Navigating a Busy Week – Friday, September 6th, 2019


Despite a short week for us here at CSE, we’ve been pretty busy. It’s always a pleasure working with team members who regularly put in (a cliché, yet true) 110% day in and day out.

We landed a first pass on some fun tech we haven’t talked about much, which allows us to add more visual variation to non-player characters, such as NPCs. There’s also trigger volumes, giving us far more ways to create interesting gameplay, as well as a personal favorite: supporting tech for traps! Having played stealthy or support classes myself in a few MMOs, traps sound right up my alley!

If you missed our livestream with Producer Ash, live from the Seattle area, you can catch that HERE.

We are not planning on a test this weekend, though it will be a goal of next week’s work. Keep an eye on our tentative testing schedule for more info on testing next week.

Let’s move to the week’s highlights below!

Top Tenish:

  1. WIP – Tech – NavMesh: This week, Lee spent time debugging the 3D-ification of the navmesh.  Unfortunately, there are still a few problems with how it’s being updated internally when new obstacles are added to the navmesh, so there’s a bit of fix-up work to still be done there. The path-planning itself will need to be updated to use the new 3D info appropriately. Lots to do, but we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!

  1. WIP – Tech – Tools: Rob finished his first pass on the transformer gizmo for the editor, and it is now available for use by our devs. The 3D math has been defeated, the colors have been adjusted, and the code has been pushed. This gizmo will greatly speed up placing and editing assets in a zone.

  1. WIP – Tech – Servers: As we are wrapping up our cost-saving Linuxification of the servers, Colin converted the game server to .Net Core (the last of the managed servers he’s been converting) this week. The next step is to figure out how to deploy and run the servers on Linux.

  1. Tech – Trigger Volumes: Caleb has landed trigger volumes! They include a fair bit of interesting support bits: Changes to Entity Destruction, Event forwarding, and stronger guarantees about the ordering of entity/physics life cycle events. This will unlock the ability for us to have traps and more interesting scripting in the world, and paves the way toward auras, which we want to use for the Support archetype.

  2. WIP – Tech – Traps: Christina worked on traps this week. Using the trigger volume tech that Caleb landed she was able to prototype out a few trap types. These are using temp art, but are functional.

  1. WIP – Tech – Prediction: Matt started investigating and fixing thread safety issues on the server that deal with ability prediction and execution. This issue has been causing abilities to randomly fail for a few months now.

  2. Tech – NPC/Creature Variation: Mike and Matt landed a first pass to add more variation to non-player characters. This includes variable body and gear tinting, as well as variable size and equipped gear. This will obviously give us much more visual variation in things such as NPCs or creatures without requiring additional work from Art.

  3. Art – Weapons: We created a new Arthurian axe based off an older concept. This one was what we call “epic-looking” as it just looks a bit more awesome than what you might consider a basic axe.

  4. Art – Armor: We completed a texture pass on a couple of new helmets as well as some Arthurian heavy armor. This helps audit the assets for later crafting and tinting tech.

  5. Art – Procedural Materials: In our continued use of Substance Designer, we’ve become more adept at creating one-off items, such as locks, chains, rope, handles, etc. Again, once created, the ability to make tweaks after the fact greatly improves our iteration time.

  6. Art – VFX – Weapon Trail Investigation: We tested some faster melee abilities, which required Mike to go in and audit existing weapon trails that were breaking. This additionally showed us a limitation in the current tech that may need some additional work. Mike is also working to add more sprites for various incoming abilities.

  7. WIP – Art – Animation: Sandra has been working on an NPC animation set for our previously shown mage draugar. As they don’t have legs, per concept, it makes the animation work a bit easier and also helps them stand out.

I’m excited for Lee to get through those last bugs/tasks on the navmesh 3D-ification (I love making up new words!) because it will hopefully allow us to do some testing, maybe in the capture point scenario. As that map has lots of overhanging geometry that our NPCs might now get stuck on, or unable to navigate, it might be a good candidate. It will be fun to see them go from dumb-as-rocks to actually chasing down players. Plus, in testing, we’ll find those fun edge cases our Backers are so good at finding!

For art this week, we start off with a render of the axe, mentioned above. As you can see, this is truly an epic axe. I’m sure it will require some hefty crafting mats to make!

Next, we have several pieces of armor, now with a material pass. The first up is an Arthurian armor heavy waist piece. (I’ve included the previously-shown high poly sculpt.)

This next image, a medium Arthurian helmet made up of hard leather. The texturing on these two helmets will later be updated for different material types and tinting in the final crafting system.

This one, medium as well, for TDD.

Our plans for the crafting system will allow players to not only determine the visuals of their gear based on the materials used to create it, but also tint it afterwards. In the item above, depending on the recipes set up by design, this could be made of different leathers or even cloth, metal maybe for the face plate. It’s a fun system I’m looking forward to playing with when implemented. 

And that ends a slightly shorter week for us at CSE. Have a great weekend all, and we’ll CU next week!

– Tyler