Stable Build: 41.78.15 | IWBUMS Beta: 41.78.15 | Version history | Wiki
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News & Dev
March 31, 2022

Milky Milky

How do, all. Let’s visit a few different PZ departments to see what’s cooking.

41 PATCHING

We are currently partway through the journey to the 41.69 patch. Planned patches to Build 41 are intended to be, generally, not feature-led and instead focus on balance, QOL, fixes and polish. The current contents of 41.69 includes:

  • New items and 3D models
  • New foraging discoveries.
  • Many improvements for controller and Steamdeck play
  • Many improvements to the MP experience in areas such as: the sometimes weird vehicle physics, the PvP safety system, the PvP cooldown timer, safehouse bugs, sleeping and radio/VHS sync.

There’s a lot more incoming next week, but we intend to keep this patch relatively short and sharp if we can – though of course will also need to be sure of MP stability before any release (even to unstable) as there’s still quite a lot of large adjustments to the MP code going into the pot.

FISHING AND LOCKPICKING

Although it’s not clear where it will land in terms of a build release yet, this week Aiteron’s new fishing system had its first internal test. This was largely a bug-chasing exercise, especially in terms of MP, but the testers had fun.

There’s still a lot of work to be done, and we will need better and more appropriate anims to really sell how it works, but the current mission statement is to get it all working – so we can then add some polish.

We also need to bring the mechanics closer to realism, through exploring what is caught (and how) in Kentucky – and what different types of lines, hooks, lures, bait and catch options we should include to increase/decrease your chances of catching a particular sort of fish. Likewise, clearly stuff like your location, the weather, the time of day and your fishing skill will all come into play.

We won’t go into detail, as it’s still distant, but something else that’s in the design phase while Aiteron implements fishing is bringing elements of his lockpicking mod over into the main game – in a new and improved package to boot.

Locks will vary in type and challenge, and the tools required may differ. Through this, stashes with useful loot will be added to the map – hidden behind locked doors. This will also enable locked doors within houses, chests, locked gun cabinets etc.

MAP WORK

The map team’s ongoing mission to improve the Knox Event map continues. Amidst other tasks focussing on the Many Years Later challenge map, converting and building new farms to fit in with our animal plans, and plotting for future expansion… here’s a few extra fun things that will be appearing in an exclusion zone near you.

  • New tiles to improve the appearance of existing locations.
  • Some older, and very distinguished, buildings for the richfolk of the area.

MUSIC

On top of the gameplay improvements mentioned last time, the guys at Formosa UK (formerly Noiseworks) are working on a first draft of a rework of the action music.

Instead of switching between tracks mid-fight, the plan is to cross-fade between different intensity levels of the same track. The base intensity will be the regular track that you are used to, but then there will also be a high action version that has been beefed up a bit.

When the action subsides, or the number of zombies you’re fighting declines, the music will enter a low state and eventually fade out.

FARM ANIMALS

Work on the introduction of farmed animals continues for their planned introduction in Build 42.

All the following information and videos are SUPER WORK IN PROGRESS and will improve a bunch as we move forward. Please don’t worry/complain/laugh/faint/query/weep about ‘em. (Usual caveats apply basically!)

Some bullet points on the current integration!

  • All animals are defined in lua definition tables, which will allow for maximum modding possibilities: it’s via these definitions that you can essentially adjust animal behaviour.
  • When in their pen farm animals will wander around, ‘emote’ by flapping wings or rootling for food on the ground, sit, rest, lie down etc.
  • Relevant animals can graze grass, which then regrows after an appropriate amount of time –  which can be defined in a new sandbox option.
  • Animals will eat from a trough, which is something you’ll either construct or loot from a farm.
  • Animals all have different growth stages – for example calves become cows/bulls, and grow in size. Their growth will be guided by various parameters – like their hunger, thirst, general health and the size of their enclosure.
  • Baby animals will stick by their mother’s side, and even take milk directly from the udder.
  • The bigger the animal size, the more meat it will produce when it is butchered.
  • There will be various breeds in-game – so you could have a “meat breed” (Angus) or a “milk” breed (Holstein) – and maybe even something in between like a Simmental.
  • Growth rates will be realistic, so a cow will take two full years to be at its full size, but this will be modifiable via sandbox options.
  • Cows will generate milk for a certain period after delivering a calf. The more you continue to milk the cow, the more milk you’ll get each day. Leaving a cow with a full udder, however, will cause issues and a decrease in lactation.
  • Sheep grow wool that you can retrieve with a shear, and also have a milking system if you enjoy sheep milk.
  • Hens can lay eggs. If a henhouse is present they’ll lay eggs in it, otherwise they’ll do it on the ground. They can be fertilized by a rooster, so if left for a time can hatch out chicks.
  • You will need to shut the door to the henhouse every night, and open it back up every morning, or will you risk visits from Mister Fox – and see the resulting bloodstains to boot.

ANIMAL BREEDING

What’s currently being added to the above systems are some ways to encourage the breeding of animals – to improve your herd, and that of your friends and neighbours, as the apocalypse draws on.

It sounds complicated, but it’s actually quite easy for us to generate animals with a ‘full’ (for our purposes) genome – again all defined in lua definition tables for easy modding.

Each animal type will have a set of abstracted genes that each contain two ‘alleles’ inherited from parents, from “milk quantity”, to “life expectancy”, “strength”, “appearance” genes and a lot more in-between.

We’ve gone for a somewhat realistic, yet still gamified, genetics system to make it feel somewhat accurate. We want to have some of the interesting consequences of genetics, and also to have them present clear enough results for players to engage with in cross breeding projects.

When breeding animals, characters with appropriate skills will be able to inspect the animal and get an idea of its various health-related attributes (aka genes) – while others such as egg laying, fertility or milk production will be observed in the animal during its lifespan. Higher skills will also, most likely, make this more apparent/obvious to experienced breeders.

The gameplay loop of animal breeding will involve trying to pick the correct pairings/groupings of your animals to pass along the best genes into their offspring.

Over successive generations you will be able to improve your stock with better milk production, egg production etc – or help you to focus on producing animals with more meat for slaughter.

Finding new animals to breed to diversify and improve your stock’s gene pool will be a prime reason for farmer players to interact with other groups, or go hunting around the farms on the map. Likewise, this will zero in on the concept of a ‘prize bull’ that you might grow an emotional bond with, and really, really not want to get ill – or perhaps even get stolen in MP.

The science will be that each animal will carry two sets of alleles in their genome, one contributed randomly from each parent. You have dominant and recessive alleles, and this will mean that you definitely have to be careful about in-breeding, as base generated animals may have recessive gene timebombs in the forms of genetic illnesses of varying types, waiting to ruin your prize bull and your entire stock if you’ve inbred your animals too much.

We’re sure there’ll be mods that will allow players to observe the genes more directly, but in the base game we’re expecting a tad more ‘art than science’ approach and using informed guesses and examination and observation to improve your stock.

There’s plenty more to this system, but we’ll leave it there for now. All animals will use this genetic system, and we’re sure at some point we’ll look into expanding it into the plant system too, however that’s not a priority right now and almost certainly in the worlds beyond Build 42.

This week’s cool arcade base from Damien. A changelist of all our pre-release patches since the 41 beta began can be found here. 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.

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News & Dev | 14 April 2022
Stable Build: 41.78.15 | IWBUMS Beta: 41.78.15 | Version history | Wiki
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