We’ve got another devlog for all you gamers out there, with insights into our 3D modelling and animation processes, our visual FX and sound design creation, and even what our Programmers get up to in the engine. Join us on Twitter, Instagram and Reddit for regular updates on our fantasy RPG in development, Depths of Erendorn – now let’s get started!

3D Modelling

After spending the last few weeks modelling multiple lizard variations, it’s safe to say that our 3D Modeller was more than relieved to work on a different character class this week. In the past, we’ve done a lot of work on the Twilight Elves, namely for the playable Assassin class. We thought we’d continue our work on this character race by creating the sculpts of two more classes: the Twilight Elf Civilian and Merchant.

Our 3D Artist began by integrating some leather padding into the design of the shirt in order to create a unique clothing option for these Twilight Elves. This was added in panels around the neck and shoulders of the top, a style that was inspired by leather jackets. This seemed like an apt design element because Twilight Elves are one of the more badass races in Erendorn, given their attunement to the Void and less-than-friendly countenance. The Twilight Elf Assassin also has similar leather padding on its design, so including these pads also creates visual coherency among the race.

The leather padding for the shirt that the Merchant and Civilian wear was actually made using a similar process to what was used to create the Twilight Elf Assassin’s armour. We also recreated the same diamond pattern on it for consistency between these class types:

  • Our 3D Artist started by using a noisemaker plugin in ZBrush to distribute a chequered pattern/alpha onto the mesh.
  • Since this was applied via UV projection, they needed to unwrap and adjust the mesh UVs in order to get the pattern wrapped and rotated on the model in the right way.
  • From there, our 3D Artist could apply the noisemaker preview as a mask and finally inflate the unmasked areas in order to create the leather padding. 

Once the leather padding was created, our 3D Artist could block out and sculpt the rest of the clothing and equipment for these Twilight Elves:

  • A shoe design was discussed and created for both classes.
  • These shoes were decided to be simple boots, with buckles on the back for added interest.
  • The Merchant’s backpack design was changed from a cylinder to a more basket-like design.
  • This was decided on after assessing the construction and feasibility of a cylindrical bag.
  • Folds and creases were added to the clothing, and our artist almost died sculpting all of this cloth.

When sculpting the shirt, we decided to make it a similar fit to that of a ‘muscle-fit’ shirt. This way, a strong waist line would be present despite the absence of a belt, which we felt would have overcomplicated the design of these two characters.

In addition to this, while the Civilian is free from accessories altogether, we decided to add some small bottles of potions to the Merchant’s design, which ties in nicely with the fact that Twilight Elves are well-versed in toxic warfare. Potion bottles had already been made when we were modelling the Human Merchants, but they were never used – so these came in handy this week! Both the Twilight Elf Civilian and Merchant sculpts are now finished and ready for texture in the coming weeks. 

Animation

In our last devlog, we took you through how our Animator is going to be recreating the special attack animations for all of our character’s, and we showed you how they did this for the Twilight Elf Assassin, Watertarg Excursionist and Earthen Dwarf. With this in mind, this week they started reviewing the special attack animations for the Human Knight:

  • Revenge Thrust: This ability animation was recreated so that it can work with several weapons. While the original animation was based on the two-handed sword only, the updated version can now work with both two-handed and one-handed weapons. 
  • Heaving Blow: On a similar note, the animation for this special ability is focussed on two-handed weapons, and is also being reviewed so that we can figure out how to change it to fit more weapon types. This is important since the Knight can use a variety of weapons, from two-handed swords and poleaxes to one-handed spears and maces.

Our Animator also started to create some ideas for block animations in order to figure out what the best option would be for different types of blocks. They first experimented with the animation for blocking normal attacks, which was tested with a shield. This animation was kept quite generic so that it could also be used for stronger attacks if the VFX for it were changed. However, the Knight might not always have a shield, so an animation for blocking with a weapon also had to be created.

The ‘block with weapon’ animation was tested with a one-handed sword, though our Animator was concerned that the movement looked too similar to a parry than a block. To resolve this:

  • The animation was adjusted so that it looked more like a stance.
  • This was done by having the Knight hold his weapon and pause after he stepped forward.
  • This makes it appear as though he is bracing himself for impact, rather than parrying an attack.
  • The sword was also adjusted to be more diagonal so that it could block the attacks of smaller enemies, like rats.

When it comes to blocking with a shield, the turn-based nature of the game means that the player will activate their shield in one turn, and then the block will activate on their next turn. For player gratification, our Animator thought it would be a good idea to have an animation for the actual activation of a shield block. We do this for the Earthen Dwarf when the Rage ability is activated, and are currently in the process of reusing this animation for the Knight. Though it will need to be toned down a bit, we’re liking how it’s looking so far – so we’ll keep you posted on how it all goes.

Environment Art

This week, our Environment Artist has been working on unique asset production for our dungeons. This is following our Concept Artist’s creation of asset designs that we shared on social media recently, including illustrations of things like shrines, altars, floor lamps and obelisks. After deciding on a prop to make, our Environment Artist was then provided with Orthographic views of the concept to work from. 

