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Project 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.
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.

Update #49: Water, Trees, Day/Night, Lighting... All That Jazz

Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director

Welcome. Today's update is a big one, though not by volume of text. Today we’re showing you our game in action. Specifically, we're showing what we've been doing for our exterior environments. The Infinity Engine games were known for their art, and we wanted to hit the high standard of visual quality established by games like the Icewind Dale series. We also wanted to introduce dynamic elements into the environment that were mostly absent from the classic games, like dynamic water, movement in foliage, and dynamic lighting of the scene.

In a 2D game, this required our programmers and artists to come up with some creative solutions. What they came up with surprised us initially and it continues to amaze us. While we are still working on refining some of the dynamic elements, we're very happy with the progress we've been able to make and hope you feel the same way. Special thanks to Hector Espinoza, our lead environment artist, and Michael Edwards, our rendering programmer, who did a lot of amazing work to bring this environment to life.

Thanks for reading, thanks for your feedback, and we'll see you next week.

Let us know what you think! Discuss this update on our forums →


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    1. Matt Redward on

      so looking forward to getting this, and this taste has just made it even more exciting.

    2. Don Reba on

      Will you let us play as the orange light? I really like its personality.

    3. Michael James on

      Exceeded expectations, I can't wait.

    4. Dmitry Trembovolsky on

      Good one! However, agree with some critics above, that you guys can do even better! )
      1. Shadows need to move with the move of sun / light. In general shadows can be more dynamic, dense...
      2. Reflections - when the warrior is crossing water there's no reflection of him seen. In general, when this particular part when he crosses the river needs polishing. There are no visual splashes when he "steps" in th water and the impression is he is sort of "gliding" over.

      I'm sure it will all be ironed in the next few months and thanks for keeping us posted!

    5. Missing avatar

      harborpirate on

      Outstanding! This is exactly the sort of thing I was hoping for when I backed this project. The atmosphere of this little vignette was amazing.

    6. Missing avatar

      gazerrant on

      Looks fantastic. Color me impressed. I do, however, agree with comments about the bushes not looking quite right (the halo of movement around a static center is distracting), and about the shadows not moving with the time of day.

    7. Pharod on

      I'm curious how zoom is going to work. One drawback of 2d games was that they didn't scale too well with screen resolution.

    8. Missing avatar

      Brian on

      That is legit amazing. Keep up the good work dudes.

    9. Shaun Huang on

      Those dynamic water and light effects are amazing to behold, and eye-opening for my techie self! Though the foliage movement look like static bush in front of animated sprite bush.

    10. M on

      [head ’splodey] beautiful. I can already get a sense of emersion just by full screening that. The ambient music & soundscape is integral to that, so please give thanks to the audio person or persons responsible.

    11. Mark Clarke on

      Very impressive, I like it all!

    12. Eric Leslie on

      Oh wow. That looks fantastic. Bravo. Tremendously excited.

    13. Missing avatar

      Ross Richard on

      Great work guys!

    14. b0rsuk on

      There has been much fuss about writers, but programmers achieve great tasks and are awesome. It's a thankless job in some aspects (most people don't understand what you do).

    15. Shadowthewanderer, OO's Diplomat/killer on

      This looks absolutely amazing. You, Obsidian, exceeded my expectations. Can't wait to see more.

    16. Adam Thompson on

      This looks absolutely fantastic! Gorgeous and immersive. I really look forward to how conversations take place...

      Will the camera zoom in to the characters? Will we get character portraits appearing similar to many J-RPGs? Will you break away from the isometric perspective for certain story segments (ala Final Fantasy and other 3d on 2d games)?

      I can't wait to see this stuff come together.

    17. FaeTalan on

      This is very, very, VERY good. The sounds, the song, the environment and characters art, animations, lighting and water effects, the overall feeling in the scene, they are all hitting perfect notes in my brain.

      This is an Obsidian RPG, so, God, it's all of the above AND mind-blowing unforgettable characters, stories and epic decisions. You produce the most beautiful shades of grey in all of videogames storytelling, even if you, sadly, don't face much competiton.

      Congratulations. You really seem to be going the extra mile and adding quite a few amazing surprises for us. Just please, don't stop positively surprising us!

    18. Christopher

      AWESOME!!! Looks gorgeous, can't wait to play the final game, keep up the great works!!!

    19. Missing avatar

      Douglas Hammond on

      I demand to be able to punch a dolphin of choice out of that creek. If no dolphins are available, I suppose an otter of deliberation would make an adequate substitute.

    20. Paul Andersen on

      Damn. That looks great.

    21. Missing avatar

      Tim Noyce on


      Looks really nice.

    22. Aaron J on

      Looks fantastic! Better than I even hoped.

    23. Céline .S. Sauvé on

      "Dudes! Dudes, the river vanished!"
      *party come over to find river in place*
      "I _swear_ it wasn't there a minute ago!"

