17 August

Production Journal: Going Full Tilt

By Vye

Hail and well met, Elyrians!

Welcome to the Chronicles of Soulbound Studios: PAX West Edition!

As mentioned in Kaizen's introduction to our Jousting Quest, nearly the entire team has turned their attention to bringing the work of the last six months into an experience that PAX-goers can appreciate. We expect that we'll have visitors at our booth from existing backers to people who have never heard of us and everything in between. MMOs are historically difficult to show at PAX and other consumer expos because a player's journey is measured in years, not minutes or hours. In the few minutes most people spend at any individual booth, most wouldn't even get past the character creator in any given MMO! So we are targeting an experience that will delight everyone and reveal the possibilities that Chronicles of Elyria will bring to its players in the full game.

After much debate internally, we went with this jousting experience because it entails next-to-no throw-away work. That is to say, we're not making jousting just so that we have something cool at PAX West. We're making jousting because we were going to do it for launch anyway (jousting does not count as the Mounted Combat stretch goal, just a mounted attack) and it is a focused experience that shows off our work really nicely. To that end, the demo has been coming along crazy-fast! Here's what each adventuring group has been working on:

The Tiltyard Vanguards

Members: Wiz, Heat, Racronos, Raevantiel, Michael, Vandermast

Almost as soon as the jousting idea left the conference room, the Vanguards leapt into action and the first draft of the tiltyard was roughed out in under a week. Because of the efforts of the Society of Elyrian Ecology, representing the biome's flora was quick and easy. Knowing what resources were available in the biome also made it easy to determine the look and feel of the structures and the materials they are made from. In this case, primarily lumber.

Ultimately the length of the tilt (the fence the horses joust along), the distance between the tilt and counter-tilt (the fences that keep the horse running relatively straight), and the collision of everything in the level was led by design and engineering needs, but making it look Elyria Good™ is all up to this group!

After Raevantiel made the ground in the yard muddy, Wiz created mud-splatter VFX that fly off the hooves as the horse trots around. Heat provided paintovers of the tiltyard that showed the home-team's colors and helped to support the narrative of this space: that the tournament grounds are still being set up and the knights are here early to practice. Vandermast has been working like a madman making sound effects for walking or running in the mud, riding the horse, lances impacting shields and armor, all the ambient sounds of the region, and more! Each and every day, the environment for the tiltyard becomes better and better. With still a couple weeks to polish, I'm certain that the level will represent Chronicles of Elyria well.


Environment paintovers by Heat


Side-by-side comparison of a paintover and in-game result

The Tournament Armory

Members: Wiz, Heat, Irreverent, Racronos, Vanimus Prime

There will be six sovereignties riding in the jousting tournament:

  • The Duchy of Helmwood (hosting)
  • The Grand County of Tolumbria
  • The County of Seabridge
  • The Grand County of Velsheland
  • The County of Salix
  • The County of Avorelle

Each has sent knights to the tournament and so we'll need some variety in their equipment. Some of the variants that Heat concepted were chosen for modeling and now we can assemble the knights from the various pieces, colors, and patterns so that each has a unique set of armor. It goes without saying that players of game at launch will never be restricted to just the armor sets that Soulbound creates since our crafting system will allow players to create their own variants from the modular parts, textures, and colors.

Some adornments on the helms could also add to the variation, and Heat threw together a few ideas for the party to choose from. These are hot off the presses, so I can't say which of these will make it in for the expo, but you can still get a great idea for the types of adornments we're aiming at including in the launch product.


Those are flower-cup porcupine quills on the fourth helmet, trison horns on the sixth helmet, and ursaphant tusks and fur on the seventh helmet

It's not all about looking cool though. A shield is necessary for a joust as well, and a concept was quickly sketched by Heat and built by Irreverent. The cutout on the shield is a pass-through point for the lance when it has been lowered into position.

Also being worked on is the horse's equipment and its variation. Heat created concepts for the caparison (AKA horse dress) and other equipment that Neran jousters would outfit their mounts with.


