Last week we finally cracked our new method of handling the textures on the new 3D character models, allowing us to use various compositing techniques to provide diverse overlays onto players and zombies alike. The initial need for this came from issues we’ve had with the geometry of clothing poking out on occasion, particularly if we ever tried to layer clothing on top of each other. As such we needed support to allow clothing to be textures as well as 3D models.
(please note Survivor Spiffo is not canon and will be the restaurant chain in-game, it was used as a test though we’re sure plenty of t-shirt designs will appear in the workshop not long after it is released!)
The new system will allow for us to layer multiple items of clothing on top of each other, so the player is able to wear a t-shirt, with a sweater, and maybe a coat on top of that. This will allow us much more versatility when it comes not only to how characters and zombies look, but also to the stats of those clothing as it relates to heat and protection. Managing your heat in the game at the moment essentially boils down to taking off or putting on a sweater and it will be cool to make all this more interesting. Not only this, but it gives us the ability to combine as many textures as we like with which to do effects such as blood or dirt overlays. Here is a little video demonstrating some of the sexy gore coming to the world of PZ, with some bonus back-wear to boot!
Though please note we still have a fair amount of texture work to do to provide the variety we’re going for and this is just a taster.
Just a reminder to those out there with low spec PCs, we’ve put a huge amount of work into optimization and are very pleased with the results. While we can’t promise that those right at the bottom end will never hit any issues, we are confident that the new animation system using some crafty tricks is in many respects hugely more optimized than the existing 3D zombies in the game, and that should mostly if not completely offset the extra work the game is doing with the new animations and overlays.
Now all the main technological hurdles are done with with the new animation and clothing system, the remaining work involves Binky and Martin doing some new texture versions of the clothing that you’ve already seen in previous videos, if they are clothing that can be worn under other clothing. As well as this more blood and grime overlays to allow us to completely make every zombie unique, with different visible body damage, missing limbs or whatever else, along with the much greater variety of clothing. Meanwhile, now we have the new 3D model and all the anims exported to work with it, we’ll be able to finish off the remaining stuff required to get the animation system out there for testing. A few bugs have been introduced since we added the new models and textures, so it’s not imminent but we feel we’re getting close.
Once animations are in the game, we will talk about where we’re going next. The animation and combat overhaul is the first (and vital) step in an internal 5 stage roadmap that covers future PZ version releases, and will finally tick off a number of the remaining things on our planned feature list. We’ve done a lot of planning as to the best way to get toward the feature(s) people are most eager for, and Martin is already working on some cool stuff for stage 2. Once the animation system goes out the door the rest of the team will join in full force and talk more about what it is and where it’s going, and we’re confident that it’ll make life much smoother for everyone.
This week’s featured image by Kuzmich off of Steam. The Centralized Block of Italicised Text would 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. We also live on Twitter right here! Okay thanks bye!