this includes creation of high poly and low poly models, textures and materials, and occasional skinning and rigging. I work closely with animators, programmers, and designers to make sure our stuff looks and behaves as best it can, and also prototype new systems if we find something particularly cool we can do that the players will enjoy seeing. Occasionally I will jump over and help out the environment guys if they need help with complex set pieces.

Thursday - December 06, 2012

Project Eternity - Interview @ Iron Tower Studio

by Dhruin, 21:02

Josh Sawyer has answered some questions about Project Eternity over at Iron Tower Studio's forums:

3. So, a brand new world, with elves, dwarves, the godlike and the odd, as well as souls and firearms. How do the firearms fit in there from the design perspective?

I think early firearms are interesting and I've enjoyed reading about their use in late Medieval and early modern Europe.  From a gameplay perspective, they pack more of a punch than bows and crossbows, but they have worse accuracy and take much longer to reload.  They're also particularly good at penetrating wizards' arcane veils, which are commonly used for defense.  In our setting, I believe the presence of firearms helps shift the feeling of the world away from the equivalent of Earth's High Middle Ages and into the Late Middle Ages and early modern period.  Europe's early modern period was a time of domestic social unrest and extensive exploration by imperial powers.  I think those topics aren't explored a lot in fantasy RPGs (Maztica [RIP] being a notable exception) and the presence of firearms helps give the feeling of that age.

4. Speaking of arcane veils and such, one of the most praised features in BG2 was the mage duels. In BG a wizard was an annoying pest lurking behind fighters and waiting to be shot full of arrows. In BG a wizard was an impregnable juggernaut, capable of wiping out your entire party, if it was caught unprepared. What should we expect in Project Eternity?

Personally, I believe AD&D elevated the "glass cannon" conception of wizards to an un-fun place.  It's cool that, especially in 2nd Edition, wizards had so many spells to use, but in Baldur's Gate II, I believe it resulted in more-or-less strict combat puzzles rather than loose combat puzzles or tactical challenges.  If the only viable way through a fight is to use a specific sequence of spells, that's not something that you tactically opt to do -- it's the thing you must do to move forward.  And in many of those fights, the only way to figure out what spells to use is to trigger the fight, get wiped, reload, and try again.

I think we can still have powerful, high-threat wizards in Project Eternity without using rock-paper-scissors defense and counter mechanics.  I'd like to present players with challenges that make them think of a variety of solutions.  I want them to feel like they can be flexible and adaptive when an unforeseen challenge appears.  If the game comes out and I see walkthroughs that all suggest the exact same tactics for going through a tough fight, I believe that's a failure on my part.

Wednesday - December 05, 2012

Project Eternity - Update #34, First Art Update

by Dhruin, 21:59

Obsidian's Art Director for Project Eternity Rob Nesler has posted a large update on their work developing the art. A number of "grey" work-in-progress art samples are provided and here's a snip from the text on the +3 Medicine Ball Flail you'll see in the samples:

Mark is our Lead Animator, and he knows his sh-tuff, but he made the Medicine ball. Needless to say, he will not be asked to make any more weapons. No no, it just so happens, that he was making it so he could test physics on weapons. So, it’s all good--we don’t care what things look like right now, we care about making things that matter, and making them right. Lately Mark has been testing cloth physics on our characters, as well as physics on weapons, and attachments. Prior to that he was building a basic set of traversal animations and getting them into the game. Crucial.

Friday - November 30, 2012

Project Eternity - TotalBiscuit Interview

by Dhruin, 08:28

TotalBiscuit caught up with Obsidian's Adam Brennecke to talk about Project Eternity (thanks, Melvil!):

TotalBiscuit invites Adam Brennecke from Obsidian Entertainment to talk a bit about the upcoming and highly anticipated RPG, Project Eternity. Unfortunately there is no video footage available at this time, except for a showcase of early concept art.

Wednesday - November 28, 2012

Project Eternity - Update #33

by Dhruin, 12:24

There's a new update for Project Eternity, announcing Paypal donations are closing in a week and also providing a current development update:

The Project Eternity team is tackling a number of different things in pre-production including story and world building, creating the look of the Aumaua and Orlans, character customization, combat, and fancy rendering R&D.

Here are a few bits on current developments:

  • The narrative team is creating the world almanac which contains all the information about the people and history of Project Eternity. Right now they are fleshing out the pantheon of gods. Do you have any crazy or wacky ideas for gods? Share your ideas in the forums!
  • The artists and programmers have been working on character customization. The system allows for individual pieces of armor to show up on your characters such as boots, gloves, and chest armor. When you swap armor, the character's torso model and texture are also swapped out. There are thousands of different armor, weapon, head, and hair customization models for each race (male and female too!), and we need to make sure that the system can organize and manage all of these character assets.
  • Lastly, the picture is from an early test environment area using temporary art assets. The red shapes represent collision geometry that will block pathfinding and line-of-sight. The light blue/greenish color represents the walkmesh geometry which determines where characters can walk. We use this area to test tech features that we are building. For example, we are using the cemetery in the lower left to test out complex party pathfinding. If you look carefully, you can see two test characters in the picture. 

Wednesday - November 21, 2012

Project Eternity - Update #32, Meet Steve Weatherly

by Dhruin, 12:10

Project Eternity's latest update introduces programmer Steve Weatherly:

Q: Steve, can you tell us what you do on Project Eternity?

A:
I'm a gameplay programmer primarily responsible for making combat happen. What that means is that I look at what Josh and Tim design for the game, and tell them it can never be done. After that, they tell me it has to get done, so then I figure out a way to make it happen. I spend most of my day writing code, either for AI (to make the enemies act like they know what they're doing), or the underlying code that makes characters fight and take damage, etc. I'm also our chief Reddit ambassador, which I sort of fell into but it has been a lot of fun.

Friday - November 16, 2012

Project Eternity - Update #31, Story Update

by Myrthos, 13:50

Josh Sawyer brings us the next update for Project Eternity, which provides some more information about the process of the plot development.

Today's update isn't about lore as much as it is about the focus and process of developing our central plot. I'm not going to spoil any details of the story, but I do want to share what we're working on.

When we develop stories at Obsidian, we often ask ourselves (and each other), "What's the conflict and why do I care about it?" and, "What is my range of roles in resolving the conflict?" "RPG" means a lot of different things to different people. For us, it's important to let the player decide who he or she is in the story. That means when you set aside class, race, magic missiles, and all of the other goodies, the player needs to be able to define his or her own motivations, attitudes toward others, and ways of resolving problems in the story.

Finding the right level of player freedom and clarity of purpose can be difficult. It's tricky to develop scenarios that can convincingly motivate characters of many races and classes, many backgrounds, and many moral and ethical stances. A conflict that is too "hands-off" or impersonal (e.g. a political conflict that doesn't directly involve the player) can make it difficult for players to connect to it. A conflict that is extremely personal may rub players the wrong way if it assumes too much about their character or if it feels like their choices don't have a large enough impact on the world around them.

Because this is the first story your characters will shape in this world, we want to start with something small that grows into something larger. As we have hinted before, the story opens with the player's character witnessing a supernatural event that puts him or her in a difficult situation. The full ramifications of what you become a part of are not immediately apparent, but you quickly become aware that you have... new problems. Dealing with these problems makes you realize that resolving your situation is inexorably linked to the fates of many others. In some cases, these "others" are individuals. In others, they are much larger groups of people. You will get to interact with them all in various ways over the course of the story. If we do a good job in developing these groups and characters, the decisions you make in the course of resolving your problems will be interesting and difficult to make.

That's what we're aiming for, but that doesn't necessarily tell you what we've been doing. On this project, the process started with a rough idea for a story and a theme that went along with it. The story itself wasn't that important; it was just an idea to get us moving. What followed were critiques of the story's premise, the unfolding of the plot, the player's motivation and involvement, and the scope of the conflicts the player faces from the beginning through the end. For the past few weeks, we've been exchanging various small ideas, big ideas, minor tweaks, radical overhauls, and brand new storylines. Through it all, we regularly return to the questions I posed up above: "What's the conflict and why do I care about it?" and, "What is my range of roles in resolving the conflict?" We can (and do) write about all sorts of character and location ideas, subplots and interesting takes on themes, but until we answer those questions in a way we believe will be compelling to your characters and all that they may be, we still have work to do.

We like to develop fun ideas we come up with and every once in a while we delight at some clever character or situation we think of, but for us, it's more important for you to feel clever, for you to feel like you can take control of a situation -- by whatever means you see fit. Until we believe we have a few gems on our hands, we'll keep the Story Gnomes digging in the mines on your behalf.

 

Tuesday - November 13, 2012

Project Eternity - Interview @ PureSophistry

by Myrthos, 09:48

Feargus Urquhart is interviewed by Pure Sophistry on Project Eternity. It is a video interview where they list these as the highlights:

Is the development side of the game going to be that different from previous titles you’ve made?

Now that we’ve gone through the funding, what’s different is that we are publishing it. So that is going to be something a little new. On the development side a lot of us have been doing this for 20 years, but the one big change is ensuring fan involvement. Really invite people into the process, we are working on how we are going to do that right now, websites, webblogs and constant updates for the fans. On the publishing side, we have had a lot of contact in the publishing world but it is a little bit different , but we’re up for it.


Have there been any ideas from the nearly 75 thousand contributors that you’ve heard, or read that maybe you never considered for the vision of Project Eternity?

That’s a good question, whats interesting about RPG’s, the games are huge and broad and come from a rich pen and paper foundation, so I don’t want to say there’s no new ideas. But a lot of what we do is adapted on already proven methods. An example would be someone was saying in the comments section the other day, and I know this may sound dorky- but he said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if after I come back from a quest, instead of just selling off my stuff to a vendor I could invest my money into a store? Earning money that way?” It’s nothing something we ever considered and we are actually talking about and looking at if we can add that to the game.


Obsidian has these really robust features like perma-death and low intelligence characters are you considering bringing back that way to play?

Games have changed a little bit since then, it’s one of those thing where we have to think about what’s right for Project Eternity. Is it about the player playing someone who goes, “Ugh Urgh Ooh” while it was entertaining in Fallout, it still a conversation tier that made sense. In the end when it comes to the companions and perma death; RPG’s are all about options and choices, and even in choice in how you want to play this version of the game and that’s something Josh REALLY feels strongly about. Having features like that, that can be turned on.

Sometimes people think adding options to a change is just designer and game developers not making a choice (laughs) “we’ll just give a players a choice, makes it easy” that sorta thing! In the case, for an RPG I think that’s appropriate. When you go back to the DnD games, we made a choice in Icewind Dale to have Max Hitpoints on by default- a lot of times…because wizards would get killed in the first 7 minutes of the game. But for those who want a true DnD feeling they could turn it on.

So that’s how we look at it, with perma death you can have that experience. We also know the side effects of that though, usually when players turn on perma death all it does is force them to reload when someone dies. For the people who want to have that Ironman experience, we have you covered.

Saturday - November 10, 2012

Project Eternity - Update #30, How Stuff is Made

by Dhruin, 23:09

The latest Kickstarter update for Project Eternity looks at "what's going on in the studio", including delving into the different departments of Art, Audio, Design, Production, Programming and QA:

Right now we are knee deep in pre-production. Pre-production is the period of time at the beginning of development where everything is planned and prototyped, production schedules are made, and pipelines are constructed. I'm not talking about oil pipelines here - I'm talking about asset pipelines. An asset pipeline can be described like an oil pipeline - First the asset is made by a content creator (like an artist), next the asset is processed by a tool so that the game understands what the heck it is, and finally the asset is placed into the game world in its final location. All of the different types of assets (stuff) require a custom pipeline. Pipeline creation is one of the many problems we are tackling right now in pre-production.

