Project Eternity Releases Image, Aims For $3.5m

By Jim Rossignol on October 12th, 2012 at 8:00 am.


Click for full size! Although it’s being made in Unity, Project Eternity uses the same methodology as older RPGs: creating a 3D environment from a fixed perspective, and then allowing artists to go in an art the environment right up. They’ve done that here, and it looks okay, I suppose. They’ve probably done it before. Obsidian’s big Kickstarter project to make an RPG like-they-used-to-do had raised $2,723,473 at the time of writing, and with just a few days left they’ve announced that there’ll be an additional stronghold at $3m, and another big city in the game if they get to $3.5m. If they just get to $2.8m then they’ll add George “Mask Of the Betrayer” Ziets to the dev team. Will they get all the way to $3.5m? I doubt it, but maybe. Frankly, I hope so.

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127 Comments »

  1. CaspianRoach says:

    Is it wrong to be slightly disappointed by them using Unity? For some reason for me it only ever associates with low-quality one-week projects.

    • Saul says:

      It’s wrong. Pretty much everyone without a mega-budget is using it these days. It’s becoming ubiquitous, for the reason that it’s cheap and both immensely powerful and immensely flexible.

    • jrodman says:

      If there’s a technical limitation that a toolkit or platform keeps exposing that’s the fault of the platform, then care.

      Other issues are probably largely irrelevant to the toolkit.

    • Lucidity says:

      Hyperbole much? :P

    • veremor says:

      Let’s just stop this whole thing if one of the best isometric RPG backgrounds ever gets such a lukewarm reception. Too bad.

    • MarigoldFleur says:

      Kinetic Void is being made in Unity and so is Shadowgun on mobile. The engine is really super capable.

      • Cinek says:

        Yea, I’m sure it’s super-capable of creating games for iPhone.
        Next, please.

        • The_invalid says:

          Okay, Mr Smarty-pants, tell us all about Unity’s technical hamstrings and limitations then. I’m dying to hear your clearly very well-informed opinion on the matter.

        • Strand says:

          While there are plenty of examples of technically competent and visually impressive Unity titles out there, I’ve chosen Interstellar Marines to emphasize that the limitations are merely time, money and artistic skill, not the engine itself:

          http://www.interstellarmarines.com/media-section/

          Along with Sir, You Are Being Hunted and Endless Space, this will hopefully allay the fears of those who were initially wary of Unity. Hell, I was one of them, once.

          Mine eyes have seen the (volumetric) light.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Just download unity and look at the tutorial levels. The list of successful games made in it is growing, and the games themselves are growing more impressive. Rochard was no slouch mechanically or graphically.

    • Wther says:

      I can understand this feeling – the first few early Unity games I played were precisely this: unpolished, short, derivative and ran incredibly slow on my machine.

      However, aside from iOS games, Rochard and Fract are the only more recent Unity games I’m aware that I’ve played and they’ve both been well-designed and ran very well; my original prejudices towards Unity were hasty, but hearing that a game is made in Unity still gives me that brief flicker of unfounded disappointment.

      This screenshot looks wonderful, though. I expect to have that flicker extinguished completely.

    • Rich says:

      I have similar feelings, but then the only Unity games I’ve played are in browsers and slow as hell.

      • Tatourmi says:

        Well, sir Jim, to be frank, although the concept sounds great, the game does not look all that impressive visually in my opinion. We also do not know really how well it runs or how well it plays.

        That being said though, I am with the “Unity is awesome” bandwagon.

        • frightlever says:

          I like the look of it. Not every game can have or needs AAA teams of artists. The concept is more important than the look. To each their own.

          • Cinek says:

            Which was exactly OP point – an engine for weekly projects, otherwise: needlessly troublesome and under-performing for end-users.

        • Lemming says:

          Why, in 2012, are people still confusing engine choice with art-style or art-ability? Don’t you realise you could easily have a fully zbrushed high-poly model in your Unity-based game, or you could just do things with cubes and spheres. It’s Developer choice/capability. Not the engine.

          • StranaMente says:

            @Lemming I completely agree with you. I’m a bit depressed that this thought took so long to come up.

