In this week’s Status Report, Lead Producer Brian Hicks will be addressing topics such as audio, design, and will be revealing a bit of upcoming map/world changes. Also, there’ll be a bit of insight on what the status is on the road going towards 0.59 on Experimental branch.
We’re going to be trying a few new things with the Status Reports from now on (from here till release). First off we’re going to go ahead and move Status Reports to a two week schedule. The reason behind this is mostly due to the nature of the major tasks at hand, we’re all working on larger scale tasks that impact the game as a whole. The other change I’d like to make to the Status Reports is to change the tone to a more casual and informal tone – rather than typing up the report as if we’re discussing a press release, I’d like to try discussing DayZ and the ongoing changes from the perspective of one DayZ player to another.
Before we get into the cool things we’d like to share with you this week, I’ll get a few of the areas that are still in progress and not ready to be shown.
As of this report the Engine team is focused on post processes and making sure that we have visual parity (making sure the visual quality is at least the same as the original renderer). Once that is done they’ll be focusing on optimizations and multi threading. This will require a good amount of QA time before it hits experimental, but as we’ve said before – we need to have a visible improvement on performance when it hits experimental.
We’re going to be spawning infected again at strong quantities in 0.59 as the gameplay programming team has been working hard on making sure we can have a smooth 75 player experience (which is looking really good guys, I’m pumped!). However! Internally we’re going over some strong suggestions and ideas on how to maximize the concentration and spawning of infected across Chernarus.
I don’t want to speak too much on this until we have a concrete plan on how we want to handle this. Hopefully next Status Report we’ll be able to cover exactly what the plan is in more detail. Needless to say, if everything works out – I’m pretty pumped about it.
Nasty 0.58 Bugs
Things like “ground swimming” – known duplication methods, farming of the quonset hut barracks, and such are ear marked as critical gameplay fixes for 0.59. They might not all be resolved in the first 0.59 experimental push – but they are top priority for the move to stable.
First up this Status Report I thought you guys would like a brief peek at some of the audio changes coming up. Now while I mentioned a few Status Reports back that the ambience is being reworked entirely (and will be significantly quieter than the originals) I don’t have anything ready to show you on that -right now-. One of the things I’m excited about gameplay wise related to that is the volume balance changes, with different shoe/boot types hopefully soon having different sound profiles, gunshots themselves will also inherently be much louder in comparison with the rest of the world.
In the video up above we’ve put together some of the changes to weapon sounds. Sure, its not the new ambience – BUT I’m personally excited about any movements towards making each weapon have a unique audio signature so when we’re all sneaking through a dense urban environment or sprinting across the wilds of Chernarus we can identify what weapon is being fired by audio alone. Some tweaks will more than likely happen before these sounds are finalized, but we wanted you guys to hear how they are sounding right now.
Now lets talk about something that *really* got me excited. The other week I sat down with Peter our Lead Designer, and Honza one of our Senior Designers to check out some of the things they were working on as they get access to the larger changes we’ve been waiting for quite awhile on. I spoke with Break71 the other week about how we thought how silly the whole idea of being locked into an animation when performing an action was. Besides the myriad of bugs that are associated with how this works and has worked throughout the Early Access – it just felt like such an immersion and fun killer.
Just to be clear – the video is above is rough! However it shows what I’m talking about. The design team has significant work ahead of them rewriting every action to match with this behavior. What we’re looking at is a change from an action triggering an animation and success/failure being dependent on the completion of the animation. In the example we see Senior Designer Honza (Jan) eating a test bag of rice. As he triggers the action (eating) he is holding down the assigned test key (I believe his left mouse button) his character begins eating the rice. As soon as he releases the key, the character stops eating and is free to move or perform another action.
The amount of rice consumed is calculated based upon the duration of time he was eating the rice – and voila. We see a massive change in how the user interacts with the world, and performs the majority of actions and tasks within DayZ. I know I’ve said this a lot – but I’m excited and you should be too.
