19 for 13 – Friday, April 13, 2018


Welcome to the end of the week update from CSE! This week we’re so, so close to 20 items in our Top Tenish list, as progress ramps up on all the features we need to complete for the start of Beta 1. We had a lot going on this week, from improving current tech and art to creating all-new and exciting features and assets like placeable decorations on a plot, new animations, and new scenario gameplay and environments! We sum all that up below in our Top Tenish, and below that, you can find samples of our art for the week.

If you missed this week’s livestream wrap-up with Mark, you can find that HERE.

I know you’re probably thinking we didn’t have time for much else this week, but thanks to our CM Brian, we’ve continued testing on Scenario 2, the Dragon Fang map. We’ve continued making improvements and bug fixes on this map, culminating in a test this weekend!

When: Saturday and Sunday, April 14th and 15th, 2018


IT, Alpha, and Beta 1

If you’re confused about the times, you can go HERE. We’ll have another follow-up email going out with more info as well.

Remember that a lot of this work is still in progress, particularly the unfinished environment art and gameplay functionality. Check it out this weekend, help us find some bugs, and get ready for the next iteration next week!

For everything else, let’s move onto the week’s highlights!

Top Tenish:

  1. Testing – Weekend Test:  This week, we focused on readying a build for a weekend playtest. We ran several playtests with IT, Alpha, and Beta 1 Backers this week on NuadaPrep, Nuada, and Wyrmling. Brian ran much of this testing, becoming more familiar with moving builds between shards, so we can support various tests before and during Beta 1.

  2. WIP – Design – Crafting: Another good week for MJ in terms of crafting. Not only did he finish a solid version of his Taking calculator, but he also coded a version of it in C for the programmers to use as a guide for their implementation, as well as the basis for further testing he wants to do on the system. Bad news for us, however, as several programmers were accidentally blinded by the awfulness of his code when they ignored his advice not to view the code directly, but only through a “prism of protection from evil.” Here’s hoping their recovery will be a swift one!

  3. Tech – Improved Build Times: Our asset build times have bloated over the last year or so. This week, we reduced those build times in our editor from roughly forty minutes down to under a minute, greatly improving iteration time. Much rejoicing was had from the artists! The question is, “Who was that masked coder?” Who swooped into our office, delivering much joy to many members of the studio?

  4. Tech – Post Office: Post Office has landed! This was four weeks of work, requiring a fairly in-depth review this week. This will allow us to support more complicated gameplay mechanics in the new scenario map, such as dropping off the flag at your controlled point to spawn more NPCs! Unfortunately, the team has been told that if they are going to use it, they have to wear grey shorts and carry a bag when doing so!

  5. Tech – Scenario 2 Performance Improvements: This zone is our most complex in terms of gameplay mechanics and non-procedural terrain work, so we expect to continue finding areas to improve performance. This week, Matt and George fixed a couple of hitching issues, as well as disappearing environment assets. Help us find more to improve in our upcoming tests!

  6. WIP – Tech – Banes and Boons (Traits): Ben and Rob continue to fix, add, and test traits. This week, Rob fixed a bug with stat mods not updating their secondary stats, allowing Ben to make traits that now use this functionality, like adjustments to move speed or health regen values. Traits can also now be run by admins for testing purposes.

  7. Tech – Player Migration During Server Shutdown: Colin added the ability to migrate players to another server ahead of a shutdown, so players are not just disconnected.

  8. WIP – Tech – Building Placed Objects (BPOs): This week, Matt finished another pass on the item placement mode, limiting what transformations are allowed based on gameplay data, such as “must snap to ground,” rotation limitations, etc. Currently, he’s working on restricting placement to within a radius of the player.

  9. Tech – Building Placed Objects and Scripting for Vox Crafting Effects: This week, Christina added data for new item types that can be used with the new item deployment system. This would be things like decoration or storage items, which can also be crafted! She’s also added scripting hooks for Vox crafting effects. The first use allows us to play VFX on the Vox during crafting.

  10. WIP – Tech – Updated Item Tooltips and Trade UI: AJ is finishing up feedback on his completed item tooltips work in the player inventory UI, hoping to push that today or at the beginning of next week. Next, he’ll move to the trade window UI.

