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I have a bit of a hang-up with games like Pillars of Eternity: I get really, REALLY anxious when I run into a "skill check" or something and my stats aren't high enough in one area to achieve success in it. The best example is probably Neverwinter Nights 2, which was my favorite for years. I tended to want to play high Intelligence, high Charisma characters, even if that wasn't the key stat for my class, because I didn't want to fail Diplomacy, Bluff or Intimidate checks, since my own character was the only one in the party who could USE those skills, and I also wanted to be able to select conversation options from other skills like Acrobatics, Lore, and Spellcraft. This led to me using cheat codes so my Shardbearer could basically make every skill check in the game by themselves. My admittedly limited experience with Pillars of Eternity, both in the game itself and from reading the builds on these forums, indicates that this game is gonna drive me crazy. Each of the checks I've seen in the introduction sequence alone requires a stat of at least 15, and there's literally no way to make a character with a 15 in each stat. There IS a way to get 1 rank in each skill starting out by picking backgrounds that fill the gaps your class has (a Cipher/Slave, Fighter/Drifter or a Monk/Merchant or Scientist). And all the builds I've seen insist on dumping one or more stats down to the bare minimum to get their core combat stats as high as possible, so they can do things like Solo or Path of the Damned, which I've really got no intention of doing as I'm here for the story. So where does that leave someone like me who doesn't want to get a bad outcome to a quest because one of my stats wasn't high enough, or where the kid in Defiance Bay loses some fingers because my Survival wasn't high enough by the time I reached him in the game? I'm a real perfectionist/obsessive-completionist when if comes to the RPGs I play, and I'm well aware that I can't do EVERYTHING in this game (the Knights of the Crucible, the Dozens and House Doemenel are mutually exclusive), but I want to get the best possible outcomes in everything I do, and I'm not sure how to build a character capable of doing that with ANY class...
Update by Kazunori Aruga, Concept Artist, and Brandon Adler, you-know-what-I-do Hello, backers. This week we are profiling another talented Concept Artist on Eternity, Kaz Aruga. While Kaz wears many artist hats his largest contributions are area and UI concepts. Enjoy. Q: Hello, Kaz. What is your job on the Project Eternity team? Before I start I want to quickly thank all you awesome peeps who backed our game. I wouldn't be here working on my dream project if it weren't for you all, so thank you for making this a reality! I have two responsibilities on Project Eternity. The first is supplying the asset and environment teams with concept art. The second is producing art for the game's UI. I'm occasionally tasked with scripted interaction art and will start producing character portraits further down the road. Q: What are you working on this week? I've been tasked with inventory and character creation UI. *leaps away as a massive fireball of community UI rage engulfs the land* But seriously, I appreciated the feedback you all gave us for the action bar and conversation UI. I've taken notes and been implementing ideas that are in alignment with our design goals. As a side note, being a fan of the IE games and having a lot of experience playing them has proven very useful as it helps me identify what worked and what didn’t. I'm sure we all have fond memories of shuffling piles of arrows between characters. Q: What is your typical work day like on Project Eternity? My day usually starts by fighting off Robs and Polinas to get to the Keurig coffee machine in our room. Consuming the glorious bean drink allows me access to all two neurons in my head, which I then rub together as hard as I can to start making artwork. My day varies a lot from this point based on the task I'm on. For character and environment work a good chunk of time will be devoted to gathering reference and inspiration, or doing homework on a specific subject. I'll then do a rough sketch pass which gets reviewed by the leads and other artists. When I'm on scripted interaction art I work closely with our designers Bobby and Jorge, and for UI I interface with our project lead Josh and Brian who is our programming intern. Q: What are you most looking forward to on Project Eternity? Just the fact that we can put an IE inspired game on the market is enough to get me excited. It's been long overdue. I'm looking forward to seeing all the hard work we are putting in coming together as one complete package, and seeing reactions of people playing the game! Q: Which concept that you have done has been your favorite? Artists are typically never happy with their own work. Next question! I've enjoyed working on art for scripted interactions, and been pretty happy with the results. I've also been putting a lot of work into inventory UI recently and am happy with the results coming out of that. Q: What other projects have you worked on? Before this job I was up in San Francisco working as a texture artist on a television series called Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I've also done some matte painting work in the film industry. Q: What do you like to do when you aren't chained to your desk by your producer? My off time often includes episodes of Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, a cold beer, and dual wielding our two resident cats Puddy Tat and Lil'Babs. They are the best. I also have an unhealthy and destructive relationship with Ramen. (No, not the vile instant noodles. How dare you call that Ramen!) Thankfully LA has an abundance of good shops to satisfying my craving. Q: Do you have a favorite concept artist? Here's a few that popped into my head. I'll link to their site and save you all a google search. Sergey Kolesov Thomas Pringle Daisuke “dice” Tsutsumi On the painting and illustration side.. Ashley Wood Jeremy Lipking Yanick "dusso" Dusseault Joseph Zbukvic Zdzislaw Beksinski And of course the greats from the past... John Singer Sargent Jean-Léon Gérôme The Wyeths Norman Rockwell J. C. Leyendecker Isaac Levitan Q: And where do you draw your inspiration from? Nature is a big one of course. I also think back on how blessed we are with powerful tools like Google image search. We don’t neglect traditional resources, but I honestly can't imagine working at our current pace without it. Q: What's your favorite Infinity Engine game? Why? BG1 for exploring the vast wilderness. I can still recall the music and hear the birds chirping in the distance. BG2 is a close 2nd for its story and companions. The only title I haven't finished is IWD2 which I am playing through currently, and I will say I'm enjoying the combat. Q: Existential question of the day: Who are we and why are we? We're just here, man. There's no why, everything just IS. You feel me? Q: Anything else you would like to share? Long live the glorious PC gaming master race. *lets out a nerdy war cry and bangs mouse and keyboard together* That's it for this week. Hope you guys enjoyed getting closer look into what Kaz does for us. See you guys in a couple weeks.