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Devlog

LET'S SEE ?

I will record , the obstacles, journey and other things I encounter

while trying to make games. Perhaps it may help you, perhaps

not.

  • Writer's pictureZine.E.Falouti

Crafting the Foes



In this Devlog entry, I will talk generally about my own process of creating enemies from start to finish, this process or processes are not canon, as you might know character design is a much more complex subject than environment design, it requires pipelines of its own.


1- Inspirations or just a white dream :

If you are a concept artist or your teammate is one, you might want to start sketching concepts of base, if you are not good at sketching (Like me), Use references of realistic entities, for fantasy elements take the realistic entities and add your flavor. But always keep your character consistent with his or her environment. (Unless of course you want to put a medieval knight with a sword in a futuristic spaceship battle near Pluto, that's your choice, it could be fun who knows!).


2- The Character Creation

For this series of processes, each developer have unique approaches, but nevertheless I will share mine :






Breastplate example



Base Body Example




Tunic example



Helmet Example


As mentioned before, the character creation is the most time consuming process, and it is for a reason. Unless you want to buy ready to use characters but even then you can not hope that it will satisfy you, or the setting and action you want to create.



3- Rigging/Skinning

I hate this process and I always complain about it, it is the most boring and most annoying process at the same time. But I do apologize, I will stop my ranting immediately and move on.


The Skinning is by far the most critical process, because it is the liaison between what we just finished the Character model and the Animation process, a rig is essential but we will also start meeting the consequences of our choices in our

previous process (Character Creation), for each part of the body/cloth/and some accessories we will have to imagine motions, adapt them and skin a bone to them or parts of them.


For this process, I recommend to move your bones while skin painting and adapt the position, but never forget to set your base pose "T" or the other one that I forgot its name (The one with arms a bit down lets call it A).

Advise : I recommend to not do the skinning by yourself unless you are an expert in the field. If I can turn back the time wheel, I would prefer to use the auto rigging tools or services, so keep that in mind.


4- Animations

You might expect with the Shadows of Larth that the first animations I would work on are the sword combat animations, but that is completely wrong.


For I always start with the movement animations as the following :


- Idle 1 / Idle on combat

- Walk

- Strafe left/ right

-Strafe 45° / -45°

- Walk back

-Run

-Run left/Right

-Run Strafe 45° / -45°

- Run Back

- Dodge or roll or any avoid attack animation (4 Directions for the mob) (8 for the Bosses)


While establishing these animations we can already start scripting and testing the character, at this time we should be inside the engine, these animations will also show you the flaws of your skinning/rigging process, so keep that in mind.


After this process you can start batching animations for attacks or special abilities , or any animation that translate your game design rules for this character.


5- AI Behavior

While working on AI Behavior, I always make sure it can be modular and applied to any AI enemy with the same pacing and category. For that I drive the Ai not to the Enemy class but to the Mother class, if you know heritage in oriented object programming you will understand, if not let me then explain :


- A mother class is a class that have all the necessary general information about all the enemies you will create, a child class inherit all this information and then you can customize on top of it, for each enemy you make you will create a child class from the mother class then customize it to suit our AI enemy, the time you call the mother class; the specific child will answer automatically.


- While scripting your behavior you should keep in mind the diverse behavior you want to create for that, I always drive multiple AI Behavior through one character in case that enemy can swap or change weapon or just diversify the same unit in the environment please see the example below:


(You can also use one AI Behavior for multiple weapons and use the animation attack related to the weapon as variable in the child class, if and only if the AI uses the same weapon category or weapons that can be assimilated in the same way ,for example I can combine a great sword, cleaver and a hammer in the same category but never with a one handed sword , a dagger or a Pole arm.)




- After finalizing your Character AI, I always run multiple tests as the following :


1- Damage the enemy til death

2- Damage the enemy an keep it alive for stress behavior testing

3- Let the enemy have more opportunities and take down the Player character.

4- Proper normal combat x5 to x10 until satisfied.


In this 4 stress tests, you can then adjust and finalize your character, please see the example below.



We have reached the end of Devlog #3 , I hope it will be helpful to my fellow devs and lone wolves walking the path, or the gaming community awaiting the game release, so you can see where the enemies you are going to cut down are coming from.


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