ORing with Charon


Happy Friday, all! We survived another week of weird January weather (mostly sunny, warm, etc.), and the flu/plague stuff that might be associated with those conditions (at this point, 75% of people here), intact. Even with a less-than-full team here and in Seattle, we still got a lot done, and made some great progress on one of our most pressing needs: a new animation system. With that, let’s get on to our Top Ten-ish list:

Top Ten-ish

  1. WIP Animation System: As seen on the stream earlier this week, Andrew has made great strides, having successfully made a character blend multiple animations, like simultaneously running and independently moving his arms. There’s still a lot of work for Scott and Andrew to tackle to get this ready, but we’re excited about the leap in progress this week. Linkage here – (https://www.twitch.tv/citystategames/v/115434037)
  2. WIP Gear Slots: We continue to add more granularity to our gear system by breaking our existing gear slots into multiple slots. Instead of just having a helmet protecting your entire head, you’ll need to protect your skull, face, and neck, expanding our already existing ways to customize your characters.
  3. WIP Building Performance Improvements: Brad and Rob are joining forces on our next phase: updating our server-side game logic and our networking code to make use of Brad’s recent data structure improvements. This will bring us one step closer to chaotic and thrilling building destruction that won’t negatively affect players’ performance.
  4. WIP Improving Config File Loading: Once we hit Beta, we’ll need to make quick, incremental builds on our Beta channel for small hotfixes. Matt has been working on updating our existing file loading in preparation to more easily support hot-fixing issues.
  5. WIP Patcher Updates: Yesterday, we asked our IT Backers to begin testing our experimental patcher.  If all goes well with this test, we’ll be able to combine our default and experimental patchers into one, freeing up time to work on other things! We will be running this patcher IT test over this upcoming weekend.
  6. WIP Place of Power: Dionne finished the second pass layout work Ben requested, and has moved into detailing out the geometry. Cross has completed some of the primary VFX, and is working to improve our current fire for further use.
  7. WIP Deeper darker forest: Tyler and Ben agreed on a scale of our large tree assets, so Tyler has worked with Jon this week to work some scary faces into the trees. Michelle continues to concept out the details of this area, including Realm variations. We’re aiming to work smart here so that the art can be used in multiple biomes without much re-work.
  8. WIP Animation assets: Per our number one item, Scott is working with Andrew to get a solid first pass on some combat animations. Our immediate goal is to improve upon our current system and assets, to get something that looks and plays well. That will inform audits of existing animations moving into Beta 1.
  9. WIP Improved player hair and skin: After knocking out a series of scary faces for use in our forest, Jon is moving forward with improving not only the way our characters’ hair looks, but also possibly, the overall texture space and poly count needed. Our goal is not only good-looking hair, but a system that allows for many Realm and race styles. On the skin side, this is a pass similar to what we did with clothing: not only improving it, but making it faster for us to generate the textures.
  10. WIP Combat Sounds: While this will be an ongoing task for our game, of special note is the 752 screams, grunts, and shouts dB added to our library this week for use with abilities.

As per above, a good week overall, albeit a little lighter than we all would have liked. However, with the progress on the animation system and the ongoing work that has been done on our physics server, a very good week.

Today’s update might be a little lighter on the tech side, but we have lots of art to show you as well.

Let’s start off with something cool and informative from Scott. We have talked about our animation system a lot in the past month, so here’s a tangible example from him. This image shows the plotted trajectory path of the greatsword as it travels continuously through the six parts that make up a full attack animation.

Cool, eh? Swinging a sword is a little more complicated than you might have thought.

Now, let’s talk trees. Big trees. Like really big trees. Our goal with our “deeper darker” forest is to expand upon the initial forest, which was very dense, yet supported several hundred bots/players within it. This forest variation will be at the center a much vaster forest, and will have much larger, older trees, supporting different types of gameplay. The assets we build for this section of the forest will be more easily re-purposed to create more than just this one biome. That’s the plan, at least! Michelle’s concept art included in this update should give you an idea of the visual direction. First up, some flora.


And Michele lands a combo!


All of the following images are true works in progress (WIP):

Okay, but I know what you are thinking: these are “prop” trees, right MJ? You really can’t do anything on them, right?

Eeeh! Sorry Hans, wrong guess. Would you like to go for Double Jeopardy where the scores can really change? And since I said double…

Here’s a look at a number of them.

Look at those tree trunks and how the leaves picked up the lighting.

Now, those trees are great, but even though they are WIPs, they are still missing something. Not sure what. Maybe this?

And how about some WIPs for our latest Place of Power. Let’s start with a simple shot:

How about from a different angle, the Tuatha Dé Danann perspective, plus a giant floating rock?

Let’s segue to night and a look at the Viking side with a little bit of snow falling.

It’s a start. Here are a couple of environmental images. This one is pretty handy!

Now, stop laughing, please be still as a…

Over the last two years, we have talked about how C.U.B.E. and the building portion of Camelot Unchained was not going to simply be a Minecraft clone. One of the many ways we are fulfilling that promise is by allowing players to create and use round objects. This work-in-progress image shows our building morph technology being put through some tests. It is a cylinder morph around the Z (vertical) axis. Then another cylinder morph around the X axis was added, which combines all the changes of the original morph with itself. The result is that you get curvature around two axes. It’s definitely a WIP, but you can see how close we are getting to the point of bringing this to life inside the engine.

So, lots of good stuff for you folks. Let’s end today’s update with a piece of art from Sandra that sums up the last few weeks at CSE most eloquently!

As always, we thank you for your patience, support, and putting up with my bad puns. As I announced on the stream, we are going to be running a closed IT test this weekend on a major new version of our patcher, so we will not be testing anything else. Next week, though, we hope to push the patcher out to more tiers, and to have Andrew begin the push of his code branch with the WIP animation system. Please keep your fingers, toes, and wings crossed!


P.S. ORing in the title is not a typo, it’s a bad but somewhat clever pun, as it is based on both the word “oar” (which Charon uses) and the bitwise operation “Or” and its many uses in math and computer programming. For more info, head here – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitwise_operation