A Solid Week – Friday, November 3, 2017


Last week, we revealed our plans for The Dragon Circle and Saturday Night Sieges. We’re really excited about the reveal, and our strong progress in implementing them. If you missed any of that update, you can find information HERE, and more in our Beta 1 doc, and still more in October’s newsletter. Without much ado, let’s move on, because we’ve got eighteen items in our Top Tenish list, highlighting this week’s progress!

Top Tenish:

  1. WIP – Tech – Rapid Iteration: As soon as we had the first iteration of “Deathmatch” gameplay in Saturday Night Sieges, we started testing regularly in the office. This is not only great for finding and fixing bugs, but is already fun to play in our coast to coast office tests. And fun is the goal, right? Most recently, we’ve been focusing on tracking down a performance issue preventing us from opening up Hatchery to our IT Backers, but we’ve got some good leads. If we can get those resolved, we’re hoping to reopen the server to IT next week!
  2. WIP – Tech – NPCs in SNS: Colin recently made some additions to our NPCs. They now have melee behaviors, and can be added to teams in Saturday Night Sieges. Our first iteration supports buttons for admins in the scenario’s DevUI, where we can add NPCs to specific teams. This allows us to quickly balance teams, even when we’re doing quick testing in the office. Next up, we’re giving them archery behaviors, making them even stronger allies in battle (although they are still relatively simple at this stage).
  3. WIP – Tech – Progression in Scenarios: Christina has been extending the progression system to account for participation in Saturday Night Sieges. Once a round is over, we track important information, like how many characters were on each team, which team won, what was the score of each team, and how did each player contribute. As players participate in our epic battles, we want to ensure they are rewarded for their efforts, complete with bragging rights!
  4. WIP – Tech – Performance/Stability Improvements: After spending some time moving our windows messages to their own thread, George took another turn down the performance path, and is now updating our input code to also run on its own thread. Not only does this give us performance improvements, but it will eventually pave the way for cool things in the future, such as an easier-to-use client-side input, updated keybinding system, and more responsive input.
  5. WIP – Tech – Siege Engine Updates: As we continue to work on Saturday Night Sieges, siege engines and their ammo periodically get a little TLC. This week, Matt is working on making sure players can’t start controlling another engine when they are already controlling another, as well as removing your control when you’ve distanced yourself far enough away.
  6. Tech – Emotes: Brad and Scott implemented all our existing emote assets this week. This tech took advantage of both the new ability system and the animation system, making it easier to hook up. Players can now wave, bow, curtsy, point, nod, etc. to one another. With this tech in place, we can easily add other emotes in the future.
  7. WIP – Tech – Deflection: To start, Brad is hooking up deflect animations. This will make use of all the previously completed animations for all the different weapons. The trick here is client prediction, figuring out whether to play flinch or deflect at the correct time.
  8. WIP – Tech – Updating MongoDB Drivers: Bull has been diligently working to update our Mongo database drivers to a more recent version. By updating, we get easier ways to query the database. We get to use MongoDB’s own code for database requests instead of our own code, meaning we have less code to maintain. We’ll also be able to do batch operations more cleanly, which will lead to many, many optimizations throughout the entire game. Bull, Tim, and Charles are doing a final round of testing to make sure that all our systems that rely on Mongo remain unfazed by the upgrade before we roll out the goodness.
  9. Art – Scorpion Bolt Models: Tyler added LODs and tags to Jon’s scorpion models, so the relevant model is now used based on the components. This also fixed a few bugs we were seeing with scorpion siege engine abilities.
  10. WIP – SNS Environment Art: Tyler has begun breaking up the zone into five separate play areas, with a rough art pass. While waiting for other tech, this will allow us to spin up five scenarios at once in the same zone.
  11. WIP – Art – VFX: We added the new Realm-specific torches to the game, so Mike completed a quick VFX pass on them. With our new VFX functionality, Mike has gone back and improved the Blackguard’s archery components.
  12. WIP – Art – Polearm Animations: Sandra is updating the polearm movement animation to reduce the significant pop we were seeing when swinging the polearm. She has also assisted Scott in updating archery animations to use the new arrow pivot changes.
  13. WIP – Art – Animation/Characters: Scott has been busy this week on several different things related to animation and characters.
    • Updated all the race/genders with the emotes set. (Assets will get some polish later.)
    • Updated all the race/genders with the latest one-handed weapon combo animations.
    • Updated the Valkyrie and Pict male nude models with new hand geometry and skin materials from Jon.
    • Updated Sandra’s new longbow animation, shown last week, to include the new arrow orientations–so you’re not sticking yourself in the face!
  14. WIP – UI Art – Icons: James got a long list of new icons we needed, including icons for new bows, new bolts, new siege abilities, and emotes. He’s made good progress this week, so expect to see those in our playtests.
  15. WIP – Art – Concept: Michelle has been heads-down much of this week, working on concept art for the TDD boat style. Earlier in the week, she also completed a pass of female TDD generic clothing concepts.
  16. WIP – Environment Art – Arthurian Boat: Dionne has been hard at work this week, creating our first Arthurian boat. She’s mostly finished the modeling phase, and will begin on materials next week.
  17. WIP – Male Generic Clothing: Jon completed the low poly and UV unwrap on all three variations this week. This includes boots, pants, shirt, and gloves. Next week, he’ll begin work on materials.
  18. WIP – SNS Siege Ability SFX: dB has completed a pass of the currently-needed sound assets for the new scorpion and bow siege abilities. His efforts have really added an impact, sizzle, or twinkle to the abilities! We’ll leave this as WIP for now, as we continue to iterate and fix bugs.

It’s been a busy week! The reward of our hard work is to see things coming together. Let’s look at art for the week!

First up, we have an animation from Scott of the greatsword: mid, standard timing, pierce attack. This animation is part of the timing tests we’re currently doing.

Next up, we have a selection of icons from James. These icons will be used to represent lots of things that are new to the build, like siege-specific abilities, Realm-specific torches, and new weapons.

Michelle has been busy this week, as can be seen in not one, but two livestreams this week! Her first, the female TDD clothing can be found HERE, and the second, the TDD boat concepts, HERE.

We have a work-in-progress model from Dionne of an Arthurian boat. She’s working on more details today, and will begin materials next week!

Special thanks to Ludovic for these three (’cause one wouldn’t be enough!) large bags of Gummi Bears. They were sent after Michelle mentioned her love of Gummi Bears in one of her livestreams. I’m gonna wish for a car on my next stream! Many thanks Ludovic!

That mostly wraps up art for the week. But wait, there’s more! Michelle created a small “bonus sketch” for the update to send us off!

That wraps up the week here at CSE. Thank you for joining us on the streams or forums, and showing your enthusiasm for Camelot Unchained! We’ll CU next week!

– t