July DevLog | Week #4

Development
July 26, 2019
November 18, 2021

This week’s game devlog is all about modelling our Lionman and creating some badass weapons. As always, remember to follow us on Twitter and Reddit for more updates on Depths of Erendorn!

3D Character Modelling

Continuing with our Lionman from last week’s game devlog, we’ve made a lot of refinements to the model in terms of musculature, body types and creating a mane. Once the retopology and unwrap of the body was complete, the low mesh was subdivided and had sculpt information transferred onto it. We then:

  • Added claws and things like the eyes, tongue, teeth and gums
  • Refined the musculature, like reducing the size of the trapezius muscle around the neck and shoulder
  • Refined the face so that it more closely resembled a lion’s. The nose, in particular, needed a bit of rework

When we had the body where we wanted it, it was time to create the other two sizes for the different classes of Lionmen - one bigger and more muscular, and one slightly smaller and less developed. Sculpt layers were used to do this so that we could make non-destructive adjustments. We actually created the different body types by inflating the size of the body, adjusting the body shape in certain places and changing the body mass to better reflect the respective body type.

The biggest challenge this week was actually achieving the weighty look of a voluminous mane. Since we had to make 3 manes for the 3 different sizes, we decided to do the medium mane first. We started by using a flat colour material to better visualise the silhouette of the mane and figure out the overall shape. This material was useful for isolating the shape of the mane, seeing why it wasn’t looking right and figuring out what needed to be changed. Once we had a better idea on how to tackle the mane, we:

  • Sculpted large clumps of strands to communicate the flow of the mane
  • Detailed smaller strands at the start and end points of the mane to make it look more like it is formed of hairs
  • Tried to ensure that it looked like it was gathering on the shoulders of the model

The other two manes were created by manipulating the shape of the medium mane into a smaller, more adolescent look, and then a larger, voluminous one. After this, we retopologised and unwrapped not only the three manes, but also the eyes, teeth, claws, tongue and gums. We then combined the UVs of all the low meshes so that we now have completed meshes for each Lionman body type.

Now, the maps are baked and ready for us to start the body texture. However, our Character Artist has decided to start making the clothes first so that everything can be textured at once. While some clothes are already being worked on, the shorts the Lionmen wear will be painted on during texturing as a little workflow test for customisable characters - so check back next week to see how it all pans out!

Low mesh of a Lionman in ZBrush with different coloured polygroups showing
Using polygroups makes the sculpting process a lot easier as you are quickly able to hide parts of the mesh according to their colour.
2 3D models of Lionmen side by side in ZBrush. One is taller and more muscular
We originally sculpted the musculature to be quite large and robust, especially around the trapezius muscle on the neck and shoulders.
Small and large Lionman models stood side by side in ZBrush
But when refining the sculpt, we decided to reduce the size of the traps muscle (as well as the size of the wrists) so that the Lionman looked a litter leaner.
3 different sizes of Lionmen stood in a line in ZBrush
We created 3 different body types for the Lionman. The manes were then sculpted separately.
Front, side and back view of a 3D Lionman in ZBrush
When sculpting the mane, we used large clumps of strands to communicate the flow of the hair.
3 variations of Lionmen models in ZBrush
After combining the UVs of all the low meshes, we now have complete meshes for each body type.
Low poly mesh of a Lionman in ZBrush wearing an armoured skirt similar to a Roman pteruges
We've started creating the clothes this week, but will paint the Lionman's shorts on during texturing.

Environment Art

Taking a break from the character selection scene we showed you in a previous game devlog, our Environment Artist spent this week creating some of the starting weapons for some of our characters. These were all made in Substance Painter and Maya before being rendered in Unity:

  • Two-handed Sword: This mighty weapon is used by many playable characters in the game, from valiant Knights and Bonelair Gargoyles to the fire-breathing Red Draconians.
  • One-handed Sword: Although a generic weapon, our one-handed sword can deliver significant damage to opponents.
  • Dagger: Daggers are the weapons of choice for characters like Twilight Elves and Blue Melmees - but there will also be several enemies who use these lethal blades.
  • Keris: This is an asymmetrical dagger that isn’t used by any characters yet. However, the awesome design of this weapon means we’re more than happy to add it to our arsenal!
  • Magic Staff: This weapon is primarily used by our Parakaw Astromancer, a playable character who also possesses phenomenal spellcasting abilities, some of which the Magic Staff is used for.
  • Spear: While spears are typically used by Veloxian Centaurs, they are just as lethal when wielded by a Watertarg Excursionist or Zentragal Illusionist, both of which you will be able to play as.

Server & Game Client

This week has been spent working towards the Sprint's goal of creating a better system for displaying character turns.

  • Camera Rework: As we need greater control over the game camera for displaying turns (and for an upcoming, more camera-focused sprint), the prefab has been reworked to allow for clearer and more direct control over its orientation and behaviour.
  • Camera Focus: Camera focus points can now be set by entity ID. When an entity is focused, the camera will follow that character as they move until the camera has moved by the WASD keys.
  • Turn Player Button: When the display for the current turn player is clicked, the camera moves to focus them.
  • Turn Camera Lock Button: If clicked, every time an entity's turn starts the camera will focus them. The lock is broken with WASD movement unless it is your turn.
  • Bug Fixes: We also improved client-side storing of states so that it would compare them to current states in order to stop them from disappearing or displaying incorrect values above health bars.

Quite a bit of work was also done on abilities this week, mostly on Cleave which was given a new targeting functionality. Cleave was reworked so that instead of taking a target, it now takes a direction. This means that it will hit three tiles in the given direction. While some work is still needed to make this type of targeting functionality work properly, the ability is ready to test, so we will at least be able to see how it functions so far.

There were a few additions made to the server this week:

  • We added an ability block to retrieve and store the Cleave targets on a given direction.
  • We added the ability to store non-rounded numbers between certain ability blocks. This allowed us to fix the ability Nature Bolt, which wasn’t dealing the correct amount of Damage.
  • We added specific target selection blocks to retrieve the first stored target, and another to retrieve the remaining targets after the first.

It is now also possible to rejoin a game after disconnecting completely. While it was previously made possible to do this, if you had closed your connection it would stop the player from rejoining. Now, it is possible to rejoin after closing the client.

Untextured 3D model of a keris, or kris dagger
We decided to create a keris, or kris dagger in order to add some variation to the Depths of Erendorn arsenal.
Textured 3D model of a keris, or kris dagger
We gave it an archaic, almost artefactual texture so that it tied in with the ancient aesthetic of Erendorn.
Textured 3D model of a dagger with a inward curving blade
Daggers are used by many characters (and enemies) in Depths of Erendorn, and we want to have a wide variety.
Textured 3D model of a two-handed sword
One and two-handed swords are commonly used by valiant Knights during combat.
Textured 3D model of a two-handed sword
But they are also used by characters like Red Draconians and Bonelair Garygoyles, all of which will be playable!

With work having started on the new Turn Order Display UI, we hope to get a working version up and running for testing this weekend. This new display should show what order the players and enemies will have their turns in.

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