Shared by SepticFalcon on June 10, 2015
Greetings Survivors,

Work continues on experimental branch as the team keeps hammering away at the next Stable build candidate. It’s been a tough wait, we understand, but major issues encountered during development required fixing before the push to Stable branch. This week, Lead Producer Brian Hicks will be dishing out some handy information regarding the Central Loot Economy – what it is, how it’s supposed to work, as well as the thought process behind the design choices for the CLE.

Also, Lead Designer Peter Nespesny will be telling us about future updates to the vehicles found throughout Chernarus. Peter will go over subjects such as operation, maintenance, as well as the design choices behind these upcoming updates.

Dev Update: B. Hicks

With 0.57 on the horizon, this week I’d like to take time to talk a bit about player progression across Chernarus, the Central Loot Economy (and its impact on this), and the challenges DayZ faces compared to the Arma 2 Mod experience.

First lets go over exactly what the Central Loot Economy is, and what it offers DayZ.

  • Migration of control over what items spawn from legacy method (script) into a more easily and rapidly updated system
  • This means the dev team can rapidly (and without requiring an update to the game) completely change / update the amount of items that spawn
  • This is done on both a global, and a per server level – in the future allowing custom server operators fine control over their server and its item spawn quantities without requiring any base modification to the game
  • Control over item lifetimes (speed of decay / time to item cleanup)
  • Control over how many of each item time is supposed to be present in the world (Min / Max / Nominal)
  • Control over item cost (rarity vs spawning methods)

Why is the Central Loot Economy critical to DayZ’s design – versus the original prototype placeholder loot spawning script? Simply put – the original method was a very rough prototype, designed to start populating the initial memory points for each structure. In order for the design and environment teams to be fully free to create a comprehensive, living breathing world – we first needed to begin to have fine and robust control that can be rapidly pushed to all servers. The original prototype method was very time resource heavy for updating, limited our options to traditional DayZ Mod style building definitions only, and in short pidgeon-holed the team into very limited control.

Dayz Mod Player Heatmap

One of the images that has been circulating the DayZ Community over the last week is a map covering player progression across Arma 2’s original Chernarus map. The layout of the original Chernarus, as well as the very limited amount of enterable structures, and thus very limited amount of potential spawn points for items meant an inherent flow of player movement across the map. It required very little work on the design side – High end military loot spawned mostly entirely at Barracks structures, Basic Supplies / Weapons at Firestations, Grocery Stores, Barns, and so on, and Medical supplies at Hospitals. The structure of *how* items spawned within the original Chernarus just -fit- the limited scope of that map perfectly.
Moving into DayZ as a standalone project, one of the first tasks undertaken was the decentralization of core resource (points of interest) buildings – and the expansion of Chernarus into a more robust and living world. Nearly every structure was made enter-able, and thus nearly every single building on the map was a potential (or group of potential) points for items to spawn. At first this might not seem like it should have a major impact on the design, and flow of player progression across the map – but when you look at the statistics, it is rather telling.

  • In DayZ Mod, with vanilla Chernarus – Potential item spawn points number in the thousands (Sub 10k).
  • In DayZ Chernarus + the potential locations for items to spawn exceeds 1 Million.
While the intent with DayZ as a finalized product is a higher player count (100+) than originally supported in DayZ Mod, the original spawning prototype system has several major glaring flaws compared against this intent. With basic control, we cannot effectively lay out a path of player progression across the world (without limiting the environment team to the placement of certain structure models *only* in certain regions). This is where the Central Economy Control comes into play – and will enable us to begin moving towards a path of progression that more resembles DayZ Mod – while still embracing the fleshing out of the world, and decentralization of points of interest.

While this system right now only controls the details listed above – the future iterations are aimed at allowing us the “next step” in the Central Loot Economy:

  • Per building quantity controls (Min / Max / Nominal) allowing us to ensure an event spread across Chernarus, as well as to prioritize point-of-interest structures such as the Grocery Store, Medical Center, and so on
  • Region control (Restricting item rarity levels to certain regions of the map)
Breaking Chernarus + into defined regions based upon item rarity and classification type is the first and most critical step into allowing us to layout a natural path of progression for players across the map – and begin to move us closer to that familiar and well known flow across DayZ Mod.

Lastly – as development with 0.57 wraps up, the current iteration of the Central Loot Economy will have loot persistence (the saving of spawned and dropped loot, as well as tents) disabled – while the programming team resolves the blocking issues with item cleanup, and rolls out support for per-building quantity controls to ensure an even spread of loot across the world (slaying those pesky loot splosions). This means that when servers restart, fresh loot will be respawned to ensure an enjoyable experience on stable branch.
That said – the following persistence options are unaffected and will remain enabled:

  • Vehicle Persistence
  • Server Time Persistence (The saving of server time on restart)

I hope this helps you all understand the intent of the Central Loot Economy, where it is now – and where we want it to be in the coming months.

Dev Update: P. Nespesny

Let me talk a bit about vehicles and their functionality. Of course any functional vehicle by itself is an amazing piece for the gameplay but what will they be without their parts? They will become just an instant object used by survivors to traverse the long distances and that’s about it.

I believe that without any depth to the maintenance of vehicles, nobody will create any kind of relationship with exactly that truck they are driving for a few days across the land of Chernarus. On the other side, with plenty of different vehicle parts your approach to a vehicle will be different every time you encounter one.

I want to see many vehicles across the map in different states, so you can run into a vehicle which just needs the spark plugs to be added in or a nearly completely stripped one but with a last wheel you need to put on yours. I favor such possibilities which offer strong emergent gameplay based on player choices and consequences they bring. One can try to find missing parts alone or group up with friends or strangers to get all the remaining parts for that fabulous bus and run a bus line together. It will spruce up the planning, imagination and strengthen interactions with both players and environment.

Implementation of such advanced mechanics of vehicles that use different vital and optional parts has been ongoing for some time now. In the current state we have some of the vital parts functional already; without spark plugs or a battery you simply can’t start the engine at all. However more interesting are wheels themselves. Wheels can be detached or destroyed while on the vehicle and physics simulation is responding properly in such situations by inclination of the given vehicle to the side of the missing wheel and adaptively changing the simulated wheel radius and friction. Such dramatic changes, of course, have direct impact on the handling of the vehicle.

But, nothing is lost in such case as the spare wheels can be mounted back on the wheel hub and get controlling of the vehicle back on track. From the optional parts there is detachable/interchangeable hood and doors now that while obviously don’t affect the vehicle behavior at all add variety to its visual representation. I’m looking forward to see such advance features finally in game providing more unique perception of vehicles and their involvement in the gameplay.

Keep some spare parts at hand… see you in Chernarus folks!

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