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Josh Sawyer and Feargus Urquhart's Q&A on Kickstarter, 25th September, 2012


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ImmortalZ

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Josh Sawyer's Q&A

Obsidian Entertainment
hail. this is josh sawyer. i'll be checking the comments for the next hour or so if you have any system-related questions. i may not be able to answer specifics, but let me know if something's on your mind.

Bruce P - Sheriff of the Obsidian Order
Hail, Josh! Define 'system-related'.

Obsidian Entertainment
@bruce - game systems, mostly.


Josef Hoffert
@Josh
Hey Josh! I was wondering, just how similar will this game be to the old inifity games? Can you give us a percentage? Cause most of it was awesome, but it had some glaring drawbacks. The rest-system comes to mind as an example.

Obsidian Entertainment
@josef - i don't think i could give you a percentage, but we really do want it to feel like the "best of" IE games. the rest system was not a strength of those games, so we have already talked about how to manage the pacing of exploration, fighting, and "downtime" better.


Scotty
Josh, have you guys decided on an art style? Please don't make it look cartoony like World of Warcraft or Diablo III. I'm really hoping you're going for what BG2 would look like if it were built in a 2012 engine :) Hope that was a system related question ;-)

Obsidian Entertainment
@scotty - for "ordinary" areas and characters, we reference a lot of the icewind dale art. mostly realistic, but with fantastic elements. of course, it's a fantasy world, so we will occasionally make things that are really otherworldly.


Brishingr Harbinger of Obsidian Order
@OE-What has me interested is the amount of XP youll get form comabt (killing) vrs non-combat. Will it be a smaller amount or the same amount?

Obsidian Entertainment
@Brishingr - i can't say with certainty right now, but we want the primary motivation of a player to be enjoyment of the gameplay. i.e. if player is playing the game in a way that they wouldn't normally due to an imbalance in the reward mechanics, i feel that's a problem.


SALQUE
Hi, I just "backed" the project, because as everybody here, I'm a huge fan of BG, BG2, Planescape (even if I couldn't finish it, lack of time) and others.
I've got a small question. Will it be DRM free ? Will the map be huged ? In this brand new world, will there be mods? Will the game evolve with time ?
I know, I'm still dreaming, but it's a relly good project, thanks for doing it ! ( Ok, I'm french, so, my english writing is not perfect

Obsidian Entertainment
@SALQUE - i can't answer all of your questions, but we have partnered with gog.com to release a DRM-free version of the game.


Josef Hoffert
@Josh
One more and last question Josh, if you will. Will we have an evolving game world? As in: Will time be a factor? Will the environments and maps change due to events in the game? Story-wise as well as random, etc?

Obsidian Entertainment
@josef - i can't say to what extent/scale, but yes, changing the environment due to the player's actions (and others' actions in the story) is important to us and we will try to do that as much as we can.


Eero Salonen One of the Obsidian Order
@OE Can you give us hint what kind of skill resources you have visioned into the game?

Obsidian Entertainment
@Eero - i don't want to commit to any specific set of skills, but we do want characters of different classes to be able to specialize in (or diversify across) different non-combat areas. i.e. we do not want fighters to be the "no non-combat skills class" or rogues to be the "tons of non-combat skills class". we also want to reward both the specialist and the generalist, so if you have two people in the party with overlapping skills, the "weaker" characters, skill-wise, can still help the stronger character out.


Willie
@Obisidian Entertainment
Just a quick note to the designers and companion/dialogue creators: please ensure that there is plenty of banter between companions and also that companions make remarks about the world/situations! This really adds to the atmosphere as well and shows how companions react not just to the player, but to other companions and situations as well. This makes them more believable and not just as springboard for the player's actions and character, but also the natures and personalities of their fellow companions and the world they inhabit. Please include this! Thanks.

Farudan - Obsidian Order Caretaker
@Josh: About formations, do you have plans to add extend the functionalities compared to BG2 or is it pretty much the same? (For example hold position while walking. IIRC , the characters in the infinity games didn't hold formation when clicking on a distant area)

Obsidian Entertainment
@willie - yep, that's very important to us and we plan to make that a focus.
@farudan - i'd like to experiment more with formations, but i'm not sure how much we will extend them beyond BG2 (other than allowing you to custom-configure them like ToEE).


Charles R
@Josh
Can you tell us what you have in mind for the sound design and audio system? My fondest memories of IE games, IWD specifically, not only come from the awesome hand painted sceneries but most of all from the incredible mood that was achieved through music and sound effects.
The wind blowing, the fireplace cracking, all those little touches added up to a really immersive experience, and I hope you'll be as ambitious for sound design as for the rest of the game.

Obsidian Entertainment
@charles - environmental audio adds a lot and our audio department puts a lot of care into setting the mood of a given scene. justin bell (who composed our trailer music) also pays a lot of attention to the emotional "flow" and themes of our games. i'm sure PE will be no different.


Steven Lim Obidian Order Fallen Archon
@Josh
Player crafting especially at the upper tiers, could we not have an arbitrary limitation via fixed amount of required materials in game and instead impose a method of gathering said material so that for those who want to and are willing to spend the time to gather these materials can do so and thus fully equip thier party with the top end player crafted equipment.
Also I hope that player crafted items will be on par to tge best treasure found / looted items and not be outclassed by a large margin compared to those sans "artifact" level items of course.

Obsidian Entertainment
@steven - to be honest, i'm not sure. tim and i haven't talked about crafting at length yet. i will say that one nice advantage of crafting systems for high-end gear is that the player can (usually) choose the specific type of gear he or she wants. in some ways, that makes it easier for us if we don't have to make custom unique items for every build type.


Randy David Ebenazer
Not system-related but any idea on the direction with music or is the project not at the stage to discuss this area yet? Any chances Mark Morgan will be involved :)

Obsidian Entertainment
@randy - we've only talked briefly about music direction internally. justin bell has a lot of cool ideas, but nothing's solid yet. sorry!


