Blood Saving Gecko – Friday, March 31, 2017
We’ve had another productive week here at CSE, despite the odd weather and seasonal allergies nailing several team members, yours truly included. (Tyler) If you caught our stream from today with MJ, you’ll already have a head start on today’s update, and may want to jump past the top tenish and jump directly into the week’s art. For those of you who missed the stream, there was plenty of Q&A at the end of the stream with our ever-curious audience, which you may find insightful. Also check out our monthly newsletter, going out this evening!
We had a ton of testing on Wyrmling Prep this week, which will continue with IT/Alpha access over the weekend. We’re still tracking down that stability issue — we’re like hounds with a scent we just won’t give up on! Next week, we’ll definitely be getting Betas in, whether we find that stability issue or not, so you can see the pile of changes since the last build you had access to. For now, let’s hit our top tenish, where we give some quick highlights of the week’s progress.
WIP – Tech – Building blocks using substances: Following Christina’s initial work on substances, Rob used her latest code to update building substances to use the same system. Mark now has a bunch more spreadsheet work in progress. To start off with, he’s covering wood types (currently 238 and counting) and corresponding stats.
WIP – Tech – Ability cooldowns: We completed a first round of testing, and focused on fixing bugs and small performance gains this week. These fixes are currently being tested on Hatchery.
WIP – Tech – Banes and Boons UI: We focused on functional feedback vs. styling this week, as well as hooking up sound events. We’ll be working on styling later, once we have a solid, clear, layout.
WIP – Tech – Server stability: We’ve added lots of logging to help us hunt the elusive proxy disconnection issue. Colin has also set up the physics server to really quickly reconnect if the bug we’re after does occur, which will hopefully keep things running in the meantime.
WIP – Tech – Animation: Bots now use the correct idle and combat idle animations, no longer stabbing themselves in the faces when hanging out.
WIP – Tech – Continued work on SFX/VFX tags: Gabe has been focusing on setting up a way to hook sounds on particles when they are created and destroyed, as well as exposing the characteristics, so arrows, magic, and stones can all have different sounds and VFX play.
WIP – Tech – Convert cogs to use DefRef: Andrew took a detour this week to convert our cogs (items, recipes, models, resource nodes, etc.) to use DefRefs. DefRefs were rolled out by Christina as a way to read data coming in from csv sheets. With Andrew updating our existing cog types to use this, we can quickly and efficiently move data around, reload it, and make it easier to maintain data heavy features.
WIP – Art – Environment: Dionne started on a new style of trees which will be reusable both whole and as pieces for other areas. We’ve got screenshots in today’s update.
WIP – Art – Animation: We’re working on unarmed combat animations and idle, as well as prepping better jump animations to pair with a tech change so players have a smooth prep and end to their jump. Scott is also working out a better animation for the two-handed axe, our test weapon set, when jumping.
WIP – Art – UI: Michelle is neck-deep in a quick styling pass on our UI. Our goal for Beta 1 is to not let UI be a hold up to get us into a solid testing phase. Once we’re in Beta, we can re-evaluate crazier things to do with our UI.
WIP – Art – Updated character hair: After a bunch of weapon resizing work, Jon is back on improved hair for our characters. Scott’s time allowing, we’ll have these in game soon enough to replace some of our first-pass work.
Lots of big items in progress this week, as we hit several main systems to turn our engine into a game!
Let’s start off the week’s art with one of our primary focuses: animation! Unfortunately, an image can only say so much about how actually playing the game will feel, but we want to emphasize the time and effort going into making the animations not only look good, but–just as important–feel good. In the past, our “jump” only popped your character into the air and played a looping animation for the time you hovered. While Andrew re-hooks up “jump” with the new animation system, Scott has worked out a jump with a prep and recover phase to smooth the in and out of the jump. This example also includes a pose specific to carrying a two-handed weapon, vs. having a shared pose for all weapons. Likewise, he’s begun working on a jump animation that will play when the player hits a certain velocity, to create a “running leap.” The latter idea is still conceptual, but is part of our goal of making things “feel” good.
Following up last week’s material work, Dionne has finished and imported the ruins of another statue that could be found while traversing our world.
Michelle is currently working on a quick styling pass for our UI for the start of Beta. Our goal here is to not invest too much time on crazy UI ideas before the basic layouts have seen some testing and user feedback.
Next up, we’ve got some WIP hair styles Jon has been slowly working on in between working on more weapons. Once we see these in game, we’ll continue to tweak and polish till we get some solid results to inform future work.
Early this week, Dionne began working on some new willow trees, inspired by our local cherry blossom festival. Not only will they add a very different look in the game, but they’ll also provide us with future geometry for similar tree types without starting from scratch.
Last but not least, we’ve added a new team member to the staff! She currently resides over in the art pit, under Sandra’s careful watch. This little gal says she can save us 15% or more on the blood used in our abilities!
And so ends another solid week of progress here at CSE, with a wonderful, hardworking team, and a fantastic group of Backers cheering us onward.
Have a great weekend,
P.S. For our non-US Citizens, we have have a company here with a little gecko mascot.