It's been only a bit over two weeks in 2018, but we're already seeing some nice progress in DayZ Development! Eugen is providing a quick summary of our current production, Mirek and Viktor detail their ongoing work on the new player character (among other things), and Adam opens up 2018 in style with a major update regarding watercourses on Chernarus! As always, Baty closes with your community content - this time rather unsurprisingly focused on the bygone holiday season! There's also one song included, though. Let's go, it's the first Status Report of the year!
Contents This Week
The year of DayZ is here, and the first two weeks of it are behind us. I'll be looking over the decision making and work happening during the recent ramp up, with the entire team fully focused on 0.63 Experimental build delivery. We looked over the state of the game more energised after the holiday break, and came up with a selected subset of experimental features that will get us to a playable game state as soon as possible.
Even with this goal of fast implementation in mind, we understand how critical it is to, after all the time with legacy builds, get the game out in a good state. Making sure that the long standing issues that bother us all the most get fixed for once: performance, stability, cheating prevention, and functional gameplay mechanics.
We are aiming for a good balance of polish and progress, but don't get me wrong: 0.63 Experimental and BETA are still going to represent an Early Access game, sothere will be issues. On the other hand, we will also work with a faster iteration speed to fix the remaining issues, to implement remaining content and features from our BETA/Experimental goals, and to go through all your valuable feedback.
The past two weeks were spent on actionable items mostly within the player character feature set. I'll try and explain in more detail what are we dealing with right now:
- Polishing prone mechanics
- Besides waiting on polished animations and player prone turns, we still need to deal with limitations of weapon movement and ground collision. It's slick as hell though
- Tweaking the new melee combat prototype
- Moving to last iteration should bring us closer to final state and give us time to balance things out - damage and speed-wise
- There were some changes to control scheme and targeting options
- Implementation of Inverse Kinematics on player's legs
- Huge step towards a right balance of player turns
- Functional system that prevents extreme zig-zagging and visual fidelity of movement
- Cleaning up error logs
- Also looking into slimming the data and getting more order into current state of things
- We do come back regularly to clean up the mess in logs and error messages in order to keep them in a readable state
- Ladder climbing
- The nearest major step in the new player movement implementation
- Still needs more work on code, but script implementation is already waiting to be switched on
- More details in Mirek's part
There is a lot more work that has been done in these two weeks, but some of it is just at its very beginning. After we're done with the new player character, you'll see more stuff done on the infected side of things. The same goes for vehicles and helicopters - once they are working and we have them in some presentable state on 0.63, you'll be the first to know!
- Eugen Harton / Lead Producer
Hello survivors, I'm afraid I don't have much to show you visually today, because a large amount of our work is still in progress. In any way, I will at least compile a short list of what we're currently working on in the programming team:
- Client side prediction of inventory actions
- this ultimately means preventing network lags when players manage their inventory
- the implementation is now done, we're fixing bugs that this change introduced in the game
- Player Character - Inverse kinematics for legs
- the implementation is almost ready
- Player Character - Movement on ladders
- work is in progress, we're hoping to show some visuals in the next Status Report
- Central Economy - Dynamic spawn of items around players
- a system that can spawn items like stones, sticks or mushrooms around the player
- this is in a prototype stage
- we need to review the prototype with our game designers
- 3rd person camera collisions
- improvements in camera collisions prediction
- we're happy with the implementation now, but there's more tweaking to be done during BETA
I hope you're not too disappointed for now, but I believe we're getting pretty close to showing you you more visual content in the following Status Reports, as we're making progress towards connecting new animations for the infected, as well as character's animations related to vehicle interaction. These will keep us busy in February.
- Miroslav Maněna / Lead Gameplay Progammer
Hi there! The animation department is currently focused on a couple of player character features. Last week, there was a small motion capture session where we recorded a bunch of missing animations for prone, combat, ladders, as well as first batch of unconscious state animations.
Do you remember the prone GIF from the previous status report? Well, we have progressed with the prototype of this new prone behavior a bit. At the moment, the player character is able to turn on his back freely with every item, as well as aim and shoot with weapons. We have only the placeholder animations implemented at this point, so it's an ideal time to start replacing them with polished ones.
The melee combat has seen some iterations and on the last week's mocap session - we have captured some new animations for this part of the game as well. Among others, we recorded butt-stock, bayonet, pistol and other melee attacks with firearms. We will work on these in the upcoming weeks.
Our next focus will be ladders. We have adjusted the animation graph and prepared some enter/exit animations for that over the past couple of weeks. Of course, we also continue on weapon animations, as well as adjusting existing vehicle animations. The player character movement has received some love as well. The rework of turns is progressing well, with great results as you can see in the attached GIF.
We are now looking forward to the inverse kinematics on feet, which is being worked on at the moment by programmers. This will provide us with an additional set of improvements, and will take care of unwanted sliding that is still present during movement.
- Viktor Kostik / Lead Animator
If you have seen my Q&A video (Part 1, Part 2), you may remember that I touched upon the commonly asked subject of having actual flowing water in our environment. In our everlasting effort to have one of the most immersive game worlds ever created, I am proud to announce that at last, we've made significant progress towards having proper watercourses! Unless something goes wrong, this will be available for all of you to check out in 0.63:
Watercourses are really important to the landscape - simply because they add a sense to what we are trying to recreate. In real life, it is completely normal to go down into the valley and find at least a small stream or some kind of wet area. And like a power-line, a road, a railway or even a tourist trail, finding a watercourse can help you navigate within the game world. Will you go up against the flow, or down? The choice is yours.
