J.E. Sawyer on Project Eternity Social Round-up

16 Sep 2012

We have taken the liberty to round up a few posts project director J.E. Sawyer posted on his Formspring, the Obsidian forums and Something Awful, which should add a few, scant details on Project Eternity, which is currently going through a, so far very successful, Kickstarter campaign.

On the player house stretch goal:
To me, the primary purpose of a house is to serve as a centralized, easily-organized repository for gear and, in games with companions, for companions. Customization options are secondary (to me, anyway).


Okay, but I hope it's obvious that the spacing of stretch goals does not map 1:1 with dollars spent for features. A house is not the equivalent of a region, faction, and companion. They are listed w/ =$ increments for fundraising pacing purposes.

OP: To answer your question, we believe player houses serve a basic utilitarian purpose in RPGs. We like using them and would like to have them in PE. They require work to implement, but the $ of the goal is not meant to indicate $ spent on that feature.


We have learned that a small interior with containers thrown in it (e.g. Novac hotel room, Pres. Suite) is too minimal when it comes to auto-organization functionality. And again, KS is a fundraising platform, not a means of making a literal budget.

On upcoming information (from various sources, including Formspring, Something Awful):
I am writing up some basics on party size/composition that will hopefully answer some of your other questions.


The problem inherent with this is that we're still very early in development. Designing systems takes time. I would rather be general and risk some frustration than be specific at this stage in the process.


Realtalk: we are, in fact, stalling a bit because literally none of us believed that this would get funded at this speed. I simply don't have a coherent blog update to give you right now and I apologize. I will be spending a great deal of tomorrow writing a blog post that explains fundamentals of the world, but that's not a "jot down a few words" sort of thing to be taken lightly. Again, sorry.

On classic Infinity Engine mechanics and his take on them:
I've talked with Tim about this for a while and here's the thing: camping out in the wilderness and setting watches and getting ambushed by jackasses has a great classic A/D&D feel to it, but it got pretty silly in games like IWD2. I'd like to build in reasonable mechanics that make you rest in the wilderness, but I don't want it to result in the sort of degenerate "rest after every fight" stuff we've faced in the past.


I think it's important to genuinely capture the feeling of the games we're referencing back to, but that doesn't mean we should ape all of their mechanics directly.

I put it this way to Tim a few weeks ago: I want to capture the feeling an experienced A/D&D player when he or she sets out to make a character and can use interesting combinations of choices to produce something unique, but I want to avoid the feeling a n00blord gets when he or she gets 10 hours into the game and realizes he or she has made a hopelessly "bad" character because the characters have stocked up on ten Skill Focus: Lockpicking feats.

On the world map:
This is good feedback. The actual map is significantly larger; I just bored down on this section for detail. That particular section was what I worked out first. I'll try to address the geological problems (e.g. rivers) and I'll think more about the rest.

Sorry for those of you who didn't like it. I was actually trying to capture the feeling of the Dragon Reach/Dalelands, which is an area of the Realms that I always liked.


Yes, Spain would not be a wholly inaccurate comparison in terms of size.

On mature themes (and also on the issue of women representation in fantasy videogames):
Mature themes, to us, means exploring concepts in a frank manner from many angles through the story and the characters in it. Dead Money explored obsession. Honest Hearts explored religion. Even when dealing with alien (or elven[?!?!]) cultures and magic/technology, themes should relate back to what players would understand as part of the human condition. E.g. a film like District 9 is good at triggering sensitivities to (real world) racism and dehumanization in the audience even though the aliens are fictional.


This is something that's very important to me and I fight for it (practical but good-looking armor on female characters) whenever it comes up. For me, the goal isn't to be prudish, but to be practical and egalitarian about it.

And also a snippet of lore:
I can't talk a lot about the details of the world yet, but let me explain this one a little more. [Godhammer Citadel] is a bit of a misnomer. It wasn't a god who was killed, but a (possibly?) possessed saint. And the saint wasn't "hammered". He was killed with a bomb. Like... yeah, a really big bomb.

Okay, that's all until I have time to do a proper update.

Hopefully we'll hear more details about Project Eternity, but that's about everything that is relevant for today.