André was busy adding some dynamic bones for our characters, and save a lot of time in animations. Small portions of the model like pony tails or small bags now don’t need to be animated so the animation pipeline is more straightforward.
Dynamic jiggle physics, exaggerated effect.
He also added a first version of Audio Occlusion. In practice, the sound is occluded by a low pass filter and the volume is decreased when not in sight of the audio listener. This leads to a more immersive experience, since the player will be able to notice when a sound comes from inside a building or from the outside.
Iuri this week improved the main character’s RIG, imbuing her with a lot more feeling and life. Now we feel like we’re able to convey emotions more easily, which helps a lot with storytelling.
New facial animations.
Pichel is currently working on a very important character, which we will show further down the road. He recently finished up an NPC, a prisioner, and you can check below how the model looks in-game.
Also check it out our newest WIP gameplay trailer:
Iuri has been workingon moreanimations this week and he’s showing a little bit of the process:
“For this animation I didn’t just want to make a generic mount, I wanted to portray the relationship between the two characters, as well as the agility of the main character and kindness of the elk. I started by exploring some poses that would evoke what I wanted to transmit. I analysed videos as well as images.
My first approach on this stage is trying to get the poses that describe the movement in place, I check if the silhouette of the pose is working for the camera view as well in other perspectives, the line of action, twinings, balance, etc. On a second approach to blocking I start to work on timing and improve on some poses, I also add breakdowns until I have all the necessary poses. Going on through spline after having to make some iterations to the animation, I work on timings, ins and outs of poses, arcs, exaggeration, movement resistance, which part is leading the action and which parts are following, etc.
Having arrived at the polish phase I improve the arcs, spacing, overlapping, animation curves, pops and other minor adjustments.”
In the meantime, Tomé decided to take a break from working on the swamp scene (after weeks of only focusing on that) and started developing new weapons. These will mostly be hidden in chests and are meant to work as rewards for players who carefully explore each location of the game.
New weapons concepts.
At the character art department, Pichel is doing retopology and UVs for the new character we mentioned last time, which will be shown in the next devblog update.
This week André worked on improving the streaming system of the game. Some shortcuts and hacks were made for hiccup-free loadings, most of the loading is made in a background thread but the activation of the game objects is made in the main thread. So that forced us to make a frame by frame loading system only for the activation of some chunks of zones. André also finished the localization logic so now it is easy to translate the game.
Iuri is back to work after a deserved vacation, he’s working on the mount animations of the companion and player movement while mounted. Riding the Elk is a very important part of the game; we removed it temporarily because we only had placeholder animations.
One of our challenges this week consisted in producing low poly assets that would allow us to improve the look of the rocky cliffs that limit the first areas of the game. Tomé developed a few modules that can be bashed together inside the engine in order to create the steep rock faces you can see below. For the moss on top, we chose to duplicate the geometry from the upper part of each asset, and then we used a grassy material with the Cutout Rendering Mode selected.
Our rocky cliffs building kit.
Here is an example of what we can come up with inside Unity using the kit.
Meanwhile, Pichel is hard at work sculpting a new character model that we will show a sneak peak in a future devblog.
Today we are showing you a new area of the game featuring a very different mood from the previous ones. We want the player to experience very diverse atmospheres along the journey, so we are crafting locations with varied terrain topology, distinct architecture and enemies with a different feel.
In this next area the player will be able to explore a sprawling swamp. Mysterious ancient ruins, half sunken into the earth, hide rewarding secrets but also great peril. You can check the screenshots below to see how the work on this location is progressing. Keep aware that they are very WIP with no final lighting nor final textures.
WIP temporary lighting and textures.
WIP temporary lighting and textures.
Pichel is working on new characters that will be shown later. André had the tedious task of preparing the UI and other text for localization and also implemented a volumetric light effect.
This week’s devblog will be more technical. We will talk about some tests we made on the subject of responsiveness in Decay of Logos. Although this game is not a hack’n’slash, with very tight controls in favor of gameplay, we do take this component into consideration. It has slow paced attacks, depending on weapon classes, but still we are targeting for a fast responsiveness in the controls. In the test shown below, the frame when the anticipation of the animation kicks in will be the end frame measured, and the first will be the frame after the button is pressed. The game was running at 60fps and the video recorded at 60fps. The monitor has a 6ms (Gray to Gray) response time.
You can see that after the button is pressed it takes about 4 frames for the animation to start, and about 10 frames for the actual damage to be dealt (when the trail is visible, damage can be applied). So it’s about 66ms of input lag and 166ms of delay before damage is applied.
For comparison, we measured and made exactly the same test with Dark Souls, using the same machine, with DsFix (for running at 60fps) recorded at 60fps. The results were: 3 frames for input lag, and about 18 frames for actual damage be done. It’s about 50ms of input lag and 316 ms of delay.
We choose a short sword in Dark Souls and a short sword equivalent (our Carved Sword) in Decay of Logos for a more fair comparison.
