We’re not dead, but they are! – Friday, August 16th, 2019
Welcome to our weekly update, which is meant to give you, our amazing Backers, some insight into what we’re working on. This week, things continue to be very busy as per usual. I personally had a couple of days where I had so many meetings, I think I was at my desk maybe 30 minutes total. You know you’re working on something fun when it’s suddenly the end of the day and you barely noticed time flying by. It’s even better when your teammates also agree that they’re working so hard, the time just flies by too quickly!
Games, particularly MMOs, tend to attract crazy developers who like hard work and lots of problem solving!
We are planning on have a test this weekend. We announced this test in last week’s update in order to give Backers plenty of lead time to join in.
Saturday, August 17th, 2019
Countdown Timer HERE
3 hours: 12pm – 3pm EDT / 9am – 12pm PDT / 6pm – 9pm CEST (Get Localization)
IT/Alpha/Beta 1/Beta 2
We’ll be re-sending the testing instructions from last week again, to make sure you’re all up to date on the testing details. Hope to CU there!
For any new Backers joining us, our Top Tenish list is meant to give Backers further insight into what we’re working on during the week. If you have more questions about CU or CSE, feel free to join us in the game’s chat during tests or feel free to drop in with your questions during our weekly livestreams!
If you missed today’s livestream update Mark, you can find that HERE.
WIP – Tech – NPC Behavior: This week, Spidey worked on a new objective component, which allows the server to track objectives and instruct NPCs where to go. This should help the NPCs in the point capture scenario do something constructive, instead of just being mindless targets.
WIP – Tech – Tools – Visual Debugging: This week, Matt worked on a system to let other engineers send visual debugging information like shapes, lines, and text from within server-side gameplay and NPC code. We had the ability to do this for some specific systems already, but this will be a lot more versatile. While no one outside the team should ever actually see any of this, Backers will get to enjoy abilities hitting the right targets and NPCs walking to the right places.
WIP- Tech – Tools – Logging: We started working on a persistent, queryable logging server online. Once this server is online, we will be able to query it for logs by type, place, and falling under a certain category, etc. This will allow us to search through the logs for historical data and crash dumps, instead of having to reproduce an issue with the command window open to get the desired data.
Tech – Physics: This week, Colin added support for parent/child relationships on server-side physics actors. This will let us create triggers that spawn relative to another entity and report collisions to that entity. We can use this to create items that add status effects when players get close to them.
WIP – Tech – Servers: Wylie and George have converted more code from Microsoft’s standard to the stricter C++ standard, which is key to supporting different compilers. Up next is work to support non-standard features on Linux, which are typically OS features like IO, threading and system resource management. The reason for our switch to Linux is to reduce our overall server costs.
WIP – Tech – Servers – Moar Linuxification: Andrew is almost done with converting the project builds and configurations so they can be supported with a Linux infrastructure. He has a few systems, like the patcher, to finish before moving on to help with the C++ work.
WIP – Tech – Tools – Server Controller: We added more features to the Server Controller finished last week. This has improved the interface so that users can modify the server configuration with the tool more easily.
WIP – Tech – NavMesh: Lee continued on his quest to get proper NPC pathing into the game. He converted Navmesh and pathplanner to understand 3D coordinates. This is the first major step to getting the navmesh and pathplanner to deal with multiple layers and elevations in our world, and allow NPCs to path on structures that are stacked on top of each other, such as battlements and towers.
WIP – Tech – Editor: Rob spent some time this week making artists less sad. He fixed some issues with textures not loading properly when their sources were updated. He also improved the performance of terrain editing by limiting the number of control points that are drawn on the screen. Both of these items will save the artists time when they are working in the editor.
Art – Concept – NPCs: Several more pages of some really cool ideas were completed this week, including some generic undead characters as well as some female magic users. Again, these aren’t for immediate use, but general ideas for later possible additions.
Art – Concept – Draugar Armor Variations: Michelle created several armor part variations to help add more variation to these models. A pile of these guys coming at you will probably be pretty intimidating, when added later in production.
Art – Music – Low Intensity Track: dB completed the first track and has begun working on variations within it. This work included setting up several new sample instruments which can be used in later tracks.
WIP – Art – Materials: We began investigating using a new program called Substance Alchemist, a relatively new solution still in development. We’re seeing if we can speed up production on terrain texture creation that use procedural materials instead of using pre-baked photogrammetry-based assets.
Art – VFX – Improvements: Mike went through and updated some older assets, improving timing particularly on our more “explosive” VFX. He also continued to wireframe basic timing for new abilities ahead of final concept.
Art – Siege Engines – Corpse Chucker Fixes: Joe is going through and updating the rigs for these to make adjustments to player interaction point, as well as camera position when in use. Additionally, he’s doing a little cleanup on some hitches in the animation.
3D-ifying our NavMesh is a pretty big deal. This step will allow our NPCs to move in a three-dimensional world. Which is great, because as you may know, CU is a 3D game! Until this work goes in, NPCs won’t be able to walk under an archway (assuming it has collision on the physics server), because from their top-down perspective, that archway is a solid, impassable, collision. Ben pointed out that if you stand under an arch, the NPCs won’t be able to get at you. Lee’s work will “fix” this.
In terms of art this week, we have more concept art for possible NPCs one might encounter in CU. These first guys were a bunch of ideas for some undead types of NPCs. Some of these guys are straight-up nightmare fuel!
As with all concept art, please remember that these are not necessarily planned to show up in-game soon. This phase of the art is really just meant to help us come up with a bunch of cool ideas. The next step requires us to sit and pick our favorites and work out how and when to build them. Often, we take bits of different concepts and combine them into a final form.
And that’s everything for this week at CSE. Again, thank you to all our Backers for their support and participation in our testing. Your feedback is always of great help as we continue to work on CU!
Have a great weekend!