23 February

The Sprint to PAX East

By Vye

Hail and well met, Elyrians!

The last couple weeks have been productive! The team is in good spirits preparing for GDC and PAX East, and we've been putting in some extra hours. We don't tolerate a crunch-culture - which plagues many-a-studio - but the team is committed to delivering something that we are proud of and that players will enjoy. Occasionally this might mean putting in a few late nights - and that's okay as long as is it's voluntary and occasional. Even though you are all as anxious for the game to be finished as we are, it means a lot that you all are understanding that we are just people, with families and lives. That said, we're doing our utmost and might work some overtime to impress you. Keep us in check so we don't burn out, okay? :)

Production Update

We are still assembling all the things for the PAX East demo. In service to this endeavor are many little things that add up to a lot. There will be combat and we're adding in a bunch of combat improvements...
A bunch of animations for various drawing and sheathing


When you get hurt, you'll know it!


Punching! She's totally about to clock this guy...

There will be some jumping and climbing, so we've been adding more animations and locomotion states...


Falling looks like falling, and the ponytail even reacts correctly


Climbing to the top of a cliff should feel heroic, shouldn't it?

Not to mention the environment that the demo will take place in: the Silver Run Mines...


The Silver Run mines started as natural caves carved out by the river


Looks like the bridge is out...


Look at how pretty the underwater shader is!

The female will be playable in the demo, so we've been making sure all the equipment works with her...


Rilehya is pretty sure it's late enough in the day start drinking


Lem takes a break to have a snack and admire the view. Full disclosure: I was crouching in front of a rock to take a cool screenshot - actual rock-sitting not confirmed!


Current fashion trend in New Haven: skirt and pants

And, of course, there are our favorite screenshots from our latest playthrough...


Andry really cares for his citizens and goes above and beyond giving back scratches in the market (note: this is actually a bug, but it looks funny)


Rilehya skips out on her tavern bill and makes a run for it!


Rilehya checks to make sure she's in the clear


Sephryana takes her hammers for a walk in Silver Run

Tech Art Lead: Dennis "Wiz" Price

We've got a new soul bound to our cause! Dennis has 19 years of experience in creating digital art for print, web, multimedia, videos games, commercials, television, and film. Formerly of Blizzard Entertainment, Microsoft, and Digital Domain, his work can be seen in cinematics for World of Warcraft, Diablo III, Starcraft 2 and Starcraft Ghost as well as visual effects for various commercials and the films such as Supernova, and Rules of Engagement. Dennis was art leadership for the development of the video games Forza Motorsport 3, and Murdered: Soul Suspect. Dennis will occasionally sharpen his leather crafting skills if he’s not furiously playing some shooter FPS in his spare time. You can find him lurking around the forums with the handle “wiz”.

Sittin' In a Tree

It's no secret that Improbable and Soulbound Studios are, like, bestest friends. Caspian and I will be headed to GDC next week to talk about what we are doing with their SpatialOS technology. Caspian and Improbable CEO, Herman Narula, will be sharing the stage during Building Worlds with SpatialOS to tell other developers about our mutual goal to bring Elyria alive in SpatialOS! We also got our project page up on Improbable's website recently. I can feel the love - can you?

Preparations Are In Order

We have been busy getting ready for PAX East both digitally (as mentioned above) and physically. Boxes upon boxes of things needed for the booth have arrived and are stacked up, ready to be shipped out.

We've also got several PCs to build for the show floor. Last year's computers got turned into development machines, so we had to order some new ones. Check out these scrumptious PC components!

There's also the matter of getting all this stuff to Boston. Last year we naively took things on the plane with us or ordered things off Amazon and had them shipped directly to the show. This got everything there but, unfortunately, our boxes got recycled and packing everything up to ship back was an ordeal. But never again! Now we have a crate! Four-hundred pounds of shipping mastery - too big to lose, too permanent to recycle. You may take our lives, but you will never take our crate!

Alpha Experiences Q&A Reminder

The next public Q&A is tomorrow and the topic is Alpha Experiences, which includes the offline Prologue, ElyriaMUD, and Kingdoms of Elyria. It will be held on Thursday, February 23rd at 3PM PST / 6PM EST / 11PM GMT. Questions will be taken primarily from this reddit thread so upvote for your favorite questions. Then bring your eyes and ears to our Twitch.tv channel tomorrow to feast upon delicious knowledge about these experiences!

