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Justhammer

With the release of the screenshot, the fans got a glimpse at what 10 years of rendering technology can add to the Infinity Engine. Can you tell us what, if any improvements, that can/will be made to Character/character animations as Project Eternity moves forward?

 

jesawyer

The animators are looking at Unity 4's Mecanim system and what it can allow us to do. One of the big differences is that working with 3D characters instead of sprites means that we have a lot more flexibility for equipment/armor/weapon combos on characters. Also we can do much better blending and animation scaling since adjustments and interpolation can be done in real-time.

 

 

 

[–]Greenei

 

How are you going to handle reactions from the world on actions of the Player (like thievery, violence and murder) or events in the world itself? Will there be some kind of legal system? Will NPC remember how you treated them and will there be ways to get on a good branch with them again? Will NPCs be reflective of what's going on in the world and have dialogue about it?

 

 

[–]jesawyer

 

We haven't discussed reactions to criminal acts, but we'd like there to be good reactivity to those events. For reputation, we will be using a modified version of the system found in F:NV, which allowed for a broad spectrum of reactions that could shift over time. Not having to worry about full voice acting means we can have even more reactions to player actions from NPCs throughout the world. Overall, this is pretty important to us so we will support it as much as we can.

 

 

[–]syn2083

A lot has been talked about regarding combat, and some of the mechanics. Can you describe how the lore, or mythos will effect the abilities or spells available within the game. EG In Dungeons and Dragons a cleric may worship a specific god, and be granted specific abilities due to this. Will there be any mechanic akin to this, and if so, will it be limited only to a 'cleric' like entity? I find that this is an often under-used mechanic that can really enhance the 'getting into the world' factor.

 

jesawyer

Priests and possibly paladins will have altered access to lists of spells and abilities based on their chosen deity or cause. It's not about the god/cause limiting it, but the person limiting their access themselves since their power is internally-derived.

 

[–]hswbaz

How do you feel about the current trend of RPGs and where would you like to see it go/what would you like to see changed?

 

ChrisAvelloneCCO Obsidian Entertainment

The genre's definitely advancing in some ways (art fidelity, voice/sound) and technology aspects, although sometimes I worry that some of the older elements that made RPGs RPGs has gotten lost along the way. For example, party-based control, ability to write your own bios and enter your own text, and also some customization elements (importing your own portraits, for example, rather than sticking with the range the devs allow). While there are some technology elements that may make games better games, I don't know if those technological improvements make them better role-playing games.

As an example (and I cite this one a lot because it changed my design philosophy), the idea that skills and attributes could change your dialogue options in Fallout 1 was brilliant and didn't need anything from the latest processor or video card. ;)

 

[–]gyshall

Can we expect to see unique dialog choices and options for characters with low intelligence? Or unique ones relating to skill/feat/talent/etc levels?

 

ChrisAvelloneCCO Obsidian Entertainment

Absolutely, it's an important part of the dialogue process, and from a dialogue standpoint, they're a lot of fun to do. I really enjoyed doing the ones for Vault City in Fallout 2, especially.

Ideally, the more reactive you can make the dialogue to a character's stats and attributes, the better, obviously, and we intend to do it in this title.

 

]delias_

What are some of the harder aspects of having the ability to create all new lore, geography, etc. this time around? Previously, many of the BI and Obsidian games have worked within existing worlds, like the Forgotten Realms where awesome places like "The Spine of the World" already existed. Any major tug-of-war going on between you about what something should be named, perhaps?

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: I think the most difficult aspect right now is that generating content during the Kickstarter campaign is very "seat of the pants". A brand new setting takes a lot of time to fully develop since you have virtually nothing to start with.

We haven't had many arguments/disagreements about how things should be named. The general approach is that things around the Dyrwood are named by Aedyr settlers using common words/names that are either plain English or Old English in origin (or at least OE in "feel").

 

[–]dinxusa

Thank you all for doing an AMA! What do you think is it about the Fallout series is it that makes it so popular? What do you like about it? PS thank you for writing the Fallout Bible!

 

TimCain

I have always thought that Fallout was popular, in part, because it introduced a world with no law and a very grey morality and then asked the player "how will you behave?". The player had to decide if he or she wanted to be nice or to act badly, and then to live with those consequences. This feature not only made the game replayable (what would happen if I was nice to those ghouls instead of killing them all?), but I'd like to think that it made people think more about how they act in real life.

 

[–]GoldenSama

First off, a big thank you to you guys. I’ve spent more hours playing Fallout games than I can count. Absolutely love the universe, the settings and the games.

What are your involvements in the future of the franchise? Are you guys involved in Fallout 4, or have plans for any other upcoming Fallout titles?

How do you feel about mods?

And one final question, because I have always wondered… why is there only short-hair in the character creation?

 

ChrisAvelloneCCO Obsidian Entertainment

Fallout is all in Bethesda's hands. We loved working on Fallout 2 and New Vegas (and obviously, Tim on Fallout 1 and 2).

We love mods. Not only because it gives a chance to see what players can make (and use it as a way of testing potential design candidates), but it's also informative in terms of letting us know what design elements to include in future installments. As an example, the "Sink" in Old World Blues was due directly through realizing how frequently people made homebase mods and then designing a DLC around that.

 

Nosferax

Will there be multiplayer available?

 

ChrisAvelloneCCO Obsidian Entertainment

No multiplayer, no. We're focusing on the single-player experience.

 

jarpie

If you are going to put social skills such as speech, diplomacy, persuasion, intimidate or something similar to those, would they be tied to the classes like in D&D 3E/3,5E or free for all classes?

 

ChrisAvelloneCCO Obsidian Entertainment

We are tying responses to attributes, but what we want to avoid in the mechanics is using attributes as "insta-win" buttons (for example, often in previous RPG titles, using the Skill option often is the instant win for quest solutions). What we'd rather do is have attributes and skills open up a range of new information that allows you to make a more informed decision about a choice rather than gate you to a solution.

This may sound complicated, but it's like the Empathy skill in Fallout 1 and 2 - it would only tell you if the person you were talking to would react positively or negatively to your dialogue option, but that didn't mean it was the right option to choose in every situation, and sometimes you wanted to make someone mad to achieve your goal.

