November DevLog | Week #3

Development
January 9, 2019
November 18, 2021

This most recent week at Project Gamechanger has been all about adding ability building blocks to the server and creating ambient lighting in the game. While our game developers focussed on implementing these changes to the game client, our 3D environment artist and animator spent the week working on their respective assets: new environmental features that will bring the landscape together and one of Erendorn’s fearsome beasts.

Environment

Our 3D environment artist has been busy experimenting with a lot of assets in order to start giving the landscapes of our dungeons an atmospheric, cohesive appearance. Last week, we focussed on the creation of various crystal clusters that could be added to different rooms in the game. This past week, our artist has been exploring different forms of light sources that will reflect the primordial fantasy world in which Depths of Erendorn is set:

  • Torches: placeholders for torches were created this week. These will be positioned on cave walls and will act as signifiers that this fantasy world is rooted in mystery and adventure. Torches also give the impression that although this world is magical, it is also fairly primitive.
  • Glowing Mushrooms: these assets have been worked on this past week by our environment artist as well as one of our game developers. We started in the 3D modelling department, where the placeholders for these glowing mushrooms were modelled, before we experimented with their placement in the game.

As well as this, our 3D environment artist also modelled a placeholder for scattered and broken piles of wood. This is to create the impression that the dungeons are derelict and precarious. He also experimented with the creation process for the entrances and exits to the dungeon caves. This was important to do so that he could identify the most efficient process for creating a variety of modular entrance/exit pieces.

With the smaller elements, like the torches and mushrooms, coming together like this, the environment for Depths of Erendorn is really starting to take shape and transform into an eerie yet fantastical landscape.

3D render of torches on wall outside cave entrance
3D render of cave with torches on the wall and crystals in the corner
A 3D floorplan of a dungeon crawler game
3D render of the outside of a cave

Animation

In this most recent week, our 3D animator has not only been animating models for the game, but also for the marketing team. In honour of International Students Day and World Hello Day next week, she has put together a couple of animations and 3D renders of our most beloved races in Erendorn. These include:

  • An animation of a Blue Melmee waving at the camera. We only recently revealed the Melmee character and love to get the chance to showcase this cute little creature.
  • A 3D render of an Ogre, Blue Melmee, Zentragal and Human Knight that were posed to pay tribute to International Students Day that fell on this most recent Saturday.

It is important that we showcase our 3D models like this so that we can really show people what to expect from Depths of Erendorn, as well as show them the awesome talent we have behind it. Our 3D animator is often busy creating renders for our social media accounts; but when she isn’t, she is cracking on with getting all of our creatures looking good and moving properly.

In this past week, our animator has continued with rigging by setting up the rig for one of Erendorn’s fearsome beasts: the snake. First, she researched the different processes used to animate snakes so that she could find an effective way of animating it realistically. She then:

  • Tested several different rigging methods
  • Created the snake rig according to her research

She is now working on the skinning weight for it so that it moves as realistically as possible. The rigging has also been done for Erendorn’s Snapping Turtle and Baby Snapping Turtle. While the snake is still a work in progress, it is exciting to see all of the beasts in Erendorn become a 3D reality.

3D model of a snake with its rig showing
Our 3D animator has been working on getting the rig put in place for one of Erendorn's snakes.
3D model of a snake with its rig showing
We researched different animation methods to ensure that the snake rig was set-up in an effective way.
3D model of a snake
The final step will be adding the skinning weight to the snake, which will be focussed on in the upcoming week.

Server

7 ability building blocks have been created and added to the server in the past week. Each one is important to how the game operates and they each perform separate functions:

  • Set Event Counter: This block sets a ‘Counter’ on an event based on the inputs
  • Reset Ability Cost: This block resets the ability cost to 0. This can be set to effect specific stats/charges
  • Require Ability Type: This block limits what happens in an ability by the type of ability being used
  • Set Counter By Multiply Counter: This block sets a 'Counter' by multiplying two values together and storing the outcome in memory for use in other ability blocks
  • Set Counter By Division: This block sets a 'Counter' by dividing two values together and storing the outcome in memory for use in other ability blocks
  • Require Costs: This block controls the flow of an ability by testing if the casted ability meets the input cost requirements
  • Reduce Costs: This block can reduce the cost of an ability dynamically based on the input

Several changes were also implemented in the Event System. Events in the game are randomly generated and can include anything from wandering merchants, injured NPCs and specific enemy types, to random effects occurring in random rooms. For example, if the event called Atmospheric Pressure occurs, movement in the room is reduced by -1.

The Event System manages the generation of the events by converting database entries into working event classes for the game server to use. The Event System also manages the event when it is triggered during the game. The changes that were made to this system include:

  • 10 basic game events were created and implemented
  • These events have been added to the level generator and will be triggered when the player transitions between rooms

Game events will have a 50% chance to spawn in each room and will have a lot of dynamic effects, from level generation changes and travelling NPCs, to merchants you can interact and trade with as well as sell things to.

Game Client

There were only a few changes made to the game client last week. We decided to change the turn-time from 45 seconds to 1 minute. This change was implemented so that players have a better chance to strategise and make their move, an element of the gameplay that was made difficult when limited to 45 seconds.

We also swapped the icon used for the Spider Swarm ability. Other than these amendments, our game developer spent this past week focussing a lot of her attention on making changes to the lighting in the game:

  • The ambient lighting for the caves was made gloomier so that it complemented its surrounding environment and gave a more effective appearance of a cave.
  • The skybox in the dungeon was removed and replaced with solid black colour. Now, the dungeon is actually dark, though we may change the colour from black at a later date.

We also spent the week experimenting with emissive materials and objects that can be added to various rooms in the dungeon. As with the crystal clusters, we did this to add dynamism to the games as well as to create an ethereal atmosphere that resonates with the fantasy genre. Some of the emissive objects we experimented with are:

  • Crystal Clusters: after our environment artist completed his renders of the crystals, our game developer was able to add some experimental clusters to the game rooms. These glow, emit a pulsating light and spawn randomly in the corners of different rooms.
  • Mushrooms: we mentioned earlier that it wasn’t just our environment artist who was working on the glowing mushrooms this week. Like the crystals, these mushrooms also spawn randomly on passable tiles in various dungeon rooms.
  • Floating Lights: our game developer also added some small floating lights to the game scene. These move around randomly and literally infuse the air with an element of fantasy.
3D image of cave room with glowing crystals and mushrooms
The glowing crystals and mushrooms add an ethereal atmosphere to this otherwise gritty dungeon.
Glowing mushrooms in a game
The mushrooms will also appear randomly on passable tiles in the game

The team have been experimenting with mushrooms that emit light because they’re a way of adding some subtle touches of ethereal ambience to this dungeon crawler game. We are excited about how Depths of Erendorn is starting to take shape and look forward to the next 5 days of work!

Are you up-to-date? Last week’s devlog is only a click away!

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