Another status report Tuesday comes around with Brian, Peter, Viktor, Mirek and Adam. They will share the latest info on where we are at in the development process.
Contents This Week
- Dev Update/Hicks
- Dev Update/Peter
- Dev Update/Viktor
- Dev Update/Mirek
- Dev Update/Adam
- Community Spotlight
Over the last two weeks we've been doing a lot of iteration, and regression testing on the critical issues preventing 0.61 Experimental/Unstable branch update. As you all may recall, those issues are server side performance and player to player sync. For the end user, that translates into A) How fluid your actions are in game (As well as how functional AI is) and B) How you see, and hear other players (Think sliding, player position, and gun shot sounds). The gameplay programming team (lead by Miroslav Manena) has made some big improvements in the issues previously mentioned regarding poor performance in high ping situations, and in the player to player sync. We're no longer seeing the jittering/hitching we previously saw in the 100+ MS range, and player to player sync issues are greatly reduced - however we are still able to reproduce them in some situations.
The list of stable blockers includes several other issues (of which I will list below) but experimental blocking issues really currently is isolated to getting server performance to an acceptable rate with the dynamic spawning of infected and 40-60 player population, and knocking out the last issues with player to player sync listed above. This is where the bulk of gameplay programming, and QA resources are currently focused. I can say personally from the frequent multiplayer test passes we have been doing nearly every day these last two weeks, I have not encountered a single case of traditional desync. However, that said - I am personally holding my breath until we see how this performs under a larger player population such as the experimental/unstable branch.
In addition to that, we've taken a look at some of the feedback on our forums about the .61 version of the server browser and its filtering options and made changes accordingly. You can see the latest look of it on our Trello, which should be linked below.
Additionally, I wanted to take the opportunity to wish our Community Manager Smoss a fond farewell. Michael is pursuing some new and awesome opportunities that have come his way, and has spent the last few weeks bringing up to speed a new member of our Community Team - Baty!. Baty is a devout DayZ lover, and internal hire for us. She has been working with us for quite some time now on the support and test side of the fence, and brings with her a strong knowledge of DayZ as an active member of the Czech and Twitch DayZ communities. I'll give Baty an opportunity to introduce herself below:
"My name is Zuzana Cinková alias Baty Alquawen. Videogames have taken a part in my life as long as I can remember. My favorite genre is tactical FPS, RPG and survival games. I have five years long experience on gaming scene in several roles like journalist, PR, marketing and community. I worked on communities for Czech region of Ubisoft (Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, Rocksmith, Rayman series etc.), Codemasters and SEGA franchises for 4 years.
The beginning of my DayZ journey started on 28th December 2013 since then I have more than 1500 hours of private gameplay time. I play a lot of styles - role-play, survival, friendly and PVP which I play with my clan on dedicated servers. My hobbies are streaming games, cosplay and cats (yes, I am crazy cat lady).
My work at Bohemia Interactive started as tester and now, I am fulfilling my dream to be community manager. I really hope that all this is a great foundation for my DayZ community work.
And finally - once again I'd like to remind you all to swing by the forums. We try to take an active role there as much as possible, and discuss our perspectives on the state of the build, as well as share insights into development in general. Over the last few weeks I've shared some videos and screenshots of 0.61 development, and healthy discussion has into development in general.
http://forums.dayz.com/topic/235270-the-frequency-of-updates/ - User Azeh inquires into development update frequency
http://forums.dayz.com/topic/235170-exp-update-061/ - Ongoing discussion on 0.61
0.61 Must Fix Issues:
- Client crashes after exiting title
- Player to Player Sync
- Using Cancel action on Item in Hands will cause item to be stuck in hands
- Dynamic Shadow issues on specific structures
- Server Performance under ideal load
- Magazine volume inconsistent between players
0.61 Milestone Goals:
- Server Login Queue
- Merge of New Audio Technology from Arma 3 Eden Update.
- Update of Weapon Sounds for New Audio Technology.
- Dynamic Spawning of Infected.
- Predators (Wolves)
- Dynamic Shadows
- Network Synchronization Improvements
- New Server Browser
- Brian Hicks / Creative Director
Doors. There are myriad different ones across the whole of Chernarus. Small ones or large ones, single or doubled-sided, in structures or in the open, all these doors are waiting for you to interact with them. Let's focus on their core functionality now which is opening and going through. It's interesting to observe how such a simple action is causing so much trouble. Opening toward you, a door won't hesitate to displace your position in the world and in some specific cases, clip through you or, in the worst case scenario, break your leg (which was a common problem in the mod days, some survivors were more afraid of doors than infected). And it doesn't end at characters. A good example is shooting vehicles into orbit once collision geometry of doors penetrates vehicle geometry, which is easy to achieve as swinging of doors are driven by simple rotating animations ignoring physics completely during the swing. These issues are just unacceptable and they are crippling the overall experience.
There are a few possible ways to address and resolve this problem. For example, the easiest choice will be to remove all the doors. While this sounds like a silly idea, it's still a functional one. However, don't worry, it's clearly not a suitable solution for DayZ as doors should also act not only as obstacles for navigation through the environment, but they should also offer a tactical advantage against infected or other survivors, especially with advanced barricading in the future. Another option will be locking characters into the animation of opening the door. You know the drill, hand catches handle, press it down and start pulling the door toward you. Once done, you are free to move again. Such a solution, as visually appealing as it can be to watch, can become frustrating in the long run, especially in competitive environments where every second counts, and I bet we all agree that fluid movement and responsiveness is crucial for DayZ.
