Things Are Feeling More and More Coherent – Friday, December 7th, 2018


Good evening, all! It’s the end of the week for us here at CSE, which means (if any new Backers don’t know) it’s time for a quick update on the week’s progress, a bit of art, and a mention of testing this weekend! If you missed our livestream earlier today with Andrew and Ben, you can find that HERE. If you have any pressing questions for us, feel free to drop in for the Q&A at the end of each Friday’s stream.

We’ve been testing a new build on Nuada Prep this week, which has a few fixes that kept us from testing last weekend. We are going to have an unstable build test (Known server crash.) tomorrow. We’ll send out further testing info to Backers (up to Beta 1 testing level) later this evening.

For the week’s progress, let’s jump over to the highlights in the form of our Top Tenish:

  1. Coherent Update: The existing UI features have now all been successfully moved over to Coherent! We’re currently looking for bugs and performance improvements, and the work on that is ongoing. CEF is still there, but everything should be defaulting to Coherent anyway until CEF is removed.

  2. WIP – Animation – Siege Equipment: We’re working on how animations work with siege entities, starting with the existing Scorpions. Players will properly play the correct animation to “attach” to the Scorpion, and instead of walking in place, characters will animate side-stepping as they aim. This work shows us the path to making our animations work with incoming new siege engines (you didn’t think for a second that we weren’t going to have a lot of cool siege weapons, did you?).

  3. WIP – Design – Siege: We’ve been focused on buildings as of late, more specifically, building destruction. Ben and Mark have been working on further design for sieges and how various siege engines will work in CU. This work lays the foundation for epic siege battles!

  4. Building Destruction FX System: Wylie landed the first iteration of this system, which will handle VFX and SFX on our buildings. FX now play when blocks are destroyed, as well as along fault lines as rubble chunks are created.

  5. WIP – Ability System Improvements: Rob worked on the update to archery, which will support siege abilities in the updated system. Progress was also made on changing the data structure of the existing system so it can support the incoming ability editor. On the editor side, we’re currently working on getting all of the ability data relationships written and correct so the editor can read everything.

  6. Tech – Mesh Simplification: Lee finished up a major part of the work this week to make characters, buildings, and terrain all use simplified meshes. The physics system now also uses a mesh instead of the heightmap, which should fix a lot of the problems around getting stuck in terrain and similar issues. There may also be a performance improvement. This is currently on Hatchery, awaiting further testing feedback and tweaking.

  7. Tech – Triangle View: Andrew committed a last-minute change that allows us to see all the geometry in-game. This is such a boon to Art! It allows us to better audit work, particularly for asset performance improvements.

  8. WIP – Embedded Building Server: Colin focused on bug hunting this week, addressing the issues that prevented us from testing last weekend. That work is being tested as we speak!

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

    1. WIP – Animation Retargeting: Sandra completed a first pass of several more animations this week, and has begun importing all the retargeting work in preparation for the 2.0 swap.

    2. Multi-Skeleton support: This work was wrapped up earlier this week, and will be tested in earnest when we begin updating all pre-existing character art. Multi-skeleton support allows us to use all different types of skeletons, male, female, non-human, etc.

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

    1. WIP – Updated Model LODs: Dionne completed all the LOD work of the existing armor and nude human meshes. Next up will be the updated Luchorpán nudes.

    2. WIP – Importing and setup: Scott began importing the new character art this week. This supports testing on the new skeleton and gets us prepped to swap all the assets. He completed the updated skeleton as well as five sets of armor or nude meshes.

    3. WIP – The Ladies: All our armors are built to the Human male proportions. This week, Dionne, Jon, and Tyler fit several of the armor sets to the female proportions, specifically the Arthurian and TDD armors.

    4. WIP – Updated Nude Materials: Jon completed the Pict’s updated textures, and will next create the updated nude Valkyries.

    5. Updated Luchorpán Nude: Jon completed both male and female meshes, and has handed them off to Joe for approval and weighting.

  11. WIP – Art – New Class Skill Icons: James, with a bit of help from Michelle, knocked out all the new Healer ability icons this week, and is moving over to Support classes now.

  12. Art – SFX: Thanks to some help and improvements from Dave, dB is updating several SFX mixes to make combat clearer to players. For example, better understanding of arrow SFX to differentiate your arrows from those attacking you.

  13. WIP – Mage-Specific Gear: Michelle mocked up several more really cool ideas for mage wands and scepters. Next up: gauntlets!

We’ve got a quite few buns in the oven, which fits the pace we’ve been maintaining. Getting through all the work to make all our UI elements use Coherent is a pretty big achievement, as are improvements for animations with siege engines and FX on building destruction! Let’s move over to a few visuals from Art this week, shall we?

As you may have noticed, almost all the artists are focused on landing the updated characters and animations. Instead of showing updates to the existing work, I’m trying to show a few images of how these things are assembled. Last week, I showed a pic of “Dionne’s Army of LODs” which you can see HERE. This week, Dionne, Jon, and I (Tyler) began work on making the female variations of these armors. We’re focused on setting up the LOD0 (highest geo resolution version) first, which includes this nice color coding to represent the different armor parts for import. No bikini chainmail here! Our editor takes all these pieces, breaking them up by material (the color you see) so we can create the equipment that goes into the game. It’s a lengthy process that I can proudly say the team is getting through at a rapid pace.

For more behind-the-scenes work, we’ve got a couple of images from Jon, where he’s morphing the new human male mesh into the old high poly Zbrush sculpt of the male Luchorpán. This gets us a really quick starting point for the new Luchorpán that will be quick to weight to the new skeleton and easier to fit armor around. The first step is selecting all the guides for the morph; the second is the final result.

In case you’re wondering, we scale the Luchorpán characters down in the game. Authoring the assets at the same size, and in this case, the same geo (-metry) makes the whole process much easier. With these new meshes comes the updated materials as well, Check them out in our new and improved UV layout.

James continues to pump out ability icons for new healer abilities. Can you guess what they might represent?

I took a break from making the female armors one evening to make some more terrain materials. Dionne and I haven’t forgotten our Environment Art roots (gotta fix a bit of tiling in the mossy one)!

Michelle continued on the new wands and scepters for our mage classes this week. I’m in love with several of these designs.

Speaking of art, we recently received a truly beautiful piece from TierlessTime! Thank you so much! This lovely painted engraving will decorate the office wonderfully!

With that, dear friends, we come to the end 🙁  At least, for this week. Don’t worry, we’ll be back in the office Monday, continuing work and reviewing bugs from the weekend’s testing. Pay attention to our tentative testing schedule next week for further chances to jump into a build!

Thanks, as always, for your support.