This week, many updates have been made to Depths of Erendorn: our Rhinogar has been textured, more visual fx have been created, and we’ve even been working on the sound design for some of Erendorn’s beasts. Before we get into the details, remember to follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Reddit for daily updates on our fantasy RPG!

3D Modelling

Last week, we took you through the process of how we modelled the armour for the Rhinogar. Well, after retopologising it, followed by unwrapping then baking both the body and armour, we were able to move onto texturing this formidable enemy. 

Starting with the body, we first created a rhino skin material to help speed up the texturing process. We did this by using a tool called ‘Bitmap2Material,’ which is useful for making tiling materials. Using this, we took the skin texture from our previously modelled Blackhorn Rhino and turned it into a nice tiling material. This means that we can apply this detailed skin texture in a much more efficient way.

Once we had finished texturing the body, our Character Artist began thinking about how they could make the armour trims more visually interesting so that they would stand out more. This led us to try a variety of configurations to see how much leather and metal to use, as well as what colour and material to make the trims:

  • We tried leather-plated chest armour with metal borders
  • We experimented with the idea of metal versus leather wrist cuffs
  • The straps on the shoulder armour were also tested in both metal and leather
  • We configured a metal-only armour set that had yellow trim, and then another with gold trim
  • Another set was made to have metal-plated chest armour, but with leather borders

In the end, we decided to lean towards the configuration that had a little bit of everything: metal chest armor, with leather wrist cuffs and waist armour that are bordered by a sliver of metal. We liked the look of the gold trim on this armour set, so that is the configuration we’re running with for now – though slight adjustments may still be made. 

To add a few finishing touches, our Character Artist decided to paint the opacity of the Rhinogar’s under-armour skirt in order to make it look ripped and more haggard. They then went on to paint on a layer of chainmail on top of the skirt to create more visual interest, as well as to solidify the fact that these characters are battle-hungry enemies. 

Animation

Following all the work we did last week to transfer the Forest Druid’s animations to its new rig, our Animator had to do a bit of rig troubleshooting this week after the animations didn’t end up exporting well. The issue was that the exported rig was a bit off in the face, especially after the changes we made to it last week; but after re-exporting the rig and animations, the problem was soon fixed.

We then finished up some work we had left for the Watertarg, such as exporting the rest of its animations that we hadn’t yet exported, as well as adding an ‘unequip weapon’ animation since this character had been missing one. Our Animator then turned their attention to Unreal:

  • The main rig that all bipedal characters will be using was reimported, since some additional bones were added to it a while ago. 
  • The rigs and first sets of animations for the Twilight Elf Assassin, Watertarg and Forest Druid were then imported into the engine. 
  • The files were then moved to the official project. We can now begin testing these three characters’ rigs and animations on the new main rig. 

One character that we didn’t import to the engine was the Parakaw, which was also worked on last week. To get this playable character ready for the engine, our Animator had to first finish up transferring and editing its animations so that they would fit the new rig. With all this going according to plan, we’re now starting to prepare the Parakaw for export so that it can join its friends in the engine! 

Environment Art

Work continued on sculpting the flowstone set pieces that we started in last week’s devlog. Our progress in this area went really well as we’ve managed to improve the general quality across multiple flowstone assets. We’re now in the process of adding tertiary and micro details. Once this phase is complete, the next phase will be to create low poly meshes.

The next lot of set pieces our Environment Artist is looking to create are stalagmites. To get started, they conducted a bit of research into stalagmites and their overall form. This helped to gain a method of approach from a modelling standpoint, which will help speed up the sculpting process when we come to create these assets. There was also some research done into how we can achieve large world procedural foliage placement with Houdini, something which is quite essential given the size of Erendorn and its landscapes.

Black and white 3D model of a Flowstone
We’re now in the process of adding tertiary and micro detailing to our flowstone set pieces.

