DevLog Roundup: Updates from June
June was a colossal month for the team working on Depths of Erendorn. Armour was sculpted, fantastical set pieces were made, a new character selection screen was created, and a graveyard was brought into the world.
In between all this are new animations for Wolvajins, Golems, Gargoyles and Drovals, a ton of new sound and visual effects, some behind-the-scenes game trailer clips, and an update on Programming. As always, join us on Twitter, Instagram, or Reddit for daily updates on Depths of Erendorn – now let’s get into it!
In June, our Character Artist finished sculpting two versions of a new heavy armour set, one for lower levels, and one for higher levels. This work involved:
- Blocking out various armour plates
- Sculpting these blockouts into finished pieces
- Creating a set of sculpted decals to detail the armour with
- Retopologising and unwrapping both armour sets
- Finalising UV layouts by carrying out some test bakes
Our Artist has now begun texturing work, but if you want to see how it turns out you’ll have to stay tuned to our weekly devlogs! For now, though, here are some progress shots of the armour in ZBrush, as well as the finished sculpts of both sets:
Loads of animation work took place last month. We’ll talk about some of this when we get to the Game Trailer section (keep scrolling!), but before we get to that, here are some of the animation sets that were created:
- Flying eagle: These birds will fly all over Erendorn, but will play a key role in the upcoming game trailer!
- Howling Wolvajins: These creatures are fierce enemies in the game, known for being cunning and extremely fast – you can read about them here
- Stone Golems: These beings will appear as both enemies and friendlies in the game. They have a particularly dark origin story, which you can check out here
In addition to these animation sets, our Animator also worked on some general animations, including for marketplace vendors, namely the blacksmith, butcher, and merchant, as well as the Blue Melmees, who received a new sitting idle.
The Bonelair Gargoyles and savage Drovals also received new idles last month. Both of these characters are enemies in Depths of Erendorn, with the Bonelair Gargoyles being particularly nightmarish (find out why here).
Creating Set Pieces for Events
One of the objectives for our Environment Design team last month was to start creating set pieces for all the different events in the game. If you follow our weekly devlogs, you’ll already know what we mean by ‘events’.
But for those of you who are new here, events are basically randomly generated situations that will present players with a choice to make – and what they choose will have an impact on their journey down the line. Events can be triggered at any time, in any dungeon room, so keep your eye out for the following set pieces!
Tell us, if you and your team entered a room with a mysterious, ornate egg hidden in the corner, would you bring it along with you, knowing that it could hatch at any moment? That’s exactly the decision that this event will confront you with.
The only catch is that you’ll have no idea what’s gestating inside – will it be a violent beast, a friendly animal companion, or an insidious spell? There will always be a risk involved with an event, so it’s your job to weigh it against the (potential) reward.
This event will involve a fountain appearing in a dungeon, and players may use it to purchase 1 extra Luck point. The catch? Enemies will generate immediately, so you’ll have to be quick on your toes.
This event will generate a – you guessed it – wishing well, and will give you the option of gaining a lot of gold – but at what cost? (Pardon the pun).
A Sword in a Stone
This event will reveal a powerful sword that’s stuck in a block of stone. Players will be given the choice to attempt to pull it out – but it takes a lot of your Strength, and you may not even be successful.
A Demonic Crystal
If, while you’re travelling, you come across a large, ominous crystal with a rotating sword held within it, would you try to shatter the crystal to retrieve the weapon? You may have to face untold consequences if you do – but if you don’t, and decide to turn away, you could miss out on a potentially life-saving weapon.
Book of Knowledge
This will be a particularly fortuitous event, granting a Stat boost in Experience to all players. But you never know what repercussions will occur from reading the ancient Book of Knowledge, so always be prepared.
We know how irresistible whacking a giant, golden gong is, which is why we decided to tempt players with this event. If you do decide to hit it, one of your teammates will be rewarded with a rare item – but only if you manage to survive the dangerous chain of events that will unravel…
Developing a Creepy Graveyard
Whilst one of our Environment Artists was working on event set pieces, our other Environment Artist was working on a new graveyard set piece, complete with spindly trees, stone vaults, ominous lighting, and uncurling fog.
Once it was finished, our Artist began setting this area of the game up for an epic combat scene, with Undead Zombies filing in through the stone gates. We’re still working on this, but here are some screenshots of its development!
A New Character Selection Screen
Last month, our Environment Design team was also preoccupied with recreating our character selection screen! As you probably already know, this will be where players choose the character they want to explore Erendorn as.
