Getting a Head in the Game – Friday, July 26th, 2019


Hoo boy do I love strong, steady progress! We chomped through a pile of work last week, and continued to do so again this week. As Mark said in today’s update, we are actually ahead of schedule on some fronts. Even better, we’ve been doing really well for several months now! You can check our weekly progress, as always, in our news section HERE. Being ahead is one thing, of course, but having more heads in this update is even better…

We have some new art this week, following up on some of what was shown last week, as well as a lot of cool tasks ongoing and new tech tasks. One of my favorite new tasks was Matt taking a look at knockback to improve it. I remember when we initially put this in and we were punting people way up into the air. And because of that, it was a bit of a double tap, considering the initial knockback plus the impending damage taken when you landed. Now, granted, that’s not always what we want (or maybe we do?!), but cleaning up this feature should give us some fun water-cooler moments in CU.

If you missed today’s livestream update with Mark, you can find that HERE.

We are not planning on a weekend test, but keep an eye on our tentative testing schedule to keep up-to-date with our testing plans.

For the week’s highlights of work, let’s hit our Top Tenish list!

Top Tenish:

  1. Tech – Performance: Over the last month, we’ve seen a degradation in performance on the Cherry Keep Stress tests. Andrew turned his attention to the problem this week and exorcised (or exercised, it was tired, needed a good workout!) the problematic code. Performance is actually slightly better now than it was back before the degradation.

  2. WIP – Tech – NPC Behavior: This week, Spidey started working on the messaging framework for NPC behaviors. NPCs will be able to message from the NPC server to the Physics Server and back again, and receive responses to said messaging. This is the root framework required so our NPCs can start reacting to having Line of Sight with their targets, as well as how they will be able to poll the navigation in order to do proper pathfinding.

  3. WIP – Tech – Camera: Spidey also fixed the follow and target cameras so players can move the camera around.

  4. WIP – Tech – Tools: This week, Christina added a bunch of validation tools to our game data. These tools will help us catch errors in a timely manner, making development faster, because we will spend less time tracking down those errors.

  5. WIP – Tech – Trigger Volumes: Caleb has been working on trigger volume tech. We already have this in our ability system, so Caleb’s work will help us bring items like health and blood pools to life.

  6. WIP – Tech – Proxy optimizations: Rob has decreased the bandwidth used to send player information to the client. This should allow us to send more player information to the client per packet, and update them more frequently, smoothing out the client experience in mid-to-large size battles.

  7. Tech – Abilities: Christina added the ability for scripting to add abilities to a player. The bomb item will be using this feature – when it is picked up it adds a “place bomb” ability on your bar, so players can now hit the hotkey and drop the bomb instead of have to unintuitively drop it by swapping weapons.

  8. Tech – World Editor Bugs: Matt continued to assist those using the world editor by tracking down and fixing more bugs that were blocking progress. This was a lengthy investigation that leveled up Matt’s patience score!

  9. WIP – Tech – Server: Following up on Wylie’s work last week, Colin is finishing up the work on converting our server to Linux. This week, he finished the necessary step of removing the C++/CLI code from the game server. The end goal of this work is to reduce server costs.

  10. WIP – Tech – Client Performance: Wylie spent the week investigating some client performance issues we were seeing while running through Cherry Keep. Once he found the problem, he wrote a fix to address it.

  11. WIP – Tech – Tools: Bull is working on a new data architecture that will make all the supporting data needed to run the game branchable, batchable, and backed up in a way that is a lot easier for us to use.

  12. WIP – Tech – Improving Knockback: Matt has recently moved to making knockbacks look and feel better, first by teaching the client how to predict them like it does for particles, projectiles, and other ability effects. This step should improve the latency and rubber banding, but might not send people flying quite the way we want just yet.

  13. Art – Concept – Environments: Again, and some of us will never get tired of saying this, we’ve completed a bunch of cool concepts for environments and props. We’ve got a few artists biting at the bit to make them!

  14. Art – Concept – Draugr Color: Michelle knocked out nine color ideas for last week’s Draugr NPC concepts.

  15. WIP – Art – Material Creation: We’ve begun to improve our ability to create the materials we need for CU by working with Substance Designer, a program that will allow us to more easily make exactly what we need vs. picking from a pre-existing library of materials. This program has quickly become an industry standard for AAA material work. Lots of info about it can be found online.

  16. Art – Animation: Scott prototyped several single-handed weapon attacks with a bit more “oomph” in them, as well as some block animation prototyping with various flinches. We can later use these for more animation variation.

  17. WIP – Art – Animation: Sandra did the animation equivalent of concepting, by blocking out different idle and single direction movement animations, for possible use on NPCs. Once we approve one of the concepts, she’ll turn it into an entire walk and run set for later use.

  18. Art – Animation – Improved Rig and Character Topology Testing: Using models provided by Jon, Joe investigated rigging improvements in Maya as well as external tools that could improve the speed of creating unique skeletons.

  19. Art – Siege Engine LODs: We finished the LODs for all three battering rams, including the Vikings version. That last one is currently getting set up for animation support. We also added three different base ammunition for each trebuchet. We’ll use these later to investigate why ammo doesn’t show up visually during the firing animation of siege engines.

In reference to that last item, I’m excited to finish off the Viking battering ram (here‘s a newspost with a WIP image). I worked on it over a period several weeks, but got too busy and had to hand it off to someone else to finish. Paired with the trebuchets, magic mortars, corpse chuckers, and now battering rams, our large-scale battles are certainly going to be very interesting!

For art this week, we start off with some materials on Arthurian armor.

For additional head protection we’ve also got some initial sculpts of various helmets.

Michelle created some color concepts for the previously shown NPC draugr concept.

Next we’ve got more interesting environment concept art, including a bit of flora and fauna ideas.

Again, remember these are just concepts, and we’re not necessarily making all of them. Though I know Jon, our sculptor, probably really wants to make this stag’s ornate antlers!

And that’s it for us here at CSE for this week! Again, thank you to all of you, our Backers, for your continued interest and support. We continue to put in the effort and hard work to make a game we can all be proud of!

– Tyler