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What We're Up To http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlfO8y-Ax3s Thanks to you, we're funded. Now the work begins. At this stage of the project, we are still in pre-production, so at Wednesday morning's team meeting we started talking about the passion-stirring topic of logistics. Before we start scripting quests and writing dialogues, we need to understand the full scope of what we're setting out to do. In some ways, the basics stay the same for us as they did a decade ago. But we have new problems to solve and we need to have them all worked out before we enter production. The key elements we have been focusing on are: The size and structure of the world - This game will be... large. And it will have two big cities, exploration areas, and a 15-level mega-dungeon. Ensuring that the world is planned properly requires examination of what has worked for us in the past and what hasn't. The original Baldur's Gate had a number of wilderness areas, but low density of content in many of those areas. Baldur's Gate II had much greater content density, but fewer wilderness/pure exploration areas. We'd like to make sure we have pure exploration areas while still maintaining good content density. Dynamic environment integration - Animated objects, interactive objects, ambient visual effects, water, dynamic lights and shadows -- all of these elements can be featured even within a "2D" world. Our goal is to strike a good balance between visual fidelity, performance (including memory on disk), and the amount of time environment artists have to spend setting up their areas. We prefer dynamic solutions that are relatively easy to author, as we want our environment artists to maximize their efficiency. Lore and story - What we've developed so far has been the result of a small number of impromptu discussions and high-level efforts. Last week, we (including George -- thanks!) had our first meeting to increase development of the setting and story. We discussed major themes we'd like to explore, the order in which we'd each like to develop aspects of the lore and characters, and what elements we each were having trouble wrapping our heads around. Our immediate focus is on the central conflict of the story and the various factions that have a stake in it. As the song goes, we've only just begun, but the team is excited and determined to make a game that lives up to your, and our, expectations. You've put a huge amount of trust in us, and we want to repay you with the best RPG we can. Next week, we'll be talking about system design and how we're approaching mechanics like class design, advancement, and the role of equipment. We're also working on fulfillment of some of the Kickstarter pledges and we'll have more info on that in the next few weeks. Finally, if you missed our D&D session from last week, we have it up on the for your enjoyment! Update by Josh Sawyer
I'd like to suggest that the Devs strongly consider the PS2 game Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne and it's optional Labyrinth of Amala as inspiration for how to best implement the huge mega dungeon. For those that haven't played Nocturne here is a quick overview of how it worked. - The Dungeon first unlocks as a direct result of in game progress however entering it is strictly optional. - The first level of the dungeon is VERY hard for the level it unlocks but entirely do-able. Successfully completing it immediately grants very useful items for that point of the game. However if you wait until you're stronger to complete it the rewards will become progressively less useful. - Subsequent levels are unlocked by defeating difficult but (usually) optional bosses that become available as you progress through the game. - If you enter a dungeon level as soon as you're able too (by defeating the optional boss as soon as he is available to be fought) then completing said level will be difficult but do-able and you will be rewarded appropriately. The benefits for this I believe is as follows: 1. Every level has the potential to be challenging and rewarding -- but not overpowering -- for the time in game it becomes available. 2. It gives players basic gameplay ques as to when a new level is worth attempting (alternative to increasing difficulty of a dungeon without any real indication when you might consider trying it for a challenge), the player can then decide if they want a challenge and go immediately and not accidentally out level the difficulty curve of that level. 3. The game developers have an idea when a player will attempt the level at the earliest and may be able to work story progress both in and out of the dungeon. 4. Starting the dungeon at max level and then getting more difficult may sound fun -- but is there really that level of scalability for high level encounters that allows for 14 levels of increasing difficulty from the max level? 