We released the Build 39 vehicles patch this time last week – release notes for which can be found here. This seems to have remedied the most pressing issues with Build 39 and (given that we also don’t want to add any major changes to the pot without enough testing) further tweaks and improvements will go into Build 40.
All of Build 40’s bigger features are already complete, if untested, so we’re hoping to get it into IWBUMS public beta testing within the next few weeks and for it to be a fairly quickfire version. As such a lot of work in the coming week involves bringing work done while we were polishing the release candidate for Build 39 into the main 40 build – stirring each ingredient in one after the other.
First off Yuri from General Arcade has done a lot of work on MP networking, vehicle clipping, floating cars, headlights, vehicle shadows and zombie reaction speeds – and then Stas’ new chatbox will also finally get its time in the sun. Finally Turbo’s work on the new climate system, improved rain/snow/fog and general ‘greater sense of season’ work will also be added to the mix.
As we’ve discussed in previous dev blogs, Turbo’s final hurdle was finding ways to make the new precipitation and fog visible through windows – initially in pre-made buildings, and then with the trickier proposition of player-made structures. Telling the game not to conjure up internal fog in a constructed base was a big issue.
As such, this week he has been finishing a system that can accurately detect player-made rooms and regions on each height layer – now the PZ engine can properly detect if an area is enclosed by walls, windows, door frames and fences. The system also checks whether said area is roofed, and then mask a feature like fog from that and all connected rooms. It practice it looks a little bit like this…
Having this functionality in the game will also make it far, far easier to prevent the occasional ‘zombie in my base!’ bugs that have been known to creep back into the game – and also be very handy for other independent zoning systems for farming improvements etc.
While the above features are being added to Build 40 other team members are blitzing through our internal task system – verifying reported bugs, fixing up legacy issues and generally sorting out long-term kinks in the game that have sat in the system unaddressed for too long. The advent of the new animations system, and the dev changeover to it, will bring a lot of new work and issues so the more of these 300-ish minor tasks we can strike from the record the cleaner our plate will be.
This sort of stuff deals with missing loot spawns, errant nutrition values, trait issues, places you can’t sleep but should be able to and other general irritations. In addition, meanwhile, we’re adding stuff to improve vehicles – like the ability to use metalwork skills to dismantle car wrecks and retrieve construction materials, and making it very unwise to drive your car while drunk.
Once we’ve cleared out these tasks we can also add in some more community suggestions, start to polish some of our more elderly game systems and also do some planned work on our current loot system to give us more power on what spawns where and by how much – which is also a requirement to get the best out of the new animation/models system as we’ll certain zombies spawning in certain locations, with certain loot around then.
The work on the animations system, and the AnimZed tool itself, continues with our friends at T.E.A. It’s relatively dry dev work this week, but all necessary stuff. Zac has been going through AnimZed changes following the feedback of our animator Martin last week, and will continue to supply new versions for him to check out. Grant has been working on the Game state hook-up, and compiling guidelines for coders and modders to follow with T.E.A.’s data-driven approach to animation integration. Mark has been investigating load/rendering issues with backpacks, and Gar is adding new masks/test textures for texture-based pants/tops which are coming in the editor.
Thanks so much for all your continuing feedback and bug reports on Build 39 everyone. It’s been great having so many new and returning players, and hopefully we’ve got some good stuff in the pipeline for all concerned parties.
This week’s night cruise from Cocoa. 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 here! Our Discord is open for chat and hijinks too.