It’s Full of Changes! – CSE Update Friday, March 10, 2017

Folks,

  Well, we had a very busy week here! We checked off two important items on our Primary Beta 1 list, we’ve run several impromptu tests this week, we currently have two tests going over the weekend, we dropped in so many changes and bug fixes we had to provide a 20 page testing doc, we have a solid Top Tenish list, and we have a good number of User Stories completed. I’m tired just reading this sentence! I’m proud to be living up to our word to work hard and do what is needed to make up time and get us into Beta 1. If you’d like the more verbose and personal version of the week’s wrap-up, you can catch today’s stream with Tim and myself, Tyler. Next week is already promising to be busy as well. Stay tuned! For now, let’s move on to our Top Tenish list of updates.

Top Tenish:

  1. Tech – Network Stability: This week, we completed a lot of internal and external testing, with and without Bots, to track down issues we saw in our earlier test that included Beta 1 Backers. While we don’t always include bug fixing in our Top Tenish lists, the work that went into tracking and verifying the fix warranted putting this up top! Our goal, as we’ve said, is to keep up on bugs as we go, so we don’t have as much of a mess to clean up as we near milestones. This bug sometimes took over a day to occur, so hopefully we’ve nailed it.

  2. Tech – Building related bugs: Buildings have seen lots of changes! This week, we believe we found and fixed a building-related bug that was causing the game server to crash. After extensive testing, Rob fixed several other building-related bugs that needed fixing, while Brad worked on supporting different grid morphs and made performance improvements that directly affect our very large structures.

  3. Tech – OIT performance: George committed some changes we hope to begin testing next week around rendering performance using the previous OIT (Order Independent Transparency) update. The overall goal is, as always, good rendering performance during large battles.

  4. Tech – Standalone Physics Server: Last week, we spun up and spent several days running a standalone physics server to support the scale of battles in CU. We fixed several issues, but hit a bad bug that took up some of our focus this week. We hope to test potential fixes next week.

  5. Tech – Patcher and UI: After dropping in the first pass of the Orders (guild) UI, JB took a much-needed detour and quickly clobbered a pile of patcher and in-game UI bugs that should improve player quality-of-life. Those out of the way, he has moved into the broader scope of improving different elements of our UI.

  6. Tech – Second API Server for development: When we have instability over weekend testing, one of the solutions is to restart our Web API server to create a clear slate. Doing this causes disruptions in weekend testing, which is obviously not ideal. JB spun up a second instance, allowing us a separate server to tear down and bring back up as needed, speeding up internal development without affecting in-progress testing on other servers.

  7. Tech – Animation: Matt previously wrapped up work on stances, and now that Andrew has made progress in our new animation system, we can incorporate stances more seamlessly into the other work we’re doing. Now characters can choose an appropriate collection of animations to use. This means, if you’re putting a spear into your hand, your character will now play the correct spear animations, whether attacking, idling, or jumping. This is in addition to the functionality that allowed those same tags to determine what animation clip to play when executing a skill based on the tags. While still in progress, using some animations we’re seeing in-game for the first time, everything feels like it’s coming together. This will get us closer to testing combat while we work on improving the overall look and feel of animations.

  8. Tech – Sound: Building off of that same tag functionality, Gabe is hooking up the tagging system to allow dB to play combat sounds when animations play. Now dB starts the process of hooking up our plethora of SFX to our animation events. Animations and audio working together in harmony (pun intended) add a great amount of cool-factor to how our combat feels.

  9. Art – WIP – Animation: On the asset side of things, Scott continues to mock up animations for further testing on some changes that we’re investigating to improve the look and feel of animations. Last week, we made a change to the animation system to better blend between upper and lower body movement. To test this out better, Sandra went back through our two-handed polearm animations to support this. At the end of the week, she’s cranking through the lower body skirt animations.

  10. Art – WIP – Place Of Power: Dionne, with a little help from Tyler, has been working on updating the massive Place of Power model to address issues in scale. With this comes some work on materials and VFX. VFX has gone a little slower than desired, prompting some tool work from Bull to help speed things up.

  11. Art – WIP – Siege Engines: After Matt finishes an initial pass on aiming mechanics for bows, he’ll be re-visiting the Beta 1 item of a working siege engine. We had planned to use a generic, shared, siege engine, but now that we have a little more time, we’ve begun concepting how siege weapons could look per Realm. You can catch that first phase stream HERE. (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/126877005)

  12. Art – Weapons: Recently we noticed our CSE-created weapons didn’t seem to have the visual “heft” we were looking for. The art looked great, but in game the weapons felt a bit puny. Jon went through and completed an overhaul of the scale of individual elements to better convey the weight inherent in medieval weaponry. He also made some small adjustments to the weapon handles to be better paired with the character’s hand animations.

