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  1. Update by Brandon Adler, Literal Task Master Welcome to my world... As a producer, one of my jobs is creating and understanding the game's master schedule. It's a never-ending task that requires constant refinement and adjustment. Anything that is added or changed can cause a cascade of unintended consequences which is why as game developers we have a responsibility to vet everything that goes into the game. Today I'd like to give you a glimpse into how we approach game development from a scheduling perspective and what our typical thought processes are when figuring this stuff out. You will be able to see how each part of our area creation fits into the schedule and why changes and modifications can lead to difficult decisions for the team. Hopefully, it will give a bit more insight into the tough decisions that we make each day when crafting Project Eternity. The Schedule One thing to remember is that when we are in the middle of production the schedule has already been created for just about everything in the game. What I mean by this is that we have identified all of the major tasks that will need to be accomplished and allotted time and resources in our budgets to match those tasks. Depending on the team's familiarity with the type of game we are creating, this can mean anywhere from a tiny bit of guesswork to larger amounts of... estimation. With Eternity we are very familiar with what it takes to make an isometric, Western RPG with branching dialogues and reactivity. It's Obsidian's bread and butter. Because of this our initial estimates are good approximations. Since most of our features and assets are budgeted at the start of the project, any changes to those items have to be accounted for in the schedule. This can mean a few different things - anything from reducing time spent on other tasks, to changing previously scheduled items, to outright cuts - and when changes need to happen project leads consult with each other to try and figure out the best option. Keep this in mind when I start talking about changes to features and assets later on in this update. One Small Interior Dungeon Alright, let's stop talking in generalities and get into the meat of what it takes to create a first pass area in Eternity. I'll discuss a generic small interior dungeon area. This area will have the following characteristics and constraints: Uses an existing "tileset." We don't have tiles in Eternity, but we do have sets of areas that share similar assets. Will have one unique visual feature in the area. This visual feature is something that will make the area stand out a bit. It doesn't have to be incorporated into the design, but we may want to do that to get the most bang for the buck. An Average complexity quest uses this area. "Average" is a flavor of quest in Project Eternity. It refers to the overall complexity of the quest. Quest complexity is determined by the amount of dialogue, branching, and steps a quest has. This is a 3x3 interior. A 3x3 interior is the equivalent of a 5760x3240 render. An easier way to think about it is that a 3x3 area is nine 1920x1080 screens worth of content. You can imagine that making an area even a tiny bit larger can actually lead to enormous amounts of work. As an example, a 3x3 is nine screens of work, where a 4x4 is 16 screens of work... almost double the number of screens. To create our small interior dungeon area, the following has to occur: An area designer (Bobby Null, for example) puts together a paper design for the area. This is usually part of a larger paper design, but for this purpose we can say that it is a separate element. For a small area like this, a paper design wouldn't take more than a quarter of a day. Material concepts for a high wealth interior. After the paper design is constructed, it is passed to the area design team for revisions and approval. For the most part, this goes fairly quickly and normally wouldn't take more than a quarter of a day for a small area. A concept artist (Hi, Polina and Kaz) creates a concept for the unique visual element of this area. Let's say for our purposes the unique element is a cool adra pillar that is holding up a portion of the ceiling. This takes half a day to a day, depending on prop complexity. This may seem like a luxury, but making sure that the areas feel cohesive can save lots of revision time down the road. After the concept work is completed, it is reviewed by the Art Director (Rob Nesler) and the Project Director (Josh Sawyer). Any necessary changes are then made before being approved. Overall, it probably takes about a quarter of a day for review and any revisions that need to be done. An initial pass on a blockout before it has had a review. After the paper design and concepts, an area designer creates a 3D blockout of the area in Unity. This allows the designer to walk through the area and make sure it flows well. This also helps to give the environment artist assigned to the area an idea of where the various elements should be laid out. A full blockout of a 3x3 area normally wouldn't take more than half a day. This is an extremely important part of the process. Sometimes an area seems great on paper, but in practice it is clunky or frustrating. Once the blockout is finished it's passed along to the area strike team for review. The area strike team includes people from most disciplines. This is the point where revisions are performed and the layout becomes finalized. The changes can be as simple as moving some props around or as complicated as redesigning major portions of the layout. Again, for a small area of this size, we aren't looking at more than half a day for all of the feedback and revisions. With the blockout in place, the area can move to environment art (For example, Hector "Discoteca" Espinoza) for the art pass. This includes putting together existing pieces and creating new assets to make the area. A large portion of time allotted to an area is spent in environment art. A 3x3 area that uses mostly existing assets would typically get three days of environment art work, but, because we want to have a cool, unique piece in the area we will add about a day of environment art time. This gives