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Found 21 results

  1. Simple. Next month will be globally dedicated to bug fixing. And full game will be released. What do you want after that for DLC ? Give what you want to improve or new things to add. References can be WM part 1 and 2 and things already known in BETA 4. Here my list : - No particularly more levels (12-16 in POE1). Good thing if it happened but not my first need if all 20 levels are well built. - More class. Like +1 class (3 subclasses...) give already a ton of new combinations. (And I think no more, because it is already a great amount of work for base game...) - One additionnal subclass for each class. - For me it is better if DLC can be done after the first story. Like that, no problem with "when" to do that. - I want new companions but extremely early. Same for all new weapons. (max 50 % of DLC) I have never upgrade unlabored blade for this reason. (laziness if only 2 hours remains...) - A true difficulty. Kraken is cute, but... hum... So easy to kill... - Give the opportunity to rebalance some stuff. Like, passives abilities... A general balancing. - Return of 'grimoires with novel spells'. And you ? Yes it is soon, Full game is not yet released but guys, Obsidian start to thinking to that. It is forced. Nothing is random in a company. So, it is the good moment to give your expectations... : p
  2. Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director Welcome. Today's update is a big one, though not by volume of text. Today we’re showing you our game in action. Specifically, we're showing what we've been doing for our exterior environments. The Infinity Engine games were known for their art, and we wanted to hit the high standard of visual quality established by games like the Icewind Dale series. We also wanted to introduce dynamic elements into the environment that were mostly absent from the classic games, like dynamic water, movement in foliage, and dynamic lighting of the scene. In a 2D game, this required our programmers and artists to come up with some creative solutions. What they came up with surprised us initially and it continues to amaze us. While we are still working on refining some of the dynamic elements, we're very happy with the progress we've been able to make and hope you feel the same way. Special thanks to Hector Espinoza, our lead environment artist, and Michael Edwards, our rendering programmer, who did a lot of amazing work to bring this environment to life. Thanks for reading, thanks for your feedback, and we'll see you next week.
  3. Fellow RPG fans, hello! My name is Felipe, and I'm currently working on a crowd-sourced book on cRPGs. After organizing the RPG Codex's Top 70 list, I decided to expand that into a full blown book. The idea is to feature in-depth reviews of over 250 great cRPGs in chronological order, from Akalabeth to Might & Magic X, plus interesting articles on the genre and interviews. All that written by RPG fans from all over the world, compiled into a beautiful book with big a colored screenshots. It is a book showing what the genre has best, and how people enjoy them. A book that every review that you read you will see that it was important for the reviewer and want to play the game he just talked. So far I've got some big developers in, like Tim Cain, Chris Avellone, Josh Sawyer (Obsidian has been very supportive ), Ian S. Frazier and Colin McComb. I also got full support and access to the content of forums like the RPG Codex and RPG Watch (including some stuff from RPGdot), DJ Old Games, some indie developers like Iron Tower Studios, Sinister Design and Rampant Games, as well as bloggers such as cRPG Addict and modders like Durante and Wesp5. Here's a small WIP preview: The entire project is entirely non-profit, so the final e-book will be freely available for download, under Creative Commons and all that. And if everything goes well I intend to make a paperback print also available, fully colored and in high-quality print, for those that want one. Non-profit as well, of course, sold at cost price. My call for aid Here's the list of games that will be in: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1t-49SyrsdP0M5re68sDH9cB2MrPqVKwQQiFF_54VibI/pubhtml I'm looking for fans willing to write a review of one or two of the listed games still unassigned. You can, of course, also suggest games that should be added. The reviews specifications: There are two kinds of reviews, the ones with one page and the ones with two. These are displayed on the list. If you think that the game you're writing about needs 2 pages instead of 1, contact me and we'll discuss it. But please note that not every game needs two pages, ok? One Page reviews have up to 2000 characters, one header image and 2 screenshots + descriptions. And they have room for one short side blurb or info-box. Here's an example of a 1 page review: http://i.imgur.com/AKINvJj.png Two page reviews have up to 4200 characters, one header image and 3-4 screenshots + descriptions. They feature a developer's quote and they have room for two or three short side info blurbs or info-boxes. Here's an example: http://i.imgur.com/LfZfHEw.png You can, but don't need to provide the screenshots (in .png if you do, please), just be sure to say what you think is important to show and write the descriptions for the images. They are a good place to point out things that won't fit the main text. The developer's quote will be handled by me (unless you know a good one already). The tone can be somewhat personal, talking about how you stayed up for a whole night trying to map that dungeon in Wizardry 4, but it’s very important that a reader that knows nothing about the game is able to understand what the game really is, its strong points and occasional flaws. Don’t say that “it has great combat”; explain why it’s great. BEFORE starting to write, please post on the thread about what will you do, PM me or send an e-mail to crpgbook at gmail.com. Someone might have already taken the game, or I might have extra details to discuss. Thanks all for your time and sorry for the massive 12/12 Wall of Text.
  4. Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director and Lead Designer Last week, our art director, Rob, showed you our godlike concepts and dazzled you with an in-depth technical breakdown of how we're doing animation rigging on the project. This week, we'll be talking about a different technical subject, but one that's more connected to gameplay: engagement -- specifically, melee engagement. Melee engagement is a solution to two common problems in the Infinity Engine games: melee characters' inability to control an area and ranged characters' ability to "kite" melee characters. In the Infinity Engine games, melee characters could be quite powerful in toe-to-toe combat, but many opponents found ways to foil those characters with little difficulty. Fast characters could easily rush around a slower melee character with impunity and ranged characters could backpedal perpetually out of reach. If you're familiar with D&D 3E/3.5/4E/Pathfinder's attack of opportunity mechanics, Project Eternity's melee engagement fills a similar role by making melee combatants "sticky". Coming near a melee combatant means being drawn into Engagement with him or her, a state that can be risky to get out of. Here's how it works: when two opposed combatants come near each other and one of them a) has a melee weapon equipped b) is not moving and c) is not currently at his or her maximum limit of engagement targets (the standard is 1), the other character will be Engaged. When an opponent is Engaged by an attacker, moving any significant distance away from the attacker will provoke a Disengagement Attack. A Disengagement Attack has an inherent Accuracy bonus, does significantly more damage than a standard attack, and will call a hit reaction animation while momentarily stopping the character's movement. When it's initiated, a Disengagement Attack automatically breaks Engagement on the target, but if the target is also the attacker's current melee target, the attacker will typically be able to re-establish Engagement before the target can move farther away. In this manner, melee combatants, especially ones that have high Accuracy and damage per hit, have a solid mechanic for keeping enemies close to them -- or making the cost of escape extremely expensive. Of course, there are other ways to end Engagement. If the attacker switches to a non-melee weapon or performs a non-melee-based action, Engagement immediately ends. If the attacker moves away from their Engagement targets, is paralyzed, knocked down, or otherwise prevented from maintaining a threat, Engagement will also immediately end. If the attacker has a limited number of Engagement targets (as most do) and switches his or her attack focus to a different character, Engagement immediately ends. We believe that Engagement can give AI a clear "decision point" where they can evaluate the threat of their new status and choose the appropriate course of action. For player-controlled characters, it makes melee enemies more potent threats and presents players with tactical challenges to solve. We want Engagement to be a mechanic that players and enemies can mess with using a variety of class Abilities and general Talents, so we will be experimenting with a variety of elements to that end: Fighters' Defender mode allows them to engage two additional targets and increases the range at which they engage targets. This gives fighters much greater capability to control the area around them. The limited-use Escape ability lets rogues break Engagement without provoking a Disengagement Attack. It is generally best used when the rogue's enemy is preoccupied with another target. Barbarians can use Wild Rush to temporarily ignore the movement stop and hit reactions from Engagement and Disengagement Attacks, respectively -- though they can still suffer massive damage while powering through. The wizards' Grimoire Slam allows them to attack an enemy in melee with their magically-charged grimoires, unleashing a concussive wave of energy on contact. If it hits, the attack knocks the target back, usually far enough to break Engagement in the process. Additionally, creatures may have their own special abilities related to Engagement and Disengagement Attacks. We hope that the system itself is easy to understand but allows for increasingly complex tactical considerations over the course of the game. That's all for this week! Let us know what you think of the mechanic on our forums. Your feedback, as always, is appreciated. In our next update, in addition to our usual weekly content, we'll also be continuing our thrilling coverage of Chris Avellone's playthrough of Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura.
  5. STOCKHOLM — November 11, 2014 — Paradox Interactive and Obsidian Entertainment today announced that Pillars of Eternity, the fan-funded role-playing game (RPG) inspired by classics of the genre, is now available to pre-order from digital distributors everywhere with a discount available for early purchasers. Pre-orders of the game will also include special in-game bonus items – while fans who backed the game on Kickstarter will receive these extras free of charge. Paradox and Obsidian have also announced that this week they plan to reveal a wide array of never-before-seen game content via a live stream, hosted by Josh Sawyer, Project Director for Pillars of Eternity, alongside popular gaming personality Jesse Cox. The live stream will air Thursday, November 13 at 1pm PST (22.00 CET) on the official Paradox Interactive Twitch channel: www.twitch.tv/paradoxinteractive Get a breathtaking glimpse at the beautiful world of Eora in a newly released trailer for Pillars of Eternity. All pre-orders of Pillars of Eternity will receive a 10% discount (limited time offer) off of the game's full retail price and will include two secret, special in-game items. This discount and the in-game bonus offer are valid for both versions of the game, including the Hero Edition, which includes the full version of Pillars of Eternity, and the Champion Edition, which includes both the full game and a variety of premium bonuses: A digital copy of the Pillars of Eternity Original Soundtrack (OST) A digital campaign almanac containing backstory, lore, and information about Eora Access to a documentary on the making of Pillars of Eternity A high-resolution digital game map High-resolution Pillars of Eternity wallpapers Pillars of Eternity ringtones for mobile devices Fans who pledged for a copy of Pillars of Eternity during the Kickstarter campaign will receive the pre-order in-game bonus items at no extra cost upon the game’s launch in 2015. Pillars of Eternity is an RPG inspired by classic titles such as Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment, which features an original world and game system that evokes and improves upon the traditional computer RPG experience. Funded via Kickstarter in late 2012, raising $4.5 million through both backer pledges on Kickstarter and Obsidian’s own website, Pillars of Eternity has been a project of passion both for the development team and for the loyal fans who have made it possible. To purchase Pillars of Eternity, visit buy.pillarsofeternity.com. For more information on Pillars of Eternity, visit eternity.obsidian.net.
