Monthly Devlog | June 2024 | No. 65

Development
July 8, 2024
July 8, 2024

Throughout June, the team at Depths of Erendorn achieved remarkable progress across various departments, collectively enhancing the game's visual, auditory, and immersive qualities. The 3D modelling team completed texturing for all bird variants and progressed on the first short hairstyle, while the set piece design team finalised essential props and enriched environments with detailed elements like stone bridges and magic cauldrons. The client team focused on gameplay improvements, ensuring seamless character switching and enhancing the levelling-up process, alongside addressing map-related issues and implementing visual feedback for combat actions. Meanwhile, the server team made substantial advancements in infrastructure stability, remapping landscapes, refining XP systems, and enhancing server functionalities for optimal performance. The sound team achieved significant milestones in integrating new spells and environmental sounds, enriching the game's audio landscape, while the animation and VFX teams diligently worked on refining character movements and visual effects to elevate overall game immersion. Examples of the team's exceptional work throughout June can be explored below. 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 at Depths of Erendorn made significant strides in enhancing the game's visual assets. They completed the texturing of all bird variants, drawing inspiration from the Peregrine Falcon, Grey Eagle, and Golden Eagle, and utilised a palette of browns, greys, and whites. Following final mesh adjustments, these bird models will be integrated into the game engine. The team also resumed work on the first short hairstyle, creating a quick scalp texture and testing a lower-poly approach for the side hair, resulting in a new, more suitable hair texture. Additionally, they completed and optimised the top hair, developing a semi-transparent shell for the side hair, with plans to export the model to the game engine. The team focused on testing hairstyle transfers between different character races and genders using the female base mesh and began planning the next hairstyle, despite scrapping several initial ideas. Examples of the work completed by the team can be seen below.

Front view of new bird variations

Variation of the bird model, back view

Work in progress short hair style

Finalised short hair style

Work in progress new hair style

Set Piece Design

Throughout June, the set piece design team at Depths of Erendorn made significant progress, completing various crucial elements. They finished the quest notice boards and magical books set, enhancing these props with rustic woods and paint effects to ensure authenticity. The team also improved the stone bridge model, incorporating a modified shader material from Megascans for enhanced visual quality and versatility. They completed the modelling of lamps and torches, essential for game lighting, and crafted a magic cauldron with a rustic cast iron texture and golden insignia. Additionally, work began on a set of chandeliers, further enriching the immersive environments of Erendorn. Examples of the team's work can be seen below.

Message boards ready for the engine

Magical book assets

Settlement bridge asset ready for engine

Lanterns and torches finalised assets

Cauldron asset ready for the engine

Programming

Client

Throughout June, the client team at Depths of Erendorn made significant strides in improving gameplay and user experience. They focused on enabling seamless character switching without the need for players to log out, reorganising post-login execution to maintain server connections. The team addressed map-related issues, enhanced the levelling-up process with visual cues, and ensured proper communication between related UI systems. They also tackled issues with icon database updates and rendering settings, fixed build problems, and provided visual feedback for combat actions like dodges, blocks, and missed attacks. Efforts to ensure the new settlement packaged correctly involved testing data layers, world partition, and dynamic water generation, alongside troubleshooting foliage and landscape issues. Despite challenges from the experimental Substrate plugin, these were resolved, and the team progressed with new feature implementations. They also resolved animation system bugs and addressed entity rotation issues during combat, ensuring smooth gameplay updates. Examples of the team's work can be seen below.

  • Log out function now capable of working mid-combat.
  • Added a Session Wipe function for clearing a Session setup while maintaining the original connection.
  • Updated how Sessions are set up to allow them to repeat their submanager initialisation when joining a new Session on a maintained connection.
  • Helped track down a few issues regarding movement messages not being sent correctly when a player enters Combat.
  • Added a stage between login and character select to allow the Server to direct player traffic. Although no one likes queues at login, this function is important to prevent Servers becoming overwhelmed and will make starting up the game a smoother and more transparent process.
  • Added the ability for an account to log in and automatically rejoin as their recently logged character, this is to allow players to quickly return to the game in the event of a crash or disconnect.
  • Implemented the ability for the login process to branch between the connection queue, character select and rejoining a Session.