Hope that makes sense.

 

ARTIFICIAL_SAPIENCE

Is there any interest in including another incarnation of Ravel? The last one I recognized was back in KOTOR 2. Has the concept become less interesting?

 

Obsidian_Ent

Chris Avellone thinks:

I think Ravel's been explored enough. If I did another D&D game, I might, but Kreia in K2 was designed to explore that relationship more, and I feel she ended up being a thorough exploration of her personality archetype so much so I don't feel the need to go any further. It also helped that the context of the Star Wars universe also helped give her a fresh take.

The fact that Ravel existed across the Planes and perceived time differently than others was always an interesting element to write for. And I always liked her for her more honest emotions (feelings for the player and her attempts to do good and change her nature even when her nature got in the way).

 

Nithrakis

Josh, you name drop MicroProse's 1992 Darklands quite frequently. If you were given the opportunity, would you like to do a direct sequel to Darklands? And, if so, what would you change about it?

Also, what aspects of Darklands can we expect to see in Project Eternity?

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: Yes, I would definitely work on a direct sequel/reboot/whatever to Darklands. I would probably want to restructure some of the skills in the system (or adjust the game's content) so players got more use out of the neglected skills like Streetwise, Ride, or Speak Latin. Also I'd like to offer alternatives to being a virtuous Catholic in the game, which was pretty much "the way" to play. Overall, though, I still think it holds up very well.

The aspect of Darklands I'm most interested in trying out in Project Eternity is the manner in which certain non-combat sequences/conversations are presented with an illustrated scene accompanied by text. Performing a ritual, talking with an important character at a specific time/place, or even figuring out how to cross a broken bridge -- those are all things that I could see taking place in such a format.

 

NudoJudo

With level growth planning to be slower in PE, will there be leveling mechanics to make each level more meaningful? Eg: feats/perks/talents/skill points/gold stars per level instead of every two or three levels.

 

Obsidian_Ent

Tim Cain: Yes. Our intention is that you will level more slowly than many modern games, but each level will feel significant in terms of power level and new abilities. If you play like me, you will already be planning where to spend your points when you level up, so when that "ding" happens, you will upgrade your character and immediately look for someone new to fight/talk to/sneak past, just to try out the new abilities.

 

cave_rat

Will I be able to pick locks if I play as a barbarian? In other words, will skills in PE be class-specific?

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: Skills will not be class-specific, though classes may have inherent bonuses with certain skills. If you want to blast up Mechanics with your barbarian, you can do that. You probably won't be as good as a Rogue who is dedicated to Mechanics, but you won't be restricted from putting points into those skills.

 

tentomasz

Hey, first of all: thanks for opening paypal option. Otherwise I wouldnt be able to support you.

Could you please elaborate as much as you can about P:E's story? I guess it's not only me who's hoping it will be the most important part of the game. Please bring back this thrill I could experience during the good old days where it wasn't all about "expand your group, kill the finall boss, boom, end of the story". I'm reaaaaaally hoping for something I will be telling about long after I'll be done with P:E.

 

Obsidian_Ent

 

 

Chris Avellone pontificates:

I can elaborate on how we approach the story structure, if that helps, although I don't want to say anything more than that right now. Here's the process we ideally want to follow:


  • Understand the core mechanics, classes, and magic systems, as well as the "physics" that underlie the world. This may sound obvious, but when writing for a companion that has a certain profession of class, you need to understand everything about the mechanics of that class to make it work - when I was doing Gann in Mask of the Betrayer, the fact that his class choice didn't mesh well with his character and Kaelyn's did was my fault, and I should have put more effort into finding more ties between Gann and his chosen profession as I feel it would have made his character stronger.

  • Quantify the principle differences/unique elements and themes of the world. For example, the concept of souls in PE is extremely important, and all the players and companions should have opportunities to see examples of the range of soul mechanics and discuss/have quests/gain lore according to it.

  • Nail down your theme. Once the player movement set and toolset is established, the lore is set up, and we have a sense of how the world moves and why, then you place the player and his companions (usually as sounding boards) in the middle of that situation. I don't feel that every game has to have a theme (it should be a game first, and subtext should come second to entertainment) but if you make a strong theme that's developed well, I feel that does make a game more fun and meaningful for a player that's exploring it.

hodnemocpenez

Re: Powder guns. I backed this project because the promise of making BG-type of game was something from a dream. But your plan to include powder guns into the game is taking me down little bit. Can you please explain more in detail how common the guns will be?

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: Guns are not particularly common and are universally single-shot black powder weapons. They are powerful (especially against wizards using an arcane veil for defense), but they are so inaccurate and slow to reload that most people would rather use a bow or crossbow, especially at long range.

Side note: similar firearms were actually in the Forgotten Realms following the Time of Troubles. It's just rare to see any character using them.

 

MDSVentus

First off, a big thanks to you guys for being interested in creating a game in the form of Project Eternity that is trying to bring something that, in this current industry is distinct and interesting and attempting something different from what you see a lot nowadays.

As to my question, I love what you guys have said so far in regards to the project including creating a great party system with full control and distinct classes. Along with the gameplay-related features, I'm extremely curious as to how personally developed the party characters will be. How well can you get to know them and will there be quests/extensive dialogue that helps develop them? To me, personal relationships with party members adds so much in many of the RPGs that have it, and I was wondering what the focus on that would be in Project Eternity.

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: The companion characters will be very well-developed. It's something we love doing and we feel that companion reactivity can provide a lot of information about the world and a continual criticism (or praising) of the character's actions. Companions will have their own quest lines that you can not only complete, but determine the outcome of. Player choice will be important throughout the game and your interactions with companions will be no different in that regard.

 

CZYSTA_WODA

What were your predictions on amount of money from Kickstarter before it started?

 

Obsidian_Ent

Chris Avellone puts on Rasputin hat:

Only our Art Director, Rob Nesler, felt super confident about us hitting our goal and hitting it so quickly. The rest of us felt it was more of a gamble, and we were afraid because of the amount we were asking - but we didn't feel it would be responsible of us to ask for less. Brian Fargo was the same way with WL2 - never ask for less than you need to make the game, be responsible budget-wise and be practical. If you don't get funded as a result, then you don't get funded, but it means you're not letting anyone down on both sides of the Kickstarter.

