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Pillars of Eternity is an isometric, party-based computer RPG set in a new fantasy world developed by Obsidian Entertainment.
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.

First Art Update

Posted by Obsidian Entertainment (Creator)
1 like

Hello everyone. My name is Rob Nesler, and I am the Art Director on Project Eternity. I've been told I'm a potty-mouth, but since this is a public and safe (PG-ish) space, I will do what I can to control my bad words in this: FIRST ART UPDATE. There will be many more, hopefully with some visual candy for you guys, if I f’n feel like it, or if Fearg’ f’n makes me.

Right now, my intent is to bring you up to speed on what we’ve been doing for the last several weeks. It’s called: laying the groundwork; building the foundation, or doing the nitty-gritty.

Often, when starting a project, the artists and I just want to start drawing sh-ssstuff. Especially with contracted 3D games, we have a basic idea of the world we’re making, an initial list of some of the things in it, the basic parameters for making assets, and so we just get started. With Project Eternity, we are starting the development of a rich storied RPG from scratch, zilch, nada. Oh, and we rendered that really cool image for you all at update #20, and so we felt we could take a step back--Waayyy back.

We are stepping back some years in visual “perspective”: to a fixed isometric view--so, NO “perspective”--of an essentially two-dimensional world. The traversable environment is pre-rendered to a high degree of realism, but we’re using a modern 3D game engine: Unity, for 3D characters, creatures, effects and animated props to be rendered in real-time and to assemble it all together, seamlessly. With this decision we’ve opened up a whole kit and caboodle of possibilities in terms of visual fidelity, occlusion, lighting, effects, and physics. At the same time, we’ve created some immediate technical problems that needed to be solved, before we could all go out and start making sh...‘er...stuff.

If you’ve been reading/watching Josh’s updates, you must understand that we are creating a brand new yet substantially familiar RPG experience essentially out of thin air, complete with a fully realized fantasy world, including new rules, new races, new places, new nations, new lore, new creatures, new story, new characters, a whole new combat system, with specific armor and weapon types, new this, new that, and a whole bunch of other new stuff--really we’re creating everything from nothing but what spews forth from Josh’s blazing fingers and angelic vocal cords. “How does that work?” you ask. Well, I’ll tell you: what happens is we all sit around a fire, in a far off and desolate wilderness, as he chants: what things were, and are, and what will be and sometimes why. We listen, we ask questions, and we discuss. We in turn, propose thoughts and ideas that are considered, further discussed, sometimes dismissed, but also sometimes gathered up and swirled into the glowing embers of this primordial glowing emergent world that is floating--NO!...LEAPING!!--out of the creative fuel, breath of air, and heat of our collaborative works. As well, we’ve decided to abandon the application we would normally use to create everything, for a supposedly-more-popular-more-capable app, and nobody really knows how to use it...

...BOOM! Yep, I just wrote and you just read THAT!...

...So, with our new software: Maya (the old software was Softimage) we’ve been making test worlds--we call them gray boxes. We’ve been making test characters--we call them gray characters. We’ve been giving them gray animation, we’ve been giving them gray (actually sometimes white, we’ll make some black ones too, we’re not racist) weapons, and we’ve been inserting them into our prototype worlds to prove to ourselves and you, that we know what we’re doing, and to lay the groundwork for expanding these vacant golems into player and non-player characters, that can interact with the world and other characters in a more meaningful and varied way--you know: picking up stuff, and hitting others with it, and taking their stuff and putting it on, or selling it--oh yes, and with color! Just kidding! Haven’t you been reading what I’m writing: this game is going to be DEEEEP!

So what the hell have art people been doing??

Character Team:
We have a very talented lead character artist, named Dimitri, and yep, he’s Russian, but he doesn’t speak it so well anymore--his mother is not happy about it, more on that later. In addition to a tremendous amount of early help getting basic traversable geometry, with a rendered scene that occludes 3D characters when they walk behind things (in essentially a 2D world--remember!) he’s been establishing the basis for weapon, armor and equipment attachment on our player characters, with Adam. As part of that he has to write documents. Booo!!! Documents Buh-LOWW!

Our other Character Artist; James is from China, but says he's from Fresno. He is essentially Dimitri's slave and willingly does whatever he’s told to do, because he doesn’t have to write documents. I sometimes give James direction, but I’m pretty certain that Dimitri tells him to ignore me immediately after I’ve left their office. Remember Dimitri is Russian, so he’s a little controlling, very direct and has high expectations. This isn’t a problem, however, because a) it’s his job and b) it just so happens that James is pretty good and making characters. He made our first character Edair, who can be seen running around with a morning star flail the size of a medicine ball--not his fault. He seems to know Maya better than Dimitri, but let’s his boss learn the hard way--keeping his ear buds in, pumping up the volume, and modeling and texturing his cares away. He’s making gray weapons now. For some reason Dimitri speaks Russian expletives perfectly.

