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George Ziets has also been successfully added to the Torment: ToN via the most recently reached stretch goal....how will that affect Project Eternity. You guys are about to start production as inXile will soon start pre-production.....will George just up and quit Project Eternity when production starts? My understanding is that the heavy writing happens in pre-production...but still, you are looking at potentially have a writer just up and leave when you may still need him.

 

 

George answers this concern on Formspring: http://www.formspring.me/GZiets/q/434424012253185870

Level design? In the 5th update for Torment: ToN they specifically refer to him joining the writing team and that his writing will enable them to increase the depth of the game. Now I'm confused....is he drawing maps or writing? I hope they didn't have any misunderstandings or miscommunication that will cause problems for one or both games. 

AFAIK he is joining the Torment team kinda like Chris Avellone joined the Wasteland 2 team, ie. making a relatively small contribution, like eg. designing an area, basically something small that doesn't take too much of his time. He's still gonna be mainly working on P:E though. 

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Just what I thought: That cave was concept art in the prototype phase. So, move along, folks. Nothing to see here.

:shrugz:  :shrugz:  :shrugz:  :shrugz: :shrugz:  :shrugz:  :shrugz:  :shrugz:  :shrugz:  :shrugz:  :shrugz:  :shrugz:  :shrugz:  :cat:  


*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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That's weird, I've heard a few developers rail against the vertical slice, most notably Ron Gilbert on his Grumpy Gamer blog. It certainly resonated with me as being a clumsy and inefficient concept when applied to a game. I'm curious to hear the counterargument, I suppose it can get everyone on the same page while exposing issues early on but it still strikes me as a weird idea.

 

 http://grumpygamer.com/6843121

 

I think Gilbert is profoundly wrong.  The key point of the vertical slice is that it tests all your real-time gameplay systems together.  It gives you a sense of the player's moment-to-moment experience during a portion of the game.  That requires you to prove that all your graphics, audio, gameplay, and possibly networking systems are mostly functional and integrated properly.  That, in turn, is invaluable knowledge.

 

You always want to have a running version of your game.  The vertical slice is just the first relatively complete portion you get running.  Gilbert's spatial metaphor is all wrong -- from a gamer's standpoint, playing the vertical slice is like seeing a significant portion of the whole experience of the game.  It's more like seeing just the Mona Lisa's face, or something.  The only way this wouldn't be true is if your game consists of many tiny minigames, but even then a vertical slice (a couple of the minigames) is relevant.

 

This is exactly how we look at it. The vertical slice to us is just a way to take a big project and break it down into a small chunk for the team to focus on first. We generally have two questions that we ask: "Are we demonstrating the experience we want for this game" and "Do we have everything we need to produce final assets"? Before we get into Production, it's important to us to make sure we feel the design and tech have those solid foundations. We don't want to start ramping up more employees onto the project if we're not ready. We can end up spending time during Production redoing stuff (AKA "wasting money and time") which either reduces the length of the game, and/or affects its overall quality.

 

The name "vertical slice" does conjure a weird mental visual. That article's image implies this long thin slice, but I feel that is misleading, at least on how we think of it. I agree with RepoMan: If we were to visualize our vertical slice using the Mona Lisa example, it's going to be a rectangle containing her face. We're going to shoot for something small (but meaningful) and see what works and what doesn't so we have information on what to do before we try to paint the whole thing.

 

...and completely agreed on always having running versions of our games. On all of our games, we do a daily build process and the results of it are vetted by testers, and anything that is going to cause team members issues is fixed ASAP into a build update. It's more in depth than that, but that's the gist of it.

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OBSIDIAN ORDER OF ETERNITY - Officially sponsored most generously by Pierre and SD!

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I was very excited about the animated water screenshot but was severely disappointed that I didn't get to SEE it.

 

To quench your thirst, you could always go and see a REAL waterfall.  :)  We'll all see the computer animated waterfall when the game is released.

 

And where do I go to see it... niagra falls is thousands of miles way, and obsidan is only 15 miles away. Maybe I should drive over and demand where's the........

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@Darren M: Thanks for that clarification. Thanks to this discussion, I realized that while I was learning to mod with the NWN2 toolset, I actually did a vertical slice first. It was arduous and took a lot of time, but I was intent on getting three key areas up and working before I did the rest (apart from sketches and the story). And boy, was I happy when I saw that it finally was working decently. That's sweet memories indeed.

 

And Chompy? I know him. Just don't throw him a bone...

 

t-rexskull-2.jpg


*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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Hoping for a squig... :devil:

 

monster_thumb.jpg


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

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All of the water in the scene is already animating, the waterfall included. :)

 

We're still working on some of the alpha/thickness issues with grass in the scene as well as additional moving elements like trees.

 

I want to know how so I can tell you you're doing it all wrong! Anyway, nice update, eager to see the prototype and/or vertical slice video walk through.

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Always interesting to hear how game developing works. Good update.

 

A bit dissapointed about the lack of a waterfall animation though.

Edited by Agremont

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And a warm welcome to the forums, ian1988! :)


*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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George Ziets has also been successfully added to the Torment: ToN via the most recently reached stretch goal....how will that affect Project Eternity. You guys are about to start production as inXile will soon start pre-production.....will George just up and quit Project Eternity when production starts? My understanding is that the heavy writing happens in pre-production...but still, you are looking at potentially have a writer just up and leave when you may still need him.

 

 

George answers this concern on Formspring: http://www.formspring.me/GZiets/q/434424012253185870

Level design? In the 5th update for Torment: ToN they specifically refer to him joining the writing team and that his writing will enable them to increase the depth of the game. Now I'm confused....is he drawing maps or writing? I hope they didn't have any misunderstandings or miscommunication that will cause problems for one or both games. 

