Monthly Devlog | February 2022 | No. 37
February has been an incredibly busy month for us here at Project Gamechanger! Our 3D Modelling Team finished off the latest armour set for the game, before moving on to the massive task of reworking our beloved Zentragal model. The Programming Team got the game up and running on the new server, while bringing Unreal Engine 5 online, and the Environment Team worked wonders with our new level and dozens of city props. As always, join us on Twitter, Instagram, or Reddit for daily updates on Depths of Erendorn – now let’s get into it!
If you’ve been following our progress over the last month, you’ll know that we recently finished up our latest armour concept. This cosmetic set will have no impact on your characters stats or abilities, and is purely there for showing off how badass you look! A reminder that Depths of Erendorn will be free-to-play, and will have NO pay-to-win elements in it whatsoever. We will however, have a cosmetic store, which will feature unique and alternate looks for weapons and armour, along with the potential for pets, skins and other visual changes.
Following on from our pre-alpha trailer, we found that our community really resonated with the unique and exciting playable races in Erendorn. Because the models shown in the trailer were all of enemies in their first art pass, we brought some of their planned reworks forward to give our players something to get excited about! One of the most popular characters that our community saw, was the Zentragal – A race of illusionary spellcasters, with an aptitude for dark magic. So we thought, why not go back and take a look at their character model first.
The Zentragal is an incredibly unique race, especially because they’ll be playable in Depths of Erendorn. Typically, games will allow players to take control of bipedal (walk on two legs) characters, due to their simplicity to model, animate and customise. The base skeleton can be reused, saving a lot of time in development. We wanted to embrace a true sense of fantasy and wonder in our game, meaning characters that you’d normally consider an enemy, may well be playable.
We started by looking at the legs and abdomen for the model, adding more detail and unique characteristics. The legs now have more of a carapace feel to them, a natural armour that some insects have. We then looked at the lower portion of the torso, researching patterns and ‘skin’ types that we could potentially replicate within the character. We quite liked the look of insect wings, so incorporated it into the WIP design.
We then moved onto the Zentragal’s face. This is a more complex step, as we have to consider many variables while designing how the model will look. With most fantasy RPGs, you’re able to customise your character. This means that we have to be mindful of what players can/should be able to change and how difficult that would be to modify. For example, are players able to change the teeth of their Zentragal? Or the ears, eyes or overall facial composition? All these things need to be considered to ensure the best possible experience for our players.
Set Piece Design
Our Junior Environment Artist has had an incredibly busy month, working through a mountain of assets that need creating for Erendorn’s towns and cities. Work began on this in early February, when our concept artist provided an incredibly detailed sketch of the interior of a shop.
With this detailed sketch, our team is able to pinpoint specific assets and begin modelling them. Not every object will make it into the game straight away however, as work is prioritised to ensure we hit a level of detail we’re satisfied with. The good thing about creating these assets early is because they can be reused later in development. Not to mention that tweaks can be made to how they look, or accents they may have which will allow us to place them in varying environments to match their surroundings. We have always planned for Erendorn to be a living, breathing world, and assets as simple as buckets, shelves, picture frames and candles all play a massive part in creating an atmosphere for players to experience.
The Programming Team worked wonders on the server side of things last month, bringing the new one online and crushing a whole host of bugs that comes with something like this. They also worked hard on getting the gameplay loop up and running so extensive testing can once again commence. With this work now complete, we expect progress on the state of the game to increase, as we begin implementing completed assets, sounds, environment and much more. Here’s a breakdown of just some of the work carried out by our coding wizards last month:
- Updated the parsing of room, reroll and other transition logs to the new server configuration.
- Updated the Room Builder to make use of the new logs.
- Updated instanced level loading for Set Pieces.
- Updated the room detail panel to allow players to see the results of rerolls before transitioning.
- Solved an issue stopping movement in some dungeon rooms.
- Fixed Turn Display messages and UI, allowing players to be notified which party members have ended their turn.
- Updated positioning functions to correctly use the active room, preventing characters being positioned outside of room bounds.
- Updated Character Creation UI cleanup function to properly remove widgets affected by the upgrade to UE5.
- Dungeons now handle incorrect spawn requests. A bug was preventing players attempting to join a room if they choose an occupied spawn tile.
- Enemy target info is now correctly displayed again, allowing players to strategise and plan their turns around what their opponents are planning.
- Fixed Solo Killer from infinitely stacking. When combined with the double negative multiplication we just talked about, this caused someone with Solo Killer to gain 30, then -900, then 2,700, then -81,000 energy every turn, infinitely increasing.
- Fixed settlement instance management.
- Added ‘CreationTime’ timestamp to combats to allow us to sync client music.
- Added ‘GameState’ to GameSessions which is used to determine if a session is open for players or not, among other things.
- Added Session joining mechanics to Character Selection.
- Added World Instance/population management framework.
- Adjusted new connection management to work better with new world instancing tech.
The Environment team spent last month transfering the original map over into the new level, incorporating a whole host of Unreal Engine 5 technology. With this now complete, work began on tweaking and modifying assets to ensure their compatibility with the new environment and allowing us to test out new lighting and megascan options.
The Sound Design Team had a productive month, focusing on things like character vocals for human male and female characters. The good thing about this is that they can be recycled and modified to fit a whole host of purposes. For example, tweaks to the human female vocal could be turned into a Harpy, a Zentragal or a Centaur. Sound Design is an incredibly flexible process, where iconic sounds can be made from almost anything.
The team also worked on Character Ability Skins. None of these are final however, as the visual effects for them aren’t ready yet. The initial base concepts being complete means that once the VFX are done, the sounds can be easily tweaked and modified to match the visuals.
The Animation Team spent most of February updating old animations for existing models, along with bringing some new characters to life! Once complete, these are added to the engine so they can be tested in-game. This is paramount to ensure things like movement speed is correct and no clipping is present within the environment. Take a look at some of their work below:
That’s it for this week’s devlog, but have you seen our monthly roundup of January yet?!