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Update by Brandon Adler, Lead Producer Hey, everyone. Due to E3 crunch we are going to push off Josh's next class update for a couple of weeks. Instead, I will give an update about the general state of affairs for each department on the project now that we are getting ready to head into our Beta period. The next update will feature Josh's final class update along with info from the Eternity E3 presentation. Let's get into it. Status Area Design All of the areas have been in the game for about a month now, and the area designers have been revisiting each area to make sure everything is in order. They're using specially crafted Alpha checklists to make sure that none of the major items are missed. For example, designers are checking that the area has a proper navigation mesh, ambient sound effects are placed, and scene transitions are working as intended. Josh (Project Director) and Bobby (Area Design Lead) are heading up meetings to review all of the quests in the game. Each quest is played through by the team and analyzed. We ask basic questions like "Why is this quest fun?", "Does the player care about this quest?", and "What hooks the player into starting the quest?" If anything is lacking, the design team spruces the quest up to make it a memorable one. Over the Beta period the designers will continue fixing bugs and polishing content. Environment Art Much like our area designers, our environment artists have been revisiting all of the areas of the game and performing their Alpha checklists to make sure all of the areas pass art Alpha. In addition to the checklists, they are performing polish work that had been identified previously by Bobby and Rob (Art Director) on areas. Currently, the environment artists have done a pass on all of our critical path areas and they will be moving onto our side content once we enter Beta. Take a look at one of the areas that has gone through Alpha polish without a paint-over pass: Systems Design Now that our systems are all in place, Josh has been focused on balance and polish bugs that have piled up over the course of the project. For me, this is one of the more exciting times in the project because the game really starts to take shape and become fun. Game balance will continue throughout our Beta period, right up to our release. UI Kaz (Concept and UI Artist) has been finishing up the last remaining UI screens. He is now working on Scripted Interaction images, icons, area paint-overs, and portraits and will be doing so for the foreseeable future. Animation The animation team has been wrapping up the last B priority items and will moving into full-time polish until the end of the project. B priority animations are things like special creature attacks, class-specific spell casts, or animations for minor creatures (animal critters, for example). Once the animation team has finished up creating the animations, they will be focused on animation polish. Character Art Our character artists have completed all of the creatures and creature variants we planned for the game (and even a few that we hadn't planned on). They have also created all of the base weapon and armor variants, and now character art is focused on finishing up all of the unique armors and weapons. Once they complete the last bit of gear, they will move onto creating a few additional head and hair variants for each race. Like the rest of the team, they will also be polishing content for the remainder of the project. Have a peek at one of our unique armors: Narrative The narrative team finished up the critical path a few weeks ago and now they have their focus on completing side content in our various regions. Eric (Lead Narrative Designer) has been tweaking and polishing the E3 demo areas, while Carrie (Narrative Designer) has been hard at work finishing up some of our companions. Narrative is also polishing up the areas that will be used in for our Backer Beta. Over the next few months narrative will finish our companions, and we are going to start finalizing and locking down on the writing to prepare for localization and voice over. Programming At this point, the project is completely feature locked. The programmers are fully focused on fixing the mountain of bugs that have built up over the course of the project. There are still some items that need to be finished (installers, for example), but the majority of the work will be put towards fixing and polishing existing systems. This is where the build (that may have been unstable throughout development) really starts to come together. VFX The team is continuing to crank away at VFX. It is one of the areas of the game (along with narrative and audio) that are not at an Alpha level, which is intentional. The later on the project that you can bring the VFX team on, the lower the amount of rework that they will have to do on assets that may get changed. We have added VFX on a little less than half of the spells and abilities, on all of our VFX creatures (creatures that are VFX driven instead of our normal creature pipeline), and on all of the critical path areas. We are scheduled to be finished with VFX in a couple of months. Audio Much like VFX, audio usually comes onto our projects a bit later than other departments. Many of our areas have had an ambience pass and are sounding really good. Same goes for our creatures - more and more of their SFX are being hooked up every day. We have also completed our initial pass on things like UI sounds, and very shortly, our audio team will create sounds for our spells and abilities. Justin (Audio Director) has been working on finishing all of the music tracks for the game. In fact, he just finished composing our main theme. Much like VFX, this audio team is scheduled to finish in a couple of months. Overall Overall, the project is coming together nicely. We have a ton of work that still needs to be done, but the team is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There are no major roadblocks ahead of us at this point and now it's a focus on getting as much polish done as we can before our final release candidate. That's it for this update. Let us know what you think in our forums. Kickin' It Forward - Witchmarsh From time to time we like to spread the word about interesting Kickstarter Projects that catch our eye. This time around, it's a project called Witchmarsh - a story-driven action RPG set in 1920s Massachusetts with a supernatural flair. Here is a quick summary taken from their Kickstarter page: "It's the Roaring Twenties! Join an unlikely team of detectives as they charge headlong into the darkest corners of rural America. Their mission: find and return twelve missing townsfolk who vanished under mysterious circumstances. A handsome reward is in store should they succeed, but with the supernatural lurking around every corner, will any of them live long enough to collect it?" Take a look and if you like what you see, show them your support! There's only a short time left before their campaign ends.
