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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.

Vertical Slice Update

Posted by Obsidian Entertainment (Creator)

Update by Adam Brennecke, Executive Producer and Lead Programmer

This month we are knee-deep in the Vertical Slice phase and this will be the team's focus for the month of June. It's our way of proving that we are ready to jump forward into production and start making shippable content.

The Vertical Slice is just that, a cross section (think of it as a slice of bread cut out from the middle of a loaf) of the world of Project Eternity. At the end of this phase the game will be feature complete, and the content building portion of the team, including area designers, environment artists, and character artists can make shippable content now. Our Vertical Slice is eleven maps large; encompassing our village and dungeon from Prototype 2, and the dungeon and wilderness area from Prototype 1 (we call this area "The Valley of Hector" internally). The content from the prototypes are refactored to fit within the context of the world and overall story of the game. Feature-wise, we are targeting to have the majority of the world building tools complete and all of the character classes playable up to level five.

Larger version - The above image is a vertical slice dungeon concept by Polina. Her paint-over will be used as reference for the polish pass.

Here are our current tasks that we are working on right now:


  • Modeling Hide Armor for Male and Females - Hide armor has been challenging to model and texture with skin tinting because there's a lot of skin shown.
  • Creating Orlan Heads - This includes modeling differences for the Wild and Hearth ethnicities.
  • Polishing Prototype 2 Areas to "Beta" - Extra shine is put into the areas to make them feel more alive and varied.


  • Creating the Vertical Slice Area Design Document - The designers are adding more content to the world and fleshing out the village with additional quests.
  • Designing and Coding the Class Abilities for the Cipher and Chanter - The Cipher and his "focus" powered spells are working, and now Tim Cain is working out the Chanter phrase system.


  • Coding up the Save/Load and the Persistence System - This entails saving and loading games, and making sure the current map state is preserved across area transitions.
  • Wrapping up the Area Designer Toolbox - Doors, encounters, traps, triggers, loot, NPCs, and creatures can all be placed and manipulated through script.

Spells and Ability Audit
This morning Josh emailed me a list of working class abilities and spells. I'm excited to say that we have 54 abilities and 51 functioning spells as of today! Most of the spells are at the alpha stage, meaning another pass will be done at a later date to add visual effects and sound effects.

UI Version #2
Thanks to everyone who provided feedback on our UI mockups that Rob posted last week in Update #54. We loved everyone's proposed mockups and your discussions sparked some great ideas for the next iteration on the interface. We've already mocked up a new version that takes up less vertical space and is more compact overall. Once we feel it's ready to be critiqued, we will post it in a future update for more discussion.

That's it for this week. We'll be back in two weeks - we're off to E3 next week (and if you're a fan of South Park, keep an eye out for coverage on our Stick of Truth RPG)!


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    1. Missing avatar

      Alex Walsh on

      I really appreciate the transparency. Keep up the good work!

    2. Frank Talbot on

      @Inquisitor Apollyon of the ObsidianOrder, someone probably cancelled their pledge right before the project ended. Happens all the time where people would "lock" a place in a limited reward and adjust right before the end. It would be worth writing them a message, they might be interested to get a paypal donation and upgrade you to that tier.

    3. Egon L.

      Wow, it looks so lovely. It's like calling a top girl exactly that - 'a top girl'!

    4. Grinsevent Wheresluggage of Sin on

      Theobeau : IE ?

      Am I the only one thinking "it looks like the old time... but that's all ?" ... And, I know, I backed it, but to transcend the nostalgia with an even better game ... (I know, when all the effects etc will arrive, it will just be awesome. I trust you guys !)

    5. Theobeau:OOoE\Mad man with a box/Exiled on

      Great update and visually stunning made. Both IE/BG2 but with the suggestion of novel twists to suggest this isn't just a slavish copy.

      Keep up the fascinating updates.

    6. Missing avatar

      Nicolas on

      @Darth Trethon What makes you think they were going to production months ago? Look at the dates for the rewards other than the $5 tier. They are all Apr 2014, seems they have a good bit of time left.

    7. Ed H. on

      Wow, bet that even looks awesomer in realtime (assuming there are realtime lighting effects). Either way, looking great.

    8. Hunter Harrell on

      Looks absolutely fantastic. Art direction couldn't be better.

    9. Missing avatar

      Apollyon on

      Ok, I'm confused. I was wanting to pledge at the $750 tier to get an Avellone drawn troll, but I swear they were sold out. Now it shows one remaining. How is this and can I somehow get my dirty mitts on it?

    10. Paul Andersen on

      Man. That's exactly what I hoped the maps would look like. +1

    11. Darth Trethon - Exile in Torment on

      I have to say I am stunned, amazing work, things are looking great although my understanding was that you guys were planning to go into production a couple of months ago. Still if you need more time it's not a problem. But the lack of a pledge fulfillment site also causes me quite a bit of worry.

    12. James Jones

      That screenshot brings a tear to my eye. That's exactly what I've been waiting such a long time for.

    13. Missing avatar

      Cutter on

      Vertical slice? Cereal? Lol! We call something else a vertical slice too, haha!

    14. Cihan Deniz on

      I heard that the thing in the chamber is a "Soul Core" with collector rods. I "heard" that in the game lore, while souls can be used to power devices which is common knowledge to all of us by now, a certain kind of utilisation of souls has been forbidden by the in-game cultures, sort of like nuclear energy and I "heard" that the catastrophic event the player character will witness at the beginning of the game will be similar in scale and effects to a nuclear bomb from a sociological, environmental and financial perspective and it's made possible with these "soul cores".

