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April 20th, 2017, 17:34
The most recent update for Pillars of Eternity II talks about how environments are handled in game development.

In the Pillars of Eternity series, we make sure our environments look beautiful. Our area designers and environment artists work hard to ensure every last detail is placed correctly, from rugs and thrones all the way down to tiny bowls of fruit. However, the environments aren't just something nice to look at; each area plays an important role in revealing the storyline and teaching you more about cultures of the people who live in these places.

A lot of work goes into making a scene in Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, and we'll walk you through from start to completion. The scene we'll be showing is part of the Vailian Trading Company's headquarters. In case you missed it, you can read about the VTC in Update #29!
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April 20th, 2017, 17:34
Environment is good for setting a mood, but I'd like to see more of an impact on game elements like scouting mode. Moving into brightly lit areas should make it easier to be discovered.
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April 20th, 2017, 22:48
In the Pirates of Eternity series, we make sure our environments look beautiful.

Our area designers and environment autists work hard to ensure every last detail is placed correctly, from rugs and thrones all the way down to tiny bowls of fruit.

Pretty environments are fine, its just the maps were pathetically small in the first game.

After decades of RPG experience having just 3 or 4 points of interest on an area map is amateurish and shameful.

But I guess cute bowls of fruit on a table, or window lightning, or customizing the color of ship sails, makes you forget about everything else that's important - like shitty core systems, weak world-building or forgettable writing

I love the approach of these hipster developers! At this rate RPG will turn into The Sims!
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April 21st, 2017, 00:00
Hopefully Obsidian prioritise systems this time around and make them more intuitive. The main message Obsidian seem to have taken from Pillars detractors is that we wanted better graphics. That is just wrong, wrong, wrong.

Main things Obsidian need to improve off the top of my head:

- The writing was mixed in Pillars, some good, some bad so hopefully they have learned that less is more.
- We want real reactivity too. All our choices were tied up in a bow at the end of Chapter 2. Our characters backgrounds mattered very little and there was little to no reaction to our loyalties to things like different religions etc.
-The core system was trying to solve the non-problem of no bad builds. That idea needs to go in favour of players making a bad build work for them through clever play. If you have no real failure there can be no real successes when you overcome.
-In the main Obsidian were hampered by a lack of feel for how the elements should all come together. Combat was too fast paced and there were too many abilities that were too similar to each other and too many abilities altogether. Combat action to combat result was always a matter of timing and it was too hard to get right often.
-Realistically they didn't play test the game enough before it got released and it showed. Do more iteration!
-Area maps were too small and lacked points of interest.
-Items were boring. Has been improved somewhat with soul bound weapons but still meh really.
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April 21st, 2017, 00:03
Primarily, I want interesting mechanics with real choices - and I want to be rewarded for my creativity - rather than being told that it doesn't matter what I do, because there's no way one choice is significantly better than the other.

Beyond that, I want a combat system that actually works - and if they insist on real-time - at least do me the courtesy of developing semi-functional combat AI that doesn't run back and forth constantly in combat because of broken ZoC rules.
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April 21st, 2017, 00:13
Originally Posted by NewDArt View Post
Primarily, I want interesting mechanics with real choices - and I want to be rewarded for my creativity - rather than being told that it doesn't matter what I do, because there's no way one choice is significantly better than the other.

Beyond that, I want a combat system that actually works - and if they insist on real-time - at least do me the courtesy of developing semi-functional combat AI that doesn't run back and forth constantly in combat because of broken ZoC rules.
Thats the main problems in a nutshell alright.
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April 21st, 2017, 00:31
I felt that the environments/maps were the least problem in the first game. Quite the contrary. They were its foremost strength. The maps were beautiful and lots of fun to explore.
I personally do not need maps to be filled to the brim with points of interest like Disneyland. It is fine with me if there is some "empty" space that just "is" and is pleasing to the eyes.

I do not think it is realistic if maps are filled to the brim with quests, NPCs, events or whatever. There absolutely needs to be some emptiness for the actual points of interest to become points of interest in the first place .

You know, if everything is interesting then is a point of interest really interesting anymore?

Aren't discoveries more satisfying if you actually need to sort of discover them through exploration instead of stumbling into something awesome every three feet?

In that vein, I would like them to increase the size of the maps but keep the points of interest at about the same level. Make exploration worthwhile and rewarding.

To achieve that goal, it is absolutely necessary IMHO to also have some "emptiness" in the levels. Please let us not turn Deadfire into a themepark RPG where you have rides plus Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck waving at you every turn because you can not go two seconds without something "awesome" happening to you.

Or are we really that ADD yet that we need constant action because some other RPGs keep throwing content at us nonstop?
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April 21st, 2017, 00:36
@Moriendor
Fallout 4 world design is not what I want to see from Pillars 2 that is for sure.
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April 21st, 2017, 00:58
Sorry, I somewhat diasagree. I want exploration to be more interesting in PoE2. Eora is still a *new land* for many players, supposed to be exciting to explore. I found it empty and each area was so tiny too - give me bigger area to explore instead of tiny specs of lands so I dont need to deal with so many god damn loading screens.
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April 21st, 2017, 01:11
Originally Posted by purpleblob View Post
Sorry, I somewhat diasagree. I want exploration to be more interesting in PoE2. Eora is still a *new land* for many players, supposed to be exciting to explore. I found it empty and each area was so tiny too - give me bigger area to explore instead of tiny specs of lands so I dont need to deal with so many god damn loading screens.
I agree. I think what everyone is trying to get at is that we want a coherent world design. Things are where they are supposed to be (fantasy realism) and every encounter and point of interest has a reason to be there. I agree with Moriendor that you need lots of empty area between the points of interest. The problem with the first Pillars is that the maps were so small and it was just moving from mob 'a' to mob 'b' with no sense of purpose most of the time.
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April 21st, 2017, 03:22
Eh, don't think "Open maps" work so well in this format…they cannot illustrate emptiness/scale as convincingly as games like TES/Witcher/etc.