 

]ZyrxilToo

How much overlap is there in the people working on Wasteland 2 and P.E?

 

Obsidian_Ent

Chris Avellone's multiple design personalities give their voices:

There's only me working on Wasteland 2 (I feel so alone snfff snfff), and I'm working on wrapping up the area designs now. It's been a blast, and I'm really enoying working with Brian again - I usually am there 2 days out of the week at the inXile offices and attending design meetings, kicking around WL2 thoughts, etc.

 

JamisonKrig

Tim Cain - Considering how popular steampunk has gotten, have you thought of making a sequel to Arcanum? Would you have the rights to it, or are they held by Activision Blizzard?

 

Obsidian_Ent

Tim Cain: those rights are held by Activision Blizzard, who got them from a chain of buy-sell events occurring after Sierra closed. I have often thought of making a sequel to Arcanum, especially since Troika designed a sequel called "Journey to the Centre of Arcanum" back in 2001, but I don't own the rights and there doesn't seem much interest from the publisher to back such a project.

 

[–]H_asardeur

have you already decided if the Aumaua and Orlans are going to be playable races? (selectable by the player at the start of the game?)

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: Yes, we are planning to have aumaua and orlans as two of our playable races.

 

tentomasz

Hey, first of all: thanks for opening paypal option. Otherwise I wouldnt be able to support you.

Could you please elaborate as much as you can about P:E's story? I guess it's not only me who's hoping it will be the most important part of the game. Please bring back this thrill I could experience during the good old days where it wasn't all about "expand your group, kill the finall boss, boom, end of the story". I'm reaaaaaally hoping for something I will be telling about long after I'll be done with P:E.

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: We don't want to spoil the story, especially since we're still in pre-production! The story will be a big focus for us, especially allowing players to choose their own way through the story that makes sense for the characters they want to play. When you've finished the story, we want you to feel like you had to make a lot of difficult choices and that the world changed because of it -- both in major and minor ways.

 

MatSuta

How do you feel about Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition?

 

Obsidian_Ent

Tim Cain: I am looking forward to it, but I think I will have to buy a new tablet, since I have an original iPad.

 

sacklunch

What was the first or most impact-full RPG experience you ever had?

 

Obsidian_Ent

Chris Avellone thinks:

For me it was Fallout 1, when I first started talking to someone and realized that even the dialogues would shift depending on my character build. It changed how I approached the dialogue in Torment, for certain.

I would add Ultima Underworld, Wasteland 1, and Chronotrigger to this list as well. For Ultima Underworld, there were so many quests and twists that I feel have never been replicated (at the end game, the main guy I'd come to for help had NO IDEA how to defeat the badguy and asked ME what I thought we could do - awesome), Wasteland 1 (proof that game mechanics in the right context can make amazing moments, like going through Finster's Android Brain and fighting adversaries with your IQ skill), and Chronotrigger for the brave story choices they took and reactivity to that (no spoilers).

I have a whole bunch of games I consider to be "design document" games because they do a lot of design elements so well - Dead Space and System Shock 2 are among them.

 

Enforcer84

Are you the same Chris Avellone who used to do Stick Figure Theater in Champions books? If so, hi!

If not, sorry bout that, but Hi!

 

Obsidian_Ente has a nostalgia attack:

Yes, and if you want to see more, they're on Twitter (@chrisavellone), too. I doodle on everything when I get restless. Or I'm on the phone. Or having beers and I've brought my sketchbook. I believe I did all the RPG Codex stick figure style trolls while intoxicated.

Um, I mean SOBER. Yes, SOBER. And professional.

 

Puistokemisti

I play these games mostly to dress up my characters like beautiful princesses. How fabulous dresses, armors and hats will I be able to find and equip?

 

Obsidian_Ent

Tim Cain: I like lots of variety in armor and clothes as well, so I'll ask Rob to make you lots of them! In the meantime, here is some Princess Chocolate to avoid: http://chocolateihav...chocolate-ever/

 

]IceStorm007 -

How are you going to sign 1750+ fysical boxes and are you indeed signing the boxes themself or some inlay?

And I have to thank you for making a CE worthy of the name!

 

Obsidian_Ent

Chris Avellone responds with a terrified expression:

I have no idea except that IT WILL GET DONE. I believe we'd be signing them ourselves. Expecting hand cramps for a month.

 

cornerbash

What would your dream development project be? As in, if you weren't constrained by budget, time or technology, what would be the thing you'd produce?

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: Personally, there are two settings/ideas I'd like to explore. One is a setting called Antebellum that is an alternate Earth stuck in the late 19th century at the outbreak of the Civil War after spirit armies swarm over the American South, Ireland, India, and a variety of other places. I'd mostly like to explore the idea of different power groups (e.g. slave owners and slaves) being paralyzed by inaction due to the thread of reactive spirit groups coming to the defense of any party being victimized.

The other game I've wanted to make for a long time is one in which you play a player-defined St. George in the 3rd century Near East who enters a land terrorized by the Dragon. All conversation is abstracted into incomprehensible foreign language and the entire game looks like it is a moving Greek Orthodox icon painted on wood and plaster. As George suffers in the world, the icon fades, cracks, and chips away over time. I'd want it to be more about mood, atmosphere, and subtle body language/character interaction than a scripted narrative and fierce gameplay.

 

Greenei

How are you going to handle reactions from the world on actions of the Player (like thievery, violence and murder) or events in the world itself? Will there be some kind of legal system? Will NPC remember how you treated them and will there be ways to get on a good branch with them again? Will NPCs be reflective of what's going on in the world and have dialogue about it?

 

jesawyer

We haven't discussed reactions to criminal acts, but we'd like there to be good reactivity to those events. For reputation, we will be using a modified version of the system found in F:NV, which allowed for a broad spectrum of reactions that could shift over time. Not having to worry about full voice acting means we can have even more reactions to player actions from NPCs throughout the world. Overall, this is pretty important to us so we will support it as much as we can.