  6. Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Lead Greetings, and welcome, at long last, to the Backer Beta! We appreciate all the support our backers have given us on the long road that started with our Kickstarter campaign. Now it's time to take a look at what we've been working on, shake it up, and see how things can be improved. Before you dive in, I'd like to talk a bit about the nuts and bolts of the Backer Beta, what content is available, what you won't be seeing, things we're most interested in hearing feedback on, and known issues. The Nuts and Bolts The Backer Beta is initially being released only through Steam and only for the Windows platform. We are working hard on bringing Mac and Linux to you guys in the next few weeks. Note that if you are concerned about linking the Backer Beta to the final product, you need not worry -- the Backer Beta is considered a separate product. If you want to participate in the Backer Beta, your final product will not be locked into Steam or Windows. The first release of the Backer Beta is the build we have put together for the Gamescom convention in Cologne, Germany. What you will be initially playing is what we are showing there. We plan to update the Backer Beta over time to test performance improvements, bug fixes, balance passes, and other changes we'd appreciate your feedback on. There are no NDAs for those who are participating in the Backer Beta. If you want to share images, videos, or general feedback on content with the public, we appreciate your thoughts and criticism. To keep up to date on the latest announcements and information on the Backer Beta head over to our Pillars of Eternity Backer Beta announcements forum. Beta Redemption Instructions If you have purchased the Backer Beta or if it is included in your Kickstarter tier (all tiers of $110.00 or above) you can now head over to your Account Profile to redeem your Backer Beta Steam key. On the account page, you will want to click the link on the left that reads "Products." This tab displays all of the products you have associated with your account that are now available. As we release additional rewards, they will appear here. Click on the "Pillars of Eternity - Backer Beta" entry to expand the entry. Press the "Generate" button. You will be asked to confirm that you would like to generate a key for the Beta. If you wish to generate a key at that time, press the "Generate Key" button. If you generate a key, you should see a banner at the top of the tab that confirms your success. Expand the "Pillars of Eternity - Backer Beta" entry again and you should see your key with instructions in how to install it on Steam. Enjoy your first experience in the world of Eora! Backer Beta Content The content of the Backer Beta encapsulates the village of Dyrford and surrounding wilderness and dungeon environments. You will begin by choosing basic difficulty settings (Easy, Normal, Hard, or Path of the Damned), optional modes (Expert and Trial or Iron), and building your character. In the Backer Beta, you have access to all character races and subraces, all classes, and all starting cultures and backgrounds. You build a character at 1st level, but you will start the game with enough experience to advance to 5th. While we have very few Talents in the Backer Beta, you should be able to get a very good idea of the core functionality of all eleven classes. It is extremely important to us that the fundamentals of each class feel solid before we implement more Talents or move Abilities around. In addition to the character you make, you will start with a list of four pre-made, intentionally (extremely) generic party members: BB Fighter, BB Rogue, BB Priest, and BB Wizard. The characters are lightly equipped with Fine (quality) gear and set to level 5. None of these characters are companions in the full game and they are under-equipped in terms of overall gear (rings, cloaks, booties, consumables, etc.). The quests available in the Backer Beta have an artificially-inflated amount of experience points associated with them to ensure you can advance from 5th to 8th level assuming you do everything offered. We want you to advance your characters significantly within the Backer Beta so you get a sense of how the different classes change from level to level. Other than exploration, conversation, combat, and loot-grabbing, there are other systems you can experiment with in the Backer Beta: Crafting and Enchanting - Crafting allows you to make consumables (food, potions, and scrolls). Enchanting allows you to modify weapons, armor, and shields. Even unique items can have additional effects added. Hiring Adventurers - If you speak with Dengler at the Dracogen Inn, you can ask to hire adventurers, allowing you to make additional party members. Camping Supplies and Inns - Pillars of Eternity primarily uses a resource-based rest system. While "in the field", you can rest using a limited number of Camping Supplies (the number in the corner of the campfire icon near the center/bottom of the main HUD). The number of supplies you can carry is limited by your level of difficulty. However, you may also choose to rest at the Dracogen Inn. Resting in the stables is cheap but provides no additional benefit. The more expensive rooms provide the party with long-term benefits in the form of buffs. What's Missing? First, nothing in the Backer Beta has a direct connection to the critical path/main story of Pillars of Eternity. We have intentionally excluded any spoiler content so our backers can play the beta worry-free. None of the quests are connected to the crit path and none of the pre-made companions are going to be in the final game. Second, the stronghold mechanics aren't in the Backer Beta. The stronghold includes a lot of additional maps, characters, and content, some of which are part of the critical path. Including them would have been difficult and the scope would have increased a great deal. Finally, no content above 8th level is in the Backer Beta. If some bits and pieces wind up in the Backer Beta data, they have not been a focus for us at all. You may, through the magic of h4x, find a way to access them, but they are out of scope for these tests. High Priority Feedback As participants in the Backer Beta, you're free to give feedback on whatever you feel like. However, if you'd like to be extra-helpful, there are a few areas where your thoughts would be especially helpful. Classes - Do all classes feel distinct and useful? Does the progression of their abilities seem consistent? Do any classes feel too high-maintenance? Do any classes feel too uninvolved? Races - Do the races and their subtypes feel distinct? Do their models and textures appeal to you? Do their bonuses and special abilities seem worthwhile? Attributes - Do you find any attributes invaluable, such that you would never build a character without emphasizing that attribute? Are there any attributes you consistently dump because they don't seem to have apparent value? Do the attributes seem to skew away or toward different classes? Equipment - Did you like or dislike the variety of weapons, armor, shields, potions, scrolls, and miscellaneous items? What items did you find invaluable or useless? Crafting and Enchanting - How easy were the systems to understand and use? Did you find them worthwhile? Conversations and Quests - Did you enjoy the conversations and quests in the Backer Beta? Were there any aspects of the aesthetics, presentation, or flow of conversations or quests that you didn't enjoy? Combat - Did you enjoy the overall experience of combat, especially pacing, difficulty, and mechanics? Did the basic attack/defense resolution system (Miss/Graze/Hit/Crit) make sense? Was the relationship between damage and damage threshold clear? Was the relationship between stamina and health clear? User Interface - Was character creation enjoyable and clear? Did each stage of the process give you all the information you needed to make choices? Was the main game HUD easy to understand and use? Were any portions of it confusing, poorly-positioned, or did they use visual language that was hard to decipher? Were the inventory, character sheet, and journal interfaces clear and easy to understand/use? If you would like to discuss the Backer Beta or give any feedback, we invite you to head over to the Pillars of Eternity Backer Beta Discussion forum. A Request for Decorum in Feedback As backers who have elected to participate in the Backer Beta, you are almost assuredly among the most passionate and detail-oriented people who will eventually play Pillars of Eternity. As such, we, the developers, fully expect that you will have very strong positive and negative opinions about many of the things you see in the Backer Beta. While you should not hold back in your opinions on a given feature or piece of content, please try to focus on constructive criticism that we can use to make the game better. It's useful to know if you don't like something, but it's more useful to know what types of changes would make you like it more. Known Issues Pillars of Eternity has been in its beta stage for a while, but it's a big game with a lot of systems and a lot of content. As we fix things, we often break other things inadvertently. There are also things we realized we needed after beta started and have had to address. And of course, thousands of backers are going to see combinations of classes, races, and equipment that we may not have tested internally. Even so, we do have a list of known issues in the Backer Beta. These issues range from minor to major but we wanted to let you know we are already working on solutions to them. If you find any issues, please report them on the Pillars of Eternity Backer Beta Bug forum. Please do not contact Support for bugs or technical issues - use the indicated forum. Support will be handling problems with accounts or Backers that are unable to access their beta. Pathfinding - We are in the middle of revising the pathfinding system. In the Backer Beta at launch, you may see issues with characters jittering, getting stuck, getting "bottlenecked" between other characters, and overlapping their selection circles with other characters in combat. Sliding - You may notice characters sliding in various situations, where their movement does not match their animation. This is a known issue. AI - Some characters (including party members) may not respond to a command. Alternately, they may become stuck in an attack or reload loop. We've also found that our initial batch of instruction sets for enemy AIs need additional functionality and parameters that we decided to continue implementing during beta. Selection Feedback - We are also working on the feedback you receive when selecting characters and actions for them to perform. It's important to us that the feedback is clear and immediate. Stat Blocks - Many spells, abilities, and items are not yet programmatically displaying all relevant information about them. We are in the process of adding that information to all appropriate interfaces. Attribute Balance - Testers have reported that Perception and Resolve are less compelling for their character builds than Might, Constitution, Dexterity, and Intellect. We are discussing different solutions for this. Stamina and Health are Unintuitive - We have consistently found with players and testers that the stamina and health system are unintuitive as presented in game. However, we have also consistently found that, once explained and understood, the system was well-received by the people who used it. We are working on solutions to this disconnect. Rangers are Buggy - The unique shared stamina/health of rangers and their animal companions has been a tricky system to implement and we are aware that their mechanics have a bunch of issues. Chanters are Overpowered - Yes, they are. They'll be dialed back a bit, but in the meantime, enjoy playing a game where the bard-type class is king. UI - Our UI is still being polished and fully implemented. Things like our death screen, stealth UI, and the engagement UI, are all being implemented or tweaked. Abilities and Spells are Buggy - We are working through all of our abilities, but you may find certain spells and abilities that are not working as they are described. Some Missing Assets - There are some pieces of the game that are still being implemented - like VFX, Audio, and Icons. You may notice that some assets are either missing or are temporary. Fog of War Working Incorrectly - The Fog of War is not currently blocking line of sight. Optimizations - We have not fully optimized the game yet. You may notice that load times and performance still need to be improved. Save and Load - We are still working through many save and load issues. Passive and modal abilities can sometimes double on a character after they are loaded. Also, the Continue option is still being worked on. It is best to use the Load Game feature instead of the Continue feature. Again, thank you all for everything you have done to make Pillars of Eternity possible and thank you for participating in our Backer Beta! With your help, we can improve on Pillars of Eternity and make the final product as fun as it can be.
