This week’s development update on Depths of Erendorn takes you through how we’re creating visual coherency in the game’s first settlement, as well as our new workflow for creating weapon sound effects. We’ve also added a ton of new abilities to Talent Selection, and have even started animating, sound designing, and concepting VFX for these. Before we get started, give us a follow on Twitter, Instagram or Reddit – now let’s get into it!

3D Modelling 

The sculpts for the lower and upper level Beastmasters were finished this week. While the lower level Beastmaster will be playable in the game, the more powerful Hardened Beastmaster will appear as a fierce enemy – and don’t think you’ll get special treatment just because you’re kin: 

  • The innate ability of Beastmasters to bond with an animal means that the Hardened class type will have a wild creature that battles at its side
  • Usually a wolf or bear, this fearsome duo will fight to the death for each other, so you’d better hope that your team’s strategy is stronger than their dedication

After these sculpts were retopologised, our 3D Character Artist began unwrapping them. They’re now baked and ready for texture, so we’ll be working on that next week! Which is your favourite sculpt so far?

Environment Design 

Optimising A Trim Sheet For Ornamental Carvings

Continuing on with the trim sheet we’re making for ornamental details, this was reworked to look more Nordic, which we felt aligned with the settlement’s medieval undertone. We then added some more primitive carvings to the trim sheet to push this idea even further. 

We also managed to make this trim sheet more efficient: 

  • We cut the tiling patterns in half, then made them tile using the geometry they’re on
  • This means we can have higher resolution patterns and more space for designs on the trim sheet

With all of this work done, we began applying the trim to prop meshes. While they don’t look the best indoors, given how dark it is in the Guard House, they work well in daylight so we’re excited to get them fully implemented. This trim sheet is a major contributor towards getting the aesthetic of our settlement where we want it, so read on for a little bit more info about what we’re doing!

Reinforcing The Visual Theme Of The Settlement

A major goal our Environment Artists had this week was to reinforce the visual theme of the settlement using Viking inspiration (hence the Nordic carvings on the trim sheet). The overall feeling we wanted to achieve was that the settlement was a primitive place, but with elements of culture. 

We started off with the architecture, which we were overall very happy with; we just needed to add some flare and detail to certain aspects, like the pillars as well as many of the settlement assets. We achieved this using the trim sheet that we mentioned earlier, which we’ll use this to improve the overall appearance of our objects so that they’re more in line with Viking culture. 

We’ll also take this opportunity to create some “hero” architecture, such as figureheads on buildings and ornate doors, which will give the settlement and Guard House a more grandiose feeling. 

In addition to all this:

  • Beams and joists were added to the Guard House
  • Many detail decals were applied to the Guard House architecture
  • The decal material was revised to include damage parameters

Visual FX

This week was mainly about concepting some visual FX for Talent Abilities (which we’ll talk about later – jump to the Programming section if you wanna see what these are). 

To plan for these, our VFX Artist created some quick sketches on how each of these abilities could look. We’ll then be able to start bringing them to life once a final aesthetic has been decided – for now, check out the concept art below!

Sound Design 

This week, our Sound Artist has been busy recording new weapon sounds and transforming these into various hit effects for swords. Part of what made this possible was playing around with a new piece of software that gives us way more sound variations while making the editing process a lot easier:

  • Usually, our Sound Artist needs to layer a lot of different files together in order to get a nice sound
  • They would then have to tweak each one individually if we wanted to get multiple unique hits 
  • With this new software, they can throw all SFX files together and tweak them as an entire session
  • They can then randomise through everything so that we end up with hundreds of different sounds

Aside from weapon hits, sound effects for two of the Watertarg Excursionist’s abilities were drafted this week. These abilities include Ancient Bolt, which deals Arcane Damage to an enemy as well as slows them down, and Empowered Ancient Bolt, which is the upgraded version of this spell. These have now both been added to the engine where they’ll be tested alongside animations and visual effects. 