          • adonf says:

            Also, why are people debating engines based on concept art ?

          • Mad Hamish says:

            Most people have never used a game engine or even done a bit a research and as a result haven’t a feckin notion of what making a game within one is like. See the “gamebryo is the reason Oblivion looks and animates terribly” argument. I rage every time I see some head on the internet make an ill educated rant on a game engine. If a game is shit or looks like shit, it’s not the engines fault.

          • D3xter says:

            Because game engine choice (and even more the tools and middleware related to those engines – for instance Unreal Engine has been so prevalent mostly because of those and how easy it is to do and change things) HAVE very real-life effects on how a game is designed and how it will look and it’ll also have an effect on target platforms of choice, graphical end performance capability and the likes. Theoretically, sure you could take a basic rendering-engine and change it so much that it fits for almost anything, but usually that is a rather dumb thing to do when you have a certain idea in mind, as specific engines have been built with specific games and goals in mind. For instance Valve’s Source Engine isn’t particularly good for large-scale outside environments since there is an upper limit to the amount of objects that can be within a single level (e.g. the many loading screens in Portal 2), and engines made with Point & Click Adventure games in mind or even Shooters might not be the best choice for making an MMO, related to how you want the game mechanics to work and how the Netcode is made up, which might be entirely incompatible to Massive Multiplayer.

            I can’t really say very much about Unity, but I too always feel a slight apprehension at the announcement of another Unity-game.

          • StranaMente says:

            @D3xter for the purpose of this game I think that the requirements of the engine are not really high. Much of the middleware is unnecessary here: it’s required almost nothing for scenary, bar some moving components like animating water or foliage (but not speedtree, or a physics engine since it’s a prerendered background), the characters can be relatively low poly, given the distance from the camera, and there are probably some effects for spells and a UI. The dialogue trees and other things related to the storyline are built in house. There’s no need for blur, depth of field, ambient occlusion or other modern trickery that can be found built in other engines (but I suppose that unity has those too).
            With these requirements I say that the choice of the engine is not really important, and more important is the ease of use of said engine and the possibility to iterate.
            Beside all of this, I trust a company like Obsidian or inExile to evaluate what engine to use better than me.
            And surely that screenshot is not something that a college student could pull out in a week.

          • InternetBatman says:

            @dexter: One of the requirements they need middleware for is cross platform compatibility. Unity seems to be one of the leaders there.

      • HothMonster says:

        I was so wrong so my comment is gone.

    • SKapsniak says:

      My introduction to Unity, was Endless Space, so I tend to associate it with insanely slick UI’s and immensely strong art in really fun game…

      …OMG! That means the battle system for Project Eternity surely has to be picking three cards over the course of a one minute in-engine cut-scene. It’s DOOMED, DOOMED I tell you! :)

    • maicus says:

      They should just make the whole thing in RPG Maker and spend the money they save on sweet office furniture.

    • veremor says:

      “For some reason for me it only ever associates with low-quality one-week projects.”

      That’s probably because that’s what those projects were. This topic is exactly that: an association, and as such hardly a relevant or necessary topic while there is a screenshot right before our eyes. But not so on the internet, I know… Let’s discuss in all its nuances and variations, until Obsidian comments on the issue.

  2. Preyer says:

    “had raised £2,723,473″ $

  3. Lucidity says:

    £2,723,473

    In dollars, though! :P

    Baldur’s Gate II is one of my favourite games ever so to see this screenshot is to realize that I’ve waited over a decade for another game in the same vein, uzing modern technology.

    I just cannot wait for this. It sounds stunning,

    • frightlever says:

      There was a definite period of time after the move to full 3D that RPGs were nowhere near as pretty as the old isometric games. NWN was pugly by comparison.

      That screenie, while nothing special, shows what a real BG HD remake could have looked like.

      • Lucidity says:

        Yes, I completely agree! The transition to full 3D has never felt quite right, or immersive, I find. I don’t personally think that any 3D RPG has captured that same special vibe the old Infinity engine games had, no matter how good they end up being, as that isometric style married to the splendid artwork is just unique, I absolutely love it and I’m thrilled that Obsidian are having another crack at it!