5. It gives the player a sense of progress as they get deeper into the dungeon and will look forward to the next time a dungeon level unlocks. 6. It prevents the dungeon by feeling like a grind by giving the player incentive to only tackle 1 or 2 levels at a time. Interested in hearing others opinion on the subject.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpBqLbyR7o8&feature=player_embedded This week we announced our Mega Dungeon, our base classes, the cipher and barbarian classes as stretch goals, and the Adventurer's Hall as another stretch goal. We are coming up on our final week of the Kickstarter, and we have exciting stuff planned for you in the coming week including new rewards, a special inside peek into Obsidian, and a first look at Project Eternity. Exclusive Backer Pet, Hardcover Books for $250 and Name in the Game for $500! At the $50 tier and up we have an exclusive in-game pet for you! The pet is optional and will not have any in-game function besides being a quiet companion that will never leave your side. We are looking for ideas on what the pet could be, so let us know what you would like to see in our forums. We have great news for $250 and up backers! We are upgrading the Collector's Book at the $250 level to a hardcover at no extra charge. The Collector's Book is a full-color book that includes concept art, our monster manual, information about the campaign setting, and a special behind the scenes look at the making of Project Eternity. Additionally for our $500 backers and above, we will let you put your name and a personalized message on a memorial stone in game. Your unique message will be encoded into Glanfathan runes, and can be decoded using a unique in-game ring. It's a way for all of us to remember your large contribution to Project Eternity. Tim Answers Your Combat Questions from Reddit Kaboom asks: Hi Tim! I'm curious how the close combat in P:E will turn out. Will the melee of P:E encompass stuff like reach weapons, opportunity attacks, flanking, grappling, charging, prone/standing-modes and so forth? Tim: Yes, we are looking to include many of these features into our close combat system. Specifically, opportunity attacks and flanking are definitely in, as well as charging. We're not sure about reach weapons yet (we need to figure out if that attribute on a weapon will be worthwhile enough in combat and will supportable with the appropriate UI), and while we will support prone positions, you won't be able to attack while prone because the animations involved are too different from attacks while standing that we would have to make every animation twice, once for standing and once for prone. This limitation also means that grappling abilities will not be included. There are too many new animations needed and special case limitations that apply, e.g. how does a human grapple a centaur or a dragon or an ooze?). Tim answers more of your questions in the video and the text version is on our forums. Also check out the Project Eternity reddit group. Mod Support From Neverwinter Nights 2 to Fallout: New Vegas, we've enjoyed supporting the mod community, and we are continuing that with Project Eternity. It is awesome to see how you extend the worlds we make. To make getting mods easy, we are excited to announce that our friends at the Nexus will be the official spot to download Project Eternity mods once the game is released. They have been a great host for mods for our past games, and we want to continue the trend with the Project Eternity Nexus. Check out the Nexus Network at www.nexusmods.com. Our plan is to release our file-format information and expose as much of the data in the game as possible for you to extend and edit. We traditionally do not "hard-code" numbers so that our designers, and you, have the power to easily change and iterate on RPG data. We also plan on releasing localization tools to let communities around the world create localized versions for languages we are not translating Project Eternity into. As we get more familiar with Unity during production, we will be extending Project Eternity even more for mod makers. Look forward to announcements in the months ahead as we make further progress and can provide you with more information about tools and mod support. The Endless Paths Grows! We've passed 52,500 backers! The Endless Paths of Od Nua Mega Dungeon continues to grow larger! The next level will be added at 55,000 backers. Thank you for helping us to spread the word about Project Eternity! Kickstarter Comments and Kerfluffles! Lastly, if you haven’t been attending all of the fun in the Comments section of our Kickstarter, you’re really missing out on some fun conversations. From the Obsidian Order of Eternity representing in full force, to one of our favorites, the Kerfluffle Marshmallow lady, Spring Barnickle, who asks: Hmmm... how many marshmallows indeed. Beware paladin-types... beware! Until next time... Update by Tim Cain and Adam Brennecke (You can also discuss the entire Reddit Q&A part 2 in this thread.)
