May Devlog | Week #1 | No. 227

Development
May 11, 2023
May 11, 2023

In this week's development log, the 3D modelling team completed retopology for a new set of armour and focused on UV packing. The client-side team implemented UX features, while the server team handled disconnected players, addressed adventure bugs, and revamped Nav data. The animation team improved player movements, specifically the run cycles. The visual effects team worked on VFX fixes, created new effects, and researched techniques for engine compatibility. 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 completed the retopology process for the new set of armour, and is currently focused on UV packing. This process involves creating a 2D representation of the 3D model that is used for applying textures to the surface. In other words, it's like creating a flat map of the 3D model that can be painted on like a canvas. UV packing is a crucial step in the 3D modelling process, as it affects the final visual quality of the model in-game. A well-optimised UV map can reduce load times, improve performance, and ultimately enhance the player experience. The team is taking great care in this process, ensuring that the UV map is optimised to reduce texture stretching and distortion while maintaining a high level of detail. Once the UV packing process is complete, the team will move on to texturing, which will bring the armour to life with detailed, high-quality textures. An example of the retopologised armour can be seen below.

Completed retopologised armour ready for UV mapping

Programming

Client

This week has been about implementing some UX features long desired as well as some ideas brought up as a result of recent testing. New mouse and world space cursors will serve to give better context to the actions players take during Adventures and Combat. Additional work completed by the client-side team can be seen below.

  • Added Context Cursors and hover functions for Movement and Attacking while your character is selected.
  • Updated Character Occlusion Outlines to only display for players or enemies in an active Combat.
  • Implemented the new Movement Cursor VFX to display where party members are moving in their party colour.
  • Implemented the new Ability Targeting VFX to better show selected targets during adventures.
  • Updated ability text to improve tooltip descriptions.
  • Updated Interactable collision detection and visual updating functions to improve readability and interactivity during adventures.
  • Fixed a number of abilities that slipped through the net on the most recent iteration.
  • Started the work on multi-level nav data meaning we will be able to have multi-story navigation which up to now has not been possible.
  • Started big refactor of the code related to movement and navigation data.

Server

This week the server team finished off the handling of disconnected players in the dungeon. Previously we were just letting the disconnected character sit around to get killed by the opposing team, but this was proving slightly problematic.  Disconnected players were slowing the game down as they weren't ending their turns, this has been changed so when a player is disconnected their turn is ended and they are removed at the start of the next players turn. As a result, at the beginning of a player's turn, a disconnected player is immediately killed if they've been disconnected for a certain period of time already. Additionally, there was a few adventure side bugs that were fixed. Wrecked Caravan chests now properly open upon defeating the Drovals looting them, and the NPC in the Caged NPC event is now a random race from the game, not just a Parakaw, as well as having a dynamically altered name to reflect their race.

Additionally, the team would work on getting the codebase ready for the next phase of development as we push the open world gameplay to the next level.  Revamping the Nav data will lead to more freedom when roaming the world of Erendorn, with no session changes between areas of the open world, with this refactor and Unreal Engine 5's ability to handle large worlds it will give us the ability to have a very large and immersive environment. Finally, some other work done was on integrating the adventure code with the up and coming Cache service.

Animation

The animation team has been working hard on making player movements feel more natural and enjoyable in the game. Their main focus has been on improving the run cycles by adding more exaggeration to the movements. This helps to prevent the movements from feeling too flat and enhances the overall visual appeal of the animations. To achieve this, the team will need to test the changes in-game and make adjustments until the movements feel just right, which they will be doing over the coming weeks. Examples of the updates to run cycles for the Forest Druid can be found below.

Previous Forest Druid run cycle

Updated Forest Druid run cycle

Visual Effects

The visual effects team has been busy this week continuing to work on fixes and buffs related to VFX that were discovered during playtesting. In addition, they created new VFX for the different targeting circles, experimenting with different ideas to enhance gameplay. The team has also been researching techniques for converting legacy Cascade emitters into Niagara emitters, in order to improve efficiency and compatibility with the latest game engine. An example of the new VFX and techniques developed throughout the week can be seen below.

New indicator visual effects in engine

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

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