April Devlog | Week #4 | No. 225

Development
April 28, 2023
May 1, 2023

Welcome to this week's development log for Depths of Erendorn! The 3D modelling team have made significant progress in the retopology process for armour, creating a more efficient model for game engine integration while maintaining visual fidelity. The wizards of coding have been working on updating the code for the dungeons and fixing bugs ready for the next playtest! The sound design team has been focused on mastering abilities to ensure consistent audio levels and quality throughout the game, polishing and refining sounds for final mixing. The environment team has been busy constructing and testing a modular ruins kit in Unreal Engine 5, ensuring seamless fit between components, conducting extensive testing on destruction and displacement techniques, and working on visually appealing materials. The animation team has been reviewing and incorporating feedback from gameplay tests, implementing animation changes to enhance the gameplay experience, specifically working on updates for Watertarg animations. Lastly, the VFX team has been updating and improving abilities based on playtest feedback, considering converting to Niagara systems for advanced visual effects, and working on border-type and cast VFX for abilities such as thunderstorm and ice storm. Read on to learn more about our progress this week! 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

The 3D modelling team has made significant progress in the retopology process for the set of armour that has been a focal point of our recent work. As per our established workflow, they have created a lower-poly model that adheres to the shape of the armour while omitting unnecessary detail, resulting in a more efficient model for game engine integration. Once the lower poly model is finalised, the team will use the game engine to project the original detail back onto the armour, resulting in a high-quality, optimised model for in-game use. This approach allows us to strike a balance between visual fidelity and performance, ensuring that the armour looks its best in-game while maintaining optimal performance. The meticulous attention to detail and dedication of our 3D modelling team are evident in this crucial step towards creating visually appealing assets for Depths of Erendorn. An example of the retopology process in progress can be seen below.

Retopology process in progress

Programming

Client

This week has been about continuing to fix issues highlighted in the second team-wide test as well as some much needed targeting upgrades for ability templates. Examples of the work completed by the client side team throughout the week can be seen below.


  • Fixed a bug where stunned characters would fail to die correctly.
  • Removed duplicated ability information from descriptions when it appears elsewhere in tooltips.
  • Added an option ability templates to 'Trigger Stepper on Bookend', meaning Custom Steppers (Animations/VFX/SFX objects that get inserted into the execution order) no longer require the presence of other specific logs to trigger. As an example, previously a damage dealing ability would check for damage being dealt before inserting the cast animation, leading to missing animations if the damage was blocked or otherwise didn't appear. Now with 'Bookending' we have the option to force Custom Steps at the front or back of the order.
  • Updated Ability Templates across all NPC/Generic/Druid/Dwarf/Parakaw abilities to make use of Bookend wherever relevant.
  • Added three new options for how Ability Templates apply their Custom Stepper targets:

                 - Tile Under Caster - Use the tile beneath the caster.

                 - Tile Under Affected Entity - Use the tile beneath one of the ability's initial Entity targets.

                 - Entity on Affected Tile - Use the Entity standing on of one of the ability's initial Tile targets.

  • Identified and fixed a number of issues across NPC/Generic/Druid/Dwarf/Parakaw Ability Templates and updated targets for abilities with VFX that are tile aligned to the caster and ability targets.
  • Altered the movement pip display to remove the compression caused when a character gains extra movement. Now a numerical display is used with a single pip to indicate if the player has any remaining movement.
  • Potential fix to progression data loss for the client when leaving a dungeon, but there's still issues with clients correctly receiving updates from dungeons. This is currently being tested.
  • Fix for data loss when ending an adventure after visiting a dungeon, currently only works with gains from outside dungeons due to the above issue.

Server

Throughout the week, the team has been working on code to be used after the current milestone, preparing the server codebase to work with a good cache service and implementing various refactors that has been waiting for some time.  As well as this the team has been fixing some server crashes and issues which came up during the team test, a large amount of time this week has been spent on starting an update which should enable us to improve the game experience and add new features to the game going forward. The team would also work on polishing up dungeons, as the older portion of our code had gone some time without love, and we wanted to bring it up to the polished level that open world adventures are now. Examples of the work completed throughout the week as well as some bugs that have been squished can be seen below.