      • D3xter says:

        That period is still lasting on and probably for at least another 10 years or so in the future…

  4. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    This is the only kickstarter that I was really interested in that I didn’t back. I didn’t appreciate the “early bird” tier and that they’re being deliberately cagey with any information. It’s more of a hype machine than a way to seek investment.

    I loved PS:T, and can’t wait to see what Project Eternity is like, but I don’t feel I should be giving them my money at this point, when it’s seems like there are other projects with more justification for doing so.

    • jrodman says:

      It’s not like they’re really scraping by either.

    • coffeetable says:

      “It’s more of a hype machine than a way to seek investment.”

      These things are one and the same.

    • MarigoldFleur says:

      Cagey how, exactly?

    • InternetBatman says:

      They’ve been a lot more forthcoming with information in updates than they were in the pitch. The lore is explained a bit better, there’s an ongoing discussion between JE Sawyer and Tim Cain about the battle system, and this update shows one of the pre-rendered backgrounds they’re using, which is halfway to a screenshot (more than Wasteland, Doublefine, or Shadow Run offered). If you’re interested check out updates 20, 16, 7.

      They’ve definitely made some missteps, of which the Early Bird tier was one (I am one and I still think it’s not great). The many, many add-ons to pledges are another. But to be fair to them, they’ve also pledged to kick it forward, which is certainly not a trivial financial commitment.

      I hope they do get enough pledges to do the second big city, even if it’s a bit of a stretch .

      • Ninja Foodstuff says:

        Fair enough. I haven’t been keeping an eye on the updates (I don’t think there’s an easy way to do so if you haven’t backed the project), but I’ll take another look.

      • malkav11 says:

        I’m not sure how the addons are a misstep. They’re taking things that people wanted specifically out of higher tiers and making them available to any tier. I suppose they could have made a couple of lower tiers that included all those items, but this is, I think, more consumer-friendly as it allows you to plump for only those elements you want, and it’s the only reason they’re getting more than $35 out of me.

        • InternetBatman says:

          I think making people pay for the digital world almanac (which sounds like a manual) is a bit parsimonious.

          • Ragnar says:

            That’s not my understanding at all. I believe the Almanac is kind of like a source book, or dungeon master’s guide. The manual, included with the game, tells you about the game and how to play it. The Almanac, on the other hand, is a very in-depth look at the world, the setting, and the lore, designed to let you delve way deep into their world, or let you host your own campaign or story.

          • PsychoWedge says:

            Dunno. To me the Almanac sounds more like the old Fallout-Bible. And that thing was just pure awesomeness for every lorelover out there.

            Sure, selling it for 15 bucks maybe kinda… cheeky… but then again everybody with at least a 50$ pledge gets it automatically (Digital Download of World Almanac +$15 (include in tiers $50 and above)).

          • malkav11 says:

            Yeah, it sounds to me like the almanac is more of a deep background item and/or source for running one’s own PnP adventures in the setting. I’m not really expecting that much of a manual at all, since games these days tend to put the stuff that used to be in manuals in the game itself, but there’s nothing at all to indicate that if they do do a meatier manual that it would be an extra.

    • Ragnar says:

      I think part of the reason for this is that other Kickstarters (Planetary Annihilation in particular) designed a game, and then asked for money to make the game. Project Eternity, on the other hand, tried to secure funding first and then create a game based on the funding.

      Speaking from a project management standpoint, designing a project to fit within a budget is a better and safer approach than designing a project and hoping that you receive the budget needed to complete the project and having to scale back if you don’t.

  5. Droopy The Dog says:

    Anyone else have a massive skyrim flashback looking at that picture?

    Right down to the “purple mountain flowers” and “hunters campsite”.

    [Edit] Crap nevermind, guess they started with that as a 3D base instead of their own.

    • coffeetable says:

      *cough* Yes, purple flowers and camp fires are unique to Skyrim.

      Skyrim was the first game to do the wilderness really well, so it’s natural that any other CGI wilderness will remind you of it. But they certainly aren’t using Bethesda’s work as 3D model for their backdrops, on account of the CRIPPLING LAWSUITS that would bring about.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        It’s true.

