SHINY DAY (11/07/2019) – Sometimes the shine comes in steps

Greetings Elyrians! It’s been a very busy time at the studio, let me tell you! A big piece of what I’ve been working on this week has been to look forward and to plan the next few phases of our production efforts with Vye, Jeromy, and the rest of the studio leadership. In some ways, forward planning of the type I’ve been involved in is some of my favorite work, but in other ways it’s also some of my least favorite work. It’s easy to lose touch with the ongoing moment-to-moment production of the game when you take the time to step back and plan the route ahead.

(I found this waiting for me when I came into work today. 😊)

That may sound strange but, for example, consider my week: Monday was spent heads down with Caspian as we discussed the ongoing effort to integrate our alpha feature into the Prelyria client. Tuesday was spent working with Vye to plan the next 4 months of production and what that might mean in terms of things like packaged builds, prototypes that might need to be spun up, etc. Yesterday, aside from a fun interlude with the Exclusive Access group, was spent discussing how we might begin the work of prototyping some of the features slated for full production later in our schedule, such as the mechanics for religion. And, today, I spent mostly going over the current state of controls with folks to plan out any changes to the way the player character is controlled.

On the one hand, these are all fun conversations where I get to be super creative! But on the other, they all involve a very clinical and detached perspective from the game. It’s not as fun as when you can get into the game itself and feel the game, the way a player would. For that, looking back – reviewing the week’s work – will always be superior. Alas, there just wasn’t as much time this week to do that as I’d like.

That said, I did get a chance to see something cool, and I don’t think we’ve ever shared it, so I’m going to make it the “True” shiny of the day. What is “it” you ask? It’s a monster!

Well, OK, it’s an animal that is monstrous, to be fair. A true beast in the literal sense of the word, but maybe not the ultra-fantastical monster the word “monster” itself might conjure in your mind. Still, it is awesome. Have a look at the work Vanimus is doing on the content team right now to bring the Sailfin to life:

This is a work-in-progress sculpt of the full-fidelity version of a tropical wetlands creature that is somewhat like an alligator or crocodile but is neither in actuality. Between the spines you see in the sculpt so far are finely veined “sails” of hide that both act to regulate the creature’s temperature and act as a lure for some of its favorite amphibious prey.

Once Vanimus is finished sculpting the full-fidelity version and built the materials and textures necessary to bring its leathery hide to vivid life, this beastie will be handed off to the animators so they can apply an animation skeleton (a “rig”) and begin the work of applying the animations they have been working on using the low-fidelity model for the Sailfin. Meanwhile, those of us on the design team are working with the low-fidelity version of the creature so that we can apply its behaviors and then it can be introduced into the ecosystem for testing.

That’s one of the cool things about the way we approach production here: By working in the low fidelity “Prelyria” art style, we can all work in parallel. Vanimus can take the time he needs to make the full fidelity sculpt perfect in every way without any of us having to wait. A process that might take several months of total time to complete can be done in a third or a quarter of that time as a result of that parallel production and so, even though we’re a small team, we can maintain a pace similar to the larger-teamed MMOs I’ve worked on in the past, games that had teams that were literally 3 or 4 times as large as the team here at Soulbound.

It might not be easy to see from the outside, but from where I sit on the inside? It’s the sort of smart planning that makes me think why didn’t we do this on that other game?! -- and I’m not going to lie, knowing we’re doing this when others never thought to do it? Well, that feels shiny as all heck to me!

Stay shiny my friends!

  • Snipehunter
11/8/2019 2:05:22 AM #1

Cool. Glad to see new animals being made. Also where was this discussion with early access people? Did you mean 10k people or developers or something?

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11/8/2019 2:05:57 AM #2

Sweet :)

"If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking." -Haruki Murakami

11/8/2019 2:06:35 AM #3



11/8/2019 2:07:11 AM #4

What a cutie

11/8/2019 2:07:31 AM #5


11/8/2019 2:07:47 AM #6

looks hungry and nasty

From Our Farm Gate To Your Dinner Plate.

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11/8/2019 2:07:52 AM #7

Skeeery stuff

11/8/2019 2:08:00 AM #8


11/8/2019 2:08:02 AM #9

nice soft looking belly for arrows mwahahah

for some reason I see this creature mostly in green with small bits of black and brown for camo very hidden in the wetlands type look...scarey beast indeed

awesome work guys keep it up we are all super excited to see this monster in the wild lands of coe

on the other hand I wonder if I can use any part of it for my blacksmithing :) wish me luck

11/8/2019 2:17:24 AM #10

Pokey legsnek!

Reese "Legendary Neurotoxin" Holland - COE Reddit Mod - Game Dev, but not on CoE. Talkshow on on Sundays with the rest of the Theory Forge crew!

11/8/2019 2:20:18 AM #11

I agree with Medussa, that looks like it's going to gobble something, and soon. I would not want to be put up against it in the arena, that's for sure!


"Different denotes neither bad nor good, but it certainly means not the same."

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11/8/2019 2:20:44 AM #12

For some reason I think these will be popular mounts in Cedargore County. Just got to grind down the spines and throw on a saddle. Don't forget an oxygen tank for when it goes into a death spiral!

11/8/2019 2:21:22 AM #13

Posted By dafuzzball at 6:08 PM - Thu Nov 07 2019

nice soft looking belly for arrows mwahahah

on the other hand I wonder if I can use any part of it for my blacksmithing :) wish me luck

It has a mild resemblance to a bellows.

Snarks aside, I've been eagerly awaiting the unique denizens of the warmer climes, so I'm very glad to see this. Sailfin is a kind of wimpy name, though, IMO. I don't suppose it could serve as a mount, unless some spikes were amputated.

11/8/2019 2:25:05 AM #14

Nice Creature indeed, cannot wait to have a couple of those in my Zoo.

11/8/2019 2:26:24 AM #15

About time you guys created something that wasn't a ridiculous mashup