The first two variants were selected for modeling and, rather than model additional outfits, we thought some different colors of horses would be nicer to have.

Vanimus Prime and Racronos worked together to get everything looking, layering, and moving correctly. Here's how that is turning out:

Last, but certainly not least, is the lance itself. While jousting in real life has been done in a variety of ways with a variety of weapons, it's not really a tournament without some nice lances to shatter upon the shield of one's gallant opponent. First we needed to make sure we had the right tech to make the lance shatter nicely. It ended up being relatively easy because of the Unreal Engine. Wiz had this prototype up and running in a day.


Heat provided some color variations so the knights would have more flair, which Irreverent is currently working on texturing.

Because of all the hard work the Proto-Tailors have already done, everything you've seen above - equipment and even the tents in the level - has been developed with ease and with reusability in mind. It's against our studio philosophy to do one-off, throw-away, or faked work so you can expect everything you see to be possible for players to create upon launch.

Knights of Hastilude

Members: Caspian, Death, Souzou, Cynax, Sekmu, Tripnull, Mudokon, Strider

I'm sure you'd like to know how the gameplay is going too. The Knights of Hastilude are at the core of the demo; a combination of members of the Order of the Online, the League of Extraordinary Locomotion, and the Design Guild. Without their efforts, we'd just have a pretty level and cool equipment to run around in. The Knights started off working on separate pieces, with Caspian, Death, and Souzou designing the mechanics and scoring system together before Souzou began to prototype the gameplay quickly in Unreal. Cynax and his guild of Engineers began building out a server-side representation of the level, setting up all the server-side handling for movement and collision between the jousters, and representing the results on the client-side with the appropriate animations and physics reactions.

Souzou's basic jousting prototype

Once the prototype of the gameplay felt right mechanically, Souzou and Strider began working diligently on making it feel right aesthetically. If you've followed our previous blogs, you know that we want locomotion to be a great experience. While riding the horse already feels great, spurring one's mount on and aiming one's lance were new opportunities for excellence! A little bit of bobbing on the camera and lance, determining the right camera positioning for each phase, and finding the best way to appreciate the impact with one's opponent have been taking the basic experience to new heights.

Of course, knowing what's going on is helpful too, so we're building some UI to help the experience. While our overall approach to interface design will try be as seamless as possible (favoring spatial, meta, and diegetic styles), our PAX experiences require more traditional, non-diegetic elements to help people master the gameplay quickly and understand the scope of the demo.


Death has been prototyping some simple elements - like the quick mockup above - but is now heads-down creating the wireframes that Glaive and Scarlet will make real in the game. I like to call them the Interpreters of Joustice, but even Caspian groans when I say that.

But what about the other Protectors of the Web, you ask?

Protectors of the Web

Members: ZRO, Death, Cynax, Glaive, Scarlet, Serpentius, Kaizen

Sidetracked briefly to get the temporary Tribe pages on the Game Guide, the quest for this group is still all about the updated website. ZRO has completed the front-end for the new homepage, so now Kaizen and others are adding in the words and pictures that will finish it off. The site navigation and organization is changing as part of the site improvements, so also nearing completion is the menu bar.

Probably my favorite update is to the registration flow:
Just look at how great that is! So sleek. Such modern. Very checkmark. Wow!

And then there's all the nice fiddly-bits that really kick it up a notch. Check this out!

There's no reason to wait until all the new V3 features are done to drastically improve the website experience through better organization and beauty, so we'll be releasing each updated section as we finish them. Before long, the updated homepage, navigation, login and registration, and game guide will be coming your way. Our feature priority order to get parity with the current site is: homepage, game guide, blog, media section, account area, influence stuff, support and FAQ section, forums, and store. Then it's on to the new features like server selection, chat, or account merging (not necessarily in that order).