Vehicles Damage System
Next up we have a work in progress view at how we’re working on vehicle and vehicle parts damage being assigned – and the visual representation of it. I’ll put a video down below. The behavior in the video is purely for test purposes. While we’re happy with how each part has its own “hit point” value – and can be damaged/destroyed – the behavior of the part “falling off” of the vehicle works for some, but not necessarily for all.
We spent some time discussing how he behavior should operate today – personally while I love each part being able to be damaged individually from the parent vehicle, and that change being visual to players as they attack the vehicle I’d much rather have the part be “non usable” when destroyed. Such as a door that is destroyed being “jammed” and not openable without an action, or a tool being used to force it open.
This however could easily lead to a situation where a character is “stuck” inside a damaged vehicle without a method of escape that looks visually acceptable (like smashing the window and being teleported out of the vehicle when climbing out of it). The design team will be going over the best method for handling the functionality of the damaged vehicle components over the course of the next week or so. I’d like to talk about that some more in the next Status Report.
On the World Design side, Senchi has been working pretty tirelessly on the long awaited renovation and update to Chernogorsk. The major coastal cities for quite some time hadn’t really been touched that much since we hit Early Access – and their age compared to the outstanding work the World team had done up north was really, really visible.
Now, these are still moderately early. Senchi and his team still need to replace the original Chernogorsk ground textures, and finish up the the structures – but we thought you guys would like to see how it was going. Chernogorsk is a key city for Chernarus – and its very critical we keep the stylized skyline and key points of interest intact. That said, there is a lot of room for improvement and I’m confident Senchi and his team will knock it out of the park when Chernogorsk is done.
DayZ 0.59 Infos
0.59 Experimental hasn’t hit yet as you all know, and I get a good deal of questions about when it is coming. As I hate to give solid dates in case something comes up in test, I’ll give you guys a quick insight on what the blockers are from it hitting experimental.
- Vehicle Sync
This is huge for 0.59, as we’re introducing new vehicles and increasing the vehicle quantity it just flat out has to work better than previous builds. We have had some nasty bugs come up while working on this and its held back the experimental push. That said, the programming team is making some commits tomorrow and our fingers are crossed that QA signs off on the improvement.
- Dynamic Events
As the gameplay programming team works on randomization of vehicle/parts state while spawning, as well as potentially randomizing potential weapon attachments on spawning, we’ve run into a few bugs that caused issues spawning dynamic events (as the tech behind them is shared). Obviously we need to have this resolved – but its not a major blocker for experimental at least, but definitely stable.
- Memory Consumption
We’ve isolated a memory/handle leak issue that has caused some crashes we want to get resolved before hitting experimental, I’m sure you all can understand the motivation there. The gameplay programming team is hard at work knocking this one out.
- Ground Swimming & Duplication
More gameplay blockers than anything, we’re all as frustrated with these issues on 0.58 as you are. So obviously we’ve ear marked these as absolute must fixes. They aren’t necessarily preventing an experimental push, but as we’re working on the other blockers – these are top priority as well.
Lastly for this Status Report – I know a lot of you have been wanting to see the Q3 2015 Roadmap Analysis, and we’ll be covering that as well as some changes to devhub.dayz.com in the future that will give you guys more insight on exactly where we are with the required features and content for 1.0 at PAX Australia at the end of the month.
The talk -should- be live streamed by the PAX folks, and in case any issues come up we’ll be recording the audio off board and will present it post-event just like the RTX Q1 & Q2 Roadmap Analysis was done.
I hope I didn’t ramble too much in this Status Report, but as we’re getting closer to our goal of Beta (End of this year, beginning of next year) there are a lot of large changes coming to the tech behind DayZ, and these tasks take more time than modifications to the old tech and systems.
Questions? Suggestions? Make sure to head over to the official DayZ Forums and join the Status Report discussion thread for this week.
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