DevBlog 17 / The Elk is alive!

Hi everyone!

This week André helped the art team by doing some improved scenery meshes from the blocking mesh for the underground passage in the swamp zone (a new area we are working on). André also worked in something he wanted to do for some time, foliage dithering fading.

Old view on the left, current view on the right

Dithering per vertex when the camera is too close .

André also did the same effect but per object when characters get too close to the camera.
A reworked streaming logic is in the works, more fluid and efficient logic that can’t be noticed even if the player has a HDD disc drive (or for consoles).

The new model of the Elk is starting to come alive! Iuri began skinning and animating the Elk, and we hope to show gameplay with the new model in a near future. For now we have a very dynamic walk cycle:

Old view on the left, current view on the right

The new WIP walk cycle.

Tomé has been producing some more tree models to spread around the game environments, specially dead trees for the swamp area we are working on. He also developed a few modular stone pavement groups that can be combined together to form roads.

Old view on the left, current view on the right

New trees for various new zones.

Pichel made a lot of progress with the Elk model, and he has been investing a lot of time into making the fur work with our visual style. You can see how it’s coming along in the image below.

Old view on the left, current view on the right

On the center the new Fur approach.


6 thoughts on “DevBlog 17 / The Elk is alive!

  1. Paulo Pinho

    Hey guys. Here’s some suggestions and questions if you don’t mind them.

    Since you are using dithering for the transparent grass am I right to assume you’ll also use either dithering or a simple alpha cutout for the fur? How do you plan to solve the aliasing and smoothness of the fur since dithering usually produces flickering artifacts when using temporal AA and alpha cutout might not be smooth enough for all situations. If I may, I suggest you guys to use a vertex animation shader on the fur that is fed by velocity vectors from the elk to produce fast movement dynamic animation and wind blow animation. Do you plan to use any anisotropic shader for the fur?

    I’m assuming you’ll be using IKs for the elf feet, I would also suggestion some kind of Ik system for separation of the front and back legs to make the body align with the terrain and not just rotating along the normal. You should also consider good animation for riding the elk and even a separate system to deal the movement of the rider with the elf. Shadow of colossus comes to mind.

    Bom trabalho pessoal 😉

    1. admin


      Not at all, we love feedback!

      We are actually in the process of replacing the fur entirely using a different technique. Not entirely sure what we will end up using but aliasing is definitely something that we want to avoid. Vertex animation is a great way to get more out of your assets, we use something along those lines for the grass and small shrubs, the fur will likely also use something similar. We can’t say for sure what type of shader we are going to use but we can guarantee that we will be posting about it here as soon as it’s ready. We currently use an Anti-Aliasing solution based on the technique developed for Inside, the latest game from Playdead. Temporal Reprojection Anti-Aliasing for Unity3d, free on Github.

      The Elk animation system is currently being improved with new animations and better navigation. That was actually one of our initial concerns, the current version takes full advantage of IK foot placement. We will post more about the Elk in the upcoming weeks, there is still much to cover.


    2. Paulo Pinho

      Are you referring to their GDC presentation this year? If I remember correctly it worked really well for small and smooth camera movements practically eliminating all temporal artifacts but it wasn’t so good for fast moving things, which worked for them but I’m not sure if you guys fall in the same category.

      Still, doing something is better than doing nothing and AA is a complex issue, temporal or not.

      PS: have you guys seen the “Prey for the gods” game? I immediately thought about you guys, their snow shader is pretty cool and their IK system for the grabbing mechanic is spot on (even if it’s a direct copy o SotC).

    3. admin

      Yes, I believe so. Our current technique, based on the mentioned Playdead Temporal Reprojection, went trough a couple of iterations before we were happy with the results. It’s not set in stone, we are always on the lookout for new techniques.

      That’s a great looking game, you can really feel the SotC vibe. The weather effects look really great, we will definitely be playing it as soon as it’s out.

    1. admin

      We would love to include some form of online interaction. It’s too early to know for sure when and how it will work but it’s definitely something that we will explore in the future.

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