Whew! Well, that's it for the production update, but be sure to check out our inaugural Community Journal coming up next week! Not only will Serpentius be spotlighting what's been going on in the community, but he'll also be outlining several new programs we're initiating. Until next time!

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

Vye

Discuss

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Abelsang - 1 year ago

Realy Awesome! I love it.

OberonPlusUltra - 1 year ago

GRAN TRABAJO! SE VE IMPRESIONANTE.

Hieronymus - 1 year ago

This has to be the best post to date yet. Absolutely amazing work folks. There's nothing to even critique. Simply brilliant!

kogre5 - 1 year ago

I really love it!

AlricJ - 1 year ago

Great attention to detail. Thumbs up.

Iccubus - 1 year ago

Have a question once we determine what mounts are available will only horses be allowed to Joust? Or will other mounts be available and how will they match up with different mounts jousting against one another?

Secondly would we be able to have the Jousting arena in all Biome or will there be restrictions?

Murdoc - 1 year ago

Damn idk why but I cringe every time I read "Hail and well met, Elyrians!" haha

Celomea - 1 year ago

This is just awesome. I discovered this game yesterday and I am in love.

Esoba - 1 year ago

Looks awesome. Although in my head I pictured the Hand's Tourney of GoT.

melliminion - 1 year ago

This is really great! Everytime I am turning on the PC (which is actually quite often thanks to studies) the first tab I open is CoE's. It is really good that you have so much coming up and let us be part of the progress etc :)

Ottley - 1 year ago
@melliminion:

Agreed! I love being in the loop. Thanks Vye and company.

Kneeny - 1 year ago

Nice work, love how everything is progressing, Keep it up

protagonist - 1 year ago

Will there be a southpaw option for the shields? If not for PAX then for launch.

Although it could add an interesting dynamic for jousts.

Jungels - 1 year ago

Fantastic job! The look and feel of it is incredible! NAILED IT! =)

Jungels - 1 year ago
@Jungels:

Posted By Jungels at 8:35 PM - Sat Aug 19 2017

Fantastic job! The look and feel of it is incredible! NAILED IT! =)

Wanted to note that the exceptional effort they put into making this mechanic so real is very encouraging for other aspects of the game. So awesome to see devs that are taking the gaming experience to a new level!

Giasrhen - 1 year ago

Question. In the video clip " count 15 "; the opponent is down and the runner strikes the loose lance with his shield, instead of moving the lance up and over his shield or pushing it forward and around. I understand that a lance is heavy but it shouldn't flatten the guy running into it unless he wasn't expecting it.

I understand it may be a programming effect of an objects force or mass, but would it not be better to have the clinch maneuver link the lance, rider, and horse into one mass so that the lance stay a reasonably movable object at any other time? Probably too much for Pax since your about to go but in game I would not want to get knocked over by the door I had my hand out to push open that was partially ajar and not secured. thanks.

Edit additional question. Will there be a chance on a splintering lance to get a foot long splinter in the thigh?

Roudinesco - 1 year ago

WoWo ! Really god job !!!!

But I hate the $$ PAX $$ ....

Iccubus - 1 year ago

This has to be one of my favorite updates and look forwards to seeing more combat focus ones in the future.

Great job SBS and thank you.

Varhukan - 1 year ago

I like all the color schemes. It is looking amazingly better and better, keep going strong!

Kurko - 1 year ago

Bah! Jousting is for them aristocratses :p ...and obviously also for them fake aristocratses whose tinctures have utterly failed :D

Gustyrill - 1 year ago

Loving the way the horses move and looking while jousting. Pretty incredible.

Chroniclesofalias - 1 year ago

It's looking pretty good

Serivon - 1 year ago

On the note of jousting, Tilt lances are blunted with a cap on the end to help prevent serious injury. Is there going to be a difference between jousting, war lances and the possibility for the unscrupulous kind to fake the cap of a jousting lance over a war lance. It is something that actually happened occasionally in reality.

