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Update #87: Internal Play Testing, VO, Performance Optimization, Mac Build, and More


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Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director

 

Hello, all. The Pillars of Eternity team has been putting a lot of time into playing and fixing the game. In addition to the feedback that beta testers have given on our boards, we also conducted an internal play week so the developers could get a good feeling for how the game felt from start to finish (or at least as far as they could get).

 

We learned a lot from the play week. Most notably:

 

  • Pillars of Eternity is a big game. Only two of our developers managed to finish. One was a designer who developed a lot of the crit path and sprinted straight for the end. The other found an early ending and decided to wrap his story up there. About half of the developers had not yet made it to Defiance Bay (the first big city).
  • Most of the devs had a lot of fun playing the game. The players ranged from hardened IE veterans to fresh newcomers. There was enough challenge for the old guard but none of the new players were so overwhelmed that they couldn't learn as they went along.
  • Even so, tutorial tips and the Glossary can go a long way. While some of the players picked things up quickly, most found the learning curve to be difficult. We're addressing the major points with tutorial messages, clearer and more descriptive Glossary entries, and refinements to the UI.
  • Despite our bug fixes to animation and Recovery times, combat was still too fast. We increased the Recovery of most creatures and tuned the global Recovery factor to slow down combat overall. Movement speed was also tuned down for a large number of creatures (specifically, spiders, beetles, many spirits, and other creatures).
  • Melee Engagement needs to be communicated more clearly. The arrows we currently use are really a secondary piece of information, who is Engaging whom. We will be modifying the selection circle itself when someone is Engaged to make the state very obvious at a glance. Additionally, we still need a visual effect to indicate when a Disengagement Attack is occurring.
  • We also found that the standard casting and Recovery times were too long. People felt that they could not respond to threats quickly enough. The standard casting time was adjusted down to make casting feel less sluggish.
  • Hiring adventurers, buying items, crafting, and enchanting were all much too expensive. These have all been made more affordable, especially crafting and enchanting.
  • All classes need a per encounter ability to use at 1st level. Early in the game, it's easy to run completely out of per rest abilities and you may have few or no companions. Per encounter abilities ensure that every class has something to do other than auto-attack at low levels.

 

In addition to all of this testing and bugfixing, we've also been recording and integrating all of our voice overs for dialogue and character voice sets. The recording process is complete and we're now hooking them all up into the game. The audio folks have also been hard at work creating more varied combat sounds to better communicate what's going on in battle. Here's a sample of some of our companion VO:

 

 

Performance optimizations are ongoing, but we've already made great progress in the past few weeks. Adam and Roby were able to reduce memory overhead and loads times by a huge margin. Many of these optimizations were achieved by how data is packaged in our builds and loaded in when the game loads. Today, backers who are in the Backer Beta will notice that we have a Mac build available for download and testing. We are continuing work on the Linux build, but are still trying to resolve some resource management issues.

 

There are a lot of items in Pillars of Eternity and the artists have been working their way through the list. Here is a sampling of the new icons that have been going in for various treasure and quest items:

 

pe-icons.jpg

 

We also have some new portraits for Ocean Folk and Pale Elf characters. More are still coming!

 

pe-portrait-all.jpg

 

That's all for this week. Let us know your thoughts on our forums. As always, thank you for your continued support.

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Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director

 

There are a lot of items in Pillars of Eternity and the artists have been working their way through the list. Here is a sampling of the new icons that have been going in for various treasure and quest items:

 

pe-icons.jpg

 

 

Fourth along on the top row, is...can it be a broach of purest Green? No in all seriousness these are splendid and remind one of the fantastic illustrations for Betrayal at Krondor, but obviously more detailed, intriguing and pleasant. Personally I somewhat loathe nondescript loot and items, it is nice to see such a small detail handled with such care.

 

The portraits are fine, but could we possibly have a few ugly ones by any chance, lived in and weathered etcetera?

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Woot! I feel kinda like a frat bro, watching another frat bro make incredible progress at imbibing, and shouting "CHUG, CHUG, CHUG" in maximumly encouraging fashion. Only, instead, I'm shouting "DEVELOP! DEVELOP! DEVELOP!"

 

You guys are just plowing through this stuff! Applause and thanks, and keep up the good work! After the well-earned holiday, of course, u_u

Edited by Lephys
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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director

 

There are a lot of items in Pillars of Eternity and the artists have been working their way through the list. Here is a sampling of the new icons that have been going in for various treasure and quest items:

 

 

pe-icons.jpg

 

 

Inventory baby confirmed.

