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Codex Interview Sensuki Interviews Josh Sawyer about Pillars of Eternity

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Crooked Bee, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Tags: J.E. Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity

    On June 17th, esteemed community member Sensuki sent a number of miscellaneous questions to Obsidian Entertainment's Josh Sawyer, project lead on the upcoming fantasy RPG Pillars of Eternity. As you may know, a backer-exclusive beta of the game is coming next month already. Now that the work on the E3 presentation and the gameplay video has been finished, Josh got back to Sensuki with the answers.

    Sensuki has also added his comments to some of the replies, and incorporated a few of Sawyer's recent tumblr and forum posts into the interview where relevant. Have some snippets and then read it in full.

    In a recent interview with Norwegian gaming site gamer.no, Pillars of Eternity was stated to be "larger, yes, easily larger, than Icewind Dale. We're not quite up to Baldur's Gate 2 size, but it's close". What elements of Pillars of Eternity are up there with Baldur's Gate 2 specifically? (e.g. Length of the crit path, Amount of optional content, Number of Exterior Areas, Quest Complexity, etc.) How would you say you've done regarding Wilderness area scope? Which in the stretch goal thread was slated to be "slightly larger than BG2".

    Number of overall areas is getting close to BG2. I think we now have over 150 maps with a healthy split between cities, dungeons, towns, and wilderness maps. I'm happy with the number of wilderness areas we have. I think there will be good content density in them and there are enough of them off the critical path that players will feel rewarded for exploring.

    Sensuki: For the record, BG2 has over 275 maps in the original game. I counted them the other week in Infinity Explorer. However, BG2 has stacks of tiny interiors such as houses or child areas of main dungeon levels, so the size of the game may well be getting close to BG2.

    The Stronghold update revealed that Pillars of Eternity would use an Act structure instead of a Chapter structure. The IE games used Chapters and generally had up to seven of them. An act structure is common in ARPG games because of Diablo 2, but I can't help but wonder if the use of Acts refers to literal acts in a story, such as a three-act or five-act story structure. Can you elaborate on the use of Acts instead of Chapters for PE?

    Eric [Fenstermaker] chose to use acts to consciously follow the classical (Aristotelean/Horatian) concepts of an act structure within a story. His feeling was that chapters do not have the same implications of dramatic progression that acts do.

    While Races will give players different bonus attributes, what kind of mechanical bonuses can players expect from choosing a Cultural Background in Pillars of Eternity?

    The only mechanical bonuses currently afforded by culture are attribute modifiers and class-based starting equipment sets. We are open to modestly expanding those bonuses based on feedback.

    Regarding encounter design, is there anything in Pillars of Eternity that rivals or surpasses the complexity of some of the encounters in Icewind Dale 2 (Orc Shamans beating War Drums to summon reinforcements, Goblins falling off Worgs)? Will there be pre-stealthed enemies? Are there any new scripting features that were built for PE that made things possible you couldn't do in the IE games?

    Honestly, I think it will take us a while to exceed the complexity of IWD2 fights. IWD2 and BG2 were built with a lot of tried-and-true scripting functions that programmers and designers developed over previous titles and expansions. Like any other feature, AI in PoE is being built from the ground up, so we have to add layers of complexity over time.

    Did any "C priority" features or assets make it into the game besides character/creature art?

    I don't use C-priority on the projects I direct. I require the developers on the team to divide requests into "must have" and "would really like to have" (A/B). If by some miracle we complete everything we need and everything we would really like to have, we can discuss third string ideas. This has literally never happened. That said, we did get a healthy amount of B-content in (mostly art).​

    The full interview also discusses stances, talents, the combat idle, spell FX, the Gilded Vale location, and some other things.
     
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  2. TheLostOne Savant

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    Excellent interview.
     
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  3. Zorba the Hutt Arcane Weasel

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    Hasn't Sensuki been promoted to "esteemed community member" yet? :(

    Anyway, great job.
     
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  4. Athelas Arcane

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    The answer about encounters and A.I. was rather vague. I wonder if for example enemies will refrain from running through a Webbed or Cloudkilled areas (or whatever the PoE equivalent is of those)? Will enemies resistant to those effects do the same? Etc.

    Not sure what the big deal about chapters is. It's not as if any of the IE games used them in interesting ways.

    Hopefully the combat fidgets look good.
     
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  5. Infinitron I post news Patron

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    I actually kind of liked the traditional IE chapter structure because it made the games seem longer than they were. :)

    They're already in, aren't they? You can see the characters sort of bobbing when they're not slashing at the enemy.

    I'm expecting some butthurt from this.
     
