We have a juicy Status Report for you again! Victor presents a video full of new animations, Adam is talking about military base changes and Baty is showcasing all the cool wolves footage from our community creators.
Dev Update / Hicks
So as many may know, it has been a pretty busy few weeks. We've had a good deal of experimental updates go out. For those that don't follow our posts on the official forums I'll try and give you all some perspective on what those updates have been aimed towards, and what our current priorities are for 0.61.
Server side performance is one of our major goals for improvement on 0.61 experimental. Aside from stability (server side crashes), this has the largest impact on the actual effectiveness of the major changes gameplay wise for 0.61. When server performance drops below the acceptable line on these servers, it will reduce and impede the functionality of these areas. To give you guys an example, server performance can cause issues such as (but not limited to):
Modifier/Damage Application can be stuck or delayed
AI Reactions and Speed can be reduced (Infected, Wolves, Wild Animals)
Door States can be reported incorrectly
Obviously, as you can see the above issues are critical to have reduced as much as possible for 0.61 Stable. In addition to that we're looking into issues related to:
Infected vocalizations being too quiet
Infected response to firearm types being uniform (Suppressed/Lower db ammo not having proper effect)
Infected able to push characters through/into model geometry (potentially causing characters to be stuck/die)
VOIP Volume too loud / Adjustment not functioning
Today we pushed an additional update for Exp/Unstable branch addressing previous issues caused by the latest update. Characters displaying as nude in some situations, some gunshot sounds not being played for all players, a new server crash, and some adjustment to predator AI behavior.
We'll continue our march forward to getting 0.61 to Stable branch, and I think I speak for the whole team when I say we're all very excited to see the .61 changes in the hands of the larger stable branch update. This of course is not where we want DayZ to be yet, but it is a great step forward to that experience.
Don't forget to grab a raincoat, don't waste those bullets, and head over to the official DayZ forums at forums.dayz.com to participate in the ongoing discussion!
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.
Network Synchronization Improvements
New Server Browser
Dev Update / Peter
With the quite dark due high intensities of lights in general. Overpowered lights are also causing unpleasant effect with camera exposure in new renderer as it tries to clamp and scale down huge differencies in scene luminancy for display output, which is resulting in pitch black surroundings outside the reach of lights. Power of lights was intentionally set higher in the past as they were compensating former pitch black nights in old RV engine renderer. In new renderer we approached the night time differently so there shouldn't be a need to change your gamma settings to see at least something when you play fair, of course those who doesn't we prevent unfair gamma abuse, but it's currently very low on priority list. What's on the top of the list regarding lights is for sure first balance pass of their intensities which should bring them to reasonable values for new renderer and its camera. You can expect to see these changes any time soon in 0.61 experimental releases. In future, for 0.62 version we would like to tackle day time and night time lighting to pull out more potential from new renderer combined visual updates for environment.
Another troublesome behavior in 0.61 experimental releases you witnessed is infected and their movement and attacking. Actually it's quite a problem as currently both player character and infected are using different physics which doesn't like each other. However we are doing our best to fight these issues for 0.61 release via changes to configuration of AI which are the only weapons available for us now. With new player character, the old physics will be ditched and we gain more freedom in implementation of infected as well. One more thing I would like to mention is, that alongside new synchronization for players, vehicles are being worked on too. Count in they are getting so much love implementation wise so I hope we will be able to get some of these changes in 0.61 to make vehicles much more reliable and pleasure to drive.
In the moonlight... see you in Chernarus folks!
- Peter Nespesny / Lead Designer -
Dev Update / Mirek
Today will be just a small update. We merged server performance improvements into experimental branch, which introduced some new bugs, like gear despawning for remote players (that's also the reason why you can't hear some gunshots - because remote players don't have weapon in their hands).
Anyway, we fixed this issue and it should be available in the next experimental update. New server performance improvements won't be enabled, as we have to deal with some new server crashes. When these are resolved, we will enable these improvements.
