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Update #32: Meet the Developers - Steve Weatherly

Project Eternity Steve Weatherly Development Programming

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#41
LadyCrimson

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Blade Runner poster. +10

Wahoo's Fish Tacos

...I'm not huge on Mexican food overall but I currently live in a spot with a lot of taquerias, some of them based on the same trucks I'd buy tacos from when I was a kid ("keep your eye peeled for truck #2, that's the best one"). I love 'em.

...great update/interview, make me chuckle. :)
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#42
Sacred_Path

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Reddit is not the main forum where PE team member engage with the fan base. Our official forums here are.


N'aww. We just want to feel speshul. <3

#43
Zeckul

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My favorite is honestly probably C# because it cuts through the BS of C/C++ and let's you write code.

QFT :yes:

#44
Zed

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Thanks for the answers!

So, you drink whiskey. Me too! What are you favorites?
Mine are Islay whiskys, preferably Lagavulin and Laphroaig. That stuff brings you straight to misty highlands and craggy cliff-sides when you drink it.

Do you know if there's whiskey or some cool booze in Project Eternity?

Is it easy to, I dunno, "implement" A.I.s in Unity? I mean, not the logic (because that is as challenging as you make it, as far as I know), but actually assigning an A.I. to a character. For instance, would it be possible to actually have a battle in which A.I. plays a huge role and the A.I. represents the actual challenge (and not the level/power of the enemy)?

Have you guys thought about naming Project Eternity yet? Has there been any talk around the office about it?

Also; watching someone programming and developing stuff is NOT boring. Markus Persson (Notch - Minecraft) did this stream and it was very nice to watch. And that was Java. I believe Doube Fine will attempt a similar behind-the-scenes/"watch us code" stream as well.

#45
WorstUsernameEver

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-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.


I assume this means that it's easier/faster to prototype with Unity than Onyx, so I'm going to base my question on that: some game developers, to my knowledge, have prototyped stuff on Unity and then moved to their own engines/licensed engines to work on the game past the prototype phase.. do you see Obsidian adopting this practice, or would you rather Onyx to be made more prototype-friendly? Considering Obsidian is small in terms of AAA development (but too big to be considered small or even mid-size), I'd think prototyping things fast would be a huge boon, but not being a developer (or even particularly knowledgeable in terms of tech) there might be a lot of aspects I'm not considering.

#46
Osvir

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Hi Steve :) looking forward to challenge your AI.

I too am a whiskey enthusiast, though not heavily or heaving but sophisticated. Unless it's a bottle of R&R.

Cheers (and a suggestion if you like the darker, steamy, musty, smokey stuff):
Posted Image
This one will put some hair on your chest.
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#47
rjshae

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Thank you for the interesting responses, Steve.

If I may, a general question I'd like to ask you is regarding AI: how much consideration do you think will be given to group AI by intelligent enemies? Will trained enemy soldiers attempt to fight in formation? Will they coordinate attacks so that, say, suppressing fire will be targeted at the party's PCs while the heavy fighters take on the PC front line? Likewise, will they work to protect their spell casters? Will they exploit bottlenecks and other terrain advantages? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

Meanwhile, I hope your liver survives the PE experience. :)
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#48
Elitios

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Favorite game Baldur's Gate = great guy. :D

On a completely unrelated topic, I wonder how much of the original "pipeline" we can deduce from the game in its finalized form.

Edit: I forgot to ask, what is the most limiting factor for your work, for example what you would want to do with the AI: The story/world? the artistic constraints? the time it takes to code? the hardware?

Edited by Elitios, 22 November 2012 - 09:27 AM.

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#49
redneckdevil

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I just wanna say thank you and im very impressed. Was,an enjoyable read and was actually shocked that u answered so many questions from comments. Simple stuff like that earns my respect and makes me proud I backed such a great team for their new game. Wish u the best of luck in the ai scripting and everything else u doing
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#50
mstark

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Loved reading the interview, and it's great to know we'll have at least weekly updates :)

MOAR, because... MOAR.

