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Mardi 30 août 2016  
 
Status Report - 30 Aug 2016

Development rolls on, and this week we have Creative Director Brian Hicks and Lead Gameplay Programmer Mirek filling us in on where we're at in regards to subjects such as network synchronisation, the new audio tech, and dynamic spawning of the infected.

Dev Update/Hicks

Greetings Survivors,

Over the last two weeks the team has been hard at work tackling bugs and final missing functionality on intended .61 milestone goals. Not to mention a few additional improvements not listed on the milestone goals, such as dynamic shadows, network sync improvements, and expanded improvements in the audio technology side of Enfusion. The test / fix / regression process between when a build is feature ready for experimental and functionally ready for experimental can be a bit of a grind here in the office (especially when you consider the branching that occurs so that the stable candidate can be worked on, while the rest of the team continues work on .62 and forward), but as always I'm proud to say the team has been relentless. To give you an example, just over the last week the QA, Programming, and Design teams have squashed bugs such as:

    Client freeze on server connection
    Isolating remaining issues with new synchronization system
    Audio configuration issues w/ interior and exterior surfaces
    Infected hit detection issues
    Reload / Chambering not occurring when player initiates animation
    Chambered ammo not being depleted when firing (ooh boy that one is nasty!)
    Dynamic shadows not behaving properly with certain geometry within Chernarus
    Client side control failures under certain animation states (clients locked into one direction after jumping off of certain terrain)
    NavMesh problems with Infected (ignoring some structure geometry)
    Character gear loss under certain crafting, and connection scenarios
    Client crashes when using Exp Debug window
    Dynamic events not showing on client side
    Virtual Machine exception related to containers
    Infected being blocked by collision with corpses
    Server crash caused by animal behaviour
    Server delay registering clients after initial connection

This is just a brief look at some of the issues tackled over the last week - and does not include issues the team is still working on. Countless issues are tackled before the player even sees the next testable build - and I hope this gives you all at least a small example of the work that goes into getting a build to experimental. Unfortunately the reality of development is its never quite as easy as just making the desired functionality, and pushing it to the experimental branch.

Past that - Miroslav will be talking to you guys this week about exactly what he hopes to see from the upcoming improvements to network synchronization, and while I might have a bit more caution to my optimism I can safely say I am excited to see how it will behave under a larger testing pool. Keep in mind as well, he specifically calls out that there is a high chance the initial experimental builds for .61 won't be spawning vehicles - as he and his team are currently working on the synchronization improvements for them specifically.

Looking at the .61 milestone goals for this Status Report:

    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 working on completing SFX for future firearms, as well as working with design and programming team to tackle configuration, and surface effect issues as they pop up in QA.

      Dynamic Spawning of Infected.

        Programming team is currently working on plugging animal spawning into this system. Once this is functioning properly they will continue working on adding the additional functionality of per-player impact on the quantity inside a defined area.

      Predators (Wolves)

        We're cautiously optimistic here. While we're seeing improvements on our end, there is still a high chance this milestone goal will be pushed to a future build. Network synchronization improvements could make this viable for .61. Testing, and regression will give us a better idea.

Past the milestone goals for .61, as you all know we have several improvements we're aiming to also be present for that build. Including but not limited to:

    Experimental Branch Debug Monitor
    Network Synchronization Improvements
    Dynamic Shadows

And for those who don't keep an eye on our development board - we've pushed a few updates there to give you an idea of what some of this can be expected to look like:


Lastly, I completely understand the frustration many of you may feel in the lull between build publishes to experimental, and stable branch. There is a saying that goes around the community that after two months of a build being available, it starts to get long in the tooth and the community is eager for the next, and this is entirely true. However, it is not just the community - we (the developers) are just as eager as all of you out there playing, and participating in DayZ's development, as hard as that may seem to believe. As we move closer to beta, the builds we push out are less about initial prototyping and more about large changes to DayZ's engine. Enfusion is a massive change for us on so many levels, and it is because of that that these builds seem to take longer to push out. We're all massively grateful for those of you who continue to ride through the storm with us, and help to shape the final product that DayZ will become. I'm personally very excited to jump into .61 experimental when it goes live, and start a new series of adventures in Chernarus.

