July DevLog | Week #1

Development
July 5, 2019
November 18, 2021

We’re giving you a behind-the-scenes look at how we created our Ghoul in this week’s game devlog, as well as showing off some in-game animations of some of our characters! As always, remember to follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for all the latest updates on Depths of Erendorn (psst, we’re also on Reddit!).

3D Character Modelling

This week, we started working on one of our scariest models to date: the Ghoul. These are nasty creatures in Depths of Erendorn that lure weary travellers away from their group before devouring them. Since Ghouls are humanoid, our Character Artist started by using the male human base mesh, which was then resculpted into an almost skeletal figure.

Ghouls are as nightmarish as they come so in order to really capture their horror in the model, we decided to make the skin around their neck appear somewhat rotten. We did this by using cylinders to make skin strips, which were then flattened, fused and detailed so that they looked like they were decomposing. These strips actually looked more like hair at the beginning of the process, so manipulating them in this way really helped to really refine the model.

There was a lot of back and forth when making the Ghoul:

  • The spine was moved further down the back as it previously gave the appearance of a hair plait
  • We tucked in the waistline in order to make the Ghoul look more emaciated and gruesome
  • Proportions were adjusted so that they matched the concept sketch. The arms, for example, were lengthened
  • The indication of an esophagus was also added to the neck so that there would be a way for this creature to eat

One issue we had when sculpting the Ghoul was showing its ab muscles in a way that made it appear gaunt instead of strong or muscular. This proved to be a bit of a challenge as the layout of muscles beneath the skin meant that it would have been easy to accidentally give our Ghoul a six pack.

In the end, our artist decided to just go ham with the Clay Brush in ZBrush and make a variety of gross shapes - and the result is pretty accurate! With all of this out of the way, our artist can finally begin retopologising the Ghoul. It’s going to be a tricky one, so keep us in your prayers.

Ghoul model from Depths of Erendorn
Originally, the skin strips connecting to the back of the head read as hair more than musculature or decaying skin
Ghoul model from Depths of Erendorn
To fix this, we flattened the skin strips so that they merged better with the rest of the body
2 3D models of an emaciated Ghoul from Depths of Erendorn
We also decided to make the waist narrower in order to achieve an emaciated, undead look
Ghoul model from Depths of Erendorn
To create the abs in a way that doesn't make the Ghoul look too ripped, we used a Clay Brush to create random shapes
Ghoul model from the Depths of Erendorn game devlog
With the sculpt now complete, we can move onto retopologising the Ghoul!

Animation

More animations were updated for the Human Knight this week before they were all imported into Unity. There, they will be used to create animation clips so that we can see how the Knight performs in the game. The next character we will need to do this for is the Twilight Elf Assassin - but before we can do that, our Animator had to first take care of a few things:

  • The Twilight Elf Assassin’s rig was first updated
  • A more detailed cloak rig was created for the model
  • Weapon bones were also added while the number of body bones were reduced

Finally, a new mesh was added to the rig. This is because the original mesh developed some issues with the mouth and had to be replaced. With the new mesh on the rig, skin weights were adjusted so that we can start looking at this character’s animations.

Environment Art

We took a break from our good old Ice Cave this week in order to focus on a few different areas of the game, the first being our character selection screen. Our Environment Artist started by concepting the visuals and functionality of a more refined character selection scene, as well as the UI placement within this. With the scene created, they then set up new post processing effects, lighting and finally a skybox.

When all of this was done, we went on to create some moss material function for props and rocks in the environment. But it wouldn’t be a Depths of Erendorn devlog without a new problem popping up and this week it came in the form of Unity’s Indirect Diffuse Intensity, which was not influencing the overall lighting of the environment. This was soon fixed, though!

Server & Game Client

Continuing on from what we were doing in our last game devlog, the Human Knight was implemented into the game this week after our Animator finalised its rig and updated its animations. With this character now in the game, we can use some of its animations with a few of its abilities to see how they function inside Unity.

We also continued our work on ability templates by adding movement-based abilities to the list. Now, there is a template that allows for teleportation abilities, jumping abilities and linear movement. Building on top of the base of ability templates, we’re able to create:

  • Prefabs for movement abilities that queue triggered animations
  • VFX that can be applied to the caster, target or tile, and also attached to bones on a character’s animation rig

When we weren’t working on this, our attention was turned towards the Items in the game. All Items should now have a minimum level that can drop, reducing the chances of there being no matching items to drop. This was actually crashing the Server sometimes while testing, so our final bit of work this week was implementing a fix for some of these random crashes.

GIF of a Parakaw from Depths of Erendorn teleporting in one of the dungeons
Parakaws have the ability to teleport to different areas of dungeon rooms
GIF showing a Knight model from Depths of Erendorn attacking a Dwarf
Heaving Blow is used by the Knight to deliver a powerful strike with his sword
GIF showing a Dwarf from Depths of Erendorn attacking a Giant Rat
Charge allows the Earthen Dwarf to slam into an opponent, dealing significant amounts of Damage

Thanks for joining us for another game devlog! We love keeping you guys updated with our development process, and love hearing your feedback. Stay tuned for next week's game devlog!

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