 

Level design usually consist from lots of writing in rpgs, as you do side quests, npc and their dialogs, enviromental story telling of that/those level/s. So it is not only drawing maps for the game, but more comprehensive planing of game area.

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RE: Waterfall animation... Sorry for misleading you guys! We'll have an update soon that has a video that shows off all of the little goodies the guys have gotten working.

 

RE: Vertical Slice. Thought about it more at lunch. What I said above about the 'face' of Mona Lisa isn't even quite right. It's more like these kinds of questions we ask (again, using the painting a Mona Lisa example):

 

- So, what do we want to paint exactly?

- Do we have a frame?

- Do we have enough canvas to stretch over the frame?

- Do we have colors and paintbrushes?

- Do we have enough colors to make a great painting?

- Do the colors layer on top of each other without problems?

- OK, so let's prove it by drawing a small test portrait at our final quality level that we're shooting for.

 

That's probably a better way to think of our vertical slices here.

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OBSIDIAN ORDER OF ETERNITY - Officially sponsored most generously by Pierre and SD!

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RE: Waterfall animation... Sorry for misleading you guys! We'll have an update soon that has a video that shows off all of the little goodies the guys have gotten working.

 

RE: Vertical Slice. Thought about it more at lunch. What I said above about the 'face' of Mona Lisa isn't even quite right. It's more like these kinds of questions we ask (again, using the painting a Mona Lisa example):

 

- So, what do we want to paint exactly?

- Do we have a frame?

- Do we have enough canvas to stretch over the frame?

- Do we have colors and paintbrushes?

- Do we have enough colors to make a great painting?

- Do the colors layer on top of each other without problems?

- OK, so let's prove it by drawing a small test portrait at our final quality level that we're shooting for.

 

That's probably a better way to think of our vertical slices here.

 

 

any ETA on the video? is that 2 weeks from now?

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Thanks for the explanation.  From the update, it was not clear to me if you are doing it for yourselves or us backers in a way of "the dog and pony show".  I guess it's not so demanding if they let us take a look at some "slices" once they check out things need for visualizing their goals.

 

Again, thanks for letting us learn about the development process.  According to this recent article of Weisman, too, the communication, indeed, seems to be a key to crowd-funding.

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All of the water in the scene is already animating, the waterfall included. :)

 

We're still working on some of the alpha/thickness issues with grass in the scene as well as additional moving elements like trees.

Are simple, repetitive dynamic elements like swaying grass and trees demanding in terms of GPU cycles as compared to other dynamic elements that aren't locked into a set routine simply because of their size?  Or are they actually low-demand because of their simplicity?


http://cbrrescue.org/

 

Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forests and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoors experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.----Fred Bear

 

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Who needs to open containers? I've always been one to just become one with it to get at the goodies inside.

 

Do you ever forget and leave your head ajar?


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

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I also had a problem with the concept sketch of the dungeon, but for a different reason. It seems like the "bowels" of your dungeon look too much like actual bowels: the dungeon looked a little too linear with a pre-selected path. There had been a lot talked about in the forums about good dungeon design and Jaquaying your dungeons. 

 

Please please please consider this if you have not already. This is a highly important aspect that you should consider in your vertical slice! http://www.thealexandrian.net/archive/archive2010-07c.html#20100723

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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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Not sure about that...remember some of cramped dungeon such as

in BG?  There was a trial and error period for RTwP and path-finding format of Infinity Engine gameplay.  Of course, it's nice if the team go after some elements which have been lost in the transition as long as they don't conflict with the given gameplay.

 

BTW, art-wise, I'd like the team to actually look into the architectures of medieval buildings.  I'm not an expert for this but the difference between American and European game-worlds is telling.

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I also had a problem with the concept sketch of the dungeon, but for a different reason. It seems like the "bowels" of your dungeon look too much like actual bowels: the dungeon looked a little too linear with a pre-selected path. There had been a lot talked about in the forums about good dungeon design and Jaquaying your dungeons. 

 

Please please please consider this if you have not already. This is a highly important aspect that you should consider in your vertical slice! http://www.thealexandrian.net/archive/archive2010-07c.html#20100723

Thanks, I thought this as well. I want to explore labyrinths, not just get squeezed through Skyrim-style tubes to be conveniently dropped out of the exit after the boss. Remember that is concept art, though. The level designers probably had nothing to do with it.

 

edit: great link, btw.

Edited by SunBroSolaire
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That's weird, I've heard a few developers rail against the vertical slice, most notably Ron Gilbert on his Grumpy Gamer blog. It certainly resonated with me as being a clumsy and inefficient concept when applied to a game. I'm curious to hear the counterargument, I suppose it can get everyone on the same page while exposing issues early on but it still strikes me as a weird idea.

 

 http://grumpygamer.com/6843121

I guess everybody has an opinion.  Personally I can think of a couple of reasons why it might be a good idea, but then again I'm not a games designer, so maybe my gut instinct  - generating a proof of concept and setting a tone/style for the rest of the game - is wrong?

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My favorite example of a "vertical slice" comes from the original Half Life.

 

Back when it was in development, they had a lot of ideas and cool stuff, but it wasn't coming together even after multiple levels and sequences were "done", looking more like a weird Quake 2 mod than anything. So they had the level designers take all their coolest stuff, put it into a single level, and then they remade the entire game based off that one level.

 

So far as I know, it's something like that which has evolved into the notion of a "vertical slice". As in, you put all your things together, and can figure not just how each thing works individually but all together as well. Plus you get to say to the entire team "play this, this is what we're after"

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That dungeon design looked in line with the minor maps/areas in Icewind Dale to me. Some maps are small and relatively linear (it's difficult to tell given the image is small but from what I can see there are two different paths that intersect to a linear end?) and others are big and sprawling and often spread on multiple levels.

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