Friday - November 02, 2012

Project Eternity - Interview @ LFG.hu

by Dhruin, 20:34

Chris Avellone has been interviewed at LFG.hu about Project Eternity:

Do moral decisions affect the plotline and how?

Decisions, moral or otherwise, have an impact on the plotline, factions, and companions. Without giving anything too specific away, we want the breadth of reactivity (personal and world-wise) to be along the lines of Fallout 2, Torment, and Fallout: New Vegas, all of which we felt were great examples of being able to make an impact on the environment.

Lastly, I wanted to clarify – “moral” decisions aren’t necessarily our focus. Sometimes the right way to determine the course of a nation’s growth or a person’s growth is to simply make decisions with what you know of the world and in accordance with your outlook as a player, and the choices you have to make can all seem equally valid in achieving the goal you desire – do you sternly punish someone who’s drifted from their responsibilities, or do you reach out a helping hand to lift them up? Which one might help the individual more in the end if you really want to help them? At that point, the decision becomes a personal one, and says more about you as a player rather than any attempt to game the system or force a good/evil result with a group, person, or faction.

 Do you plan many possible companions you can add to your party or do you prefer less companions with rich background and personality?

We prefer to let the player choose. We have two different breakdowns in companions – one are the limited cast of extremely detailed companions (like Planescape: Torment and NX2: Mask of the Betrayer), but the player can also choose to either take no companions at all, or go to the Adventurer’s Hall (a stretch goal that was made possible by the players – thank you!) and recruit a selection of mercenaries there of their own choosing, not ours.

Wednesday - October 31, 2012

Project Eternity - Interview @ GameRanx

by Aries100, 20:21

GameRanx has an interview with Chris Avellone on this game.  In it, he talks about emergent behaviors, pacing, the system used for dialogues in rpgs, and much much more. Chris Avellone has this to say about romances:

You've stated in the past that you don't like romances in games—at least to the extent that they've been done in games thus far. Were you to implement a romance subplot in Project Eternity, what would it involve?

........So if I were to implement a romance subplot in Eternity - I wouldn’t.  I’d examine interpersonal relationships from another angle and I wouldn’t confine it to love and romance. Maybe I’d explore it after a “loving” relationship crashed and burned, and one or both was killed in the aftermath enough for them to see if it had really been worth it spending the last few years of their physical existence chained to each other in a dance of human misery and/or a plateau of soul-killing compromise. Or maybe I’d explore a veteran’s love affair with his craft of murder and allowing souls to be freed to travel beyond their bleeding shell, or a Cipher’s obsession with plucking the emotions of deep-rooted souls to try and see what makes people attracted to each other beyond their baser instincts and discovers love... specifically, his love of manipulating others. 

Project Eternity - Update # 29 - Happy Halloween

by Aries100, 20:08

Josh Sawyer has painted himself in the face for this Update # 29 for this game.
This being Halloween, it isn't surprising, but perhaps rather scary. What's not scary - or perhaps is it? - is that Josh Sawyer talks about armour design for this update. He talks about different kinds of armor and what it means for Project Eternity.

A quote then, on some pertinent questions:

Should something like hide armor be supplanted/made obsolete by leather as an "improved version" or does that effectively kill the visual concept of the rough-hewn rawhide-wearing ranger or barbarian?

If armor types like hide (or scale, or mail) should remain viable on their own, how should that "upgrade" be expressed to the player? Functional descriptors like "fine scale", "superior hide", etc.? Cultural or material descriptors like "Vailian doublet", "iron feather scale"? Olde tyme numerical descriptors like "scale armor +1", "half-plate +2"?

Is it okay for an upgrade from a visual type of armor to maintain its relative position to other armor types even if "realistically" that upgraded armor is now probably superior in protection to other armor types? E.g. an armored jack or brigandine armor is probably more protective than even nice suit of leather armor... but mechanically, we're presenting it as an upgrade of a padded (doublet) armor type.

Darren Mohahan talks about the fullfilment system as well. A quote, too:

First off, I wanted to announce that we’re developing a fulfillment site, which we’re hoping to have online in the next month or two (I was hoping to have it up sooner, but my first baby is coming into the world in the next few days, eeep!). Everyone who backed the project on Kickstarter and/or PayPal will be e-mailed details that will give you credit on that site. After logging in, you will be able to:

Confirm the tier of choice that you wanted. A few of you donated on Kickstarter, and then topped up via PayPal, so you’ll be able to select the exact tier you wanted. Confirm any add-ons you wanted that weren’t easy to specify on Kickstarter or via PayPal.

Source: GameBanshee

Thursday - October 25, 2012

Project Eternity - J.E. Sawyer Interview @ CyberGamer

by Aries100, 18:05

CyberGamer talked to J.E. Sawyer about Obsidian Entertainment's Project Eternity, their game funded by Kickstarter. Here's an excerpt on the inspiration behind the use of souls in the game:

One of the first things mentioned about Project Eternity was the concept of Souls being important and a source of power, that you were interested what world building ideas are generated from that design mechanic. Where did the inspiration behind this concept come from ? I've heard many people mention NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer, although I personally thought of Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader.

It actually came out of some thoughts I had about the physical and metaphysical underpinnings of our own world. When worldbuilding, I think a lot of designers want to explain everything up front. There's obvious value in defining how the world works because it helps everyone wrap their heads around what the setting is about. Over the years, I've felt that breaking down the supernatural into easy-to-comprehend chunks drains the magic from it. Compare this to our own observation and understanding of the physical world. Public reaction to the discovery of the Higgs boson particle was very telling. Despite the scientific community's general requests to stop calling it the "God particle", the public and media couldn't help themselves. A discovery that potentially explains, if not the "why", at least the "how" of existence is appealing.

A quote on the art style

Regarding the art style of the game, what games in particular have inspired the look and feel of the 2D Backdrops, Portraits, Avatars and Paperdolls? (for example IWD1 for backdrops, ToEE for avatars etc)

We look at Icewind Dale levels for a lot of our inspiration. They were beautiful settings full of atmosphere, interesting architecture, and a ton of cool, hand-painted details. Also the relatively subdued color palettes of that art falls in line with what we want to explore, similar in saturation what you might see in the art of the Hudson River School. We also look at Icewind Dale portraits because the brushwork of all of the artists tended to have an enjoyable mix of loose and tight strokes.

Here's Sawyer's answer to a young man wanting to break into the the industry:

This question is from Aaron Patel. "How did you get your position as Lead Designer / Project Director? As someone who isnt too interested in game development, always cool to hear a bit of a career success story in a skill based industry". From My understanding you started as a Web Designer for Interplay?

Yeah. In the mid-90s, I started teaching myself HTML, JavaScript, and other tidbits of web development. Toward the end of college, I taught myself Flash 3.0 so I could do something fancy for a tattoo website (Steve's Tattoo in Madison, though thankfully they've replaced my crappy website since then). It turned out to be a key piece of tech knowledge when I applied for a web developer position at Interplay. It also helped that I knew a lot about AD&D and played it every week (sometimes multiple times a week). I got the job and wound up being the webmaster for Planescape: Torment and eventually Icewind Dale and Neverwinter Nights. I worked closely with the development team on Torment and when a position opened on the Icewind Dale design team, Feargus gave me a shot as a part-time junior designer. So in my case, I found a side-door into development via marketing/web.

Source: GameBanshee

Wednesday - October 24, 2012

Project Eternity - Update #28

by Myrthos, 12:48

Josh Sawyer brings us update 28 of Project Eternity.

 

Thanks to you, we're funded. Now the work begins. At this stage of the project, we are still in pre-production, so at Wednesday morning's team meeting we started talking about the passion-stirring topic of logistics. Before we start scripting quests and writing dialogues, we need to understand the full scope of what we're setting out to do. In some ways, the basics stay the same for us as they did a decade ago. But we have new problems to solve and we need to have them all worked out before we enter production.

The key elements we have been focusing on are:

  • The size and str ucture of the world - This game will be... large. And it will have two big cities, exploration areas, and a 15-level mega-dungeon. Ensuring that the world is planned properly requires examination of what has worked for us in the past and what hasn't. The original Baldur's Gate had a number of wilderness areas, but low density of content in many of those areas. Baldur's Gate II had much greater content density, but fewer wilderness/pure exploration areas. We'd like to make sure we have pure exploration areas while still maintaining good content density.
  • Dynamic environment integration - Animated objects, interactive objects, ambient visual effects, water, dynamic lights and shadows -- all of these elements can be featured even within a "2D" world. Our goal is to strike a good balance between visual fidelity, performance (including memory on disk), and the amount of time environment artists have to spend setting up their areas. We prefer dynamic sol utions that are relatively easy to author, as we want our environment artists to maximize their efficiency.
  • Lore and story - What we've developed so far has been the result of a small number of impromptu discussions and high-level efforts. Last week, we (including George -- thanks!) had our first meeting to increase development of the setting and story. We discussed major themes we'd like to explore, the order in which we'd each like to develop aspects of the lore and characters, and what elements we each were having trouble wrapping our heads around. Our immediate focus is on the central conflict of the story and the various factions that have a stake in it.

As the song goes, we've only just begun, but the team is excited and determined to make a game that lives up to your, and our, expectations. You've put a huge amount of trust in us, and we want to repay you with the best RPG we can.

Next week, we'll be talking about system desi gn and how we're approaching mechanics like class design, advancement, and the role of equipment. We're also working on fulfillment of some of the Kickstarter pledges and we'll have more info on that in the next few weeks. Finally, if you missed our D&D session from last week, we have it up on the YouTubes for your enjoyment!

Sunday - October 21, 2012

Project Eternity - Interviews @ Sorcerer's Place, GI.biz

by Dhruin, 12:00

Here's a pair of Project Eternity interviews, starting with out friends at Sorcerer's Place who visited Obsidian at their offices to catch up with Adam Brennecke:

[Marceror] With all the content that you’ve committed to including in the game, is April 2014 still looking like a feasible release date?

[Adam] Yeah. In the beginning it may have seemed like we were a bit caught off guard by how quickly things were happening, but we did have a plan for the stretch goals ahead of time. The development team will be ramping up in size to tackle the increased scope of the game.       

[Marceror] With all the content that you’ve committed to including in the game, is April 2014 still looking like a feasible release date?

[Adam] Yeah. In the beginning it may have seemed like we were a bit caught off guard by how quickly things were happening, but we did have a plan for the stretch goals ahead of time. The development team will be ramping up in size to tackle the increased scope of the game.

...and over at GamesIndustry.biz, who focus on Kickstarter with Chris Avellone:

Q: Once Project Eternity comes out, do you have plans for more content?

Chris Avellone: Our hope with Eternity is that it's just the first in a series of installments, and then obviously we want to do the full expansion packs, and then extra content, just because we know we really enjoyed doing that for Fallout: New Vegas. We'd want to continue adding new content to the world. The first game is only one moderately sized nation in a much, much, much bigger world where a lot of other things are going on. There's plenty more room for games in that universe and that's what we'd like to do.

It's kind of nice because not all of that has to be done in the games; we can go out and look for graphic novel tie-ins and novel tie-ins and stuff. It is kind of cool to be able to pursue that on our own without having to go through a publisher, or accept the fact that whatever franchise we're with already has the avenues all covered. It's such a nice feeling. 

Thursday - October 18, 2012

Project Eternity - Update #27

by Myrthos, 12:41

Obsidian provides us with update #27 in which they summarize the Kickstarter and Paypal results and has information on changing your pledge, video streams, the next steps and current amount of pledges:

Kickstarter
Backers: 73,986
Pledged: $3,986,929

PayPal
Backers: 3,681
Pledged: $176,279

Totals
Backers: 77,667
Pledged: $4,163,208

By the way, the Mega dungeon is now at 14 levels and as the Paypal pledges and Facebook likes are still going on, a 15th and even a 16th level is within reach.

