Weekly Shiryo Update from The Shiryo Team #36

It’s time for our weekly update — featuring our Lead Game Developer, Rick!

This week’s update covers the more ‘technical aspects’ of production — as we’re given insight into Rick’s recent work and some of the challenges he’s had to overcome.

Without further ado- onto our Lead Game Developer;

Hey Wolfpack, it’s Rick back again to provide you with another update from behind the scenes.

It’s been a little while since I last provided a direct update…

During this time I’ve been focused heavily on the integration / testing / reviewing of each of Shiryo’s systems.

This refinement is an iterative process and throughout it, new and unexpected challenges emerged.

Trying to predict, account for and solve these issues in the “code/system” design stage is obviously advantageous, but is often a double-edged sword.

Clearly, it would be optimal to identify potential issues before tasking out, “devving” the code and then realising the problem.

But it’s very easy to fall into the ever-increasing “trap” of solving problems that don’t even exist yet… (A mantra that devs around the world will understand intuitively!)

This “balance” is a line I have to carefully navigate to keep development as optimal as possible.

A challenging decision that emerges during the transition from pre-production to main production… Is the whether to redesign/code a system or function — or to “leave it” when it’s discovered that it is “a stack of bodges” … (and is starting to become more of a hassle than it’s worth to maintain).

“Why wouldn’t you just code it properly from the beginning”, you might ask?

Well… during the pre-production phase “quick and dirty” is an expression used to describe the “optimal” prototyping of functions and systems rapidly.

Of course you are going to miss things in a “hurry”, so it may seem counterintuitive at first … but in development you want to “fail” and fail as fast as you can.

The quicker you can find out that a solution or a design will fail, the better.

So “quick and dirty” prototyping results in the best way to “start” a complex system when it comes to creating the initial parts and conditions.

If you are not personally familiar with programming — it’s not like building with lego…

For instance, it would be more accurate to say — before you get to sit down and start assembling the legos and building your “structure”, you have to either intuitively understand how to do it… or spend the time to calculate and design the “lego pieces” that you need.

Only then can you actually “create” those pieces and start to assemble them.

During this assembly or integration process, you discover that some of the “lego bricks” aren’t quite the right shape, dimensions, colour, function…. whatever the assembly actually needs.

This results in me not only needing to assemble it all — but also having to identify if each piece of “lego brick” is not compatible with the whole system.

And if so… then either modify or entirely remake it — so that it’s better suited to the assembly as a whole.

//Note: This can obviously contribute heavily to the bulk of a production timeline.

These past few weeks, Connor (Lead Animator) and I have been working heavily with integrating both the 2D and 3D Anim (animation) assets and systems into the “main” build of Shiryo.

During this time, it became clear to us that Shiryo’s initial “skeletal” 3D animation system would need a full re-make.

Essentially the majority of “lego bricks” had some level of “compromise” or issue that was acceptable when evaluated individually. But when assembled — these issues compounded until the system became “more hassle” than it was worth to proceed or maintain.

So… I’m very happy to tell you that we have successfully re-made the full Skeletal 3D system!

This also resulted in great optimization of the workflow used for the creation of 3D assets.

As well as this — other “passive” game objects (i.e the game board) and dynamic 3D assets, now share a 1to1 relative scale across the UE environment.

This will enable seamless utilisation of the same assets in any environment, from pc, mobile or even VR. Exciting!

I apologize that coding content can be a little dry haha, but I hope you have enjoyed this update and the behind-the-scenes look into production development from a Devs point of view.

I look forward to sharing more updates and insights with you again soon.

  • Rick, Lead Game Developer.

That’s it from Rick today Wolfpack, keep your eyes peeled for next weekend — we should have our next visual updates from our Lead UI/UX designer!

Wolfpack Strong!