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

Irvine, CA Video Games
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Project Eternity is an isometric, party-based computer RPG set in a new fantasy world developed by Obsidian Entertainment.

Irvine, CA Video Games
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Update #41: D&D: Dwarves and Doors

Adam Brennecke

We are another month into preproduction and have been making awesome progress on all fronts. This update covers dwarves and doors, two of the many accomplishments in the month of January, and gets into the finer details of development on Project Eternity.

The Creation of the Dwarf

One of the goals in preproduction was to figure out how we could make character modeling pipeline be as efficient as possible. The problem is fairly complex: All of the six playable races, human, elf, dwarf, aumaua, orlan, and the god-like can wear armor, boots, gloves, helmets (...well, some have trouble wearing helmets, but we will talk about that some other day...) and have other options that the player can customize like facial hair, hair style and skin color. We also have tons of armor variations and types of armor, like plate, brigandine, leather, and mail. (Josh loves his armor). Ideally, our artist would only need to model one armor piece - let's say plate body armor - and have it fit all six of our playable races even if the races are all of different proportions and body structure. At the end of the day the same model for plate armor could fit a slender four-foot-tall orlan and a burly seven-foot-tall aumaua. The goal for January was to build a system to allow us to do this very thing.

During January, we've developed a new system to allow our human bipedal skeleton to be shaped and morphed into the other playable races and have armor be shaped and morphed along with the skeleton. The character modelers have fine control over the proportions of the races, and only need to model armor pieces once and not six times over. In preproduction we look at developing systems like this. It may cost us time up front, but will save us hundreds of hours down the road in production. The dwarf ended up being our first test case, and now we have dwarves as playable races working in game.

Pictured at the front of this update is a high-poly dwarf head that Dimitri Berman (lead character artist) modeled in ZBrush. The high-poly head is used for making normal maps which aid in lighting the character models. A simplified mesh is created from the high-poly head is used in game.

Open, Close, Lock

On the other end of the pre-production spectrum, the programming team has been writing the building blocks for the area design toolbox. One of the essential things that all areas need are doors. From past experience we know that doors always present difficult problems with pathfinding and are a big pain in the arse. Getting a potentially risky, yet required, feature out of the way now seemed like a pragmatic goal, so Steve Weatherly (game programmer) and Sean Dunny (environment artist) set off on a quest to get doors working in the game.

We first tackled this problem creating a list of all the features that doors need to have. It's easy with doors since we all know how doors work: Doors have a few states, like open and close. Doors can be locked, and be unlocked with a key (or skill). Doors can be used, meaning the player can click on a door and the selected character will be commanded to go and "use" the door. Doors can animate to match the open/close state. Doors block character pathing when closed, and don't block pathing when opened.

We even listed out minor details such as doors can change the mouse cursor to a different state when hovered over, and doors should always open away from the character using the door.

Tasks were made from this list, and the work began. Steve was able to get a working prototype of a door ready to test quickly. At this stage we could see how the door looked and felt in game, and if there are any unexpected problems that came out of the prototype.

One issue that came up was door placement. We found that it was not easy to place a door in the exact space to fit a dungeon doorframe. Steve and Michael Edwards (senior technology programmer) coded a system for doorframe "snap points" that makes the door pop to the exact place that we want it to go. Designers can now place doors efficiently. Hooray!

We love being able to share our progress with you all, and we hope you enjoy reading these production updates. If you have any questions about development, please post them in our Project Eternity forum.

Thank you!

FORUMS: Discuss this update on our forums!

Comments

    1. Creator Nicolas on February 15, 2013

      I agree with Paul about having, "Josh who displays a fanatical, even unhealthy obsession with his armor." For 3 reasons.

      1) This is basically me when playing a RPG that I really love. I play for the cool possible interactions of gear almost as much as the joy of combat or a good story.

      2) It just sounds like a brilliant and memorable personality trait for an NPC

      3) Inside jokes are the best.

    2. Creator Kaeroku on February 11, 2013

      @Lukas !!! Destroyable doors, yes please! One of my biggest 'immersion breaking' complaints of the IE games. Granted, not all doors would need be destructible if they were particularly reinforced, but most should definitely be!

    3. Creator Earl Cole on February 11, 2013

      Can we PLEASE have bearded elves? I'm begging you!

    4. Creator Blackbeard on February 9, 2013

      Like this kind of update much more. A frackload of stuff goes into making a good game. Nice to see.

    5. Creator Silver on February 9, 2013

      Good update, taking care of the details.

    6. Creator SV on February 8, 2013

      Thank you for these updates - the more fussy and technical, the better!

    7. Creator Ravenlight on February 7, 2013

      Please don't skimp on beard tech. Developing an in-house beard engine is a lot of work but very rewarding if done properly.

    8. Creator Kromtec on February 7, 2013

      Please dont make the dwarves too human. I love dwarves and I will definitely play one in Project Eternity. They need longer beards, a lot longer! I know its difficult because of collisions with armor and so on, but its really important. Give the beards own animations.

