Brian has been out sick for the past couple of days but he's back in action again and, while a day late, we now have Brian, Peter, Mirek, and Viktor giving us the status quo on DayZ development as we keep moving towards 0.61.
Contents This Week
- Development Board Spotlight
- Dev Update/Hicks
- Dev Update/Peter
- Dev Update/Mirek
- Dev Update/Viktor
- Community Spotlight
Development Board Spotlight
First off let me apologize for the status report being pushed a day, I was unfortunately ill over the last few days - and wanted to ensure that the data in the Status Report reflected the most up to date state of our 0.61 branch, and where we were with it.
Yes, we are still working on destroying the last few remaining issues preventing us from pushing 0.61 to experimental. As is usual, I'm going to walk you all through what those issues are in this Status Report so you're aware of what they are, and what it is that is keeping 0.61 from hitting the experimental servers. Once we go over those, I'm going to spend some time discussing points made over on our forums in regards to status reports, and feature set backlog so as to address some discussion I've read on the community side regarding those. In addition to that, Peter will spend some time sharing his excitement for future changes to the animation system, player controller, user actions, and so forth, Miroslav will discuss some of his teams current tasks, and Viktor will elaborate on some of the work the animation team is focused on for builds past 0.61.
As of this morning, we're looking at approximately 11 open must fix issues, are regression testing 5 other issues that have been flagged as resolved by the developers assigned to the issue(s).
Taking a look at what exactly that means:
Current Must Fix Open Issues:
- Client crash after exiting title
- Player SFX sounds near silent
- Players can become severely out of sync
- Some firearms not firing on first mouse click
- Player position stuttering under 100+ ms network conditions
- Some lighting conditions not casting proper shadows
- Known 0.60 item duplication methods
- Magazine capacity issues
- New methods for players swimming in ground
- UI Zeroing not present
- Glock muzzle flash / SFX not present for other players
Obviously some of these issues are far more critical than others, and some are new. Over the last few weeks we've been fairly aggressive with some of our bug bash sessions, and while it is most definitely frustrating for all of us - I'm very pleased with the fact we've been able to track down some of these critical issues. For example, the players out of sync issue (#3 on the above list) took a good deal of time to find a proper repro on, but the behavior it caused makes for a total break down of network messaging between two players. Causing some animations, and sounds caused by other players to not show up properly for several minutes. (Think gunshots, or player position) which will only lead to incredibly frustrating gameplay and is something I absolutely do not want to see on the Steam branches. Tackling known methods for duplication, animation glitching, and so on are also absolutely critical to get resolved - and left unchecked will do damage to both the economy, and player experience in the time between new builds being pushed to Steam.
In addition to those, the issues we're currently regression testing include issues with player temperatures / modifiers, player sounds, and several serious client crashes. The player temperature issue is something I've spent a good deal of time focusing on, and discussing with Peter's design team on. As I feel that both resolving the issue present on 0.60 stable for hyperthermia, and pushing towards providing players on 0.61 an actual environmental risk (more towards hypothermia being a risk when wet and or dealing with severe cold and improper protection against those elements) is absolutely important.
While those above issues are regression tested, and fixed by the appropriate developers, Peter and I have also gone over behaviours of per player dynamic spawning, and what the technology of the Central Economy will allow us - and have pushed for changes in that area to switch to a more area based trigger rather than per player, to reduce player ability to try and meta game the system.
Recently I've been pushing myself to have more of a presence on our official forums, and engage actively in discussion on the project, gameplay, mechanics and so on with the users over there. As well as sharing experiences and details of the ongoing 0.61 internal testing. I hope at the very least more of you will read the posts over there, if not actually register and participate.
Speaking of the forums, I want to revisit some key points I've made over the last few months in the "A Few Thoughts On" posts. Specifically, in regards to Status Reports, and Pending Feature/Content updates.
As many of you may recall, or have noticed - we made changes to how we communicate "new things" in the Status Reports. From the old method of talking about whats to come in DayZ as soon as we've settled on a design, or may have a model ready, to specifically focusing on what is upcoming in the very next build to be pushed to Steam.