For those who miss it, the recording will be watchable on Twitch.tv for a limited time afterward and on our YouTube channel forever. So even if you can’t make the live session, your question from reddit may still be answered.

Please follow these rules when posting questions for the Q&A.

RULES

  1. Please limit questions to 1 question per post, so it can be easily up-voted/down-voted
  2. Please limit yourself to 3 posts for a maximum of three questions per community member
  3. Keep your question brief. That makes it easier to read, and quicker to answer
  4. Make sure to upvote the posts of others you're most interested in hearing the answers to

Don't forget, many of the most common questions about CoE can be answered by reading over our design journals. If you're new to CoE, there is a wealth of information to begin with there.

We hope to see you Thursday, February 23rd at 3PM PST / 6PM EST / 11PM GMT!

Pledged to Your Continued Adventures in Life, Both Actual and Fantasy,

Vye

Discuss

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Grimlock - 4 months ago

Thank you. Wonderful animations . Blood spatter not my favorite

SliceNDicer - 4 months ago

Lol. Climbing to the top of a mountain should be heroic if you're good at it. Would be funny if you climb really high and aren't a strong character you just kinda crawl over and roll onto your back exhausted before standing. But this all looks great. A lot of work going into the animations.

Foodman - 4 months ago

Thanks for the update!!!

ImbuedGreen - 4 months ago

I always enjoy seeing screenshots, and witty captions are a bonus. Also, thank you for sharing animations-- obviously they are still a work in progress, but we enjoy seeing that progress alongside you. Hopefully others keep that in mind. Super excited for PAX East and what the team will be presenting to the public. Hopefully we will get to see some footage and/or a stream of the demo(s)?

I agree about the animations, specifically the sheathing. At the same time, I hope the animations are able to be interrupted, either by others, or by yourself. Nothing screams limited immersion like being forced to watch yourself complete a task/animation and not being able to halt. This is particularly important in combat; if I am sheathing my sword, but mid-sheath I notice someone swinging a weapon at me out of the corner of my eye, it would make no sense to finish sheathing my sword, and then take it out again to receive my opponent (assuming it's not a skill/speed/momentum based action, but a fixed-duration animation). Not only does that likely result in your character taking a heavy blow, but it also breaks the connection between the player and his character, particularly in terms of player-skill-based combat.

Lastly, I have mixed feelings about the blood splatter. I agree with some of the other comments, but I also think implementing something that allows the player to "experience" his character's wounds to some extent would increase the sense of immersion and be consistent with CoE's vision. Not sure what that would entail specifically, but perhaps not the blood splatter. I like Eurickdm's idea regarding zombie/survival games' take: different animations and/or sounds for different injuries, that you and others around you can explicitly notice.

Shadowstealer22 - 4 months ago

Screen shots and animations are looking good, I have to agree with @Scourge that maybe a slightly longer sheathing/unsheathing animation would be a bit more natural. Screenshots showing the scenery and towns are looking great! The anticipation is REAL!

Etsuko - 4 months ago

Rock-sitting would be incredible.

In pretty much every MMo I played, what makes me most appreciate the game is all the ways you can interact with your environment, and where are the limits. I feel amazed when the game lives up to most of my ideas on what i could actually do if i was that character, in this world.

Ogdin - 3 months ago
@Etsuko:

it would be really cool to be able to sit on a rock by a stream and just fish thats probably how id pass my time lol between contracts

Kaltfeuer - 4 months ago

the animation look nice, but i hope there will be options to holster swords at the waist?

and i realy hope there will be no sheating on the back for 2handers. those should only be carried by hand/shoulder. would appreciate addhering to realism there.

Sleep - 4 months ago

Considering the comments against the blood splatter, here are two combat videos from last year's Pax East that some might want to see. It looks like every time the player is hit, a red vignette flashes around the screen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HtEnsVPuqw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_g9WGSht5Y

I'm excited about what footage might come out of this year's Pax East. Just around the corner!

It looks like crouching is in the game, so I wonder, can crouching give the player an advantage(besides just being able to hide behind tables n such?) Maybe being able to perceive or detect things better?

In the "back-scratching" pic, it looks like two characters are wearing the same hat, but one is wearing it backward. Can the same hat be worn forward or backward? or are those two different hats?

I always look forward to these updates. (:

Captain Alvord - 4 months ago

Great update.

Is it just me but on the sheathing of weapons gif does the one sword in the dual wield animation disappear when sheathed on the back.

