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you say you're a developer yourself... then you should be able to appreciate the insane size and complexity of the state machine that makes up the foundation of a game like this.

 

P.S.: Obisdian also doesn't have the budget

 

 

Wait just a second there. Obsidian raised how much, 4 Million dollars? Up front? And had plenty of time to do it. And has some of the most brilliant minds in the industry like Tim Cain, Feargus Uruqheart, Chris Avellone?? Get real.

Edited by Luj1
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"There once was a loon that twitter


Before he went down the ****ter


In its demise he wasn't missed


Because there were bugs to be fixed."


~ Kaine


 


 


 

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Hi! I'm a massive fan of Black Isle / Troika / Obsidian as well as a student majoring in Computer Science, a game hobbyist and an amateur game developer. (Disclaimer)

 

So, my question for today is a very profound one, and one that carries a lot of meaning to me, personally, and especially from a game developer studio perspective: What's wrong with Obsidian?

 

Everything starts with Black Isle and Fallout, which (if you're aware of the story around the production) was a general huge mother****ing mess. After Black Isle was shot down, the general messiness seemed to follow with Troika games, who made a couple of brilliant yet very flawed games. After that, the legacy, thanks to a few key individuals and their ideals, was transferred into what is today Obsidian.

 

Now, as a disclaimer, I have to say, I love everything created by these guys: Black Isle Studios, Troika and Obsidian. BI's slogan: "By gamers, for gamers" is still something I keep as an inspiration very close to my heart every single day (as an unknown amateur developer), and what they created is simply beautiful. However, everything created by this troupe and their derivatives has always been somehow fundamentally wrong: bugged as hell, imbalanced as foobar, illogical as hell.

 

My question is: WTF is wrong with Obsidian? Why can't they make solid products? I know there's a lot of tension between publisher - developer relations, that's always a handful and something for an entirely different discussion, but my presumption here today is that:

There is something wrong with the communication between the designers and the coders in Obsidian?

 

Because at many times it seems I'm playing a game with a beautifully designed world with lots of content and shreds of the designers souls visibly poured into every single detail, yet at other times I'm stumbling upon the very simplistic, childish even, mistakes that could be repaired with some simple programming with a little bit of forethought. Are you guys talking? Is there something between, even though this time (PoE) you were independently funded, and no publisher has a **** to say about yoru game? What's the problem?

 

Now, I'm not blaming anyone, I'm simply tryng to inquire some details about your methods into developing games, and whether there'd be something to improve. No doubt I'm going to get a generic response of "yes, we're constantly improving our methods and processes in all areas", but what I'm really interested in is the actual schizms between the programmers and the designers, since that's what I think is the main reason for this outcome.

 

Anyway, while any perspectives are welcome, obviously I'd rather take on some pov's from the crew.

 

In this your first computer game ever?

 

Everything you say in the OP can easily be said about virtually every game developer around. Honestly I read that in basically every game forum I frequent on every main release. So I have no idea how you can single out these guys.

 

By default the games they make are complex RPG of different styles. This game had a huge beta following so we know that it is not like they didnt test, likewise they postpone the launch a few times, so its not liekt hey were just after the money. JUst look at the launch of Assassin Creed Unity, that game was broken on so many different levels. it should have been delayed for ages, but no those bean counters at Ubisoft forced them to launch in order to make sales. in 25 odd years in gaming I cant really think of a bug free or successful launch of a new RPG. Their complexity can only truly be tested when given to the mass market. If you were truly a gamer you should have learned by now buying a game, ANY game on launch week (or month for some) is just inviting trouble. Once again, I find myself asking, how is this company any worse than others and deserve to be singled out. and how come game forums are now longer full of people talkign about games but full of stuff like this post. SHould new games be perfect at launch, sure, is that ever going to happen, nope.

 

I was personally offended by the OP, constructive criticism is fine, but what you wrote was down right rude and disrespectful.

Edited by Prideaux

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Wait just a second there. Obsidian raised how much, 4 Million dollars? Up front? And had plenty of time to do it.

if I'm not mistaken, Feargus once went on record saying Obsidian burned through roughly 1 million USD each month. so, 4 million would only fund 4 months of development. everything else had to come out of their own pockets. I imagine this is why they have partnered up with Paradox, they need all the extra money they can get to keep the studio opened


Let's Play The Temple of Elemental Evil (Complete)
Let's Play Neverwinter Nights and Hordes of the Underdark

Let's Play Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn

I was struggling to understand ths until I noticed you are from Finland. And having been educated solely by mkreku in this respect I am convinced that Finland essentially IS the wh40k universe.