 

Obsidian_Ent

Chris Avellone adds:

Josh is right (I almost wrote "write" there). It's often the VO budget, not the will of the designers that limits the amount of reactivity text between NPCs in an area. As an example, the reactivity text in Fallout 2 I felt was far more true to an RPG than other games I've worked on because it was much easier pipeline-wise to implement it and while it wasn't free, it was definitely FAR less expensive than if someone had had to voice it. Also, it was easier to edit.

 

Borskey

How would you guys feel about fans volunteering their time to help with the development of the game? 3.5M isn't much of a budget these days, and you've got to do a lot with that. One of the things that has always amazed me is that fans are willing to put weeks of work into making something for a game that they love: fan translations, mods, etc.

So I'm sure that some people would be more than happy to help translate Project Eternity into a language for free- so long as they get credit and get a sneak peek at the game.

And as for modders: I'm sure you've noticed some of the great improvements players have made for your games. For example, when Adam was streaming Icewind Dale 2, he used some Gibberlings 3 mods. Another example- the popular Fallout 3 mod "Weapon Mod Kits" was re-made by you guys and included into New Vegas. It seems to me that modders often come up with great tweaks that improve gameplay, or design whole new areas. One of your stretch goals was a Player House- why bother spending money developing that when there are hundreds of people out there who will do that for free?

I think it would be great if you have mod toolkits available during beta, and then you keep an eye out on which mods the beta testers seem to like the most- and consider incorporating those (perhaps after tweaking them yourself) into the final game. Even if you decide against incorporating anything, the fact that established mods will be available at release will make it a better game. Games like New Vegas get better with age (at least on the PC). Simply making resources available to modders during beta will give Project Eternity a big head start without you having to do any work vetting and debugging their creations.

 

Obsidian_Ent

Tim Cain: we have been contacted by several fans already about the possibility of translating the game into their native language, and we will talk to them about the seriousness and breadth of their offer (it's a big deal to make the translations correct and complete).

As for mods, we like modding and want to support it as much as we can. We are looking into how to make data formats available, along with tools, if we can.

 

Feldoth

This is really good to hear, that aspect of skills has always bugged me. What about people simply acting differently if you have a high skill in (for example) intimidate? Rather than giving you specific "intimidate" dialog choices the NPCs just react to you as though you are intimidating.

 

Obsidian_Ent

Chris Avellone thinks:

We sometimes would assume auto-reactions based on perks and traits, although we feel it's more fair to a player to choose when and where they want to flex their mental muscles. Even someone with Terrifying Presence may not be having a terrifying day or want to role-play that at the moment. :)

Race reactions and more obivous elements (like in Fallout, people would react to what you were wearing), I feel clicks more with a player and is fine.

 

[–]Justhammer

So I just watched a video on Mecanim. Wow! The characters have the potential to look great! Now your animation and art teams have their work cut out for them!

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: It's nice that Mecanim apparently makes certain things (like retargeting animations) much easier. Having to port animations across all of the different race/sex combinations is typically a pain. Mecanim handles retargeting pretty easily.

 

[–]hideo__kuze

Nice. I like the idea of the worshiped deity affecting the spell list.

Is there a deity of death?

Necro magic for the win.

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: There's a little bit about DEATH in today's update. :)

 

delias_

I've seen a lot of designers say that they've enjoyed working within the confines of another world. However, in the case of giants like LucasArts and Hasbro/WoTC, there's an almost censorship-level restriction of where you can take a story.

While we already know from KOTOR 2 that this restriction can be fun from a writing perspective, from a world-building perspective, I imagine it will be an interesting task to create locations/lore/history that you can turn on its head based on characters' preconceptions (and to which the audience does not have any reference).

Since everything in P:E is essentially a new design, I imagine you guys would have to work in a way that you're having to continually outsmart yourselves (and your creations).

 

Obsidian_Ent

Chris Avellone pontificates:

I feel creating a world (and slang and culture) often is just as time-consuming as researching someone else's franchise (for example, Star Wars required a lot of research into the expanded universe, not just to become familiar with it, but to understand what stories and elements had already been told). As such, we only had 5-6 comments on our story from LucasArts over the whole course of the project because we'd done our due diligence.

And we don't work on franchises because we don't have our own ideas, it's just the way things have shaken out. I feel we've had opportunities to examine those franchises in new ways that players appreciate (K2 and Mask of the Betrayer).

 

]Aravilar

What are your plans concerning the loot system of the game? Personally, I loved the Baldur's Gate approach of items beeing set in one specific location of the game/ with certain characters. It motivates to explore every corner of the game and once you figured everything out gave you the experience of really knowing the world. Random loot should be very limited imho.

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: We will rely more on placed loot than randomized loot. The IWD games had a huge amount of unique items and most of those were hand-placed (e.g. Pale Justice). I like writing the unique histories of those items, anyway. :)

There might be a tiny amount of randomization, but that will likely happen at that the individual gear level. E.g. 5 bandits are placed on a map. When the map loads, each will randomly be given a pair of shortswords, a longsword and shield, or a bigass mace.

 

]anexanhume

Hi guys!

May seem like a silly question, but do you have any stretch goals in mind beyond 3.5M if it really takes off, or is that the final one?

Also, are you guys totally against the idea of a console port if PC is still the lead platform?

BTW, I started at $20 and worked my way up to $62, so good job on adding stuff people want.

 

Obsidian_EntS

Chris Avellone glances at Adam for a second, then continues:

We're almost constantly evaluating and designing new stretch goals. The pacing and amount of funding has demanded it.

We have no plans for a console port, we want to focus on the PC (and Mac and Linux). Not doing a console title has been freeing in a lot of respects for designing this game, and we don't want to limit that freedom.

 

]anexanhume

Hi guys!

May seem like a silly question, but do you have any stretch goals in mind beyond 3.5M if it really takes off, or is that the final one?

Also, are you guys totally against the idea of a console port if PC is still the lead platform?

BTW, I started at $20 and worked my way up to $62, so good job on adding stuff people want.

 

Obsidian_Ent

Chris Avellone smiles:

Thanks for upping the amounts, glad to see the work for the tiers is paying off. Most of the kudos are to Adam and Feargus, they're constantly examining the forums for new potential things people may want and finding a way to incorporate them.

