Weekly DevLog: A New VFX Artist Joins the Team!

Development
May 18, 2021
November 18, 2021

Highlights in this week’s devlog include a line-up of our male human character classes, from Knights to Mages, and a new furnace that’s been added to the settlement. We’re also excited to announce that a new VFX Artist has joined our ever-growing team, so stick around to see what they got up to!

As always, join us on Twitter, Instagram, or Reddit for daily updates on our online RPG in development, Depths of Erendorn - now let’s get into it!

3D Character Modelling

If you’ve been with us over the last couple of weeks, you’ll know that our 3D Character Artist has completely resculpted and retextured the male human base mesh! With this task now complete, they spent the majority of last week refitting all the equipment and clothes for male human characters to the new base mesh.

These characters classes include the:

  • Knight
  • Civilian
  • Merchant
  • Templar
  • Beastmaster
  • Mage
The Knight
The Civilian
The Merchant
The Templar
The Beastmaster
The Mage

Animation

Last week, our Animator created a ton of new generic animations for NPCs in the game - or, more specifically, NPCs in the Tavern! For example, two of the new animations that were made include a ‘stand on the table and drink’ animation, and a ‘cheer on the table’ animation - it’s a rowdy crowd we have going in the Tavern.

Check out the drink animation we have so far:

Environment Design

Onto the settlement, where a furnace extractor was created for the Merchant Tent's blacksmith stall, complete with billowing smoke! Here's how it's looking so far:

World Environment

As always, a ton of optimisations were made to the world environment last week, including:

  • New LODs created for weed meshes
  • LODs adjusted to look better at medium-to-long distances
  • Procedural stones now spawn wherever dirt texture is painted in the world
  • Fog was adjusted to be more apparent - this will improve the sense of depth in our vista landscape shots!

Visual FX

The most exciting news in this week’s devlog is that we’ve welcomed a new VFX Artist to the team! That means the VFX section is back in our devlogs (crowd goes wild) and we can resume drooling over pretty visuals.

Our new Artist’s first order of business was to create some concepts for the game’s dungeon entrances, which will appear as portals. Five ideas were created in total, all of which will be trialed and tested over the coming weeks.

The goal is to use different portal effects for different dungeon types - remember, there are four types of dungeons in Depths of Erendorn (Cave, Fire, Ice, and Jungle) so we want each one to look and feel unique.

Here’s the concept sheet our VFX Artist created - come back next week to see how they get fleshed out!

This is one of the dungeon entrances in the game where the VFX will appear!

Programming

Last week saw lots of progress in the settlement portion of our gameplay trailer! For this, our Programmers spent some time storyboarding and discussing the trailer, which allowed them to go ahead with the set-up for specific actions and camera animations in Unreal Engine’s Sequencer tool:

  • We made use of Cinematic Cameras, Rig Rails, and Cranes to block out the 13 shots we had planned
  • We learnt about Sequencer's ability to generate 'Takes' of a single sequence. This means a single shot can have multiple variants that can be swapped in and out on the timeline, allowing for easier testing of different visual setups
  • We tested Sequencer's rendering workflow, exploring more of the video clip exporting process

Here are some shots our Programmers took during the process!

Golang Server

A major stepping stone for the Golang Server was passed last week, with the test client successfully receiving a dungeon's layout from the dungeon server and showing it in a handy little text format.

A lot of work has led up to this, and our Golang team are super happy to have made it to this point! Additionally, some other major features were worked on last week:

  • Room transition code has been added. This handles how players enter the first and subsequent rooms in the dungeon
  • Room events now exist. The basic implementation of our room events has been added to our new server. Each room has a 50% chance to contain an event. Events do a variety of things. They can apply buffs/debuffs, and give the player rare opportunities or decisions to make. For example, an NPC could appear and ask for a favour - but this is just one possibility out of many. The variation our room events have can change how players approach a given room in a variety of ways, helping to keep them on their toes!
  • The test client is capable of understanding and voting on a reroll vote, although right now it's entirely random on whether it votes yes or no. No AI here yet, folks!

That’s it for this week’s devog - see you next Tuesday!

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