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Zombies in the Stream

December 14, 2017

Hey all. Current PZ thinking is to get final features into Build 39 (current Vehicles beta) as soon as we can – then concentrate on bug fixing, polish and further optimization in the new year. Outstanding features include injuries to player in car crashes, a few more Mechanics components/repairs, better SFX and Turbo’s new fog/snow effects seen below. There are a few threads popping up now detailing how cars are changing people’s play-styles and mixing in some new fun elements, so it would appear that we are on the right track.

VEHICLES BETA

Vehicles Test Build 30 has been released – and its full patch notes can be found here. The biggest change in this is probably the addition of BitBaboon Steve’s optimization to map streaming – which removes locks between game threads when it comes to chunk loading. This should make for a smoother ride for our testers.

This said, there’s still work to do – our internal build was running with a better FPS in West Point so we need to do a smidge of digging today, while Steve needs to figure out a few remaining locks. After which the next optimization improvement will likely be in the zombies themselves. Zed attention is currently called in to cars over a wide radius which (while difficulty still needs balancing) still has too big an impact on performance in high population scenarios than we’d like.

Elsewhere, Vehicles 30 also introduces WIP collision detection for road furniture, and damaged sprites from Mash to accompany them. This work isn’t complete, and we’d like any weird behaviour reported. Mail boxes, stop signs, garbage bins etc will now appear as damaged when hit at the correct speed.

In terms of other new content (generally Thursdoided last week) there’s a bunch of new stuff for the Mechanic skill – from which we’d like to get some more feedback if possible. There are now Mechanic skill books, a lug wrench for removing tires, Mufflers to impact on vehicle noise and an update to the key system that gives the key-bearing driver an icon above their head when close to the vehicle. Likewise keys are now visible in the ignition, and to more clearly demark which car they belong to are coloured the same as the car’s paint job.

Annoying bugs fixed include railings now rendering properly, shoved zeds no longer being drawn behind walls, furniture being rotate-able again and walls no longer obscuring the player on staircases. In general game-wide fixes, meanwhile, trapping has now been fixed – alongside a bunch of longstanding recipe and crafting oddities.

FOGGY BIZNESS

Turbo reports that his fog and snow effects are almost ready for integration into the vehicles beta and proffers this car-starring video as proof.

ANIMS

In terms of Animation work, as we haven’t mentioned it in a while, Bitbaboon Mark currently has the existing anims working with a skinned mesh renderer – which as we’ve mentioned before means that dev-side we can toggle between the two and make progress without breaking anything. This also means that as we bind in the rest of the new anim code, Mark’s Animzed dev/modding tool and start to optimize to cope in densely populated areas then we’ll be able to be a lot more visible in terms of progress.

As ever, we understand the frustration that all this remains out of reach while the rest of the team beaver away on vehicles – but we have the right people doing the right stuff backstage. Likewise we have an ever-growing catalogue of models to flesh out the game world from Martin when general work moves on from vehicles and into the builds beyond.

MODDERING

Connall, alongside being king of the small suggestions thread, is now the overseer of The Modder’s Wishlist – requests from the modding community for documentation and small tweaks to game code that will make their lives easier. The first part of this mission, meanwhile, has been in curating this reference list of lua events. Connall is also regularly available in the modding channel on Discord should anyone need pointing in the right direction for anything.

Today’s hail of bullets from John. 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. ShylokVakarian’s Great Loot Search remains open, meanwhile, and oh man: how good is this Wild West map starting to look?

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