Wednesday - October 17, 2012

Project Eternity - Closes with >$4.1M

by Dhruin, 10:11

Well, Project Eternity closed earlier in the day with in excess of $4.1M by my calculations. The official Kickstarter total is $3,986,929 plus the latest Paypal total of...

Quick #ProjectEternity PayPal update: $140,099  

...with an official final tally coming tomorrow:

We'll send out a recap tomorrow (our time) with figures from PayPal and when PayPal is closing down (which is VERY VERY soon.) Good night!

Tuesday - October 16, 2012

Project Eternity - Updates, $4M Stretch Goal

by Dhruin, 21:59

Two new updates on Project Eternity since I last posted. Update #25 offers a new $350 "Loot Bag" tier that includes an AMD A10 processor (US only because of shipping), confirms Big City #2 and offer a recap of achieved goals and a little on the development of the temple entrance screenshot.

With 5 hours to go, currently at $3.68M (plus >$100k Paypal), Update #26 has the last stretch - it's a simple one:

$4m Stretch Goal - Enhance the Whole Game

OK! After much team deliberation we have one final ultimate stretch goal. At $4.0m we will be enhancing the whole game. We will use live instrumentation for the soundtrack, add developer in-game commentary, and use every dollar between $3.5m and $4m to enhance the game. Also at $4.0m Chris Avellone will be forced to play Arcanum

Oh, there's an AMA with Chris, Tim and Josh over here.

Project Eternity - Passes $3.5M including Paypal

by Dhruin, 10:48

Obsidian's Kickstarter is on $3.41M as I write, plus $106k in Paypal:

Quick #ProjectEternity PayPal Update: $106,663 - 2,230 backers

...which means they have passed $3.5M and the big city #2 is in.

Well I don't like announcing achieves until I see it on KS (we'll apply PP $ to final totals) but uhhh, it's hard not to say... BBC2 IS IN!

Monday - October 15, 2012

Project Eternity - Update #24, Life and Death

by Dhruin, 22:02

Project Eternity Update #24 was published minutes after I finished the previous newsbit but this is worth its own coverage. J.E. Sawyer talks about the health mechanic and death:

Life and Death in the Dyrwood

For today's update, I was supposed to do a lore update, but I decided that I wanted to talk about a specific subject and how lore and mechanics tie into that subject. Today's subjects are LIFE AND DEATH. Project Eternity is a fantasy RPG inspired by several A/D&D-based settings in which death is, for those with means, a temporary setback (for the Nameless One, it's even less problematic). The priests of the Forgotten Realms run around with boatloads of cure x wounds spells, the ability to banish disease, and even the power to bring the dead back to life.

In Project Eternity, prospects are not so bright. And when death comes, some try to stay, some choose to go, but most people believe that once they make the trip to the other side, there is only one way back: to begin a new life.

Common Mortality
Project Eternity's world is one with limited medicine and medical understanding. Unlike many fantasy settings, there is very little access to curative magic. Remedies for health problems often have only a palliative or placebo effect at best, owing their continued use more to folk beliefs and tradition than any basis in scientific methodology. Though soul-based magic has helped the great exploring cultures from suffering massive pandemics and has helped some individuals overcome illness over the long-term, there is no quick magical "cure" for disease or illness. Most people go through life and death in the ordinary way -- unless they put themselves in harm's way, that is.

Stamina and Health
In Project Eternity's combat, players need to be concerned with two elements of a character's vitality: Stamina and Health. The majority of damage a character takes is subtracted from his or her Stamina. Stamina represents how much general abuse a character can take before falling unconscious. Characters lose it quickly and regain it relatively rapidly, even without assistance. Soul-based abilities are able to help replenish or regenerate Stamina and are often used on the battlefield to turn the tide of combat. If a character hits 0 Stamina, he or she is knocked out. Intervention from another character can bring an unconscious character back into a fight.

For players, the Health of their party members is a tether that makes them consider how far they are willing to venture from a safe resting spot. Though Health is typically lost at a lower rate, when the PC or a companion hits 0 Health, he or she is maimed (in standard play) or killed (in Expert mode or as an option in standard play). Magic may help mitigate damage to Health and slow the tide, but once characters have died (in Expert mode), there is no known magic that can bring them back.

Head over for more.

Project Eternity - Information Thread @ Sorcerer's Place

by Dhruin, 21:37

Sorcerer's Place sends word they have collected all the information on Project Eternity from every source they can find into this thread. For example:

Classes in Project Eternity are meant to provide a general framework for character types. Different classes excel in different areas, but the framework can be extended and elaborated on in a multitude of ways to create characters with unique capabilities. If you see a fighter, chances are good that he or she is going to be able to take a lot of damage, but that's about all you can be sure of. If you see a wizard, he or she probably has some hard-hitting spells that can cover a large area, but his potential list of capabilities is vast.

If you want to create a wizard who wears plate armor and hacks away with a broadsword from behind a heavily-enhanced arcane veil, we want to let you do that. If your idea of the perfect fighter is one who wears light armor and uses a variety of dazzling rapier attacks in rapid succession, we want to help you make that character. So it's good to think of Project Eternity's classes as being purpose-ready but not purpose-limited.       

The campaign is about to hit the last day, with $3.24M on Kickstarter and >$85 on Paypal, which makes the 3.5M goal achievable with a final push.

Project Eternity - Interview @ GameBanshee

by Myrthos, 13:02

Josh Sawyer is interviewed by GameBanshee on Project Eternity and they even managed to pop in a question on Icewind Dale 3.

Buck: Will there be some sort of damage type system in play (bludgeoning, piercing, slashing), and what steps are you taking to ensure that all weapon types (two-handed, sword/shield, dual-wielding, and ranged) are balanced and, ultimately, viable pursuits?

Josh: I'm not sure if there will be or not. I don't want to introduce so many moving parts to the damage, weapons, and armor systems that we become unable to present player choices that are meaningful and coherent. That is, depending on how many factors the player is expected to analyze when selecting a weapon for any given task, we need to make sure that the range of choices the player can make feel like they have clear, solid benefits and drawbacks instead of coming across as a bunch of "mush".

The first step in ensuring that weapon types/combat styles are viable pursuits is saying, "All weapon types and combat styles must be viable pursuits." If that's your high-level goal, design decisions should always be framed in that context. If someone says, "Daggers are the bad weapons for characters who suck!" that clearly flies in the face of the stated goal.

I think some editions of AD&D have really struggled with this. The rules seem to want to structure weapons in a certain way that promotes trade-offs, but mechanics are in conflict and produce a bunch of choices that feel dead in the water outside of niche circumstances. If you ever look at a choice and say, "Obviously everyone should take this," or "I would never take this," there's probably something wrong with how they've been balanced.

And the IWD3 question answered by Feargus:

Buck: I know that Obsidian Entertainment owns the Icewind Dale franchise assets and that you've approached publishers in the past about the prospect of pursuing Icewind Dale III. Given the success of your Project Eternity Kickstarter, what are the odds that we may yet see an ID3 in the near future, crowd-funded or not? Hypothetically, what direction would you take a third entry in the series?

Feargus: You are correct, we approached Atari a number of times about doing Icewind Dale 3. We hope that with the success of Project Eternity that it might be possible to talk to Hasbro / Wizards of the Coast about those games again. However, our focus right now is Project Eternity. We would not want to start working on something like IWD3 soon, since we don’t want anything to compromise Project Eternity at all. If we were to do IWD3, I think we would continue the focus of what the IWD series was all about – a great dungeon crawling counterpoint to Baldur’s Gate and Torment.

Project Eternity - Update #23, $3.15M

by Dhruin, 11:16

Project Eternity has kicked up a new update as they push towards the end. As I write, Project Eternity is at $3.15M on Kickstarter plus another $75k+ on Paypal (40 hours left). Other than a wrap-up of events, the big announcement is a Double Fine-style documentary:

The big news for the day is that we are adding a documentary covering the development of Project Eternity.

After getting a lot of requests to do a documentary, like the Double Fine Adventure, we started looking into it a couple of weeks ago. We talked about it more last week and decided that we don’t have a visual history of one of our games, even after almost ten years as a company. We felt it was something we should just do and do it without it being a new stretch goal.

So, we are happy to announce that we are going to include a stream, download, or physical copy of the documentary in all of our Kickstarter reward tiers. At the $20/$25 level you will be able to stream it, at the $35 level you will be able to download it, and at the $140 level (and physical tiers above) we will include a DVD / Blu-ray.

Sunday - October 14, 2012

Project Eternity - Update #22, $2.94M

by Dhruin, 00:29

If you add Paypal, Project Eternity is probably just about to nudge $3.0M ($2.94 on Kickstarter alone). Yesterday, PC Gamer held a live chat and you can find some of the key answers here:

On the aumaua race:

“the other race we haven’t talked about yet are called the aumaua. they are larger than humans and are found in a lot of coastal and island areas. like orlans, they look somewhat… different, but they are still a bipedal race. we’re still working on their concepts (as we are with orlans), but we will show them when we feel they’re in a good place.” – Josh Sawyer

The latest Kickstarter update offers five answers from Tim chosen from questions on various boards around the 'net:

Will there be low intelligence/charisma dialog?

Yes, we will have these dialogs. They are a great deal of work, since it means writing two versions of every dialog in the game, but I am sure that our wonderful writers are up to it. I really want these dialogs too! I find it fun to replay the game with a low intelligence character, just to see how the NPC's react to my slow-witted attempts to help them.

And there we have it! Five questions answered from five sites. Again, thanks for your support of Obsidian and Project Eternity. There are just a few days left before the Kickstarter campaign is over and we enter full production of this game, and we are all very excited about the prospect of working on a classic CRPG again!

Saturday - October 13, 2012

Project Eternity - $2.8M, George Ziets Unlocked

by Dhruin, 00:51

Project Eternity is now at $2.83M (plus Paypal) meaning the Paladin and Cipher classes are unlocked, George Ziets is on board and we aren't far too away from the full $3.0M stronghold.

With only four days to go, Obsidian has a slew of activities planned:

Here's the rest of the scheduled events for the next 5 days:

Friday, October 12

  • 11:00am PDT - Inside look at a not so typical day with Adam Brennecke - UStream.
  • 3:00pm PDT - PC Gamer Live Chat with the Project Eternity Team - PC Gamer.

Saturday, October 13

  • 10:00am PDT - Adam plays Icewind Dale II all day - UStream.

Monday, October 15

  • 10:00am PDT - Reddit AMA with the Project Eternity Team - Reddit.
  • 5:00pm PDT - Game night at Obsidian. Watch us play D&D at the studio! - UStream.

Tuesday, October 16

  • 12:00pm PDT - The final countdown starts at the Obsidian Office - UStream.
  • 6:00pm PDT - The Project Eternity Kickstarter ends!

Updates to the schedule will be sent via Twitter, Facebook, and posted to our forums.

Oh, the Endless Paths dungeon has an extra level, as well!

Thursday - October 11, 2012

Project Eternity - Lore, Big Stretch Goals, Screenshot!

by Dhruin, 22:40

In a huge update for Project Eternity as we head for home with 5 days to go, J.E. Sawyer has posted a large chunk of lore, a Digital Campaign Almanac addon, two big stretch goals and the first screenshot. Thanks to the various readers who wrote in about this!

