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Update #35: Meet the Developers - Dimitri Berman


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Today we have a meet the developer update with Dimitri Berman, Lead Character Artist on Project Eternity. We are planning for a design update next week, and then we will be going on hiatus for two weeks due to the holiday break!

 

dimitri-berman.jpg

 

Q: Hi Dimitri! What do you do on the Project Eternity team?

A: Hi everyone! I make sure all characters and creatures meet our set quality bar as they enter the game, this includes creation of high poly and low poly models, textures and materials, and occasional skinning and rigging. I work closely with animators, programmers, and designers to make sure our stuff looks and behaves as best it can, and also prototype new systems if we find something particularly cool we can do that the players will enjoy seeing. Occasionally I will jump over and help out the environment guys if they need help with complex set pieces.

 

Q: What are you currently working on today?

A: Today we're doing a couple of things. Firstly, we're getting our first weapons into the game, properly equipped by characters. And oh boy, there are going to be a lot of weapons, you can thank Josh for that! And then I am working with Antonio, our character TD to prototype the character rigs for other playable races. Different races in Eternity will be different scales and this poses various challenges to making their equipment and animations.

 

Q: What's your typical work day like on Project Eternity?

A: Usually when I get in I make a cup of coffee. And then another. Then I usually Facebook until it is lunch-time. After lunch I take to Twitter like a madman, Pinterest and Instagram my fingers off, and then after more Facebook it is time to go home! In all seriousness, I usually check my work email, and get to work on our current goal. Right now we are not creating content, we are figuring out our pipeline for building every single thing in the game, so when the time comes to creating art (during Production), we can focus on the art itself and not fighting technology to make it all work. RPG's are really complex especially when it comes to characters and there are a lot of things we always keep track of, so players in the end can have a wonderful, bug-free experience.

 

Q: What are you most looking forward to on Project Eternity?

A: It's exciting that it is a brand new IP, which allows us to put creativity into characters and art that we would normally not be able to do due to IP constraints. Eternity is also going to be a really big world, with lots of stuff in it - it is going to be rewarding in creating so much art for our fans.

 

Q: What other projects have you worked on at Obsidian?

A: I have worked on Neverwinter Nights 2, its expansions, Dungeon Siege 3, and sadly a couple of cancelled projects. Aliens 4EVER.

 

Q: Where do you like to eat for lunch?

A: Southern California has cuisine from everywhere, so I like to mix it up, be it Thai, sushi, or In-n-Out. But I think I eat more Mexican food than any other. It all started with me living in New Mexico for 10 years and then moving to San Diego.

 

Q: What do you like to do when you aren't making art?

A: What?

 

Q: Who's your favorite artist?

A: I would say HR Giger and Zdzislaw Beksinski are two of my all-time faves.

 

Q: And your favorite Ninja Turtle?

A: Leonardo, hands down. He is the true ninja.

 

Q: What about Rafael?

A: I find his equipment lacking.

 

Q: What's your favorite game?

A: Oh god, I don't know where to begin. There are tons of good games, I don't know if I have a favorite. I've always been a PC guy, and I grew up on first person shooters (Dooms, Quakes, ROTT's), RTS games, and of course old fashioned RPG's. I would play Eye of the Beholder non-stop, drawing out my own map by hand because minimaps weren't invented back then. But with games like Shadow of the Colossus, Dark Souls, and Journey, there are jewels in the modern console world that I really, really enjoy.

 

Q: And finally what's the best brand of Vodka?

A: Vodka is vodka, can't go wrong. I've heard about these two being good, but I've yet to try them - пять озер or зеленая марка (Five Lakes, supposedly Siberian, and Green Mark) . Honestly lately I've been drinking Absinthe.

 

Thanks Dimitri!

 

If you have any questions for Dimitri post them in this thread!