a total of four days for the initial art pass. Like the blockout, the art pass is usually reviewed by the area strike team. Revisions can vary wildly depending on how everyone feels about the area, but it isn't uncommon for another quarter to half a day to be spent on review and revisions for this size of area. The blockout above with revisions, 2D render, and initial design. Now with the 2D render in place, the area is ready for the real design work to be done. An area designer will typically get about three days to do the first pass on the area. This includes things like a loot pass, encounters, trigger setup, temp dialogs, etc.. Because this area has a quest that is running through it, though, it will get an extra day to work out all of those kinks. That puts us at four days for an initial design pass on the area. Remember the part about this area having a quest? Well, now is when a creative designer (Like Mr. Eric Fenstermaker, for example) comes through to write the dialogs. To be completely honest, this usually comes much later, but it works for our purposes. The narrative designer creates the NPC dialogs, quest dialogs, and companion interjections for the area. Usually an area designer will stub these conversations out and the narrative designer will come in and complete them. Depending on the amount of dialog this should take around a day or two for everything. Finally, a concept artist will take a pass at painting over the final 2D render. This pass is used for "dirtying up" an area and adding in the little details that might be difficult for an environment artist to create. As an example, we can cover up texture seems, add in variation on repeating textures, paint in lighting highlights, and even add things like patina or moss on objects. Due to Photoshop magic from Kaz, we can even propagate those changes into our diffuse maps so they show properly in any dynamic lights. This is a fairly low cost procedure and Kaz can cover a small area like this in about half a day. There are other considerations (Like animation, sound effects and visual effects, for example), but we will stop for now. So, for those keeping count at home, to get a first pass area that is borderline Alpha (as in no bug fixing or polish work) it costs the project about 13 man days. This is little over one half of a man month of time for a small, simple area. Larger areas with more content take significantly longer to develop. Our time estimations used for scheduling are determined in preproduction (prepro) phase. Our vertical slice (the end of prepro) is the culmination of the team identifying what it will take to make the game and then actually doing it. We get these numbers by seeing how long it takes the team to perform those tasks in our prepro, and then we can extrapolate those numbers over the course of the time we have budgeted to understand how much work can get done. Tough Choices A milestone will have 15 to 20 areas of varying complexity going at a time. A minor change in an area can cause a domino effect that starts schedule slippage. Remember that on a small team like Project Eternity we have a limited number of people that can work on any one part of the game so taking someone off of their current task to work on changes can gum up our pipelines and prevent others from completing their tasks. We can get around that by switching up the tasking, but it can quickly get out of hand and lead to inefficiencies. That being said it's the team's responsibility to give our backers what they have paid for. If we are playing though part of the game and something feels off from what we promised to our fans, we need to seriously consider making changes - even if it pushes us off schedule. There have been times where an update leads to some serious discussion on the forums and within the team about a direction change. Ultimately all of that gets added into the equation as well. Taking that into consideration, the team has to make difficult choices every day. Do we go through and do another prop pass on a level? What does that cost us in the long run? Will we lose an entire area in the game? These are questions that the leads struggle with everyday. We are always weighing the cost of assets and features against everything that still needs to get done. Luckily, like I mentioned above, we have a bunch of smart, talented, experienced people working on Eternity. The pitfalls we have experienced in previous games give us a leg up when we are trying to navigate this project's development. I wanted to send out this update to give the fans a little insight into our daily processes and demystify what probably seem like arcane decisions. If you enjoy these types of updates, let me know in the forums and I will try to write more of them for you.
  2. I killed the thing while it was charmed, and combat did not end after its death
  3. So, when I tried to board the enemy ship and sent my crew to leap to the enemy's deck, they got stuck in an endless animation loop instead and never went anywhere.
  4. On the third level of the Engwithan Waystation
  5. Discovered some weird glitches [shadows], when you're on your Ship. Just in case this had not been posted yet, here it is :
  6. I have run across several issues while playing the Beta on my 27” IMac, one of which makes it impossible to continue: —During the fight with the Titan, at some point a Scarab pops up. As soon as the scarab fires a projectile, the game crashes to the desktop. —Whenever I quit the game, it goes to a black screen and freezes, instead of taking me back to the main menu. —I have gotten random freezes and issues at the end of deck to deck fights at the end of ship battles. In a few instances the end summary shows no items gained and lists no information, on one instance the game froze on the summary page. —On two occasions, dialogues indicated that a character was going to give me an item but I could not find the item anywhere in my inventory. One is the dwarf I rescue from the cannibal pirates in the temple ruins. It sounds like he rewards me with a cloak but I can’t find it anywhere. I can’t recall the other occasion (it’s not the broodmother, I know to find her item on the ground) but I’m 100% sure there is a 2nd occasion.
