In this week's Status Report, Lead Producer Brian Hicks will be addressing upcoming features such as contaminated terrain, aerial vehicles, and character lifespan. Also, he will be serving a quick recap on ongoing work for 0.59 experimental.
Development Board Spotlight
Dev Update / Hicks
So last weekend we were fortunate enough to be invited onto the TwitchCon stage to talk about a few upcoming things to DayZ. For those that weren't able to catch the broadcast, we're going to recap what was covered in this week’s Status Report.
Before we do that - a quick recap on pending 0.59 experimental.
Improvements on passenger perspective vehicle sync are still in progress
Server/Client crash issues are being worked on
Network Traffic Profiling tools will be pushed to certain Exp servers when the push goes out
Infected Resource costs are still being worked on
Bugfixing and iteration work is being done upon applying lifetime to items when they are created (initial item spawn)
When we looked at testing out the impact of terrain that requires specific equipment to safely navigate, naturally the opportunity presented itself with the upcoming Tisy Military Base, and the need to make acquiring the first Helicopter a high risk situation. Personally, I found the meeting rather exciting due to the fact that the art assets required can be added to the library used by the Environment Design team on their destruction passes aimed at making Chernarus look more post-disaster.
In the above concept art we have an example of the mass graves you would see in a last-stand military / relief hybrid camp. With the base, we're hoping to have new civilian agency hospital tents, barricades, and general signs of the last stand of the UN and CDF forces as they tried to hold off their pending death. The installation itself was originally a Surface to Air Missile & Radar base originally built by the occupying Soviets. The elevated platform you see within the frame of coursed originally used for mobile radar installations.
Entering and navigating the installation should (hopefully) require using protective gear, be it the gas masks or a future hazmat suit. Else you risk a potentially fatal illness, or spreading such illness to your friends and fellow survivors.
Obviously parts to support an operational helicopter will be completely separate from operational fluids and parts required to repair and maintain say.. a bus. So finding that helicopter up at Tisy definitely won't be a quick spot and grab!
Speaking of helicopters - we spoke briefly about the first aerial vehicle in DayZ at TwitchCon. The Littlebird is a model inherited from the Take On Helicopters team, and updated to meet DayZ's quality requirements. The below video is very - very rough implementation, purely keyboard controls (because I'm just that good). We'll be expanding the aerial vehicles past the Littlebird of course - current plans include expanding to fixed wing aircraft as well. (Stay tuned for that!)
For those curious, as I've mentioned several times prior - One of the mechanics we're just not satisfied with from DayZ Mod is the "Universal Parts" system. You could take a tire off of a bicycle and slap it on a URAL. The motor from a small fishing boat could be used in a tractor, and so on. With the introduction of new land vehicles into 0.59 we're expanding the operational parts past "Truck Battery" and "Glow Plug" - and Aerial Vehicles will see that expand as well. Specialized parts, and fuel will be required, and hopefully also see the importance of areas that naturally would contain those items be reintroduced.
Lastly, while at TwitchCon we had the opportunity to discuss some of the methods of character growth and progression we're working on. Specifically for TwitchCon we discussed methods of character aging, and the visual impact on the appearance of the character. Obviously females won't be growing beards, and we discussed briefly how this effect can expand past just facial hair and into scars, and dirty faces. The principle idea being allowing people to opt out of the system, and pose as someone freshly spawned. However - for those who want to go for the grizzled look, facial hair - blood, dirt, and grime can all give the appearance of a character who has seen it all.
Scars obviously however cannot just be "washed off" - and as we look to see how viable scars are, and if they fit within the scope of 1.0 we'll be discussing this in future status reports. Additionally, prototypes are currently being worked on for the previously described "soft skills" - keep your eye on future status reports for that ;)
- Brian Hicks / Lead Producer -
Российские Фанаты DayZ ! Старший дизайнер Чернаруси , Арсений "SenChi" Смирнов , будет присутствовать на геймшоу Игромир в Москве , в эти выходные!
Если вам интересно , следите за новостями нашего официального Твиттер аккаунта DayZ Dev Team там вы узнаете где вы сможете встретить разработчиков DayZ. Мы с удовольствием обсудим со всеми вами DayZ , Чернарусь, и планы на будущее. Оставайтесь на связи !
Russian Survivors! Chernarus Designer Senchi will be at Igromir 2015 this weekend in Moscow! If you're attending, keep an eye on the official DayZ Dev Team Twitter account for times and locations to meet up. We'd love to talk DayZ, and all things Chernarus with you all.
Community Video: Hard Work
So, time to take a break from the massive amounts of PvP videos and show something different. In this video, our protagonist farmer prepares a small plot, plants his tomato seeds, waters them, and peacefully awaits the moment when he can reap the sweet benefits of his back breaking work.
