What a couple of weeks it has been. Just a few months ago, we showed you folks our first pass at building destruction. It had a handful of siege engines, and destruction was rough, but it worked. Two months later, we are bringing in our Alpha, Beta 1, and IT Backers to a weekend test, where we will show you 200 working trebuchets, and over 800 other siege engines and NPCs. As per the emails I’ve been sending all week:
THIS IS A STRESS TEST AND A SERIOUS ONE FOR YOUR RIG! IT WILL DEFINITELY STRESS MOST PLAYERS’ GPU/CPU!
DO NOT JOIN US IF YOU HAVE AN OLD, LESS POWERFUL RIG. IF YOUR LAPTOP/PC STARTS HEATING UP TOO MUCH, QUIT THE GAME IMMEDIATELY!
Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t want you to come, but please keep in mind that this weekend’s test is a stress test. That means we’ll be putting pressure on the servers and on your machines. Now, we’ve had Backers come in with Nvidia 650M cards and be able to play, but if you have an old machine/graphic card/laptop, and your machine is heating up faster than summer in Florida, you should exit the game immediately. If you stay longer, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
As you might have expected from my livestream and this email, it was another great week for us. Here’s the Top Tenish list!
- WIP – Tech – Building Performance: Rob spent the week working on building performance, trying to eliminate the hitches around building destruction. He has made some huge gains! Building destruction will be much smoother in the future, and rubble is already more realistic and less bouncy. Work on this will continue.
- WIP – Tech – Lighting: George has done some amazing work on the lighting and sky dome for the game.
- With Wylie’s help, he hooked up color grading in the editor. This will give the artists better control over the stylization of world rendering.
- George, busy bee that he is, also made improvements to transparent blending. This will allow the stacking of transparent world items to make things like leaves and smoke play better with each other.
- WIP – Tech – Clouds: Dave, with some assistance from George, made some improvements to clouds and how they work within the sky dome. He added a self-shadowing element that makes them lumpier and fakes an idea of “thickness,” and added a world shadowing effect where the clouds can darken specific parts of the world. This is very basic, and not realistic by any measure right now, but it does add some visual appeal to the world.
- WIP – Tech – Collision sounds: Logan continued his work on material-based collision sound effects. This week, he focused on the data and editor changes needed to support these in the game. When finished, we will be able to assign sounds to world objects when they collide.
- WIP – Tech – Projectile collisions: Matt addressed a long-standing issue where projectile collisions on the server would not actually remove the projectile if the game server was busy. Along the way, he also cleaned up some of the networking between physics and proxies so the game server will have to send a lot less data. Players should soon see that the VFX trails are even smoother, and that arrows don’t go through people and freak out.
- WIP – Tech – Support classes: Anthony spent time this week fleshing out the core components of Support abilities (Melodies and Harmonies) in general terms.
- WIP – UI – World Map: Ben has been busy creating a map of the game world.
- WIP – VFX – Mages: Mike has been busy working on VFXs for Mages. The druid has new effects for Chaos Projection and Explosion shapes. Also, we made some tweaks to the casting effects on the Flame Warden and Druid, so the effects will appear on their Wand/Scepter instead of on their arms.
- WIP – Tech – Focus Item support: In a joint effort between Christina and Anthony, we now support having focus items which modify abilities. This will allow focus items like Wands, Scepters, and Gauntlets to modify abilities When using the ability builder, the ability itself will describe if it wants to use the focus item’s additional scripting, and if so, the item describes what modifications should be added to the ability.
- WIP – UI – Ability Builder: AJ has finished work on the new ability builder UI. It is currently in Art and Code review. We are cleaning up some very specific polish items, and then it should be moved into testing.
- WIP – UI – Crafting: AJ has made some changes to the crafting UI so that it will now accept changes to ingredients. Recipe ingredients will now allow for “Any Alloy of type x” or “Any item with this tag” instead of just being restricted to specific items.
- WIP – Tech – Mesh Simplifier: Lee made even more improvements to the mesh simplifier. His new code gave us another decent performance improvement.
- WIP – Tech – Terrain Height: Lee has tracked down the last known bug that was causing terrain-height queries to misbehave in buildings. He now has height-offset adjustments working well in his local branch, and is cleaning up the code for review and check-in. This should prevent players from falling or sinking into buildings. It is also the first step into creating our navmesh and pathing system.
- Tech – Ability bug fixes: Caleb fixed some bugs within the ability system.
- Siege engines don’t have armor and resistances. The abilities were throwing exceptions when trying to access that data, and that was causing the siege engines to not take damage. This has been fixed, and siege weapons are once again vulnerable.
- An issue where ability prediction was throwing exceptions was fixed. This should result in more accurate effects being played.
- Animation – Player movement: This week, Mike D. landed some improvements on movement animations. Players should start to see a more fluid animation on their characters.
- Animation – Longbows: This week Sandra made generic longbow idles for all 3 Realms. She also made a shared longbow generic fidget.
In terms of today’s artwork, we have some interesting things to show you. First up, here’s an archer idle:
Next up, how about some VFX from Mike C:
If you’ve been following our lore, you’ve seen this guy mentioned more than a few times. From the heart of The Depths comes somebody you don’t ever want to meet when he’s having a bad day: The Merchant!
And for some bonus artwork, how about how he’s going to look in our board game based on The Depths!
For those folks who weren’t able to be in today’s all-day-testing, here’s some screenshots I took today:
And then the TDD want to join in the fun too!
And what happens when these crazy kids get together?
And from up in the air, what was going on around me?
Now, why am I showing you these screenshots? Well, if you look carefully at the numbers on the top right of your screen, you’ll see how many NPCs were joining our players during today’s test. As always, we test this way so that things won’t break when we launch. Today, our Backers saw a 9.4M block building being destroyed in real-time, while at the same time, we were bringing in up to 1,500 NPCs, who were attacking them or any other enemies around them. They were casting spells, engaging in melee, and running around and using the siege engines. And the result of this? Happy Backers, rock-solid game servers, and an updated scenario area. We’ve improved the lighting, smoothness of building destruction, the look of our characters, while at the same time, improving server stability and client frame rate. This is, among other reasons, why I was so happy during today’s livestream, that once again can be found here.
And before I forget, like I did in the livestream: Happy Passover, as well as Easter, to our Backers who celebrate those holidays! Here’s a quick piece of artwork from Sandra and Michelle!
Hopefully, I’ll be seeing many of you tomorrow in our Weekend Stress Test! Here’s the basic information:
Alpha, Beta 1, and IT!
12pm – 3pm EDT / 9am – 12pm PDT / 6pm – 9pm CEST
Countdown clock here: https://www.timeanddate.com/countdown/launch?iso=20190420T12&p0=263&font=cursive&csz=1
Have a great weekend, all!