Working Hard to the End of the Year – Friday, December 14th, 2018


You know it’s December when you start seeing more snow on people’s cars! While it’s becoming more normal to layer up when going outside, it’s staying toasty here in our offices as we continue working our collective butts off to get as much work done as we can before the end of the year!  (Fun fact: Our HVAC is still on the cooling setting, because our computers actually keep the office a little too warm!)

If you missed this week’s livestream with Andrew, Ben, and myself (Tyler), you can find that HERE.

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

Top Tenish:

  1. WIP – Standalone Building Server: After completing the embedded building server, Colin has landed the standalone building server with some limited testing. This reduces CPU load on the game server by running building operations on a separate server. Once we get more building performance testing done, we’ll consider this item completed!

  2. WIP – New Crafting UI: AJ has been quietly chugging along putting the new crafting UI together. This week, he submitted a new iteration and is now addressing feedback. In his limited spare time, he’s addressed bugs like the missing ability icons, inventory issues, and more.

  3. WIP – Design – Siege: Ben and Mark continue to iterate on the overall design for how siege and siege engines will work in CU. They are designing different types of siege engines and the interface for using them, plus their different purposes. There’s going to be a lot more to sieges than just our scorpion siege engine currently in game! We’re all excited to keep developing building performance and rubble to make this a reality!

  4. WIP – Tech – Weapon VFX: This week, Wylie worked on dynamically sizing particle effects to match the equipped weapons. This lets us match particle effects to different weapons, so a “slice through the air effect” will work with both a little dagger and a large sword, reducing the number of unique VFX assets we need.

  5. Tech – Mesh Simplification: Lots of work on the mesh simplifier was completed by Lee this week to make it work even better! We had a “hack” in before. It was working, but it wasn’t allowing as much simplification as there should have been. With the new fixes, that hack is no longer in use, AND there was an even larger savings in both vertices and indices!  (Before: simplified verts/indices for Arthurian start zone: 34%/74% of original. After: 16%/36% of original!) This should improve performance of the physics engine, as it will deal with smaller amounts of data to make terrain work.

  6. WIP – Tech – Scenario Improvement: Caleb is working on added functionality for our scenarios, specifically scenario victory requirements and spawn point scripting. This will allow us to test different scenario types.

  7. Art – Animation 2.0: Updated style and timing support. First pass retargeting is complete and ready to begin testing!

    1. WIP – Animation Retargeting: Sandra worked ahead of our current goals by retargeting some lower-priority animations, such as the fidgets, for a couple of our classes. Scott imported all our previously retargeted animations into the editor, meaning we’re ready to start putting all the pieces together!

    2. WIP – Weighting Human Females: Joe is currently doing rough weighting on all of our female armors. These should be completed early next week.

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

    1. WIP – Updated Model LODs: Dionne completed all the LOD work of the updated nude Luchorpán meshes.

    2. WIP – Armor Fitting: Dionne completed all the human female armor fittings, as well as two of the three TDD armors, to the Luchorpán male model.

    3. WIP – Importing and setup: Scott and Sandra continued importing the new character art this week. All the nude base Human meshes were imported, as well as the rest of the Human male armors. Currently in progress: all the female armor imports, then the Luchorpán nudes and armors.

    4. WIP – Updated Nude Materials: Jon completed the Valkyrie first pass nudes, and will next move on to updates to the base undergarment shirt and pants for each Realm.

    5. Updated Textures and UVs: Dave completed the code side of the work to support the updated texture regions in all our new character art. We’re using less space more efficiently!

    6. Support for Artist Created LODs: Dave also completed this work, which will be addressed at the beginning of next year, when we’ve ironed out any issues with the first pass of character art and animation 2.0.

  9. Art – Rough Pass Trebuchet Animation: Joe did a quick weighting and animation pass on our generic trebuchet model for testing. This will allow us to begin testing the mechanics of sieges in CU on another siege engine.

  10. WIP – Tech –  Animation – Bow Aiming: We’re currently working on fixing the syncing of the characters movement when aiming with a bow. This work will soon inform improvements to the Scorpion, also allowing us to sync the characters arm movements when aiming. And in turn, that will inform future work on other various siege engines!

  11. WIP – Mage-Specific Gear: Michelle continued to work through scepters this week, and has begun creating gauntlets that can be componentized, similar to our other items. These items will greater differentiate our mage classes from one another, and also give us more item customization!

I’m particularly interested in some more testing on the standalone building server, as well as the improvements in mesh simplifications. Anything that improves performance is always exciting!

For art this week, we start off with a couple of images of some of the work Dionne has completed; she’s been re-fitting the male Human armors to the female Human and Luchorpán male meshes. When possible, we try to keep the character assets the same between genders and races. Doing so allows us to reduce the number of unique textures we have to make, and allows us to easily copy the weighting between characters.

No, we’re not expecting you to say, “Wow, this is awesome! I always wanted to dress up like my grandmother’s quilt!” 🙂 The color-coding of the materials on the characters becomes important when we import them. The editor will break everything down into the different armor parts that make up the art when you equip that armor.

Michelle created more scepter concepts this week based off of Ben’s descriptive names. Personally, I hope we get to make all of these, because they’re so cool-looking!

Environment work continues a little bit in the background of the character updates. I (Tyler) sometimes create new ground materials when I get a quiet moment. Each ground texture generally helps define the other assets that would accompany them. In this case, probably mossy rocks and trees. I’ve been on a moss kick recently, after looking at some pictures of old European forests that have grown back.

That wraps up our weekly update, full of progress, art, and hard work! As we near the end of the year, we are reminded to be thankful. Each day, I’m reminded to be thankful for our hardworking team and our patient, supportive, and enthusiastic Backers. As Mark is fond of saying, “It only gets better from here!”

Pay attention next week to the tentative testing schedule if you want to jump into some testing with us!

Thanks, as always, for your support.