The days of the legacy renderer and the limitations we had to deal with when creating other-than-ocean water are long gone, and with the recent engine improvements made, namely:
- Ability to have multiple water materials per map
- Ability to define wave animation using the flow-map
- Ability to have a floating water moss
we can now improve the visual quality of our static water bodies, and also implement watercourses. We can now visually distinguish different water bodies on Chernarus (some can be dirtier than others) while still having multiple materials for watercourses.
Our current implementation considers two types of a watercourse:
Since our game world is spread across 225 square kilometers, we have decided that our implementation has to be something we can recreate within such large scale. The approach is quite straightforward - we first prepare a stream/river bed by simply carving out the terrain where needed, and then we use different stream/river model parts (similarly to railways, roads) to fill the river bed with it.
Some stream/river parts even have several variants with rocks and custom flow-map to simulate the flow of water around the obstacles, but we of course also focus on adding additional details around the watercourse when we feel it still lacks something. Stream/river beds also have a gravel ground texture (the same surface you have on the coast and is commonly used to collect stones).
This implementation, however, has its downside to it as well - our terrain resolution of 7.5 meters makes some stream/river beds weird looking due to jagged edges. We try our best to mask it out whenever we can, but it is not an easy task. You may say, why not increase the resolution? While we would probably find a way how to make the 3.75 meter resolution working (performance wise), at this point in development, such detailed grid would end up not being used on most of the map anyway - terrain resolution often defines the way you design things within your environment (mainly when it come to hilly areas). We can't just go and rework everything again (just to utilize the existing option), so I feel like increased terrain grid would mostly be nothing more than an FPS sinkhole at this point.
Also, I would like to mention the fact that there are no physical currents, dropping an item won't make it float downhill and given the shallow stream/river beds, do not expect an ability to traverse the map using some kind of a boat either. Most of the stream/river beds were designed in a way that you can traverse them without swimming, so it is up to you whether you cross (and get wet) or invest some time and find a bridge or a rock to take you to the other bank.
We are in the process of evaluating the impact of watercourses on the navmesh (AI navigation), and it is also important to note here that at this point in time, the new player implementation is missing interactions with any water (sea, lake, streams...), so exact behaviour will have to be tested, but it is good that the watercourse solution is ready in data and environment, so it is something we can work with while implementing the interactions of player character and water bodies within the environment.
We are also looking into further visual improvements to the way water flows/collides, and we're also adding local particle effects for smaller waterfalls, including some kind of audio samples to stream/river model parts.
So, you may ask - when can we expect watercourses on Chernarus? Our progress in this whopping landscape task can be divided into four stages:
- Analysis and prototyping of the watercourse solution
- Adding watercourses to the western areas of Chernarus
- Rework of existing old stream-like ponds network
- Adding new watercourses and connecting reworked streams (from 3rd point)
As I have already mentioned in my Q&A, western areas that have been reworked in the update 0.62 already have stream and river beds prepared (I am sure many of you noticed that already). This was really convenient for us, as we could use them to prototype best shapes for stream/river model parts. And it did not end just at the prototyping stage - I am happy to announce that 17 kilometers of watercourses have been already implemented there, and will be available for all of you to check out in 0.63.
But what about the other points? We, unfortunately, cannot give you any ETA for that as of now. We do have quite extensive watercourse network planned and obviously, we would like to implement it over the whole landscape, but it unfortunately is not a simple task, and it's something to work on even after the 1.0 release. We will keep you updated on the progress though.
These are really exciting times, thanks for reading and see you in Chernarus!
- Adam Franců / Senior map designer
I am really glad for the amazing feedback we got from the Christmas update. You sent us tons of screenshots and videos with Christmas themes and I saw them all (at least I hope!). We decided we will keep the Christmas boxes until at least the end of January, because we know you like them a lot!
Santa Joshua was in Chernarus and he had a bodyguard with him, just in case. Chernarus isn't a safe place to bring presents, you know:
Another Santa BrianM sends greetings from his travels through the post-apocalyptic world:
And Miklós Tóth probably killed the Santa and took all his presents just for himself:
We've found some beautiful New Year greetings on our social networks:
This one is from Reddit user Wargasm011 - a New Year greetings card in Chernarus style!
Another one is from the French server The Team Onu. What a beautiful artwork!
But Christmas is gone now, so let's check some of your best moments in DayZ.
The Nomad Gaming is known in the community as a professional long sharp-stick killer. He put his best funny moments into one video, where you can see his skill, funny bugs, or how he trolls other players:
TopeRec made a best-of video from his stream again. He tried some role-play as Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead and it is pretty funny:
Streamer M1NDR became a hostage and someone tried to save him… but it didn’t go as he planned.
What about some real life things?
Partypomcer has shown to all people from Reddit that he lives in a landscape similar to Chernarus (Northern Arkansas). Look at the barn in the distance!
Tikacika sent us a new decoration he created on his wall. It is a vinyl DayZ logo and he made it by himself! Good job!
And the last content from the community is a song! I love DayZ songs so bad, I have a list of them in my phone and I listen to them almost every day.
This new one is called Hotel Chernarus, it was made by WiseManLofty and it is pretty cool, but we'll never forgive you the part about Adam and trees… ;)
The answer to the last question was "The house is between Stary Sobor and Rogovo."
The fastest responses were from these survivors:
- Claire (Eclaire)
- Leon Spencer
- R. A. Raygor
- Go Up
- Uncle Zettie
- Frank the Tank
- 1 eyed gamer
- Hanno Spitteler
- Goran Buntic
The question of this Status Report is:
What is the name of this place?
Send me your answers to our official Twitter account and your name can be here next time!
That is all from me today, have a nice game and see you in two weeks!
Header image by Anki.
- Baty / Community Manager