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43 zombies at work

Caution: Zombies at Work

November 3, 2011

Hi everyone. Just chiming in with an update on what’s currently being ladled into the Project Zomboid mainframe. We’ve still got a way to go before we hit where we were previously, but it’s important to keep you lot in the loop. That way you know the team’s not practising handstands (or whatever) when they should be coding ever better survival procedures against the relentless onward march of the living dead.

The current coding mission is in restructuring the engine to make it work with NPCs that play the game in the same way that you do. We don’t want to give automated survivors any more information than you have (we don’t want to let them cheat, essentially) so it’s vital that the back-end is rigged to support the NPC overlay. This optimisation is the primary time-sink in terms of coding the update.

Path-finding and line of sight are very ‘expensive’ (in coder terminology) if we’re having individually motivated NPCs. This expense is multiplied profoundly when you mix it in with the game’s potential for having hundreds of zombies shambling around the map – each of which needs a line of sight check with an NPC or the player. As such Lemmy’s task as of right now is to put pathfinding and vision onto the separate thread of multicore computers – meaning that a separate CPU can take on the processing burden. (This doesn’t mean owners of single core processors should worry, however, as the next job will be to organise processor timeshare more effectively.)

The art team, meanwhile, are beavering away pixelling sprites and prepping art assets for when Knox County expands beyond the borders of the current map. As mentioned previously they’re also playing around with a few of the new weapons, objects and recipes that we’ll be included alongside the more social NPCs. I’m sure we’ll include a few sneak peeks of them here on the blog a bit later down the line.

In the meantime we’d like you to thank you lot for your continuing patience during this long walk to freedom. StinkyTiger, the newest addition to The Indie Stone collective, will be posting a series of blogs quite soon detailing how to play some of the awesome mods that are appearing down in the depths of our forums. (Although probably not the Naked Kate one). Hopefully that will help people to suck the bones of the current PZ build dry, while we continue to hammer away on the next one. Cheers all.

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