Visual FX

Following on from last week’s visual effects, more work was spent on getting the Birds of Prey ability up-to-scratch. To do this, we created prototypes for this ability and worked on systems that would handle mesh effects better. If you follow us on social media, you’ll also have seen the three effect variations we tested for Birds of Prey, in way of birds diving and stealing some chips! 

Our VFX Artist then went on to create the visual effects for:

  • Relentless: When your Health is below 75%, 50% or 25%, you’re granted an increase in Energy Regeneration, Movement or Resilience respectively. 
  • Hammerblow: A skill of the Earthen Dwarf, Hammerblow allows the player to deal a significant amount of Physical Damage to their opponents.
  • Double Strike: This is another skill that deals Physical Damage, this time to 2 enemies – although there will need to be only 2 enemies adjacent to the player in order for this to work. 

There were a few issues with the effect of Double Strike, since the first version only showed one strike instead of two. Luckily, this was a quick fix, and our VFX Artist added a second strike effect around the player, this time making it appear more like a slice through the air. We were also originally considering showing this effect as two strikes, one after the other, hitting the ground; upon further discussions, we thought this might be too similar to the Hammerfall ability from previous weeks, and felt that the circular ‘slice’ effect was the perfect alternative. 

Sound Design

After developing our characters’ sonic identities through their unique-sounding footsteps last week, our Sound Artist decided to change things up a bit by working on some beast sounds. There will be a huge variety of beasts and fauna in Depths of Erendorn; some of these will accost your party as you travel, while others will be included in the background to help breathe life into the world we’re creating. 

Whether friends or foes, it’s important to get the sound effects for our various creatures just right so that our players can feel more immersed in the game. With that said, the beasts we created sounds for this week include the Hawk, Bear, Boar, Eagle, Rat, Frost, Crab and Dog. 

Since these are only level 1 beasts, our Sound Artist ensured that they didn’t sound too massive or intimidating. This not only helps to indicate their smaller size and level of threat, it also sets a precedent, meaning that we will be able to give higher level beasts a greater presence with their sounds. If we had made these lower level beasts sound too intimidating, on the other hand, it would lessen the impact of more threatening creatures. 

This is the work-in-progress sound effect for the Silver Hawk.
This is the work-in-progress sound effect for the Glacial Boar.
This is the work-in-progress sound effect for the Black Bear.

Programming

This week in Programming, Game Action Log functions and classes were created. This means that the Game State now updates via logs that are stored, and there are many different types of logs that can happen. Together, these logs describe to the Client everything that has happened in the game to that point. This information then needs to be parsed from its serialised form into a form that the Client can understand and use, so we’re pleased that the means to do this was achieved this week. 

In addition to this, we also created Data Managers in the Game Mode. These manage specific parts of the data, like the Entity Manager, which we created last week. Each manager class now listens to the Game State update that comes from the server when joining a dungeon. They also now set themselves up with any data stored in the Game State that the Client retrieves when entering the game. This will allow players to join games that are in progress, as well as from the start. 

We also carried out some work on damage shields:

  • Entity Damage Shields data structures and parse functions have been added to the Client.
  • A manager for them was also created in the Client so that we can track and show data from ongoing damage shields in the game.
  • Damage shields add a protective layer in front of the player and help to absorb the impact of incoming damage. They can be caused by abilities, like Solemn Word by the Knight.

Wrapping things up, we added the functionality for the Entity Library to load a specific number of each enemy class on demand. On doing this, a map can now be given to the Library with a list of entity IDs and a number of each one to create. This is needed so that assets can be preloaded when joining a dungeon, reducing any frame drops from spawning characters during a game in progress. The last thing our Programmers did this week was fix a small issue with how Set Pieces in the generator were storing their rotational information. 

Thanks for tuning into this week’s devlog! If you’d like to see an overview of everything we’ve been up to this month, then keep an eye on our company site where we’ll be posting our monthly devlog summary in the next few days.