April DevLog | Week #1

Development
April 5, 2019
November 18, 2021

We’ve welcomed in the new month with a new Environment Artist joining our team, a new playable character getting modelled and new animations being created. Depths of Erendorn is really starting to come together so we’re excited to share our progress with you.

3D Character Modelling

After the issues we had with the mouth topology on a few of our models, our Character Artist was pleased to finish this by updating all affected characters with new base meshes. This has been an ongoing fix for the last couple of weeks so we were excited to get started on modelling the Human Sorceress for a change of pace.

In Depths of Erendorn, a Human Sorceress is a powerful spellcaster who can utilise strong magic. It was important, then, that we really captured this character’s mysticism in the 3D model. Our Character Artist started by modelling the clothes. A hooded gown layered over a flowing undergarment were sculpted for the model because these items are heavily reminiscent of enigmatic figures and occult powers.

After the cloth had been sculpted, embossed patterns were added to achieve a greater level of detail. Embossed patterns are essentially thick patterns on top of the cloth pieces that will be baked on in the normal map. As well as these, our Character Artist also added detail to the Human Sorceress by adjusting the edges of the sleeves so that they weren’t so straight. We did this because the sleeves were originally looking a bit too sculpted. By creating the illusion of worn edges, we were able to bring an extra level of detail and personality to the Human Sorceress.

3D model of a Sorceress wearing a hooded robe that has yet to be sculpted
The clothes sculpted for the Human Sorceress character help to convey her mystic persona and magical abilities.
A 3D model of a Sorceress wearing a hooded robe
We went through several versions of the clothes to test the desired shape and length of each component.
A 3D model of a Sorceress. We can see the front and back of them and they're wearing a hooded robe
After the clothes had been made, the cloth folds were sculpted and embossed patterns were added for detai.

Issues with Animation

When modelling a character, it is important that the artist and animator communicate with each other to ensure that the models can be animated properly. For us, this was particularly in regard to the Sorceress’ sleeves. With concerns about how the sleeves would fall during animation, our Character Artist tried to give them a neutral position so that they would be easier to rig and pose. Although this did make it easier, there was still an issue presented by the number of planes in the clothing.

From an animation perspective, having clothing comprised of 2 planes is ideal because if there are many more, the planes could overlap if the animation involved an exaggerated movement. This shows how the model can affect or limit what an animator can do. At the same time, from a modelling perspective, having 2 planes on just the sleeves and coat tail areas has the potential to cause clipping issues.

We will be able to work around this problem by being careful with how the Human Sorceress is animated. While we may not be able to go over the top with her moves just yet, we’re positive that the Human Sorceress will be a force to be reckoned with inside the game.

https://doe.horus.ninja/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/testsskin.mp4

This test animation was created to check whether the sleeves on the Human Sorceress could be animated properly. We were happily surprised by the results!

Environment Art

This week, our Environment Artist added several treasure chests to Erendorn’s dungeons. These were created last week and in the game, they will appear randomly throughout the dungeons. To bring these chests to life and make them seem more alluring, they were filled with a variety of assets, including:

  • Gems
  • Rubies
  • Diamonds
  • Sapphires
  • Emeralds
  • Gold Pots
  • Gold Vases
  • Gold Plates
  • Gold Cups
  • Gold Bars

By adding these assets, we will also improve the treasure’s readability from greater camera distances. When creating the gold coins that would also appear inside the chests and throughout the dungeons, a few materials were used. Gold coin tiling material, for example, was used to create piles of gold. Gold coin decal was also used, this time in order to break up the edges of the main tiling coin material.

Meanwhile, in the game engine, a Bloom effect was added to the environment to complement any shiny metal or treasure. Bloom is a post-processing effect that creates a glow around brightly coloured objects that have light bouncing off of them. It is often used in game design because it mimics the real world light phenomena that occurs when you look at an extremely bright object against a very dark background.

When using Bloom, it is important to prevent any exaggerated effect as these will look out of place and unrealistic. To combat this, our Environment Artist implemented auto exposure to clamp any brightness. Using this effect added a significant amount of realism to the dungeon rooms in Depths of Erendorn, and we’re definitely pleased with the results.

A sphere made up of 3D sculpted gold coins
A gold coin texture was made this week which will be used for treasure piles in the game.
3D sculpted gold coils scattered on a dark grey background
Gold coin decals were also created in order to roughen up the edges of the coins.
A row of 3D sculpted gold pots, vases and cups lined up against a dark grey background
As well coins, gems and diamonds, we also added gold cups, vases and pots to the treasure chests.
Screenshot of a dungeon room in Unity showing an open treasure chest glowing in the corner
Adding assets to the chests, like gems and gold items, ultimately makes them easier to see from afar. In this dungeon room, the chest certainly adds a level of interest.
Screenshot from Unity of a pile of glowing treasure surrounded by 3 chests and various gold vases
This is an example of the Bloom effect, which was added to the game environment to complement any shiny surfaces and to make them look more realistic.

Animation

Our Animator is continuing her journey of animating Erendorn's Forest Druid, a great spellcaster who has a strong attunement with nature. More animations were made for the Forest Druid this week. This character now has a:

  • Basic Idle
  • Combat Idle
  • Walk Cycle

The Forest Druid was also posed by our Animator this week, as was the female Ranger. Finally, a skin and animation test was also made for the Human Sorceress so that our Animator could check to see if the sleeves worked as intended.

Server and Game Client

In the server this week, our main priority was to get items generated and usable in the game. Before this was undertaken, a couple of small things were done first. Our game developer began reworking how players can join games, as well as making a server coordinator class and also a method that would allow these servers to communicate with each other.

While the work was begun on all of these projects, it was cut short while we focussed on our main objective, loot drops, which will be completed later this week. The client now handles loot drops. Although nothing is displayed yet, the client now knows when a player gets loot and it refreshes their inventory when this happens. Work on this aspect of the game is expect to be completed later in the week.

DOE Editor

Over the last few weeks, a lot of work has been done to lay the groundwork for adding usable items in the game. With all of this in place, the base items in the Item Generator have now had their values updated in line with some of the work carried out last week. This is because some items had their base stats changed. Other works carried out on the Item Generator this week include:

  • A missing field was added to the item information
  • The Item Generator should now be able to force an item to channel a specific amount of its power into a specific stat

We’re pleased to say that after all of this hard work, 286K items have been generated so far. However, to cover all of the items possible at Level 1 of the dungeons, this figure is expected to rise to around 500K.

https://doe.horus.ninja/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/combatIdle_progress.mp4

Our Forest Druid now has a brand new combat idle animation.

We hope you enjoyed this week's devlog! If you would like to see more about our upcoming fantasy RPG, make sure to follow us on social media where we post updates almost every day!

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