Happy Monday! We've reached 50,000 backers, and have a special reward for everyone. Details below. Also coming this week, we have more updates about the development and creation of the game. Tomorrow, Justin Bell will discuss the process for composing the music for our trailer video. On Wednesday, Josh will update with more details about the game's design, and we are going to unveil a awesome art piece that we’ve been working on. Oh, PayPal is also coming on Wednesday! The 50,000 Backer Reward We are very excited to announce a reward to all backers that have helped us come this far. Today we are introducing The Endless Paths of Od Nua - a new dungeon experience for Project Eternity: In the western reaches of the Dyrwood lies the Endless Paths, an ancient network of cobbled trails that wind through arches of dense overgrowth, twisting within the confines of a high castle wall as they make their way to the gates of iron-shuttered towers that jut forth from the interior. In ages past, the towers rising from the gardens to pierce the canopy of the forest once marked the dominion of the castle's relentless, crazed builder: Od Nua. But the courses of Od Nua's madness run far below the surface, stretching forever deeper into wandering catacombs and bone-cramped oubliettes unseen by living eyes for centuries. The Endless Paths, as the old Glanfathans call them, cannot be walked by the living, but the storytellers say with certainty that many strong souls have found a permanent home beneath the grieving creator's estate. Most else that is said and written of the place is fiction or conjecture, more likely to have sprouted from the svef-enhanced imaginations of bored and boasting mercenaries than from any seed of truth. Hosts of lost souls that relentlessly stalk the living, cathedral-sized tombs overflowing with the restless victims of a horrific plague, lightless chambers sealing in the remnants of Od Nua's failed experiments. Most legends converge on a common theme: that under the castle rest myriad forgotten vaults of death and darkness glittering with Od Nua's enchanted creations and the abandoned treasure of ill-fated interlopers. So great is the fear of the castle's denizens that even drunken and drug-cheered adventurers do not joke of setting foot on the paths, lest their souls join the eternal ranks of those that have gone before them. The current plan is to make The Endless Paths with three subterranean levels, but it can grow larger with your help. For every 2,500 additional backers, the depths of Od Nua’s castle become deeper, which means one additional level will be added to the vaults. Continue to spread the word about Project Eternity, and let's see how big we can make The Endless Paths! Crafting and Enchanting at $2.4 Million We also have a new stretch goal at $2.4 million dollars to announce: Crafting and Enchanting! Crafting and enchanting in Project Eternity will allow players to use objects and materials they find during exploration to both create consumable items like potions and scrolls as well as give their gear custom upgrades that can't be accomplished by other means. This system is intended to be easy to use and very flexible, allowing players to customize many aspects of what they can create or alter. Whether it's brewing basic potions from herbs and minerals commonly found throughout the world or upgrading a humble broadsword into a custom-named, magically-imbued weapon of distinctive and legendary power, we want to give players the ability to make it. On the development side of things, we also want to make the system as data-driven as possible, allowing us to easily extend our list of recipes in the future. Each stretch goal we hit not only adds new features to the game like crafting, but also makes the game larger by adding more content, quests, dialogue, and characters. Together, we've already added two new races, companions and classes, along with a player house. $2.2 million is very close which adds a new faction and region, and there are more exciting stretch goals planned if we make it past $2.4 million and beyond. New Add-Ons Additionally, we have two new add-ons for you: Add an Early Access Beta Key for $25. The beta key is the same reward at the $110 and up levels, but now you can add it as an extra at the lower tiers. Add a Digital Strategy Guide for $7. The digital strategy guide is also included in the $80 and up levels, but now you can add it as an extra at the lower tiers. This will cost more when we ship the game, so get in on the opportunity to save! As a quick tutorial on how to add add-ons, go to the Project Eternity Kickstarter site and hit the Manage Your Pledge button. The reward tier you had already picked will still be selected and the amount will be in the big box at the top. All you need to do is add the dollar amount that covers the add-ons you would like to your pledge and enter the new total number. For instance, if you are at the $35 Pledge level and want to add the Beta Key, you would enter $60 as your total pledge. We’ll send you a fulfillment survey after the Kickstarter period is over and you can specify what you wanted to do with any excess monies added. Thank you! Update by Adam Brennecke and Josh Sawyer