  7. Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director Welcome to our second class pair update. This week, by popular vote on our forums, we will be looking at the folks who rain down death (figuratively and literally) on the masses: the mob rulers, wizards and druids. Before we begin, I would like to remind our backers to complete their orders on our website if you have not already done so. Many of our backers have filled out their surveys and we've been able to work on implementing their content. Not long ago, Kaz generated these portraits for some of our generous backers. Backer Portraits We've also finished some of the inns that were designed by backers. Hector Espinoza just finished this render of the Celestial Sapling, an inn that is built into an enormous tree. The Celestial Sapling As always, the earlier we get your specifications for the content you've backed, the easier it is for us to integrate into the game. For those of you who backed content, remember that the deadline is March 31st, only two short weeks away! In our next update we'll be showing off some of the cool animations from Pillars of Eternity. Partnership A few minutes ago, Obsidian made an important announcement about a new partnership with Paradox Interactive for Pillars of Eternity. We wanted to give some information to our backers to give you a full understanding of what this partnership means and to let you know that nothing has or will change when it comes to the making of Eternity. Pillars of Eternity is still our product, we're making 100% of the development decisions, and we will still be communicating directly with you every chance we get. So, you are probably asking, why are we doing this? Obsidian is really good at making games. Everyone here is focused on that goal every day and we are heavily invested in our work. That said, Obsidian's focus is in creating games and not in marketing and distributing them. It takes a lot of time and effort to do those things properly - time and effort we want to use to make Eternity the best game it can be. We chose to partner with Paradox because they can help us with those things and really believe in PC games in particular. This lets us spend 100% of our time (and your money) towards making Eternity great. Every dollar you have given us will to go into making the game. We have setup a FAQ on our forums that will go over any questions you may have about what this partnership means for Pillars of Eternity. Please take a look and let us know if you have any other questions. And now, on to the magic of the mob rulers! Mob Rulers While neither wizards nor druids are restricted to offensive spells that target groups or areas, they excel in that arena. Whether it's dishing out elemental damage or inflicting status effects on enemies, both classes have a wide variety of spells to whittle down the hordes. Rangers and rogues are the kings of single-target takedowns, but the mob rulers exist to soften up, slow down, hinder, or otherwise mess up groups of enemies. Both classes focus heavily on spellcasters, but they have slightly different mechanics to how they work. Together with priests, wizards and druids are the "traditional" spellcasting classes that can cast a certain number of spells of each level per rest. As they gain levels in their classes, they can access more powerful spells. Over time, their weakest per-rest spells become per-encounter spells. At very high levels, the weakest spells eventually become at-will abilities, capable of being cast indefinitely. Wizards Typical Wizard Grimoire Wizards are researchers and experimenters. Like animancers, their understanding of the spirit world and soul energy is technical and scientific. For this reasons, wizards have a skill focus in both Lore and Mechanics. Also like animancers, wizards rely on special tools to achieve their effects. Specifically, wizards use grimoires, arcane books made with rare materials that can absorb and temporarily hold fragments of ambient soul energy. Unlike priests and druids, wizards do not personally shape the magic that is released. Instead, their grimoires' spell pages do most of the work. The wizard's specialty is in understanding how to help the magic flow in and out of the grimoire without going haywire. As wizards continue to research, more spells are created every year. Some spells remain in the private collections of individual wizards while others see widespread distribution and can be found in grimoires all over the known world. In game terms, all wizards start with a single grimoire. Even as big as they are, grimoires can only hold a set number of spells from each level. Wizards have the potential to access many more spells than priests or druids, but that potential is restricted by what a grimoire can hold. As a result, experienced wizards carry multiple grimoires with subsets of spells to handle different situations. Grimoires can be switched during combat, but there is an opportunity cost to doing so -- the new grimoire needs to attune itself to the wizard for several seconds before its spells can be used. Outside of combat, wizards can outfit their grimoires with any spells that they have learned. If they come across a spell in an enemy's grimoire, they can choose to learn that spell for the cost (in copper pieces) required to research it. As a result of their varied studies, wizards have access to both "meat and potatoes" spells and more eccentric effects. They excel at area attacks, but also have a healthy number of spells for personal defense and more than a few oddballs in the mix. Occasionally, wizards become known for a particular spell or family of spells that they've invented and their names are inexorably linked with their contributions to magical research. Here are some of the many spells wizards can learn in Pillars of Eternity: Fan of Flames - Creates a short-range cone of fire that does Burn damage to everyone caught inside. (Reflexes) Jolting Touch - Inflicts heavy electrical damage to the target then jumps to the two nearest enemies. (Deflection) Minoletta's Minor Missiles - Launches three missiles of magical energy that inflict Crush damage on a single target. (Deflection) Thrust of Tattered Veils - Generates a precise thrust of Crushing force that does little damage but has a high Interrupt. This fast-casting spell is often used to disrupt enemy actions. (Deflection) Wizard's Double - Creates a single duplicate image of the caster that grants a high Deflection bonus against a single attack. Concelhaut's Corrosive Siphon - Inflicts a Corrode effect and restores Stamina to the caster over time. (Fortitude) Ray of Fire - Creates a lingering stream of flames between the caster and target, doing damage to the target and everyone caught in between. (Reflexes) Fireball - Classic, reliable, deadly. That's fireball. (Reflexes) Kalakoth's Minor Blights - Creates a random "blight" in the caster's hand that does Burn, Freeze, Corrode, or Shock damage to the target and anyone caught in the area. After the wizard throws one minor blight, it will continue to spawn additional random minor blights until the spell's duration runs out. (Deflection/Reflexes) Minoletta's Bounding Missiles - As Minoletta's Minor Missiles, but each missile bounces to one additional target, does more damage, and has shorter overall range. (Deflection) Ryngrim's Repulsive Visage - Targets near caster are Sickened and Terrified by the wizard's horrifying appearance. (Will) Dimensional Shift - The caster and one ally are able to immediately switch locations, leaving a shockwave between them. Anyone caught in-between may be briefly Stunned. (Fortitude) Essential Phantom - Summons a ghostly double of the caster that fights with its bare hands, doing Shock damage. Other than the appearance of the caster, it shares no other properties. Minor Arcane Reflection - The caster erects a field of arcane energy around himself or herself, similar to the Arcane Veil. However, Minor Arcane Reflection has the ability to reflect an incoming hostile targeted (only) spell, sending it back to the original caster. The Reflection can try to reflect spells up to 3rd level -- and up to 10 total levels of spells -- before it expires. A failed attempt at reflection counts toward the limit. When an incoming spell targets the caster, the Reflection attacks the enemy's Will. If it succeeds in the attack, the spell is reflected. If two casters both have Arcane Reflections up, the attack can potentially bounce back and forth repeatedly until one caster fails his or her attack -- or exhausts his or her Reflection. Citzal's Spirit Lance - Creates a pike out of magical energy that does Pierce damage and causes a foe-only Blast explosion like wands do. (Deflection/Reflexes) Malignant Cloud - Creates a cloud of virulent poison that does raw damage (ignoring DT) to anyone in the cloud over time. (Fortitude) Arkemyr's Capricious Hex - Targets are randomly subjected to one of several afflictions, each with an equal chance of appearing, although at different durations: Dazed, Sickened, or Paralyzed. (Will) Ninagauth's Freezing Pillar - Slams a huge gleaming shard of ice into the ground, doing Freeze damage to anyone in the immediate area. A circle of frost spreads from the pillar, creating a Freeze hazard that also inflicts the Hobbled affliction on anyone it touches. (Reflexes) In addition to their per-rest spells, all wizards have two basic abilities that serve them well: Blast and Arcane Veil. Blast allows wands, scepters, and wands wielded by wizards to do a small amount of foe-only damage in a small radius around their target. Arcane Veil is an instantaneous ability that dramatically raises the wizard's Deflection for a few moments. Its one weakness is firearms; the Arcane Veil is not able to react to the speed of a bullet before it passes through. Druids Druid Backer Portrait Druids are animists, drawing power through the webs they believe connect all living souls in the world. When not casting spells and transforming into mythical beasts, druids spend a great deal of time in nature, giving them skill foci in Athletics and Survival. Much like priests, druids draw ambient fragments of soul energy toward them and shape their effects through practiced concentration. While druids do not have the diverse spell repertoire of wizards, they have more than enough to handle most problems that come their way. Druids' spells often take the form of natural phenomena -- storms, coiling plants, rapid decay -- to reflect their primal connection to the world. Despite their heavily-offensive nature, they do have a few defensive and healing spells to aid their allies. Druid Stag Form Nature's Mark - Enemies are outlined in pale green light, decreasing their Deflection and Reflexes. (Will) Talons' Reach - Caster creates an oversized projection of beastly talons striking everyone in the area for Slash damage. (Deflection) Tanglefoot - Lingering, sprawling patch of magical vines and other plants Hobbles anyone caught in the hazard. (Reflexes) Winter Wind - Characters in the area are pushed back and take Freeze damage. (Fortitude) Firebrand - Caster wields a massive sword-shaped blade of fire that does Burn damage on a hit. Switching to another weapon ends the spell. Insect Swarm - Targets take Pierce damage over time and have reduced Concentration. (Fortitude) Beetle's Shell - An allied target is encased in a shell that prevents him or her from taking actions (including moving) but will absorb a fixed amount of damage before shattering. Twin Stones - Two boulders fly out from the druid, causing Crush damage as they go. If the boulders strike a solid surface the boulder explodes, doing Pierce damage to anyone in the area. (Deflection/Reflexes) Moonwell - Creates stationary radius in which allies recover Stamina and gain a bonus to all defenses. Overwhelming Wave - Creates a rolling wave of water that smashes everything in its path, causing Crush damage and a Stun. (Fortitude) Firebug - A ball of fire rapidly bounces from enemy to enemy causing Burn damage. It hits up to 8 targets total. (Deflection) Nature's Terror - The druid gains a terrifying electrical aura that causes Shock damage and the Terrified affliction to anyone nearby. (Reflexes / Will) Wall of Thorns - Creates a wall of thorns, which does Pierce damage to anyone in it or who attempts to cross it. (Reflexes) Garden of Life - Plants spring up from downed enemies, generating healing auras around them. Rot Skulls - Summons necrotic skulls into the caster's hands. The skulls can be thrown at targets for Crush damage and a Corrode explosion. (Deflection / Reflexes) In addition to their spells, druids have two base abilities that assist them in dealing with single targets. At character creation, players select a damage type for their Wildstrike passive ability. Wildstrike adds a small secondary amount of damage to all damage-dealing attacks that the druid makes. Druids also all choose a spiritshift form at character creation. This form represents a type of animal spirit with which the druid has developed an intimate level of understanding (wolf, great cat, bear, stag, and boar). A few times a day, they can use this understanding to transform their bodies into a hybridized form between their natural shape and the shape of the creature they are emulating. In these forms, they cannot use any of their normal equipment but can attack with powerful natural weapons. Each form also has a special passive ability that applies while the druid is in that form. Over the course of the game, druids can acquire additional spiritshift forms to give them more options. There are many more wizard and druid spells where these came from. They all add up to give both classes a wide variety of abilities to play with. Please let us know what you think of the flavor and mechanics of these classes in the discussion thread!
  8. Link to Page 3 of PCWorld Interview (where this quote comes from): I am curious about something that PCWorld didn't ask and that neither Adam or Josh answered, I also underlined and bolded something important that Adam said in the quote regarding modding. Will models (Characters, Monsters) be something that could be moddable? And what about textures? Furthermore, is there a simpler way that could allow for more maps to be added? Josh mentions that environments are tough and complicated and time-consuming for Obsidian, but is there a simpler way to make them? I mean, obviously hobbyists or fans do not need to be able to make state of the art top-notch areas like Obsidian are making. A child loves to play LEGO, but that doesn't mean that the child has any idea what they are doing with it or makes something super advanced with it. So when Josh says "because even for us they're complicated" I'm surprised that he even compares. It's like if an adult LEGO master who can make tons of stuff and has the imagination and skills to make super cool LEGO stuff tells a child "Sorry little child, but this LEGO business is just too difficult for you". Again, is there a simpler way for environments to be created and added into the game from a fan- or hobbyist perspective? For instance, let's look at WarCraft II (which has a great map-maker tool), it is pretty advanced too and that's not what I am asking for but there is a feature in the Map Editor which is great. Triggers that you can lay out, make an area impassable "Character can not pass through this area because this Trigger says so" kind of thing. Invisible wall stuff. I'll explain below. The "simplistic" idea I'm thinking about which could make it easier for hobbyists to add more content: A) Background picture, a simple picture you could draw in Photoshop perhaps. B) Triggers and borders or whatnot, make that mountain you painted be layed out with an area with triggers which says "Can't pass through this area" or something. C) Props. I know Obsidian is using them so why not be able to use them as a hobbyist. Are there simpler ways to make maps that might not be necessarily up to par with the quality of Obsidians maps but at least allowing more maps to be generated and added..? Imported or whatnot. For instance, could it be simpler for fans and hobbyists to be able to export an existing map and modify it, then import it again? Kind of like... say this is a fully developed map (for this hypothesis to work, this is from Update #39): But I decide to, you know, modify it a little bit so I... uuh... put a different texture on it and use some of Eternity's props (still an example). And then voila I could transform an in-doors dungeon into an out-doors forest area-thing: It's not meant to be pretty, it's just concepts on concepts. Thoughts? Question of the thread: How would a map making method be handled in the most simplistic way?
