We are here to talk about whatever you want. We are currently working on Project Eternity Kickstarter here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/obsidian/project-eternity with less than 30 hours left.

Edit 1: Update #24 is done, Project Manager Adam Brennecke is joining the answer fest!

Edit 2: Thanks for all the great questions everyone. We're done answering questions for now but Chris and Josh are off playing D&D now, you can watch them here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/project-eternity-live-stream

Comments: 1267 • Responses: 69  • Date: 

JamisonKrig146 karma


Obsidian_Ent159 karma

Tim Cain: those rights are held by Activision Blizzard, who got them from a chain of buy-sell events occurring after Sierra closed. I have often thought of making a sequel to Arcanum, especially since Troika designed a sequel called "Journey to the Centre of Arcanum" back in 2001, but I don't own the rights and there doesn't seem much interest from the publisher to back such a project.

cave_rat106 karma

Tim, how do you feel that Chris never played Arcanum???

Obsidian_Ent153 karma

Chris Avellone emotes:

:: Chris shifts uncomfortably in chair ::

Obsidian_Ent106 karma

Tim Cain: I am seething with animosity! No, seriously, that's fine. There were a lot of RPG's that came out then, so I don't expect that Chris (or anyone) has played all of them, much less all of mine.

wantonballbag168 karma

No, seriously, that's fine

I'm sorry. But I'm not sure I'm ok with this.

Stretch goal for 3.6 mil: Chris Avellone completes Arcanum.

Obsidian_Ent137 karma

Chris Avellone nods at this very good idea. And he's not joking.

Obsidian_Ent72 karma

Chris Avellone emotes:

:: Virtual Tim Hug ::

Greenei103 karma

How are you going to handle reactions from the world on actions of the Player (like thievery, violence and murder) or events in the world itself? Will there be some kind of legal system? Will NPC remember how you treated them and will there be ways to get on a good branch with them again? Will NPCs be reflective of what's going on in the world and have dialogue about it?

jesawyer125 karma

We haven't discussed reactions to criminal acts, but we'd like there to be good reactivity to those events. For reputation, we will be using a modified version of the system found in F:NV, which allowed for a broad spectrum of reactions that could shift over time. Not having to worry about full voice acting means we can have even more reactions to player actions from NPCs throughout the world. Overall, this is pretty important to us so we will support it as much as we can.

Obsidian_Ent118 karma

Chris Avellone adds:

Josh is right (I almost wrote "write" there). It's often the VO budget, not the will of the designers that limits the amount of reactivity text between NPCs in an area. As an example, the reactivity text in Fallout 2 I felt was far more true to an RPG than other games I've worked on because it was much easier pipeline-wise to implement it and while it wasn't free, it was definitely FAR less expensive than if someone had had to voice it. Also, it was easier to edit.

Justhammer76 karma

With the release of the screenshot, the fans got a glimpse at what 10 years of rendering technology can add to the Infinity Engine. Can you tell us what, if any improvements, that can/will be made to Character/character animations as Project Eternity moves forward?

jesawyer102 karma

The animators are looking at Unity 4's Mecanim system and what it can allow us to do. One of the big differences is that working with 3D characters instead of sprites means that we have a lot more flexibility for equipment/armor/weapon combos on characters. Also we can do much better blending and animation scaling since adjustments and interpolation can be done in real-time.

Justhammer35 karma

So I just watched a video on Mecanim. Wow! The characters have the potential to look great! Now your animation and art teams have their work cut out for them!

Obsidian_Ent56 karma

JESawyer: It's nice that Mecanim apparently makes certain things (like retargeting animations) much easier. Having to port animations across all of the different race/sex combinations is typically a pain. Mecanim handles retargeting pretty easily.

SplitSingles74 karma

I don't really have a question, I just want to let you know how obscenely happy this project makes me, and I can't wait to see the final product.

Obsidian_Ent95 karma

Chris Avellone makes a "<3" with his hands.

jarpie73 karma

If you are going to put social skills such as speech, diplomacy, persuasion, intimidate or something similar to those, would they be tied to the classes like in D&D 3E/3,5E or free for all classes?

ChrisAvellone160 karma

We are tying responses to attributes, but what we want to avoid in the mechanics is using attributes as "insta-win" buttons (for example, often in previous RPG titles, using the Skill option often is the instant win for quest solutions). What we'd rather do is have attributes and skills open up a range of new information that allows you to make a more informed decision about a choice rather than gate you to a solution.

This may sound complicated, but it's like the Empathy skill in Fallout 1 and 2 - it would only tell you if the person you were talking to would react positively or negatively to your dialogue option, but that didn't mean it was the right option to choose in every situation, and sometimes you wanted to make someone mad to achieve your goal.

Hope that makes sense.

Nosferax60 karma

Right, sometimes in New Vegas the speech (or speak?) skill did feel like an instant win button.