 

goldenhearted

This one piece of art from Project Eternity had me intrigued since it gives of a Lovecraftian vibe. So I might as well ask, will there be quests, story elements and the like that have Lovecraftian influences? Because the idea of exploring PE's world and running into some cosmic horror (or something similar) **** makes me excited.

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: I don't think we're necessarily going FULL LOVECRAFT, but I do want the dark and scary places of Project Eternity to feel appropriately terror-inducing, even from an isometric perspective. Eír Glanfath's ruins are supposed to contain some scary stuff, so we don't want the player to yawn when they kick open the door and face Skeleton #242.

 

ReverendBizarre

Can you share any (minor) details on the magic system for the game?

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: We haven't developed the systems in detail, but wizard and priest magic may feel similar to their A/D&D counterparts, with the change that low-level powers will return after (sometimes during) battles without requiring the need to rest. Ciphers and chanters abilities will likely feel much different, both in flavor and in their mechanics.

 

Nosferax

Right, sometimes in New Vegas the speech (or speak?) skill did feel like an instant win button.

 

Obsidian_Ent Chris Avellone glances furitively around:

Yeah, there were two points where it broke convention because I felt it needed to - one was with Lanius, and the second was with Ulysses. If you kept spamming the Speech button and choosing the first option without really listening to what they were saying, you'd end up screwing yourself. The reason I don't feel good about that is because that wasn't the precedent set with other conversations, so I don't know if I'd do it again if I had the chance.

But in Project: Eternity, I definitely want to do this. People who don't care about dialogue shouldn't take Speech skills anyway - those that do should have fun exploring the conversation and seeing what they can take away from it.

 

Tnbred

Part of what really makes BG2 the best RPG so far is the kind of power you end up getting toward the end of the game. I used to play spell casters and really enjoyed time stop spells and other kind of level 9 Spells. Will we be able to reach such power for project Eternity ? Are we to expect seeing a Time Stop spell again ? Thank you for a great project and a great idea. You have my money !

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: We'll have to see where Project Eternity winds up. We want to leave room to grow, after all. :)

I think making the player feel relative power growth is important, though, whether we're talking about getting Fireball in Pool of Radiance or Time Stop in BG2. I think that people enjoy hitting those late-game points where some really powerful options open up. As long as those options don't make late-game challenges irrelevant, it's nice to go back to earlier encounter styles and just wipe the floor with everyone that previously gave you grief.

 

I think it wasn't posted:

 

[–]Feldoth

I'd like to know more about classes, multi-classing, and character customization in general. To that end, will there be multi-classing? If not, will you ensure variability in character design (within a class) in some other way?

My perspective here is that multi-classing allows for an almost limitless number of potential characters, but isn't the only way to achieve that end. Therefore what I really want to know is how committed you are to ensuring we have the ability to make large numbers of unique characters.

(breaking this up into multiple questions, so you can answer them individually)

 

[–]Obsidian_Ent

Tim Cain: we are considering adding multi-classing, but we are focusing on getting the base classes implemented first. Between choices of race and culture (which will open background traits to pick), people can make a lot of character customizations that affect game play directly. Then as you level, you again have choices to make about what abilities to take.

 

[–]delias_

I've seen a lot of designers say that they've enjoyed working within the confines of another world. However, in the case of giants like LucasArts and Hasbro/WoTC, there's an almost censorship-level restriction of where you can take a story.

While we already know from KOTOR 2 that this restriction can be fun from a writing perspective, from a world-building perspective, I imagine it will be an interesting task to create locations/lore/history that you can turn on its head based on characters' preconceptions (and to which the audience does not have any reference).

Since everything in P:E is essentially a new design, I imagine you guys would have to work in a way that you're having to continually outsmart yourselves (and your creations).

 

Obsidian_Ent Chris Avellone adds:

One thing I'd say is while it may seem that some franchise holders are restrictive, if you go into the developer relationship aware of the "bookends" at the outset, it's not hard to craft an interesting powerful story - in fact, it makes it an interesting challenge, and one thing I've liked from working on multiple franchises is each one has challenged me to think about stories and characters in different ways, which only helps the craft.

 

Aravilar

What are your plans concerning the loot system of the game? Personally, I loved the Baldur's Gate approach of items beeing set in one specific location of the game/ with certain characters. It motivates to explore every corner of the game and once you figured everything out gave you the experience of really knowing the world. Random loot should be very limited imho.

 

Obsidian_Ent

Chris Avellone nods:

I loved making item lore for specific items in IWD1, 2, and Torment. They were like making little item short stories because you could hand-craft each one (and handcraft their powers to make the story stronger and vice versa).

 

gyshall

Do you guys have any plans for a more "robust" Economy than what was in the old IE games? I've always found it somewhat immersion breaking/jarring to run to a town to dump all my loot off at some merchant, and his total gold never changes, or his stock/item availability never changes or reacts to world events.

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: Personally, I think economy considerations are interesting, as are alternate currencies, waiting for restocks/being forced to seek out other vendors. We'll have to see how it ties into PE, but I definitely like exploring that stuff.

 

Another interesting one about languages, and then I'll stop to avoid double-posting.

 

 

[–]Merlkir

How are the languages of PE's world being made? We've gotten quite a bit of lore in the 20th update and the names there were a bit of a mixed bag. Some sound vaguely Earthly (especially the elven ones remind me of Gaelic or something like that), others are quite alien.

Do you guys have a linguist on the team, or are the writers "just winging it"?

There's a discussion about the question here:

http://forums.obsidi...-are-they-made/

 

[–]Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: I'm developing most of the language conventions. I start with a base language's grammar and vocabulary and tweak it, then (try) to keep records of those rules. Aedyran is English with a base of Old English. Vailian is based on Italian (except it's cased). Glanfathan is based on Irish but I've introduced different grammatical case rules. Generally, I try to avoid using real words directly, altering them slightly in the process of adapting them for the game. My goal is for the feeling to be present, but not the words directly.

 

hoboninja

My roommate wanted me to ask you guys about internships I guess?

He interned at Thomson Reuters this past summer but really wants to try and get into the game development field.

He absolutely loves Obsidian, he has played every game you have ever made, and then like every game back from Black Isle/Interplay. He has a huge nerd boner for the Baldur's Gate series, and keeps bugging me to go and play them, I started the first one but haven't gotten around to playing it.

