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Update #12: Reddit Q&A with Tim Cain

project eternity reddit tim cain classes modding reactivity

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#1
The Guildmaster

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Uyzap5FcgI

This update is going to be a little different. Instead of doing an update on a topic that we chose, we asked readers on reddit to submit questions and vote them up or down, and on Friday we took the five highest scoring questions to answer here.

You can visit the Project Eternity reddit group here:

http://www.reddit.co...rojecteternity/

and the Q&A subgroup is here:

http://www.reddit.co...ns_answered_by/

Let us know if you like these Q&A updates, and we can look into doing more of them.
Tim.

AtheistBots asks...
Class vs. Classless systems You're most famous for classless systems involved in Fallout and Arcanum. It sounds as if Obsidian will be using a class based system. What do you see as being the advantages of a class based system that you're hoping to leverage in Project Eternity?

Answer: We are designing a class-based system because we want the different characters in your party to fill different roles, and classes are the best way to achieve this goal. In a skill-based game, it's harder to tell if a companion gives you the skills you are looking for, especially before you recruit them. In a class-based game, you know what each class can do, so you can decide that you want a particular class even before a potential companion offers to join you. And when you have a lot of companions and can choose which ones you want to take on a particular adventure, classes make it easier to form the group and be assured that you have your skillsets covered.

Bonus question: Are you considering multiclassing?

Answer: Bonus questions are cheating…but yes, we are considering adding multi-classing to the game. A better way to put this answer is that we are not ruling them out at this time. If they work well with our final system, we will offer them.

Kaaaboom asks…
I was a bit discouraged when I heard that the combat was going to be RTwP (real time with pause), myself being a big fan of TB (turn-based) and the possibility of tactical combat that it lends to a game. My question is then: how are you going to make the combat in P:E tactically interesting despite it being RTwP?

Answer: Hmm, this is a bit of a loaded question, as it implies that real-time games aren't tactically interesting while all turn-based games are. Believe me, I have played plenty of dull turn-based games with very few options on what to do on each turn, and there are lots of real-time games that are incredibly tactically rich. Look at all of the real-time strategy games out there!

So to answer your question, we are going to make sure that the distinct abilities that our classes will have will each provide different roles to those characters in combat, and that you will always have choices to make in combat about how to best position yourself and use your attacks. In addition, we are going to design the enemy encounters to be ever-increasing challenges, so that one way of fighting won't carry you through every encounter. You will be forced to mix it up a bit, tactically speaking, and use all of your combat skills to make it through to the end of the game.

Let me add that as an Infinity Engine inspired game, our pillars of design include isometric exploration of a fantasy world, a reactive storyline with interesting and believable characters, and real-time with pause combat. Those elements are expected in our game, and we feel strongly about providing them.

Elthosian asks…
How much reactivity can we expect from the world based in our character's race and sub-race?

Answer: We will provide a lot of reactivity in our game to your choice of race. We are planning on giving each race a set of traits that the player can pick from, and those traits affect everything from dialogs choices to skill bonuses to what kind of options you will have to finish some quests. There probably won't be quests that are just for one race, but one thing we are not going to do for certain is make race-restricted items. While many items have a cultural connection to some races, they will still be useable by members of other races. It might be unusual to see humans in elven chain, but they can wear it.

NeuroArcanist asks…
What aspect of cRPGs missing from modern games do you most want to recapture with Project Eternity?

Answer: I can answer that in one word: parties. I like playing cRPG's that allow the player to control big parties of characters, and by control, I mean you can pick the actions of each party member if you want. We will have lots of pause conditions in our combat, and if you want to have the game pause whenever a party member can perform a new action, you can do that. Most modern games only let you control one character, or if they give you a party, you only control one member of that group. In this game, I want to control all of them.

Zinicel asks…
Will there be modding capabilities for this game? I know it's a tall order for this style of game, but I've wanted a definitive answer to this question. Knowing Unity, I know it's somewhat unlikely to offer this. But it'd still be nice to know for sure.

Answer: That is a very good question, but unfortunately, I don't have an answer for you. We are still looking at Unity and how it bundles up content in the shipped game, and we will have to see how much of that we can make available to the player. I can say that we want you to be able to mod the game, and if it's possible, we will allow you to do it. It's not our primary focus, which is to give you an amazing single player experience with our game, but we know a lot of people will want to tinker with the game and make their own content, so we will let you know how this objective is faring when we are further along in development.
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#2
LadyCrimson

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I would be happy if multi-classing made it into the game. :)
Or at least, a few multi-class/hybrid like classes to choose from, even if you couldn't choose what to pair together yourself, if that makes sense.
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#3
Ieo

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The class-NPC-role connection makes perfect sense. I prefer skill-based for PC, but it wouldn't work for the world intentions.

