January Devlog | Week #1 | No. 160

Development
January 11, 2022
January 12, 2022

Welcome to the first weekly devlog of 2022! The team has returned after some well needed time off, eager to start the New Year on the front foot. Check out what everyone got up to last week, below. And as always, join us on Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit for daily updates on Depths of Erendorn - now let’s get into it!

3D Modelling


Our 3D Modelling team finished off the recent sculpt they were working on in December. Now this model is complete, it's time to move onto Retopology (simplifying a complex 3D model into a low resolution, simplified mesh of polygons). Once that is complete, the armour can be textured and VFX can be applied to really bring the essence of the design to life.

Finished sculpt

Set Piece Design


Our Junior Environment Artist finished their test of Nanite last week (a new technology found in Unreal Engine 5). This statue was created with the sole purpose of testing out how Nanite works and what its capabilities are. Although the set piece may not make it into the game, a lot has been learnt about the process and how it could be used going forward to benefit the design of the game.

Last week was all about the new outpost, a small settlement where around 10 NPCs can be found, offering their goods and services to travellers. The initial blocking out is done to get a better understanding of layout and composition - where buildings will be placed and why. They're assembled in this block form to save time later down the line, as buildings can be moved and placed before any significant design work goes into them.

Programming

The Programming Team dove straight into things last week, crushing a whole host of bugs in Golang, testing systems after the upgrade from UE4 to UE5, and worked on maps & navigation for the game.

As a result of some technical limitations that arose from upgrading DoE from UE4 to UE5, this week has seen focus on testing, modifying and building Unreal Engine 5 from source code as well as uploading the precompiled engine to source control for the rest of the team to use.

  • Building and using the source code version of UE5 allows us to make changes to core functions of the engine, giving us greater customisation when it comes to solving technical limitations of the standard engine.
  • Movement Mapping Tool started and worked on using the idea of our Gridnode system, improving and optimising it for the open world gameplay.
  • Map & Navigation can be generated in the client and exported for use on the server.
  • Map & Navigation data can now be re-imported from exported data files.
  • Created several debugging displays to represent the map data.
  • Added the ability to change the settings on the go and recalculate.

Golang

There was a lot of bug fixing to be done last week, most notably using our new and improved AddStat effect block to replace the old one (AddStatWithCounter, RestoreStat, AddStatWithMultiplier, RemoveStatUpTo). The new AddStat just does all of this under one roof!  Due to some changes with Stat IDs some abilities have started doing some strange and funny things and are in the process of being updated to use the new stats. Some of the fun bugs fixed this week include:

  • A healing spell instantly set the user's health to zero using negative healing damage.
  • The Twilight Elf Assassin's Improved Backstab no longer generates gold, instead of extra damage (Sorry farmers!).
  • Draining Seed no longer removes experience from the victim, but strength.

Sound Design


Our Sound Designer was hard at work over the Holidays, capturing ambient sounds that can be used in-game. This involved taking their recording equipment to the coast and setting up next to the water. Not only could the recorded sounds be used for a multitude of aquatic scenes, ambience and monsters, but could also be morphed and edited into something totally different.

Wave Ambience 1

Wave Ambience 2

Last week they worked on another of Erendorn's "creepy crawlies", the Heavy Husk Beetle. Check out their new vocal line below.

Heavy Husk Beetle

They also began work on adding SFX to some of the recent animations. For example, our Gargoyle Flesh Ripper!

Environment Art

The Environment Team hit the ground running last week, optimising several aspects of terrain generation and importing work over into UE5. Take a look at what they got up to below:

  • Terrain auto material upgraded to blend between more layers.
  • Snow layer added.
  • Terrain improvements made using Gaea.
  • New snow mask generated and imported from Gaea to UE5.
  • Grass generation tweaked so that it does not populate on steep slopes or above a certain altitude.
  • Distance shadows added.
  • Fern generation tweaked to be less common.
  • Rocks and rubble now generate on steep rocky slopes.

Animation

Our Animation Team continued work on some low level enemies last week, most notably the Frogs and Lizards of Erendorn. Here's some of the progress they made:

Frog: created animation set - idle, walk, run, attack, hit react, death.
Lizards: (Lizard, Iguana, Fire Salamander)

  • Cleaned and fixed skin weights on the Skeletal Meshes that will be added to the engine.
  • Cleaned and exported animations into the engine.
  • Fixed Lizard rig after its bones didn't match the main skeletal rig that we use in Engine. We then began to update its animations to fit the new updated rig.

Frog
Lizard (Iguana)

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

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The start of May has brought lots of work from the team. Last week, our 3D modellers have gotten closer to completing the textures on the Zentragal rework. More props have been created from Set Design, while Environment Art has textured and sculpted some new bricks for the next point of interest.
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It's been an incredibly busy month for the team working through April. Our 3d modelers have finalised the Zentragal rework and started to create textures for it. The set design team continues to make props, while the sound team gets out and about collecting audio from the wilderness.
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Another busy week for the development team last week! The programming team has worked on creating a party system so players can team up in Erendorn. The sound design team has been creating audio that will give the interiors of buildings some atmosphere.
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