Forging Our Own Path – Friday, August 9th, 2019


We had a really solid week here at CSE, continuing to make strides on several fronts, as always. One of the really cool items that really began to land this week was the updated NPC pathfinding Lee has been toiling on for some time. We told you our NPCs would not stay dumb as rocks, and we are well on our way to keeping our word, as can be seen in Mark’s impromptu livestream earlier this week!

If you didn’t catch it, you can check it out HERE. ( ) If you’ve played in our control point scenario, which relies a lot on the NPCs, you’ll understand when I say this work will be a big game changer! There’s still more work ongoing, further detailed in our Top Tenish, below.

If you missed today’s livestream update with Andrew and Michelle, you can find that HERE.

We are NOT planning on having a test this weekend. However, we’ve had a few Backers request that we try and give more notice on some of our tests. To that end ,we’re giving you guys a lot of lead time for NEXT weekend’s test.

Again, this info is not for this weekend, but next weekend! We’ll have another follow-up email for those applicable Backers with more today. As always, pay attention to our tentative testing schedule to keep up-to-date with our testing.

Saturday, August 17th, 2019

Countdown Timer HERE

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


IT/Alpha/Beta 1/Beta 2

Hope to CU there!

Let’s move into the rest of the week’s highlights in the form of our Top Tenish list!

Top Tenish:

  1. WIP – Tech – NavMesh:  Lee continued on his quest to bring pathing to the game via the NavMesh. Mark showed this off earlier in the week, following through with our promise that our NPCs would not remain dumb as rocks. This week, Lee worked on 3D-ification of the NavMesh/pathplanner to handle pathing on surfaces above other surfaces, such as ramparts and stairs. He also doubled the speed of the vertex welder (part of the mesh simplifier system) and improved/fixed the algorithm for obstacle detection for the NavMesh, adding data for heights to the obstacles.

  2. Tech – Gameplay: Matt and Christina added support for items that react when a player collides with them. This should be the first step in getting traps into the game.

  3. WIP – Tech – Servers – Linuxification: Andrew has made a lot of progress on the Linuxification front. He has got all the projects rebuilt through user proxies, which is one of CU’s biggest scaling points, and is now working on the physics side of things. As a reminder, this work, and the following Linux-related items, will help us cut server costs.

  4. WIP – Tech – NPC Server Linuxification: Colin worked on converting the NPC server to build for .Net Core. After this is done, it will let us run the NPC server on Linux. This work also gets us closer to running the other .Net servers on Linux, because most of the code he is converting is shared.

  5. WIP – Tech – Servers – Moar Linuxification: This week, Wylie worked to linuxify our low-level utility library. More specifically, he replaced non-standard Microsoft-specific code with C++ standard code wherever possible. In some cases, this meant swapping out functions, and in other cases, this meant creating new functions to the original’s specification.

  6. WIP – Tech – Design Tools: Bull worked on a tool that will make it easier to load and configure data in spreadsheets. Our designers will be able to use this for versioning and rapid iteration.

  7. WIP – Tech – Tools: We’re working on a tool to automate starting and tearing down Shards. We made a web frontend, and are making it smarter about the order in which Instances are started up, waiting for connection to be established, users logged in, server running, etc. An added output with error reporting helps us with troubleshooting.

  8. Art – VFX – Improvements and Templates: Mike continued to adjust existing VFX based off his changes to lighting last week. Additionally, he’s working through new ability types by creating templates that can be used later when the visual look of an ability is more defined.

  9. Art – SFX – Music: This week dB focused on creating sample instruments for new low-intensity music.

  10. WIP – Art – Procedural Materials: Last week, we talked about using a new program to create our own in-house materials. This week, we focused on making these materials more procedural. This will save a lot of time in the future when we want to tweak things like hue, value, grime, dents, etc. because we won’t have to go back to the sculpting phase, instead just moving a few sliders around and making new textures.

  11. Art – Concept – NPCs: This week, we went wide for possible NPCs. This covered a wide gamut of creature types. At this point, we’re investigating different types of characters we could create.

  12. Art – Viking Battering Ram: We finished this guy off, fixing its materials and adding rigging to it, so it can be used as the other two Realm’s versions. This should show up soon in a future build. Now the Viking’s won’t have to use the filthy Arthurian version for testing!

  13. Art – Draugar Movement Set: Sandra and Scott double-teamed this item to get all the walks, runs, idles, and one-handed weapon movement animations done. The next step will be to work on the attack animations!

  14. Art – Animation – Giant Movement Concepts: Scott completed three rough animations of a giant walking forward. Each of these has a very different feel to them. Next step is to pick the one we like the most and build out the rest of the animations for later use.

One of my favorite items in there, as an artist, is the procedural material work. Way back in the day and actually all the way up until a few years ago, we created materials mostly by hand in Photoshop or with clunky 3D paint programs. Procedural materials are making our lives as artists much easier, allowing us to try out various looks “at the touch of a button,” or sometimes, at the touch of a slider, very quickly. It makes experimentation much more fun and frankly more possible in shorter time frames!

In terms of art this week, we have a bunch of concept art for various possible NPCs one might encounter in CU. First off, Michelle created several different body and armor part variations for the Draugar we had previously shown.

Next up, we have a fairly wide range of creature types, trying out various body shapes that can still use the same skeleton. Doing so means we save time on animation work.

Now, as cool-looking as a lot of these are, please remember this is all just coming up with cool ideas, and all of this is not suddenly going to show up in-game.

Concept art is a really fun stage of development, and we try to encourage the process by not giving the artists too many limitations if we can help it. This allows them to come up with cool ideas more freely. With CU, we commonly hit issues like how all the body parts work together, particularly for player characters or any NPCs that will have more parts for more visual variation. If we hit those snags, we can adjust the 3D model to work within those constraints while retaining the spirit of the concept.

Fun anecdote, one of our artists pinged me about one of the guys above, really wanting to sculpt it!  If you too have a favorite, or something here you think should totally make it into CU, feel free to let us know in the forums!

Have a great weekend!

– Tyler