But I do hope multiclass will somehow make it in, OR there is at least 1-2 classes with some 'hybrid' utility. I almost always dual/multi class or hybridize... It's also a good way to balance if a party mix is weird but you really want specific companions in your party.
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#4
Quark

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Answer: We are designing a class-based system because we want the different characters in your party to fill different roles, and classes are the best way to achieve this goal. In a skill-based game, it's harder to tell if a companion gives you the skills you are looking for, especially before you recruit them. In a class-based game, you know what each class can do, so you can decide that you want a particular class even before a potential companion offers to join you. And when you have a lot of companions and can choose which ones you want to take on a particular adventure, classes make it easier to form the group and be assured that you have your skillsets covered.


Are you going for the more modern approach of having "hubs" where all joined companions await for party choice on a particular quest? Or the approach the "IE" games took where you basically chose a party and stuck with it, often (unless modded) permanantly losing choice on some companions because you said no at one point?

#5
Shevek

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Yay for multiclassing

#6
Liora

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Are you going for the more modern approach of having "hubs" where all joined companions await for party choice on a particular quest? Or the approach the "IE" games took where you basically chose a party and stuck with it, often (unless modded) permanantly losing choice on some companions because you said no at one point?


I assumed (and I'm hoping) it's the latter :) I don't think you should be "stuck" with a party though. I would hope that you could ask members to join and leave and even rejoin later if you wanted to (as long as you didn't upset them in some way). Personally I prefer building one party and leveling them all up at the same time, only asking a member to leave if I find someone with better skills for what I need in the party.

Edited by Liora, 29 September 2012 - 09:30 AM.


#7
aVENGER

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I can say that we want you to be able to mod the game, and if it's possible, we will allow you to do it. It's not our primary focus, which is to give you an amazing single player experience with our game...


Even as a member of the Infinity Engine modding community, I'm glad that they are focusing their resources on the main game.

If time and money permit it, I'd of course love to see some modding tools, but I really want to see a well made game first and foremost.
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#8
Freddo

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NeuroArcanist asks…
What aspect of cRPGs missing from modern games do you most want to recapture with Project Eternity?

Answer: I can answer that in one word: parties. I like playing cRPG's that allow the player to control big parties of characters, and by control, I mean you can pick the actions of each party member if you want. We will have lots of pause conditions in our combat, and if you want to have the game pause whenever a party member can perform a new action, you can do that. Most modern games only let you control one character, or if they give you a party, you only control one member of that group. In this game, I want to control all of them.

I hope that doesn't mean too much micro management, and that they can handle their inventories on their own if you so please. Or better yet, have a large shared party inventory, instead of being split between multiple characters.
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#9
nalgas

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Will there be modding capabilities for this game? I know it's a tall order for this style of game, but I've wanted a definitive answer to this question. Knowing Unity, I know it's somewhat unlikely to offer this. But it'd still be nice to know for sure.

Answer: That is a very good question, but unfortunately, I don't have an answer for you. We are still looking at Unity and how it bundles up content in the shipped game, and we will have to see how much of that we can make available to the player. I can say that we want you to be able to mod the game, and if it's possible, we will allow you to do it. It's not our primary focus, which is to give you an amazing single player experience with our game, but we know a lot of people will want to tinker with the game and make their own content, so we will let you know how this objective is faring when we are further along in development.


I know there are some Unity games that are moddable. For example, Arcen's been using Unity for a few years, and it's pretty trivial to replace most of the assets in their games, at least the ones they choose to make available (e.g. you can drop stuff like graphics and music files straight into the correct place in the data dir, but they opted to have things like enemy scripts compiled into the game and non-extensible).

#10
Technatorium

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I dunno. It would be kind neat if some companions want to "retire" for a while and they head to the player's stronghold. I mean that could be the hub at some point. There are still a lot of time for development since they have made the release date out to April of 2014. Plenty of time to hash out the good and bad and to talk and listen to the community. There will always be those who don't like certain decisions and we are free to accept or move on. Nobody is making us pledge to them. We all want them to make an awesome game regardless. :)
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#11
Metabot

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NeuroArcanist asks…
What aspect of cRPGs missing from modern games do you most want to recapture with Project Eternity?

