Indie Stone logo

News & Dev

Vlad the Imbiber

November 2, 2017

Thursday: it’s back. Back from the dead. Back with the zeds.

VEHICLES

RJ and Yuri have been hard at work on Vehicles Build 25 – much of which has involved scrubbing up and polishing features added over the past few iterations. So you can expect optimization, UI improvements and general groundwork for the final ‘top down diagram’ vehicle UI screen – while Yuri is currently cracking down on a rogue memory leak and various aspects of non-syncing on MP servers.

Also in Vehicles Build 39.25 will come the end of drive-through streetlights and road furniture…

We’ve also added in the ‘random spawn’ car/wreck collisions on the Exclusion Zone’s roads to accompany the ‘lore’ wreck congestion , some new wreck models and map fixes – and have balanced a lot of aspects of the new Mechanic skills/profession and related car parts. We anticipate starting work on a better ‘dashboard’ UI once vehicles build 25 is out.

OPTIMIZATION

One of the biggest issues with the current Vehicles build is that driving through built-up areas results in performance hiccups – the game is being forced to draw too many tiles, too quickly. Currently, however, PZ draws *everything* – even when the player character can’t see it.

Stuff on higher floors, stuff in buildings you have no line of sight into and everywhere with doors and windows shut – it’s all being conjured up needlessly and chewing up unnecessary processor power. Enter stage left, then, our good friend Chris Wood.

“I’m culling squares inside the levels of buildings that are covered by the floors and walls so we don’t draw them”, he explains. “This is being done very simply, using building bounding rectangles that can hide about 20% of the scene in busy areas with lots of buildings, and thereby reducing what’s rendered by 20%. This does, however, leave window interiors looking a bit strange – as in these screenshots ”

“My current task is to make this work more intelligently: by hiding all squares behind solid walls and floors by projecting back onto them. This will hopefully draw even less, as it won’t draw anything when a square is totally hidden – including the ground behind buildings. It won’t have the same visual artefacts and it’ll hide more squares.”

“The idea is that by the time I’ll have finished it will all look identical to the current public build – but behind the scenes it’ll be drawing a lot fewer tiles which will make a huge difference to performance since tile drawing is the biggest bottleneck in the game.”

On top of this we’re talking to General Arcade about picking up the reins on our LWJGL upgrade, which will also have optimization benefits, and have best friend genius BitBaboon Steve prodding a vehicles memory issue that will hopefully help out people with slower systems. So, all in all, performance improvement should be on the way.

COMMUNITY MEGATEST

Everything seems in place for a public release of the Build 38 megapatch that we’ve been building up over the last few weeks, but we want to be sure it’s run through enough of your machines – and specifically on online servers – before release.

As such we’ll be running a Community Megatest in the coming days on a fresh server, and as ever there’ll be free PZ codes for a bunch of the people who turn up to help out.

We’ve just released IWBUMS 38.26 (link) which is the build the server will be running on. Details on how to access the IWBUMS public beta can be found here, and info on the event itself will appear on the TIS forum over the next few days.

This week’s well-kept safehouse from RyuVladimir 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.