Pillars of Eternity Dev Q&A

Pillars of Eternity's executive producer and lead programmer Adam Brennecke has fielded a barrage of fan questions on the official Obsidian Entertainment forums, and as you can well imagine, most of them deal with the upcoming crowdfunded title he's working on. Here are what I thought were the most interesting questions (and answers, of course):

With three different versions of PoE (Windows, Linux and Mac), how do you allocate resources to do all three versions? Do you do say do a part of the game with the Windows version and then do the Mac and Linux versions straight after. Do you have three people or teams working on different versions of just one team working on a version at a time. Also, I'm guessing the same people are doing the three different versions? What are some of the challenges to do 3 different versions of the same game for you.

On larger projects, you might have teams dedicated to each platform. Our team is small, so you are correct that the same people work on the three different versions (although we will have dedicated testers for each platform). We are very lucky, because Unity supports the three platforms out of the box. There are minor things that we need to do to get it all to work out, but all three are developed concurrently.

Most of the challenges arise when things don't work the same - it takes programmer time to figure out the issue on the individual platform, and more time to program a solution.


How many different solutions would you say there are on average for each Quest?

Many? Definitely more than one and greater than two. There are multi-part quests with a subset of objectives that can be solved in multiple ways.


In your opinion, what is the coolest class in Pillars or Eternity?

How many people do you have to fend off in order to get to the coffee maker in the morning?

How does the Paladin's smite-ish ability "Flames of Devotion" work?

The Cipher. Chanter might be the next one in line, but I haven't put too much time in playing one yet.

The coffee maker isn't typically crowded. Most of the hardcore coffee drinkers have their own supply and brew machines in their own offices. I try to only drink two cups a day.

See Thoros of Myr.


Can you tell what milestone/s you are currently working in PoE and how your roadmap for PoE currently looks, at least in very general level?

We are still in production, and hope to be at Alpha soon.


When do you start getting voice actors in, or have you already done so? How is the music going as well?

We have started to prepare for VO sessions, but not have recorded any final VO yet. The music is going well.


You probably can't say and I was going to ask if you could do a current play through of the game now, or at least the main quest. I'm guessing this kind of answers my question.

I can say. You can't do a complete play through yet. We are currently focused on the main quest and getting a complete crit-path play through. From character creation - to end game slides. We want to make sure that everything in the middle is in place for our alpha.


random question:any beholder-like monster?

The beholder is such a great iconic monster - don't you think?

We do have a few "Aberration" like monsters in Pillars. Production wise, they are the most expensive to make because they have such strange rigs (like tentacles, lots of limbs) and animations. Also they aren't a good candidate that could be reused for another creature or rig.


have You come around to program the encounter AI yet? how advanced do You intend to make it? will it differ from creature to creature and/or culture to culture? will PC group vs NPC group encounters feature any special tactics?

edit question: will AI take game difficulty into account?

Yes, we have a system in place for encounter AI. I would say it's "advanced" but not "fancy" - and designers can customize the hell out of it. Advanced is a bit of a loaded term methinks. It can mean different things to different people. Good game AI isn't smart. Good AI is predictable and deterministic.

I'm not sure if the AI has hooks into the difficulty yet. I do know that encounters can change depending on the difficulty.


Just to piggyback on the AI question, but will there be any randomization to enemy types or their abilities? There's a mod to BG2 (SCS) that randomizes wizards' spell books from a set of handcrafted spell books each time you install, and so I only ever play on fresh installs.

Also, will there be any classes that have sequencer/contingency type spells? That's a huge thing for me.

I was looking at the art for scripted interactions; are they in an in-world style, i.e., are they how Dyrwoodians (sp?) or whoever illustrate manuscripts?

There will be some randomization on ability selection. We don't have plans for completely randomizing spell books however.

We currently don't have plans for sequencer/contingency spells, sorry.

The art for the scripted interaction scenes fit the world - I don't know for sure if an artist in the world would use a similar style. All of the interface art follows a similar sensibility.