Bring Out Your Dread – Friday, October 30th, 2020


Happy Halloween all! It’s been a very busy month for CSE and for CU. We have a great update for you that includes another weekend test (with much improved FPS), and a lot of items to discuss.

And let’s get into the highlights of what’s been happening this month!

Top Tenish for October 30th, 2020

  1. WIP – Tech & Art – Focus on performance improvements: While this is also covered in separate entries, the art & tech leads have been working together to find and fix issues with the game’s client performance. While this started focused on AMD improvements, it has expanded into overall client performance regardless of GPU. This process has yielded lots of tangible results that have and will continue to pay off going forward.
  2. WIP – Tech – Navigation and Pathing: We have completed the first working version of our new pathfinding system! Lee, Mike D, and Spidey have been pushing hard to get this system up and running, and we have achieved our first successful high-load test. The new system features a dynamic tiling approach that can quickly rebuild portions of the world’s navmesh in reaction to changes in the environment due to destruction or placement/removal of movement-blocking objects. It is built to handle both artist-generated complex organic structures as well as the massive player-built constructions from C.U.B.E. We have just knocked out the remaining known bugs in both the tiling and pathfinding portions of the system, and are doing final testing now.
  3. Done – Tech – Item tooltip and interaction menu upgrades: Judd added improvements to these UI’s including:
    1. showing the item’s icon on the interaction menu
    2. properly calling out disabled menu options
    3. clearer support for showing what requirements are not met for equipping or controlling the item.
  4. Done – Tech – Improved game time networking: Colin simplified the how we network gametime to the client. This helps to improve accuracy for prediction on the client, especially with projectiles.
  5. Done – Tech – Bug Fixes:
    1. 0 point traits now correctly show up in the traits menu
    2. The correct animations are now playing for Helbounds in travel stance
    3. Doors (and other BPOs) are no longer stacking up in keeps. These extra hidden items were being created which caused odd things to occur when they were destroyed… plus it was just non-performant to stack all those items on top of each other
    4. Portals that you cannot use will now show a message as to why they cannot be used
    5. Guardians of Asgaard now increases the right types of damage
    6. Helbound abilities now use stamina and blood when cast
    7. Direct type ability spells now can target characters within a radius to the casting character
    8. Dragon’s web batteries have been updated to not waste energy
  6. WIP – Tech – WebAPI split: The WebAPI does too many things for a single application. Some of them are just in different scope, some of them have different scalability needs. We’ve been carving off pieces of it that don’t belong. We landed the bones for a significant separation of the parts of the WebAPI that the launcher/patcher cares about and the parts that the game client cares about.
  7. Done – Tech – Metrics Improvements: We collect tons of metrics on our servers for diagnosing health and performance issues. There were places where certain metrics that happened too frequently or too infrequently could get missed. We’ve improved our usage of the metrics tooling to better capture this data. We also did some work to improve the performance of metrics collection.
  8. WIP – Tech – Health and Discovery Improvements: As part of our ongoing push to improve the durability of our server stack we’ve been pushing health data out to our discovery service so that our servers can query discovery for health information about each other. We’ve improved the quality of the health data in discovery and reduce the performance footprint of health and discovery. Moving forward we’ll be hooking this up to automated alerts so that the team can be notified when servers become unhealthy.
  9. Ongoing – Tech – Build and Pipeline Improvements: We’ve been identifying pain points in our build pipeline and working towards improving them. This has caused issues with new bugs appearing when we push builds between branches and introduced productivity sinks onto the team.
    1. Improved separation between build and deployment. Currently deploying a build is coupled with the creation of that build. We want to get to a place where we can create a build and deploy it to one or more places so it’s an identical copy everywhere it gets deployed.
    2. Multiple editor improvements. There’s been some long standing threading issues in the editor that caused frustration for our content creators. We landed a significant overhaul of a lot of the threading in the editor to improve consistency and stability. We also did some work to improve the UX in places where it was unintuitive. Startup time has been reduced significantly. All these changes should let our content creators be much more productive when working with the editor.
  10. Done – Tech – Centralized Logging: A few months ago our centralized logging ran into some issues and it’s made keeping up with logs on our servers very difficult. We’ve changed which logging service we’re using and gotten it hooked up to our existing deployments. This has been a huge boon to diagnosing health and performance issues with our servers.
  11. Done – Tech – CUBE building fixes: Andrew fixed a number of issues related to buildings and CUBE
    1. Selected areas rendering incorrectly
    2. Buildings occasionally failing to render.
    3. Wylie fixed an issue where some building blocks would render as the missing texture because of a race condition on loading.
  12. Done – Tech – Rendering fixes: Andrew and Wylie fixed a couple of issues that could cause parts of an island to not show up.
    1. A subtle problem where models with missing lods, or different sets of meshes in lods would occasionally get stuck transitioning and disappear.
    2. Wylie fixed a condition where certain models would fail to load for an entire terrain segment.
    3. Wylie worked to help artists track down issues with missing textures on equipment
    4. George worked to help artists track down performance issues with assets.
  13. Done – Tech – Rendering: Detail normal textures
    1. We added a feature allowing artists to create detail normal textures so that some art pieces could be scaled larger, if needed, without looking pixelated.
  14. Done – Tech – Improvements to launcher
    1. We now have a common compression pipeline from patch server through to the client that should reduce our disk space usage and the time spent moving resources between compression formats.
  15. WIP – Tech – Continued work on building optimization
    1. Improved the rendering of distance buildings to use better estimates of block colors.
  16. WIP – Tech – Rendering transparency
    1. We have defaulted AOIT transparency mode to off, which should improve performance on lower end video cards. While this system is quite powerful, performance on it for Backers with older hardware was far less than ideal. While we will continue to iterate on this and similar systems, for now the most important thing is getting performance back to where it needs to be for the next stage of the game’s development and testing. We hope that as performance improves in other areas that more players will be able to turn it back on.
  17. WIP – Tech – Logging Config in RemoteConfig: A few months back we called out that we’d gotten our servers hooked up to remote config. This made configuring our servers considerably easier. What we didn’t get hooked up at the time was the configuration files for our logging system. We’ve built and tested the prototype for this and just need to clean it up a little bit and deploy it.
  18. WIP – Design – Dragon’s Web scripting updates:
    1. An early iteration of the Dragon’s Web is now available for testing
    2. Dragon’s Web Supply tents are now available in all 3 faction safe keeps. The following dragon’s web objects are available for testing: Transmitters, Spawn Points, Disruptors & Batteries.
    3. Each faction safe keep now has a Dragon Heart located within its walls. This heart offers an unlimited supply of power within the keep, and a short distance beyond its walls.
    4. Capturing the Main Keep or the South, Southwest, North, Northeast, East or Southeast Tower now spawns a Battery and Spawn Point with enough power for 50 respawns without being provided additional power sources
    5. Renamed “West Tower” to “Test Temple” and updated its visuals with a fantastic new asset from the Builder’s Brigade. Test Temple will now be used for testing of future mechanics/content.
    6. Cleaned up scripting that fixes edge cases including: faction/spawn alignments, nodes not spawning when flipping faction control as well as multiples of the same object spawning at the same time.
    7. Updated respawn locations for Southwest, South & Southeast Towers. Thanks to Scott & the rest of the Builders Brigade for all of the great Tower and Keep updates!
    8. Transmitters have had their chance to be harvested increased to 50%, and now grant 5x each attempt.
    9. Batteries, Spawn Points and Transmitters now consume a small amount of power over time. This cleans up numerous bugs brought up during the community playtest, thank you all!
    10. Dropped objects will no longer auto deploy, mass has been reduced for all DW objects during testing.
  19. Done – Art – NPCs: The neutral faction tower champion and weapon model are completed, ready for next stage animation retargeting and implementation.
  20. Done – Art – Giants Casks and Golem Barricade: 3D passes on the giant casks are polished and being pushed to the editor! Look forward to those going into the animation phase so you can lob them at your friends.
  21. Done – Art & Lore – Dreadcaller: Concept Art has been completed on the Dreadcaller and their summoned minions, both featured in this month’s newsletter.
  22. Done – Art & Design – Dragon’s Web: Concept art for new Dragon’s Web features have been developed and polished, with a more in-depth look in this month’s Dose of Design.
  23. WIP – Art & Design – Map Concepting: Based on development of Dragon’s Web features, initial concepting and development for map layout is being addressed.
  24. WIP – Art & Tech – Environment: Continued work solving performance issues in hand with engineering, cliff development, asset creation for points of interest including set placement testing such as for shipwrecked areas and supporting gameplay assets (supply/loot chests) as well repairing missing lods and collisions.
  25. WIP – Art – Fixes: Combing through quality: Player Characters are being put through quality improvement passes (hair, textures, etc.) based on engine updates. This includes game assets associated with characters and reported issues with armors and animations. Please be sure to keep an eye out for future updates and newsletters as this pass progresses.
  26. WIP – Art – Giants: Polish pass is underway when it comes to all giant armors. This includes, but isn’t limited to, fixing holes and polishing materials. Animation has been pounding away at animation retargets for all classes and refinements needed.
  27. WIP – Art – Updates for Website and Twitch: We know that on the forums players have made mention of some issues with the website. Motion is in progress to ensure that links are connected (Such as Newsletters and Top Tenish) and other related features are addressed. Concept is also making notes for edits in the future to the Twitch page.

