Monthly Devlog | March 2022 | No. 38

Development
April 5, 2022
April 7, 2022

It’s been an exciting month for the team! Our Zentragal rework’s upper body is getting finalised, plus animations are being applied to it. Also, sounds are being made for the many creatures of Erendorn, and the initial world is being fleshed out with stunning visuals! Additionally, interiors continue to get props, and VFX shows off some fantastic visual effects for the Earthen Dwarf! Finally, the wizards of programming bring us some stability and polishing of the gameplay loop. As always, join us on Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit for daily updates on Depths of Erendorn - now let’s get into it!

3D Modelling

The 3D modelling team has continued the work on our eight-legged illusionist, finalising the designs on the face and body and then turning their attention to the lower abdomen. The lower abdomen will go through a few levels of iteration until a final design is decided upon, a few of which can be seen in the pictures below. This model is a high poly sculpt that will go through some optimisation before it gets to the engine. This optimisation was also started through the latter part of the month.

Finalised upper body of Zentragal
Finalised Zentragal face work
Options for the rear abdomen

Through the latter part of the month, the Zentragal went through some optimisation work to create an easier-to-use mesh. Using a method called retopologising the team has taken the high poly sculpt and started to create a low poly model. This will aid development when the model needs to deform and be moved around by the animation team. Certain tasks such as unwrapping and texturing the model will be much less complex.

Taking a high poly model to a low poly model

Set Piece Design

Throughout the last month, our set design team has continued their work creating props that will furnish the dwellings of Erendorn. Although a familiar task for our team at this point, it is never a quiet week with hundreds of props still needed to create the atmosphere we are striving to establish throughout Erendorn's homes and buildings. Over the last month, the Set Design team has been hard at work creating some of the more exquisite items that players will see throughout the buildings and shops of Erendorn. With the vast variety of items created we strive to showcase a busy and full atmosphere in the dwellings of Erendorn. Some examples of these props can be seen below.

Wooden stage model
Vase, stool variant, birdcage, and chaise lounge
Selection of cupboards, tables and chairs
Wardrobe, instrument stand and brazier

These assets are created off the back of initial concept artwork, allowing our team to have a clear vision of the style and design that furniture and other content should adopt. Doing this allows the team to envision building layouts and atmospheres before modelling begins.

Initial concept art for shop interior

Programming

Client

Over the last month the Programming Team worked wonders on a whole host of bug fixes, focusing on things like abilities, player movement, notifications and log management. Due to this, the client and server are much more stable. Additionally, the team has updated the Client to be able to handle and run Session Updates. Previously, the client has only had to handle combat log updates sent by the Server. The Client is now able to do this in the open world using Session Updates, to give us the framework to add many more features to a Settlement or Zone. Finally, the team focused on the Clear and Destroy Manager functions used by the various managers to create gameplay in the Depths of Erendorn Client. With the implementation of separate World and Dungeon Sessions the usage of DoE Gameplay Manager classes has been changed to allow Sessions to generate and utilise their own managers. In short, this means the methods we use to clear these managers have needed upgrading and last month has been about meeting those new demands and streamlining the process. Here is a breakdown of some of the other work completed throughout the month.

  • Refactored the event logging of combats and open world logs.
  • Created the world session movement command.
  • Implemented the world session tick rate and command processing.
  • Added Command Throttling and GCD mechanisms to the world sessions.
  • Added the worldjoin event which the server creates and listens to when you select your character.
  • Commands refactored so server-issued commands can now receive a notification once complete.
  • Refactored log/Event IDs to be safe with concurrency.
  • Refactored log event management.
  • World sessions now contain a movement manager to control the creation/validation and updating of movements and entity locations.
  • Modified the Game State Updater and Action Director to function for both Combat and Session Updates.
  • The two classes responsible for handling the parsing and execution of updates now exist separately for Sessions and Combats, allowing updates to come through specific channels and to be better organised relating to their purpose.
  • Handling Joining and Leaving Settlements.
  • Created Logs and Steppers (the objects used to perform the variety of message types) for players joining and leaving Sessions.
  • Updated Clear and Destroy methods across all gameplay Managers and Submanagers.
  • Automated Managers to always clear before destroying.
  • Broke the shared steps to Clear and Destroy into standardised functions to simplify the updating of any manager.
  • Added the Movement Manager to the World Session.
  • Inventory Messages are now received by the client and processed correctly.
  • Equipment Display now correctly updates when Equip/Unequipping items happens.
  • Entities joining a settlement are now placed at the spawn locations.


Server

This month the team has been rewriting a couple of old effect blocks for some of the first abilities introduced to the game. Growing Arcane Missile was meant to only require 6 effect blocks to work, but ended up requiring 12. Additionally, we noticed a bug that meant that while active effects correctly removed themselves, the triggers to their component effect blocks did not, this caused things like damage over time abilities to last forever. Over the month there has been a slight change of pace for the server team now that they are beginning to get to a fairly polished state for the current code in the game. The team has been fixing some bugs to do with the Turn's Start triggering active effects multiple times and AI sometimes ending their turn prematurely. Towards the latter part of the month, the server team focused on adding in a new mechanic, allowing heals to use a player's critical chance to potentially critical heal! This involved quite a bit of rejigging under the hood, and a new effect block that actually creates an add stat effect block inside itself from scratch. It was quite a complex task, but everything is working as intended now. Hopefully, this provides an interesting alternate build path for more supportive players to help their team. Here is a breakdown of some of the other work completed by the server-side team last month.

