April Devlog | Week #3 | No. 224

Development
April 20, 2023
May 1, 2023

Welcome to the latest development log for Depths of Erendorn! This week, our talented team has been hard at work bringing exciting updates to various aspects of the game. Our skilled 3D modelling team has been making great progress on finalising character models, including the addition of capes for an extra touch of flair. The Set Piece Design team has been diligently working on improving assets based on valuable player feedback, making them more visually appealing and versatile. On the client side, our team has been busy resolving bugs related to dialogue, dungeon transitions, and item distribution for a smoother gameplay experience. Our sound team has been meticulously fine-tuning generic spells to ensure balanced and consistent audio effects. And our environment team has been testing castle ruins and exploring innovative destruction techniques to create immersive environmental effects. As always, join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit for daily updates on Depths of Erendorn. Alternatively, join our Discord for all the latest! - now let’s get into it!

3D Modelling

This week, the 3D modelling team of Depths of Erendorn has made significant progress towards the completion of their project. Firstly, they have finalised the sculpting phase and are now in the process of organising and cleaning up the file before export. Additionally, the team has also added a cape to the 3D model, which will enhance the overall visual appeal of the character. However, some minor clean up is still needed to ensure that the file is fully optimised. With these tasks almost completed, the team is now ready to move on to the retopology process, which will involve creating a new low-polygon version of the model that is suitable for use in the game engine. Examples of the work completed on the new set of armour can be seen below.

Back details before cape is added

Finalised details of armour

Set Piece Design

The set piece design team has been hard at work this week, implementing various improvements to enhance the visual appeal and versatility of the game's assets. Based on some suggestions, the team has desaturated several clutter assets to create resting areas for the player's eyes, providing a more balanced visual experience. Furthermore, the team has addressed specularity issues, ensuring that the assets look more realistic and visually pleasing. In addition, the team has replaced rug meshes with planes, allowing for unique rug textures to be applied, which offers greater flexibility and eliminates the need for clunky rug meshes. While the current rug texture may be a placeholder, the team has plans to incorporate more elaborate rug designs with frilled edges and patterns in the future. These updates contribute to creating a more immersive and visually appealing game environment for players to enjoy. Examples of changes made to the rug meshes can be seen below.

Carpet detailing before update

Updated carpet textures

Programming

Client

This week has been about handling some of the most nefarious issues highlighted in last week's team playtest, removing potential sources of build crashes and updating the core functions of Dialogue to allow us to get the most out of this week's second team playtest. Examples of the work completed by the client side team can be seen below.

  • Updated how entities are removed by updating the various causes of removal to use the same functions which will make it more maintainable and robust, some aspects of this were leading to fatal crashes.
  • Updated Session Submanager 'clear' functions to prevent calls to any entity that may be in the process of being removed.
  • Updated the Dialogue Widget's layout.
  • Updated the Dialogue Manager and its links to the Dialogue Widget.
  • Prevented players from leaving dialogue that you are intended to be locked into until a Dialogue End log is received.
  • Updated how Dialogue Leave logs are dealt with.
  • Prevented Stunned entities being unable to trigger death animations.
  • Fixed movement manager code after making breaking changes to the way movements are handled on the server.
  • Fixed duplicate data shown when receiving items outside of combat.
  • Fixed transition to settlement after opening a chest not showing any rewards.
  • Fixed online party members' icons/names not displaying when returning to the settlement.
  • Fixed refreshing data when moving from settlement to adventure after previously adventuring in the same session.
  • Added a conditional check when exiting a dungeon mid adventure to prevent loss of progress when returning to adventure/settlement.

Server

Another playtest, another week of hardcore bug fixing for the team! Some serious bugs have finally been dealt with to give a more polished feel to the game examples of which can be seen below.

