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Go for it Obsidian (Feargus in RPS Article)

kickstarter skyrim sandbox open world unity

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#1
Luridis

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Catching up on news, I ran into this article on RPS this morning: http://www.rockpaper...im-a-second-ks/

 

I'll now quote the article, which quotes Feargus , "What I’m trying to figure out is, how could we make something that is more like a Skyrim for PC – forget console for now – with the engine we made in Unity for Eternity? Where we are with our conversation, quest, data editors, and all of that. If we were careful about scope and let Chris Avellone go wild with creating a new world, more of an open world, what could we do?"

 

Later, "What could we do that would be interesting enough and at the right quality level?” he ponders aloud. “Because the one worry we have about moving away from pre-rendered stuff, is that as soon as we get into first-person or third-person or something like that, the expectation of triple-A-level console graphics comes in. So what can we do for a lower budget but let people still say, ‘Whoa, that’s crazy’?

 

Obsidian... Guys&Gals... I have one word for you: MINECRAFT

 

Seriously, we loves open world and sandboxy RPG settings. Skyrim's success in spite of it's many terrible narratives and even, at times, nonsensical NPC interactions ("Here, take this and hold on to it.") is proof that many of us are dying to play the character we make up as we go along playing. Minecraft's success is proof that people will overlook graphics quality in the face of a great playing experience.

 

So, Obsidian wants to kickstart an open world RPG for PC with a great story, a rich and detailed world that has "only" Unity quality graphics, holds on to text based dialogue windows and only has voice over for the 10 most important world characters?

 

I'm IN! Where do I pledge?

 

EDIT: Just pleaaase make mod-friendly part of the design goals. I was really looking forward to doing something for Skyrim right up until I read about the community content navmesh bug.


Edited by Luridis, 19 December 2013 - 04:13 AM.

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#2
samm

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Seriously, we loves open world and sandboxy RPG settings.

We, however, don'ts.


Edited by samm, 19 December 2013 - 12:31 PM.

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#3
IndiraLightfoot

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Luridis, I think you're absolutely spot on! :)

 

So, unleash your horde of creativity, Feargus! Unleash it upon the PC-sandbox-game scene, and watch them reap rewards never before seen. 

 

Disclaimer: Just keep the fantastic writing and quest lines that you do so well while you're at it.

 

So, indeed, I too would back this in a heartbeat. It could even be in the same world/setting as Pillars of Eternity, strengthening and widening that IP.


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#4
Tigranes

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Feargus has been talking about this for years, and I'm glad he hasn't done it. Not because I don't like open world games, but because practically, it could have become an Obsidian Killer, not Skyrim Killer.

 

First of all, a first person, open world game is going to look and feel a lot more amateur on a Kickstarter budget than something like Project: Eternity. This is because of the difference in perspective, the kinds of middleware involved, and of course, the fact that the audience for these kinds of games, plucked from Skyrim's ten million, is much more likely to care about visual fidelity and polish. (Remember all the complaints about how FNV looked crap?)

 

Second, these kinds of games require a lot of man hours. Bethesda put all their staff and money into TES games, and then still take a lot of shortcuts to circumvent this - such as procedurally generated landscapes. They can become huge money sinks, and even if Obsidian were to raise beyond the P:E budget (not really guaranteed given the honeymoon period with KS as a platform for gamers is over), that's a pittance.

 

Third, I love Obsidian but time after time it has been proven that their challenge is to take their core strengths and intersect it with different genres and design sensibilities: i.e. satisfying action gamers with Alpha Protocol. Everyone knows P:E will be good because it is the very best of Obsidian, and something few can do better than Obsidian. They did well with FNV but that was a game made with existing assets, engines, scripts, etc. This will throw additional kinks into what is already a challenging and risky project. 

 

If Obsidian does go for an open world game, it should be one of their AAA projects with a big publisher. They are going to be most amenable to that kind of project; they are going to be able to adequately fund such a project. Kickstarter should be used by Obsidian to build a portfolio of games that big publishers don't cater to and games that really speak to Obsidian's core strengths and passions. Such as P:E. I can see spinoffs such as a tactical squad combat oriented Eternity or an action / co-op oriented Eternity, but hopefully cooler heads prevail at Obsidian on Eternity: Skyrim.


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#5
IndiraLightfoot

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But even if it's not an AAA-title, can't that be turned into a strong point? I mean, adding easy modding like NWN1, fantastic crafting that actually uses the environment materials and other stuff in order to modify terrain and make items (almost Minecraft, but deep CRPG-relevant as it were - I think it was JFSOCC who proposed this in a crafting thread). Furthermore, a vast and complex RPG system for this open world, not just Skyrim's barebones of a system, but like PE, but even more, with "monster manual-fuls" of critters and lore. Just more, more, MOAR!!! :dancing:  :yes:


Edited by IndiraLightfoot, 20 December 2013 - 12:20 PM.


