Monthly Devlog | June 2023 | No. 53

Development
July 1, 2023
July 20, 2023

Welcome to the Depths of Erendorn monthly development log! In June, our team made significant progress across various areas of development. The 3D modelling team enhanced spellcasters' gear with meticulous detailing, while the set piece design team improved caves and experimented with captivating tree effects. UI updates and optimisations were implemented, and server-related issues were resolved for smoother gameplay. The sound, animation, and VFX teams brought immersive elements to life, and the environment team revamped the terrain system. 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 June, the 3D modelling team for Depths of Erendorn made significant progress in refining and enhancing the spellcasters' protective gear. They meticulously sculpted and shaped each component, adjusting the length of the skirt, adding shoulder pads, and a collar for authority and visual interest. New shin guards and a dynamic cape were incorporated to enhance the appearance and provide protection. The team focused on detailing wrist guards, belts, boots, and shoulders, infusing intricate designs and luxurious touches. Extra plates were added to the shoulders, while a magnificent cape was skilfully integrated, creating an imposing presence. Examples of the work completed on the spellcaster's armour are below.

Initial block out of spellcasters' armour

Continued blocking out of spellcasters' armour

Additional details added to the block out

Further details throughout the spellcasters' armour

Set Piece Design

Throughout June, the set piece design team for Depths of Erendorn dedicated their efforts to enhancing the visual appeal of the caves and exploring the use of SpeedTree software for creating captivating tree effects. In the caves, they added an extra layer and carefully placed stalactites to improve the visual experience. While acknowledging the need for future updates to accurately represent calcium formations, they maintain a cohesive style using a single texture for all cave elements. Recognising the importance of continuity and visual harmony, the team is committed to refining these aspects in future iterations. Meanwhile, their experiments with SpeedTree focused on trees holding orbs that emit a gentle glow. Employing mesh forces allowed them to create branches wrapping around the orbs, although they encountered challenges with natural curvature. Undeterred, they aim to fine-tune the effect and integrate variations of these illuminated trees into the night time environment. The progress made by the set piece design team in June showcases their dedication to elevating the aesthetics and immersive qualities of the game's environments.

Dungeon cave update

Tree branch forming to hold light orbs

New tree for Erendorn

Programming

Client

Throughout June, the Client Side team in Depths of Erendorn focused on optimising performance during adventures and utilising Unreal Insights, a performance tool, to identify and address frame drops. They also dedicated their efforts to various improvements and updates in the user interface (UI). Refactoring and enhancing the Room Panel functionality, debugging the new navigation system, and resolving data loss and calculation issues were key priorities. The team also worked on refining the Dungeon Room Panel, introducing features such as displaying voter names and ranked enemy totals. UI enhancements for item displays and dungeon lobbies were implemented, and ongoing optimisations for the Core Widgets were carried out. These advancements reflect the team's commitment to delivering an optimised and immersive gaming experience in Depths of Erendorn. Additional work completed by the team can be seen below.

  • Further optimised overhead UI to increase framerate while in adventures.
  • Added name hover fading to World NPCs and set names to hidden by default.
  • Improved loading screen to be able to fade from background only to elements and back.
  • Unified a method for spawning already existing entities into World Combats.
  • Updated how aggressive enemies are initialised to ignore target updates until entering combat.
  • Further development on the tutorial window refining layout and navigation.
  • Continued developing target tracking UI for abilities that target creatures and grid spaces.
  • Basic functions in place for both kinds of targeting but as of writing this it is only functioning with targeting creatures. Grid space tracking will need some adaptation to the system.
  • For checking tracking at a glance the target counter text changes colour from red (not enough selected targets) to green (enough targets selected). These counts are tracked separately for abilities with multiple targeting parameters.
  • Fixed surface detection code in the new nav data generation.
  • Fixed nav chunk storage and loading code.
  • Fixed the updating and early ending on movements.
  • Fixed the updating of movements that are queued up.
  • Fixed an issue related to replacing an existing queued movement with a new one.
  • Created and built layout for new Room Panel.
  • Updated Room Enemies and Event displays in Room Panel to show who players are going to fight and under what Room effects.
  • Updated Ballot integration and new buttons for voting via the new Room Summary Panel.
  • Updated newly modified equipment icon assets that remove item rarity borders from the images.
  • Updated execution order for Room Panel to ensure the window is ready when a room is ready.
  • Ability target tracking implemented into UI.
  • Started on implementing new progression display for battle updates.
  • Implemented new UI into vendor widgets.
  • Added experimental initialisation to tutorial screen to allow context sensitive launches into specific pages.
  • Started on altering inventory UI in line with new designs.
  • Updated how multiples of enemies are stored, taking elite rank into account.
  • Added elite rank display to the Room Panel's Enemy section.
  • Updated how Ballots conclude and display their results.
  • Implemented a Voter Status widget to display party member's names and vote choice on the Room Panel's Ballot section.
  • Added the updating of the Room Panel post reroll, so players can now see the events and enemies in their newly rerolled room.
  • Improved layout to function with different numbers of players, expected enemies and events.
  • Worked on implementing and updating existing Mapping tools into the new nav system.
  • Fixed issues with zone displaying and debugging.
  • Refactored chunk loading.
  • Fixed loading zones causing every nav node in the game being loaded into memory.
  • Adjusted mapping settings to create fewer but better quality nodes.
  • Fixed an issue with being able to pathfind through walls.
  • Implemented more new UI elements and updated some existing ones.
  • Adjusted some parts of the vendor window's functions to fit with new UI elements.
  • Updated stats display with some new naming conventions and removed display for a stat that is intended to be hidden.
  • Returned to work on some visual updates to the character creation screen that had gotten buried under other tasks for a while.
  • Updated how Item information is displayed in both Tooltips and in the Vendor window to show weapon attack values, base item information and additional stats separately.
  • Improved the Dungeon Lobby widget to make use of party colours and a better 'Ready Up' button.
  • Updated and improved panel scaling and assets across all UI.
  • Improved the display of implemented Button images across all UI.
  • Removed OnConstruct functions from Core and Overhead Widgets to reduce the amount of unnecessary functions being rerun when widgets appear on screen.
  • Updated Turn Player widgets to give character names a background and team context frames.
  • Created XP Painting UI.
  • Re-implemented XP Painting Code.
  • Re-written mesh generation code so we can generate meshes of the nav data to debug it and display the data visually.

