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Found 7 results

  1. Update by Adam Brennecke, Lead Programmer and Executive Producer Over a year ago, in Update #49, we showed you the first movie of Pillars of Eternity. The movie showcased a beautiful scene in the Dyrwood complete with dynamic lighting, per-pixel occlusion, dynamic water and waterfall, and a day-night cycle. In this update I would like to give you an inside look on how these images are put together and rendered in the game, and I will cover new rendering features that we've added over the past year to address feedback from our backers about how our characters look in the scene. Warning: things might get technical! E3 We are going to be going on update hiatus for the next three weeks as we prepare for E3 in Los Angeles. After E3, the next update will feature the final classes covering The Front Line (fighters and barbarians). At E3, the team will be showing Pillars of Eternity at the Paradox booth behind closed doors. To avoid spoiling what we will be showing, we will be saving these moments until you get to play it. Because we want to include you in the experience, we will be taking photos at the booth, and in a future update we will be sharing more screenshots from the demo. To give you a small taste, here's a sneak peek at a scene that will be shown at E3: Rendering TimeBackgrounds As we mentioned previously, our beautiful backgrounds are rendered out of Maya as a 2D image. They are very large images, sometimes over several gigabytes of raw data, and before the images get into the game we run a program that compresses the data. Maya renders out the backgrounds in four layers or "passes": final, depth, normal, and albedo. These passes are combined together in Unity for per-pixel occlusion of 3D objects, and for real-time dynamic lighting. When we bring the backgrounds into the game, they look like a flat 2D plane, and when viewed in Unity's editor the whole world has an awkward skewed look to it. The illusion comes together only when an orthographic camera is placed at the perfect angle. Characters Next we overlay the 3D world on top of the 2D rendered image. The characters are dynamic 3D skinned meshes that are animated and then rendered into the scene with a variety of shaders and materials. Our default material that we use on most characters includes a normal map (adds tiny variations in surface detail), specular map (adds shininess), and an albedo map (adds the base color). The default material also supports a tint map, which allows our designers and you to customize the colors of armor, hair, and skin. We have other shaders that can change the look and feel of characters. For example, we have a metal shader for armor that adds an extra level of shininess and can reflect the environment via an environment map. A Cloth shader removes the shininess, and allows the character artists to make outfits made up of cotton, wool, and satin. We have special materials, like an emissive shader that isn't affected by light, used for the fire-godlike, ghosts, spectres, and the windows seen in the screenshots and video. Because the characters are 3D, they need to be lit differently than the background image. We use a system with two directional lights. The first directional light is the key light and typically matches the sun color and intensity in outdoor scenes, and this light can be modified by the day-night cycle to cast moonlight at night. The second directional light is used as a fill light to make sure the "back side" of a character isn't in total darkness. The two lights are adjusted per scene depending on the pre-rendered light settings to match the sun direction, mood, and desired atmosphere. In addition to the directional lights, we use dynamic deferred lights that can affect the background and characters. For example, if a torch is placed in a scene, the torch can illuminate both the 2D environment and a 3D character standing nearby. In addition, deferred lights are used for spell effects; a fireball explosion emits a burst of light, brightening up a dark dungeon room. Bringing it all together We noticed, and so did many of you, after releasing our first few screenshots, the 3D characters were not matching the 2D rendered scene as much as we would have hoped. So we put our thinking caps on, and we came up with new features since our first batch of screenshots, including dynamic ambient and a shadow control system. To really make sure the characters fit in the scene, we came up with an ambient system that samples color from the 2D background, simulating a quick and dirty global illumination model. Characters pick up subtle color variations depending on where they are standing and what type of environment they are in. If a character is standing in a lush green jungle, it will pick up a subtle green hue from the light reflected off the environment. Game programmers love fast and cheap methods, and the ambient system gives us great results with little impact on rendering performance. Ambient before and after: Another feature that we've added recently to solve the issue of grounding characters into the scene is a system to shadow 3D characters when traversing into dark shadowy areas in the 2D image. The new system samples a low resolution image map which controls the contribution of the directional sunlight on the character, and to avoid double shadows, the same image controls the value of the dynamic shadow map. Lastly, to better match the 2D and 3D shadows, we color the dynamic shadow to match the 2D rendered shadow color (which often has a blue hue to it). Shadow Blending before and after: To tie everything together, we can optionally add post process effects. In this scene, we've added a very subtle bloom effect that effects both the environment and characters. I hope you didn't get lost in all the technical talk! The important thing is that we hope you like the end result. We are satisfied with where we are at, but we always have a few ideas on how to improve the look and quality of the graphics. Improving the look of the game will be an ongoing process until we ship... and beyond. If you have any questions, please ask in our forums! Thanks for reading.
