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Spiffospaced

January 11, 2018

Ello all. Hope you’re well.

Vehicles Spiffospace Test Server

We’ve reached a point at which we need a place for MP vehicles testers to hang out, drive cars, bash zombies and report bugs. With that in mind, then, the Spiffospace server has been revived – and is accessible from the vehicles beta server list. Please post feedback in the server thread, and bugs in the tracker.

There will almost certainly be crashes and lag issues that we’ll need to sort over the coming weeks, so some patience is required, but initial testers are reporting that they’re having a lot of fun. We’ll keep the server up and running as long as possible, and avoid resets as much as we can, and a little further down the line this is the server that’ll be used for Community Megatests too.

We’re currently on Vehicles Build 31.2 and 31.3 will follow tomorrow – loot sync issues have improved in these builds, but Yuri has also just committed a fix for loot that could be lost/duplicated when two players were in the same inventory space at the same time. (We’ll be resetting the Spiffospace server once this released, with some player-requested new time settings etc too.)

In terms of the vehicles build itself RJ is now back and working on bugs and XP balance, while resident artist Mash is working on a more final version of the Mechanics Skill vehicle UI overlay. Another issue we’re dealing with is coming up with a way to prevent players locking their own vehicle keys in the trunk – which, while providing some hilarious anecdotes from testers, probably isn’t the optimum situation.

Vehicle SFX

Our optimization guru Bitbaboon Steve recently revealed that he has a bunch of experience in working with vehicle noises over the years. He’s done sound work on vehicles for big games by folks like Atari, Ubisoft and Disney so it seemed wise to pass the audio baton over to him.  The current car sounds have been crappy for too long in the vehicles beta, and this should get them done well and efficiently.

“Right now I’m adding support to the audio code to allow me to pitch shift samples” explained Steve when we nudged him. “This will mean that we can take four steady samples from the vehicle idling through to it going fast – and then let me set the volume / pitch so there’s a seamless blend through the whole RPM range.”

“This will then be hooked up directly to the vehicle simulation to provide a basic vehicle sound. Once it’s complete I’ll add an additional on/off ‘load’ so the vehicles sound different when accelerating and stressing the engine when compared to players easing off the accelerator. After this I’ll then find different sound sets to use for the different varieties of car – sports, truck etc.”

Anims

Our goal is to have anims in a state that’s ready for us to jump straight into once vehicles are wrapped. Right now, in the unified anims build that’ll be used as a base for the releases beyond vehicles, Bitbaboon Mark has fixed up mesh rendering with new system – so we can now see anim models alongside vehicles and judge how they size up against each other. [Screenshot taken before the wheels bug had been worked out though!]

Next up he’s adding some extra anim debug info that’ll let him display anim state info about each character in the world – which will help Animator Martin and himself track down exactly when the system bugs out / gets stuck. AnimZed, the tool that will allow us/modders to edit anim states live to the game is doing its job fine but still needs some functionality issues ironed out – after which the sanity/data pass that we mentioned in previous blogs can get going.

Zed pathfinding

Performance in the vehicles build is currently pretty okay, apart from when the wider sound radius of moving vehicles attracts the attention of a whole bunch of zeds – which then knocks into FPS repercussions.

To address this, then, EP is experimenting with the implementation of a C++ navigation mesh to find paths to replace the Java version we currently have – which will both remove some memory from the heap, and also dispense with the ‘thinking time’ of zombies who’ve lost their way far more quickly than our current set-up.

Other stuff

  • Zomboid won’t have Steam achievements for a while yet, and so PZ modding hero Nolan has stepped in to provide for all those who love the sweet caress of a cheevo notification. Check it out, and make suggestions, here.
  • RingoD has written a guide for map-makers with some simple steps as to how to update maps to handle the roof occlusion system.
  • Our fair RingoD has also provided some guidelines for mappers who want to add car spawn zones to maps in preparation for the release of the vehicles build which can be found here.

Today’s rooftop gunning from Anima Chimère du Chaos [FR]. 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. Fanks!

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