Monthly Devlog | April 2024 | No. 63

Development
May 8, 2024
June 19, 2024

Throughout April, the teams at Depths of Erendorn have made significant progress across various aspects of the game. The 3D modelling team refined character assets, from retopologising the Revenant to completing texturing. Set piece design expanded environments with crafted assets like barrels and shield kits. The client-side team prioritised gameplay functionality, implementing features such as Post-Combat loot and a Level Up System. Server-side efforts focused on enhancing performance and scalability, while the sound team enriched the game's audio landscape. The environment team addressed material and lighting issues, refining settlement buildings and enhancing visual landscapes. The animation team has been refining attack animations for characters of Erendorn and the VFX team has started the process to develop level 3 character abilities. These collective efforts underscore the dedication to elevating Depths of Erendorn's 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

Throughout April, the 3D modelling team at Depths of Erendorn made significant progress on various fronts. They initiated the retopology process for the Revenant character, ensuring the efficiency of the model while retaining intricate details. This systematic approach facilitates seamless transitions through production stages. Moreover, the team completed texturing for the Revenant, using dark colours to create a menacing enemy. Despite some trial and error with the cape shape, adjustments were made, and the character is now ready for engine integration. Additionally, research on hair shaders in Unreal Engine and revisional changes for bird models exemplify the team's dedication to enhancing visual fidelity and functionality. Examples of the work completed throughout the month can be seen below.

Revenant retopology in progress

Final textured Revenant

Improved bird model

Improved proportions for bird model

Set Piece Design

Throughout April, the set piece design team at Depths of Erendorn has made significant strides in crafting various assets to enhance the game's environments. They dedicated efforts to creating a large barrel, finalising each production stage for seamless integration into the game engine. By incorporating dark woods and iron textures, they imbued the barrel with a rustic feel, perfect for placement within the tavern of the settlement redesign. Additionally, the team completed a set of braziers, illuminating common areas within the settlement with high-poly models showcasing their attention to detail. Progress was also made on a high-poly shield kit, aiming for modularity to create unique shield designs. The team's dedication to innovative and adaptable design solutions is evident in the completion of the rounded Viking shield set, offering versatility through interchangeable colour paint options. Examples of the work completed by the team throughout the month can be seen below.

Large wine barrel asset

High poly brazier assets

High poly modular shield assets

Textured modular shield assets

Programming

Client

Throughout April, the client-side team at Depths of Erendorn has been dedicated to enhancing gameplay functionality and user experience. Efforts were focused on various key tasks, including the development of Post-Combat loot functionality and the implementation of a Level Up System. They added lootable interactables and laid the foundation for interactable characters, allowing players to gain new abilities by levelling up and speaking to a Trainer NPC in the Settlement. The team also updated animation blueprints and conducted extensive testing to ensure a smooth gaming experience for players. Additionally, they rolled back and implemented important updates to a previous milestone build of the game, focusing on enhancing dialogue and the adventure process. Utilising SVN version control, the team ensured seamless transfer of changes while addressing technical setbacks and improving code clarity. Moreover, they integrated weather and lighting controls into the dry testing level, streamlining functionality and addressing persistent bugs. These efforts underscore the team's commitment to enhancing Depths of Erendorn's gameplay and user experience. Additional work from the client-side team can be seen below.

  • Updated the Interactable Interface to allow characters to be treated as interactables.
  • Added in combat loot container interactable to allow players to get combat loot if a body is not lootable.
  • Laid the groundwork for making bodies lootable.
  • Updated how progress is displayed in line with changes to combat rewards.
  • Implemented XP Cheat to allow us to test new level up mechanics.
  • Created a Level Up Panel for displaying and selecting new abilities when speaking to the training NPC.
  • Added the Level Up Request to allow the client to send ability choices.
  • Improved the Level Up Panel to work within the UI panel system.
  • Added the Abilities Changed log to handle immediate updates to Character Ability loadouts that are visible for anyone in the same Session.
  • Implemented the ability for the 'Entity Abilities' class to be modified during a Session.
  • Added Ability Bar refreshing functionality to handle adding and removing of Abilities.
  • Fixed issues surrounding multiple players levelling up at the same time.
  • Added a dropdown at login for switching between different test accounts.
  • Made starting an Adventure easier by adding a button to the screen instead of the player having to right click themselves.
  • Made a number of changes to the Dialogue Manager and Dialogue UI to allow multiple members of the same party to speak to the same NPC. We previously added the ability for party members to join dialogue that a member was already engaged. These changes make it so that party dialogue can also be handled individually or as a group depending on the conversation/NPC.