  • Like 15

"To be fair, if I was married to Milla Jovovich, I would also be happy just making movies that show off her butt." - Hurlsnot

"I originally just wanted to ignore this, but I can't sleep, so why not." - majestic

"I murdered my entire family as well as the police and priests investigating me for murdering my entire family in the name of Satan. Good times." - Bartimaeus

"I will undoubtedly cave and buy this since Nintendo has me by the balls with Shin Megami Tensei V." - Keyrock

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The voice-overs sound great. I like the portraits and the item graphics. Your graphics artists are undoubtedly talented and it shows. 

 

I'm glad that the conclusions you reached via your internal play-test was similar to the beta players concerns. Let's see some good come out of it now. 

 

I will hold my comments on the beta backer until I have played it and will comment in threads as appropriate. 

 

As always, all the best to your team - it's difficult making everyone happy and I've had my share of frustrations with the beta, but here's to a strong finish and a good game. 

 

All the best and happy thanksgiving.

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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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Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director

 

There are a lot of items in Pillars of Eternity and the artists have been working their way through the list. Here is a sampling of the new icons that have been going in for various treasure and quest items:

 

pe-icons.jpg

 

 

Fourth along on the top row, is...can it be a broach of purest Green? No in all seriousness these are splendid and remind one of the fantastic illustrations for Betrayal at Krondor, but obviously more detailed, intriguing and pleasant. Personally I somewhat loathe nondescript loot and items, it is nice to see such a small detail handled with such care.

 

The portraits are fine, but could we possibly have a few ugly ones by any chance, lived in and weathered etcetera?

 

 

It`s more of a splat.

Edited by SKull
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Over a month no updates, and this is all you can give us ? Why did we even bother funding this crap? I seriously have a feeling this game is going to suck, and not be a spiritual successor to any black Isle game or-like game ever. I mean, come on, this is Obsidian, any time they they very little work in an extended period of time, its usually really shoddy and becomes nothing worth mentioning in the long run. 

 

The lack of revealed direction or content thus far, is very off-putting.

Obsidian wrote:
 

​"those scummy backers, we're going to screw them over by giving them their game on the release date. That'll show those bastards!" 

 

 

 Now we know what's going on...

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Over a month no updates, and this is all you can give us ? Why did we even bother funding this crap? I seriously have a feeling this game is going to suck, and not be a spiritual successor to any black Isle game or-like game ever. I mean, come on, this is Obsidian, any time they they very little work in an extended period of time, its usually really shoddy and becomes nothing worth mentioning in the long run. 

 

The lack of revealed direction or content thus far, is very off-putting.

 

Lack of revealed content?  You do realize we have been testing a playable demo for months now right?

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Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director

 

There are a lot of items in Pillars of Eternity and the artists have been working their way through the list. Here is a sampling of the new icons that have been going in for various treasure and quest items:

 

pe-icons.jpg

 

 

Inventory baby confirmed.

 

So, is this the reason we can't drop items on the ground?

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sign.jpg

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Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director

 

There are a lot of items in Pillars of Eternity and the artists have been working their way through the list. Here is a sampling of the new icons that have been going in for various treasure and quest items:

 

pe-icons.jpg

 

 

Fourth along on the top row, is...can it be a broach of purest Green?

 

Can it be? Could it be true.. that I hold in my mortal hands, a nugget of pure Green?

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"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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Percy confirmed for Pillars of Eternity?

 

I like the ocean folk portraits most, the pale elf could use some personality. Is the lower left corner icon a picture of some encrusted old swords, interesting.

 

 

"Look deeply into my eyes"

You want a blackadder cameo...You want a blackadder cameo...You want a blackadder cameo...You want a blackadder cameo...

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The newest batch of character portraits are fantastic as always, and the voice acting sounds great so far. Can't wait to hear more. 

 

And I gotta say, reading that the game is so huge that the majority of the devs playing through it haven't even come close to finishing it, let alone get to the first major city, fills me with excitement; so much content! So much to explore, discover, and experience! 

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Good day,

 

Since I'm not part of any testing and didn't have a chance to play the game yet, I can't say much to your improvements and adjustments. It sounds great that there seems to be a lot of conent available and that it's fun. The pictures/icons look alright.

 

Take your time to deliver a finished game and I'm sure people are going to love it. So far I'm very optimistic from what I have seen and heard. Happy thanksgiving etc.

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Pillars of Eternity is a big game. Only two of our developers managed to finish. One was a designer who developed a lot of the crit path and sprinted straight for the end. The other found an early ending and decided to wrap his story up there. About half of the developers had not yet made it to Defiance Bay (the first big city).

 

I love you all.

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