Weekly Dev Update: 2016 October 28h - Creatures, VFX, SFX and more!

This week, the following items were checked into the development build for testing:

  • New torch VFX.
  • HUD - status text above: players, creatures and machines.
  • New Slingbow models with material progression to match the other equipment.

They look great but we need a little more work to hook up their actions and visual functionality. We are hoping that we can release the above with the overhauled Inventory and Smart Stacking that has been the source of many client and server failures.

We have also started testing the animations in the game for the following creatures:

  • Wildstock - Tier 5 - which looks absolutely huge in the game!
  • The Hunter
  • Basher
  • Hopper - also with explosion VFX
  • Cuttletrunk

The Cuttletrunk and Hopper will be the first new creatures to be released.

We’ve been continuing the HUD development: working on the speech bubbles, adding a new font and general polish to it. The Smart Stacking code continues to be improved for stability and maintainability.

The new Slingbow and revised Ammo system are now in the development build.

The first person field of view is now independent of the one chosen for the rest of the game, so the items stay in the same place on screen.

The new game introduction has a first pass starting world in and work continues on scripting the NPCs you first meet there, invoking new emote animations as you progress. This location is played offline and is outside of the online worlds. Here players will go through an initial tutorial so that they’re prepared to enter the online worlds.

VFX work has added some new visual features, including: soft edges and inverted soft edges for particles so they fade near meshes, making them sit in the world in a more believable fashion. The ribbon system in being reimplemented so we can support trails.

We also implemented the first part of the PlayStation 4 login back end and the database work continues with the game interfacing through the updated APIs.

This week Luke has been building the starting world for the intro to the game.

Lots of effort has gone into analysing the metrics coming out of the game. This includes confirming they’re accurate and then starting to build structures so that we can better balance the game supported by data rather then purely instinct. Ultimately this will be extremely valuable and worthwhile to make sure the game has good structure and longevity. Some of the comments on the forum about game balance (for example, about skill progression) help support anecdotally the data we’re seeing.

Our big focus this week has been with the overall development of the creatures from modelling the new meshes to testing the animation and new AI. We’ve been working closely with the engineers to get these creations tested in game and it’s beginning to get genuinely exciting!

Here’s a few highlights:

  • We now have a few Cuttletrunks waiting in the wings for in-game integration. The Cuttletrunk Tier 1 has been modelled and textured from scratch, also matching the master sheet concepts. Alongside this, the Tier 4 early version has also been brought up to the same aesthetic standard sparking the beginnings of a small squad of Cuttletrunks that will rule the airwaves! See the devlog for more details of this development.

  • Massive progress has also been done with the Sound effects. Work is currently ongoing with the Ground Basher and is closely tied to the animation playblasts for maximum accuracy and immersion! Creatures 1 to 6 now have their main character sound effects that identify their personality. When we’re ready to show this, we’re sure this will bring a brand new perspective and life to the creatures you’ll see in game.

  • Alongside supporting the creature integration, animation has been churning out further character emotes needed to provide the game with more options for character interaction. Animations done this week are: Give, Point_Up/Down/Left/Right and Back. More to come here in the following week!

  • Finally visual effects have been on a roll this week specifically looking at creating the different VFX for the Totem activation and the Slingbow combat system. Great integration progress has been made linking up the explosion VFX with the ammo shooting out our weapons. We can’t wait for the explosion to be hooked up with our Hopper … whoosh Boom … KABOOM!

:ambulance: :baby: :baby_bottle: :champagne: :sleeping: :point_right: :family_man_woman_girl_boy:


Sounds excellent! Looking forward to the next update when it’s ready!

Oh nice! Been thinking a little about character animations and that I can never remember most of them to be able to use them… I was wondering if it would be an idea to have a pull out menu, from which you can just click an emote without having to type it in? I think this would also be more beneficial to PS4 players!

Might also be worth revising some of the grammar used, as this suggests the new slingbow and ammo are in the publicly accessible version of the game already (especially if this info is also going out on Steam). They’re not available yet are they …? unless I missed an update :confused:

Congratulations! :birthday: :beers:

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I don’t speak emoji, congrats on stealing a baby from the hospital tho.


If this means what I think it means I’m extremely happy for you! Congratulations

Great to see all the new content coming out

Oh boy. We’ve spent the last year(s) in this forum telling every new player that there won’t be NPCs in this game…and now this.
I think confronting the players with NPC right away in the tutorial might raise some expectations regarding them that won’t be met in the actual game.

Can’t wait to see for which of the two models @olliepurkiss proposed you settled.

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Unless it’s some sort of “awakening ceremony”, where the NPC’s teach you the basics… open a portal to your local planet and then say… “hey, from here on out, you’re on your own”…

phew, solved that one quite easily hehe. I agree though, we’ll need to backtrack a little, and just tell people that there won’t be any NPC’s in the main game, only in the tutorial :wink:

Or just treat the NPC as a dissembodied narrator that guides you through the tutorial. But then the concept art seems to indicate a physical npc, so who knows.

I agree that it could be problematic, but we need to introduce people to the game, and our use of NPCs in the intro is very sparing.

The results we not conclusive, so we’ve gone for the simpler option and left it close to the existing system (which was option 1). I like the suggested idea of an extra slot in which you can see the ammo, and I favour bringing that up on a right click (to parallel the smart stacks which are opened with a right click). That’s not been implemented yet though.

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Totally agree with @Havok40k here. Simple dialog popups would probably work just as fine, without raising unwanted expectations. Or you could go for the classic disembodied narrator (like the fairy in Legend of Zelda, or whatever the thing Peter Dinklage voiced in Destiny was) that just doesn’t follow you to the man planet, for whatever reason.

Oh you :blush:

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“NPC” is probably over describing their sophistication. I think of them for as scene decoration. But we did debate this more internally between a preference for a disembodied voice versus and in-game entity. Either way, it’ll be extremely light - and more about giving additional colour to the general theming of the entry point. (It’ll also hopefully tie in some lore points about why you’re even entering these worlds.)

This is actually pretty close to it. But even then - I wouldn’t expect the tutorial to come directly from the character entity - as the tutorial continues in the live worlds.

But “simple dialog popups” aren’t really part of the HUD / GUI toolset at the moment - which is all configured to report actions from players (and creatures and entities). But now I’m getting way beyond what will actually be shared in the first update. Which will still be an experiment to see if it works.

I’d also like to avoid voice acting because it’s expensive and makes the game harder to localise.