  7. This post is less about trying to resolve an issue as it is just trying to raise awareness about some bugs and glitches that hopefully will be resolved either by or soon after launch. I will note each issue as I encountered them: 1) If a banner is within the radius of a fireball, the cloth texture gets warped an elongated for the duration of the fireball animation. The elongation gets more pronounced depending how close the banner is to the center of the fireball and the warping seems to always go toward the center. This effect does not seem to happen when other wizard area of effect spells are cast (such as web or chill fog,) and isn't triggered by explosions from grenades. 2) Spell caster action trays have a habit of shacking slightly when browsing spells both in and out of combat. The shacking stops if you select another character, regardless if that other character is also a spell caster, and is far more pronounced with Priests as opposed to Wizards. 3) At no point in the maps of Poko Kohara or Engwithan Waystation Levels One and Two was there a music transition for combat. Over the 1 hour of playtime, the same song looped endlessly. 4) The statue in the hidden room of Engwithan Waystaion Level One displays o text when you inspect it. However, the log will display the text "Character has discovered something interesting" and if you hit tab the text will appear. After you have hit tab, the inspect button will function as normal. 5) After reading the expedition log found on the body found near the entrance of Engwithan Waystaition Level Two, the game would not unpause when I hit space. It was only after I hit escape that the game resumed as normal, although it is important to note that hitting escape that time did not bring up the pause menu, 6) The Imps found after the body carrying the expedition log have two glitches. First, there are a few imps in the next room that have no line of sight to you but keep you in combat without actually leaving the room or taking any action against you. Additionally, when these imps are attacked they do not attack the party. These are the glitches I have found so far, please feel free to add with your experiences or expand this list if you find your own.
  8. Some rock and grass textures obscure the player icon while exploring the over world. Rocks at 3° 48' N 49° 6' E: Grass at 2° 36' N 50° 6' E:
  9. I'm experiencing some fairly major bugs while playing the linux version of the beta. It looks like certain triggers aren't being saved as completed for example every time I enter the first town the character creation fires. Also the world map resets on every load so any are that is cleared just reappears and its possible to get stuck if an area can only be entered from one side. Is anyone else running the linux version having these issues?
  10. In fact I don't know if it's a Bug or Intended, so I post it here so this works as a Suggestion aswell. So, when you're Exploring the World Map, even if you don't Land (Dock your ship on an Island) : Everything [Cache/Ingredients/Etc] appears on your Map, even if you didn't came close by & sort of "Discovered" it. That's why I'm not sure if it was intended or not. Nonetheless, I think the fact that everything is in front of you, waiting, reduces enormously the potential of Exploration & Discovery in the Game. One simple thing could drastically change that : HIDE THEM & Take Advantage of one of the Passive Skills. That would result in : Expands the feeling, and the Will to Discover & Explore. Make a great additional use of the Survival Skill [or Create an "Exploration" one], & would makes us wanna invest in it. New interest to the World Map. Reward the players that actually take the time to Explore each & every corner of the Game. Let's say there's a Cache near Poko Kohara : The same Cache at the same spot can be found by a Player that invested into the appropriate Skill and is rewarded with a cool unique Cloak of Flames. That other Player will not, but that's ok. It adds also to the Replayability of the Game, where you constantly discover new things you didn't in your first playthrough, because you were playing differently. One of the cool thing Wasteland 2 made, was that they were taking advantage of their Survival Skill. Where, when you were exploring the World Map, the Survival Skill passively made you discovered hidden things in the World. You could potentialy miss lots of cool stuff, loot, unique encounters, caches, etc. That was pretty cool. I'd hugely request & sincerely encourage the Devs to take inspiration from what Wasteland 2 introduced back then, and implement something like this in Deadfire. Especially in a Game that has a World Map you're free to Explore. What do you think ? I truely think it's a wasted opportunity if it's not in the game... I've mentioned it back in the Fig Campaign & in the previous Q&As : Hidden Content has always been a great thing in these Games.