     13. Misc – Updated German version of the CU website: Thanks to the fantastic work of our translators, particularly Apollon and his crew, with Charles’ oversight, we’ve updated the site. The delay is much more on Tyler’s shoulders as he needed to find the time to sign off on the changes. With the extra time some more translation work was able to be done.

A good amount of work was completed this week, on top of all the features and fixes that went in the previous week. Let’s jump to the User Stories next!

Primary Beta 1 List:

We’re checking off two items this week, with the caveat that we still would like to do more UI support or performance fixes if needed, time allowing. However, the work is complete to support functioning systems.

Items exist in the real world: Can be dropped, traded, picked up by any player, and persist in world. – Complete

First pass guild system – Complete

25 old cards with 57 completes.
1 New card with 1 complete.

As a Backer, I’d like to be able to be able to play an Archer.
Manual aiming revisit post re-ab
Leave the camera pointing toward the hit position when firing projectiles in aiming mode.  – Complete
Buildvar to disable manual aiming – Complete

As a Backer, I’d like to find unique environment props, or unique locations, that add flavor to the environment while I’m exploring the Biomes.
Ruined statue environment accent v1 – mats – Complete
Ruined statue environment accent v2 – mats – Complete

As a Backer, I’d like to know about smaller changes that don’t have their own user story.
Buildvar for near clip distance. – Complete
Update follow camera to always point at character’s approximate head location. – Complete

As a Backer, I’d like to see the world of Camelot Unchained continue to develop through its lore.
Picts Becoming part 2 – Final Draft – Complete

As a Backer, I want to be able to own a plot of land and build within it. – First Pass
Expose hotkey combos to slash commands to speed up debugging. – Complete
Buildings encoding and decoding. – Complete

As a German Backer, I’d like to visit the German version of the Camelot Unchained website.
Most Recent news articles translated. – Complete
Art with text translations complete. – Complete
Second pass audit all new translations. – Complete
Final review and translation fixes/updates. – Complete

As a server Developer, I would like the user proxies to dynamically scale.
Ensure proxy management lists do not get out of sync. – Complete

As a Developer and Backer, I’d like to see improvements in lighting and rendering.
Order Independent Transparency system. – Complete
Offscreen buffer for transparency pass. – Complete
Depth and color buffer resolve. – Complete
Normalize blending between additive and diffuse particles. – Complete

As a Backer I’d like a patcher to not only update my game, but also give me the most important news and updates, get support, chat with the community and look awesome while doing it!
Provide feedback when character deletions fail. – Complete
Use the last updated time passed by the client via protobuf. – Complete
Storing downloaded files that are waiting to get decompressed into a
memory-mapped portion of the system pagefile. – Complete
Optimize first asset load of the new patch server by reducing number of queries. – Complete

As a Backer in Beta 1, I’d like to have a sampling of Arthurian light, medium, and heavy armor to wear in game.
Update generic cloak material to use Realm-specific styling. – Complete

As a Backer in Beta 1, I’d like to have a sampling of Viking light, medium, and heavy armor to wear in game.
Update generic cloak material to use Realm-specific styling. – Complete

As a Backer in Beta 1, I’d like to have a sampling of TDD light, medium, and heavy armor to wear in game.
Update generic cloak material to use Realm-specific styling. – Complete

As a Backer in Beta 1, I’d like to play as a Crafter with basic gathering and crafting mechanics for testing.
Resource Nodes:

Ability to override resource IDs on spawned terrain. – Complete
CSV driven data defines quality values. – Complete

As a Backer in Beta 1, I’d like to play in a Party, or Guild – UI.
Ability to create Order, invite others, create and edit ranks, accept invites. – Complete
Build generic components for UI front-end for future re-use. – Complete
Add member count as field for groups in graphql queries. – Complete

As a Developer, I’d like to have a selection of weapons that visually represent each Realm’s identity. – Arthurians
Additional polearm concept art. – Complete
Polearm v2: Complete. – Complete
Update completed weapons scale to better convey weight and fit better in hands. – Complete

