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Update #32: Meet the Developers - Steve Weatherly

Project Eternity Steve Weatherly Development Programming

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#21
Archmage Silver

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Nice interview. It's good to hear that weekly updates will start rolling out now. :)
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#22
Sacred_Path

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ohai EPIC WIZARD BATTLES.
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#23
Hormalakh

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Well well, what an interesting first person to pick to do your developer interviews. I now know the name of the person responsible for the either the amazing or extremely poor AI in P:E.

Mr. Weatherly, please make sure you look at this thread and learn from the mistakes that BG and its ilk have made. Magic isn't the only place you need a robust AI. http://forums.obsidi...w-not-to-do-ai/

Read it, internalize it, and make us proud. I really don't want to be screaming your name to the heavens when I play P:E. "Weatherlyyyyyyy!!! Where are my smart hobgoblins?!?!?!" Make me remember you as the first guy who did a fantastic job implementing AIs in fantasy RPGs.

Sincerely,

An AI enthusiast

Edited by Hormalakh, 21 November 2012 - 09:30 AM.

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#24
Labadal

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It'll be cool to learn a little bit about each team member.

I'd just like to say that whiskey isn't good, even if I drink it at very rare occasions.

#25
Steve Weatherly

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Hey, Steve! If you don't mind me asking, what does it take to be a programmer in the gaming industry? Does it depend on what I as a programmer want to focus on in game development? Or should I know a sprinkling of everything? I've been interested in game development, because I want to see AI improve. But I'm going for a BS in Computer Science. Got any suggestions for me?
-David


In school you should focus on whatever area of computer science interests you. I just started out taking general courses and actually started getting bored. Because of the boredom I started exploring becoming a doctor instead, that lead me to neurology because I was interested in intelligence. I then realized how much work becoming a doctor is and decided it wasn't for me. That was when I sort of put 2 and 2 together and became really interested in artificial intelligence. That re-sparked my interest in computer science and led to a specialized career as an AI programmer in the game industry.

As far as getting a job in the industry though, my advice is to make games in your spare time so you become a better programmer and can show companies you have a passion for it. So many college grads don't do this, it will put you ahead of the rest!

#26
Steve Weatherly

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Do you read RPG Codex?

What do you have on your walls besides a Blade Runner poster?

What programming languages do you know? Which ones are your favorite?

What is Tim Cain's weakness?

You say Avellone would outperform you in Push-ups. Are there many gym dudes at Obsidian? If the zombie apocalypse strikes during work hours, who would you team up with?


-I do occasionally read the Codex yes, not with any sort of regularity though.

-I am very comfortable with C/C++/C# and pretty comfortable with Java. I've got experience with Pawn because that was what we use for scripting in Onyx. Other than that I've just had a smattering of experience with other languages in college. My favorite is honestly probably C# because it cuts through the BS of C/C++ and let's you write code. That being said, the language just is a tool and I'm happy to use the right tool for the job.

-I don't know if I should answer that... but I'm definitely not NOT saying that it's chocolate.

-Myself, a few of the animators, and Avellone are the guys I know about. I'm sure there are others.

Edit: Oh! Forgot the zombie apocalypse question. That's tough, my gut reaction is to "team up" with a slow producer so I can leave them behind and feed them to the zombies at an opportune moment. But in terms of who I'd want to have my back, probably our lead animator Mark Bremerkamp. I know he lifts and since he's an animator he should know how the zombies will move.
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#27
Steve Weatherly

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What would happen if you Fraps'd your work on the inventory system and sent it to me? Would you lose your job?

How fast are the game systems shaping up? Is unity like the best thing ever? Will we get some UI screens soon?

Have you played Arcanum?

What would happen if you Fraps'd your work on the inventory system and sent it to me? Would you lose your job?

How fast are the game systems shaping up? Is unity like the best thing ever? Will we get some UI screens soon?

Have you played Arcanum?


-If I fraps'd my work and sent it to you I imagine you would fall asleep seeing how boring writing code is to watch. Would I lose my job over it? It would definitely be grounds for firing me, but Feargus loves me so much he'd never do that. ;)

-The game systems are DEFINITELY easy to prototype with Unity, in that regard it is the best engine I've worked with. It's not the best thing ever though, whiskey is.

-*hangs head in same* no I haven't played Arcanum. I do have the original game box at home though, I've been meaning to bring it in and get Tim to sign it for me. Only then will I actually play it!

#28
Steve Weatherly

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Fun read guys! Can I make a suggestion or request? Can you code the data in such a way that the stats change the animations? So that maybe someone with low dexterity is a lil clumsy or sluggish, while someone with high Dexterity is very smooth and fluid in their attacks or animations? Maybe a wizard with average Intel or magic juice does his thing like normal, but someone really smart & awesome casts a spell and their animations are more exaggerated and hands have much more followthrough. Similarly since you guys have more $ than Uganda, can you ask your animators to animate different idle animations that give the characters some personality, so they're whimsical, bored, angry, flirty, or whatever. I have a feeling there's gonna be more words than a room full of stuttering Rainmen, and I hope the hero's expressions show how they feel, as well as hope you and your team can take time to code some mannerisms and cool combat encounters.


Unity's new Mecanim stuff is pretty cool and saves our animators a lot of time which can be devoted to adding more flavor to the game. So, we'll see how it shakes out I guess.

