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Crossing the Streams

November 9, 2015

Hi all! The primary Build 33 development streams have been crossed and it seems to be edging ever closer to the Public Test IWBUMS release hatch. Creative Mode, as mentioned last week, will most likely follow shortly afterwards.

In the past week there’s been a fair amount of boring behind-the-scenes work like ‘getting the build to work on different machines’ that saw the inestimable EasyPickins plunge his hands into the mainframe and tinker with .dll files until everything was shiny. This was successful (huzzah!) and the full roster of our internal testers are now playing, and all are thankfully reporting that they’re having the most fun they’ve had with PZ for a long while.

As such, we’re now in full-on ‘correct and polish stuff the big obvious stuff that IWBUMS testers will spot and report in a single, solitary second’ mode. This includes stuff like checking difficulty levels on each new scenario, adding in clearer UI instructions to furniture movement, improving the TV UI screens so you can’t change channel without the device being turned on, making sure Erosion levels and radio signals are correct for relevant parts of the timeline you start in… the big clear-cut stuff like that.

Oh, and this is a contender for the best bug we’ve had since alcoholic watermelons: it’s an easy fix, but right now when chairs are dropped from your inventory they become Lilliputian.

So right now it’s basically all the things we know need correcting that we know we can remove from the (glorious) wall of noise that’ll happen when the build hits public testing. Plus, there’s stuff to do like tying the new systems of each merged dev branch together – like giving television feedback noise the FMOD 3D ambience treatment, adding ‘people who left the television on while running/dying’ houses to the building randomisation factor we have in 33 and other smaller loose ends that need to be tied into attractive knots and bows.

Over to RJ and Turbo for their own thoughts:


From my end right now it’s more balancing than bug fixing, the bugs I do have in the pipe are pretty small. The balancing is pretty tough though, and comes in two forms: balancing sound/music and balancing the new difficulty settings and scenarios.

In terms of sounds I have some reports about people not hearing ambient stuff without headphones, so I want to add a new volume slider to raise up fridge hums, water drips, birds, the wind etc. The kind of stuff you don’t really need to have, but add so much coolness and… well… ambiance.

I also need to play with the ‘normal’ sounds like guns, zombies, light switches etc. Right now clicking light switches aren’t audible if you’re far away, guns have too much reverb, stuff like eating should be louder for the player rather than someone standing next to them in MP. Stuff like that.

Thankfully though, with the new system all this sound balancing is pretty easy, I just need to test everything, with good headphones (2.1, 5.1), with bad ones, without headphones and then push a build and find out what the internal testers are hearing. I really want everything in the right general area before we open the gates to the wider IWBUMS test.

Then there’s the difficulty stuff. My basic plan is that in Six Months Later the zombie apocalypse is really hard at beginning, but becomes surmountable. Survival, meanwhile, should let you in a little more gently but then raise itself up to a nightmarish late game. There’s stuff I need to fix, right now in 6 Months Later you spawn with all the curtains shut and peek out into the world (which feels awesome) but the zeds also have a habit of rushing you while you do so! Overall though I think the late game feedback I get when we release into IWBUMS will be really valuable, as it’ll need people playing for a long time and reporting back.


Yup. The current build is almost a go for IWBUMS, right now it’s just some (minor) bugfixes here and there. Also, movables needs some tweaking in terms of key layout changes to make it more straightforward, plus a bit of radio UI fine-tuning. Once all those are merged in with the main build there are still some final additions and functionalities that are either disabled or left out currently – these could easily be added during public testing if necessary though.

It’s stuff like frequency scanner upgrades, recording onto VHS and audio tapes, learning recipes and gaining experience from instructional TV shows, the swear filter option and TV entertainment having an impact on moodles. I’ll see what I can fit in before the red button is pushed, and after!

That’s about it for this week. We’ll likely allow Twiggy to do a bit of Unified 33 streaming later this week so you can see how everything is being wrapped up, but that’s it for now. One final tidbit though in that as we mentioned last week we’ve now got General Arcade back in working to simplify player interactions with starting servers and getting easy co-op games going. It’s a pretty huge job, though, so it’s not something that’ll be dropped into any iterations of 33. It should be a treat though. Till next week!

This week’s featured image from Arinkov77 over on Steam. The Centralised Block of Italicised text would also like to direct your attention to the PZ Wiki should you feel like editing or amending something, and the PZ Mailing List that can send blogs like this and patch notes direct to your mailbox. It adds that it hopes you all enjoy Fallout 4 when it unlocks.