Weekly Shiryo Update from The Shiryo Team #45

This week our legendary Lead Game Developer Rick brings us new developments and his next work goals. We dive into the transition from a static board position system to a centric-driven one, which allows for more dynamic and visually appealing card interactions.

He’s even recorded some visuals to demonstrate the real difference this makes 🔥

(You can view these visuals here in our announcement channel, we’ve also hyperlinked them in the relevant sections.)

Now then, over to Rick!

Hey all, it’s Rick (Lead Game Dev) here again to provide another behind-the-scenes look at Shiryo’s development.

With myself and Connor working as a duo across this sprint, we are continuing our progress of integrating the bulk of the animation assets into Shiryo’s Unreal Engine Build.

This week some of my tasks included completing a few fundamental game mechanics that had originally been ‘paused’.

These tasks include the removal of the old Board position system and replacing it with a ‘Centric-driven’ board position system.

Centric based system

You see a lot of the abilities used in Shiryo utilize a variety of different targeting systems, whether that be;

  • the player manually targeting a beast or hero
  • an auto-targeting system used by the card itself
  • or any of the other ways that are being used to select a valid target.

Well, if you look back to older versions of development;

(See video reference 1)

You can see how the card (Devil) is ‘statically’ in board position (2 of 7).

This was how all of the potential board positions previously worked.

This choice was made (quick and dirty), so as to not hold up other areas of development. Now with that being said, Shiryo wasn’t designed to have full function with a static board system, it was instead designed to be centrally driven.

(See video reference 2)

This footage shows how cards now orient themselves on the board ‘centrically’ with additional cards when being added or removed, automatically causing the whole board to reorganize — regardless of how many cards are in play to keep them centred within the board.

This system means that there are actually 13 different board positions per side — and as the total number of cards on each player’s board changes between ‘odd and even’ this drives an offset to keep the cards central.

Additionally to keep consistent both in the user experience and thematically, the client cards in the player’s hand and the blank cards in the opponent’s hands also share a ‘Centric’ based system.

With the basic attack system; the simple targeting and placeholder animations were not heavily influenced by the use of the old system.

However as we continued to add more design features and add more complex card abilities, the old system quickly became a bottleneck and recently a complete block to further progress.

So with the new (Centric) system in place, we are now able to implement some of the more complex and higher-quality animations and drastically improve the visuals of the attack system.

Compared to the old system

The old system used a simple placeholder of ‘Jerk and Flinch’, this is when a card attacked (in any board position) it would first wind up and jerk forward, then the receiving card (regardless of board position) would flinch at the impact.

This was a dual animation system, including animation notifications to cause the second animation to fire at the correct time — with a manual override to dial in the timings as needed.

This might sound reasonably complex… but the limitations are significant.

For example, the cards aren’t able to attack with direction, which results in the cards not actually impacting unless directly in front of each other on the board.

This is limited for sure, but was absolutely fine for the placeholder system to not hold up development elsewhere.

Back to the new system

To address these visual limitations, a new and improved (centric) attack system has been created. But of course, this development requires the system to be significantly more complex.

For example, the total number of board positions has changed to keep things (Centric); On each side of the board, you have 7 Odd and 6 Even valid board positions.

Not including the Hero/Avatar that’s a total of 169 possible attack pairs (13 Initial Positions * 13 Target Positions)

Or in layman’s terms, “Phew, that’s a lot of standard attack animations

Now due to these being “Skeletal” Animations (movement data of in-game objects, instead of sequences of images), the actual data needed to drive these animations is surprisingly… incredibly small and efficient.

And by implementing that collection of animations we are significantly improving the visuals of the attack system.

Moving on, me and Connor continue to work in tandem during this sprint, with Connor focusing on bringing the animation assets into Shiryo’s Unreal Engine build — while I code the animations operationally.

We then test, review and adjust things like delays, timings, colour, etc.

We’re happy to say we have both found this workflow to be far more efficient and we are likely to continue to find more optimizations as we continue.

Work to come

Next week I will be doing some testing on the attack systems targeting functions to discover if there are any remaining old attack system code or exceptions that might cause unexpected results or bugs.

Once I give that task the all-clear, I will continue to code the new (169 Pair Visual) Attack System. With this then being completed — all the fundamental functions of the base attack system will have been completely brought up to the new design revision. “Exciting!”

Throughout this, Connor will be bringing even more of the game board, UI/UX and Ability animations into Shiryo’s Build.

As well as this, Connor will also be shadowing me while I work on the animation’s technical coding side of things. With these 1on1s we are working towards Connor developing more on the technical side as we progress.

This will likely give him a significant productivity advantage when implementing animations as he will also be bringing his intuitive insight — as he was in-fact… the one who designed and created the animations.

That’s all for this week’s update. I hope that you have once again enjoyed this behind-the-scenes view and I look forward to sharing more with you in the future.

Until then, Wolfpack Strong.