A Toothy Update – Friday, December 8, 2017


We had a very productive week here at CSE. We’re pushing forward on the next scenario, which adds further functionality to the scenario system, improves combat readability, and tests some new tech that will be fundamental to adding more gameplay elements to our systems. This work will also add more functionality and improvements to the first deathmatch scenario. Ben and Mark go into more details about this next scenario and the map for testing it in today’s livestream, which you can catch HERE.

For more of the week’s highlights, let’s move to what may soon need to be named the “Almost Top 20-ish!”

Top Tenish:

  1. Tech – Entity Component Templates: Entity Component Templates (or ECT for short) is a system we’re building to allow our designers to build templates for entities out of components. A component could be something simple like “Inventory”, “Skills”, or “Spawn Point”, or it could be something more complex like “NPCSpawner”. This system will allow someone like Ben to create things like a plot that spawns guards when captured, or a spawn point that has guards and a murderous kill field to reduce spawn camping. We’ll begin testing this work in the next scenario.

  2. WIP – Design – Dragonfang: Speaking of which, Ben was tasked with creating a rough design of the next scenario map. He knocked it out of the park! This scenario will re-incorporate the first Place of Power model, which was included in our Beta 1 list. You can get more info from today’s livestream HERE.

  3. Tech – Scenario Automation: Caleb added more functionality to the scenarios, now allowing players to queue up to a certain threshold that triggers the start of a scenario. Players are added in, and NPCs can be automatically added to balance teams. If new players join, they replace existing NPCs.

  4. WIP – Tech – NPCs: Colin is adding more functionality to NPCs so they will spawn, move to an area, and defend it, returning if pulled too far from their defense point. These changes will be the beginning of simple mechanics for guards, and may get incorporated into the next scenario.

  5. WIP – Tech – New Skill Buttons: AJ has been making solid progress on the updated skill buttons. We showed a work-in-progress example from JB, waaaay back when, which you can still see HERE. These new buttons provide better visual feedback on what’s happening, and are part of our improvements to combat readability. Currently, we’ll only be showing cooldown, error, queued, and hit. After a new backend is built for these buttons, we’ll also be able to display things like preparation, disruption, casting, and recovery.

  6. WIP – World Space UI: This week, Dave began to work on implementing UI elements into world space. This is primarily going to be used for things like damage numbers at first, as well as status effects like “rooted” or “slowed.” This not only improves combat readability in the near-term, but helps us and our Backers debug issues better.

  7. WIP – Tech – Status Effect Icons: We tested the first iteration of status effect icons from Rob and AJ this week. The goal is obviously better communication to the player of what is happening during combat. This way you’ll know why you’re moving slowly, bleeding from your legs, or have purple stuff flying about your head!

  8. Tech – Embedded WebAPI Server: Colin’s work has allowed devs to spin up local servers much faster. How fast, you ask? Five times faster than before!

  9. WIP – Tech – Animation Viewer in the Editor: Brad created a first-pass animation viewer in the editor. As he said this morning, “This is as much for me as for the animators!” This allows us to work offline, with more available info to debug animations. This first iteration also has a timeline scrubber, which really helps us see how animations behave in-game, as opposed to the programs they are authored in.

  10. WIP – Design – Updated Abilities: Ben has been heads-down this week, continuing the lengthy task of updating the abilities. This update addresses some existing issues, adds new functionality like shout animations and VFX, and improves quality-of-life working with the many XML files that make everything work.

  11. WIP – VFX – Combat: Continuing from last week’s broad focus, Mike continues to debug issues and hook up new VFX, primarily for readability and testing, before we get into class-specific variations. This week focused on blood splatters for different types of melee hits, more shout VFX and tweaks to make sure healer generic effects are working.

  12. WIP – Art – Place of Power: Dionne started the week off with fresh eyes on the Place of Power map, adding a bit more cleanup, then moving on to the assets needed for the surrounding terrain. This will include a mix of new and old assets, trying out a sort of “wasteland” look, using the spiky rock models predominant in the PoP model.

  13. Art – Female NPC Generic Clothing: Jon finished up the last of the three outfits materials this week. The next step is handing these off to Scott to be skinned and weighted for animation, and imported into the database. Later, Ben will create item defs for them so we can use them in-game!

  14. WIP – Art – Books: Jon began work sculpting out different Realm variations of books, the magic tomes a caster might use as a type of focus. You can catch his stream from yesterday, HERE. These, like our other weapons, are being designed to include interchangeable pieces that can be used in crafting.

  15. WIP – Casting and Focus 1 handed animations: Scott completed some additional work on these spellcasting animations this week. You can catch his livestream HERE. We’ll make use of these animations when we add focus items into player inventory and hook up the corresponding item functionality.

  16. WIP – Art – Deflect Animation Tuning: Earlier this week, Sandra finished up the polish on the test polearm shout. She has since moved to exploratory tuning for the timings of deflects, starting with the bow animations. The goal here is making sure deflects are visually different enough from attacks and flinches, that they can be read clearly, and hit their mark quickly. Results of this will inform tweaks to other deflect animations, as part of our goal to improve combat readability.

  17. WIP – Art – Patcher Update: Working from review feedback this week, James and Michelle are working on updates to the patcher, which will be handed of to JB and AJ. You can catch the concepts we showed last week HERE and HERE.

  18. WIP – Art – Armor Variations: This week, Michelle also began to work on designs for variation to our existing armor geometry. Jon will will sculpt on top of the high poly models and make new materials for them. A few simple examples of this would be adding embossing designs, material, or color variations.

  19. Art – SFX: dB has been busy working on new sounds and fixing issues, such as: “Why are the Mjolnir SFX playing impacts when he’s not hitting anything?” He has also added a new ambient track to the rotation. Additionally, he’s been adjusting the mix for remote player sounds to improve clarity of the mix during combat. Once Ben’s changes go in, dB can begin hooking up new shout variations to work with new VFX and animation tests.

    We continue to push forward on the needs for Beta 1, while making improvements to not only combat, but also gameplay. This is part of our commitment, through the Dragon Circle concept, to provide our patient Backers with a more fun experience during testing, up to and into Beta 1.

    Let’s take a look at art for the week, starting off with the female NPC clothing materials from Jon.

    Jon began work on the books, or tomes, earlier this week. He’s working from concept art from Michelle, which she updated to show the breakdown of parts. Our future goal with crafting, just like with the other weapons, allows crafters to create and then mix and match different components. This allows players to use a book that works for their style of play.

    Next up, we have a sneak peek at some of the animation work Scott has been busy with. Once he gets further along on this, we’ll provide a youtube link so you can see it in action!

    Michelle and James have provided WIP concept images of the next iteration of the patcher.

    To finish off this week, we end with the map for testing the Dragonfang scenario. Michelle worked her magic on it earlier today, to help give Backers an idea of the map’s design. We showed and discussed it a bit during the livestream.

    We had a great week here, getting lots of work done, iterating on previous work, and building out new systems for Beta 1. I personally hope to see you in the next scenario…so we can kill each other!

    Have a great weekend. CU next week!


    Breaking News: As mentioned in today’s livestream, we were awaiting the results of in-office testing to determine when the next IT test would be for the current scenario. Testing went well, so we’ll plan to have an IT test Monday or Tuesday of next week, barring any unexpected issues!