Monthly Devlog | October 2021 | No. 34

Development
November 11, 2021
December 22, 2021

Highlights from last month's game development progress include: Lots of work on our Golang server, ensuring functionality, stability and a whole host of bug fixing. Another concept armour piece being brought to life by our 3D Modelling team. Unreal Engine 5 being tested for the first time, and lots of new animations being added to the game. Plus, our brand new trailer edges closer to completion! As always, join us on Twitter, Instagram, or Reddit for daily updates on Depths of Erendorn - now let’s get into it!

3D Modelling

This month our 3D Modeller began work on our latest armour concept. This process can take a long time, especially when the concept calls for a lot of detail. Discussions take place surrounding the functionality of the amour, if it's possible to model, will it cause issues or clipping when animated etc. These conversations are paramount to the development process and ensures no time is wasted when work is underway. Below you can see the finished sculpt, next up is retopology, before colours and textures are added.

Environment Art

It's been a big month for the Environment team! With the announcement of Unreal Engine 5, we were committed to utilising its capabilities for our game. For those of you who have been following our work for a while now, you might remember that originally the game was being developed in Unity. Part way through development we decided that a switch to Unreal Engine 4 would be the best idea, as the tools and functionality available were much better suited to our needs. Plus many members of our team had more experience with UE, rather than Unity. Ultimately, once it was announced, this lead to the decision to move to Unreal Engine 5 - a far more powerful game engine that will allow us to attempt things not possible before.

This process began with a lot of research. Although it's simpler to upgrade a game engine (rather than change to a different one altogether), there are things to consider that have to make sense before we move forward with it. We started by looking at the technology UE5 could offer, and began to conceptualise what parts of Erendorn could look like with this new software.

Fast forward a few weeks, and we got our first glimpse of the Depths of Erendorn environment running on Unreal Engine 5. This was an important milestone for us, and something that helped cement our ambition to make this game the best it can possibly be! Work will continue over the coming months, as our Environment and Programming teams work together to bring the game online. Make sure you stay tuned to our Weekly Devlogs to catch all the updates as they happen!

Set Piece Design

Our Junior Environment Artist has had an incredibly busy month! With work continuing on UE5 and our Programming team making progress on getting the game back into a playable state, our artists were churning out impressive set pieces that will populate the world of Erendorn.

They began with tables and chairs. Which are simple in design, but immensely important to the atmosphere of the game - we want Erendorn to feel like a living, breathing world.

They then moved on to more rustic designs. Assets that will populate the more impoverished areas of our world. Variety is key when it comes to making a fantasy game, as visuals need to represent the area you're in.

Next up, our Artists worked on a notice board for the game. Although functionality hasn't been fully discussed on this asset yet, we're always looking at unique ways for players to interact with the world. At the very least, these boards will be found scattered throughout Erendorn, housing the requests of its citizens.

Towards the end of last month, the team moved onto some larger set pieces. Camps will play a big part in our world, offering up varying challenges, or a safe place to rest. These "good" and "evil" camps will likely be part of our Events system - random encounters and situations that you could experience out in the world. You could stumble upon a merchants camp, whose inhabitants are offering unique or rare goods. Or it could be a bandit camp, where a travelling blacksmith has been captured and is in need of saving.

Finally, some "darker" assets were created for the game. Gallows and cages will be found in towns, cities and anywhere else they may be required. These torturous devices could be used in many different areas of the game - a city could be holding an execution, or showing off imprisoned civilians, in a bid to maintain fear and order. You could be heading through a dungeon and stumble upon cages filled with rare animals, ready to be sold. These set pieces are all vital assets for the game that open up numerous avenues of storytelling!

Programming

The Programming team has been incredibly hard at work this month switching over to our new Golang server, ensuring its stability and working to get the client and game back into a playable state for internal testing. They also worked on things like player characters and accounts, combat encounters and how the server identifies enemies and allies for events.

Some of the Golang features worked on include:

  • Working on the modularity for the Test Client, making it easier to edit and control.
  • Tweaks to the code to allow greater privacy for players that connect.
  • Key updates to how Depths of Erendorn loads and prepares for gameplay.
  • Added new functions that allow targeting of players and allies within the server to be combined, or separate (this is used during events).

Some of the Clients updates include:

  • Ballot Handling - Voting on ballots is now possible using new commands made for use with the new server, allowing players joining dungeons to decide whether to reroll the room or not.
  • Room Data Parsing - The methods used for converting Room information sent by the Server into the data used to create Depths of Erendorn's procedural dungeons have been updated. Room data also contains information about enemies and events in said room and their usage has also seen updates to match.
  • Session UI - We updated UI initialisation to fit with the new Session structure. World and Dungeon Sessions now both have the ability to prepare their individual UI layouts and share any required functionality.
  • Processing Lobbies - Lobbies have seen an update to match the new Server communications and can now be created, joined, viewed in the Lobby List and left.

Animation

Our Animation team created and updated a whole host of assets this month. Now these are completed, they're ready to be added into the game. Animation work is a huge undertaking, especially with the vast amount of enemies we have (and plan to have). Combine this with the limitations of how you can animate some of the unique and varying monsters our concept artists come up with, it's no small feat to bring these creatures to life!

Sound Design

Trailer

Our Sound Designer has worked wonders this month, but not in a way we can truly show off yet. As some of you may know, we've been working on a new trailer for the game. Something to show off exactly what Depths of Erendorn is all about, what it will look like and what you'll be getting up to! This trailer is a huge team effort and something that has taken months to complete (or nearly complete, not long now!). Stay tuned to our social media accounts in the coming weeks, to get a first look at what we've been working on!

Design

A big undertaking for our Designer this month was ambient sound using collision boxes. This technique allows us to play varying sounds to the players, depending on where they are and what they're doing. For example, walking up a mountain side would expose you to a lot of wind depending on how high you go and what's around you, this wind will sound different - more intense, different pitch, varying volumes etc. Or a dense forest could have the sounds of critters and other animals, trees creaking and leaves falling. This technique really ramps up the immersion for players, which is something we believe is vital in a Fantasy game.

Work also took place on some of our character models and settlement locations. Most notably our Zullra getting a SFX update, and some soothing ambient sounds being added to our chapel.

That’s it for this month’s devlog roundup - see you next week for our second weekly devlog of November!

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