It has been a pretty exciting (and potentially stressful at times) two weeks for development on DayZ, both in the 0.61 development and the discussion on moving forward beyond that. This Status Report I’ll go over what we’re currently focusing addressing on 0.61 experimental, and then I’m going to summarize the main points from the 0.62 and Beyond talk at PAX Australia.
Dev Update: DayZ 0.61
As many of you may know, we’ve gone through several iterations on Experimental/Unstable branch for 0.61. With our principle focus being on server stability, and performance. The gameplay programming team has been experimenting with several possible options in improving our server side performance, which you as survivors will directly see as improved infected responsivity and speed, faster user actions, and general overall improved responsivity to your interactions with the world. While we’ve made some strong improvements in regards to stability, we’re not quite where we’d like to be with server performance.
As I’ve mentioned many times before – server performance is and will continue to be an ongoing area of focus for us throughout development and into the beta phase. That said, it is especially important to the 0.61 experience, given that at a gameplay level the dynamic spawning of infected is such a corner stone. I won’t spend too much time talking about this, as Mirek is going to elaborate a bit on some of the different changes his team has been working on in this area further in to the SR.
Enough rambling, lets take a look at what critical issues we have on 0.61 Exp/Unstable.
- VOIP Icon missing when using VOIP
- Server Performance can dip below acceptable line
- Character deformation when entering structure under high ping
- Character model twitching when standing on bodies
- Client side crashes (Several)
- VOIP Volume balancing
- Character sounds balancing
- Characters hands stuck raised in some situations
- Server side crashes tied to specific item
- Character roll backs during some server crashes
- Reconnecting / Manipulating weapon magazine can prevent magazine use
Keep in mind this is just a list of critical fixes for 0.61 Stable – and is fluid based on the feedback and data we get back from 0.61 Experimental/Unstable builds. If you’ve encountered other critical issues, please let us know about it via our Feedback Tracker.
Miroslav Maněna: Lead Gameplay Progammer
The last two weeks we were dealing mostly with issues blocking experimental release and after that with stability of servers. We found and fixed that ugly crash, which was related to shooting and damaging world entities, disabled infected’s loot was a side effect of commit related to networking optimizations – we have a fix for this, so infected’s loot will be back today or tomorrow. Also, the new server browser has gotten some fixes (there was a client crash related to server browser) and improvements (you can see slot counts and also server browser will show you how many player’s are waiting in login queue).
Now we have to deal with other client/server crashes (there are still too much of them), some synchronization issues (we have reports that client side correction doesn’t work well sometimes) and we also prepared some server side performance optimizations, which are not merged to experimental branch yet.
A lot of people were also complaining about low FPS/movement jittering. This issue is not connected to renderer, it’s a game side issue and it’s related to new player’s synchronization logic. Player is now simulated by fixed time step, before it was every render frame. That means player is simulated by the same number of steps on every computer, no one has an advantage with better hardware and every computer is sending the same amount of input messages to the server. The issue there is that interpolation between these simulation steps isn’t done, currently we’re working on fixing this.
Another big issue, character saving when server performance is low. This fix is ready for release.
And another improvement is ready for release, as we disabled AI freezing when the nearest player is farther than 500 meters. But first, we have to test this on experimental servers to see if it negatively affects server performance.
The rest of the gameplay programmers are still working on new features for the damage system, infected’s AI, vehicle physics and central loot economy. We’re not still sure if we will merge something into 0.61 or if it will be available in later version, but here is a short list of what has been done so far.
Dev Update: DayZ 0.62
When 0.61 Update hit stable, a small 5 man team (Comprised mostly of artists, environment designers, and support from one programmer) will be branching off to work on a 0.62 update to DayZ Early Access focused on a much needed overhaul of Chernarus’s visual fidelity. What exactly do we mean by that? Well – lets take a look.
Now, in addition to to the obvious goal of bringing the visual of appearance of Chernarus + to a more modern level, the massive improvement in making our forests not only look more *real*, but to allow users to more believably create hidden camps and stashes in forests that more closely resemble the forests you might find in the Czech Republic is obvious. It merits mentioning that these images we are sharing with you here are initial tests. There is still a good deal of work, and analysis required to see how dense and believable we can make these forests, fields, and so on without compromising client side performance.
However, we’re all excited by what we’ve achieved so far – and as we get closer to this interim 0.62 milestone that the small team dedicated to it is working on, we’ll be sharing more – both visually, and input on where we are with these goals.
Dev Update: DayZ Beta
As mentioned earlier, I was at PAX Australia in Melbourne this last weekend and had the opportunity to talk about where we are headed after 0.61 hits stable with the Australian and New Zealand community.
Once 0.61 Update hit Stable Branch, the primary bulk of the DayZ development team will be switching their focus to the “Beta” milestone for DayZ (while a splinter team of ~5 developers will focus on 0.62 update, see above). Beta for us is a major point in our development, and it goes without saying that it has its own challenge and hurdles. This milestone is focused on the following areas:
- New Animation System
- New Player Controller
- New User Actions
- Improved Vehicle Physical Simulation
- And that big ol’ feature/content backlog (that is dependant on these technologies)
Now what do I mean when I say “Backlog”? Well, as many of you may be aware – there are a good deal of gameplay systems, mechanics, items, and more that we have talked about in previous Status Reports, presentations, and are sitting in the “In Progress” column on our Trello. Nearly every single one of them are dependant upon the technologies listed above, either through technical limitation, or having just been written from the ground up on Enforce script and designed with the new tech specifically in mind. At the presentation in Australia I gave the following examples:
Now, one of the key points I tried to point out during this presentation was how critical this milestone is to the progress towards the final version of DayZ. Work on not only the technologies that power this milestone, but all the content and mechanics that we hope to hit with it, has been an ongoing task throughout DayZ’s development. Artists, Designers, Animators, and Programmers have been working for quite some time on changes to DayZ that can’t hit the Early Access userbase until these changes to DayZ’s engine are ready to be merged into the main trunk of our development. This won’t be a simple task, either.
The work described is very similar to the change to DayZ’s rendering technology in its risk and complexity. I’ve likened these milestone goals to a changing of the spine of DayZ, at least at a gameplay level. So, as mentioned before – once we get 0.61 to Stable branch – the primary bulk of DayZ’s development team shifts all its focus on this goal. Exactly how much of that feature backlog we will be able to get into this milestone will be discussed in more detail in future Status Reports, once we can properly gauge any potential risk – but make no mistake, this is both an exciting time for us on the development team, but also a major task.
So lets recap what we’ve covered in this:
- 0.61 hits Stable branch
- Principle DayZ team starts work on our Beta milestone
- This is a massive overhaul of our core gameplay
- Focus on New Animation Sys, Player Controller, Enforce Script transition, New User Actions
- We start hitting that content/feature backlog we have
- This is a massive task for us, both technically and gameplay wise
- While this is ongoing, a splinter team of 5 developers approx will start work on an interim 0.62 Visual Overhaul of Chernarus
Thanks for making it through that wall of text, and for those that would prefer the audio/visual narration, I’ll have that on our Youtube as soon as possible! I hope you’re all excited as I am for the dayz/days ahead (heh heh heh) and now that we’ve got this Status Report out and I’m back in the office – I’m going to get some time in on the latest 0.61 Experimental Update.