And i agree. I generally do not like the vision impairing effects like the current blood outline image. A less obvious iteration would be appreciated

Sleep - 4 months ago
@Captain Alvord:

Posted By Captain Alvord at 5:27 PM - Thu Feb 23 2017

Is it just me but on the sheathing of weapons gif does the one sword in the dual wield animation disappear when sheathed on the back.

I thought the same thing.

OrangeBoy - 4 months ago

Everything seems decent, but gotta agree with the blood splats; not a big fan

Sullen - 4 months ago

I wish everyone has a safe and productive trip to PAX...

To me the animations appear to be a little fast, especially on the sheathing of equipment. The draw seems a little fast also but is acceptable however the sheathing definitely needs to slow a little.

Ninja_manII - 4 months ago

I absolutely love the animations that have been made!! They are looking really cool. The only complaint I have is the blood that pops up when you are hurt. It's just to "there." Maybe something more subtle. Other then that, can't wait for this to come out!! Keep up the great work! :)

Mesis - 4 months ago

The blood is not a good choice in my opinion as many people pointed out. I would prefer if the system that indicates you are low on health would rather ve a system that is a visual representation od injuries. Red glow would appear if you are bleeding (or taking some major dmg) and the intensity would increase the lower on health you are

Eurickdm - 4 months ago

I hope that wee see a lot of things, A.K.A videos, from Pax East, and with them the game gets a lot more of atention. It's nice how the things are going till now, but we know that there's some room from improvments in textures and animations; like some people have said here. I also find weird how the shield magicaly attaches at the character's back, but i think taht this fits into the fun x realism question; being a decision to keep the fun above realism.

Oh and i'm also into the choir against blood splatter on screen, please at least make it optional. Many survival horror games have a solution that CoE could use, since it aims for a bit of realism: diferent animations for walking depending on how mutch you're injuried and a loud heartbeat/breathe sound. Add som textures and tadan!!: You know and everybody aroud you know youre injuried.

RedDoggybone - 4 months ago

Love the update. Thanks for keeping the promise of sharing things with us on a consistent basis. It seems every week we have some new things to ponder and argue over. LOL. Pax is going to be so much fun can't wait to see the footage. Great work guys and thanks for giving us this rare insight into watching a game being made.

Traegore - 4 months ago

Never cared much for the blood-spatter effect in any game. I hope it can be turned off - my personal preference. It always looks too "Quentin Tarantino", you know, 10 gallons of blood sprays from every injury. Everything looks really good - Nice work SBS team! I can't wait for more!

Meyade - 4 months ago

We're sprinting to the line! the starting line :D It's great to see progress guys I'll be there for the Q&A! You've come so far visually, looking forward to seeing it all in action.

PS: little pet peeve here but a sword on the back? come on guys, you know better :'c

Aionion - 4 months ago

Amazing update. Thank you so much and I didn't even expect one considering that it's a Q&A day :)

Not to push, but I would totally love it if we could sit on rocks, logs, downed trees, crates, and other similar objects :)

Also, I'm a little disappointed with how the shield magically attaches itself to the back of the character. Unless i'm not getting the actual mechanic of how shields are fastened to the back.

HolyAvengerOne - 4 months ago

Amazing update, thanks a lot, Vye!

In your last screenshot, with the crate, isn't that a D&D 3rd edition book I see?? :D Office favorite? ;)

Vye - 4 months ago
@HolyAvengerOne:

Posted By HolyAvengerOne at 04:35 AM - Thu Feb 23 2017

Amazing update, thanks a lot, Vye!

In your last screenshot, with the crate, isn't that a D&D 3rd edition book I see?? :D Office favorite? ;)

*cough*


It's hard to choose favorites...

HolyAvengerOne - 4 months ago
@Vye:

Posted By Vye at 3:43 PM - Thu Feb 23 2017

Posted By HolyAvengerOne at 04:35 AM - Thu Feb 23 2017

Amazing update, thanks a lot, Vye!

In your last screenshot, with the crate, isn't that a D&D 3rd edition book I see?? :D Office favorite? ;)

*cough* <div class='lb-overlay' id='image-20'> <div class='lightbox-content'><img src='http://imgh.us/20170223123645.jpg' class='img-border-dark' onClick='window.history.back()'/></div> </div> <a href='#image-20'><img src='http://imgh.us/20170223123645.jpg' alt='' width='550' /></a><br/>

It's hard to choose favorites...