Christopher Hanken
@Josh
Any plans yet for symbiotic combat abilities between companions? Something that would give an extra layer to picking whose in your party not just based on individual abilities.

Obsidian Entertainment
@christopher - i think those sorts of abilities are cool. i'm not opposed to them, but we haven't made specific plans for them. i'll think about it some more and talk to tim and avellone about them.


jeronimo
@Obsidian. The game will have 2d backgrounds. they are going to be high definition? with no pixels like the infinity engine games? and they will have animations?

Obsidian Entertainment
@jeronimo - yes, we want them to be high definition. there are always going to be pixels, no matter what resolution we're at, but we're targeting a much wider range of resolutions than the IE games.


fredgiblet
@OE
Is there going to be multiple types of magic? For example in DnD you have arcane, divine and psionic systems plus variations inside them.

Obsidian Entertainment
@fred - tim have talked a lot about magic. in this world, different people/groups access the power of their souls in different ways, so there's one source but different techniques for accessing it. we want there to be mechanical differences between how the classes use these abilities while still making it easy for the player to use the different characters, UI-wise.


Charles R
@Josh
That's really good to hear (no pun intended). Now a question more on the subject, will there be a "super dumb" path through the game like in FO1/2 when if your character had like less than 3 INT he was unable to communicate with anyone? That was so funny.

Charles B Trainer of the Obsidian Order
So Justin Bell is the composer for the project?
I'd love to have Mark Morgan as a guest as well.

Obsidian Entertainment
@charles r - not sure yet. we know people like the dummy routes, though.
@charles de bellabre - justin is our lead audio guy. we haven't talked about composers much
yet.

Jaime Paulino
@OE - Hi Josh, 2 questions in my mind:
1.- How do you plan to articulate the world map with the local maps? Do you think the more "open world" aproach of BGI is the right way to create an atmosphere of exploration, or it feels too much unconnected?
2.- In the battlefield, how much tactical importance are you going to give to formations? Could formations have more tactical significance than in the IE games?
Thanks and sorry for my English

Obsidian Entertainment
@jaime - 1) personally i like the BG-style of map connectivity. i feel that the IWD type maps, while beautiful, were too linear in many cases and exploration felt limited.
2) i'm not sure yet. sorry!


Bruce P - Sheriff of the Obsidian Order
@Josh,
Any clue on any of the odd race types we'll be able to play? :)

Tristan - Obsidian Order Master Wetboy
@ OE
dunno if anyone's thought about this or not, but should there be crafting in the game, could you possibly have the ability to name the things you make? that's something i've always loved about the elder scrolls games. in skyrim i went with an old norse naming scheme just because it really fit, and it really helps make things more mine, as it were.

jeronimo
obsidian, thank for the answer. and about animations , for example the rivers, fires and things like that?

Farudan - Obsidian Order Caretaker
@Josh: Regarding the separation of Combat / Non-Combat skills, is the player still forced to decide between them where to spend his level ups? How do you manage that characters do not become too powerful and that there is still a chance of failure? (thinking of having a group of six people)

Paul D- Obsidian Order Poultry Inspector
Hail Obsidian/Josh, a question regarding the system, I am interested whether parts of the system will execute autonomously from the PC. In other words will parts of the story execute seperate from where the PC is located, thereby allowing events to unfold which the PC will either interact with directly or indirectly. For example: the PC annoys a faction, which results in a army being built, drawing on resources etc the PC learns about the build indirectly, what to do: act now before it gets to large, ignore and see what happens later. This event does not necessarily have to be part of the main story thread, but it would involve the capability for NPC's in the game to be semi-autonomous engines so to speak.

Obsidian Entertainment
@bruce- yep. i'm writing up a description for a character of one of those races now. it's not ULTRA CRAZY but it is... unusual.
@tristan - good point. i'll try to remember that one. i think we had it in NWN2 (naming items when you crafted them).
@jeronimo - we like adding animations to scenes because, especially in a 2d environment, they can help the level feel more "alive". some of those may be 2d animations (flipbooks) and some may be 3d. we're still experimenting!
@farudan - as with systems like D&D 3E, the player is not intended to be able to cover all possible combat and non-combat specializations through advancement. they have to choose a focus within their class' available options. i think we can cover the "spread" of skill ranges by using resource cost (e.g. lockpicks or thieving tools) to cover deficits. so if you don't have a party of master thieves, you may still be able to bypass many locks if you have enough tools -- as long as you are skilled enough to hit a reasonable threshold.
@paul d-i don't think we would do anything that's fully autonomous, but we do like advancing story elements in the background based on actions the player (and other characters) take. we did this a bit in fallout: new vegas. as you hit major story points, things started to change in the world (e.g. veteran rangers and NCR heavy troopers started to show up). more reactive stuff would be even cooler if we have the resources to do it.


Peter Kjeldgaard
are the dargons in the game?

Charles B Trainer of the Obsidian Order
Damn phone!
Will the manual be translated as well for foreign players?
Sory.

Otto T M Ninja of the Obsidian Order
@Obidian I just wanted to say that the idea that different people have different magic traditions sound super exiting.

Tristan - Obsidian Order Master Wetboy
@ OE
also, in the vein of what i asked before, do you think it would be possible to incorporate special characters like accented vowels, and things of that nature in naming a character or item?

Obsidian Entertainment
@peter i'm sorry; i'm not sure i understand your question.
@charles de b- i'm not sure. feargus probably has a more definitive answer.
@otto- thanks!
@tristan- if we plan for it, it shouldn't be hard, no. i always like using special characters in names, so i'll keep it in mind. a lot of it depends on a) the fonts supporting those characters and b) how the strings are encoded.


