Hey all, hope this finds you well.
Following on from the release of 41.54, and then its 41.55 patch last week, we are planning on a fairly imminent small 41.56 release to put to bed a few final issues with the sound mix – specifically the ‘cutting out’ issues that arise around busy moments when there’s a lot of zombies, rain and puddle footsteps.
This should be released early next week, and this is the fairly miniature current changelist, after which we will be full steam ahead on a bigger and more features-led build.
Whether or not that will be the full Louisville release is still in the balance, we’ve got a few other smaller things brewing that are closer to being ready alongside further noises dropping into the mix. Alongside updates to various game systems we’ll have drinking sounds from different sources (glass bottle, plastic, cups etc), filling sounds for different containers and all the more individual weapon noises ready before the new map is – most likely.
Let’s get on with it though, as it’s an MP work update blog this time around – so here’s Yuri from the Strike Force checking in with some details on where they are all at.
“We’ve spent the past month focused on improving player combat with zombies and PVP.”
“A lot of things in the animation system have been fixed and polished in the way they work in MP. For example, during zed fights various glitches could occur due to the animation system having incorrect transitions, or not having states in then. This works fine in SP, but causes some issues when it comes to multiplayer.”
“A good example could be simply when a player attacks a zombie, and it leads a zed reaction that’s a hit or a fall. In SP, at this point, the zombie can’t receive a second hit, since it manages to finish the animation before the player can hit a second time.”
“In MP, this sort of situation can become possible – and, for example, getting secondary hit from another separate player at the moment of the fall suddenly leads to the teleportation of the zombie back to a standing position, and a second reaction to the blow.”
“Elsewhere we have seriously improved the synchronization of many visual things: so that’s necessary stuff like displaying player damage, bleeding characters, pools of blood on floors and blood stains on the walls etc. There’s also work been done on synchronising many and varied different player actions on different players’ screens.”
“The game is getting more and more smooth at the moment. We have really cut down on bugs related to teleportation and the desynchronization of player and zombie positions. Now things are increasingly polished on our smaller scale test server, we can move on to testing the servers with more testers, fake clients and MP clients with split-screens next month without fear that we’re seeing unfixed smaller issues exacerbated by the higher playercounts.”
“There’s clearly other issues we’ve been working on too – like making some car improvements in MP. We’ve had bugs like incorrect car wheel displays, and strange collisions with cars that aren’t moving that needed some work. There’s still various other issues with the car physics we would like to address during car collisions with other cars and with players.”
Meanwhile, on a separate internal test beta, it’s been a super exciting time for our map team who have had a group of excitable recruits poring over their work and reporting all manner of blocked doorways, wonky rooftops and errant furniture throughout our new city extension.
Now, before we go any further another reminder that our version of Louisville is exactly that: it is not a direct recreation of the real thing in terms of locations or in size, but will have some familiar elements. Likewise skyscrapers are absent due to both our game’s height limit of eight storeys and gameplay sensibilities.
With all that said, by the scale of our current map it is huuuge and includes many and varied new locations and environments to explore and survive in. Going from house to house and building to building and checking everything in the main body of the city took a whole week with work divided between three people – and there was a lot of cooing and excitement going on as they did so.
Here’s a quick teaser video of some of the locations that were visited:
Alongside the bugs being discovered and fixed there are many and various things that have to be done for Louisville before release – we need a new zombie heat map to spawn the zeds, we need new businesses and areas properly zoned, we need new loot distributions and as a little treat for ourselves we are also going to be making some new fun outfits and clothing items for the zombies and wardrobes of some of the new different sorts of buildings and districts you’ll come across.
One fly in the ointment will be that the existing lore, which we intend to stick with and develop in future, posits that Louisville is initially barred to survivors within the exclusion zone. We didn’t want to jam in a needless ‘not-developed-enough’ obstruction in front of such a hotly anticipated map expansion.
As such, for the immediate future, our current thoughts are that we will instead be dropping in a few day’s worth of ‘parallel reality’ news reports that reflect an earlier infection surge in LV for those who spawn there, or who make the journey there from the existing map.
Those who enjoy the existing lore will also be able to explore various locations described within it too – and maybe even meet the zombies of some of the people you’ve watched or heard.
Finally in LV thoughts, the rest of the map is getting a lick of paint too – there’ll be a few new locations popping up, general prettiness improvements to wilderness and bodies of water and of course Ayrton’s lovely curves. Here’s a quick look at those in action.
Finally this week, a quick update on the improvement to the currently rather static foraging mode we have in-game. For those not in the loop this is going to be a more active system that has you moving through areas in a sort of ‘search mode’ – that represents your character scouring and focussing on the floor then finding scavenged/foraged items and trash.
We have also now bound this system to help find newly super-small (since 41.54) placed 3D items like car keys, bullets and small items of food. It will also come into play indoors when searching for floorboard stashes flagged by loot maps, and various other future in-game instances.
This week we have also been experimenting with some visual effects that will highlight both when the mode is engaged, and how wide your search radius is dependent on your foraging level, light/weather conditions and your speed of movement.
Please take this video as a WIP! The system and the appearance of the circle is liable to be changed, receive polish etc.
We are also thinking about using various different applications of this ‘vision shader’ (variations of which can be seen in this earlier tech demo) to add new challenge/gameplay to traits, helmets and accessories that would have an impact on a character’s vision.
This week’s scenic zed nightmare from Yana. 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!