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Garbage Train

January 30, 2020

Howdy all, let’s run through the latest.

We updated the public IWBUMS beta this morning, which is now running on Build 41.28. The changelist is viewable here.

Edited highlights though, run as we mentioned last week.

  • Experimental optimization. This allows zombies to be updated every X frames via a per-object gametime multiplier that depends on proximity / visibility to player. It spreads update ticks of zombies over frames, meaning higher FPS with large crowds. Options for different levels of this will also be provided.
  • Turbo’s automated broadcast radio station – which provides weather forecasts, warnings on imminent power/water outages and other interesting things.
  • Ability to turn off rain/precipitation when indoors, as this was making a fair few IWBUMS testers motion sick.
  • Further improvements to the Foraging UI, and also now a new Fishing UI designed in a similar way.
  • Code-changes to smoothen combat and remove the possibility of animation-cancelling.

ZOOM AND JAVA STUFF

The zoom beta, meanwhile, has been fixed up – with its higher res models and its friendlier ability to run for those with lower end systems. This said we still have a ‘garbage collection’ judder/stutter monster to deal with after about 20-30 mins of play (fixed by a restart if you’re on the beta) which hopefully we’ll have licked soon – with this branch then moving into the main internal test build, and then the IWBUMS beta, in the form of patch 41.29.

While we are on this subject, in future news, as regular readers will know as we are constantly waging war against Java’s garbage collector, known for causing stutters and pauses in the game that not only take a huge amount of effort to minimize, but also are a ball and chain that heavily constrict how we code to try and appease the garbage gods.

This is the very problem we are dealing with right now on the zoom branch for some people. The good news is September 2020, Java OpenJDK 14 will be coming out out on all three platforms and comes with a shiny new garbage collector that should vastly improve its ability to deal with garbage without any pauses whatsoever.

This is huge, however it comes with one big caveat: it’ll be 64bit only. As such, we thought it a good idea to give enough forewarning that we’ll need to stop support on 32bit systems completely in/around September 2020. As always, legacy build will be provided on Steam betas so anyone left behind will have the latest possible version of PZ to play.

We’ve held off as long as possible, but the performance benefits not only to the game, but also freeing us up to create a bit more garbage to use many of the more modern coding conveniences and allowing easier to work with codebase that we’ve had to suffer over the years to try and stave off these pauses. We’ll remind you again closer to the time, but hopefully this is enough notice.

OTHER STUFF

Here’s a quick WIP video from Yuri’s work on fire – though as ever please bear in mind that everything you see here is exactly that. A work in progress.

At the moment Yuri is working on making fire look more ‘grounded’ and less floaty, while smoke also is being made a lot slower. Burning people/zeds will clearly have more specific animations too. We’re getting there overall, and flaming houses should be a treat to see – as well as pretty terrifying.

Oh actually, right now at the time of writing Yuri wants to show people his slower smoke – which looks ace. Here it is.

People probably care a lot less about this next aspect, but some may be interested given as they’ve spent so many Mondays/Thursdays spending time there (well, here I guess) over the years.

Given as the release of Build 41 will be something of a relaunch for PZ – with anims unlocking so much cool shit, and with the game looking and playing so differently – we are also treating ourselves to a new website and a new trailer.

The website will launch fairly soon, given as the one you’re currently reading is fairly rickety, and it’ll look a little bit like this!

Boring news, we know – but we like it. It’s always nice to see Afekay’s Bob image being given a new lease of life too.

Next week we’re hoping to provide an in-depth look into our MP efforts that we mentioned here, with some diagrams and such for the technically minded from TEA/Bitbaboon Mark. It’s a huge low level rewrite of the game’s multiplayer architecture, so won’t be something that pops into the IWBUMS beta without a lot of build-up in Thursdoids – but hopefully you’ll see more and more details of it appearing from hereon in. 

Today’s featured image is quite possibly one of the coolest ones we’ve seen in years – built in and around train carriages in Muldraugh, and is fromWhitE⚔Ҝnight . 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!

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