July DevLog | Week #3

Development
July 19, 2019
November 18, 2021

We’ve been working on creating a new playable character all week, and we’re excited to show you the progress in this devlog! We’ve also got some updates from the Animation, Environment Art and Server departments - so you can get a real good glimpse at our indie game development process. Before you go, give us a follow on Reddit and Twitter for all the latest updates on Depths of Erendorn!

3D Character Modelling

We started sculpting a new playable character this week. Lionmen possess immense physical strength and have a frightening roar that intimidates and weakens their enemies. This is going to be an awesome character in Depths of Erendorn that will appear in three variations, each one stronger than the last.

This means that our Character Artist has to create 3 different body types for the Lionman. Starting with the generic type, which we can then easily bulk up or slim down, our artist used the Human base mesh as a jumping off point, although a lot of proportions were obviously changed:

  • Legs were resculpted to more closely resemble a Lion’s
  • The neck was also resculpted into a stronger, more animalistic shape
  • The torso was shortened to help convey the stocky appearance in the concept sketches

As well as all this, our artist created a placeholder mane that would help visualise the lion look whilst the model was being sculpted. We’re currently in the middle of retopologising the sculpt, and once this is done the mesh will be able to be used to create the final sculpt as well as the other variations of Lionmen.

3D model of a Lionman in ZBrush without it's mane
Using a Human male base mesh as a starting point, we resculpted the legs, made the torso shorter and the neck more animalistic.
3D model of a Lionman in ZBrush
A placeholder mane was made so that our artist could visualise the lion-look whilst he was sculpting.
Retopology process of a Lionman model in ZBrush
This shows our current retopology process. Once finished, we'll be able to use the mesh for the final sculpt and other character variations.

Animation

After updating the Twilight Elf Assassin’s rig in last week’s devlog, we were able to not only tweak some of its animations but also import these into Unity (while fixing some skinning issues along the way, of course). These animations included:

  • Idles
  • Walk Cycles
  • Unarmed Attack
  • Disarm
  • 2 x Spells
  • Basic Armed Attack
  • Hit Reaction
  • Death Reaction

Our Animator then continued to add more animations onto the new rig so that they can also be imported into the engine. These animations included things like Kick, Equip/Unequip Daggers and Dodge. We’re also in the middle of looking into any adjustments that we can make on the Twilight Elf Assassin’s special attacks so that these, too, can be tested in the game.

Environment Art

Work continued on our new character selection scene this week, with our attention being primarily focussed on the greenery that can be seen in the background. In addition to the different types of fir trees and wild ferns that were created in our last devlog, three variations of Oak tree were also introduced to the scene this week, along with different variations of wild grass clusters which make the environment feel wild and overgrown.

In order to bring a level of realism into the scene, the Subsurface Scattering map for the foliage was improved to be more physically accurate. While we’re on the subject, foliage type textures are also now being atlased per species in order to reduce draw calls. By creating this Texture Atlas, we only have to incur one draw call for the whole batch, instead of one per object, which will in turn optimise our graphics performance.

Server & Game Client

The first half of this week was spent on the continued implementation of the Addressables system that we mentioned in our last devlog; and the second half was spent on improving targeting systems for the client.

Addressable Images

Addressable sprites for abilities, statuses, character portraits and item icons are now stored by icon ID. This means that anything represented with an icon can be assigned, modified and retrieved during development and at runtime. Finishing this allows us to, over the coming weeks, smoothly transition to improving the client-side inventory system, tooltips and loot drops.

Targeting System

Work has begun on improving the client's targeting for single, multi-target and multi-tile abilities. Potential targets of an active ability, for example, will be highlighted as the mouse hovers over them, showing additionally affected tiles or entities. These improvements, as well as adding a highlight and confirmation step for self or room targeting abilities, aim to improve gameplay by allowing players to better understand the skills they've chosen as well as giving them a better chance of using them in strategic ways.

Icon Dev Script

With abilities, statuses and entities now using the Addressables system, our Programmer created an Icon Dev script that will allow us to read the list of addressables and upload it to the database. Here, each entry is given an ID which is then used in the Editor to assign to abilities, statuses and so on.

The script also allows us to:

  • Update the database
  • Track any changes in the addressables
  • Output a file which gives the client a map linking the addressable name to its database ID
Three variations of Oak tree were created for the character selection scene this week.
Different types of wild grass clusters also made the environment feel unkempt and overgrown.

After this week, the Icon Dev script has more functionality which makes adding new icons easier and also helps to update the current icons to match any changes in the client. Finally, the DOE Editor now also allows us to search and filter the icons, as well as update or set them for statuses, abilities and entities.

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