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Grave Harvest

October 6, 2017

The fourth day of the week returns with a vengeance. Welcome back to Thursdoid.

Build 39 – Vehicles

What with Build 38 released publicly, there hasn’t been a vehicles beta release since Build 21 – but there’s enough brewing to mean that the upcoming Build 22 will be a good one – as mentioned last week there’s sirens on emergency vehicles, zeds that thump cars rather than lie down next to them, more varied car models, fixed MP sync work, some optimizations etc.

On top of this there’s also a lot of finessing of Build 38’s new ‘window peek’ and ‘visible rooftop’ systems from ChrisW and slight map tweaks waiting to be dropped in (that’ll require testing rather than being hurled into 38 itself) to eradicate the (pretty occasional) view-blockers that you might have come across on PZ maps.

Also whirring along the production line, meanwhile, are:

Vehicle Damage

Our initial vehicle damage system, currently being worked on by Yuri, will use textures to indicate damage rather than start mangling the car models themselves. To this end Yuri will create a map of damage zones on each vehicle – and work alongside Mash and Martin to create textures to show light damage and heavy damage. The following is a Yuri’s initial example of what it’ll look like in-game – but please be aware that it hasn’t been through the art department just yet (Also ignore the debug lines).

This system will also add to the visual variety of the cars you find scattered around the map, as well as give better indicators of the quality of cars that you’ll discover. Indeed, another aspect of this work will be to create textures that look dirtier/rustier to give a fairer indication of a vehicles’s age and quality.

Yuri is also, meanwhile, going to implement a system that determines a car’s colour through software rather than the texture itself – which will again add to the visual variety of the family cars, farm trucks and very occasional sports cars that spawn on the map.

Mechanic Profession/UI

And now a word from RJ about how the mechanic system and UI have been developing since we discussed it all last week. Oh, and a new video too!

“The Mechanic stuff is progressing well. Right now, you can uninstall almost everything on a vehicle, and certain parts have to be removed first before you get at others – so getting to brakes will need you to remove the tire first. All parts have their own weight too, so if you’ve got the right skill level and tools then you can potentially sacrifice a seat to reduce your car’s weight, go a bit faster and consume less fuel.”

“I’m working on it so that those with the required skills can adapt their vehicle to the survival style they want: a fast car, a loot car (high container capacity, and also quieter) or even a more robust car that can withstand more zombie collisions.”

“I’m also working with Yuri to ensure that conditions also impact the vehicle gameplay/physics: a bad condition gas tank could leak fuel, a car that’s been rear-ended might not have as much trunk capacity, poor condition brakes will increase stopping times etc. Likewise dangerous driving at full speed with the worst condition suspension and poor steering might not end well..”

Build 38

Patches for Build 38 continue with various coders behind the scenes being corralled into areas of 38 that had a rougher ‘bugs’ landing that we’d have liked – and that both ourselves and the community are used to. We mentioned this, and what we’re doing to improve it all for future builds, over on the forums.

The TLDR of it is that, to avoid complications arising from maintaining two test builds at once like 38 and vehicles, which has been a big factor in the problems in this release, in future when we have long standing features in development we’ll merge them into the main codebase as soon as possible, with some kind of switch to disable them until they’re ready.

This is, in fact, already due to be the case when animations roll around. [Although for those thinking ‘Whoop! Hackable animation system!’ we’ll also leave out the data files until they are ready too.] This should mean that having two separate public test branches, for example a public animation test, with far less fuss.

The other issue we faced with Build 38 was the simple fact that in the past six months the team has grown a hell of a lot – and our existing processes need to be improved to cater for it. As such we’ve been working with the help of our friends at BitBaboon to research and implement a robust and fancy new build system.

It’s still in the latter stages of setting up, and it’s boring ‘backroom stuff’ for a Mondoid Thursdoid so apologies for that, but we’ll have automatic compiling from the code repositories, as well as automatic construction of builds, along with automatic testing, old save file testing and the like, as well as automatic uploading to a steam branch.

This should not only cut down on the potential for build breaking save bugs and the like, but also allow the versions to be updated by any developer on the game, as well as facilitate instant updates for our testers, and stuff like auto mailer sending mails to anyone who has broken the code. With all this in place we should have a much easier job during build 39, finishing off the vehicles and what lies in the far beyond.

This week’s unhealthy vegetables from Narzul over on Steam. A general list of stuff added to PZ, and vids of features being worked on, is kept here – so you don’t have to plough through endless dev blogs for info. 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 hereOur Discord is open for chat and hijinks too.

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