August DevLog | Week #4

Development
August 28, 2020
November 18, 2021

This week’s devlog talks about how we made our Magmarai run red with lava, how our deadly wasps look in the engine, and how we’ve created ambient sounds using epic geographical recordings. You know the drill - check us out on Twitter, Instagram, or Reddit if you’d like to see daily updates on our online RPG, now let’s get into it!

3D Modelling

After texturing the lava-spewing Magmarai in last week’s game devlog, our 3D Character Artist implemented it into UE4 in order to make this enemy look as hot as possible - literally. Two things were added to the Magmarai to achieve this:

  • A black and white mask of the model’s molten veins was created. This was then used in conjunction with a panning lava texture to create the movement of lava in the veins.
  • Emissive intensity was also set up so that it would dim and glow brightly over time, like an intense flicker. This will emphasise the Magmarai’s life force and make it seem more alive.

Our 3D Artist is now working on the human Templars, another group of enemies from the game that have particular beef with the playable Knight. You see, in the Human Kingdom, there’s The Knight’s Order, which prohibits the extensive use of magic in combat, and then there’s The Templar Order, which emphasises the use of magic in combat.

The Templar Order was born when a frustrated faction of Knights decided to carve out their own institution, where spellcasting abilities could be explored without sacrificing physical training. The conflict in their belief systems makes the Knights and Templars staunch rivals, so we’re excited to see their finished models side-by-side.

https://doe.horus.ninja/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Doe-Ue4-001-Unreal-Editor-2020-08-24-14-32-41-1-please-work.mp4

This is how the Magmarai looked after some work was done to it in the engine.

Creating Wasp Animations

As we mentioned in last week’s game devlog, we’ve been busy creating some awesome wasp animations for the game. In Depths of Erendorn, the wasps are a little bigger than usual, as you’ll see in the clip below, so they make for dangerous enemies when they decide to swarm.

Once the animations were cleaned up and finalised, they were imported into Unreal Engine for testing. We decided to try them out in our cave dungeon, where we pit them against a lonely Knight. We made a few tweaks to how high we wanted the wasps to hover, but overall we loved how they turned out!

Our Animator has now moved on to the scorpion, the last creature on their list of high priority enemies to animate. Stay tuned for how this little critter turns out!

This is how the wasps look in the engine.
These are the wasp's animation sets.

Environment Design In UE4

Prop Design

This week, more work was done on the book props that will appear throughout the game’s first settlement. After finishing off the trims we started in our last game devlog, we used these to create loads of different book variations, which we then textured in a nice fancy leather material.

Other generic props, like beds and market stalls, were also improved with some leather and fabric material instances, which were created using the tiling master material in UE4.

We made lots of different trims for books.
Books are generic props that will appear in settlements.
The trims allowed us to create lots of different variations of these props.
A leather material was used to texture the bookss meshes.
Leather and fabric material instances were also created.
We used these on various other props.
These are some market stalls that will appear in the settlement.

Building The Settlement

For the actual skeleton of the game’s settlement, we’re currently working on some kit pieces that will be used for various structures within the grounds. We also finished off creating the walls and roof texture for the Guard House we started last week, which will be one of many building types to appear in settlements.

While the Guard House is getting properly built in MAYA, we decided to also create a WIP version of it in the engine, too, so that we could put a small scene together using some of the recent settlement props. This gives us a clearer idea on how the settlement is coming along, and we’re really excited to see it in the world like this. Check it out below!

The Guard House in MAYA is coming along nicely.
We finished making the walls this week.
A roof texture was also made for this building.
This is our current progress of the Guard House in MAYA.
This is the WIP Guard House we've created in the UE4 settlement.

Visual FX For Lava

Aside from tweaking some ability fx for playable characters, our VFX Artist’s biggest task this week was adding visuals to the Magmarai. We already mentioned how our 3D Modeller made the lava move and look even hotter, so it was just a case of adding some panache and a few final touches:

  • We made some fiery embers that fade into black ash and wisps of smoke
  • These were placed strategically around the body, giving more life to the Magmarai
  • A soft heat distortion field was then added across the Magmarai’s chest as well
  • This really sells the immense heat contained in this character, especially when you zoom in close

https://doe.horus.ninja/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/MagmaraiRotation2-1.mp4

These are the visual fx for the Magmarai.

Recording Ambient Sound Effects

This was an exciting week in Sound Design because the first cave ambience sounds were created. To do this, our Sound Artist embarked on a journey through Alpine mountains, coastal and rocky islands, and countryside farmland, where they could record the raw voices of nature... Okay, so they went on holiday and took their equipment with them, but it still led to some awesome ambient sounds:

  • From these three geographical locations, we have 40 new recordings, which have all since been converted to stereo - so 80 new tracks overall
  • The first cave ambience sounds used recordings of streams, which were slowed down in order to accentuate the rumble of water, while taking away the notes that identified it as a flowing stream
  • Doing this created a deep, spacious feel to the sound, which was eventually layered with some quiet water drops, breaths, a harmonic drone, and a lot of reverb.

https://doe.horus.ninja/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/The-Alps-Alpine-Stream.wav

These are the recordings of the Alpine streams.

https://doe.horus.ninja/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Erendorn-Cave-Ambience-01-SHORT-2.wav

These are the WIP cave ambience sounds, created from the stream recording.

Believe it or not, it’s actually really hard to hike with multiple mics strapped to you, so our Sound Artist only took one on their travels. They would then set themselves up so that they could record 5 minutes at one angle, and 5 minutes at another. This means that there were a lot of mono recordings that our Sound Artist had to blend together in order to give the impression of a stereo recording.

The recordings are still all RAW, i.e. unedited files, which means that we have a wider use for them in the game. For example, they can be used for basic ambience, like they are now, or they can be edited to give a certain feeling to different kinds of terrain, whether it’s a creepy forest, dangerous mountain pass, or desolate desert.

Our Sound Artist even took some photos of where they were recording.
These will be referenced by our Environment Artists in the future.

Programming In Unreal Engine

This week, our Programmers remade how the inventory system works by creating a drag-and-drop equip functionality. However, this hasn't been completed yet because some major planning work cropped up:

  • We’ve started nailing down the specifics of how the main world of Erendorn will function
  • We’ve also started getting important gameplay features set up for a future alpha release

In addition to working on all of this, the amount of the Ability Power stat that is given on certain items has been significantly increased. This should make getting Ability Power from items more beneficial, and in line with other stat increases.

We think this image of the Alpine mountains will be particularly inspiring when it comes to creating our mountain passes.

Thanks for joining us for this week's devlog - see you next Friday!

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