He saw that you have some internship positions available, what are the requirements for that kind of stuff?

Like would a Computer Science senior with a past internship and like a 3.5+ GPA qualify for that?

What type of stuff does an intern do there?

(I won't qualify for anything lol I have like a 2.5 GPA and no internship experience... :/ )

Edit: Answer this one instead,http://www.reddit.co..._sawyer/c6mu4wj

It's more general and applies to anyone instead of my kind of specific question.

 

Obsidian_Ent

Chris puts hiring shirt on and takes off pants:

Applying to jobs@obsidian.net generally is the best way to go, the type of internship varies according to project. One piece of advice I can offer is for anyone looking to break into the industry, volunteering for a Kickstarter you like doing minor tasks is a great way to get experience and help out a cause you really believe in (I've been trying to play matchmaker with Eternity and Wasteland 2 and with other projects, with some success).

 

LinkOnFire

What overhauls to the combat system of Icewind Dale/Baldur's Gate series are you thinking of including?

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: We won't be using a strict round-based system, so the timing of actions will be much more flexible for us to tune. That will help a lot. Also, we don't necessarily need to base our number values or modifiers on dice or "addition/subtraction-friendly" math. I think this will help us tune damage values and modifiers much more. Finally, we'd like to ensure that a) non-casters have more things to do more often (e.g. fighters knocking dudes down, self-replenishing Stamina, etc.) and b) that casters have low-level abilities that come back without needing to rest -- basically, to mitigate the desire to rest-spam.

 

perkel666

What are you thinking now ? You project will get funded in few hours. Also do you plan some party ?

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: It's pretty exciting and yes, we will be having a little party tomorrow! I think we're going to stream it and I'm sure Feargus and Adam will do some embarrassing things!

 

TheAberration

You said that HP will be divided into Health and Stamina and that Stamina will regenerate on its own quickly. Does that mean it'll regenerate on its own even in combat?

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: We'll have to see, but possibly. I like the idea of making a tactical retreat specifically to rest for a few seconds.

 

trucane

How does it feel to have been a part of games that are loved so much and has been for such a long time? Did you ever imagine people would still love and be playing these games 10+ years later?

 

Obsidian_Ent

Chris Avellone shifts nervously:

I don't think I've worked on a game where I thought people would love it, I mostly get terrified before release that the game going out is going to be the nail in the coffin of my career. I definitely thought Torment would fail, and I also thought Old World Blues would crash and burn, among others, even if I thought there were good design principles and themes in both.

 

escozzia

It's probably too early, but do you folks have any plans for this going forward (post P:E)? You've already pretty much announced an expansion pack, are you planning on doing a second? How about sequels?

On a related note, this campaign has clearly been a success, are you planning on Kickstarting any future games?

 

Obsidian_Ent

Chris Avellone states:

Our hope is that Project: Eternity is first in a series of titles, and we can keep expanding the lore and the world. We see this as the first step, and based on fan reaction, we may have a much brighter future than we may have first thought (we weren't sure if we'd get funding).

 

FalkonSwiftblade

will the character progression be tied to the loot they find, or the skills they pick? I'm trying to figure out if all classes are basically be the same, such as if I had 2-3 wizards in a group if I could kit them differently for different strategy's or replay value.

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: Character progression will be done through skills and gear, but more on the skill side than the gear side. If you have multiple wizards, we want you to feel that you can build them differently and have them play differently based on your choice of skills/spells/gear.

 

NudoJudo

Alongside low intelligence dialogue options, could there be low/high charisma "****" conversation choices, that say the exact thing, but are responded to wildly differently? The high charisma **** being seen as confident and charming, the low charisma **** just being an unlikable ****.

 

Obsidian_Ent

Tim Cain: that's an interesting idea, and I think that Mirokunite was asking that when I did update #22 (sorry that I missed that, Mirokunite!). We are planning to support attribute-based dialog, meaning that any attribute of the character (a stat, a skill, a trait) could be used to determine a response. Most of these will be INT based (the wonderful dumb dialog) but anything else is possible too. Just keep in mind that each time we add one these responses, we have to write a new dialog subtree, and it really adds up to make a lot of these. Personally, I'd rather write more dialogs with some attribute-based responses than fewer dialogs with lots of attribute-based responses.

And by saying "I'd rather write", I really mean "I'd rather Chris write" because he is WAY better at writing than I am.

 

hansel4150

Hi guys, just want to say I loved New Vegas. So my question is, are there any Easter Eggs the community has yet to find in NV?

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: I don't think so. People are pretty thorough. Even if they didn't catch them in the main game, modders will root through everything using the GECK or FNVEdit. They found Meat of Champions pretty quickly, for example.

I always wanted to put an Easter egg in at Mojave Outpost if you brought Mutfruit or some other fruit into the station... a challenge achievement like REBEL FRUIT BEARER or something. California border stations make you paranoid about bringing fruit into the state... even after the apocalypse.

 

Himntor

How large will the Exploration/Random Encounters (By random I don't really mean random, more like mini-quests that you just run into like in Baldur's Gate) factor into the game? Just little NPC's in the middle of nowhere doing who-knows-what and stuff like that. Portalbendarwinder in the first Baldur's Gate for example, though he doesn't tie into any quest related things, having random stuff like that is still hilarious.

As a side question, what are your guys' favourite colours? (You did say I could ask you anything)

 

Obsidian_Ent

Tim Cain: We are planning a healthy mix of storyline quests and side quests. We want enough side quests so that if you replay the game, there will be a lot of stuff that you didn't see the first time around, and we also want to reward exploration. If you find a high mountain plateau or clearing in a deep forest, we want stuff there for you to find (and post about!).

As for my favorite color, I am full-spectrum color-blind, so I would have to say "gray".

 

SuperSpaze

Will the game be based around player prototypes like the original Fallouts? Tech-boy, mech-boy, steath-boy etc.

 

Obsidian_Ent

Chris Avellone ponders:

That's a good way to approach some quest design, although we want to make sure we know what archetypes are present (for example, it may not fit into the Fallout archetypes), and that's dependent on the mechanics and builds that shake out.