A sample of the lore:

Aedyr - People from the expansive Aedyr Empire and its former colonies, Dyrwood and Readceras. Aedyr literally translates as "Many Deer", but means "People of the Deer", referring to a 2,500 year-old tribe that became a kingdom 600 years ago. It merged with the elven kingdom of Kulklin in 2399 AI. Among the Aedyr, there is no significant cultural divide between humans and elves. Because of their close contact and integration in spite of physiological differences (such as longer elven lifespans), their culture and legal system have developed a variety of unique concepts such as the haemneg, or ceremonial marriage. Ethnic Aedyr (mostly humans and elves) have fair skin and a variety of hair and eye colors, with blue and green being common. Among other cultures, Aedyr clothing is known for being relatively simple in construction and often using large, colorful striped or checkered patterns for accents. 

The stretch goals are a full Stronghold at $3.0M and a "big city" at $3.5M:

Baldur's Gate and Athkatla are big cities. Spanning multiple large maps with a ton of interiors, characters and quests, big cities are a lot of fun. Like strongholds, they also take a lot of work to do well. We're going to have one big city in Project Eternity. Would you like two? If you take us on an exciting adventure to $3.5 Million, we will take you on an exciting adventure to another big city.

...and an "environment screenshot" - head over to read their approach to the art (link to 1920x1080 version).

Project Eternity - $2.6M, Adventurer's Hall Unlocked

by Dhruin, 12:57

Project Eternity has passed $2.6M on Kickstarter (and when you add Paypal, is well on the way to $2.7M) unlocking the Adventurer's Hall. There are also new addons and a summary of every reward tier if you've lost track of what you get. Paladins and Chanters are the next stretch goal, then George Ziets after that:

Paladins are extremely devoted, often fanatical, soldiers who have pledged themselves to a chosen cause, combining the zeal of a priest with the ascetic discipline of a monk. They have founded many elite fighting forces, from the original Darcozzi Paladini, a two thousand year-old order of palace guards, to the fledgling Fellows of St. Waidwen Martyr, zealous defenders of the Godhammer pilgrim trail. Often found at the vanguard of many conflicts, paladins are natural leaders and have the ability to quickly assist their allies with targeted commands. A paladin's commands can stave off impending death, overcome fatigue, or hasten the charge to close breached defenses. And though they are not always pledged to the service of a god or gods, paladins are so singularly focused on their chosen cause that their souls are continually creating a wellspring of spiritual energy from which they can blast groups of foes in their immediate vicinity. Despite their often stoic presence and explosive combat style, paladins work best alongside allies. When isolated, they can be vulnerable, especially against singular powerful foes.

Chanters can be found in almost any culture, but are most often seen in communities with a strong oral tradition. They are repositories of folk knowledge and common wisdom, tellers of tall tales and hallowed legends. Though chanters have a bit of minor talent in traditional arts of combat and soul-based magic, their true power lies in their chants. Chanters construct chants from individual iconic phrases and rhyming couplets they have memorized from hundreds of stories and poems, creating a chain of magical effects that plays out over time. While chanters do use the power of their souls to work their magic, chants are exhortations to the unconscious memory of wayward souls and the diffused spiritual energy of the world. That is, ambient spirits respond to the evocation of ancient, common story elements and play their part in reconstructing the chanter's tales. While a chanter's magic may seem modest compared to that of a wizard or a priest, chanters are able to recite their chants while occupied with other activities, making them extremely versatile.

Wednesday - October 10, 2012

Project Eternity - Update #18, George Ziets Stretch Goal

by Dhruin, 10:38

If, like me, you're a fan of George Ziets' work on Mask of the Betrayer (and other games) this latest Project Eternity stretch goal for $2.8M is the most exciting so far. There are also new class goals, new addons and new rewards:

We are happy to announce two more classes for the 2.7m stretch goal. With your pledges we now have Barbarians and Ciphers as playable classes, and now we would like to add Paladins and Chanters to round out our class selection for Project Eternity, bringing the class total to 11. [...]

It’s our pleasure to introduce our next stretch goal of George Ziets at $2.8m – with your help, we’ll be able to enlist the skills of George Ziets in shaping Project Eternity. For those not familiar with George’s work, he was the creative lead and core writer behind the acclaimed Mask of the Betrayer - the first expansion pack for Neverwinter Nights 2. George leant his talents to many of Obsidian’s other games including Fallout: New Vegas.

Tuesday - October 09, 2012

Project Eternity - $2.5M - New Classes Unlocked

by Dhruin, 21:40

Obsidian's Project Eternity Kickstarter has ticked past $2.5M, unlocking the Barbarian and Cipher classes - next stop is the Adventurer's Hall at $2.6M. Only seven days to go!

At $2.6M, we will add an Adventurer's Hall to the world. In the Free Palatinate of Dyrwood, adventurers and mercenaries from across the world are often employed as personal bodyguards, elite security, or salvage (plunder) teams that venture into the forgotten corners of Eír Glanfath. A lot of the folks who hang out as such places are robbers and miscreants, but reliable agents can be found and employed with a bit of patience.

What does this mean for you? It means that if you don't like a companion, or if you don't like any of our companions, you won't be cut off from having characters of their classes. Over time, you can build your own custom parties to play through the game. If you want a party of monks or all casters, this gives you the ability to do it within the game while still maintaining the pacing of the standard PC + companions play style.

Project Eternity - Matt Chat with J.E. Sawyer

Project Eternity - What PCGamer Knows

by Myrthos, 12:37

PCGamer has made an overview of what is known so far by them of Project Eternity. Here is a random pick:

Non-combat skills will be significant

The core four uses for non-combat skills presented by Obsidian are learning new things, traveling around the world, getting new items, and interacting with companions. Some examples given include the classic lockpicking and crafting, as well as some more novel concepts like being able to travel around the overworld with less chance of hostile encounters. The devs have also asserted that non-combat skills will not draw from the same pool of character points as combat ones, so you should never have to choose between being a better fighter or being better at something else. We’ve also been assured that players who use non-combat skills to bypass encounters will get the same amount of experience as those who choose to duke it out.

Monday - October 08, 2012

Project Eternity - Update #17, New $165 Tier, Expansion Revealed

by Dhruin, 21:44

In Project Eternity's Update #17, Feargus Urquhart announces a new $165 tier that includes a copy of Wasteland 2, as well as revealing expansion plans. The mega dungeon continues to grow and more:

Personally, we are incredibly thankful to him and for the second wave of Kickstarter attention he brought with Wasteland 2. But, Brian hasn’t stopped being the great guy that he is, and so, he’s helping us out by letting us add Wasteland 2 as a reward at our higher tiers. So, what tiers will that be? A lot of you have asked for a digital tier after $110, so we are adding a $165 Digital Only Tier. That means Wasteland 2 will get added to this new $165 tier and all the tiers above.

What we are also doing is adding the first expansion pack for the game to the $165 Tier (and above). The expansion will come out approximately six months after Project Eternity is released. That’s right, it’s not DLC, but a real honest to God RPG expansion pack. We don’t have the details on the Expansion yet, but you can bet it will be what you’d expect from an Infinity Engine game expansion.

Project Eternity - $2.4M

by Dhruin, 13:08

Project Eternity has passed $2.4M, unlocking crafting and enchanting. Next step at $2.5M addes Barbarians and Ciphers:

Barbarians come from many of the more remote cultures found across the world. In the Dyrwood, they are commonly found among Glanfathan elf communities. They are distinguished from fighters by their recklessness, ferocity, and their predilection to substitute raw aggression for discipline. Barbarians are a challenge to deal with on a battlefield, though they are vulnerable to exhaustion if they don't pace themselves.

Ciphers are uncommon and often misunderstood individuals with extraordinary mental abilities. Like wizards and priests, they have many talents that draw directly from their souls, but ciphers have the unique ability to peer through the spiritual energy of the world to manipulate other souls. While wizards use complex formulae in large tomes and priests tap into the passion of their faith, ciphers are able to operate directly through the power of their minds... and yours.

Saturday - October 06, 2012

Project Eternity - Pets, Mod Support, Combat Answers

by Dhruin, 14:05

The 16th update for Project Eternity brings news of an optional pet for >$50 backers, some new high-end rewards and some possible light at the end of the mod tunnel:

Mod Support

From Neverwinter Nights 2 to Fallout: New Vegas, we've enjoyed supporting the mod community, and we are continuing that with Project Eternity. It is awesome to see how you extend the worlds we make.

To make getting mods easy, we are excited to announce that our friends at the Nexus will be the official spot to download Project Eternity mods once the game is released. They have been a great host for mods for our past games, and we want to continue the trend with the Project Eternity Nexus. Check out the Nexus Network at www.nexusmods.com.

Our plan is to release our file-format information and expose as much of the data in the game as possible for you to extend and edit. We traditionally do not "hard-code" numbers so that our designers, and you, have the power to easily change and iterate on RPG data. We also plan on releasing localization tools to let communities around the world create localized versions for languages we are not translating Project Eternity into.

As we get more familiar with Unity during production, we will be extending Project Eternity even more for mod makers. Look forward to announcements in the months ahead as we make further progress and can provide you with more information about tools and mod support.

There's also a great Reddit Q&A (edited version on the Obsidian boards) with Tim Cain on combat:

Kaaaboom asks...
Hi Tim! I'm curious how the close combat in P:E will turn out. Will the melee of P:E encompass stuff like reach weapons, opportunity attacks, flanking, grappling, charging, prone/standing-modes and so forth?

Yes, we are looking to include many of these features into our close combat system. Specifically, opportunity attacks and flanking are definitely in, as well as charging. We're not sure about reach weapons yet (we need to figure out if that attribute on a weapon will be worthwhile enough in combat and will supportable with the appropriate UI), and while we will support prone positions, you won't be able to attack while prone because the animations involved are too different from attacks while standing that we would have to make every animation twice, once for standing and once for prone. This limitation also means that grappling abilities will not be included. There are too many new animations needed and special case limitations that apply, e.g. how does a human grapple a centaur or a dragon or an ooze?).

Friday - October 05, 2012

Project Eternity - Interviews @ RPS, IndieRPGs

by Dhruin, 23:09

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has interviewed Chris Avellone about Project Eternity, asking why they went with fantasy, innovation and more:

RPS: Why opt for a fantasy setting? I mean, gaming has quite a few of them. How will you set your mythology apart – as opposed to simply being another world of orcs and elves and dwarves and totally-not-hobbits?

Avellone: The type of races and concept art that’s been revealed for Eternity we hope display our commitment to showcasing seemingly-traditional races with unusual gear and traits – including the fact our women characters wear… appropriate armor. In addition to the more easily recognizable races, we have a number of specialized races as well, including the god-touched races and even more unusual races we intend to unveil later. In addition, the technology level and the concept of souls puts a further twist on the races and classes of the world in an interesting way.

RPS: Black Isle’s RPGs included all sorts of amazing, totally optional details. For instance, I always got a kick out of Fallout 2′s idiot dialogue options and how much thought went into that system. Will Project Eternity have any surprises along those lines?

Avellone: Yes, we want to examine the dialogue mechanics, and one thing we’re going to do is low-intelligence options – either based on Intelligence or a trait – and have the sequences play out differently according to the player’s intellect. As a narrative designer, I enjoy writing interactions like that, and I had a blast with the stupid options in F2 in Vault City and New Reno.

IndieRPGs also apoke with Chris, although the interview ranges past just Project Eternity. An excerpt:

You recently mentioned that you were tempted to crowd-fund a spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment. It wasn’t long thereafter that Obsidian launched Project Eternity on Kickstarter. Is this the aforementioned spiritual successor?

No, Project: Eternity is something different. We had considered doing a Planescape: Torment successor, and that seemed like a waste considering the powerhouses we already had in the studio – why not have them come together and collaborate on something? In my opinion, that would actually be more interesting to the public than a Planescape title, and that seems to have proved itself out.