  9. Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director Thanks to everyone who contributed feedback to our visual demo last week. While we are still working out some aspects of our environment art, we appreciate both the kind words and the suggestions for improvement that we received. Due to all of the coverage we received, we noticed a lot of new folks asking about the game as well as past backers who may have missed a lot of the updates that have happened since the Kickstarter campaign ended. We thought it would be a good idea to restate what Project Eternity is all about and update our FAQ. While much of this has been covered in previous updates, we have also included a few new tidbits of information in the details. What is Project Eternity? Project Eternity is a party-based fantasy roleplaying game inspired by the Infinity Engine games (Baldur's Gate 1 and 2, Icewind Dale 1 & 2, and Planescape: Torment) set in an original world created by Obsidian Entertainment. The camera has a fixed axonometric (high angle) perspective (with zoom!). The environments are 2D backgrounds combined with 3D characters and visual effects. Project Eternity's team is focusing on three core ideas that will capture the Infinity Engine experiences players loved so much: Unique, beautiful, dynamic environments that encourage and reward exploration. A story that is both personal and far-reaching, with believable characters and factions that create compelling dilemmas for players. Fun and challenging tactical combat that can escalate in difficulty through the use of optional game modes. What does "party-based" mean in Project Eternity? At the start of the game, the player can create and customize his or her character, choosing from six races and several ethnicities, eleven classes, and a number of cultural backgrounds. Over the course of the game, the player can expand his or her party up to six total characters. The additional characters include eight companions designed and written by Obsidian as well as any new characters players would like to build at the Adventurer's Hall. What is the combat like? Project Eternity's combat will feel very similar to the combat in the Infinity Engine games, which used a "real-time with pause" system. In such a system, events between combatants occur simultaneously, but the player can pause the game at any time. The player selects and commands one or more of his or her party members to issue orders, ranging from continuous activities, like making standard attacks, to the activation of limited-use tactical abilities, such as spells. Like the Infinity Engine games, Project Eternity will support auto-pause features that allow players to establish conditions under which the game will automatically pause (e.g., if a party member becomes unconscious). It will also feature a slow combat toggle that can be used with or in lieu of the pause feature. In slow combat, players can manage the flow of combat without needing to halt the game entirely. What are the different races we can play? Players can select from six main races found in this part of the world: humans, elves, dwarves, orlans, aumaua, and godlike. Orlans, aumaua, and godlike are unique to the world of Project Eternity, though godlike have similarities to "planetouched" races in other settings. Orlans are small humanoids physically notable for their two-tone skin, extensive body hair, and extremely long ears. Aumaua are large, semiaquatic humanoids with a diverse array of skin patterns, elongated heads, and semi-webbed hands and feet. Godlike are not a separate race, but a phenomenon found among all races. They are individuals whom many people believe were transformed by the gods before birth. Godlike have distinctive appearances that invariably make them stand out from other people, with different cultures and individuals holding wildly different biases toward or against them. All of the races have different ethnicities from which the player can choose. For elves, Wood and Pale, for dwarves, Mountain and Boreal, for orlans, Hearth and Wild, and for aumaua, Island and Coastal. Humans have three ethnicities: Meadow, Ocean, and Savannah. Godlike can be found among any race and their appearance always sets them apart from their parents. This is an Aumaua male and female hi-poly head model. The facial colors and texture will be coming later. What about the classes? Characters may be one of eleven classes: barbarian, chanter, cipher, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, priest, ranger, rogue, or wizard. The "core four" classes (fighter, priest, rogue, wizard) are most similar to their traditional tabletop analogues. The non-core classes, barbarians, druids, monks, paladins, and rangers, are somewhat similar to their counterparts but differ more significantly. The two completely new classes are the chanter and the cipher, which are unique to the world of Project Eternity. Traditional classes vary in how high- or low-maintenance they are based on their traditional counterparts. E.g. fighters are generally lower maintenance than wizards. However, the advancement system allows players to bend those roles, making higher-maintenance, active-use fighters or more passive wizards (for example). Class balance is important to us, but we also want playing each class to feel distinctive and complementary to other classes. What will the art style be like? Our art style is fairly realistic and uses a somewhat subdued, natural color palette, especially in outdoor environments. Character proportions are also fairly realistic. Equipment designs and proportions are based on their earthly historical counterparts, with an overall emphasis on function in their form. However, because this is a fantasy game, many environments will also be fantastic, with unearthly architecture, unusual materials, brilliant colors, and beautiful embellishments when appropriate. How about the setting and story? Project Eternity is set in a world created by Obsidian Entertainment, where mortal souls are bound to an eternal, and often mystifying, cycle of life and reincarnation believed to be watched over by the gods. Though cultures and individuals have different beliefs about the nature and purpose of this cycle, it is only recently that mortals have made significant advancements in understanding its fundamental mechanics through the science of animancy. The story takes place in a small nation in the world's southern hemisphere called the Dyrwood (DEER-wood). The Dyrwood is a heavily forested, coastal region where colonial powers from across the ocean have settled and formed an uneasy relationship with the local residents, tribes of orlans and elves who are protective of the ancient ruins of Eír Glanfath on the forest's interior. Eír Glanfath was an ancient melting pot of races that built elaborate, often massive, structures out of a living shell-like substance called adra. Though the fate of the ancient Glanfathans is unknown, their dangerous and complex ruins show evidence they possessed extensive knowledge of how souls work. For this reason, all of the surrounding colonial powers aggressively fight for the chance to explore and plunder Glanfathan structures, often bringing the local tribes into conflict with their relatively new neighbors -- and the neighbors into conflict with each other. The central character in the story is a newcomer to the Dyrwood, a man or woman who is caught up in a bizarre supernatural phenomenon. This event puts them in a difficult position, where they must explore the new world to solve a series of problems that have been thrust upon them. What engine does Project Eternity use? Project Eternity uses the Unity engine in addition to proprietary features developed at Obsidian. What platforms will Project Eternity be available on? We will be releasing Project Eternity for Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs. It will be available through Steam and GOG.com. Will Project Eternity use any form of DRM (digital rights management)? The GOG version is DRM-free. The Steam version works like any other Steam game and does not have any added DRM. There is no online requirement to play the game nor any additional DRM imposed by us. What languages will you be supporting? In addition to English, Project Eternity will be released in French, German, Spanish, Polish, and Russian. What resolutions are you supporting? Project Eternity will support resolutions from 1280x720 and up. Our environments are rendered out at a high resolution and support a wide range of scalability. What other cool stuff will be in the game? Thanks to our backers, players will have access to both a player house as well as a full stronghold in the game. Also, players will have the chance to explore all fifteen levels of the backer-funded mega-dungeon, the Endless Paths of Od Nua. Players who want a more extreme challenge can enable up to three optional game modes: Expert Mode (turns off "helper" features), Path of the Damned (dramatically increases the difficulty and complexity of encounters), and Trial of Iron (only one save game, party death = game over, save game deleted). That's all for this week. Thanks for reading! Season 1: Cowardly Cops, Meddling Merchants, and Shrouded Hills. And trash bins. Article by Chris Avellone, Creative Director We’re doing something different with the Arcanum playthroughs with this update – instead of filming a large portion at once and then releasing that one session over several weeks in small 10 min chunks, we’re going to release smaller updates that allow us to respond more quickly to your feedback on the playthrough and then iterate on the next playthrough. In this episode, Avellone explores the small town of Shrouded Hills, deals with cowardly constables, explores trash bins, and finds out more about the cryptic ring from the Zephyr’s zeppelin crash. Virgil guest stars.
  10. First of all, I like to discuss a higher difficulty (theme of the thread and my thoughts): http://jesawyer.tumblr.com/post/73030347037/merchants-will-poi-feature-thematic-bg-and-iwd-like Josh says it all I guess. Do you think limited gold is an interesting feature? I think it works well in Fallout & TES games. Though, the only thing it affects is early game really (tends to be a slower early game). But I also think that if it is balanced properly (combined with a harsher and harder economy) it could make the game more difficult for a harder difficulty experience. I played an interesting immersive mod for Baldur's Gate, it made the "Iron Crisis" more authentic to the story as well as items broke more easily as well. A Short Sword cost like 150 gold, and sold for maybe 10. In the original experience you buy a Short Sword for maybe 5 gold and sell it for like 2. High Level Loot: Likewise, I think that if some High-Level Loot is not available, or loot in general is scarce across the game, it'd make the game more difficult as well. Combine Limited Gold, High Cost Items, Less Loot Drops or Unavailable Loot Placements, and you get a more difficult experience. Thoughts?
  11. Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director An agent of Dunryd Row attempts to perceive a "housed" soul within a piece of evidence. Hello and welcome to today's class update! We'll be discussing some newcomers to the Dyrwood's "magic" scene, the enigmatic and deadly soul-manipulators known as ciphers. Read on to learn how ciphers went from being an animancer's theoretical possibility, to the feared foes of Dyrwoodan settlers, to an integral part of Defiance Bay's secret police, Dunryd Row. Cipher Mechanics Contemporary ciphers are fighting casters, like the Glanfathan "mind hunters" who invented the discipline. When engaged in physical combat, they use an Ability called Soul Whip to contact and drain the psyches of their targets. Recognizable by the purple flames that engulf a cipher's weapons, Soul Whip generates a Focus resource that ciphers can use to power their abilities. Though ciphers begin combat with a modest amount of Focus, their more advanced techniques demand large expenditures of Focus. Additionally, repeated uses of even minor powers will quickly drain a cipher's Focus, requiring them to dive into physical combat to generate more. Cipher powers are not limited to mental manipulation. They have abilities that allow them to use a target's soul energy to "leak" and burst into flame, to generate a physical shockwave of that knocks down everyone behind the target, or even to bend back toward the cipher, creating a field of protective energy around him or her. With the exception of Soul Whip, all cipher powers require Focus and a nearby target other than themselves, one with a "housed" soul. In practical terms, this means that ciphers must always target a nearby ally or an enemy with their powers. It is impossible for them to target themselves, a distant target, or open ground. Here is a sampling of some of the cipher's abilities: Soul Whip (Modal) - At close range, the cipher's weapons generate fields of parasitic energy that lash out at a target's soul. The Soul Whip mode reduces the amount of damage caused, but each successful hit briefly lowers the target's Psyche defense and generates Focus for the cipher (attacks Psyche). Mind Wave - The cipher violently intrudes into an enemy's mind, Stunning the target (attacks Psyche) and generating a cone of concussive force behind him or her that can knock down anyone in its path (attacks Fortitude). Soul Shock - The cipher causes an ally's soul to "crack" and violently release energy into the physical world. The resulting explosion of electrical (Shock) energy damages everyone nearby except the target (attacks Reflexes). Psychovampiric Shield - The cipher drains Intellect from enemies and uses it to temporarily increase his or her Deflection. The increase in the cipher's Deflection is dependent on how much Intellect he or she successfully drains from victims (attacks Psyche). Mind Blades - The cipher uses the souls of nearby enemies to generate attacks against the subjects themselves. Each target is attacked once by a slashing "mind blade" which then moves on to the next nearest enemy up to a maximum of five targets (attacks Deflection). Recall Agony - The cipher causes the target to re-experience the pain of a wound moments after the target originally suffered it. The damage is a percentage of the original value, but it ignores the armor of the target (attacks Psyche). Ectopsychic Echo - The cipher and an ally generate a bolt of psychic energy that periodically rebounds between them, causing Crush damage to anyone caught in the area (attacks Reflexes). Cipher Lore Many classes have abilities that allow the user to channel the power of their own soul or ambient soul fragments to produce incredible effects. Paladins ignite their souls to produce auras, wizards draw soul fragments into grimoires to shape and cast spells, and monks use personal suffering to focus energy through their bodies. While these classes often develop abilities that allow them to affect the minds and souls of others, the power is always generated by the user. Feared for their mental powers and extreme hostility, the vithrack were once eagerly pursued by animancers for research purposes. In the field of animancy, which focuses on the study of souls, researchers wondered for centuries if they could develop a discipline or technology that would allow people to connect with the soul of another living thing -- not just reach or strike out toward it. Wizards and priests had developed abilities to overwhelm or inspire the mind, but not to connect with it. Animancers theorized that it could be possible for one soul to reach out and connect to another, but they had no proof. Animancers studied folk legends about figures called Watchers who reportedly were able to see lost souls and perceive an individual's ancestral lives, but claimants to that title were typically charlatans at best or mentally unstable and violent at worst. A few intrepid animancers attempted to communicate with the reclusive spider-like race known as the vithrack. The creatures, obviously of advanced intelligence and extraordinary capabilities, seemed to possess the ability to connect to an individual's soul -- albeit with horrifying consequences. The dangerous nature and rarity of the vithrack combined with their inhuman physiology have still proven to be insurmountable obstacles in understanding how their powers work. Still, the animancers had a few other leads to follow. Over a century ago, during the Broken Stone War, soldiers in the Dyrwood reported wild tales of having their minds invaded, of seeing comrades lose control of themselves, of orlan and elven Glanfathan warriors wielding knives engulfed in purple flames that "cut away" the souls of their victims. The war was a new experience for everyone involved, so many Dyrwoodans dismissed many of the more outlandish tales over time. But over the decades that followed, more settlers reported similar violent encounters with Glanfathan guerilla fighters. In the War of Black Trees, Dyrwoodan animancers confirmed many of these experiences across a wide number of soldiers and settlers. However, with Dyrwoodan settlers in a state of war with the population of Eir Glanfath, the researchers couldn't find many Glanfathans who were willing to talk about it. After the Dyrwoodan revolution for independence, the Dyrwood officially stopped the Aedyr Empire's practice of exploring and plundering Eir Glanfath's sacred ruins -- the practice that had ignited the earlier wars between Dyrwoodan settlers and Glanfathans. In the years that followed, the tribal princes of Eir Glanfath allowed Dyrwoodan animancers to speak with some of their brîshalgwin ("mind hunters"), the elite warriors that had terrorized Aedyrans and Dyrwoodans in past wars. From the brîshalgwin, the animancers learned that Glanfathans had developed mental abilities that allowed them to perceive and contact what animancers categorized as "housed" souls, i.e., souls held within a physical vessel. They initially developed these talents in an attempt to communicate with souls held in the Engwithan ruins they were sworn to protect. When the tribal princes outlawed this practice as disrespectful and dangerous, their councilors advised the princes to turn the efforts of the brîshalgwin towards protecting the ruins and developing new methods of warfare. Standing stones of adra like these were carelessly knocked down by early Dyrwoodan colonists, starting a conflict with the local Glanfathans that erupted into what became known as the Broken Stone War. Excited by these revelations, animancers in Defiance Bay began working with the brîshalgwin, whom the animancers had previously described as "ciphers" due to their mysterious nature. Given Dyrwoodans' general discomfort with the Glanfathan language, the cipher name stuck and continues to be used in everyday conversation. For decades now, the ciphers and animancers have worked together, each generating new ideas and expanding their collective understanding of soul manipulation. Today, Dyrwoodans and foreign visitors from Aedyr, the Vailian Republics -- even distant Rauatai -- have learned and expanded the ciphers' growing field of techniques. Recently, encouraged by the potential the ciphers have shown and dismissive of the superstitious concerns of locals, Lady Webb, a prominent noble and advisor to the duc, petitioned the Dyrwood's erls to create a spy service in Defiance Bay consisting primarily of ciphers. The erls approved, creating what would become known as Dunryd Row, a respected, if somewhat feared and mistrusted, organization that operates out of an old, vine-covered house in the city's Brackenbury District. Though ciphers' powers are still being explored, unlocked, and debated across the civilized world, most people recognize that their abilities hold great potential -- for good or ill -- in the cultures that develop them.