    9. Creator Cuddles on February 6, 2013

      Huh, I'd have thought doors would be a standard part of the engine rather than needing so much work to make them... work. I guess it's a good job I'm not the one making the game.

      As for dwarves, everyone should remember that this is a new IP. Just because other dwarves have massive beards doesn't mean that the ones in Proje... nah, who am I kidding. More beards!

    10. Creator gandalf.nho on February 6, 2013

      Nice update. And regarding the armor modelling, how the gender differences work?

    11. Creator Rafael Guedes Martins on February 6, 2013

      The screenshot leaves the impression on a 'hole' in the right wall, or is that a clip so that the players can see their character?

      The last thing i want is one of these holes that connects to the other room, which is behind a locked door, and not being able to get through the hole... It will feel like Fallout New Vegas and those broken locked(100) doors

    12. Creator Otto T M Tormented Ninja of the O-Order on February 6, 2013

      I will be really sad if you guys don't sneak in a (Josh loves his armor) somewhere in the game.

      Great post all in all, keep up the great work.

    13. Creator Mars on February 6, 2013

      Cool update, i like this "look-behind-the-scenes"-thing :)

    14. Creator T.J. Brumfield on February 6, 2013

      I fully expect this to be the finest door simulator of the year. However, I still haven't seen confirmation if there will be playable crates.

    15. Creator Lukas on February 6, 2013

      Do doors stay open if not manually closed?
      They should also be destroyable.

      Also, how do you pronounce 'aumaua'?

    16. Creator Goom on February 6, 2013

      Cool updates, thanks...but I agree, dwarves need longer beards with different braids! I want to know by the length how bad@ss a dwarf is woot

    17. Creator Jeff Kaplan on February 6, 2013

      One of the ways we got around the tedious search for armor in tabletop was twofold: 1) Armorers of varied races and varying ability were relatively easy to find 2) If the armor was enchanted the DM would roll a percentage chance that would determine what base size it would be, with the caveat that the more magic/enchanted the item was the more it could resize itself to the user. The rationale was fairly sound in a magic world in that quality armor could be created by skilled armorers with a size adjustment range built in, allowing said armorers to work on armor ahead of time to fit a wider spectrum of adventurers, men at arms, guards, knights, etc. Also, when adventuring most of us would pay more to have armor that we could loan out if one of us had armor damaged. A Dwarf, Gnome, Elf, Human and possibly Half-Orc adventuring together would have had a hard time if there wasn't that mechanic involved.

    18. Creator Kaeroku on February 6, 2013

      I am really One of the goals in preproduction was to figure out how we could make character modeling pipeline be as efficient as possible. The problem is fairly complex: All of the six playable races, human, elf, dwarf, aumaua, orlan, and the god-like can wear armor, boots, gloves, helmets (...well, some have trouble wearing helmets, but we will talk about that some other day...) and have other options that the player can customize like facial hair, hair style and skin color. We also have tons of armor variations and types of armor, like plate, brigandine, leather, and mail. (Josh loves his armor). Ideally, our artist would only need to model one armor piece - let's say plate body armor - and have it fit all six of our playable races even if the races are all of different proportions and body structure. At the end of the day the same model for plate armor could fit a slender four-foot-tall orlan and a burly seven-foot-tall aumaua. The goal for January was to build a system to allow us to do this very thing. impressed by the development team's ability to provide informational updates periodically to keep their readers engaged.

    19. Creator Christopher Wolfe on February 6, 2013

      As far as each race, or size of race having it own sized armor, I think that's one of those things that people talk a lot about how cool it woud be, but inevitably gets scrapped because, when it comes down to it, findng proper sized armor is more of a chore than fun. I think that might be why I've never played anything that wasn't human sized on Arcanum, for example. Yeah, it is a nice bit of realism, but reality, by and large, isn't very fun, or we wouldn't be playing games.

    20. Creator Michael Jacob on February 6, 2013

      @Céline .S. Sauvé: I 'd read it as "the character has to move to a point opposite the hinges to execute the open-door-action/animation". Yes, getting the character there is the door's job, funny as it might seem to the non-programmer...

    21. Creator Dice on February 6, 2013

      Really love that last screenshot, looking forward to this videogame more than any other! :)

    22. Creator Alex Hooi on February 6, 2013

      As "Josh loves his armor" appears twice in the article, we can surmise Josh really, reeeeeeeaaaaaallly likes his armor. :p

      Nice update, i'm guessing the door issue was solved by a helper node that references the door model?

    23. Creator Céline .S. Sauvé on February 6, 2013

      If doors are always to open away from the character, why is the door open towards the character in the image for that forum post?

      Also, does that mean all doors in the world have funky hinges? How else would they be able to open away from the character no matter which way they try to go through it?

