Spot the Gecko! – Friday, April 14, 2017


 What can I say about weeks like this? Things move along, work gets done, and progress continues apace. About the only thing that is going wrong now has been getting an office for the Seattle team. We think we’re close, but we’ve thought that before. It’s just really different out in Seattle (it’s booming, and commercial space, where we are looking, is tight) than it is in Virginia (lots and lots of space, almost everywhere). Hopefully this will happen next week. Other than that though, it’s all good around here. As this is our “in-between” week in terms of user stories updates, it’s time for our Top Tenish only:

Top Tenish

  1. WIP – Tech – Seamless zone transitions: One of our goals for our multi-server tech is nearing completion: the removal of loading screens during zone transitions. The first step is making this work with manually placed zone transition triggers. Once that works, we’ll work on auto-populating the zone transition triggers based on the edge of the zone. Later, we’ll support projectiles, so you can shoot each other across zones.

  2. WIP – Tech – Improved animation system: Andrew has a first pass of stationary (non-running) jump animation that is seen only on your own client, and is moving into making jump look and feel better on yourself and on other players around you. He’s also working on giving dB the ability to add sounds to animations, which will support feedback when performing abilities.

  3. Tech – Players respawning: Late last week, Rob finished work allowing players to spawn at the closest plot, owned by your Realm, to where you died. If no such plots exist close to the player, the player will respawn at the closest Realm-controlled default spawn point. This tech currently is a WIP for testing only, and is not by any means the final “respawn” design.

  4. Tech – Log contexts: We get a two-for-one with the completion of this task! As part of improving how we solve hard-to-find issues, like our current stability issues, Marc has added several improvements to our logging capabilities. We now have several more detailed logging options, such as tagging logs, which will make it easier to track down more difficult or elusive bugs.

    1. Example: if someone fires off a spell, the context is tagged with who fired it off, when, and what proxy they were on. Then, any subsequent log messages under that context get everything currently in the context. That way, the ten or so log messages that come out of firing a spell all don’t need to put “by <playerID>” on them.

    2. They’re also all tagged uniformly, so you don’t get “caster <playerID>” on one and “by <playerID>” on another.

  5. WIP – Tech – Object interaction: Matt has completed a first pass on the tech that allows players to click on an object in the world and interact with it. This gets us another step closer to testing siege engines using the experimental aiming work for archery. Down the road, you’ll be able to use this to hot-swap your ability bar(s).

  6. Tech – Set and save editor workspace layouts: While working in the editor, Bull made it so we can save individual layouts amongst the various features in the editor. While a small, and usually taken-for-granted option, Bull has steadily been adding in QoL (quality of life) features to our editor, while also supporting the recent updates to our particle rendering.

  7. WIP – Tech/Design – Manual aiming: We had an in-office deathmatch to get some initial feedback on the four variations of manual aiming that Matt has implemented. We’ll use the feedback, as well as Backer feedback, to make some tweaks to our current designs as well as add new aiming systems. As Mark always says, we’re not locked into any one particular solution, just the one(s) that work the best and are the most fun for our Backers. In other words: test, iterate, repeat.

  8. WIP – Design – Player experience doc: For those of you keeping a close eye on our progress, you may have noticed how work has transitioned anew from system features to cohesive gameplay needs for the start of Beta 1. As part of that focus, Mark is spending some additional brain cycles to lay out the player’s experience during Beta 1, based on where our work is, and where it is headed. Think of this as a more detailed, targeted version of our feature list, acting almost as the glue between those core features. This document will serve as a detailed guide for our Backers to expectations during the start of Beta 1 and the first few months after that. It’s also a way to ensure that our Backers and our dev team are in sync on what Beta 1 will feel like to our Backers. For the dev team, it will also serve as the first gameplay roadmap for what we will focus on after the launch of Beta 1 (you didn’t think we’d take a break, did you?). Remember, this truly is an old school beta, not a mostly-complete game, so we expect (and need!) a lot of Backer feedback from this point onward. We’ll be sharing more info on this document, which is still being developed, once we’ve all signed off.

