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Something in the Air

November 23, 2017

How do all. Happy Thanksgiving to our American survivors, and indeed to those of us who choose to give thanks at alternate times of year.

38 Patch Bizness

First off, just a quick note to say that in the past week we’ve updated Build 38 with a couple of extra patches, as there were still a few MP bumps and issues that were niggling at us. Details for both can be found behind the links: 38.29 and 38.30. Highlights include generator fixes, outdoor lighting oddities and hopefully some stuff helpful for servers. We’ve had a few hiccups with Mac builds the last few days, which should be resolved now and hopefully GOG builds will be updated with these today.

Vehicles Build 27 (aka 39.27)

We released Build 27 of the Vehicles alpha today (access details here), and it contains a few performance improving aspects – although, as detailed below, the bigger-hit work on this is still to be integrated.

Elsewhere the build contains a few other system tweaks. First off there are updates to the naming, spawning and operation of car keys – and also the addition of the game having your character walk to the relevant part of the car when installing/removing. It also syncs up lots of aspects of the Mechanic and vehicles system between co-op and MP players – from engine temperature, to tire inflation. The full changelist can be found here.

Next up we’ll be adding in crafting/repairing level requirements for the Mechanic Skill, alongside dripfeeding in the optimizations we’ve been brewing with ChrisW, Steve et al.  More on which below.

Optimization fun

Regular viewers will know that we have not one but two mega-experts helping out with the game these days – both established Technical Directors within the world of gaming. Mark is tasked with getting animations in order for the builds beyond 39, while Steve is addressing optimization for vehicles.

This past Friday, with the help of copious tea and loud metal, he made some huge strides in improving our map streaming – which will pay dividends once integrated into Build 39. There’s still a fair amount of work to be done: playing coder ‘whack-a-mole’ with issues that crop up due to the changes, and trying to eliminate nasty locks between the code’s loader thread and the main thread. With that balancing act still to come, then, the improvements let him run the game so it ran like this:

We can’t guarantee this level of perfection when it comes to the main game, especially at the highest resolutions, but it does seem that we’re making good progress towards nullifying stutters and pauses – as well as allowing for speedier/smoother vehicle movement around the map.

Weather upgrade

With vehicles, meanwhile, come required vehicle hazards. As such, returning from a spell on the sidelines, Turbo is back and bringing a few additions to his existing weather system.

We’ve always needed stronger indications of seasonal change, and likewise new weather effects. Although we’ve always had snow appear on the ground – we’ve never actually shown it fall.

Likewise, we’ve always wanted players to wake up to mists and fogs that’ll dissipate as the day goes on – that’ll hopefully add an extra level of fear to your daily chores exploration on the days it descends. Please note, however, that in this video zombie awareness of the player remains unchanged.

In the video it is at its more extreme levels, however we can also add more subtle mists and fogs to add additional ambiences to the game.

We’ve always been quite rigorous when it comes to having weather authentic to the area that the PZ map covers (in 1993, which is close to our start year, Muld had 11 days of fog) and currently there’s an internal debate as to how much poetic license we can take with this to bolster gameplay. In any eventuality we intend to add a dose of it to the vehicles build in the near future, and it may also make for engaging new Challenge modes in times to come.

Today’s featured image from Biker. 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. Ooh, and could PZ user maps make the leap to la belle France?

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