  12. We love giving players options: character build options, personality options, story options -- all the options you might want to play around with. We recognize that many players also want to play the game their way and have an experience that matches their particular RPG tastes. RPG fans share a lot of common ground, but on matters of visible mechanical feedback, complexity, and the overall level of punitive face-punching a game provides, there's a big spectrum of opinions. In a lot of cases, it's not too hard for us to provide options to turn an individual feature on or off, so we want to make that possible when resources permit us to do so. Additionally, even among the ranks of RPG superfans, there exists a subset of players who can't get enough challenge. They want all of the difficulty features set to "I am pro." Collectively, we've worked on a bunch of these challenge modes in the past and enjoyed the results. Project Eternity seems like a very appropriate place to highlight suites of these difficulty options as distinct gameplay modes that players can opt-into at the beginning of any game. We've come up with three modes we'd like to support, which also includes the ability to turn many of their sub-features on and off on an individual level in an ordinary game: Expert Mode, Trial of Iron, and Path of the Damned. Expert Mode will disable all of the common ease-of-use / in-case-you-missed it gameplay elements like the display of skill thresholds, influence/reputation modifiers, and similar "helper" information. In a fashion similar to Fallout: New Vegas' Hardcore Mode, Expert Mode will also enable more punitive and demanding gameplay elements, in and out of combat. We're not saying we're going to have weighty gold (for real, we're not saying that), but if we did, you can bet that would be automatically turned on by Expert Mode. If you guessed that Trial of Iron is like Temple of Elemental Evil's Ironman Mode, you guessed right. When you start a Trial of Iron game, you have one save game that persists for the entire campaign... or until you die. And if you die, your save game is deleted. Enjoy! Path of the Damned is a spiritual successor to Icewind Dale's Heart of Fury mode. In our encounters, we like to turn individual combatants on and off based on the level of difficulty. If you come into an area on Easy, maybe casters are replaced with weak melee enemies. If you come in on Hard, maybe the casters are augmented by a tough melee enemy or two. With Path of the Damned, that goes out the window. All enemies from all levels of difficulty are enabled and the combat mechanics are amplified to make battles much more brutal for everyone involved. The first question you may have is, "Can I enable multiple challenge modes at once?" Yep, you sure can. They have to be selected at the beginning of the game, but if you want to play with two or all three at the same time, you can certainly can do so. If you're not quite sure you want all of the elements that come along with a given mode, this funding level will also cover implementing the ability to enable and disable the individual sub-features. Along with these modes, we also want to introduce the Godlike races. These folks have been described previously as being similar to the humanoid "planetouched" in D&D: aasimar, tieflings, and genasi. That is a good high-level description of them, but they are viewed differently by various factions, faiths, and cultures in the world of Project Eternity. Godlike were "blessed" before birth by one or more of the meddling deities of this world. Though their appearances vary, they are unmistakeably otherworldly when anyone gets a clear look at them. Sometimes, the reaction they get is overwhelmingly positive. Many times, the reaction is overwhelmingly not. For better or worse, the physical "gifts" that mark them as Godlike always come with supernatural blessings (and curses) of their own. The first question you may have after reading this may be, "Hey, what about the other races that have already been funded?" Those races are in the process of being fully designed and concepted -- and they can't be summarized quite as simply as "sort of like planetouched". We'll have more for you on those guys in the not-too-distant future. Thanks again for your support, your patience, and your questions. Update from Josh Sawyer In addition to today's update, we've got a few backer badges for you, including one for the fantastic Obsidian Order of Eternity! @Obsidian
  13. By Brandon Adler, Producer Hey, everyone. As you know, over the past six weeks we have been working on our first production milestone - the cleverly titled Production 01 milestone. Our first target has been Defiance Bay (our first BIG city) and the team has been busting their collective butts to get as much fantasy roleplaying goodness as possible into the city. In George Ziets' own words, "Defiance Bay is the capital and largest city in the Dyrwood, gateway to the riches of Glanfath, teeming with adventurers and explorers from all over the region. Defiance Bay is a city of the common people, where the most prominent and respected citizens are self-made men. It stands at the forefront of experimentation in soul magic and exemplifies the age of discovery." A ton has been accomplished in a pretty short amount of time and we would like to share some of it with you. New Hires April Giron April is our new Art Intern. She has been doing an amazing job in creating the interiors that populate Defiance Bay. Holly Prado Holly is an Environment Artist that joined us about a week ago. She has already made a large contribution in filling out the existing areas with new props. Matt Perez Matt is a new Design Intern. Along with creating NPCs, quests, and blockouts, he also does maintenance work on areas (hooking up transitions, loot passes, encounters, etc.). Ryan Torres Like Matt, Ryan is one of our new Design Interns. He also creates dialogues, quests, and blockouts. Brian Macintosh Brian is Project Eternity's Programming Intern. While he has been implementing many features, he most closely works with the Concept Artists to get our UI to Alpha. Areas Art The Environment Artists have wasted no time in constructing an expansive Defiance Bay. For this first milestone our target was to get three of Defiance Bay's districts to Alpha level quality. It was a little ambitious, but the team did really well. The city feels full of life and character. I am pretty impressed with the speed that the team is able to get all of this together. Design While the Environment Art team is busy filling out the visuals, the Area Design team is meticulously planning and executing quests, NPC dialogs, and other goodies throughout the city. They were able to get three of the city's districts completely blocked out in under a week. Considering the size of the city, it is a pretty good accomplishment. Two of those districts are now at an Alpha level and even at an early stage, are a lot of fun to play. In addition to that, our two new Design Interns - Matt and Ryan - have been filling in the areas with smaller quests and NPCs. It is really starting to make the city feel alive. Characters Creatures The Concept Artists, Animators, and Character Artists have been burning through our creatures. We are taking a different approach in Project Eternity than we have on other projects. Instead of taking a creature from concept to a final, polished product, we have been taking creatures to a blockout stage before moving to the next. This allows us to get creatures into the game much more quickly. It also lets us be more flexible with how we spend our polish time. Overall, we think it will lead to a better experience. Even with this short amount of time, we have been able to get about eight different creatures into the game. Since it would be pretty mean of me to talk about the creatures without showing one, here is a small taste of one of my "favorites" - the wicht. I think Josh's description says it best: "Wichts are the bodies of children that were born without souls, grew to adolescence, and were then possessed by a malevolent lost soul or soul fragment that has been artificially inserted through animancy. This process arrests their physical development and transforms their outward appearance, leaving no doubt as to what they are." Items In addition to the creatures, our Character Artists have been filling out the remaining armor sets that are left. We have all of our basic armors in place for all of our races. This is a pretty significant feat this early in the project. Now that we are done with the base item and armor sets, we can focus on making magic and unique variants. Features Journal We now have a fully functional quest journal in place that allows players to see their quest progress. The UI is currently being implemented, but it is looking great. Conversations While we have been getting more and more Alpha UI into the game, I was particularly happy with how the conversation UI came out. Take a look for yourself, though. Even though this is still a work in progress, I think everyone did a great job. Let us know what you think of the conversation UI in our forums. Stronghold Tim went on a tear and got most of the backend systems for the player stronghold in place. There are a ton of really fun things you can do with your stronghold like sending companions on missions, buying rare loot off of merchants, building upgrades, and even purchasing hirelings to defend your keep from attack. Watching Tim's stronghold get robbed blind because he has low security and high prestige never gets old. World Map Eternity now has a fully functional world map. When the party enters a qualifying transition, the world map appears. Players can then select to travel to a location by selecting that icon on the map. Fog of War One focus for this milestone was to get our Fog of War system in place. Beyond a few tweaks, Adam is pretty close to slaying that beast. It's a really robust system he created that takes some inspiration from rogue-like games. Using Adam's tool, designers can quickly create a fog map, edit it, and set locations that should only be revealed at specific times. AI Steve, our AI Programmer, has been putting work into spellcasting AI this milestone and it is coming out nicely. Enemies are more crafty than they were now that they are casting spells intelligently. There's going to be even more AI work - roles for our enemy AIs, for example - put into our next milestone. 10k Backer We had our first $10,000 backer, Timothy, come for a visit. We all had a blast and it was great to meet one of our fans and show him the game. We even have a picture of Timothy preparing for Josh Sawyer's inevitable betrayal. Josh Sawyer on Game Design Lastly, I will leave you with a video that Josh put together about the importance of real-world knowledge in game design. Take a look. Well, that's it for now. See you guys again in a couple of weeks.