We also compared the dodge responsiveness (jump back). Again we used the same principles as above.
On Decay of Logos we get about 4 frames (66ms) again of input lag and about 16 frames (233ms). In Dark Souls we get 4 frames (66ms) of input lag and about 19 frames (316ms) until we’re able to perform the next jump.
Another way of measuring this type of things is by attaching a led light internally in the controller and putting it next to the screen for a more precise moment of the given input.
André also made changes in some transitions and blends in animation, which improved significantly the delay felt during combat.
Slowed down video.
More information about this subject, the influences of CPU Logic, Rendering and Input lag can be found here: Programming Responsiveness
This week Tomé used the highpoly model from the wooden enemies to generate a bark armor set which can be looted from their corpses or found randomly in chests. Equipping the whole set gives the player bonus physical or elemental defense points. We aren’t planning to produce a very large number of armor sets due to our current manpower, but nevertheless some combinations are very interesting in terms of gains in stats.
The Bark Armor Set
André recently improved a lot the responsiveness in the animations and feel of the attacks, something he’s been meaning to do for a long time. He has also been tweaking the streaming logic so the player can enjoy a seamless journey.
Pichel was working hard to create an additional layer of detail for the ground textures. This is our first detail pass, and later we intend to pick up where we left off and add even more asset variety, whether it be new props, particles or textures.
This week we all invested some time in the first portion of the game, making a lot of tweaks and populating every space with the assets we produced so far. The shots below show how much more alive the game feels now following this collective effort.
Lumberjack hut area and companion.
The old Temple
One of the things that is still in a clear “wip” state is the texture of the hills and cliffs that limit the areas of the game. There was actually an unfortunate setback in our process – Pichel had made a lot of progress in texturing when suddenly Mari crashed and a lot of work was lost, since it somehow corrupted the backup files. But nevertheless we are back on track.
André worked on improving a bunch of mechanics, improving the “ambush” feature, the enemies’ awareness system, and updated the HUD alongside Tomé, using new graphic elements they designed together.
New UI elements
We also got a lot of new elk animations from Iuri that really help making it look livelier. Ricardo also jumped in to assist the team with the general lighting of the game.
This week Tomé and André reworked and tweaked some interiors of the game using many brand new assets. Some color calibrations were done to improve the atmosphere of each space and create distinct areas.
Secret areas are easy to be missed.
Some hidden lore in this wooden house.
Another pass in populating this interior.
André did some bug fixing and polished some mechanics. He’s preparing a new test build. Also, a first new version of streaming scenes was implemented with a great performance improvement and also an easier way to edit scenes for everyone.
Meanwhile, Pichel finished the player’s companion and is working on the other characters and NPC’s and doing a more detailed version of the painted terrain.
The outdoors are really coming along, the new areas are almost complete.
Another pass in populating this interior.
Next week we intend to redo the HUD (replacing placeholders) and make some minor functionality changes in the inventory.
This week André returned from vacation and is back in action, so we got some cool things to show besides new art and props!
He made some changes in how healthbars behave on screen (something he wanted to do for some time), they are now screen dependent instead of world dependent. Also, he improved the idle combat animations and behavior when the player has no weapons equipped. Only kicks and punches can save you in this situation.
Working alongside Iuri, they gave more life to the Elk. With some spine IKs system, ground adaptation makes the animal feel more real.
It’s still in WIP state (still doesn’t have the new Fur), we need more animations to make it like we want, but for now we are really liking the feel.
Some Elk action over here
Ricardo lent us a hand and did some awesome shader work to “fire up” the look of the wooden enemies we’ve shown in previous posts.
How’d it get burned?!
Instead of baking the burnt effect directly into textures, the shader allows for countless dynamic and randomized burnt variations. It’s a great way to empower artist and reduce production times.
Picking up where he left off last week, Tomé worked on visually improving a huge temple ruin that players will get to explore in the first area of the game. Here’s how it’s currently looking:
Hey, guys, Tomé here! Since André and Pichel are currently enjoying some well-deserved vacation time, only Iuri and I got some stuff to show you this week.
I worked on another stone built prop, a “Tempietto”. Like in previous assets we developed, this monument is composed of separate parts that can be hidden or relocated in order to organize different ruin compositions.
Remember the Lumberjack fellow we’ve shown before? I started exploring how his house could look like in the game. It’s pretty big. Inside there will be a few surprises for curious adventurers!
An early concept for the Lumberjack’s house
Finally, I spent some time doing an overhaul of the modular stone building kit we have. I wasn’t too happy about the tileable textures I had developed before, so I made new ones, and added a couple of new props that hopefully help these structures start to feel like ancient ruins. You can see how the whole thing’s progressing below.
Before and after the visual upgrade.
From our animation specialist, we got the polished version of the walk cycle featured in the last post, and a brand new trot animation for the Elk!