January Devlog | Week #1
It’s the start of a brand new year! Not only does that mean that we are edging closer and closer to releasing the beta version of Depths of Erendorn, but it also means that we get to welcome the new year with our first 2019 devlog! After a few days of rest, the game development team at Project Gamechanger were back at it this week as we continue developing our new fantasy RPG.
Our Environment Artist and 3D Modeller has spent the last couple of weeks creating sculpts for various female models. Before Christmas, he had finished the sculpts for the female Elf and Human. The retopology for the Human was also started during this time and it has since been completed. This brings us closer to creating some of our awesome female characters, like the Forest Druid.
Our artist also completed the unwrap of the human female this week. UV Unwrapping involves unfolding a 3D mesh in order to form a 2D plan of that model. This process is important in game development because it not only ensures that the mesh is a precise fit for the model, it also allows our designers to texture our characters very accurately.
The Animator at Project Gamechanger spent her first week back finalising one of the scenes for the short animation we will be releasing in the near future. Her work on this scene included:
- Camera animation
- Movement and positioning of characters
- Creating cues for characters to stop moving
There was an issue where two characters being used in this animation that were using referenced mesh files had their referenced meshes disappearing after the software crashed. This could be fixed by re-importing the characters and making sure that they weren’t using referenced files, or by using an older version of the software that did not have any issues with reading referenced files.
We then noticed that, after reopening the file, the skins on the Human Knight model were breaking around the helmet. The skins were eventually able to be fixed in an older version of software.
There were also various changes made to our Earthen Dwarf model this week:
- The mesh was fixed after some issues occurred with the mouth
- Weapon and shield joints were added to the rig
- The number of joints in the arm and face were reduced as there were too many
- The new mesh was reskinned to the updated rig
Our game development team implemented several changes to the server this week whilst also fixing a few bugs that had cropped up during the holidays. One of the first issues that was fixed this week was an AI Targeting bug that was heavily affecting the gameplay.
In game development, the Standard AI assigns the enemy targets equally across a team of players so that each player deals with the same number of enemies. However, the Standard AI was also taking into account the aggressive targets, leading to some strange situations where a player could have no enemies attacking them.
As well as this, there were many other changes and fixes made to the server this week:
- The Server now instructs the Game Client when the active room changes. This helps to solve a rare issue that causes the client to skip a room, making the game unplayable when it happens.
- Fixes were made to some Turn Order issues, where statuses were expiring at the wrong time. This led to a state called Stuns not working and it also caused certain effects to expire on the last turn before they were even activated.
- Enemies in the game now assign targets when they spawn so that the player can plan their first turn better.
- It is now possible to reduce statuses by rounds instead of turns.
- The new turn order generation had 2 different bugs, one of which was that if an entity was being inserted at the beginning, it would not get added correctly.
- Minimum stat values were implemented so that a stat cannot go below 0, except for Movement which cannot go below 1. This way, an entity should always be able to move at least 1 tile per turn, unless prevented from doing so by another status.
There were a few fixes made to 3 separate abilities this week:
- Block: This ability now works. It blocks the next attack by removing its damage.
- Voidshadow: This makes the player invisible for 1 turn. It was expiring too early before this week, meaning that it did nothing.
- Backstab: This ability was triggering on every attack. This has now been resolved.
There were also several balance changes made to some more of our abilities:
- Spiritual Whirlpool: This now costs 13 Ancient Power.
- Acid Bolt: This now costs 7 Mana.
- Giant Strike: This now deals 9 Physical Damage.
- Hammerblow: The damage of this was increased to 7-11 Physical Damage.
- Subzero: This ability was reworked to make it deal 3 Damage on 3 targets of the player’s choice. It also has a 3 turn CD.
- Water Drops: The cost of this was reduced from 18 to 16 Ancient Power
- Future Blessings: Instead of giving 60 Energy regeneration in the next room, this ability now gives 30 max and current Energy and 30 Energy regeneration in the next room.
- Pulsating Wound: This now deals -1 Movement instead of -2 on 1 tile enemies.
- Flood Lungs: This now costs 12 Ancient Power instead of 14.
- Relentless: This ability was reworked. It now allows the player to gain 10 Energy Regeneration when under 75% Health, gain +1 Movement when under 50% Health and gain +1 Resilience when under 25% Health.
There’s no sleep for the wicked when the wicked work in game development, a sentiment shared by one of our game developers whose week has been rife with changes and fixes to the Client. Included in this long to-do list was to continue adding various decorations and props to the game:
- 2 new decoration groups were added. These included props like rock scatters, campfires, glowing mushrooms and crystal clusters.
- The glowing mushroom group colour is now randomised, alternating between orange, blue, green and purple.
- Standing fire torches were added to the game scene. They have a 30% chance to spawn at the edges of bridges.
Adding these props and decorations to Depths of Erendorn is really starting to give a cohesiveness to the overall environment. More decoration groups will be created in the future to ensure that the landscape of Erendorn is a dynamic place to be.
In game development, it is not only important to have an interesting environment, well-sculpted characters or an immersive gameplay experience. Another aspect that can heavily impact the success of a game is the User Interface (UI) and how players interact with it. With this in mind, it is important that our game development team focuses on the finer details of the user experience in order to ensure that our UI is up-to-snuff:
- On the login screen, the password is now displayed as a set of asterisks.
- The visual bug for turn time was fixed. The turn time would sometimes not visually update, or it would remain visible even though it was not supposed to.
- The outlines that were not appearing on the most newly added enemies were fixed.
- The outlines that were not appearing on the Twilight Elf Assassin were fixed.
- A selected character was previously visible on the loading screen. This was changed so that it was made inactive and no longer showed on the loaded screen.
- A cursor bug was fixed. When going from a game scene back to the main menu in order to start a new game, no new listeners for the Cursor Controller would be attached. This resulted in the cursor not updating to context-specific icons like a sword or a hand.
- We implemented a different way of setting the z-position for the Notification Prefab for scenes where the Canvas uses “Screen Space – Camera” as Render Mode. This prevents the Prefab from, for example, being rendered behind the character model in the Character Selection screen.
- States now disappear when they are not active anymore.
- The duration of every state an entity has is now subtracted by 1 at the end of the entity’s turn. This works fine for non-stacking states.
- In the first room of the game, we stopped the spawning area from disappearing when clicking an enemy before the game starts.
- The icon for Block was replaced.
More Effective Coroutines
In our most previous devlog, we mentioned how our game developer had started converting all of our coroutines over to the new MEC asset, a system that ensures the coroutines are powerful whilst also providing a range of other options.
This week, our game development whizz had to fix several Null Reference errors that were caused by the conversion of normal coroutines to MEC. Most errors occurred after:
- Going back to the main menu after entering the game scene
- Rejoining a game
- Trying to start a second game with a different seed and a new character during the same play session
We fixed the Null Reference errors that were occurring in both the Team View and the Voting Controller. These were the result of a listener not being deregistered after going from the game scene to the main menu.
When our game development team weren’t preoccupied with all of this, they were busying themselves with other important tasks, like resolving an issue where extra rooms would spawn when the last enemy in a room died of Damage Over Time. A particle system was also made for choosing a direction. This is needed for when ability targeting requires a direction component.
The game development team at Project Gamechanger is always up to new stuff, so make sure you come back next week to see what everyone’s up to! In the meantime, why not find out more about the creatures who inhabit Erendorn?
Are you up-to-date with our last devlog?