  14. Hail, elves. It's been a while since we've had a mechanics update, so I'd like to cover a variety of topics today: the basics of our "non-core" classes, our cooldown system (or lack thereof), an update on how attacks are resolved, and another update on the evolution of our armor system. I'd also like to show you a dungeon tileset test render and some sweet shakycam of some of the combat basics running in engine. Non-Core Classes We've previously discussed the design of our "core four" classes: fighter, priest, rogue, and wizard. The non-core classes are the other seven: barbarian, paladin, ranger, druid, monk, chanter, and cipher. Like the core four classes, the non-core classes all start the game with two active or modal abilities and one passive ability. When it comes to the balance of active/modal and passive options, the classes generally reflect their D&D counterparts, with spellcasters having more active use abilities and weapon-based classes being oriented toward more passive or modal abilities. Even so, it will be possible to push a spellcaster toward more passive talents and to optionally buy more active/modal abilities for traditionally low-maintenance characters. While all classes will have many more abilities as they advance, here are some basic elements for each of the seven classes. Barbarians can use Wild Sprint a limited number of times per day, allowing them to rapidly rush across the battlefield to a distant target while ignoring hazards along the way. Paladins have limited healing capabilities, but their Revive command allows them to instantly snap an unconscious ally awake with a large Stamina boost. Rangers' animal companions are so closely bonded to their masters that they share Stamina and Health pools, which can be both a blessing and a curse. Druids can Shapeshift into animal forms, gaining natural -- and some supernatural -- abilities associated with those creatures. Monks absorb a portion of incoming damage and convert it into a Wounds resource they can use to power their soul-based abilities (such as Stunning Blows) through any weapons they use, including unarmed strikes. Chanters begin the game with a number of phrases they can arrange to form songs with different effects. Aefyllath Ues Mith Fyr is a phrase that causes allies' weapons to emit magical flames. Cipher powers often gain intensity as they maintain focus. Their basic Mind Jab starts as a minor irritant but can build to inflict devastating damage. Cooldowns Early on, some folks asked about cooldowns and both Tim and I agreed that we weren't opposed to using them in some form if it made sense for our mechanics. To be more explicit about it, the only way in which we are currently using anything cooldown-like is for per-encounter and per-rest abilities. Per-encounter abilities can be used a number of times in an encounter and are then disabled until combat ends. Per-rest abilities can be used a number of times after resting before you must rest to recover them. We've previously discussed grimoire-switching for wizards possibly invoking a cooldown. It's more likely that grimoire-switching will be limited through the inventory system and not by a cooldown. We also have modal abilities that can be turned on and off at will, with some abilities being exclusive to others, meaning you can only have one active at a time. Attack Resolution I've talked about this a bunch on the forums, but not in an update. All attacks in Project Eternity compare the attacker's Accuracy value to one of four defenses: Deflection (direct melee and ranged attacks), Fortitude (body system attacks like poison and disease), Reflexes (area of effect damage attacks), and Willpower (mental attacks). A number between 1 and 100 is generated to determine the attack rules. If the Accuracy and target defense are the same value, these are how the results break down: 01-05 = Miss 06-50 = Graze 51-95 = Hit 96-100 = Critical Hit A Hit is the standard damage and duration effects, a Graze is 50% minimum damage or duration, a Critical Hit is 150% maximum damage or duration, and a Miss has no effect. In a balanced Attack and defense scenario, the majority of attacks wind up being Hits or Grazes. If the Accuracy and defense values are out of balance, the windows for each result shift accordingly, while always allowing for the possibility of a Graze or a Hit at the extreme ends of the spectrum. Damage Type vs. Armor Type We've previously talked about how different weapon damage types (Slash, Crush, and Pierce) fare against Damage Threshold (DT) in the game. We implemented that system and found that while it worked well on paper and scaled well, it was unintuitive when put into the game. It was not possible for players to make informed decisions about what weapons to use against a given armor type because doing so required making relative damage vs. DT calculations for all weapon types, i.e. having a spreadsheet open for comparison at all times. In light of this, we are going to try a more explicit damage type vs. armor type model where armor, regardless of its DT, has a familiar weight classification: Light, Medium, and Heavy. Damage types are either good or bad against a given weight classification. When a damage type is "bad" against an armor type, it does half damage before DT is applied, making it very inefficient. Within the "good" types of damage, there's still an efficiency curve against DT for meticulous players to figure out, but it has less impact than avoiding "bad" damage types in the first place. Energy-based attacks (like most spells) oppose a different characteristic of the armor, its substance type (Natural, Armor, or Spirit) and like damage types, have good and bad opposition characteristics. Weapon bonus damage that is energy-based is applied to the target separately, but at a fractional DT value matching the bonus damage. E.g. if a sword has a fire effect that does +15% the sword's damage, it is opposed by 15% of the target's Damage Threshold. Tileset Trials and Tribulations Environment artist Sean Dunny has been experimenting with building tilesets for our dungeons. "Tilesets?!" you may be saying (or thinking). It may be a surprise, but many Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment levels started from a tileset or modular unit base. We use these tilesets to generate basic renders for testing layout, navigation, and combat. Once we like the basic layout, we refine it by adding additional "meta" (special) tiles, modifying the tiles individually in the layout, adding lights, and of course having an artist do a 2D touchup pass. That's all for this week. Thanks for reading! Update by Josh Sawyer
  15. Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director We've got a lot of things in progress on Project Eternity right now. As Darren wrote in the last update, we're winding down our first prototype. We just did an audit of the work that remains from the first prototype and where we will be going with the next prototype. Our first prototype allowed us to prove a lot of the basics of movement, character design, stealth, combat controls, inventory, resting, quests, scripted skill interactions, dialogue, status effects, and the ability and spell systems. There's still a lot of work to do on all of those elements, but by the end of the prototype, it really did have "that IE feel". How I organized and moved my characters, how I used them differently in combat, how I explored areas very much captured the feeling of the Infinity Engine games in gorgeous high-res environments. So where do we go from here? First, we're going to try another approach to building interior environments to make sure we can capture as much of the organic feeling of the classic levels as we can. Second, we're going to continue to build up the dynamic elements of environment to make them feel more alive. We already have dynamic water, but we have more work to do on with elements like trees, grass, ambient visual effects, and our day/night cycle. We'll be showing you the results of those experiments in two weeks. Third, we're going to continue to develop more advanced gameplay features like fog of war, character voice sets, crafting, stores, AI patrols, and the melee engagement system. In case you're wondering about the story, we've been working on both a lot lately as well. We really want Project Eternity to strike the right balance of elements: to introduce you to this new setting, to make you feel personally invested in your choices, to engage you with the personalities and factions involved in the conflict, and to give you all of the freedom you've come to expect from an Obsidian RPG. It's a long process, but we're feeling very positive and excited about where we're going, which is always a good thing. Thanks for reading and, as always, thanks for your continued support. I'll be back in two weeks to show you our exterior environment running with all the bells and whistles in place! Planescape: Torment Retrospective Article by Darren Monahan, the Named One Back before Obsidian was a company, many of us worked at Black Isle Studios, the RPG arm of Interplay Entertainment. One of the games a number of us helped create was Planescape: Torment, an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons based RPG set in the Planescape campaign setting. As many of you already know, the guys at InXile recently launched the Torment: Tides of Numenera Kickstarter. They’re getting a lot of the “old band back together” to work on this thematic successor. One cool thing they’re generously offering to all Project Eternity backers (whether or not you back Torment) is a Planescape: Torment Retrospective featuring developer diaries and blogs from many of the original developers, including quite a few former and current Obsidian devs. They’ve got nine days left, so if you haven’t checked it out yet, we encourage you to do so quickly! Please join me in thanking Brian, Kevin, and everyone at InXile! Kickin’ it Forward: Dwarven Forge’s Game Tiles Article by Darren Monahan, level 1 rogue/level 1 swashbuckler So, several of us on the Project Eternity and South Park teams are playing a D&D 3.5E campaign at lunch a few days each week. While they’re short sessions, this is no small production - we’re using a bunch of miniatures and tilesets for the campaign, many of which our DM (and Eternity designer), Bobby Null, has acquired over the years from Dwarven Forge. He came into work Monday incredibly geeked up because the folks at Dwarven Forge launched a new Kickstarter, which we got right into and backed. If you’re in to playing D&D and really want to get immersed, they make some incredible tilesets. Here’s a few samples from our game! (Note, these aren’t the exact tiles they kickstarted, but rather just some cool examples of their prior work.) Go check it out here! Thanks, and we'll see you next week!
  16. Armor Design Design update from Josh Sawyer Let's talk about armor design. Taken on its own, armor design isn't of eminent importance. It's just one of many subsystems that make up Project Eternity. However, looking at it in detail can expose problems that can be found across our various subsystems: by making something work well in a new system and setting, we can often put it at odds with the nostalgia of the old games (and "realism"). Back in the days of 2nd Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, we had all sorts of quasi- or non-historical armor types like banded mail, ring mail, and studded leather. You wore the heaviest armor you could because it typically had the best Armor Class. If plate mail was available, there weren't many reasons to wear splint mail or (horror of horrors) chain.The default rules limited the viability of certain character concepts because most characters of a given class were funneled down a specific equipment path. 3E sort of solved this problem by implementing Maximum Dexterity Bonus, which meant that characters with high Dexterity scores would generally equip whatever armor gave them the maximum bonus to Armor Class without capping the Armor Class bonus they received from Dexterity. There were a few problems with this. First, while it did help make previously "bad" character concepts (e.g., the lightly armored fighter) more viable, generally there were one or two choices per character build. If you had a high dexterity, you were not going to wear heavy armor. If you had a low Dexterity, you might wear light armor, but only for the higher movement rate it allowed. Second, there was an equipment dead zone in medium armor -- the Maximum Dexterity Bonus caps and movement penalties of heavy armor without the nice Armor Class bonus. Also, if you were a ranger or barbarian, technically you could wear medium armor, but in practice you would never wear it because it disabled several class abilities. The third issue is a common one with armor design: the ability to wear heavy armor has value (classes receive it as a benefit and it costs feats to purchase in 3E), but it's presented as something with trade-offs. This in itself is not bad, but as previously mentioned, typically the decision of what type of armor to wear can more-or-less be made at the end of character creation. If your character wears a chain shirt at 1st level, there's a good chance he or she will be wearing a +5 version toward the end of the campaign. This is sort of nice because it means that you can have a consistently viable character concept, but there's not a ton of decision making about armor types after your adventuring career starts. Finally, there's a way of naming and progressing things in A/D&D. Once you get your "base" armors introduced (for our purposes, we will include plate armor and its 2nd Edition kin, field plate and full plate), upgrades are expressed as +1 versions. It becomes pretty easy to understand once the hierarchical relationship and spread of armor types are established. What does this mean for Project Eternity? It means designing a new armor system that rectifies deficiencies of older systems while maintaining a familiar feel is tricky. Additionally, the more dissimilar the armor relationships are to those found in A/D&D, the more they will be re-evaluated for verisimilitude (i.e. "realism"). We would like our armor system to accomplish the following goals: Make wearing different types of armor a real choice for the player based on both character build and circumstance. E.g. a swashbuckling lightly-armored fighter will tend to wear one of a variety of light armor types (maybe a gambeson or leather cuirass), but in a circumstance where protection is of utmost importance, the player may still choose to wear heavy armor with a loss in build optimization. Disassociate armor value from class type in favor of different build types. E.g. a wizard can wear heavy armor and be a different type of wizard instead of just "a wizard who is bad". Allow a character to maintain a character concept throughout the game without suffering extreme mechanical penalties. E.g. a character who starts the game in some form of light armor can complete the game in some form of light armor with appropriate gameplay trade-offs compared to wearing heavy armor. Introduce new or upgraded armor types throughout the game instead of using ++ versions (which in itself would pose problems unless we directly duplicated A/D&D's d20-based attack mechanics). Even with these three goals, there are a number of problems to solve. One of the biggest questions is how to break up and "advance" armor by type. In AD&D, you had something that looked like this: Padded Leather Studded Leather Hide Scale Chain Splint Plate (Tier 2) Field Plate (Tier 3) Full Plate (Tier 4) Players typically couldn't afford plate, field plate, or full plate at character creation, but everything else was often within reach. It's not uncommon to see a hierarchy of armor types like this in many fantasy games, despite some of the questionable elements (did studded leather exist? Is raw hide armor actually better than cuirbolli leather?). You can get plate/field plate/full plate later in the game, but otherwise, you're getting +x versions of the base types at higher "tiers" of character advancement. We could (as an example) structure some of Project Eternity's armor advancement like this. Tier 1 Doublet Hide Armor Scale Vest Tier 2 Gambeson (from Doublet) Leather Cuirass (from Hide Armor) Scale Armor (from Scale Vest) Mail Shirt Tier 3 Armored Jack (from Gambeson) Leather Armor (from Leather Cuirass) Lamellar Armor (from Scale Armor) Mail Armor (from Mail Shirt) Half-Plate This could probably accomplish our stated goals (we can assign them whatever stats we'd like, after all), but it does raise some questions for us: Should something like hide armor be supplanted/made obsolete by leather as an "improved version" or does that effectively kill the visual concept of the rough-hewn rawhide-wearing ranger or barbarian? If armor types like hide (or scale, or mail) should remain viable on their own, how should that "upgrade" be expressed to the player? Functional descriptors like "fine scale", "superior hide", etc.? Cultural or material descriptors like "Vailian doublet", "iron feather scale"? Olde tyme numerical descriptors like "scale armor +1", "half-plate +2"? Is it okay for an upgrade from a visual type of armor to maintain its relative position to other armor types even if "realistically" that upgraded armor is now probably superior in protection to other armor types? E.g. an armored jack or brigandine armor is probably more protective than even nice suit of leather armor... but mechanically, we're presenting it as an upgrade of a padded (doublet) armor type. These are the sort of things we have been discussing and I have been thinking about. And while it is just one subsystem in Project Eternity, we will likely face many similar considerations as we approach the design of weapons, classes, spells, and other aspects of gameplay. I'm sure a lot of you have opinions on what you'd like to see, so please let us know on our forums! Our next design update will be in two weeks and will focus on lore and story elements. Thanks for reading! Fulfillment System Fulfillment update from Darren Monahan We’ve received a number of questions via our Support e-mail address and social networks about fulfillment, and I wanted to talk a little bit about what we’re currently working on! First off, I wanted to announce that we’re developing a fulfillment site, which we’re hoping to have online in the next month or two (I was hoping to have it up sooner, but my first baby is coming into the world in the next few days, eeep!). Everyone who backed the project on Kickstarter and/or PayPal will be e-mailed details that will give you credit on that site. After logging in, you will be able to: Confirm the tier of choice that you wanted. A few of you donated on Kickstarter, and then topped up via PayPal, so you’ll be able to select the exact tier you wanted. Confirm any add-ons you wanted that weren’t easy to specify on Kickstarter or via PayPal. Upgrade your pledge to another tier, or add on for, ummm, add-ons. Update your e-mail address at any time. Update your shipping address at any time. (Shipping address only needed for physical goods – we don’t need that info for digital orders.) Indicate any specific details associated with your tier (T-shirt sizes, name in the credits, etc.) If you live outside of the USA, it will also verify that you’ve added enough shipping. We’ll keep you guys updated in future, ummm, updates, on how progress is coming along! Here’s an update to our FAQ on some of the questions we’ve been receiving recently: Q: I donated on PayPal and besides a receipt from PayPal I haven’t gotten confirmation from Obsidian directly. A: Not a problem. When the fulfillment site goes live, we’ll be merging the Kickstarter and PayPal data together into our own system, and from there we’ll be sending out project updates. For now, as long as you received a PayPal receipt, we’ll have you on file. Q: I need to change my e-mail address before you send out details on the Fulfillment site. What do I do? A: Send us an e-mail at support@obsidian.net with your old and new addresses (please e-mail from your old address if you can) and we’ll update our records before the fulfillment site e-mails go out. Q: How do I add shipping? I missed being able to during the Kickstarter phase! A: You can handle that in one of several ways: You can hang tight for now and wait until our fulfillment system is online, or, If you’d prefer to get it out of the way, you can visit our Shipping page and add it now (Amazon Payments and PayPal supported.) Q: When will I get my backer badge on the forums? A: That’ll come online with the fulfillment system. If you have any other questions, feel free to visit our forums or drop us a line at support@obsidian.net! For more news about Project Eternity and Obsidian, follow us on: Twitter, Facebook, and our YouTube channel
