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Posted by J.E. Sawyer on 14 September 2012 - 04:39 PM
Posted by BAdler on 03 September 2013 - 02:03 PM
- Resting bonuses. Some of the upgrades to your stronghold will grant temporary bonuses to your attributes or non-combat skills when you rest there. As examples, you can build Training Grounds to improve your Strength or a Library to improve your Lore skill. Some of these upgrades are expensive, but you’re worth it.
- Adventures for idle companions. You will eventually have more companions than will fit in your party, so you will have leave some of them behind. While they are idling away at the stronghold, they can take part in their own adventures, earning additional experience for themselves and extra money, items and reputation bonuses for you!
- Ingredients. Many of the stronghold upgrades will generate ingredients used by non-combat skills. For example, Botanical Gardens create Survival ingredients over time, and a Curio Shop produces ingredients for use by both Lore and Mechanics.
- Special offers. Sometimes visitors to your stronghold will have rare items for sale, or perhaps they will offer you items in return for something else. Pay attention to these visitors. Some of these items may be nearly impossible to find any other way!
- Wealth. Don’t forget that by owning a stronghold, you also own all of the surrounding lands and impose a tax on all of the inhabitants. It will feel nice for a change to have someone recognize your high standing and give you the money that you so richly deserve.
- Monte Carlo, Kevin Lynch, Gfted1 and 64 others like this
Posted by BAdler on 12 November 2013 - 03:24 PM
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.
One thing to remember is that when we are in the middle of production the schedule has already been created for just about everything in the game. What I mean by this is that we have identified all of the major tasks that will need to be accomplished and allotted time and resources in our budgets to match those tasks.
Depending on the team's familiarity with the type of game we are creating, this can mean anywhere from a tiny bit of guesswork to larger amounts of... estimation. With Eternity we are very familiar with what it takes to make an isometric, Western RPG with branching dialogues and reactivity. It's Obsidian's bread and butter. Because of this our initial estimates are good approximations.
Since most of our features and assets are budgeted at the start of the project, any changes to those items have to be accounted for in the schedule. This can mean a few different things - anything from reducing time spent on other tasks, to changing previously scheduled items, to outright cuts - and when changes need to happen project leads consult with each other to try and figure out the best option. Keep this in mind when I start talking about changes to features and assets later on in this update.
One Small Interior Dungeon
Alright, let's stop talking in generalities and get into the meat of what it takes to create a first pass area in Eternity. I'll discuss a generic small interior dungeon area.
This area will have the following characteristics and constraints:
- Uses an existing "tileset." We don't have tiles in Eternity, but we do have sets of areas that share similar assets.
- Will have one unique visual feature in the area. This visual feature is something that will make the area stand out a bit. It doesn't have to be incorporated into the design, but we may want to do that to get the most bang for the buck.
- An Average complexity quest uses this area. "Average" is a flavor of quest in Project Eternity. It refers to the overall complexity of the quest. Quest complexity is determined by the amount of dialogue, branching, and steps a quest has.
- This is a 3x3 interior. A 3x3 interior is the equivalent of a 5760x3240 render. An easier way to think about it is that a 3x3 area is nine 1920x1080 screens worth of content. You can imagine that making an area even a tiny bit larger can actually lead to enormous amounts of work. As an example, a 3x3 is nine screens of work, where a 4x4 is 16 screens of work... almost double the number of screens.
To create our small interior dungeon area, the following has to occur:
- An area designer (Bobby Null, for example) puts together a paper design for the area. This is usually part of a larger paper design, but for this purpose we can say that it is a separate element. For a small area like this, a paper design wouldn't take more than a quarter of a day.
Material concepts for a high wealth interior.
- After the paper design is constructed, it is passed to the area design team for revisions and approval. For the most part, this goes fairly quickly and normally wouldn't take more than a quarter of a day for a small area.
- A concept artist (Hi, Polina and Kaz) creates a concept for the unique visual element of this area. Let's say for our purposes the unique element is a cool adra pillar that is holding up a portion of the ceiling. This takes half a day to a day, depending on prop complexity. This may seem like a luxury, but making sure that the areas feel cohesive can save lots of revision time down the road.
