August DevLog | Week #1

Development
August 9, 2019
November 18, 2021

We’re kicking off the first week of August with another devlog update! Come and join us as we talk about modelling a playable character, creating some badass swords, updating some animations and making our in-game items a lot more rewarding. Remember to jump on our Reddit or Twitter for more regular updates on Depths of Erendorn!

3D Character Modelling

After modelling and baking the Tribed Lionmen series in our last devlog, this week we focused on creating the Untribed Lionmen. We actually managed to complete this series pretty quickly since the models themselves were created a few weeks ago, and the design of the clothes wasn't too dissimilar from that of the Tribed series.

Once the Untribed clothing had been sculpted, we created low meshes for them and then baked the maps. With that out of the way, we could turn our attention to a Tribal Leader of the Lionmen. Again, we already created the body for this model a few weeks ago - and you can see how we did it here - so all we had to worry about was getting the clothes ready.

Low mesh of a Lionman model in ZBrush
To make the clothes for the Untribed Lionmen, we started by blocking out and detailing the different pieces.
Low mesh of a Lionman model in ZBrush wearing a rope belt
We then added more sculpt details, such as the folds in the model's skirt and the rope belt around its waist.
Two baked models of Lionmen in ZBrush
After all the modelling was complete, we baked the models so that they were ready for texturing.

Even still, making the Tribal Leader was going to be a bit trickier because of how many details and intricacies were in the clothing and armour. An example of this is the Tribal Leader’s rope belt, which was made using splines in 3ds Max in order to allow for the interconnected loop shapes. There were a lot of details like this that we had to pay attention to in order to do this awesome character justice.

When sculpting the clothes, small aspects of the original concept design were changed as they did not translate well onto the model. The tassets on the leg, for example, will look as though they’re made from leather instead of wood once it's been textured. We also layered and elongated them a bit so that they complemented the overall model.

Now, the low meshes for the Tribal Leader's clothes have been created and all the maps have been baked. This means that all the Lionmen are ready for texturing! We've already started work on this, though it was a bit of a challenge to replicate all the different fur tones that lions have. Our Character Artist actually ended up taking a photo of some lion fur, blurring it and then using a cell filter to almost pixelate the different shades. This allowed them to accurately colour pick the correct tones for our Lionmen - and hey, it worked!

Front and back of a low mesh model of a Lionman in ZBrush
Although we had already made the body for the Tribal Leader, the clothes took some time because of all the different intricacies.
Front and back of a low mesh model of a Lionman in ZBrush. Folds are sculpted into its skirt.
After modelling the basic shapes we sculpted details like the cloth folds in the skirt.
Baked model of a Lionman Tribal Leader in ZBrush
With all of our Lionmen now modelled and baked, we were finally able to begin texturing them!
Front and back of a textured model of a Lionman in ZBrush
We have already made a start with the fur, using a pixelated photo of lion fur to accurately colour pick all of the different tones.

Animation

The Watertarg Excursionist had several of its animations updated this week. This is an awesome playable character in Depths of Erendorn and so we wanted to get its movements looking polished before we imported it into Unity.

GIF showing a Watertarg from Depths of Erendorn running in Maya with a sword

We started with the animation for Leaping Strike, which was split into three parts (start, air loop and landing with strike) before being edited. A version of this animation where the Watertarg holds a two-handed weapon was also created in order to add variation. We then also updated the Sprint animation so that it works when both one-handed and two-handed weapons are equipped.

After carrying out the necessary updates, the following animations for the Watertarg Excursionist were imported into the game engine:

  • Palm Strike
  • Leaping Strike
  • Spinning Kick
  • Sprint Cycle

After working on these animations for the majority of the week, our Animator got some downtime to create some new poses for our Veloxian Centaur. This playable character was getting its own profile card (check it out here!) so we had to make sure the model looked awesome. Before sending it to our Character Artist, then, our Animator created a new basic rig for the Veloxian Centaur since the old rig was broken. They then played around with some different poses and we’re really happy with the result!

Environment Art

Continuing on the weapon theme from our last couple of devlogs, several new high poly sword components were created this week. We also created low poly versions of all five swords that have been made. This was challenging as some pieces were quite difficult to create without using a lot of polygons, like the twisted metal hilt of one of the swords. We are now moving onto the UV mapping stage for all sword components, which will allow us to bake and texture our weapons.

Discussions about the User Interface also started this week in order to determine what information would be most necessary to players. To get started, a UI blockout was made - and it has already been through quite a few stages of iteration. We ended the week by discussing and designing character frame layouts, so a lot is coming together!

Screenshot of an in-progress UI from Depths of Erendorn
When designing the UI, it's crucial to think about what information is most important to the player.
Screenshot of in-progress character frame layouts from Depths of Erendorn's UI
We have also started designing character frame layouts for Depths of Erendorn.

Server & Game Client

This week in the Server has been spent looking at items. We concluded that in order to improve the items in our game, we first need to redesign how they are generated. To address this, we have created two pools of stats - but instead of all the items in the game having two stats, we will make it so that different rarity items have a different number of stats on them. This means that the rarer the item is, the more varied stats a player will gain.

The two stat pools will also make stats more consistent at lower rarity levels as well as change how certain items help progress a player’s character, since rarer items will give more stats than standard items. We feel a lot better about this new system and have made sure to balance it out by ensuring that certain stats will be gained earlier in a level as well.

There have actually been quite a lot of changes made to the Server that we'd like to mention in this devlog:

  • Enemy portraits have been added to the Turn Order.
  • SFX have also been added for when a players’ turn starts.
  • We have begun the implementation of a Notification System that will be used in game events like loot drops, level gain and room events.
  • This Notification System will also allow us to log whatever we want directly into the game during build tests.
  • After carrying out some fixes on the Game Server, disconnecting in the lobby will not cause the Server to crash anymore (fingers crossed).
  • We have discussed a new pipeline for bug tracking and have now implemented it. We are hoping that this will make identifying and resolving bugs more efficient.

New loot-dropping code has also been worked on this week. Right now, the majority of items only give players two, quite common stats - like Critical Hit. The new code addresses this by randomising the stats and finding an item to match them, rather than just choosing a random item. These items can then be more purposefully placed throughout the game so that there is a better variety of loot. This will increase the type of stats a player gains from an item, making the game’s loot feel a lot more rewarding as players won’t be receiving very similar items all the time.

5 high poly sword assets lying in a row
Several new high poly sword components were created this week.
Five low poly sword assets lined up in a row
Low poly versions were then created for all 5 swords.
A model of a twisted metal sword hilt with a green frame showing its geometry.
Some pieces were really challenging to create low poly versions of without using a lot of polygons, like this twisted metal hilt.

Thanks for joining us for another weekly devlog! As always, remember to follow us on social media for all our daily updates on Depths of Erendorn - we've got a lot of things coming your way, so stay tuned!

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