This week, we’ve finished modelling a new character, added some fantastical tweaks to our Cave Dungeon and polished off some new VFX for spells and skills. Continue reading for all the juicy details – and remember to check us out on Instagram, Twitter and Reddit for daily updates on Depths of Erendorn!

3D Character Modelling

We kicked off this month by finishing off the sculpt of our Frost Dwarf Guards. We actually encountered a few issues while trying to translate parts of the original, concept design to the 3D model, especially when it came to elements like the side cape and side pelt. After a few tests, we decided to change the design slightly so that the Guards had a regular fur pelt and cape. 

The most fun part about modelling these characters was designing the horns! Our Character Artist spent some time exploring different horn designs for the helmet and, in the end, we settled on a classic look that was reminiscent of traditional Viking helmets we see today. Then, moving on to the fur pelt, our Artist sped up the creation of this by duplicating the fur collar a few times and manipulating it. 

After retopologising and unwrapping the Frost Dwarf Guard, attention could then be paid to texture:

  • As with all other Frost Dwarf classes that we’ve modelled, the fur pelt was projection painted with the same fur texture that is used on our Glacial Boar.
  • This is because Frost Dwarves rely on the Glacial Boars for many aspects of their survival, and every Frost Dwarf modelled so far has this texture incorporated into their design. 
  • Metallic texturing was added to the helmet and, for the High Guard variation of this model, to the studded cuffs that are seen around the boots.
  • Before starting on the cape, a few colour tests were carried out so that we could find the best colour for it. In the end, we chose a dark, warm brown colour to complement the tunic. 

We’ve now completed the Frost Dwarf Guard series and, with that out of the way, have begun work on the Human Civilian and Merchant classes. Our Character Artist has already modelled a few accessories for these characters, like the backpack, rolled-up blanket, sack, frying pan and a few potion bottles – though we’re currently exploring some design changes for the backpack in order to make it seem visually functional.

Animation

This week in Animation, we updated the ‘equip’ animation of two-handed weapons, like the sword, mace and axe, before testing them out on the Human Knight. We also updated two basic attacks that use these two-handed weapons.

In addition, our Animator created a new spellcaster pose and ranger pose that were added to the Human combat idle. Now that we use the same base rig for all bipedal characters, these idles were then tested on different classes of characters within the Human race, like a Bandit and a Mage. 

Environment Art

Continuing on with our work on the Cave Dungeon test scene in Unreal, a modular pillar spline system was implemented this week and as a result, four versions of pillars have been created – though there are many more to come! 

Our Environment Artist also created and implemented some clusters of glowing mushrooms in order to add a fantastical element to this otherwise ominous atmosphere. The glow effect of these mushrooms was originally flat emissive; however, after some improvements, it is now interpolated between two emissive colours via a mask derived from the base colour. We think this adds a much more ethereal look to the mushrooms, whereas before they were looking a bit ordinary. 

After this:

  • We conducted research into crystal shaders in preparation for some awesome crystals that will be coming soon!
  • We experimented with various bio-luminescent foliage pieces, which will also be introduced to the scene shortly to help push that fantastical appearance. 
  • We added local particle fog effects to the scene and changed the lighting slightly so that the dungeon would appear less warm.

Finally, the water spline material that we introduced last week was changed so that it refracted light from submerged objects. This gave a much more realistic effect to the water, adding an extra little detail that really polishes off the scene. 

Glowing mushrooms were added to the Cave Dungeon test scene this week, along with a new modular pillar spline system.

Visual FX

After working on the effects for Heaving Blow and Drain Life for what feels like a little while, some more tweaks were made to these abilities this week, like how fast and how big they were. We made some tweaks on Lightning Bolt, a generic spell that deals Lightning Damage and stuns enemies, as well as for Headbutt, another generic skill that deals Physical Damage. 

New and improved buff effects were then created for:

  • Impair: Commonly used by characters like the Earthen Dwarf, Human Knight, Watertarg and Twilight Elf Assassin, this generic skill allows players to choose and literally impair an adjacent enemy, reducing their Movement Speed for one whole turn. 
  • Cripple: This is a generic spell that actually causes a targeted enemy to lose some Strength, making them easier to attack.
  • Fast Healing: Another generic spell used by the above characters as well as the Forest Druid, Zentragal and Parakaw, using this allows the player to gain some Health Regeneration for that turn.

We then started working on Spike, which can be used by the Parakaw and Zentragal to deal Arcane Damage to opponents – though using this spell comes at a risk as there is a 10% chance it will hit you! Our VFX Artist is currently trying to stop the Spike effect from clipping. After that, it just needs some texture and it will be all finished!

From left to right, these are the visual effects for Fast Healing, Cripple and Impair.

Programming

In the Programming department this week, improvements were made to the Set Piece system for the room builder. By adding the capability for doors and other gameplay necessities, it allows us to include any number of additional environmental objects we might need when setting a room up for gameplay. It also allows us to disperse them dynamically across the generation map. 

In addition to this:

  • Rotational data is now recorded for Set Pieces.
  • Enemies and loot were added back into level generation.
  • Tile types and behaviour for door and spawn tiles were added.
  • Adjustments were made to how spawn locations are recorded.
  • The server can now rotate a Set Piece depending on what area of the level it lands in.
  • We also added flood fill to the room builder in order to remove any unwalkable spaces.

All of this continues our efforts towards level generation, which our Programmers have been working tirelessly on for the last month. If you’ve followed our devlog along the way, you’ll already know the ins and outs of this process – but if you haven’t, fear not! Our new monthly devlog summary talks all about it, so head over there if you’re feeling out of the loop!