  17. Hello, friends. The elves have been hard at work on Project Eternity, and we would like to show you our fine goods. This is a long update, but we wanted to give you more information than usual since it's the end of the year and we will be in our elfhomes for the next few weeks. First, I'd like to talk about what we've been doing with the engine and second, I'd like to talk about some of the design work we've been doing. Resolution and Scaling - We want to run the game at various resolutions and scale properly. We've been talking about our target resolutions and looking at the best way to implement scaling. If you've played any of the Infinity Engine games lately, you may have noticed that running at high resolutions can make the game look like an RTS. Though it's nice to be able to scale up and see more of the environment, at a certain point dungeons start looking like ant farms. That's what happens when you take a game designed for 640x480 and run it at more than double the resolution. It is now the year 2012, so we're looking at supporting a range of resolutions that runs from modest laptops to Macs with crazy Retina displays. To do this, we're going to render the game out at a target high resolution and a target low resolution. Currently, we're looking at a base resolution of 1280x720. A large number of laptops run at this resolution or its slightly bigger brother, 1366x768. It's not quite twice the resolution of the original games (640x480) due to the 16:9 aspect ratio, but pretty close. We believe that this base resolution will scale well up to 1920x1080, which would be roughly equivalent to going from 640x480 to 1024x768. In the old IE games, this gave you a slightly larger view of the world, but didn't get too crazy. For our higher resolution, we are likely going to render out to a ~2560x1440 screen size, as we did with our environment during the Kickstarter campaign. We will likely downsample these to run at 1920x1080. With resolutions above "mere" Retina displays, we will zoom out, which should allow the backgrounds to scale into outer space (close enough, anyway). Movement and Combat Feel - We've been working on implementing all of the basics of party selection, movement, and combat. This includes working on personal space, ally and enemy pathing, friendly "bumping" during movement, ranges of melee attacks, attack timing and delays, target selection, and response time. A lot of work goes into making these elements feel good and feel "IE-ish" (while excluding the IE-ish things we didn't like). We’ve also been building block-in weapon meshes and putting them in the game to see how they look in terms of scale. This has gone well, but we're still working on proportions. Some thin weapons, like stilettos, rapiers, and estocs, can be very difficult to discern, especially at lower resolutions. Their thicker cousins, daggers, swords, and greatswords, need to be "beefed up" a small amount to help distinguish them. Even though we need to make a few slight adjustments, our overall approach of making weapons with realistic... ish proportions is working well and feels similar to the characters and weapons found in Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale. Along with implementing the visuals of the weapons, we're experimenting with weapon statistics and mechanics. Weapons are currently classified as slashing, piercing, or crushing, which is a pretty common division of types. We're not currently using damage types vs. armor types in Project Eternity, but the damage types all have properties that suggest a certain type of usage. Slashing weapons do the most damage when compared to their counterparts from other categories. E.g., if you compare a greatsword to an estoc to a maul, the greatsword does the most damage. When targets have little to no armor, slashing weapons are the ideal choice. Piercing weapons negate a fixed amount of Damage Threshold, which is the primary way in which armor reduces damage. Though they don't do as much damage as slashing or crushing weapons, their ability to ignore even moderately heavy armor means that it is superior to other weapons in those circumstances. While armor can negate a large amount of damage, there's always a small amount that gets through. Crushing weapons do much more through armor, which makes them the best choice when dealing with very heavily armored targets. So far, this works well on paper, scales well, and seems to hold up in the game, but it is very "mathy" and not necessarily intuitive because you can't always guess a target's Damage Threshold simply by looking at them (as opposed to armor types, which are usually visually apparent). We will continue to experiment with this to see how it feels in the long run. Our goals are to provide tactical challenges to the player and give them to feedback and tools to adapt and overcome when they're in a difficult spot. UI Design - Tim and I have been talking about our user interfaces recently. We want to make sure that we improve the functionality of the original designs without completely losing the feeling of those interfaces. One thing we want to avoid is making the UI too "minimalist". We don't want it to feel bloated, of course, but we also recognize that the IE games had "solid" interfaces. They looked like they were made of materials -- wood, stone, and metal -- and had substance to them. When you look at the interfaces for the IE games, they help immerse you in each setting. We'd like to do the same for Project Eternity. Functionally, we're using Icewind Dale II as our starting point. We've been looking at inventory recently. Tim and I have designed a system that uses three types of gear storage: equipment, top of pack (this name may change!), and stash. Equipment is what your characters are currently using and have ready to use. This includes weapon sets that you can swap between during combat. "Top of pack" is a finite amount of gear that you can access outside of combat for a variety of purposes: replenishing consumables, checking out a shiny new sword you picked up a while back, etc. The top of pack cannot be accessed during combat, but is present as a strategic pool of items that you can access while exploring. The stash is where all of the "other stuff" goes: things you aren't using, items you want to sell, and various doo-dads you'll be looking at later. When you find gear, you have the option of placing it wherever you'd like as long as there's room for it. You can use it immediately, put it in your top of pack, or just chuck it in the stash. Once an object is in the stash, you can access it at camps, your home, and similar locations. We've created this division of inventory space to add strategy to your gear loadout decisions instead of having a weight limit, while also allowing flexibility for backup equipment. Most importantly, it doesn't prevent you from doing what adventurers love to do most: loot everything they find that isn't bolted down. Core Four Class Design and Advancement - We want our classes to feel familiar but flexible, so we've designed our "core four" (fighter, priest, rogue, wizard) to reflect traditional D&D roles and allow you to build outside of them. In our current design, each of the classes starts with two active use or modal abilities and one passive bonus. Fighter Defender (Mode) - In the Defender mode, fighters' melee attack rates decrease while their melee defenses increase. This is a particularly useful mode to enter when a fighter is blocking a route of attack to protect other party members. Surge - This active ability allows fighters to rapidly regenerate Stamina for a short period of time. Melee Accuracy - Fighters have inherent skill with melee weapons that is reflected by a small accuracy bonus. Priest 1st Level Priest Spells - Priests gain access to all 1st level priest spells. Priests can cast a fixed number of 1st level spells before they must rest to recover their uses. They can cast any combination of different spells up to the per-rest limit. As priests gain levels, their 1st level spells will eventually become per-encounter resources. Recovery - The Recovery ability regenerates a modest amount of Stamina for allies (including the priest, if in range) in a Medium-sized area at Short range. Sacred Circle - All allies standing within a Small area around the priest gain Accuracy bonus. This bonus does not include the priest unless there are no conscious allies in range, in which case it applies to the priest. Rogue Escape - The rogue may hop a short distance away and all hostiles lose him or her as a direct target for 3 seconds. After the 3 seconds are up, enemies can target the rogue normally. Reversal - Reversal prepares the rogue for the next melee attack against him or her. When it hits, the rogue takes reduced damage and instantly rolls to the opposite side of the target and executes a powerful melee attack. This will even allow rogues to move past enemies that are fully blocking a path. Sneak Attack - This damage bonus applies whenever the rogue "flanks" an enemy or when the rogue is hidden from an enemy. Flanking means that the rogue is within a short distance of the target and on the "opposite" side of that enemy from an adjacent ally. Wizard 1st Level Wizard Spells - Wizards can access all 1st level wizard spells immediately. Unlike other wizard spell levels, the wizard does not need to find scrolls or grimoires to use any 1st level spells. Wizards can cast a fixed number of 1st level spells before they must rest to recover their uses. They can cast any combination of different spells up to the per-rest limit. As wizards gain levels, their 1st level spells will eventually become per-encounter resources. Blast - When wizards use any implement (i.e. a wand, rod, or scepter), they generate a Blast on the target. The Blast does a modest amount of damage to all enemies in a Small area around the target (excluding the target). Familiar - All wizards can summon and dismiss familiars. Familiars are mobile "totems" for the wizard, providing defensive bonuses to allies near them and inflicting defensive penalties to enemies near them. Players can also access the master's spell list through the familiar, though casting a spell through the familiar still requires the master to physically cast it; it's simply targeted from the familiar. Familiars are weak and fragile. If a familiar is killed, the wizard takes damage and is unable to summon his or her familiar until he or she rests again. As players advance their characters, they have the ability to choose class-specific abilities and more class-neutral talents (more like perks or feats) to customize their character capabilities. If you want to keep your fighters very low maintenance, there are a large number of passive fighter abilities and combat-oriented talents that you can buy. If you'd like to make a fighter that's much more "active-use" (more like a 4E fighter), you can choose to buy more modal and active abilities. Similarly, while all wizards gain additional spells, you can use talents to boost a wizard's damage with implement weapons and Blasts, making them more useful when you're not having them chain-cast a series of limited-use spells. The same also applies to skills, which are used for a variety of non-combat purposes. All classes start out with bonuses in the skills that their classes most commonly use, but players can choose to reinforce or play against that top. If you want to make a paladin who delights in picking locks, you can do that and get a lot of utility out of the skill -- though the character will never be quite as good as a rogue who specializes in it. We hope that these approaches use the strengths of a "role-ready" class system while allowing players a large amount of helpful flexibility in how they develop characters over a (hopefully) long and fruitful adventuring career. That's all for this week, and this year! We'll be back in January with more details on what we're up to and where we're going in the months to come. Thanks for reading! Update from Josh Sawyer
  18. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qto3oORvRf4&feature=youtu.be Today's update isn't about lore as much as it is about the focus and process of developing our central plot. I'm not going to spoil any details of the story, but I do want to share what we're working on. When we develop stories at Obsidian, we often ask ourselves (and each other), "What's the conflict and why do I care about it?" and, "What is my range of roles in resolving the conflict?" "RPG" means a lot of different things to different people. For us, it's important to let the player decide who he or she is in the story. That means when you set aside class, race, magic missiles, and all of the other goodies, the player needs to be able to define his or her own motivations, attitudes toward others, and ways of resolving problems in the story. Finding the right level of player freedom and clarity of purpose can be difficult. It's tricky to develop scenarios that can convincingly motivate characters of many races and classes, many backgrounds, and many moral and ethical stances. A conflict that is too "hands-off" or impersonal (e.g. a political conflict that doesn't directly involve the player) can make it difficult for players to connect to it. A conflict that is extremely personal may rub players the wrong way if it assumes too much about their character or if it feels like their choices don't have a large enough impact on the world around them. Because this is the first story your characters will shape in this world, we want to start with something small that grows into something larger. As we have hinted before, the story opens with the player's character witnessing a supernatural event that puts him or her in a difficult situation. The full ramifications of what you become a part of are not immediately apparent, but you quickly become aware that you have... new problems. Dealing with these problems makes you realize that resolving your situation is inexorably linked to the fates of many others. In some cases, these "others" are individuals. In others, they are much larger groups of people. You will get to interact with them all in various ways over the course of the story. If we do a good job in developing these groups and characters, the decisions you make in the course of resolving your problems will be interesting and difficult to make. That's what we're aiming for, but that doesn't necessarily tell you what we've been doing. On this project, the process started with a rough idea for a story and a theme that went along with it. The story itself wasn't that important; it was just an idea to get us moving. What followed were critiques of the story's premise, the unfolding of the plot, the player's motivation and involvement, and the scope of the conflicts the player faces from the beginning through the end. For the past few weeks, we've been exchanging various small ideas, big ideas, minor tweaks, radical overhauls, and brand new storylines. Through it all, we regularly return to the questions I posed up above: "What's the conflict and why do I care about it?" and, "What is my range of roles in resolving the conflict?" We can (and do) write about all sorts of character and location ideas, subplots and interesting takes on themes, but until we answer those questions in a way we believe will be compelling to your characters and all that they may be, we still have work to do. We like to develop fun ideas we come up with and every once in a while we delight at some clever character or situation we think of, but for us, it's more important for you to feel clever, for you to feel like you can take control of a situation -- by whatever means you see fit. Until we believe we have a few gems on our hands, we'll keep the Story Gnomes digging in the mines on your behalf. Thanks for reading. Update by Josh Sawyer PS: Chris says he will start playing Arcanum mid-January.