  2. D&D: Dwarves and Doors Adam Brennecke We are another month into preproduction and have been making awesome progress on all fronts. This update covers dwarves and doors, two of the many accomplishments in the month of January, and gets into the finer details of development on Project Eternity. The Creation of the Dwarf One of the goals in preproduction was to figure out how we could make character modeling pipeline be as efficient as possible. The problem is fairly complex: All of the six playable races, human, elf, dwarf, aumaua, orlan, and the god-like can wear armor, boots, gloves, helmets (...well, some have trouble wearing helmets, but we will talk about that some other day...) and have other options that the player can customize like facial hair, hair style and skin color. We also have tons of armor variations and types of armor, like plate, brigandine, leather, and mail. (Josh loves his armor). Ideally, our artist would only need to model one armor piece - let's say plate body armor - and have it fit all six of our playable races even if the races are all of different proportions and body structure. At the end of the day the same model for plate armor could fit a slender four-foot-tall orlan and a burly seven-foot-tall aumaua. The goal for January was to build a system to allow us to do this very thing. During January, we've developed a new system to allow our human bipedal skeleton to be shaped and morphed into the other playable races and have armor be shaped and morphed along with the skeleton. The character modelers have fine control over the proportions of the races, and only need to model armor pieces once and not six times over. In preproduction we look at developing systems like this. It may cost us time up front, but will save us hundreds of hours down the road in production. The dwarf ended up being our first test case, and now we have dwarves as playable races working in game. Pictured at the front of this update is a high-poly dwarf head that Dimitri Berman (lead character artist) modeled in ZBrush. The high-poly head is used for making normal maps which aid in lighting the character models. A simplified mesh is created from the high-poly head is used in game. Open, Close, Lock On the other end of the pre-production spectrum, the programming team has been writing the building blocks for the area design toolbox. One of the essential things that all areas need are doors. From past experience we know that doors always present difficult problems with pathfinding and are a big pain in the arse. Getting a potentially risky, yet required, feature out of the way now seemed like a pragmatic goal, so Steve Weatherly (game programmer) and Sean Dunny (environment artist) set off on a quest to get doors working in the game. We first tackled this problem creating a list of all the features that doors need to have. It's easy with doors since we all know how doors work: Doors have a few states, like open and close. Doors can be locked, and be unlocked with a key (or skill). Doors can be used, meaning the player can click on a door and the selected character will be commanded to go and "use" the door. Doors can animate to match the open/close state. Doors block character pathing when closed, and don't block pathing when opened. We even listed out minor details such as doors can change the mouse cursor to a different state when hovered over, and doors should always open away from the character using the door. Tasks were made from this list, and the work began. Steve was able to get a working prototype of a door ready to test quickly. At this stage we could see how the door looked and felt in game, and if there are any unexpected problems that came out of the prototype. One issue that came up was door placement. We found that it was not easy to place a door in the exact space to fit a dungeon doorframe. Steve and Michael Edwards (senior technology programmer) coded a system for doorframe "snap points" that makes the door pop to the exact place that we want it to go. Designers can now place doors efficiently. Hooray! We love being able to share our progress with you all, and we hope you enjoy reading these production updates. If you have any questions about development, please post them in our Project Eternity forum. Thank you!
