Let’s start off this week with something exciting that’s not piped straight out of Build 41 MP testing.
Long-time readers of this dev blog might recall that our writer / creative director / dogsbody Will wrote for renowned horror sci-fi game Alien: Isolation a few years ago.
Alien Isolation is widely seen as a cult classic for a variety of reasons, but its BAFTA award winning sound design is one of the most compelling. The noise of the creature in the vents, Amanda’s trainers treading and squeaking on the floors of Sevastopol, the way you’d strain to hear where it might be approaching from, the subtle beeps and whirrs of the machinery around you etc.
Will really got on with both of the main sound guys on the final approach to the Alien project’s release, Byron Bullock and Sam Cooper, who both very generously allowed him to hold their BAFTA on the night they won it.
While Sam remains at Creative Assembly, Byron went on to start up a company called Noiseworks with another Senior Sound Designer from the CA Total War team called David Phillipp.
Ever since then we have pined for Byron and the Noiseworks team, dearly wishing that Project Zomboid could one day have soundscape with the same stratospherically high quality bar as Alien: Isolation.
“We are excited to be working on Project Zomboid and can’t wait to craft an immersive and compelling sonic landscape for all of its survivors!” said Noiseworks Creative Director Byron Bullock when requested for blog content.
“We plan to re-work the entire sonic landscape and have plans for some pretty awesome zombies, detailed and highly-dynamic world audio and an overall exciting soundscape that helps immerse players in the world of the Knox Event Exclusion Zone!”
We currently have a roadmap plotted out for Noiseworks over a period of many months, and their work will not be appearing (or mentioned in blogs) for quite a long time.
What with their Technical Sound Designer Michael already in the guts of our new FMOD project, however, and us deep in discussions with Byron about how zombies should sound, foot-steps, the ambient sounds of Kentucky nature etc etc we wanted to share the news so you know about the team-up.
We know we rarely discuss stuff that won’t be a part of our current build, but in the instance of teaming up with another group of experts and widening our skillbase we thought we’d make an exception. Exciting times!
Now back to your regular programming. We had a small W.N.I.T.S. (Wednesday Night Internal Test Session) last night, with the intention of holding a wider one on Friday.
Overall we had improved (but not fixed) zed teleportation issues, but we also had some annoying server instability that suggests more work ahead – we need to investigate this and that some of the work we’ve been doing on map-load / driving issues need a good, thorough debugging.
When there was less than five players a generally improved experience was reported, despite one super-distant player reporting some lag issues early on. Hopefully the latter was caused by the aforementioned instability, but we shall see.
Here’s the changelist for what we were testing last night, for those intrigued by the nitty-gritty.
And here’s a quick fun video of what went down. As you can, hopefully, see the close combat with zeds is really starting to come along now.
Friday’s test will again shake fresh issues out of the bug tree though. There’s still much to be done.
Zac has been wringing out a few more chunks of performance gain from the 3D animations. His shared SharedSkeles eliminate the need for 99% of updateModelTransform calls on IsoZombie (blog writer does not understand this I’m afraid) which should give a 33% boost to overall animation performance on IsoZombie crowds. A video, with before and after!
Meanwhile in MP land RJ and Martin have been working on PvP and new PvP animations, while Tim has also added some improvements to controller detection – which will hopefully improve a lot of gamepad compatibility issues.
Turbo meanwhile has been optimizing his fog and mist which, as has been reported by the community on several occasions – thank you, has a tendency to tank FPS at inopportune moments.
Finally for inclusion this week: ‘Rockstar’ Mark Wright is now nearly at the end of his mission creating 3D models for all our inventory items – so it’ll all look more realistic when seen on the floor. (Just as weapons currently appear when placed down)
Thanks all, more next week – with rolling updates on the Twitters.
This week’s base from intvkng. 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!