This week we’ve been pushing towards the Clans patch release. I’ve been adding clan tracking to the map as well as working on overhead markers so you can see who your homies are in the world.
We haven’t made as much progress as we originally hoped this week, so we are going to delay the clans update until the 18th of October.
I got stuck into the Clan Totem this week. I firstly started with some concepts which as always gets all the bad ideas out and allows you to explore and come up with some much better stuff. The first thing I illustrated looked like a strange wooden chopping board (which we all had a laugh at) After that I got 3 solid designs down as you can see below…
We chose the metal slab to the right that has been shot through with some seriously powerful ordnance. The lion statue may also get used as the territory marker later on too.
Next up I got really stuck into the high poly sculpt, which I haven’t really ever gone this deep on, and not with cracked metal type stuff either. Because I mostly do our mechanical modeling stuff I prefer to do the low poly mesh and turn it into a high poly later. In this instance I worked the other way around, because it made more sense to me.
Below: The low poly mesh after it’s first bake, seems to have come out great. Will give it a bit more of a look over next and make sure there are no bake errors.
This week I’ve been focusing on the expression for the promo art. We ended up settling on a style for the hair, basically the original style where it’s more like a silhouette than an actual sculpted blob with large volume strands. We figured that this hair looks perfectly fine and spending a bunch of time on something that will most likely be covered up is pretty pointless. For the facial expressions I’ve been looking at the original promo art to try and nail that cheeky look, I originally tried to sculpt the expression but the process was taking way too long for something that would need to be tweaked anyway. I started just pushing verts around in Maya and that worked (almost) perfectly, but it was still a pretty slow destructive process. We talked about potentially having two characters in the promo art so I figured that it would be better if we could easily test out a bunch of different expressions with ease in a non destructive way, so I set up blend shapes for the character, blendshapes store vertices translation information and then allow you to blend between the original position and the new position, meaning you can make blend shapes like “eye brow left raise” and “eye lid upper right close” and then using sliders, tweak mix and match them to get an expression you want.
This week I reworked how the clan system was syncing data from server to client. Previously I was syncing up a ‘thin’ view of the clan for non-members and the full clan data to members whenever this data changed and when first connecting to the server.
After discussing it with Spencer we decided that the clan data doesn’t always need to be in sync as clan features like map tracking and ui overlays are easier to manage, less bug prone and more compatible with our network culling (players and other networked entities are not synced beyond a certain range so clients only receive relevant data) when driven by the server rather than running client side only and relying on the local clan data being correct.
Because of this clans are now synced only when clan UI windows are open by sending their last synced timestamp every few seconds, the server then compares that timestamp to the clans last updated timestamp and will resync only if out of date.
I’ve also been swapping out the programmer art in the clan UI windows and the new interaction tabs (that I discussed in blog #138) to match our standard UI style. Unfortunately this has been a bit more fiddly than I anticipated and needs a little more work before its ready to show off.
We’ve fallen behind our schedule a bit and haven’t been able to do a full playtest of all the new systems yet so we’ve decided to delay the clans patch (0.6.3.0) a week so the new date is the 18th of October.
We’re sorry about this but think its better in the long run to spend a little more time getting this stuff right so we can build the new end game on top of it.