  3. Update by Adam Brennecke, Executive Producer and Lead Programmer This month we are knee-deep in the Vertical Slice phase and this will be the team's focus for the month of June. It's our way of proving that we are ready to jump forward into production and start making shippable content. The Vertical Slice is just that, a cross section (think of it as a slice of bread cut out from the middle of a loaf) of the world of Project Eternity. At the end of this phase the game will be feature complete, and the content building portion of the team, including area designers, environment artists, and character artists can make shippable content now. Our Vertical Slice is eleven maps large; encompassing our village and dungeon from Prototype 2, and the dungeon and wilderness area from Prototype 1 (we call this area "The Valley of Hector" internally). The content from the prototypes are refactored to fit within the context of the world and overall story of the game. Feature-wise, we are targeting to have the majority of the world building tools complete and all of the character classes playable up to level five. A Vertical Slice dungeon concept by Polina. Her paint-over will be used as reference for the polish pass. Here are our current tasks that we are working on right now: Art Modeling Hide Armor for Male and Females - Hide armor has been challenging to model and texture with skin tinting because there's a lot of skin shown. Creating Orlan Heads - This includes modeling differences for the Wild and Hearth ethnicities. Polishing Prototype 2 Areas to "Beta" - Extra shine is put into the areas to make them feel more alive and varied. Design Creating the Vertical Slice Area Design Document - The designers are adding more content to the world and fleshing out the village with additional quests. Designing and Coding the Class Abilities for the Cipher and Chanter - The Cipher and his "focus" powered spells are working, and now Tim Cain is working out the Chanter phrase system. Programming Coding up the Save/Load and the Persistence System - This entails saving and loading games, and making sure the current map state is preserved across area transitions. Wrapping up the Area Designer Toolbox - Doors, encounters, traps, triggers, loot, NPCs, and creatures can all be placed and manipulated through script. Spells and Ability Audit This morning Josh emailed me a list of working class abilities and spells. I'm excited to say that we have 54 abilities and 51 functioning spells as of today! Most of the spells are at the alpha stage, meaning another pass will be done at a later date to add visual effects and sound effects. UI Version #2 Thanks to everyone who provided feedback on our UI mockups that Rob posted last week in Update #54. We loved everyone's proposed mockups and your discussions sparked some great ideas for the next iteration on the interface. We've already mocked up a new version that takes up less vertical space and is more compact overall. Once we feel it's ready to be critiqued, we will post it in a future update for more discussion. That's it for this week. We'll be back in two weeks - we're off to E3 next week (and if you're a fan of South Park, keep an eye out for coverage on our Stick of Truth RPG)!
  4. Update by Adam Brennecke, Executive Producer and Lead Programmer Last month we finished our prototype 1 build. In Update #47, Josh outlined our goals for the first prototype, which focused on establishing "that IE feel". Not only did we hit that mark with the look of our characters and environments, but we also hit our target with movement, combat, and gameplay systems. Core basics that you all expect from Project Eternity such as party movement, melee and ranged combat attacks, containers (with loot!), doors, using special class abilities and spell casting, area transitions, inventory and equipment are all in the game and functioning. We also established working character and environment pipelines - the art team is now able to create beautiful rendered areas, and we can model armor sets for all of our uniquely proportioned races. Additionally, we've established that we can efficiently concept, model and animate creatures for our soon to be growing bestiary. The creature we built for the first prototype is the Skuldr. Skuldr have poor vision, but they use a form of echolocation to perceive the spirit world. This allows them to “see” souls, making it difficult to use stealth to avoid them. After the prototype 1 audit meeting, Josh and I came up with a plan for what we would like to see the team tackle in prototype 2. Josh has previously mentioned a few of the goals for prototype 2 which include fog of war, character voice sets, crafting, stores, AI patrols, and the melee engagement system. Besides the expanded feature implementation, we are going to put our pipelines to the test on another set of new environments and creatures before moving into production. The plan for prototype 2 is to create a small village with a handful of buildings to enter, including a shop and inn. To the east of the village is a medium sized wilderness area with access to a small cave dungeon interior. The prototype also includes a large dungeon (I won't spoil the contents of the dungeon, because some of the ideas in the prototype will eventually make their way into the shipped game). All of these areas are connected by a complex multi-stage quest with several objectives (some optional) and with many different ways of completing it. The team has been working on a second prototype for the past two weeks now. Here's a sample on what each department has been working on. Art Dynamic Cloth - We are doing further research into character dynamism, and are creating capes for our characters to equip. Dungeon - Our goal for the dungeon is to make an interior area that lives up to the IE games. The dungeon has a variety of rooms that are unique and organic. New Monster - One of the new monsters we are creating for prototype 2 is an Ogre. He has already gone through the concept and modeling stage and now is off to be animated. Design Complete Bestiary - The bestiary list has been worked over a few times by the area and narrative designers. We are now pretty close to having a complete creature list! Class Abilities for the Monk and Ranger - The Monk's "wounds" resource is in, and next up is the mechanics for the Ranger's animal companion. The class progression for the Monk and Ranger has been designed out to level 12. Programming Town Guard A.I. - How do guards protect the village when you start casting fireballs in the town square? They beat you down... or at least try to. The guards will hook into the reputation and faction mechanics, which tells guards when they turn hostile towards the party. Fancy Material Shaders - We now have fancy materials for creating shiny armor and translucent ghost skin. Another set of shaders are "Tint maps" materials that enable the customization of skin and clothing colors just like in the IE games. In the future we will go into details into the design and implementation of the systems and features. Is there a particular feature that you would like to know more about? Tell us what you would like to see us talk about in future updates on our forums. We will be taking an update break next week so the team can focus on prototype 2 work. Thanks for reading and see you in two weeks!