Pretty sweet stash :D Still looks like D&D is winning in terms of % of books in there ;)

Oracle - 4 months ago
@Vye:

Posted By Vye at 8:43 PM - Thu Feb 23 2017

Posted By HolyAvengerOne at 04:35 AM - Thu Feb 23 2017

Amazing update, thanks a lot, Vye!

In your last screenshot, with the crate, isn't that a D&D 3rd edition book I see?? :D Office favorite? ;)

*cough* <div class='lb-overlay' id='image-20'> <div class='lightbox-content'><img src='http://imgh.us/20170223123645.jpg' class='img-border-dark' onClick='window.history.back()'/></div> </div> <a href='#image-20'><img src='http://imgh.us/20170223123645.jpg' alt='' width='550' /></a><br/>

It's hard to choose favorites...

Nerds :p

Lots of good books there :)

Maevric - 4 months ago
@Oracle:

Hah! I called it earlier! Yaaaassss.

Bieito_Skybourne - 4 months ago

Thanks for the update. It is good to see the progress that is being made. Not that big of a fan of the blood splatter on the screen. I do like having some effect but the first go around could use some work.

Looking forward to the Q&A. Should be decent to hear about the up coming Alpha Experiences.

Good luck at GDC and Pax East!

P.S. Love the screen shots!

annfrank - 4 months ago

it seems people aren't very stoked on the blood, id say best plan would be put in settings to either have it turned off, red glow but no blood spatter. also something i have never seen done is maybe fading of the colors to black and white if you are on the cusp of begin knocked out. i like the red haze more then blood spatter, because unless my character is wearing goggles i would not be able to see the blood in my eyes. love this though, great work. hate to be so critical. the female looks great, movement looks to be a lot more in depth than i was expecting. and those animations are stellar, keep up the good work. looking forward to getting my hands on this to test it first hand!

Barghest - 4 months ago

Those screenshots and gifs are looking beautiful! Keep up the good work!

Arisilde - 4 months ago

Hopefully the blood on the screen effect is something you can turn off. If the recent release of Conan Exiles is any indication, I am not alone in the sentiment of not liking that sort of thing. The community raised major hell about their blood on the screen effect as well. It just takes up too much of the screen and is far too opaque.

Otherwise, very good stuff here. Just wanted to raise that one concern.

Oracle - 4 months ago

Just taking a look on the PC - can see images better. Trying for more helpful feedback ;)

Short version: Love the game. Can weather effects handle light straw / dirt? The bare earth textures are the most lacking, but all in all the games looking awesome ;) Also, the produce textures in the boxes could use a little tlc ;)

For the records the games looking awesome, and these are tiny niggles, but usually best to mention in case they don't get spotted, though doesn't really matter.

'When you get hurt, you'll know it!'. Is there an easy means to vary the coloring on the bare earth texture? If you look under the trees in the distance, the bare earth looks a little too plain if that makes sense. For example, can random 'terrain' rocks be visualised? Earth often includes rock. Rock comes with dirt and bare earth less often, but it feels like it needs more ridges, detail and shading.

'Punching! She's totally about to clock this guy...' - The only thing that jumped out, and it's tiny, is the box of tomatoes. The texture looks very flat :)

'Falling looks like falling, and the ponytail even reacts correctly' Loving it. Needs smoke ie from chimeys and life most of all. Random thought. How good is the weather engine? For example, can you have light dust effects near bare earth, light straw in the wind near farms, a few 'dandelion' or insect effects near grass etc? Perhaps a cross of both when close enough? If it works anything like snow, could a light layer of particles vary the texturing on the earth too?

'The Silver Run mines started as natural caves carved out by the river' and 'Looks like the bridge is out...'. The Floor in the first one seems to have very little texturing. The texture on the second image in particular is a little muted if that makes sense. Not very vibrant or detailed. Also looks very flat on that second picture in particular. Probably the weakest screenie. Could the 'Post' in the ground include a small 'dirt mound' or anything to make it look more natural? Not sure if one of the legs extends into the rock too.

'Look at how pretty the underwater shader is!' Loving the gloomy effect. Lacks decor but that's for the future eh ;)

'Rilehya is pretty sure it's late enough in the day start drinking' Love it. Nice screenie. On a completely random note, were all those jars aligned the same way on purpose, or just automatic ie without rotation?

'Lem takes a break to have a snack and admire the view. Full disclosure: I was crouching in front of a rock to take a cool screenshot - actual rock-sitting not confirmed!' and 'Current fashion trend in New Haven: skirt and pants' Beautiful.