      (I was seriously thinking "A Wizard must have done it" when I saw that. After all, waterfalls don't cause tides ;)
      (But it was a very effective way to demonstrate that mechanic, and I look forward to seeing it at work along a shoreline.)

    24. Missing avatar

      Adam Minder on

      Incredible guys. ,Seriously you guys deserve a pat on the bac and actually exceeded expectations which honestly is hard to do. Im not expecting everything to look this beautiful but just the fact you went the extra mile to come up with a way to integrate the lighting into the 2d scene like that is really exceptional work. Everyone involved deserves kudos and i'll kickstart you guys until i dies (as long as this releases and is not a betrayalton etc lol)

    25. Missing avatar

      Jason Farrell on

      If I discover a genie, or are otherwise bestowed God-like powers for a day, the first and most important thing I would do would be to eradicate the word "immersion" from the languages of humans.

    26. Rohan Deshpande on

      Amazing. Simply amazing. You are delivering precisely what you promised and that is such a rare thing in life these days that it in of itself deserves the highest praise.

      To all those people complaining about shadows in the day/night cycle, please stop. The demands you are making at exactly the kinds of things that make development costs sky rocket. They have a few million bucks, not 10s of millions. If it can be done easily and without a huge cost allocation, then sure, but this is looking fantastic enough for me to say, ok graphics are amazing go finish work on other parts of the game. I'm sure they will add wildlife etc., to the scenes remember this is just a very early demo.

      Keep up the awesome work guys, can't wait to see more!

    27. Albert Soler on

      That looks incredible, well done guys!

    28. Kevin B. on


      I was actually referring to the second line in your post in relation to my post before that.

    29. Nick J. on


      I only stated the way the scene made me feel, I wasn't trying to prove anybody's point for them.

      It looks like an environment I want to spend a lot of time playing in and looking at.

    30. Carsten Tommy Lauridsen on

      Wow looks amazing! Good work!

    31. Chris Mathews

      Looks fantastic!

    32. Missing avatar

      Scelous on

      I want some more videos from Josh!

    33. Kevin B. on


      Quod erat demonstrandum

      Thanks for making my point!

    34. Nick J. on

      The scene looks like a living oil painting. That's the closest thing I can think of when trying to articulate the way it makes me feel.

      I can see below that a few of the "immershun" people are complaining because it isn't hyper realistic 3D, but I suppose that was to be expected.

    35. Igor on

      well done! thanks for the update!
      You're doing a great job.
      Eagerly waiting for some more game video.

      How are the things going with the story, world map and levels/cities?

    36. John Vanderbeck on!

      I'd sure love to gain some insight into the techniques used to pull this off, on the extreme off chance you're willing to share anything!

    37. Kevin B. on

      They asked for feedback they get it. Nobody is whining, nobody is throwing a fit. The only people being annoying plonkers, or just plain rude to others *cough*Mordred*cough* are the ones complaining about "complaining".

    38. Jhonrock on

      @Shevek, i have to agree with you. There are some details in this tech demo that many full 3D games don't have and still, people are complaining about this and that, even knowing that this is a 2D game and, therefore, we can't expect so much detail in ilumination and shadow effects.
      Well, i'm just happy to know that Obsidian will stick with their proposition till the end, no matter how much people complain about the graphics, about the shadows, about the sun, about the trees, about the rocks, about the birds, about the wind, about the leaves, about the bushes, about the water, about Vladimir Makarov, about Kim Jong-un, about Bill Gates, about Steve Jobs, about socialism, about famine, about misery, and so on...

    39. Missing avatar

      Bastian on

      Very very very well done!

    40. Armin Wolff on

      Holy cow, does this look great already! Happy to see my pledge put to such excellent use :-)

    41. Mordred on


      You're ridiculous.

    42. Mordred on


      I agree, I can't wait to play this.

    43. Missing avatar

      Cuddles on

      Looking good. I agree that the tree movement looked a little odd, but as a first view of things it's pretty impressive.

      @Shevek: Don't think of it as nitpicking, but as feedback. After all, they're showing us things as they go precisely so that we can say what we think of them. If no-one mentions things just because they seem minor, they're less likely to get fixed (or at least have some more thought about them if they're deliberate choices rather than actual bugs).

    44. Missing avatar

      Freddie on

      This video made my mind explode like a blood sausage.

    45. Shevek on

      I think its funny some people are nit picking this. This looks far more immersive than most modern 3D titles that have advertising budgets larger than this game's entire production budget.

      Very very well done, Obsidian. This completely exceeds my expectations.

    46. Missing avatar

      James P. Johnson on

      I do not like the way the little shrubs move back and forth, it doesn't really make sense. If they were to shake a bit and hand to one side to simulate strong wind in one direction, or were to move in unison with a wind that effects the whole map that would be good. Shrubs moving independently would hurt my immersion.

    47. Mads on

      Wow, that is simply amazing