Welcome back to another Depths of Erendorn devlog! This week, we’re showing you our progress on the Daggerclaw Harpy, revealing a new animation for the spellcasting Parakaw and talking about some good-ole programming for all you hardcore game devs out there. For more updates on our turn-based fantasy RPG, check us out on Twitter and Reddit – but for now, we hope you enjoy our weekly game devlog!

3D Character Modelling

Work continued on the Daggerclaw Harpy this week, specifically the male variant that we started in our last weekly game devlog. After blocking out the wingspan, two types of feathers were sculpted for the wings. The feathers and their central stems (rachis) were then painted different colours in order to simplify masking when texturing in the future. Finally, to create the overlapping feather effect on the Harpy’s wings, our Character Artist layered all the feathers at varying sizes and deformations.

While the feathers themselves are sculpted meshes, our Artist decided to model the wings as planes. This means that the actual geometry for them are, in this case, single-sided faces that will have double-sided rendering. It’s kind of like drawing something on tracing paper and then being able to see it from both sides. One of the reasons we decided to do this was so that the overall polycount would be reduced.

With the feathers and wings all sorted (for now anyway), the remaining parts of the body were sculpted. We even decided to add some “plating” to the forearms for a more bird-like, reptilian feel. Our next steps will be to bake some feather planes and add them to the shoulders for a more incorporated and cohesive look.

After working on the Daggerclaw Harpy for most of the week, our Artist carried on testing out the character customisation system we mentioned in our most recent weekly game devlog. Working with our Animator, this time they focussed on making equipment actually equip – so we’ll keep you posted on how that turns out.

Animation

Aside from helping our Character Artist with implementing a character customisation system, our Animator continued their work this week by adding more animations to the Twilight Elf Assassin so that these could be imported to Unity for testing. Animations were created for standard movements, like turn left and right, as well as for a couple of generic skills:

  • Leap: This lets the Assassin leap from three tiles away, allowing them to both escape enemies and move swiftly towards them.
  • Impair: With this skill, the Assassin can choose an adjacent 1 tile enemy to impair. The target then loses -2 Movement Speed for one turn. 

We also created a spell channelling animation for the Parakaw Astromancer, one of the most intelligent spellcasters in Erendorn. In the future, VFX will be added to this animation in the game engine to really give this character a sense of power and magic. Until then, we think it’s looking pretty cool against the Swiftstrike Jaguar – what do you think?!

We have started creating a chanelling spell animation for the Parakaw Astromancer. In the future, VFX will be added to make it more dynamic.

Visual Effects

More visual effects were created this week for various abilities in the game. Working with Unity and Photoshop, we used the ability icons to spark inspiration and inform ideas about how to best convey a specific one. We ended up creating VFX for:

  • Frostbolt: This is a generic spell that can be used by any playable character to deal Frost Damage and reduce an enemy’s Movement. A frost cloud VFX was made for when this spell impacts an enemy.
  • Poison: This is another generic spell that we created a poison cloud visual effect for. Poison has a lasting effect on enemies, causing them to take 1-2 Nature Damage every turn for three turns.
  • Starblast: This is a class spell for the Parakaw Astromancer. While it can only be used when four enemies or less remain in a room, it deals a considerable amount of Arcane Damage to all enemies and is very powerful.
  • Black Hole: Another Parakaw specialty, the use of this spell creates a 6×6 area that also deals high amounts of Arcane Damage, as well as giving each 1 tile enemy a 30% chance of getting stunned. The VFX for this had to really do it justice – luckily, we think it looks awesome!
  • Magic Chains: Another generic spell, Magic Chains allows a player to root a 1 or 4 tile enemy for three turns. This spell is particularly useful when getting attacked by a group of Lionmen, for example, and can be used by any playable character. 

In our last weekly game devlog, we mentioned how we were working on creating an Ultra Shader that will optimise our workflow. Further work was done on the shader this week, so our VFX Artist can now use it to create random texture variations, which is pretty useful!

This Ultra Shader acts like a Master VFX Shader, allowing us to control all the parameters we’d usually use for VFX all in one go, rather than flitting between 5 different shaders. Creating this shader actually proved to be harder than we thought because it was originally written with code – and unfortunately, old school written shaders don’t work with Unity. This meant we had to build it from scratch in Shadergraph. It was worth it in the end, though, especially since we’ll eventually be able to make it quite big and capable of performing lots of functions!

GIF of VFX for Starburst spell in Depths of Erendorn
Starblast is one of the class spells you can choose to wield when you play as a Parakaw Astromancer in Depths of Erendorn.

Server & Game Client

A lot of work was carried out on the game’s UI this week as we continued to refine it. With a lot of the design work already in place, it was time for our programmers to take over:

  • The top right section of the UI was rearranged so that Turn Order was shown in the corner.
  • The Event Log was moved to fit in with the reorganised layout, and a smaller Event Log now also toggles out for archive.
  • Stats like Armour Piercing Damage, Crit Chance, Crit Multiplier, Haste and Ability Power were all added to the Stat Display.
  • Login details were added to locally saved information so that players are able to login with the same details on the client.
  • We added the ability for Event Logs to use multiple icons. Two main icons and two sub icons can now be used.

There was also some work our programmers had to do on the character animations inside Unity. They fixed the broken animation controller for the Watertarg, added a Giant Strike animation to the controller and added blends for the changes between all the different walking styles the Watertarg has: un/equipped weapon, 1h/2h and walk/sprint. 

Next up were abilities. We started by adding a ‘blend parameter to modify’ field to ability prefabs. This means that a provided animation parameter can be set at the end of execution to allow temporary or persistent changes to character animations. After adding a Giant Strike animation to the animation controller, we also then added an ability prefab for it. Finally, a catch for cast triggers that have no parameters was added, which should remove the wait for an ability that expects an animation – if a character doesn’t have an animation, for example, it won’t try to play it.

Following this, there were a lot of fixes made to abilities this week:

  • Rock Barrage was hitting everything in a room, so this was our first fix.
  • Mana Thirst for the Zentragal no longer processes when you miss your attack.
  • Nature’s Shield is now usable more than once.
  • Extreme Agility now guarantees a hit in 1 in 5 attacks, instead of 1 in 4.
  • Dirt Kicking is no longer usable from the back or side of a player’s enemy.
  • Spiderling Summon can no longer be damaged by AOE abilities.
  • Subzero should now no longer be usable on friendlies.

On top of this, the Energising Mist event now correctly disables itself at the end of a dungeon room. Energising Mist is an event that occurs in a particular dungeon, and increases all Current and Maximum Energy in the room by 10-25. Enemies are generated immediately during Energising Mist, so heed this warning while you still can!

The Black Hole is a very powerful class spell. Used by the Parakaw Astromancer, it deals significant amounts of Arcane Damage and can even stun enemies.

Finally, there were many stat changes made to playable characters. The Parakaw, for example, had its Strength changed to 7 and its Max Damage changed to 5, to name a couple. We made stat changes to four other characters, including the Knight, Dwarf, Watertarg and Twilight Elf Assassin. Enemies have also had their experience values and stats rebalanced – and that’s it from our Programmers!