Dev Diary #16 - welcome to the new year

Hello everyone, First of all welcome to 2019! The Christmas period was a long, much needed break. Since it’s the new year we wanted to show you some of the content we have been working on.

ENVIRONMENTS

We have included a small video showing more work on platforms, a couple of assets and basic mood of the level. We also have some exploration shots for the Laboratory environment.

CHARACTERS

After we finish enemies, the focus will be working on Security Guard and his mutated state. We have also been working on the Scientist and his unfortunate mutation.

The Security Guard allowed us to test building characters from individual pieces, so next in line will be first AGI Tech character gear so we can start working with gearing up in game.

scientist_std.jpg
scientist_mut.jpg

ANIMATIONS

Security mutant is first non standard rig in the game.

WEAPONS

The next weapon for the main character is Energy Rifle. So far we have been working on textures, so the final version will probably be included in next update.

CODE

One of the major updates this month is functional spawn manager, which allows us to populate maps with lots of handy settings. It will give us freedom to generate maps without having to place all enemies for each of them again.

Thanks for reading and see you next month!

LKR.

Dev Diary #15 - November's update

Hi, everyone Christmas are behind the door so we have some news and updates for you.

100+ members at Discord

Our discord channel broke first 100 of loyal members! As a thanks for your support we have some goodies for you. 5 large stickers and one black t-shirt (L size). If you will share our blog to any social media with hashtag #DEICIDES and share the link with us at our discord channel(social-posts section) you will have a chance to win one of the prices. Competition ends at Monday 3rd of December 10 am (London time).

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CHARACTERS

One of the first enemies -Security Guard- is in the game already and Mutated version follows straight after.

Security_guard_mutated_zbrush.png

ENVIRONMENT

First level to test our workflow is Asteroid Mine. Level and assets are still in progress but we want to share with you our direction and style.

Mines_Gate_render.jpg
asteroid_mine_02.jpg

CODE IMPLEMENTATION

We are working towards basic combat experience. It involve few implementations which will help to get proper feel of it. So our coders created mouse-over outlines, floating damage system, flash on hit and basic enemy health bar. All is in stage of prototyping and not reflecting final look of implementation.

SCIENTIST CONCEPT

Another enemy in works is Scientist. Mutated version and necessary details in progress.

MUSIC

Last but not least our Sound designer put together couple of ideas and created longer combat track.

Hope you enjoyed our November’s update see you next month!

-LKR

Dev Diary #14 - Holidays Update

Hi, so after a couple of months of “Blog silence” (blame the holidays) we return with a large update. We have some characters, environments, code, design and even music sneak peaks for you.

Characters

Over the last couple of months we have been working on different variations of gear and the modifications of the Agility body-type.

EXO-SUIT - gear set for the agility body-type. One of the first pieces of equipment the player gets in the game, helping the player character to become an efficient contractor without any body modifications. Below you can see some examples of the Zbrush model, exo-suit in-game and also a running test.

exo_zb.jpg
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run.gif

TECH MODIFIED

Another character piece we have been working on lately is the transformation of the AGILITY CHARACTER with Tech modifications. It's not fully implemented in-game yet but the images below are from low poly/ ingame version of that character.

agi_tech.png

SECURITY GUARD

For our First enemy we started working on the Security guard. As this is the first enemy we thought we would go with something more generic and then push it more with mutations and more interesting attack mechanics. Below you can see the initial concept and zbrush sculpt of the Security guard.

securityguard_mutated.png
security_guard_01.png

INVENTORY SYSTEM

It would not be an Action RPG without a proper Inventory system. As a starting point we created a white-boxed prototype of how it can all work and what sort of equipment type you can wear. Video below shows a few of the UX decisions we are working on to create a familiar and pleasant experience.

Environments

ASTEROID MINES - SPACE ELEVATOR

more progress done on the skybox especially on the space elevator for asteroid mines. Basic texturing and animations helping to set up the feel of the depth in the level nicely.

space elevator.png
lift.gif

Weapons

We also have a few more additions to our weapons design ready to be made. Namely PDW (one handed ranged weapon) , Double barrel shotgun and Energy rifle.

weapons_2.png

Music

Last but not least below you can hear a few music tests and ideas for ambient sounds (safe zone) and Combat zones.

It has been a good few weeks and its great to see parts of the puzzle coming together.If you want to know more you can find us at our DISCORD CHANNEL.

