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News & Dev

In the Meantime

October 7, 2013

Hello peoples! It’s another ‘just getting on with it’ Mondoid today, but with the added bonus of…

Interim Build

As promised, we’re releasing an interim beta build (accessible right now via the beta page in Project Zomboid properties within Steam and called interim_64bit_only.) The name of the build is perhaps a clue to one big limitation of it, which is explained more fully here.

TL;DR is that:

1) We are only able to release a 64bit version at this time. Due to the memory issues the current 3D work is being done to solve, people with 32bit systems will be unable to run the game. This is why we’ve made a new Steam beta branch, so as not to auto-update anyone to a build that does not work.

2) We’re also still working to get 64bit versions working reliably on Mac and Linux with our Linuxy and Maccy testers, and we’ll be hotfixing a-plenty until we get this up to scratch. It may be that by the time this Mondoid is posted we’ve removed this line and renumbered the below accordingly. If not, time has obviously been ticking and we didn’t want to delay the Mondoid any more, so we apologize and will get the Linux and Mac builds running in 64bit as soon as possible. Though as usual, the brainiest of our community on those platforms may be able to prod and poke at it themselves, and offer our Microsoft brainwashed brains some feedback on how to speed this process up.

3) Steam overlay is disabled for now, due to the fact that enabling it for 64bit builds would involve installing Linux and Mac OS’s, installing dev environments on said OS’s and recompiling things. As a happy sideeffect no longer will PZ players annoy the crap out of people on their Steam list with restarting the game after each death!

4) We will look to providing a 32bit version of the game on a ‘if it works, it works’ basis (e.g. those with good graphics cards and a bit of luck may be able to scrape through on a 32bit system), but there are complications with how Steam works that could see us fubar the other branches of the game on Steam, since they all share the same launch information, so we’re dancing around this so as not to break it for everyone else.

In short, this build will hopefully allow the majority of the Zomboiders out there to get a taste of the new build and we’ll continue to fix and refine this build as we approach completion of the 3D stuff, and if you’re currently not able to run the game, we can only apologise and promise we’re doing our all to get everyone running on it, be that hot fixes to this build, or the 3D work we’re doing to vastly and definitively fix memory and frame-rate performance.

We’ll also continue to patch up this build all regular like in response to feedback and bugs, so don’t fret if there are new problems, or old problems you expected to be fixed by now, as we can start pumping out the builds for those able to run them to polish these up.

West Point Almost There

The TileZed view of West Point has filled out dramatically over the past month or so, and it’s starting to look ready to get into the game. However, we’ve still got a fair bit to do on the tile properties, to avoid walls characters can walk through and floor tiles characters fall through, containers that don’t spawn items, taps you can’t drink out of or lights that don’t work. This will be a rather fiddly repetitive job that would be best tackled at the same time as the various changes required in the 3D switch-over. We’ll get West Point to you as soon as we can.

We’re refraining from showing any more screens of West Point until its release, however, to retain some level of surprise and mystique.

Progress on that 3D stuff

We’re still plodding away on the new engine upgrade – the fab news as far as this goes is the work that EasyPickins has been doing on the tools side of things. Those of you who have played with world modding will know that we use a customised version of Tile-Ed (called Tile-Zed, also thanks to EZ) which is designed for placing isometric walls and furniture into an isometric world.

Of course, the work we’ve been doing ‘enflatulating’ all the textures from faked iso to flat textures, so that we remove duplication and save a fork-tonne of texture space doesn’t integrate with that system natively. So what EZ has been doing is developing a system within TileZed so that the necessary isometric tiles can be generated automatically from whatever flat textures we have, and these editor tiles can then be placed in the editor as actual 3D textured objects, just as they would be in the game.

In other words, it means we can continue to work the way that we are currently working with world creation (and modders can too) even though the method used to render the world in-game will vary considerably from the way that it’s rendered in the editor.

“But wait!”, I hear you cry, “That sounds stupid! You have isometric tiles, you convert them to flat textures, and then you convert them back into isometric tiles. What on Earth is the point? Why not just keep the original tiles?”

Well. Yes. But, you see, there are *loads* of wall types that were never fully expanded. For example, there are 5 main (plus a few extras) tiles you need just to have roof sections of a wall type (you know, those sloping wall parts), so not all walls have these because they take up loads of space. That’s why there are certain brick houses in game with a different coloured brick or wood part where the roof is. We can pretend that’s a stylistic choice but really, it’s because the ‘correct’ tiles aren’t available to us.

Well now they will be, because we don’t need to worry about tile ‘bloat’ in the editor. One wall texture does all walls including the roof bits. So now, using EZ’s convertulator, we can spit out every single wall segment we need for every single wall type. Hooray!

The editor support means that already, roofs have been added to the system as 3D objects, allowing us to light the roofs of buildings much better (as well as potentially allowing for their collision to behave properly. As well as this, it should be trivial to do the same for counters or any other simple shaped furniture in the game (aka probably not sofas)

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