By Brandon Adler, Producer
Hey, everyone. As you know, over the past six weeks we have been working on our first production milestone - the cleverly titled Production 01 milestone. Our first target has been Defiance Bay (our first BIG city) and the team has been busting their collective butts to get as much fantasy roleplaying goodness as possible into the city.
In George Ziets' own words, "Defiance Bay is the capital and largest city in the Dyrwood, gateway to the riches of Glanfath, teeming with adventurers and explorers from all over the region. Defiance Bay is a city of the common people, where the most prominent and respected citizens are self-made men. It stands at the forefront of experimentation in soul magic and exemplifies the age of discovery."
A ton has been accomplished in a pretty short amount of time and we would like to share some of it with you.
April is our new Art Intern. She has been doing an amazing job in creating the interiors that populate Defiance Bay.
Holly is an Environment Artist that joined us about a week ago. She has already made a large contribution in filling out the existing areas with new props.
Matt is a new Design Intern. Along with creating NPCs, quests, and blockouts, he also does maintenance work on areas (hooking up transitions, loot passes, encounters, etc.).
Like Matt, Ryan is one of our new Design Interns. He also creates dialogues, quests, and blockouts.
Brian is Project Eternity's Programming Intern. While he has been implementing many features, he most closely works with the Concept Artists to get our UI to Alpha.
The Environment Artists have wasted no time in constructing an expansive Defiance Bay. For this first milestone our target was to get three of Defiance Bay's districts to Alpha level quality. It was a little ambitious, but the team did really well. The city feels full of life and character. I am pretty impressed with the speed that the team is able to get all of this together.
While the Environment Art team is busy filling out the visuals, the Area Design team is meticulously planning and executing quests, NPC dialogs, and other goodies throughout the city. They were able to get three of the city's districts completely blocked out in under a week. Considering the size of the city, it is a pretty good accomplishment.
Two of those districts are now at an Alpha level and even at an early stage, are a lot of fun to play. In addition to that, our two new Design Interns - Matt and Ryan - have been filling in the areas with smaller quests and NPCs. It is really starting to make the city feel alive.
The Concept Artists, Animators, and Character Artists have been burning through our creatures. We are taking a different approach in Project Eternity than we have on other projects. Instead of taking a creature from concept to a final, polished product, we have been taking creatures to a blockout stage before moving to the next.
This allows us to get creatures into the game much more quickly. It also lets us be more flexible with how we spend our polish time. Overall, we think it will lead to a better experience.
Even with this short amount of time, we have been able to get about eight different creatures into the game.
Since it would be pretty mean of me to talk about the creatures without showing one, here is a small taste of one of my "favorites" - the wicht.
I think Josh's description says it best: "Wichts are the bodies of children that were born without souls, grew to adolescence, and were then possessed by a malevolent lost soul or soul fragment that has been artificially inserted through animancy. This process arrests their physical development and transforms their outward appearance, leaving no doubt as to what they are."
In addition to the creatures, our Character Artists have been filling out the remaining armor sets that are left. We have all of our basic armors in place for all of our races. This is a pretty significant feat this early in the project. Now that we are done with the base item and armor sets, we can focus on making magic and unique variants.
We now have a fully functional quest journal in place that allows players to see their quest progress. The UI is currently being implemented, but it is looking great.
While we have been getting more and more Alpha UI into the game, I was particularly happy with how the conversation UI came out. Take a look for yourself, though. Even though this is still a work in progress, I think everyone did a great job. Let us know what you think of the conversation UI in our forums.
Tim went on a tear and got most of the backend systems for the player stronghold in place. There are a ton of really fun things you can do with your stronghold like sending companions on missions, buying rare loot off of merchants, building upgrades, and even purchasing hirelings to defend your keep from attack. Watching Tim's stronghold get robbed blind because he has low security and high prestige never gets old.
Eternity now has a fully functional world map. When the party enters a qualifying transition, the world map appears. Players can then select to travel to a location by selecting that icon on the map.
Fog of War
One focus for this milestone was to get our Fog of War system in place. Beyond a few tweaks, Adam is pretty close to slaying that beast. It's a really robust system he created that takes some inspiration from rogue-like games. Using Adam's tool, designers can quickly create a fog map, edit it, and set locations that should only be revealed at specific times.
Steve, our AI Programmer, has been putting work into spellcasting AI this milestone and it is coming out nicely. Enemies are more crafty than they were now that they are casting spells intelligently. There's going to be even more AI work - roles for our enemy AIs, for example - put into our next milestone.
We had our first $10,000 backer, Timothy, come for a visit. We all had a blast and it was great to meet one of our fans and show him the game. We even have a picture of Timothy preparing for Josh Sawyer's inevitable betrayal.
Josh Sawyer on Game Design
Lastly, I will leave you with a video that Josh put together about the importance of real-world knowledge in game design. Take a look.
Well, that's it for now. See you guys again in a couple of weeks.