Happy New Year to everyone! And what a year it's been! We hit some major milestones in 2021 - creating this brand new website, dropping our pre-alpha trailer and making the move from Unreal Engine 4, to UE5. Although much of the team took some much needed rest in December, that doesn't mean work didn't continue on the game. As always, join us on Twitter, Instagram, or Reddit for daily updates on Depths of Erendorn - now let’s get into it!
In December our 3D Modelling team began work on a brand new armour concept. This followed the same procedure and workflow other sculpts take, but with one eye now fixed on Unreal Engine 5 and the possibilities going forward. Work began by taking the initial concept artwork we have for the armour and envisioning how this can translate into a physical model in-game. Tweaks are made along the way, ensuring we stay as true to the artists work as possible.
Modelling then began and the armour starts to take shape. This is where considerations must be made for the animation team later down the line. Armour can be as impressive and elaborate as we want, but if the animation team can't bring the finished model to life, then it's no good! This could be due to segments of the armour being too big, so movement wouldn't be possible. Accents or aspects not fixed to the body may interfere with the overall flow of the characters motion. All of these things need to be considered when work begins, to avoid delays later in production.
Eventually the model nears completion. This is where final adjustments are made and any last minute tweaks are considered. Once this process is complete the model is finished off and texturing begins. Stay tuned in the coming weeks to see the final product of this electrifying project!
Set Piece Design
Our Junior Environment Artist created some truly awesome assets last month! They finished off their gruesome torture devices in November, and moved onto reworking an older model - the Indestructible Box.
It's incredibly common in game development to revisit old models, assets and environments to improve their overall quality and function in a game. An in-game asset created by someone at the start of a project can be improved massively if it is revisited later down the line. This can also be said when new software and techniques are available:
This Bounty Hunter statue was created towards the end of last year and is intended as a test for Unreal Engine 5's new Nanite technology. The basic gist of this is that assets can be made with incredibly high poly counts (resulting in better detail), without impacting the overall file size. This allows us to create incredibly detailed content without impacting performance.
The Programming team had a very busy month in December, focusing on a whole host of tweaks and bug fixes for both the client and the new Golang server. This work is absolutely imperative to development of the game and allows us to better implement content and control what's going on. The new server we're now operating on has much more advanced capabilities and functionality, this means that we can attempt things not previously possible. These changes didn't come with their own issues however, meaning much of last month was spent squashing as many bugs as possible.
Work did continue though, as we saw improvements to projectiles, updated validation, independent steppers and more. We saw multiple upgrades take place, featuring many plugins for UE5 getting a fresh coat of paint! Here's a few examples of what we got up to in December:
- Dry Run - As Depths of Erendorn is a large project with many developers working on it at the same time, a test was carried out to ensure upgrading the engine doesn't contribute to downtime for the rest of the team. This allowed us to look into specific solutions to any plugin or code deprecation issues.
- Following the implementation of Asynchronous Projectiles, ensuring they and any other newly added features work as intended. We also laid the foundation for a similar method to be used on all abilities.
- Added a short Global Cooldown after each Movement/Ability/Attack command.
- Each player can only have one command in the queue at a time.
- Adjusted the way movements are handled.
- Stopped movement commands from being added when the entity is already moving.
- Added an extra command validation step to provide better feedback to the client.
- Fixed an issue with an AI edgecase that could lead to an infinite loop.
- Entities that die while moving no longer break the game.
- Reduced the number of dungeon generator workers needed per Dungeon Server.
- Reduced the number of database workers needed per Server.
- Entity rotation values now update when they move.
Last month was huge for our Environment Artist, after several months of research and testing, the transition to Unreal Engine 5 began. This has been no small undertaking and has invited a whole host of challenges and testing. However, we believe that the potential now at our fingertips will be absolutely paramount to the success of our game.
With the sheer amount of character models, assets, NPCs and enemies that will be present in Depths of Erendorn, it's of no surprise that our Animation team is always hard at work. December was no different as they revisited old models, brought new ones to life and edged closer to completing all of our lower level character animations.
Take a look at some of the awesome work they achieved:
Our Sound Designer worked their magic on some new sounds last month, while also revisiting some older models to freshen up the overall vibe and impact they'll have. They brought the Vampire Bat and Rhinogar to life with some awesome new vocals, reactions, movement and more. Finally turning their attention to our beloved Blue Melmee - adding depth and texture to their existing sounds. Take a listen to everything below!
Vampire Bat Wings
Vampire Bat Vocals
Rhinogar Hit React
Blue Melmee Growl
Towards the end of last year, something the entire team has been working on for several months came to life. Our pre-alpha gameplay trailer was released and it's been a whirlwind ever since! For those of you who have followed our development for a while, you'll know how passionate we are about the project, and how much it means to see and hear people's reactions to their first glimpse at the game. In case you missed it, take a look at the trailer below!
Happy New Year
Finally, we want to wish all of our followers a very happy and healthy New Year! 2021 was a rollercoaster for us, and a year we won't soon forget. That being said, 2022 is going to be so much bigger, and full of its own challenges that we're eager to tackle head on! Thank you for being on this journey with us, we can't wait to get the game into your hands.
The Depths of Erendorn team.
Missed our November monthly roundup? Click here to find out more!