The rubble is about to hit the fan! (and Backers too!) – Friday, November 16th, 2018


We ended the week late pushing a whole host of changes into Hatchery and Nuada Prep in hopes of getting some testing in this weekend on a SUPER unstable build test on Hatchery for IT and Nuada Prep for Alphas. Unfortunately, the build was simply too super unstable to warrant a weekend test because it would have been a poor experience for Backers. However, our internal testing gave several things to fix come Monday morning. Our focus next week, starting bright and early in the morning, will be to stabilize the build enough to get testers in to see all the changes we’ve been working on. Much of those items are covered in today’s update.

However, for those who have IT access, and would like a sneak peek at all the 64bit and rubbly goodness, feel free to jump onto Hatchery, which is still very unstable. It will remain up through the weekend unless something goes Boom! So if you have access and really want to see the most cutting edge changes feel free to jump in and check things out. We’ll be following up today’s email with further testing documentation for those with IT access!

For this week’s update, we’ve been on a bit of a weather kick in our recent updates, as winter is making itself known in VA. This week, we had our first snow, or sorta a slush, if you will. So while things continue to cool outside, we’re heating up here at CSE! Okay, cheesy, I know, but I wanted to make Mark proud, especially since he is sick and working from home! However, a couple of our bigger engineering tasks are beginning to land for testing, specifically the switch to a 64-bit client, and the rubble update, which Andrew just landed on Hatchery today!

We also have several hands switching our UI over to Coherent, which is nearing the end as the last UI elements are updated and the accompanying bugs are hammered out. As Andrew mentioned in today’s livestream, discussions have been particularly boisterous, just to keep everyone caught up on daily progress and bug fixes supporting these new features!

Once this work is done, we’re not going to take a break–no sir! We’ll be back to pushing on more fun gameplay features, further supported by these big technical changes!

If you missed this week’s entertaining livestream and Q&A with Andrew and Ben, you can find that HERE.

Let’s move on to this week’s Top Tenish, where we go over the highlights of the week’s work.

Top Tenish:

  1. WIP – Tech – 64-Bit: If you read last week’s update, you might have spotted a last-minute addition about how we got the PC client running in 64-bit! Doing so gives us the ability to work with all the memory on players’ machines. This will help out in a number of areas (including memory-based crashes), and allows us to make a game for 2019 and beyond. This week, we have a working editor and client running in 64-bit, and now we’re working on ironing out the parts that will get them into Backer’s hands for serious testing.

  2. Tech – Rubble: A playable pass of fully-networked building rubble physics has been wrapped up and deployed to Hatchery. As an example, see some great GIFs like and Interactions between rubble and the rest of the world are still in tuning — some things have way too much or too little damage and/or impact. Expect some comically awesome results if you go on that server — and feel free to post your most entertaining GIF in the CU forums!

  3. WIP – Design – Classes: Ben finished his work on the support classes’ skill part design, and has moved on to the Spirit Mages. This work will dovetail into the improvements in the ability system, allowing Ben to do more ability design work at a faster pace.

  4. WIP – Tech – Coherent: JB and AJ continue to work through the remaining tasks to have all our UI elements use Coherent. This week, they plowed through the ability buttons, health bar, compass, and more! This work will allow us to add a lot more functionality to our UI in future updates.

  5. WIP – Tech – Abilities: We’ve got several people working on this task, which improves what the system can do and makes it easier for Ben to create abilities. This week, progress was made on editor support, converting entity mutators, fixing the way statuses work with the new abilities, and getting client effect defs up to the new code, so abilities play animations and effects generated off the ability, rather than being entered by hand (by Ben).

  6. WIP – Tech – Faster Particles: Wylie committed his previous task, which makes particles take up less memory. Now he’s attempting to speed up particle processing time so we spend less time allocating memory and less time filling the memory cache. This should improve framerate when the world is full of particle effects.