- After the concept work is completed, it is reviewed by the Art Director (Rob Nesler) and the Project Director (Josh Sawyer). Any necessary changes are then made before being approved. Overall, it probably takes about a quarter of a day for review and any revisions that need to be done.
An initial pass on a blockout before it has had a review.
- After the paper design and concepts, an area designer creates a 3D blockout of the area in Unity. This allows the designer to walk through the area and make sure it flows well. This also helps to give the environment artist assigned to the area an idea of where the various elements should be laid out. A full blockout of a 3x3 area normally wouldn't take more than half a day. This is an extremely important part of the process. Sometimes an area seems great on paper, but in practice it is clunky or frustrating.
- Once the blockout is finished it's passed along to the area strike team for review. The area strike team includes people from most disciplines. This is the point where revisions are performed and the layout becomes finalized. The changes can be as simple as moving some props around or as complicated as redesigning major portions of the layout. Again, for a small area of this size, we aren't looking at more than half a day for all of the feedback and revisions.
- With the blockout in place, the area can move to environment art (For example, Hector "Discoteca" Espinoza) for the art pass. This includes putting together existing pieces and creating new assets to make the area. A large portion of time allotted to an area is spent in environment art. A 3x3 area that uses mostly existing assets would typically get three days of environment art work, but, because we want to have a cool, unique piece in the area we will add about a day of environment art time. This gives a total of four days for the initial art pass.
- Like the blockout, the art pass is usually reviewed by the area strike team. Revisions can vary wildly depending on how everyone feels about the area, but it isn't uncommon for another quarter to half a day to be spent on review and revisions for this size of area.
The blockout above with revisions, 2D render, and initial design.
- Now with the 2D render in place, the area is ready for the real design work to be done. An area designer will typically get about three days to do the first pass on the area. This includes things like a loot pass, encounters, trigger setup, temp dialogs, etc.. Because this area has a quest that is running through it, though, it will get an extra day to work out all of those kinks. That puts us at four days for an initial design pass on the area.
- Remember the part about this area having a quest? Well, now is when a creative designer (Like Mr. Eric Fenstermaker, for example) comes through to write the dialogs. To be completely honest, this usually comes much later, but it works for our purposes. The narrative designer creates the NPC dialogs, quest dialogs, and companion interjections for the area. Usually an area designer will stub these conversations out and the narrative designer will come in and complete them. Depending on the amount of dialog this should take around a day or two for everything.
- Finally, a concept artist will take a pass at painting over the final 2D render. This pass is used for "dirtying up" an area and adding in the little details that might be difficult for an environment artist to create. As an example, we can cover up texture seems, add in variation on repeating textures, paint in lighting highlights, and even add things like patina or moss on objects. Due to Photoshop magic from Kaz, we can even propagate those changes into our diffuse maps so they show properly in any dynamic lights. This is a fairly low cost procedure and Kaz can cover a small area like this in about half a day.
- There are other considerations (Like animation, sound effects and visual effects, for example), but we will stop for now.
So, for those keeping count at home, to get a first pass area that is borderline Alpha (as in no bug fixing or polish work) it costs the project about 13 man days. This is little over one half of a man month of time for a small, simple area. Larger areas with more content take significantly longer to develop.
Our time estimations used for scheduling are determined in preproduction (prepro) phase. Our vertical slice (the end of prepro) is the culmination of the team identifying what it will take to make the game and then actually doing it. We get these numbers by seeing how long it takes the team to perform those tasks in our prepro, and then we can extrapolate those numbers over the course of the time we have budgeted to understand how much work can get done.
A milestone will have 15 to 20 areas of varying complexity going at a time. A minor change in an area can cause a domino effect that starts schedule slippage. Remember that on a small team like Project Eternity we have a limited number of people that can work on any one part of the game so taking someone off of their current task to work on changes can gum up our pipelines and prevent others from completing their tasks. We can get around that by switching up the tasking, but it can quickly get out of hand and lead to inefficiencies.
That being said it's the team's responsibility to give our backers what they have paid for. If we are playing though part of the game and something feels off from what we promised to our fans, we need to seriously consider making changes - even if it pushes us off schedule. There have been times where an update leads to some serious discussion on the forums and within the team about a direction change. Ultimately all of that gets added into the equation as well.