Eurickdm - 1 year ago

Nice, i like how the armors have a realistic feel but the modular crafting may also give space to more fantasy ones. The jousting seems very cool so far. I hope that many people get in toutch with Elyria during Pax and the game gets new fans.

moontoast - 1 year ago

great update as always, though one thing bothers me. The "dress" on the horse flaps in the wind a lot, but the trees in the background do not move at all. If there is enough wind to move the horse's garments it should be moving other entities. Of course, I know this is still early on and maybe you were just testing things, but it stood out to me as incongruent. Thanks for all your hard work, guys!

(http://media.chroniclesofelyria.com/articles/2017/August/Chronicles-of-Elyria-Jousting-Horse-Preview_Pre-Alpha.gif)

kajoreh - 1 year ago

Great again to see the steps being taken to put everything together. Laying it out the way you do helps us see the rope bridge concept in action. I am very pleased to see that this isn't just a one off for PAX, but it a way to test run the turning of a concept idea into a real instance. And how long that takes, and who has to do what, in what order, for it all to work so seamlessly. Finally, it gives us all a nice treat to see just how you guy can "Get Er Done."

Sperg - 1 year ago

I can't wait, this looks fantastic!

Nameless_Necromancer - 2 years ago

With how quick the jousting development has gone, I expect a lot out of this game! I know it will be worth the wait.

On the technical side, I'm not sure I'm a fan of special characters being required in passwords. And I'm waiting for spaces to be allowed in our aliases again. But that's all very minor.

Vye - 1 year ago
@Nameless_Necromancer:

Posted By Nameless_Necromancer at 6:29 PM - Fri Aug 18 2017

With how quick the jousting development has gone, I expect a lot out of this game! I know it will be worth the wait.

On the technical side, I'm not sure I'm a fan of special characters being required in passwords. And I'm waiting for spaces to be allowed in our aliases again. But that's all very minor.

The password requirements are no different today. What you see there is what we currently have, just presented in a much easier-to-understand format.

Nicademus - 2 years ago

Out freckening standing SBS!! Keep up the great work!!

Skrachfays - 2 years ago

This all looks like great fun. Can't wait to have a bash so to speak.

One thing: In the horse shown in side view, something is wrong with its forelegs. Are they too thin? They just don't look realistic.

Onyxdragun - 2 years ago

I wish the passwords were a bit less... special-charactery ;)

There are studies that have tested passwords and their entropy and ones that use phrases are better than ones with random special characters etc. Also makes it easier for us humans to remember ;) I think I have to keep coming here and resetting my password to login ;)

malachid - 2 years ago

It's looking great! I hope I don't get motion sick from the bobbing camera lol.

And that password box? Awesome!

Joreel - 2 years ago

Thanks for the update Vye 😘. All of you guys are doing a great job and we're looking forward to seeing you guys at PaxWest. What are the chances that this demo could be released to the backers so we could have some fun playing each other? It's been ashame for those that can't make it to PaxWest to miss out on the fun 🤗.

Rojinn - 2 years ago
@Joreel:

Fantastic idea!

Marovec - 2 years ago

@Vye

Thanks for the response!

I was fairly confident it was still a work in progress, but wanted to make sure I wasn't completely in left field.

Keep up the great work you guys/gals!

Marovec - 2 years ago

I will admit, I am not a "jouster", however, am I correct in thinking that the lance, as currently displayed in the video, is not properly "couched"?

He seems to be holding it a bit out to the side, and controlling it completely with his wrist.

I thought it was supposed to be a bit more "tucked", running along the forearm for support, maybe even more under the arm?

Granted, I could be completely wrong, and am merely watching too many movies that incorrectly display jousting techniques. As it is currently shown, it seems like a LOT of weight and impact to rely solely on the wrist.

Regardless, it looks fantastic!

Vye - 2 years ago
@Marovec:

Posted By Marovec at 09:08 AM - Fri Aug 18 2017

I will admit, I am not a "jouster", however, am I correct in thinking that the lance, as currently displayed in the video, is not properly "couched"?

