Colder Weather Cooler Tech – Friday October 12th 2018


Good afternoon or evening, all! The week has ended well for us at CSE. There are hints of autumn in the air as we continue progressing on several cool new features. Some of these bigger tasks will be Backer-facing, while some will hide in the background, improving performance or the pace of development. We did a lot of testing this week, with regular iteration of bug fixes. Keep an eye on our tentative testing schedule HERE.

We’ll have a test this weekend for IT, Alpha, and Beta 1 players. That email will follow later.

If you missed today’s stream with Andrew and Tim, you can find that HERE. Lots of good questions were asked. If you have any burning questions you’d like to ask on stream, catch us next week!

Let’s move on to this week’s Top Tenish, where we go over the highlights of the week’s work.
Top Tenish:

  1. Testing: We ran playtests every day this week on Nuada and Nuada Prep, finding bugs and iterating on the build. This was mostly IT/Alpha, but brought in Beta 1 towards the end of the week. Our primary focus was testing database changes and a large change to the building code.

  2. WIP – Building Rubble: Andrew has big chunks falling off of buildings to the ground. He’s currently working on collision and handling them in a performant manner.

  3. Coherent: We’ve got everything hooked up and using the new API at this point, and are working through in-house testing and debugging before moving to…more testing!

  4. Additional Stat Upgrades: Last week was about optimizations and networking. This week, Christina added new features: She made stats more designer-driven, hooking them up to our ECTs, and getting them ready to be integrated into the skills upgrades that Rob and Caleb are working on. Christina also fixed the haste stacking issue which Backers had dubbed the “Blender of Death.”

  5. WIP – Tech – Ability Builder and System Improvements: Rob and Caleb have established the core of the skill runtime improvements. Now Caleb has split off to work on the editor integration. A crucial need we’ve mentioned to speed up the creation and quality of abilities.

  6. WIP – Tech – Building Server: The standalone server will let us offload intensive building operations, such as stability and damage, outside the game server to improve performance. Colin’s next step is to move the expensive operations (like constructing the building over time and updating stability) from the game server to the building server.

  7. WIP – Art – Characters 2.0: This is what we call our ongoing project for updating the characters, a long process with many technical requirements. UV, Geo, Proportion, and body parts improvements are being worked on! Once we complete the art and the required supporting tech, these changes will go into the game; we won’t make this update until all that work is complete.

    • Proportion Improvements: We made further edits to the male human character this week. Everyone agreed that the subtle changes to his muscle tone were a big improvement.

      Male and Female Human Updated Meshes: Joe finished weighting the new models to the updated skeletons. The animators are now using these new character to animate, allowing them to find subtle issues to be fixed. Overall the animators are very happy with the new models, rig, and weighting. These improvements speed up the animation process!

    • Human Male and Female Materials: Jon completed the baking and material export of the nude and underwear meshes.

    • Viking Medium Armor Update: Jon completed the high poly fit to the Character 2.0, and is now updating a new low-poly version that adheres to the new improvements. We’ll use this visually complex armor for testing artist-created LODs for characters vs. our current procedural method.

  8. WIP – Class Design: Ben has begun evaluating some other archetypes to make sure the skill system covers all the features we’ll eventually need. He’s also working on a simplification pass of the Mages so we can get a basic set of skills implemented quickly and work toward a more complete set later.

  9. WIP – Art – Animation 2.0: Updated style and timing support.

    • Deflect Prototyping: Scott completed some prototypes that should save us significant time on deflects, same as the prototyping we did on flinches last week.

    • Retargeting: All three animators have begun using the new characters. This week, Scott began retargeting the sword, shield, and spear combination animations, and Sandra began retargeting some in-progress halberd work. Joe has begun updating the old two-handed axe animations, as well to the new style and timing with the new rig.

  10. WIP – Art – Beech Trees: Dionne finished the initial set of trees with first pass of LODs. The next step is a few more variations of the initial set. After that, we’ll work smart and re-purpose the beech trees to make a new tree set from them.

  11. WIP – Tech/Art – Crafting UI: Updated UI visuals and design for improved player experience.

    • Recipe Book Layouts: This week, James switched over to this side of the updated layout. The current concept is really cool, and should give art and design lots of freedom in how information is presented.

    • Visual Design: Michelle has been providing variations of visuals for parts of the UI.

    • Documentation: AJ worked on documenting the crafting UI log to help designers know what data is available for each job type.

For art this week, we start off with the updated materials for our male and female Humans. Jon did some beautiful work on the new materials, and as I mentioned last week, you can see lots of attention to detail.

The great thing about the Characters 2.0 update we’re working on is that much more of this detail will be retained in-game than previously.

Here we have a shot of the new beech trees Dionne completed. These guys will be a good addition to our forests.

One of the most challenging aspects of creating the environment art for CU is keeping performance in mind. Dionne did a great job balancing poly count, LOD similarity, and fidelity!

Michelle has been hard at work providing art for the updated crafting UI. One thing most people don’t know about is the amount of work that goes into finding exactly the right look and feel! Here you can see several iterations for what is essentially a “start button.”

The crafting UI is a good example of several people and disciplines working together to not only make something that supports the crafting design, but also looks cool! Over the past few weeks, I’ve watched this go from a rough wire frame to a solid visual concept. I’m excited to actually push the buttons, read through my recipes, and make stuff!

Special thanks to Ludovic, who sent the Kirkland office this giant bag of Gummi Bears.

He also spotted a relevant line from Brian’s bio on our team page, and sent this appropriate Star Wars themed shirt!

Thank you very much for the sweet lootz, Ludovic!

That’s it for this week as we move into a suddenly colder weekend for us here in VA. We’ll CU next week to continue working on cool tech, art, and design!

Have a great weekend, all!