Welcome to the IndieDen, home of the SP Ent Team Blogs. Here you can find a growing body of writings from various members of SP Ent. on many subjects, including game dev, games, and entertainment. Our blogs are organized into Dens, for instance, the ArtDen, and, the CodeDen. There are also two special blogs: Paw Prints, which contains writings and musings about development and running an indie company from our Executive Director and Executive Producer Chris McKillip, and The Periwinkle Paw, which contains the written perspective of indie wife, Lead editor, and assistant producer, KC McKillip. Please read, comment, and enjoy.

Return of the Dev Updates
Chris McKillip
/ Categories: GameDen

Return of the Dev Updates

Back to Dev Updates After an Interesting Year

This dev update is well overdue, since our last dev update was actually written back in February of last year. At that time, we had no idea just how crazy the craziness would get, nor did we foresee the impact it might have on our interaction with our community as we attempted to circumnavigate the maelstrom that social media would become. Now, here we are on the other side of 2020 and, as our Lead Writer and Editor mentioned in her last PeriwinklePaw post Back on the Wing, we’re working on breaking out of our pandemic generated ostrich like behavior and getting back to interacting with the world, and more importantly you, our community.

Despite all the pandemic pandemonium, we have been busily making progress on our titles. We’ve been focusing mostly on our new art pipeline and working Raptors’ Realm toward alpha. However, all our titles have gone through two major engine upgrades to the latest version of Unreal Engine, gaining better lighting, more performant and updated rendering, and better FX. As far as our art goes, it’s been really fun seeing the impact our new pipeline has had because the new art we’re using takes full advantage of the advances in the engine. We’re even more excited to see the improvements as Epic continues the move to Unreal Engine 5 and our new pipeline converges with it.

That’s work we’re doing in all our titles, but now let’s focus on Raptors’ Realm. We’re nearly finished with what we generally call our full prototype, which for our projects contains all the basic elements of a game. We’ll talk more about how we stage through a game project in a future DesignDen post, but for now this means that as of the writing of this dev update, we nearly have a fully functional game based on our designs. Here’s a high on the wing view of what we’ve been working on: We’ve added some animations and an early in-engine animation rig for our first Quarry, the chickens. We’ve added the initial Quarry AI and connected it to our chickens, which now makes them wander the map. We’ve added our first Quarry Home, the chicken coop, which handles the major portion of our spawn, de-spawn, and population management for our Quarry, in this case chickens, of course. So, this means we now have fully mobile and somewhat interacting chickens, all connected to our initial Quarry systems. We’ve also updated our material networks to take advantage of the new art pipeline and have updated our landscape texturing system to do the same. Many of these systems, and others, are still undergoing work as well, like the animation and rigs which continue to get refinements, the Quarry AI which we’re expanding to be fully interactive, the materials to which we’re adding further functionality, and the flight system which we’re always refining. We’ve also begun work on updated landscape and level building systems, new vegetation, and our new Raptor Home.

Photogrammetry Nest in Houdini Viewport

We also want to talk more about the new art pipeline, and our use of photogrammetry. We’ve been working with two major sources of information for the new art pipeline. The first is the data available from Quixel, everything from the physically based rendering, or PBR, texture information to the real-world models they’ve created. The second is the data we’ve generated internally ourselves which we’re using both directly and within the art tools we build. Both sources use photogrammetry as the basis of the process for building the art assets we’re using in the game. If you’d like to know more about photogrammetry, check out our ArtDen article Photogrammetry and Our Art Pipeline.

We’ve also re-initiated our research trips, much like the one we took to the north side of our local Sandia Mountains, which we posted to our social media accounts, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These trips have enabled us to collect more of the information we’re using internally, so keep an eye on our social media accounts for more trip posts.
It’s a lot, but that mostly covers what we’ve been up to over the last year. We hope that like us, 2020 was more positive than negative for you. We’re going to work on getting these updates out more often to help you keep better up to date on our projects here at SP Ent., so be sure you circle back around soon for more.

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Chris McKillip

Chris McKillipChris McKillip

SP Ent. Executive Director

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Executive Director at SP Entertainment, he runs the show.

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