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Luridis

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Everything posted by Luridis

  1. I wanted to come back an post on this after I'd had a chance to dig through Unity3D's manuals and developer forums. So, here I am! I need to make a couple of things clear first: I don't speak for Obsidian and I don't speak from the seat of a professional game developer; though I'm in a lateral field. What I'm about to write is purely conjecture based upon what I have read and the things I personally know. I have no real idea what Obsidian plans to do regarding player content. Note: When I write "we" or "us" below I'm speaking of the Eternity player community in general. The Unity3D IDE, even the free version, is a full fledged game development environment. This tool has more in common with Blender and MonoDevelop than it does with something like Creation Kit. You would see far more game object exposure there than is normally seen in modding tools. Things like: AI code, background processes the game engine loop, etc. We, as the customers, don't really want or need to see these things to do what you would consider traditional modding. Do I think they're going to give us the game "project" to open and modify in Unity3D? I think that the answer will probably, most likely, almost definitely be absolutely not there. There are so many potential issues that would create that I just don't see it happening. First, we'd see all the internal source code of the game; a lot of which could be trade secrets or code they may not be able to distribute in source form. We would also see things like how the game interacts with the steamworks API, which is probably a no-no with Valve. Last, if we accidentally changed something that is part of the game itself and was distributed as a mod it could flat-out break everyone's game. I don't mean oddly behaving NPCs or some amusing glitch. No, I'm talking real crash-to-desktop windows error reporting type of broken game. Last, since Obsidian is likely using Unity PRO, we couldn't re-compile the project without that version of Unity ourselves, at a cost of $1500. From the things I've read on the Unity3D developer forums, most of the modding support is coming in through a native code plugins. The developers write a code module that interacts with the game engine at run-time and imports mod data into the game. They can also leave certain types of game assets, like artwork or configuration files open to modification. The catch here is Unity does not support importing game code at run-time. So, Obsidian would need to write the script support into a code module that reads mod script, validates it to prevent crashes and then passes those commands on to the engine itself. This is actually a good thing because they can parse the script language(s) of their choice, such as Lua, and prevent mods from accessing things outside the scope of modding that would cause crashes. The down sides are that it's quite a bit of work, unless they already have a similar in-house component they've written in the past. Now, onto world editing... How or if they will implement a world editor is anyone's guess. Unless they're working out some kind of agreement with the Unity guys; I don't see them being able to strip out the development parts of the Unity IDE and sending it on to the community as a modding tool. Sure, they can do this with in-house toolsets, but the Unity IDE is someone else's software. Finally, obtaining the Unity3D IDE source code is likely expensive and out of the project's scope. I do see a couple of options for a world editor. They could use one of their own previously developed modding tools and modify it to work with Unity assets. There is also the possibility that they could provide us with a Unity3D project template that we copy came data into, make changes and then export into a mod directory that Obsidian's native code plugin could parse when the game starts. However, this likely couldn't be setup with warnings about inter-mod dependencies or conflicts. That's about as much info as I can give here. Again, this is all purely conjecture on my part and Obsidian could already have well conceived plans for modders. We will just have to be patient and see what happens...
  2. These are the reasons I personally think that they chose Unity3D. So, these reasons may or may not be Obsidian's reasons and you should take this post with a grain of salt. Technical Reasons Stable & capable graphics and game engine. (Audio, HID, Physics, Asset Pipeline, Navmesh / Pathfinding, AI plugins, etc.) Cross-platform for the 3 major PC operating systems. Graphics engine renders well in both the OpenGL and DirectX APIs. Team oriented version control server. Finished Unity3D products successfully deployed through Steam. Custom shader support. Platform specific script compilation to native code. 3 Scripting languages, all of which I believe can be used at developer preference do to the native code compilation. Business Reasons Simple and straight forward licensing model: $1500 per developer seat. No third-party license agreements beyond a click-wrap. No publishing fees or royalties that would create sale revenue deductions. No annual or maintenance fees that would create ongoing overhead costs. Other available engines offer as many or better features regarding the game engine itself. It's the business reasons that make Unity3D very studio, indy publisher, and Kickstarter friendly. Engine licenses can eat up a ton of revenue that would otherwise be rolled into expansions and other projects. Maintenance fees take operating money away from more valuable things like employees and their health plans. You can relax, Unity3D is good stuff. Endless Space was written on Unity3D and it's a fantastic game if you like the 4X space genre in the spirit of Master of Orion 2.
  3. I could shoot so many holes in your theory with technical explanations that I could use it to drain my spaghetti. But, if you have never written code for, or spent time reading about how complex CRPGS operate then you're simply not going to understand what I would say. Capability does not equal triviality in such an endeavor. Porting the game, featured as they have promised, is thousands of man-hours of work unless they design the game mechanics (not engine!) cross platform from the get-go. There is more going on in the code than pipeing scaled down eye candy to the rasterizer. Again, the kickstarter supporters funded the development of a deep and complex computer role playing game. Not something less than that designed from the ground up to be console friendly.