Obsidian_Ent115 karma

Chris Avellone glances furitively around:

Yeah, there were two points where it broke convention because I felt it needed to - one was with Lanius, and the second was with Ulysses. If you kept spamming the Speech button and choosing the first option without really listening to what they were saying, you'd end up screwing yourself. The reason I don't feel good about that is because that wasn't the precedent set with other conversations, so I don't know if I'd do it again if I had the chance.

But in Project: Eternity, I definitely want to do this. People who don't care about dialogue shouldn't take Speech skills anyway - those that do should have fun exploring the conversation and seeing what they can take away from it.

Feldoth38 karma

This is really good to hear, that aspect of skills has always bugged me. What about people simply acting differently if you have a high skill in (for example) intimidate? Rather than giving you specific "intimidate" dialog choices the NPCs just react to you as though you are intimidating.

Obsidian_Ent72 karma

Chris Avellone thinks:

We sometimes would assume auto-reactions based on perks and traits, although we feel it's more fair to a player to choose when and where they want to flex their mental muscles. Even someone with Terrifying Presence may not be having a terrifying day or want to role-play that at the moment. :)

Race reactions and more obivous elements (like in Fallout, people would react to what you were wearing), I feel clicks more with a player and is fine.

tentomasz39 karma

also: Will it be possible to talk my way out of (almost) every encounter in P:E using my social skills?

Obsidian_Ent87 karma

Chris Avellone socially says:

You'll have the opportunities to resolve encounters/hostile encounters through social skills and stealth, definitely.

3rdgreatcheesewheel23 karma

Would you say that is available in a majority of circumstances?

Obsidian_Ent44 karma

Chris Avellone checks Excel:

I honestly don't know yet, it depends on the level design and future conversations (and yes, the use of conversations here from an internal development sense feels ironic).

TheKingsJester70 karma

Personally, my first experience with you guys was Knights of the Old Republic 2, and I loved that game. However, it does get a lot of criticism (especially from fans who prefer the first game). A lot of people blame this on a rushed schedule. Do you think the game was rushed, and if you could change anything about the game, what would you change?

Obsidian_Ent120 karma

Chris Avellone looks back:

The issues with K2 are my fault, and no one else's. Looking back, I would have taken more care to focus on the elements of the game that mattered the most: the story and characters, and removed the mini-games, for example (those were a waste of time) and also cast away many of the cut scenes (they cost too much time to do technically, despite how much we liked them).

I also would have downscoped the cast and done what we've done on titles after that - made a smaller, more reactive cast and kept the central character pillars (Kreia, Atton, Mira, Visas Marr). I would have kept T3-M4, regardless.

diablo16954 karma

I'm sure you had the best of intentions Chris, and regardless I still think if you'd had as much development time as you'd needed it could have come out brilliantly. Its still great with its flaws.

Obsidian_Ent117 karma

Chris Avellone adds:

The TSLRCM (Sith Lords Restored Content Mod) and the superheroes that made that happen are to be thanked. A lot of the cut content was ressurected, and those guys are rockstars. I don't have a quick link to it right now, but maybe someone else does. If you like it, give those guys a shout out to your friends, they deserve it.

gyshall46 karma

Regardless, KOTOR2 is still able to have the title of one of the best Star Wars expanded universe stories ever, regardless of Bioware retcons :)

Obsidian_Ent48 karma

Chris Avellone makes a "<3" with his hands.

dscharrer66 karma

Not a question, but thanks for deciding to confirm Linux support without a stretch goal after all.

Obsidian_Ent66 karma

Chris Avellone nods:

We recognize they're an important part of the community, so that's how we felt we should approach it. Thanks for the support.

Obsidian_Ent57 karma

JESawyer: You're welcome! Enjoy!

tomimt61 karma

How many smaller locations (villages etc.) are you planning to add on the game?

Obsidian_Ent66 karma

JESawyer: A fair amount. Any time we add communities it's a big deal (even small ones), but they really do help the world feel more alive and fleshed out. We also want to have a lot of exploration environments, similar to the original Baldur's Gate.

Obsidian_Ent39 karma

Tim Cain: It's really hard to say at this point. Small villages tend to get added as needed to support a set of side quests, so until we have the full scope of the game design complete, we won't know how many of these we will need.

Aravilar56 karma

What are your plans concerning the loot system of the game? Personally, I loved the Baldur's Gate approach of items beeing set in one specific location of the game/ with certain characters. It motivates to explore every corner of the game and once you figured everything out gave you the experience of really knowing the world. Random loot should be very limited imho.

Obsidian_Ent90 karma

JESawyer: We will rely more on placed loot than randomized loot. The IWD games had a huge amount of unique items and most of those were hand-placed (e.g. Pale Justice). I like writing the unique histories of those items, anyway. :)

There might be a tiny amount of randomization, but that will likely happen at that the individual gear level. E.g. 5 bandits are placed on a map. When the map loads, each will randomly be given a pair of shortswords, a longsword and shield, or a bigass mace.