- Brian Hicks / Creative Director -

Dev Update/Mirek

As we are moving closer to 0.61 experimental, we're mostly stabilizing the build (catching crashes, tweaking character selection from the main menu and new infected/animal spawner).
But there will also be one big thing we would like to enable in 0.61 experimental which Brian mentioned in the last status report a bit. We were reworking major parts of the network code and completely changed synchronization of player controlled entities, which should deal with position desynchronization. This means that there won't be any weird deaths (on stairs, near the edges of roofs, etc.), character won't be blocked somewhere else on the server side (infected or other players won't hit you from large distances and if the player is inside a building, he won't be blocked outside), the game should behave much better under stressful network conditions and it should deal with a lot of issues that were present in the game since EA release.
I have to admit that these changes aren't applied on vehicles yet, so vehicles won't probably spawn in the first iterations of experimental builds, but once we will enable them for vehicles, they should fix most issues like lagging and freezing, when a vehicle is in proximity of another vehicle.
Also, please don't expect everything will be amazing, we still have some animation issues and a couple of other bugs, especially related to ladder movement and it's very likely that more will appear after the experimental release. It's even possible that the network changes won't hit stable if a lot of issues appear and instead will be postponed to 0.62, because we don't want to block 0.61 stable release for too long.

- Miroslav Maněna / Lead Gameplay Programmer -

Community Spotlight

Kind of like the last time around, we'll see if we can help players who are looking to join a community which is not necessarily english speaking.

We were approached by Dopeyferes who asked if we would have time to look at a couple of his videos as well as showcase his channel, and of course, we were more than happy to do so.



Outside of having really nice videos of DayZ on his channel, he is also part of a larger hispanic community that plays DayZ among other titles. So, if you are looking for a spanish speaking community, I'm quite sure that he'll be able to help you out if you contact him via his Facebook page, or if you for example join the Steam Group that he is a member of. Of course, Dopeyferes also has a Twitter account where you can follow his updates and he streams from his Twitch account as well.

We do have yet another community lined up for the next status report, but in case you are part of one that you would like to see highlighted, just send some info to support@dayz.com and we'll be happy to have a look.

- SMoss / Community Manager -

 
 


Mardi 16 août 2016  
 
Status Report - 16 Aug 2016

This week a lot of the guys are off for GamesCom, so our Creative Director gives us some good info on subjects such as upcoming updates for audio, dynamic shadows, desync, as well as an update on the 0.61 milestone goals.

Dev Update / Hicks

Greetings Survivors,

We don't have too much new and exciting or flashy news for this Status Report, and most of the usual SR participants are either attending Gamescom or on holiday. However, we do have updates on the progress of development towards .61 experimental, and thus Stable. In addition I'll go over the recent .61 Dev Log video that hit our Youtube channel yesterday, talk a bit about some of what was featured in it - and close with a few comments on the economy (of course - its not a Status Report without talking about the CLE).

    0.61 Milestone Goals

      Server Login Queue

        Functional testing is complete internally - just waiting to push it to experimental and see if it breaks!

      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.

        Down to three firearms left to be configured and mastered - effectively ready for larger testing pool on experimental branch.

      Dynamic Spawning of Infected.

        Bulk spawning in areas defined through the zone generation tool is done. As demonstrated at the end of the last Dev Log video for .61. Work is still continuing on plugging in animal spawning to this system as well. Per-player infected spawning configuration (eg: 1 player entering a village can spawn X number, additional players spawn more) and support is being worked on by gameplay programming team.