Patricia-KnightMare of the ObsidianOrder
@OE: Have you guys decided which character stats will feature in PE? Will they be the same as typical D&D type stats, like STR, DEX, INT, CHA etc, or will they have a different flavour to them that suits your game world?
Also, will certain stats have an effect on dialogue options, like in PS:T, or will you ultimately leave it up to the individual player, & not their character's intellectual capabilities, when dialogues come into play?

Bruce P - Sheriff of the Obsidian Order
@Josh,
Cool. Will we get any clues about those 'unusual' races before the Kickstarter is over?

Obsidian Entertainment
@patricia- we have gone through a few lists. ability scores are tricky for a number of reasons because often many classes can dump stats without consequence. we'd like to make sure we can solve these problems before committing to a specific list. re: dialogue: i'm not sure. we need to talk more about it internally. we've recognized that stat-unlocked (and skill-unlocked) dialogue options can often produce "i win" options in conversation which isn't that great as far as supporting roleplaying agency goes.
@bruce - some, yes. i just don't want to rush developing something prematurely :)


Bruce P - Sheriff of the Obsidian Order
I think Peter was asking if there will be Dragons in the game? :)

Obsidian Entertainment
@bruce/peter - re: dragons: we haven't discussed the great beasts if this world at length yet, so it's too early to say. :)


elaner
@Obsidian
What do you think about hiring Platige Image (the people who made the intro for The Witcher 2: http://youtu.be/7ajukUlRKdA) for making a short intro (and maybe some other CG)? I don't think that it would be too expensive, since they are a Polish company.

Salmanasar
@Josh
Any chance that when player meet group of bandits or smth and we talk to them, there will be one skilltest (dunno, diplomacy for example) but depending of our class there will be different text? It's stupid when mage says about sliting throat, because text was universal for all class

Obsidian Entertainment
@elaner - the intro to witcher 2 was really cool, but we really haven't talked about things like intros/cinematics much. i can say that we want to make sure we focus the majority of our funding on really great, solid game content, though, so cinematics are a secondary concern for us.
@salmanasar - i think we'll handle that on a case-by-case basis. i some cases, the same text may cover most characters. if it seems odd, we'll probably offer alternate text. we try to be considerate of different character types in our games.


Jaime Paulino
@OE - Thanks Josh, Let me ask a question you may not be able to answer: wich is the minimum amount of hours of playtime you have in mind for Eternity with the actual, or potential, budget? In other words are you designing a game that could be comparable in lenght to Planescape or Baldur's Gate II?

diablo169
Hi Josh, is the concept behind Eternitys world a new one, or is it something you've had in mind for quite some time? Will we be seeing themes and concepts that you wanted to use in The Black Hound appearing in this game?
I realise its a totally different setting, but is this game your way of expressing The Black Hound after all these years?

Charles B Trainer of the Obsidian Order
What about the economy system?
Will there there be multiple currencies?

Obsidian Entertainment
@jamie - too early to say. in my case, it's always too early to say (i don't give gameplay length estimates, sorry!)
@diablo169 - some concepts are superficially similar, but it's a whole new game/setting/story.
@charles de b - i'm not sure. we haven't discussed it. i like having lots of currencies but i may be in the minority.


Obsidian Entertainment
okay, i'm heading back to work! i'll try to come back tomorrow and answer more questions if you have them. ~*

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ImmortalZ

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Feargus Urquhart's Q&A, Session 1

LordCrash Obsidian Order's Fallen Knight
@ Feargus: Thanks for the FGS translation as a stretch goal and for the new digital collectors tier. I raised my pledge immediately to $118. :)
@ members of the Order
I've made a little artwork for the Obsidian Order, hope you like it:
http://forums.obsidi...81#entry1209081

Obsidian Entertainment
@LordCrash You are welcome. And, I'm not really here everyone - just glanced and saw the comment.

Manaf-Obsidian Order Chicken Wrangler
@obsidian
and how about including The Obsidian Order in a cameo appearance??
Like meeting Drizzt and Wulfgar in BG and BG2?

Obsidian Entertainment
@Manaf Absolutely, we want to do something cool in game for the Obsidian Order!

Obsidian Entertainment
Hi Everyone, I'm online for a bit - any questions? -Feargus

Calvin
@ OE:
Are you psyched about Rome 2 Total War?

Obsidian Entertainment
@Calvin This is horrible to admit - I have never played the Total War series of game. Now if you asked me if I played the old Impressions games - every damn one of them. I still go back to Pharoah every year.

Shardbearer, Herald ofthe Obsidian Order
@Feargus Any hints in regards to creature lore / world mythology you guys are cooking up, are you borrowing from traditional fantasy, influenced by existing mythologies, or creating something entirely new?

Obsidian Entertainment
@Feargus I can tell you that Josh is very much a student history and also loves fantastic worlds. So, his part in all of this will be influenced along those two lines. He loves things to be magical but still grounded - if that makes sense.

Bluebottle
@Feargus: what is your attitude towards mods, w.r.t. Project Eternity?

Obsidian Entertainment
@Bluebottle I like mods. :)

Jeremy P. - Obsidian Order's Technomage
@Feargus - Great to get a chance to chat with you. How much will technology play in the realm of souls. I know this more of a fantasy world title but will we see factions/knowledge that try to challenge magic?

Obsidian Entertainment
@Jeremy While there is some technology, like very early firearms, in Project Eternity - it is still very much a fantasy world where technology is not a given thing.

Hurri
@Feargus Hope this finds you well. I take it your "motivating techniques" toward Rob did not achieve the desired result? Might need to up the ante :)

Obsidian Entertainment
@Hurri I actually have something to review in my e-mail that I am about to go talk to him about. Looks pretty cool!

Steven Lim Obidian Order Fallen Archon
@feargus/oe
Could we have an update on the front page to reflect the $110.00 digital only banner?

Obsidian Entertainment
@Steven Ooops, thought that was up there. Another punch to the throat for Rob. :)

Tristan - Obsidian Order Master Wetboy
@ feargus
would you say that there are places that have a comparable level of tech to arcanum? or beyond that even?

