Hello! A public build release today, along with a general overview of where we’ll be at with different stuff in the coming weeks.
This morning we pushed Build 37.8 to Stable. This is predominantly an RJ build, apart from the Mash maps and some Yuri fixes, so our thanks to him keeping the wheel turning while work continues in our various other branches. It contains lots of fiddly longstanding fix stuff that can be read here, but the highlights run as follows:
- Maps of urban locations within the Knox Event Exclusion Zone can be found in relevant towns, in particular spawning in gas stations. They look a bit like this.
- You can make text and emblem markings on maps and share with friends and faction members in MP.
- In SP you also run a chance of discovering pre-annotated maps that’ve been marked up by deceased fellow survivors. These are mainly found on zombies and can lead you to stashes of weapons, tools and general places of interest. Loot at these locations could be hidden in cupboards, crates, bags left on the floor or even hidden under the floorboards.
- General improvements to cooking, cooking systems and food. Split screen co-op fixes. Gamepad fixes. Improved sleeping system for online servers who like to snooze. New forage UI to limit item build-up on the map. Portuguese Brazilian community translation by HiveFuse. Clearer moodle impact descriptions. New ‘version info’ box on main screen.
The internal tests and updates of our new physics-enhanced vehicles continue, if you haven’t seen it then our latest vid (made by Mark.exe) can be seen here. The current focus is in fixing up what we have now so that it’s all in a state that could be considered for wider testing. We will need, after all, performance feedback from as many PC set ups as we can.
This week, then, Yuri had been looking at the build’s most glaring performance issues and glitches. There’s an oddly catastrophic slowdown that hits after twenty minutes of play that’s being looked at right now, for example, while vehicle and tree pop-in also needs addressing. Likewise frame-rate stutters seemingly tied to zooming. In recent days we’ve made good progress on reported (non-vehicular) crashes and garbage collection hang-ups, so we’ll keep on ticking off the list. Likewise, it’d be nice if we could solve some clipping and draw order issues.
As a general ‘where we’re at’ overview, right now we have pick-ups, station wagons, ambulances, sports cars, small cars and vans in-game (although they’re yet to have different handling stats). They spawn in relevant places, and according to the affluence/role of area on the Exclusion Zone map. They crash and roll, and they really, really attract zombies – potentially a little too much. They have working headlights and are generally found locked – although keys can be found on zombies or in houses. Every car has storage in the boot, and have a handy glove box too.
We’re also looking at two (subtle) different ways of colouring vehicle textures – so answers on a postcard if you can tell us your opinion of which if these vehicles fits in best with the PZ game world.
What vehicles haven’t got is much ‘Zomboid’ gameplay tied to them right now – mechanic profession, maintenance, damage, player injury and other vital stuff isn’t in yet. Likewise they have no engine sound playing, the info panel UI is temporary and collision with zeds and survivors needs work. The focus right now, however, is getting their operation as glitch-free as possible – so all this will come in future weeks.
We mentioned it last week but now have an extra body on-board in TIS Towers, in the form of Mark – a man who comes with a wealth of games industry experience and battle-hardiness.
He’s going to be jumping into the trenches fairly imminently to help us sort out various other technical issues surrounding the new animation system, as well as tie up any other loose ends or missing bits that are holding back the release.
In the meantime he has been implementing Assimp as our default model and animation loader, this will allow models to be loaded in in a variety of common formats that will not only aid modders in being able to easily expand the game, but will hopefully unearth a few issues with the existing loader that have prevented the rotational root motion system from being finished off.
Mark’s experience in animation systems could then lead onto other improvements once everything is in-game, but we’ll leave expanding on that until we finally have the basic models in testing. In the mean-time it’s now clear that vehicles will release before animations, so we’re continuing the work required to let them make the best of each other.
Work in and around animations will provide some advantages to the vehicles once they land, such as the elimination of the old system of off-screen textures that are rendered every frame in 3D and drawn in place as sprites, being replaced with the game actually drawing the 3D models directly into the screen at the correct position in a more accurate ISO perspective. This will hopefully improve things such as zombie like vehicle collisions, and make multiple vehicles integrate into the scene together better.
With the release of 37 work begins on the more general features and improvements for 38. Its overall contents are currently under discussion but the new map expansion is pretty much certain to be in 38, alongside the MP Discord integration. Hopefully Turbo’s devices code rewrite will also be ready in time, as well as some of the improvements it can provide.
We ran an interview with prolific PZ modder Nolan the other week, but forgot to give it a Mondoid flag. Do check it out though, as he’s a very interesting chap.
This week’s last stand from Isnah81. 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! Our Discord is now open for chat and hijinks too. A general overview of the content of PZ builds past, in testing and upcoming can be found here.