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  6. Kem0sabe Arcane

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    Sensuki need to level up interview skills. Otherwise, was good read.
     
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  7. Jaedar Arcane Patron

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    Was a pretty good interview, I liked that Sensuki elaborated with more facts in some of the answers.

    Great shame about the encounter complexity though.
     
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  8. TheLostOne Savant

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    It sucks, sure, but he's got a point. Hopefully they can make plenty of interesting and unique encounters even if they don't have the resources to get really complex. They better be doing some crazy encounter design come PoE2, though.
     
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  9. Shannow Waster of Time

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    I know I'm blasheming, but a solid AI does not really need specially scipted encounters. Now all they need is a solid AI :troll:

    (Off Topic: I found the teleporting warg-riders awful. The idea - If you attack a stronghold, the defenders will call in support/raise the alarm - is great. Traditionally in games amount and quality of defenders increases the further into the strongholds you come, while common sense would dictate that defenses are strongest on the perimeter and perhaps in baracks areas, but otherwise you should find non-combatants in the protected, "secure" inner areas. While a game where the "heroes" slay their way through a goblin kindergarten might not be everyone's cup of tea (outside of the codex, of course), IWD2 was one of the very few games that at least attemted to make sense in this regard. Unfortunately, with a mechanic that was not supported by the gameworld "reality". Teleporting wargs...pff)
     
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  10. himmy Arcane

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    Stripped-down iOS game confirmed.
     
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  11. imweasel Guest

    imweasel
    LOL if somebody thought PoE won't be released for iPad or Android tablets within 3-6 months of release with the exact same UI.

    There is a lot of money to be made developing for those platforms, so I don't blame them. There will still be a lot of butthurt though.

    If it doesn't hit at least BG1 complexity, then there will be a lot of butthurt.
     
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  12. PatataFamilia Novice

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    Great job Sensuki. He's one of the clearer headed people on the Obsidian forums too.
     
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  13. DwarvenFood Arcane Patron

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    Paging Sensuki in order to brofist
     
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  14. Grotesque ±¼ Patron

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    I think the question and the answer about idle combat stance animation completely missed the mark. I think he did not understood the question and "the problem".
    The problem is that the characters are too static between their hit animation. There is no pronounced movement in the interval between hit animation. Just a slight/too slow vertically body movement.

    Also entering combat does not alter significantly the posture of the characters.
     
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  15. Athelas Arcane

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    It does, they spread their legs apart. The problem appears to be that they don't raise their weapons.
     
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  16. murloc_gypsy Savant

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    I haven't been following all of the updates about the game, so I'm not sure I get what this means. Is it basically an excuse for poor encounter design?
     
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  17. Athelas Arcane

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    Mods will fix it.

    That is, after the initial boom of romance mods.
     
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  18. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Its the difference between the same team making a game in the same engine using near identical rules & scripts several times & doing it all from scratch the first time round. It means the sophisticated scriotung tricks in IWD2 would not be exceeded in POE1.
     
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  19. l3loodAngel Proud INTJ Patron Edgy

    l3loodAngel
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    I know this old news, but seriously? Palladin + vagina = Pallegina. :gumpyhead:
     
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  20. Sensuki Arcane Cuck

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    'sup

    That is exactly what I said, except I used the word idle instead of static. I included a recording of the BG1 combat stance/idle to show that I prefer when charactes have a higher weapon guard and have a more active stance in between combat attacks.

    Currently characters in PE hold their weapons too low, and they do not move enough. Hopefully what Josh said about combat fidgets being altered / increased will fix that, but I also hope they make characters hold their shields in front of their body and stuff too.
     
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  21. Sensuki Arcane Cuck

    Sensuki
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    Codex 2014 Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong A Beautifully Desolate Campaign
    It means they're structuring the story like a proper story. I noticed they used the word act in one of the KS updates and there's been no further mention of it since. Codexia at large is interested in narrativeness, so I thought it would be a good question to ask.
     
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  22. Harold Arcane

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    All Obsidian games* follow a classic three act structure: first act is tutorial stuff, introducing all the game mechanics, important characters, plot arcs; second act is usually the largest and where most of the free-roam stuff takes place, third act is shortest because it's just the endgame.

    *Don't know about DS3 as I don't play h&s-ers.
     
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  23. Athelas Arcane

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    Fixed. :troll:
     
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  24. Harold Arcane

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    Third act is always called 'Restored Content Mod' - would've been a better joke. Alas.
     
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  25. Sensuki Arcane Cuck

    Sensuki
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    Codex 2014 Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong A Beautifully Desolate Campaign
    I know, I sent off 20 questions and got a reply to 12. Didn't complete all of the optional objectives, but at least it earned me some XP.
     
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