Obsidian Entertainment
@Tristan No, this not a world that is on the verge of the industrial revolution or steampunk.

Rodatam
Hello Feargus!
what is your opinion on famous franchises going downhill and the lack of "spirit" the latest "rpg" games have showed us, in some cases the same company and team made a great game and the next one was a disaster
thanks!

Obsidian Entertainment
@Radatam Not sure what games you might be talking about.

Tristan - Obsidian Order Master Wetboy
@ feargus
actually, in the same vein, would you say there's any chance of orcs in fighter jets? :-P because that's really just kinda awesome.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Tristan Orcs in fighter jets? Wouldn't that be Fallout?

Tristan - Obsidian Order Master Wetboy
@feargus
no, that was in the opening scene of arcanum. you're in a zepplin and get shot down by orcs in fighters. rather... rickety looking in some ways, and unsafe as all get out, but still fighters.
ah. oh well. guess i'll just have to go back to arcanum for that kinda thing. or something like that.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Tristan Sorry, forgot to add the happy face to the end of my comment.

Eero Salonen One of the Obsidian Order
@OE any ideas what you will call the game when it's ready?

Obsidian Entertainment
@Eero Not sure yet, still something we are talking about. Naming games is hard. Baldur's Gate took almost a year I think.

fredgiblet
@OE
If PE is a success beyond the Kickstarter would there be plans to create tabletop gaming supplements for the game world?

Obsidian Entertainment
@fredgiblet We are all old school games, so putting together a tabletop, board game and/or card game version of Project Eternity would be a lot of fun. I've wanted to have our own IP to do stuff like that for a long time. By what we have backed, you can probably guess what I enjoy doing other than playing video games.

Jeremy P. - Obsidian Order's Technomage
heh, I remember Impressions Games back in the 1990s. I played a little known? energy strategy game called Powerhouse. A different kind of game. I also remember playing their "The Blue and the Gray" civil war game. I think I may still have those games.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Jeremy I loved their games. Finished Caesar 3, Zeus and the expansion. Odd that Pharaoh is my favorite and I've never finished it. An old game that I go back to from time time as well is Colonization (1990's version not the Civ 5 mod - although that is cool as well).

Jaime Paulino
@OE Hi Feargus, Surely you have asked this before but... When could we see an update of the stretch goals beyond 2.2M?

Obsidian Entertainment
@Jaime Very soon.


Rodatam
i think a great example would be dragon age origins versus dragon age 2, the first is a masterpiece, the second is, at least compared to the first, garbage
and it is the same team and company making these games, it is hard to understand why they did it

Obsidian Entertainment
@Rodatum From time to time, we all get it wrong. We try to look forward and see if the fans would like something different - sometimes we are right and sometimes we are wrong. Our first expansion for Fallout: New Vegas is a good example. I really, really like it - but it is very different than the normal way you experience Fallout 3/NV, so a lot of people were really turned off of it ( which is totally understandable in hindsight ).

Obsidian Entertainment
Hey everyone - going to grab some dinner. I'll be back on line later probably around 10PM PST/PDT.

Feargus Urquhart's Q&A, Session 2

Obsidian Entertainment
Looks like we are sneaking up on $2M, hi everyone!

Tristan - Obsidian Order Master Wetboy
howdy feargus. how's it going? was supper good?

Obsidian Entertainment
@Tristan Pretty good. Had dinner with Scott Everts (ScottE) - he's the guy who did the layout for every map in the original Fallout and most of them in Fallout 2.

fredgiblet
@OE
Hello.
Are you at work when you show up late like this or are you doing it from home?

Obsidian Entertainment
@fredgiblet I'm at home when I'm doing at this time. Usually trying to get through e-mails at the same time, only 403 in my Inbox right now.

Tristan - Obsidian Order Master Wetboy
@ feargus
nice. always good to get together with old friends and all. any chance he might be getting involved with the project?

Obsidian Entertainment
@Tristan Most definitely - he's our goto world builder. He also did a lot of the world building in Fallout: New Vegas. World building being getting the wasteland to look the way it looked, not design with quests, dialogs, etc...

Anaeme
@ Obsidian
Do you think a DLC ahead of the game's release (perhaps in 2013) to introduce people to the world and it's mechanics is worth doing?
The DLC would normally have on impact of the story

Obsidian Entertainment
@Anaeme We don't plan on any DLC ahead of release - other than the Kickstarter special items. DL.C after release would be more like expansions or the adventure/new area DLC from Fallout: New Vegas.

Steven Lim Obidian Order Fallen Archon
@dlux
Yeah was here when Josh came on.
Would be nice if the order git a cameo.
He also answered my concerns about crafting but its up in the air st the moment since they haven't decided yet how to go about it. But he did mention that it would be ideal if crafting could equip your entire psrty with top end gear

Obsidian Entertainment
@Steven The Obsidian Order will get some nice placement in the game. It's absolutely at the forefront of our minds.

Farudan - Obsidian Order Caretaker
@Feargus: Thx for sending Josh around to answer some questsions. :) I guess, the next update will be tomorrow (PST)?

Obsidian Entertainment
@Farudan Yes, we are trying to do updates around 10AM PST. That feels like it hits most of the world at a fairly ok time other than Australia / Asia. Not that we don't like you folk. One reason I put the Tim Cain update out later in the day last Saturday.

Crabby - Harlot of the Obsidian Order
Give us DLC/expansion like BG2: Throne of Baal instead. :)

Obsidian Entertainment
@Crabby :)

diablo169
Hey Fergus, any updates or announcements for Wednesday?

Obsidian Entertainment
@dialbo169 Josh will be updating.

