This week saw us start our “survival” gameplay focus. This means most of our gameplay development focus is on refining the survival aspects of the game. We detailed some of the initial work for this last week.
Trying to get 0.37 to stable
Our main focus this week was to deploy a new version of the game to stable branch. We have two public “branches” of code, stable and experimental. A deployment to stable branch of the latest version of the game was scheduled for Wednesday, however we were not happy with some of the issues that remained.
Three major code changes have been occurring. We have been changing the way collision works to solve a number of bugs, such as shooting while prone colliding with the world and zombie collisions. Also our new physics system has been implemented, allowing us to have throwing, dragging, ragdoll, and even vehicles. In addition, a new guaranteed network message system has been developed to solve network issues, improve client/server performance, as well as reduce the “desync” issues experienced by many.
A number of bugs came out of these developments, two of which cause situations where players and zombies can become invisible to some clients. We want to solve this issue before we deploy to stable. You can try the current version out for yourself on experimental branch.
Progress continued with the development of several different kinds of fireplaces, and has moved onto creating assets for constructible ovens. These items will be persistent in the world, allowing the player to cook many things. The temperature system developed in the engine has been refined to have correct return from hot or cold to ambient temperature.
A new area of work commenced this week is combat directly supporting survival. This includes throwing items, bows and arrows. We now have a great new animation for throwing, and the system developed for this will allow us to support proper animations for bows (e.g. drawing bow back, awaiting player input to fire).
The next week
Both Survival Combat and Cooking are our gameplay focus for the next few weeks, with our primary goal to get 0.37+ deployed to stable as soon as possible.
We’re also looking ahead further now towards how to best position ourselves to release vehicles, barricading, and advanced physics. It’s exciting times for us all here and we can’t wait to show what’s coming in our next video blog!
When is the next update on stable?
0.37 will be deployed to Stable during scheduled maintenance on Wednesday, 5 March 2014 GMT. Changelog will be distributed at that time.
Bug Fixing progresses
This week most of the team has been focusing on key bugs, and some of the team have started our first new feature scrum.
New Team Members
We are inducting a large number of new people to the team, effectively doubling the whole project. Here are a few screenshots, and a short rundown on some of the key activity for the week.
Development of Cooking System Starts
This week we started on a cooking system. Heavily inspired by the outstanding cooking system in Project Zomboid, this will be part of a wider push in March to focus on Survival aspects of the game in general. You will turn your cooking device on (fireplace/stove) and then place the items in it.
The items will slowly heat up, and when at the required heat for the required period of time, they will become “cooked” and/or turn into something else (such as soup). Items can become overcooked, and items can also become cold via some process (this will be looked at later).
We’re very excited by the possibilities for this system.
In the past week animation team was mainly focused to bring all two handed melee animation in game. We have added gestures for two handed tree, evades and other missing animations. Our next goal is to polish those and finalize them all. At the same time we have created new reloads for Ruger MKII, added stab attack with hay fork and worked a bit on new zombie animations which we would like to introduce somewhere in march. There was couple of bugs fixed, some glitches and animation graph improvements.
Emissive material and masks
Our graphics programmer spent some time redoing the way emissive materials work, this will allow us to better support the new fireplace mechanics that are being worked on.
Guaranteed Network Messages
We now have a new system we are testing internally for sending guaranteed updates across the network. This is very important as we believe this will reduce the problems for those who are experiencing severe desync. We are still testing this internally, and it will be sent out to experimental for more testing next week.
Much more is ongoing, and we look forward to presenting our Roadmap for the rest of the year very soon!
Here is our latest Dev blog created on the 24th February 2014.
So what’s in the Dev Blog?
We are working on improving in-game lighting, not just from a visual perspective but also from a game play perspective, to improve playing at night.
We have enabled light sources such as flashlights and pistol torches, to emit light during the day as they previously haven’t done. However we still have to do some HDR tweaks
This is an area we have wanted to put in for a while. We have added physics middle-ware, which allows us to add throwing items to the game but it also enables us to look at ragdoll and how the characters move within the world.
This is still fairly early days with physics, but we are getting much closer to having something that we can implement into the experimental branch with stability.
We want to add world items that are lootable such as refrigerators that can store items, so they can be looted and the items within them can be interacted with.
Bow and arrows;
One of our programmers has been working on bow and arrows, in the video we show a very early work in progress clip of it. So far progress has been fairly quick with good results, so we are looking forward to seeing how this progresses further.
Animations team has been working hard on getting new transitions and new methods of wielding melee weapons. This is still a work in progress.
We have moved away from our old way of how the animations were working which caused left handed swings. This restricts how the melee attacks are performed. As the hit detection is done from the item position this allows player to be able to easier work out where they are going to hit. This is still very much a work in progress but we hopeful and we look forward to your feedback.
New map updates;
Our map team has been working with artists to add new buildings into game and fixing collision issues with buildings. We have added police stations and new health center buildings across the map as well as improving preexisting towns.