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if I'm not mistaken, Feargus once went on record saying Obsidian burned through roughly 1 million USD each month.

 

 

 

so, 4 million would only fund 4 months of development.

 

 

 

Well how unfortunate. But that's their problem.

 

So what are you saying? They need 1 million dollars per month  ? 18 months = 18 million dollars?   Come on.

 

 

They had plenty of money, plenty of time, and plenty of industry professionals to do this better. 


"There once was a loon that twitter


Before he went down the ****ter


In its demise he wasn't missed


Because there were bugs to be fixed."


~ Kaine


 


 


 

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Wait just a second there. Obsidian raised how much, 4 Million dollars? Up front? And had plenty of time to do it. And has some of the most brilliant minds in the industry like Tim Cain, Feargus Uruqheart, Chris Avellone?? Get real.

 

4 Million isn't a whole lot in an industry where the budget of major titles is in the triple digit range of Millions

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Wait just a second there. Obsidian raised how much, 4 Million dollars? Up front? And had plenty of time to do it. And has some of the most brilliant minds in the industry like Tim Cain, Feargus Uruqheart, Chris Avellone?? Get real.

 

4 Million isn't a whole lot in an industry where the budget of major titles is in the triple digit range of Millions

 

 

Duuuuude.. Raising 4 Million of other people's money, up front , in 1 month,  is huuuuge

Edited by Luj1

"There once was a loon that twitter


Before he went down the ****ter


In its demise he wasn't missed


Because there were bugs to be fixed."


~ Kaine


 


 


 

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Raedric's hold bug was about critical as it gets,

 

 

I got a black screen there that crashes the game, so I had to manually edit my savegame files to continue. Don't ask. There is also the Sanitarium glitch which comes damn close to game-breaking and ruins your reputation completely in the biggest town. That's unfortunate considering you need reputation in Defiance bay for at least two things - Eder's companion quest and the premium weapons/amor at the Dozen.

 

But no, its more important to remove non-issues from the game because some transvestite demanded so on twitter. Go Josh and Obsidian.

 

EDIT: Not to mention the huge discrepancy between classes. You either take cipher/chanter/druid/fighter and faceroll the game on hard, or you get rogue/monk/ranger/barbarian and get cancer.

Also, the efficiency gap between spells is serious. Some spells are near-useless while specific spells are pretty much required to beat certain mobs.

 

 

So you are comparing 1) finding and coding and testing a patch 2) to a quick text fix? And you think each of these have the same weigh and complexity? One of those things can probably be done one handed by someone eating their lunch at the desk.

 

PS its a single player game, balance is completely unimportant. A large pecentage of the players dont care about min/max they play these games for roleplay things. EG I COULD make a group full of ciphers and romp through the game on hard or I can take a balance of class/styles and take my time trying out different and interesting things.

 

PPS I also had the Hold bug where I couldnt exit of of the game (and some other ones) and my first reaction wasnt to skip to twitter or forums and write a damning diatribe about this company being woeful. I merely started a new game to get me interested until the patch came, only in doing so realised I missed a huge chunk of things I should have done first and was 150% better by the time I got to that point. Yes bugs are bad but if you think this game is somehow the 'devil' for them I am sorry but I will have to alugh. No games these days launch anywhere close to perfection and in fact do to their beta they had tested way more than some others (and more broken games) I have played this year.

 

Perspective is a funny old thing.

Edited by Prideaux
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There are one man rpgs that are better more complex and more polished than PoE.

 

 

 

Frankly I'd say that's overreacting some bit but w/e. I think PoE is a fantastic game. And I'm willing to disregard ALL the bugs....  I just don't get it , how they couldn't make these 11 classes and 13  races  more polished and mutually proportionate . That's my biggest gripe with the game. That Firedorn memorial thing was a shame, but its their shame not mine. I'm not a backer. Maybe I'd be more upset about that If I was one


"There once was a loon that twitter


Before he went down the ****ter


In its demise he wasn't missed


Because there were bugs to be fixed."


