Welcome back to another devlog, everyone! Thanks for joining us again as we take you through all of our updates from the week. Whether you’re interested in 3D Modelling and asset creation, visual FX or sound design, animation or even programming, we’ve got a bit of everything for everyone. Before we get started, remember to head over to our Twitter, Instagram or Reddit for daily updates on Depths of Erendorn!
After finishing off the sculpts of the Twilight Elf Merchant and Civilian in our last devlog, this week we were able to retopologise and unwrap these sculpts before texturing everything. Both characters were textured very similarly, with dark blue cloth that matches their skin so as to maintain visual coherency among this particular race. In addition to this, there were a few extra details added to the Merchant:
- The backpack was given a rough leather texture in order to appear well-used.
- The potions that the Merchant carries were originally textured in bright, almost luminous colours.
- These were changed to be a bit more opaque and generic, which matches the Twilight Elves a little better.
With the Twilight Elf Merchant and Civilian done and dusted, our 3D Modeller started work on the Storm Elf Warriors. Storm Elves are a variant Elven race that are characterised by their affinity with and ability to hone lightning. As such, they are identified not only by their especially elongated ears, but also by their scars caused by the lightning, which pattern their bodies in branches and forks. While Storm Elves aren’t playable characters, players will meet and even battle against many Storm Elves as they wander through Erendorn.
Our 3D Modeller actually created the base mesh for these characters over a year ago, which meant that this week they were able to jump straight in to blocking out the clothing of the Warriors and sculpting all the details:
- A thick and nicely padded tunic was first sculpted to make these characters a bit bulkier and more suited to battles.
- A harness that belts around the waist was also created, before overlapping plates of armour were added on top and detailed with ridges.
- Bracers were then added to the wrists. Since the design for these was a bit fancier than a simple cylinder, our 3D Modeller first painted a plan of them to get the shape exactly right.
We’re hoping to move on to texturing the Storm Elf Warrior in the coming days, so make sure you keep an eye out if you want to see how it comes together!
Following on from the work in our last devlog, our Animator recreated another special ability this week: Heaving Blow, one of the Human Knight’s starting abilities that deals a good amount of Physical Damage. The original animation for this was only focussed for two-handed weapons, so the main edits our Animator made to it were in order to get it usable for both one-handed and two-handed weapons. They also made a few polishes during this process, and the final animation is looking a lot more adaptable for the expansive list of weapons that the Knight can use.
When they weren’t working on this, our Animator was focussed on getting some of our enemies, namely the Zombies and Skeletons, ready to join the game engine. To do this:
- The rig for the Zombies and Skeletons was updated so that they will be able to share the same, unique rig in the engine.
- The skin weights were then also updated for both characters, since these needed some adjustments following the rig changes.
- Current animations for the Zombies and Skeletons were then transferred and adjusted on the updated rig. These included things like their idles, hit reactions, attacks and death animations.
We’re now also in the middle of making a plan for enemy quadrupeds that will share another unique rig in the engine. We’re doing this for smaller enemies that will be able to easily share a rig, like dogs, wolves, cats and bears, and once we’ve got a plan down we’ll be able to start adding all the bones and features onto the unique rig for quadrupeds. The bigger four-legged enemies, like the Mammoth, Boar and Blackhorn Rhino, may need a separate rig made for them in addition to all this, but we’ll see how it all plays out.
Our stone portal is really starting to come together now as our Environment Artist spent their week working on this asset. They started by sculpting a high poly portal, which was then retopologised and UV mapped in order to create a new, low poly mesh. From their, the portal was baked and the texturing process began:
- A rugged stone texture was added in order to make its architecture appear more organic.
- A luminous turquoise light was then used to bring out the magical elements of the portal.
Stone portals will be assets that appear in our dungeons – but they’re not just for decoration. Players will eventually be able to use portals to travel longer distances, so this is why we want to really accentuate their magical properties.
This week, our VFX Artist spent some time working on atmospheric effects that will appear in the background of some of our rooms. Before we get into this, though, we’ll run you through some of the awesome abilities that had new visual FX created for them:
- Bind: Used by the Forest Druid and Parakaw, this ability enables the player to choose two one-tile enemies and root them for one whole turn.
- Cleave: This is a powerful melee attack of the Earthen Dwarf and Human Knight, dealing damage to a chosen enemy as well as any enemies that are to the left and right of the target.
- Rupture Kick: This is used by the Twilight Elf Assassin to deal high amounts of Physical Damage to an opponent, as well as reduce its overall Strength for one turn.
- Rush: A Human Knight specialty, this allows the player to charge into a tile up to two spaces away and damage adjacent enemies. It also allows you to charge through enemies if needed.
When it came to creating atmospheric effects, our VFX Artist decided to go for fireflies as these add an ethereal touch to our often dark dungeons. Once created, these fireflies were then tested around an object as well as an entire room. Magical floating lights were then also created for some background visual effects, and these were similarly tested in a room alongside some placeholder characters. We love the fantastical elements that these effects create, so will definitely be playing around with them more in the future.
A lot of beast sounds were worked on this week for low level enemies like Giant Rats, Swamp Rats and Wolvajins. Even though these are all just level one enemies, we still want them all to have their own identity so that we can differentiate between them and make them each seem unique.
When creating the sound effects for these beasts, we didn’t want them to sound, for example, like the generic rat or werewolf characters that you find in any game. At the same time, our Sound Artist also couldn’t go too bizarre with the effects because audiences have pre-conditioned expectations of how certains creatures should sound. We think we found the perfect middle ground between these two extremes, and are especially pleased with the sound effects for the Wolvajins – let us know what you think!
This week in the game engine, a lot of work was carried out on Ballots. For instance, ballot buttons have been updated so that they show when hovered over, and ballots themselves have been updated to highlight selected options and disable unselected options. In addition to this, our Programmers also did a fair bit of work in the Room Builder. They:
- Updated the execution order, storing and building of rooms to facilitate multiple rooms.
- Added the ability to build consecutive rooms after enemies in the current one have been defeated.
- Added reroll votes for consecutive rooms, and allowed rooms to be rerolled, joined and played.
Our Programmers also recreated the movement spline this week, which shows movement around the grid, in order to give it a slightly transparent look. While it’s still very much a placeholder object, it does look and work much better than it did previously. As well as this, a material function was created that allows us to make any image tileable. This can be used mostly with noise images, where even if they dont tile we can now use them and make them tile.
Following this, a lot of additions were made in order to get notifications functioning correctly:
- We added an archive panel for displaying all previous notifications.
- We added a callback function to allow pop ups to handle player choices.
- We added a pop up for when a room has been beaten or the player’s team has been defeated.
- We added a specific notification for local player, team player and enemy team turn starts.
- We added an on-screen pop up notification that can be used by any manager to display a message.
Another change made this week was in the server code and moving between rooms. Working together, our Programmers changed the structure of the process and added in another layer to make the code more manageable and more logically sound. This required refactoring some old code and adding some new code in, too. The result is a much smoother user experience and is much easier to work with for developers.
Most of our Programmers’ work this week has been in laying the foundations for replacing the rudimentary walls for newly created wall splines. Doing this will create flowing, linked-up walls which can be bent to create any shape. Right now, they aren’t complete, but we’re hoping that we’ll get to a point today where they are. If not, they will be finished for next week.
That’s it for now! Thanks again for joining us in this week’s devlog. We’ll continue to put out daily updates on our fantasy RPG over the coming days, so keep an eye out for those. Remember to stay safe, guys, and we’ll see you next week!