  • Session now starts correctly.
  • Added command processing to world sessions.
  • Zone data service now correctly loads zone navigation data on startup.
  • Fixed logging bugs introduced from last weeks refactoring.
  • Created and started daily backups of the development database.
  • World Join command fix.
  • World Leave created and implemented - This allows us to despawn entities from an ongoing session, this happens when a player disconnects and the leave timer expires.
  • Leave manager created and implemented - on the first version of this leaving a world session will result in the character staying online for 2 minutes, if the player does not reconnect the character is removed from the session.
  • Disconnecting from a session will now result in a disconnection message in the chat.
  • Fixed Session log message type, this bug resulted in the client not handling the logs correctly.
  • Fixed the ability to equip/unequip items. This mechanic hasn't been looked at since our previous Gameserver code.
  • Fixed Item Stats Info.
  • Added Connect/Disconnect Events on the server.
  • Added Spawn Locations to the Zone Navigation Data.
  • Reduced the leave timer in the settlement to 5 seconds.

Sound Design

It has been a busy month for the sound team, taking many of the creatures of the world of Erendorn and giving them sounds. Starting out with some of the frogs that will inhabit the world: Venom Spitter, Stone and Devil. Examples of these sounds can be found below.

The Devil Frogs have a deeper purring behind their main vocal layer, which turns into a soft growl for the Bulbous.

Devil Frog Bulbous vocal

Devil Frog vocal

The Stone Frogs are the most natural-sounding (as natural as a massive deadly frog gets).

Stone Frog Baby vocal

Stone Frog vocal

The Venom Spitters are more of a mutant gurgling (we imagine if you're spitting venom all day you might sound a bit mucousy).

Venom Spitter attack

Venom Spitter vocal

Once each of the frogs got their own unique sounds, the team turned their attention to other creatures that will inhabit the world of Erendorn. These include Slootan, Sabretooth Tiger, Thunderclaw Crab, Enteledon, Deadly Thrasher and Yeti. More example of these can be found below.

Slootan vocal sample

Slootan attack sample

Sabretooth Tiger vocal sample

Sabretooth Tiger attack sample

Thunderclaw Crab vocal sample

Thunderclaw Crab attack sample

Mutant Thunderclaw Crab vocal sample

Enteledon vocal sample

Deadly Thrasher attack sample

Deadly Thrasher vocal sample

Yeti vocal sample

The sound team has also been working on attaching some sounds to animations that are already created, this gives a visual representation of how the creature will be shown visually in the game. To do this, the team has taken the sounds for the Thunderclaw Crab and tweaked them so the audio is played at the same time as the animation is going through its cycle. This can be seen in the video below.

Thunderclaw Crab attack & hit react

Environment Art

An exciting month for the Environment Art team as they brought us many stunning screenshots of the world of Erendorn as it takes shape in the new engine. The team started off with a focus on one of the first points of interest in the initial area players will see, a fantastical quarry and pool. We started by taking out trees from the surrounding area so more points of interest can be created later down the line. These spaces would be filled with natural paths and rock formations later in the month, creating guidelines for players using natural means. The environment team has created stunning visuals throughout the month using these pools and rock formations that players will soon be able to explore.

Overview of quarry area and surrounding area
Close up of quarry area
Rock formations within Erendorn
Alternate angle of rock formation
Coastal Area of Erendorn

Animation

Lots of work has come from the animation team including modernising animations for new models. Starting with the human mage character model, you can see the walking cycle and idle poses below. This is an accurate representation of how players will see this enemy in-game.

Human Mage walk and idle animation

Some work has also been done transferring animations from the old model of the Zentragal to the newer high poly model. Although this is not the finialised model that will be used in the engine, this is an important stage of the development. Going from one model to another will cause complications in the animations and rigs not working as intended. Using the high poly model our animators can get all proportions of the animations correct, in turn, this will make the task of adding animations to the low poly model much less complex.

High poly Zentragal walk and run animation
High poly Zentragal idle animation

Visual Effects

The visual effects team has been working on many different things last month, starting with experimentation within the new quarry area. Using special effects to attempt to create a waterfall, later into experimentation it was noted that a new plugin would be made available within the UE5 engine at a later date. The waterfall has been put on hold until this plugin is made available.

Experimentation with waterfall visual effects

Since then the team has focused on creating visual effects for Earthen Dwarf Character Class abilities, concentrating on enhancing feedback for abilities such as Magnetic Shift, Shoulder Barge, Vehemence, Earthen Touch, Holistic Regeneration, and Berserk. Players will need to visually be able to determine which spell has been cast as it could be the meaning of life and death. Visual effects such as the ones below will be tied together with animations and sound effects to give players as much feedback as necessary to ensure they know what is happening around them in the world of Erendorn. These abilities can be seen below.

Magnetic Shift, Shoulder Barge and Vehemence visual effects
Earthen Touch, Holistic Regeneration, and Berserk visual animations

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

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