Highlights from last month’s game development progress include the creation of new dragon bones, fantastical set pieces, visual effects, vocalisations for gruesome beasts, and sound effects for the dungeon portals. We also made a lot of headway with our game trailer, which is currently in its final stages of development! As always, join us on Twitter, Instagram, or Reddit for daily updates on Depths of Erendorn – now let’s get into it!

3D Modelling

Sculpting & Texturing Dragon Bones

Our 3D Character Artist kicked August off by finishing a set of old, crumbling dragon bones. We plan for these to spawn randomly in the game’s environment, adding a little spice to our scenes and hinting at the world’s ancient past (Erendorn was once ruled by dragons – read about it here). Here’s how the dragon bone set piece turned out:

Creating a New Tentacle Brush

Our Artist then went on to create a new tentacle brush for some of the game’s aquatic creatures. This is a tri part insert mesh brush that will massively speed up our workflow when it comes to creating tentacled organisms – here’s how it looks:

Blocking Out Another Armour Set!

The final thing our Character Artist worked on last month was a new armour set for players in the game. Using the original concept, they blocked out all the major forms in ZBrush and then continued to refine these shapes and bring more detail in. Work will continue on this in September, but for now take a look at the current blockout:

Animation

Last month, our Animator made a ton of updates to character animations, both for the game in general and the game trailer. Some of the highlights include:

  • A new run cycle for the Knight that features them holding a torch
  • Updating idles and walk cycles for Civilians so that they use new meshes
  • Fixing rotations and positions of weapon bones for playable characters
  • Rigging, skinning, and exporting various level 1 enemies to the engine
  • Testing a heavy armour set (which we finished here) with a walk animation
Testing the new armour set with a walk animation

Set Piece Design

August was all about set piece design for our Junior Environment Artist, who created four new assets and set pieces for events in the game. The first was the Lucky Idol, complete with melting candles and fantastical particle effects. This set piece may spawn randomly as players traverse Erendorn, granting them a rare blessing:

The next things the Artist worked on were a couple of Indestructible Boxes. These are more like standalone assets that will appear in a scene, rather than full blown set pieces. As the name suggests, Indestructible Boxes won’t open with traditional methods – they’ll require something if the players want to open them up and see what’s inside. Take a look at the two versions that were created:

The last event set piece our Junior Environment Artist created was an Offering Jar. Temptingly sat on a stone altar, this gilded jar will contain an unknown treasure – but players will be forced to sacrifice something if they want to get their hands on it. We absolutely love how this one turned out, especially with its details, like the carved runes and cracked stone:

Visual FX

August was actually our VFX Artist’s last month with us! So they spent some time boxing off a few things we needed. This included:

  • A new bubbling potion effect for our witchy cauldron
  • Some burning logs for campfires
  • Visuals for a new Obsidian Portal asset
  • A new plasma material
  • Updated effects for the Blood Altar
  • Reworked effects for fire torches 
New bubbling cauldron
New burning logs
New effects for the Obsidian Portal
New plasma material
New fire torch
Reworked Blood Altar material

Game Trailer

As we mentioned in the intro, our game trailer is so close to being finished, we can practically taste the relief. The work carried out last month to get us to this point includes:

  • Finalising the big opening shot
  • Polishing up all other shots and preparing them for rendering
  • Fixing any issues highlighted during rendering
  • Gathering footage that showcases our variety of cave environments 
  • Gathering footage for the gameplay portion of the trailer
  • Creating and recording specific scenarios to fill in any gaps

The new game trailer will be coming to your screens very soon, so make sure you join us on socials so that you don’t miss it!

