We’re all aquiver – Friday, August 25, 2017
We had another great week, as you can tell from the longer-than-usual list of highlights in our Top Tenish. Whether it was us putting the “B” in Big Bot Battles, bug clobbering, or major visual improvements, things went very well this week. Keep in mind that there are still more improvements that you folks may see as soon as next week–check the first item on the Top Tenish for details! The joy of game production is felt in each of these triumphs, as we gradually turn a game’s design into a reality.
Assembling this week’s Top Tenish began to feel really good as the list continued to grow. These fourteen accomplishments are much more than check marks on a list. Each item represents the drive, collaboration, and teamwork, multiplied throughout the team, to progress through a task for Beta 1. I feel a sense of pride in seeing the proof, week after week, of what this team can accomplish.
Let’s take a look at the week’s highlights in our Top Tenish!
- WIP – Tech – Visually Unique Bots: Dave’s work over the past two weeks reduced the memory usage of the Bots. This has been so significant that we can now have just over one thousand of the Bots with their own unique meshes and materials. When we run tests upwards of 2700 Bots, these unique Bots are dynamically prioritized based on the player’s camera position. Dave’s currently working through a second pass to smooth the transition between LOD swaps and equipment changes, improve how we prioritize character LODs based on player camera position, reduce memory usage on distant characters, and improve speed of generating the character in the scene. P.S.: Don’t tell anybody, but early today we ran a test, and Mark has a screenshot where we had 2,700 Bots in the game, and he had 2640 of them in his frustum with an FPS of (drum roll please) 28. If you ask nicely, maybe he’ll put it up on the Forums for our Backers to see. 🙂
- WIP (Possibly) Tech – Large Object Heap: The quick explanation here is we had memory allocations piling up, causing significant and regular server hangs when we had a large number of Bots running. Tim spent much of this week tracking down the issue, and may have fixed THE issue. Continued testing will tell us if we’ve clobbered it like Ben Grimm!
- WIP – Tech/Art – Improved Weapon trails: Andrew handed off some new parameters for Mike to play with, allowing us to create much smoother weapon trails without particle gaps in their arcs. Mike is currently testing the changes, which are going well, so far. He’ll then move into updating a bunch of the pre-existing melee abilities with VFX.
- Tech – Terrain Realm Control: When a Realm takes a control point, the surrounding terrain will swap its visuals (to various degrees) to show that Realm’s influence. Doing so requires us to rebuild the terrain and everything spawned upon it, so performance is key. Brad finished a fairly lengthy stability and performance pass of the code. The next step is for Tyler to provide a more densely populated test map for further testing.
- WIP – Tech – Flinch sent via Skill Effects: Extended skill animations can include smaller movements, such as flinch, which was previously hardcoded. This also allows for different types of sub animations to be scripted via the skill system. Instead of only one flinch animation choice, we can now play something more specific, like a subtle damage-over-time flinch, or an “oh God, I’ve been hit with fire damage” flinch!
- Tech – Particle Editor Iteration Improvements: Frustration may be the mother of invention in this case. While working on changes to the weapon arcs, Andrew determined we needed to be able to see changes in the particle editor, locally, far faster. He’s updated the system today to provide near-instant results on the user’s local machine.
- WIP – Tech – Targeting/health bars for other entity types: Matt is wrapping up supporting targeting and basic health bars for dropped items, Voxen, siege engines, resource nodes, and Stonehealer stones, in addition to players.
- WIP – Art – Resource Nodes: Jon completed a first pass model of additional resource nodes for use in Beta 1. These are now in Dionne’s hands, so she can work on materials and props.
- Art – Mines: Dionne finished prepping all 41 major mine assets for import. Ben assisted this process by coming up with a naming convention to support the speed of assembling an entire mine in the editor.
- WIP – TDD Portal Marker: Jon completed an initial sculpt of the TDD portal marker for Beta 1, and is working on the neutral material pass.
- WIP – Animation – One-handed Sword and Shield: Sandra completed a combat stance fidget for the greatsword animation set early this week. She has since finished the initial pass of the one-handed sword and shield animations. Like many of us, Sandra thought the shield would be a fairly static object, except when blocking or bashing. We all got a lesson in shield techniques from Ben, who explained that a shield can be used much more effectively when its movements are paired with the attacking weapon.
- WIP – Animation – Equip and Unequip: In terms of required animations, we started off fairly simple, creating an equip animation that transitions from travel to combat stance, and vice versa. However, we realized we wanted to be able to switch weapons within any given combat stance, like wielding a sword or spear. Scott has prototyped a simpler, time-saving solution this week, requiring a more manageable amount of animations for Beta 1.
- Animation – Rig and Import Viking and TDD Scorpion: Following up the work on the Arthurian Scorpion, Scott has rigged and imported the Viking and Tuatha Dé Danann variations.
- Art – Quivers Concept Art: Michelle completed concepts for the Arthurian and Viking arrow quivers this week. You can catch her stream of this work HERE.
Next up, we have a static shot of some of the posing from Sandra’s initial pass on the shield and sword animations. The color coding on the character is there so our animators can have a better view of what is happening to the character as it moves through the animation.
A while back, we showed you some concept art and provided very little detail about its purpose. Well, not to be a tease, but we’re doing that again this week with the following designs. As I asked previously, what could these be used for? Hmm…
To wrap up, we’ve got a WIP shot of the TDD portal marker from Jon, below. You can see his work on a material pass HERE.
To finish out our art, Michelle has been busy painting away this week. Previously, she completed a pass of the TDD quivers. You can find the image of those HERE. This week, we have the Arthurian variations, followed by Viking ones.
That wraps up the overview of the week’s progress. As a reminder, we’ve updated our Beta 1 documentation on our website today. You can find that info HERE. We thank you for your patience and enthusiasm, and hope you have a great weekend! We’ll see you Monday morning, coffee in hand, determination on brow.