  4. I support the developer's vision. I'm happy to make suggestions when they're looking for ideas, and I've even made a few along the way here. But, in the end, it's up to Obsidian to decide how they want to do this. If I have a vastly different vision and want to see that, then it's my job to make that happen, not theirs. Additionally, I think dlux's leaving may have had to do more with unkind words than whatever the developers are planning.
  5. From GameBanshee: Buck: What are your plans for supporting the Project Eternity community up to and beyond its release? Have you considered the possibility of releasing any content-inducing patches or even a toolset of some kind? Josh: Our testing and beta processes will minimize the need for patches, but we like to support the longevity of our products. We recently made an update on what our plans are regarding mods. We've partnered with the Nexus Network to host mods. Additionally, we will be releasing file format information and leaving a lot of our data tables open for easy modification. Unity3D is free to download and use for not-for-profit releases. Using Unity itself to add mod content shouldn't be an issue if they provide some sort of an overlay that allows the community to generate mods, or at least add game assets. This would make deep and intricate mods possible due to the direct access to the game code compiler. Unity accepts Mono (C#), Java and a flavor of Python I believe. I'll be thinking about this myself once we get our hands on some of the lore.
  6. Luridis makes serious face so he can be taken very seriously. I already answered how the use of Unity doesn't change a whole lot. But, your mention of 2D textures is legitimate, so I will answer. Large textures must be scaled down and verified to be viable on consoles and altered if they're not. Why do textures need to be scaled down? RAM!!! The teaser screen shot is in WQHD 1440p which is 4 times the resolution of 720p. Scaling is a lot of work for these guys, and so is verifying them on each platform. Processing power and RAM in particular, both system and video, have a major effect on what you can do in a game: Number of objects in the scene, number of opponents in combat, complexity of artifical intelligence, number of variables in the combat calculations themselves; which directly effects the number of classes you can have and the depth and complexity of their mechanics. But, you don't have to belive anything that I write here. How about we take this to Unity3D developers themselves? I'm going to quote Spectre9000 from this Unity forum thread: "Memory is an issue that's rarely touched on with PC's due to PC's having vastly more memory than consoles and handheld devices, but it is still there and you have to decide how best to handle the situation. Even with Unity using a more optimized method for handling large textures, you're still going to have a memory issue you'll have to face if your game is large enough." And in his second post: "Out of memory is a Hardware problem (Assuming the algorithm isn't grossly inefficient, which I'm giving UT the benefit of the doubt it isn't. Even still it'd be a combination of both at best). Even the most efficient algorithms can't run if there's not enough actual memory. Sometimes you have to do some actual optimization on your stuff. A game engine and plugins/extensions aren't magical and still have limitations such as memory size." Now, I will point you to read this entire thread on the Unity3D forums. Of particular interest are these statements: "I've worked on a few ports... probably my least favourite work. You really do have to butcher them if the target spec is a lot less in terms of processing power (CPU/GPU), RAM, etc. Even if its a higher spec, it's not your job to add new stuff, maybe just add a few eye candy features. Time = Money." - callahan.44 "Porting is tricky at the best of times... Unity is the closest I've seen to "easy" cross-platform, and that comes loaded with ceveats... From the core game engine to the teams that do the ports (most times sub-contracted work - who wants to live the same nightmare twice?!? ) porting isn't easy. Almost every aspect of a game is geared toward the main target platform(s), from audio and graphics to game engine and compiliers. If you don't start with "we're going to deploy everywhere" then you really get down a rat hole fast." - galent "Consoles have a small amount of video ram compared to PCs and so there isn't much choice but to keep texture sizes to a minimum." - Unified That's about all there is to be said about porting. Like I said in my previous post, I don't care if a publisher comes along and wants a port, but they can pay for the porting after the PC release. The Kickstarter was advertised to make a great PC Game, not a medicore PC game due to the time and expense that must go into porting it to the likes of a PS3.
  7. I'm all for extension or related specialization of what you've already chosen. But, traditional multiclassing has been done to death and always proves difficult for them to balance. Personally, I'd rather start a new game to try another path instead of trying to do everything with one play-through.
  8. Yes! Precisely why I edited priestly magic out of my post. Monks with a mechanic central to a particular mental discipline sounds wonderful. Also, a love for simple weapons like staves, unarmed and clubs: a enigmatic nightmare armed with a chair leg or piece of driftwood. :D
  9. I could so fall in love with a Friar Tuck themed monk: bad ass with two-handed blunt weapons, cloth armor, and a sprinkle of priestly, but combat oriented magic. Edit: Okay, scratch the priestly magic and move towards abilities gained by a focus or devotion to the discipline of their order. Self heals, party combat buffs and armor compensation.
  10. I would love to see daytime, night time and weather effects. One of my favorite moments in Daggerfall was when I went into te city at night the first time and was creeped out by the restless spirit of King Lysandus.