  • Dialogues will now no longer refuse to close when interacted with in a certain way, blocking anyone ever being able to start a new dialogue with the same person again.
  • Active Effects are now properly removed when entering a dungeon from the open world, to prevent the dungeon server being confused about the existence of an Active Effect it doesn't know about. In the future, it is likely we will create a system to allow those to be passed over fully.
  • Enemies now have a small delay after attacking and using abilities, this is to allow them to finish off their animations on the client before they complete their next action, and will be dynamically generated in a future iteration.
  • The Dwarf Heirloom and Ranger's ring event have had their quests triggers fixed to actually allow for the quest to be completed.
  • Empowered obscurity was the host of a very tricky bug to track down that had further reaching effects than we realised, it and its cause (permanent stat changes that temporarily affect the correlating max stat causing the max stat to never decrease) has been fixed.

The team would also work on a number of other aspects throughout the server all of which can be seen below.

  • Adjusted some logging data sent to the client in related to the turn timer.
  • Fixed a server clean up function to fix recovery from a server crash.
  • Fixed Item distribution from Loot/Rewards.
  • Fixed movement bugs and server crashes relating to interrupting a movement mid-step on the clients first step.
  • Refactored NavEdit generation from world events to improve adventure generation times.
  • Fixed party time based auto-disband code.
  • Added coordinate distance helper function.
  • General code maintenance and clean-up of some soon to be deprecated functions.

Sound Design

The sound team has been diligently working to identify and resolve any bugs or issues related to the game's soundscape. They have been proactive in finding solutions to ensure that the audio elements are functioning as intended. Additionally, the team has focused on improving and mastering the Generic Abilities to ensure they have equal presence in the game. This has involved fine-tuning the sound effects, ensuring that they are balanced and consistent, and enhancing their overall quality. The team is also planning to apply the same level of attention to detail to the Skills, ensuring that the audio elements complement the gameplay experience seamlessly. Examples of the audio created throughout the week can be seen below.

Environment Art

The environment team has been actively conducting tests of castle ruins in the game engine, ensuring that they are visually appealing and function as intended within the game world. They have been experimenting with real geometry displacement for nanite meshes, fine-tuning the settings to achieve the desired level of detail and realism. The team has been engaged in research to explore different destruction techniques, aiming to create convincing and immersive destruction effects for the environment assets. Additionally, they have been planning and designing a destroyed roof for the castle ruins, taking into consideration factors such as aesthetics, gameplay requirements, and technical feasibility. The environment team's dedication to creating visually stunning and interactive game environments is evident in their meticulous testing, research, and planning efforts, ensuring that players will be fully immersed in the game's atmospheric world. Examples of the updated castle ruins within the engine can be seen below.

Updated modular castle in engine

Close up of textured walls

Scale model of character within the castle ruins

Animation

The animation team has been diligently reviewing the Group 3 Creatures, including beetles, scarabs, scorpions, and other similar creatures, to identify any missing animations, blueprints, and animation blends. They have made improvements to ensure that all necessary animations are in place, including adding animations for "run" and "stun" actions, as well as importing animations that were previously completed but not implemented. Additionally, the team has created Animation Controllers for the group 3 creatures that were missing them, allowing for smooth and seamless animations in-game. Furthermore, the animation team has also created Character Blueprints for each creature type that was previously missing them, ensuring that the animations and character behaviors are fully integrated into the game. In addition to their work on the Group 3 Creatures, the animation team has also started planning changes and improvements for the player characters, outlining the necessary changes and polishing required to enhance the overall animation quality and player experience. Examples of the newly created animations can be seen below.

Examples of group 3 creature animations

Visual Effects

The visual effects team has had a productive week, having completed much of the behind-the-scenes work that was underway for the last few weeks. After playtesting the game, the team has taken note of some abilities that did not function as expected or were not visually appealing. In response, they have shifted their focus to working on these abilities so that they can be presented in the best possible light for the playtest build. To this end, the team has already begun work on these abilities and has lined up their first few victims to test them on. With the team working hard to ensure that all aspects of the game look and function perfectly, the playtest build promises to be an exciting and polished experience for players. Examples of the nodes created through the week can be seen below.

Examples of nodes before updates

That’s it for this week’s devlog, but have you seen our monthly roundup of March yet?!

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