He seems to be holding it a bit out to the side, and controlling it completely with his wrist.

I thought it was supposed to be a bit more "tucked", running along the forearm for support, maybe even more under the arm?

Granted, I could be completely wrong, and am merely watching too many movies that incorrectly display jousting techniques. As it is currently shown, it seems like a LOT of weight and impact to rely solely on the wrist.

Regardless, it looks fantastic!

You're pretty well informed for not being a jouster! Yes, there's a clutch mechanic we are implementing to stabilize the lance that is not shown yet. Don't worry - it'll be there!

JusticeUnchained - 2 years ago

Love this update. Everything looks great. I only have one critique. The rivets on the shields. They themselves look bad, but even if they looked better, they look horribly out of place on the shields.

Nizjal - 2 years ago

Thanks for the update, i really enjoyed reading it, very pretty and good looking videos. Now i wish i could go to pax...^^

Ravenlute - 2 years ago

To those having issue with the look of the helmets; jousting is as much about pageantry as it is skill on horseback. It's like a fashion show. Most people wouldn't be caught dead, because they might actually die, wearing the stuff that comes down a runway. They do it for the show.

Now I want to see a fashion show with models running at each other from opposite ends of the runway with pool noodles trying to knock each other over. Someone make this happen.

grandad1982 - 2 years ago

The helmets look cool but I have to say that apart from the first (and maybe the second and forth) they look like a bad accident waiting to happen. Can you imagine fighting in the last one with tusks?!

Jouten - 2 years ago
@grandad1982:

Posted By grandad1982 at 04:12 AM - Fri Aug 18 2017

The helmets look cool but I have to say that apart from the first (and maybe the second and forth) they look like a bad accident waiting to happen. Can you imagine fighting in the last one with tusks?!

Specifically for jousting it's ok. For foot combat it'd be bad. The courtly combat had different suits of armor than that of field combat so this stuff is perfectly fine.

Salvador - 2 years ago

Good work! looks amazing!

Rajikii - 2 years ago

Good work guys! Cant wait to see the gameplay! Maybe talk about sailing or navel combat next?

Azeron - 2 years ago

Takeda_Shinukage - 2 years ago

I go full tilt everytime my mid-laner feeds in league of legends.

MondaKing - 2 years ago
@Takeda_Shinukage:

Wanted to do the joke :(

Belzak - 2 years ago

Wow that jousting looks amazing. The camera angle when aiming looks incredible!!

Cynn - 2 years ago

This looks awesome!! Thanks for sharing :)

1mmaculateDeception - 2 years ago

I was honestly surprised by the quality of the moving animation on horseback. It had a very visceral feel to it when combined with the excellent atmospheric affects going on in the background.

The modular style of the helmets gives great promise for players' ability to make a name for themselves in crafting. Anyone can make a solid helmet, but how many will be able to make that special looking helmet that everyone wants?

I simply can't get enough of the world itself. It is high quality but it isn't stylistic, it looks like high quality real.

Congratulations on what you have so far and I cant wait to see more, especially the finished product.

Barri - 2 years ago

Looks BEAUTIFUL!!!! HUZZAH!

NicoTheRed - 2 years ago

Angry screech NO HORNS ON HELMS!!!!!!! In all seriousness, though things on the tops of helmets are rather hazardous. What happens if a lance hits that shit? lol OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!! helm number five is just a huge lance catcher that yells break my neck plz. The helms look great but they are not at all practical.

Woogawoman - 2 years ago
@NicoTheRed:

Posted By NicoTheRed at 6:07 PM - Thu Aug 17 2017

Angry screech NO HORNS ON HELMS!!!!!!! In all seriousness, though things on the tops of helmets are rather hazardous. What happens if a lance hits that shit? lol OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!! helm number five is just a huge lance catcher that yells break my neck plz. The helms look great but they are not at all practical.

