July Devlog | Week #2 | No. 186

Development
July 12, 2022
July 20, 2022

A busy week for developers as the Zentragal's new armour receives extra details, while an archway and portcullis are created by the set design team. Additionally, the programming team have been introducing the new hire into the project while setting up plans to solidify the gameplay loop. Meanwhile, multiple creatures are brought to life as the sound team works with the Mantisar and the animation team works with a vicious canine. Finally, the environment team has jumped into the engine to optimise grass generation and fix some issues caused by the recent engine update. As always, join us on Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit for daily updates on Depths of Erendorn - now let’s get into it!

3D Modelling

The armour set for the Zentragal is the focus again for the 3D modelling team, as they continue to block out the protective gear for the illusionist. Additional plates to the base of the armour set as well as along the spine. The team has also taken the time to add some new details within the armour, such as chains that will aid to keep the plates from moving around. Webbing has also been added near the chest and on the back, adding more structure to the armour whilst also incorporating the illusionist's arachnid origins. Examples of progress on the armour can be seen below.

New details added to the Zentragal armour

Set Piece Design

After some technical difficulties with the recent engine update, the team continue their work on the new city item set. Our artists have followed the theme of assets completed in previous weeks, creating a sharp and harsh aesthetic. The portcullis and archway created by our artists last week use swords and jarring angles to match this look perfectly. As this piece is a work in progress, the team will continue to work on this piece through the coming week. Models such as this will begin to shine once the team implements them into the engine and applies textures and lights to them, which will give them a much more gloomy and intimidating aesthetic. An example of the new model can be seen below.

Archway and portcullis for new city item set

Programming

Client

This week was spent fixing some project setup issues being faced by half of the engine team as well as working with the new client programmer to show them the ropes and get working on some initial tasks to introduce them to the project. Work completed by the client-side team can be seen below.

  • Fixed engine project file creation for team members experiencing issues.
  • Introduced the new hire to the basics of the project and explained C++ to blueprint workflows.
  • Worked with the new hire to create an Ambient Sound Manager for World and Dungeon ambient sound tracks.
  • Added logic for positioning one shot ambient sound cues (drips of water in this example) around Dungeons periodically.
  • Added the Ambient Profile data asset for defining how ambient sounds individually behave and added them as a property to Room Profiles so they can be selected to fit the set dressing for any given dungeon.

Server

A little bit of a quiet week for the server this week, as some significant time has been put into fixing a particularly nasty bug that causes the AI pathfinder to break. Two bugs causing failure have been fixed as a result, but it seems this is not all of the root causes of the Pathfinder failing. Additionally, some more fixes for AI's targeting code (especially the triggers it causes when targetting/untargetting someone) have been made, including how AI triggers interact with Provoke. Finally, the underlying code for the World Event Manager has been created, which will be in charge of the random events occurring out in the world as you explore Erendorn.

The tool that was made last week to implement XP painting in zones has received some major improvements and bugfixes to enable developers to map out zones and assign XP to certain areas, using this tool we can affect the difficulty of enemy groups which spawn in these areas. The XP painting tool now auto-displays and updates as these values change and can visually display in a colour what the 'difficulty' of an area is. The preview has been created and optimised to work over large areas allowing us to get a overview of zones. The 'softness' and size of the brush can be adjusted and XP can also now be removed as well as painted. After this, focus shifted to working on a plan to bring together some new features and push towards a build which represents our 'base' gameplay loop. Other work completed by the server-side team can be seen below.

  • Merged the recent world combat changes into our live test server so we can test and bugfix the new code.
  • Added a blueprint for generating combat grids anywhere in the world.
  • Created the base framework for world events which will be a major part of the open-world gameplay.

Sound Design

The sound team have been working on audio for the Mantisar throughout the last week. The team has edited some vocal audio completed in the months before to fit with recent animations, adding more life to the oversized bug. Using a variation of clicks and growls, the team have created an effect that gives the bug creepy and sinister energy as it communicates with its swarm. These sounds are only a work in progress, as the team aims to lower the growling and blend it with the clicking a little more. Making the overall sound more distinct. These work-in-progress sounds can be heard in the video below.

Environment Art

The environment team have also been fixing some issues that have been caused by the conversion to the new engine. When changing to a brand-new version of Unreal Engine, the possibility of conflict issues with previously working plug-ins can be high. Because of this, the team has worked to fix issues that have arisen with Nanite and Lumen. Once these were working, the team could focus on optimising the landscape within the new engine. Focusing on the method in which the grass blades are placed onto the landscape, coupled with the change in material and grass colour has given the landscape a much more realistic aesthetic. Examples of the new landscape texturing can be seen below.

Changes to landscape within new engine

Animation

The animation team has been working on a couple of models throughout the last week. Starting with the Draconian, the animators have updated the rig and movement cycles. The mesh needed updating due to issues such as the mouth of the lizard clipping into itself during movement. Once this issue was fixed, the team has been able to update the rig and animations so it is ready for the engine once again. Examples of the new Draconian rig can be seen below.

Draconian rig update

The animators have also been working on the Hyena model, getting it rigged and skin-weighted, ready for animation. Once completed, the team moved on to creating the movement cycles for the canine. The team have become quite adept at creating creatures that are not humanoid, finalising the idle, walk and run cycles quickly. On the back of the creature, planes have been added with the Hyena's hair applied to them. Although this looks strange in this example, once placed into the engine the black background on these will no longer be visible leaving the hair standing on the back. Examples of the new movement cycles for the canine can be seen below.

Hyena animation set

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

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