Time for some Arts!

The Abhorrent Knight Tower Champion rushes onto the field of battle, fully decked out with her regalia.

If she wasn’t dreadful in just her render, check out her fully fleshed out image here!

She’s not unarmed, so be wary; her weapon is packed with great woe.

You might have seen the below image from this Newsletter, but as we were working on Giants there was a polish pass on the texture and general tweaks to perfect it.

Here Tina has some of the pre-concepts for the Dreadcaller summons, be sure to check out this month’s newsletter in the Dash of Lore section for more information on the class choices and the final images!

It’s not all dreadful here in October; there have been strides made to even the tides of darkness with these motes of empathic light, Introspective Meditation!

That’s not all for Empaths now have to offer, their healing burst is also being put to good use.

There has been even more work going in getting our UI to be more visually appealing and still be realm thematic just for you!

As stated in the above tech notes when mentioning Item Icons, there is now a popup that will appear when you hover your mouse over an item in game. It will have a breakdown based on what the item classification is, along with statistics, durability factors and slot information.

Here we wanted to showcase the variants of each of the realms UI changes:

That’s not just for gear though, this applies for interactive items as well; check out siege content!

So, at the start of this month we had a bit of wardrobe malfunction when it came to how some of the outfits synced up with the model. As you can see it made robes rather animated and provided a very hot pink set pants!

We got everything stitched up before the end of the month!

Oh and, whatever you heard about the capes: I can confirm that they’re no longer attempting to strangle their owners, all magic has been tamed.

Environmental Art continues to move along as assets are being made to assist future plans on map dynamics.

Not to leave you on a cliffhanger, but lots of content is coming your way on the end of month newsletter!

Like I said, a whole lot of stuff right? My livestream was an extra-long one today so I’m going to cut this wrap-up short so I can get the newsletter out as well and since it is definitely Beast-mode (32 pages), make sure to find some time to read it, maybe sitting next a roaring fire at midnight! As always, we thank you for your patience and your support. Please stay safe, uninfected, and be kind to each other.

CU and have a Happy Halloween!

– Mark