~ Kaine


 


 


 

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So you are comparing 1) finding and coding and testing a patch 2) to a quick text fix?

 

 

 

No I'm not comparing it. I said Obsidian put a text fix (a non-issue) above all the bugs and balance issues. Why? Because a member of a delicate minority was offended?

 

That situation alone is worth 1000 words about Obsidian , their employees and work philosophy. Even if I adore PoE to bits, and I do.

Edited by Luj1
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"There once was a loon that twitter


Before he went down the ****ter


In its demise he wasn't missed


Because there were bugs to be fixed."


~ Kaine


 


 


 

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So you are comparing 1) finding and coding and testing a patch 2) to a quick text fix?

 

 

 

No I'm not comparing it. I said Obsidian put a text fix (a non-issue) above all the bugs and balance issues. Why? Because a member of a delicate minority was offended?

 

That situation alone is worth 1000 words about Obsidian , their employees and work philosophy. Even if I adore PoE to bits, and I do.

 

 

here is a company findings its feet after almost collapsing, in a time when (for better AND worse) political correctness is a huge issue. It makes perfect sense. Companies the world over tackle this problem every day, and not just in gaming but every walk of life. Especially the way twitter trolls work, in fact I dont discount some people were offended but I fail to believe to the mass outrage was done by people truly believing in what they were doing, more just using twitter and social media sadly for the lol's.

 

Likewise I think the 'OMG the game has been censored, they are worse company ever' people in every possible forum are just silly, just a different side of that same social media monster. It says way more about their need to be outraged from <insert whatever reason they demn worthy here> than the event itself. IF the censorship was fundamentally part of the game and required a massive change of focus THEN this outrage would be portionate to the response.

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So you are comparing 1) finding and coding and testing a patch 2) to a quick text fix?

 

 

 

No I'm not comparing it. I said Obsidian put a text fix (a non-issue) above all the bugs and balance issues. Why? Because a member of a delicate minority was offended?

 

That situation alone is worth 1000 words about Obsidian , their employees and work philosophy. Even if I adore PoE to bits, and I do.

 

 

here is a company findings its feet after almost collapsing, in a time when (for better AND worse) political correctness is a huge issue. It makes perfect sense. Companies the world over tackle this problem every day, and not just in gaming but every walk of life. Especially the way twitter trolls work, in fact I dont discount some people were offended but I fail to believe to the mass outrage was done by people truly believing in what they were doing, more just using twitter and social media sadly for the lol's.

 

Likewise I think the 'OMG the game has been censored, they are worse company ever' people in every possible forum are just silly, just a different side of that same social media monster. It says way more about their need to be outraged from <insert whatever reason they demn worthy here> than the event itself. IF the censorship was fundamentally part of the game and required a massive change of focus THEN this outrage would be portionate to the response.

 

 

Bro im only saying they should have let it blow over, and meanwhile work of the patches.

 

This whole PR nightmare did 3 things, 1) delayed patch deployment for a day or two, be sure of it,  2) overloaded their servers for a week, 3) given rise to more twitter trolls targeting Obsidian

 

they should have  let it blow over

Edited by Luj1

"There once was a loon that twitter


Before he went down the ****ter


In its demise he wasn't missed


Because there were bugs to be fixed."


~ Kaine


 


 


 

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Wait, what? They said that thay didn't took a dime from Paradox. Are you saying that was another lie? Obsidian look worse and worse every day now.

they saved money by delegating the job of producing and distributing physical copies of the game to Paradox. I have no idea if Paradox actually gave any money to Obsidian at some point. 


Let's Play The Temple of Elemental Evil (Complete)
Let's Play Neverwinter Nights and Hordes of the Underdark

Let's Play Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn

I was struggling to understand ths until I noticed you are from Finland. And having been educated solely by mkreku in this respect I am convinced that Finland essentially IS the wh40k universe.

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So what are you saying? They need 1 million dollars per month  ? 18 months = 18 million dollars?   Come on.

pretty much, *if* Pillars of Eternity was their only means of generating income.


