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Development Update: March 31, 2022

Discussion & Outline Summary

Community & Reminders

  • They are spotlighting 1 YouTube comment per development update. 
  • Cosmetics swapping over on April 6th, 2022, 11AM PST.
  • Dev Discussion on Enemy Indicators is now open on the forum for feedback.
  • The content creator program is still open although they are not processing applications yet.

Studio Update

  • Hiring is going very well this year, since the start of the new year they have hired 20 new people at the studio.
  • The office is not yet ready for a studio tour.

Character Creator Showcase

  • Steven prefaced the Character Creator by explaining there are still a lot of outstanding features that are necessary. The Character Creator displayed represents a first pass.
  • The Character Creator in Ashes of Creation is not meant to be something to be skipped through. The character creator will be available before launch day so that players can create their character, save their character, and have it ready to go immediately at launch.
  • There will be Character Creator contests down the line.
  • The Character Creator will not only have an application for your character, but also for any NPC you may hire.
  • The base technology of the Character Creator is also being used by the design team to make important characters within the game as well for use in the animal husbandry system for how they can manipulate creatures as well. 
  • The weighting of each input is affected on a bone-by-bone basis on a per race, and per gender basis. (Note: A bone is a transform in space that describes how each vertex should be transformed if that bone is also transformed. Example: whenever a bone in an arm moves, all the vertices that are weighted to that bone will move the same way in alignment with the weighting of the bone and the vertex)
  • The Character Creator molds and shapes a single mesh that can achieve a really wide array of results, instead of changing out the mesh.
  • Detail system: Currently it is just being used for wrinkles, but it will be a system for blending any textures detail holistically over the entire body of a character, either scales on the Ren’Kai or scarification on the Vek, allowing different scarification patterns to be added. It can also be used for body hair sliders for the Dwarf races.
  • There will be the ability to change each eye separately.
  • There are currently 4 sections in the Character Creator: Origins, Appearance, Blend, Sculpt. 
    • Origins allows you to pick the race 
    • Appearance is mainly adjusting attachments to the character.
    • Blend
    • Sculpt allows you modify sections of the face or body
  • The sculpting features allows for a more tactile response instead of adding multiple sliders 
  • There are micro level adjustments where it is possible to change the shape of specific features, whereas macro level changes can change the location of a feature. 
  • They are not sacrificing run time / computations efficiency for the Character Creator; optimization is always at the forefront of the decisions. Many of the earlier tests, such as the simulated siege with 1000 characters used many of the same tech. The viability of the amount of customization was important to ensure it can work in a large scale MMO. 
  • Tattoos can be dragged across the entire body
  • It uses the same direct manipulation, scaling and rotations as the tattoos except with more texture and detail. Similarly, whenever you select the scar, it highlights it so that you know which scar you are modifying. 
  • Within the editability of the color (of tattoos and scars), there is a flat color, which is a multiplication of the base skin colors. This was done to ensure that scars and tattoos look good on each skin color. 
  • Additional muscular detail will be added to the Character Creator.
  • There is the ability to choose hair color individually (i.e., beard and scalp hair), where you can change the root color and tip color differently. 
  • Blending is a large-scale macro tool that allows you to mix individual features from preselected presets. 
  • One of the core tenants is to ensure that the users are always receiving positive results from any edits. There is the ability to max various things out that may look “goofy”. But there are no “Monster Factories”.
  • All tech was built in house, in order to build a solution tailored to the player experience.
  • The ability to adjust the environmental controls that the character creator exists in, which may include different scenes, lighting, etc., are additional features being worked on. 

Q&A

  • Why did the character creator only focus on one race/gender?
    • There are a lot of technical hurdles in setting up the skeleton and the rig for each race and the different genders. Intrepid wanted to get this out as soon as possible, and as such used the based Kaelar male model to stand up all of the tech. Those options will be circulated on different social channels in the future. 
  • Why was the character not blinking?
    • Anytime you are in a scene where you want to have close control with the face you are manipulating it is sometimes difficult to incorporate animations. So the idle stance as well as eye tracking is not present, but that is something that the animation team is working on.  
  • What is the plan for asymmetricity?
    • Asymmetry will be a functionality that will be possible in manipulating different components of the body, like hair, beards, eyes and others with parameters that will be determined on a per race basis. 
  • Will the Vek have piercings?
    • 100%. There already exist some adornments for the Vek, but for this demonstration there was not enough time to bring them into the character creations.
  • Will there be non-natural hair color options? 
    • Options will definitely be culturally dependent, but high saturation/color ranges must follow a style guide for the game. 
  • Will it be possible to upload images for tattoos?
    • This would add an additional layer of customer service needed to Intrepid, to answer tickets/reports due to questionable markings. It is still, however, an open-ended question.