Taking that into consideration, the team has to make difficult choices every day. Do we go through and do another prop pass on a level? What does that cost us in the long run? Will we lose an entire area in the game? These are questions that the leads struggle with everyday. We are always weighing the cost of assets and features against everything that still needs to get done.
Luckily, like I mentioned above, we have a bunch of smart, talented, experienced people working on Eternity. The pitfalls we have experienced in previous games give us a leg up when we are trying to navigate this project's development. I wanted to send out this update to give the fans a little insight into our daily processes and demystify what probably seem like arcane decisions. If you enjoy these types of updates, let me know in the forums and I will try to write more of them for you.
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Posted by Staples on 11 November 2012 - 10:01 PM
I hope it's ok that I post this here, and I hope you all like it.
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Posted by Karranthain on 16 September 2012 - 03:32 PM
Do I need to say more?
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Posted by Karranthain on 16 September 2012 - 02:19 PM
Certainly looks better than this :
Second example :
In the examples, I've juxtaposed somewhat ornamental and a bit fantasy looking pieces of equipment with ones that look more like toys (which I consider to be a general tendency in fantasy cRPGS). Is the continuing urge for so called "epicness" really worth it? I think there's plenty of historical (and not so historical) arms and armour to draw inspiration from. Non-practical equipment is a real eye sore most of the time, IMHO.
And yes, I realize that the game is isometric, and we won't see arms and armour in great detail - but that'll only make the task that much easier.
While we're at it, please consider using something similar for item descriptions :
- ^Rayne^, Solivagant, Goran and 40 others like this
Posted by norolim on 25 September 2012 - 03:41 AM
Because translation is free, right?
Again. You are being ignorant and selfish. The game is not just for you. You didn't buy the rights to it, when you pledged. Translations cost money, but they also widen the reach of the game and consequently produce more income. Simple math. So, please stop being selfish and ignorant.
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Posted by Shadenuat on 17 September 2012 - 08:15 AM
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Posted by Darren Monahan on 09 April 2013 - 08:34 PM
Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director
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 for reading, thanks for your feedback, and we'll see you next week.
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Posted by The Guildmaster on 29 January 2013 - 05:49 PM
Click for full size image
As some of the keen-eyed among you noted from last week's update, there was an unfamiliar portrait in our work-in-progress tileset screenshot. We read the debates and viewed the Blade Runner-esque enhanced images that followed with interest. Good work, sleuths, the character pictured is, in fact, an orlan. This orlan is engaged in some important work in one of the Dyrwood's busiest cities. Here's the full-sized portrait for your continued speculation!
Ziets on Pantheon Design
Hello all. This week, I will be writing the update, and we’ll be starting to talk a bit about world development. For a designer, this is the fun part, and it’s a surprisingly rare opportunity.
On all my previous Obsidian projects, the team has worked with an established IP (intellectual property) like the Forgotten Realms or Fallout. We’ve always had a wealth of existing lore to draw upon – cities, towns, characters, history, gods, etc. Sometimes we’ve worked in an area of the world that hadn’t been seen in a CRPG before (as in NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer), which gave us the opportunity to extrapolate beyond what was already established... but otherwise, we were working with established material and trying to be true to existing lore.
In contrast, Project Eternity is an entirely new setting that we’re creating from scratch. And at the start of development (around the end of the Kickstarter campaign), we didn’t have much more than what KS supporters have already seen: a map, a few high-level ideas about races, nations, and technology level, and the idea that souls play a major role in this world.
So where do we go from there?
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?
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.
Woedica – "The Exiled Queen"
All the preceding info is important, but I wouldn’t want to leave you without revealing an actual example...
A lot of my design ideas start with a visual image. That applies to characters, locations, even narrative. I’m not sure where most of them come from, but examining them more closely will usually lead me to develop stories to explain who they are and where they came from.
One of the first images that sprang to mind was an old woman – a dethroned queen – wandering along an empty road in tattered finery. Despite whatever horrors she had suffered, she maintained a certain stubborn dignity, and she carried a heavy book of law.
I felt like this goddess could cover a range of portfolios, and I liked the idea that the deity who was the "rightful ruler" of the gods (in her mind, at least), had lost her throne. That may have some interesting implications for the way in which mortals view the world.
