Hello fellow adventurers!
Progress is always great to see, and we certainly have some this Sprint! Improvements can be mostly broken down into two categories: Movement, and Animation
One of the major milestones we’ve achieved is the implementation of initial acceleration and deceleration mechanics for flying. We wanted to make sure that Jasper’s flight mechanics feel smooth and intuitive. We’ve also added a hovering flight state, where Jasper can hover in place and observe the world below, and a boosting state. We’re doing the boosting system a bit different than we did last game, but maybe we can break down the thoughts behind that in a future devblog. 🙂 You may say “but you had a movement system from last game, why re-make it?” The main reason for that is the switch from Unreal Engine 4 to 5, and a desire to make the system *feel* similar, but operate a bit smoother, and have more flexibility in terms of adding other dynamics that may affect flight. Sometimes re-writing from the ground up is better than endless refactoring.
Animations / Control Rig
Jaspers’ rig from last game was a bit of a mess. It was great at the beginning, but some file corruption happened, and all the control bones were lost, leaving a bit of a clumsy rig to work with. This time around, even though Jaspers’ mesh hasn’t really changed much, we opted to make a new rig for him in Blender, so we can streamline the animation process. There’s only a few basic animations made so far, but it’s fun seeing the character come to life! The animations have been synced up to the movement, making a really fun flying experience already.
We also are making use of Unreal Engine’s new “Control Rig” tools, which allow the creation of a rig directly in-engine, where you can make new animations, edit existing ones, or procedurally animate based on physics, or whatever input you choose. Our main use-cases for that would be proper foot placement when walking, and also automating some of the subtle “secondary motion” of things like feathers or tail when turning in flight. You can see an overly exaggerated test of head and tail controls here, where a control bone is making the head and tail arc to the side on top of the base animation.
That’s it for now! Thank you for your continued support, and we’ll see you in the next devblog update (or any of the places mentioned below).