Obsidian_Ent70 karma

Chris Avellone nods:

I loved making item lore for specific items in IWD1, 2, and Torment. They were like making little item short stories because you could hand-craft each one (and handcraft their powers to make the story stronger and vice versa).

delias_52 karma

What are some of the harder aspects of having the ability to create all new lore, geography, etc. this time around? Previously, many of the BI and Obsidian games have worked within existing worlds, like the Forgotten Realms where awesome places like "The Spine of the World" already existed. Any major tug-of-war going on between you about what something should be named, perhaps?

Obsidian_Ent70 karma

JESawyer: I think the most difficult aspect right now is that generating content during the Kickstarter campaign is very "seat of the pants". A brand new setting takes a lot of time to fully develop since you have virtually nothing to start with.

We haven't had many arguments/disagreements about how things should be named. The general approach is that things around the Dyrwood are named by Aedyr settlers using common words/names that are either plain English or Old English in origin (or at least OE in "feel").

delias_40 karma

I've seen a lot of designers say that they've enjoyed working within the confines of another world. However, in the case of giants like LucasArts and Hasbro/WoTC, there's an almost censorship-level restriction of where you can take a story.

While we already know from KOTOR 2 that this restriction can be fun from a writing perspective, from a world-building perspective, I imagine it will be an interesting task to create locations/lore/history that you can turn on its head based on characters' preconceptions (and to which the audience does not have any reference).

Since everything in P:E is essentially a new design, I imagine you guys would have to work in a way that you're having to continually outsmart yourselves (and your creations).

Obsidian_Ent69 karma

Chris Avellone pontificates:

I feel creating a world (and slang and culture) often is just as time-consuming as researching someone else's franchise (for example, Star Wars required a lot of research into the expanded universe, not just to become familiar with it, but to understand what stories and elements had already been told). As such, we only had 5-6 comments on our story from LucasArts over the whole course of the project because we'd done our due diligence.

And we don't work on franchises because we don't have our own ideas, it's just the way things have shaken out. I feel we've had opportunities to examine those franchises in new ways that players appreciate (K2 and Mask of the Betrayer).

Obsidian_Ent58 karma

Chris Avellone adds:

One thing I'd say is while it may seem that some franchise holders are restrictive, if you go into the developer relationship aware of the "bookends" at the outset, it's not hard to craft an interesting powerful story - in fact, it makes it an interesting challenge, and one thing I've liked from working on multiple franchises is each one has challenged me to think about stories and characters in different ways, which only helps the craft.

gyshall48 karma

Can we expect to see unique dialog choices and options for characters with low intelligence? Or unique ones relating to skill/feat/talent/etc levels?

ChrisAvellone104 karma

Absolutely, it's an important part of the dialogue process, and from a dialogue standpoint, they're a lot of fun to do. I really enjoyed doing the ones for Vault City in Fallout 2, especially.

Ideally, the more reactive you can make the dialogue to a character's stats and attributes, the better, obviously, and we intend to do it in this title.

gyshall36 karma

Very cool! Thanks for answering - you guys are awesome and I'm really happy about your guys' transparency on the development of the game so far. Wish nothing but the best for Obsidian.

Obsidian_Ent86 karma

Chris Avellone proclaims:

It's one of the best parts of the development process with Kickstarter, imo, for a few reasons:

  • Feedback and development exchanges with the community are energizing for everyone on both sides.

  • We'd prefer to share more than we do with conventional development (for example, being able to share the designs of Eternity and the vision doc for Wasteland 2 was amazing), even show the progress of elements (screenshots, concept art).

  • Also, this gives backers time to weigh in on elements that they don't like or do like early on that can save months of development time - when we get feedback or critiques 5-6 months before ship, that's often not enough time to fix and address issues. But when you can share your thoughts and plans early on, it saves everyone time and allows you to focus on the things that matter.

tentomasz47 karma

Hey, first of all: thanks for opening paypal option. Otherwise I wouldnt be able to support you.

Could you please elaborate as much as you can about P:E's story? I guess it's not only me who's hoping it will be the most important part of the game. Please bring back this thrill I could experience during the good old days where it wasn't all about "expand your group, kill the finall boss, boom, end of the story". I'm reaaaaaally hoping for something I will be telling about long after I'll be done with P:E.

Obsidian_Ent78 karma

Chris Avellone pontificates:

I can elaborate on how we approach the story structure, if that helps, although I don't want to say anything more than that right now. Here's the process we ideally want to follow:

  • Understand the core mechanics, classes, and magic systems, as well as the "physics" that underlie the world. This may sound obvious, but when writing for a companion that has a certain profession of class, you need to understand everything about the mechanics of that class to make it work - when I was doing Gann in Mask of the Betrayer, the fact that his class choice didn't mesh well with his character and Kaelyn's did was my fault, and I should have put more effort into finding more ties between Gann and his chosen profession as I feel it would have made his character stronger.

