October 26th, 2017
I want to apologize for the long delay in this sprint’s dev blog, but I have something really impressive to share with you all! We have the tormilin live and fully implemented in the game! We got to see it live in game during our Wednesday night meeting, and it was a joy to behold. I tried to get Brax to get a video for you all, but the testing terrain lacks all the neat features we have in the optimized world and he didn’t want to let that detract from the overall impression. I will do my best to describe it for you until we can get some video footage for you all. I’ve also included a pair of screenshots for you. Again, the terrain you see isn’t the “real” game terrain, it is only for testing purposes.
Let me set the scene for you; It is Wednesday evening and we are all on Skype for our weekly meeting. After the important topics of the meeting are covered, we all launch the latest development build of ToA: Exile to test our progress. As we were running around and testing the new animations for human combat, we all hear Brax shout out, “Hey! Was that a tormilin?!”
Questions quickly followed for Emrys90: “Is it finally live?”, “When did you add it?”, “Does it have all the animations?”, “Is the AI working for it?” “I wanna see!” He chuckled at our exuberance and answered our questions as Brax shared his screen and began chasing after the tormilin. As a prey animal, the tormilin is programmed to flee from anything bigger than itself, so as it was chased by Brax’s character it sprinted away and was difficult to keep up with or track. To follow it and observe its other behaviors, he switched over to a special camera view and followed it without detection.
As we watched, the little tormilin (which I named Bobbie) moved around using a walk similar to a slow rabbit hop, with its larger back feet flicking out behind it and it’s little front feet swinging forward. The overall movement gave the impression that it is almost rocking. Its big ears made its head appear nearly equal in size to the body and was quite adorable. Though not originally in the design, our animators took creative liberty with the tail and made it flexible like a cat’s tail. This resulted in it bouncing along with the tormilin as it moved and adding to it’s appeal.The entire team agreed it was a good call.
By turning on a few debugging tools, we were able to see the data the AI was working through as Bobbie moved around the island. When its endurance would reach a low point, it would stop to rest. After it had regained enough endurance, it would wake and hop around again. It would seek out plants to eat when its hunger level dropped. If it happened to wander too close to one of our characters, it would sprint away for a good distance. Occasionally it would stop to idle under a bush or in the shade of a tree. That is when we had the best view of its little nose twitching.
In the forums it was noted that we had fully modeled, skinned, rigged, and animated one of our creatures near the end of August. However, that achievement didn’t really hit home until we saw it for ourselves in the game. Though we still have three other creatures in various stages to complete, this experience was really something special to the team. More than just seeing our work in the game, it showed us what our combined efforts can achieve and gave us a peek at the excitement in store for us as we continue to make progress.
Many thanks to our fans and followers, new and old, for your continued support as we continue to make ToA: Exile into a reality. Please share your feedback with us over at http://www.trialsofascension.com/forum/threads/dev-blog-64.8329/.