Oh, come on!!! Just let the man keep his tomato patch!!! Poor guy...
Thanks for sharing haknslash. You did what you could.
Keep that content coming everyone! There's plenty of room over at the Gallery.
In this week's Status Report our Lead Producer Brian Hicks will fill us in on subjects such as the CLE and a bit on work on the engine. Also, Lead Designer Peter will be commenting on work that has been done in regards to firearms.
Development Board Spotlight
Dev Update / Hicks
Much to the delight of our reddit community (I'm certain) we'll be covering some points on the ongoing refinement of DayZ's in game economy this week, as well as talking about some upcoming content to the game, and a quick recap on the progress of upcoming engine changes for Enfusion. Lastly, Peter will talk briefly about future changes to how ammunition is handled in DayZ.
Don't forget to keep your eyes and ears open during TwitchCon - as I'll be speaking about Aerial Transport, Contaminated Terrain, and an additional little surprise I hope you'll all be excited for as I am. (This should be hosted on twitch.tv/dayz)
We've normalized the 0.58 stable branch economy around 27,000 minimum spawned items across Chernarus. The most prevalent items of course are clothes, tools, and resources required to survive. Internally we've begun setting the system up to apply lifetime to items upon their creation (spawning) so that player interaction with items is no longer required. This should take the economy a step further towards keeping things robust and moving. Region control is the next major step for the economy, which will allow us to restrict certain items to spawn only in certain regions - This way we can ensure more of those basic supplies are kept spawning on the coast to ensure folks have what is required to move inland, regardless of player traffic.
For 0.59 we'll begin experimenting with making civilian firearms a little more prevalent, and ammunition will begin to be more of a rarity. The desired effect being that ammunition itself will have an increased value, so that the decision to take that shot has more factors to it. That said, loose ammunition types that are used by civilian weapons as well as military have had their potential loot spawns expanded so it can be found throughout Chernarus. (7.62x39 for the IZH, 45 ACP for the 1911, and so on)
Issues with duplication, and magazine quantity manipulation have been identified and are being resolved, and NATO military gear will be moving out of the Quonset Hut Barracks and back to their proper NATO chopper crash spawns.
The art team is working on finalizing the upcoming Enduro Dirtbike model, which will hopefully be joining the vehicle distribution in 0.60. This vehicle will probably be our most accessible type, but like all other vehicles will need the proper parts, and operational fluids to maintain and use.
On the engine side the team is working hard towards a functional merge for several areas, keep in mind just merging these modules and systems are just the beginning. Configuration, testing, and iteration will need to occur.
Renderer has entered initial functional testing with internal Q/A
Animation System development is in progress, and the animation team is working closely with the programmers to begin testing/implementation.
Network Optimization is a top priority, with issues such as player desync, gunshot sounds, and vehicle position being tied to this work. Network profiling tools will be used on 0.59 experimental branch servers so we can gather data on exactly what is occurring.
Damage System is being configured, and under initial testing with Q/A & Design Team
Physics System has had several key issues resolved that may be related to some of the Infected AI server costs. This is under test/investigation
Infected Bugfixing is still under way, and daily test passes are being run against the commits
We've got a lot of work ahead of us in the coming months, so please make sure to file any issues and bugs you see over at the Official Feedback Tracker.
- Brian Hicks / Lead Producer -
Dev Update / Peter
Firearms, who doesn’t like them? They equal power. One can obtain food through hunting animals, defend oneself against infected or even hostile survivors. There are firearms related mechanics which were added specifically for DayZ’s requirements such attachments, modifications, chambering and others. Also former functionality of weapons such as machine guns, rocket launchers or underslung grenade throwers will be brought back.
To get closer to authenticity of firearms some changes to their handling are being currently implemented. Chambering became a real part of the weapon instead of invisible magazine with 1 bullet count. This will allow players to attach a magazine to a chambered weapon effectively increasing the amount of available bullets which wasn't possible before. Reloading is also being revamped, as R-key will be dedicated to the manipulation with weapon like manually cycling the bolt, pull back charging handle in case of jam or even rolling the drum of revolver when you decide to play lethal games with some friends. Don't worry about losing R-key for reloading. As a replacement for R-key you will be able to reload your gun directly from the quickbar by choosing the corresponding slot with magazine in it. Magazines will be swapped during reloading action. Also loose ammunition will work in same way, choose right slot and gun will be chambered.
Another nice change is that bullets in magazines/piles are no more just numbers of amount but are really independent objects which means they can contain ammo of different quality. Combination of damaged ammunition and non maintained gun leads to higher possibility of jams. With different type of ammunition in magazines, tracers will experience their comeback and help us to revive night gameplay a bit.
Keep your pockets organized... see you in Chernarus folks!