#29
Steve Weatherly

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My question to Steve: In a recent interview (question 16), Trent Oster (of Overhaul Games, i.e. BGEE) said he wouldn't use Unity for an eventual BG3, citing optimization concerns. What are your thoughts on that quote or on using a pre-made engine like Unity instead of developing your own specifically for the game you're building?


Obviously performance has to good. Because we aren't rendering out everything in 3D I think the requirements are going to be a little different for our game than what Trent was talking about. We're going to be less about CPU power and more about memory, which is something the PC doesn't have much of an issue with.

#30
Steve Weatherly

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Great way of introducing various members of the PE team.

Interesting in that it is suggested that Reddit is the main forum where PE team members engage with the fan base.

I wonder where the official forums fit into that picture

Re:
Q: How many push-ups can you do?

A:
More than the average programmer, but significantly less than Chris Avellone.

My very important question is

How many can Avellone do? :biggrin:


Reddit is not the main forum where PE team member engage with the fan base. Our official forums here are. I'm a long time Redditor and volunteered to help bolster the project eternity subreddit because I like Reddit. The voting system there also made it easy for things like Tim Cain's top 5 question updates. But the main creative types on the project (Josh etc) engage people here, not Reddit.

Haha, sneaky question. I specifically avoided numbers in the interview and will continue to avoid them. ;)

#31
Steve Weatherly

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Nice interview but one thing still bothers me, what is your favorite whiskey irish or scotch or woo woo (everything that aren't irish or scotch) :biggrin:


The best whiskey I've had so far is The Balvenie scotch whiskey (drank it neat). So I guess I'll go with scotch. That being said, I'm not picky if there's a mixer.
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#32
Steve Weatherly

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Weapons, eh?

I am simply going to assume we will have swords, axes, bows, daggers, clubs (and flails), but what about other weapons - crossbows, polearms or spears, for exa,mple. Any truly exotic weapons? Any "oriental" weapons (shuriken or "ninja" weapons?)


That's a good question for Josh Sawyer, I'm currently building the underlying architecture so he can make whatever he wants. :)

#33
Steve Weatherly

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Hi, I don't know if it's possible, but will the opponent be able to set traps ? Create ambushs? Kill us while we sleep (maybe it's a bad idea), be "alive" ?

Will you design a new type of AI or will it be the same as the one un BG ? I mean, will you program it from scratch ?


I think it would be a lot of fun to make some sort of bad-ass AI that sets traps for you and makes ambushes and stuff. That being said, it sounds impossible to tune for such a huge game. I think we'll all be happier if we let humans design these levels and just make the AI look smart.

The AI system is definitely written from scratch. CPU time and memory have come a long way since those days, we can make some fancier AI state machines than they did back in the day.

#34
Steve Weatherly

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Considering your involvement in so many canceled projects, do you believe you are entirely to blame for their failure?


Why do you think I drink so heavily? To drown my shame sir, to drown my shame.

#35
Steve Weatherly

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Well well, what an interesting first person to pick to do your developer interviews. I now know the name of the person responsible for the either the amazing or extremely poor AI in P:E.

Mr. Weatherly, please make sure you look at this thread and learn from the mistakes that BG and its ilk have made. Magic isn't the only place you need a robust AI. http://forums.obsidi...w-not-to-do-ai/

Read it, internalize it, and make us proud. I really don't want to be screaming your name to the heavens when I play P:E. "Weatherlyyyyyyy!!! Where are my smart hobgoblins?!?!?!" Make me remember you as the first guy who did a fantastic job implementing AIs in fantasy RPGs.

Sincerely,

An AI enthusiast


Yes sir, I'll do my best sir.
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#36
Steve Weatherly

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It'll be cool to learn a little bit about each team member.

I'd just like to say that whiskey isn't good, even if I drink it at very rare occasions.


;(

#37
Labadal

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It'll be cool to learn a little bit about each team member.

I'd just like to say that whiskey isn't good, even if I drink it at very rare occasions.


;(


I'm more of a vodka man. Although I don't drink much at all anymore. I'll settle for a few beers. But if I had to sit around all days programming, I'd drink a lot too. (Had to do a bit of programming at university some years ago, but did not find it fun. I had more fun with 3D modelling.)
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#38
Keyrock

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The best whiskey I've had so far is The Balvenie scotch whiskey (drank it neat). So I guess I'll go with scotch. That being said, I'm not picky if there's a mixer.

Good man. Scotch is clearly the king of whiskeys. :yes:
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#39
Cantousent

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Wow, pretty damned impressive. You actually answered everybody. That's just plain cool, although I don't know enough about programming really to contribute to the discussion. :Cant's sheepish grin icon: ...But I do approve of the whiskey. I once made a trip to Scotland for, among other things, enjoying a bit o' the whiskey from the headwaters themselves, so to speak. Come to think of it, we talk way too much about booze on the Obsidz boards.

#40
Steve Weatherly

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Wow, pretty damned impressive. You actually answered everybody. That's just plain cool, although I don't know enough about programming really to contribute to the discussion. :Cant's sheepish grin icon: ...But I do approve of the whiskey. I once made a trip to Scotland for, among other things, enjoying a bit o' the whiskey from the headwaters themselves, so to speak. Come to think of it, we talk way too much about booze on the Obsidz boards.


Very nice! My dad's side of the family is actually from Scotland, so I'd love to visit some day as well and have some whiskey from the headwaters too. Cheers!





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