Ogrest has started to come out of hiding, but he's still not quite in range of our arrows! The problem is, we've got lots of (bad) company on the slopes of Mount Zinit. A difficult climb? Yeah, you could say that! You might even say that the difficulty is about to reach its zenith… A taste of what's to come with [Vertigo], [Trauma], and [Siu].

Can you feel the end drawing near? Have you noticed that Ogrest's roars are getting louder and louder? Do you feel that sweat running down your back as you realize with horror that you're about to meet the most fearsome creature that the World of Twelve has ever known? It's not too late to turn back… At least, that's what Otomai keeps trying to tell you, in hopes of saving your life. But if you were planning to quit, you would have done it already, right? In any case, you still have to finish off Mount Zinit's last two families – the ones who live right at the top, practically next door to that terrible giant.

To do that, you'll first need to understand what's going on at the summit. It seems that Ogrest isn't the only danger out there. What's happening to the Dreggons? Your investigation will lead you away from the rugged caves and wild slopes of Mount Zinit, and back to some characters that you certainly never expected to see again… We won't spoil the surprise, but suffice it to say that we wanted to take advantage of a completely different context to bring back certain figures who had disappeared from the game in the course of our recent updates, but who are now returning in the form of a nod to players in this (almost) final chapter. Any guesses as to who it might be?

All speculation aside, what's most important is that you'll be finishing your preparations for the greatest fight of your entire life – the ultimate battle. "Ultimate" as in the most epic ever, since every hit you take could be your last… unless you somehow find a way to survive. Otomai has found a promising lead, one that he hopes will save you the hassle of starting the reincarnation cycle all over again and winding up buck naked in Incarnam. The Ethernals seem to have some secret that allows them to survive so close to the destroyer of the World of Twelve; we just have to find a way to force it out of them. After that, it's simply a question of mustering up your courage and charging straight into the heart of danger… or else running away at top speed, if you happen to realize in a sudden flash of clarity that Otomai is famous for his great wisdom and excellent advice.


Bringing monsters to life

Hi everyone! Thanks for checking out this little devblog, where I'll be presenting a few of the monsters that await you from my point of view as an animator.

The Dreggons

You recently met the Dreggon family, but you haven't seen them move yet!

Personally, I'm in charge of the Dreggon Warrior. His graphic design was subject to a lot of constraints: he had to be imposing (or even downright enormous, given his immense strength), but still fit on a single cell on the map (like virtually every other character in the game). So the graphic designers had the idea to make him balance on top of his Dreggon egg. A funny and original idea, no doubt, but a real challenge for an animator! Think about it: How do you make a monster look believable and threatening when he's stuck on top of an egg?

This is where we had to get a bit creative. Even the "idle" animation cycle (when the monster isn't doing anything) has to capture that feeling of imbalance that we saw in the graphic designers' original design. So I made him wobble back and forth, as if he were constantly trying to keep his balance.

This first animation set the tone for all the character's other animations since, as you may recall, every attack or movement cycle always has to come back to the idle animation. That means we have to make sure that the dragon's positions and his balancing movements are properly aligned with the end of one animation and the beginning of the next.

Once that constraint was taken into account, we also had to find a way to make this dragon look believable and threatening. What creature in the world can live its life constantly balancing on top of a ball? So I tried to play with the egg as much as possible.

The most logical solution was to have him roll it when he moves. But to mix things up a bit, I made him bounce on it in a cartoony kind of way when he runs, as if it were full of air.

The idea that got me most excited was the one where having the egg becomes an advantage.

He actually does a 180° turn in place to do a tail attack that goes all the way around him. Of course, WAKFU is a 2D game, so making a sprite-based rigging look like it's rotating isn't necessarily the easiest thing in the world.

I'll leave you to discover his death animation, which really makes me laugh – this is where our warrior finally stops making a fool of himself.

The Ethernals

In the next zone, you'll meet the Ethernals, a family of entities made entirely of nothing… well, made of air, or wind, to be precise.

In an animated series, elements like water, wind, fire, explosions, and dust are normally handled by a dedicated FX (special effects) team that does the animation one frame at a time.

WAKFU's engine doesn't allow for this type of effect, however, so we have to use a system with a rigging split up into sprites (for more detail, see my article on this subject in GAMAKNA #0). So we had to work with our FX designer to find a system where we could use sprites while still using frame-by-frame animation, which we need in order to represent the element of wind.

So the Ethernals are made up of these FX that play in a loop and make up the individual parts of their bodies, AND they have normal animations as well (walk, hit, death, etc.) that make the FX move… Pretty simple, right?

As I write this, we're still trying to figure out how to represent the defeated remains of these monsters on the map, considering they're made of air…

In any case, the graphics, animation, and FX teams hope you'll enjoy these families so much that you'll be drooling all over Mount Zinit!

Enjoy… and see you soon!


So are these two new families all we get?

As soon as we started the Mount Zinit project, we realized that it was the perfect occasion to create new VHL content to follow up on Moon Island. Like Moon Island, "Zinit" is what we refer to as a VHL cycle. We designed this cycle to include four dungeons and one final boss:

  • We started with the Badgerox family and the monsters of Dor'Mor, which brought in a first wave of equipment and rewards, along with a new style of mechanics (equipment upgrades, dynamic environmental quests, hordes, and archmonsters) that had never before been seen in VHL.
  • Next were the Dreggon family and the Ethernals, which are a logical extension of the first two groups of content. They add new equipment to complement the items that were already there, as well as new quests, new crafting recipes, and new gameplay experiences in dungeons built around rich but streamlined mechanics.
  • And finally, Nogord Wungleezared, who "closes the loop" in a manner of speaking, since he was originally intended to take on a team of players at the end of a VHL cycle. So he should be more accessible post-Zinit, even as he continues to send his fair share of adventurers to the grave!

This cycle was designed around an overall vision: the equipment was distributed over the content in such a way as to make the hunt for equipment an even richer experience than ever. For example, to equip your character with a full set of Single Target Mastery items, you'll have to collect items from all four monster families, including some from one family, others from a boss, and the last few from a dominant monster or an archmonster. For everyone to get fully optimized, they'll have to explore the various community activities.

But that's not all:

there's a last little cherry on top of the sundae… or should I say, an Ogrest on top of Mount Zinit? You heard it here first: your adventure on Mount Zinit will come to its ultimate conclusion when you meet Ogrest, whom you'll be facing in a totally new kind of battle. And the adventurers of the World of Twelve will need all the help they can get to hold out against him for even a few seconds! A whole new chapter will be dedicated to Ogrest in Part 4, which will come out in the course of the summer.

Yes, Ogrest will be the one to close the book on Mount Zinit. But that doesn't mean it's the end of your adventure in WAKFU. In fact, it's actually the start of something new.

WAKFU takes place in a world that's rebuilding itself. In this game, every battle leads to consequences for the universe around you – and those consequences may be major or minor, sometimes beneficial and sometimes harmful. If a battle with a Gobball can put the whole ecosystem at risk, it's safe to assume that fighting Ogrest will probably have quite an impact of its own on the world as you know it.

Remember that the core idea at the heart of WAKFU is that every birth leads inexorably to an act of destruction… but on the other hand, only chaos can give birth to something new.


Category: Game design