Mark is our Lead Animator, and he knows his sh-tuff, but he made the Medicine ball. Needless to say, he will not be asked to make any more weapons. No no, it just so happens, that he was making it so he could test physics on weapons. So, it’s all good--we don’t care what things look like right now, we care about making things that matter, and making them right. Lately Mark has been testing cloth physics on our characters, as well as physics on weapons, and attachments. Prior to that he was building a basic set of traversal animations and getting them into the game. Crucial.

Antonio is our Technical Animator. He makes rigs, writes scripts that make rigs, and rigs the rigs. It’s all very technical. You wouldn’t understand. He’s a professional.

Polina is our concept artist, and is the only one really making pretty pictures, and you've seen a lot of her work, already.

Kien is currently on loan to Project New York, aka. The Stick of Truth. Don't worry, they are paying for him. We use code names for our projects, because we’re professionals. Project Eternity (also a code name) is Project Trenton. BOOM! Yep, you got it! And nope! I’m not gonna tell you any more about that.

Environment Artists:
Sean is making a dungeon! He’s been working with our programmers to come up with the correct way to build a massive and awesome level so that we can do all we need to do, as big as we need to do it, and in as little time as we can do it in. Again, crucial. Minecraft is his best friend.

Hector, our Lead Environment Artist is on a sabbatical. Yes! we get those here, again, because we’re professionals and only sometimes. Nobody knows why or how, but we're certain it's painful. And boy! is he in for a surprise when he gets back; he loves Softimage. People on sabbatical don't get images of their work posted.

Okay, so that’s it.
Oh, what about me? What the hell have I been doing all this time? That’s a really good question. Aside from running around and keeping everybody busy and doing meetings and stuff, and writing this update, I've been developing a style guide which involves a bunch of meetings and discussions, and I've been drawing a few things, which I will show, if I'm allowed, in the next art update.

Rob Out!

Update by Rob Nesler

Discuss the FIRST ART UPDATE in The Project Eternity forums.

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    1. Missing avatar

      KenThomas on

      Very funny and entertaining update :)

    2. Missing avatar

      Kate Lindsey on

      Oh snap, i forgot to use my < sarcasm > tags. You know those are part of HTML 5 now?

      < / sarcasm >

      Awesome game, great post - can't wait to play it!

    3. Missing avatar

      Kate Lindsey on

      Hey -
      Thank you guys for the updates, and levity. I'm certain you did not mean to seriously sound like you thought all your backers were whiners, although it did take a second read through to verify that!

      I'm pretty sure we all know it's a "work in progress" and your abilities to create something from nothing are quite amazing. Congratulations on the acquisition of new software (Maya has been around for ages and is a phenomenal tool!) and willingness to pad your resume's with yet ANOTHER credit.

      Always enjoy hearing about the current state of things. You know, when I'm not whining about some game or another. When i could be off learning some crafty skill that will get me a better job.

    4. Bryy Miller on

      "So in any case: thanks for the update, but please change the attitude? Unless I am a minority voice here I guess... because we always get screwed over when the majority wants things differently"

      Then what's this supposed to mean?

    5. Missing avatar

      Paul Nemeth on

      You guys should put an axehead opposite the chain of that flail and hide it in the game somewhere.

    6. kindman on

      uuh. i really hope polinas first image is going to become a scholar. sure you might argue its a magician. but who needs magicians, when you can have scholars striving the world for knowledge, no magic tricks at all, but boasting with scientific powers. (and maybe in bond with the devil, MUHAHAHAHAAAARGH). go for scholars polina! GO!GO!GO! (fantastic work by the way).

      so the second picture is a lumberjack, right? i've seen that one in tim schäfers kickstarter, too.

    7. Drake Warnock on

      You guys should totally put a +3 Medicine Ball Flail into the game as an Easter Egg somewhere.

    8. Mark Clarke on

      I'm dribbling! Stop it imagination!

    9. Missing avatar

      Andreas Jensenius on

      An informative, yet very funny update! Be sure to have more of these, but not too many as they would get old.

      Also, love all the behind-the-scenes stuff that you show of PE (or PT.. :P) so keep it coming!

    10. Missing avatar

      Sten Feldman on

      I really enjoyed the read. Funniest update i've read with a lot of new information! I like that people who write updates do it all differently respectful to their own style... this way things stay fresh, so keep doing what you do!

    11. Missing avatar

      Godewijn on

      @Bryy I wouldn't either.

      I am doing nothing of the sort ^^

    12. Bryy Miller on

      I don't really understand how you are equating someone being happy at their job with Obsidian making a bad game.

    13. Missing avatar

      Godewijn on

      While I appreciate the info and the update, and I get the tone is meant to be funny/casual, I don't really like the writing style of this update.
      Nor the attitude that is displayed.

      Now, before people overreact to this statement let me make it clear in advance: The net value of this post is still positive! I like the update. I just wish to be communicated to a little more respectful/friendly ("I will post when I F'n feel like it" is not a good way to start imo, nor is "You wouldn't understand." Maybe I am a technical animator myself (I am not, it's just an example)).

