Ross

Epsilon Development Blog: November 2018

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EpsiDevBlog.gif

 

Hey everyone! Welcome to the first issue of the Epsilon Dev Blog. Tia and I are here to discuss the current development cycle. Despite popular opinion, we do actually work on a lot of things. Often we don’t speak about them, tease them, or directly show them.

However, for the sake of “transparency” - *uncontrollable shaking at the mere mention…* - we have decided to start this series.

First, a few disclaimers.
 

  1. The Epsilon Dev Blogs are not on a schedule. This means that we will release future issues when and if we have the time to do so.
     
  2. Anything shown or teased in the dev blogs is NOT  a confirmation that it will ever be released. This is designed to show you the trials and tribulations of the development team. Sometimes we experiment; sometimes the final product doesn’t work out.
     

With that out of the way, we come to our first topic: Character models and conversions.
 

MD2X Conversions.jpg

 

To understand the full scope of the issue we have been facing, we must first explain the differences in character model (.M2 files) between patch 7.2.5 and patch 7.3+
 

In 7.2.5 and below, the character models referenced their counterpart animation, bone, and skin files in the .M2 file (model file). They done this by using file data IDs. File data IDs are the numbers that are assigned to a specific file.

 

FileDataID.jpg

 

In 7.3, Blizzard introduced .SKEL (Skeleton) files into the game. Skeleton files - as far as we can tell - are a means of organisation. Blizzard removed the references to the character model's animation, bone, and skin files from the model (.M2) file and put them in the .SKEL file instead.

This was, coincidentally, at the exact same time when the first allied races released. Producing an allied race is quick and easy since they are based off of the already existing base races. Animation and bones files can be reused.

As you have likely figured out by reading up to this point, that is exactly what Blizzard have done. The allied races .SKEL file references the parent race's animation and bone files by using their file data ids. The illustration below should provide a better understanding.

 

MD20.jpg

 

With all of the technical mumbo jumbo out of the way, we finally arrive at the point of this section: Greymane Coats & New Character Customisation.

When Epsilon updated to 7.3 we lost our Greymane coats. Why? 

Greymane coats require editing the character model. You must physically attach the cloak to the character's model by using a software package like Blender.

 

Blender.jpg

 

Our Greymane coats were added to the 7.2.5 character models. 7.2.5 character models require 7.2.5 animation, bone, and skin files. The allied races character models are 7.3.5. 7.3.5 character models require 7.3.5 animation, bone, and skin files.

The end result of the 7.3.5 allied race character model referencing and using their parent race's 7.2.5 animation, bone, and skin files was horrifying. See for yourself

 

Mess.jpg

 

We were left with three options:
 

1. Completely redo the Greymane coats on the 7.3.5 models.
 

2. Retire the Greymane coats entirely.
 

3. Make the parent and allied races use separate files instead of the same files.
 

Many of you might be thinking to yourselves "Clearly option one is the best choice."

Often when it comes to development, the most obvious choice is usually the least efficient. By completely redoing the coats on the 7.3.5 models, we would open ourselves up to the chore of having to redo the coats for every new patch.

Option two wasn't really an option. The Greymane coats - love them or hate them - are a great customisation option. Several transmogs have been built around the coats. Retiring them if other options were available just wasn't going to happen.

So we were left with option three. It wasn't impossible. Difficult, but not impossible. Thanks to our friends over at Kuretar (A massive thank you to Roccus) we have been able to modify the base race's .M2s to reference their own animation and skin files. Simply put: Base and allied races are completely separate.

 

Elves.png

 

What's next?

Finishing touches and testing. Testing? Testing! We may be looking for a few volunteers to come join us in testing our newly fixed models. They may also get a sneak peek at some of the other things that we have been working on. We'll announce more details about testing once we're happy with the models.

That about wraps it up for this section of the development blog. If you have scrolled down to find a tl;dr then I'll leave you with this. Greymane coats are hopefully making a full return and we've got some amazing character customisation options ready to deploy in our next content patch.

 

Upcoming.jpg

 

As a way of finishing this edition of the Epsilon development blog. We'll leave you with teaser of just a few of the things we're working on and planning to release.

Enjoy.

P.S. Please forgive any weird colouring, glitching,  or artifacts around the models and items. In-game screenshots are hard to turn into graphical orgasms.

