“Are we there yet?” say the NPCs – Friday, October 25th, 2019


This week was fairly busy, partially because it included one of the largest code reviews in CU’s history! Lee’s path-finding work was not only massive, but very complex, and currently has five engineers helping to review it!

Obviously, this system is a big ticket item for our engine, greatly improving the capabilities of our NPCs!  And remember, this not only includes things like the spawned NPCs in the control point scenario, but any future things not directly controlled by players. Personally I’d love to get some wildlife moving around in our forests! Maybe some dangerous wildlife?

We’ll, of course, need to run this code through a whole lot of testing to sort out bugs and continue to improve it’s capabilities. We’ll let you know when that’s ready in a future test. Speaking of testing….

We are having a test this weekend focused on the Minstrel and Dark Fool. Here’s the quick details:

Saturday, October 26th, 2019

Countdown Timer: HERE

Duration: 3 hours: 12pm – 3pm EDT / 9am – 12pm PDT / 6pm – 9pm CEST (Get localization)


IT / Alpha / Beta 1

Please make sure and read the notes in the previously sent testing email so you’re aware of not only the focus of the testing, but also what has changed or is a known issue.

Stay tuned to the tentative testing schedule for updates next week!Here’s this week’s highlights!

Top Tenish:

  1. WIP – Tech – NavMesh: Lee spent the week getting the pathplanner fixed up to work with 3d coordinates.   He’s gotten simple pathplans working. These include ramps, stairs, overlapping layers/multiple levels of buildings, agents with variable widths and heights, and more. All done dynamically based on raw mesh data from the world. The code is going through the review process now, which we expect to take a bit as there are over 10,000 lines of changes and multiple subsystems rewritten from scratch, so the review process won’t be trivial.

  2. Tech – Tools: Rob committed terrain relative dragging of placeable items.  This will snap objects placed by designers to the terrain speeding up the world building process.

  3. WIP – Tech – Telemetry:  Rob started the initial shakedown of the navigation manager.  He is adding telemetry that will give us a better view into the performance of pathfinding, and the impact that has on the physics server (which it is currently running as part of).

  4. Tech – Nameplate Bug: Matt landed a fix for the bug in which name plates were getting swapped. This Issue was seen by  a number of backers, and causes some mighty confusion.

  5. WIP – Tech – Tools:  This week Bull spent time prototyping a way to do changelists and merge capabilities for game data. When this work is finished we will have the ability to make hotfixes for urgent live issues without having to bring all the new data and code forward with a normal patch.

  6. WIP – Tech – Linuxification: This week Wylie continued Linuxification work. He is now porting the patcher, which is responsible for gathering data from our database to local machines. Since this responsibility includes data for use on our Linux servers, the patcher needs to work on Linux as well.

  7. WIP – Tech – Linuxification: This week Colin worked on making the proxy server work on Linux. He is close to getting it building and once it is built is will undergo testing. We are switching our servers to run on Linux in order to reduce server runtime costs.

  8. WIP – Tech – Knockback: One of our critical (and very fun!) pieces of tech, knockback and prediction of these events continues to get a bit of love from Matt. This week, he’s updating and re-integrating his old solution but now with some new tech. Once this lands we should have knock back forces back in the game! (We’re already trying to come up with fun uses!)

  9. WIP – Tech – Ragdoll: Mentioned only a couple weeks back, we’ve got the first pass into review this week. The first initial tests should prove interesting and fun!

  10. Art – Armor: We created several new pieces of medium armor armor this week based off previously shown concept art. This includes a new set of pauldrons, knee pads, boots, and gauntlets.

  11. Art/Tech – Bones on Weapons: Wylie previously completed work that would allow artists to attach VFX to bones. He’s come back around to verify the work and hand it off to art to begin using. This not only reduces the time spent on VFX for abilities, but also allow us to easily attach vfx on the weapons in specific places.

  12. Art – Animation: Sandra created a test animation for a trap being triggered with previously completed tech. Verifying this works opens up a world of possible interactive objects in the game.

  13. Art – Animation – Mages/NPCs: Scott created a new casting animation that could be used for a variety of mage casts, as well as an npc movement set for future use.

  14. Art – VFX – Lighting: Mike worked on the lightning VFX we’d previously mentioned. You’d think a bright, very big, 75m lighting strike would read well in a scene. Apparently it doesn’t! Time for tweaks! Once we get it all working and looking good we’ll continue to work on the asset(s) so it looks cool in the client.

For art this week we have a few new armor pieces. These are based off the previously shown concept art HERE. We had the artists start with a couple of one off smaller pieces this week. First off we’ve got a couple of Arthurian pieces, a knee guard (The boots are already in progress.) and pauldron.

We had a happy accident with the above two items. These are supposed to be leather, but we accidentally put a metal material on them. Now changing the materials is fairly trivial, so we went ahead and included both versions in the images. However,  this mistake illustrates what we want the crafting system to do. The art, which is the more time consuming part, can be re-used with very different visuals, once we update the crafting system to output different visuals depending on the materials used!

I also had to ask which was the pauldron and which was the knee pad, because we also realized with a few minutes of tweaking these could work for both, giving players more options quicker, and allowing players to mix or match as they see fit in their outfits. So fun mistake!

And here’s a Viking medium armor pauldron, from the same concept art from Michelle.

Last week we showed you some procedurally created snow and rock textures made in Substance Designer. Here’s a rock with a lava glow. The cool thing is the amount of “lava” in this material is literally a slider, making it very easy for us to generate lots of variations in minutes!

And that’s everything bright, shiny, and hot, for this week. Hard work and a fun mistake included! If you’re planning on joining us this weekend for our test, please remember to read the test related email. Again, we really appreciate the help testing and providing feedback and bugs in the forums.

Have a great weekend!

– Tyler