Ello ello. First thing first, the Steam Summer Sale is currently on – and it’ll likely be the last time you can get PZ in a sale before a price rise that will come alongside the animations build. So if you’re a bystander wondering about diving into the Knox Event, then now is probably a good time!
RUN SURVIVOR RUN
Since last week we’ve finally gotten sprint mechanics fully integrated into the game. The idea behind sprint is to differentiate between a ‘fast jog’ and a short term sprint at maximum speed. The two are being balanced as follows:
Fast jog: players will be able to maintain this for long periods, keep a level of control over their movement and stop quickly – but they will not be as fast as what you’re used to in terms of high-level PZ sprinting.
Short term sprint: a sudden burst at a maximum speed. With this the character will maintain a much greater pace, with the cost of more stamina lost, louder footsteps and a much wider turning circle.
In sprint you’d also have greater potential for accidents, particularly with clumsy characters if sprinting over/near obstacles or into walls. Those with high sprint/athleticism levels will be able to clear fences while sprinting – although clumsier and low skill survivors could well be advised to avoid this as a tumble/fall will be likely.
Please note that this has only been recently integrated, so the following vid is highly WIP! We’ll do a slicker presentation next week when it’s been more polished.
SIT SURVIVOR SIT
Next up: a progress report on a huge anim tech system that’s one of our ‘needs to be done before IWBUMS’ biggies. In this case, it’s pretty much been done now – albeit with one sizeable tech issue that needs resolving.
Anim masking means that when an animation is playing, it can be set to only play on certain bones of the character’s animation skeleton. The most obvious use of this being only upper body.
Before this tech, it was impossible to, say, play a reload animation while walking, or eat while walking. Martin would have had to animate ‘walking while eating’, ‘walking while reloading’ and also every transition animation possible. Now, however, we can play the reloading animation on the upper body while the legs continue playing the walking animation.
We’ve also done some reorganizing of the game code’s player states, to allow timed actions (those with a bar over the character’s head, used for everything including eating to reloading) to be able to be carried out at the same time as the character’s other major states used for walking, running etc.
As stated above, there’s still one big issue to resolve with this, which is a technical point relating to how the skeletons are organized within the game. The result being that items held in hands will not behave correctly in cases when the character’s hands have been made lower to the ground due to another anim – sitting for example. This makes actions like ‘eating on floor’ cause the item held in the hand to appear where it would be had they been stood up – which makes it look a bit broken.
There are still discussions going on as to the best way to fix this – a big chat between Zac, Mark and our gang is ongoing – but we’re currently looking for quickest way to remedy it when there’s such a vast animation set to get through.
Here are two vids showing some of these masked anims, with the usual “WIP!” warning lights flashing. Especially with the seated one. Reloading looks cool though, right?
And now here’s another vid that displays the floating-item issue that we’re currently working on.
Once the anim masking is 100%, the last big pieces to slot into place are hooking it all into MP and rotational blending – before polish and major bug fix duties. We’ve explained it before, but for clarity, this rotational system is required to allow:
- Anims for characters to turn on the spot to any angle
- An anim for characters stopping while running and thrusting into a run at a different angle
- Anims for zombies hearing a player nd turning their head toward them, before turning and stumbling in their direction
- Any general animation that contains otation within them that needs to conceivably work at any 360 degree angle, and be able to blend between the base compass position animations provided by Martin.
These are especially important to the game as right now the character turns with a turning circle like they are a vehicle, which makes them extremely awkward to move precisely indoors. It’s not obvious from the videos, but you’d find it annoying to play.
IN OTHER NEWS
ChrisW is still working with us, and is improving his cutaway system so it’s clearer where doorways and windows are – and are no longer big scary black lumps of probable doom.
EP has had a bit of fun, and has used the new anims and models system to create mannequins that can be moved into safehouses and dressed however a shopkeeper’s (or survivor’s) might like them to be dressed…
This week’s Terror for the Autons from Sasha. 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!