So what was her story? According to her followers, she had once claimed rulership over all the other gods. But if that was true, she was cast down in the far distant past. Among the other gods, she has no real allies, believing that all the gods owe her fealty. She claims the portfolios of law, rightful rulership, memory, and vengeance. And she manifests in the world as the Strangler, a leathery-skinned old woman, always clad in tattered finery, who appears on an empty road or abandoned alleyway to murder those who break a solemn oath.
Her Aedyran name is Woedica, which evokes the “Old English” feel of the Aedyran language. (Maintaining a distinct sense of national/ethnic language and culture is important to us – more about that in a later update.)
There’s a lot more to tell about the Exiled Queen and the other gods (some of which aren’t even “human”). But that should give you a taste of our creative process. We’ll have plenty more to say about world-building in future updates.
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Posted by salty on 17 October 2012 - 03:00 PM
Hopefully the majority of your backers
- Shevek, casa, AGX-17 and 38 others like this
Posted by J.E. Sawyer on 17 September 2012 - 02:47 PM
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
That's all for today's update. We'll have more information on the world and systems in the near future. Please give us your feedback and thank you for all of the ideas and support you've given so far!
- aVENGER, alanschu, ShadySands and 36 others like this
Posted by J.E. Sawyer on 05 July 2013 - 10:57 AM
A few points of clarification:
* "Crafting" is one skill, but the crafting system uses multiple skills. I.e., the crafting system does not rely on the existence of the Crafting skill.
* Other than reaching the edge of a map to access the world map, there is no fast-travel in PE. That said, we will likely avoid the IWD-style 5-level dungeons without semi-regular shortcuts back to the surface (N.B.: this does not mean Skyrim-style loops).
* Most items do take up space in personal inventories! The party Stash is unlimited, but the Pack (made of personal inventories) is not. Crafting items (and quest items) always go into (and come out of) the Stash. We are doing this specifically to address common complaints about crafting items cluttering the inventory. Since crafting is typically done at camps or other non-combat locations, allowing the items to come out of the Stash doesn't seem to create any problems.
As I posted on SA, Crafting (the skill) and its associated subsystems (like durability) were the elements I felt least confident about in our skill system. I strongly believe that choices within an array should give the player reasonably balanced benefits. Because certain fundamental skills (like Stealth) can clearly benefit from multiple party members taking them and can contribute to party effectiveness in combat, I believe that other skills should do the same in their own way -- enough to make all of them appealing choices on multiple party members. This also has the benefit of making the uses of skills much higher-frequency than the individual uses that depend on designer content (e.g. unlocking doors or gaining a dialogue/quest option).
As an example, Medicine in its various Fallout forms contributes to the efficacy of stimpaks. There are many other places were Medicine can be used in quests and dialogue, but it has high-frequency use with stimpaks (in or between combats). It's a benefit that can apply to any character who has the skill, even if a character with a higher rating in a party may be "the guy" to perform the high-difficulty actions.
With all of the skills other than Crafting (specifically), those high-frequency benefits/uses were easy to come by. Crafting presented some difficulties and, as I wrote previously, I was concerned about the lack of systemic drains in the economy. Many people have mentioned a lot of potential uses for wealth. Most of them are great ideas and ones that we plan to use, but the vast majority of them are not systemic, rather content-dependent or scripted instances (e.g. bribes). However, it is clear from discussions here and elsewhere that the long-term balance of the economy is not a concern for most players who voiced their opinions -- and almost certainly not in the endgame.
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.
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Posted by Adam Brennecke on 04 December 2012 - 05:51 PM
Right now, my intent is to bring you up to speed on what we’ve been doing for the last several weeks. It’s called: laying the groundwork; building the foundation, or doing the nitty-gritty.
Often, when starting a project, the artists and I just want to start drawing sh-ssstuff. Especially with contracted 3D games, we have a basic idea of the world we’re making, an initial list of some of the things in it, the basic parameters for making assets, and so we just get started. With Project Eternity, we are starting the development of a rich storied RPG from scratch, zilch, nada. Oh, and we rendered that really cool image for you all at update #20, and so we felt we could take a step back--Waayyy back.