Hiro Protagonist
@Feargus. Do the programmers (especially the old guys) find it difficult to go from different game engines, or is it all pretty much the same to them. I imagine game engines from the 90s (eg. Fallout, Descent to Undermountain, etc) would be a lot different in progarmming and mechanics to game engines today.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Hiro It really depends on what they are doing. The guys doing technology can find it to be pretty different, since they have to deal with the differences between the 360 and the PS3 at the lowest levels. But when it comes to game engines, while there are different ways to skin a cat, they can usually figure each way an engine does it fairly quickly for gameplay.

fredgiblet
@OE
On the first day of the Kickstarter did you guys get any work done or was it most staring hypnotized by the numbers?

Obsidian Entertainment
@fredgiblet A lot of being hypnotized by the numbers and I must confess that we left the office at around 5PM to get some beers.

Crabby - Harlot of the Obsidian Order
@OE
Do you enjoy playing your own games? Just curious.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Crabby We do play our own games, we started Friday afternoon play time to specifically make sure we were are doing it as much as possible. In the past, due to being busy, we probably didn't do it enough. For me personally, it can depend on how involved I am with the game and how crazy it is towards the end of development. For instance, I played Torment through 4 times before it came out.

Crabby - Harlot of the Obsidian Order
@OE
If I take the $110 digital tier but pledge $238, does that give me an additional six game keys ($60 per three keys).

Obsidian Entertainment
@Crabby Yep that does it!

Obsidian Entertainment
Not sure if any of you go by the forums much, but have they seemed a lot less crashy over the past few days?

Dablue -Guarddog of the Obsidian Order-
@Obsidian: how Will You guys Make sure sneaking and avoiding combat wont take presedence over actual killing stuff ? What is the incentive to kill stuff, instead of just using non combat skills to slip it? (Damn iPhone )

Obsidian Entertainment
@Dablue It is all a balance. In part it is to make sure that characters are still quite viable in combat, so that if combat occurs they can be successful. If that's the case, then I don't think every combat will try to be skipped.

Tristan - Obsidian Order Master Wetboy
@ feargus
i have to say i'm not surprised by the being hynotized. most of us on here were too, and we aren't even the ones who were worried about getting the funding.
outta curiousity, how much have you wanted to be able to talk to the community like this? seems that you guys don't really get to do much chatting with the people that play/love your games, much less in a fairly low pressure setting like this. have you wanted to be able to do this for a while, or is it just kinda something that's happened?

Obsidian Entertainment
@Tristan We really like to be able to talk to everyone and it has been harder with some of our games. South Park is a blast to be a part of, but we can't really talk about it at all. And, if we could, you wouldn't believe the things we would tell you about the game. As for low pressure, I do really enjoy doing this - I still have to be very careful about what I say, since anything I do say can get copied into a news piece like it did last week.

Tristan - Obsidian Order Master Wetboy
the forums have seemed pretty stable when i've been on them. haven't had any trouble getting to them at all, unlike the first couple days.

Obsidian Entertainment
Great to hear about the forums - Darren worked practically 24 hours a day to get them all moved over to Amazon.

Obsidian Entertainment
Odd side comment - but if any of you are interested in 3D printers and supplies for them, a friend of mine has started up a new company called Matter Hackers. https://www.matterhackers.com/

Dablue -Guarddog of the Obsidian Order-
When Will sourhpark be released and whats the business model? I am inclined to try it out.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Dablue It is coming out on the 360, PS3 and Windows PC next year. I think THQ has the release date in March.

Vervain: Obsidian Order Warlord Prince
@Feargus I actually like that the updates tend to come out while I'm asleep in Australia. It gives something to read with my coffee in the morning before work.
Also, any word on a tier between $500 and $1000? I'd actually like to go a bit higher, but sadly $1000 is slightly too high when I get my first pay from my new job the day before the kickstarter ends.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Vervain We are still talking about it. TBH, we are having a hard time figuring out what to put into it.

Dablue -Guarddog of the Obsidian Order-
@obsidian: thank You ;) can You elaborate more on the player house ? It seems quite a few of us are curious on the details.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Dablue Think of it like the Normandy or the Ebon Hawk, but with more quests, NPCs and a store.

Adauli
@OE Will we get new stretch goals with the next Update?
With nearly 2M and then only one stretch goal left I think that would be good timing to have it in the next Update.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Adauli Maybe.... :)

Kelly Costanza
@Feargus
I'd rather not live in a place that confined, and possessing an elevator.
But if the player housing will have characters idling in certain locations waiting for the player to speak to them, would it be possible for them to have two or three places and actions they are doing so they seem more alive? (In drama it would be giving extras in the background some "business" so it looks like they actually belong there.)

Obsidian Entertainment
@Kelly I was talking more of the functionality and less of the actual feeling of the space - if that makes sense. And, we are going to have them feel realistic in there, but we learned a bit from people feeling they had to chase T3-M4 around.

Anaeme
In my mind something to renovate, add to, and generally upgrade would be great and convey a sense of achievement.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Anaeme Improvements and upgrades are totally what we are thinking. Quests that help your house upgrade.

Ohad Reshef
@Obsidian. two quesitons:
1. I just missed you yesterday when asking about whether your protagonist would be the only one to do the talking or would you be able to send other more suitable to the situation party members to do that.
2. did you discuss the dynamics of death and ailments yet? would this game have resurrection and restoration concepts or would your characters rise up with/without penalty when the battle is over

Obsidian Entertainment
@Ohad (1) We are going to first focus on the protagonist, since they are who the player is in the game with the companions being people they have asked/convinced/accepted to come along with them. Will companions interject in conversations, absolutely and the player will, most likely, have points in time where dialog lines will be there that show they have the choice of having a companion say something. But, we won't have you have whole conversations as a companion unless it's a very special circumstance (can't think of one right now). (2) We have not talked about that yet, and that would be a great conversation with Josh when he is on next.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Dablue You are quiet. :)

