Hey all, it’s week’s end, and it has been a very good week indeed! First though, to those of you celebrating the Fourth of July, Happy Holiday! FYI, we’ll be out next week until Wednesday with a much-deserved small break to enjoy the celebrations ourselves! Even though this isn’t a User Stories update week, we have a whole lot of “explosive” content to share with you. First, we’ve broken our record for the size of our newsletter as we have the largest one to date for your reading pleasure, including some Texas-sized articles from Scott, dB, and Ben! Then there’s our Top Tenish list with lots good stuff for this week, plus the images below. Without much more preamble, let’s get into this week’s highlights, which are, as usual, more than ten–fifteen, to be precise.
1. WIP – Tech – Shadow Improvements: Following up last week’s work, George has completed another pass on shadow quality. Some existing artifacting has been removed, and shadows are crisper now. We’re also rendering about 16x less shadow when looking straight down, and about 4x less when looking at long distances. This means we’re rendering fewer shadows that are already outside your viewing frustum. Should be a small performance gain, depending on different factors, like time of day, view, etc. As per the title, this is a WIP, so please keep that in mind and let us know if you are having a different experience during testing (slower, less crisp, etc.). And don’t forget, a DXDiag is necessary to help us to help you.
2. WIP – Tech – Archery Animations: Andrew has been hard at work getting archery animations hooked up. This has involved adding cosmetic functionality to the ability system in order to play specific animations during different phases of an ability, as opposed to just making archery animations play. This first pass went in this morning. Towards the end of the day here, he was able to get IK (Inverse Kinematic) aiming movement of the character’s arms and bow working, which really improves the look of aiming. After that, he’ll work on putting an arrow model in the bow and Sandra and/or Scott will take a second pass at the animations.
3. WIP – Tech – Siege Engines: Matt continues to fix little issues we’ve uncovered through playtesting. Most recently, we’re better handling how siege engines and player movement play together. There was a fun bug when players clicked on a siege engine while moving the camera: The focus would switch to the siege engine aiming, but your player character would keep running…away…into the sunset. In addition to this update, he’ll soon be landing an “exit” button that will allow players to quickly exit their siege engines, replacing the ‘/siege exit’ command.
4. WIP – Tech – Building Segmentation: Brad is following up his previous work on the encoder/decoder changes last week to improve performance for C.U.B.E. structures. Buildings on the client can now apply changes to only the segments that have changed, without having to compare the old and new building. The server-side piece of this work is now in review. These changes not only reduce network traffic but also reduce the amount of work the client and server have to do, significantly improving performance.
5. WIP – Tech – Moving Items in Inventory: Christina and AJ have been working together to set up API calls to make the new player inventory window function. In doing so, they’ve found a few fun things to fix and improve. For example, in testing, Christina found that you could put a container in a container that is in the first container, creating a container black hole that might have destroyed the universe. We’re gonna fix that.