July Devlog | Week #3 | No. 237

Development
July 20, 2023
July 20, 2023

In this week's development log for Depths of Erendorn, significant progress has been made across various teams. The 3D modelling team has focused on refining the spellcaster armour through meticulous sculpting, while the set piece design team has been dedicated to enhancing caves and dungeons with stalactites. UI updates, server optimisations, and groundwork for fast travel have been the main focus of the programming teams. The sound team has curated a diverse range of audio content, capturing coastal waves, storms, and magic effects. Meanwhile, the animation team has been perfecting the Dwarf character's combat animations, and the VFX team has integrated innovative materials for enhanced visual effects. These achievements showcase our commitment to delivering an exceptional and immersive gaming experience. As always, join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit for daily updates on Depths of Erendorn. Alternatively, join our Discord for all the latest! - now let’s get into it!

3D Modelling

The 3D modelling team has achieved significant milestones this week in the development of the spellcaster armour. With the sculpting phase now complete, the team has meticulously crafted intricate details throughout the design, resulting in a visually captivating armour set. Currently, they are dedicated to the retopology stage, ensuring that the meshes are optimised for performance and maintain the highest level of visual quality. Examples of their progress can be seen below.

Finalised sculpt for the Spellcasters' protective gear

Set Piece Design

The set piece design team has been diligently working on enhancing the visual appeal of our caves and dungeons through the addition of stalactites. Their dedicated research and efforts have resulted in the successful initiation of this exciting project. By starting with stalactites, which drip gracefully from the ceiling, they have chosen a simple yet impactful element to decorate these subterranean environments. Despite encountering challenges with ZBrush, the team expertly adapted to Blender, finding it to be a reliable and efficient tool for their creative process. As they continue to create more stalactites, they plan to develop a versatile material in UE5 that can be applied to various other formations, including stalagmites, columns, and flowstones. Examples of their impressive stalactite creations can be seen below.

Variations of stalactites for new cave updates

Programming

Client

This week has been about implementing the ability to generate and synchronise ongoing Combats when joining Adventures. This allows disconnected players to rejoin their Adventure party even if they are in the middle of a fight. Adding this flexibility to the Session has meant refactoring a number of Session and Combat Managers to ensure each aspect of Combat is caught up properly for the moment of reconnection and is ready to hit the ground running when gameplay resumes. Additional work completed by the client-side team can be seen below.

  • Modified how all managers use their 'Session Data Apply' phases to prepare ongoing Active Effects, Abilities and Movements.
  • Players in Combat now have their 'Turn Ended' status applied at the start of Combat.
  • The Turn Manager and related Steppers' methods for communicating Turn Order has been updated to allow a Combat to be set up during an enemy turn.
  • Implemented more UI updates to icons and the stat panels.
  • Removed level, gold, experience and movement speed displays from stat panels.
  • Further fixes to progress display to accommodate for event related item drops.

Server

This week, the server team has been working on various optimisations and bug fixes to make overall performance and gameplay smoother for the client. This began with finishing off the code required to allow a client with an interrupted connection to be able to reconnect to an Adventure -while- in combat. Once this was completed, the rest of the week was spent optimising a few server to client messages, such as removing the need to send a whole entity via a message and instead sending its entity ID, allowing the client to reference this ID to the entities it already has loaded up.

Additionally, time has been spent implementing the new nav data server side alongside the foundations for fast travel. Taking our movement and combat from a 2D grid into a 3D grid is going to take our combat and world to the next level, bringing a lot more freedom and dynamic gameplay. Changing how we store/use and reference data within the codebase on such a wide scale is going to take some time but we believe the results of it will be worth the effort as we look to improve our game.

Sound Design

The sound team has been diligently working on capturing and curating a diverse range of audio content to enrich the auditory experience in Depths of Erendorn. Despite facing some challenges, such as a recent illness, the team has successfully recorded several standard sounds from a captivating island location, including the soothing sounds of coastal waves crashing upon a small cove. Additionally, they ventured to capture the elemental fury of recent storms, aiming to harness the essence of wind through expert editing. The team's creativity knows no bounds, as they even experimented with a hydrophone, a waterproof microphone, to record vibrations through water, resulting in intriguing and unique audio results. Furthermore, they have gathered source content for magic and ability effects, providing a diverse array of original recordings. A preview mix with added reverb has been prepared to showcase the transformative potential of these recordings into various magical elements. Examples of the recorded sounds and their creative transformations can be heard below.

Animation

The animation team has been hard at work continuing with the adjustments for the Dwarf character, meticulously cleaning and exporting the animations for seamless integration into the engine. Notably, they have focused on adding more force to the swing animations, effectively conveying the impression that the Dwarf's mighty hammer carries great weight, crashing down upon the earth with formidable power. This attention to detail brings a heightened sense of realism and impact to the character's combat maneuvers. The same approach has been applied to the sheathing weapon animation, where similar movements emphasise the weight and gravity of the Dwarf's imposing hammer. Examples of the updated animations can be seen below.

Updated Earthen Dwarf Hammer Blow

Updated Earthen Dwarf weapon sheath

Visual Effects

The VFX team has been hard at work integrating the innovative new materials and meshes into the game's effects, and the results are nothing short of impressive. These additions bring a whole new level of movement and flare to the visual effects, elevating the overall visual appeal and immersion for players. The team's dedication to optimising the performance of these effects has paid off, as they now run much smoother and seamlessly within the game. Examples of the new materials and effects 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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