April Devlog | Week #4 | No. 273

Development
May 6, 2024
June 19, 2024

This week, our teams have been hard at work across various fronts in Depths of Erendorn's development. The 3D modelling team researched hair shaders and made revisions to bird models. Set piece design completed the rounded Viking shield set. Client side focused on weather integration and UX improvements. Server side optimised enemy movement and implemented event chaining. The sound team updated fighting vocals and explored possible clothing audio. The environment team addressed settlement material issues and researched optimisation methods. Animation integrated the Giant Ant and began work on animation controllers. VFX made progress on level 3 abilities. 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 conducted research on hair shaders in Unreal Engine to enhance the visual fidelity of hair assets within the game. Additionally, the team planned out revisional changes for the bird models, aiming to improve their overall appearance and functionality. Work commenced on the bird models by adjusting their poses to better suit animation requirements and refining proportions for improved realism and aesthetics. These efforts reflect the team's commitment to continuous improvement and refinement of character assets in the game. Examples of the improved bird model can be seen below.

Better pose for bird model

Improved proportions for avians

Set Piece Design

The set piece design team completed work on the rounded Viking shield set, offering versatility through interchangeable colour paint options adjustable via parameters within Unreal Engine. Utilising a modular approach, the team efficiently produced new models within a short timeframe, showcasing their dedication to innovative and adaptable design solutions. An example of the rounded Viking shields, and some of their variations, can be seen below.

Variation of modular shield asset

Programming

Client

The team has dedicated this week to integrating weather and lighting controls into the dry testing level, addressing persistent bugs related to updated variable names reverting to former values and disrupting blueprints. After several iterations, weather control functionality is now streamlined and operational, with time of day control set to follow suit shortly. Additionally, the team has continued working on the rolled-back milestone project to enhance the testing experience pre-3D switchover. Efforts have focused on completing planned UX improvements and conducting thorough testing before packaging the project, although some challenges have arisen regarding landscape deformation brushes. Additional work from the client side team can be seen below.

  • Worked through issues with the changes to dialogue for multiple party members.
  • Modified the Settlement to prevent players attempting to leave without starting an adventure.
  • Added a new interactable for the Help NPC to make selecting them easier.
  • Added an exclamation mark to the Help NPC.

Server

The server team has been focused on optimising and improving enemy movement code in the game world, addressing previous issues that led to high RAM usage and server instability. Progress has been made in identifying and resolving underlying causes, enabling the reactivation of features previously disabled due to these issues. Additionally, the team conducted XP painting for newly created zones, resulting in more varied enemy group sizes and improved difficulty balancing across different areas. In the current week, efforts have shifted towards implementing event chaining functionality directly into events, additional animals were given stats in regards to specific events, and the team commenced coding the behaviour of each animal group for the nest event. Furthermore, the team dedicated time to optimising wandering enemy groups, reducing RAM usage and computational cycles required for updates and path calculations.

Sound Design

Last week, the sound team focused on further developing the game's audio landscape by updating basic fighting vocals to introduce greater variation among characters. This effort aims to enhance immersion and diversity in combat encounters. Additionally, the team explored the possibility of attaching light clothing movement audio to character animations, a step towards enriching the auditory experience with nuanced details. However, considerations regarding compatibility with different armour types need to be carefully evaluated to ensure seamless integration. Completed work by the team throughout the week can be seen below.

Environment Art

Last week, the environment team addressed material issues within the settlement, rectifying lighting discrepancies that were causing props to be improperly lit from beneath. Progress continued with the construction of floors and the implementation of appropriate collision boxes for settlement buildings, enhancing their structural integrity. To align with the desired rough aesthetic, the team replaced several materials within the settlement kit. Additionally, a rough wood material was crafted in Substance Designer for use in and around the settlement, adding visual depth and authenticity to the environment. Furthermore, the team delved into researching instancing and optimisation methods offered by UE5 for buildings and set dressing elements, laying the groundwork for future enhancements in efficiency and visual quality. Work completed throughout by the environment team can be seen below.

Improved wood material

Internal structure of the new settlement buildings

Animation

The animation team cleaned and imported the mesh and animations for the Giant Ant, successfully integrating them into the engine. Meanwhile, work began on building animation controllers and character blueprints for creatures that were previously missing these components. This effort aims to ensure consistency and completeness across all character assets within the game. Examples of the animation work completed by the team throughout the week can be seen below.

Visual Effects

The VFX team has been focused on developing level 3 abilities for various characters in the game. Progress has been made on the Forest Druid character, with most of their abilities nearing completion. While additional work is required for the model and animations of the carnivore plant and cobra form, the effects surrounding these abilities have been finalised. Furthermore, the team has finished implementing level 3 self-buffs for the Twilight Elf and Watertarg characters. Currently, the team is working on the remaining abilities for the Parakaw characters. Once these are completed, attention will shift to finalising abilities for the Zentragal and Dwarf characters, marking the final stages of level 3 ability development. Examples of the VFX completed throughout the week can be seen below.

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

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