  • Fixed Dungeons not shutting down correctly in niche scenarios such as partially disconnected party members.
  • Fixed Dungeons removing themselves once all players -have- completed/failed/disconnected from a dungeon to save memory.
  • Effect block error returns were not working as intended on any effect block with an error count higher than 1, this was fixed to work properly.
  • Fixing Line of sight measuring from entity to tile not returning the correct number of errors on pass/fail.
  • Fixed Dwarven Heirloom quest not correctly completing upon hand in of the heirloom.
  • Fixed Zeal not working as intended since the new effect block error system was implemented.
  • Fixed interactables in the open world sending two messages instead of one when they're interacted with.
  • Fixed a crash caused by progression data being nil.
  • Fixed a crash caused by trying to equip/unequip gear while adventuring.
  • Fixed an instance where a party would be stopped from starting adventures indefinitely.
  • Fixed Item distribution code to correctly round-robin.
  • Started work on the base Cache package.
  • Added Cache services.
  • Setup and configured docker environment for the Cache server.
  • Added cluster wide unique ID generation code to use with various game objects.
  • Added a 'replication layer' for updating objects as they change in the cache.
  • Added the ability for a server to reserve a block of integers for it to issue unique IDs.
  • Added fallback method for unique ID generation.
  • Implemented new ID generation code for; Entities, Adventures, Parties, Active Effects, Ability Instances, Game Sessions, World Events, Combats, and Dungeons.

Sound Design

The sound design team has been focused on mastering abilities to ensure consistent audio levels and quality throughout the game. They have been diligently working on polishing and refining the sounds of various abilities to bring them to a similar level, preparing them for the final mixing stage. While there may not be many specific updates to report this week, the sound design team's attention to detail and commitment to delivering high-quality audio experiences greatly contributes to creating an immersive and engaging gameplay environment for players to enjoy. Examples of the work completed by the team throughout the week can be seen below.

Environment Art

The environment team has been actively working on the construction and testing of a modular ruins kit in Unreal Engine 5. They have made alterations to ensure a "water tight" fit between different components in specific use scenarios, ensuring that the modular pieces fit seamlessly together to create a cohesive environment. The team has also been conducting extensive testing on destruction and displacement techniques, identifying and addressing any quirks or issues that may arise during implementation. Additionally, material construction for vertex blended materials is ongoing, with the team working on creating visually appealing and realistic materials to enhance the overall look and feel of the environment. The environment team's attention to detail and dedication to creating immersive and visually stunning environments is crucial in bringing the game world of Depths of Erendorn to life. Examples of the ruins in progress within the engine can be seen below.

Updated castle ruins in engine

Animation

The animation team has been actively involved in reviewing and incorporating feedback from our recent game play test. Based on the valuable insights gathered, we have been diligently planning and implementing animation changes to enhance the overall gameplay experience. Specifically, we have started working on updates for Watertarg animations in preparation for the next test. Our team is committed to continuously refining and improving animations to ensure smooth and realistic character movements that enhance the player's immersion in the game world. Examples of the newly created animations can be seen below.

Watertarg run animations

Visual Effects

The VFX team has been actively working on updating and improving abilities based on feedback from playtests. They have completed a first pass update on fireballs and nature bolt, but are considering the possibility of converting them to Niagara systems instead of Cascade systems for more advanced visual effects. The team has also been working on a border-type effect, ironing out any issues and refining textures for optimal visual impact. Additionally, they have created a cast VFX for thunderstorm (Parakaw) and are currently working on ice storm to ensure it properly displays the desired effect across the full 6x6 area of impact. Examples of the work completed by the visual effects team over the last week can be seen below.

Thunderstorm visual effects

Mystical barrier updated effects

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

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