  • Quantify the principle differences/unique elements and themes of the world. For example, the concept of souls in PE is extremely important, and all the players and companions should have opportunities to see examples of the range of soul mechanics and discuss/have quests/gain lore according to it.

  • Nail down your theme. Once the player movement set and toolset is established, the lore is set up, and we have a sense of how the world moves and why, then you place the player and his companions (usually as sounding boards) in the middle of that situation. I don't feel that every game has to have a theme (it should be a game first, and subtext should come second to entertainment) but if you make a strong theme that's developed well, I feel that does make a game more fun and meaningful for a player that's exploring it.

Obsidian_Ent62 karma

JESawyer: We don't want to spoil the story, especially since we're still in pre-production! The story will be a big focus for us, especially allowing players to choose their own way through the story that makes sense for the characters they want to play. When you've finished the story, we want you to feel like you had to make a lot of difficult choices and that the world changed because of it -- both in major and minor ways.

NudoJudo47 karma

With level growth planning to be slower in PE, will there be leveling mechanics to make each level more meaningful? Eg: feats/perks/talents/skill points/gold stars per level instead of every two or three levels.

Obsidian_Ent98 karma

Tim Cain: Yes. Our intention is that you will level more slowly than many modern games, but each level will feel significant in terms of power level and new abilities. If you play like me, you will already be planning where to spend your points when you level up, so when that "ding" happens, you will upgrade your character and immediately look for someone new to fight/talk to/sneak past, just to try out the new abilities.

Enforcer8445 karma

Are you the same Chris Avellone who used to do Stick Figure Theater in Champions books? If so, hi!

If not, sorry bout that, but Hi!

Obsidian_Ent99 karma

Chris Avellone has a nostalgia attack:

Yes, and if you want to see more, they're on Twitter (@chrisavellone), too. I doodle on everything when I get restless. Or I'm on the phone. Or having beers and I've brought my sketchbook. I believe I did all the RPG Codex stick figure style trolls while intoxicated.

Um, I mean SOBER. Yes, SOBER. And professional.

jeitinho42 karma

Hey Chris, I met you and your friends Friday night at the Broken Spoke. I was a little distracted but it was nice meeting you!

Obsidian_Ent96 karma

Chris asks:

Are you the physics programmer? You should apply. If you're the hot girl I danced with, give me your number.


What were your predictions on amount of money from Kickstarter before it started?

Obsidian_Ent86 karma

Chris Avellone puts on Rasputin hat:

Only our Art Director, Rob Nesler, felt super confident about us hitting our goal and hitting it so quickly. The rest of us felt it was more of a gamble, and we were afraid because of the amount we were asking - but we didn't feel it would be responsible of us to ask for less. Brian Fargo was the same way with WL2 - never ask for less than you need to make the game, be responsible budget-wise and be practical. If you don't get funded as a result, then you don't get funded, but it means you're not letting anyone down on both sides of the Kickstarter.

gyshall38 karma

Do you guys have any plans for a more "robust" Economy than what was in the old IE games? I've always found it somewhat immersion breaking/jarring to run to a town to dump all my loot off at some merchant, and his total gold never changes, or his stock/item availability never changes or reacts to world events.

Obsidian_Ent58 karma

JESawyer: Personally, I think economy considerations are interesting, as are alternate currencies, waiting for restocks/being forced to seek out other vendors. We'll have to see how it ties into PE, but I definitely like exploring that stuff.

Merlkir37 karma

How are the languages of PE's world being made? We've gotten quite a bit of lore in the 20th update and the names there were a bit of a mixed bag. Some sound vaguely Earthly (especially the elven ones remind me of Gaelic or something like that), others are quite alien.

Do you guys have a linguist on the team, or are the writers "just winging it"?

There's a discussion about the question here:


Obsidian_Ent70 karma

JESawyer: I'm developing most of the language conventions. I start with a base language's grammar and vocabulary and tweak it, then (try) to keep records of those rules. Aedyran is English with a base of Old English. Vailian is based on Italian (except it's cased). Glanfathan is based on Irish but I've introduced different grammatical case rules. Generally, I try to avoid using real words directly, altering them slightly in the process of adapting them for the game. My goal is for the feeling to be present, but not the words directly.

echomanagement36 karma

Even though it received mixed reviews and was denied a sequel, I think Alpha Protocol is one of the best RPGs of this generation. What was the "reaction to the reaction" over at Obsidian?

I'd love to see a sequel, but given that one is out of the question, would Obsidian ever be willing to develop another espionage/non-fantasy RPG? I'm so burned out on trolls and aliens.

Obsidian_Ent36 karma

Chris Avellone evaluates:

We all recognized that compared to other titles on the market, AP had challenges, and while we knew what had causes some decisions, there was a great deal of other items we were proud of and were glad that AP had given us a chance to voice those design ideas. So overall? I'm proud of it, glad we did it, and I think it added something to the genre.

