Ever Onward! – Friday, January 26, 2018
We’re following up last week’s big announcement with a solid week of work from us here at CSE. The boon upon the studio does in no way mean we get to rest on our laurels! (Despite calls for us to buy new fancy couches for our streams!)
You’ll note our Top Ten for the week starts off with a production highlight encompassing planning our Beta 1 date. We want you, our Backers, to know we are currently working very hard on this for our next announcement. In so doing, we want to make sure that the date we do give, will be our best, most thorough estimate allowing us to not only complete the work we’ve promised, but also make our progress easier to track with a “road to beta.”
If you missed today’s live stream update and Q&A with Mark, you can catch that HERE. In terms of the rest of the week, let’s take a look our highlights!
- WIP – Production: This week continues the onboarding process of our new producer. We’re maintaining our progress on the current milestone, while continuing a full audit of everything we’ve planned for Beta 1, not only to bring him up to speed, but to make sure we deliver as solid a Beta 1 date as possible.
- WIP – Tech – Scenario System: Despite a bit of illness this week, Caleb is back in office progressing nicely on ECTs with Christina’s support. This week, he’s focused on configurable gain of points by capturing a plot and configurable NPC spawn rates. He has several more tasks lined up including capture point rules like slowing down the capture rate if players of opposing realms are present.
- WIP – Tech – Stand Alone NPC Server/ Unified TCP and UDP Entity Networking System: This one’s a two parter as Colin is handing off the former item for review this week, and addressing review feedback for the latter. Once both of these are complete we’ll get:
- NPC Server: This work will make it easier for us to diagnose performance issues related to NPCs. In the long term, having a stand alone NPC Server lets us offload the AI to a separate server for scalability, increasing overall performance.
- Unified TCP/UDP: This work began with a nasty bug but has allowed us to also simplify the code, making future changes much easier.
- Tech – Building Performance: We did a lot of work this week to get some metrics in to test building performance. We’ve refrained from much, even internal, building testing because we needed to dig in there and figure out not only what was performing poorly, but what needs to be done to get us to large scale siege battles. This week Rob and Dave added a lot of metrics, fixing some low hanging fruit, and providing Andrew and George with insight to plan a path forward for Beta 1 and beyond.
- WIP – Permission System: Christina has been busy this week testing and improving her updates. She’s added item permissions defining if a player is allowed to add contents to a container as well as remove contents from a container. With this we can do things like not allowing another faction to steal the ammo out of your siege engine during a scenario and, long term, having chests to safely store items in.
- WIP – Tech – Input Refactor: The input refactor had some significant impact on C.U.B.E. and building in CU, which Matt was able to largely sort this week. His current work is in review, with more to do, but progress is continuing well.
- Art – Scenario UI: This week, Michelle did another pass on the victory and defeat UI elements for the scenario system and has moved back to working on new Patcher splash screens for Beta 1. Additionally, she is providing James with concept work for UI realm variations.
- Art – Character Creation Renders: Sandra finished the class poses this week and is now working through the race selection poses as well as race variations of the class poses. Once complete, these will go to Jon to begin working out renders. Our goal is to later replace these with animated versions, rendered through our engine, later in Beta.
- WIP – Art – UI Animations: James and AJ are quickly working through a long list of animations for the patcher update this week. James has handed off several to AJ to work on and is taking a break from the patcher and working on the scenario UI animations now. Our goal is to get these hooked up and working as part of our milestone.
- WIP – Art – Place of Power and Scenario Map: Dionne spent her week learning all about how to make good looking rocks. With lots of back and forth between her and Tyler she’s begun creating what we hope fill be the first final assets to use on the terrain. These will also be used to improve the existing POP asset. Mike too has begun to help out with the Place of Power roughing out new flame, smoke, and general ambient VFX.
- Art – Character UV Layout Audit: We’ve mentioned in the past, that we wanted to investigate possible improvements to the look of our characters. Jon, this week, has taken the re-built UV layout he created over our Christmas break and is applying it to our Viking medium armor. This piece was the most complex, so it has the most to gain in this test. Jons goal is to use the same amount of texture space, but make better use of it by rearranging all the armor/body parts to improve visual fidelity. This will also include a new, better mesh.
- WIP – Art – Character Assets in Maya: This week, Joe got our female master rig and male luchorpan rigs properly exporting out of Maya and is hoping to finish the last one, the female luchorpan today. This work includes all the existing body and armor assets. In doing this process, Joe has identified areas where his scripting skills could help out. After that he will tackle weighting the NPC clothing Jon previously created.
- WIP – Art – Casting Animations: Besides supporting Joe with the switch to Maya, Scott has been adding in focus cast animations to the one handed weapon combination anim sets. This will support holding a focus in the left hand, while holding different one handed weapons in the right. This is still a rough pass, meant to support all the weapon types. We’ll break these combinations out into their own unique animations later to make these combinations a bit cooler.
A solid week for us here as we maintain momentum towards Beta 1. Let’s shift a bit and look at art for the week, starting off with additional weapon models from Jon. These images show the low poly, high poly sculpt, and low poly with materials.
Now you can’t have weapons without some armor! As mentioned above, here’s a render of the Viking Medium armor, but this time with re-worked UVs and a new coat of paint. This image shows how the asset holds up between 4k, 2k, and 1k textures. This is particularly important when we want to render battles with hundreds of players.
The below image shows the previous version against the new version. Remember, this is still a work in progress and is not final art. Both assets use the same amount of texture space, but the second one makes better use of the space to make the smaller details stand out much better. We’ve also increased the poly count some based on the growth we’ve seen in graphics card performance. That has allowed us to better define the different shapes in the armor much better. Looks great huh!? The materials on this also took about 1/3 the time to create because both Jon and Dionne have become more adept at the programs we use!
Moving along, Scott provided a quick image out of Max, of the results of some of his animation work and setup in our editor. In this image, as a first pass functionality, Scott has combined two different arm assets and begun work on the “weapon in hand” casting animation. You can catch his last animation stream HERE.
Dionne’s work on the Place of Power map has led us to exploring different treatments for the large rock assets that will be used. The process has not only allowed us to hone in on a good look for the rocks, but also gave us some fun ideas of how the rocks may look as they encroach a more fertile area where they may become covered in moss or plants. The assets in the image are WIP clusters, so we can quickly look at the materials in game.
Earlier today Michelle asked me if she could provide some “bonus art” based on today’s update. I told her I would talking about our review of all the things needed for Beta 1. She said, “Okay, I can work with that!”
And with that image, a scribe hard at work, we say happy end of the week to all of you! Have a great weekend!
CU next week!