Monthly Devlog | March 2021 | No. 26

Development
April 2, 2021
February 21, 2022

Welcome back to another devlog roundup! Most of March was focused on finishing off the settlement and adding shops to the Merchant Tent, but it also bore witness to new animations, VFX for dungeon entrances, and sounds from the French Alps. We also began recording in-game footage from the dungeons and settlement, and have included some clips towards the end - so keep scrolling to see those! As always, join us over on Twitter, Instagram and Reddit for daily updates on Depths of Erendorn - now let’s get into it!

New Animations

A number of animations were created and adjusted last month. Here are some of the highlights!

Animations for the Savannah Wild Dog were created, including run cycles, biting attacks, and a death animation (please forgive us - we had to):

https://depthsoferendorn.blob.core.windows.net/assets/WildDogAnimset.mp4

Updates were made to the Watertarg Excursionist’s ‘Spinning Kick’ animation, which was given start and end points so that it no longer loops in a circle:

A new Forest Druid animation was created, in which she uses her staff to deal a forceful blow. This will be used for one of her special abilities:

https://depthsoferendorn.blob.core.windows.net/assets/Fd-2Hattacks-1.m4v

And finally, our Animator updated the run cycles for the Boar, Mountain Lion and Swiftstrike Jaguar, all of which are beasts that you will fight in the game:

https://depthsoferendorn.blob.core.windows.net/assets/Grp1-Runcycleupdate-1.m4v

Environment Design

For our Environment Artists, last month was all about set-dressing the settlement and optimising the world environment. The aim is to get everything looking as badass and refined as possible, especially given the new gameplay trailer we’re working on - more on that later!

Set Dressing the Settlement

The settlement was pushed to the next level in March. We wanted it to look homey, cosy, and full of life, and we achieved this through a plethora of new set dressing pieces and props. The Merchant Tent, in particular, came a long way last month, with new shops and characters getting implemented. Players will be able to enter Merchant Tents like these and buy, sell, or trade items - if they have enough gold coin, that is!

New shops that were added to the Merchant Tent include:

  • An armour shop and weapon shop, both managed by Earthen Dwarves
  • An accessories shop, where you’ll be able to purchase a variety of items
  • A scroll shop, bursting with ancient texts that you’ll be able to peruse
  • A potion shop, stocked with various vials of magic concoctions
Front view of the Merchant  Tent
A look through the Merchant Tent
The weapon shop
The neighbouring armour shop
The scroll shop
The potion shop
Close-up of the potion shop's very happy customer service rep
The accessories shop
The accessories shop
Side view of the scroll shop and potion shop
Back of the Merchant Tent

A lot of new set-dressing pieces were also created for the settlement last month, including:

  • A bakery stand, complete with croissants, baguettes, and other deliciousness
  • Various wooden houses where NPCs will live, all unique in design
  • Larger watchtowers, one of which features a house extension for the Guards
  • A fortune teller tent with hovering candles, emissive crystals and a spellcasting Parakaw
A new bakery stand
Larger Watchtowers
A new fortune teller tent
New NPC houses
New NPC houses
New NPC houses
New house extension for the Watchtowers

We also made sure to focus on the small details, because these are what end up tying everything together. Like we mentioned earlier, the aim for the settlement was to make it look cosy and well lived-in, which led us to create the following props:

  • Wicker baskets, burlap sacks, and bunting
  • New tablecloths to make inside areas look homey
  • A modular bookcase to use inside various buildings
  • A hanging lantern and barrel with removable lid

A new spiked fence that will go around the settlement was also implemented for defence purposes - while the settlement is a safe and harmless place, the outside world of Erendorn definitely isn’t!

New tablecloths
New modular bookcase
Hanging lantern
Barrel with removable lid
Wicker baskets, burlap sacks, and bunting
New spiked fence

As a result of all of this work, the game’s first settlement is now starting to look like a real community. It’s also beginning to sound like one, too, thanks to our Sound Artist creating some ambient sounds for the marketplace. Check out the draft sounds below, as well as some birds-eye-view shots of the settlement:

https://depthsoferendorn.blob.core.windows.net/assets/SFX_AMB_MarketTEST02.wav

Draft sounds for the marketplace

The marketplace
Birds-eye-view of a corner of the settlement
New cobblestone roads
Starter zone, where players will spawn before making their way to the settlement

World Optimisations

Various optimisations were made to the world environment last month:

  • We tweaked and improved the RVT and blend material for better normal details on blended assets
  • RVT texturing was also extended to work on water wetness for surrounding mud and ground textures, based on where water volumes are placed
  • The foliage spawner was re-jigged and calculated to get the maximum visual effect while impacting frame rate as little as possible

We also gave the settlement map a bit of a facelift by adding more verticality and interest to the landscape. We used Houdini to do this - check out the progress shots:

Visual FX for Dungeon Entrances

You may remember from a previous devlog that our VFX Artist had begun working on some VFX for dungeon entrances. Before last month, this work consisted of concepting different visuals - and now, these are starting to come to life!