Update by Brandon Adler, Producer Hello, everyone. Like everyone here at Obsidian, I hope you had a great holiday season and were able to gorge on lots of treats and good food. This week I am going to go over a bit about the new Backer Portal (please log in if you haven't already), give a general update about where we are in our production, and show off some of the cool things that are happening in the game. In our next update we will be taking a more detailed look at some of the classes in Eternity. Backer Info Just a reminder to all of our backers, if you have not done so already, please head to the Backer Portal and complete your order. All backers need to go through the process so they can receive their rewards - even those that only have digital goods. To start the process, click on "Manage My Pledge Now" and click on the "Select Reward" button on the pledge management screen. From here, you may select the tier you backed (or upgrade to a new tier), select additional add-ons, fill out any shipping information, and file your surveys. Also, please make sure you fill out your surveys as soon as you can. If you have an NPC, item, inn, or portrait the sooner you get the information to us, the sooner we can make sure it gets into the game. If you are having any issues, e-mail us at email@example.com and we'll help you out quickly. Areas As most of you know, we finished up Od Nua (our mega-dungeon) in our last milestone. I have to say, I think it looks pretty amazing. Currently, the area team is working on our second big city, Twin Elms, and it is looking just as good. Here, take a look for yourself. Ancient Engwithan ruins near Twin Elms. Without getting into too much detail, the Area Designers are fleshing out the end of the game right now and everything is really coming together. The area in the screenshot above looks like the perfect place for a big fight, huh? Characters Our character team has been cranking out new creatures and equipment. We are almost completely through all of our A priority creatures. Soon we will be working on our B priority creatures and lots of equipment variations. One of the creatures that was just finished to Alpha quality is the Cean Gŵla. These banshee-like undead are the spirits of women who died under particularly tragic or traumatic circumstances. Take a look at the comparison images below. In-engine and concept comparison of the Cean Gŵla. UI Most of our UI has either been implemented or mocked up to an Alpha level. The interface that we would like to show you today is the character sheet, which shows character and party information. You can find lots of useful info on the sheet including various party statistics, your reputations with Eternity factions, and character stats. The character sheet has many useful player and party statistics. Features Features have been going into the game pretty regularly. We just recently moved to Unity 4.3 and, while this might not seem like a big deal, 4.3 has ushered in some long awaited features. Animation annotations, for example, were added to Unity. We can now call sound effects based on specific frames of animation. This makes things like footsteps possible. A majority of our spells and abilities are in-game and usable. Josh has started auditing them and requesting changes for gameplay balance purposes. Tim has been quite busy with all of the small edits. Strangely, one of our more minor features has gotten me the most excited. Just recently we have gotten the ability to set custom party formations and I am having a blast testing it out. Concepts Have you been wondering what some of the Pillars of Eternity gods look like? Wonder no more. Representations of the gods Galawain and Woedica. Above you will see the representations of Galawain and Woedica, gods in the Eternity pantheon. Woedica is known by many names including "The Exiled Queen," "The Burned Queen," "Oathbinder," and "The Strangler." Her domains include law, justice, oaths and promises, (rightful) rulership, hierarchies, memory, and vengeance. Priestesses of the Exiled Queen serve as lawyers and judges in towns and urban centers, and the most prominent among them are advisers to kings and lords. They are of particular importance in the Empire of Aedyr, where by tradition, business contracts always require their endorsement. Her devotees are typically found in the upper classes, but any conservative person who longs for a vanished past will find a place in her faith. “When Woedica takes back her throne” is a common saying amongst her followers, signifying a utopian future when society will be properly ordered once again, and she will take her rightful place as ruler of the gods. Galawain is patron of the hunt in all its forms, and he is honored by those whose occupations are concerned with pursuit and discovery. His faithful include frontiersmen, constables, treasure-seekers, explorers, and even scholars, many of whom wear his carved symbol – a dog’s head – around their wrist or neck. He is also protector of wild places and untamed wilderness, where the hunt manifests in its purest form as a daily struggle for survival. That's it for this update. Make sure you head over to our forums to let us know what you think of anything you see here.