 

DNAvenger

What can change the nature of a man? (Other than a turkey sandwich?)

Also, limited voice acting is nice and all that - but will PE feature Josh singing? I have to know this.

 

Obsidian_Ent

Chris Avellone cites:

The high WIS option at the end of Planescape is the answer. Which is, of course, "turkey sandwich."

I'll leave the singing part of the answer to Josh. :) Considering he's sung for Eternity and for the Ultimate Edition trailer for New Vegas, there may be more in the future.

 

WarderDragon

Another question, not related to Project Eternity!

The Infinity Engine games and Fallout - and Chris Avellone and Josh Sawyer in particular - were a huge influence on my decision to study interactive design which included game design at a university level - I was determined to become a game designer. However, I was subsequently warned off by friends in the industry, who told me about the atrocious working conditions and terrible job security a lot of developers have to suffer through to do what they love. Most recently, I saw a friend of mine lose his job when BHG/38 Studios went under during the Amalur fiasco.

Although I would've loved to create games, and my education still helps me with both my current job and my hobby projects (which are about gaming), I'm not sure it would've been worth the heartache and looming stress.

So, my question is: Is it worth it? And is the industry climate too harsh on newcomers?

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: The game industry can be harsh, but I don't know if it's any worse than the corporate world. I guess the difference is that in many corporate jobs, you're surrounded by people who care as little about what they're doing as you do. Big companies tend to be more machine-like and bottom-line oriented, often grinding people up in the process.

Even though it sucks that so many big companies have been ditching divisions and laying people off left and right, there's been a surge in the creation of small companies focusing on PC, mobile/tablet, or XBLA/PSN games. If you're worried about going to work for a huge company that will crush you with its machinations, see if there are smaller companies nearby that can allow you to get your feet wet with focused projects.

 

lobotomy42

Are there any new gameplay elements from Obsidian's non-D&D games (K2, F:NV, AP, DS3) that you're considering bringing into Project Eternity? Or, for that matter, are there any elements from someone else's RPG you'd like to steal?

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: F:NV's reputation system is something we definitely want to bring over in some form. We feel that it allows the world to react to the player in ways that the player understands. Instead of making the game be about arbitrary good and evil actions, the player becomes concerned (or chooses to not care) about the reactions of individual characters and factions.

Personally, I think AP's dialogue system did a lot of things very well. Specifically, I really liked the idea of tying attitudes to responses and being very consistent with rewarding and penalizing each way through a conversation in equal measure. I'd like to emulate that level of free player choice in PE.

 

fallenninja666

Ive been following your kickstarter with wide eyed interest and one thing really caught my eye, you said that you were going to be able to include many more "mature" themes in this game, and I was wondering if you could elaborate on what exactly that means? P.S You guys ROCK for doing project eternity. I mean it.

 

Obsidian_Ent

Tim Cain: by saying we want to add mature themes to our game, we are talking about issues that are commonly ignored in other games, issues that bring to mind questions of relative morality or life-and-death choices. Remember in Fallout 1 when you had to decide whether to look for an alternative water source for Necropolis or just steal their water chip to give to your Vault? That was a choice where you could decide that a lot of "monsters" would die so that your people would survive, or you could race against time to see if everyone would survive or if everyone would die.

We want more quests like that.

 

Captainbob83

Will there be gender specific dialogs/interactions with certain npcs? (For example seducing a guard to gain access to some restricted area if you're a woman).

 

Obsidian_Ent

 

JESawyer: We'd like to do that when it's appropriate, yes.

 

tur22

Can we expect to see more artwork like the dwarven ranger portrait before the kickstarter ends?

There's been a lot of discussion on the forums about portrait artists for PE with names like Justin Sweet coming up often, but I would really like to see more examples from whoever produced the dwarven ranger.

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: That artist is currently working on another piece, but I don't know if it will be ready before the end of the KS. :)

 

sensuki

There was concern raised on the forums about the proposed health system based on Darklands. If a character is knocked unconscious from running out of endurance, would you program enemy AI to strike down said character, or ignore them and attack your remaining characters that are not unconscious? Would this be related to difficulty level / expert mode

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: We'll have to see, but generally speaking, spending time finishing off an unconscious foe while able-bodied combatants continue to pose a threat is not tactically wise.

 

inertiax

Will there be Heroic epithets or history feat bonuses? extra perks/stat bonuses you get through gameplay? (Expert Excrement Expeditor) or perhaps some for completing the game with the hard modes turned on?

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: We think it's good to reward players for playing the game "their" way, so we do plan to give bonuses that fall outside of strict level-ups.

 

squiddybiscuit

You mentioned in an interview that there is no resurrection, and very little healing, in Project Eternity. What exactly does that mean for the Priest, who is traditionally very big on those two things - will he basically be a combat focused class?

Also, assuming there are "undead" in the game, will there be a "soul" twist to them?

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: It means the priest can focus on party buffs and being directly involved in combat instead of being a healing battery. Also, priests can restore Stamina, but several classes have similar abilities. Health is the statistic that requires rest to recover.

There's a little bit about undead and necromancy in today's update.

 

deonisius

So far everything I'm seeing here sounds great, but here is a very important question I have: Does the game scale to your level (eg: Fallout 3/Oblivion) or is it set more like Fallout 1/2? For me personally (and some might disagree of course) level scaling kills the entire fun of exploring and finding good loot. And of course the lack of challenge on scaled mechanic is also ever present and makes me not care about side quests (who cares at which point of the story I am and how leveled up I am since everyone around is pretty much the same). So what is your guys plan on this?

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: Scaled content will be used minimally, and almost entirely on the critical path. We don't want to push players to grind to make their way through the game's central plot. Side content will probably not be scaled at all. This includes wandering off in a random direction in the wilderness. It should feel dangerous and risky, IMO.

 

milath

First, Chris, as an aspiring writer myself I just wanted to tell you how much I admire your work and the fact that you (and your compatriots as well) have given gamers something to point to as examples of truly great writing in games over the years.

My question: As the developers of yet another successful Kickstarter campaign, and ones who usually deal with publishers, do you guys have any insights with respect to how the high-profile Kickstarter movement is changing the way the industry is looking game development in general? For example, are publishers becoming more receptive to smaller non-AAA projects with more niche audiences at all? Are developers perhaps gaining a bit more of a say in their projects? Do you believe there will ever be a day game publishers might not be needed anymore at all thanks to digital distribution and crowd-funding sites such as KS?