#51
anek

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Q: What feature are you most looking forward to programming?

A:
I got into the game industry wanting to be an AI programmer. So, while I enjoy the challenges of engineering other systems, AI is where my heart is. I can't wait until we have a full complement of spells so I can write some cool wizard AI and give people an epic wizard battle!



Awesome!

I encountered too many a' wizard in the Infinity Engine games who wasted his entire Time Stop placing multiple redundant high-level spells on some wimpy summoned creature of mine that wouldn't have lived much longer anyways, while he could have easily killed off or disabled several party members instead.

...or stubbornly emptying her whole spell repertoire on the one party member that happens to be highly magic-resistant.

...or failing to put up a common on-demand protection spell that could have saved his life.

...or killing her own allies with area-of-effect spells.

But as other have mentioned, the biggest weakness of the Infinity Engine AI's was not their simplistic spell tactics, but rather their helplessness against cheese such as:
  • setting traps around a blue-circled monster right in front of its eyes, without it turning hostile, or - after you attack it - avoiding the traps
  • luring away and fighting a single enemy, while his buddies - although only a few feet away and thus clearly in hearing range - stay where they are, as long as no party member has entered their line of sight yet
  • throwing a multi-round area-of-effect spell or a bunch of summoned creatures into a room and closing the doors
  • hit-and-run, so the monster persistently follows the character that attacked it first, instead of giving up the chase and turning to more immediate threads when it is clear it isn't fast enough

Edited by anek, 22 November 2012 - 01:33 PM.

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#52
Gyges

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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.)


While were on it, you've got another vodka man here. Grey Goose and Beluga are the favorites with GG taking the first spot. I usually mix up something weird with lower tiers of vodka, but the good ones go down bare.

Also, yes. Gotto ask Sawyer what hes planning with weapon and armor variety. I found Dark Souls doing particularly good on this, with multiple, nearly perfectly balanced sets of end-game armors. Low variation in base weapon damage also made us consider other factors when building our character, such as stat scaling, unique abilities, weight, speed, moveset and elemental effects. This made for a huge variation of offensive styles to be available.

#53
MusedMoose

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This was a great read. :biggrin: I mostly play games like this for the story, lore, and characters, so I hadn't thought much about AI programming and all that goes with it, but this was really interesting. One of the things I really enjoyed about the BG games was getting into a tough fight and having to figure out how to beat it through something other than brute force. Now I know who to blame when that happens in P:E. >_< And flails! Yay!

Also: I'm originally from southern California, so huzzah for Wahoo's Fish Tacos! And the office that goes out to coffee together works better together; I've experienced this firsthand. Would that you guys were hiring writers; I'd apply in a second even though I know my chances are slim.

Thanks for your time, Mr. Weatherly. Looking forward to more interviews of this sort.

Edited by MusedMoose, 25 November 2012 - 05:39 PM.

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#54
Macs

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Great! I love this kind of developer who-is-who. Paradox did it in one of their Christmas calender specials and even though they are generally very close to the community, it was nice to have some faces and facts to put to the nicknames.

#55
Steve Weatherly

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Thanks for the answers!

So, you drink whiskey. Me too! What are you favorites?
Mine are Islay whiskys, preferably Lagavulin and Laphroaig. That stuff brings you straight to misty highlands and craggy cliff-sides when you drink it.

Do you know if there's whiskey or some cool booze in Project Eternity?

Is it easy to, I dunno, "implement" A.I.s in Unity? I mean, not the logic (because that is as challenging as you make it, as far as I know), but actually assigning an A.I. to a character. For instance, would it be possible to actually have a battle in which A.I. plays a huge role and the A.I. represents the actual challenge (and not the level/power of the enemy)?

Have you guys thought about naming Project Eternity yet? Has there been any talk around the office about it?

Also; watching someone programming and developing stuff is NOT boring. Markus Persson (Notch - Minecraft) did this stream and it was very nice to watch. And that was Java. I believe Doube Fine will attempt a similar behind-the-scenes/"watch us code" stream as well.