There are around fifteen playable character races for you to choose from in Depths of Erendorn (at launch), ranging from humanoids, like the Ranger, Twilight Elf Assassin, and Forest Druid, to fantastical (and sometimes sinister) creatures, like the Blue Melmee, Watertarg Excursionist, or Zentragal Illusionist. For testing purposes, we used the Human Knight:
As always, a ton of optimisations were made to the world environment last month, making Erendorn look bigger and better than ever before. But remember, the world we’re creating is going to be massive, so we still have a ways to go! Here are some of the updates made in June:
- Huge cliff rocks were added throughout the world
- Large fog volumes were added to mountain peaks and hills
- The rendering of rock and terrain materials from a distance was improved
- The sky, lights, and atmospherics were upgraded
- A new day/night cycle system was added
- Waterfalls were implemented (thanks to our VFX Artist’s new water shader!)
Effects for Abilities
Aside from waterfalls, our VFX Artist spent last month reworking several ability effects for playable characters in the game. Here’s everything that was worked on!
Earthen Touch: Used by the Earthen Dwarf, this deals a significant amount of Earth Damage to an adjacent enemy
Land Raise: Another Earthen Dwarf ability, this allows you to raise up the surrounding debris from the ground and form a wall that protects against attacks
Acid Bolt: This ability deals Nature Damage, as well as removes 1 point of Armour for 10 turns
Birds of Prey: Deals Physical Damage for five turns
Fireball: Deals Fire Damage that ignores Resilience and Armour
Push: Moves a one tile enemy one space in any direction. If they get pushed against a wall, they’re also hit with some Physical Damage
Combat Prowess: Used by the Knight, attacks cost 50% less Energy and the player takes 25% less Damage from all enemies
General VFX Work
In between reworking ability effects, our VFX Artist created world displacement shaders for ice, snow, and moss.
They also worked on some cool smoke effects so that we show smoke getting pumped out of the Merchant Tent (caused by all the weapon-making going on in the blacksmith stall). We thought this added a nice bit of activity and realism to the settlement, inviting players to wander inside the Merchant Tent to see what’s happening.
Loads of new sound effects were created last month, from harbours, marshes and ponds, to Centaur hoofsteps, graveyards, and spells.
Many of the sound fx added small, yet important touches to the game. For example, footstep sounds were created for characters walking on wooden floors, bringing an extra layer of realism into the game. Additionally, various coin drops and spins were recorded and edited for when purchases are made, or when gold is collected.
Our Sound Artist then spent some time creating ambient sounds for various weather conditions, namely rain and storms. They also created ambient sounds for the graveyard we mentioned earlier, bringing it to life (ironically) with ominous atmospherics and some distant, ghoulish groans:
This brings us to the sound effects that were worked on for spells! Here are some of our favourites from the month:
In June, our video production team continued to plough ahead with the game trailer. Some of the work they got up to includes:
- Updating environments for dungeons that appear in previously captured footage by adding/removing lighting props, as well as filling holes in the outer walls
- Discussing the optimum workflow for selecting useful footage and additional options
- Refactoring animation controller functionality to C++. Converting Blueprint code to C++ for this class means updating it in the future will be made a lot simpler
- Beginning to update settlement shots where environment improvements were made
- Polishing up some of our opening shots, like adding animated background characters to the settlement, including Bonelair Gargoyles, Drovals, Golems and Merchants
- Integrating finalised camera actions with characters and animations to bring life to the updated environments we’re using
- Adding extras to the marketplace, such as traders, guards, and even some chickens!
Our devs also played their part in the game trailer. For example our Animator added new NPC characters to the Tavern scene and created talking animations for them. They also began adding NPCs around the fire pit in the settlement to create a sense of community
Meanwhile, our VFX Artist created a placeable volumetric cloud material for dungeon fog, and our Environment Artist set dressed some of the featured caves. All of these additions and optimisations are also for the benefit of the game in general, especially since we want the game trailer to be a true reflection of how epic Depths of Erendorn will be, rather than a cinematic exaggeration of it!
The Golang Team made some serious headway on the new server last month! If you’re yearning for all the juicy details about what they got up to, feel free to peruse our weekly devlogs – but in an effort to stop this monthly roundup from turning into a dissertation, here are some of the key highlights!
- Combat and dungeons are now fully working in our virtualised test client
- A full run-through of dungeon gameplay was completed on the test client
- Automated testing is now possible, allowing us to run a full combat without any crashes occurring
- We improved how inventories and loot are managed, resulting in ⅓ of the RAM usage getting removed
- A loot-rolling and XP-rewarding functionality is now getting added at the end of combat
So, after all of the work last month, the new Golang server is pretty much ready and raring to go – it just needs to be fully integrated into the client. We’d like to take this moment to thank our player dummy, the fabulous ‘testclientboi’, who put himself in the hands of our fiercest creatures so that we could test their AI and abilities – what a trooper!