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Q: How would you go about designing a Dread Gazebo? :p

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“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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Probably doesn't like his picture taken. I'd do the same thing. Frankly I'm more interested in the computer screen beside him... :biggrin:

Edited by Hormalakh

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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HI Dimitri, forgive me I have like 20 questions too! Typically hair and cloth in games looks like poo. I know this game will have the camera far away from player so we won't see much detail, however with the current tech out there is there any hope that we can expect by 2014 when this game comes out we'll have realistic hair, tails where appropriate, and cloth in game? Even if it had to be pre-rendered? Is there anything about creating characters now that you're really excited about that maybe previously was impossible or just was uber hard that you plan on implementing in PE? Would it be a whole lot of extra work to design a race or a boss that was left handed? I think that would offer a great strategic element to battles, especially if you consider duel wielding fighters or a create a special fighting style, if only just a left handed boxer or something for melee. How much artistic freedom do you have from a concept sketch to the final rendered hero on how they look? Do you strive to get as close as possible, or do you just use it as a bases, are you one of those people who likes to get in close and sculpt in scars and beauty marks on heros? Thanks :)

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I am slightly confused regarding the high and low poly models mentioned - because an earlier post had said the idea was to use the same character models for the inventory screen and "in-game", which I had assumed meant that only high-poly models would be used.

 

Are the low poly models then used when you zoom out ?

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I am slightly confused regarding the high and low poly models mentioned - because an earlier post had said the idea was to use the same character models for the inventory screen and "in-game", which I had assumed meant that only high-poly models would be used.

 

Are the low poly models then used when you zoom out ?

 

I suspect it's a case of different LOD at various distances - a scaling down of the higher detail geometry in the game view.

 

Even then I don't see why any scaling of geometry should be necessary. I would expect there to be ample geometry budget for characters since almost all of the environment is prerendered 2D.

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Hi Dimitri. First I wanted to say thank you for taking the time to tell us about yourself. It's appreciated.

 

The questions I have is about the models that are going to appear in the inventory panels. Based upon last week's art update, it looks like those representations will be somewhat detailed at around 4,000 polys. Are you able at this time to tell us how much control the players will have over the appearance of those figures? Will it be comparable to the NWN2 system with multiple heads, hair styles, and tinting control? Or will there perhaps something more detailed? Also, I'm curious to know if those models will be emotive? I.e. will they perform animations as in DA2 and possibly behave in a manner that communicates their physical and emotional condition? Perhaps that is more detail than is really necessary, but I was just wondering.

 

Thanks again!

Edited by rjshae

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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I suspect it's a case of different LOD at various distances - a scaling down of the higher detail geometry in the game view.

 

 

Or highpoly for baking textures (normalmaps, diffuse, bump, specular etc) and lowpoly for ingame where the baked textures will be applied to.

Highpoly can be far over 1 mil polygons, where as lowpoly can be as low as 4 poly's (not that thats really eyecatching ;))

Edited by D'rez
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Hi Dimitri.

 

Often, RPGs only have one male and one female body type per race, regardless of whether a character is supposed to be young or old, strong or sickly, fat or thin. Will Project Eternity be able to support a variety of body types, or would that cause too many issues with equipment and animation?

 

A related question: if the world-building required it, would Project Eternity be able to support playable races that have drastically different appearances compared to humans? I realize that there are prefectly legitimate design reasons to have every race draw from the same base, but I'm wondering if there's also a tech constraint or not.

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@ Dimitri Berman - It would be cool if the art department could sneak some of Beksiński's ideas into the game ;) Or Giger's for that matter. Anyways, have fun creating worlds for us, sir!

 

@ Keyrock - Polish vodka isn't bad (there are many different brands, some better than others) but we didn't invent it - as opposed to blue lasers, holography and delta wing aircraft. Finnish and Russian brands are pretty good as well.

 

/edit/ Also, that Cintiq looks mighty awesome. Always wanted one of those

Edited by Solviulnir the Soulbinder
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@Soulviulnir - I had to throw in that little barb because the Poles, Russians, and Scandinavians are forever arguing about who invented Vodka. ;)

 

I'm definitely a fan of Beksinski's work also.

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@Soulviulnir - I had to throw in that little barb because the Poles, Russians, and Scandinavians are forever arguing about who invented Vodka. ;)

 

I'm definitely a fan of Beksinski's work also.

 

You should see the dispute over hummus. The Lebanese and Israelis have claims, has does everyone else in the region. It beats religion and territory hands down. Sabra hummus, from Israel, is my favourite.

 

As for vodka, Zyr is the one and only premium blend although I like the Polish plum vodka I had once.

 

And, lastly, Spasibo, Dmitri.

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Q: Who's your favorite artist?

A: I would say HR Giger and Zdzislaw Beksinski are two of my all-time faves.

 

 

Oh wow, do you have any pictures framed on your wall? I do. One Beksiński and one Giger. I bet your jealous.

"Why don't you just jack off in a bottle of formaldehyde and call it our first born?" - Minatsuki "Hummingbird" Takami

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