We’re back with another weekly devlog! Read on to find out how we finished off our Rockbark Treemen, as well as to see some awesome updates from all of our creative departments. As always, remember to check us out on Instagram, Twitter and Reddit for daily updates on Depths of Erendorn!

3D Character Modelling

We started this week by cutting up the bodies of the Rockbark Treemen models so that they will be able to break apart during future death animations. Once that was all sorted, we could finally begin texturing. This was a long-awaited moment for our Character Artist after a few gruelling weeks of endless sculpting!

During this process, we made a few texture variations according to the specific class of Treeman we were texturing. Rockbark Treemen have a specific hierarchy, with the Saplings being the smallest and, by comparison, weakest of the race, and the Immense Treeman being the strongest. There were a few ways we changed the texture to reflect a specific class:

  • Stronger classes of Treemen were given a more faded wood colour to reflect their age.
  • More moss was also added to older versions to show how time and nature have affected them.
  • Besides texture, more branches were added to the stronger Treemen to distinguish them further.

Doing all of this brought an end to our work on the Rockbark Treemen! It was one hell of a journey modelling these characters, and we’re really stoked with the results. The next characters we’re working on are the Frost Dwarf Guards, who will be seen guarding the main settlement in the game. We’ve already got a jump start on these guys by taking assets that were previously made for the Frost Dwarves, editing them slightly and then reusing them. This helps to speed up the production process, so come back next week to see how they’re getting along! 

Animation

This week, our Animator created a new test scene in Unreal to try out a few new animations for our Human Knight. Before this, however, they also created two new one-handed attacks for use with our Human Knight. They then exported these animations into the test scene so that they could see how they look and how they blend. 

The scene was also useful in testing out the efficacy of the Knight’s combat idle as well as how well they walked with two-handed weapons equipped. We decided to test all of these animations out against two different types of enemies: a Skeleton and a Wolvajin – though they aren’t fighting back just yet!

Our Animator then moved onto updating the equip/unequip animations of one-handed and two-handed weapons. When a weapon is being unequipped, we have made it so that its animation blends into the combat idle, so we were working on perfecting that transition. 

Environment Art

A new Cave Dungeon scene was worked on this week in order to test the wall splines and floor material we created in last week’s devlog. We started by creating a sense of scale within the scene. Once we had this down, we could begin adding other elements to help bring this dungeon to life:

  • A new cave wall generation system was created using splines and displacement. 
  • We also created a new cave floor layer blending terrain material. 
  • Lighting tests were conducted to capture the dark and ominous atmosphere of the scene.
  • Asset materials were then adjusted accordingly so that they blended well with the surrounding environment. 

The last thing our Environment Artist did to this test scene was add a water spline system. Going forward, they will be using the awesome concept paintings from our Illustrator as inspiration for our many dungeon scenes so we can make sure that they have as many details as possible!

Cave dungeon test scene from UE4
A new Cave Dungeon scene was worked on this week in order to test the wall splines and floor material.

Visual FX

It’s a short but sweet update from our VFX Artist this week as they continue working on the visual effects for Drain Life and Heaving Blow. If you were here for our last devlog, you’ll already be familiar with these abilities and how our artist went about creating them. Well, following on from that work, a few significant changes have been made:

  • The beam for Drain Life was changed from a horizontal beam that shot forwards at an enemy, to a vertical beam that shoots upwards.
  • Our Artist figured out how to show some ethereal particles following the path of this beam, which added a fantastical element to the ability.

In addition to this, more depth was given to the cracks created by Heaving Blow. We also added some cool dispersing effects around the cracking area to suggest that surface dirt is being pushed away by the force of the attack. While these visual effects are still being perfected, the progress made since last week is really great to see, and they’re definitely moving along the right track! 

Programming

This week, the Programming department has been focussed on creating the classes necessary to construct rooms from the data generated by our room builder. This includes an object pooler for handling asset loading, and a ‘foreman’ class for handling placement and initialisation of these assets.

In addition to this, individual steps can now be defined and ran any number of times, in any order, so that we can get interesting levels. Our Programmers also:

  • Created a web viewer/debugger.
  • Continued server-based level generation. 
  • Added a ‘rotate set piece’ capability to the room builder.
  • Finished server-side implementation of Noise Generation, which was started a few weeks ago.

We then explored, designed and implemented a workflow for creating set pieces. The new system allows us to efficiently design set pieces and translate them to gameplay data for use with our room generation algorithm. 

Actually, quite a bit of work was carried out on set pieces this week. We’re now able to define and select from rules to govern set piece placement. As well as this, a defined structure for set pieces will be used when creating grid representations. Once the client-side tool has integration with this, it will allow our artists to make really interesting, authored set pieces that our level generator can use.

We tested the Human Knight’s new one-handed attacks against some static enemies in an Unreal test scene.

That wraps up this week’s devlog! A new monthly summary will be coming shortly so that you can see all of the highlights from this month – so keep your eyes open for that!