    24. Creator Dablue of the Underworld on February 6, 2013

      lol.. they sure went to lengths to tell us everyone can wear helmets ;p

    25. Creator Baste Nesse Buanes on February 6, 2013

      This blog post is very interesting. I love the work that you're doing on the doors. Are you going to make them breakable? One of the goals in preproduction was to figure out how we could make character modeling pipeline be as efficient as possible.

      It's also very cute how the same armor fits all of the races in a games, but I guess it would be too much of a hassle for the player to collect different armor for each race for the "realism" or different armors for different races to be implemented. One of the goals in preproduction was to figure out how we could make character modeling pipeline be as efficient as possible.

      :D

    26. Creator Michael Thompson on February 6, 2013

      How about Doors being able to be "kicked in" and smashed?

      I'd love it if you could also bypass doors with magic too.

    27. Creator Sérgio Schüler on February 6, 2013

      It is the 2nd update with repeated text, someone is forgetting to reread and edit.

    28. Creator Khanach - UnderwOOrlder sWoOSbuckler on February 6, 2013

      For a moment there I thought I was having a deja vu

    29. Creator Rafael Masoni on February 6, 2013

      These dwarves are not looking like dwarves :/

    30. Creator Laker Doktor on February 6, 2013

      The amount of facial hair on Dwarf is unacceptable! Dwarves are hairy as f*ck, this looks more like and older version of gay vampire Edward. Please do something with it, I love Dwarves and there is no game I'm looking forward as much as Project Eternity (well, maybe Witcher 3), so if you won't make the Dwarves properly, you'll break my heart.

    31. Creator Raphael on February 6, 2013

      That's an interesting way to make the post appear longer, I must admit. I found it quite funny, actually. Should be fixed nonetheless, just for clarity sake^^ I always wondered about the armors for different body sizes, how this is handled, as it seems rather inefficient to do them multiple times. It's great to have some insight in the process. Thanks for the regular updates :) You're doing a great job keeping the community up to date!

    32. Creator Chris Conley on February 6, 2013

      Wilson: They mentioned the first half, at least: "Doors can animate to match the open/close state. " I doubt characters can use doors as combat instruments, Jackie Chan style (though monks are in the game...)

    33. Creator Michael Kenny on February 6, 2013

      I take it the problem is fairly complex?

    34. Creator Amer Hmaidan on February 6, 2013

      I was afraid that I was just seeing things or my computer was glitching out. Glad to see that the weird post is just that.

    35. Creator Wilson Bilkovich on February 6, 2013

      Don't forget that doors also have "opening" and "closing" states, not just "open" and "closed". Especially important if we can whack people with a door as it opens. :)

    36. Creator Michael Melnikoff on February 6, 2013

      Will we be able to attempt to bash open locked doors?

    37. Creator Keith & Diana on February 6, 2013

      Is the post -here- going to be fixed?

    38. Creator JuanitaD-ArmikrogArmyGoat @ AGL589+$4.96 on February 6, 2013

      @Stefan - OMG, that's awesome! (And hilarious!)

    39. Creator Stefan V on February 5, 2013

      @Paul and Josh :)
      http://www.beautifullife.info/art-works/armour-for-cats-and-mice-created-by-jeff-de-boer/

      Will there be different weaves for chainmail or is it the standard 4 in 1?

    40. Creator Obsidian Entertainment on February 5, 2013

      Looks like we have some formatting issues in today's update. Please read the post in the correct format here: http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/63308-update-41-dd-dwarves-and-doors/

      Sorry about the glitch in the matrix.
      -Adam

    41. Creator Paul Marzagalli on February 5, 2013

      I trust that we are all agreed that there now needs to be a character named Josh who displays a fanatical, even unhealthy obsession with his armor.

    42. Creator Rithrade on February 5, 2013

      I thought I got doorceptioned.

    43. Creator Adam Ridgway on February 5, 2013

      @ Geikichi,

      Surely 1,000 beard variants at a minimum... otherwise it would just be too frustrating to make one.

    44. Creator Dane R on February 5, 2013

      I thought my mind was playing tricks on me. It repeats 3 times.

    45. Creator Brad Dancer on February 5, 2013

      We're in the matrix!

    46. Creator Geikichi on February 5, 2013

      Sooooo how many kind or beard for the dwarf? Huhu

    47. Creator T.J. Brumfield on February 5, 2013

      Looks like a copy/paste snafu that resulted in a repeated paragraph.

    48. Creator Sean Riedinger on February 5, 2013

      Accidental repeated paragraph, seems like it might have eaten some of the door commentary: Starts with "One of the goals in preproduction was to figure out how we could make character modeling pipeline be as efficient as possible." and ends with "The goal for January was to build a system to allow us to do this very thing."

    49. Creator Eli Curtz on February 5, 2013

      Are you sure you aren't using procedural generation, because that seems to be how this update was made. The goal for January was to build a system to allow us to do this very thing.