Kelly Costanza
@Feargus
This is something I've been wanting to ask. It's about financials, so sorry in advance.
Some people have been talking about the usual thing about distributors with their personal viewpoints in terms of the advantages of Good Old Games over Steam. (Me personally, I'm the only gamer likely to ever be in my family, so I'll never have a problem with Steam.)
As a Developer who has worked with Publishers and licensed Intellectual Properties, before and after Digital Purchasing / Distribution, is there much of a difference in between the percentage of each unit sold through physical retailers (EB, Gamestop, Amazon), and digital retailers? (Steam, GOG, Direct2Drive)

Obsidian Entertainment
@Kelly I'm not sure if the % cut of Steam or GOG is public, but let's use what Apple charges since that is public. 70% goes to the person who gave it to them and 30% goes to Apple. When it comes to retail of a $59.95 game, the publisher usually sells it to them for around $46. However, they have to ship the game to them (to individual stores a lot of the time) and also pay for the marketing that you see in the stores. If a game is on an end cap (end of a shelf) the publisher paid for it. Let's say that all costs about $3/unit, so they get $46. For console games, assume about $10 goes to make the unit. That means $36 of the $60 retail is what they get. Maybe a bit more, probably more of a chance of less.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Kelly Sorry bad math, they would get $33 of the $60.

Ohad Reshef
@feargus: since I raised up the concept of death in the game I'd want to say something I've been meaning to say to developers for a long time.
in a world when you can just put some money or have a high ranking priest in your party and bring people back from the dead it seems a bit odd to be so sorrowful and dramatic about main characters/sub characters and statists dying, which all rpgs seem to do. any thoughts in the matter or am I just nitpicking?

Obsidian Entertainment
@Ohad It's one of those things that I think we as game makers sometimes push on players. It is odd when normally a character will just stand up or can be resurrected, but the story forces them to die. I think a better way to handle that is to have a better reason for why they may have died or provide a good story reason for why they must leave the player's side.

Vervain: Obsidian Order Warlord Prince
@Sistergoldring
That all depends on the agreement with the publisher. But typically, if the publisher owns the IP and is funding the entire development, the developer gets paid for the development initially and then nothing afterwards. Regardless of retail or digital versions.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Vervain That is correct. I was talking purely on the publisher side. As a developer, the amount of money you make per unit as royalties can vary a huge amount.

Ohad Reshef
@Feargus: Dare I hope you guys would consider the over the top last level spells of torment which competed with Final fantasy in their ridiculous magnitude? I really felt sorry for the poor berks (In a good way)
community: were those spells too much or just right?
in any case allow us to skip them when they get too old for us though in case you do that

Obsidian Entertainment
@Ohad I don't know if we would the spells like that again. They were a lot of fun, but felt more like japanese console RPG spells (which was the point). Something to think about

Kelly Costanza
@Feargus
I see, so by using Apple's medium of Distribution minus the physical packaging it ends up saving up to 1/6th of the total price of your average video game. And the 30% Distribution fee of an online retailer is comparable to the cut taken by a physical retailer, though slightly less (and this is before the cut into profits lost by any unit that did not fly off the shelves in the first day of sales, which is why game retailers are so fixated on pre-orders).
The digital service also provides a permanent location to draw the game from what precludes the "lost disk" event that every gamer is woefully familiar with (I'll never forgive myself for losing Sam & Max Hit the Road), and holds onto Save data for when a player deletes local content, or has to transition to a new PC, thus one could consider the Distribution Fee as going towards server and customer data storage and maintenance which in turn is directly helpful to the players at home.
Would this be accurate from your point of view? Any points I got wrong or that you would like to clarify as a man who has intimate knowledge of the video games industry?
(For me personally, my happy mean is owning disks, and having that ownership reflected on Steam. My old school blood likes having a game physically in my possession, almost like a superstition, but being able to download and install it anywhere in the world when I need it is too enticing.)

Obsidian Entertainment
@Kelly I would need to do some number crunching, but I think that is close. The other benefit on the digital side is the ability to offer bundles, sales and other things like that almost instantly. Very hard to do that quickly on the retail side. As for the 30% that Apple charges, I think that they charge that because they can, but that is just Feargus math. I don't know what part of that is actual cost and what part is profit. Some of that cost is the processing of credit cards - which runs 3% to 4% (as I understand). On the server side, the storage is, for the most part, a rounding error.

walkir -Obsidian Order ot Goat Kn. Cmdr.
@Feargus: The collector's book includes player's handbook, monster manual and exclusive information about the campaign setting and characters. There will be a print version of it.
The stratguide looks a bit like a GM book if you squint just enough. You're planning to develop a RPG brand here.
Are there any plans whatsoever to sell the physical version of the collector's book (or at least the player's handbook/monster manual part of it) outside of the Kickstarter? Or add an armory book or something like that?
Assuming you make enough money on it to consider the small PDF/print RPG market, of course.

Obsidian Entertainment
@walkir We have talked about and would love to expand all of the source we create into a full PnP RPG - time / budget willing.

Pofski -Phoenix of the Obsidian Order
@OE
First off, Good morning :)
-Will there be an option included to turn off the helmet in case somebody wants to see the head of their character?
-Does magic have a negative effect, seeing as you'll be using your soul to fuel it.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Pofski Helmet Question - we will consider, not sure how necessary it will be at our camera angle. But could make sense for inventory screens. Magic - no we don't plan on doing the soul draining thing where you actually burn your soul permanently. I know there is a series of books that have that in it, which I have read - oh the Chronicles of the Necromancer. http://www.amazon.co...683/ref=sr_1_3…

Kelly Costanza
@Feargus
Oh! You just reminded me of something I have always wanted to know!
With things such as bundles, and sales for online distributors, is the participation in such events something the Distributors include in the initial contract of "We will host your game, and be allowed to do this after X Weeks have passed," or is it more along the lines of getting an e-mail saying, "We'd like to offer your game in X bundle," or "Would it be alright to offer X% in our Summer Sale event? What % off would you be comfortable with?"
I have heard speculations on a lot of this. And I would be understanding if you chose not to comment on such a topic for potential legal or moral reasons.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Kelly I believe, and I am guessing a bit here on this one, that the large summer bundle / holiday bundles you see are things that the publisher opt into. I do not believe, but don't quote me on this entirely, that Steam just does them without consent. There are other online retailers that do require more control over the price and I believe their agreements let them move the price around without the publishers consent.

