Coffee Diary 29/11/21


Hey Exanimates,

There's quite a few new items in this next release, we've been fixing issues with them and doing some quality control. Unfortunately this can be an extremely time consuming and tedious process. The various and varied layered armour, shared procedural texturing, morphing etc. leads to many conflicts and problems that need to be found and resolved. Items need many combination variants to interact properly. Every little fix and adjustment requires the items to be baked, rigged and skinned all over again, in-world and icon versions of the item need to be created and all sorts. Of course Zeth's latest complex armour designs also had us scratching our heads trying to figure out how to make them work at all.

This is a horribly cumbersome process and always a daunting task. For a long time now we've been discussing ways to streamline this process and also solve some of our most common problems. We recently decided this would be our #1 priority once we get this update out, as we'd also like to update many older character assets and add more clothing. However, with various items being worked on right now and a certain amount of groundwork done in node based mesh tools for creating procedural weapons, Madoc decided it was time to do something.

Just a few days later and we have a new workflow based on our node tools, our skinning has some notable improvements and is far easier to work with and some problematic common cases have good reliable solutions. Now with a bit of prep work the entire bake, rig, skin and export complete assets process is accomplished with just a couple of clicks. Making changes and adjustments is so easy that we can immediately test them as we do them. For some items we can even generate the standalone objects, with better results than we could get doing it by hand. This is a massive improvement to our workflow that saves us so much time and energy.

There are some more specific things we will want to look at when we revisit our character assets, but anything we do with characters, clothing, armour or creatures is greatly simplified already. This is a very exciting development for us.

While the most important thing, it's not the only thing we had time for this week, we've made progress on the few remaining arena features we want in this release, a bunch of the new content is properly finalised and we're getting very close to being able to finally release it all on the main branch.

Have a great week!
-the BM team


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