We are currently working on ensuring that all buildings spawn loot as this is a big issue at the moment.
We want it to be almost like an antagonist, we now have rain and weather is properly synced across all clients so all players experience the same weather conditions. Rain will also currently make your clothes damp and then wet, but at the moment this doesn’t really have much effect but in the long term but we definitely want to expand upon that.
Hunting and cooking;
We have dedicated a whole group of artists programmers and designers with experience with hunting games, that are dedicated to working on animals, their behavior and hunting. To maximise the element of survival, our current sprint is focused on cooking and campfires.
One of the big areas people have been reporting is DeSync, we have been working on this directly this is due to the amount of bandwidth DayZ is using because a lot of the messages to do with the inventory are sent via non-guaranteed messages. So if you or someone nearby you has a large amount inventory items, all these messages will be spammed as the server can’t guarantee the client has received them. We have a couple of hot fixes in place but our long term goal for this is to have a guaranteed message system. So the messages are only sent once and not constantly. This will be an ongoing effort.
Zombies are an area of active development, we want to increase the amount of zombies. Tied with this we also want to improve their collision detection indoors. This will be one of the task of the new team will be the hit detection of zombies. We are also actively working on the zombie respawn mechanics, using some of the optimisations that we used with player respawns.
We want zombies to be a good experience so they don’t spawn directly in front of players, this is what is taking the time, as we want to do it properly.
We want to have some objects have persistency throughout server respawns, such as backpacks, paper with written notes one and eventually when we bring barricading in, wood and wooden barricades and keeping it’s exact location in so far.
Once we have achieved these objectives we can then look at vehicles as implementing vehicles too early could very easily upset the balance and impact other game play areas. When we do implement vehicles we are likely to start with slower vehicles such as bicycles. Then we will look at more complex vehicles, where we can have many more degradable parts such as batteries or spark plugs.
The DayZ Alpha is available for early adopters from Steam for 23.99 Euros. Please be aware that our Early Access offer is a representation of our core pillars, and the framework we have created around them. It’s a work in progress and therefore contains a variety of bugs. We strongly advise you not to buy and play the game at this stage unless you clearly understand what Early Access means and are interested in participating in the ongoing development cycle. Please keep in mind that we do not expect to reach Beta status sooner than the end of 2014.
The initial weeks of the DayZ Alpha were really busy despite the holiday season. We’ve received incredible support from you, DayZ users, with over 875 thousand copies of the game sold in just three weeks and thousands of useful posts and reports that already led to some notable game improvements during the holiday period with much more to come in 2014. The level of support and confidence we have received from the DayZ community makes us even more dedicated to the game than we were in the past 16 months of DayZ standalone development.
We didn’t want to compromise on the brutal and unforgiving nature of the early days of the DayZ mod so we’re very surprised to see such interest as this clearly is not a game for everyone, especially considering that there are some radical changes under the hood in comparison to the mod. These changes may be more subtle than when comparing the relatively limited amount of content in the standalone game against the mod in its very mature state itself, but it should be much more valid in the long term for the overall game experience and of course we’re aware how much more work is ahead. We’re already seeing unbelievable player stories happening every day in the game even in its very limited Alpha and we’re focused to make huge progress in 2014 on many areas of the game. In the short term, we’re going to focus on the most critical problems you’re experiencing atm and at the same time we’re going to work on the road to the DayZ Beta. We’re going to re-evaluate the roadmap plans in the second half of January but here is a list of the existing top priorities on our to-do list to make DayZ really meet or hopefully exceed your expectations:
- Server performance, stability and security
- Animals & hunting
- Cooking & gathering resources
- Playable user customizable vehicles
- Player created constructions in the environment
- More complex interactions with the environment and crafting options
- Streamlined user actions and interface
- Control and animations expanded and improved for fluidity
- Upgraded graphics and physics engine (including ragdoll, etc.)
- Support of user mods and more flexibility for user hosted servers and game types
Happy New Year and thank you all for the incredible support so far, without the DayZ and Arma user communities, this game would never be possible!
DayZ Alpha has been available for early adopters since December 16th from Steam for 23.99 Euro. Please be aware that our Early Access offer is a representation of our core pillars, and the framework we have created around them. It is a work in progress and therefore contains a variety of bugs. We strongly advise you not to buy and play the game at this stage unless you clearly understand what Early Access means and are interested in participating in the ongoing development cycle.
It has been a very busy week for the DayZ team:
The second week will be much calmer. Most of the team members are going to take a well-deserved vacation week with their families, so please be patient with us for the much slower pace in the coming two weeks. Thanks to all for the incredible support and interest in the game so far. 2014 is going to be an exciting year for DayZ. Merry Christmas.
Another video devblog. The showcase this time is on usability progress from player feedback at Gamescom, demonstration of the degradation and item damage system, ballistic vests, and even player restraints!
And here is the short video. More to follow on the devblog over the weekend.