  5. Project Eternity the Documentary Update Article by Adam Brennecke, Executive Producer and Lead Programmer In Update #23 Feargus announced that Obsidian would fund a documentary of the making of Project Eternity without using a dime from the Kickstarter funding. Here's a behind-the-scenes of the behind-the-scenes and some other tidbits about the documentary. We've been working with the documentary team, Tony Jacobsen and Michael Mitchell from Creative Lane Media, for some time. Tony and Mike are very professional guys with years of experience making films, and have experience working with the games industry. They will be with following us with their fancy cameras for the entire production of Project Eternity. Our documentary will be a full movie and released in its entirety when the game is complete. We are targeting a 45 minute film that covers the entire process of the making of Project Eternity from the early days of the Kickstarter, into preproduction, all the way through production to finishing it up and going gold. There will be footage from our team meetings, informal discussions, scrums, and major milestone events. The room pictured above is an office at that we transformed into a small film studio. It will be used to shoot one-on-one sit down style interviews. Documentary FAQ When can I get the Documentary? The documentary will be released when Project Eternity is finished. We will have more details when we get closer to the Project Eternity beta. How do I get it? If you already backed at the $20/$25 tier level (and Slacker Backers via PayPal thus far) and above you will be able to stream it. At the $35 tier level and above you will be able to download it, and at the $140 tier level (and physical tiers above) we will include a DVD / Blu-ray. You can still get access to the documentary stream if you donate to the project today via the Slacker Backer pledge at the Eternity website. Tony and Mike from Creative Lanes Media Season 0: Season of the Wolf (Ghosts), Parts 4, 5, 6 Article by Darren Monahan, HTML monkey The truth behind Season 0's naming reveals itself in... ghosts. Note that this recording was done at the same time as last season, so any fixes or interface errors will not be fixed again until, uh, the real Season 1. (Ed: Yes, that means Chris is probably not using the world map enough quite yet. ) We'll be recording a new batch soon and I'm passing along feedback from YouTube comments and our forums. PART 4 PART 5 PART 6 Next week's update we will have a movie showcasing some of the progress we've made on prototype 1! Stay tuned!
