Monthly Devlog | December 2023 | No. 59

Development
January 5, 2024
February 7, 2024

In December, the Depths of Erendorn development teams showcased remarkable resilience, creativity, and technical prowess. The 3D modelling team tackled challenges in crafting seamless hairstyles, navigating through a three-part construction approach and shell hair. Despite a temporary impasse, their focus shifted to refining the Centaur model, transposing the human base mesh onto the horse body and conducting a size test. The set design team achieved significant milestones, completing the fire pit's texturing and delving into research for upcoming props. The client-side programming team prioritised upgrading the Unreal Engine, enhancing its speed and efficiency. Simultaneously, the server team excelled in implementing level 2 abilities, refining the accounts system, and troubleshooting engine transition issues. The sound team contributed to the immersive Ice Caves atmosphere and fine-tuned Level 2 Generic skills. The Environment team achieved a groundbreaking engine upgrade, embracing Nanite technology and optimising performance. The Animation team focused on low-level NPCs and technical advancements. The VFX team marked the New Year with spectacular fireworks. 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

In December, the 3D modelling team at Depths of Erendorn encountered challenges and displayed resilience in their pursuit of perfection. The month began with efforts to craft a hairstyle with seamless transitions, exploring methods like a three-part construction approach and shell hair. Despite facing complexities and a temporary creative impasse leading to the shelving of a hairstyling project, the team redirected focus towards enhancing the Centaur model's quality. This involved transplanting the human base mesh onto the horse body and conducting a scale test for optimal size differences. As the month progressed, the team worked on smoothing transitions in the Centaur sections and initiated retopology. Examples of their dynamic work can be explored below.

Hair initial stages

Alternate method of short hair creation

Centaur enemy initial update

Final centaur update for December

Set Piece Design

Throughout December, our adept set design team at Depths of Erendorn achieved notable milestones, showcasing their dedication and artistic prowess. They successfully concluded the texturing phase for the fire pit, demonstrating meticulous attention to detail. The team's commitment extended to invaluable research and reference-gathering sessions, establishing the groundwork for upcoming props and ensuring thematic cohesion in the game world. Undaunted by the scope of their tasks, the team also initiated the modelling of smaller yet crucial generic props. A glimpse of their accomplished work throughout the month is presented below.

Nordic themed fire-pit with textures

Programming

Client

Throughout this month, the client-side programming team at Depths of Erendorn has been dedicated to refining and preparing our source-built version of Unreal Engine 5.3.2 for distribution to the team. Notable achievements include uploading the engine to source control and significantly reducing the memory requirements for the previous upload by approximately 80%, promising a substantial improvement in the speed of downloading, updating, and modifying the engine. The team's forward-looking approach involved comprehensive planning, setting aims, and breaking down tasks for the latter stages of our journey towards Alpha 1. Simultaneously, the team made significant strides in developing the dry log generator, involving intricate adjustments to individual log creation functions. On the UI front, substantial work has been undertaken to enable array inputs, and the initiation of the implementation of maps and custom structs essential for future updates. Ensuring a seamless transition, the team prioritised guiding teammates through the process of downloading and running the upgraded Unreal Engine, offering a step-by-step guide for increased efficiency. This collaborative and forward-thinking effort underscores the team's commitment to excellence in client-side programming.

Server

Throughout this month, the server team at Depths of Erendorn has demonstrated commendable progress and commitment in various facets of development. A major focus has been on the creation and implementation of level 2 abilities, a task that, despite the simplicity of some abilities, required rewriting parts of the code to accommodate new features. Notable enhancements include shields having the ability to tick down at the end of a turn and reduce their duration, as well as the implementation of Fear, Confusion, and Sleep states, along with corresponding AI behaviours. Simultaneously, the team dedicated efforts to refine and finalise the new accounts system and admin portal, achieving significant milestones in terms of functionality and user experience. The front end has been extensively improved, allowing actions such as changing email or password, resending verification emails, and deleting accounts. Admins now have versatile tools, including user search, reset password links, and the ability to ban/unban users. The implementation of a database setup script/endpoint facilitates easier deployments, while the authentication token ensures security for admin-only pages. These collective efforts reflect the team's commitment to enhancing both gameplay dynamics and user interactions, setting a solid foundation for future developments.

Sound Design

The sound team at Depths of Erendorn has made substantial progress in both the creative and technical aspects of their work. They achieved significant milestones in shaping the immersive atmosphere of the Ice Caves by meticulously finalising one-shots and loops. These include elements like falling ice, water drips, ice cracks/movement, wind, cave rumble, and enchanting "magical glimmer shimmery synth" sounds. The innovative recording technique for ice cracks, involving a large glass bowl, lukewarm water, contact mics, and a hydrophone, added a layer of authenticity to the auditory experience. Furthermore, the team dedicated effort to organise their work environment, ensuring optimal efficiency during the transition to working from a laptop. This commitment to organisation lays a strong foundation for future endeavours. Simultaneously, they delved into the creative realm by updating Level 2 Generic skills, such as Roundhouse Kick, Legsweep, Evade, and Parry, showcasing their dedication to refining and enhancing the auditory elements of Depths of Erendorn. Examples of their work can be explored below.

Environment Art

In a month marked by substantial technical progress, the Environment team at Depths of Erendorn achieved a significant milestone by successfully upgrading the game engine. This marked a pivotal step in elevating the overall gaming experience. Despite encountering issues during the testing of the Nanite landscape, the team, undeterred, reverted to the regular landscape to ensure stability. Notably, they showcased their commitment to cutting-edge technologies by converting all trees and world foliage to Nanite, enhancing the immersive quality of the environment. Technical adjustments, including changing the default RHI to DX12, were made to optimise performance. The team's diligence extended to overcoming challenges, addressing disruptions in materials and wind animations during the engine transition. A standout achievement was the enablement of Lumen, contributing to a considerable enhancement in the visual quality of the game. These collective efforts underscore the team's dedication to staying at the forefront of technological advancements, ensuring a seamless and visually stunning gaming environment. Examples of their work throughout the month can be explored below.

Animation

In a strategic shift away from player characters, the Animation team at Depths of Erendorn focused on refining low-level NPCs, including the Thorny Lizard, Swamp Lizard, and Silver Iguana. This involved meticulous adjustments to their movement, appearance, skin weights, and idle poses for heightened authenticity. The team's dedicated efforts aimed to seamlessly integrate these low-level characters into the game engine, ensuring their readiness for present and future use. Concurrently, the team maintained its emphasis on Low-Level creatures, particularly the Lizards, enhancing visual appeal by incorporating physics for the Swamp Lizard's tendrils motion. A comprehensive review and planning phase for Harpy improvements were also initiated, showcasing the team's commitment to continuous enhancement. Additionally, technical strides were made with the installation of a new engine process, reflecting the team's dedication to staying current and optimising workflow. Examples of their multifaceted work throughout December can be explored below.

Lizards idle in progress

Lizards walk cycle with human scale

Iguana in progress idle animation

Visual Effects

As the month concluded, the VFX team at Depths of Erendorn celebrated the turn of the year by crafting vibrant firework effects. These stunning visual displays were strategically deployed over scenic landscapes within Erendorn, offering a tantalising glimpse of locations currently in development to perceptive observers. Capturing these mesmerising moments, the team created videos shared across social platforms to ring in the new year, setting the stage for an exciting and promising year ahead!

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

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