-I mentioned this above but the best whiskey I've had is The Balvenie Scotch whiskey, if you can drink it neat you know it's good.

-Haha, I'm sure there will be alcohol in there. I will demand a fine Orlan whiskey be included.

-Unity doesn't have any sort of built in AI system. I've created one for us and tried to make it stupid easy to give that AI to characters as they are created. It's about 3 mouse clicks right now. :D

-I don't think the final name has been seriously considered yet, I think think we're going to wait until the story is finalized and the lore more fleshed out.

#56
Steve Weatherly

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-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.


I assume this means that it's easier/faster to prototype with Unity than Onyx, so I'm going to base my question on that: some game developers, to my knowledge, have prototyped stuff on Unity and then moved to their own engines/licensed engines to work on the game past the prototype phase.. do you see Obsidian adopting this practice, or would you rather Onyx to be made more prototype-friendly? Considering Obsidian is small in terms of AAA development (but too big to be considered small or even mid-size), I'd think prototyping things fast would be a huge boon, but not being a developer (or even particularly knowledgeable in terms of tech) there might be a lot of aspects I'm not considering.


I can't imagine us ever prototyping things in Unity and then converting them to Onyx. Because the two engines are functionally very different it would mean doing everything twice, I don't know of very many people that like to do the same job twice. ;) As we work with Onyx we work on maturing the pipelines to make building things faster and easier, generally if some process is cumbersome we try to fix the problem.

#57
Steve Weatherly

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Thank you for the interesting responses, Steve.

If I may, a general question I'd like to ask you is regarding AI: how much consideration do you think will be given to group AI by intelligent enemies? Will trained enemy soldiers attempt to fight in formation? Will they coordinate attacks so that, say, suppressing fire will be targeted at the party's PCs while the heavy fighters take on the PC front line? Likewise, will they work to protect their spell casters? Will they exploit bottlenecks and other terrain advantages? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

Meanwhile, I hope your liver survives the PE experience. :)


I don't know how much of this we're going to do, I like all of those ideas and I think it would be fun to build an AI that can do them. We'll just have to see which of those behaviors is a "fit" for the game. I think we'll almost certainly have smarter AI that will try to do things like protect a spell caster or other weak allies. That kind of things isn't too difficult to implement and makes for a more interesting challenge.

#58
rjshae

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Thank you for the interesting responses, Steve.

If I may, a general question I'd like to ask you is regarding AI: how much consideration do you think will be given to group AI by intelligent enemies? Will trained enemy soldiers attempt to fight in formation? Will they coordinate attacks so that, say, suppressing fire will be targeted at the party's PCs while the heavy fighters take on the PC front line? Likewise, will they work to protect their spell casters? Will they exploit bottlenecks and other terrain advantages? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

Meanwhile, I hope your liver survives the PE experience. :)


I don't know how much of this we're going to do, I like all of those ideas and I think it would be fun to build an AI that can do them. We'll just have to see which of those behaviors is a "fit" for the game. I think we'll almost certainly have smarter AI that will try to do things like protect a spell caster or other weak allies. That kind of things isn't too difficult to implement and makes for a more interesting challenge.

Thank you, David. I can understand that some of this type of AI might not be the best fit for a tactical game of this type. Still, some type of group tactical behavior would be nice to see, even if it is just cooperative behavior between neighbors in the mob, or targeting specific enemies. Whatever you decide upon, I'm sure it will be enjoyable. Thanks again. :)

#59
Osvir

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False statement(?): A trigger is kind of, putting a "thought" (externally) into the AI "Go that way and use animation 43 to attack".

Question: Is it possible for you to create an environment in the game during development where you can play 1on1 against each other (Enemy versus main party/classes)? Is it possible to create/record a "Live" AI based on how you actually play? This is not any flirting about multiplayer or LAN, I'm curious as to how an AI is crafted and if there are more than one way to do it.

#60
Hassat Hunter

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Liked the update, look forward to seeing more of the team.





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