Here’s what you can expect in this week’s devlog: our finished Templar model, new sound fx for playable characters, some gameplay footage of the Assassin using its abilities, and how we’re customising character creation with the introduction of Talents. As always, give us a follow on Twitter, Instagram or Reddit for exclusive updates on Depths of Erendorn - now let’s get into it!
Sculpting & Texturing 3D Models
We finished creating our mighty human Templar this week, with a lot of texturing work being done to polish it off. Though there were some serious discussions on whether this character’s trousers should be beige or black (we went with beige), the texturing process went pretty smoothly and we’re psyched about the final result:
- Art deco inspired the eye slits on the helmet, which were outlined in a rather fitting gold material
- The helmet itself was given a bit of a battered texture, with a few scrapes to indicate battles
- With mostly beige clothes, the Templar was looking a little flat, so red stripes were also added
- Leather and metal materials were used for the studded belt and the shoulder armour straps
- All other metal pieces, like the boots, gloves and pauldrons, were also textured to look worn
The next character we began modelling this week also hails from the Human Kingdom, and will be seen accompanied by a special animal in the game. We’re talking about Beastmasters, who have the ability to communicate and bond with a particular wild animal. Here’s a few more facts about them:
- Once bonded, Beastmasters and their animals become the same living being
- They share all thoughts, as well as feelings like pain, suffering, fear and joy
- The practice of Beastmasters is shunned by the Kingdom, so many live in solitude
- The link between man and beast is so strong here that if one dies, so does the other
So far, we’ve completed the first sculpt of this character in ZBrush, where it was given some rugged clothing and a rather awesome ponytail. We’ll continue sculpting this character next week before we move onto texturing, so stay tuned!
Animation in Unreal Engine
Our Animator was holed up in the engine this week working on getting all of our different enemy animations up and running. This involved updating some Animation Controllers so that attacks will now trigger in the game, as well as adding some animation sockets to enemy rigs so that weapons and props can be attached.
- New basic attack animations were created for the spider, crocodile, turtle and rat
- These were then exported and added to the animation blends in the engine
- We also added special abilities to some enemies in the Ability Script
Prop Design For Game Settlements
More props were worked on for our settlement in UE4 this week. This included creating a new metal material instance for the tableware items so that they looked like they were made of pewter rather than iron. We also created a second material instance for bed fabric, which has slightly offset UVs for the creases so that they're more varied and don't look as repetitive when lined up together.
We were then going to move on to adding some details to props via geometry; but after our Environment Artists convened, they decided it would be better to make a trim sheet full of ornamental details that can then be used all over the settlement. This method will add much more detail than using geometry would, as well as cost a lot fewer tris since the details will just be images floating on top of the mesh using a plane.
To get the ball rolling on this:
- We began creating a trim sheet, which is likely to change depending on how all the various details work on different props
- We made a material instance that makes the ornate details look more like chipped paint so that they have a more diverse usage
- We added Celtic patterns to the trim sheet so that it looked less contemporary and more medieval in style, which fits our world better
Finally, and this is very important, we lowered the bed heights in the Guard House so that they're all Dwarf accessible! *crowd goes wild*
Improving The Guard House in UE4
Carrying on with our work on the Guard House in the UE4 settlement, new floor materials and pieces were created. They now properly fit the footprint of the Guard House, as well as other settlement buildings. We also:
- Created new roof pieces with boarded undersides
- Created roof edge trim pieces to soften the edges of the thatched roof
- Remade the Guard House to be approximately 33% smaller and more in line with the concept art
VFX For Assassins & Environments
Our VFX Artist finished up their first pass of the Twilight Elf Assassin abilities this week. As a result we now have some cool footage of this playable character casting its spells in the game - scroll down to check it out. Not only this:
- The dungeon fog system was finished, bringing some extra eeriness to our caves
- Environmental effects were tweaked so that we had a more refined atmosphere
- We made some off-shoots of current environmental effects, like multiple sizes of bonfires
SFX For Playable Characters & Swamp Lizards
Some sound effects for playable character abilities were drafted this week, specifically for the Twilight Elf Assassin and Forest Druid - here’s some info about the abilities we worked on:
- Rapid Killer is a Twilight Elf Assassin specialty, and it basically restores some Energy and Movement stats to you every time you kill an enemy
- Vine Lash is a melee ranged attack used by the Forest Druid to disarm enemies, as well as to deal significant amounts of Nature Damage to them
Our Sound Artist also created some sound effects for Erendorn’s Swamp Lizard, which are low-level enemies in the game that are resistant to Nature Damage. They tend to hide in swamplands, or they submerge themselves in water, waiting for the perfect moment to turn a passerby into a meal. Check out their model and draft sounds below!
These are the draft sounds for the Swamp Lizard's idle
These are the draft sounds for the Swamp Lizard's hit reaction
These are the draft sounds for the Swamp Lizard's death
Housekeeping: Improving Stats & Abilities
A lot of improvements were made to stats this week:
- Character stats are now stored for a player’s selected character
- We can now also display stats that were gained from a particular item
- These are displayed even if they didn’t exist in the character’s base stats before
- Character stats, including item stats, are now displayed on the inventory page
- This means players can see what effect different weapons will have on their stats
Our Programmers also carried out some work on attacks and directional abilities:
- Ability Controllers, ability cast requests, and communication functions were created for all directional abilities
- Placeholder visuals, as well as the ability to position these context-sensitively, were implemented for selecting directional ability targets
- We also fixed an issue where certain types of Animation Controllers wouldn’t trigger attack animations for certain characters
Adding Talent Selection To Character Creation
Most excitingly this week, we finished adding Talents to the Character Creation screen. Talents offer a way for players to customise how their character plays by offering them a choice between 3 abilities:
- When creating a character, players can select a class, a single class ability (which is unique to their character), and three generic abilities (which are shared between different characters).
- Characters created this way also received some default class abilities that came with the character. The Parakaw Astromancer, for example, always started with the Master of Magic spell.
- By adding Talent selection, the player can now essentially choose the base abilities for their chosen character, allowing them to modify the way they play the game.
As an example, if you chose to play as the Twilight Elf Assassin before the Talent selection was introduced, Voidshadow would be one of your default abilities. However, now that we’ve customised this part and renamed them as talents, you can decide between Voidshadow, Void Flicker, or Shade of Recuperation when choosing the talent you wish to have. In case you’re curious, here’s how each of them work:
- Voidshadow activates Stealth, making you unmovable and untargetable
- Void Flicker allows the Assassin to teleport to a random location within 3 tiles
- Shade of Recuperation basically heals you a little bit every 3 turns
Finally, we made some efficiency improvements to the game this week, namely in character selection. This now works faster if the character has a lot of items - about 2 - 3 times faster in fact. This goal was achieved by being able to retrieve item data much more efficiently.
That’s it for this week, see you in the next devlog!