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Pillars of Eternity is an isometric, party-based computer RPG set in a new fantasy world developed by Obsidian Entertainment.
73,986 backers pledged $3,986,929 to help bring this project to life.

Meet the Developers - Steve Weatherly

As promised in Update #30, it's time to meet the people making the game. In today's update, we interview Steve Weatherly, a programmer on Project Eternity.

Q: Steve, can you tell us what you do on Project Eternity?

A:
I'm a gameplay programmer primarily responsible for making combat happen. What that means is that I look at what Josh and Tim design for the game, and tell them it can never be done. After that, they tell me it has to get done, so then I figure out a way to make it happen. I spend most of my day writing code, either for AI (to make the enemies act like they know what they're doing), or the underlying code that makes characters fight and take damage, etc. I'm also our chief Reddit ambassador, which I sort of fell into but it has been a lot of fun.

Q: What are you currently working on today?

A:
Today I'm actually working on building our equipment system. When I'm done, designers will be able to take a weapon that an artist models and drag it onto a character. The character will then hold it in their hand, swing it, and cause damage to their enemies. My weapon of choice is currently the flail, which Unity made surprisingly easy to create.

Q: What’s your typical work day like on Project Eternity?

A:
When I start my day in the morning the first thing I do is check email and make sure there aren't any outstanding issues or meetings I need to think about. I frequently also log into Reddit to see if I have any fan questions. After that I fire up Unity, update my build to see everyone else's work, then run the game to make sure it still works like it did when I left the night before. If there are any major issues I'll take care of them, otherwise I'll start working on whatever the next thing is that I need to build. I usually head off to the gym at lunch because my office is a dark cell and I need sunshine (or the fluorescent lights of the gym). Then more programming after lunch. Around 3:30pm I'm about ready to fall asleep, so each day all of the programmers gather up and walk across the street for coffee. That might seem like a waste of time to some, but it gives all of the programmers a chance to talk about what they are working and bounce ideas off of each other. Also coffee.

Q: What feature are you most looking forward to programming?

A:
I got into the game industry wanting to be an AI programmer. So, while I enjoy the challenges of engineering other systems, AI is where my heart is. I can't wait until we have a full complement of spells so I can write some cool wizard AI and give people an epic wizard battle!

Q: What's been one of the largest challenges so far?

A:
So far the biggest challenge has really just been getting familiar with Unity and building stuff so that when the design team starts making levels they will have a solid set of tools, easy to use and ready to go.

Q: What other projects have you worked on at Obsidian?

A:
I've been at Obsidian almost 7 years, so there's been a lot. I started out as tools programmer on the Neverwinter Nights 2 toolset, followed by my first job as an AI programmer on the cancelled Aliens RPG project, after that I helped out with Alpha Protocol's AI system doing bug fixes. Then I moved to Dungeon Siege 3 where I was responsible for building the AI systems both for the game and our Onyx engine. I served a tour of duty on South Park integrating the Onyx combat system with the turn based design of that game. They hired Tim Cain to replace me on South Park and I moved over to the (now cancelled) North Carolina project. Between North Carolina and Project Eternity I worked on various prototypes we were doing to try and pitch games.

Q: Where do you like eat for lunch?

A:
Being a California native I really love Mexican food. We tend to go to Wahoo's Fish Tacos a lot because we can walk there from the office and it's pretty good.

Q: Who's your favorite programmer?

A:
Well, I would say Adam Brennecke, but he's a producer now and is dead to me. So it's going to have to be Tim Cain. I definitely envy his ability to design, code, and bake well. He's a triple threat and that's also earned him a spot on my list of most job threatening co-workers. Fortunately I know his weakness...

Q: What's your favorite game?

A:
That's easy, my favorite game of all time is Baldur's Gate. It was the first RPG I played and the first time I felt like I was in another world that I could explore. I'd never experienced that before and it's what inspired me to want to make games for a living.

Q: What do you like to do when you aren't programming?

A:
Drink... heavily. Preferably whiskey, but I'm also happy with vodka.

Q: How many push-ups can you do?

A:
More than the average programmer, but significantly less than Chris Avellone.

Q: What's your favorite Thanksgiving dinner dish?

A:
Cornbread stuffing!

Thanks for reading. We want to have weekly updates on Tuesdays from now on, so be sure to drop by every Tuesday for the next Project Eternity update.

If you have any additional questions for Steve - head on over to the Project Eternity Forums and he will be happy to answer some of them!

Comments

    1. Creator IcyDeadPeople on November 28, 2012

      Is he talking about "baking" code or baking cupcakes?

    2. Creator EOPE42 on November 22, 2012

      Agree, updates are really extensive and variety for Project Eternity. Thank you.

    3. Creator Justin Grissom on November 22, 2012

      With the Blade Runner poster behind you, Steve - you have made quite the impression. :)

    4. Creator Four on November 21, 2012

      Project Eternity has such great updates: they're varied and frequent-but-still-substantive. I love it :D

    5. Creator Durante on November 21, 2012

      That was fun. If I may propose a question for the next interview:
      "Are you looking forward to signing over 2000 boxes?"

    6. Creator Vicary Archangel on November 21, 2012

      Like all programmers, our first sentence is always " Are you kiddin' me? It's impossible! ", then we make it happens.

    7. Creator Silver on November 21, 2012

      Nice to hear that weekly updates are here then. :)

    8. Creator Jhonrock on November 21, 2012

      @Torgo, same here. I'm really curious about those two projects. What kind of games they aimed to be? Why they cancelled it? How far they got before the cancel? Which plataforms they aimed? Etc, etc, etc.

    9. Creator Martin Kramer on November 21, 2012

      Love your poster! :)

    10. Creator TanC on November 21, 2012

      Humorous disposition. I love it! :)

    11. Creator 5moufl on November 21, 2012

      I'd love to see pictures of the work spaces of the interviewees.

    12. Creator Tobi (Crusader Kickstarter pls!!) on November 21, 2012

      "but he's a producer now and is dead to me." loool :) nice one!

    13. Creator Sami on November 20, 2012

      Hilarious, love it !

    14. Creator Wan Kit Fong on November 20, 2012

      i like the humor in this one.

    15. Creator Mark Johnson on November 20, 2012

      lol @Von I was just thinking the same thing - anyone keeping a Blade Runner poster around must be trustworthy :)

    16. Creator Kabraxis on November 20, 2012

      Great interview. Enjoyed reading it. :D

    17. Creator Chris Shannon on November 20, 2012

      Cornbread stuffing? Is that a thing?

    18. Creator Torgo, Innkeeper of the Obsidian Order on November 20, 2012

      So I often wonder what the cancelled Alien RPG and North Carolina were about. I know there is probably a NDA or something, but I still would love to know about them. I personally think all of you at Obsidian would have made one excellent Aliens game!

    19. Creator Phillip Haydon on November 20, 2012

      Favourite game here is Ultima Online. No other MMORPG has been able to recreate that experience to date.

    20. Creator Alan Villarreal on November 20, 2012

      Baldur's Gate, good shoutout! 1 and 2 were amazing. Playing NWN2 Mask of betrayer ( after regular campaign and really digging it. Hope Project Eternity gathers inspiration from that, near flawless game .. so fun.

    21. Creator Greg "Scorpio" Myers on November 20, 2012

      Pleased ta meet ya Steve! :)

    22. Creator Von Paulus on November 20, 2012

      I would had pledge the double if I had seen before that Blade Runner poster. :)

    23. Creator Florent on November 20, 2012

      A great read :) Too bad it's not a video though^^.