The Birdman Cometh and a Welcome AMD Fix – Wednesday, April 12th, 2023

Hi Folks,

As I mentioned in the livestream, we’ve continued to emphasize hiring, hiring, and more hiring. We’ve been fortunate to find several people who are not only quite talented, but who are also an excellent fit for how we do things at CSE. Even though some of them have only joined us recently, you are already starting to see their contributions in every discipline in the studio, from art, to design, to engineering and beyond. This month, for example, brings a range of highly-anticipated Valkyrie updates, AMD crash fixes, and a special guest for Extraction! I won’t spoil the surprise – except to say, you really should try out the weekend CU test build, if you haven’t already 🙂

Top Tenish for March 2023

  1. WIP – Yes, We’re Still Hiring:
    1. We’ve added more talented folks to our team, including our new Community Manager, Travis, whom you will be hearing a lot more from in the coming weeks and months. And no need to worry about Brian – he’s still here, and will be working closely with Travis, as well as production and other teams at the studio. As CSE continues to expand, Brian’s roles and responsibilities in the studio will as well.
    2. We also have some new engineers starting in the next several weeks. These additional hires will give us a lot more firepower in a number of areas, including rendering, physics, gameplay, and in expanding our expertise in a number of other technical areas.
    3. If that wasn’t enough, we’ve also added additional art resources, including a 3D artist with a ton of experience.
    4. Once all of these folks are up to speed in our system, you’ll start seeing the fruits of their labor in terms of improved art, code and new/improved features.
    5. As MJ pointed out in a recent update, we’re starting to slow down hiring a bit, after focusing on this area for the past several months. It takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to screen, interview, hire and onboard new folks – even though they are totally worth it – especially for a small studio like ours.
    6. Having said that, we’re still looking to fill a few key roles. We’ll keep you up to date as we find the right fits for those, too. In the meantime, thanks for your interest and patience as we get our new hires up and running. We guarantee you’ll be happy with the results.
  2. Done – Art/Design/Engineering – “Extraction Updates”: This April, you’re going to want to duck and cover for our latest round of Extraction updates! We’ve added some big surprises to the Extraction events in the Frozen Tundra – make sure you check them out! This might require some additional muscle though, so bring friends…and maybe some extra protein.
  3. WIP – AMD Crash Fixes:
    1. Wylie has made great progress in tracking down some of the crashes our users are seeing with AMD 6000-series cards. You’ll see his initial fixes in the current build, which is available for weekend testing.
    2. Thanks to everyone who provided logs and feedback to help us isolate the crash and ultimately fix it.
    3. We plan for more fixes in this area over the next few builds. In particular, we’ll be focusing on improving performance on AMD cards as well.
  4. Done – Art/Design – Updated Valkyrie Race:
    1. The Valkyrie have been updated to use their brand-new winged models.
    2. For now, they are wearing armor which is only compatible with their race. This will be updated in the near future, so that this armor is compatible with the Humans.
    3. Each class option for the Valkyrie has its own set of armor that it comes with by default. This is the first time we’ve shown off the Skald and Helbound sets in game.
    4. We have added several new banes and boons to the Valkyrie race, which can be selected at character creation.
  5. Done – Design – Valkyrie Racial Trait Updates: The updates for the Valkyrie race are landing with a set of new racial traits! A few of these traits hone in on the dark origins of Valkyrie, such as the Dark Radiance and Echoes of Anguish traits.
  6. Done – Art/Design – Valkyrie Racial Trait Icons: To go along with the updated Valkyrie racial traits, we’ve added a set of new icons. Any time you create a Valkyrie character, you can see these new icons in the Banes and Boons menu.
  7. WIP – Art/Design – New Viking Heavy Armor Visuals: While setting up the Valkyrie, we decided this would be a good opportunity to show off the new look for the Viking Heavy Armor. The Valkyrie version of the Heavy Armor item has a more solid, sturdy look – this new look will be coming to the other Viking races as well in a future update!
  8. WIP – UI – New Racial UI Renders: As part of our ongoing UI Render updates, we’ve added new renders for the Valkyrie UI icons, Race Select, and Class Select (though class-specific thumbnails haven’t been updated yet). In addition, we’ve added new St’rm class renders to the class selection page. We’re continuing to work on updating more renders, so expect to see more in the future!
  9. Done – Art/Design – St’rm Updates: The St’rm now have access to an additional set of light and medium armor. These are the default equipment for the Abbot and Minstrel classes, respectively.
  10. WIP – Design/Engineering – Crafting Updates: Christina, Matt, and MJ have been crafting a major update to the system (Yeah, we know that you know who wrote that bad pun). 🙂
    1. We are working on a big crafting update, but it isn’t quite ready to show off yet. In the meantime, here’s a taste of what we’re working on…