As a Developer, I’d like to have a selection of weapons that visually represent each Realm’s identity. – TDD
Polearm v1: Complete. – Complete
Polearm v2: Complete. – Complete
Polearm v3: Complete. – Complete
Update completed weapons scale to better convey weight and fit better in hands. – Complete

As a Developer, I’d like to have a selection of weapons that visually represent each Realm’s identity. – Viking
“Epic valentines” axe model created.  – Complete
Update completed weapons scale to better convey weight and fit better in hands. – Complete

As a Backer in Beta 1, I’d like to be able to pick an item up off the ground, put it in my inventory, and if applicable, equip it.
Optimizing gear slot information sent by packed/fast entity writers. – Complete

As a Developer, I’d like the Camelot Unchained ability system to fully support the design scope of the game for B1.
Health bar heal/damage events are based off of combat events passed from the server. – Complete

As a Developer, I’d like to prototype various combat animations to support future system improvements during Beta.
Two-handed greatsword animations:

Offensive stance death. – Complete
Defensive stance death. – Complete
Animation improvement testing: Two-handed axe swings using four part setup. – Complete

Polearm animations:
Skirt and cloak secondary animation improvements. – Complete
Update torso to better blend to lower body – based on improvements to tech. – Complete

As a Developer, I’d like to improve the visuals of our current characters and armor, and note lessons learned to move forward into our next iterations.
Improve Arthurian heavy armor materials. – Complete

As a Backer and Developer in B1, I’d like to see improvements in the visual quality of armor for CU.
Fall Court heavy armor test:
Armor has stats and is available in player inventory. – Complete

As a Backer in Beta 1, I’d like to be able to further personalize my character through the use of the Banes and Boons system.
B&B Icons:

Additional Banes and Boons icons. – Complete

As a Developer, I’d like to pull the physics server out to its own process for improved network performance.
Setup standalone AWS instance. – Complete

As a Backer, I want an animation system that blends multiple animations together, allowing for immersive and fun combat.
Skeleton cogs now contain a list of all the AnimSets and their tags. – Complete
New AnimSetComponent chooses a new AnimSet from various things about the owning Entity. – Complete
AnimSetComponent will re-choose whenever gear or modes change. – Complete
Walk controller will only rotate the character’s body if we’re in an AnimSet with a Travel tags. – Complete
Unify sound effects creation with existing animation creation using tags. – Complete
Prevent client from starting animations unless all requirements are met. – Complete
First pass: data entry anim set tags. – Complete

New Cards:

We needed a new version of our 1 siege weapon item for Beta 1 as we’ll be using the new ability system, and, time allowing, unique realm versions.

As a Backer in Beta 1, I’d like to use a siege weapon.
First pass: Realm-specific siege weapon concept art. – Complete

Like I said in my intro, we’ve been very busy. Without much ado, as it’s late, let’s move into some art for this week shall we? There’s been a lot of talk around animation recently, as we focus art, tech, and design on it. As we’ve been saying, in most cases this is the first time we are beginning to see our rough animation pass in the game. This quick pass is focused on getting us into combat testing sooner rather than later, as there are a lot of weapon combinations we want to support. Right now we’re looking at what we can do to make the animations, and the supporting system better. However, that hasn’t kept us from finding a great screenshot along the way. Here we have a mighty Arthurian and a fierce Viking warrior duking it out, just as the sun begins to rise!

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Next up we’ve got some first pass concept art for ballistas with a bit of realm specific “arting” on top! Wonder what we could use these for?

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Mind you these fun designs are literally first pass, and we’ve barely started! Good job Michelle! Next up we have some statue ruins that we’d like to use in the environments of CU. My personal goal is to have these assets spattered about the world as unique things you can come across to add life to the world. This week Jon spent some time figuring out better, and faster ways, to create the weathered materials you see here. Thank you Jon for that extra bit of time and effort! Look for these moss and grime covered behemoths in the forests of CU. Oh, yeah, I plan on making ’em pretty big. You guys need some good photo op locals to show off your armor and gear right?

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Lastly, we close out with a render of the Valentine’s day axe Michelle created concept art for, during her holiday stream. Jon started on this on the sly, over a weekend, as I wanted to surprise Michelle, but she found out! So what started as a joke on her stream, is definitely going to be a fun item for testing in B1.

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Well that’s all folks. I truly hope you have a great weekend, and I very much hope you can see by our updates, that we’re doing our best to make each day count!

– t

P.S. It was such a busy day so I had to get this update out pretty late. There’s no grammar and spelling, and blasted comma check from Max. Enjoy my grammar!

 

Camelot Unchained