August Devlog | Week #1 | No. 239

Development
August 3, 2023
August 3, 2023

Throughout the week at Project Gamechanger, the teams have been hard at work on various aspects of our game's development. The 3D modelling team has made significant progress on refining the spellcaster's protective gear, completing the retopology process and moving on to unwrapping for texturing. The set piece design team focused on optimising cave assets by baking ambient occlusions and normals onto a single map, enhancing the material for improved visuals. The programming team dedicated their efforts to optimising UI systems, and improving average framerates during adventures with larger groups of characters. The sound team implemented Attenuation for character vocals and steps, added SFX to combat shrines and braziers, and crafted new magic effects and shrine sounds. Meanwhile, the animation team worked on rig and animation sharing between characters, improved the Female Elf character's rig, and refined animations for the Gargoyle and Female Elf characters. Overall, the teams' dedication and creativity have brought significant advancements to Depths of Erendorn, promising an even more immersive and enjoyable experience for players. 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 at Depths of Erendorn has made significant progress in refining the spellcaster's protective gear. The team successfully completed the retopology process, a crucial step that involves creating a new, clean, and optimised topology for the 3D models. This ensures that the mesh is suitable for animation and rendering while maintaining an efficient polygon count. With retopology finished, the team is now focused on unwrapping, a process in which they flatten the 3D mesh onto a 2D surface to create UV maps. UV maps are essential for texturing, as they define how textures are applied to the 3D model, ensuring accurate and consistent visuals. With the unwrapping underway, the team is getting prepared to move onto the next stage, texturing the protective gear. Examples of the finalised retopology process can be seen below.

Retopologised armour ready for texturing

Set Piece Design

After a productive discussion with the environment team, the set piece design team decided to optimise the assets by baking ambient occlusions and normals onto a single map, so they needed to sculpt them all first to pack the UVs together efficiently. Additionally, they made slight changes to the material, introducing more colour variation to enhance the visual appeal. As they continue to fine-tune the cave material and lighting, the master stalactite material, which will be used for all assets like stalagmites and flowstones, now includes a base colour map, detail normal map and roughness map. Once all the sculpts are completed, baked AO and normal maps will be added to further enhance the assets' realism. Examples of the work completed throughout the week can be seen below!

Stalactites master material

Stalagmites with master material applied

Stalactites with master material applied

Programming

This week has been about optimising a number of UI systems to improve the average framerate during Adventures where larger groups of characters are found. By reducing the number of elements being shown on screen and stored in memory, the performance of moving around during adventures has been markedly improved and is not as greatly affected by the direction the camera is facing. Additional work completed by the programming team can be seen below.

  • Updated how Combat ability tooltips are stored and updated to reduce significantly the number of UI elements stored in memory.
  • Applied the tooltip changes to Character Creation abilities.
  • Updated how spawned environmental Blueprints listen for the AudioManager's new volume update methods.
  • Fixed an issue with equipped items only showing their stat bonuses to the equipper. Any other player in the same Session will now see stats correctly reflected as they are altered.
  • Updated how outlines are applied during adventures, enemy outlines will now only be visible while in Combat and while that Combat is in focus. (A Combat being in focus means the player has one of its participants selected).
  • Removed missing GUIDs that were causing the engine to crash when building Textures thanks to a great community plugin. https://www.unrealengine.com/marketplace/en-US/product/guid-fixer
  • Updated the equipment screen with new UI elements and adjusted the functions around handling two-handed items to implement the new locked slot icon.
  • Added a tentative fix for a bug that was causing the target counter for abilities to duplicate and then not be correctly cleared from the screen. There's still a possible link between said bug and clientside lag that still needs testing.
  • Minor tweaks to the sizes of icons on the utility bar.
  • Fixed a bug in the vendor window that was breaking item icons due to the changes related to two-handed weapons.

Sound Design

The sound team has implemented Attenuation for all Character Vocals and Steps, ensuring that these sounds are realistically affected by distance and positioning within the game world. To further enhance the audio system, the team created a more in-depth Sound Class tree and began categorising sounds, streamlining the organisation for improved management. Adding SFX to Combat Shrines and introducing looping flame SFX to all Braziers, including Cursed, Corrupt, and Standard variants, has enriched the game's immersive ambience. The team also turned their attention to Portals, implementing new Attenuation settings to enhance their audio dynamics. Additionally, they worked on expanding the library of magic effects by creating more generic layers, allowing for greater versatility and variety in the game's enchanting elements. Furthermore, the team crafted new Shrine effects for ambient loop SFX, adding depth and immersion to the overall audio experience. The work completed by the team throughout the week can be seen below.

Animation

The animation team has been hard at work on the Gargoyle and Female Elf characters. While attempting to share a rig and animations between them, they encountered mesh issues that prevented a seamless integration. To address this, the team carefully documented the issues and provided suggestions for the 3D modelling team to fix them. For the Female Elf character, significant progress was made by updating the rig using the forest druid's base rig, enabling easier animation reuse. Notably, the team replaced the head mesh with one that includes ears, ensuring they penetrate the hoodie mesh for a more visually appealing and distinct elven characteristic. The focus on skin weights for the Storm Initiate elf and the implementation of a basic set of animations have been instrumental in bringing the character to life. Examples of the work completed throughout the week can be seen below.

Elf run animation

Female Elf with cloak added

Elf Initiate with cloak

Gargoyle mesh clashes

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

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