In this week’s Status Report, Lead Producer Brian Hicks will be covering a lot of ground going through several topics such as the Infected, the animation system, soft skills, status on version 0.59, as well as other tasks going on behind the scenes, and Lead Designer Peter Nespesny will be handing us some info on the work ahead regarding user actions.
Dev Update: Brian Hicks
So, this is the first SR since the change in vocal style and frequency – and it just happens to come on the heels of our Quarterly Review and Beta discussion at PAX Australia. I appreciate everyones patience as I deal with jet lag catching up with me. We have some cool stuff to talk about this week – not as cool as the last Status Report – but cool enough I think.
I’d like to kick off this week with an update on a few key areas of the engine I know everyone is waiting to hear about.
Renderer: I touched on this a bit during the PAX Australia presentation (and that audio/slides will be put out as soon as I get back to Prague)
- Post Processes: IN PROGRESS
- Water & Ocean Surfaces: IN PROGRESS
- Optimization & Paralellization: IN PROGRESS
- Current Status: Actively under testing with internal QA
We’ve made some great progress over the last few weeks. I prefer to manage expectations – so I’m going to say don’t get too excited. Issues could pop up in QA over the next few weeks, but morale in the office regarding the renderer is getting high. I’m excited – but keep in mind we don’t want it to hit experimental until we’re confident in a strong -initial- performance gain.
New Animation System: While we’ve made strong gains on this that has enabled the design team to start working on a complete rewrite of all player actions currently in game (demonstrated in the last SR) we’re still working on the last few areas that -must- be completed in order to fully merge the player over to the new player controller. We’ll keep you all updated on this.
Infected: As we mentioned in the last Status Report – Infected will be making a return in .59 – but as covered in the PAX presentation there are changes we’d like to look into making to the infected, specifically in the area of spawning and distribution that should go miles towards a more rewarding (and scary!) experience when it comes to crawling through cities looking for gear.
0.59 Experimental: As of the time that I boarded my flight to PAX Aus – the last remaining major blocker towards moving this build to the exp branch was sitting specifically on vehicle position sync. It is critical we at the very least provide a more enjoyable experience with vehicles than on previous builds, especially considering the increased quantities. The gameplay programming team has been working hard on doing just this.
Dev Update: Character Lifespan
As those of you who watched the TwitchCon presentation, you know part of the character progression path we’ve been working on in addition to soft skills – is the life span of the character. Specifically shown at TwitchCon as beards for male characters. What we didn’t share at the time was that we were a bit further along with this than just a few renders of male heads.
We still need to work on the lifespan impact for female characters – but we do have growth over time functioning on internal builds as seen in the above video. Animations for shaving still need to be completed, but the functionality for choosing to remove said beard as there as well.
Dev Update: Soft Skills
In the same vein as character life span – I spoke today about how the initial skill set for soft skills was functioning internally (albeit without UI elements allowing you to track said skills).
In the video, we have accelerated the growth of the skillset that governs the amount of resources you gain from harvesting. (In this grim case – it happens to be a human body) The more a character performs an action that falls under this skillset, the higher yield the resources he gains from the attempt. In the accelerated video we have a character who very often skins and quarters bodies for meat, bone, and so on. As the character goes through each body, we accelerate the skill gain for the purposes of the video – but you see that with each action/attempt – the yield of meat is increased.
We want to kick off the character soft skills with base skills in the areas of: Medical, Resource Gathering, Repairing. Once we see how these operate, we can expand upon them further.
The little icing on the cake I like about the video is how Peter snuck a little treat in there that you can easily overlook.
As the character skins and quarters the body, his hands and forearms are covered in a bloody mess. The character -can- wash this off should they go to a body of water, or have some on him. Alternatively, he or she could just as easily choose to keep this appearance.
Oh! Before we move on to Peter’s bit this week – Things are looking really good for the 75 player servers, I’m excited to see how it plays out on experimental.
Questions? Suggestions? Make sure to head over to the official DayZ Forums and join the Status Report discussion thread for this week.
Dev Update: Peter Nespesny
In the last status report, there was a nice showcase of new implementations of user actions which are currently work in progress. There was an idea back in the day (and I mean it was a really long time ago, more then year and a half) about simplifying of how user actions operate and streamlining controls in general.
User actions as we know them are great as they are very robust and allow usage of anything in any way you like, which leads for such a great ArmA 2 mod as DayZ to happen. Imagine if there were only shooting and door opening – such a situation would leave you with a very limited possibility for application of your creativity as designer. On the other hand user actions are also known for their not so friendly behavior like scrolling menu, issues with precision and our underlying implementation of actions on own character and others in SQF paired with old and limited animation system led to many problematic situations, to mention some, no elegant way to cancel action, spamming actions or serious ones like duping.
New user actions and controls are designed to be modern, user friendly and of course to address all issues which we run into with the old system. Actions will be contextual, for example performing same eat action will feed yourself, or your friend when you are looking at him. They can behave as single event or can be performed continuously, think of flipping the switch by clicking the use button or drinking from a water bottle while holding it. You can perform them during other animations, so you will be able to eat while traversing countryside. Canceling continuous action can be simply done by releasing the use button. All this and more means that scrolling menu will become redundant in the end as all possible situations are covered through different usage, based on context and duration of action.
Every item can be used as melee weapon, and with redesigned controls comes a fresh breeze to melee fights as there is a difference between one click which performs quick attack and continuously charged heavy attack which is performed by releasing the melee button. This allowed us to finally use firearms as melee weapons – bayonet stabs, buttstock hits or pistol whips. Best of it all is that we removed so called aggressive stance which was mandatory to attack with melee or shoot from firearms and it felt forced as it was too static. Now readying the firearm for shooting is a continuous action so once you release use button your firearm is lowered to waist level. Prone position and bipod can make your life easier as far as keeping your firearm ready, also we would like to examine weapons resting in the future. Items can be dropped, rolled or thrown which is especially useful for grenades.
I’m convinced that with new user actions and controls coupled with new animation system and physically based character, DayZ will become a fluid, modern and pleasant experience. I’m looking forward to this day, as with these changes it will feel more like DayZ 2.0 than with any others.
See you in Chernarus folks!
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