      Of course, I just made all that up for fun.

      Or did I?

      I love the screenshot, great job. It's about time we returned to the beauty of 2D!

    15. Joseph Peterson on

      I'm so excited for the Vert Slice. Anyway we can get a vid walkthrough of the piece once it's finished? Love to see your work in motion and keep it up guys. :D

    16. Rod Baranski on

      I hope I will survive till game is released. Great update.

    17. silvercross on

      Ain't never seen an update I didn't like. Keep it up! =]

    18. Frank Talbot on

      Nice update and good news about South Partk, can't wait for this one! Artwork reminds me of Planescape : Torment in a good way :)

    19. Boris Chelius on

      This looks like Baldurs Gate 2 and IE in the best way possible!!!

    20. Silver on

      Thanks for the update, Adam. Hopefully E3 will be good for those of you attending it this year.

    21. Tevaron Algidem on

      This is just awesome Team Obsidian! The concept looks just like an IE game, but BETTER! This is exactly what I was hoping for, something that harkened to the old while taking advantage of new tech. I would like to say also that Polina is a very good artist, as all of your art dept seem to be, kudos to eternity for doing what it said it would. \

      As @Mark Clarke said below: The King is dead, Long live the King!

    22. Missing avatar

      Ryan on

      Magnifique !!!! Exactement le concept que j'attendais en investissant !!!!

    23. Grinsevent Wheresluggage of Sin on

      I don't want to complain, it's really beautiful but looks like Baldurs Gate 2 ... I know it's an early process, but I hope the final showdown will be more... magic ? (I mean not magic like abracadabra, but magic like I see it and cry)

      But thanks for your updates !!!

    24. Captain Shrek on

      Obsidian: Making 2013 games look as good as those in 1998.

    25. Christoph Zürcher on

      Thanks for the update. Really looking forward to South Park, I hope the publisher change didn't complicate production too much.

    26. Jean-Luc Picard on

      Great concept art. Really infinity engine-y. :)

    27. Missing avatar

      Markus Rechberger on

      that screenshot has me all giddy with anticipation!

      Keep up the good work :)

    28. Missing avatar

      Nathan Polley on

      Man that screenshot takes me back, I had faith that you guys at obsidian would bring back some of the old

    29. Missing avatar

      nin on

      Good luck @ E3! Pimp the heck outta it! :)

    30. Mark Clarke on

      Upon just glancing at my pc screen I thought you guys had put up a screenshot of Baldur's Gate I or II or Icewind dale I or II.
      And I once said, feeling rather resigned and despondent that there would never be another game that would come out that would be so organic and so invested in the fantasy genre that wouldn't also have tropes that appealed to some "researched statistical game modes/aesthetics" focused mainstream audience.
      I mean this looks OLDSCHOOL in such an awesome way! And if it lives up to that awe inspiring dream I have of playing through another of these style of games then I will have shout now that if you put up another kickstarter that's in this kind of fantasy focused universe you have yourself an instant $100 out of my wallet!

      And may they now take on the grand old mantle and keep it for good, instead of selling themselves for an unworthy song to EA.

    31. Willem on

      As many others below have stated: I love the concept art piece. That is EXACTLY how I want the game to look. Love the lighting, the detail & the artwork. That's what an Infinity Engine inspired RPG should look like. Keep up the great work guys.

    32. Michaeljack on

      This is looking so good, a real piece of nostalgia but made with todays perspective

    33. Missing avatar

      Gavin on

      That's really nice. Wow.

    34. Missing avatar

      Nicholaus Clinite on

      Any chance we'll get to play that Vertical Slice? :3

    35. Richard on

      Wow, it's so exciting to hear you're already so far along with the basic system. The screenshot is marvelous too. Actually, I thought I recognized an area like that from Baldur's Gate II. Keep up the great work guys!

    36. gandalf.nho

      Looking great

    37. LordCrash on

      I'm so happy that PE really looks like the old IE games. I can't wait to see more content of the game. Awesome work, guys.

    38. Missing avatar

      Alexander Seidel on

      You've already proven that the scenes look a lot better when moving, so I'd really like to see the youtube version of that screenshot.
      I do hope for flicking real time lights in dungeons :)

    39. Doug Carter on

      Just can not wait!

    40. Ben on

      Ah...Looks great! Really excited and glad that I jumped on the bandwagon for this. Its going to be epic!

    41. Christopher Wolfe on

      Wow, you guys are doing a great job of staying true to the roots of the genre. I saw this as a compliment, but that screenshot looks like a place I might have been to in Baldur's Gate 2

    42. tarasis on

      The art looks utterly amazing, I love all the detail particularly the little table center left at the bottom. Keep up the great work guys.

    43. Azureblaze on

      It's looking downright delicious, I want a piece of that area now! Rawr!


      Theres a much better Arcanum LP on Youtube... search Gamehorder Arcanum... I did a dual LP of it... A good warrior dim witted Ogre ... and a Evil Elven Wizard at the same time...

    45. Michael Weaver on

      I miss the Arcanum LP :(

    46. S.D. on

      @Gavin: I know!! I got that same IWD meets PS:T feeling as well...

      Good progress, Obsidian!