  6. Hello World and Happy 2013! Looks like we all survived (hopefully) the Mayan Apocalypse. That was a close one. Woooohooo! We hope you enjoyed your holiday and wish everyone the best for 2013. The team has returned from our cozy elfhomes, and we are re-energized and excited to get back to work on Project Eternity. Without further ado, we had promised backer details in this update, so let's start off with those. Thanks to all of your extremely generous donations, our final backer numbers for our crowdfunding phase are: $3,986,929 from 73,986 Kickstarter backers and $324,650 from roughly 5,698 unique PayPal backers (not including the almost 500 slacker backers who have contributed since the crowdfunding phase ended!) For the phase, we earned about $4,311,600 before any fees from Kickstarter and the payment services. (This does include some losses from failed charges, returns, etc.) We are continuing to work on fulfillment and are slowly getting in contact with our backers about specifics. The last of the $350 tier loot bags are being sent out this week, and Chris Avellone is starting to draw Troll Avatars for the $750 tier backers. As we continue forward in pre-production, we will have more information for the higher tier design and art related rewards and how backers will be able to participate in designing your items, NPCs, adventuring parties, etc. The backer site is coming together and the plan is to have it up and running by the end of the month. Thank you for your patience and for those of you who will be designing goodies for the game, we’ll be in touch once we’re ready with your templates to fill out. For the PayPal backers out there, we should have updates coming to you via e-mail shortly as well. In the meantime, updates will come out on Tuesday evenings Pacific Time, so make sure and check eternity.obsidian.net weekly for the latest news and updates. Obsidian's Facebook and @Obsidian on Twitter are good places for the latest on Project Eternity news as well. Before we left for our homes, the office had a treat exchange at the office. Obsidian The team signed Obsidian games for the Loot Bag $350 tier backers. The plague struck and some of us are sick at home with colds. Even developers get sick: We’ll be continuing with our weekly updates from the art, design, programming, and production crew. If you have things you’d like to see or learn more about, swing on by the Project Eternity forums and let us know! Update by Adam Brennecke
  7. Everyone here at Obsidian is thrilled that the feedback to the first look at Project Eternity was so overwhelmingly positive. Thank you for all the encouragement - It really means a lot to our artists and the rest of the team. The outpouring of support and donations over the last day has been amazing. Thank you! Over the next five days we have a lot of fun things planned to wrap up the Kickstarter campaign. First, crowdfunding and Kickstarter has allowed us to open up our doors to you, literally. Today you can spend a few hours with me at the Obsidian Office, and you will get an inside look into a development studio. Check out what an atypical day is for me at the office (running the Kickstarter is pretty atypical for a game developer). I promise to wear pants! We plan on doing more of these live events at the office during production. Tomorrow I plan on playing Icewind Dale II by Interplay and Black Isle Studios. Icewind Dale II was the last Infinity Engine game to be released a decade ago in 2002. Before production starts on Project Eternity, I want to revisit some of the magic that Project Eternity aims to bring back. Join the stream and have some fun! Special Obsidian guest developers will join in on the fun, and you can heckle me while I try to make my way out of Targos and through the Dale to Kuldahar. How long will I play? 8 Hours? 12 Hours? 20 Hours? Longer? Watch and find out. Be sure to check out tomorrow's update with Tim Cain. He is going to answer more of your questions in a special video update. Here's the rest of the scheduled events for the next 5 days: Friday, October 12 11:00am PDT - Inside look at a not so typical day with Adam Brennecke - UStream. 3:00pm PDT - PC Gamer Live Chat with the Project Eternity Team - PC Gamer. Saturday, October 13 10:00am PDT - Adam plays Icewind Dale II all day - UStream. Monday, October 15 10:00am PDT - Reddit AMA with the Project Eternity Team - Reddit. 5:00pm PDT - Game night at Obsidian. Watch us play D&D at the studio! - UStream. Tuesday, October 16 12:00pm PDT - The final countdown starts at the Obsidian Office - UStream. 6:00pm PDT - The Project Eternity Kickstarter ends! Updates to the schedule will be sent via Twitter, Facebook, and posted to our forums. New Novella Audio Book Reward and Add-on We have a new digital add-on for everyone. For an add-on of $20 you will receive the digital Audio Book of the Project Eternity Novella by Chris Avellone narrated by a professional voice actor. If you already pledged at the $165 tier and above you will receive it for free! Two Stretch Goals Hit and The Endless Paths is Larger We've hit the $2.7M stretch goal, which means Paladins and Chanters are added to the game, and I'm happy to say we just hit the $2.8M stretch goal in record time! George Ziets will be joining the team! The team is very excited to have the opportunity to work with George again. One more level has been added to The Endless Paths because of your help. The depths grow deeper by the day, and we are getting very close to 20,000 likes and 60,000 backers. 2 more levels incoming! Our next Facebook goal is to hit 40,000 likes - if we can reach that milestone it means we will add one more level to the dungeon! How low can we go? And last but not least, I leave you with a new concept art piece of Forton the monk. Thanks, and see you on the live stream! Update by Adam Brennecke Like Obsidian On Facebook - Help grow the Mega Dungeon!
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