We seem to have gone for a bit of an arctic theme in this week’s devlog, with models of Mammoths here and chilly Ice Dungeons there. We’ve also now made it possible for players to summon creatures in Depths of Erendorn, which we’re really excited about!

3D Character Modelling

The character we were modelling this week was the Mammoth and its three variations. These creatures wander freely across Erendorn, unless captured by Ogres who use them in wrestling tournaments. This meant that the Mammoth had to be an impressive beast with unique features, such as:

  • Six tusks in various sizes
  • Spikes protruding from its shoulders and lower back
  • An intricate headpiece that adorns the Mammoth’s head

When sculpting the Mammoth, our Character Artist mostly followed the original concept art. They also looked at references of elephants to inform anatomical details like the mouth and musculature. We also ensured that the plates on the head were separate to each other so that we can reduce them for any smaller Mammoths we decide to make.

The final details we sculpted before moving onto retopology and texturing were the spikes, which appear on some of the larger Mammoths. Even though we loved how these natural defenses looked on the concept sketch, on the model the spikes seemed a bit imposing. However, once we textured the model with its fur, the spikes really felt more like an integrated part of the Mammoth, so that was a relief!

Animation

Another playable character, the Human Knight Champion, was exported to Unity this week. But before it could be added to the game, our Animator first had to do a bit of preparation work, like adjusting skin weights on the clothing.

The Human Knight Champion’s idle poses were also updated. Now, he can idle while in combat and he can do this unarmed as well as with three types of weapons. Before this, the Knight only had one combat idle where he held a two-handed sword, so we love the variation that the new combat idles give.

The final thing our Animator had to do before exporting the Human Knight Champion into the game was adjust the animations so that they fit the new idle poses. This was important to do because all the animations start from an idle pose, so we had to ensure a seamless transition. Some of the animations had actually broken after some past rig updates, so it was a good opportunity to tie up these loose ends.

GIF showing 3 Knight idles in Maya. In each one, they're holding a different a weapon

Environment Art

After creating some moodboards for Erendorn’s ice caves in a previous devlog, our Environment Artist finally began working on one of the Ice Dungeons that will appear in the game. To do this, we first reverted back to an older version of Unity so that we could use PPV2.

A post-processing and scene settings profile was then made for the ice caves in order to create a chilly atmosphere in the dungeon. Following this:

  • 8 new ice rock prefabs were added
  • 8 new ice wall/pillar prefabs were added
  • Ice floors were added and their vertices painted with snow

Once all of this work on the Ice Dungeon had been carried out, we moved onto creating some lava architecture and rock sets for our Lava Dungeons. While these are being created, work continues on the ice cave environment so that we can get it as close to our vision as possible.

Game Client

This week in the programming department has been focussed on fixing compatibility issues for new art packages. To resolve this, we rolled back the project to 2018.3.12f1 since this is a much more stable version of Unity that also minimises our compatibility issues.

We also spent this week implementing ability cast animations with simple Visual FX for spells. The Earthen Dwarf player character and its animations, for example, have now been implemented and, after fixing the trigger points on the equip animation, we could start making use of VFX. The following cast animations now have projectiles and explosions:

  • Fireball
  • Frost Bolt
  • Acid Bolt

A SimpleHeal effect was also added for the Heal Wounds ability. Some work was also carried out on the Action Controller this week. In the execution of abilities, for example, it now listens for relevant animations and particle effects to complete. This is shown by the fact that when Fireball is launched on the right frame of the cast animation, damage does not display until the projectile has impacted.

GIF showing some cast animations in Unity
This shows one of our playable characters, the Forest Druid, perfoming one of their cast animations on two Giant Rat enemies.

Server

Following our massive reworking of over 140 abilities, more abilities have now been tested and had fixes applied when they weren’t working as intended. There was also some fine-tuning we had to do for certain reworked abilities. In order to get Backstab working properly for the Twilight Elf Assassin, for example, we implemented another new stat into the server. Attack Damage Multiplier amplifies the damage a player deals on any normal attack by a certain percentage.

Continuing from this, it is now possible to summon other creatures in the game by using spells. For this to work, however, there were several changes that needed to be implemented:

  • The DOE Editor had to be changed so that it would be possible to create summons for use in the game
  • The API also had to change in order to handle summons
  • The Game Entity class had to have some changes made to it so that it would both store summons as well as link summons to entities
  • The Client also had to have some changes made to it because summoning an entity that belongs to the player broke the pathfinding

So that we could test all of this, a basic summon spell was created and temporarily given to the Zentragal. Doing this is important because it allows us to test the new mechanic. The only other issue summoning entities caused was that it stopped re-roll votes from working, but this was fixed and we were relieved that no other issues have arisen (yet)!