Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone – love is definitely in the air for the team at Project Gamechanger, especially as we set our sights on the upcoming weekend! But before that, we bring you a nice intimate devlog: lizards have been sculpted, VFX have been conjured and new, gruesome sounds have been heard from the mouths of our Skeletons. Before we get into the good stuff, remember to follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Reddit for daily updates on Depths of Erendorn! 

3D Modelling

After sculpting the generic Lizard base in last week’s devlog, we were then able to retopologise it in order to create the base mesh. We originally planned to subdivide this mesh before transferring sculpt detail onto it. However, after encountering numerous issues with transferring those details, our 3D Modeller found that it was best to abandon this workflow. Despite this, we’re hoping that we will be able to use the Lizard base mesh in order to drastically speed up the retopology of the final Lizard models. 

Speaking of, we went on to use the Lizard base as a foundation for several variations of Lizards that will exist in Depths of Erendorn, starting with the Swamp Lizard. To create this low level enemy, we made a few modifications to the current Lizard base so that it matched the Swamp Lizard concept:

  • A long frill was added along the length of the spine;
  • A set of horns unique to the Swamp Lizard were added to the head;
  • The skin was made to look like it was melting, or oozing from the face, mirroring the swamplands.

Once the Swamp Lizard sculpt was completed, we moved on to sculpting the Spiny Lizard. Like its aforementioned subspecies, Spiny Lizards have a unique set of horns adorning their body. These spikes are their most distinctive quality, and our Modeller had a lot of fun creating them. 

They actually started by making a goat’s horn, which they then manipulated into several variations. We would have usually added details to the spikes during the texturing phases but, because the elbow spikes will have to be retopologised as one piece, our Modeller decided that it would be better to detail all the spikes now rather than later. 

Animation

This week, our Animator has been mostly working on transferring and adjusting the generic skills of certain characters, namely the Human Knight, Twilight Elf Assassin, Watertarg and Earthen Dwarf. After most of the generic skills had been transferred to these characters, our Animator then started to take each character individually to prepare its generic skills for export, starting with the Watertarg:

  • After adjusting the skills to fit the Watertarg’s rig, these were then exported to the engine.
  • Skills exported include things like Disarm, Kick, Palm Strike, Swift Strike, Sprint, 1 Handed and 2 Handed Weapon Equip, and Double Strike.
  • The skill Leap was split into three parts: take off, air loop and landing. Each part was then exported to the engine.

After all these generic skills for the Watertarg had been imported into Unreal, our Animator started to recreate the animation for Dodge. They had to do this because the old animation could not be transferred as something had broken in the old rig. Similarly, our Animator also had to create a new animation for Impair since the original one looked too similar to a pre-existing basic attack.

Environment Art

In the ongoing effort to create set pieces for our Cave Dungeons, three more high poly flowstones were completed this week. Low poly versions were then created for each of them before they were UV mapped and, finally, baked. 

As we mentioned in last week’s devlog, we have also started to create another form of set pieces, this time in the form of stalagmites. With this in mind, our Environment Artist has started working on a Substance Smart material that can be used for the stalagmites. This is an advanced material that uses baked data, such as curvature, normal, AO and world aligned normals, to texture assets. The good news is that we will also be able to use this material on our flowstones, enabling us to create a range of realistic set pieces for our dungeons.

3 variations of textured flowstone models
Three new variations of flowstones were created this week. These will be used as set pieces in our Cave Dungeons.

Visual FX

This week, our Visual FX Artist has continued to create more vfx for our playable Forest Druid. Part of this process involved experimenting with the Forest Druid’s spell identity. This is important to do so that there is a visual coherence among all of her abilities, so that players can feel a unique sense of identity when they choose to play as her. 

Just as we used a strong astrological theme for the Parakaw Astromancer’s spell effects, reflecting this character’s affinity with the stars, we decided to bind all of the Forest Druid’s spells together with a nature theme. This is reminiscent of the fact that, in Depths of Erendorn, Forest Druids live in complete synchronicity with nature. With this in mind, the visual effects for many of the following abilities are united by a green colour pallet:

  • Hunting Spear: If an enemy is next to a wall or object, using Hunting Spear will skewer them against it whilst causing Physical Damage and Stun. 
  • Draining Seed: This ability will gradually eat away at an enemy’s Strength over three turns. While it can’t be stacked on one enemy, it can be used on multiple. 
  • Nature Bolt: Not only does this spell deal Nature Damage that ignores Resilience and Armour, this Damage is increased by 10% for every point of the enemy’s Maximum Movement.
  • Replenishment: This gives the player the chance to double their Health and Mana Regeneration each turn.
  • Vine Lash: Used at melee range, Vine Lash deals Nature Damage that ignores Resilience and Armour whilst simultaneously disarming the enemy.

Our VFX Artist actually decided to rework the Vine Lash effect in the end, making it a bit simpler and changing the ‘swoosh’ effect to real, physical vines that lash round. Next week, we’ll be creating the vines for this effect, as well as sculpting a mesh for Nature Bolt so that it’s not so jagged and looks less like a placeholder. We’ll also be making a model spear for Hunting Spear so that we can add the VFX on top of it – so stay tuned for that!

Sound Design

More sound effects have been created for our Humanoid characters and Beasts this week, with a specific focus on the enemies that will be implemented into the game first. Since there are hundreds of enemies of Depths of Erendorn, our Sound Artist decided to start with some of the Undead creatures, like the Ghosts, Zombies and Skeletons. 

Many of these harrowing enemies are now being brought to life with sound effects, especially the Skeleton Archer, which received a lot of gruesome sounds for its:

  • Idle, which features some low, grisly panting;
  • Movement, which has been made to sound like the Skeleton is almost squelching through mud;
  • Hit Reactions, similar to the idle, the sound effects for this convey guttural panting;
  • Death, which involves a few distorted and monstrous-sounding effects.

Some generic sound designs have also been created for future additions to abilities. For example, an ability that increases the damage and power of a bow and arrow has had its sound effect drafted this week. Work will continue on this in the following weeks, so make sure you stick around to hear all the new updates!

This is the sound effect for when the Skeleton Archer moves.
This is the sound effect that will play when the Skeleton Archer is idle.
These are the various sound effects for the Skeleton Archer’s hit reactions.
This is how the Skeleton Archer will sound when it dies.
These are the sounds the Skeleton Archer will make when it attacks.

Programming

From fixing the GameState Updater Desync and stopping the ability bar from crashing in the Client, to working on input controls that will interact with the game, our Programmers have had another busy week inside UE4, with a lot of fixes having been made:

  • Doors were not being added to the Set Piece Information on the server, so this was one of the first issues we had to resolve.
  • Speaking of doors, we also resolved an issue that was causing spawn-points on doors to be incorrectly collated when loading a set piece.
  • The height of the rooms in the Dungeon Generator was being miscalculated, causing half of the doors in the game to be placed incorrectly – luckily, this is now also fixed.

There were also a lot of successes made this week in Programming, starting with the creation of a Grid Pathfinder for the Client. This pathfinder will resolve movement paths for the playable character in the client, allowing the player to move around. In addition to this, the Game Server now uses a new spawn system for adding players to the game. Finally, a dungeon entrance was added, replacing the need to have several spawn-points along one wall in the first room. 

WIP vfx for Replenishment from Depths of Erendorn
Replenishment gives the player the chance to double their Health and Mana Regeneration.

That’s it for this week! Thanks to those of you who have made it this far – we’ll see you next week for another update on Depths of Erendorn!