  11. WIP – Tech – Server Management and Bot Testing: Tim has been heads-down recently, auditing large-scale ARC performance testing on different servers, server configs, and different server providers. While doing this, he’s automated a lot of our common operations to speed up testing. Additionally, he’s found a few stability issues to be fixed.

  12. WIP – Environment Art – Scenario 2: Tyler and Dionne continued adding work into the map this week, including:

    • New path materials and terrain assets.

    • New birch forest area in the Arthurian Spawn corner.

    • Lots of updates to the predominating rock materials and assets for more variation.

    • Hand placement of center rock assets and mod placement.

    • Start of LOD work on new assets to improve performance.

  13. WIP – Tech – Crafting: Crafting has been getting some serious updates, with Christina working away on updating the Vox and the harvesting process.

  14. WIP – Animation Improvements: We’re using lessons learned with the new ability animations and updating the existing weapon sets, including the basic attacks. This work is extensive, hitting most of the pre-existing assets, and we’re adding class-specific idles. During this week:

    • Sandra completed the Winter Shadow unique idle, special attack, death, flinch, and deflect.

    • Joe finished a first pass on the Fianna special ability and idle.

    • Scott finished improvements to a Black Knight special ability animation, new basic slash, shield deflect, sword deflect, death, and new shout.

  15. Art – Characters 2.0: Jon finished off the improvements to the existing armor assets this week with the completion of the Fall Court (Autumn Armor) TDD set. These will initially be used in the character creation renders. During Beta 1, they’ll make their way into the game when we can schedule time to do the necessary tech changes to support the art.

  16. Art – New Realm Specific VFX Concepting: After handing off approved concepts of the new gameplay assets for Jon, Michelle has moved to VFX concepting for specific abilities. This week, she provided Mike with several ideas for the Mjölnir’s VFX styling. Her goal is to stay ahead of Mike in concepting the new ability VFX, based off the previously completed Realm styling of all the damage types.

  17. WIP – Art – Realm-Specific VFX Update: Mike began work on these improvements this week, working first with the Mjölnir’s new ability. This has included a bit of testing and fine-tuning to figure out how to visually represent Michelle’s concepts for all the damage types. Next week, he’ll begin work on the Blackguard’s new ability.

  18. Art – Scenario 2 Gameplay Assets: Using Michelle’s approved concepts, Jon completed the Place of Power center crystal base, the secondary crystal (or “Flag”) receptacles, the crystal itself for capturing, and the NPC summon platform.
  19. WIP – Art – Interactive Combat Music: dB spent part of this week working on this system, using music previously created. The long-term goal is a system that dynamically changes and mixes music, not only because it’s cool, but so it can inform players about what is going on around them, adjusting with the shifting of battle.

Ooh, getting so close to that Top Twentyish!

For art this week, let’s start off with some still images of the work Scott has been doing as he updates the Black Knight’s sword and shield set. We’re trying to improve the look and feel of the animations with stronger, more dynamic posing and more contrast in the timing of abilities. The first image shows the updated basic mid slash attack, and the second, a new and improved shout!

As part of the process of taking new ability animation through to completion with VFX and SFX, Michelle provides some ideas to not only speed Mike up, but to also show how the new Realm-specific damage types may look in use. This also helps Michelle wrap her head around the visual language of all the abilities, so she can give each Realm its own style.

Here’s the approved concepts from Michelle for the Scenario 2 crystal spawn point, the NPC dais, and the crystal receptacle. You can catch her livestream of this work HERE.

Jon began work on these assets this week. You can find his livestream HERE. Here we have the center crystal holder.

At the start of the week, Jon also finished the material update on the Fall Court armor for the TDD.

That’s all for us this week, and by all, I mean that’s a crap ton of work!

Big thanks to Poxer, who has been sending hats for Morning with Max hilarity! Here we have Dionne and Max facing off in two of these glorious chapeaus:

If you’re in this weekend’s test, good luck and have fun. For everyone else, have a great weekend, and we’ll CU next week! Thanks for your support!