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News & Dev


February 23, 2015

Hello folks! Mondoid time again. How time flies!

This week is a busy week. As usual we’re grinding away at our respective grindstones either trying to get Build 31 ready for testing on the I Will Back Up My Save branch (this will be pretty soon, most likely. How soon is not clear quite yet), chiselling away at the huge map expansion, filling up the airwaves, poking in AI brains or rejigging the animation system.

Build 31

The most recent addition to build 31 is tainted water. Survivors will need to boil water to sterilize it to make it safe to drink without getting sick. As well as rain collector barrels, survivors can now finally get unclean water from rivers. This should make non-carpenter survivers happy! Finally big props and thanks go to the amazing blindcoder, who totally beat us to this feature, just as we were planning it, with his amazing mod.

We as usual have no ETA on when 31 will drop to IWBUMs, but any internal test version could be the one we go with.

31 is just the start of a massive push to increase the crafting recipes and skills in the game, as we discussed last week. These elements will likely make the bulk of future updates all the way until release, with exception to bug fixes and features such as map expansion, NPCs, vehicles, stealth, accessibility improvements, and general polish etc. We’re also in discussions at the moment that may lead to us getting a lot more support in the future when it comes to taking the game toward release, particularly fixing up and optimizing the multiplayer code. We’ll see how it all goes!

Anim Update and 3D Character Support

In the rewrite of the animation system, we hit a problem where the new animation driven movement would have been completely incompatible with our characters, and in trying to solve this problem it turns out it looks like it may be feasible for us to remove the requirement of FBO and Shader support for the 3D characters in the game.

What this means is it will be possible for the pre 2004 PCs that so far have to have 3D models set to none, may* be able to get away with having a 3D player character, to take advantage of all the new animations, as well as the smooth movement and cool lighting.

* It all depends on the PC in question, the CPU in particular. Milage may vary.

It’s not clear yet quite how well they will deal with it, but generally a PC with a decent processor and a poor GPU may still manage to have a single player 3D character without much of an FPS hit. It should be pointed out that the whole reason 3D characters tend to be done on the GPU is because they are pretty expensive, so no one should expect to be able to put ten 3D zombies on an old laptop and have much luck, but it opens up the 3D characters non-the-less.

It’s too early to say for sure how successful it is, but just so ye olde’ PC people out there know we have your back and are trying our hardest to get the best game possible for the low spec PCs. At the end of the day though it’s balancing act and we can’t shy away from pushing the game forward.

On the animation system itself, we’ve more or less got animation driven movement working in the game. It’s not to video quality yet, since the above changes to the 3D characters have made things a little odd looking at the moment, but it’s already clear the impact this will have to the quality of the movement of the characters is huge. The actual movement of the characters across the world being determined by the animator improves everything about them, particularly the zombies, with their uneven and stumbling movement, it will make them feel 10x more like zombies you see in them there films.

The new XML driven anim state system (as well as being moddable) will allow for us to do quite intricate branching animations that could lead to some really cool stuff, particularly in combat, allowing for more realistic and interactive combat (potentially involving two characters, say struggling to get free of a grabbing zombie).

That’s it for this week! Sorry if it was a bit short and was more waffling on about the animation system without showing anything new, but we’re well on the way and have exciting stuff ahead, so back to work with us!

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