      Predators (Wolves)

        Some strong progress has been made in regards to making wolves sync and move better in multiplayer - there are still several glaring issues with animation, and position syncronization up close that just don't make them very rewarding in their current state. That said, the programmers responsible for this area have several potential positive areas they are working on to improve this. As it sits right now, they are not functionally ready for a larger testing base. That said - we will be looking very seriously at the possibility of branching all the other main milestone goals off for testing on experimental branch while work continues on wolves. We'll keep people up to date on this via the official forums as this moves forward.

Past the stated milestone goals for .61 - several other fantastic improvements have been made internally during the development of .61 build. As you may have seen in the latest Dev Log video - dynamic shadows coming from point source lights are finally a thing for us. We're currently tracking down several issues with this new functionality, but just having it functioning at a base level has been a huge source of excitement in the office. Bohemia Interactive engines have always had amazing strengths, but like any technology - they have their short comings. The dreaded "light going through walls" is one of the oldest, and for DayZ players (Flashlights going through buildings and telling everyone where you are at night!) one of the most irritating.

In addition to this - Our gameplay programming team, led by Mirek Manena has made some strong improvements tackling desync of player position within DayZ. Now, keep in mind poor network conditions, and poor server performance can still cause bad behavior here - but addressing more fluid handling of this at a server level has been something that has been worked on, iterated on, and thought about a lot internally here. We're excited to see how the latest changes will shape up when under heavy player load - as a smooth experience and removing those pesky random leg breaks and inability to pick up items at times is pretty dang important for us.

As mentioned, we recently uploaded a new .61 Dev Log video to the official DayZ Dev Team youtube channel. In it we show some work in progress examples of assault rifles, and some pistols using the new audio technology DayZ now has thanks to cooperation from the fantastic Arma dev team. As well as some examples of general group dynamic infected spawning in both Vybor, and Elektro. Now, our intended functionality with dynamic spawning of infected is to allow each player entering the area to cause more, and more infected to spawn - thus potentially creating a very large threat in the presence of a large amount of players. (Think of the infected mentality as always moving towards something that gets their attention.) In addition to allowing for a "restock" or "respawn" timer - giving players the ability to potentially temporarily clean an area out and make it safe. Currently, we're not quite there - but we do have general dynamic spawning of infected when any player enters an area.



Lastly - in regards to the Central Economy. I've kept an eye on forum posts, youtube videos, and livestreams and I've noticed some folks starting to question the availability of food. The slow reduction of non-perishable food is entirely intended. Peter and myself have been working with the design team to slowly reduce the amount of available non-perishable food every two or three days to a level that we're somewhat comfortable with.
Keep in mind, finding supplies like that shouldn't be too easy - players need to be at a position where considering picking berries and apples, killing animals, planting crops, or harvesting meat through... other methods.. is viable. Rest assured however, given that the economy is entirely dynamic - if things get too hard they can be easily changed without any update required to servers and clients.

- Brian Hicks / Creative Director -

Community Spotlight

This time around we'll try and go with something slightly different. The team is blessed in having loads of support from loads of players in many different countries, and on that note, it would be nice to highlight some of the communities out there that are not necessarily of the english speaking player base. So, if you're looking for a french speaking community, there might just be something interesting for you over at Team ONU. Team ONU does events from time to time (there's an event calendar on their website), and by looking at the teasers from a couple of their previous ones, there should be a good chance of having some fun by participating!

Have a look here:



This next one is from before 0.60, but still worth showing since it looks like Team ONU puts a lot of effort into their events (big thanks to Joe for helping out with the language/dialogue!):



Excellent travail, tout le monde!

Again, if you're interested in finding a french speaking community, then have a look at their website and see if it might be something for you: http://www.team-onu.com

- SMoss / Community Manager -

 
 


Mardi 2 août 2016  
 
Status Report - 02 Aug 2016

This week our Creative Director gives a status update on work being conducted on the CLE and the 0.61 milestone goals, while Lead Designer Peter and Lead Animator Viktor fill is in on subjects such as the server browser and work on animations.

