March Devlog | Week #4 | No. 220

Development
March 23, 2023
March 23, 2023

This weekly development log for Depths of Erendorn highlights the progress made by various departments over the past week. The 3D modelling team has finalized the Human Knight's armour textures, while the set piece design team has made tweaks to props and materials in the initial settlement. The coding team has been working on creating a bug-free server and improving player experiences, while the sound team has been experimenting with sound for combat ending. The animations team has been updating canine's rigs and movement cycles, and the VFX team has been working on visuals for the targeting system. Overall, the team has been putting in a lot of effort to create an immersive and engaging 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

This week, the 3D modelling team made some significant progress on the Human Knight's armour. Firstly, they finalized the textures on both tier 1 and tier 2 armours, ensuring that they were up to the team's high standards. Additionally, the team made a conscious decision to make the lighter metal tone more saturated, in order to create a stronger contrast with the greyer metal. This decision was made after some experimentation, and the team feels that the result is a much more visually appealing armour set. The team also made some changes to the higher tier of armour, adding extra detailing to the cape, shoulder pads, and hip plates, in order to give the armour a more opulent aesthetic. These changes were made in order to differentiate the higher tier of armour from the lower tier, and to give players a sense of progression as they level up. Overall, the 3D modelling team is pleased with the progress that they have made this week, and they are excited to continue working on the Human Knight's armour set.

Tier 1 armour for the Human Knight

Tier 2 armour for the Human Knight

Set Piece Design

Throughout the week, the team focused on fixing some technical issues and making visual improvements. First, fixing some old tiling textures on some assets that were affected by the engine switch. We often overlook these textures, but upon closer inspection, we found that they needed some attention. Next, we edited a bunch of materials, making small tweaks that made them look more realistic and better overall. We also worked on the Bridge asset materials, ensuring that they blend better into the settlement. Some of the materials were too bright, lacked metalness, and had roughness maps set to greyscale, resulting in unnecessary shine. Lastly, we fixed some placement issues of assets around the settlement that were hovering. These improvements will enhance the overall gameplay experience and provide a more polished look to the game. Examples of the newly updated textures can be seen below.

Updated wood and metal textures

Additional updated metal textures

Updated item placement

Programming

Client

This week has been about fixing the premature ending or softlocking of world combats with delayed actions. This will enable players to join dungeons after some of their actions have already occurred before connection. Thus, improving the player experience for either kind of combat with SFX and better reaction times for enemy animations. More work completed by the client-side team can be seen below.


  • Updated the methods for ending combat to ensure the last combat updates play out properly before returning to regular movement. The Action Director (responsible for gameplay action timing) has been updated to wait for the completion of the final updates a combat receives before victory or defeat is achieved.
  • Integrated the SoundProfile from last week to be the source of all sound cues relating to gameplay UI triggers such as joining/winning/losing combat, different turn changes, inventory/vendor actions and more.
  • Fixed a bug that meant that late joiners to a dungeon are no longer prevented from joining or seeing the active state of the dungeon.
  • Updated animation events for Hit React animations as a number of characters didn't have them assigned, minute to minute combat should feel more responsive for all enemies now.
  • Remapped zone1 and settlement.
  • Remapped all dynamically spawned assets.
  • Updated NavEdit tool to create distance data.
  • Finished fixing the context menus for equipped items: items can now be unequipped and deleted from their slots rather than having to locate them in the player's backpack.
  • Fixed the adventure progress window displaying the information wrong. All progression was being combined for everyone instead of being separated when in a group.
  • Fixed a bug that would cause the vendor to display no items if the stock was refreshed whilst a transaction was in process, and additionally fixed said transaction then granting the wrong items.
  • Implemented some new ability and damage type UI elements.
  • Started on adding a display to the Character Creation screen to show the player which class abilities they have chosen as they progress.

Server

This week, the server team has been hard at bug fixing again, trying to make the server completely bug free for an important upcoming build. Major bugs tackled this week along with additional work from the server side team can be seen below.

  • Entities that initiated combat in an open world would cause 2 sets of start turn triggers.
  • Entities that joined combat initiated by another, while in their turn, would not be added to the TurnManager, meaning the initiating Entity could force-end the entire team's turn.
  • Entities were not being set a rotation when they were spawned into the open world, causing abilites that care about which way the opponent is facing, like dirt kicking, to fail.
  • Abilities with complex requirements, such as blindside, which needs an opponent to be not facing them, but also either behind OR beside them, were failing if a single one of these conditions were not meant, when as long as 'besides' or 'behind' the enemy was fulfilled, the ability should be allowed to work. As such, we reworked how ability requirement effect blocks pass back if they've failed or not.
  • Enemies being added to a dungeon told the combat area manager the tile they were occupying before they had been assigned an ID for the combat, causing every entity to overwrite its predecessor's occupying location. This happens in the opposite order now, letting everyone be on the tile they're actually on turn 1.
  • Updated Golang version.
  • Updated server restart scripts.
  • Added Mutex locks to Entities.
  • Added Functions to obtain locks on a group of entities.
  • Fixed entity position updates on the first step of each movement.
  • Re-implemented NavEdits for dynamically spawned assets.
  • Updated settlement code to fill all stats upon joining.
  • Added Pack and Unpack healer functions to the Coord struct.

Sound Design

Throughout the week the sound team has focused on creating audio for escaping combat. To maintain cohesion with the game's soundtrack, the team has used instruments that were included in it. When creating the initial sound the team have been mindful to not make the sound too cheerful, so they will experiment with its use within the gameplay to ensure that it fits the game's tone. Finally, the team started reviewing older sounds that need updating, which is part of our ongoing effort to improve the audio quality of the game. Examples of the sound can be heard below.

Animation

This week, the Depths of Erendorn's animation team made updates to the canine characters, including wolves, dogs, and Skyhounds. The team resolved the issue of different rig scales causing appearance issues by adjusting the scale of all dog meshes to be approximately the same value. This allowed them to avoid retargeting animations for each dog type and scale them back to their original sizes in-engine. The team also updated the dog rig by adding an extra pair of ears for the Skyhound and reskinned the new scaled dog meshes and Skyhound mesh to the updated control rig. Additionally, the team would clean and export the skeletal meshes, importing them to the engine. The team also updated the run cycle and idle pose animations and added them to the engine. As an experimental feature, they separated the wings of the Skyhound to potentially add them as additive in-engine. However, they are still evaluating and determining the best approach going forward. Examples of updated rigs and animations can be seen below.

Rig update for canines

Updated animation on each canine

Comparison between new and previous animations

Visual Effects

In this week's development log for the VFX team, we focused on improving the ground targeting circles for within gameplay. Firstly, the team would spend some time redownloading the project to ensure that they had a fresh working build to start from. Next, the team started working on various tasks related to the ground targeting circles, including addressing the main challenge of handling the rendering around other meshes. Currently, when rendered the other messes such as grass would render on top of the targeting circle. We also explored potential new looks for the targeting circles to enhance their visual impact in the game. These efforts will help us to create a more immersive and visually stunning gameplay experience for our players. Examples of the rendering complications and variations of the targeting circle can be seen below.

Potential designs for targeting circle

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

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