ZyrxilToo36 karma

How much overlap is there in the people working on Wasteland 2 and P.E?

Obsidian_Ent71 karma

Chris Avellone's multiple design personalities give their voices:

There's only me working on Wasteland 2 (I feel so alone snfff snfff), and I'm working on wrapping up the area designs now. It's been a blast, and I'm really enoying working with Brian again - I usually am there 2 days out of the week at the inXile offices and attending design meetings, kicking around WL2 thoughts, etc.

goldenhearted36 karma

This one piece of art from Project Eternity had me intrigued since it gives of a Lovecraftian vibe. So I might as well ask, will there be quests, story elements and the like that have Lovecraftian influences? Because the idea of exploring PE's world and running into some cosmic horror (or something similar) shit makes me excited.

Obsidian_Ent63 karma

JESawyer: I don't think we're necessarily going FULL LOVECRAFT, but I do want the dark and scary places of Project Eternity to feel appropriately terror-inducing, even from an isometric perspective. Eír Glanfath's ruins are supposed to contain some scary stuff, so we don't want the player to yawn when they kick open the door and face Skeleton #242.

cave_rat34 karma

Will I be able to pick locks if I play as a barbarian? In other words, will skills in PE be class-specific?

Obsidian_Ent63 karma

JESawyer: Skills will not be class-specific, though classes may have inherent bonuses with certain skills. If you want to blast up Mechanics with your barbarian, you can do that. You probably won't be as good as a Rogue who is dedicated to Mechanics, but you won't be restricted from putting points into those skills.

Artichoke1134 karma

What game did each of you find most enjoyable to work on?

Obsidian_Ent68 karma

Tim Cain: Temple was fun to make, and Arcanum was very satisfying, but you never forget your first time...and so for me, I'd say Fallout was the most enjoyable experience so far.

syn208332 karma

A lot has been talked about regarding combat, and some of the mechanics. Can you describe how the lore, or mythos will effect the abilities or spells available within the game. EG In Dungeons and Dragons a cleric may worship a specific god, and be granted specific abilities due to this. Will there be any mechanic akin to this, and if so, will it be limited only to a 'cleric' like entity? I find that this is an often under-used mechanic that can really enhance the 'getting into the world' factor.

jesawyer54 karma

Priests and possibly paladins will have altered access to lists of spells and abilities based on their chosen deity or cause. It's not about the god/cause limiting it, but the person limiting their access themselves since their power is internally-derived.

hideo__kuze16 karma

Nice. I like the idea of the worshiped deity affecting the spell list.

Is there a deity of death?

Necro magic for the win.

Obsidian_Ent35 karma

JESawyer: There's a little bit about DEATH in today's update. :)

nonadventurer31 karma

Are you hiring George Ziets full-time, or will he collaborate on the game like Chris Avellone does on Wasteland 2?

Obsidian_Ent63 karma

Chris Avellone contractually evaluates:

George will be on contract. We'd love to hire George back full time, though, we all loved working with him.

nonadventurer30 karma

Thanks! I hope you do, I'm a big fan of his work and judging by that stretch goal I'm not alone. :)

Obsidian_Ent48 karma

Chris Avellone concurs.

GrueWithNoLight31 karma

Since I will either have a thief or be one, I am curious about traps. Are you planning on having invisible traps (NWN style) or are you going to model them so they are visible? So will we see what is slicing us, or will it just say, "Darn, not fast enough. -4 hp"

And thank you for making this game!

Obsidian_Ent36 karma

Chris Avellone jumps in with a detour:

I'll leave it to Tim/Josh, but I just wanted to say that I love your Reddit handle.

Obsidian_Ent27 karma

JESawyer: We haven't talked much about traps, but personally I like them to be physically present/modeled into the environment somehow. Even in IWD I liked keeping the pressure plates linked to specific pieces of the environment (e.g. the darkest sets of stones in the hallways in the lower levels of Dragon's Eye).

NudoJudo30 karma

Alongside low intelligence dialogue options, could there be low/high charisma "asshole" conversation choices, that say the exact thing, but are responded to wildly differently? The high charisma asshole being seen as confident and charming, the low charisma asshole just being an unlikable asshole.

Obsidian_Ent41 karma

Tim Cain: that's an interesting idea, and I think that Mirokunite was asking that when I did update #22 (sorry that I missed that, Mirokunite!). We are planning to support attribute-based dialog, meaning that any attribute of the character (a stat, a skill, a trait) could be used to determine a response. Most of these will be INT based (the wonderful dumb dialog) but anything else is possible too. Just keep in mind that each time we add one these responses, we have to write a new dialog subtree, and it really adds up to make a lot of these. Personally, I'd rather write more dialogs with some attribute-based responses than fewer dialogs with lots of attribute-based responses.