Answer: I can answer that in one word: parties. I like playing cRPG's that allow the player to control big parties of characters, and by control, I mean you can pick the actions of each party member if you want. We will have lots of pause conditions in our combat, and if you want to have the game pause whenever a party member can perform a new action, you can do that. Most modern games only let you control one character, or if they give you a party, you only control one member of that group. In this game, I want to control all of them.

I hope that doesn't mean too much micro management, and that they can handle their inventories on their own if you so please. Or better yet, have a large shared party inventory, instead of being split between multiple characters.


I hope it does mean a lot of micro management if you want to.
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#12
Technatorium

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Being a fan of BG1. I loved the ability to manage each individual member to the best of their abilities. Better weapons/armor/spells to learn/etc. It makes you involved with each character's development. Allows you to really love and hate certain characters and get into the story more because you have put so much time into making each character the best at what they are good at. BG1 started that for me and BG2 made it even better.
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#13
Ieo

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NeuroArcanist asks…
What aspect of cRPGs missing from modern games do you most want to recapture with Project Eternity?

Answer: I can answer that in one word: parties. I like playing cRPG's that allow the player to control big parties of characters, and by control, I mean you can pick the actions of each party member if you want. We will have lots of pause conditions in our combat, and if you want to have the game pause whenever a party member can perform a new action, you can do that. Most modern games only let you control one character, or if they give you a party, you only control one member of that group. In this game, I want to control all of them.

I hope that doesn't mean too much micro management, and that they can handle their inventories on their own if you so please. Or better yet, have a large shared party inventory, instead of being split between multiple characters.


I hope it does mean a lot of micro management if you want to.


I think the micromanagement aspect sounds highly tunable--but this depends heavily on the AI options for the party members (scripting choices, etc.), which is the other side of the discussion. For player control, the finer auto-pausing options sound great to me. :)
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#14
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I like that modding is at least something they like. Maybe with that in mind, they can try to package the gamefiles in such a way that does not preclude modding. Then they can go from there.

#15
Archon

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We will have lots of pause conditions in our combat, and if you want to have the game pause whenever a party member can perform a new action, you can do that.


That's interesting. Having preset conditions instead of constantly using the spacebar to pause sounds like a good option.

#16
Tale

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I just had to post that question with my old boring reddit account name. The answer about classes turned out a bit more mundane than I hoped. Still, glad they're considering multiclass.

#17
Archon

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one thing we are not going to do for certain is make race-restricted items. While many items have a cultural connection to some races, they will still be useable by members of other races. It might be unusual to see humans in elven chain, but they can wear it.


Actually I was hoping some restrictions on items, particularly on armors. It always seems weird when a Dwarf Plate can be shared with other party members...
Unless Dwarves have invented stretch metal in Project Eternity :D

#18
Ieo

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We will have lots of pause conditions in our combat, and if you want to have the game pause whenever a party member can perform a new action, you can do that.


That's interesting. Having preset conditions instead of constantly using the spacebar to pause sounds like a good option.


There were a fair number of auto-pause combat conditions in Baldur's Gate.

Enemy Sighted
Weapon Unusable
Character Hit
Character Death
Character's Target Destroyed
Trap Found
Spell Cast

And any others I might've missed. I always went with Weapon Unusable (typically out of ammo) and Spell Cast (easier to manually chain spells without losing too much time). Everything else I managed with manual pause in combination with specifically chosen AI scripts. My friends ended up using most of the autopause options. Options are good. :)

Edited by Ieo, 29 September 2012 - 09:54 AM.

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#19
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one thing we are not going to do for certain is make race-restricted items. While many items have a cultural connection to some races, they will still be useable by members of other races. It might be unusual to see humans in elven chain, but they can wear it.


Actually I was hoping some restrictions on items, particularly on armors. It always seems weird when a Dwarf Plate can be shared with other party members...
Unless Dwarves have invented stretch metal in Project Eternity :D


"Get the Breastplate stretcher!" One of my favorite scenes with the king from Game of Thrones season 1
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#20
aVENGER

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Actually I was hoping some restrictions on items, particularly on armors. It always seems weird when a Dwarf Plate can be shared with other party members...
Unless Dwarves have invented stretch metal in Project Eternity :D


What I'd suggest would be special bonuses if an item is worn by a member of the race who has crafted it.

For example, anyone can wear a suit of Elven Chainmail but elves get an extra +1 to AC and +5 to Hide from it. I think this approach might add some flavor to the game without introducing overly limiting restrictions.
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