        I went to Norway around 1999, and all I could think was how they’d ripped off Skyrim.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Sacred 2 came out years before Skyrim, and that game did some amazingly detailed wilderness.

      • Malibu Stacey says:

        Skyrim was the first game to do the wilderness really well

        S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl disagrees with that statement just a little.

      • InternetBatman says:

        The gothic games, particularly gothic III did the wilderness amazingly well.

      • The Random One says:

        I think I haven’t been to anything that can be even generously described as ‘wilderness’ for over ten years, not even driving through it, but even I can tell the Skyrim wilderness is crap. It’s, at best, a decent RPG hex map. Not a wilderness.

    • PoulWrist says:

      Eh, it’s an actual screenshot.

    • Lucidity says:

      That’s a screenie from the game according to Obsidian, purple flowers and generic camp sight are a staple of high fantasy and not just skyrim… =/

  6. newc0253 says:

    “Project Eternity uses the same methodology as older RPGs: creating a 3D environment from a fixed perspective”

    hmm, I always thought the environments in all the best known Inifinity Engine games (Baldur’s Gate 1 & 2, Icewind Dale, Torment) were based on hand-painted 2D maps?

    • MarigoldFleur says:

      Much of them were painted over 3D renders like we’re seeing here. It’s really easy to forget what BG1 actually looked like without playing it in a while: http://i.imgur.com/H6RDY.jpg

    • coffeetable says:

      Half and half. All those games used the same technique – construct a 3D model and render it down to a 2D backdrop, which the artists can then add to.

    • drewski says:

      It’s the hand painting a pre-rendered environment that is that same as the Infinity Engine games, not the number of Ds.

    • InternetBatman says:

      If you’re interested, here’s a detailed description from one of the doctors on how the levels were created:

      Designers map out an area and write up a description.
      Concept artist draws an isometric concept of the level.
      Models are created for the level.
      Models are placed within the level and then textured.
      The level is dressed with smaller objects (barrels and chairs). Lighting is done for the level, and then any final tweaks are completed.
      The art piece is given to the designers so that the clipping, luminosity, height and search map can all be done.
      Creatures, items, traps and triggers are all added to the level.
      The scripting for the level is completed.

      http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/131493/baldurs_gate_ii_the_anatomy_of_a_.php?page=2

  7. Personoic says:

    There’s something off about this image. It’s a bit plasticy especially near the rock and water areas. Must have something to do with the lighting.

  8. Drayk says:

    I hope the waterfall moves… I am not convinced by the Screenshot but it really has this vintage gaming vibe at least.

    • Saul says:

      Pretty sure they mentioned that backgrounds will contain animated areas. Would be surprised if the waterfall wasn’t one (and probably the rest of the water, too).

  9. maicus says:

    The way they are doling out “extra content” kind of weirds me out. I can understand new staff and technology, but new races? I get it as a strategy, but it kind of comes across as a little dishonest. Still supporting it, but it’s a very different beast to, say, the banner saga.

    • battles_atlas says:

      One of the really nice things about the Shadowrunner kickstarter was the was the team backed away from offering extra content for higher pledges after the community complained about it. Felt like a genuine dialogue for one. And of course the community was right – levels of content depending on wallet size is the kind of bullshit we expect from EA, not Kickstaters.

      • MaXimillion says:

        Did they? The reason I didn’t support it was the special ability only available to backers listed in the $30 tier, and it’s still visible on their kickstarter page.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        Actually, the amount of content in a game is directly related to wallet size, unless you go the procedurally generated route.

        Think about it, each area in the game needs to be designed, modeled, textured, lit. Each playable class needs to be designed, built, modelled, rigged, animated, balanced, tested, have class dependant content added to the rest of the game. Each new quest needs to be designed, implimented, tested, balanced. All this stuff takes a several teams time. Admittedly with unlimited time, one man can do all this for free but of course they are not allowing themselves unlimited time and they have teams with wages to pay. A team can only produce a set amount of content every year, if you want more content per year, you have to hire another team. It’s not really any more complicated than that.

        With all that said though, I highly doubt a playable class costs the same as the stretch goals, but then they are not making this game as a charitable enterprise, they are trying to make themselves a profit; it stands to reason they want to earn more than they spend on making the game.