#6
Tigranes

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NWN1 modding was a massive, massive investment, and a big part of why the game took 5 years. I don't think they could use Unity, for instance, because substantial modding would require the Pro toolkit that costs thousands - something other Unity KS projects are now coming up against. They could use Onyx, but (1) it has now been retired, and (2) they couldn't use it for P:E because the middleware that Onyx depends on is so expensive for a budget of 4-5 million. 



#7
Hassat Hunter

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Seriously, we loves open world and sandboxy RPG settings.

We, however, don'ts.

 

This, this, master. We don't like thems sandbox hobitses, no, no, we don't...


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#8
exodiark

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I don't think isometric open-world RPG is THAT hard.
Think of Arcanum, but now with more randomly-generated land for unimportant areas to save money & time :)



#9
Luridis

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Actually, I'm not opposed to an ISO open world. As much as I liked NWN, etc. I get tired of linear world space where you have to do x, y and z to get to another area, and then that area is essentially vacant of any function, save for the time-sink of traveling through it, for the rest of your game.



#10
Undecaf

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I don't think they should necessarily throw prerendering away even if going away from ISO. There are ways to get creative with FPP gameplay even without "awesome 3D visuals". Infact, if they used stylistic 2D still backgrounds with some added effects (like the waterfall scene with PoE), I think the game could look even better than in 3D. Of course the gameplay would need to be very specific for that kind of stuff, but I think that's where the creativity should come into play. Making a game that stands out in the market rather than doing what is being done by others, but cheaper. Poking the ice a bit.

 

Exploration and interaction could come in the form of presenting the player specific scenes with interactive elements on top. Eg, a game set in a large city; presenting an image of a market where the player can pan the camera some ways in each direction and have a cursor to interact the interactive elements (that are artistically matching to the background); which could be talking to people who pass by right in front of the player, talking to people and vendors at a distance, picking up a rock from the ground and attempting to throw it at a window nearby to cause some ruckus for what ever reason, attack someone, enter the buildings for an "indoors" scene of similiar nature, continuing to the alley "to the left", continuing across the market to the next similiar "scene" to the north, going backwards to the previous scene, attempting to pick a lock of a warehouse to the north-east, renting a vehicle to travel to a different part of the city - all kinds of stuff "in abstract" as in implying the character walks and talks in the scene like everyone else even if the camera (aside from panning) stays put. Even with the restrictions this kind of design would bring forth (not much wilderness exploring and dungeon crawling, not very combat centric), I think there could be a lot of potential for such a game, mechanically, artistically and narratively.


Edited by Undecaf, 23 December 2013 - 12:49 PM.


#11
Sandro G Meier

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Open world RPG like TES normally got a problem ---- weak storyline or weak story telling. If I want a really open word sandbox game, I would rather play GTA.

 

The RPG what I like should have a good story, even a philosophy depth(Planescape). And mix with a bit element of open world exploration ---- like Baldur's Gate and Arcanum.


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#12
Luridis

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Open world RPG like TES normally got a problem ---- weak storyline or weak story telling. If I want a really open word sandbox game, I would rather play GTA.

 

The RPG what I like should have a good story, even a philosophy depth(Planescape). And mix with a bit element of open world exploration ---- like Baldur's Gate and Arcanum.

 

Weak story lines are a consequence of developing for a "larger audience" and not necessarily a result of developing a sandbox / open world RPG. (See below...)

 

http://youtu.be/JweTAhyR4o0?t=4m30s

 

Edit: The Might & Magic series was essentially open world and had some good story lines. No, I'm not talking about since they were bought by 3DO and whoever owns them now. I'm talking way back to MM2: Gates to Another World and the two Xeen installments. And it's not just about the story, what stuck with me is puzzles like this:

 

Ifti ecuul Wbu, es md.wife t ye.In Ts conoed Came y pcsnhs d int yoe an Hldd heou Dnehoacolw , iresstou er yangata ddou to wiserby t arir ugid. thgocu tat t sooucemekeumn'caysho hne aoy tnkLih , Wior bs o isru na'd, es ab t n t cutss t, ip fmionnothouacanratily l lwi y cprfeofo an i irehe frotscew tghk d iscs h stikthouhaizelfean bn s e. gorm p iithilytople wat ate c snces br oe thdw Fiv fthoot irs s taythhied istoirhoe., adthldhae aroresree l.was t athe gosch.

 


Edited by Luridis, 24 December 2013 - 08:20 AM.


#13
Sandro G Meier

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Open world RPG like TES normally got a problem ---- weak storyline or weak story telling. If I want a really open word sandbox game, I would rather play GTA.

 

The RPG what I like should have a good story, even a philosophy depth(Planescape). And mix with a bit element of open world exploration ---- like Baldur's Gate and Arcanum.

