Coffee Diary - March 2024


This has been a month of mostly wrapping things up and getting them ready for a release. There have been a lot of important core improvements that affect the entire game and content, so we want to get the game in testing and updated before moving on to other things. This includes the switch to 64 bit and optimisations to many parts of the engine, the overhauled terrain system and all related assets, improvements our physics engine and important new features, a complete graphical overhaul of the golem area, a huge rework and expansion of the Catacombs map and a few other smaller, but still important improvements. It's a lot.

Most recently we've been working on improvements and additions to our physics engine. These are things we've been wanting to do for some time and are extremely important for the future of the game. The core physics improvements are immediately obvious in gameplay, they make weapon interactions feel and function better in combat, they solve many problems and we're already noticing how they allow us to do more with level design and interaction. Last month we released a video where we showed what was basically a prototype version of new cloth and soft body features. This is something we hope to use extensively for things like clothing, plants, those creepy fleshy growths, sheets of paper and generally the many things that should be soft, flexible, floppy and squishy. This would allow a new level of immersion and interactivity. Dynamic physical interactions are at the core of Exanima's gameplay and immersive world, and this is something we want to extend to every part of it.

The key breakthrough we demonstrated in our video was a performant way to do polygonal collision on deformable bodies. While it's great that we're able to do realistic interactions between cloth and things like weapons, this provides a versatile solution for all sorts of soft bodies beyond cloth, where simpler methods could be considered sufficient. Since the video we've further improved our model, stress testing it and making it very functional and stable under many conditions and applications. We can drape cloth over objects, hold objects in nets and sacks and do all sort of tricky things that require a very stable and accurate model.

Performance is of course a major concern, we identified good, fast methods, but we still had to optimise what we showed then. We knew our prototype implementation could be made roughly 10 times faster, and we joked about making it 20 times faster, but that's what we did. Then we optimised it even more, and made it 40 times faster. This being physics, This being physics, it means a bigger performance budget for more cool things. Another important optimisation was making deformable bodies that aren't currently doing much and actively interacting with anything, or visible, or casting a visible shadow etc., go into an idle state where they cost virtually nothing. This is ultimately what allows us to have a huge number of these complex objects in an environment.

In keeping with Exanima's full interactivity, we also added the ability to move and drag cloth around with the cursor. Besides that consistent immersive feel, this has a number of gameplay implications that we're eager to explore. Another of Exanima's more unique features is perfect persistence of everything, this means that if you leave a piece of cloth draped over something in a particular way and exited your game, it has to be in the same exact position when you return to it.

We've also extended our development tools to support these new features and generally improve our workflow for all physics. We've been constantly making improvements to our tools and also making them more intuitive and user friendly, for eventual modding use and also if and when we expand our team.

There is so much we can do with these new features and we're very excited by the possibilities, but as usual much will be revealed when we add new content and gameplay where you can experience it fully first hand. Everything we listed up top and these core improvements are in the polishing stage now and we hope to begin testing in the next few days and get it all released for everyone soon after.


Bare Mettle


The gameplay implications of being able to move curtains and rugs and blankets... every little thing you guys add is a feature another game might make it's entire selling point. Love it and can't wait to see it in action


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