        • battles_atlas says:

          You’re misunderstanding. I’m talking about individual wallets not the collective wallet. Of course game budget determines the scope of the game to a considerable degree. It is fracturing your game into a dozen different versions in an effort to extort more money that I was taking issue with. If you want to tack on some out of game baubles to tempt some to spend more then by all means. But if you buy the game, you should get the game. This isn’t the American health care system, lets be civilized.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Well, they obviously are intending to ship the game they would have made if they only just scraped their kickstarter, so we will be getting the entire game. They just believe that they can slot this stuff in without detracting from the game and giving us a bit more in addition.

            I kind of know what you are saying, but think about it this way: They designed the game, asked for the money to make that game, when it became obvious they were going to get way more than they asked for they decided to make the game bigger and add in stuff the more they get.

            Maybe the stuff they are adding was planned at the conception stage and cut to stick to a budget, maybe it is being dreamed up on the fly as their budget increases, does it matter? The “game” was what they initially offered.

          • Bhazor says:

            “It is fracturing your game into a dozen different versions in an effort to extort more money that I was taking issue with.”

            But that’s the exact opposite of what Obsidian is doing. Everyone who pays $20/25 gets all the content.

            The only DLC is a future “Throne of Bhall style” add on.

          • jrodman says:

            Sheng-ji and bhazor: you’re still misreading.

            battle_atlas is not talking about Project Eternity; she or he is talking about other kickstarters where you receive different subsets of the game depending upon how much you pay. This is RESPONSE to the comment posted by macius which misunderstood what Obsidian is doing here.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            I don’t think anyone’s talking about any game, specifically. Not Shadowrunner, Wasteland or Eternity is going to give the stretch goals to different tiers. I think that was the misunderstanding.

            Stretch goals go into the final product in all these games.

    • Oasx says:

      I don’t understand your complaint, the extra races and the such are just headlines, all the tiers really mean are that they have more money to make a better overall game, but a successful Kickstarter is about advertising, by offering concrete things like player houses and new races you encourage more people to give money, it is no stranger than every other piece of advertising in the world.

      I just seems really odd to take some moral stance against advertising, if Project Eternity had not had tiers then they might be lucky to get 2 million instead of 3, and we are getting a much better game because they did what ever other sane Kickstarter does.

      • chiefnewo says:

        It seems “dishonest” is the Kickstarter version of “entitled.” As soon as someone sees something they personally aren’t interested in during a Kickstarter campaign, it’s “dishonest, omg I can’t believe they have the nerve to suggest it would take more money to implement a new race’s art, writing, sound, and quests.”

        Sometimes I wonder if people think Obsidian have already made the game and are just chopping bits off if we don’t agree to their ransom demands.

        • jrodman says:

          Poppycock.

          We all know creation of games involves squeezing creativity out of a tube into geometric shapes, and baking at 350 degrees (fahrenheit!) for 15 minutes.

      • battles_atlas says:

        This is about games as a work of art – or at least as a self-contained cultural work, if you want to avoid the tedious debate about the former. The analogy is with novels with pages missing, films with scenes missing. Why treat games with comparative disrespect? That’s aside from the social justice issue – do we have to have a rich man’s and poor man’s version of everything in society? Can’t culture offer something a little less divisive?

        • maicus says:

          I’d say that game design is more like architecture than art – on one end there is artistic and academic merit, on the other straight commercialism, and in the middle there are people trying to create art with merit IN a commercial environment.

        • JackShandy says:

          Games are much more modular than Films and Novels, though. It would be strange for a writer to update his book with new chapters, but there’s nothing wrong with a game adding in new features after launch. A lot of games are made like Minecraft, constantly adding in new features forever. That doesn’t mean they have less artistic merit at all.

          • NathanH says:

            Exactly. A better comparison than novels or films would be something that a cRPG is actually like, for instance an RPG. Suppose you’re doing a kickstarter for a pen and paper RPG. You’re looking like you’re going to get rather more money than you need. What do you do? You announce stretch goals like extra pre-written adventures, extra source books for say religion and magic, a psionics rulebook. Nobody (no true Scotsman, at least) would even dream of objecting to this.

