In this devlog, we’ll be showing off some awesome work from the week, like our updated character selection scene and some awesome visual fx! We’ve also just published our devlog summary for the month, so head over to our company site if you’re feeling a little out of the loop!
3D Character Modelling
After finishing the Parakaw’s base mesh in last week’s devlog, this week was all about texturing. Before we could start, however, we had to first adjust the wing mesh so that it fit the Parakaw’s arms better. This had to be done since we shortened the length of the arms at the end of the sculpting stage.
On to texturing, we started by setting up a feather pattern that was used across the entire body. To get the pattern flowing nicely, the chest was split up into left and right segments. While doing this, we actually found that the height map was making the feathers look too harsh, so we decided to add a slight blur in order to make them appear more fluffy! In fact, we may do this for the Daggerclaw Harpies at some point, since they look a bit stone-like in comparison.
When it came to texturing the head, our Artist referenced the previous Parakaw’s texturing file for more information. We’re currently trying to figure out how to add some more colour to the body’s feather texture, so come back next week to see how we get on!
- We set up a feather pattern that was used to texture the whole body.
- We adjusted the height maps and added a slight blur in order to make the feathers look a little softer.
After successfully creating a single, main rig that can be used to create multiple characters with, this week our Animator has been looking at all of our bipedal character concepts to see what features our main rig should have. With this in mind, more features have been added to the main rig, including bones for the:
- 3 toes
- Back clothing
After this, we continued working on the Human rig by adjusting more skin weights and adding an idle animation from the old rig to this new one. This animation is still a work-in-progress since it will need adjusting, but so far we’re thrilled to see that our new rig is very workable.
Now, the main rig should be able to be used in the engine. Even though, proportionally speaking, it just looks like a Human rig, we will be able to scale and adjust it according to each race before adding them to the engine.
<video src="https://www.depthsoferendorn.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/TestracesSkeletonUnique.mp4" width="300" height="150" c data-mce-fragment="1"></video>All of the characters, from the Dwarf to the Lionman, are using the same, unique rig. This really optimises our workflow as well as speeds up character generation in the game.
After focussing on pine trees and environment test scenes for the past few devlogs, this week has seen us return to our character selection scene! After a lot of planning, and an awesome digital painting created by our talented concept artist, we could begin creating the base landscape in Unreal:
- The set was dressed with foliage and rocks in order to get a general composition down.
- The landscape material was overhauled in order to improve steep cliff texturing.
- A basic local fog volume FX was created. This will be used around the environment when needed.
- The rock master material and moss propagation material function were also optimised to improve realism.
When they weren’t working on the character selection scene, our Environment Artist was busy creating a spooky Halloween scene, which we posted on our socials in honour of Alls Hallows’ Eve yesterday! Starring in this scene were some creepy jack-o-lanterns that were scattered between prowling Ghouls. In fact, there was a huge host of monsters from Depths of Erendorn shown in that scene – see how many you can find below!
In the visual effects department this week, VFX were created for Burning Hands, weapon trails and some general buffs/debuffs. We also created VFX for Starblast, an ability wielded by the Parakaw Astromancer that we previously created back in September – but this was before we switched game engines, so it had to be redone!
In addition to all this, we continued to work on adding VFX to our Watertarg after its attack animation was imported last week. Not only has this character been textured properly, giving us a more accurate depiction of how the Watertarg will appear with these visual effects, it also seems that it has learnt some new moves!
- Burning Hands is one of the new moves we will be testing on our Watertarg.
- With the Watertarg fully textures, the weapon trail VFX really come together.
- We had to remake the abilitiy Starblast, since we switched game engines.
After last week, more work has gone into setting up the project for packaging, this time with great success! We’re now able to create builds after tracking down the source of a dependency issue, so we’re really pleased with our progress in that area. On a different note, we have also created an input manager for defining and dealing with keybinds. This means that players can now rebind actions through the settings screen. New keybinds are also now added to the local save data and can be reset the same way.
There were a few other things boxed off this week, too:
- Input-related functions were moved to the player controller.
- We created a class that can handle local data saving and loading local user data.
- We updated the execution order of the project to validate/initialise save data pre-login.
In addition to all of this, a lot of work has been carried out with regard to lobby changes. After quashing a few bugs, lobbies now function correctly – although newly created lobbies did have another small bug crop up, so this also needed fixing, alongside some work on Game Entity parsing:
- When loading into the lobby, some actions were being performed twice, which was causing some issues. This has now been resolved.
- We added some missing properties to the Game Entity class before adding parsing for these missing properties.
- Parsing of the Game Entity class was moved into a separate class, which will be used for parsing different data that is accessible everywhere. This will make it easier to maintain and use in different parts of the codebase.
With all this in mind, it is now possible to start a game once all players are ready – and certain text elements, some of which had their size increased, now also better reflect the current state of the lobby. On the server-side, some commands had their responses changed slightly, but there isn’t actually a huge amount to report in this area since all of our energy went into the lobby changes!
- Before we began building our character selection scene in the engine, we first had our concept artist produce this awesome mock-up.
- With a finalised design, we can now start recreating our character selection scene in Unreal Engine.
Thanks for joining us for another devlog! If you want to hear more about what we’ve been up to this month, then simply head over to our monthly devlog summary!