And it didn't work so well in BG I…killcount: half a million kobolds/xvarts.
Obstructions are absolutely necessary here than having big open fields.

Something more similar to Icewind Dale II, corridors, but each map with a set of connected encounters all together playing a part in certain scenario ( this would work well with those choose your adventure text sequences), giving the player more a sense of purpose/progression than clear the fog of war.

They need to be larger, regardless.
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April 21st, 2017, 03:25
Personally I thought both white march expansions offered some of the best game play and environments.
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April 21st, 2017, 03:40
Originally Posted by Silver View Post
H
- The writing was mixed in Pillars, some good, some bad so hopefully they have learned that less is more.
Think people were too nitpicky on some points, but they need to change their style of writing.

That drunken, rhyming mix of Korgan's dwarven/irish was more memorable than half the script in PoE.

By the looks of it
It seems me former comrades
Have painted Pimlico's finery
With his innards


BG did more with less, used language better to illustrate class or race, had plenty of humor, voice acting was there to set the tone for characters/dialogue.

Eder turns the page with his thick farmhand thumb…WTF?
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April 21st, 2017, 03:54
Originally Posted by BoboTheMighty View Post
Eh, don't think "Open maps" work so well in this format…they cannot illustrate emptiness/scale as convincingly as games like TES/Witcher/etc.

And it didn't work so well in BG I…killcount: half a million kobolds/xvarts.
Obstructions are absolutely necessary here than having big open fields.

Something more similar to Icewind Dale II, corridors, but each map with a set of connected encounters all together playing a part in certain scenario ( this would work well with those choose your adventure text sequences), giving the player more a sense of purpose/progression than clear the fog of war.

They need to be larger, regardless.
Except that bg1 maps weren't just big open fields. You needed to go across bridges, hug cliff sides or proceed up/down rocky paths with multiple entries and exits. Hidden caves and tombs were also a feature. Sure some parts of the maps were open but not without purpose. Usually an open area had a contextual clue for an encounter up ahead like the stone statues preceding basilisks etc.

Having said that corridor maps have their place but I would rather see them be the exception rather than the norm. We all like what we like and definitely agree regarding the writing.

Originally Posted by CelticFrost
Personally I thought both white march expansions offered some of the best game play and environments.
The maps do seem miles matter from what I have played. Still too small through.
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April 21st, 2017, 04:32
Originally Posted by Silver View Post
I agree. I think what everyone is trying to get at is that we want a coherent world design. Things are where they are supposed to be (fantasy realism) and every encounter and point of interest has a reason to be there. I agree with Moriendor that you need lots of empty area between the points of interest. The problem with the first Pillars is that the maps were so small and it was just moving from mob 'a' to mob 'b' with no sense of purpose most of the time.
Another problem was that the areas were too rectangular. There was lots of width (left-right) but only about half as much height (up-down); just compare it to the maps in Baldur's Gate, for example. For me this created a feeling of being preferentially channeled in one direction. It would help the exploration feel to have the areas be more square.
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April 21st, 2017, 04:34
Some good points were raised by Silver

- The writing was mixed in Pillars, some good, some bad so hopefully they have learned that less is more.
They just need to learn to convey folklore to the player in a proper way.

Once they get rid of the lore-dumps the writing will magically fall into place, amazingly enough.

- We want real reactivity too.
I wish we would get real C&C and reactivity but I doubt it.

-The core system was trying to solve the non-problem of no bad builds.

That idea needs to go in favour of players making a bad build work for them through clever play.

If you have no real failure there can be no real successes when you overcome.
Those are very good observations Silver.

I think giving JES (who was once a fairly good game designer) the position of a lead didn't play out so well. I don't know what happened exactly but basically he made an anti-fun system due to an autistic ideological devotion to Perfect Balance.

-In the main Obsidian were hampered by a lack of feel for how the elements should all come together. Combat was too fast paced and there were too many abilities that were too similar to each other and too many abilities altogether. Combat action to combat result was always a matter of timing and it was too hard to get right often.
Eh I think RtwP is not the problem.

You had the so-called Endurance mechanic (which along with TToN's Effort) are among the worst ideas in RPG during the last 15 years. Furthermore, you also had literally no encounter design whatsoever, where nearly any combat encounter went the same way, you are attacked frontally more or less, you put tanks in front, spellcasters in rear

-Items were boring. Has been improved somewhat with soul bound weapons but still meh really.
PoE had one of the worst itemization you could ever hope not to see in a RPG. I think I found a weapon for Eder in the first town and used that until the end. This is a system designed so you can take ANY weapon/item and finish the game with it.
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Last edited by luj1; April 21st, 2017 at 12:48.
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