Some examples of the new user interfaces can be seen below.

Entering dungeon UI update

Item stats UI update

Server

Throughout June, the Server Side team in Depths of Erendorn focused on debugging and resolving server-related issues. They made significant progress in fixing bugs related to the new navigation data implementation and generation, resulting in smoother gameplay. Changes were made to improve movement handling on both the client and server sides, leading to an enhanced gaming experience. The team also addressed subtler bugs, such as freezes caused by weather code and memory issues during adventure starts. Additionally, they improved enemy spawning logic and resolved pathfinding errors. In terms of server stability, a major crash bug was fixed, and optimisations were made to long-ranged melee attacks and group roaming behaviour. The introduction of idlers, optimised movement system, and fixes for command timeouts and crashes showcased the team's commitment to providing a seamless multiplayer experience. Collaboration with other team members further contributed to resolving ongoing issues and enhancing server performance throughout the month. More work completed by the team can be seen below.

  • Fixed a crash caused by buying and selling items mid starting adventure.
  • Fixed rounding errors when interrupting a movement mid-step.
  • Fixed a movement stop point being changed by spam clicking movement which was leading to strange behaviour.
  • Fixed a memory issue that was leading to the server wrongfully reserving way too much memory and causing the server to crash.

Sound Design

Throughout June, the sound team for Depths of Erendorn focused on refining and enhancing the audio elements of the game. This included the meticulous work of aligning sound effects with the animations for opening chests and cages, ensuring synchronisation between the visual and auditory aspects. To enrich the soundscape, variations of each effect were created, allowing for randomisation within the game engine. This added an element of unpredictability and richness to the overall sound design. Additionally, the team dedicated their efforts to refining the sound effects associated with the movements and actions of the Giant Ant enemy, aiming to create a more immersive and engaging gameplay experience. Examples of the work completed throughout the month can be seen below.

Environment Art

Throughout the month of June, the environment team for Depths of Erendorn made significant progress in revamping the terrain material system and enhancing the overall landscape design. The outdated system was replaced with a more efficient and flexible layered material system workflow, resulting in faster iteration and improved development efficiency for future landscape creation. Furthermore, newer and more advanced grass and scatter placement systems were implemented, bringing higher fidelity textures and increased variance to Erendorn's landscape. These enhancements will go a long way to enrich the visual aesthetic qualities of the game world. The environment team's dedication and efforts in June have marked a significant milestone in the evolution of environment design, promising even more captivating and dynamic landscapes to come.

New Unreal Engine blueprint for improved foliage

Updated foliage within the initial area

Animation

Throughout June, the animation team for Depths of Erendorn embarked on various challenges and updates to bring the game's creatures and characters to life. In their quest to complete the Group 3 creatures set, they tackled the integration of Mantisar and Giant Ant, overcoming obstacles by providing each with their own individual skeletons for smooth functionality. Meticulous work went into renaming bones, re-exporting animations, and implementing Mantisar into the game engine. Adjustments were made to the rig of the Giant Ant to ensure fluid movement, while basic animations captured its formidable nature. Looking ahead, the team plans to deliver even better videos showcasing their movement cycles. Additionally, the team focused on developing the basic animation set for the Giant Ant, aligning its movements with its intimidating nature. Updates and adjustments were also made for existing in-game characters, enhancing their poses, and animations. Notably, the Crocodile's walk cycle was made more dynamic, the Dwarf character's weapon pose was refined for improved combat animations, and the run cycle was enhanced for a more natural feel. Examples of the work completed throughout the month can be seen below.

Giant Ant idle movement cycle first pass

Mantisar improved run cycle and death cycle

Work in progress Giant Ant idle and run cycles

Earthen Dwarf two handed weapon update

Crocodile updated walk cycle

Giant Ant unequipped attack

Earthen Dwarf two handed attacks update

Visual Effects

In June, the VFX team in Depths of Erendorn utilised their downtime to conduct research and draw inspiration from other games, resulting in the creation of animated 2D elements. Recognising the advantages of a 2D space for certain effects, these elements were crafted to enhance the game's visual appeal and create a more immersive experience. Integrating these elements into the existing visual effects aims to breathe new life into the game and captivate players. Additionally, the team dedicated themselves to optimising and enhancing materials, yielding improved performance and visual fidelity. Notably, they transformed the portals with dynamic movement, elevating their impact and resolving any issues with broken connectors. Examples of the work completed throughout the month can be seen below.

Sword swipe 2D effects

Portal distortion effect

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

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