Kelly Costanza
@Feargus
I see. Thanks for letting me know.
I'm the sort of guy that likes arbitrary knowledge. I kick ass at Trivial Pursuit.
But I do have one last question. Was Rob able to finish that one graphic for representing the Stretch Goals with you punching him in the shoulder all day long? :-D

Obsidian Entertainment
@Kelly It was almost done tonight - we needed to change direction on it a bit (there was also a slight miscommunication / misunderstanding).

Ryan B
@Feargus, Given the apparent disdain big name publishers have for this type of funding, do you fear any sort of industry backlash if this project and others like it that have not yet made it to market (DFA, WL2, etc) do very well? If they see their role being successfully challenged? Do you see OE potentially making a bigger step into the indie world as a result of this (success dependent)? Or are publisher relationships still as important for various reasons?

Obsidian Entertainment
@Ryan I don't think there is going to be a big backlash. What might happen is that publishers may see that funding these types of games does make sense. At that point, developers like us would look at the positives and negatives of working with a publisher versus funding though Kickstarter. However, because we have the option - that does change the dynamic of the conversations.

R
@OE, no idea how this stuff works, (maybe the publisher rushed things etc) but.. do you guys plan to make some changes in QA process?
you know, Obsidian has a reputation.. great rpgs with great many bugs in them.

Obsidian Entertainment
@R For Project Eternity, we are budgeting for our own full QA department. We are also making sure we are constantly watching where we are from a stability and bug standpoint, so that we don't move forward onto the next part of the game before we have made sure the prior parts are where they need to be. Ultimately, what really helps is that we don't have a fixed ship date. Our goal is the April 2014 date, but we won't ship a buggy product just to hit that date. We appreciate your trust in us and we feel very responsible for it.

William Brace
@ Feargus
threre are two things that I have thought of that could help this games replayability and in my opinion make it funner. First is a race specific quest that only opens up if your main charater is of that race. And second exclusive customization of the 'home'. I.e. a space for a shrine that will give some sort of benefit but only one out of maybe 5 or 6, a space or two for a craftsman that will do special orders but to get one you have to pass on the others.

Obsidian Entertainment
@William Good ideas. On the race side of things, we try to make sure that content is not gated by a decision that you make right from the beginning - whenever possible. Or, we would want every race to have something special, but at that point we have to be careful that we don't focus on so much gated content that everyone is missing 50% of the game. Totally know you didn't mean it to be like that and I am exaggerating - but it's something we try to be careful about.

Vervain: Obsidian Order Warlord Prince
@Feargus
I think the best part of Kickstarter so far is that by funding the development through us you get to keep the IP. Now, if you were to decide to look into funding through a publisher for this IP, you have a bit more leverage.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Vervain Exactly.

Otto T M Ninja of the Obsidian Order
@Obsidian. Do you plan to have sub-classes or something similar that would add variation to the classes.
Or would that just add unnecessary balancing issues?

Obsidian Entertainment
@Otto I might be speaking out of school, but we do plan on having sub-classes. If Josh hasn't mentioned that yet, then you all need to have my back and tell him it wasn't me who said that. :)

Paul D- Obsidian Order Poultry Inspector
Hi @Feargus I've been thinking about having the concept of generations in the game, which would change what replaying the game could be like. For example, the second time around you play a direct descendent of your previous character. You inherit some of their characteristics, but you are free to define yourself. You can even encounter you previous character as a NPC. The story itself would change of course, with some events now in the past tense etc, as well as interacting with older versions of the characters you encountered from the first play through. If you ticked somebody off first time round, their kids come after you and stuff like that. Food for thought perhaps.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Paul Very cool idea - not sure if we could do in Project Eternity. We want to make sure that we really pile all the funding and resources into the core of the game. What I'm looking forward to is when PE is a total success and we can take a bunch of the cool ideas that are coming up and seeing what we should put in PE 2.

Jason Wimmer
@Obsidian What do you think about the games trying to reinvent the wheel with every sequel in a series? Do you see it as mainly driven by publishers trying to find a way to access a larger audience?

Obsidian Entertainment
@Jason You know that line "Trust us, we're the experts"? I have a secret to tell, we are still trying to figure this all out. :) I think we do sometimes move too far forward with a sequel from what the previous game was, however that's because we know we do need to move it forward to a point. We deal with the fact that if the graphics aren't "better" than the last time, we will get lose review points. If we don't have the right number of new features, we will also get hit in our reviews. Now RPGs do have the ability to side step around that a bit, since a lot of what we focus on is story and characters and when those are good the other stuff doesn't get as much focus. However, it is all still a challenge of figuring out the right balance of new and old - and, we miss it sometimes.

Vervain: Obsidian Order Warlord Prince
@Feargus
Other than PC, OSX and Linux, are their any platforms that you think it would be fun to port PE to since you're using Unity? Personally, I think the best part of Unity is the fact that it supports pretty much every current platform there is, as well as the WiiU in the near future.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Vervain How do I say this and not create worry / concern? I'll say it this way, I think it would be cool to see about having Project Eternity work on tablets like iOS, Android, etc... Not something we are focusing at all on now, but with BGEE being on tablet - it is something for us to think about.

William Brace
@Feargus
My vision of the race quest is at some defined point someone walks up to you with a quest. That someone would be of the same race as the main char.. I.e. if you were a dwarf a dwarf would come to you with a problem to help a bunch of dwarves. Maybe you could put this in the streach goals. ( 2.6mill)

Obsidian Entertainment
@William Gotcha. As for a stretch goal, I think we will do those anyway, so they don't need to be a stretch. Particularly if we do get up to $2.6M, we might already have some very fun stuff planned.

