This week, we're keeping it short and sweet with Eugen, Adam and Baty, as the rest of the team got their hands full with work on major 0.63 tasks. Eugen actually shares more on why we've been quieter than usual the last few Status Reports, and sets some expectations regarding BETA release schedule. Adam is reporting on the ongoing tireless work of the environment team, showcasing some of their recent achievements, and Baty closes off with a little teaser of an upcoming live stream - along with sharing awesome community content, of course! Let's get to it folks.
Contents This Week
In BETA we trust, deliver we must. A catchphrase that I've seen on one of our whiteboards a couple weeks ago perfectly summarizes how we as a team feel right now.
We know things haven't been perfect and that the experience that we wanted to provide has not always been consistent with our vision. Technology debt that we have been fighting held us in fairly firm grip where we quickly realized that providing short term solutions over and over isn't going to cut it.
We had to rethink and go back to the drawing board multiple times to start making a fun game. We knew the solutions needed but the time investment was huge with lot of risks ahead. Which is where a lot of the development kept getting slowed down by the complexity of the engine changes that were needed, as well as unexpected issues that kept changing the landscape before us.
It was a risky move that we hope will keep the game alive going forward and bring back those that might have been turned away by the state of the game. As we truly believe that what you players want and we meant to deliver wasn’t doable with the technology we had.
There are players out there who are patiently waiting, while playing the game in a state that it is in now, others who wait for the full release or some who come back every once in a while to see what changed. Some are more invested than others, they read our channels, think about consequences of what we talk about, and some just want to see it in action. As the BETA is becoming a fleshed out reboot of the game all of us wanted, we plan to have a limited playable build at Gamescom this year. We're doing everything we can to make it available at the Bohemia Interactive booth for the visitors to try it out.
The sole focus of this build is gunplay and player movement on an edited version of Chernarus prepared especially for the purpose of this demo. That is why a lot of our efforts have been looking at the flow of player actions, controls and consistency of their outcome. The team will be there in person to discuss the details with those interested. Feedback is the most important thing and we can't wait to see people play it and smoothen the rough edges.
Now that also means that the next couple of weeks are fully focused on the content of the Gamescom demo, so that there are no major hurdles when fans in Cologne get their hands on it. All departments are trying to iron out the details as much as they can, so that we can have fun with in Germany.
For the first BETA update itself, there is no release date yet. We don't want to let you down unless we're absolutely sure it's coming. The Gamescom demo work itself still counts towards the overall development of course, but we're not ready to put that version of the game on any of the public Steam branches - simply because the feature set of our demo will be limited and does not represent the complete DayZ experience.
To finish things off, let's take a look at a list of things the team is tackling now:
- Weapon actions
- Vehicle controller refactor
- Basic state machines and script classes tweaks
- Melee combat preparation (programming wise)
- Central Loot Economy tweaks
- Physics and optimization tweaks
- New animation system for zombies
- Bug fixing
- MoCap session preparation
- Animal animations
- Weapon animations
- Melee combat (script wise)
- Aiming model
- Weapons handling
- Inventory UI refactor (crafting, character)
- Advanced placing system
- New player and item spawn definition
- Sounds for weapon interactions
- Playtesting the 0.62 update
- Internal client stabilization
- New animations/weapons functionality testing
- Gamescom map preparation
- Old assets rework
- Fire mode selector for weapons
- Object layout for western region
- Eugen Harton / Lead Producer
As we mentioned in earlier status reports, our efforts on improving graphical fidelity does not end with the update 00.62. With such massive change for the environment that update 0.62 has brought, one of the most important things for us is to get the environment right color-wise. That means getting lighting config right and having all assets in our environment properly configured (material and texture wise).
We have already released an update for grass color for 0.62 on June 21 and since then our environment designer Mark has been working tirelessly on another iteration, this time focused mainly on changing another important piece of this whole color puzzle - satellite texture. You know this texture very well, because it is the one that you see whenever you look into the distance (and also texture, that is commonly used on community-made maps, that helps you in travels through Chernarus).