 

Greymane Coats.jpg

 

Alleria Armour Sets.jpg

 

Teebus.png

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Just now, Insomnia said:

Alleria armor isn't perfect, but it's cool.  

It's not meant to look like Alleria's armour, but it is inspired by her armour, specifically her collection pieces. Sorry, probably should've added that.

Hazekus likes this

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Oh.  Okay.  In that case nevermind.  Thought it was meant to be an exact replica.  

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good armour review. looking forward to other things than just recolors of armours doe.

Edited by Romeo

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5 hours ago, Romeo said:

good armour review. looking forward to other things than just recolors of armours doe.

What armour is this a recolour of? 

18 minutes ago, Enyremer said:

I must say there certainly is something similar about those Alleria armours recolours, Though I can't quite put my finger on it. Although my only critique of those sets would be to change the colour pallet to be more in line with the shades used with the recoloured variants of the existing Eagletalon Battlegear as that seemed to largely be the inspiration for some of Alleria's armour. 

The Eagletalon armour is heavily inspired by Sylvanas' armour, not Alleria's, I don't really see a striking similarity between the two sets apart from one or two of the colour palettes. I can see what you're saying about making some shades to better match the Eagletalon sets, maybe I'll do that.

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1 hour ago, Romeo said:

its an armour set with recolors, i aint saying its bad but thats all this post is.

That is what the post is if you just scroll to the bottom. This release of the blog was to highlight /why/ it has taken this long to get stuff going. 

I assure you that if you read the full thing and understand what we have said, you might see the difficulty we’ve had working with 7.3.5 and Blizzards new way of handling model files. 

As well as that, we only choose three things to show because we are still quite firm on the stance that we don’t feel the need to post pictures of everything we’re working on. That creates a pressure for us - who are doing this as a hobby in our free time - to release everything we show. 

Romeo likes this

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Have you considered just using the GM tag instead?

Otherwise, great to see a return of this, been advocating for Dev blogs, big or small, for a very long time. The dev-update bar on Discord isn't the same as it was in terms of promoting 'hey, we're out there', responses. MY primary concern is that Alleria set looks awfully similar to the set Alexa made, which exists as an RPH patch, iirc. Is this an accidental correlation or are we seeing one of the first big additions of player-created content on Epsilon? Asking because no one is actually credited for the content.

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1 hour ago, Rogan said:

Have you considered just using the GM tag instead?

Hm? I'm not quite following :P

1 hour ago, Rogan said:

MY primary concern is that Alleria set looks awfully similar to the set Alexa made, which exists as an RPH patch, iirc. Is this an accidental correlation or are we seeing one of the first big additions of player-created content on Epsilon? Asking because no one is actually credited for the content.

In terms of credit, anything shown in the dev blogs has been done by the developers speaking in the blog. 

Greymane Coat's Revisited was done by Tia, as was the Alleria armour. The lightsabers - of course - by ya nerdy boy here.

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why u taking it as an insult. im not saying ur not working hard. im saying i came in expecting changes to the server, news, not recolored sets. please dont assume things. u have done a great job. but maybe u should rename this "a cool patch" and not a grand development update lol

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45 minutes ago, Romeo said:

why u taking it as an insult. im not saying ur not working hard. im saying i came in expecting changes to the server, news, not recolored sets. please dont assume things. u have done a great job. but maybe u should rename this "a cool patch" and not a grand development update lol

You've not read the post, Romeo :(

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Just now, Ross said:

You've not read the post, Romeo :(

ok. let me correct myself, "developer update we're doing our best with models, not quite there yet. here's a few recolored cloaks and armour".

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1 minute ago, Romeo said:

ok. let me correct myself, "developer update we're doing our best with models, not quite there yet. here's a few recolored cloaks and armour".

Still wrong, but I appreciate you for trying.

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i mean, what are you looking for them to do? post everything that the devs may be working on but have no confirmation on when it'll be done/if it'll be put in?

or are you looking for them to devote themselves to areas where they might just not have interest/might have a harder time with doing?

 

edit: also azarchius is a server developer. everyone else is models / recolors. if you wanted server-end development news, there was definitely better ways to go about it than throwing a stink on a topic. and azarchius may not have ANYTHING to show us right now.

Edited by Mithaniel
Hazekus likes this

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Alleria armor? That brings up some exciting potential.
Would there be any potential for Magni's armor, or would that be a nightmare to texture with it being all diamond?

Highlord Aurarius likes this

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