Hey all, some Thursday dev updates from anim-land.
CHARACTER MODELS AND LIGHTING
Last week we discussed the issues we’d been working on around how character lighting is handled – which caused characters in the anims build to glow, not get lit properly by their environment and have a blander two dimensional look.
We have now fixed this, and done a bunch of balancing to the lighting and shader coloration that everyone will hopefully find much improved.
During this process we also focused on another prominent issue: that the character pixel resolution when zoomed in was extremely blocky and lacking in detail. Due to the ways that our initial zoom system handled things, characters were too harshly pixellated. This caused them to be extremely jaggied compared to what it was in the old days, when we were rendering characters to an off-screen sprite before placing them into the world.
So, this week we’ve been doing some significant work on changing how the game handles the zoom, which in addition to fixing this issue should ultimately lead to slightly more optimized rendering of the game – as well as providing the character models much more detail to play with.
As ever, please keep in mind that we’ll continue to balance/tweak to make sure characters fit their surrounds as well as possible – as well as adjust the models themselves seeing as you can now see individual facial features much more clearly. These caveats notwithstanding, however, we’re pretty happy how they’re looking.
The branch with this system on it isn’t complete – navigating indoors presents issues, mouse input hit-testing isn’t fixed up yet, and we’re having issues with seams between tiles when zoomed out – so it’s not quite ready for integration into the main test build. Here’s a quick video of us running aimlessly around zombies under lights to show it off though.
(Along with some new Zach Beever musical accompaniments!)
This week Zac has been back on optimization duty. Here’s the latest vid of him doing his routine optimization test of sequentially spawning new ten-strong crowds of zombies.
Next up, here’s a video showing further optimizations to multi-threaded rendering and Mouse Input handling where zombies are cycling through their behaviours using the new dynamic state system.
Finally, over to RJ at the ‘tying it all together’ animation coalface.
“Right now I’m working on combat animations, weapons and blood– adding stuff in and fleshing things out. One thing that’s new and that people might be interested to see in action, is an effort to make sure players can’t dash through hordes without getting slowed down.”
“As seen in the video below, we’ve now added bumping against zeds. Colliding with one or two while you’re running isn’t dangerous, you’ll just get slowed down, but try running through a horde and you’ll stumble and fall – leaving you temporarily exposed to the encroaching zeds. We might add in a few more different sorts of animations for nudges/pushes, but right now it looks like this:”
“Elsewhere this week, I’ve also been making sure that zombie behaviour is working correctly – fixing bugs with them following, thumping the environment and also behaving as expected when acting as crawlers. I’ve also added a better way for zeds to react when you drive over them and knock them over, and have added my ‘clutter’ improvements to the loot spawning system to the internal test build.”
This week’s trip to the mall from Kate. 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.