A couple of different iterations of dungeon entrance VFX were created in March, and these will continue to be refined over the coming weeks:

Sound Design

March also saw the creation of a ton of new sound effects for various critters and small enemies, including:

  • The Vampire Spider, Toxic Web Spider, Molten Web Spider, and Coldweave Spider

https://depthsoferendorn.blob.core.windows.net/assets/Spider-Vampire-Spider-Hit-Reaction-Vocals.wav

Vampire Spider hit reaction

https://depthsoferendorn.blob.core.windows.net/assets/Spider-Toxicweb-Spider-Death-Vocals.wav

Toxic Web Spider death

https://depthsoferendorn.blob.core.windows.net/assets/Spider-Moltenweb-Spider-Hit-Reaction-Vocals.wav

Molten Web Spider hit reaction

https://depthsoferendorn.blob.core.windows.net/assets/Spider-Coldweave-Spider-Attack-Vocals-.wav

Coldweave Spider attack

  • The Elemental Earth Wisp - read all about the Elementals in this devlog

https://depthsoferendorn.blob.core.windows.net/assets/Wisp-Earth-Test-01.wav

 Elemental Earth Wisp

  • Many different types of snakes, which will be low level enemies in the game

https://depthsoferendorn.blob.core.windows.net/assets/Snakes-Selection.wav

Selection of snake sounds

  • The Slimes, a class of undead enemies that appear as sentient slime creatures

https://depthsoferendorn.blob.core.windows.net/assets/Slime-Vocalisations.wav

Slime vocalisations

Leeching Slimes are just one class of Slime creatures that will appear in the game
  • The Hydra Plant, a carnivorous, three-headed plant enemy

https://depthsoferendorn.blob.core.windows.net/assets/Plant_Hydra-Vocals-Draft.wav

Hydra Plant vocals

Our Sound Artist also spent the month traversing the icy, mountainous trails of Tignes in the French Alps, where they recorded some awesome water sources. A particular focus was paid to meltwater, which was recorded from 0.5m, 1m, 2m, 3m and 5m distances.

These will eventually be implemented into the game for streams and rivers, providing a nice blend of tones as players walk towards or away from water. Not only this, but meltwater also creates awesome drip noises as it breaks through the ice or falls from icicles, so these recordings will also be used inside Erendorn’s Ice Dungeons and caves!

https://depthsoferendorn.blob.core.windows.net/assets/Meltwater-Drip-intense-0.5m.wav

Meltwater drips from 0.5m distance

https://depthsoferendorn.blob.core.windows.net/assets/Meltwater-Stream-under-Frozen-Lake-Gentle-2m.wav

Meltwater stream under a frozen lake, recorded at 2m distance

Our Sound Artist's recording set up in the French Alps

Game Trailer

Okay, now onto some really exciting stuff. Last month, the whole team began working on a new cinematic trailer that will showcase all the awesome parts of Depths of Erendorn so far, including:

  • In-dungeon gameplay footage
  • Gameplay from the settlement
  • The world environment
  • VFX and sound effects
  • New animations

The trailer will basically be all about showing our team of playable characters as they explore the settlement and dungeons! So, while the rest of the team were set-dressing the settlement, creating new animations, or implementing visuals and sound effects, our Programmers were busy figuring out how to create the cinematics.

They decided to use UE4 Sequencer, which not only allows us to create the cinematics we want, but also lets us record and preview in-game footage from previous tests. Here are some of the key features of UE4 Sequencer:

  • Take Recorder: The Take Recorder gives us the ability to record player input that we can then make use of in Sequencer. This means we can control the cinematic ‘actors’ and get exactly what we want without having to animate characters by hand.
  • Gamepad Mapping: To allow us to get better performances from our Take Recorder ‘actors’, gamepad mappings have been added. This is helpful because using a joystick allows for smoother analogue movements than a keyboard can achieve.
  • Runtime Sequence Workflow: Methods for recording gameplay footage while making use of Sequencer have been explored and have highlighted a few ways in which some small changes will allow us to have better control over the flow of action we’re attempting to record.

The only challenge we faced when using Sequencer was figuring out how to capture in-game footage. This was tricky because in Depths of Erendorn, dungeon gameplay takes place in procedural maps, making the process of creating and recording sequences more awkward.

But our Programmers quickly devised a way to overcome this obstacle. In a nutshell, if we save the events of a dungeon run to a replay file as they occur, we’re able to recreate and rewatch previous games using the DoE Replay Controller. This feature has been particularly exciting because not only are we able to set up action sequences for gameplay footage, we’re also able to debug, as well as save and share our favourite games from testing! So you can expect a lot of awesome updates in the near future - for now, check out some of our trials of recording with Sequencer in UE4:

Golang Server

Last, but certainly not least, we have an exciting update from the Programmers who were working on setting up the game’s new Golang server: finally, after several taxing weeks, they have finally finished converting code for the new server! As well as this, they successfully copied 98 ability effects over to Golang!

Here’s a look at some more server updates that happened last month. Our Programmers:

  • Took a long bash at the backbone functions required for combat, and created a vote manager that will allow the players to reroll the dungeon if they don’t like it
  • Created a new code class named ‘Dungeon Session’, which allows them to package everything the client needs for combat into one easy code structure
  • Set up many architectures and frameworks to handle all the abilities, armour and damage types, turn types, and statuses during combat - more about that here!

Thanks for joining us for this devlog roundup, we hope you enjoyed it! For more detailed insights into our game development process, check out our weekly devlogs - there’s a new one every Tuesday!

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