December DevLog | Week #2

Development
December 13, 2019
November 18, 2021

We’re back with another devlog update! This week we’ve been busy with the usual stuff - new characters have been sculpted, new VFX have been made, our cave dungeon has been improved and our Programmers have done a lot for level generation and gameplay. Continue reading for more details!

3D Character Modelling

After getting started on modelling a couple of new character classes within the Human race, this week our artist finished the Civilian as well as the Merchant sculpts. Players will come across these NPCs as they explore settlements and wander through Erendorn, and will even be able to trade with some of them.

As our Character Artist created the clothing pieces for the Merchant, they made sure to do it in a way that would allow them to be part of our future character customisation system. That way, we will eventually be able to have some randomly generated designs for the Merchants so that there is variation between them.

Once the sculpt was all finished, we focussed on all the various accessories and items that our Merchants will carry:

  • Pouches were added to the Merchant’s belt.
  • A pan and a water flask were shown hanging from the sides of the backpack.
  • The backpack was also adorned with a rolled-up blanket and a larger sack.

The backpack is a huge part of the Merchant’s design because it gives clues about this character’s nomadic lifestyle and trinket-filled hoard. We even modelled the insides of the backpack, too, in case we need to use this bag as a prop in future.

Sculpt of Human Civilian from Depths of Erendorn
Human Civilians are NPCs in Depths of Erendorn.
Sculpt of a Merchant's backpack from Depths of Erendorn.
We tried to include accessories in the Merchant's backpack design to indicate their nomadic lifestyle.
Sculpt of the inside of a Merchant's backpack from Depths of Erendorn.
We modelled the inside of the backpack in case we use it as a prop in the future.
Sculpt of Human Merchant from Depths of Erendorn
Players will be able to trade with Merchants as they explore Depths of Erendorn.

Animation

Our Animator is continuing to transfer and update characters’ animations from the old rig to the new unique rig. This week, they did this for the playable Earthen Dwarf, whose following animations were worked on:

  • Walk Cycles;
  • Two Basic Attacks;
  • Basic Idle and Combat Idle;
  • Punch, Drink and Death Animations;
  • Idle with One-Handed Weapon Equipped;
  • Idle with Two-Handed Weapon Equipped;
  • Equipment of One and Two-Handed Weapons.

Environment Art

We carried on working on our Cave Dungeon levels this week. Along with the glowing mushroom groups that we added, our Environment Artist also made a few more additions to help tie everything together:

  • Cave doors were created and implemented.
  • Two new plant species were introduced for variety.
  • Bone Pile decals were also created to give the scene some edge.

In addition to this, colour and lighting adjustments were made to the cave assets and overall scene. Speaking of, our Environment Artist added some variation to the colour and emissive intensity to the new plant life that had been introduced. It now looks a lot more vibrant against the dark atmosphere, and this really draws attention to the fantastical nature of our dungeons.

We have now started working on creating a crystal material to use in our caves, so check back next week to see how that is coming along!

Screenshot of Cave Dungeon test scene from Depths of Erendorn
Colour and lighting adjustments were made to the Cave Dungeon this week.
Screenshot of Cave Dungeon showing UE4 model stood in front of campfire
We even threw some Undead Zombies into the mix for some added horror!
Close up of vibrant plant life in a dark cave dungeon from Depths of Erendorn
Two new species of plant life were also introduced to our Cave Dungeon to add more variety.

Visual FX

Following the work that was started in our last devlog, the buff effects for Fast Healing, Cripple, Impair and Disarm were refined this week. As well as this, a quick effect was made for the Counter attack that players can use. Our VFX Artist actually took inspiration from the Pokemon ‘protect/detect’ skill by using a little glint that appears when a player has successfully countered an attack.

Our Visual Effects Artist also began working on the VFX for Ice Storm, a generic spell that deals a significant amount of Frost Damage to enemies within a 6x6 area. But it doesn’t stop there - enemies affected by Ice Storm also lose a small amount of Movement for one turn, giving the players an extra advantage in battle.

To do justice to this awesome spell, our Artist created luminous shards that rain downwards, colliding with the floor before before ‘dying’ one by one. This was a big improvement from the original test, which had them simply phasing through the floor. We’re currently working on a shatter effect for them as well, which will help to really push the intensity of the visuals.

Programming

Even more work was carried out on level generation this week. Rules can now have input to make the system more flexible - this will open it up to future modification with more interesting generation patterns. Further to this, many improvements were made to level generation this week:

  • Level generation now includes doors.
  • Room events are now re-implemented into level generation.
  • We refactored the way that the server handles room data in the level generation.
  • Doors now store spawn locations. This information was originally missing from the serialisation function.

Our Programmers also managed to improve performance with pathfinding by making it so that each tile in a room now has its walkable neighbours pre-calculated. But we didn’t only work on level generation this week:

  • We added a base character class and created placeholder character classes for playable characters and NPCs.
  • Gameplay classes were added for Tiles, Rooms and the Room Manager, which will be used with the room builder class. These classes and functions will form the core of the data representation of the level in the client.
  • The ability for set pieces to be designed using our UI was added, allowing us to generate information about potential spawn locations.
  • Using this tool, our artists will be able to create grid representations of complex, authored set piece objects. The grid representation will then be exported for use on the server. This system allows us to have beautiful authored set pieces embedded into our levels, which are procedural.

Before this week, all we had in terms of gameplay was data from the server. After all of the above work, we now have in-engine classes that can hold and do things with that data, so we’re pleased to see it all come together in this way.

VFX for Counter attack from Depths of Erendorn
We were inspired by some Pokemon VFX when creating the effect for Counter.
VFX for Icestorm from Depths of Erendorn
Ice Storm deals Frost Damage to enemies as well as limiting their Movement for one turn.

Thanks for joining us for another devlog update. As always, remember to check us out on Instagram, Twitter or Reddit for daily updates on Depths of Erendorn!

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