Dev Update / Hicks

Greetings Survivors,

Since the last Status Report we've been mostly focused on .61 - and getting it ready for experimental. That said, there are a few things I'd like to cover before we talk about the current status of each of the .61 milestone goals.

Over the last two weeks, Peter and I have spent a good amount of time discussing two areas of DayZ. Dynamic changes to the economy, and the external DayZ launcher. Peter will be talking about the launcher in his portion of this status report, so I'll talk a bit about the dynamic changes to the economy. 
The current iteration of the central loot economy allows for dynamic (no patch required) updating of every item that spawns in DayZ. This means it includes:

    The minimum, and nominal operating values of each item.
    The frequency it can respawn.
    The region of Chernarus it can spawn in.
    In the case of items such as magazines, and piles of ammo - it can dictate the minimum and maximum ranges for how much of that items capacity it spawns with.

The reason I bring this up is because the design team routinely will adjust these levels based upon data and behaviour observed on stable branch, and these changes can be effective within an hour of the change occurring. Over the last few weeks quite a few adjustments have been made on everything from the availability of certain ammo types, to the available quantity of non perishable canned goods. Thus, it makes it even more valuable for those observing bugs or general issues with this system to be specific in their reports on the feedback tracker. Make sure to detail exactly what you observed, when you observed it, and most important - what server it occurred on. 

To give you an example of exactly how important this data is, we've been trying internally to track down behaviour in regards to certain items spawning in piles (specifically in this case firearms) despite the fact that the restock timer should prevent such behaviour. It has been a nasty issue that has seemed to occur on the stable branch significantly easier than we have been able to reproduce it internally. That said, thanks to several dedicated feedback tracker users - we were able to isolate the issue on stable branch - and have identified the cause of it. (Much to the satisfaction of both Peter and I) We'll now be able to resolve the issue discovered with .61.

In addition to this, today the design team will be introducing changes to firearm and ammunition tiering and nominal values. Like all things, we'll need to wait and observe over the coming week to see the impact as existing availability within the economy (on players, in camps) can and will impact how this behaves. As these changes become effective in the stable branch wide economy, it is vital that if you notice an issue, you file a feedback tracker issue with as much information as possible. 

Enough about the economy though - lets take a look at where we are with .61 development goals:

0.61 Milestone Goals

    Server Login Queue

      Feature implemented, system under review with internal QA teams.

    Merge of New Audio Technology from Arma 3 Eden Update

      Tech implemented fully into DayZ. Existing sounds and configs from legacy system functioning properly. (Backwards compatibility with legacy sound technology).

    Update of Weapon Sounds for New Audio Technology

      21 weapons ready, work continues on remaining firearms. Youtube channel dev log preview upcoming!
      SKS
      Sporter
      Trumpet
      Repeater
      AKM
      Steyr
      FAL
      SVD
      MP5K
      1911
      CR75
      Derringer
      Flaregun
      FNX
      Glock 19
      Longhorn
      Magnum
      Amphibia
      P1
      Makarov
      Red 9

    Dynamic Spawning of Infected

      Feature implemented into internal branch. QA teams are doing initial passes and providing programmers with initial issues.

    Predators (Wolves)

      The team are currently working on several key issues with predators (wolves). Specifically being addressed currently are:

        Issues with navigation in urban / dense areas.
        Overall physics related issues.
        Damage application against non player targets.
        AI Targeting priority.

It's no secret that as far as DayZ and .61 goals go, predator AI is a big addition to gameplay, and clearly the largest at risk area for milestone goal slippage. That said, we're still very confident in our progress on the feature and the pace at which it is moving forward. We'll continue to update you all as to the status of this milestone goal with Status Reports.

- Brian Hicks / Creative Director -

Dev Update / Peter

As many parts of the game are still under active development, the main menu with such crucial parts as the server browser are no exceptions either. We all love the character presence in the environment at the main menu giving you a nice feeling and it's the point where immersion starts to kick in, but why not to take it more further and personal? Everything in DayZ is revolving around your character, and the main menu with the server browser should follow the same formula.

