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[Update 02.10.12] Project Eternity: Known Information

Eternity Crates

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#1
Tigranes

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Project Eternity
Project Eternity is a Kickstarter initiative from Obsidian Entertainment. It has been introduced as a spiritual successor to the 'Infinity Engine' games which include the Baldur's Gate series, Icewind Dale series and Planescape: Torment, characterised by a beautiful pre-rendered 2D backgrounds, a fixed isometric viewpoint for tactical views, full player control over 6 party members and real-time with pause combat. It is currently being fundraised through Kickstarter, where gamers directly fund development with no publisher involvement.

The Kickstarter page is found here. For now, you should refer to the Kickstarter page for most of the information, which will be coming directly from Obsidian. You can also check out the Project Eternity page on the Obsidian website here.Please note that all information collected in this thread is unofficial and does not represent an official statement from Obsidian Entertainment.
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DC4w9GdFPrg

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Kickstarter Updates
The Kickstarter campaign not only features the main site but a series of updates over time. You can check out the actual updates here at the Kickstarter site, as Obsidian uploads them. The relevant forum threads for each update are linked below:.
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FAQ: Kickstarter & Technical Information
Will there be a Paypal option?
Obsidian have said that they are trying to put it up soon. However, due to the way Kickstarter works as a funding platform, Paypal donations would likely not count towards the official $ figure.

Will there be a DRM-free version?
Confirmed by Kickstarter update #4, a DRM-free version is being offered in conjunction with GOG. At the end of the Kickstarter campaign, you will be able to choose between a GOG or Steam key. Obsidian is also looking into solutions for Mac versions, and boxed copies?

Will there be multilingual support?
There is no official word on this yet. Localisation is often costly, and handled by the publisher; a different solution would be required here, if Obsidian were to do them.

Will there be Mac & Linux support?
Yes to both. Mac and Linux were originally listed as stretch goals. The Mac version goal has now been reached and with the announcement that they will be using the Unity engine, they have made a commitment to a Linux version without the need for a stretch goal.

Will there be 64-bit support?
Most likely, yes.


What will the system specifications be like?
It is impossible to say so early in development. Obsidian have, however, said that they will try and make sure the game can run even on integrated graphics chips (the primary limiting factor in laptop gaming). See exact quote here.
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FAQ: Game Information

Is Project Eternity a codename or the actual name of the game?
It is a codename.

Art Style
It will be in the same style as the Infinity Engine games, though the technology used will be different. For reference, IE games built the backgrounds in 3D then exported them into 2D form, not quite 'hand-drawn' but certainly not full 3D; this was supplemented by typical 2D sprites for moving objects.

Engine
Obsidian have chosen Unity as the engine for Project: Eternity. Unity is known as a versatile, relatively low-cost engine that can support both full 3D worlds and a mix of 2D and 3D, the latter being Obsidian's choice. Obsidian's internal Onyx engine (Dungeon Siege 3, South Park) was considered, but Obsidian explain the middleware and Mac/Linux compatibility raised costs too much. Note that the engine itself does not determine what the game will look like, or even the exact camera. For example, Wasteland 2 will also use the Unity engine, but is likely to look very different from Eternity. Obsidian's Roby Atadero explains:


Unity will not dictate the art direction of the game. Our artists, graphics programmers, and directors will. And let me say, they are some of the best in the business.

This is similar in which Onyx did not prohibit from making a South Park like visual game even though a 3D fantasy dungeon crawler was made with it. ;)



Camera
Camera has been confirmed as static, though probably zoomable.

Alignment / Reputation
Tim Cain has confirmed that the game will not use a Good/Evil alignment system, but a reputation system:

"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."

Deities
Feargus Urquhart has confirmed the presence of deities: "they won't just be hanging out in bars, but they are definitely a part of the world."

Show me the World Map!
OK. (Sawyer has hinted that this may not be, in fact, the actual world map.)
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Media Coverage
This is not a comprehensive review of coverage; usually, only coverage with new information, a lot of content, or otherwise interesting features are included.
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Developer Comments
Josh Sawyer on D&D style camping
Source: Somethingawful

I've talked with Tim about this for a while and here's the thing: camping out in the wilderness and setting watches and getting ambushed by jackasses has a great classic A/D&D feel to it, but it got pretty silly in games like IWD2. I'd like to build in reasonable mechanics that make you rest in the wilderness, but I don't want it to result in the sort of degenerate "rest after every fight" stuff we've faced in the past.


Josh Sawyer on experimental and innovative features
Source: Obsidian Forums

BTW, these sorts of questions (and many have been asked in different threads) are the ones I think we're most interested in hearing your thoughts on. I certainly have my own opinions on things I'd like to change from the standard operating procedure (e.g. resting mechanics), but you folks are the customers.



