The team at Project Gamechanger has been really busy this week. From creating models, tweaking animations and making new visual fx, to working on getting Depths of Erendorn playable in the engine, there’s a lot to get through! Before we dive in, we’d like to invite you all to join us on either Twitter, Instagram or Reddit, where all of our daily updates are posted!

3D Modelling

Following on from where we were in our last devlog, this week our 3D Modeller finished sculpting the Spiny Lizard. With that and the Swamp variation now completed, they were able to move on to sculpting the Thorny Lizard, which the Spiny Lizard was used as a base for:

  • Before the generic Lizard base sculpt had been altered to look ‘spiny’ or ‘swampy,’ a morph target had been stored by our Modeller.
  • Using this morph target, they ‘erased’ certain changes on the Spiny Lizard sculpt to get it looking closer to the Thorny Lizard.
  • This was a much faster way of creating a third Lizard variation, as opposed to sculpting it from scratch like the other two sculpts.

The last Lizard variation our 3D Modeller had to make was the Big Lizard, and once this was done they were able to start retopologising all of the different sculpts. So far, they’ve retopologised and unwrapped the Swamp and Spiny Lizard, and are currently in the process of doing this for their Thorny friend as well. Next week, we hope to have all the sculpts at the point where they can be textured, and then we can start bringing them to life! 

Animation

When we moved to Unreal Engine, our Animator had to update all the rigs so that they matched the new unique rigging system we implemented, which is where all bipedal characters share the same rig. This is why, over the last several weeks, our Animator has had to replace the old rig on animations with the new rig before making a few necessary adjustments, due to the transfer not always being 100% perfect.

With that being said, they began this week by making changes to several animations for several characters. The animation for Dodge, for example, was adjusted for the Watertarg Excursionist, Twilight Elf Assassin, Human Knight and Earthen Dwarf, except that the animation differs slightly depending on the character:

  • For the Assassin and Watertarg, Dodge was tweaked to be more fluid and agile, since these characters are known for their swift and light movements.
  • For the Knight and Dwarf, however, the old animation for Dodge was actually recreated so that it would be less agile than the one used for the Assassin and Watertarg. This is because the Knight and Dwarf should move in a heavier sort of way. 

Our Animator continued to work on a range of animations for these four various characters before importing them into the engine. In addition to Dodge, the Watertarg also had its Impair animation updated. The Twilight Elf Assassin had things like Spinning Kick, Swift Strike and Crane Kick edited, exported and then, finally, imported; the same went for the Knight and Earthen Dwarf for animations like Giant Strike, Bash and Rage. Once all of these animations had been tidied up, edited and exported, they were all imported into Unreal for further testing. 

WIP animation of Twilight Elf Assassin perfoming 'Dodge' from Depths of Erendorn
The Dodge animation for the Twilight Elf Assassin was made to look more agile due to the stealthy nature of this character.

Environment Art

Continuing on with the creation of set pieces for the Cave Dungeons, some low poly stalagmites were created this week. They were then UV unwrapped, baked and textured. These stalagmites will join our previously made flowstones in some of Erendorn’s Cave Dungeons. 

Preview of stalagmite models in Marmoset
Stalagmites and flowstones will appear as set pieces in our Cave Dungeons.

Visual FX

More visual effects were created for the Forest Druid’s arsenal of spells this week. If you remember last week’s devlog, you’ll know that one of the things on our VFX Artist’s to-do list was to add realistic vines to the Vine Lash visual FX. 

To get going on this, they spent a lot of time looking into how to deal with vine/roots that will ‘swoosh’ around the Forest Druid, and they have gone through a lot of iterations with this. We’re hoping to settle on a version soon, and are looking into using animated meshes for it.

Other than Vine Lash, our VFX Artist also worked on a couple other abilities for the Forest Druid:

  • Binding Roots: This ability roots all one-tile enemies in the room for one whole turn.
  • Nature’s Rescue: This ability heals the player for small amounts of Health every turn for four turns, and can only be used when the player has lower than 50% Health.

Alongside this, our VFX Artist has also been doing a little spring cleaning, tidying file structures to make all of our effects easier to find. This is really important to do when you have a number of VFX that are starting to stack up because it makes for a much more efficient workflow.

Programming

This week in Programming, a material was created to display stat percentages as bars. These will be useful for displaying Health and Mana, as well as Energy levels. But there were actually a lot of additions made this week:

  • The object pool was increased to display larger maps.
  • Movement path highlighting was added using splines.
  • An ‘attack’ command was added so that players can now use normal attacks against enemies.
  • Blueprint nodes were added for comparing grid distances between two points.
  • We also added a blueprint node to compare FlntPoint structures, which hold an X and Y value.
  • Pathfinder helper functions were then added in blueprints.

On the subject of the pathfinder, quite a bit of work was carried out on this by our Programmers this week. First off, they fixed the pathfinder’s path building function. This is because the player could not move more than one step per command, so the path needed reversing to allow the player to move more.

A secondary map functionality was then added to the pathfinder so that paths will now go around enemies. Finally, the pathfinder was updated to use a new structure that stores more information per step. We did this because the server needs this information if we want the player to be able to choose a direction they wish to face at the end of their movement, which will be added at a later date.

Furthermore, improvements have been made to the Turn System so that players now know when it is their turn and are able to end it. With regard to this, our Programmers have:

  • Implemented input type switching based on turn.
  • Improved how turns are informed and displayed in the client.
  • Created a number of events regarding turn changes that can be listened to by different managers or subsystems.

Entity Selection in the game has also been worked on this week, meaning that players can now see accurate information about the entities around them. Stats belonging to the currently selected entity, for example, are shown in the bottom right stat panel. Similarly, the abilities of selected entities are also now shown in the ability bar at the bottom of the screen.

The next point of call was the Ability System, in which single entity target abilities are now usable. To do this, our Programmers:

  • Implemented a system for performing abilities.
  • This system uses ability controllers to handle different targeting types.
  • Ability controllers were thus made for entity targeting abilities.
  • They then connected the ability bar input system to allow players to select, switch and cancel abilities for casting.
  • Finally, they added ability server request creation and handling to ability controllers.

The last thing our Programmers did this week was make a couple of fixes:

  • Player movement via server logs was fixed, since the player wasn’t being moved correctly.
  • Fixes were also made to resolve a lobby bug, which caused XP/Seed to switch each time the settings were attempted to be updated. 

All of this work continues our Programmers’ objective to get Depths of Erendorn up, running and playable in Unreal Engine. Since we switched over from Unity, this has been one of the main priorities as we’re planning on having the alpha version of the game ready by the beginning of next year. 

WIP animation for Impair from Depths of Erendorn
Impair was another animation tweaked for the Watertarg this week.

We’re excited about all of the progress that’s being made towards Depths of Erendorn this year – with the combination of animations and their respective VFX being tested in the engine, alongside sample sound effects, set pieces, new models and a hell of a lot of programming work, everything’s starting to come together in a really exciting way. If you want daily updates on all our progress, remember stay tuned to our social media!