Character Art Update

  • The team shared the first 3D models of the Vek race (both male and female), including hair and adornments. 
  • The team also shared the first look of the concept art of the Py’Rai male.
  • One of the Alpha 2 (aquatic) raid bosses was displayed. Which, according to Steven, will require a great number of ships to defeat. 
  • The Whispering Watcher 3D model mount was also displayed. (From the Jan-Feb 2020 pre-order pack). 

Q&A

  • Have you considered a high stakes loot drop PvP drop area?
    • We have not because the current PvP loot drop systems already allow for material risk, either through the flagging system or through event based opt-in systems.  
  • Will infrastructural issues requiring reactive tasks be a part of node gameplay outside of monster coins, siege, weather, and natural disaster events?
    • Absolutely, there are 3 primary systems that deal with building damage and/or building destruction within nodes: NPC driven events, that are a response to some type of story arc, or atrophy; Node sieges; Wars. The event could be a hazard like a tornado or a hurricane and that can do damage to buildings which will require players to repair the buildings in order to reactivate the services that those buildings provide. There is the ability for buildings to take damage during wars or during sieges, when those buildings take damage they could be destroyed, at which point rubble appears on that plot within the node and the government must clear that plot before they can either reconstruction a new building or the previous building that was there. Buildings also live in the prerequisite system, so as the node grows it may require multiple buildings to provide a service, if one of the links in the system is destroyed that individual link will need to be repaired before the service can be reestablished again. There are a lot of reactive types of systems that can interface with nodes and the development of those nodes, and players and governments will have to respond to that in order to keep their services running.
  • With unique and rare items limited to 1 per server, what will happen to an item of such rarity when the player character leaves the world or server?
    • That item will then be available again for acquisition through whatever means it was acquired previously. 
  • How do you plan to establish big characters and story arcs in an ever changing and node driven world?
    • The story arc system is built in such a way where these story plots have multiple points which can pivot based on predicates that are in the world based on a player’s decision point. From a cultural representation standpoint, from a situation dependent on which node gets developed. Intrepid is working on a very functional story arc system that provides content in many different ways but is behind a door of world progress /development that is executed by the player population.  Margaret hinted that some of these things may be shown in the upcoming months.
  • Since heavy armor will be strong against physical damage, and cloth armor strong against magic damage, what would make players wear leather armor?
    • Your armor is really based on your threat assessment, it will be completely situational depending on the situations you are intending to face. Leather gives you a blend between both worlds but will also give you a different type of set benefits that aren’t purely related to damage mitigation, that could be outgoing skill damage, critical chances, or other waterfall stats associated with it. The armors don’t just come down to damage type mitigation.
  • Will the racial capital cities be player cities, potential nodes or has the cataclysmic event done something else to them entirely?
    • Part of the story is returning to a world that has essentially been destroyed and left untouched for many millennia and as a result those old capital cities are the ruins of which you are returning to. The new cities, the node structures that exist are brand new cities, they might be couched within ruins of old empires, but they will not be represented by the old capital cities. 
  • Will the instance content still have scripted and difficult boss fights that drop gear and loot?
    • Yes, although Intrepid is looking at having an 80-20 split (open world – instance) Instance content is meant to provide rails for an experience, especially if it relates to a story line, whether it be class-based storyline, culture-based story line, or node-based, it will still incorporate the traditional reward structure. But the rewards will not be Best in Slot for instance-based content, those will only be found in the open world. 
  • Will accessories such as necklaces and rings be vertical power changes or horizontal power changes?
    • Both, and it depends on how you engage with them. But there will be options for both.
  • Will some aquatic mounts have any utility skills that can be used in fishing?
    • Yes, absolutely. Fishing is a big part of the game, and mounts will have skills that relate to fishing in some way, shape or form, at least the water mounts. Whether that be getting out to a particular area, or fish finding, or chumming the area. There could even be benefits to fishing in the water while mounted.
  • How will raid loot be dispersed when PvP battles are involved during the raid fight?
    • There is already a complex system in place when it comes to raid loot settings that each raid can have. If there are two competing raids, there is a blended approach to damage done and tag benefit.  If you tag the loot target first, you will get a benefit in the damage overall determination, so if you need to have 51% of damage done, then tagging first may give you a 5-10% edge (final % number will be determined based on testing). 

Outline Contributors: Simurgh, Skylarck The Botanist

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