Let's Play The Temple of Elemental Evil (Complete)
Let's Play Neverwinter Nights and Hordes of the Underdark

Let's Play Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn

I was struggling to understand ths until I noticed you are from Finland. And having been educated solely by mkreku in this respect I am convinced that Finland essentially IS the wh40k universe.

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if I'm not mistaken, Feargus once went on record saying Obsidian burned through roughly 1 million USD each month. so, 4 million would only fund 4 months of development. everything else had to come out of their own pockets. I imagine this is why they have partnered up with Paradox, they need all the extra money they can get to keep the studio opened

Wait, what? They said that thay didn't took a dime from Paradox. Are you saying that was another lie? Obsidian look worse and worse every day now.

You are conflating statements regarding two different situations it a way that leads you to an erroneous conclusion: $1M/month is for Obsidian as a whole whereas $4M is for PoE alone. PoE is not the only game Obsidian is working on; at the very least, there is also Armored Warfare and the Pathfinder card game. Thus, they are necessarily spending more money than the $4M obtained through Kickstarter for PoE. I believe that due to the delay, the cost of PoE did exceed the Kickstarter funds, but not by much (probably something of order $1M) and Obsidian paid it out of their general budget. Note that even with this excess, the cost of PoE is an order of magnitude less than AAA games.

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Althernai is right. Those two numbers have nothing to do with each other, and Obsidian didn't take $ from Paradox.

 

(POE team was about 12 people; the 1m figure is for Obsidian as a ~100 person company.)

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Let's also remember that the $4M takes a hit from Kickstarter, and then the cost of the physical goods.  Physical goods are a big one, that's why most of the more recent projects are sticking to digital rewards.

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I don't want to get into speculating budget thingies, sure $4m is a lot of money and you can get a pretty big team for quite a long time with that money, but the important fact is that they delivered the actual game and didn't shoot too far off from the schedule even. I was very positively suprised with that, and with all the problems even the launch was relatively successful in my opinion.

 

My only reason for wonder is why these things keep happening to them, regardless of the years of experience. And the question, or theory, I raised in the OP was:

 

There is something wrong with the communication between the designers and the coders in Obsidian?

 

Because, in my opinion, from a developer's perspective, a good designer is a coder who implements any features they design themselves.

 

Either that or a very disciplined process where you go through very strict iterations of design, implementation, evaluation, re-design. That's probably what the big AAA companies do, and because of that, they can manage their hundreds of staff, but it also results in less freedom between the stages, because everything needs to be documented in the between, and once design is set, you can't deviate until you get to re-evaluation (which is why it's called disciplined).

 

A small indie team basically doesn't need a disciplined process and they can just let creativity flow and the process is constant design-implement cycle, but this is of course problematic when you have to communicate your ideas to someone else, because there usually isn't any kind of documentation.

 

A bit larger teams benefit from agile methodology which basically sets very short-term goals and things are evaluated constantly, but those are generally not so good for massive teams, although you can keep creating smaller individual teams in order to have lots of agile teams.

 

Now, I don't know what's going on in the work culture within Obsidian, but with their track record of bad launches plus the accumulated experience they have as a studio, this leads me to suspect that something's wrong with how they do things. The old "axiom" in software development is that ~80% of IT projects fail (the number isn't really that high, but it's regardless a significant number), and the tons of research done in that show that they fail because the structure within the company, project culture, methodology, or leadership is flawed. Now I'm not saying this is the case with Obsidian, but I am raising the question I presented earlier, because if anything, I want these guys to keep making more great games, but in the meanwhile I'd also like them to get rid of these embarassing problems their games are nearly always riddled with, as well as the bad gameplay bits which are really annoying when there's a lot of awesome content, then some bull**** mechanic etc. which almost entirely ruins the experience.

 

Sure, bugs are everyday in any software, you can't avoid them, but there are certainly lots and lots of ways to minimize the worst ones. When really bad ones come up, it's a sign that something is usually wrong.

 

In fact I'd be very interested in reading through some analysis on some of Obsidian's source code, since that might actually be very revealing: There are these things called "design smells", which can be used to indicate potential problems in source code, and perform some kind of evaluation on the overall quality of the code (google "design smells SOLID" or something like that for more info). Too bad that kind of thing is generally out of the question, unless released as open source.

 

[/rant]

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Do we have any examples of large scale RPG developers that don't release buggy messes?  Larian is probably the closest that comes to mind.  