One of our favourite concepts created by our artist was of a stone portal, so this was one of the first assets we decided to make. Our Environment Artist has started bringing this to life by blocking out its form, and they also did this for a few other minor assets, including the stone chain, two types of floor lamps and an urn. 

This part of the creation process is important for capturing the silhouette, shape and scale of each prop. It also gives us a good idea of how each object should be UV mapped and helps our Environment Artist to anticipate any challenges they may face moving forwards.

Visual FX

Loads of visual FX were created for abilities and skills this week, starting with Backstab. Used by the Twilight Elf Assassin, this deals a small amount of Damage when attacking an enemy from behind, and also grants a permanent increase in Movement. 

While the VFX for regular hits are shown as a quick slice with subtle, orange particle effects around it, this slice effect was elongated for Backstab and distinguished by a purple glow. More particle effects were included, as well, and these were also made purple. Our VFX Artist went on to refine the effects even further for the Improved Backstab ability, which deals an extra amount of Maximum Damage. They made this ability unique by adding even more particle effects to it as well as a black cloud that appears and dissipates along with the main slice effect. As we mentioned earlier, this shadow-like effect is a nod to the fact that Twilight Elves have an attunement to the Void, and the purple colour that unites a lot of the Assassin’s visual FX is also a response to this character trait. 

Other skills and abilities worked on this week include:

  • Swift Hit: This skill deals a significant amount of Physical Damage to an opponent and also has the potential to stun said opponent. It can be used by the Assassin and Watertarg.
  • Palm Strike: Another generic skill used by the Assassin and Watertarg, this also deals a good amount of Physical Damage to an enemy.
  • Giant Strike: More powerful than Palm Strike, this deals Physical Damage to an adjacent target and can be used by the Human Knight and Watertarg.
  • Charge: This allows either the Knight or Earthen Dwarf to charge into an enemy within 2-4 tiles of them, dealing a decent amount of Physical Damage.
  • Quick Counter: When activated, the next melee attack made against you is automatically countered by a normal attack, at no energy cost to the player. It can be used by the Assassin and Blue Melmee.

Our VFX Artist ended the week by starting work on an early version of Shrouded Step, which is used by the Assassin and Watertarg to teleport within an 8 tile range – so come back next week to see how we get on with that. 

Sound Design

Sound effects for a few generic spells and skills were worked on this week, so they’re nearly all ready now! Our Sound Artist also created effects for some abilities of the Twilight Elf Assassin, like Shift Strike, Backstab and Improved Backstab. For these, loads of breathy reverb was include in order to match the Void shadow effects that our VFX Artist has been using for this character.

The Twilight Elf Assassin’s abilities have also benefited from some blade sounds, which have been made higher in pitch and also wetter, a combination that gives the feeling of quick and deadly cuts. 

In addition to this, our Sound Artist has also been busy creating some gruesome sound fx for some of the Undead enemies in Depths of Erendorn:

  • Ghouls: These were, ironically, brought to life with some deep groans that will blend into the ambience of the environments they’re in. While these are low level enemies, they come in hordes, so our artist didn’t want the sound to be too abrasive as the players will likely hear them quite often.
  • Revenants: Similar to the Skeletons we worked on not long ago, ethereal breath and groans were created for these enemies – except they were deeper and much more layered, and featured higher-pitched whispering over the top in order to match the magical abilities that Revenant’s have. Revenants are also the most powerful level 1 enemies, so these sound effects were created in order to make them sound more intimidating.
These are some of the sound effects for the Revenants’ idle.
These are some of the sound effects for the Revenants’ hit reactions.
These are some of the sound effects for the Revenants’ death.

Programming

This week, our Programmers created an Ability Manager that will handle the selection and casting of abilities. A lot of work was also carried out in the Room Builder, starting with updating all currently-used set pieces to orient correctly with built maps. In addition to this:

  • We added logic to wait for set pieces to fully load before a room is shown.
  • We updated logic for unloading rooms and set pieces.
  • We updated game mode to facilitate rerolls.

Following this, alternating materials were added on movement splines to indicate the number of steps a player would have taken. Like this, there were a few additions made this week:

  • A few logs were added to the Lobby Controller so that it will have more detailed logs.
  • Status effects tracking was added for Game Entities.
  • This status effects tracking was then added to the display above the character.

Speaking of status effects, our Programmers created a widget for them this week, which was then implemented in order to respond to changes. A log was then added to the lobby as new delegates were added to status-related game entities, allowing us to have the UI react to statuses. Our Programmers then added a function to the Status Effects Manager that makes it possible to retrieve a status from its ID. 

The final thing we did in the engine this week was make a few fixes:

  • A Game Log Parse error with status effects was fixed.
  • Party portraits were fixed so that a player’s own portrait is now always at the top.
  • We also fixed various problems with the movement spline, which was looping back on itself when displaying. It now extends from the character, and will no longer have an incorrect end piece.
WIP vfx for Backstab from Depths of Erendorn
This shows all the variations between regular hits, the Backstab ability and its more powerful counterpart, Improved Backstab.

We hope you enjoyed this week’s devlog! Remember to follow us on social media for daily updates on Depths of Erendorn.