Building Character – Friday, January 18th, 2019


It’s Friday, which means it’s time for our weekly update highlighting the week’s work from us hard-working folks at CSE! The whole team has been heads-down working on several cool new features and improvements. While still ongoing, we’ve previously completed a whole host of things for our fully-destructible, fully-networked building and building destruction systems. If you’ve had the opportunity to join us in any testing this month, you’ll see we’ve shifted our focus to destroying those player-made buildings with our siege engines, the scorpion and trebuchet to start. It’s been really fun watching players break apart our buildings, not only because that’s just plain fun to do, but also because we’re doing something never before seen in an MMO like ours!

We’ve been running a lot of testing this week, and because of that, we are not planning on additional testing over the weekend. However, keep an eye on the tentative testing schedule next week, as we’ll certainly have new work to test!

If you missed this week’s livestream update and Q&A with myself, Tim, and a late appearance by Ben, you can find that HERE.

For the rest of the week’s highlights, let’s take a look at our Top Tenish list:

  1. WIP – Updated Ability System: We have made a lot of progress on the new ability system and the ability editor this week. This is going to be a primary focus for many of our engineers throughout this sprint, allowing us to deliver more abilities faster.
  2. WIP – Tech – Castle Destruction: We worked on how rubble breaks apart based on gameplay actions. This is going to make rubble more fun to interact with, and will make it look better when it falls to the ground. We will continue to improve on this throughout the sprint. Coming soon: damage to players when rubble falls on them!
  3. Tech – Falling Through Buildings: We have been aggressively testing and trying to fix players falling through the castle steps. The latest fix in being tested on Friday. We would like to give a big thank you to everyone that has helped us test and track down this issue.
  4. WIP – Tech/Art – Trebuchet Improvements: We have a new model for the Arthurian trebuchet, with Viking and TDD variations in the works. These will need a quick animation pass before seeing them in-game. We are also creating new ammo models and FX to further differentiate the realms.
  5. WIP – Tech/Art – Scorpion Improvements: Mike is working to improve the siege VFX, including the older assets for the scorpion siege engine. Additionally, we’re working to hook up the ammo bolts on the scorpion, similar to how players draw arrows when loading a bow. We have removed the smoke bomb ability from scorpions until we can make the smoke look better, and adjust vision accordingly.
  6. WIP – Design: Ben is continuing his work on new classes. This week, he’s been focusing on the Scout classes.
  7. WIP – Art – Trebuchet and Sapper Bomb Concepts: Michelle completed a second pass at the trebuchet Realm variations. Additionally, she is working on concepts for the siege bomb, which will replace our Xmas themed present bomb. She has several cool ideas already going!
  8. WIP – Tech – Building Placed Objects (BPOs): We are continuing work on the tech to support crafted decorative building-placed-objects in offline building mode, such as sconces, chairs, etc. This will pave the way for more complex placed items like siege engines and other siege gameplay-relevant items. The majority of work this week was on the actual placement input system, and it’s getting very close to being ready for testing.
  9. WIP – SFX – Siege and Music: We have created a way to let distant explosions modify the interactive music, so that peaceful music isn’t playing when there is a siege going off in the distance. We have also created a musical “Dead Zone” between ambient and combat music to help with music transitions and ease some of the trigger-happiness of the music system.
  10. Tech – Warbands, Trades, and Invites: Updates to these items have been pushed to Hatchery and will undergo testing there. There are still some UI tweaks underway, and these changes should be released in the upcoming week.
  11. WIP – Tech/Art – New Crafting UI: We are going through and fixing any CSS and art issues that we find in our testing. Right now, this is a regular cycle of fixes and reviews. We’re fairly close to letting Backers help us track down issues.
  12. Tech – Scenarios: Players will now be added to a Warband upon joining a scenario. This is currently in early testing on Hatchery.
  13. WIP – VFX – Trail Particle Shader: Right now, we render trail effects by spawning lines of overlapping particles. The goal is to instead render trail effects by welding particles together into a triangle strip. This technique requires fewer particles and gets rid of the seams and odd-looking overlaps seen in the current trail effects. This is a WIP, and we will continue working on it throughout the sprint.
  14. Art – Characters 2.0: Better-looking and more performant characters!
    Asset Audits: Several of the artists and engineers have been sorting through bugs that are related to getting all the character 2.0 changes in. We’re shooting for end of next week to have all the assets in and working, followed by polish and cleanup tasks.

    Valkyries: Valkyrie male and female 2.0 nude character models have been improved, somewhat reducing their bestial features and bringing back the leaner body type in the original concept. We’re very happy with these improvements, so they will be getting the 2.0 upgrade as well!

    Undergarment Equipment: Undergarment generic shoes and gloves have been created for each Realm, which will go with the previously-completed shirts and pants.

    Luchorpán: Luchorpán’s will now have their own unique animations to go along with their unique new skeletons for animation. Scott and Sandra are currently re-targeting all the required animations. The detail work will follow up later, to get the longer fingers and toes sorted out.

For art this week, we start off with out-of-game renders from Jon of the updated Valkyries! This redesign actually started in Jon’s free time as a way to improve the look of our Valkyries. Once presented and reviewed, we all agreed we liked the new direction. After several iterations, we came up with new models that reduced the bestial look a little, bringing more of the humanity back to the characters. We also slimmed them down and added more muscle tone, more like the original designs, which we realized we had strayed from. This updated look will help further differentiate the races, making it easier to tell them apart on a chaotic battlefield as well! (These also don’t have the hair/feathers on their heads, which will be added back on.)

We’ll add these new models in for the character 2.0 asset testing next week, along with their undergarments and armor. Next up, we have several images of the Realm variations of the trebuchet, ending with a shot of Dionne’s recently completed Arthurian model, next to its concept. The first image also has some fun ideas to add further modeling variation in the main arm and wheels, which time allowing, we’ll add at a later date.

After that, Dionne will complete the Viking and TDD models in the concepts above, and we’ll get some quick animations on them for testing in our current scenario.

And so ends another productive week here at CSE. Have a great weekend all and we’ll CU next week!