Josh Sawyer on the map
Source: Somethingawful

This is good feedback. The actual map is significantly larger; I just bored down on this section for detail. That particular section was what I worked out first. I'll try to address the geological problems (e.g. rivers) and I'll think more about the rest.Sorry for those of you who didn't like it. I was actually trying to capture the feeling of the Dragon Reach/Dalelands, which is an area of the Realms that I always liked.This may be true, but I don't like getting things fundamentally wrong/bad. People who are in the know see it and immediately recognize a problem.


Josh Sawyer on the Player House stretch goal
Source: Formspring

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 [...] We have learned that a small interior with containers thrown in it (e.g. Novac hotel room, Pres. Suite [Tigranes: reference to Fallout: New Vegas]) is too minimal when it comes to auto-organization functionality. And again, KS is a fundraising platform, not a means of making a literal budget. [...] 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.

Source: Obsidian Forums

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.


Josh Sawyer on art style
Source: Obsidian Forums

Without getting into too many specifics as far as the art style, it should be in the same general vein as the games we cited in the pitch video: Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment.


Chris Avellone on engine
Source: Twitter

(Will you use Onyx?) No, we will not. We like the Onyx engine, but it'll likely be too expensive considering the middleware attachments.


Edited by Pidesco, 02 October 2012 - 03:47 AM.
FAQ - 'Game name', 'System Specs' & 'Engine' Qs; new media coverage

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#2
Tigranes

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Feargus Urquhart on evil
Source: Twitter

Our goal would be more sublime with evil. I don't know if I've every actually used sublime and meant it before. Josh and Avellone are great writers and believe in portraying evil in an interesting way rather than the knocking grandma down and taking her money rather than helping across the street way. However, there can be a place for that here and there as well.



Feargus Urquhart on romances
Source: Twitter

Rob (Art Director) just sent me over some new header art for updates. So romances. We are talking about them and seeing how we want to handle them. That's not a great answer I know. I do think that if we get another writer on board that we are talking right now (maybe an announcement soon on that) we will be able to talk about them more.



Josh Sawyer on weapons
Source: Obsidian Forums

This is important to me and I will do my best to pursue it. To me, the realistic purpose/function of a weapon in the real world (assuming it exists) is the foundation for determining its place among peers, but realism should not dictate a weapon's overall value. I don't believe in designing "junk" weapons just for the sake of having them. I like the idea of having types of weapons with distinct strengths and weaknesses that the player can analyze for tactical application. If a player looks at a type of weapon and instantly realizes it will never have a place in his or her arsenal, I feel that's a failure on my part.

This also applies to weapon upgrades within "type". A longsword +2 is universally superior to a longsword +1. I think things get more interesting when an upgraded weapon is slightly inferior to its antecedent in one way. The more the player stops and makes a consideration of the pros and cons of using one weapon or another, the more he or she is problem solving and engaged in what's going on. If choices ever become no-brainers, they aren't really choices, and I think that can detract from the enjoyment of the game.



Josh Sawyer on guns
Source: Obsidian Forums

We will be doing an update on the technology of P:E, but in brief, the firearms of this world are relatively recent inventions and equivalent to the single-shot wheellock weapons found in 16th century Europe. Their use is uncommon and for specific purposes.



Josh Sawyer on respec
Source: Somethingawful

Things I am in favor of in RPGs:

* Allowing the player to respec advancement choices (e.g. skills, feats, spells, etc.) at specific points in the game.
* Tying the respec to something that is explained in the context of the world (e.g. a trainer NPC of some sort or at least a location where the character can spend time).
* Imposing a non-trivial cost to the respec.
* Tying respec capability to level of difficulty and/or game modes.

Things I am not in favor of:

* Allowing the player to respec the base aspects of a character (e.g. class, race). Especially when it comes to companions, many of these concepts are too integral to what the character is all about.

I have been making RPGs for 13 years. During that time, I have directly watched literally hundreds of people play these games and indirectly heard many more describe their experiences. I've seen expert players, moderately-experienced players, and people who are new to RPGs. It brings me only misery to see someone stop playing a game because they slowly realize they made an irrevocable strategic mistake due to their own ignorance, lack of experience, or even careless reading of a description.

I think it is good to allow advanced players to lock off respec options and I think it is good to put an in-game cost and location restrictions on when/where respec can occur, but I think it is extremely valuable tool, even for experienced players. In a system that allows myriad options, it is extremely easy for a player to make a choice that is valid and grants a benefit but does not produce the outcome they expect (e.g. produces an orthogonal rather than directly complementary/stacking benefit).



Josh Sawyer on level scaling
Source: Obsidian Forums

I don't know where this topic came from, but I don't expect to use level scaling much, if at all, in PE.