From my point of view there is one solution which is very close to ideal, and we started to experiment with it; doors which swing in both directions. At first I thought it a bit unacceptable as we are trying to stay as authentic as possible, and such doors are quite rare even in real life. However, from a gameplay perspective it solves plenty of issues and I would be happy to make concessions as a designer and a player if its helpful. The most valuable benefit is that they will never interfere with you and your movement through the doorway, as they will always swings away from you when opening. It's true that some door placements needs to be adjusted so they don't collide with each other. Also there are some structures where such a door design doesn't make much sense, from the top of my head, jail cells or outhouses, but for the greater good it could be worked through. On the other hand, garages are more of a problem with such an approach, as it will be possible to put a vehicle in, close the doors from the outside, and then never be able to get back in as collision with vehicles will stop them, but every problem has a solution. Also barricading will benefit from this door behavior, as planks could be physical objects where, so when you try to open a door against them, the door strikes the planks. Or jamming the door with a barrel will be a possibility. While it still could have some very specific issues which can be tackled on their own I think it's the right approach and I hope we will succeed with it as it will add to the experience and overall in-game possibilities.
Break on through to the other side... see you in Chernarus folks!
- Peter Nespesny / Lead Designer
Our main focus at the moment is on the user actions and player locomotion. We are adjusting the graph and animations to make it more fluent and natural. Since some user actions start in different stances, some allow you to move and some not, we need to make sure this works as intended. This means a lot of work on the code side, animation graph and animations.
Regarding the player locomotion we are in the process of replacing single loop animations with 2-3 loops. That basically means instead of repeating one cycle of run there are now 3 cycles which makes it less repetitive. It allows the character to run more naturally and believable.
At the same time there is work in progress on next unjamming animation. This time it is for break action rifles. Since making unique weapon animation is usually very time consuming we always create unjamming for specific type of gun which then we retarget and adjust with some details for other firearms of the same type.
- Viktor Kostik / Lead Animator
Today, I will try to be fast, as we're trying to resolve blocking issues as fast as possible. We're still dealing mostly with animation desync issues and server performance issues, as we want to spawn more infected than in previous versions.
Work is going well, and we are every day closer to the state in which we want to release experimental 0.61. The rest of the team is working on vehicle physics, new features for the damage system and improvements on infected AI.
- Miroslav Maněna / Lead Gameplay Programmer
Its has been a long time since you read something from the environment department in the SR, so lets change that! I will cover some of the changes that you should see during your .61 journeys in Chernarus!
While we are busy with many tasks prior to upcoming large scale changes to the map (more on that the in the future), we were still able to focus on some specific locations that were in dire need of help for the past few months.
Myshkino, located deep in West, has been completely redone from scratch. The new layout is inspired a bit by its real counterpart (Neznabohy). Its proximity to one of the busiest military areas of Chernarus has been kept in mind (so do not worry, the water pump is still there, its just prettier overall). As it is always with settlement revision tasks, big efforts are also put into changing the surrounding forests and fields. Myshkino's surroundings were no exception (see pictures below). Now, you may ask, "Does that mean Myshkino military camp was changed too?" No, not yet, but we will get there.
The little village North of Zelenogorsk has met the same fate as Myshkino, and has been completely redone from scratch to hopefully match its hilly position better, and to make it more village-like. Many changes also happened to its surroundings, AKA "the land of heli-crash sites" (with a small surprise on Sosnovka pass).
Another village in the land of helicopter crash sites and another one to bring us closer to the ultimate task of revisiting all settlement of Chernarus, Pulkovo has been redone from scratch along with its surroundings. There is an interesting open market area, new pond and medium-sized apple orchard to the West.
Another village, this time within Central Chernarus on the way to Stary Sobor. This one couldn't be missed as many of its neighbors (eg. Shakovka, Staroye,..) have been changed in .60 already. Guglovo was changed significantly with its central position moved away from the main road going to Staroye/ Stary Sobor. With a newly placed big oak tree in the village centre, none can miss Guglovo now from a distance. As always, surroundings were changed too, mainly to the Southeast (connecting to the Staroye area), South and Southwest, where village of Kumyrna lies, one of the very few destroyed settlements of Chernarus. It would be shame if this village would be missed and so it too received a proper visual upgrade.
An amazing spot for a village, yet for many survivors probably an unknown place. A new and extended stream within the valley shapes the new layout of Dolina in a unique way. The village itself has grown quite lot and it should hopefully attract more survivors now (although the big red barn didn't make it, sorry about that).
Settlement revision is a lengthy task, but with the changes within Solnichniy, we are yet closer to having all villages within the Eastern part of Chernarus upgraded to new DayZ standards. While you may still recognize this village, many additional details were added to the layout along with major texture data changes to the village itself and its surroundings (including "Three Valleys" as seen in the 3rd picture).
As I mentioned in the beginning, I wont be giving you a full list of what has been done in .61, there are still much to explore, and I will leave that to you, survivors of Chernarus. So, see you in-game!
- Adam Franců / Map Designer
Today, I'd like to focus on musical creations from the DayZ community, which are without question amazing. I admit more than one of them blasts in my music player almost daily, and I believe I’m not alone there.
You surely already know some of the well known channels, like Canadian Team Geo, which became internet famous with their songs "Friendly", "I Want Some Beans" or "Play DayZ". Their success is no surprise. The combination of great lyrics and catchy in-game clips make for entertaining songs that'll get you humming them in the shower. If you're unfamiliar, I highly recommend listening to them, you won't regret it.
I would also like to point out blAkeMusic, whose rap "DayZ Saga" is amazing musical storytelling. blAke has incredible talent to transfer his feelings into rhymes so we can experience them with him. I am highly recommending his channel.
Check it out for yourselves:
If you have any DayZ creations of your own that you'd like to share, tweet them to us on our official Twitter channel. You might just grace the next status report with your talent!
Header image credit: RΣLΛX
- Baty / Community Manager