Thursday, Thursday, Thursday! Yep, that’s the day for the first, and in my opinion the most important, of our big announcements. As the final details are worked out, I will have at least one special livestream, followed by Q&A, covering the announcement. It has been a long time in coming, but I promise you, it will be worth the effort. If you can’t join us for the livestream, don’t worry, I’m sure that there will be plenty of questions asked by our Backers about it!
On top of that, it was another great week in CSE-land! As the Top Tenish list will show, there has been lots of progress on our game, and not just on our tech. Progress continues apace, albeit slower than our Backers would like, but the pace is consistent, and as we add additional team members, will increase further. Speaking of team members, the latest additions to our studio have survived another week, and so by next week, we can remove the balls and chains that have kept them with us! Will they run away, screaming into the cold, damp Seattle air, or will they stay longer? Stay tuned, and I’ll CU on Thursday!
- WIP – Tech – Engine Gameplay Systems Improvements: George–and recently, several other teammates as well–have been working on a large commit that rewrites the game loop and input logic to facilitate a lot of current and future improvements. This moves us more to a separation of engine and gameplay code, so we don’t have to manually thread the two together everywhere. This is the work mentioned in one of our update emails for Backers who may be using Hatchery for their C.U.B.E. creations. When this large update goes in (likely next week), we expect quite a bit of follow-up work as we have some regression in gameplay, like manual aiming feeling off. What do we get out of this? Check out this list:
- Believe it or not, this work began with a fix to the “reload UI” button and various other UI loading issues.
- Better key remapping (Keybinding not yet in).
- Client runs in the background safely and comes back without stutters or stopping.
- Client continues to run when dragging and resizing the window without disconnecting from the server or crashing.
- Reduce latency on input to under 1 frame.
- Reduce the cost of processing input and remove it from the main gameplay loop.
- Reorganize gameplay logic surrounding UI, windows and player input, so that it is done in the appropriate places and separated from engine code.
- A fix for a number of small threading bugs and asserts.
- Much quicker systems for collecting entities in an area on the client, Affects targeting, etc.
- These items combined create a significant speed boost and latency reduction for the player.
- WIP – Tech – 3D UI and Input Performance improvements: Dave made several updates to the 3D UI we showed in previous updates, making it easier to read and a bit more professional-looking in its first pass. Additionally, he’s been helping George out on his upcoming change by looking for ways to make sure we don’t see a UI performance regression. George’s branch now runs, on average, 2 to 2.5ms faster per frame, as they discovered some low-hanging fruit that was eating a fairly consistent chunk of time.
- WIP – Tech – New Entity Types: Caleb has created spawn point entities, and is currently working on the placing and editing of buildings, NPC spawners and point generators. Bull and Christina have also been providing assistance. These will all be editable with ECTs in the editor, so we can quickly add those gameplay elements to the new scenario map.
- Tech – Scenario Results Screen: Christina supported the UI guys this week, exposing information out of the progression system to be hooked up to a scoreboard. The first iteration will show Overall team scores, and for each player it will show: Name, Faction, Kills, Deaths, Assists, Damage Dealt, Healing Dealt, Damage Received, Healing Received, Score/Points Earned.
- WIP – Generic Editor: “You know what we need? A generic editor!” – Thus spake Andrew. We need one so that other engineers don’t have to make their own editors. Bull has been heads-down this week creating this editor. The goal is to get it working for 90% of future feature needs. Plus, anything that cannot make use of this editor will require much less time from Bull or other engineers to implement than previously.
- WIP – Tech – Unifying TCP and UDP Entity Networking Systems: Colin’s work this week has centered around simplifying the code, making future changes much easier. This is a good example of a bugfix leading to something else, as it started with a disconnect bug we were seeing last week.
- Art – Animation – Death, Flinch and Character Creation: Sandra completed the Arthurian travel stance “death” and “flinch” animations this week, and has moved onto posing blockouts for the various race and class choices in the character creation screens.
- WIP – Art – SFX – Mjölnir: dB is working on sounds to support the Mjölnir abilities this week. He also continues working on his general combat sounds to improve the feel of combat, with attention on clearly communicating what is going on during combat.
- Art – Animation – Pipeline: Scott and our new animator successfully imported a full character into the game using Maya instead of Max, which we’ve predominantly used up to this point. This work not only teaches our new animator our systems, but also preps our animators to make a requested software switch. We will now move onto quivers for our archers and all the previously created NPC clothing weighting and import.
- WIP – Art – Scenario and Patcher UI: James, Michelle, and JB have settled on the look of these elements, so this week has been spent finalizing the work. Michelle has been rendering out the sketches from last week for James to use in the “Victory” and “Defeat” screens, while James has finished the styling of the scoreboard, and is now working on the animations and micro-interactions. James is also working on some slick animations for character selection in the patcher.
- Art – Animation – Casting: Scott has completed a WIP pass on new casting animations. As we want combat to not only be visually compelling, but also convey what is going on, we’re experimenting with different cast animations depending on the type of skill you are using. In this case, this includes projectile, area of effect, and self. These new animations are simply the first shared assets before we begin on more class-specific abilities. They also support the use of focus items, which we’ll be adding later.
- WIP – Art – Place of Power/Scenario Map: Tyler created five new materials this week to begin roughing out the terrain. All the separate Place of Power models are imported and placed in the map. Dionne is working on the large “rock wall” assets, which will join her previously-created dead trees, grass, and rocks, as well as new materials to improve the look of the Place of Power model. The next step is bringing this all together on the map.
- WIP – Art – Weapons: Jon has been busy creating several new weapon models this week. He’s completed a modeling pass on nine new weapons, and is currently working on the materials for them. Part of Jon’s goal was to even out the number of the different weapons players had available to them.
- 1 Viking one-handed sword
- 2 Arthurian one-handed swords
- 1 TDD one-handed sword
- 2 Viking one-handed hammers
- 2 Viking two-handed hammers
- 1 Viking one-handed sword
- BizDev – MJ – INCOMING!: This coming Thursday, MJ will host a special update for our Backers and other interested parties about something that he has been working on for many months. This is indeed one of the “big” announcements that we have been hinting at for the last couple of months. Stay tuned to our weekly livestreaming schedule and our email blasts for the time of the update on Thursday.
A very solid week, despite the winter plague hitting a couple of us on the East coast. We’re going to make sure and get plenty of rest this weekend, that’s for sure!
For art this week, we start off with a video link of Scott’s work on the casting animations. Scott streamed some of this work previously, which you can view HERE.
Next up, a work-in-progress image of James’ work on the scenario results screen.
Michelle has provided a breakdown of one of the new terrain materials Tyler created for the new map.
Next up we have several images of Jon’s work on the new weapons. You can catch his stream HERE. Get ready to kill some foes while looking sexy with these new darlings!
As an added bonus for our update, Michelle did some quick sketching this afternoon for Mike, in order to give him some direction ideas for the new healer VFX he’s working on.
Some really great art this week, bringing the world of Camelot Unchained to life.
That wraps things up for the second week of January for us here at CSE. As mentioned above, please join us Thursday for our announcement, and we’ll CU next week! Keep an eye on the tentative livestream schedule for when we update it with the stream time!