Stable Build: 40.43 | IWBUMS Beta: 41.50 | Version history | Wiki
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News & Dev
December 17, 2020

Toasty Warm

How do all. Let’s dive in…

IWBUMS PUBLIC BETA 41.49

We want to get the last of 2020’s mainline SP work squeezed into a quick pre-Xmas patch. We had been aiming at a release today, but we’re going to give it a few more days in the test oven to make sure that the spear polish is behaving – so as not to leave spear-wielders disappointed over the festive season.

41.49 will contain the following:

  • More improvements to spear combat – swing attacks won’t root you to a place on the ground, but stab attacks will. Stabs now do more damage. Incoming zombies will be taken into account so you’re not prevented from moving in an unfair manner. (This feels pretty good to us, we will be interested to hear your thoughts).
  • Added the sawn-off shotgun
  • Improved/fixed/added more locational loot spawns – so more relevant stuff found in Gigamarts, houseware stores etc. More tailoring books spawning in homes. etc
  • Fixed zombies not acting as you might expect when falling from a great height
  • Fixed many fences that couldn’t be destroyed by cars
  • Fixed broken traps not returning items sometimes
  • Ensured more relevant weapons can strike through wire fences, alongside spears
  • Nerfed worms hunger value. (Sorry worm-eaters!)

MP STRIKE FORCE

This week marks the first time we’ve had a proper server for which to test the multiplayer within the wider team. As discussed last week, we have several steps to go before the MP will be out in the wild.

  • Develop new multiplayer architecture and fix all obvious bugs. The BIG one.
  • Internal team test on a live server
  • Fixing any issues that crop up during test <- We are here
  • Wider closed test on a live server
  • Fixing any issues that crop up during the test
  • Public single server ‘mega-test’ event
  • Fixing any issues that crop up during the test
  • IWBUMs release

The big problems that became apparent on the test were as follows:

  • Some memory leaks causing a gradual increase in memory usage to the point it would crash the server.
  • With higher player counts, map loading would become progressively worse until you’re standing at the border of a map chunk for minutes waiting for it to load in.
  • Zombies seemed to move at 2-3x speed when more players are connected, making survival ultra difficult.
  • Players relogging on sometimes doesn’t work properly. Characters would intermittently be invisible. Other log on issues.
  • Zombies will sometimes seem to have bad eyesight, maybe due to some threads getting overloaded under the bonnet affecting their line of sight checks.

Due to these issues, it wasn’t possible to ‘play the game’ to see how many other issues will need resolving, however the team knuckled down and fixed a fair few of these issues since the test earlier this week.

The memory leaks were sorted, and memory usage was balanced and optimized, so now its perfectly possible to run a 64 player server on a 12gb server, 16gb to be safe.

Better still the garbage collector has a lot less work to do now, meaning that the server will not pause to do a major garbage collect for potentially hours. A vast improvement over previous.

The map loading issues were also addressed, we used our fake client bots to simulate 63 other players moving around the map at random speeds, none of them sharing the same map cells, to strain it to the maximum you would expect from a busy 64 player game.

In the wild you’d expect several characters to be sharing map cells, thus not all requiring map chunks loaded by the server, or alternatively with them staying around their base and thus not straining the map streaming by moving around the map.

As such, this scenario was the literal worst case scenario and now map streaming works well enough at least at player running speed. We’ll have to look into how cars perform with the map streaming in the final run-up to Christmas.

Here’s a video showing the server running (locally, so very little latency) with 63 fake clients running around the map alongside (and distant to) a real player. This should show how the server performs now compared to what you’d expect in Build 40.

The other issues related to characters and zombies are being looked into by Andrei and Yuri, while EasyP and Lemmy have also been dipping their toe in looking at the memory, map and streaming issues. Things are picking up pace, and it’s all rather exciting.

So where next? There are discussions within the team about (either after the next patch or perhaps the one after) crossing the streams: unifying the MP work with the trunk codebase that the IWBUMS patches are rolling out from.

People keeping track of B41’s development before it was released into the public IWBUMs beta will remember this was a big step and commitment that meant we could no longer release builds/patches until B41 was ready to be played by the public, however also meant that everyone on the team was now working purely on build 41. That will be the same once we make the same move on multiplayer.

We’ll let you all know when that happens, we have to make sure the available B41 IWBUMs build is pretty solid. It’ll be difficult to provide any bug fixes after that point – but should mean we can pick up speed towards wider testing.

Anyway, that’s all for now – we’ll see you on Monday (most likely) for the 41.49 patch, and then on Christmas Eve for the yearly ‘picture of Spiffo in a Santa hat and not a huge amount else’ yuletide development blog. Love y’all.

This week’s fireside scene from Foster_Toaster:3. 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 hereOur Discord is open for chat and hijinks too!

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News & Dev | 10 December 2020

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News & Dev | 24 December 2020
Stable Build: 40.43 | IWBUMS Beta: 41.50 | Version history | Wiki
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