Assembling all the things!


Happy Friday, all! We’ve had a great week here at CSE. Progress continues along as we work on merging multiple systems together and begin shaping all of this hard work into a game. When I write up these top tenish lists, I have to think back through the week and collate all the progress we’ve made. This process usually starts Thursday afternoon, as Brittany and I begin parsing check-ins and Trello cards into a presentable update for our Backers. I love when I’m pleasantly surprised to see the top tenish turn into the top thirteen, as has occurred this week. If you want to catch the more verbose version of the list, plus a bit of theater, you can catch the stream with Tim and I from earlier this afternoon. ( We also go over a a bit of Q&A and thoughts on our work here. Thanks for all the good questions, to those who were in chat!  With that said, let’s get on to the top tenish for the week:

Top Tenish

  1. WIP – Tech – Continued Animation Work: After landing the first pass of the animation refactor last week, Andrew has been working on getting abilities to play the correct animations for damage types (crushing, piercing, slashing) and high, mid, or low attacks. Additionally, he’s syncing animations to the actual skill duration, and at the same time, he’s also working on making sure the correct animation plays, based on the weapon equipped.

  2. WIP – Tech – Item improvements: Early this week, Christina finished a first pass at assigning the correct armor art asset to a player regardless of gender or race. This means that when you pick up a male Luchorpán helmet and equip it on your female Arthurian, she won’t get “huge head syndrome.” She also moved gear setup into Ben’s hands, and he is currently working with the Art Team to set stats on the finer level of armor parts. Previously, we had an item like the chest piece include the undershirt and chest armor, as well as shoulder armor. Those will soon be distinct pieces available for testing. As a WIP, Christina is also improving the ease of updating item data, which will make it much easier for testing. This is a precursor to crafting work, which she is currently planning out.

  3. WIP – Tech – Combining Patchers: After all the feedback and testing for the experimental patcher, Dave has an updated version going through final review. Our plan is to merge all the improvements and to no longer maintain a secondary version.

  4. WIP – Tech – Terrain Editor Improvements: With our island size increase from 16km to 32km, we’ve had a more difficult time navigating our way about the map when editing it. Bull is currently working on upgrading our tools to get around the world faster. It was actually becoming too easy to get lost!

  5. WIP – Tech – Bots Using Abilities: Marc is finishing up the change from OpenSSL to LibreSSL for security improvements. Additionally, he has been working on getting our updated Bots to use abilities. We’re still in the early stages of this change, but it’s an important one. As we’ve said, Bots try to mimic player behavior to help us better find pain points on both our server and client tech. This will also work well for testing with George’s WIP performance update to our particle system.

  6. WIP – Art – Characters: Jon created an updated hand for our characters, both male and female. We’re currently updating the existing nude hands, as well as armor glove parts to make use of them. We all agree the new ones look much better than the old ones. We’ll still need to make some small tweaks to existing animations as we go.

  7. WIP – Art – Characters: Jon’s secondary task of hair research and improvement has moved steadily along behind hands. He’s currently creating new head materials with shaved heads to support a wider range of hairstyles, without having to create unique head materials for every variation. That will soon progress into improving exactly how we do great hair geometry and materials.

  8. WIP – Art – Environment: Despite catching the plague last weekend and being out most of this week, Tyler spent his upright moments continuing work on assets for the new dark forest biome, and has begun fleshing out a “master” tree, from which variations will be created. Jon also completed the additional body sculpts for this forest, in addition to the ones we showed in last week’s update.

  9. WIP – Art – Updated Animation assets: Scott finished entering over 1000 lines of animation data into the new master animation spreadsheet, and has been working with Andrew to make needed updates. He’s also been prototyping a full-body animation to test with the new system, as opposed to keeping our upper and lower body animations as separate assets.

  10. WIP – Art – Place of Power: As mentioned at the end of last week, Dionne began roughing out UV maps and materials on the entirety of the Place of Power. That work continues this week, as we hone in on getting a look that respects the concept art and looks good in the game. Check out screenshots later in today’s update!

  11. Art – Sound: While working on armor foley for movement and stance transitions, dB found the time to add in some subtle ambient music to the world late last week. This plays randomly, along with the generic background ambient SFX.

  12. WIP Design: Last week, we began breaking up our armor into a finer level of parts, as well as moving items into the hands of Design as part of crafting. Ben is wrapping up the armor and weapon side of data entry. We’ve been calling this the “sheet of all the things.” Mark has been working on Technical Design Documents for Christina, in order to speed up her work on the crafting system.

  13. WIP Updated German Website: Many thanks to our Backers Apollon and Tanztante, who are absolute translating beasts! We have a few more small items to check off, but we are planning to update the site next week, unless bugs prevent us.

    As I said, a good week of steady progress. As Brittany and I write these up, we try to point out correlations between items, where applicable, so you can see how these items lead into one another, or into upcoming tasks. It’s one of those tricky things Producers need to keep track of, to make sure everyone is working as efficiently as possible.

    Moving into art this week, let’s take a quick progress update on the Place of Power model, which has gone from a geometry pass last week into a rough pass of materials this week. I like throwing the concept up first, so you can see what we’re working from:

    And a rough texture pass image from the WIP model in Maya:

    You might notice that the crystals and such in the above image aren’t glowy…yet! The next step is fairly multi-faceted, where we turn these textures into materials and pay attention to specular and roughness values, as well as making the crystals shiny and semi-reflective. This will add more saturation and contrast into the model. We’ll also begin adding in some rough lighting and VFX in many places around the model, and see how that changes the look of those materials. The planned lighting should make nighttime battles fairly fun. If you’ve watched the progress on this over the last several weeks, where we first focused on the layout, or design, of this place to support gameplay, you’ll understand “fun” is our primary focus. For such a large model, it’s nice to not only get into this next phase, but also see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Jon has been fairly busy this week, making updates to our models that haven’t been too sexy to show off. However, being the modeling superman we’ve come to know, he knocked out several more bodies to integrate into the large trees for the deeper, darker biome I’m currently working on.

    Our goal with these guys is to create a sense of unease when you notice these silent visages glaring down at you from above. To further color your imagination for this forest, Michelle has been hard at work this week, supporting the creation of this biome with additional concept art. Depicted below is the progression from drier and sunny, to wetter and darker.

    That wraps up a busy week here! Animations, characters, buildings, art, items, oh my! Thanks for taking a look at the week’s progress, and have a great weekend, wherever in the world you may reside!

    -t & b