Pizza Popcorn Pears and Playtests! – Friday, February 23, 2018


Our official announcement of the start date of Beta 1 was last week! It is set for July 4th, so mark that on your calendars, if it’s not marked already. 🙂 This week may have been a little quieter, but that’s because we’ve been as busy as ever, knocking items off our to-do list. Work this week covers several different areas, from new UI elements to building networking improvements, to the next scenario map and its new gameplay functionality. We also continued running several impromptu tests this week, with lots of positive feedback from our Backers! Thank you very much for helping us find and fix bugs!

For all the other highlights of the week, let’s hit our Top Tenish!

Top Tenish:

  1. Testing:  We’ve had another very solid week of testing. Most of the tests have been on our 100x100x100 scenario, but some have been on C.U.B.E. within Hatchery, with lots of positive Backer feedback! We can once again confidently say that things will only get better from here. We’re continuing testing today to find and fix some existing issues, and this is a candidate build for a possible test next weekend!

  2. WIP – Tech – Building Networking Improvements: Andrew has been very focused much of this week on working through the existing building code to make it slimmer and faster to network. The goal of this deep dive is to support lots of people building and destroying all at once, in the same area, without flooding anyone’s network connection or overloading the CPUs on our proxy servers. He hopes to get some testing on this next week.

  3. Tech – Bone Attachments in VFX: This week, Rob made a fairly significant change to how we set up which player character bone a VFX plays on. Mike now has the ability to set the bone name in the VFX editor instead of relying on Ben to make needed changes in the ability XML. Big time saver for both of them!

  4. WIP – UI Design and Inventory Containers: We just began work on this near the end of the week. JB provided the wireframe, and AJ has begun work to make this a generic functionality for things such as chests, guild vaults, and bags. JB has also completed new wireframes for trade and chat updates, which will next get an art pass from James.

  5. WIP – Tech – Bugs Bugs Bugs: Matt appropriately titled his work this week, as he’s helping out on several systems:

    • In order to support better combat readability, he’s fixing multiple bugs relating to sounds and projectile trails with client-predicted projectiles and how they get rationalized with the server’s version, especially under high latency/packet loss.

    • Several WIP bug fixes to improve building mode and get builders back on Hatchery.

    • Several committed and WIP bugs on the world editor, to improve the workflow for Ben and the artists.

  6. WIP – Tech – Item Functionality: Christina has been very busy working in several different areas, providing new functionality to items:

    • Added support for certain items to be renamed. This will allow players to rename things such as containers, for better organization in their inventories.

    • Added scripting support for items, increasing the events and places that scripting can be hooked to, including overriding click interactions and running scripts on players’ deaths. This work will be used in the next scenario type, particularly around capture-the-flag mechanics.

    • New item-based plot permissions allow the plot owner the ability to decide who can modify items on a plot. This can keep certain players from taking items or littering a plot with items, while still allowing a plot, once taken, to be looted.

  7. WIP – Tech – Scenario 2 Item ECTs: Following up on Christina’s work, Caleb is working to make much of the capture point and flag work editable within the world editor, making it easier for Design to work with the new gameplay functionality.

  8. WIP – Art – VFX Concepting: Michelle has begun a deep dive into concepting possible visual treatments for our VFX. This work takes attempts to give all elements their own Realm treatment, while still reading as, say, fire or ice. Our overall goal is better-looking VFX that improve combat readability, immersion, etc.

  9. WIP – Art – SFX/VFX: Mike and dB continue hooking their work back up to abilities after our ability XML update. This also includes some new assets, particularly new sounds for some of the Stonehealer abilities, and new VFX for new status effects.

  10. WIP – Art – Place of Power/Scenario 2: For the next map, Dionne created several new ground vine assets, and Tyler created four new terrain materials and continued assembling the central terrain mod. You can catch Dionne’s stream HERE and Tyler’s HERE.

  11. WIP – Design – Place of Power/Scenario 2 and New Abilities: Ben has spent some time this week prepping the next scenario map for a first art pass, so we can get into testing. Additionally, he’s created several new ability descriptions for art to follow up on. These abilities will allow art to improve some of the visuals and sounds of abilities, adding new abilities to the game.

  12. Art – Maya Animation Tools: Joe has created a UI picker for the animators to use, allowing them to hide all the bone and rigging information in the scene. This will help the animators work a bit faster. It will also reduce the visual clutter of the tools, allowing them to focus more on posing, silhouettes, and overall form, rather than bones, handles, and rigging in general.

  13. Art – Animation Improvements: Before starting on the new ability animations, Scott and Sandra have been wrapping up some low-hanging fruit on our existing assets. Sandra cleaned up the existing polearm attack, and is currently pruning the old upper-body-only staff attack to use the updated four-part system. Scott has done some work on the shield locomotion to reduce the sway in the shield arm at different movement angles.
  14. Art – Characters 2.0: Jon completed an update pass on the Arthurian Heavy armor this week, updating the mesh and materials. While there’s more auditing work to be done for all our new assets, it’s a huge visual improvement over the first version. You can catch Jon’s livestream HERE.

Lots of work this week! Probably could have counted as more than fourteen highlights, since a few of those have multiple items.

For art this week, let’s start off with some concept art from Michelle which I find particularly interesting. One does not often think about stylizing magical visual effects like fire. How do you make fire more wild, more spiky, more Arthurian? I’d imagine many of us would come up short. Not Michelle! Let’s take a look at the magical elements she began with this week. Here we have concepts for Arcane, Fire, and Lightning.

Hot stuff! Next up, we have some new assets on the environment art side from Dionne and myself, Tyler. First off, some new ground vine assets from Dionne. These assets, as with most of our art, were built with a low-poly budget in mind, so players get a solid framerate during combat. The textures have to be carefully laid out so we can use as few triangles as possible.

Next, we have a couple of out-of-game renders of new ground materials, to support a dry, barren landscape. Ben specifically requested the center of the scenario 2 map be mostly free of line-of-sight blockers, such as trees and large bushes, so players have a good view of the contested capture points.

Jon has been hard at work on the updated Arthurian heavy armor. This includes an improvement in the mesh, as well as the UV layout and materials. This variation also adds more details throughout.

Many thanks as well this week to our Backers, who clearly want to make sure we have the fuel necessary to get to the start of Beta 1. Today we received pizza, in both offices, from our “Rich Creepy Uncle.”

We also received several tubs of deliciously calorific gourmet popcorn from Failboat. Who knew there was bacon-flavored popcorn!?

We also received several delicious-smelling boxes of fresh apples, pears, and oranges from Patrick. Oh my god, thank you so much!

With that, we wrap up another solid week of work for us here at CSE!

Have a great weekend!