We’ve got a giant-themed update today, chock-full of tasty bits of what we’re working on in the form of the Top Tenish, a few pieces of art from our talented team, some animation tests from Scott, and even info on a test this weekend! Let’s get started, shall we?
If you missed today’s livestream update with Mark, which you can find HERE, you’ll note he mentioned the small amount of work we did that let us change our local character’s scale. This allowed us to walk around in game to determine a good test size for giants. Also, it was just plain fun to do. Click the image below for a few seconds of me walking around at 5x scale with Anthony’s not-even-knee-high Luchorpán chasing after me. Also note the size of those siege engines I walk by! I’m also so big the default camera can’t back up enough to see my own head!
To further qualify this, keep in mind this is just a human character with the animations rate scaled along with the size increase. I’m also at a lower LOD (Less detailed model) as I had to back the camera out so far. However, this was a quick and very fun test we were all giggling over. Check below for a WIP animation from Scott as he works out a basic walk for the giants.
We are planning on a test this weekend. Here’s the basic info. We’ll have another follow-up email for those applicable Backers with more info. As always, pay attention to our tentative testing schedule to keep up-to-date with our testing.
Sunday, August 4th, 2019
Countdown Timer HERE
3 hours: 12pm – 3pm EDT / 9am – 12pm PDT / 6pm – 9pm CEST (Get Localization)
Hope to CU there!
Let’s move into the rest of the week’s highlights in the form of our Top Tenish list!
WIP – Tech – Audio: Spidey made some new audio performance improvements this week. Now the game only generates audio objects for entities that are within audible range, which reduced the amount of active audio objects in a siege scenario from ~2600 down to ~400. This greatly improves client audio performance and profiling overhead. dB’s work just got much easier!
WIP – Tech – Knockback: This week, Matt continued working on improving knockback, but ran into complications in the interaction with player movement. Luckily, we had planned to make improvements there as well, but it will take more time and careful thought before we’ll see the improvements. Making player movement feel responsive and lag-free in a networked server-authoritative game is quite a challenge!
WIP – Tech – Servers: Colin and Wylie (With some Andrew support) continued to work on switching our servers to Linux this week. Wylie converted the City State memory library so that it is compatible with the Linux server, and Colin changed how the game server runs embedded native servers (physics, proxy, and building). It now executes the native code using p/invoke instead of C++/CLI. This will let us run the embedded native servers on Linux, leading to lower server costs.
WIP – Tech – Trigger Volumes: Caleb has been refining the way trigger volumes are integrated with the ability system. He has added event forwarding, which allows a trigger volume to forward its collision events to its parent entity and script parameters, which allows content designers to craft simpler scripts and reuse them. This work will allow us to do more interesting things gameplay-wise.
Gameplay – Bug Fixes: Anthony fixed a bug with the Mjölnir’s Lightning Shockwave ability. The ability will no longer fire off on plots near the caster, causing the ability to fire more often than intended. He also addressed an issue with deflection that was causing some performance issues and reduced the amount of error spam that was being created when a number of projectiles were being fired at a character that had melee weapons equipped.
WIP – Draugar NPC Concept: Michelle continued to hone the second, and crowd favorite, Draugar design. She is also investigating different color color variations. We also began to work on more variations and body parts, which will later give us more visual variation when you see lots of these.
WIP – Material Concepting: Last week we began using a new program in our pipeline: Substance Designer. During the week, this has allowed us to create textures for specific needs. This makes it easier for artists to get exactly what they want without having to spend a lot of time searching for or playing with dials to get what they are looking for.
WIP – New Weapons: We’ve begun creating new weapons, including a new one-handed axe, maul, and a shield. These have already been sculpted and are getting a material pass next.
WIP – Art – Draugar Movement Set: Sandra created about five different idle and singular direction movement animations, showing a range from mindless undead to intimidating and more human. After review, she began work on a full set of walks and runs. We can later use these for some of our NPCs.
Tech – Character Scale Prototyping: Mike D. spent an hour to give us a buildvar so we could get into the game and change the scale of our player character. This allowed us to get an idea of how large giants could be without too much foot floating or penetration in the terrain.
WIP – Art Giant Movement Animation: Once we had a scale settled upon, Scott was able to begin prototyping a giant’s walk. The scale was important, as the bigger the character, the more distance he can cover in a step. For fun, we went all the way up to 5x, and it looked pretty awesome.
WIP – Art – Sky Editor “Research:” I put this in quotes because Mike is finding new ways to bang his head against his desk as he troubleshoots the sky editor. His current goal is a general improvement to the game’s general use lighting profile. Out of this work, he’s generating feedback for the engineers on what needs to be addressed as well as additional tool support we’d like.
Art – Helmets: We created three new helmets, light to medium, complete with LODs and fitting to the different races and genders. These will be backlogged for now and updated later with materials when we add the supporting tinting and decaling systems.
WIP – Art – Different Character UV layouts: CU, and consequently our engine, uses a singular setup. Seeing as how we’ll need to add various creatures and other character types to the game, Jon has begun a new UV layout for future NPC needs. This will be used later as a test for the needed tech improvements to the engine.
For art this week, we start off with the aforementioned WIP movement animation from Scott. He literally started on this today to begin getting some character in the movements. Once we get a larger giant model, we can give it to Scott and see if it still feels good. Right now, this animation is just using a test “body.”
Next up, we have renders of various new pieces of armor. The materials on it are not final, and were only for checking out the model during review. As mentioned in the Top Tenish, these items won’t go into the game immediately until we get the tinting support needed to define the default materials.
Next up, we have some continued concept art of Draugar NPCs. This one was one of Mark’s favorites.
Concept for these guys has also continued to look at different body part variations we could do to add more variations without redoing an entire character from scratch.
The fun part with these concepts has been trying to figure out how we’ll do these weapons as body parts. It took some mental gymnastics between Art, Tech, and Design to figure out how to do things as easily as possible. Work smart and hard!
Thank you so much to Inbredmule for sending us today’s pizza lunch! Extremely kind of you. We loved it!!
Okay everyone, that’s it for this week’s update. Thanks again for your patronage and enthusiasm. Again, we are planning to have a test this weekend. For those invited, there will be a follow up email with more info, as usual.
Have a great weekend!