Sound Design

Last month, our Sound Artist created loads of new sound effects for enemies in the game, including: 

  • The Fleshrender Boar: A low level enemy commonly encountered in the plains, these are wild, fast breeding boars that are highly aggressive when approached
Fleshrender Boar
  • The Black Rat: One of four classes of rats, this jungle rodent is not only dangerous because of its sharp claws and teeth, but also because it’s a carrier of disease
Black Rat
  • The Magnificent Falcon: Even the birds in Erendorn have ulterior motives, like the Magnificent Falcon, which soars above the plains in search of prey
Magnificent Falcon
  • The Minotaur: These are encountered in the dungeons and appear in four deadly classes, the strongest of which is the Minotaur Vanguard
Minotaur
  • The Afflicted Phantom: Granted with eternal life, this enemy hails from the Land of the Dead. This really come across in its gruesome, deathly vocals:
Afflicted Phantom
  • The Mountain Basilisk: This creature lives near the deathly valleys of the Bonelair Gargoyles, who often harvest it for flesh and hide. This is a common enemy in the game that appears in several fierce classes, each one more powerful than the last:
Mountain Basilisk
  • The Sabretooth Tiger: Native to Erendorn’s vast plains, these are uncommon, yet brutal creatures that can inflict a lot of Bleed Damage:
Sabretooth Tiger
  • The Whiteback Gorilla: These are common enemies that you’ll mainly encounter in Erendorn’s jungles. You’ll want to be specifically wary of the Whiteback Gorilla Matriarch and Patriarch, which are the two strongest classes of this enemy:
Whiteback Gorilla
  • The Mantisar: These are formidable, insectoid enemies that travel in swarms and reap destruction. They’re incredibly deadly, so don’t underestimate them! 
The Mantisar

In addition to all those incredible SFX, our Sound Artist also worked on sounds for the dungeon portals! There will be a huge number of portals in Erendorn that serve to transport players to the treacherous depths below. They’re also powerful, living forms of magic that are both awe-inspiring and somewhat foreboding because of the underground world they lead to.

To reflect this sense of power, our Sound Artist created a pulsating sound that increases its tempo as you approach the portal. To enhance this effect even more, they made it so that when you’re close to a portal, the sounds begin to crackle and fragment, as though the portals are forcing a rip in space and time because of their immense power.

Take a listen to the new sound effects below, while feasting your eyes on some of our favourite variations of the portals:

Portal sounds from a distance
Portal sounds up close
Sounds for entering the portal

Programming

Reworking the Ability Editor

You may remember from our last monthly roundup that one of the priorities on our Programmers’ list was to rework the Ability Editor so that it’s more readable to other devs.

Quick background: the Ability Editor is the program we use to assign things like values, effects and stats to entities and abilities in the game. Originally, this was very difficult to use unless you specifically built it, because it required you to know from memory all the exact numbers for things like targeting constants, damage types, counter types, status IDs, effect IDs, and so on.

This is less than practical, so in August, our Programmers spent a ton of time turning the hundreds of numbers that the code uses into names that appear in dropdown boxes. This makes it possible for non-Programmers to assign things for themselves without any hassle.

Golang Server

After the Ability Editor was reworked, our Programmers decided to add a few new features to the Golang server, including:

  • Soul Cooldowns: These are unique abilities that only have their cooldown reduced when something dies, be it a friend or foe. They’re currently only used by the Twilight Elf Assassin, but we’ll eventually be implementing them for all characters 
  • The Ping Command: This is pretty self explanatory – basically, it marks locations on the battlefield so that you can coordinate with your team members more easily
  • Kill Entity: This is a new kind of effect block that skips the Damage part of an attack, and allows you to immediately kill the entity you’re targeting. While we already have ‘instant kill’ abilities, which instantly finish an enemy off if they’re at or below half Health, the old PHP server could only handle this by dealing a massive amount of Damage to them. This posed a problem because, in the future, we may have weapons that heal based on how much Damage you do, or specific effects that trigger on the player when they deal Damage. By ignoring the Damage part of the attack, Kill Entity allows players to immediately slay their enemies without any awkward knock-on effects occurring

In August, our Programmers also began the shift of the SQL server so that it’s able to handle the new Golang server! With this work, all the game’s entities (players, NPCs, etc) are now stored with the new iteration of stats, items, and all the other changes we’ve made while creating the Golang server.

That’s it for this month’s devlog roundup – see you tomorrow in our first weekly devlog of September!