- Peter / Lead Designer -
Community Spotlight: Blazerunner70
Excellent, I was lucky to stumble across a small cluster of random DayZ gems on Youtube. Yep, there's a nice mix of friendly player interaction, a bit of pvp, and a bit of roleplay. The videos were created by Blazerunner70, and although the videos are a couple of months old, they still do show the kinds of adventures that players can come across in DayZ.
Now, the audio levels are a bit off but the content of the videos is quite nice still.
Saving bambis, one pumpkin at a time :D
Hopefully you'll enjoy the videos as well, and as always, if you have some nice DayZ videos you can always go to the Gallery on the DayZ forums and share them with us. Until next week everyone, stay healthy, stay safe!
This week's Status Report contains good info from Lead Producer Brian Hicks regarding the Central Loot Economy, engine work, and the newly introduced Combat Scrum held over the weekend.
Development Board Spotlight
Dev Update / Hicks
As the team prepares work on 0.59 experimental release (v1) we'll recap this week any applicable changes to 0.58 stable, and talk a bit about what to expect with 0.59 experimental.
Those of you who closely follow dev's personal twitter accounts might already know some of this information, but not everyone does - so we need to recap this.
With the hotfix deployed to stable branch servers, it is important that everyone understands how the item cleanup system works - both right now, and how it should be operating with 0.59 stable.
Items have a 30 minute lifetime which can be refreshed by picking up the item, or directly interacting with it.
Base Objects (Tents, Ammo Canisters, Protector Cases, Barrels, Vehicles) have a 45 day lifetime. This will eventually move to 7 days once systems are in place for intuitive lifetime refresh
Backpacks (not including the improvised and crafted types) have a lifetime of 4 hours
Crafted backpacks have a lifetime of 1 hour
When the first 0.59 experimental build hits, you'll notice a few things we'll be trying.
10 Offroad Hatchbacks will spawn
10 Civilian Sedans will spawn
5 Transit Buses will spawn
V3S Chassis will spawn
3 V3S Cargo will spawn
These numbers may not carry over to stable, as the intent is to test how both the server handles the amount, and the player-player vehicle position is handled. In addition, we'll be operating most servers at 75 players on 0.59 experimental. If we're able to get server side performance above the red line at 75 players prior 0.59 hitting stable, it will carry over. If not, we'll continue to work towards it with 0.60 experimental.
For 0.59, and 0.60 both - we're looking at a good amount of engine work being merged into the main branch. Part of this work includes the beginning of basic QA passes against portions of the new renderer. This is internally only, but requires some DLL changes to be present in the main distribution, so don't get to worked up if you see some DLL's referencing Enfusion, or Direct X 11. Past the programmers merging these engine changes in, they still need to be properly configured within the areas of the title that use them by the design team, tested by QA, bugfixed, regression testing, and so on. So don't expect massive changes all at once (a general good approach to the whole of Early Access, in general) - and please, if you're participating in the Experimental Branch, make sure to file bugs at feedback.dayzgame.com
Last Saturday we had the first Combat Scrum w/ PvP Evangelists - and we've compiled the rough notes of what was covered in this below:
This initial combat scrum ran a whopping two hours, and bounced over a myriad of topics. We're looking into the possibility of moving to releasing these as audio MP3s in the future. For this scrum we'll cover the top four questions and their responses.
Player Desync / Gunshots not being heard / Breaking your legs while climbing upstairs?
A) While server side performance gains were made, this exponentially grew the amount of successful network traffic being handled by the server. No optimizations have been done on this across 2015, and thus obviously has to be a priority moving forward. This is a well known issue internally, and will be a focus moving forward. Network traffic behavior is just not acceptable right now, and must be improved.
Improvised Bow - Balancing? Changing the aiming style? Improving usability?
Obviously, the current method of using the improvised bow in combat is not ideal. It is -functional- but we have a good ways to go with it until we're happy. Most of that is either A) Going to be affected by upcoming changes to the animation system, and player controller and B) Going to come in beta, when our focus shifts from primarily feature development, to bug fixing. In short, in the end - we most definitely want bow combat to be both viable, and rewarding.
Weapon Sway / Realism vs Fun / Using the effect of hold breath to mitigate the cost of weapon sway & stamina?
This is a good point. Obviously DayZ is known for, and associated with a "hardcore unforgiving survival simulator" - and we want to maintain this moving forward. However, when it comes to systems such as weapon sway, hold breath, and stamina - and how they all play into each other, we need to communicate more clearly to the user exactly what is going on.
Part of this can be communicated properly via the upcoming new (togglable) UI, and even more can be communicated by -properly- displaying a (more) visible change in sway via the hold breath mechanic. As we're currently using placeholder tech from RV in this area, we're not able to do what we want to do with this. As we move closer to beta, we're all excited to move weapon sway, and associated hold breath functionality and the new UI towards a more approachable and understandable system. Much like learning to control your sound in DayZ Mod, we hope to see players learning through UI and visual cues how to control their weapon sway, and use hold breath the most effectively.