Thursday - October 04, 2012

Project Eternity - $2.3M, Hardcore Modes Unlocked

by Dhruin, 22:15

Project Eternity has exceeded $2.3M, unlocking hardcore modes and Godlike races. A reminder:

Remember the Heart of Fury challenge mode from the Icewind Dale series? How about Ironman Mode from Temple of Elemental Evil? Hardcore mode from Fallout: New Vegas ring a bell? At $2.3M, we've got 'em all and they can all be turned on at the same time... Ouch! Also, Godlike races come at this level. Check out Update #9 for more details!

Project Eternity - Update #15, Classes, New Stretch Goals and More

by Myrthos, 10:04

In today's update for Project Eternity Josh Sawyer updates us on the following

 I'll be talking about new stretch goals and the "core four" classes. We also have some fantastic art for you that illustrates five of our adventurers engaged in some classic dungeon exploration. Other great stuff going on includes Tim Cain’s reddit on combat and you can now pledge with PayPal over on the Project Eternity Site.

And, for our Polish- and Russian-speaking fans - we are very happy to announce that distributors in Poland and Russia will be handling localization for these two languages, so we will be able to provide them without requiring a stretch goal!

The new stretch goals are:

$2.5M and $2.6M Stretch Goals - Barbarian and Cipher, Adventurer's Hall with Party Creation

Since the days are counting down, we'd like to introduce two new stretch goals. As you'll read in a few more paragraphs, Project Eternity is currently slated to support seven classes. Our current roster includes fighters, priests, rogues, wizards, rangers, monks, and druids. We believe this represents the common core and several popular secondary classes that many players enjoyed using in the Infinity Engine games. We would like to use our $2.5M stretch goal to include two additional classes: the barbarian and the cipher.

Barbarians come from many of the more remote cultures found across the world. In the Dyrwood, they are commonly found among Glanfathan elf communities. They are distinguished from fighters by their recklessness, ferocity, and their predilection to substitute raw aggression for discipline. Barbarians are a challenge to deal with on a battlefield, though they are vulnerable to exhaustion if they don't pace themselves.

Ciphers are uncommon and often misunderstood individuals with extraordinary mental abilities. Like wizards and priests, they have many talents that draw directly from their souls, but ciphers have the unique ability to peer through the spiritual energy of the world to manipulate other souls. While wizards use complex formulae in large tomes and priests tap into the passion of their faith, ciphers are able to operate directly through the power of their minds... and yours.

But wait, we're not done yet! We've been reading a lot of feedback online about classes, companions, and party composition options. We want to give people the ability to build their parties as they like and we also want to allow people to experience the full spectrum of class mechanics. Companions go a long way toward achieving that goal while also providing a ton of reactivity in the world. Even so, we'd like to do more.

At $2.6M, we will add an Adventurer's Hall to the world. In the Free Palatinate of Dyrwood, adventurers and mercenaries from across the world are often employed as personal bodyguards, elite security, or salvage (plunder) teams that venture into the forgotten corners of Eír Glanfath. A lot of the folks who hang out as such places are robbers and miscreants, but reliable agents can be found and employed with a bit of patience.

What does this mean for you? It means that if you don't like a companion, or if you don't like any of our companions, you won't be cut off from having characters of their classes. Over time, you can build your own custom parties to play through the game. If you want a party of monks or all casters, this gives you the ability to do it within the game while still maintaining the pacing of the standard PC + companions play style.

 

Tuesday - October 02, 2012

Project Eternity - Update #14, The Music

by Dhruin, 22:48

There's another Project Eternity update, talking about the music and offering three sample tracks, as well as the track from the Kickstarter announcement video to download:

Souls, the supernatural, a fantasy setting, mature themes... These are just a few of the big ideas behind Project Eternity's story and world. As with any great CRPG story, music plays an important role in communicating those ideas. This was true for the Infinity Engine games as well. Looking back they all had one thing in common with regards to music: all are known for having strong and memorable soundtracks that drew you in as a listener and set fire to your imagination. That's exactly what we're aiming for with the music for Project Eternity.

So what will the music sound like? Great question! Describing music with words alone can be a tricky thing to do because so much of that is subjective and wide open for interpretation. Even still it's important to have some sort of plan in place before writing a single note. You need an idea that will guide you towards creating an effective score. To help paint that picture more clearly, here are three words that we believe best describe what the score will ultimately sound like:

Mystical

Ancient

Emotive

Project Eternity - Interview @ Link Dead gaming

by Myrthos, 15:48

Twenty questions was what Link Dead Gaming asked Tim Cain, Senior Programmer with Obsidian Entertainment about Project Eternity. Here is a bit about why they choose Kickstarter.

LDG: There are multiple ways you could have attempted to nail down funding for this project. Is there something in particular that made you choose Kickstarter?

Tim: We saw the success that DoubleFine and inXile had with their Kickstarter campaigns, and Chris Avellone was involved with the inXile campaign, so he had learned a great deal about what is involved in a successful campaign there. We thought the time was right for us to try that route too.

LDG: Crowdsourcing can be a two edged sword. With a few more than 15 days to go, you have already been successfully funded by almost 200%. That first day, did any of you speak about what a letdown it would be if the people did not pledge to help you fund the game?

Tim: Not really. We were really excited about the launch, and almost immediately the funding began to pour in. It seemed that every monitor at Obsidian has a window open to the Kickstarter page, including the big monitors in the conference rooms and lounges. Towards the end of the day, Feargus let everyone go home early, since we had put in a lot of time getting the Kickstarter launch ready. We all wanted to celebrate, and many of us went to a pub across the street. That first day felt very special, and it still does. We are excited about seeing where the campaign will end, and what stretch goals we will reach.

Source: GameBanshee

Project Eternity - Ebay Fundraiser

by Dhruin, 12:00

This might be stretching the definition of news but it's all in the name of a good cause. Desslock - of PC Gamer fame - is selling some classic RPGs on Ebay and putting any money raised towards Obsidian's Project Eternity Kickstarter. Full details can be found in this post on the Qt3 forums:

Hey guys, I didn't want to spam your forum with something that might be unwanted, but I'm selling 20 classic old "big box" games on eBay and donating all of the money raised to Obsidian's Project Eternity — there's a bunch of good RPGs in the crop, including a sealed copy of Ultima 9: Dragon Edition, a sealed copy of Icewind Dale 2, and collector's edition copies of World of WarCraft; WoW-Burning Crusade; EverQuest 2, & Guild Wars. There's also some non-RPG classics like Grim Fandango, Blade and Tomb Raider, and some UO expansions, Sea Dogs and Nox.

Obviously most of the listed games will only appeal to collectors, but for them, it's a chance to buy copies of some classic collectible games, and at the same time help raise money for traditional RPG gaming as represented by Project Eternity, so I thought some folks at RPG Watch might be interested.

Project Eternity - $2.2M, New Dungeon, New Stretch Goal

by Dhruin, 11:51

Project Eternity has passed $2.2M, unlocking a Linux version, French, German and Spanish translations, a new region, new faction and new companion. Whew!

The next goal is $2.3M, which provides different hardcore modes.

After that, the newly announced $2.4M goal unlocks crafting and enchanting. From Update #13:

Crafting and enchanting in Project Eternity will allow players to use objects and materials they find during exploration to both create consumable items like potions and scrolls as well as give their gear custom upgrades that can't be accomplished by other means.  This system is intended to be easy to use and very flexible, allowing players to customize many aspects of what they can create or alter.  Whether it's brewing basic potions from herbs and minerals commonly found throughout the world or upgrading a humble broadsword into a custom-named, magically-imbued weapon of distinctive and legendary power, we want to give players the ability to make it.  On the development side of things, we also want to make the system as data-driven as possible, allowing us to easily extend our list of recipes in the future.

There are also new "addon" pledges, such as $25 to add an Early Access Beta Key.

Lastly, the 50k backers level has also been passed, providing a bonus "mega dungeon" to all backers:

We are very excited to announce a reward to all backers that have helped us come this far. Today we are introducing The Endless Paths of Od Nua - a new dungeon experience for Project Eternity:

In the western reaches of the Dyrwood lies the Endless Paths, an ancient network of cobbled trails that wind through arches of dense overgrowth, twisting within the confines of a high castle wall as they make their way to the gates of iron-shuttered towers that jut forth from the interior.  In ages past, the towers rising from the gardens to pierce the canopy of the forest once marked the dominion of the castle's relentless, crazed builder: Od Nua.  But the courses of Od Nua's madness run far below the surface, stretching forever deeper into wandering catacombs and bone-cramped oubliettes unseen by living eyes for centuries.  The Endless Paths, as the old Glanfathans call them, cannot be walked by the living, but the storytellers say with certainty that many strong souls have found a permanent home beneath the grieving creator's estate.

Sunday - September 30, 2012

Project Eternity - Update #11, Reddit Q&A

by Dhruin, 02:36

Tim Cain has answered questions at Reddit as the Project Eternity Kickstarter ticks over to $2.139M. The Reddit format can be a bit hard to read through, so here's an edited exerpt provided by the update they posted on Kickstarter:

AtheistBots asks...
Class vs. Classless systems You're most famous for classless systems involved in Fallout and Arcanum. It sounds as if Obsidian will be using a class based system. What do you see as being the advantages of a class based system that you're hoping to leverage in Project Eternity?

Answer: We are designing a class-based system because we want the different characters in your party to fill different roles, and classes are the best way to achieve this goal. In a skill-based game, it's harder to tell if a companion gives you the skills you are looking for, especially before you recruit them. In a class-based game, you know what each class can do, so you can decide that you want a particular class even before a potential companion offers to join you. And when you have a lot of companions and can choose which ones you want to take on a particular adventure, classes make it easier to form the group and be assured that you have your skillsets covered.

Bonus question: Are you considering multiclassing?

Answer: Bonus questions are cheating…but yes, we are considering adding multi-classing to the game. A better way to put this answer is that we are not ruling them out at this time. If they work well with our final system, we will offer them.

Kaaaboom asks…
I was a bit discouraged when I heard that the combat was going to be RTwP (real time with pause), myself being a big fan of TB (turn based) and the possibility of tactical combat that it lends to a game. My question is then: how are you going to make the combat in P:E tactically interesting despite it being RTwP?

Answer: Hmm, this is a bit of a loaded question, as it implies that real-time games aren't tactically interesting while all turn-based games are. Believe me, I have played plenty of dull turn-based games with very few options on what to do on each turn, and there are lots of real-time games that are incredibly tactically rich. Look at all of the real-time strategy games out there!

So to answer your question, we are going to make sure that the distinct abilities that our classes will have will each provide different roles to those characters in combat, and that you will always have choices to make in combat about how to best position yourself and use your attacks. In addition, we are going to design the enemy encounters to be ever-increasing challenges, so that one way of fighting won't carry you through every encounter. You will be forced to mix it up a bit, tactically speaking, and use all of your combat skills to make it through to the end of the game.

Let me add that as an Infinity Engine inspired game, our pillars of design include isometric exploration of a fantasy world, a reactive storyline with interesting and believable characters, and real-time with pause combat. Those elements are expected in our game, and we feel strongly about providing them.

Elthosian asks…
How much reactivity can we expect from the world based in our character's race and sub-race?

Answer: We will provide a lot of reactivity in our game to your choice of race. We are planning on giving each race a set of traits that the player can pick from, and those traits affect everything from dialogs choices to skill bonuses to what kind of options you will have to finish some quests. There probably won't be quests that are just for one race, but one thing we are not going to do for certain is make race-restricted items. While many items have a cultural connection to some races, they will still be useable by members of other races. It might be unusual to see humans in elven chain, but they can wear it.

NeuroArcanist asks…
What aspect of cRPGs missing from modern games do you most want to recapture with Project Eternity?