Since Chernarus was originally made for Arma 2 and DayZ version has been built on top of it, it also uses satellite texture from this version. The texture was unfortunately nowhere near to being consistent in the beginning (in terms of the way details were made or in used color pallete) and with the additional things added on top of it in DayZ (northern, western expansion, settlement rework,..), this problem was only deepened.
With the update 0.62, we felt that it is the time we finally look at this problem and make sure satellite texture for the new Chernarus uses somewhat consistent color pallete and looks good both in old and new areas. This change was also particularly important for us with update 0.62 since satellite texture affects colors of grass and ground textures. Now, do not expect that suddenly, a texture that has 15360x15360 pixels will be great in every detail, but the work that has been done so far is a huge step forward and will be good starting point for any additions and improvements.
With satellite texture changes of such scale, another pass on colors of grass and bushes/trees was inevitable (to basically bring close and far LOD visuals in-line with colors on new satellite texture plus several issues with material configuration were also fixed). And since all that was purely a data change, we felt that it would be shame not to include it for update 0.62, too. And so all of the changes are now available on Experimental Branch for you to check out.
And I do have also some bonus pictures for you this time - work has progressed on western border of Chernarus. Currently, detailed object layout is being worked on in areas west of Zelonogorsk. First two pictures show new settlement, called Zvir. Third shows Orlye ozero with mountain Velikyj Kotel rising behind. Now please keep in mind that content on these pictures is work-in-progress. If you want to read more about the planned changes on western border, check out the last status report.
- Adam Franců / Senior map designer
Dev Update/Community Spotlight
Two weeks have passed and it is time again to take a look at what is happening in the community. At first, I would like to talk about an important event which is ahead of us this summer and that is Gamescom. We've been preparing for it for several months and it is very important to us, because we will meet you – the community, and at the same time, we want to show you something new. If you are planning to be at Gamescom, we will be glad to see you. You will find our booth in hall 10.1, where we will be among other Bohemia Interactive games. Also, for the Friday 25th, we are preparing a small meet & greet with developers, including small gifts for you. Cosplayers are welcome! We will tell you more on a live stream before Gamescom, which we are also preparing at the moment and which you definitely should not miss.
Recently, I was playing DayZ when I got a message from streamer Issy telling me she can’t wait to show me what she made. And she sent a picture of shoes she painted in DayZ style! Simply awesome! I had to share that with you.
When browsing through DayZ videos, this DayZ-inspired rap caught my eye, made by DayZ Standalone - Jiveturkey600. He created it on a request from one of the fans, who wanted a song from zombie point of view.
Today I would like to focus on an international fan group on Facebook - DayZ Standalone Community, which has over 13000 members. People show off their accomplishments there, look for others to play with or share their own creations. It was this group where I found Mark Duncan Copland’s post showing postcards he receives from his friend Michael. It is amazing to see how DayZ became an important part of your friendship!
Another thing that got my attention in this group was a bar in Birmingham, UK, run by Jessica Mitchel who, as a true fan, decorated the bar windows with DayZ style stickers.
I would like to invite you to a RP event on the Aftermath server which will take place next Wednesday. What is it about?
Scientists have been carrying out experiments on the residents of Svetlojarsk. Slowly the residents started to notice people becoming sick and ‘turning.’ Information was leaked to the residents that scientists were going to visit the city to see the final result. The remaining residents held a secret meeting, they bought weapons off the black market and planned to capture the scientists to demand a vaccine for their friends and family. Worried that there may not be enough to go around, the civilians not only intended to capture the scientists but also kill anyone else who knew about the virus!
If the story got you interested, don’t not forget to sing up, because the server is whitelisted. You can find more information on their web pages.
As a last thing, I wanted to show you a beautiful screenshot of the town of Novodmitrovsk in an unusual resolution made by Reddit user NeuroticEUROtic. It is definitely worth sharing!
That is all from me for today. Make sure not to miss the next Status Report, where we will give you more information about the upcoming stream and Gamescom. Enjoy the summer!
Header image by disastrouscluck.
- Baty / Community Manager