      So in any case: thanks for the update, but please change the attitude? Unless I am a minority voice here I guess... because we always get screwed over when the majority wants things differently (no actually: because I also want the best for everyone, and if I have to be unhappy for hundreds to enjoy themselves then I guess that's a good idea), and I don't see any good alternative in this case :p

    14. Missing avatar

      Bryce on

      You have set the bar for keeping backers informed (RPS took note too), and I just get more excited by the update. Good show Obsidian, good show.

    15. Tore Schade Svenningsson on

      So far, I'm loving what I'm seeing! :D

    16. sevrlbats on

      Josh is so earnest in his updates that it's almost intimidating sometimes. I'm never quite sure what to do with a man so intense about communicating his ideas. I mean, it's really cool, but I absolutely love a goofier update. and dat building is so roveryyy.

    17. T.J. Brumfield on

      Will the +3 Medicineball Flail be in the same dungeon as a +12 Hackmaster?

    18. Daniele Simeoni on

      Rob is a professionist.
      Nothing to do. Nothing to say.

      He should do all the updates! He's a boss!

    19. Ryan Vissers on

      Looks great so far! If this is just work in progress the final product will be AMAZING. Keep up the good work!

    20. Courtland

      Great update. Funny while informative. Thanks.

    21. Missing avatar

      steven0297 on

      Haha :D Really nice update :D I just fell in love with Rob Nesler's humor :D

    22. Missing avatar

      Paola on

      Funniest update I've ever read. Also, the medicine ball flail is full of win! :-)

    23. J. "Tech" Priest on

      Yeh, Make the M.B Flail have a ridiculous weight and super high strength requirement :P

    24. Fluffy Fiend of the Obsidian Order on

      Great update. Highly entertaining. Thanks, and keep these up!

    25. Missing avatar

      Chris Webster on

      Gosh I love these updates. Thank you for another big meaty look into the process :)

    26. Missing avatar

      Alex Van Der Klaas on

      Nice Update :) Sometimes I really had to laugh f'n loudly XD

    27. Missing avatar

      mea on

      Please let the Medicine ball flail be in the world somewhere, as a completely unusable weapon. It would make me happy.
      Enjoying the updates, it is interesting getting a little glimpse into the making of a game from the very start.

    28. Tobi (Crusader Kickstarter pls!!) on

      LOL, funniest update i've read on kickstarter so far :) very well done, love the humor! gimme mooooore!

    29. Jinx on

      Such a great update. Likely the best one yet. Dimitri sounds fkn awesome :D
      More updates by Rob, please!

    30. Missing avatar

      Marcin Baran on

      great update:) Nice to see some work in progress and I loved the humour:)

    31. Starker on

      Keep the funny.

    32. ScaniX - Silent / Friendly / Axe owner on

      Now I'm all WHOAH!

      Looks cool so far. I'm soooo looking forward to this.

    33. Missing avatar

      Erin Burke on

      Good luck with the switch to Maya. I think you'll find that it's actually pretty easy to use once you get a feel for the layout. It's easily my favorite of the various 3d packages.

      Also, lookin' good!

    34. Missing avatar

      OHM on

      Thanks for a highly entertaining as well as informative update! :)

    35. Shaul Kedem on

      Why aren't you moving to blender?

    36. ET3D on

      That looked so much like a Malevolence update I had to make sure I'm on the right project. :)

    37. Missing avatar

      Igor Lobanov on

      Hail to the development team and especially for Dimitri from Russian diaspora of the followers :) Дима, давай! Родина тебя помнит!

    38. Zombra on

      Informative and entertaining update! Thank you, Rob!

    39. Missing avatar

      Rob on

      @hormalakh Menze is currently involved in Project New York. I believe that he will play an important role in finalizing level art for Project Eternity.

    40. Missing avatar

      Kitty on

      I hope the medicine ball flail stays as well. It is quite rad.

    41. Paco Zafra on

      That building is really cool! I am really looking for more art updates!

    42. Sam on

      Great looking art so far, hope you guys keep it up
      I wouldn't mind if the medicine ball was still available as an easter egg once the game is finished though

    43. Jean-Luc Picard on

      Lookin' good Obs'dian.

    44. Mirko Hess on

      God! How I love those updates and how I hate those updates!!
      Love `em because they really show how much you care aboute this game and about your backers and that´s fantastic. Also, everything look great even now.
      Hate the updates because everytime I read one I dearly want to start playing now and then I realize I´´ll have to wait at least 18 month before I can. Oh the agony!
      Great job guys! Keep the humor by the way. The game´s supposed to be entertaining, why shouldn´t the updates be?

    45. Tomimt on

      That was a fun read in the morning. Almost spilled my coffee.

    46. ryukenden on

      Woah, do you have the original screen grab and not this thumbnail?

    47. Bootsy81 The Orders High Priest of Funk on

      Great update Rob, more of the same please!

    48. Anton on

      Rob, please say to Dimitri that russian supporters of Project Eternity place our high expectations on him, so he better continue to put pressure to other team members :) The game is better be good :)

    49. Eric on

      I appreciate the humor, and it looks like many other people do as well. We're sorry that you'd prefer for your updates about fantasy entertainment products to be 'serious business' but I think that's a confusing stance to say the least.

      Rob, Shine on you crazy diamond.