And by saying "I'd rather write", I really mean "I'd rather Chris write" because he is WAY better at writing than I am.

H_asardeur30 karma

have you already decided if the Aumaua and Orlans are going to be playable races? (selectable by the player at the start of the game?)

Obsidian_Ent45 karma

JESawyer: Yes, we are planning to have aumaua and orlans as two of our playable races.

ReverendBizarre29 karma

Can you share any (minor) details on the magic system for the game?

Obsidian_Ent39 karma

JESawyer: We haven't developed the systems in detail, but wizard and priest magic may feel similar to their A/D&D counterparts, with the change that low-level powers will return after (sometimes during) battles without requiring the need to rest. Ciphers and chanters abilities will likely feel much different, both in flavor and in their mechanics.

Nithrakis28 karma

Josh, you name drop MicroProse's 1992 Darklands quite frequently. If you were given the opportunity, would you like to do a direct sequel to Darklands? And, if so, what would you change about it?

Also, what aspects of Darklands can we expect to see in Project Eternity?

Obsidian_Ent52 karma

JESawyer: Yes, I would definitely work on a direct sequel/reboot/whatever to Darklands. I would probably want to restructure some of the skills in the system (or adjust the game's content) so players got more use out of the neglected skills like Streetwise, Ride, or Speak Latin. Also I'd like to offer alternatives to being a virtuous Catholic in the game, which was pretty much "the way" to play. Overall, though, I still think it holds up very well.

The aspect of Darklands I'm most interested in trying out in Project Eternity is the manner in which certain non-combat sequences/conversations are presented with an illustrated scene accompanied by text. Performing a ritual, talking with an important character at a specific time/place, or even figuring out how to cross a broken bridge -- those are all things that I could see taking place in such a format.

trunten828 karma

Already donated to the Kickstarter - looking forward to it. See you in 2 years. Whatever.

You need to tell me: What was in Fall-from-Grace's diary? This has been bothering me forever. Potential spoilery Planescape: Torment speculation:

Was she actually working for one of the sides of the Blood War and trying to subtly influence / help The Nameless One to accept the true death in order to turn the tide in the hellish conflict once and for all? The man was the closest thing to a god permissible in Sigil, so he might have been able to levy some change. WHAT ARE HER SECRETS. TELL ME.

Obsidian_Ent37 karma

Chris Avellone coyly says:

Grace's secrets are her own.

To answer your spoilery question, the answer is "no." Her only agenda was being a better person through experiences and helping others to be better people. So basically, she's the nicest succubus in the universe.

sacklunch28 karma

What was the first or most impact-full RPG experience you ever had?

Obsidian_Ent62 karma

Chris Avellone thinks:

For me it was Fallout 1, when I first started talking to someone and realized that even the dialogues would shift depending on my character build. It changed how I approached the dialogue in Torment, for certain.

I would add Ultima Underworld, Wasteland 1, and Chronotrigger to this list as well. For Ultima Underworld, there were so many quests and twists that I feel have never been replicated (at the end game, the main guy I'd come to for help had NO IDEA how to defeat the badguy and asked ME what I thought we could do - awesome), Wasteland 1 (proof that game mechanics in the right context can make amazing moments, like going through Finster's Android Brain and fighting adversaries with your IQ skill), and Chronotrigger for the brave story choices they took and reactivity to that (no spoilers).

I have a whole bunch of games I consider to be "design document" games because they do a lot of design elements so well - Dead Space and System Shock 2 are among them.

Jeppeboy27 karma

No question from me - just wanted to say Thank You for Planescape: Torment, it's the only game game that have managed to give me real emotions and not just "heh, that's cool". I've backed Project Eternity and I'm looking forward to it very much! You guys are awesome and i know you will make a great game.

Obsidian_Ent28 karma

Chris Avellone makes a "<3" with his hands.

hoboninja27 karma

My roommate wanted me to ask you guys about internships I guess?

He interned at Thomson Reuters this past summer but really wants to try and get into the game development field.

He absolutely loves Obsidian, he has played every game you have ever made, and then like every game back from Black Isle/Interplay. He has a huge nerd boner for the Baldur's Gate series, and keeps bugging me to go and play them, I started the first one but haven't gotten around to playing it.

He saw that you have some internship positions available, what are the requirements for that kind of stuff?

Like would a Computer Science senior with a past internship and like a 3.5+ GPA qualify for that?

What type of stuff does an intern do there?

(I won't qualify for anything lol I have like a 2.5 GPA and no internship experience... :/ )

Edit: Answer this one instead, http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/11iox8/we_are_chris_avellone_tim_cain_and_josh_sawyer/c6mu4wj

It's more general and applies to anyone instead of my kind of specific question.