At the main menu you will be able to thoroughly list all your available characters across all shards. Coupled with additional information like visualization of character and his gear, name and actual stats helps you to select the character you want to play with. The selected character at the main menu then acts as a filter in the optional next step which is the server browser. The new server browser will filter out only the available servers from that shard where the selected character belongs to. This added layer of filtration eliminates the need of memorizing what character you have where, as well as any possible confusion after logging on to a server just to find out that it isn't the character you wanted to play with.

The new server browser also comes with other useful changes and functions to provide a better and uncluttered user experience. There will be only three tabs used for high level and clear differentiation between official servers, community servers and servers on LAN as other unnecessary tabs for favorites, friends, history and remote will be removed and become filters instead. Filters are now part of the server browser screen directly so they are always visible and at hand to easier check what's being filtered. Filter parameters have 3 different states - include, exclude and ignore so their setting can be handcrafted to exactly what you want to see. Columns in the server list were also reduced to a bare minimum as most of their information were doubled in server details. You can see and sort filtered servers according to their name, time of day, population and ping. Similar to filters, server details is no longer a separate pop up dialog window as every row in the server list is independently expandable to unveil additional server details like description, public/private, mode, version, IP and others so it's easy to compare two or more servers.

Above all of that, the external launcher will behave as a master filter which means that the game server browser will show only the servers related to the mod which DayZ was launched with. However, I don't want to go over the external launcher right now as it's another topic we will be talking about in the future.

Happy filtering... see you in Chernarus folks!

- Peter Nespesny / Lead Designer

Dev Update / Viktor

Animations usually take a lot of time but on the other hand when we finish a batch there is usually many new things. Fortunately in the past weeks there were couple of finished animation batches. So this time there is a bit more of news.

New animations and graph for drawing a bow have been added. With advantages of upcoming system drawing will be available while walking as well. The jamming/unjamming for pistols has been created and there is already ongoing work on bolt action rifles.

Not to forget about vehicles we have finished set of animations for upcoming vehicle and started on the next one. Also some more specific animations for attaching vehicle parts have been created.

Last week I was going through process of reviewing and updating poses. Since the character can put almost anything in his hands we have at the moment poses for clothes, small items, large items, firearms, weapons and many more. That makes in total over 800 animation poses. I have updated some and polished to give them more natural look.

And last but not least there is always some more polishing for the animation graph of the new player character. More about some recent changes from Adam our Technical Animator responsible for most parts of the player graph.

Adam Oresten / Technical Animator

These past weeks I have been heavily focused on making the movement system feel more natural, for such a simple term it is quite the complex task. I started reviewing the stance-system from the player's viewpoint and I think I've got a quite nice iteration for the stance changes.

For example, you're lying down in the grass near the airfield's tents and you thought you saw movement in the distance. You start to stand up but realize that it was in fact another player, and any time during that animation you can decide to go back to prone, finish standing up, or to go crouch instead and aim your weapon (at the same time). If you then realize that the bandits noticed you, you start to run (still in crouch) and stand up while moving and leg it (and ultimately get picked off by their SVDs).

While it is a small change, it has added a whole new dimension of feel, and I can't wait to put it in your hands!

 - Viktor Kostik / Lead Animator

Community Spotlight

Afternoon all,

Summer time is usually outdoor time (when the weather allows for it, of course), but if you still find yourself indoors, NomadFreeman has provided a bit of entertainment for you. No gear, no problem:



Also, a lot of you probably already know about Tatanko, but for those of you that don't, I highly recommend having a look at his VERY extensive galleries. Tatanko puts in a lot of effort into creating his screenshots and he keeps his galleries jam packed with quality visual goodness:

http://tatanko.imgur.com/

Be sure to use this link in order to follow Tatanko via his Twitter account for future updates (you won't be disappointed): http://twitter.com/TatankoX

Header image by: Sylvester

- SMoss / Community Manager -

 
 

 

 


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