We are stepping back some years in visual “perspective”: to a fixed isometric view--so, NO “perspective”--of an essentially two-dimensional world. The traversable environment is pre-rendered to a high degree of realism, but we’re using a modern 3D game engine: Unity, for 3D characters, creatures, effects and animated props to be rendered in real-time and to assemble it all together, seamlessly. With this decision we’ve opened up a whole kit and caboodle of possibilities in terms of visual fidelity, occlusion, lighting, effects, and physics. At the same time, we’ve created some immediate technical problems that needed to be solved, before we could all go out and start making sh...‘er...stuff.
If you’ve been reading/watching Josh’s updates, you must understand that we are creating a brand new yet substantially familiar RPG experience essentially out of thin air, complete with a fully realized fantasy world, including new rules, new races, new places, new nations, new lore, new creatures, new story, new characters, a whole new combat system, with specific armor and weapon types, new this, new that, and a whole bunch of other new stuff--really we’re creating everything from nothing but what spews forth from Josh’s blazing fingers and angelic vocal cords. “How does that work?” you ask. Well, I’ll tell you: what happens is we all sit around a fire, in a far off and desolate wilderness, as he chants: what things were, and are, and what will be and sometimes why. We listen, we ask questions, and we discuss. We in turn, propose thoughts and ideas that are considered, further discussed, sometimes dismissed, but also sometimes gathered up and swirled into the glowing embers of this primordial glowing emergent world that is floating--NO!...LEAPING!!--out of the creative fuel, breath of air, and heat of our collaborative works. As well, we’ve decided to abandon the application we would normally use to create everything, for a supposedly-more-popular-more-capable app, and nobody really knows how to use it...
...BOOM! Yep, I just wrote and you just read THAT!...
...So, with our new software: Maya (the old software was Softimage) we’ve been making test worlds--we call them gray boxes. We’ve been making test characters--we call them gray characters. We’ve been giving them gray animation, we’ve been giving them gray (actually sometimes white, we’ll make some black ones too, we’re not racist) weapons, and we’ve been inserting them into our prototype worlds to prove to ourselves and you, that we know what we’re doing, and to lay the groundwork for expanding these vacant golems into player and non-player characters, that can interact with the world and other characters in a more meaningful and varied way--you know: picking up stuff, and hitting others with it, and taking their stuff and putting it on, or selling it--oh yes, and with color! Just kidding! Haven’t you been reading what I’m writing: this game is going to be DEEEEP!
So what the hell have art people been doing??
We have a very talented lead character artist, named Dimitri, and yep, he’s Russian, but he doesn’t speak it so well anymore--his mother is not happy about it, more on that later. In addition to a tremendous amount of early help getting basic traversable geometry, with a rendered scene that occludes 3D characters when they walk behind things (in essentially a 2D world--remember!) he’s been establishing the basis for weapon, armor and equipment attachment on our player characters, with Adam. As part of that he has to write documents. Booo!!! Documents Buh-LOWW!
Our other Character Artist; James is from China, but says he's from Fresno. He is essentially Dimitri's slave and willingly does whatever he’s told to do, because he doesn’t have to write documents. I sometimes give James direction, but I’m pretty certain that Dimitri tells him to ignore me immediately after I’ve left their office. Remember Dimitri is Russian, so he’s a little controlling, very direct and has high expectations. This isn’t a problem, however, because a) it’s his job and b) it just so happens that James is pretty good and making characters. He made our first character Edair, who can be seen running around with a morning star flail the size of a medicine ball--not his fault. He seems to know Maya better than Dimitri, but let’s his boss learn the hard way--keeping his ear buds in, pumping up the volume, and modeling and texturing his cares away. He’s making gray weapons now. For some reason Dimitri speaks Russian expletives perfectly.
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.
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.
Polina is our concept artist, and is the only one really making pretty pictures, and you've seen a lot of her work, already.
Kien is currently on loan to Project New York, aka. The Stick of Truth. Don't worry, they are paying for him. We use code names for our projects, because we’re professionals. Project Eternity (also a code name) is Project Trenton. BOOM! Yep, you got it! And nope! I’m not gonna tell you any more about that.Environment Artists:Sean is making a dungeon! He’s been working with our programmers to come up with the correct way to build a massive and awesome level so that we can do all we need to do, as big as we need to do it, and in as little time as we can do it in. Again, crucial. Minecraft is his best friend.
Hector, our Lead Environment Artist is on a sabbatical. Yes! we get those here, again, because we’re professionals and only sometimes. Nobody knows why or how, but we're certain it's painful. And boy! is he in for a surprise when he gets back; he loves Softimage. People on sabbatical don't get images of their work posted.