Are there any plans to reduce player speed / Address some sort of inertia system to mitigate players being able to make high speed 180 turns without consequence?
Firstly with player speed, anyone who played DayZ Mod can tell you how ridiculously fast the DayZ player speed is in comparison. Initially this was done to help mitigate the limited available methods of transportation in DayZ, as Chernarus is a very, very large play area - and the decentralization of points of interest by expanding and redesigning Chernarus into Chernarus Plus meant much more travel was needed. As we look forwards towards 0.59 and beyond, increasing the methods and availability of transportation we'll be scaling back player movement speed (iteratively, not all at once). When it comes to inertia, dexterity, and all of the potential gameplay areas that can have an impact on the player movement, there is most certainly room for improvement. Keep in mind however, we can't start effectively implementing and changing how this works in game until both the new player controller, and animation system are merged in and configured for use by the design team.
That said, we are most definitely interested in improving how the player handles, and expanding the simulation of weight, and dexterity upon the momentum of player characters in motion. The next three months or so should see some marked improvement, and changes to how this is handled.
- Brian Hicks / Lead Producer -
Community Spotlight: NWAF is the place to be in .58!
While well underway towards 0.59, it's been great to see all the material pumped out by players while they have a go at 0.58 on Stable branch. As a small treat for this week, we have a bit of PvP action at the NWAF to show you:
As always, if you have a nice video containing DayZ footage you'd like to share, or if you have come across some DayZ footage from other content creators, just post it in the Gallery section of the DayZ forums and we'll happily have a look.
Also, for the month of August, we'd like to extend a big thanks to all of you who took the time to help file bugs via our Feedback Tracker! On the Tracker, joe_mcentire, mamersmann, Darcion(!), lagrange, HaseDesTodes, K-2, did outstanding work in filing a good chunk of bugs each throughout August and the entire team is really grateful for the effort you put into it guys!
Note: Our Community Manager is out of the office with the flu, we'll return to the established Status Report format next week - appreciate everyones patience!
I hope all of you that we had the privilege to meet up with at PAX Prime have recovered, and are ready for some more Chernarus Survival, because we certainly are!
While in Seattle for the Penny Arcade Expo I spent a good amount of time live casting from both the Twitch, and Astro stages. We discussed everything from the newly launched .58 update, to upcoming Community Combat Scrums, the Anti-Cheat Bounty initiative, and even the Survivor GameZ joining the Bohemia Interactive portfolio.
For those interested in a recap, DayZ Content Creator "Septic Falcon" was kind enough to put together a quick recap over at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUwNhw3vwp0 - Head over, check it out, and maybe drop him a sub!
Now that 0.58 has hit stable, we've been keeping an eye on the Official Forums and Feedback Tracker. Huge thanks to all of you who were exemplary testers and filed outstanding tickets giving us strong repros on the critical issues not caught on experimental. In addition to the known issues, the community helped us identify issues with the cleanup of certain items (eg: some firearms, etc).
Internally, while development on 0.59 is ongoing - a small portion of the team has forked off to work on a potential hotfix for 0.58 Stable addressing:
Session Lost / Connection Issues when around large/medium player camps
Certain items not being cleaned up by Lifetime (Age) cleanup
Once we have a build we feel is ready for larger testing, it will be pushed to the Experimental Branch. The build will have to check out after a minimum of 2 days testing - and then will be eligible for a push to Stable. (Cross your fingers!)
As 0.58 Stable continues, we've closely monitored loot saturation and dispersal. The average operating range for item quantity as of the time of the launch of 0.58 was approximately 21,000 items. With the initial release, iteration and configuration was still needed on a good deal of items within the central economy control. Below, you'll see the dispersion of items three days after the launch of 0.58 to stable. (Public server, High population)
Several days ago, we completed a gradual configuration and increase of loot quantity. Tools, clothing, survival resources, and such were increased incrementally - bringing the average resting quantity of loot across Chernarus to 26,000 items. Weapons, non perishable food, and military gear retained their configured numbers from Experimental Branch. We'll continue to iterate this as 0.58 is ongoing, and the pending hotfix addressing the cleanup of specific items will continue to make the survival experience in Chernarus engaging.
With TwitchCon coming up at the end of this month in San Francisco, we're looking forward to talking about Aerial Transport, Contaminated Terrain, and more - so be on the lookout for specific information on when/where to watch that!
Lastly, this weekend we will be trying out our first Community Combat Scrum. We've extended invitations to the first evangelists we'll be trialing the program with. The following community members will be joining us this weekend:
The results of the scrum will be included in next weeks Status Report, and assuming the program results are positive we'll start looking into expanding it to evangelists of the Survivalist type gameplay as well.