A Coast to Coast Update – Friday, November 10, 2017
Welcome to our end of the week update! We’ve been progressing really nicely on our SNS scenario work. The progress we’ve made has improved the stability of the scenarios, allowing us more time to run around killing each other in our office tests! This means that, for some, our focus has begun to shift into combat bugs and improvements.
It’s great to experience how fun things feel, this early in testing. Our goal now is to get the major issues out of the way so we’re not masking the fun with known bugs. If you missed today’s end of week update stream with Andrew, Tim, and myself (Tyler), we start off with a more detailed explanation of where we are at with testing. Besides that, it’s a great stream as Andrew has dialed in from our West coast office to add his smiles to the stream and his expertise to the Q&A section!
Let’s take a look at this week’s highlights shall we!
- WIP – Tech – Simultaneous Sieges: Caleb has continued iterating on the framework for a deathmatch scenario in the Dragon Circle. We’ve created five different scenarios that run simultaneously, which is currently limited to 120 players until we add the Battlegroups tech and begin integrating it into the scenarios system. Once this work is complete, the scenarios will support vastly larger team sizes! This will prove out our tech, which supports thousand-player plus battles, but this time in deathmatch scenarios!
- WIP – Tech – Deathmatch Team Improvements: In addition to the above, Caleb has recently reworked how we set up teams in deathmatch behind the scenes. This will lay the groundwork for some progression tracking, remove several bugs with joining teams, and increase the responsiveness when joining teams. This will become even more important when our max team sizes increase greatly with Battlegroups, for our huge battles!
- Tech – Deflection: Brad has been working on landing “deflect” client-side, so you can now see your character play the corresponding animation. While wrapping up the functionality, he also built in better feedback during combat. Previously the server was deflecting (humans aren’t the other ones that can deflect!) and you’d do less damage (or in some cases, none at all), but the reason why was unclear.
- WIP – Tech – Animation/Skills Debugging: Brad has also started adding instrumentation to our client-side skill code, exposing more debugging information to our client. This work will allow our developers to more quickly diagnose the “what” and the “why” behind skills and animations, which should significantly decrease the time it takes between iterations.
- WIP – Tech – Progression Improvements: As we’ve been testing Deathmatch scenarios in-office, Christina has been turning on progression to gather a bunch of cool information about what has been happening in the game. Not only have we been able to identify who in the offices is totally OP, but we’ve been able to verify that rewards are properly gifted to the correct people based on their participation in battle. We still need to hook up a UI to better communicate this, but in the meantime, things are working as expected.
- WIP – Tech – Drag and Drop Functionality: Many of our UIs are going to need drag-and-drop functionality, most notably our inventory screen. AJ has started investigating the implementation of drag-and-drop, so we’ll be able to move items from one slot to another on the inventory screen. We also plan to use this functionality to allow players to rearrange icons on their ability bar.
- WIP – Tech – Battlegroups: JB’s recent work for Battlegroups has been posted to review. Our current deathmatch scenarios are limited to teams of 8 players, as that’s what Warbands allow. Once JB’s recent work is approved and submitted, we’ll be able to begin work to incorporate it into the existing Dragon Circle tech and support those massive battle sizes we’ve shown off!
- WIP – Tech – Performance Improvements: Colin is making proxy servers send player movement inputs directly to the physics server. This will make player movement and jump more responsive, especially when the game server is under high load.
- WIP – Art – VFX Aargh I’m on Fire!: Mike has spent much of this week working with Ben to hook up the appropriate VFX on players when under the effect of a damage-over-time ability, specifically for the Blackguard archer abilities. Today, he began setting up the DOT VFX for the Scorpion siege abilities and the archer siege abilities which will be used in SNS testing.
- Art – Animation – Polearms: Sandra finished her improvements with the polearm animations this week, so you no longer see a big “pop” when attacking while moving. She and Scott have also added in some previously completed deflect animations for bows, now that deflect works! At the end of the week, she began work on the dagger animations, improving the previous rough pass.
- WIP – Art – Shield Animations Update: Scott completed some corrections this week to the existing shield animations. Some of our larger shields were incorrectly positioned above your character’s eye line, and the Luchorpáns needed their own unique animations because, well, they have slightly larger heads.
- Art – Deflect Animations: Since Brad’s work allowing players to play the deflect animations got submitted, some Art work had to be done on the asset side to set up all the different characters stances with deflecting animations and tags. Additionally, some new animations, like the longbow and shortbow, needed their completed deflect animations uploaded and set up, as well. Our SNS playtests in office are allowing us to further test that these are working as intended.
- Art – Realm NPC Male Outfits: Jon finished his work on the NPC Male clothing this week. The next phase is a handoff to Scott to weight and import, and to Ben to set up new items. These items will first be used on our NPC loadouts, the NPCs that you will interact with for information.
- WIP – Art – Arthurian Boat Model: Dionne completed her “functional” pass of the Arthurian ship, meaning base modeling complete with materials. Michelle and Tyler have given her plenty of feedback on the smaller details to complete next, to truly make it awesome!
- Art – TDD Boat Concepts: Michelle completed an exploratory pass on the TDD boat styling this week, giving us plenty of options and ideas to choose from for our first in-game model!
- Art – Environment: Tyler continues his slow burn on the environment while working on a number of other aspects of the project. He added in new terrain materials this week, and began setting up new terrain mods for the SNS testing map. This work will later support a design pass on the SNS map terrain.
- Art – Emote Icons and WIP Character Creation Backgrounds: James completed a pass on emote icons early this week. The latter half of the week has been spent updating the character creation backgrounds in the patcher with the new animated versions and tuning them for performance.
- WIP – Art – SFX: With continued in-office testing of the SNS scenario, we’re finding various sound-related bugs to fix. While fixing these items, dB is still finding time to tweak and add new sounds to abilities as they are updated, such as the scorpion siege engine ability sounds and the updated Blackguard archer abilities.
A whole lot of work completed this week, and I’m proud to be the broken record in citing how much work we’re chugging through in our “sprint” for Saturday Night Sieges. Let’s take a look at some of the art from this week.
Personally I’m jealous Dionne or Jon will get a chance to model one of these! Next up, Michelle has taken our chosen male clothing concepts and updated the female options to better “harmonize” with them. We’ll choose one female outfit per realm which will be handed off to Jon next week to begin modeling.
That wraps up this week’s wrap up! We’re making some great progress, and as we said in stream, can’t wait to start external testing of this sprint. Thank you for your patronage and patience on this journey with us. Have a great weekend all and we’ll CU Monday morning!