Answer: I can answer that in one word: parties. I like playing cRPG's that allow the player to control big parties of characters, and by control, I mean you can pick the actions of each party member if you want. We will have lots of pause conditions in our combat, and if you want to have the game pause whenever a party member can perform a new action, you can do that. Most modern games only let you control one character, or if they give you a party, you only control one member of that group. In this game, I want to control all of them.

Zinicel asks…
Will there be modding capabilities for this game? I know it's a tall order for this style of game, but I've wanted a definitive answer to this question. Knowing Unity, I know it's somewhat unlikely to offer this. But it'd still be nice to know for sure.

Answer: That is a very good question, but unfortunately, I don't have an answer for you. We are still looking at Unity and how it bundles up content in the shipped game, and we will have to see how much of that we can make available to the player. I can say that we want you to be able to mod the game, and if it's possible, we will allow you to do it. It's not our primary focus, which is to give you an amazing single player experience with our game, but we know a lot of people will want to tinker with the game and make their own content, so we will let you know how this objective is faring when we are further along in development.

Saturday - September 29, 2012

Project Eternity - Update #11, Interview

by Dhruin, 02:22

Adam Brennecke has posted a quick Project Eternity update, promising "something fun and special" when they pass $50k backers (currently $2.1M, 48,666 backers as of writing):

It's been an amazing week and we are getting close to doubling our initial goal of $1.1 million. The next stretch goal at $2.2 million adds a new region, faction, and companion along with French, German, and Spanish translations.

We are also getting close to 50k backers! We have something fun and special planned for all of our backers when we hit this milestone, so keep a look out for an update on Monday about it.  

There's also a new article / interview at Gamasutra. Here, Josh Sawyer discusses text versus cinematic animation:

Sawyer recalls a particular element of 1992 MicroProse RPG Darklands, whereby interactions were only subtly illustrated via text against loose watercolor illustrations. The images were enough to suggest key elements, but it was the text that carried the imagery.

Older games with technical limitations had to get very creative about how to immerse players and capture their imaginations, says Sawyer, since they didn't have the option to be literal -- and that's something Obsidian wants to keep in mind through the old-school visuals and interface of Project Eternity.

And when it comes to the idea that today's audiences don't like to read text, or that communicating a story through prose rather than through gameplay automatically represents some kind of narrative failure, Sawyer isn't sold. The idea that all players should like the same things, or that players can be segregated into "ones that like story" and "ones that like combat" seem equally fallacious to him.

"This has been bugging me a lot lately," he says. "In the past few years there's been a trend toward designing games with mechanics for people who don't like those mechanics, and it blows my mind... I look at a lot of mechanics, like 'hey, let's write dialog for people who don't like to read!' You were writing with the assumption that they do want to read some of it, right? If people don't want to read, why are we writing? And if people don't like combat, why do you have combat in it?"

Friday - September 28, 2012

Project Eternity - Update #10, Interview

by Dhruin, 14:00

Chris Avellone posts Project Eternity Update #10, which is primarily a video showing his messy desk, celebrating his birthday and following up on the characterisation blog from a few days back:

Today's Project Eternity update is shorter and sweeter than usual (at least on the text side), and instead is a fun video from Obsidian's creative director, Chris Avellone. In the video, Chris talks about birthdays, gratitude for fan gratitude, his one really @$!$ messy desk, and some extrapolation of characterization in Project Eternity.

The video is a follow up to his Project Eternity and Characterization blog post over on the Obsidian forums from a few days ago. We encourage you to check it out first if you haven't already, particularly if the process of character design interests you, and then watch the video!

There's also a piece of concept art.

Over at Penny Arcade, there's an interview with producer Adam Brennecke. There's not a lot of new revelations, though here he talks about the first screenshot:

Brennecke talked about Project Eternity exploring mature themes, though the studio’s definition of “mature” doesn’t necessarily mean sex and gore. Brennecke’s example was racism. Reading through the Kickstarter updates, there’s some hints of how that could play out on reincarnated souls. “...souls are subject to “fracturing” over generations, transforming in myriad ways, and not quite… working right. Some cultures and individuals place a high value on “strong” souls, souls with a “pure” lineage, “awakened” souls that remember past lives, “traveled” souls that have drifted through the divine realms, or those that co-exist with other souls in one body. However, the opposite is also true, resulting in negative discrimination and sometimes outright violence.”

Although they’re not ready to share it just yet, Brennecke told me he saw the first screenshot of the game the day we spoke. Even he was impressed. “It looks amazing.”

Thursday - September 27, 2012

Project Eternity - Interview @ RPGamer

by Dhruin, 22:19

RPGamer has an interview with Tim Cain about Project Eternity (currently $2.06M, 20 days to run). Here's a sample:

Michael A. Cunningham (RPGamer): Greetings Tim, and thank you for taking the time out to chat with us about Project Eternity. We'd like to talk briefly about the game itself and your tentative future plans for the project.

You state Project Eternity will have "the central hero, memorable companions and the epic exploration of Baldur's Gate, the fun, intense combat and dungeon diving of Icewind Dale, and the emotional writing and mature thematic exploration of Planescape: Torment." I know fans that love Planescape, but have no love for Icewind Dale. Since it's impossible to please everyone, how do you plan on blending those aspects?

Tim Cain (Obsidian Entertainment): The game is going to support multiple paths, meaning the player can choose how he or she wants to play the game. If you don't enjoy combat, you can avoid much of it, and have companions that help speed combat encounters that you can't avoid. You can choose to play solo if you don't want any companions, you can choose how to treat other people in dialogs, and you can involve yourself deeply or shallowly in the storyline, since we will have lots of side quests.

Multiple paths also means the game will have a lot of replayability. You can pick different classes and races and companions and side quests, and you will experience a different game.

Thanks, Asdraguuhl!

Project Eternity - $2M, Hardcore Stretch Goals

by Dhruin, 00:09

Project Eternity has passed $2M, unlocking player housing and the additional related content. Josh Sawyer has since posted a new update with a new $2.3M stretch goal tier that offers three different "hardcore" mode features, as well as some brief details on Godlike races. A partial snip:

Additionally, even among the ranks of RPG superfans, there exists a subset of players who can't get enough challenge. They want all of the difficulty features set to "I am pro." Collectively, we've worked on a bunch of these challenge modes in the past and enjoyed the results. Project Eternity seems like a very appropriate place to highlight suites of these difficulty options as distinct gameplay modes that players can opt-into at the beginning of any game. We've come up with three modes we'd like to support, which also includes the ability to turn many of their sub-features on and off on an individual level in an ordinary game: Expert Mode, Trial of Iron, and Path of the Damned.

Expert Mode will disable all of the common ease-of-use / in-case-you-missed it gameplay elements like the display of skill thresholds, influence/reputation modifiers, and similar "helper" information. In a fashion similar to Fallout: New Vegas' Hardcore Mode, Expert Mode will also enable more punitive and demanding gameplay elements, in and out of combat. We're not saying we're going to have weighty gold (for real, we're not saying that), but if we did, you can bet that would be automatically turned on by Expert Mode.

If you guessed that Trial of Iron is like Temple of Elemental Evil's Ironman Mode, you guessed right. When you start a Trial of Iron game, you have one save game that persists for the entire campaign... or until you die. And if you die, your save game is deleted. Enjoy!

Path of the Damned is a spiritual successor to Icewind Dale's Heart of Fury mode. In our encounters, we like to turn individual combatants on and off based on the level of difficulty. If you come into an area on Easy, maybe casters are replaced with weak melee enemies. If you come in on Hard, maybe the casters are augmented by a tough melee enemy or two. With Path of the Damned, that goes out the window. All enemies from all levels of difficulty are enabled and the combat mechanics are amplified to make battles much more brutal for everyone involved.

The first question you may have is, "Can I enable multiple challenge modes at once?" Yep, you sure can. They have to be selected at the beginning of the game, but if you want to play with two or all three at the same time, you can certainly can do so. If you're not quite sure you want all of the elements that come along with a given mode, this funding level will also cover implementing the ability to enable and disable the individual sub-features.

Tuesday - September 25, 2012

Project Eternity - Update #8, Novella, Translations

by Dhruin, 11:58

In the latest Project Eternity update, Obsidian has announced a novella from Chris Avellone, new digital tiers and translations:

We are still going strong over here on Kickstarter and we wanted to thank everyone that has been here since the beginning as well as those of you who have come on recently to back us with your pledge.  With such great support, we want to thank everyone with a new addition to the $50 and later tiers, a new $110 digital only tier, and a big change to our $2.2M stretch goal. 

Oh, and what are we doing this week as to updates you might ask?  Josh Sawyer, Tim Cain and Chris Avellone will be posting updates and videos all this week starting on Sep 26 with Josh, Sep 27 with Mr. Avellone and a great one from Tim over the weekend.

French, German, and Spanish Translations added at $2.2M

We are glad to announce that we will add text translations for French, German, and Spanish when we reach this goal.  As we hit more of our stretch goals, we hope to be able to add even more languages as well!

Monday - September 24, 2012

Project Eternity - Interview @ GI.biz

by Dhruin, 22:53

Feargus Urquhart has been interviewed at GamesIndustry.biz, mostly about the Kickstarter itself rather than game details:

Q: You've essentially got 40,000 preorders for a game targeting a niche audience. Do you worry at all that the addressable audience for the game will have already been addressed once you launch?

Feargus Urquhart: I'm not, actually. And that's entirely Feargus data. It's my own way of looking at the world. Baldur's Gate sold between 2-4 million units, and that was 10 years ago. It still sells today. The GOG guys put up packages of sales for the D&D games because they still sell. I think there's absolutely a market for them. I don't know what that market is. I couldn't tell you if it's 200,000 or 300,000 or 400,000, but there's definitely a market and it's hopefully more than the number of backers we'll have. [...]

Q: Are consoles or tablet versions on Project Eternity's stretch goal list?

Feargus Urquhart: No they're not. It's a game that goes back to the roots of the great RPG games of the past and the focus of those was keyboard and mouse. Not that console games aren't great; they're just different. There's a big difference between Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance [for consoles] and Baldur's Gate II [for PC]. And we don't want to create some camel in the middle to try to straddle a line. It's do one thing or another, and we're going to try to do the PC and do that right.

Sunday - September 23, 2012

Project Eternity - Update #7, Non-Combat Abilities with Tim Cain

by Dhruin, 03:25

Wow, Obsidian has really worked hard on the frequency of their Project Eternity updates. Around an hour ago, Tim Cain posted about non-combat abilities - there are no specific skills or details but the philosophy of their design is outlined:

We are over 1.8 million dollars and climbing! I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to make this dream possible, and in return we promise to make you the most amazing game we can. I know you all have asked for more details about the game, so let's talk about non-combat abilities. 

Most role-playing games can be divided into two sets of mechanics: those rules you use in combat and those you don't. For many people, an RPG is really defined by its combat. These people spend most of their time killing things and taking their loot, and leveling up is just a means to kill bigger things and get better loot. But for other people, an RPG is about the elements of the game they experience when not in combat. It's about the NPC's they talk with, the places they travel to, and the choices they make, including the choice to avoid combat altogether. 

Non-Combat Abilities

Let's talk first about your goals as a player, about the things you would like to do besides fighting. Then I'll talk about our design goals and explain how we are putting the non-combat systems together.

Player Goals

When you are not fighting, that's when non-combat abilities come into play. We plan to add abilities that will let you become better at achieving four different non-combat goals.