        • Bremze says:

          @battles_atlas: You don’t seem to have much of an idea how game design and development works. Or how film and writing works for that matter. Have you ever watched a movie with the director’s commentary? Movies often have scenes shortened, totally reworked or cut altogether. Books often go through several partial or even full rewrites before being published. And games are even worse in this regard because they usually have more people working on them, think any game and it probably had tens and hundreds of ideas that didn’t make the cut and several more that were already implemented but couldn’t be made to work well/polished before release and as such had to be dropped. Kickstarter has only made the process of creation more transparent.

          If this though nags you, I’ve pretty much made your life a living hell now, I guess.

        • MentatYP says:

          I don’t see what’s so divisive about the concept of “more money, more content”. The backer base isn’t being segregated and content doled out to individual backers based on their contribution. Everybody who contributes the minimum amount of $25 gets the full game. The more people contribute the more content everybody gets because they can afford to hire the people and/or spend the time creating said content. There is that inclusion of DLC at a much, much higher tier that makes me feel slightly uneasy, but other than that you can’t really say that they’re fracturing their backers’ content.

          And FYI, movies are made to a budget too. More money allows any number of additional resources to be brought in: time, cast, locations, special effects, etc. Games are no different. Idealizing works of art like movies and games that also have financial realities and constraints does nobody any favors.

          • 2Ben says:

            I also felt uneasy for the DLC, that said now there’s an upgrade for $20 to get the DLC, which is reasonable I guess (not sure what the final price will actually be when retailing, but well…).
            So for $55 you get the whole deal. The price of one block-buster.

      • maicus says:

        No problem with them using this technique to advertise! In any rate, it appears to be working.

        Maybe dishonest was the wrong word.. lets say disconnected instead. The funding milestones seem disconnected from the content creation they are enabling. I’d rather they used the money to polish and fine-tune than simply expand the scope of the product.

        (This might actually be indicative of the average Obsidian design process. Expand, expand, expand, oh dear, we need to release this thing at some point!)

        • Bremze says:

          You’ve missed another point about the stretch goals though. They money needed for them is usually less than the goal brings. The rest goes to polish the overall game.

          Think about it this way, each stretch goal lets them both expand the scope AND polish of the game.

        • Bhazor says:

          You’ve never made a game I take it.

          Don’t underestimate how long and how much cost to make all the content of a new race/area.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Well, it is a different beast from Bannersaga, which is short, linear, episodic, and has a lot of multiplayer tie-ins. This is a full fantasy world, so more funding means greater access to geographic regions. And most high fantasy worlds feature sentient biodiversity across different biomes. It’s telling that they’ve only added three extra races out of 10 stretch goals, and Feargus spoke about limiting the expansion of races very close the start of the kickstarter.

  10. Network Crayon says:

    I haven’t been as excited about a game in a long time, a long long time.

    However does anyone else feel theyre promising an awful lot?
    The last stretch goal was “Big Big Citys 2″, theyre claiming theyre gonna have 2 cities matching the size of alkathla or Baldur’s Gate. in both games those cities were practically half the game, i cant conceive how they can bat around such huge additions and asure the same quality. I guess they just hire more people?

    • Lucidity says:

      I too wonder if they’ll bite off more than they can chew but if the cities end up being as vast and detailed as Athkatla then we’re in for a bloody good time!

      Their budget would directly tie into the resources they can plough into making things work so yes, I guess more designers, artists and resources are put into the game if they hit the goal or that they are able to retain said staff for more time with an increased budget.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I wonder if they pretty much know it will never be achieved and so offer a pot of gold to maximise pledges from those who think it just might get there. That being said, for half a million dollars, they could get a decent sized town made in that sort of detail!

    • paddymaxson says:

      I think it’s safe to assume they’ll be taking a slightly modular approach to development so that a big side project can “slot in” when completed. An extra big city for $500,000 is enough to pay 5 very very high quality developers for a year of work. I can only assume the $100,000 jump to bring George Ziets in involves giving George the better part of that $100k to write a script.

