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News & Dev
March 18, 2021

Ohio Orio

A significantly smoother Wednesday Night Test internal session last night on the 41 MP build: still with its issues and bugs to improve/fix but a clear sign that concentrating on server stability for the past week or so was the right thing for us to be doing.

We had a good session with 20-ish players: vastly diminished map load cones, zero black boxing and an overall much smoother experience.

Next plans are to keep server testing with more and more fake clients rather than real ones (32 next, 64 later) in various normal gameplay and edge case scenarios like spawned hordes or multiple admin teleports.

Once things start appearing watertight from simulations, and are proven watertight in wider testing, it will be safer ground to back-fill teleportation bugs and weirdnesses. (Though that’s not to say that we will have improved some of these in the meantime too.)

Here’s the changelist of what was being tested last night.

Highlights vid – with players testing around mega hordes. (We still clearly need to do some performance work here, but it’s still good the server could handle this.)

Car crash testing vid.

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Tester testimonials:

No cones today nor black boxes. We caught two freezes while driving for a sec, but that was about it. Smoothest session ever! When WP was over populated ( we managed to collect big horde) the FPS dropped majorly for everyone though. Less teleportation zeds, but they are still around. We did have some slight dsync problems and players teleporting though. Overall the session was awesome!

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“It did feel better: we drove quite a distance with zero cones, but still had one or two hiccups of the car randomly stopping after driving over half the map. In terms of general gameplay it felt like a regular multiplayer game, running and driving around without any problem, fighting with others feels great and I didn’t see see any players become suddenly invisible or any weird character behaviour. There are still problems with some animations not showing up, weapon models not showing and the “pushing away a zombie” animations sometimes happening when a player tries to sprint after fighting zombies. As for zombie fights there were still teleports or and zombie teleports that still need to be cleared up. There was also a bug with player skills being reset that will need to be looked into as several players reported that happening.

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“The game ran very smoothly. There were no black squares and cones. It was fun to shoot crowds of zombies with the gang. But it was not without problems – there were errors from burned-out cars, small lags with a very large number of zombies and problems with showing some guns.

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Overall was the most stable and fun version I have tested. No black boxing and cones at all. A few odd stutter stepping (like rubber-banding on foot almost) that got me killed twice but I’m guessing that might be to do with my control pad inputs. Was cool to hang out at the Rusty Rifle with the guys but the chaos is too much for my OCD brain lol. Big improvement from my first few experiences.

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My experience on the server today, logging into the server in France from Louisiana, was about 50/50 gameplay-wise but I still had a ton of fun. It seemed to run really well at times but also had a few issues with teleporting zombies and cars stuttering doing the start/ stop thing, also ran into a few instances of players teleporting around while fighting zeds. I got into a little PvP by the Rusty Rifle which seemed to work well though: the other player fell when shot and everything seemed synced as far as I could tell, even got shot in the hand. All in all though had a great time playing PZ with others and looking forward to the next test.

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NOISEWORKS

First off a quick clarification. One of the reasons we have Noiseworks redoing our entire soundscape is that it means that we can have a team of four people (eight people over the course of the whole project) working on PZ with very little intervention from us apart from when we give feedback, provide occasional directions or tell them that they are awesome.

The way the FMOD project works is that PZ already has pre-existing hooks to put new sounds onto, so there’s actually very little attention to this required from the core PZ team.

(With this said, occasionally new or more refined hooks are requested – so there’s probably an hour or two spent every week on this at a very rough estimate)

So this is just to say that, although we are quite giddy and excited about our friend from Alien Isolation doing PZ sounds, we don’t feel that it is standing in the way of the current core mission of getting MP out of the door and into your hands.

We know we said we’d wait before showing you stuff from this, but it’s coming through so thick and fast currently that it would seem churlish not to when everything is very MP focussed in the blogs and there’s not much for those who aren’t MP players to check out.

Which is all quite a lengthy preamble to us saying: “would you just take a quick listen to our new tumble dryer?!”

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WELCOME AYRTON

To many in the community Ayrton Orio (aka Kukrapok) will need no introduction: he’s the guy behind the Cherbourg map, a collaborator in the recent excellent boat mod (which we will be doing a mod interview blog about in coming weeks) and an stalwart foundation of the PZ scene.

While he fully intends to continue supporting Cherbourg (which we will, in turn, support him in) Ayrton is now also an official PZ mapper. He will be working alongside Mash, Binky, Xeonyx and RingoD on the main map – with his initial focus being on improving visual variety on the current map, making bends in roads less like right angles where at all possible, adding more fences / barriers to complement our future planned stealth improvements and a few secret missions besides.

To celebrate, the blog writer has been allowed to show off another aspect of our vast Louisville map expansion – which, while being increasingly filled out these days, is still in the relative mid/long term future in terms of testing/release.

With that in mind, then, here’s one of the rare occasions we let a snapshot of it out into the wild: the Grand Ohio Mall, built by Xeonyx who himself was a former PZ community mapper. This will be found to the east of our version of Louisville.

(Please check out the little train ride that Jamie has put in the main atrium! Also clearly it will have a car park upon release!)

OTHER STUFF

  • While testing zed teleports and zed appearances in MP, longstanding issues with the speed that zombies can appear within your field of vision became ever more apparent. With this in mind then Zac has been burrowing into the code to make it all much snappier, especially when your framerate is dipping.
  • Something else that ongoing MP work has revealed are potential conflicts with Turbo’s isoregions work – which is the code that can tell when a building or player construction is an enclosed space and as such doesn’t let fog or the rain in. To this end Turbo is giving it a lick of paint, which will also fix some longstanding irregularities with the system – and also build in some extra info that will help Fox to bring the current cutaway system into player-built structures at a later date.

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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