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Update by Bobby Null, Designer and Beast Master

PE-CeanGula.580x441.jpg

Greetings, everyone! I'm on update duty this week, and while this will be relatively brief, I'll give you a little insider info I hope you find interesting. Today we will be talking about the bestiary. Yeah, that's right... it's time to talk about monsters.

One of my responsibilities has been creating the bestiary for Project Eternity. I'll admit, it's been a lot of work, but it's also been a lot fun. Like most of the things we do here at Obsidian, the process has been very collaborative. We have a few high-level goals regarding this process on Project Eternity.

  • Creature Variety - The goal is to have a large library of creatures to use for the final game. Thus far, we're on track to meet this goal. The concept artists, modelers and animators have been tearing through the bestiary and delivering quality assets at a rapid pace.
  • Recognizable is Good - We don't want to try to reinvent the wheel with every single monster. As we've shown in an earlier update, we feel some classic monsters, like the ogre, are essential to capture the adventuring feel we are aiming for. Moving forward, we are committed to including monsters that we feel fans will appreciate, while giving the beasties flavor appropriate to the world of Project Eternity.
  • Different if Cool - We've already shown one of the unique creatures for Project Eternity in an earlier update, the skuldr. We will continue to create other unique, and often times bizarre, creatures to populate our world, but unique doesn't always need to feel bizarre. Different because it's cool is the goal.

So now that I've briefly discussed our high level goals, let's talk about a new creature: The Cean Gúla (KEN GOO-lah, "Blood Woman", Glanfathan), and the pipeline we use to get it through the concept phase.

 

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  • The creature idea is added to our bestiary document.
  • Members of the team can comment on the document and share their thoughts/concerns on any given creature.
  • The bestiary is updated based on feedback from the team. Some creatures get the thumbs up, while others get cut.
  • An approved creature is then assigned to a concept artist. In the case of the cean gúla, Polina Hristova was in charge of this crucial step.
  • The concept artist does a first pass, creating a series of thumbnail sketches (image above).
  • The leads of the project review the thumbnails, choose a favorite, and provide the artist with feedback.
  • The artist creates a final concept based on the feedback received (image above).

Once approved, the creature continues down the pipe as it is now ready to be modeled by one of our character artists. We'll save the rest of the creature pipeline for another update.

 

That's all for this week. As always, let us know what you think on our forums. See you in two weeks with an update from Rob Nesler. He'll be talking about the entire art team and what they've been up to.
 


 
Kickin' It Forward: Jagged Alliance: Flashback
Article by Josh Sawyer, Project Director

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If you're a fan of turn-based tactical RPGs, be sure to check out the Kickstarter project from Full Control, Jagged Alliance: Flashback. If you've played the classic Jagged Alliance games, you know they are challenging and incredibly fun. In particular, Jagged Alliance 2 features great freedom to explore the world, a huge array of gear, awesome tactical fights, and a large cast of colorful mercenaries with cool personality mechanics.

Full Control have shown a lot of love for what made the Jagged Alliance games so memorable, including elements found in fan tweaks (like JA2's 1.13 community patch). They've got about a week to go in their campaign, so head on over and check it out!

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

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Bobby Null has the coolest name in video game development. He sounds like a supervillain. 

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Matthew Rorie
 

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When I first saw that picture at the top of the update I was like hey .... that discussion about AD&D Ghosts with Bobby on the forums / kickstarter comments resonated well ;)

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I'm playing BG at the moment, strolling through Cloakwood (4 - before Cloakwood Mines). Keep running into this goddamn übernymph teleporting all over the map, casting (dire?) charm from inside fog of war. Really irritating... but fun because it's one of the few really mobile enemy creatures in the game. I'm thinking this Blood Woman could fit a similar role ;)

 

Oh and this gives me a bit of a Scandinavian folklore vibe. Probably because it's a woman creature... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scandinavian_folklore#Female_creatures

Edited by Zed

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Doesn't look like JA: Flashback will make it. Really sad, imo. I don't understand why it doesn't even have 4k backers. Is the franchise burned out because of all the failed attempts at making a new JA game?

Edited by Lexx

"only when you no-life you can exist forever, because what does not live cannot die."

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Thanks for the update. Unfortunately the comments didn't map to the image locations. I guess the first image is for #7 and the second for #5? Otherwise, I like the high-level goals you have listed for monster creation; there's plenty of miles left in even some of the early D&D archetypical monsters and I like to see a good mix. Hopefully even the familiar monsters will be different enough to break the expectations of us old-time gamers. :)


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

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Doesn't look like JA: Flashback will make it. Really sad, imo. I don't understand why it doesn't even have 4k backers. Is the franchise burned out because of all the failed attempts at making a new JA game?

I think so, honestly. Damn shame; this one looks pretty legitimately cool.


jcod0.png

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I was never much of a Jagged Alliance fan, so I will skip that kickstarter, but I wish them luck though.

 

I love the monster concept and the article provides nice insights into development.

 

One thing does concern me though. Firstly almost every RPG I play monsters are used with no regard to geographic location or with solid reasoning, for example forest monster A is found in the forests of `insert name´ then we have many lands between devoid of said creature till we have it pop up again slightly stronger with a slightly different name now acclimatized to icey wastes. Perhaps it is just me, but it always irks me especially when it is simple wildlife...