    • coffeetable says:

      $500k buys you >5 man-years of high-grade developer time. At more middling/low salaries, it’s more like 10.

      • Shuck says:

        Less than five, actually. That money is being spent on the costs of making/shipping any rewards, some is possibly lost on taxes, and then on office space, salaries and benefits of employees. That ends up getting you four very modestly paid employees, or a couple industry heavyweights at best. (And that assumes not a lot is being spent on rewards.)

  11. Lydia says:

    Looks excellent to me.

  12. Ninja Dodo says:

    Love the look of the art, but kind of on the fence about the fiction they’ve revealed so far. Some of the concepts sound really interesting, but I remain a bit skeptical about the elves and dwarves and all the names sound less like something linguistically plausible and more like your standard fantasy made-up words, which doesn’t help.

    Language, you guys: http://www.zompist.com/kit.html

    (that said, I’ve still backed the project)

    • Lucidity says:

      Or just do what 99% of other high fantasy types do and just take either Welsh or Gaelic elements and call it ‘Elvish’.

      • Ninja Dodo says:

        No see that’s just lazy and boring. When writers actually take the time to construct a plausible language it really makes a difference. The reason LOTR’s languages work (and few writers get this right) is because Tolkien was a linguist who knew what he was doing. You can usually measure the quality of a fantasy setting by whether its names are something a human would actually want to pronounce.

        (above link btw is an online guide to constructing fictional languages)

        • Lucidity says:

          Pretty ironic you mention LOTR actually! :D

          • Ninja Dodo says:

            If you mean cause it has elves and dwarves, then yes, but at least it does language properly.

            Also can’t fault the source of a cliché for being clichéd in retrospect.

        • stjuuv says:

          I think “what a human would actually want to pronounce” is a very wide definition, and in this context it would only make sense if you consider the entire game world as english-speaking. There is a vast amount of locations and names even in Europe thats pronounciations and written forms would make no sense whatsoever to someone who is only speaking english, not to mention the rest of the world.

    • InternetBatman says:

      That’s an interesting point as long as linguistically possible is fairly broad. Someone who spoke a language descended from proto-Indo-European might be surprised to find that humans talk like this:

    • Ninja Dodo says:

      @Internetbatman & stjuuv:

      A fair point. By pronounceable I don’t mean ‘by English-speakers’… I understand the ‘clicking’ sound in that video is very hard if not impossible to do if you did not learn it as a child, just like most people can’t pronounce the Dutch G unless they speak Dutch, Arabic, Spanish or (I’m told) Swiss German.

      All I’m saying is it would be cool to have something that’s internally consistent and actually sounds like a language that people could speak, however exotic it may or may not be.

      English grammar with a different alphabet and dictionary seems to be the most common shortcut to creating languages (see also Skyrim) and really not the most interesting one.

      There’s a lot of potential for world-building in a language… Like the more isolated a culture is the more complex its speech gets (because it doesn’t need to make itself understood to outsiders), when one culture takes over another, the losing culture’s language may disappear entirely, surviving only in ancient documents and/or a small group of tenacious natives… or when two separate but equally dominant cultures meet, a hybrid language is created mixing and matching both. If contact between two languages is very superficial a common simplified tongue may be created, because neither can be bothered to learn the other’s language properly, and so on…

      Of course, if a behemoth like Bethesda doesn’t feel they have room to put that kind of detail into language we can’t really expect Obsidian to do it on a Kickstarter budget.

      Maybe it should be a stretch goal. :P

      • InternetBatman says:

        I absolutely agree with you. There’s a lot of possibilities for language, and it would be neat to see a pidgin language formed from a subordinated species/race. The slums cant of Sigil really made it special, as did “tapper and tricksies” in Thief. I think it might be outside of the focus / budget for this game, but hiring a linguist have been a neat stretch goal (from what I gather the closest they have is JE Sawyer who speaks German and an indeterminate amount of Latin).

        Perhaps we’ll see some subordinated language in interactions with the Orlan, a marginalized furry-eared, two-toned species.

        Here’s another neat video of a click song:

  13. Arehandoro says:

    Just looking at the screen, without guessing anything, I can say this; I like it.

