Hey all, hope this finds you well.
Lots of work on the technical side of the four main pillars of 42 these past two weeks – all of which relatively dry, so let’s run through that briefly before checking out some of the other items rolling in.
Right now the foundational code to our in-depth crafting systems revamp are being brought into a position where the MP team can better get their hooks into it, while in our optimization/lighting/height channel we’ve been continuing to polish out cutaway issues, errors thrown and the way our isoregions system handles its newfound 32 potential storeys.
For our MP upgrade, meanwhile, work continues on getting the machinations of player inventories (building, recipes etc) over onto the server – while also improving the implementation of our (pretty much fully cooked at this point) new fishing minigames and systems. Domestic animals, meanwhile, are in bug fix mode – with additional attention being given to their pathfinding and around animal escapes.
While all this is ongoing other team members are beavering away raising the quality of the game in smaller-scale ways, so let’s look at a few of those fun nuggets now.
One way to give our towns and city more personality is to provide more written literature for you to loot and peruse – whether it’s a fully readable lore item, or simply an interestingly named (if non-readable) book found in a house you loot that might deepen your understanding of the life of the zombie you just bludgeoned downstairs.
Build 42 will feature a range of newspapers, each with a final three or four issues to pick up and read in a separate ‘written content UI’. They will contain news articles about the initial build-up to the Knox Event articles, everyday life articles, and even a few breadcrumbs as to what’s really been going in.
This will also include smaller scale publications: like ‘town news’ pamphlets for the smaller settlements that don’t quite warrant a full-scale newspaper.
Beyond this we’ve also had a lovely man called Stuart taking all our teeny-tiny map logos and up-rezzing them into more suitable forms for both in-game and irl usage. Their first use within the game are ‘local business’ fliers that are also readable via the same ‘printed media’ UI.
Clearly there’s not much zed content that can be made from these, but their gameplay role is to mark up interesting locations (and sources of potentially helpful loot) on the in-game map – a function that we feel will be especially handy for new players.
We feel that finding a flier that’s a membership advertisement for, say, the West Maple Country Club and revealing it on the player’s map will give an interesting reason for new players to leave town and explore – and likewise a job advert for McCoy logging and a corresponding map reveal might flag a decent place to potentially find an axe.
There’s SO MUCH stuff on the PZ map, and we wanted a way to direct people to some of the locations we’re most proud of. Especially those lost in the vastness of Louisville.
We also really want you to feel interested in the deceased people whose homes you are raiding, and perhaps even saddened by their demise. From this we’ve also added a LOT more texture to the names of some of the books, comics and magazines they’ve been reading – and indeed the photographs they’ve been tenderly keeping in an upstairs drawer.
The hope is that when the spawn tags on these 1500 different interestingly titled books/mags (non-readable) combine with the way we guide our RNG looted spawns work then neat little stories will form in your head about the sorts of folks that lived here up until recently – and perhaps who you just left dead on the kitchen floor.
Perhaps they were reading a book called “Long Term Illness Management” by Laura Paloma, which shines a light on the medication in the bathroom.
Perhaps their love of military history ties in with the guns, or maybe it’s satisfying to know the zombie in the garden used to read trashy thrillers.
Likewise finding photographs that aren’t simply called “photograph” in a cupboard won’t do much to you, but instead seeing “Photograph of a Smiling Family” or “Photograph of a Wedding Car Arriving at a Church” will hopefully do you some emotional damage. We’ve got about five hundred of these, and they’re already bringing some amazing (doomed) colour to the average loot run.
We’ve also got six new TV channels, a new radio station, and 75 new VHSs ready to mix into the game (all written by Pat_Bren, who’s also the architect of all the above alongside coder Blair Algol) so really feel that B42 will broaden the narrative possibilities of the game significantly – while also neatly tying into the gameplay in many instances.
Some other changes that are tied into the above:
Part of the above has been in ensuring that the right newspapers and pamphlets spawn in their appropriate towns, and as such we’ve mixed in a new municipal region system that tells the game’s systems exactly what area of the map each location in the game is located within.
We’re also using this for some new vehicles owned by local businesses, that only ever spawn in their hometown and associated region.
It’s generally not a known gameplay function, but for many builds now we’ve had ‘profession’ vehicles on the map that are owned by carpenters, metalworkers and electricians – all of whom *do* leave tools in their vehicle overnight.
We’ve never flagged this up, however, which has been a missed opportunity – as for players searching for particular items these are very much mobile treasure boxes. Therefore Martin has created a variety of new vehicles for different businesses to better communicate what sort of special loot might be found inside.
We have vehicles for different utilities, nationwide businesses and local businesses – many will only spawn in one town, and some are unique in that only one instance of that vehicle will spawn in the world.
We know that PZ players love collecting vehicles, especially in multiplayer servers, so this should spice up the hunt for the vehicle collectors. This regional system, and unique vehicle system, is set up to be easily used by mods also.
Regular readers will know that we recently had our very own recording sessions in a studio with microphones, actors and everything.
We had various missions to accomplish with this – a primary one being to obtain recordings of a male survivor and a female survivor huffing, puffing, getting hurt, climbing over things, sneezing, coughing and even shouting “hey!”.
The first fruits of these can be heard below and (while subtle when added to the mix and heard in isolation from the way the game sounds currently) we believe that they’ll add a lot to your overall experience once they land in 42.
(PLEASE NOTE: This is a work in progress. Volume and balance levels are initial ones and will change, likewise some recordings sound better than others and we haven’t cherry-picked the ones that work best yet. We think that the exertion noises during heavy combat could certainly do with a boost.)
A changelist of all our pre-release and post-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. Experienced games industry gameplay coder and want to join Team Awesome? Jobs page here. Project Zomboid strongly discourages the unlawful dissemination of classified military intelligence.