November Devlog | Week #2 | No. 253

Development
November 23, 2023
December 14, 2023

Throughout the week, the 3D Modelling team at Depths of Erendorn experimented with efficient hairstyling, opting for texture on the scalp for small hairs. They actively addressed issues with the hairline, adjusting the scalp mesh. Simultaneously, the server team set up a testing environment for event systems, preparing for the next milestone with new characters and abilities. They planned a 'Dry Test Level' for combat simulations without server connectivity and optimised data structures, reducing RAM overhead by 20% per loaded chunk. The Animation team refined their workflow, creating a UE5 Mannequin rig as the "base character" for streamlined animation development. They explored optimal joint configurations for enhanced facial expressions, updating the facial rig for the human male character. These initiatives highlight the team's dedication to improving systems, enhancing visuals, and preparing for future milestones in Depths of Erendorn. 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 the week, the 3D Modelling team at Depths of Erendorn experimented with an alternative method for creating the top of a new hairstyle. Recognising the resource-intensive nature of using shells for the sides, the team opted for a more efficient approach by considering a texture on the scalp for small hairs, currently in development. Additionally, they identified and addressed issues with the hairline, actively adjusting the scalp mesh to achieve a more natural and visually appealing result. Examples of the work completed throughout the week can be seen below.

Updated mesh for scalps hair

Alternate technique for layering hair

Programming

Client

This week, the client-side programming team focused on revisiting and refining our development plan in preparation for the upcoming milestone. The team was introduced to new planning software, aligning on broader development goals and emphasising user stories for clarity. As part of this milestone, several new characters and abilities are set to be added, prompting a reassessment of content pipelines and the establishment of unified methods for tracking department-specific tasks. Building on the concept of a 'Dry Test Level' introduced last week, the team initiated its implementation. This level allows developers to run combat simulations independently of the main game, providing a controlled environment for refining character and ability implementations. To accurately simulate combat, a new Session type was added, wrapping the regular functions of the game's combat managers. Despite the added complexity, this setup provides flexibility for testing various gameplay interactions efficiently. The system setup has progressed this week, allowing developers to easily configure parameters for character spawning in and out.

Server

Last week, the server team mostly spent time planning and discussing the work toward the next big internal milestone. Work started on the initial task of the optimisation of our data structures to reduce the RAM overhead while operating our servers. The main driver of this change was the introduction of the new nav system which allowed us to open up the entire map. This map is huge and our purposefully low spec dev servers cannot load it all. With many optimisations, the team managed to cut down the amount of RAM a working version of the server uses by 20% per loaded chunk!

Animation

Throughout the last week, the Animation team at Depths of Erendorn focused on refining their workflow and preparing for future updates. A significant aspect of this effort involved the development of a UE5 Mannequin rig, referred to as the "base character," in their 3D animation software. This foundational character establishes a standardised platform for efficiently creating and editing animations for the game's diverse characters. In a parallel endeavour, the team continued their exploration of optimal joint configurations and placements to enhance facial expressions. This included updating the facial rig for the human male character by adding additional bones and adjusting skin weights for improved animation quality and expressiveness. Examples of the work completed by the team can be seen below.

Unreal engine rig used within Human Knight

Face rig used to portray emotions

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

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