Thanks guys! I look forward to 2014-ish with great anticipation. Can't wait to see what you all come up with!

 

Obsidian_Ent

Chris Avellone nods and says:

I don't think publishers care about the amounts being donated on KS right now. What they will likely care about is if the titles that get financed go on to sell a million units, and THEN I think we'll get a sea change in terms of them being open to certain submissions. Then again, it will likely fall into the same trap of only accepting games that are similar to the original KS project rather than niche projects in general. Still, if it makes for more RPGs, all the better!

I don't know how the industry will shake out. I do like working for fans, overall, and I like the Kickstarter process because we're allowed to be in more direct contact and share design ideas.

 

arbyday

Given your past experience with making wonderful RPGs, what are the most important (or were the hardest for you to master) skills you think you bring to development of this title that another dev team might not have?

 

Obsidian_Ent

Tim Cain: I can answer that in one word. Editing. It has taken me a long time to learn that I don't need to add every feature I could possibly think of to all of my games. You need to learn what is possible to add and what would take a long time to add, and then prioritize your features so that the best ones get the most time allotted to them.

 

inertiax

do you plan on letting us know the exact radius of our spells? ToEE or will it be more up in the air like iwd bg pst

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: I'd like to show the AoE and it shouldn't be hard to do. In fact... I think Steve may already have that working...

 

arbyday

Given your past experience with making wonderful RPGs, what are the most important (or were the hardest for you to master) skills you think you bring to development of this title that another dev team might not have?

 

Obsidian_Ent

Chris Avellone thinks:

The ability to both present, allow, and then design a game's reactivity around the character build and options allowed for in character creation. If we give you a choice in how to design your character, we need to honor that throughout the game, from race, to culture, to class, to abilities. There have been titles in the past (and ones we've done in the past) that haven't honored this compact, and it's important to us that we do.

 

azo_everburning

Josh, I understand you'll be DMing the D&D session that will be streamed later today. Can you give us - and your future party of adventurers - a smal sneak preview/tease on what is coming?

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: The session is called BLOOD IN THE BRINE and it involves rescuing people from Nelanther pirate scum, Umberlant dagger-lickers, and weresharks. 7th level characters. Air Genasi Fig/Rog, Gold Dwarf Rog, Moon Elf Druid, Human Enchanter, Ghostwise Halfing Bbn/Rgr. w00t

 

riggo49

There is currently a lot of interest in the KS comments about the Giant in the Endless Path... Will the giant itself be in the dungeon and will we learn lore about it as we move deeper into the dungeon?

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: It is... a mystery.

 

KellyCommaRoy

I'm a voice actor with a thin resume but a huge enthusiasm for games. Is there a way for me to get involved?

 

Obsidian_Ent

Chris Avellone thinks:

  • You can always volunteer for Kickstarter projects. There may not be money in it, but hey, experience is experience.
  • A more complicated answer from our audio producer Mikey Dowling:
  • The number one most important piece of advice I can give you: do theater. If you've acted in the pass, awesome! Keep it up. Acting is the number one skill you need for voice acting, it often goes neglected.

After that: make a demo reel. If it's what you really want to do, get a demo reel together that shows your range and chops. You don't really need more than a minute, but try to cover a good wealth of material in that minute's time. One thing to be conscience of when finalizing the demo reel (and this is just form the perspective of someone who listens to auditions regularly) is the mix. You don't want someone to listen to it and immediately blow their ears out, nor do you want it to be too quiet. A good level (TV standard broadcasting level is -21db, commercials are at -12db, somewhere in between is fine) is incredibly welcome when going through auditions/reels.

Once you have a reel in a place that you're comfortable with, get in touch with an active voice actor for feedback. It may sound weird, but some of them are incredibly helpful when it comes to that sort of thing. A voice actor I've met recently (and who is now a good buddy) did just that when he got started and it was the best thing for him. When you get to a point where you want to share it with some voice actors, I will absolutely put you in touch with people who will give you feedback. With the demo reel in hand it will be matter of getting your voice in front of those that make the decisions for games/shows. That's where things get the most complicated as the best way to do so is to get an agent, but the agent will also want you to join the Union, so... that could be a good deal of work. Getting into some non-union gigs (there are a TON of animes that are done non-union) will get your voice out there and once people hear it, it can help you get in a better position to get more gigs.

It is by no means the easiest field to get into, but with work and determination, you can absolutely make it. Another great source for voice actors is a book written by Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt called Voice-Over Voice Actor: What It's Like Behind the Mic. Amazing read for anyone interested to get into the industry.

 

GrueWithNoLight

Since I will either have a thief or be one, I am curious about traps. Are you planning on having invisible traps (NWN style) or are you going to model them so they are visible? So will we see what is slicing us, or will it just say, "Darn, not fast enough. -4 hp"

And thank you for making this game!

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: We haven't talked much about traps, but personally I like them to be physically present/modeled into the environment somehow. Even in IWD I liked keeping the pressure plates linked to specific pieces of the environment (e.g. the darkest sets of stones in the hallways in the lower levels of Dragon's Eye).

 

marnyramirez

Will the Tim Cain cookbook be included in the game itself, and will it grant miraculous dishes of unparalleled deliciousness?

 

Obsidian_Ent

Tim Cain: we will have food in the game, so I will have some of those items reflect food from the cookbook. If you ever wanted to be eating the exact same food as your characters, now's your chance!

 

tomimt

How many smaller locations (villages etc.) are you planning to add on the game?

 

Obsidian_Ent

JESawyer: A fair amount. Any time we add communities it's a big deal (even small ones), but they really do help the world feel more alive and fleshed out. We also want to have a lot of exploration environments, similar to the original Baldur's Gate.

 

tomimt

How many smaller locations (villages etc.) are you planning to add on the game?

 

Obsidian_Ent

Tim Cain: It's really hard to say at this point. Small villages tend to get added as needed to support a set of side quests, so until we have the full scope of the game design complete, we won't know how many of these we will need.

 

hideo__kuze