Josh Sawyer on Vancian and cooldowns
Source: Obsidian Forums 1 2 3

In tabletop games, the "Vancian" systems do make strategic gameplay more important, but a lot of that is lost in a game with reloading. Especially if the choice of spells has a dramatic effect on efficacy (e.g. did you memorize dimensional anchor before fighting creatures that are constantly teleporting all over the battlefield), failure to select the "right" ones can result in catastrophic failure. In the absence of information required to make informed decisions, those choices aren't strategic; they're just guesses. After a reload, they're meta-strategic, but I doubt most players feel clever for making a retrospectively obvious choice.

I think it's possible to still make prep meaningful by allowing the player to switch between pre-built (by the player) suites of spells at a frequency that is less than "per rest". I.e. if the player can only use a subset of spells at any given time, but can switch between those subsets with a time penalty (or only outside of combat), that still makes the choices important without the system strictly being Vancian.

I'm not going to rule out cooldowns and I'm not going to design the entire magic system on the fly over the course of three weeks. Both Tim and I want the magic system to feel expansive, powerful, and flexible. We want the player to have to make prep choices when selecting spells for active use. These things do not require a Vancian system, nor do they require the absence of cooldowns as a mechanic. As I wrote in one of the class threads, our goal with class design is not to limit the role of classes but to ensure that every class does have at least one combat role they can clearly excel in. This does not mean that wizards won't be able to cast protective spells, transformative spells, etc. It is likely that they will not be able to select from all of those things in the moment but unlikely that we will require the player to rest to change what he or she has access to.


A summary of the Q&A from Kickstarter comments can be found here.

Edited by Tale, 02 October 2012 - 07:53 AM.
Level scaling, Vancian casting vs cooldowns

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#3
WorstUsernameEver

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Just a suggestion Tigs, but you might want to round up all the teaser texts, either here or in another lore discussion topic.

#4
JMoore

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Here is all the teaser texts: http://www.facebook....70322911&type=3

#5
Bendu

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Is that concept art from Eternity or another Obsidian game?
Posted Image

Will the game be set in a world where they have discoverd gunpowder?

#6
salty

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Will the game be set in a world where they have discoverd gunpowder?


It doesn't even have to be gunpowder if magic exists. A gun could be enchanted to shoot anything out of it. That man might be a simple innkeeper with his ale gun.
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#7
WorstUsernameEver

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This bit of concept art that was in the video was on Brian Menze's DeviantArt for quite a while, and the description doesn't really sound like it's meant for Project Eternity, so I'd expect most of the concept art there to be actually from other projects.

Going by the guns and the designs I'd say that was DSIII concept art. All speculation on my part, though.

#8
WDeranged

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That man might be a simple innkeeper with his ale gun.


That's it, this game needs aleguns :lol:

#9
J.E. Sawyer

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Is that concept art from Eternity or another Obsidian game?
Posted Image

Will the game be set in a world where they have discoverd gunpowder?

That is original concept art for Project Eternity.
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#10
Tigranes

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And that gun is actually an Infinitely Stretchable Walking Staff +1.
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#11
WorstUsernameEver

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That is original concept art for Project Eternity.


Ah okay, cool.

#12
dlux

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'Project Eternity' Facebook-page: https://www.facebook...463757270322911

Posted Image

The world has an uncanny resemblance to Western Europe.... just without the British Isles. ^^

#13
Fionavar

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New Forbes article: http://www.forbes.co...on-kickstarter/

#14
Monte Carlo

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No we are definitely there, just northwest of Geiran's Grasp (Calais). If they make three million we're in the XP :skeptical:

#15
DAWUSS

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'Project Eternity' Facebook-page: https://www.facebook...463757270322911

Posted Image

The world has an uncanny resemblance to Western Europe.... just without the British Isles. ^^


We'd need to know the climate and weather patterns. You never know, it could be the north that has long summers and the south that has long winters.

#16
Kira

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I wonder if this game will use sprite models or 3d, if they choose to use sprites, I hope that it will be in high resolution and capable to withstand modern monitors, up to 27" at least.

#17
C2B

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I wonder if this game will use sprite models or 3d, if they choose to use sprites, I hope that it will be in high resolution and capable to withstand modern monitors, up to 27" at least.


From current information 2D backgrounds with 3D charachters. How *exactly* though we'll see with the first screenshots.

#18
Tychoxi

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The stretch goals have revealed some info!

* It's class-based (5 classes for 1.1M budget; 7 for 1.8M)
* In their main 1.1M budget the plan was for 5 companions tops (how many party-slots is hard to infer).
* 3 races (up to 5 with 1.8M funding)
* there are "factions"

Edited by Tychoxi, 15 September 2012 - 06:03 PM.


#19
Badmojo

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Well, looks like elves are in judging by this:

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".


Crap, tired of elves/dwarves. :(

Edited by Badmojo, 15 September 2012 - 06:29 PM.

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#20
elfbarf

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Is that concept art from Eternity or another Obsidian game?
Posted Image

Will the game be set in a world where they have discoverd gunpowder?

That is original concept art for Project Eternity.


Are there still plans to include guns and possibly other technology in the game or was it just an idea?





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