July Devlog | Week #3 | No. 187

Development
July 20, 2022
July 20, 2022

An exciting week for the developers. The sculpt of the Zentragal's protective gear concludes while the set piece team get some assets in the engine to work on a special event. Additionally, the environment team has worked in the engine on the landscape for the initial area of Erendorn! Meanwhile, the VFX team are taking a look at VFX created earlier in the project and the coding team has been investigating burst messages and implementing enemies and combat to the open world. As always, join us on Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit for daily updates on Depths of Erendorn - now let’s get into it!

3D Modelling

Work has continued on the Zentragal's protective gear. The team are getting closer to finalising the sculpt and adding the finer details to the armour within the back and breastplate. Our artists have used spikes over many different parts of the bodice, echoing the ones that the Zentragal has along their spine. Along with spines, extra work has been added to the smaller areas of the armour piece. Such as drawstrings on the wrist guards, adding realism and stability to the form of the armour. Two sets of armour have been completed to give a representation of the level and danger that the Zentragal enemy may pose. Examples of this armour can be seen below.

Tier 2 armour for Zentragal

Tier 3 armour for Zentragal

Set Piece Design

The set piece design team have worked with some of the smaller assets for the city throughout the week. After finalising the design for the imposing gate and portcullis the team worked on a weapons rack and brazier. The brazier created by the team will be used for an event in-game. Within the world of Erendorn random Events are a key part of gameplay. Keeping players engaged in a world that is never the same twice, events such as the corrupted brazier will bring new experiences to adventurers as they travel the many areas of Erendorn. Examples of the finalised gate, brazier and weapons rack can be seen below.

Weapon stand, finalised gate and corrupted brazier

Once in the engine, the team could work on adding textures to the brazier. Using the cast iron texture created last month, the team has added the corrupted brazier into the world to get a representation for the lighting and visuals. Applying a variety of particle effects and purple flames the team has created an eye-catching story device that adventurers could stumble upon during their time in Erendorn. Due to technical issues, the team will continue working on the corrupted brazier event through the following week. Representation of the brazier in the engine can be seen below.

Corrupted brazier in engine

Programming

Client

A significant portion of this week has been spent working with the new Client Programmer, to further introduce him to the setup of the project's Widgets and UI systems. The rest of the week was spent investigating the use of burst messages when sending commands to the server and clearing and updating the logging methods used for tracking session updates in preparation for World Combat implementation. Other work completed by the client-side team can be seen below.


  • Refactored and added clearer logging to Inventory and Inventory Managers.
  • Helped with converting the Context Menu class to a more generic method to suit a variety of UI needs.
  • Added the ability to selectively log the various processes associated with Session and Combat Steps by Log or Event type.
  • Abbreviated Movement Step logging to prevent spam with multiple entities active in a zone.
  • Continued to stress test the Server's handling of World Combat and Dungeon loot generation.
  • Updated ambient cues to remove overly frequent loops.
  • Started converting inventory to use Context Menus.
  • Context menus are spawning correctly and displaying correct options, buttons themselves still need fixing.
  • The action menu system was made redundant by these changes.

Server

The server team has been busy this week implementing enemy spawning and combat in the open world. Now, when you set off on an adventure, enemies will spawn in groups according to XP costs of the zones they're found in, and when approached will cause combat against them to start. Some of them even roam around a little! Additionally, some time was also put into a few more bugs causing AI combat pathfinding to fail, as well as having a new step in dungeon generation to ensure there aren't too many bottlenecks that can be abused by funnelling the enemies into them. Other work completed by the server-side team can be seen below.

  • Fixed nearly all instances of 1-tile wide corridors in dungeons.
  • Fixed many LootDistribution issues.
  • Party Issues after relog fixed.
  • WorldEvent Base framework started.
  • Adjusted zone data to include Event spawn locations.
  • Fixed a server crash if an invalid burst message is received.
  • Fixed a lot of issues with open-world combat.
  • Fixed issues with subzone generation.
  • Fixed issues with group generation.
  • Fixed issues with Combat tile generation.
  • Fixed issues with Enemy placement.
  • Fixed issues with Enemy Generation.
  • Dialogue framework is finished and ready for implementation and testing.
  • Added Dialogue manager to the world session.
  • Added interactables and a command to proc them.
  • Adjusted vendors are ready for implementation.
  • Fixed a crash caused by the server trying to save a blank item to an inventory.
  • Managed to get combat to generate in a world session without crashing the server.
  • Adjusted the inventory handling/loading.
  • Inventory messages should be reliable when gaining items now.

Environment Art

After the engine had been ported over to UE5 the environment team ran into some issues with the landscape. Due to this, they started to recreate it using the new Gaea 1.3.1, a software used to create realistic environments that can be used within games. With this software, the team have recreated the mountain range for the initial area for players to explore within Erendorn. Screenshots of work done in the new Gaea software can be seen below.

Recreate and upgrading landscape using Gaea 1.3.1

The majority of the week was taken up by fixing the foliage, rocks and settlement areas once the new landscape was implemented. With the new landscape being established within the engine, many of the assets from the previous version would no longer be positioned correctly. This gives the team the ability to refresh many of the areas they have created in the past. Examples of the new landscape can be seen below.

View of mountain range

View of initial settlement

Alternate view of mountain range

Some optimisation was needed once all the assets were in place, mainly within the settlements. It is the best time to do this, as the new landscape is just being implemented. Doing this will ensure that the game runs smoothly for players as they explore the settlement. Once this was complete the team moved on to exploring the use of HLODs, a hierarchical level of detail. This is a process where objects further away from the player are rendered in less detail, putting less strain on the computer that is trying to run it. The team are currently only experimenting with this process as it can be tricky to implement, our artists will look into this again later in development. Examples of optimised settlements can be seen below.

Re-introduced initial settlement

Interior within settlement

Additional interior within settlement

Visual Effects

As the team are now back into the engine, they have spent the week surveying the abilities completed earlier in the project. The plan going forward will be to get all the abilities to look and interact similarly. In doing this, the team will make sure that all their visual effects follow a consistent theme. The team will be focusing on this mini re-work through the next coming weeks. Additionally, the VFX team have looked at some enemy visual effects within the engine. Creating some concepts will give the team a start point for the coming visuals, and creating shape and form will act as a basis for many abilities to come. Examples of the VFX concepts can be seen below.

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

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