  • Learning new things. This includes finding out previously unknown information, like the location of town or a hidden door, or uncovering secret knowledge, like a potion recipe or the true name of a demon. Or maybe you just want to know a good place to gather materials like ore or herbs. We will make abilities that let you find things out. 
  • Traveling around the world. You will want to improve your movement capabilities (such as sneaking around some ruins), or traveling across the world map faster or more safely, or even teleporting directly to your destination. And sometimes movement requires removing barriers like locks or traps, so you will need some way to unlock and disarm. We'll add abilities for these actions. 
  • Getting new items. If you are not going to kill a creature to take its things, then we will give you the means to make new items, buy them, or steal them. Or maybe you will choose to support NPC's by bringing them the materials or the recipes needed to make new items for you. We congratulate you on your non-violent and cooperative plans of wealth acquisition, and we'll give you the means to do it. 
  • Interacting with companions. Once we have added many interesting and useful NPC companions, we will have to give you ways to recruit them, improve their usefulness, and keep them from dying (or even worse, disliking you!). We will make non-combat abilities that interact with your companions, so you can keep them alive and filled with a grudging respect for you. 

Now each of these goals represents a whole slew of related non-combat abilities. For example, for player traveling, we could have all kinds of abilities, including stealth and teleport abilities, as well as abilities to make world map travel faster, less likely to have encounters, and able to make use of alternate transportation routes such as over mountains using passes or over water using ships.

Design Goals

In putting together our non-combat system, we have made a list of goals for the design of these skills and the rules they need to follow.

  • Non-combat skills are gained separately from combat skills. You shouldn't have to choose between Magic Missile and Herbalism. They should be separate types of abilities, and you should spend different points to get each one. 
  • Non-combat skills do not use the same resources as combat skills. You don't spend the same stuff for a non-combat skill as you do for combat skills. Some don't use anything at all to use, so you will never find yourself unable to blast an opponent if you get caught sneaking. 
  • All non-combat skills are useful. If we add lockpicking to the game, we will make sure that there are locks to pick and worthwhile rewards for getting past them. 
  • All non-combat skills can be used frequently. If you take disarm traps as a skill, you should expect more than two traps in the entire game world. Frequency of application has a large impact on how useful something is. 
  • Combat can be avoided with non-combat skills. There will often be ways to avoid fighting. Yes, we will have the standard methods of talking your way out of a fight or sneaking around an encounter, but there will be other ways too. Perhaps you can re-sanctify a desecrated cemetery to prevent any further undead from rising, or maybe figuring out a way across a ruined bridge will always avoid the bandits on this side of the river. 
  • Avoiding combat does not lead to less experience gain. You shouldn't go up levels any slower by using your non-combat skills rather than your combat skills. We plan to reward you for your accomplishments, not for your body count. 

We are still in the early design stages, but our plan is for non-combat abilities to make the game as fun and enjoyable outside of combat as it is in the heat of battle.

Thanks for keeping up to date with Project Eternity and stop by the Kickstarter site or the Obsidian Forums for all the latest information.  Next update will be on Monday!

Project Eternity - Characterisation Blog, Interviews

by Dhruin, 01:36

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."

Saturday - September 22, 2012

Project Eternity - Radio Interview with Feargus Urquhart

by Myrthos, 23:32

The people from Pure Sophistry have an audio interview with Feargus Urquhart about Project Eternity and other things.

Why make the choice of developing this particular project on Kickstarter?

Feargus: That’s a really good question, I think a lot of it is we want to make the game. It’s a game we really want to make and it’s a game we feel that we can really make well. It’s funny, I was just talking to a publisher about an hour ago and he said, “Why didn’t you come and talk to us about publishing Project Eternity?” I said, I’m a pretty good salesmen- but not good enough to come into your office and ask you for money for a PC Roleplaying game. It’s just not something alot of the publishers are built around. It just made sense to “Kick-start it”

Project Eternity - $1.8M, Unity Engine and More

by Dhruin, 00:58

Obsidian's Project Eternity Kickstarter has pased the $1.8M stretch, unlocking:

1.8 million, New Playable Race, Class, and Companion!
The options grow for your main character and the roster of your motley crew expands with the addition of a new companion from the selected class.

The player house is next at $2M.

Moving on, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder Chris Jones has posted Update #6, revealing the Unity Engine is the chosen technology base:

Unity enables small teams to be very productive. Unity has an amazing development environment that makes it very easy for programmers, artists and designers to work together to build great games. In a very short time we have already made great progress prototyping some of the core functionality for Project Eternity.

We do intend to use some of our in-house tools in conjunction with Unity where it makes sense, such as in the case of creating conversations and editing some of the RPG-specific game data. Unity makes it very easy to extend not only the game engine but the development tools as well, and we feel integrating some of the tools that have already proven effective on previous Obsidian games will get us off to a great start on the development of Project Eternity.

Chris also reveals "something new" will be added to the $2.2M stretch goal along with additional goals to be posted on Monday.

Let's throw a couple of interviews in here. First off, a sample from the Pure Sophistry podcast:

Why make the choice of developing this particular project on Kickstarter?

Feargus: That’s a really good question, I think a lot of it is we want to make the game. It’s a game we really want to make and it’s a game we feel that we can really make well. It’s funny, I was just talking to a publisher about an hour ago and he said, “Why didn’t you come and talk to us about publishing Project Eternity?” I said, I’m a pretty good salesmen- but not good enough to come into your office and ask you for money for a PC Roleplaying game. It’s just not something alot of the publishers are built around. It just made sense to “Kick-start it”

...Chris Avellone over at Time, which is worth reading:

I’m assuming $1.1 million is a fraction of what you’d typically require to make games like Neverwinter Nights 2 or Fallout: New Vegas. How’d you settle on this figure?

Yep, it’s a much reduced amount because you’re not doing all the extraneous features (total voice acting across all languages, the latest super graphic video card enhancements with tint control and crotch rumble™ technology, multiple skews across consoles, etc.).

We looked carefully at the budgets for previous Infinity Engine titles we’d done in the past at Black Isle [Studios], made adjustments for personnel (personnel costs have risen a great deal since then), kept the technology costs in mind and made a reasonable estimation of what we can accomplish. Our CEO (Feargus Urquhart) is pretty ruthless about stuff like that.

We’re in a good position because a number of us have made this type of game before (Josh, Tim, Feargus, me, etc.) – and even better, we’ve done this type of game several times. Now this is our opportunity to take that production knowledge and make it even better. Knowing the process from start to finish helps reduce a lot of the X factors in terms of implementation and avoid many of the pitfalls in development.

Friday - September 21, 2012

Project Eternity - Update #5, Souls, Technology and Adventuring Companies

by Dhruin, 01:53

J.E. Sawyer has posted a new Project Eternity update, discussing souls, the level of technology in the game world and a new $5000 ledge tier. Here's a lengthy snip on technology:

Technology

The cultures of Project Eternity are in a variety of different technological states. Though some remote civilizations are still in the equivalent of Earth's Stone Age or Bronze Age, most large civilizations are in the equivalent of Earth's high or late Middle Ages. The most aggressive and powerful civilizations are in the early stages of what would be our early modern period, technologically, even if they are not culturally undergoing "Renaissance"-style changes.

For most large civilizations, this means that all of the core arms and armor of medieval warfare have reached a high level of development: full suits of articulated plate armor, a variety of military swords, war hammers, polearms, longbows, crossbows, and advanced siege weaponry. Architecturally, these cultures also employ technologies found in Earth's Gothic structures, allowing them to create towering vertical structures.

The most recent technologies seeing use in the world are ocean-going carrack-style ships and black powder firearms (notably absent: the printing press). Cultures with large navies and mercantile traffic are exploring the world, which has led to contact with previously-unknown lands and societies and settlement in new lands. Despite their intense drive, these explorers have been restricted from aggressive long-range exploration by monstrous sea creatures that pose a lethal, seemingly insurmountable threat to even the stoutest, most well-armed ships.

Black powder firearms are of the single-shot wheellock variety. Largely considered complex curiosities, these weapons are not employed extensively by military forces. Their long reload times are considered a liability in battles against foes that are too monstrous to drop with a single volley, foes that fly or move at high speed, and foes that have the power of invisibility. Despite this, some individuals do employ firearms for one specific purpose: close range penetration of the arcane veil, a standard magical defense employed by wizards. The arcane veil is powerful, but it does not react well to the high-velocity projectiles generated by arquebuses and handguns. As a result, more wizards who previously relied on the veil and similar abjurations have turned to traditional armor for additional defense. 

Wednesday - September 19, 2012

Project Eternity - Update #4, DRM-Free, Digital Tiers and Add-Ons

by Dhruin, 22:24

Update #4 has been released for Project Eternity, offering a DRM-free option via GOG, digital reward tiers, addons and beta access for the $140 Collector's Edition. They have also announced a series of updates:

Well you all did it, you helped us get to $1.6M and we now have a Mac version and are adding more story into the world.

We have also been listening and reading your feedback on Kickstarter and have some changes that are happening as soon as this update is posted. One thing, we are not updating just yet are the stretch goals, but don’t worry those are going to get updated very soon. Oh, and we are putting a schedule together for updates that will include guest stars almost every day – Josh will be talking more about the design tomorrow (Sep 20), our unflappable CTO Chris Jones (architect of the Fallout and Arcanum engines) on Friday (Sep 21), and I think we will be able to squeeze one in from Mr. Tim Cain over the weekend. 

So, what are those changes?!? 

DRM Free Option

You asked and we are delivering. In conjunction with GOG, we are going to offer a DRM free version of the game for our Kickstarter Backers. When the campaign ends, you will be able to choose whether you would like a key from GOG or Steam. For our Mac friends, we are still working on a DRM free option, since GOG does not currently support the Mac. Oh, and the great guys at GOG are having a special right now on all of the great Infinity Engine games, so check that out as well.

New Digital Tiers

We are adding a $50 and an $80 digital tier. The $50 tier will get you the digital version of the game, the soundtrack, the digital version of the Collector’s Book, a collection of wallpapers made for multiple resolutions and multiple monitors, high resolution concept art, a high resolution version of the map, and ringtones. For the $80 tier, you will get all of that plus a digital copy of the strategy guide, and a second digital download of the game.

Head over for the full text.

In other Eternity news, engineer Steve Weatherly dropped by Reddit for an IAMA. Steve is careful not to reveal anything he shouldn't but it's worth a skim through:

At the moment I am responsible for all of the gameplay systems for Project Eternity. That means combat, AI, camera, movement, etc. We're still VERY early on in the project and I'm just laying out a foundation for this stuff. Two engineers are not enough for this project, we will be ramping up over time. I don't know what the final count will be, but I'm sure the management types do.

Project Eternity - $1.6M, Mac version and more unlocked

by Dhruin, 00:57

Obsidian's Project Eternity Kickstarter has just ticked past $1.6M, unlocking the following stretch goals:

1.6 million, a Mac Version of Project Eternity and The Story Grows!
We've listened and we’ll make a Mac version of the game at this tier. We're also going to add a new major storyline along with new quests, locations, NPCs, and unique loot (special histories everyone?).

Looking forward to $1.8M, we'll get:

1.8 million, New Playable Race, Class, and Companion!
The options grow for your main character and the roster of your motley crew expands with the addition of a new companion from the selected class.

Tuesday - September 18, 2012

Obsidian Entertainment - Tidbits from Tim Cain

by Dhruin, 14:17

Eurogamer has posted a piece on Project Eternity that mixes new comments from Tim Cain with the earlier Project Update from J.E. Sawyer that we've aleady seen. Still, there are some worthwhile bits in the article, with Cain confirming guns and a reputation system:

At the core of the rules will be souls. In the Kickstarter video, Josh Sawyer said a character's soul was tied to the magic system. Cain expanded: "No, you don't have to be evil to access any abilities. They aren't categorised like that. Instead, in this world, your soul is connected to your power. Simply put, people who have whole, unbroken souls are more powerful than those people who just have fragments of souls. The nature of these souls, and how they might break, is something we will explore in the game.