    2. A new crafting DevUI so that we can quickly iterate on this system.
    3. Adding updates to the Vox token system, so that a Vox is transported into the token instead of recreated every time.
    4. Updating item resources to be much more data-driven, which gives our designers more power and flexibility to use this system.
    5. Working on prototyping visual item customization.
  11. Done – Engineering – Item Scaling Integration:
    1. Last month, we added the ability to scale items.
    2. This has now been integrated into the Overmind as well as our ECT system, so that we can start utilizing this in our zones.
  12. WIP – Engineering – Auras & Trigger Volume Updates: Resolved issues with auras not following the entity they are attached to, and not processing enter/exit events properly in all cases. This is part of the work to expand the cases where we can effectively use them, which will help with their general responsiveness, plus (hopefully) server performance.
  13. Done – Animation Debugger: James completed his 2nd major batch of features for the Animation Debugger. A highlight of this deliverable is the ability to chain animations together, so that their blending can be observed and eventually manipulated in a future update. For now, this allows multiple clips to play consecutively, with playback subject to the existing pause, rewind, and speed factor features that will allow tracking down issues with animation transitions to be much easier than before.
  14. WIP – Engineering – Bug Fixes:
    1. Siege ammo once again correctly collides with and damages buildings.
    2. Added some missing data validation checks in our alchemy system. This uncovered that we had some reagents pointing to missing alchemy results. We have fixed up the alchemy reagents so that they are no longer pointing to non-existent data.
    3. A bug was fixed with changing item animations that could cause the client to crash.
    4. Curing a wound no longer heals the player’s health (unless the ability is meant to do both).
  15. WIP – Engineering – NPC Fixes: Mike D continues his effort to improve the NPC behavior system, with a focus on fixing the interactions between the various components that contribute to NPC selection and management of targets in service of NPC behavioral goals. This effort is nearing completion and will result in simplified NPC logic and more easily written and maintained behaviors, which in turn makes authoring more sophisticated behaviors easier and more frequent.
  16. WIP – Engineering – Terrain Authoring Improvements: Wylie has begun an effort to enhance our terrain authoring capabilities. First on the list is a terrain flattening tool, which will allow map designers to much more easily create level areas in the world for building placement, roadways, plateaus, and other uses. These flat areas blend with the natural terrain, yet provide spaces that are good fits for buildings and other structures.
  17. Done – Engineering – Netcode Improvements: We’ve been doing some internal scale and latency testing recently and found some issues that could affect players in some combination of high server load and/or high latency situations. One big issue that could cause the client to get stuck in a “Rate limited” state which would render a player unable to use abilities until they restart the client has been found and fixed. There were also several issues we found and fixed related to projectile prediction that were causing projectiles to rubberband or snap.
  18. WIP – UI Overhaul: The work on overhauling the UI continues. Since our last update here’s what we’ve been working on:
    1. Updating data pipeline from the client to the UI for passing ability bar data.
    2. Ability bars have been implemented in the overhauled UI.
    3. Game Info menu has been implemented in the overhauled UI.
    4. Settings menu has been implemented in the overhauled UI.
    5. The compass is currently being implemented in the overhauled UI.
  19. WIP – Camera Debugger: James is nearing completion of the first version of the Camera Debugger GUI (which we started working on last month). This will allow Design to experiment with tuning camera parameters, in pursuit of creating the best user experience in all gameplay contexts involving camera and controls operating together.

Now, let’s ride with the Valkyries down below!

We’ve done a lot of work to get the Valkyrie’s new winged look settled in – this rounds out the last of the winged races from our most recent push! The first thing you’ll notice now when creating a Valkyrie character in the launcher are a series of new UI renders, including race and class renders.

Gotta love the bird people! Of course, their feathery *awesomeness* continues in-game as well!

This was a big update, as we’ve now rolled out new/improved races for three months straight – not even counting our special guest for April. Going forward, we’ll be focusing on gameplay as we roll out new crafting updates, so you can see what MJ, Christina, Matt and the gang have been working on for the past few months. We’re busy testing away, so we can get those updates in your hands as soon as possible. And there will be more great things to come as we move from Spring into Summer, so stay tuned!

As always, I wanted to say thanks so much for your continued enthusiasm and support for CU and CSE. We’ll see you with another livestream and more news in a few weeks. Take care.