  19. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LtpG02bZDw The campaign is winding down folks, so it's time to bring out the proverbial big guns. In today's update, I'm going to be talking about a bunch of lore tidbits, a Campaign Almanac we'll be offering as an add-on, new BIG OL' stretch goals, and finally, a work-in-progress screenshot of an environment we're developing. As a quick reminder, we are getting close to 20,000 likes on Obsidian's Facebook page, which unlocks another level of the Mega Dungeon the Endless Paths – if you get the chance, please head on over there. That's a lot of stuff, so let's start with the... Lore After thinking about a variety of topics for today's lore update, I decided to describe some of the major (and a few minor) people, places, and things in the world of Project Eternity. I hope these elements help frame the landscape of the Dyrwood and Eír Glanfath. Though this corner of the world is not particularly large, the struggles of its residents will surround the heart of Project Eternity. Aedyr - People from the expansive Aedyr Empire and its former colonies, Dyrwood and Readceras. Aedyr literally translates as "Many Deer", but means "People of the Deer", referring to a 2,500 year-old tribe that became a kingdom 600 years ago. It merged with the elven kingdom of Kulklin in 2399 AI. Among the Aedyr, there is no significant cultural divide between humans and elves. Because of their close contact and integration in spite of physiological differences (such as longer elven lifespans), their culture and legal system have developed a variety of unique concepts such as the haemneg, or ceremonial marriage. Ethnic Aedyr (mostly humans and elves) have fair skin and a variety of hair and eye colors, with blue and green being common. Among other cultures, Aedyr clothing is known for being relatively simple in construction and often using large, colorful striped or checkered patterns for accents. Anni Iroccio - Year of Iroccio. This is the commonly-used calendar in and around the Dyrwood. It is only 150 years old and Vailian in origin, but has been adopted by the residents of Dyrwood and much of the surrounding area due to the hopeless inaccuracy of the Aedyre calendar. Though the Iroccian calendar replaced earlier Vailian calendars, the inventor, Iroccio, started from the same time as his predecessors. It is currently 2823 AI. biamhac - The most feared phenomenon of Eír Glanfath, biamhacs are "spirit winds" that rise up in cursed ruins, shearing souls away from the bodies of their owners. They appear suddenly and without warning, leaving victims little hope of escape. Strong-souled people are not harmed by biamhacs, but affected individuals are instantly reduced to a catatonic state. The discovery of numerous biamhacs in Eír Glanfath during its early exploration resulted in thousands of Aedyr deaths. Dyrwood - Strictly speaking, the forest northwest of the Bael River. Dyrwood, Free Palatinate of - The independent nation that was formerly a colony and later a large, remote duchy of the Aedyr Empire. Led by their duke, Admeth Hadret, the people successfully fought for their independence over an excessively burdensome campaign to colonize the dangerous ruins of Eír Glanfath. Despite the fact that they are no longer, properly speaking, a palatinate (nor a duchy), the people of Dyrwood continue to refer to their home as a "Free Palatinate" out of pride. Most residents of the Dyrwood are Aedyr humans, elves, and dwarves, but many are also culturally integrated orlans or children of Glanfathan elves. Despite having fought a war with the Aedyr Empire in the past, they are now trading partners and have maintained few grudges. Their one continued point of contention is exploration and colonization of Eír Glanfath, which Aedyr continues to push through official and unofficial means. Eír Glanfath - The name natives give to an indeterminately old elven kingdom that covered the entire forest southeast of the Bael River. Though they were not technologically advanced compared to contemporary civilizations, they had accomplished a number of architectural and astronomical feats that explorers and scholars are still trying to understand. Whatever the extent of Eír Glanfath's kingdom was, its ruins had been abandoned for centuries, possibly even millennia, before Vailians or Aedyr arrived in the area. The so-called "Glanfathan" elves in the forest seemed to have no cultural connection to the kingdom and were living in nomadic communities instead of the old structures. Eír Glanfath's ruins are not understood by anyone, and early misinterpretations over their significance resulted in two small-scale conflicts: The Broken Stone War and The War of Black Trees, the latter of which ended with a fire that consumed a vast section of the Dyrwood. Eothas - The Aedyran name for a god of light and redemption. While worship of Eothas is still popular in the Aedyr Empire and Readceras, the faith is outlawed in most cities of the Dyrwood due to events of the Saint's War that culminated at Godhammer Citadel. Though Eothas once communicated regularly with his faithful, he has not done so since the destruction of St. Waidwen at the Battle of Godhammer over 200 years ago. Hylspeak - An old dialect of Aedyran only spoken by rural communities and older elves in the Aedyre heartlands. It is grammatically almost identical to Aedyran, but contains a large number of archaic words that have either disappeared from contemporary use or taken new forms over time. Speakers of contemporary Aedyran can understand Hylspeak, but it can sometimes be confusing. Hylspeak is only commonly heard in folk songs and poems that have survived over the centuries. Some people associate the spontaneous speaking of Hylspeak with an awakened soul. As a result, superstitious folk are easily angered when they hear it spoken, believing it may cause their soul to remember a past life. Magran - The Aedyran name for a goddess of war and fire. Her priests commonly employ firearms and some helped construct the "Godhammer" bomb used to destroy St. Waidwen. Following the Saint's War, she became the most popular faith in Dyrwood. In Aedyr, her symbol is a flame, but in Dyrwood, it is a flaming bomb. Worship of Magran is extensively persecuted in Readceras. orlan - A race of people found mostly in northern, temperate climates but also as far south as the Dyrwood. Physically, they are notable for their small stature, two-toned skin, and exceptionally large, hair-covered ears. Due to their size, orlans have been victimized and marginalized by most of the cultures with whom they have come into contact. As a result, it is rare to find large communities of them and they have progressively retreated into heavily wooded environments over the last few centuries. Many orlan communities have also adopted brutal guerilla tactics including heavy use of traps and poison in the surrounding environment. As a result, even orlans raised in urban cultures often share their rural kin's nasty reputation. Readceras, The Penitential Regency of - The ecclesiastic nation that was formerly an Aedyre colony and later an independent theocratic dictatorship (the Divine Kingdom of Readceras). Two centuries ago, a popular religious movement took hold in the countryside, in part sparked by the collapse of the nation's vorlas (purple dye-producing plant) market, its resultant poverty, and general civil unrest. The leader of the movement was a farmer named Waidwen who claimed that the Aedyre god of light, Eothas, had appeared to him in the night and told him to punish the colonial governor for leading the people to ruin. Waidwen's success led to his apparent transformation into a living vessel for Eothas, after which he became the first and only "divine king" of the country. His rule produced a subsequent purge of heretics and followers of other faiths across the nation. Events related to this purge led to the Saint's War with Dyrwood, which informally ended in 2618 AI when Waidwen was apparently destroyed by a massive bomb north of Halgot Citadel (popularly renamed Godhammer Citadel). svef - Svef is the Aedyran name for a potent narcotic produced from the berries of small shrub that grows in the dry, distant mountains of Tal Kness. Svef produces hallucinations and, according to some, allows users to actually see their own soul. The narcotic was introduced to the Aedyr long ago, but it is used more frequently in the Dyrwood due to its heavy trafficking by Vailian merchants. Vailians - Most Vailians come from the Vailian Republics, a federation of independent city-states made up of former colonies from the Grand Empire of Vailia. They are a powerful mercantile force in the southern hemisphere, trading with more partners than any other nation or empire. Five cities are considered "grand" republics and have greater voting power in their electoral council: Spirento, Ancenze, Selona, Ozia, and Revua. The federation is widely known for its access to most major commodities in the world, including slaves, and for its habit of impressing (abducting) foreigners into service on their naval vessels. Ethnic Vailians (humans and a small number of dwarves) have dark brown skin and tightly spiraled, dark brown hair. They most commonly have brown or black eyes, but occasionally have green, hazel, or grey eyes. Vailians pride themselves on their well-made and intricately-decorated clothing, often made with rare materials and dyes to which they have easy access. That's a lotta lore! There's more lore where that came from, but to encapsulate all of the things going on in the world at this time, you'd probably need more space, like a book. Maybe a... Campaign Almanac Was that an awkward transition? A little. Is this actually an almanac? If you look at a "dictionary" to get "definitions", probably not, but that's what we're calling it. It's a PDF (and other formats) compendium of facts, figures, maps, lore and more about the world of Project Eternity. Looking to run a PnP campaign in the world of Project Eternity or just want even more detail on the world? This will be your first, of what we hope is many, "go-to" sources. And it will be a real (digital) thing that you can add to any pledge for $15. Also, if you've already pledged at the $50 tier or more, you get it for free! Big Ol' Stretch Goals You've asked for big stretch goals, and we're finally ready to give you some. These are mighty stretch goals, ones we're confident that a lot of people will enjoy but we know require serious funding to do well. $3.0 Million - Stronghold At $2.0 Million, your support funded a player house. Inspired by features like The Sink found in Fallout: New Vegas Old World Blues, the house is a convenient place to store gear, interact with companions, craft items (thanks to the $2.4 Million stretch goal), rest, and buy and sell from special merchants. Some of you wanted something that went beyond the standard player house, allowing you to take control of a full stronghold and its surrounding lands. Well-done strongholds provide players with the ability to make large scale changes, undertake special quests, customize the contents of the stronghold and the surrounding environment, and engage in light strategic gameplay between adventures. If we hit $3.0 Million, we will build a stronghold worthy of the title! $3.5 Million - Big City #2 Baldur's Gate and Athkatla are big cities. Spanning multiple large maps with a ton of interiors, characters and quests, big cities are a lot of fun. Like strongholds, they also take a lot of work to do well. We're going to have one big city in Project Eternity. Would you like two? If you take us on an exciting adventure to $3.5 Million, we will take you on an exciting adventure to another big city. Environment Screenshot Project Eternity's team of crazed environment artists have been working hard on developing our first environment for the game. Early on in the Kickstarter campaign, we told you that we wanted to make maps the Infinity Engine way. That is, we wanted to build 3D levels, render them out as 2D images, and then have our artists paint in beautiful details, highlights, and color-tweaks before they went into the game. Looking back at the levels some of us worked on for Icewind Dale, we were still thrilled with the quality that we could achieve with this approach. For Project Eternity, we're using 10 years of improvements in rendering technology and hardware to get the job done, but we still love what we can do the "old-fashioned" way. We hope you share our enthusiasm. 1920x1080 | 2560x1440 That's all for today's update! Thanks for reading. Update from Josh Sawyer
  20. I've been thinking about the above statement and you know what it really reminds me of? One of the best written dramas in the PE universe. That of Walril Blanc. Some called him a magician but he was really just a cook. He was known for creating svef and maintaining a relationship with the most feared and seedy elves in the region, known as Gusvaer Frieyngdir. Anyway, the drama is about Walril, along with his companion Jesgkki, trying his best to provide for his family to the best of his capabilities. He isn't a bad man, and while the story is about selling svef, you can't help bad for him. The drama was a huge success throughout the realms. -------------- If the quality of writing for PE is meant to be at the same quality as that of the drama of Walril, then I'm sure this game will be a smashing success.
  21. Josh was kind enough to take some time out and grant me an interview. You can find it here. I particularly loved his answer about where he derives some of his inpiration (outside of games) for Project Eternity. I also found a Chris Avellone interview conducted by "Obsolete Gamer". Not all of it is specific to PE but I'm guessing people here will appreciate it just the same. It does give some remarkable insight into how Chris goes about blowing our minds.
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