  9. WIP – Art – Updated Animations: Working in conjunction with Andrew, Scott and Sandra remain very busy updating rough-pass assets and creating new ones to improve the look and feel of our animations. This week:

    1. New knockback animation, waiting on integration by tech.

    2. Updated greataxe swings to be clearer about which body part is being targeted.

    3. Updated upper-body combat locomotion for the greataxe.

    4. Clean up on greataxe equip and unequip.

    5. Completed a test of jump animation while running at travel speed.

    6. Continued updating the previous polearm animations to support full-body animations.

  10. Art – Arthurian Siege engine: John completed the modeling and material side of things for an Arthurian-themed scorpion (the siege weapon, not the kind that stings you on United Airlines’ flights!). Next up, TDD and Viking variations. (Jon also completed a quick pass on some generic, Realm color-coded cloaks for future testing.)

  11. Art – Willow Trees: Dionne completed Realm material variations for a set of willow trees to support environment changes based on Realm ownership of plot/land. Next step is a few ground materials to support the new assets.

  12. WIP – Art – VFX: Mike continues to make new VFX for testing the new OIT particle renderer, as well as for use in the game. Tyler is adding these to a particle performance test zone.

Another fine Top Tenish, so let’s move to today’s display of our artists’ talents.

In terms of art this week, let’s run, not walk, over to animation land. Continuing our show and tell from last week, Scott has rendered videos of the updated run and walk cycles for the Human male, which had been previously completed. Of course, these are still not final, but a big improvement over the quick passes we had before. As we hone in on the look and feel of combat with the new animation system, these will very likely receive more tweaking. Since you have to walk before you can run:

Now, run Human run!

With a bit of spare time Jon managed to find this week, he completed a quick material pass on a generic cloak for each Realm. These may help us further identify Realm associations a little easier during big battle tests.

One of our features for Camelot Unchained is seeing the environment change per Realm control of the area. Below, with Michelle’s input, Dionne shifted the willow tree textures to reflect the changes one might encounter after Realm control changes.

Continuing investigative work this week on our UI styling, Michelle has a plethora of treatments for our player health bars, with regular and compact variations.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve had the pleasure of hosting one of our Backers, Swazi, on our Twitch stream. In the image below, taken with our updated rendering system, you can see Swazi is using the C.U.B.E. flat zone to store a small town of buildings. You can catch his next stream tomorrowevening. Check our schedule HERE.

Here’s a couple of extra shots of those buildings. The bottom two are in one of the small island maps in C.U.B.E.

Let’s end today’s art update with a bit more of a “point:” Here we have a couple of images of the Arthurian version of a scorpion siege engine. This might just make it a little easier to destroy the defenses of your enemies. If you’d like to see how this was built, you can catch Jon’s modeling stream HERE, and his material pass stream HERE. The latter shows off our use of Substance painter, a tool we’ve come to love, and one which has quickly reduced our art turnaround time!

We were also just granted trademarks for Camelot Unchained® and Bring Out Your Devs®: they were officially acknowledged as registered trademarks by the USPTO! Woot! We’ve leveled up!!

As to this weekend’s testing, our Alpha and IT folks will be invited to join us on Wyrmling for a test of the “almost latest and greatest build” while our IT folks can head over to Wyrmling Prep for a slightly updated version (one change) of that build. Look to your email for details, as usual.

To those that celebrate Easter, Happy Easter all! And Happy Passover to those that celebrate that holiday! Plus, as I said on today’s stream, Happy Holiday for any other holidays I don’t know about.

As always folks, we thank you for your support and patience. Have a great weekend, everybody, and I’ll see some of you in the game!


To close out this update, a big thanks goes out to the Backer Zenksor, who sent us ANOTHER box of gecko sour candies, a basking rock, as well as a bag of friends to keep our gecko office pet company!