I know some of you haven't necessarily enjoyed this change, but I honestly feel it is a much safer approach to managing hype, and not giving people false hope on how soon they might see something in game. Now, I do feel there is however some compromise on our part that can be made - which is why I'd like to compile a 1.0 feature set we can keep on our forums that will give people an idea of exactly what to expect of the final version (within a margin for error of course), and I hope this will help reduce some of the confusion. I'll need to sit down with Eugen, and the leads responsible for each department before publishing this, but I hope it will serve to answer some of the questions I've seen out there.
Which brings me to my next point.
Just because Status Reports are not touching on a major technology change, or new pending feature set does not mean it is not being worked on. As I mentioned above, we focus the Status Reports on progress towards the next major build to be pushed to Steam - and does not cover changes that are slated for builds to be pushed to Steam past that. A perfect example would be the new animation system, player controller, and user actions. The developers responsible for this have been working their fingers to the bone day in and day out, and we *will* be talking about it and showing off examples once we reach the point in which we are focusing on those updates for the next major build update for Steam.
In addition to that, we have a *significant* content and feature backlog that is dependant on these systems - and as Peter will discuss below, we are at a point in which it does not make much sense to create systems, or address non game breaking issues in the old SQF script and hierarchy. I, and the rest of the team are all very aware of how frustrating this might be for many of you. We're all right there with you, but the work we are doing and have been doing this year represents *massive* changes and the introduction of the major key points for DayZ's new Enfusion engine.
We're not going anywhere. The developers who work on DayZ are some of the most passionate, dedicated, and hard working folks I've ever had the pleasure of working with. We love this game, we love the stories you all create in the world of Chernarus, and I believe I speak for all of us when I say we have the most absolute faith that all of our hard work is going to make DayZ a game that is truly worthy of the dedication and love you have all shown it throughout the trials and hardships of public development.
We might not always agree - all of you that make up the DayZ community, and I - but I don't think I could ask for more amazing, and dedicated fans for the project - and I wouldn't trade you all for the world. Truly, thank you for being there with us through the ups and downs. I can not wait for the adventures we will all have together.
0.61 Milestone Goals:
- Server Login Queue
- Ready for experimental branch testing - no current issues preventing this at this time.
- Merge of New Audio Technology from Arma 3 Eden Update.
- Technology successfully merged into DayZ branch. Ready for further testing on experimental branch.
- Update of Weapon Sounds for New Audio Technology.
- All current firearms configured - Audio team is now focused on addressing must fix issues for 0.61
- Dynamic Spawning of Infected.
- Testing complete on initial implementation, Programming team is now making the requested changes described above to area triggers in order to provide the Design team with the requested functionality.
- Predators (Wolves)
- Internal Testing is very optimistic, several fixes to behavior have been merged over - and programmers are focused on addressing several server crash issues potentially tied to the predator AI.
- Dynamic Shadows
- Last few issues related to proper shadow projection are being focused on now, once these are resolved we should be ready on this specific feature.
- Network Synchronization Improvements
- The gameplay programming team is currently focused on addressing the previously mentioned issues with 100+ MS connections having jittery gameplay in some situations, as well as tracking the recently discovered repro steps for causing player to player sync to fail. Once these issues are resolved, we should be good to go.
- New Server Browser
- Functionally this is ready, however while the must fix issues are addressed, several small UI changes have been made to make the new server browser easy to use and understand.
- Brian Hicks / Creative Director
We are getting very close to that big moment, I would say kind of a milestone for DayZ we all are looking forward to, of saying farewell to the good old character. We had a love and hate kind of relationship with this; while reliable and proven by years, it was clunky and absolutely not suitable for our intended purposes, lacking behind the current standards of the game industry. It's no secret that we are no longer supporting (unless there are some game breaking issues to fix) the former SQF scripts nor writing new features in SQF. In the meantime, while programmers were implementing the new animation system, all scripted systems and mechanics were refactored and rewritten into Enforce script. You will also see all the postponed features you had been waiting for to pop out as they are now being, step by step, plugged into the mix as everything is getting together to form the mythical new character along with new behavior, animations, physics, player controller and damage system.