These are the impact sounds for Ancient Bolt
These are the impact sounds for Empowered Ancient Bolt
These are the cast sounds for Empowered Ancient Bolt
This is the new software we’re using for weapon sound effects.

Programming

Adding Abilities To Talent Selection

More work was carried out on Talent Selection this week. We spoke about this in last week’s devlog, but as a quick recap Talent Selection is basically a way for players to customise what abilities their chosen character starts with. In addition to all the default spells and skills, the player will be able to choose two generic abilities for their character so that they can play the game in the way they like best.

That said, more playable class talents were added to the new Talent System this week. Here’s a quick overview to give you a taste of how they work in the game:

The Earthen Dwarf

  • Quelling Wave: This means that on the turn when this is used, adjacent enemies will only deal the minimum amount of Physical Damage and are unable to critically strike
  • Summon Geyser: This allows you to target a 3×3 area. Enemies in that area will have their Resilience reduced for 1 turn. A significant amount of Physical Damage will also be dealt

The Watertarg Excursionist

  • Gutting Wound: This deals high amounts of Physical Damage to an adjacent target, and continues to cause damage the following turn. The target’s Energy Regeneration is halved as a result
  • Aquatic Swiftness: This grants you a little extra Movement for 3 turns, allowing you to get away from an enemy, or move closer to one, depending on the situation

The  Forest Druid

  • Savage Instinct: This deals Physical Damage to an adjacent enemy and restores a decent amount of Energy, Health, and Mana to the Druid
  • Forest Fury: When this is used, all enemies in the room have reduced Resilience and Strength for one turn. It also means that enemy spells cost them 50% more Mana

The Zentragal Illusionist 

  • Empowered Obscurity: This allows you to gain Mana Regeneration if you don’t receive any attacks that turn. The effect is doubled if you avoid being attacked for more than 1 turn
  • Charged Spiderling: This spell hatches an aggressive spiderling that attacks enemies with you. Upon death, the spiderling grants and restores any lost Mana to the Zentragal

The Twilight Elf Assassin

  • Voidshadow: This activates Stealth, meaning that you cannot move nor be targeted by enemies
  • Shadow Assault: This allows you to teleport 3 spaces away and attack a target 3 times for a good amount of Void Damage

In addition to adding all of these abilities to the Talent System, our Programmers also added a provoke mechanic. This will cause provoked targets to attack the entity that provoked them, and they’ll do this for the duration of the state. This is how the Zentragal’s spiderling will work. 

Animating Talent Abilities

While the visual effects are getting designed for all of these Talent abilities, our Animator has already cracked on with getting some animations ready. So far, this has been done for the Twilight Elf Assassin and their duo of shadowy spells:

  • Voidshadow shows the Assassin raising its arm in the air to activate Stealth. VFX will be added to this animation so that dark clouds, reminiscent of the Void, surge through the character
  • Shadow Assault was given a lot of a movement, with a combination of three deadly dagger strikes. Visual FX will emphasise these strikes with the addition of clouds and arching slices

Direction Ability Controllers

This week, we also finished creating Ability Controllers for abilities that take a combination of entities and directions, or tiles and directions. While this only includes the ability Push (for entity + direction) at the moment, it will allow us to cast and display targeting and selected targets for any future abilities that will require these combinations.

Movement Ability Templates

The other aim for this week was to add a piece that has been missing from the Action System’s ability templates: the option to modify how character movement happens during specific abilities. As a result, the last few days have been about breaking down the kinds of movements that happen in-game, and how we want them to be displayed, with the aim of allowing us to tie them in with the existing Ability Template rules. 

Three existing categories of movement have come up, and they are:

  1. Teleportation 
  2. Linear Movement 
  3. Jumping Movement 

As some of these movements require animation sequences, it’s been important to integrate the new movement types with the respective character Animation Controllers in a way that allows smooth execution during gameplay.

That’s it for this week – see you next Friday!