Okay, so that’s it.
Oh, what about me? What the hell have I been doing all this time? That’s a really good question. Aside from running around and keeping everybody busy and doing meetings and stuff, and writing this update, I've been developing a style guide which involves a bunch of meetings and discussions, and I've been drawing a few things, which I will show, if I'm allowed, in the next art update.
Update by Rob Nesler
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Posted by Death Machine Miyagi on 03 November 2012 - 07:06 PM
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Posted by Darren Monahan on 04 June 2013 - 07:54 PM
Update by Adam Brennecke, Executive Producer and Lead Programmer
This month we are knee-deep in the Vertical Slice phase and this will be the team's focus for the month of June. It's our way of proving that we are ready to jump forward into production and start making shippable content.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
That's it for this week. We'll be back in two weeks - we're off to E3 next week (and if you're a fan of South Park, keep an eye out for coverage on our Stick of Truth RPG)!
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Posted by J.E. Sawyer on 19 September 2012 - 11:36 AM
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Posted by Karranthain on 19 September 2012 - 11:01 AM
They were used to emulate the Pen and Paper experience, with the narrator substituting the Gamemaster.
The aim was to let our imagination work, and I must say it worked rather brilliantly. This technique was used very effectively by Obsidian in MotB (much better VA certainly enhanced the feeling) :
Most importantly, such method is fairly cheap and quick. Hence why it was used in the older titles, but I believe it's a viable artistic choice.
On that note, bring back Rodger Bumpass back!
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Posted by Monte Carlo on 02 November 2012 - 10:47 AM
I've just left my wife, who has kicked me out of my crenellated condo. She also got both my horses and the magic boots I took of that Mind-Flayer in .92. Bitch.
Anyhoo, I've just bought a new racing chariot, yeah I know younger adventurers like them but after I got that druid to cast a spell on my greying temples I just feel.... invigorated. That elf chick at the tavern has noticed too.
So, here I am, aged 40, which is the new 20, right? Right?
Can't wait to get into that dungeon. OK, that old arrow-wound to my knee plays up now and then, and I like to get home in time for eight hours sleep, but there's still plenty of life left in this old dog!
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Posted by Darren Monahan on 07 May 2013 - 05:09 PM
Hello! I'm sorry I haven't done an update in a while. I've been working on classes and everything related to classes: abilities, skills, spells, combat...you know, the good stuff. For the past several months, Josh and I have been refining the designs for the non-core classes, the classes that are most unusual, classes like the chanter and the cipher and one of my favorites, the monk.
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.
And as monks level up, they get more than just these special attacks. They can gain room for more Wounds, so they can have more of them at once to use at the same time for an extraordinarily powerful attack or use them across multiple special attacks. Monks can also change how their Wounds function. For example, they can choose to have their Wounds do less damage at the start and more at the end, so getting rid of them faster is advantageous. Monks can also choose to do their damage sequentially, letting the monk build up a lot of Wounds to fuel a crazy powerful ability and not take much damage for doing so.
So as a monk, your goal is simple: you want to take damage, so you get Wounds, so you can perform extraordinary attacks. But remember when I mentioned the monk in plate mail using a sword? Sure, you can do that, but that plate armor will inhibit your ability to get Wounds, which means you don't get as many special attacks. And unarmed attacks are among the fastest types of attacks, so a weaponless monk can get rid of his Wounds faster than any armed monk, so he will suffer very little of their damage-over-time effects. That's like having extra hit points for free! FOR FREE! Who wouldn't want that?!
This is why you see a lot of unarmed and unarmored monks running around. Not because the rules say you can't use those items, but because in most situations it's one of the best ways to play. An unencumbered monk can be a terror on the battlefield, a nightmare that just won't seem to die, no matter how hard he gets hit. Blows that seem like they should kill him only serve to make him stronger.
Trust me, you are going to love playing a monk. But if you ever feel the need to use a magical sword for its raw damage potential or wear enchanted mail to gain fire resistance for battle with a dragon, you can do that too. Because Project Eternity is all about bending the roles of each class, so you can play how you want, resolve conflicts how you want and solve problems how you want.
After all, this is *your* game.
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!
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