Weekly DevLog: New Snake Animations & VFX for Skills!

Development
April 20, 2021
November 18, 2021

Last week, the team working on Depths of Erendorn created a new set of snake animations, finished up visual FX for character skills, and continued refining the game’s settlement! Continue reading to see all our game development updates up close and personal. As always, join us on Twitter, Instagram or Reddit for daily updates on our online RPG - now let’s get into it!

Improving Materials in the Game

Customisable Material Systems

For our 3D Character Artist, last week was mostly spent researching and planning the customisable equipment material systems for playable characters. This forms part of our work on allowing players to customise aspects of their character in the game, from equipment material and clothing to facial features and even body proportions!

Using a shell-based fur technique for pelts

Our Character Artist also noticed that the pelts used in the game needed to be fluffed up a bit. This led them to make a fur shader that uses a shell-based fur technique. It’s all working in the engine now - we just need to adapt the pelt meshes to it! Here’s a look at the fur shader indoors and outdoors:

Animation

Animating the Snake

Onto Animation, which saw more improvements on the snake rig we’ve been working on recently. After updating the rig, our Animator reskinned the mesh and imported everything into the engine before applying materials.

Using this rig, they then worked on new animations for the snake, including an idle animation, a slithery walk animation, an attack, hit reaction, and, finally, a death animation. A few of these were then added to the engine for testing, during which our Animator began implementing Dragon IK for the new rig. Check out the animation set below:

Fixing the Bandit’s Eye Joints

After working on the snake, our Animator also spent some time fixing the eyes on the Bandit, which were looking a bit angry and cross-eyed. This was due to a wrong rotation of the eye joints on the skeletal mesh - look at the before and after to see what we mean!

Environment Design

Optimising the Settlement & World Environment

More set dressing and optimisations took place in the settlement last week, the most notable of which were some new puddles! For these, our Environment Artists created a puddle decal material that allowed them to add puddles all around the settlement area. This adds a nice bit of variation to the floor, making it look more realistic and natural.

A fair bit of work was also carried out on the overall world environment. We:

  • Created new grass/rock vertex blend driven shader for large cliff rocks
  • Increased the size of large trees in the world by 70%
  • Created a foliage spawning volume, which populates the cliff faces with trees, ferns and grass

Visual FX for Character Skills

Last week, our VFX Artist continued working on more level 2 abilities, which led them to create effects for the following skills:

  • Stagger: Deals Physical Damage to an adjacent enemy and suppresses them
  • Unnerve: Causes an adjacent enemy to lose Energy Regeneration and Strength
  • Distract: Allows you to provoke an enemy within a 3 tile range and gain Reaction Time against them
  • Rescue: Allows you to rescue an adjacent teammate by redirecting the next source of Damage to you while reducing its impact by 50%
  • Parry: Allows you to parry the next normal attack made against you, costing half of your Maximum Energy
  • Leg Sweep: Deals Physical Damage to a directional adjacent tile, as well as to the 2 tiles next to it. It also roots all 1 tile enemies for one turn

Programming

In Programming, last week was about finishing the previous week’s update to character movement, as well as cleaning up character blueprints and set pieces so that we’re ready to record gameplay footage! Here’s a closer look at what our Programmers got up to:

  • Acceleration: Characters were updated to allow for more natural movement when moving in dungeons, while working for characters of different base speeds
  • Set Piece Collision: Set pieces have been updated to use new collision presets
  • Alternate Idle Animations: We added the ability for characters to use the correct idle when wielding different weapons

Golang Server

Last but certainly not least is an update on the Golang Server! Our Programmers who have been working on this spent last week adding triggers and states to the new server:

  • Triggers are what manage when active effects occur. For example, if you have a Damage Reflection ability active, the trigger is called upon when taking damage, which in turn activates the effect of dealing the Damage back to whoever hurt you.
  • States are the eponymous status effects we see in many games with rpg elements - stunned, blinded, disarmed, and the like - and they can even be triggered by certain things!

In addition to adding triggers and states to the new server, our Programmers made it possible to alter the length of active effects/statuses. They also finished creating the Projectile Manager, which allows us to manage all the existing projectiles, accurate to the nanosecond! We only had the choice of second or nanosecond, so at least now you know your fireballs will be accurate to a millionth of a second!

That’s it for this week’s devlog - see you next Tuesday!

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