              - Improved Dialogue Join/Leave/Ended functions to account for participants and their relation to the local player.              
               - Added a custom new line character for dialogue and its conversion function.   
               - Fixed the NPC dialogue portrait not appearing.

  • Worked through issues with the changes to dialogue for multiple party members.
  • Modified the Settlement to prevent players attempting to leave without starting an adventure.
  • Added a new interactable for the Help NPC to make selecting them easier.
  • Added an exclamation mark to the Help NPC.

Server

Throughout April, the server-side team at Depths of Erendorn has been dedicated to enhancing server performance and scalability while enriching gameplay experiences. They addressed memory-related issues and optimised server performance by reducing RAM consumption and CPU cycles required for pathfinding loops. Efforts were made to improve logging for efficient issue tracking and resolution. Infrastructure upgrades were prioritised, including the development of a framework to dynamically scale servers without requiring restarts. A streamlined control panel for centralised administration and server management is underway, aimed at simplifying operations as player numbers increase. The team also introduced new in-game events and mini-bosses, showcasing various functionalities such as event chaining and random event triggering. Additionally, they focused on optimising enemy movement code and implementing XP painting for enhanced difficulty balancing.

Sound Design

Throughout April, the sound team at Depths of Erendorn has been dedicated to enhancing the audio landscape of the game. They diligently worked on level 2 abilities, ensuring each ability is accompanied by a unique sound to aid player recognition. The team successfully completed work on abilities such as Fortification, Sharpening Restoration, Spear of Light, Weakening Veil, and Static Impact. Additionally, they experimented with AI voices for NPC dialogues, finding that while AI performs adequately for one-off words or phrases, infusing emotional emphasis into full sentences remains challenging. The team recorded various phrases in different tones to showcase differences and plans to employ a combination of recorded snippets and AI-generated voices for different characters in the future. Efforts were also made to update basic fighting vocals to introduce greater variation among characters, enhancing combat encounters. Examples of the team's work can be seen and heard below.

Environment Art

Throughout April, the environment team at Depths of Erendorn has made significant strides in enhancing the visual landscape of the game. They focused on expanding the settlement buildings' modular kit, creating roof sections to surround the first floor and crafting materials for various components of the building kit. Special attention was given to crafting custom roofs for complex structures, such as the entrance and main roof of specific buildings. Additionally, the team addressed material issues within the settlement, rectified lighting discrepancies, and enhanced structural integrity by constructing floors and implementing collision boxes for settlement buildings. Research into instancing and optimisation methods for buildings and set dressing elements further laid the groundwork for future enhancements. Examples of the environment team's work throughout April can be seen below.

Roof improvement on settlement buildings

Corner roof pieces

Initial experiment of settlement building in engine

Bringing all pieces together in engine

Scaling buildings compared to previous one in engine

Material improvements

Improved materials utilised within interiors of settlements buildings

Animation

Throughout April, the animation team at Depths of Erendorn has been dedicated to enhancing the visual appeal and functionality of character animations. They diligently worked on creating new attack animations designed to be versatile and suitable for a wide variety of characters in the game. Considering the diverse range of characters and weapon types, each animation cycle was tailored to specific weapon weights while ensuring transferability across multiple characters, thus enhancing efficiency in the animation process. Additionally, the team cleaned and imported mesh and animations for the Giant Ant, successfully integrating them into the engine. They also initiated the development of animation controllers and character blueprints for creatures lacking these components, aiming for consistency and completeness across all character assets. Examples of the animation work completed by the team throughout the month can be seen below.

Visual Effects

Throughout April, the VFX team at Depths of Erendorn has been dedicated to enhancing the visual effects for character abilities. They transitioned from completing level 2 abilities effects to focusing on concepts for the remaining level 3 character abilities. Some team members engaged in modelling for abilities requiring intricate meshwork not currently available in the project. Testing of new features aimed at creating more usable organic shapes has also been underway, with the team hopeful that these features will greatly enhance VFX production in the future. The team identified and began developing all remaining level 3 abilities, including those partially completed in the old particle system. Concept sheets were created for characters like the Forest Druid and Zentragal, laying the groundwork for refining the best elements. Efforts were made to clean up and convert old Cascade system abilities into Niagara ones. Progress was made on the Forest Druid character, with most abilities nearing completion, while level 3 self-buffs for the Twilight Elf and Watertarg characters were implemented. Currently, the team is working on the remaining abilities for the Parakaw characters, with plans to finalise abilities for Zentragal and Dwarf characters, marking the final stages of level 3 ability development. Examples of the work completed by the visual effects team can be seen below.

Visual effect experiments

Concept sheet for level 3 abilities

Additional concept sheet for level 3 abilities

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

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