  11. 1. Start a new game. 2. Leave Tikawara and head to the beach where Skulking Terror is (to your left.) 3. Once you're in the area, save the game. 4. Quit to Main Menu and attempt to load your saved game. 5. Observe that the following error message appears: The same is true of any automatic saves the game makes in this area. I suspect it may be related to the fact that it is a "temporary" area (i.e. you can no longer go there once you've left it); perhaps the game doesn't keep track of it or save it anywhere because it won't be of use anymore once left?
  12. This happened on the 2nd map, to the point I find it unplayable because it bugs out every time: - Enemies are un-targetable - Combat won't end even if there are no enemies - Wounds won't heal, or heal after 6 rests - UI flickering - Party health becomes invisible on portrait - Characters run back and forward in combat
  13. So, here I was, going to dem Foothills to kill me some fish right ? Dem fishes, good fishes be dead fishes am I right or am I right ? So here I am like, I see dem hunt dem boars, like, they killed boars right ? So I stealthily stealth to stealth nearby and take them by surprise (right ?). (and I succeeded at that scripted encounter, so I was able to enter the area un-noticed, and stealthed (right ? )) So, after crashi quitting and restarting the game (unrelated), I load my autosave in dem Foothills... right ? What the wat was my surprise, now when the autosave loads, I'm not stealthed, and I'm instantly greeted by chief-echo-watnot ... not right ! For some reason, the game totally forgot I'd aced that Stealth interaction and entered the map : - at a different location - stealthed bro, I was like, ninja stealthed (right ?) ^^
  14. 'kay I have no idea wherever this one comes from : For information, my party was wiped out and I F8'd to quickload (except, the game never quickloaded...), then manually loaded an autosave. It might be that this is an artifact from my previous attempt, like it was a KO party member but the game decided it should be displayed in the newly loaded file ? Since it's not obvious what area we're talking about, this is the one with the skulking terror laguafeth.
  15. 'kay that's a wierd one... After a party wipe, I F8'd (and the game never loaded a quicksave, possibly because the only quicksave I had was on the world map, not in the area map). Anyway, I loaded up the area autosave, fought the Skulking-Terror laguafeth again. Now, from time to time, I can hear its slurping-attack-whatever sound. It plays during pause, it plays on the load savegame screen, it plays after loading the autosave of another area.
  16. Just see the attached screenshot. When you toggle stealth, normally the character would become shaded. Here, it's absolutely invisible. You can see Mercenary Fighter's shadow (top right most of the group), but not his actual character.
  17. Another strange things happend while I saved and closed game to get log for glitch I described here: https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/94603-flickering-loot-window/ I launched the game again and load that last save file and after loading screen my party appeared in different part of the area, near another group of the enemies, just check the screen below: http://oi66.tinypic.com/2db2qo9.jpg So I saved the game after this fight and once again close the cilent to copy log file with this event. Here's the file: http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=00007165745758273903
  18. [Description of the issue] Cannot open the door once the door is closed from the inside [DETAILED list of steps to reproduce the issue AND what to look for] Example: 1) Go to Hall Of Revealed Mysteries 2) Go inside the Elder Archives room 3) Close the door once inside [Expected behaviour] Door object should still be clicable [Other remarks / Comments] Awesome beautiful game, Great Job!!! [Files] Saved Game: HallofRevealedMysteries.zip (https://app.box.com/s/m29pm7usfjvxs06lzh6l7gp6ek50ah9s)
  19. I continuously get Fatal Error in GC "GetThreadContext Failed" which seems to happen every 5 to 30 minutes in the game no matter where I am in the game. Its very random Any thing I can help provide let me know and I will try to answer it.
  20. Posting a new bug from steam. Its probably in here already but **** it. so many issues... http://steamcommunity.com/app/291650/discussions/0/618458030659693014/
  21. When trying to exit Raedric Hold castle dungeon through the sewer game crashes. Tried this 4x even after restarting my computer. Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU960 @ 3.20GHz Graphics: 2x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti RAM: 8 GB
  22. There is one unpickable plant in Dyrford Crossing. See screenshots for the location of it. It's just south the Wurm area where the Dragon's Egg is. Location on map This plant right here
  23. Like the title says, once combat has started in the spider cave the combat music doesn't stop playing until you leave the cave again. Everything else works fine though, combat stops and endurance regenerates, just the music keeps going. Pretty obvious, so it might have already been fixed.
  24. There is no reaction from deer as you can see from my screen shot
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