 

Weak story lines are a consequence of developing for a "larger audience" and not necessarily a result of developing a sandbox / open world RPG. (See below...)

 

http://youtu.be/JweTAhyR4o0?t=4m30s

 

Edit: The Might & Magic series was essentially open world and had some good story lines. No, I'm not talking about since they were bought by 3DO and whoever owns them now. I'm talking way back to MM2: Gates to Another World and the two Xeen installments. And it's not just about the story, what stuck with me is puzzles like this:

 

Ifti ecuul Wbu, es md.wife t ye.In Ts conoed Came y pcsnhs d int yoe an Hldd heou Dnehoacolw , iresstou er yangata ddou to wiserby t arir ugid. thgocu tat t sooucemekeumn'caysho hne aoy tnkLih , Wior bs o isru na'd, es ab t n t cutss t, ip fmionnothouacanratily l lwi y cprfeofo an i irehe frotscew tghk d iscs h stikthouhaizelfean bn s e. gorm p iithilytople wat ate c snces br oe thdw Fiv fthoot irs s taythhied istoirhoe., adthldhae aroresree l.was t athe gosch.

 

 

Well...I never played the M&M 2, but I do know how open the world was in M&M series. Even you can use some magic like " walk through the fire"(sorry I forgot the name...) to get some place blocked by the lava.

And I also have played RPG like Arcanum and VTM:Bloodlines, they've also got some open world/sandbox things.And I loving that, too.

But all of the games have a difference from totally open world/sand box games, most of they are story-driven, and they are RPG first, than the open world/sandbox.

So what I am trying to say is not object the open world issues, but never put that as the first. At last we need a RPG, not a  Minecraft or GTA.


Edited by Sandro G Meier, 24 December 2013 - 06:07 PM.


#14
Guard Dog

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Feargus has been talking about this for years, and I'm glad he hasn't done it. Not because I don't like open world games, but because practically, it could have become an Obsidian Killer, not Skyrim Killer.

 

First of all, a first person, open world game is going to look and feel a lot more amateur on a Kickstarter budget than something like Project: Eternity. This is because of the difference in perspective, the kinds of middleware involved, and of course, the fact that the audience for these kinds of games, plucked from Skyrim's ten million, is much more likely to care about visual fidelity and polish. (Remember all the complaints about how FNV looked crap?)

 

Second, these kinds of games require a lot of man hours. Bethesda put all their staff and money into TES games, and then still take a lot of shortcuts to circumvent this - such as procedurally generated landscapes. They can become huge money sinks, and even if Obsidian were to raise beyond the P:E budget (not really guaranteed given the honeymoon period with KS as a platform for gamers is over), that's a pittance.

 

Third, I love Obsidian but time after time it has been proven that their challenge is to take their core strengths and intersect it with different genres and design sensibilities: i.e. satisfying action gamers with Alpha Protocol. Everyone knows P:E will be good because it is the very best of Obsidian, and something few can do better than Obsidian. They did well with FNV but that was a game made with existing assets, engines, scripts, etc. This will throw additional kinks into what is already a challenging and risky project. 

 

If Obsidian does go for an open world game, it should be one of their AAA projects with a big publisher. They are going to be most amenable to that kind of project; they are going to be able to adequately fund such a project. Kickstarter should be used by Obsidian to build a portfolio of games that big publishers don't cater to and games that really speak to Obsidian's core strengths and passions. Such as P:E. I can see spinoffs such as a tactical squad combat oriented Eternity or an action / co-op oriented Eternity, but hopefully cooler heads prevail at Obsidian on Eternity: Skyrim.

I agree with you completely on this. Sometimes you just are what you are. Obsidian in not Bethsoft right now. But if the Eternity IP is a hit and follow on projects get big money backing from publishers then that will open up new possibilities later. In the meantime do what you do better than anyone else.


Edited by Guard Dog, 27 December 2013 - 12:57 AM.


#15
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Just a few notes on Tigranes' post:

1) Feargus mentions the "Project Eternity" engine, so presumably we'd be talking about an open-world *isometric* title, closer to an Ultima or, more recently, Divine Divinity/Divinity: Original Sin than Skyrim. I *might* be wrong obviously, but basically I took "like Skyrim" to mean "huge seamless world" not "first person on KS budget".

2) Bethesda only did procedural landscapes with Oblivion, and abandoned the idea pretty quickly afterwards. Nowadays they do everything by hand.

I don't necessarily disagree with the rest, though I wouldn't mind if Obsidian attempted an Ultima-like (say, instead of "Skyrim-like", doesn't that sound better?) in the future, when/if they made more money with Pillars of Eternity and other independent projects.

#16
decado

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Whoops, wrong thread.

Edited by decado, 27 December 2013 - 07:29 AM.






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