Welcome back to another Depths of Erendorn devlog! This week, we’re showing you our updated Cave Dungeons, as well as some in-game screenshots, ability VFX, and a new-and-improved skeleton sculpt that we think you’ll all like. As always, join us on Twitter, Instagram or Reddit for daily updates on our online RPG in development – now let’s get into it!

3D Modelling

Last week, our 3D Modeller made some small changes to the character shader in order to allow brightness and contrast adjustments to be made to the albedo maps in-engine. Thanks to this, our characters now look a lot more visible in the eerie depths of the caves. 

Continuing with their work on revamping current characters, last week our 3D Modeller also refitted the Frost Dwarf clothes to the new Dwarf base. If you remember, the new base is much stockier and bulkier than the original one, giving it much more of a Dwarven appearance. The Skeleton sculpt was also revamped last week to look more realistic, and we’re really stoked with how that turned out – all progress shots below!

Animation

Last week, our Animator continued updating the Knight’s animation rigs, since they were previously using an old version. They also made a few adjustments to the Knight’s basic two-handed weapon attacks and re-imported them into the engine.

After focusing on the Knight for a bit, our Animator moved onto refitting the new Dwarf mesh our 3D Modeller made to the rig. They then skinned the body and face, which will make it really easy to match the clothes later on. In the meantime, the Dwarf is just waiting patiently for his garbs to arrive:

Environment Design

Last week in the Environment Department, a new settlement wall was created using a sturdier and chunkier modular kit so that it better suited the aesthetic of the settlement’s buildings.

Also, in addition to tweaking the lighting of some dungeon set pieces, our Environment Artist optimised the candle flame by making it a mesh with a material that always faces the camera, rather than a particle effect. Not only is this a cheaper method, the way the material is animated also looks better than the previous version – so win win!

Overhauling the Cave Dungeon

We did a massive overhaul of our Cave Dungeons last week, which included the following work:

  • The skylight is now driven by a cube map
  • Post processing eye adaptation and auto exposure was fixed
  • Randomly spawned lights that weren’t emitting light have now been fixed
  • The cave wall material has been reworked, simplified, and its appearance upgraded
  • Directional light has been added to the lighting scene for the chance to create light shafts within caves

Visual FX

Last week, our VFX Artist was busy reworking a few pre-existing VFX for abilities. This includes:

  • Energising Mist: This increases the Energy in the area for all entities, including players and NPCs
  • Frostbolt: This deals Frost Damage and reduces an enemy’s Movement
  • Cursed Ground: This targets a 4×4 area and reduces Movement of all enemies within that area
  • Meditation: This allows you to change your Movement into Mana
‘Energising Mist’ rework

Sound Design

Reorganising Footsteps

A lot of testing and implementing went on again in Sound Design last week. Starting with footsteps, our Sound Artist reorganised a lot of these for characters in order to cut down the number of individual files implemented into the game. 

For example, a “Cat Footsteps” group was created with the purpose of being shared between all of the big cats in the game. While before each cat would have had 5-6 footsteps each, they now all have around 8 shared steps. We’ll still be able to individualise footsteps for characters, though, by using different cues that our Sound Artist can change the pitch of in-engine. This will mean that every character will have slightly different footsteps from the next, even though they’ll be sharing the same source file.

So, after all this work, most characters in the engine have now had their footsteps revisited and altered slightly so that they sound better in-game. 

Ambient Sounds

Next on our Sound Artist’s list was fixing an issue with ambient sounds:

  • They noticed an issue where some of the ambient tracks had an odd alien warble in them
  • They quickly figured out that Unreal compresses all newly imported audio to less than half their original quality
  • While this isn’t as noticeable on small clips, it really affects the overall quality of things like dungeon ambience – but don’t worry, because this is all fixed now!

Housekeeping

Moving on, wall torches and standing torches in the game now have their own SFX implemented. As well as this, the BPAs have all been updated so that our Artist can edit the sound effects for one torch and have the changes take effect for all of them simultaneously, which, you can imagine, saves a lot of time!

In addition to this:

  • The Scorpion stinger sound has been created and implemented
  • The potion drinking sound, created last week, has had the BPA and DAA made for it, meaning that it now triggers in-game properly
  • We utilised cues with the SFX for the Lightning Bolt and Giant Lightning Bolt abilities in order to save space
  • These abilities now share the same base clip but have different effects applied in-engine, which creates the difference in size and power
SFX and VFX for ‘Giant Lightning Bolt’

Programming

UI & UX Work

Last week, our Programmers were focused on continuing to add to and improve UI and UX. Part of this work involved exploring and implementing a new plugin called Outline Maker. Outline Maker makes use of post processing materials in Unreal Engine to allow us to apply Custom Depth Stencils to meshes. In a nutshell, this lets us draw outlines and fill over characters and objects.

The following areas were also worked on:

  • Hover Outlines: We added the ability for characters to highlight when hovered over
  • Target Filter Button: We added a context sensitive button for visualising enemy targets during gameplay. This feature has been something we’ve looked forward to adding for a while now and has been extremely helpful during playtests
  • While an enemy is selected: The character the enemy is targeting will now glow
  • While a friendly is selected: All enemies targeting that character will now glow
  • Occluded Character Fills Setting: Characters hidden behind walls are now highlighted

Server Rework

Last week, our Programmers were able to start kicking the new Golang server into gear thanks to the test client we made a couple of weeks ago. The test client will now:

  • Log in to the settlement server with login details
  • Choose a character from the character on its account
  • Create a new lobby and join the new lobby
  • Make itself ready to start
  • Begin the game

This will then cause the dungeon server to generate the enemies for the new dungeon, and create an ID for the settlement to give to the client so that it can connect to the new dungeon. Coming up next week will be implementing the level generation code to put the enemies and players in!

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