  11. For just a minute I thought you wrote, "Dragon Wars" (http://www.mobygames.com/game/dragon-wars) And, I was going to say that I don't remember anything of the sort. Dragon Age you say? Well, after my experience with Neverwinter Nights when I saw it years later and bought it without question... Three days later I tossed it in the trash. Then I went looking for information about what changed at Bioware; that was a less than happy moment for me. Edit: I know it's not the developers fault, thats just business. I'm just sad that we've come to a point where business and compelling, long-lived gameplay are at odds with each other. That is probably why I'll end up more $ into this kickstarter before it closes. Edit 2: It's not just studios I mourn for these days. I can remember great games coming from: Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Activision, Konami, and Capcom. In fact Archon was made by EA. There's no one to blame for the buy and trade market, development costs went up and consumerism took over. I'm just glad the Obsidian guys are willing to take on an old school project like this for the love of thier own craft.
  12. No, I'm not talking about Sherlock Holmes and the butler did it. Mysterious signs, items, hints in conversations; all things I've been missing for a long time now. You find an unusual item, perhaps even in random loot, that has a purpose somewhere. No quest dialogue pops up or automatic quest markers to show you where you need to take it. You adventure across a strange carving in a tree that points to a hidden cavern somewhere without saying exactly where. A "rumor" you picked up at the local tavern leads to some ancient Pandora's Box somewhere on the other side of the world. But again, the most important thing is that your hand isn't held all the way through it. These days you run across something like this and a quest dialogue usually pops up with arrows showing you where to take it on your minimap; way to make me feel intelligent for figuring it out, or accomplished for doing so. Am I the only one who misses these little diversions? Even though then can sometimes drive you mad, especially when the developer puts one in that looks like a mystery but actually is useless junk.
  13. Note: I see that there is discussion of Unity3D, which is cross platform. However, it changes little of what I said. Many things need to be altered to work everywhere. From textures to dialogue, some game assets just won't work well everywhere in an intricate and complex CRPG. Add to that, the API's, or built-in feature code, is MUCH more limited on consoles, and you begin to understand why the process of porting is expensive and time consuming. If you go and peruse through Unity3D’s documentation, you’ll notice that there are features marked unavailable for certain platforms. Obsidian is a professional development group. They’re not going to use Unity as delivered out of the box. Just as professional auto mechanics use tools in thier shops that are too large, expensive or complicated for your own garage, Obsidian will augment Unity with in-house components. This is likely to be one of the major areas of incompatibility with consoles. For instance, that 2550 x 1440 game screenshot is not going to look like that on a PS3. There is hope for consoles though... If this game does well enough once released for PC to attract major attention, a publisher may come looking for a port. At that point they can pay Obsidian to port the game to a console, or at least a compatible approximation of it. Just don't give them IP rights Obsidian, that's killed more great ideas than patent trolling. Oh, and one more thing: http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/crowdfunding
  14. I'm a programmer, among other things. While I'm not a game developer I do know something about what is involved. So, I'm going to try to explain as best I can why building for a port will not only cost more, but seriously hinder game depth. There is nothing wrong with consoles or console games. However, many PC gamers, myself included, are tired of playing RPGs and other genres we consider to be substandard compared to what was made in the past. This happens primarillay due to cross-platform development for consoles. So, what then is the biggest problem with the console? It's not the mouse and keyboard! In short, it's the hardware. Consoles are typically far behind even the most basic PC in terms of hardware. There is less RAM, less CPU, and far less GPU. Believe it or not, most of the hard-core PC gamers here paid more for their video card than the cost of all three major consoles combined. There are less audio channels, far less poly-per-second processing and bandwidth for the graphics pipeline between the CPU and GPU. But, we're not just talking about graphics and sound. RAM has a major impact on the depth of game play. The number of active NPCs, background quests, etc. are HEAVILY effected by available RAM. You know the "city" areas they're talking about? Huge RAM requirements there. In summary, there's just far less game you can fit into a console than a PC. Now let's talk development costs... Why is it so much more? Well, first we're talking about 3 vastly different hardware platforms. The cell processor uses an entirely different toolset than the PowerPC CPU in the XBox. The GPUs probably use entirely different APIs as well. So vast, huge, mosterous parts of the code must be written differently for each; this is costly in programmer man-hours. If you add a 3rd party cross platform engine, that adds limitations and costs that are non-trivial from the get go. Go read about how much time Bethesda spends modifying the gamebro engine, it's huge! But, we're not just talking about money here; time is a resource as well. All of these things use up time that would be better spent on content and depth. Now add the cut they have to pay the console vendors and publishers and we're talking tens of millions of dollars. So yes, whether you want to believe this or not. The fact is PC games must sacrifice a whole lot in order to make porting viable. That said, I didn't fund thier kickstarter to buy another cross-platform game. I want back those things that make computer gaming great, and your console port would cost me that. This isn't personal; I have nothing against consoles or their users, I just am not willing to sacrifice greatness for their sake.
  15. I just upped my pledge for this silly thing, and why not? I'll pay more for one good game then I won't pay for the hundreds of bad ones out there. Luridis - Nightfall of The Obsidian Order.
  16. Ships? I play with ships all the time... I like the Aabbadon, Harbinger and Myrmiddon. Oh, and there's the Xenon XL and Hyperion Vanguard.
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