'Andry really cares for his citizens and goes above and beyond giving back scratches in the market (note: this is actually a bug, but it looks funny)' Superb but the only thing that still spoils it is the produce in the boxes.

'Rilehya skips out on her tavern bill and makes a run for it!' and 'Rilehya checks to make sure she's in the clear' and 'Sephryana takes her hammers for a walk in Silver Run'. Beautiful. The lighter sand textures on the path also work far better than the bare earth. Looking amazing ;)

Example interesting rock textures on google (see above):

<img src='http://pre05.deviantart.net/50e6/th/pre/f/2013/251/2/a/rockfaceby_paulinemoss-d6lhnrt.jpg' width='450'/>

Interesting bare earth images - though I added rocky to the search.

Apologies for the birdie. Just an example with rocks interspersed. More barren ground with small pockets of grass could potentially break up a more plain texture. Grass could be dried out / sickly if insufficient in light, or with the odd fungus, root, other feature etc. Last ones desert apparently!

Scourge - 4 months ago

I really, really like what I see with the clothing, climbing, and weapons. I love the fluidity with which the character climbs- you can almost feel the exertion of gravity when he does his final jump/pull. However, while the drawing/sheathing looks really polished and smooth, it almost seems to polished and quick. Particularly on the re sheathing, it seems like drawing out the animation even a half second longer here or there would make all the difference in making it seem more life like. I know things are early, and I wouldn't be surprised to find this animation in a finished game, but for the level of realism you aim for I think it may help.

Oracle - 4 months ago

Lol. Looks like a mob boss pose on that crate. "The Godmother"? Lol

On a more serious note, the screenies are looking awesome, though some are a bit dark for my phone :)

Note sure about the "blood surround" on the screen for injury though. Had much feedback? Compare with a soft red fadein around the rim?

Scourge - 4 months ago
@Oracle:

I agree with you, it is just very out of place looking. Soft red fade, I would really hate it but I know some games your entire vision goes out of focus (blahhh!). Would really like to see the injuries apparent ON the character. If Iv received a cut to the chest, a dark red stain in that general area, etc. This would be great for me, but even better for my friends to know I am in trouble, and for my enemies to know that I am hurting and potentially vulnerable. (Not that I expect such from you now, of course. You folks keep rocking, just a mental poke in where I hope your already headed)

Nitt - 4 months ago
@Scourge:

Agree with the injuries being on the character.

Oracle - 4 months ago
@Scourge:

Posted By Scourge at 09:59 AM - Thu Feb 23 2017

I agree with you, it is just very out of place looking. Soft red fade, I would really hate it but I know some games your entire vision goes out of focus (blahhh!). Would really like to see the injuries apparent ON the character. If Iv received a cut to the chest, a dark red stain in that general area, etc. This would be great for me, but even better for my friends to know I am in trouble, and for my enemies to know that I am hurting and potentially vulnerable. (Not that I expect such from you now, of course. You folks keep rocking, just a mental poke in where I hope your already headed)

That's a good idea. :)

Terrantal - 4 months ago
@Oracle:

Posted By Vye at 04:00 AM - Thu Feb 23 2017

Andry really cares for his citizens and goes above and beyond giving back scratches in the market (note: this is actually a bug, but it looks funny)

Hope it isn't too late to turn this bug into a feature? ;)

Maevric - 4 months ago

Pretty sure that picture with the crate.. there are some D&D books stacked up next to the shelf? XD Loooove it! Break time must be pretty epic. Too bad I couldn't afford the trip to the studio. :'(

Shantis - 4 months ago

You guys just take you the time you need to make this game come true and as its best! ;)

Preciousring - 4 months ago

Nice pics, i also love the little story behind each of them. However, concerning the ponytail girl, I suppose that she didn't had a happy end with that well...

Welcome to Wiz, good luck with your crate.... And thanks to the team for your work.

Eldagrim - 4 months ago

I was most pleased with the merchant stall picture and it had nothing to do with the back scratching lol. I really am hoping for in depth merchanting!

cumberbuckle - 4 months ago

Those sheathing and unsheathing animations look awesome! I love the conservation of movement. Can't wait to get my hands on some daggers.

Also, for anyone reading: Are name or freeform engraving on weapons and armor going to be a thing?

Shealladh - 4 months ago

Dual weilding seriously

TheeLucy - 4 months ago

The crate pun killed me

Ulvr - 4 months ago

Oh man I'm glad we hit mines goal. I am so glad. Soooo so glad.