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Wait just a second there. Obsidian raised how much, 4 Million dollars? Up front? And had plenty of time to do it.

if I'm not mistaken, Feargus once went on record saying Obsidian burned through roughly 1 million USD each month. so, 4 million would only fund 4 months of development. everything else had to come out of their own pockets. I imagine this is why they have partnered up with Paradox, they need all the extra money they can get to keep the studio opened

Wait, what? They said that thay didn't took a dime from Paradox. Are you saying that was another lie? Obsidian look worse and worse every day now.

 

 

*sigh* The whole studio burns 1 million dollars per month. The whole studio wasn't/isn't working on Pillars. They have several projects. So that 4 million dollars lasted way longer than 4 months. Majority of their staff is working on Armored Warfare and other projects, so when they said they did not take any actual money from Paradox they pretty much meant it since they have other income as well.

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Hate the living, love the dead.

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Nothing is wrong with obsidian, they're trying their best and are loved for what they are.

 

The short answer is because their games are so complex and offer so much gameplay opportunities it's simply impossible for a programmer no matter how involved and talented to keep track of the whole product. I can't even fathom an automated test for a game like PoE. Everything requires human hand, mind and understanding and humans are not perfect, they make mistakes. The games get polished eventually and I must say PoE vanilla was very polished in relation to the game's scope, it had only 1 major bug and even that bug was solvable. Before lashing at obsidian you should stop and consider for a few hours how much effort it takes to make a game like PoE, a game where the gameplay doesn't seem like a bowel movement by its straightforwardness. A game like PoE must be a soul drainer for a dev and it doesn't yeid as much profit as do other much less dev devotion demanding titles.

 

I'm glad we still have ppl like Obsidian, inXile, HBS and Ice-Pick lodge who persevere in our console age. Yes, their games aren't AAA, but we never asked them to be. Those who wade against the current, I salute you.

Edited by mrmonocle
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I see the dreams so marvelously sad

 

The creeks of land so solid and encrusted

 

Where wave and tide against the shore is busted

 

While chanting by the moonlit twilight's bed

 

trees (of Twin Elms) could use more of Magran's touch © Durance

 

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"Too much avacado and sunshine, in my professional opinion"

 

-ShadySands when asked WTF is wrong with Obsidian

 

Dying. Gold. 


All Stop. On Screen.

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I don't put much faith in the OP's opinion on this usbject. Anyone who does programming knows designing a game of this scale is bound to have some thing slip through the cracks, especially when the work load and development of different aspects are assigned to a varied work force. Even simpler things like mods are quite often very complex to remove any issues and bugs, things that slip through the cracks. The OP did not mention even when asked the specific examples of where his complaints come from, just gave basic generalizations.

 

The game does have issues, does have bugs and glitches but it is a big and fairly complex game so there was bound to be some. As long as they try to fix the issues, patch the bugs and glitches then it is fine. Itis when a developer does not bother like Lionhead with Fable(s) PC versions which becomes a major problem. I also consider the OP's opinion on what system would of been better to use to be far to subjective to be used against Obsidian within the context of his "WTF is wrong with Obsidian" rant.

Edited by Dragoonlordz
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I just love how all bugs get automatically associated with programmers.  Clearly no bug is a data, design, art, or audio issue. The designers at Obsidian are probably all in Hawaii right now drinking mai-tais while production whips the programmers to get the game/patches done faster.

 

Not to say some issues are not programming related, but any time I see someone illogically, explicitly blame programmers for [all] the issues, I stop reading the post.  Unless you have personal experience making huge games, I don't think pointing fault at a subset of developers is warranted. Complicated games mean complicated issues for all departments involved.

 

I happen to have insider knowledge of how things work at obsidian, and I know all the programmers that worked on Eternity. All of them are very smart. Even Rory. Believe me when I say that they busted their ass every day to make something you all would hopefully enjoy.

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https://twitter.com/IridiumGameDev

Ex-Obsidian Senior Programmer

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-snip-

I happen to have insider knowledge of how things work at obsidian, and I know all the programmers that worked on Eternity. All of them are very smart. Even Rory. Believe me when I say that they busted their ass every day to make something you all would hopefully enjoy.

:lol:

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Free games updated 3/6/19

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