Ranged combat (as well as melee combat) is being re-evaluated as now, with the new systems pouring in, it's finally the right time to revamp it. Apart from the configuration side issues of ammunition types and materials leading to improper ballistics and penetration outcome as well as the current use of the wonky old damage system, the most unpleasant parts which makes it hard to enjoy gunfights are connected to handling firearms themselves. Examples of handling issues would be stealing control over weapons from players during movement animations, guns lagging behind the crosshair while taking turns, difficulty controlling recoil, enormous sway and nearly negligible "hold breath" effect. We are aware there is plenty of space for changes and improvements which can be made to make gunfights enjoyable again.
With upcoming dynamically triggered infected and some changes to how Central Economy handles zones, we are playing with the idea of decentralizing high risk high reward areas across whole Chernarus. The former state didn't differentiate between zones and tiers, as both of them are just some areas in the system but with different meaning for us. Zones defines usage of items while tiers define their value. For example, until now it was impossible to make a military zone with tier 4 loot since the CE spawned loot with military or tier 4 flags, that's why you were able to find FAL in some villages which fitted in tier 4 even without them being in a military zone as well. Now there is AND operator between tiers and any other zones which means we can start tiering those military zones, so you will be able to find let's say AKS at Balota. With such important change we are also free to tidy up configuration of categories and tags of loot items and their spawn points in structures which in some cases went out of hand when trying to bend the system.
For brighter tomorrows... see you in Chernarus folks!
- Peter Nespesny / Lead Designer
Half of our team is focused on issues blocking experimental release, which are mostly crashes, animation desync between client and server and some server fps drops.
The rest of team members is working on improving vehicle physics and synchronization, networking optimizations and new character controller.
Some of you are complaining that there are not any information about character controller in our status reports. Be sure that character controller will be mentioned often later. For now I can say that we have basic movement and shooting done, but there's a lot of things which we have to implement and the next major step is preparation for network synchronization (from server to observing players). When this will be done, we will move to implementation of other animation states, like swimming, moving on ladders, vehicle driving and a lot of item manipulation.
There's a lot of things which player can do in DayZ, so character controller is quite complicated and even current player has a big amount of animations and actions, which means rewriting of whole player controller needs a lot of time. Once we move over network synchronization, I believe that adding new animation states will go much faster and you will also see it in status report. Until then, please be patient.
- Miroslav Maněna / Lead Gameplay Programmer
In this short update from animation team I would like to share some news with you. In past days and weeks we have went through couple of polishing passes of player character graph and animations. Just recently we have reviewed infected attack animations and created missing ones. Now we are adding them to the infected animation graph in the upcoming animation system.
A new big task we have started working on is related to combat. We are now reworking basic combat poses and after they are finished we will start with prototyping the combat locomotion and attack animations. As usually it involves many talks and discussions how the combat should look like.
Last but not least, there are now the first prototype poses for aiming from vehicles. Keep in mind this is very experimental at the moment so it is very unlikely we will see this ready any time soon.
- Viktor Kostik / Lead Animator
Going back to highlighting some of the awesome communities out there, it seemed like a good idea to turn your attention to one of the bigger ones out there. This one simply goes by the name of "DayZ Standalone Community". DayZ Standalone Community has a strong member count (12.000+ members) and they have held plenty events, as you can see in the Events section of their Facebook page.
Even though it's been a while since the last event, there is a really nice feed on the Facebook page from users wanting to share their experiences and stories from Chernarus, and I'm quite sure that if you're looking for other players to team up with for random sessions or for setting up new events, this would definitely be an excellent place to come looking!
Also, the "DayZ Standalone Community" group is running a Facebook page called "DayZ Standalone News" where they highlight status reports, Trello updates and such, and if you're interested you can always have a look at their page at http://www.facebook.com/dayzsanews/ or contact them via their Twitter account: http://twitter.com/DayZSA_News. Still, for discussions on topics related to status reports and other news, we do recommend that you visit our official forums as mentioned above by Brian: http://forums.dayz.com
As always, in case you are part of a community that you would like to see highlighted, or if you are a contect creator looking to share your stories and footage, just send us some info at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be happy to have a look.
Header image credit: Just λ Guy
- SMoss / Community Manager