Today marks a day in history.
It is EXACTLY thirty years since the Knox Event broke out on 6th July 1993. Our thoughts are with everyone impacted on this sad anniversary.
To commemorate this we are allowing everyone to relive the experience IN REAL TIME on the Twitters.
Please follow @TheKnoxEvent to experience a textual timeline of what manifested three decades ago, albeit (one would hope) with a little less inevitable death than the real thing.
Okay so this week one of the four pillars of the next main PZ build is going back into the spotlight. We’ve seen good progress backstage in crafting, MP improvement and animals/wildlife – but it’s the engine upgrades that’ve given us something cool and visual to show off this week.
The tech improvements will be supplying basements, the 32 floor limit and new light propagation system – but clearly a primary focus of it all has been with performance. Using 8×8 tile chunks, in the tech branch we are caching areas of the map to speed up drawing the scene dramatically.
The benefit of this is obvious when it comes to FPS, with our own machine averaging over 300 FPS when zoomed out to maximum. (In the end product, once in the game proper, your mileage may differ for better or worse.)
The downside to this, however, is that the upgrades involved meant we would be unable to change the lighting on tiles in front of the player – which has always been used to represent the viewing arc and line of sight as the character turns or moves.
With the changes in the tech branch doing this would always invalidate the cached chunks in every frame, thereby rendering the optimizations ineffective.
To replace this in early B42, as a stopgap, we had a much more naïve and simpler viewing cone that was drawn over the screen which also allowed you to see what parts of the screen were outside the character’s viewing arc. You can see it on the old Light Propagation Demo we posted in the initial 42 Techdoid a while back.
However, this was never ideal. With this it was impossible to tell if an obstacle in the world is blocking your view, as it would just blindly extend to the edge of the screen with no concern for obstacles in the world.
As such, EP has been working on a new system that gives all the same information as our old system but without the extreme FPS consequences of it – and also far slicker and more accurate than our old tile system. What he’s done is pretty cool!
As you can see, there’s now much more precise and smooth LOS information than the old tile system ever could muster.
We’re now experimenting with different levels of visibility and blur on the effect to make sure it is a) visible enough to convey the line of sight information to the player, but b) not overbearing enough to distract the player as it moves around in real-time.
Where we’ve got it right now in this second video is still super cool (note the effect when doors and curtains are opened and closed) but it’s possibly a little too transparent on these lighter tiles.
We’ll continue tweaking until we find something that works best as a default, but as ever we’ll do our utmost to provide settings that will let you adjust it to whatever you’re most comfortable with.
It’s been a big week for the map and art team, as the B42 map expansion has just gone into its first round of testing. It covers a pretty huge area, as is shown in this handily obscured image.
Clearly the Louisville expansion in 41 was very built up, and here there’s a lot of grass and wilderness, but that covered 56 cells – and what you’re looking at here is 430.
Our testers are having a wild old time checking out its many and varied secrets and hideaways, and logging all the map errors they find for future fixing.
As we’ve discussed previously, a lot of the existing map will be getting a spruce-up too – not least with buildings that make the most of the new height limit.
Over our lengthy development, and unending devotion to sandbox settings, things in our front-end have become a little messy. As such Aiteron is currently improving and redesigning our Main Menu UI.
PLEASE NOTE: No design here is final, this is very much a work in progress we want feedback on from players and modders.
First off are changes to the sandbox settings themselves. The layout’s been redone, and an ‘advanced’ tick box has been added that switches over to deeper settings and selections. We’ve also mixed in a search and separation of settings by category on the right.
Next up, an in-depth set of improvement for the mod UI. Here you’ll find a search function, category filtering, and the ability to add mods as ‘favorites’. There are also added presets for mods, which can then be shared with friends using ‘Share’ and ‘Add’ buttons.
Aiteron has also improved the mod info panel – where you’ll be able to find out more about the mod contents, and quickly go to the other mods it requires or the relevant website.
He has also made sure to add a parameter for incompatible mods, which will specify exactly which mods your chosen mod won’t play nicely with.
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, there’s a raft of new info for modders themselves and an expanded functionality for mod.info. There’s options been added for modVersion, author, category, icon, incompatibility and, soon, more besides.
Next up Aiteron will be looking into mod changelog functionalities, and a way to determine mod order – which he intends to govern the manual or semi-automatic order of mods being loaded.
Here’s what it currently looks like REMEMBER WIP etc! Feedback required!
The first results of our recording sessions are now properly in-game: the grunts, groans and wheezes of your survivor are now in-game. What’s more they add a LOT to the experience, and we’ve got some really positive thoughts coming through from our internal testers.
We’ve made some videos for you to demonstrate but before viewing (and listening) please be advised of the following:
Currently the exertion noises play too much – especially during extended combat. We definitely need to tone things down or it’s going to get a little too ‘top tier ladies tennis match’. As such we will likely be tying exertion sounds to the exertion levels themselves, which will also be tied into our ‘heavy breathing’ noises after heavy periods of activity.
So, with that in mind…
Look, an aphid. Aint it sweet.
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.