Hey everyone! First off, for various reasons we’ve decided we won’t be doing an organized stream this week. We know this may be disappointing to some, but comes for several good reasons – not least because a now days-long internet outage at one of our dev locations.
(And, not ideally: the one hosting the build machine… which has made it more difficult to quickly get builds to internal testers this week. Though it hasn’t impeded development in any other way, thankfully).
Since we feel we’re very much on the cusp of the 41 IWBUMS too though, we don’t want to overshare and for everyone to get too familiar with the build before it goes live, and streams themselves while extremely useful to us and exciting to those waiting can get in the way of development and add an extra stress to the team on top of all the existing scrub, fix and polish.
INITIAL IWBUMS CONTENT
There’s now a complete feature and balance lock on what will make it into IWBUMs, and what will drop in later on during the public beta process.
As we’ve discussed before: this first build will be completely SP only, and MP support will be turned on during testing while we Community Megatest some more more robust multiplayer support with less rubber banding and stalling.
Unfortunately the high res zoom stuff didn’t make the IWBUMS cut-off, there were few too many remaining issues still meaning it’d be safer to drop in at a later date once IWBUMs releases.
Other things like split-screen, sprinter zeds, the tutorial, some challenges and various other elements outside the main game will also be disabled or diminished – all of which will need work to bring them up to date with the new animation system and systems surrounding it during the beta.
Likewise Yuri’s new fire system (currently getting various new VFX effects created for them by a specialist in Canada) will also drop in during the pubic IWBUMs beta period.
Regarding the aforementioned high-res zoom system, shown off notably toward the end of the DrunkOnLife stream, we’ve seen some confusion as to how this will impact performance. Despite the fact it is ostensibly called ‘high-res’, and improves the clarity of characters at full zoom, we actually seen evidence that this will lighten the rendering load a great deal, especially when zoomed out significantly.
The new zoom system gets rid of the highly inefficient FBO supersampling that was used for zooming out (often rendering at 4k resolutions on 1080p resolutions) and instead simply scales all the textures it draws on the 1080 viewport.
This causes various artifacts and issues, however, seams between the tiles when zoomed and such – which is the thing we wanted to fix before IWBUMS but just didn’t have enough time. Once these are sorted, the only visual ‘side effect’ will be the higher resolution models.
We will also look into ‘faking’ low res rendering via shaders, for those who have an issue with characters being higher res than the environment, but we anticipate the majority will enjoy the extra character detail. Initial reactions to it have been very favourable.
Meanwhile, while all this is kicking off, Mash has been looking into improving the detail across character models. At first we looked into doubling the resolution of the textures to provide more fine detail, but as it transpired even on high res max zoom, this extra detail would be lost –general improvements however have still been made.
One key thing she’s been working on is improving the zombie decomposition, and providing extra visible stages for decomposition over time.Here is one of the zombie skins, and the first three (WIP) states of decomposition:
Obviously these too will drop in during IWBUMs, but along with additional ‘dead rotting juices’ overlays for clothing alongside holes and desaturation, we hope to make zombies progression as they decompose a lot more interesting and gross – especially in later builds when players boot up games and scenarios that occur later in the PZ timeline.
There’s been a lot of balancing and discussion in response to the streams and tester feedback over the past week, trying to get the last kinks worked out of the system. Big things include finally nailing a thorny issue we’ve had with the character taking a small step toward a zombie when attempting to quickly run in the opposite direction.
This was responsible for several streamer deaths over past weeks, and in the words of the anonymous tester whom has been very concerned about these issues for weeks now: “Reaction to control is excellent, and the character’s turns are delicious.” – which was music to our ears after weeks of concern about tightening up the character movement.
Other areas we’ve been tightening up are knife attacks, making sure that stomps and floor swings never seem unfair in the hit box detection, and so many others that have led to rather impassioned discussions and various tests behind the scenes.
We were very relieved to see that the Mac build, something we expected to be on fire, seemed to work fine for the most part. However,there were a few issues related to the character shader system making the character look rather odd with some clothing combinations. Investigations are ongoing.
New Rimworld-esque game-style options mean new Spiffos: huzzah! Here he is in all his glory.
This week’s image from an excited Frenchman again. 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!