Jason Wimmer
@ Obsidian thanks for the response! I figured that since technology has advanced so rapidly since the IE days that there has been a lot of experimentation as to how much a series has to evolve with each installment to be considered 'on pace'. Do you see a graphical fidelity of sorts happening in the next few years that could foster more advancement in other aspects of game design?

Obsidian Entertainment
@Jason Hmmm... We generally have to make every game look better than the last - so more fidelity is important. What I want to do is be able to add more people into the world or rather into a part of the world where you are walking around in. NPCs can be very expensive from a memory standpoint, so that is why you don't always see a ton of them on screen all at once. With more memory and more processing, we can have more - which I think adds to the life of a world.

Ohad Reshef
@Feargus: I have something selfish to ask you. PE made me want to replay NWN2 and when I did the game crashed 10 hours or so into the game and the character got corrupted. do you know if there is a way to revive that character? I looked everywhere and couldn't find one. sorry for the bother but I really don't want to restart or stop reliving that magical story

Obsidian Entertainment
@Ohad I'm very sorry to hear that, and I had not heard of that bug before. You should be able to go back to an old save game, since I'm pretty sure the game autosaves. Or did all the save games corrupt?

Ohad Reshef
@Feargus: no save including that character works. I'm afraid the character herself got corrupted

Obsidian Entertainment
@Ohad Can you message me through Kickstarter and I'll get you in touch with someone.

Ohad Reshef
@feargus: done. sent to Obsidian entertainment, right?

Obsidian Entertainment
@Ohad Yes.

Death Machine Miyagi -
Oy. Just heard about Project Eternity today or I would have forked over my money long ago. I weep bitter tears that I could not be amongst the first; I've been playing Black Isle/Obsidian games since the Fallout demo in...what? 1995? 1996?
Incidentally, though I understand why they always say it, I'm finding it increasingly funny that game developers with esteemed histories who try to get funding on kickstarter always express surprise when their modest goals are met and exceeded by a mile. Mostly because it keeps happening. If Tim Schafer has shown the world nothing else, its that there is MASSIVE nostalgia for old school classic games which have been sneered off by modern publishers.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Miyagi You will find that game developers, for the most part, are pretty modest people. As an example, people are still very surprised when they go through the directory, choose my extension and I answer the phone. Not suggesting everyone should try that - since I do need to work.

Kabraxis -Obsidian Order Companion Cube-
Oh, Feargus is around. :)
@Feargus, there is a question that comes to my mind every now and then. Probably too early but I just don't want them to be forgotten, hehe.
You probably can't say anything as it is just another race question: Will there be nymphs in the game? Like (hama)dryads or water nymphs (what are they called.. Naiads?)?
Whenever they appear in a game... they are highly interesting characters (often with highly memorable quests) and I wish I could meet them more often in fantasy worlds. :)

Obsidian Entertainment
@Kabraxis We haven't really thought of that yet.

Vervain: Obsidian Order Warlord Prince
@Feargus
Honestly, I think cRPGs would work fairly well on tablets. The only thing to really need to be ported would be the keyboard shortcuts. Tap the screen to move, tap on something an npc/enemy to bring up the selection wheel or double tap to attack, prolonged press for pause and such.
I'd actually love to have a whole lot of cRPGs brought over to tablets, it would definitely make it easier to bring them around with me. Although I'd personally hope for Windows RT/8 tablet functionality, purely because I see them as a better value proposition for myself.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Vervain Absolutely on Windows 8 as well.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Vervain If we were to be able to consider tablets at a later date.

Bland_Boy - Poet of the Obsidian Order
It is quite disheartening to see the pledges drop off so much. With such a strong start, it would be kinda dissappointing to see it only manage DFA or WL2 level at the end.

Obsidian Entertainment
@Bland_Boy We are going to do fine. Slow day today, but we've been doing just fine. We have a lot more to talk about and we are going to really start hitting the press next week as well.

Obsidian Entertainment
Goodnight everyone. About 1AM here and I need to be up in six hours. Have a great day, night morning or afternoon depending on where you are in the world!
  • Lucas, Olauron Mor-Galad, Thulean and 2 others like this

#3
Bos_hybrid

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Thanks for posting this.

#4
Lucas

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Thanks! Some nice tidbits of info here and there :)

#5
Troller

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Thx man, read all that sawyer post

#6
Theobeau

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Great read, thanks for posting!

#7
Thulean

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@Tristan No, this not a world that is on the verge of the industrial revolution or steampunk.

Best news in the above. I was kind of worried about that.

#8
limaxophobiacq

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Player crafting especially at the upper tiers, could we not have an arbitrary limitation via fixed amount of required materials in game and instead impose a method of gathering said material so that for those who want to and are willing to spend the time to gather these materials can do so and thus fully equip thier party with the top end player crafted equipment.
Also I hope that player crafted items will be on par to tge best treasure found / looted items and not be outclassed by a large margin compared to those sans "artifact" level items of course.

Obsidian Entertainment
@steven - to be honest, i'm not sure. tim and i haven't talked about crafting at length yet. i will say that one nice advantage of crafting systems for high-end gear is that the player can (usually) choose the specific type of gear he or she wants. in some ways, that makes it easier for us if we don't have to make custom unique items for every build type.


Please don't do this. Magic items should be special, not the result of Skyrim/MMO-style grinding for materials. All the resources required for making awesome magic items being infinitely available and aquirable over the time-span of the game completely breaks the verisimilitude/believability of the setting.

Seriously mages in this setting have probably been crafting magic items for centuries or millenia, and you think your character should be able to make enough stuff to equipt your whole party over like 6 months to a year, at an equal level of power to the best those countless other mages have made in all that time?

Edited by limaxophobiacq, 26 September 2012 - 05:42 AM.





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