"While there are social concepts of good and evil," he added, "the game does not track an alignment for the player. Instead we will use a reputation system to keep track of what different groups in the world think of you. Consequences of your actions will matter in Project Eternity."

Interestingly, Cain notes they have an engine but MCA says it isn't Onyx.

Obsidian Entertainment - Project Eternity Update #3 - Party, Characters, Races

by Dhruin, 01:50

Obsidian has posted their next Project Eternity update for Kickstarter, covering some basic but welcome information such as party size, the importance of formations, a little on character creation and some story background.

The Kickstarter update has a video from JE Sawyer and also a link to a post on the Obsidian forums. Since they've been crashing from the load, here's the entire post:

Project Eternity is still early in development and we are still working on many of the cultures, factions, and ethnic groups of the world and debating many of the system concepts.  However, there are certain fundamental things we want to let you know about the game and the setting for Project Eternity.

Your Party
The maximum party size is the player's main character (PC) and up to five companions for a total of six characters.  This does not preclude the addition of temporary characters in special circumstances.  Companions are never forced on the player. Players can explore the entire world and its story on their own if they so choose.  We feel companions are excellent sounding boards for the player's (and other companions') actions, but the story is ultimately about the player's personal conflict among the larger social and political complexities of the world.

Formations
A key element of the classic party-based tactical combat that we are developing is the use of party formations. As in the good ol' games, you can arrange your party in a large number of set formations.  You can also construct your own formations if you want to get fancy.  When moving companions, you have the ability to rotate formations for more precise positioning.

Character Creation
At a minimum, players will be able to specify their main character's name, sex, class, race (including subrace), culture, traits, ability scores, portrait, and the fundamental starting options of his or her class (gear, skills, and talents).  We have not worked out customization details of character avatars, but we believe those are important and will be updating on these specifics in the future.

Companions
In Project Eternity, companions exist for both narrative and mechanical purposes.  Companions are designed to have a driving interest in the player's central conflict.  Their personalities and motivations open plot branches and generate conflicts for players to resolve over the course of the story.  They are highly reactive to the player's actions and to the world around them.  Additionally, companions exist to give players strategic management options in party composition that expand the party's capabilities in exploration, combat, and quest resolution.  It is no coincidence that there are at least as many companions as there are classes.  As stated above, companions are not required to play through Project Eternity's story, but we feel that they can add greatly to the experience.

The Set-Up
The player witnesses an extraordinary and horrific supernatural event that thrusts them into a unique and difficult circumstance.  Burdened with the consequences of this event, the player has to investigate what has happened in order to free themselves from the restless forces that follow and haunt them wherever they go.

The Nature of You
Your character is not required to be of any particular race, cultural background, sex, class, moral outlook, personality, organization, etc.  The premise is that you are a victim of circumstance.  How you choose to deal with your situation is up to you.  You can bear it with stoicism and restraint or fly off in a rage at anyone who gets in your way.  The world will react to your choices, but the game is designed to give you the freedom to play your character the way you want to.

Races
We are still developing the races of Project Eternity, but we are creating a range that encompasses the recognizable (e.g. humans, elves, dwarves), the out-of-the-ordinary (e.g. the so-called "godlike"), and the truly odd (?!).  Races and subraces differ from each other culturally, but the races also have different physiological factors that can contribute to friction and confusion between them.

Within even the recognizable races (including humans), we are creating a variety of ethnic subtypes and nationalities.  This world's races did not all spring forth from the same place, and millennia of independent development have resulted in distinctive and unconnected groups.  For example, the dwarf ranger below is originally from a southern boreal region that is quite different from the temperate homes of her distant kin to the north.

Additionally, Project Eternity's world contains some isolated races and ethnicities, but transoceanic exploration and cultural cohabitation have heavily mixed many racial and ethnic groups over time.  This mixing is not always... peaceful.  At times it has degenerated into genocide and long-standing prejudices are ingrained in many cultures.

Monday - September 17, 2012

Obsidian Entertainment - Project Eternity - $1.4M, First Stretch Goal Unlocked

by Dhruin, 09:51

Project Eternity's Kickstarter has just ticked past $1.4M, meaning the first stretch goal has been unlocked:

1.4 million, New Playable Race, Class, and Companion!
Expands your options for character creation and adds a companion of the new class.

Next stop, at $1.6M, is...

1.6 million, a Mac Version of Project Eternity and The Story Grows!
We've listened and we’ll make a Mac version of the game at this tier. We're also going to add a new major storyline along with new quests, locations, NPCs, and unique loot (special histories everyone?).

While we're here, J.E. Sawyer's Formspring is normally full of questions about the types of ammo in F:NV but now there are a few useful tidbits for Project Eternity. First off, we might be hearing about party size soon:

I am writing up some basics on party size/composition that will hopefully answer some of your other questions.

On the player-house goal:

OP: To answer your question, we believe player houses serve a basic utilitarian purpose in RPGs. We like using them and would like to have them in PE. They require work to implement, but the $ of the goal is not meant to indicate $ spent on that feature.

Okay, but I hope it's obvious that the spacing of stretch goals does not map 1:1 with dollars spent for features. A house is not the equivalent of a region, faction, and companion. They are listed w/ =$ increments for fundraising pacing purposes.

In my mind, a player "house" is something like The Sink. A player stronghold would be something like Crossroad Keep, with much more in-depth strategic gameplay.

...and being early in development:

The problem inherent with this is that we're still very early in development. Designing systems takes time. I would rather be general and risk some frustration than be specific at this stage in the process.

Sunday - September 16, 2012

Obsidian Entertainment - Josh Sawyer onThe Black Hound

by Aries100, 23:29

Josh Sawyer did an update on his blog.   The Black Hound, the rpg projetct he laid to rest, is the subject for discussion this time. An excerpt about his feelings toward this:

I regret that the team wasn't able to complete The Black Hound, and not just because of the time and passion we all invested in it. Some of my best tabletop RPG (and CRPG) memories come out of the Forgotten Realms. Huge, crazy, "how many more Volo's Guides can there be?" Forgotten Realms. I think those scenarios were memorable because the DMs/designers made compelling scenarios and the players gave a damn about each other and what was going on. If you take fantasy for granted, yeah, no one's going to get much out of it. I don't think we took anything for granted. We had an opportunity to make something that celebrated high fantasy without being enslaved by its conventions.

Source: RPG Codex

Obsidian Entertainment - Project Eternity Stretch Goals

by Dhruin, 04:23

Obsidian has updated with a "thank you" video and the first stretch goals:

We are excited to announce the stretch goals for Project Eternity!

1.1 million, Base Goal – Achieved!
Base game includes three races, five classes, and five companions. We have ideas for these, but we want to hear your opinions on what you'd like to see. Stay tuned to Kickstarter, our website, and our forums to join in on the conversation.

1.4 million, New Playable Race, Class, and Companion!
Expands your options for character creation and adds a companion of the new class.

1.6 million, a Mac Version of Project Eternity and The Story Grows!
We've listened and we’ll make a Mac version of the game at this tier. We're also going to add a new major storyline along with new quests, locations, NPCs, and unique loot (special histories everyone?).

1.8 million, New Playable Race, Class, and Companion!
The options grow for your main character and the roster of your motley crew expands with the addition of a new companion from the selected class.

2.0 million, Player House!
Get your own house in the game that you can customize, store equipment in, and where your companions hang out, or, as the elves say, "chillax".

2.2 million, a new Region, a new Faction and another new Companion! And, dare we say it... ? LINUX!
Great news, everyone! For the Tarball Knights of Gzippia out there, we'll be adding Linux support!
Also, the world of Project Eternity grows in a major way with the inclusion of a whole new faction and the territory it holds. This adds new NPCs, quests, magic items, and hours of gameplay. And yes, you got it, another companion.

We've been listening to your feedback, and have the following announcements:

  • DRM Free: We are looking into it! Please check back for updates.
  • Digital Only Tiers are coming!
  • PayPal is coming asap. Please be patient!
  • New $5k Tier. We are looking into a new $5k tier since it sold out so quickly! We are looking into equivalent alternatives.

Thank you fans!

Obsidian

Obsidian Entertainment - Project Eternity Kickstarter Funded

by Dhruin, 00:27

Obsidian's Kickstarter for Project Eternity has been funded in a little over 24 hours, with $1.128M on the board of a $1.1M goal. No update from Obsidian yet, but they should start rolling out the stretch goals soon. From Twitter:

Thanks to everyone for helping us hit our $1.1M goal so quickly!!! We will have an update very soon about #ProjectEternity

Stretch goals and an update coming soon! Stay tuned.

Friday - September 14, 2012

Obsidian Entertainment - Project Eternity Kickstarter Launched

by Dhruin, 20:28

Obsidian has unveiled a Kickstarter campaign for Project Eternity, an "isometric, party-based RPG set in a new fantasy world". The Kickstarter video highlights the talents of designers like Josh Sawyer (Project Director), Tim Cain (Senior Programmer, who points out this is his first "pure" fantasy game) and Chris Avellone. Dialogue and companions are highlighted as key features. They are looking for $1.1M in funding over the next 32 days, with $173k already on the board:

Obsidian Entertainment and our legendary game designers Chris Avellone, Tim Cain, and Josh Sawyer are excited to bring you a new role-playing game for the PC. Project Eternity (working title) pays homage to the great Infinity Engine games of years past: Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment.

Project Eternity aims to recapture the magic, imagination, depth, and nostalgia of classic RPGs that we enjoyed making - and playing. At Obsidian, we have the people responsible for many of those classic games and we want to bring those games back… and that’s why we’re here - we need your help to make it a reality!

Project Eternity will take the central hero, memorable companions and the epic exploration of Baldur’s Gate, add in the fun, intense combat and dungeon diving of Icewind Dale, and tie it all together with the emotional writing and mature thematic exploration of Planescape: Torment.

Combat uses a tactical real-time with pause system - positioning your party and coordinating attacks and abilities is one of the keys to success. The world map is dotted with unique locations and wilderness ripe for exploration and questing. You’ll create your own character and collect companions along the way – taking him or her not just through this story, but, with your continued support, through future adventures. You will engage in dialogues that are deep, and offer many choices to determine the fate of you and your party. …and you'll experience a story that explores mature themes and presents you with complex, difficult choices to shape how your story plays out.

We are excited at this chance to create something new, yet reminiscent of those great games and we want you to be a part of it as well. 

The first interview is up at Gamebanshee:

Buck: Let's talk mechanics. While the game is certainly far from completion, what are your goals for the character creation and advancement system? Will progression be a standard affair with attributes and skills/perks/feats, or will you be treading into unknown territory? Finally, will there be a major focus on the non-combat abilities that are often overlooked in modern RPGs?

Feargus: Yes, yes and yes – we are still rolling up the system, but our goals are very much along the lines of creating a robust and multi-faceted RPG system. That means having a huge focus on support abilities and not just combat ones. Josh has been whiteboarding up a system for a number of months now for the support ability system and it’s looking very, very cool.

Buck: As you're going with a fantasy world, one would assume that there will be a magic system of some kind. What are your goals for the game's magic system, and will the spells that we gain access to be reminiscient of the D&D-based arsenal we had in the IE games?

Feargus: We will be talking about the magic system more in the coming week and months, but we are tying magic and overall potential of all characters to the power of a character’s soul. Player characters and companions are among the people in the world with great potential, those with "unbroken" or "strong" souls. As for the spell types, we’ll definitely see spells that give that us that D&D feeling. But, we want to use the connection between power and the soul as an added factor into every part of the character development system – including magic.

Information about

Pillars of Eternity

Developer: Obsidian Entertainment

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Combat: Pausable Real-time
Play-time: 40-60 hours
Voice-acting: Partially voiced

Regions & platforms
World
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· Expected at 2014-12-25
· Publisher: Obsidian Entertainment