What if we had removable elements for helms? In other words, for dress purposes, you have quills/horns/etc., to show your family's wealth, status, whatever, but they are easily detached for combat/jousting.

Perhaps it could become a unique-to-Elyria element in heraldry. Sigil, crest, torse... "flair." (But with a better name lol.)

malachid - 2 years ago
@NicoTheRed:

I agree. I've worn helmets and you definitely want things to glance off of them rather than to snag on them. The horns are for your aesthetics and your opponents victory.

Jouten - 2 years ago
@NicoTheRed:

Posted By NicoTheRed at 9:07 PM - Thu Aug 17 2017

Angry screech NO HORNS ON HELMS!!!!!!! In all seriousness, though things on the tops of helmets are rather hazardous. What happens if a lance hits that shit? lol OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!! helm number five is just a huge lance catcher that yells break my neck plz. The helms look great but they are not at all practical.

It may sound strange coming from me, but I think the helmets are great. As long as it doesn't affect the comfort and biomechanics or movement, I'm down. I mean these are jousting helmets so you don't need an awful lot of mobility with it. Plus the bits with the holes can be covered up if the suit has a bevor in the front.

NicoTheRed - 2 years ago
@Jouten:

I would love it if they added the helms like that but made it do extra damage if they are hit lol. so that people could have the epic helm like they wanted but then reality would hit them like a lance to a horn (or huge plate of metal on one's head)

Xeryn - 2 years ago

That looks beautiful! The animations and camera shake make it feel very real.

Azmodeth - 2 years ago

So yum, so wow !

promise - 2 years ago

This is so cool! Jousting looks like so much fun!

Maulvorn - 2 years ago

The animations and horse model is defo getting better; the saddle looks like it fits currently and the ear movements have been noticed.

Horses don't move their ears randomly they do it as part of the bodylanguage of the horse as well as pinpointing sounds.

I have a question how will SBS model not just horse bodylanguage but other animals as well?

Will we have ear and eye movements, body posture etc.. to represent different moods?

Nahkahiiri - 2 years ago
@Maulvorn:

Impressive stuff! Just one but... can you make the ground less glossy, please?

Posted By Maulvorn at 03:13 AM - Fri Aug 18 2017

The animations and horse model is defo getting better; the saddle looks like it fits currently and the ear movements have been noticed.

Horses don't move their ears randomly they do it as part of the bodylanguage of the horse as well as pinpointing sounds.

I have a question how will SBS model not just horse bodylanguage but other animals as well?

Will we have ear and eye movements, body posture etc.. to represent different moods?

Do we want this game out some day? ;)

Equinoxium - 2 years ago

It has to contain something like a question mark.

Stormbreaker - 2 years ago

what does "must contain at a special character" mean in the login example? Is that even a correct sentence? lol

NoBull - 2 years ago
@Stormbreaker:

Yes, it is.

It means you must use a non-alphanumeric character. This is symbols, like [email protected]#$%

Morbis - 2 years ago
@Stormbreaker:

Posted By SoulSpark at 8/18/2017 12:01:01 AM

what does "must contain at a special character" mean in the login example? Is that even a correct sentence? lol

It's pre-release assets. If you think that's bad, you should see some of the stuff I used to put into pre-release ready applications.

Dazzerix - 2 years ago

I didn't realize how pretty this game is going to be. That is utterly amazerful

Donovan_De_Carrefour - 2 years ago
@Dazzerix:

Looks much more like a world you live in not the amusement park feel of MOST MMO games.

Ayreonautic - 2 years ago

WOW! The animations for riding and jousting look way more polished, and that environment is beautiful. This is wonderful to see. It really shows what the team is capable of when designing a full experience for PAX.

I really hope PAX brings in a lot more people and backers! This is a great opportunity.

Vucar - 2 years ago

Looks solid. Love the rocky camera to go with the movement, makes it feel very real.

Souzou - 2 years ago

I like your usage of "non-diegetic".

MobiusStolz - 2 years ago

Awesome!