Obsidian_Ent41 karma

Chris puts hiring shirt on and takes off pants:

Applying to [email protected] generally is the best way to go, the type of internship varies according to project. One piece of advice I can offer is for anyone looking to break into the industry, volunteering for a Kickstarter you like doing minor tasks is a great way to get experience and help out a cause you really believe in (I've been trying to play matchmaker with Eternity and Wasteland 2 and with other projects, with some success).

Snigaroo25 karma

This may get buried, but I desperately, desperately hope it doesn't.

Chris, I've been a huge fan for ages. I've been keeping up with Obsidian since KOTOR II, a game I've wound up playing a good 20 times through. I find the story to be ridiculously deep--perhaps without really intending to be--to the extent that even now every new time I play it through I come up with more things the plot could actually be about.

I'm not going to ask you to spill all the beans on a project and plot I'm sure you have mixed feelings over, but I'm curious: what's your opinion of your work on KOTOR II, the rush and cut content notwithstanding? How do you feel about the crazy theories that pop up from time to time talking about what the story "really" means, like when people claim it's an expose into the Force, or that (as I believe) the "main character" is really Kreia, and her interactions are the most important part of the game? Are we all reading hopelessly deep into this, or was there a serious attempt to put a deeper meaning into K2's surface plot?

As I said, huge fan. Keep doin' what you're doin', I'll keep throwing money at you!

PS: I know you can't answer this, but I'm going to ask it anyway: is Arren Kae Kreia or not, damn it?

Obsidian_Ent31 karma

Chris Avellone jumps in to prevent thread burial:

I didn't think I would enjoy working on Star Wars, but after a week, I changed my mind. I freely admit that while Kreia (and strangely, Nihilus) were a crtique and raised questions about the universe, the story was always about the player first. I still get comments from people to do this day where some of Kreia's critiques of player behavior made them examine what they were doing in real life (for example, does lending money to a potential fool truly help them?).

Thanks for the support, and getting comments like this make the long nights and work worthwhile.


Is there any interest in including another incarnation of Ravel? The last one I recognized was back in KOTOR 2. Has the concept become less interesting?

Obsidian_Ent42 karma

Chris Avellone thinks:

I think Ravel's been explored enough. If I did another D&D game, I might, but Kreia in K2 was designed to explore that relationship more, and I feel she ended up being a thorough exploration of her personality archetype so much so I don't feel the need to go any further. It also helped that the context of the Star Wars universe also helped give her a fresh take.

The fact that Ravel existed across the Planes and perceived time differently than others was always an interesting element to write for. And I always liked her for her more honest emotions (feelings for the player and her attempts to do good and change her nature even when her nature got in the way).

Tnbred24 karma

Part of what really makes BG2 the best RPG so far is the kind of power you end up getting toward the end of the game. I used to play spell casters and really enjoyed time stop spells and other kind of level 9 Spells. Will we be able to reach such power for project Eternity ? Are we to expect seeing a Time Stop spell again ? Thank you for a great project and a great idea. You have my money !

Obsidian_Ent38 karma

JESawyer: We'll have to see where Project Eternity winds up. We want to leave room to grow, after all. :)

I think making the player feel relative power growth is important, though, whether we're talking about getting Fireball in Pool of Radiance or Time Stop in BG2. I think that people enjoy hitting those late-game points where some really powerful options open up. As long as those options don't make late-game challenges irrelevant, it's nice to go back to earlier encounter styles and just wipe the floor with everyone that previously gave you grief.

fallenninja66623 karma

Ive been following your kickstarter with wide eyed interest and one thing really caught my eye, you said that you were going to be able to include many more "mature" themes in this game, and I was wondering if you could elaborate on what exactly that means? P.S You guys ROCK for doing project eternity. I mean it.

Obsidian_Ent43 karma

Tim Cain: by saying we want to add mature themes to our game, we are talking about issues that are commonly ignored in other games, issues that bring to mind questions of relative morality or life-and-death choices. Remember in Fallout 1 when you had to decide whether to look for an alternative water source for Necropolis or just steal their water chip to give to your Vault? That was a choice where you could decide that a lot of "monsters" would die so that your people would survive, or you could race against time to see if everyone would survive or if everyone would die.

We want more quests like that.

LinkOnFire22 karma

What overhauls to the combat system of Icewind Dale/Baldur's Gate series are you thinking of including?

Obsidian_Ent51 karma

JESawyer: We won't be using a strict round-based system, so the timing of actions will be much more flexible for us to tune. That will help a lot. Also, we don't necessarily need to base our number values or modifiers on dice or "addition/subtraction-friendly" math. I think this will help us tune damage values and modifiers much more. Finally, we'd like to ensure that a) non-casters have more things to do more often (e.g. fighters knocking dudes down, self-replenishing Stamina, etc.) and b) that casters have low-level abilities that come back without needing to rest -- basically, to mitigate the desire to rest-spam.

Relatively_Relevant21 karma

What do your families think of what you do? Do your spouses' share yer interests? Do the children love the games you made?

