Monthly Devlog | May 2024 | No. 64

Development
June 8, 2024
July 5, 2024

In May, Depths of Erendorn witnessed substantial progress across all development teams, showcasing their unwavering commitment to enhancing gameplay dynamics and delivering an immersive gaming experience. The 3D modelling team achieved significant milestones in refining bird models, focusing on visual fidelity and texture detailing. Meanwhile, the set piece design team enriched the game's environments with meticulously crafted assets, from long tables to leadership thrones, contributing to the full fleshing out of the settlement and beyond. Client-side and server teams dedicated their efforts to refining gameplay functionality and server stability, addressing critical tasks such as implementing UI features, refining server capacity management, and resolving memory issues. The sound team diligently implemented new sound effects, overcoming challenges such as hard drive failures to ensure a rich auditory experience for players. The environment team made substantial strides in enhancing the settlement area, expanding and refining its features to improve navigation and visual appeal. Lastly, the animation and VFX teams achieved significant milestones in enhancing character animations and visual effects, marking crucial advancements in the game's development. Examples of the remarkable progress made by each team throughout May can be viewed 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 May, the 3D modelling team at Depths of Erendorn made substantial advancements on the bird models. Initially, they focused on enhancing the visual fidelity of the bird's wings, using reference images to model new wings and carefully planning the separation of layers. This included attaching the wings to the body and improving the overall topology of the mesh. The team created a third layer of wings using planes for each feather, allowing flexibility for future production needs. They also completed the low-poly mesh and sculpted higher detail along the neck and face, layering wing feathers to add realism. As the month progressed, they began texturing the bird variants, including an eagle with distinct, detailed feathers and a Golden Eagle variant with deep brown colours. Examples of the work completed by the team can be seen below.

Initial block out for base bird model

In progress feather placement for better wing visuals

High poly detail for the base bird model

Continued work on the high poly base bird model

Textures for first variation of the base bird model

Additional textures for base bird model

Set Piece Design

Throughout May, the set piece design team at Depths of Erendorn has made substantial progress in enriching the game's environments. They crafted a variety of high-poly models, including long tables and small props, which will undergo retopology and texturing before integration into the game. The team also finished texturing these assets with rustic wood textures to enhance immersion. Significant work was completed on thrones for leadership buildings, featuring a range of textures to suit different types. Additionally, they finalised high-poly models for the quest notice board set, essential for informing players about in-game events. These assets will soon be game-ready following the creation of low-poly versions, UV mapping, and texturing. Examples of the team's work can be seen below.

High-poly assets of benches and tables

Textured benches and chairs

Throne assets high poly models

Textured throne assets

High poly message board assets

Programming

Client

Throughout May, the client-side team at Depths of Erendorn has been focused on a variety of critical tasks to enhance gameplay functionality and user experience. They addressed issues related to packaging the modified previous milestone build, resolving complications caused by landscape deformation brushes, and refining the session clearing workflow to ensure no memory loss during player logouts. Significant efforts were directed towards the implementation and testing of the XP bar UI, overcoming initial display issues and ensuring accurate progress tracking. The team also worked on projectile handling, fixing bugs in the animation system, and enabling audio for ability sound effects in the dry testing environment. Additionally, the new Settlement was integrated into the world map, and weather controls were finalised, adding a dropdown menu for specific weather types and a time-of-day slider. These developments underscore the team's commitment to refining the game's systems and enhancing the overall player experience.

Server

Throughout May, the server team at Depths of Erendorn focused on critical enhancements and resolving overdue tasks to improve server stability and performance. They addressed memory issues by optimising NPC pathfinding and implemented object reuse to prevent excessive memory overhead. Key improvements included ensuring banned players' connections are promptly terminated and refining NPC group behaviour to enhance gameplay immersion. The team also overhauled progression data maintenance, updated container handling, and sorted fast travel points server-side for better efficiency. Significant progress was made on the new login and population management systems, including developing the queue mechanism and server coordinator. Additionally, they re-enabled NavEdits for dungeon reintegration and resolved deep-level bugs affecting enemy locations and mutex lock issues. These efforts demonstrate the team's commitment to maintaining server stability and enhancing the overall player experience.

Sound Design

Throughout May, the sound team at Depths of Erendorn has been diligently implementing new sound effects (SFX) into the game, enhancing both immersion and gameplay experience. Despite challenges from a hard drive failure resulting in the loss of some data, including SFX for certain generic spells and level 3 abilities, the team has been committed to remaking these missing elements. They have created and integrated distinct audio cues for new abilities such as Deep Wound, Animated Sword, Embers, Attack of Pursuit, Magic Binding, Mindlock, Parasites, and Rapid Requisition. In addition to these tasks, the team has focused on general housekeeping, such as organising folders, fixing Blueprint errors, and deleting outdated files. They have also updated a comprehensive spreadsheet to better track SFX, VFX, and animations, streamlining collaboration between artists and programmers. Completed work from the team's efforts throughout the month can be seen in the examples below.

Environment Art

Throughout May, the environment team at Depths of Erendorn has made significant strides in enhancing the settlement area. They replaced most major buildings with new versions, constructed floors and stairways, and planned a reshuffle of landmarks to improve navigation and visual appeal. The settlement has been expanded, with a river now flowing through its centre, adding a dynamic element to the landscape. This required extensive modifications to the terrain to seamlessly integrate the new features. The team also tested the water plugin system with ocean elements, enhancing the visual quality of the game's water features. Additional settlement houses were created, old set dressing was removed, market tents were scaled up to fit the new layout, and shoreline waves were added to the ocean. Examples of the work completed by the team can be seen below.

New buildings in settlement area

Size comparison with older settlement buildings

New ocean with additional waves along the shoreline

New landscaping for the initial settlement

New river added to the initial settlement

Animation

Throughout May, the animation team at Depths of Erendorn has achieved significant milestones in enhancing character animations for various in-game creatures. Their focus was on improving the realism and functionality of animations, particularly for the Centaur character. After initial attempts to integrate physics-based animations for the Centaur's armour clothing proved unsatisfactory, the team strategically modified the character's rig, adding new bones for manual animation of the armour. This adjustment ensured more natural movement, complemented by weight painting applied to the armour for further realism. Existing animations were also adjusted to accommodate these changes. Concurrently, the Revenant character received updates, including a slow, menacing walk to enhance its intimidating presence. Both the Centaur and Revenant underwent comprehensive animation revisions, ensuring seamless integration with their respective variants. Additionally, basic implementations were completed for both characters in the engine, along with the creation of Animation Blueprints and Character Blueprints. Notably, the Centaur's tail received dedicated animation treatment, synchronized with the body animations. Updates on bird rig and animations further enriched the game's creature diversity. Examples of the team's work can be seen below.

Visual Effects

Throughout May, the VFX team at Depths of Erendorn achieved significant milestones in the game's development. The completion of level 3 abilities for Earthen Dwarfs and Zentragal characters marks a crucial advancement, with attention to detail evident in the accompanying video showcasing their work. Notably, the Soultwist ability underwent substantial rework, addressing previous setup inadequacies and ensuring improved functionality and performance. Additionally, the team focused on creating modular versions of waterfalls, enhancing environmental flexibility, and optimised level 3 abilities to enhance gameplay smoothness. These accomplishments underscore the team's commitment to elevating gameplay dynamics and providing players with a diverse range of visually stunning abilities to utilise. Examples of their exceptional work throughout the month can be viewed below.

Waterfall modular pieces

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

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