 

`Why is this wolf in the second level of this cave complex? Why was it carrying 24 gold and an enchanted pair of boots?´

 

I wish we could have a gradual evolution of creatures logically placed across lands.

 

Not a concern but a curiosity, how mature will the game be? The monster concept certainly does have some breasts, most companies sell out and slap on some pasties on them, most Bioware games spring to mind.

 

 

Edit - Keep up the great work guys!

Edited by Aedelric
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Doesn't look like JA: Flashback will make it. Really sad, imo. I don't understand why it doesn't even have 4k backers. Is the franchise burned out because of all the failed attempts at making a new JA game?

 

One word: Publisher.

 

That's why I didn't back it anyway.

 

Not taking that risk again after Shadowrun Returns.

 

Bitcomposer also screwed up the latest Jagged Alliance release so I don't think many people are going to trust them with the IP again.

Edited by Sensuki

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I have to agree with Sensuki; I think the whole point of kickstarter is to get away from publisher involvement.

 

About the Cean Gúla, I like what I'm seeing. Looks like the creature is going to have a number of interesting animations with the hair spreading out wildly when attacking. At a guess I think the creature looks like it would be at home around graveyards and waterways (like a resulka).

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Cean Gúla is right up my alley! It reeks of necromancy and gothic horror. For each piece of news, I'm getting more and more deliriously happy. :)

 

And the man that hatched the idea of the mega dungeon, I'd like to thank personally, coz I love huge dungeons!

 

Thank you, Bobby!


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

 

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Bobby Null has the coolest name in video game development. He sounds like a supervillain. 

 

Hey Matt can you take over Dave's CRPG coverage on Giantbomb k thanks.

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I have to agree with Sensuki; I think the whole point of kickstarter is to get away from publisher involvement.

 

I think that Full Control are just licensing the IP (same as Shadowrun), the game is not actually being published by bitcomposer. At least Full Control have been up front about it however. The involvement of a publisher probably means stuff like backer-only DRM and DLC - which are some of the things I am trying to avoid via Kickstarting games.

 

Hairbrained Studios were a bit dodgy, they didn't explain the licensing deal and probably knew prior to the end of the Kickstarter about some of the clauses of the agreement ... and just didn't choose to inform backers until way down the line.

 

The Wasteland 2 license is actually owned by EA as well, but Brian Fargo owns the Trademark, so he as a bit more bargaining power there. Hopefully there are no special clauses like DLC and backer only DRM-free versions etc.

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Cean Gúla has nice banshee vibe on it (ghostly horroric female)

 

Pipeline looks good as too high level goals, as they seem to support vision what I hope this game will be.

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I like the topic of the post, and seeing this type of thing brings more promis to games of these type of games.

 

Appart from all of this theres two others talking about kickstarter projects look if you want take it to some where else and make your own posts on your jagged aliance game it has no relivance here.

 

Darren thanks for the brief post, would like to see more of the figures and the process they go though visually :).

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The Wasteland 2 license is actually owned by EA as well, but Brian Fargo owns the Trademark, so he as a bit more bargaining power there. Hopefully there are no special clauses like DLC and backer only DRM-free versions etc.

 

 

EA owns rights to sell and distribute licenses for orginal Wasteland, but as trademark owner inXile can do and sell new game (and licenses to it) without consulting EA about it.  So it is very different situation from Shadowrun, where Microsoft owns trademark and Harebrained Schemes licenses to use it, which means that they must follow their license agreement or negotiate new terms with MS if they want change something.

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A thought occurred to me that a lot of fantasy bad guys/monsters have motivations we can understand. Even if it's something like "chew people's hypothalamus".

 

In Iain M. Banks' Culture books he makes a big deal out of having aliens whose motivations are pretty bonkers or seem nonsensical. I find the approach disconcerting, but thought I'd throw it in there.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Hey guys, awesome update!

Thanks so much for mentioning Jagged Alliance kickstarter. We're really hurting for backers :(

Just wanted to drop by and make some things clear about bitComposer's involvement with this title: They provide the license name only. Nothing else. No creative input or such. The game will be what Full Control and the fans/modders make it out to be. So in a sense, by fans for fans. :)

 

Again, thanks! JA Backers salute you! :)

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Well, now I want to know a bit about the rejected monster ideas.

 

Things that didn't make it for one reason or another can also shed an interesting light on the development process.

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What a sketchy update :(

 

Update from the monster man himself and no information on the monsters at all. Not even the one (and only one) in the concept art pictures. This all despite "concept artists, modelers and animators have been tearing through the bestiary and delivering quality assets at a rapid pace".

No elaboration on the higher goals (goal = cool just sounds awfully too similar to goal = awesome) and even the pipeline has only been described to a half point. Would describing it in full be just overwhelmingly too much information for the only update in a span of 3 weeks?

 

If this is the alternative, just let Sawyer write the update content...

Edited by Jajo
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Meh you have to allow them a filler update from time to time, they're busy with prototype 2.

 

For me the best bit of info was that Bobby was now working on P:E instead of South Park :p

 

They also said they bought on another designer recently too. Eric Fenstermaker or Scott Everts perhaps ?

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