Ello all. PZ Dev news time for progress on the ongoing IWBUMS public beta for version 41 of Project Zomboid. Let’s start where it matters most 41-wise.
41 BETA MP WORK
This week Yuri has been working on dynamic packet rate customization. The plan is for us to be able to tailor amount of traffic the zombies use based on the situation, the server load, the player count and various other factors.
So, for example, players on a co-op server will have much more bandwidth available for keeping track of the zeds, as opposed to a server with 60 players that’s under strained which can then automatically pull back the number of updates and rely more on prediction and light ownership on clients.
Likewise with light ownership, the range at which this system kicks in can also be modified on the fly to deal with high traffic situations. Currently they are using 150 ms interval for target packets and 200 ms for info packets. In this case that means that they have ~50 Kbps(6-7 KBps) for ~250 zombies, which we’d say is about a third of the maximum budget per player to reliably run a 60 player server.
Meanwhile, Andrei has been laying the foundations and making plans for the ‘bot clients’ or, nudge nudge wink wink, ‘zombie clients’!
Bot clients will allow us to easily simulate 60 players running around the map within a test environment, something we’ve never managed to do before, and will allow us to finally be able to close in and circle the situations that seem to cause huge lag spikes and servers grinding to a halt, map streaming failing and all the rest.
PZ multiplayer previous to 41 has always performed fine with a few testers connected, but unfortunately as soon as so many players in the community join a public server (which we don’t have the ability to poke in the guts of to debug) then we always hit severe problems with server reliability and speed.
This will finally provide the ability to simulate these environments from a single PC. The bot clients are one of our ‘big things’ that needs to be done for multiplayer, along with the revamp to the zombies and the players net code to work with animations and AI prediction, so we are excited to see it starting to flower, though recognise it’s a big job for the Strike Force to push through.
41.40 patch content
There are two primary things we need wrapped before we can release 41.40 to the public IWBUMS beta – the first of which being the gamepad version of the new tutorial, alongside the addition of the new objective markers and general polish that’s been put in.
Another element that we want to get in and well tested / experimented with is a fix to a strange kink in the animation system that Martin spotted, and that today Zac has managed to fix.
This was a very slight pause that could appear after one animation ended and second began – most especially noticeable in things like spear combat. Zac has now gotten to the bottom of the issue, but the fix’s impact will be felt throughout movement and combat game-wide so we need to keep an eye on balance how it all plays before we push it out.
Other stuff that’s gone into the internal test build this week:
ROCKSTAR MARK’S MISSION
This is one of those ‘we’ll mention it now, but won’t mention it again for a while’ blog nods – but it’s something we’ve alluded to in the past so it’ll be good to pass it by you all.
There are two primary visual things in the game that we’re not super happy with these days – the first is fire (which Yuri has been working on), and the second is the way that we still use inventory icons to show items that have been left on the ground.
‘Rockstar’ Mark Wright (so-called as he *used* to work at Rockstar) has therefore been chewing through all our items and rendering them as 3D models that’ll one day be used to pretty up our environments, and your own object-strewn bases.
This probably won’t be in Build 41 as he has a lot to go through and we’ll need some engine jiggery-pokery to make it all work okay – but he’s done such a good job on the first batch we thought we’d share.
This week’s invasion of the naked dead from Jeka. A changelist of all IWBUMS patches since the 41 beta was released can be found here. 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 you update notifications once builds get released. We also live on Twitter right here! Our Discord is open for chat and hijinks too!