Obsidian_Ent86 karma

Chris Avellone says:

My parents, I believe, do not fully get what I do. My brother does. My niece should never play any of my games until she's older.

I'm not married (except to work), but girlfriends in the past have pointed out logic flaws and bugs in work I've done, and then smugly looked at me while I realize that my chances for intercourse have been largely diminshed by my failings.

deonisius21 karma

So far everything I'm seeing here sounds great, but here is a very important question I have: Does the game scale to your level (eg: Fallout 3/Oblivion) or is it set more like Fallout 1/2? For me personally (and some might disagree of course) level scaling kills the entire fun of exploring and finding good loot. And of course the lack of challenge on scaled mechanic is also ever present and makes me not care about side quests (who cares at which point of the story I am and how leveled up I am since everyone around is pretty much the same). So what is your guys plan on this?

Obsidian_Ent40 karma

JESawyer: Scaled content will be used minimally, and almost entirely on the critical path. We don't want to push players to grind to make their way through the game's central plot. Side content will probably not be scaled at all. This includes wandering off in a random direction in the wilderness. It should feel dangerous and risky, IMO.

the_s_d19 karma

More a comment than a question... one of the things I love most about Kickstarter game projects is the ability to interact with the team on a personal level. While there are obvious pitfalls to the level of access, it has an enormous humanizing qualities as well. For example, when else would you have the opportunity to chat with someone like Darren, who's the CIO/Operations VP guy (a primarly bizdev title), to discover that he's basically a gamer like everyone else, and a great guy to boot? That just doesn't happen, via traditional means. So, team Obsidian... thanks! Thanks for the access, the trust, and also for bringing me the best RPG in the history of (at least) Linux gaming, which is incredibly important to me.

Obsidian_Ent21 karma

Chris Avellone nods...

This is exactly what I love about Kickstarter. :)

inertiax18 karma

do you plan on letting us know the exact radius of our spells? ToEE or will it be more up in the air like iwd bg pst

Obsidian_Ent27 karma

JESawyer: I'd like to show the AoE and it shouldn't be hard to do. In fact... I think Steve may already have that working...

arbyday18 karma

Given your past experience with making wonderful RPGs, what are the most important (or were the hardest for you to master) skills you think you bring to development of this title that another dev team might not have?

Obsidian_Ent24 karma

Tim Cain: I can answer that in one word. Editing. It has taken me a long time to learn that I don't need to add every feature I could possibly think of to all of my games. You need to learn what is possible to add and what would take a long time to add, and then prioritize your features so that the best ones get the most time allotted to them.

Obsidian_Ent24 karma

Chris Avellone thinks:

The ability to both present, allow, and then design a game's reactivity around the character build and options allowed for in character creation. If we give you a choice in how to design your character, we need to honor that throughout the game, from race, to culture, to class, to abilities. There have been titles in the past (and ones we've done in the past) that haven't honored this compact, and it's important to us that we do.

inertiax17 karma

Will there be Heroic epithets or history feat bonuses? extra perks/stat bonuses you get through gameplay? (Expert Excrement Expeditor) or perhaps some for completing the game with the hard modes turned on?

Obsidian_Ent25 karma

JESawyer: We think it's good to reward players for playing the game "their" way, so we do plan to give bonuses that fall outside of strict level-ups.

awshtjs16 karma

Super excited about the new game, but I've gotta know! What was in Fall-from-Grace's diary!?

Obsidian_Ent25 karma

Chris Avellone coyly answers:

Grace's secrets are her own, and not even I could crack that book.

Vithren15 karma

Will you add the shift + credits easter egg (Fallout 1 and 2, IIRC) in P:E? Please add this O_O

Obsidian_Ent24 karma

JESawyer: Sure! BTW, it's in Fallout: New Vegas, too. :)

sensuki14 karma

There was concern raised on the forums about the proposed health system based on Darklands. If a character is knocked unconscious from running out of endurance, would you program enemy AI to strike down said character, or ignore them and attack your remaining characters that are not unconscious? Would this be related to difficulty level / expert mode

Obsidian_Ent19 karma

JESawyer: We'll have to see, but generally speaking, spending time finishing off an unconscious foe while able-bodied combatants continue to pose a threat is not tactically wise.

wgren13 karma

I'm an experienced programmer, but have mainly been working in the banking/telecom industry (enterprise stuff). Do you have some good book to recommend if I wanted to get into game development?

Obsidian_Ent23 karma

Chris Avellone looks pointedly at Tim.

ImNotAnAlien13 karma

Is the game going to be on Steam?

Obsidian_Ent21 karma

Adam Brennecke: Yup. Steam and GOG.com.

TheAberration12 karma

You said that HP will be divided into Health and Stamina and that Stamina will regenerate on its own quickly. Does that mean it'll regenerate on its own even in combat?

Obsidian_Ent18 karma

JESawyer: We'll have to see, but possibly. I like the idea of making a tactical retreat specifically to rest for a few seconds.