  7. WIP – Terrain Mesh Simplification: In order to better support a performant navmesh in our game for things like NPCs (and caravans, of course), we’re taking our Mesh Simplification and making it work with our terrain, so we can send more accurate info to the physics engine. This should rectify a lot of the problems we’ve been seeing with players getting stuck in the terrain, glitching, or slowing over terrain.. This means we’ll have a unified way of getting terrain information that doesn’t need to access the physics engine. 2 for 1!

  8. Art – Characters 2.0: Better-looking and more performant characters!

    1. Armor Cleanup: Dionne blazed through six groups of armor (light, medium, and heavy per Realm) this week. This makes it easier for Joe to get through the initial weighting of the gear, so it can be successfully animated on the new rigs.

    2. UV Symmetry: Jon and Dionne completed this work, which makes sure our male and female models share the same UVs. This means we don’t have to support different textures for each gender. Cost-saving in terms of production, as well as in game texture usage.

    3. Underwear: Jon pulled the character underwear off to its own texture sheet. This will allow us to create skimpy clothing in the future without adhering exactly to the base underwear locations.

    4. WIP – Updated UV layouts: Jon is working through the fairly quick task of re-baking the textures for the characters according to the previously mentioned UV adjustment. Once finished, we can begin fitting these finished assets to the female human geo.

  9. Wand Concept Art: Michelle finished an exploratory pass on a set of wands and scepters for the Flame Warden and Druid. She’ll concept out more of those, as well as gauntlets for the Wave Weaver, next week.

  10. Art – Animation 2.0: Updated style and timing support.

    • WIP – Mage Shared Animations: Scott completed shared animations for projectile, direct, AOE, and Summon. These shared assets will allow us to test mages sooner.

    • WIP – Weighting: Following up on Dionne’s work, Joe has begun an initial weighting pass. Weighting is sort of like glueing the geometry to the bones, which are driven by the animations. Once done, we’ll copy these weights over to the LODs (Level of Detail), giving us better-looking characters that animate better and cost less than our previous iteration.

    • WIP – Animation Retargeting: In order to save time, we’re updating many of the pre-existing animations to work with the new rig (skeleton). When complete, we’ll have a combination of existing animations with new animations that take advantage of improvements in our animation system.

  11. WIP – Art – Environment: Dionne jumped around a bit this week, helping move the Character 2.0 process forward. In her spare time, she managed to create several new “ground” materials for some new environments. She is also helping Joe out by cleaning up our generic trebuchet model, so Joe can rig it for future testing.

For art this week, we start off with some renders of the updated armor. With the improvements worked out, we’re continuing our focus on updating the existing in-game assets. This includes all the armor as well as the nude meshes and NPC clothing. Once the required engineering work is complete and we pull the switch to swap to our new skeletons and meshes, we’ll have testing and polish left to complete.

First off, we have a front and back of the TDD medium and light armors, as well as the Viking medium. As previously mentioned, these armors are built from swappable parts, allowing you to mix and match!

Next, the Arthurian medium, heavy, and light armors.

These guys are looking better than ever! We can’t wait to these into the game, which will free us up to start making lots more armor as well as more races!

Next up, we have a couple of new terrain materials from Dionne. We’ll use these in an upcoming area, or maybe use them to add more variety to some of our existing assets. I’ve found that a great thing about our terrain editor is how quickly we can take an existing area and quickly change it with just a few new textures like these.

Next up, we have some of the exploratory work Michelle did on scepters, or wands. These are being designed large enough to be seen in hand, as well as support a three-part sub-component system similar to how we’ve put together other weapon types.

I really like the little “calla lily” one, with the white flower smack dab in the middle! Wands and scepters are only a couple of the possible items Ben has been cooking up for mages. More to come!

That wraps up another really exciting, stressful, but fun week at CSE. We continue to be ever-busy and ever-grateful to our wonderful community of Backers.

CU next week,