Server

Throughout June, the server team at Depths of Erendorn made significant advancements and resolved critical issues to enhance game stability and functionality. They focused on remapping the adjusted landscape, adding an XP preservation feature, and implementing a re-map mode for efficient future Nav data generation. Servers for the new login code were set up, and extensive testing was conducted to address key bugs in the newly added adventure code, including event spawning issues and command-level error message processing. A new system was developed to reward XP immediately upon an enemy's death, while tracking total XP earned. The team also set up login servers and load balancers, improved the queue system, and enhanced the server coordinator for better monitoring and assignments. Additionally, new entities and complex abilities were finalised, queue process issues were resolved, and nav data issues leading to server crashes were addressed. These efforts collectively contributed to the stability and readiness of the server infrastructure for the upcoming Alpha. Additional work from the team can be seen below.

  • Queue Monitor failures and Mutex Deadlocks.
  • Queue server - Server Coordinator auth issues.
  • Server Assignments not updating in the cache.
  • Login server not detecting previous session assignments.
  • Queue Updates not being sent to the client.
  • Queue Complete messages not being sent to the client.
  • Server control panel updated to work with the new server architecture.
  • Server Action redirections/proxy setup to bounce requests from the login server to the backend server.
  • Server agent code updated to register each server with the new server coordinator.
  • Updated server coordinator setup to have persistence between restarts.
  • Added and Improved Agent and Server health checks.
  • Updated Golang version.

Sound Design

Throughout June, the sound team at Depths of Erendorn made significant strides in enhancing the game's auditory experience. They completed the Generic Spells, including Celerity and Lightning Pulse, and updated older spells, integrating these sound effects fully into the game engine. Following this, a round of testing was conducted to adjust volumes and attenuations. The team also focused on creating water loops for the Rock Pool area and developed a variety of new environmental sounds, such as those for meadows, swamps, night and day cycles, and forests. These sounds will be distributed throughout the game to enrich its atmosphere. Additionally, the sound team created the Droval Javelin Toss ability and reworked the Droval character, adding new vocals for attacks, hit reactions, and death, as well as new footstep sounds. Examples of the work by the sound team throughout June can be seen below.

Environment Art

Throughout June, the environment team at Depths of Erendorn made substantial progress in enhancing the game’s landscape and settlement areas. They dressed river edges with rocks and improved river simulations, saving the results as optimised static meshes. Issues with Data Layers and landscape loading were resolved, ensuring seamless play mode transitions. Floors were added to six settlement buildings, and foliage and large asset loading were optimised for better performance. The team also developed a rockpool coastal area, fixed normal display issues in large rocks and props, and scaled down settlement roads for better integration. Additionally, improvements were made to the tiling scale of sand in the landscape texture, and the resolution of virtual texture streaming was increased, significantly boosting the game’s visual quality and immersion. Examples of the work completed by the team can be seen below.

New landscape for the initial settlement

New river running through the initial settlement

Continued work on initial settlement redesign

New rock pool area in the initial area of Erendorn

Aerial view of new rock pool area

Animation

Throughout June, the animation team at Depths of Erendorn made significant strides in enhancing the game's visual and immersive quality. They implemented changes to the rig, focusing on the bird's animations to ensure smoother and more realistic movements. After refining the base bird model, they successfully integrated it and its animations into the game engine, adjusting them to fit seamlessly within the dynamic world of Erendorn. Additionally, the team worked on enhancing the realism of player character animations through animation retargeting techniques. They also concentrated on critical updates for the Alpha build, ensuring that the game's animations meet high standards of quality and immersion. Planning for further refinement and optimisation of animations for future updates is underway, prioritising the needs of the Alpha build. Examples of the work completed by the team can be seen below.

Work in progress bird animations

Droval spear throw animation

Human Knight retargeted animation

Visual Effects

Throughout June, the VFX team at Depths of Erendorn made significant progress in enhancing the game's visual effects and immersive atmosphere. They focused extensively on researching environment VFX, exploring mass scale culling and Level of Detail (LoD) based on camera position to manage dynamic environment VFX effectively. Revisiting early screen VFX tests, the team planned to remake these for certain areas using post-processing volumes. Additionally, they created materials and textures for general movement and atmosphere, followed by in-game tests to evaluate their effectiveness. The team's efforts also included developing weather and ambient effects to further enhance immersion. They made significant progress in getting screen-based effects to function effectively and experimented with various applications of these effects to improve the game's visual fidelity. Examples of the work completed by the team can be seen below.

Weather effects work in progress

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

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