It's time for yet another exciting monthly update on the development of this mod, and although it might not be as spread out on topic, it doesn't sacrifice any content! Unfortunately we didn't hit that Christmas release for reasons I can't really disclose, but any extra time put on development means a better polished output, so without a second to waste let's get right into the fun of this month, and a happy belated new years to everyone reading!
CONTINUED SDK PROGRESS + ANOTHER NEW TEAM MEMBER!
SacredAI has been hard at work reverse engineering the game to build that SDK with me so we can start actually adding some fully custom things. I'm happy to announce that we have full cohesion of the player class, meaning we can do fun things with their properties and functions (as will be demonstrated a few scrolls down! ). This also inadvertently gave us some access to NPCs as they derive from the CBaseCombatCharacter class, but we've got a ways before custom NPCs can start popping in.
Instead, we'll be pooling our focus on getting the weapon classes set up, giving us access to custom weaponry, spells, and etc. Seems like a really fun way to test out the SDK, but maybe we can also do items instead.. let me know what you think!
Additionally, the collective grows even stronger! Fear the massive, talented, and well voiced RIDDICK! He'll be coming on board for a lot of asset things, but mainly for animating purposes. You know him from all our play testing sessions as the other voice, so when you think about it he's been in the team from the start. Nevertheless, a big hand for our friend!
Dark Messiah has a lot of animations that only exist on the viewmodel ( player hands ) which isn't very useful for a multiplayer model, so he'll be filling the gaps and eventually help out with the aforementioned custom weapon animations. Who knows where the path ends when you have someone making these assets from scratch!
CO-OP MOD PROGRESS
Much like last month there's a lot to showcase here, so let me get the media together and start posting it!
BALLISTA WEAPONS NOW WORK IN MULTIPLAYER
A bug we found in the alpha playtests was that dying in a ballista actually gets you stuck. So since that sucks, it was fixed!
Of course, we gotta take it even further! After some well crafted edits and modifications, you can now have multiple ballista active. Meaning each player can have a ballista and hold the siege. This won't see that much light in the campaign, but an absolute big one for custom maps!
CYCLOPS INTERACTIONS ALMOST COMPLETE
Cyclops now properly target the second player for grabbing, although they still have a little issue letting go. Attachment issues are tough.. but hey, we're almost there! It also looks a little funny like this, so enjoy a semi blooper.
A FULL ANIMATION SYSTEM IN PROGRESS
No more are the times of looking at something and killing it with your mind! Now you can see every hack n slash you need to feel like you're annihilating the enemy with your buddies! The animation system took some work to get off the ground, but we're flying high now. These videos only showcase the sword since that was the test weapon, but more are on the way!
CUSTOM SWIMMING ANIMATIONS
Swimming is something we noticed didn't actually have an animation on the player in our testing. Actually, it flat out makes the player disappear! Since we're making an animation system from scratch ( and since we have an animator now ) might as well cover all our bases right?
ALL SPELLS WORK IN MULTIPLAYER
Spells were a mixed bag when in co-op. Depending on what you targeted, it would lead to a complete system lock and eventually crash due to some incorrect attribute processing. Not anymore! Charm, burn, even electrocute your friends!
ITEM INTERACTIONS ARE NOW FIXED
This is something you can't really get a screenshot of, but is something I did fix! Item targeting was being cached on a global level instead of per player. That meant when someone looked at an object, there was a possibility that as soon as someone else pressed their USE key they would pick it up instead! Since it's bad to steal from your friends without killing them, this is now fixed.
As I'll be pretty much quoting from Riddick, getting custom animations set up for Sareth over here is no easy. SARETH IS TOO FLEXIBLE!
In most source games and mods, character skeletons are based on the ValveBiped. Because of this, there are now a decent number of tools and scripts that help expediate the process of working with the skeleton in modern toolsets. Dark Messiah doesn't do this. It has its own skeleton, which, while similar to the ValveBiped skeleton, has a number of key differences that will require a more involved process before it's ready to work with. Most notably, the naming scheme and bone hierarchy are different. Rather than following the ValveBiped convention where each bone's prefix is ValveBiped.Bip01, the bones are prefixed with SK_. Not a big deal, but any existing scripts won't be able to target these right out the box.
As for the adjusted hierarchies, the arms and feet now have two additional bones that are presumably meant to smooth out any pinching that may occur from extreme twists. In a modern skeleton, these bones would branch off of the arm rather than being directly linked to the next bone. As you can see in the video, this means that applying a standard IK rig for animation won't work right out the box. A purpose-built skeleton will need to be built as an intermediary between the original skeleton and the eventual animation rig. This isn't too crazy, and is usually standard practice when working with a valve skeleton anyways, but the extra bones do lend themselves to some interesting movements. And you can have a lot of fun with the potential.
DEVELOPMENT DIARY AND CLOSING
I finally have another developer diary for everyone to enjoy, which summarized the past 2 months of development, including the next steps. Check it out right here:
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