  14. NathanH says:

    This looks good. I still think Baldur’s Gate 2 is one of the most beautiful RPGs, so seeing a screenshot that looks basically like an improved version is nice. The next requirement for immortal beauty is spell effects, hopefully they can capture the understated elegance of the Baldur’s Gate spells and avoid the rather boorish in-your-face style of most games.

  15. paddymaxson says:

    I hope they get to $2.8m I really adored the plot of Mask of the Betrayer, I wish I had time to play it through again because apparently I missed tonnes of it.

  16. RogB says:

    the thing about 3d and 2d, is that 3d is a little more friendly to multiple resolutions.

    2d bitmap art (lovely as it may) be is kind of forcing a fixed resolution otherwise it looks a bit odd.
    what will this look like on a small screen? will it have a minimum resolution that makes it impossible to run on a certain resolution?
    will it scale the art to a custom res but preserve the ratio (blurry filtering, ugh!)
    what about uber-widescreen monitors? will all backgrounds be extra wide with a ‘safe’ area..

    as you can see, quite a lot of questions. But I have to say, I do like the look of it, its been a long time since we’ve seen some high quality rendered backgrounds in games.

    • RogB says:

      on a similar theme of animated 2d background, this is lovely
      http://www.effectgames.com/demos/canvascycle/

      i rarely feel this kind of atmosphere from 3d games..

    • D3xter says:

      Sawyer has been answering some questions:

      It’s at a more “Fallout” angle than Icewind Dale/BG angle, but also it’s an orthographic projection, which may be what you’re getting at.

      Yeah, though really it’s extraordinarily rare for a game to be “truly” isometric even when it’s orthographic. This is a trimetric projection, like Fallout.* When we looked at the IWD angle, even that wasn’t purely isometric, though it was closer.

      *Some folks have called this cavalier oblique in the past but oblique projections have one plane parallel to the camera. Fallout doesn’t.

      I can almost guarantee that the orthographic projection is a big part of it. All structural elements in the shot were built out in a 3D scene, so it’s not a matter of our 2D artists drawing in something new to throw off the perspective. When viewed as a “real” 3D scene instead of a projection, it’s much easier to understand the spatial relationship of things.

      When you look at this screenshot of Diablo 3, it’s easy to understand the scale and perspective of things because you’re actually seeing structures and characters rendered in “real” 3D instead of an orthographic projection.

      We’re trying out various animation solutions for the waterfall, spray, and the pool/river. They will definitely be animated, but we want to leave our options open to support a wide range of hardware without making the area art files even larger.

      Btw. someone made this: http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a546/vng981/eternalgate2.jpg :P

      If you like 2D Art you should also look into STASIS or some of the other art this guy has made: http://www.stasisgame.com/screenshots/

  17. Rictor says:

    Is it weird that I’m super excited for P:E, even though I’ve only ever played a few hours of BG1, a few hours of BG2 and none of Planescape, Icewind Dale or Fallout:New Vegas? I never got into those games when they came out (though certainly knew all about them via my brother) and frankly don’t have the time to do so now. But this just looks so good.

    I’m digging the approach of pre-rendering the backgrounds, because it allows the game to punch above its weight, graphically speaking. BG2, for example, has aged far more gracefully than other games released in 2001. Hopefully they hit their $3.5 million stretch goal, and the final game turns out to be one of the big successes of the Kickstarter era.

  18. J_C says:

    Looks okay? This looks amazing!

    • Bhazor says:

      Thank god someone said it.
      Saw it last night and I thought it looked absolutely amazing.

      If they have animated leaf/grass waving this could be my best looking game of the year.

  19. brawlidol says:

    Well, that screenshot was enough to make me pop my Kickstarter cherry. *pop* ow!

  20. Demiath says:

    They’ve done that here, and it looks okay, I suppose.

    I really hope that’s irony (I don’t get British humor, being the post-ironic sentimentalist that I am), ’cause that’s just about the most awesome in-game screenshot released during 2012. It looks just like you’d expect a modern (i.e. post-Temple of Elemental Evil) isometric PC RPG to look like, and it’s amazing to consider that the long-awaited second wave of Baldur’s Gate-inspired games might just be getting underway…

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