See you next month with more updates. Thanks for reading

-LKR

Weekly Dev Diary #10 - Run and roll animation

Howdy,
it's animation time again! This time around, I'd like to talk more about the way we look at character movement & animations.

RESPONSIVENESS BEATS VISUALS, EVERY SINGLE TIME

One of the things I can really appreciate in games is the feeling of responsiveness, 
and the way character reacts to my commands every time I press the button.
That's why I think it's really important, to have swift immediate reactions to player actions. Animations needs to reflect it from the start.

FORWARD MOTION - ROLL

For example the roll - forward motion, that ÆBone mentioned in the earlier dev diary.
We went through several iterations, to improve responsiveness and speed over time, until it felt just right.

The roll forward anim process started with simple roll forward animation, beginning from "idle pose" through "roll anim" and back to "idle pose"
But this felt slow and unresponsive, so we cut the first&last few frames, which did the trick, and the overall feeling started to feel about right.

There is still things to improve and we will polish the things as we test them throughout the development.

We will keep forward motion linear, which will make it easier to scale speed and connect it to our multiplayer prediction server/client system.

agi_dashroll_01.gif

 

RUN

One of the first animations I created was run. I was aiming for fast speedy run movement, but once it was finished and put in the game, it turns out the run was just a bit too fast. I needed to slow it down, which resulted in the new slower run animation, that suited the character game movement much better.


Then we started to tinker with animation blends and used both animations for situations where player character will gain some movement speed and the result you can see below in the video. Nice smooth animation which will suite both fast or slower running characters with transition in between.

agi_run_01.gif

 

If you will have any questions you can find me at our Discord channel.

As always, stay awesome!

- Fade
 

Weekly Dev Diary #5 - character rigging, bones and ragdoll

Howdy,

my name is Fade, and I am the animator working on all the nice stuff our character artist Lobo throws my way.

I will try to give you some basic insight in to the world of game animation and process of making DEICIDES.

BONES & RIGGING 

 

Once the character mesh landed on my computer, I usually start working on the character rig, where I try to keep the bones count to the minimum. It helps keeping the animation data on the lower side.

We will share rig and skeleton in between same bodytypes. This will cut the production cost significantly with no impact on final quality. Agility BIO, NORMAL and TECH will share same skeleton and rig, so this will give us freedom with usage of similar animations across one bodytype.

In the first iteration I’ve used simple rig for the hands, using just 9 bones, as the character will take rather small area on the screen while playing the game, and so the lower detail can be justified.

handlowbones_01.jpg
handmidbones_01.jpg

However when I started to animate the character, I needed more finger flexibility to create better hand grip poses. And so I’ve added one more finger per hand to the rig, which increased the bones number by small amount( +6 bones for both hands).

When there’ll be need to show high poly characters on the screen doing complicated hand gestures, I’ll just add all fingers and quickly re-skin the mesh, but at this stage, all seems to work nicely.

blganim_01.gif

 

Right after the rig is finished, the next step is to create skinning.

 

You can use all the advanced skinning tools algorithms you have, but at the end, you’ll need to start manually fine tuning the skinning.

Depending on the character, I usually start tweaking the skinning from outside and work myself to the core of the character body( fingers> hand >arm >shoulder; jaw>head>neck…).

Our current vertex skinning is affected by max 3 bones.

RAGDOLL SETUP

 

Once the character is exported to Unreal Engine, one of the things I wanted to setup first was the ragdoll.

RAGDOLL_capsules_with_weight.jpg

While the default setting are ok, there were plenty of issues. First, I had to change the rotation limits for each limb constraint.

So, I started with the knees and elbow joints, and then the rest of the constraints.

Before the change the ragdoll was working, it felt just a bit unrealistic.

After the limits were setup, it still felt a bit lightweight, and so the next step was to increase the mass of some capsules. Like hips, and all the limbs end capsules, where I’ve added a bit more mass, than it was assigned by default.

RAGDOLL_SETWEIGHT.jpg

After this the character felt much more like a human body.

 

Just a quick tip, in Unreal Engine while testing ragdoll, you can “CTRL+ RMB hold” move the ragdoll on your screen in Simulation mode.

As a fresh Unreal Engine user, I am also really thankful for any workflow speedup tips. You can find me at our DISCORD group as Fade.

 

Stay awesome,

- Fade