Another big task is finishing vehicle synchronization and it's priority No. 1 now, as we want to bring vehicles back as soon as possible. There are two blockers now - client side correction and bad simulation, when two or more players are inside the vehicle.
- Miroslav Manena / Lead Gameplay Progammer -
Dev Update / Fido
We’ve implemented terrain light reflection, variable coloring of trees (to add a bit more of the autumn feeling to Chernarus) and managed to progress with implementation of the new SimulWeather/TrueSky technology that we use for rendering the sky and clouds. These are merely some experimental visual effects, adding a little bit of “drama” to the world.
- Filip Doksanský / Lead Engine Programmer -
Dev Update / Viktor
Today I would like to share with you a short video that demonstrates some of the new player character features. We still have a lot to do to make all transitions work perfectly and we are also in the process of refining the animations. There are a couple of interesting things in the video however. I would like to describe them for you in more detail.
First of all you will notice new camera and movement. The animations have been polished so they feel more natural and fluent. The camera system has been redone and now we finally are able to adjust the camera to our needs. The version you see is still WIP and we are constantly working on it. But in short, new camera options allow us to adjust camera per stance or even per animation if needed.
One of the most visible changes in the character movement is the possibility to interrupt almost any animation. This gives players greater control over the character. We have talked about this in previous status reports a few times already but it is a really big change compared to the old system.
The way character look around is also different. Now we have the ability to use poses for look at things or aiming. By creating aim-spaces we are able to adjust character poses properly to certain angles which gives us perfect control over how the animations look in the game.
Gestures, actions and other animations now are divided in two groups. Some are full body animations and some are upper body or other body part animations. This had to be done to allow movement while eating, drinking, greeting and many other situations. It's important however that all of them are interruptible as you can see in the video, with the LYING DOWN gesture. Most of these actions are made of three parts - IN, LOOP and OUT. We play IN animation at the beginning, then the character starts doing actions like chopping trees, and when players release the mouse button, OUT is activated.
Hopefully you enjoyed this small video preview. I am pretty sure we will put together some more. For the next couple of weeks we will be focused on implementing animations for weapons, new combat and of course, continue improving the player character.
- Viktor Kostik / Lead Animator -
Dev Update / Adam
If you were playing .61 experimental over past few weeks, you may have noticed that we have added little military location on Sosnovka pass. Many of you were probably wondering why something like that was added, well, wonder no more. In this status report, I will cover major additions and changes to the military locations on Chernarus! Please bear with me, this may be a bit longer, but I feel that such thing needs to be explained in greater detail so we avoid any misinformation.
The overall aim is to start finalizing important pieces of the map prior beta so there is a solid ground for associated Central Economy tweaks. To achieve that, we have been looking with designers into options on how to deal with the current situation of military loot locations, which is without doubt one of the main drivers behind the survivor movement on Chernarus. While we are quite satisfied with the way concrete military buildings are distributed as of now, the distribution of improvised military objects (mainly tents) is something we need to tackle. To get rid of military loot saturation within Myshkino and North West Airfield tent camps, we have decided to significantlyreduce tent count in these locations and use newly created "buffer of tents" to either add to existing or create completely new military locations on Chernarus. So let me now go over the existing locations to see what was exactly changed including pictures (for some locations, keep in mind that they are work-in-progress).
Previously positioned on the coast south of Balota airfield, this military camp is one of the biggest military locations (as of .60, both in terms average loot availability and size). With this change, this camp has been stripped to 1/4 of its previous size. It has been built more or less from the scratch (so it will spice up the game-play for a while), but the general location still stays the same. For now - as I mentioned in October status report, we plan to change this area significantly as it is part of much bigger plan that is aimed to a complete re-design of western border of Chernarus (more on that in later status report/s).
North West Airfield
One of the most famous locations on Chernarus and well known since early days of DayZ Mod. Again, focus was on the military camp. This camp has been reduced to half and completely re-designed from scratch. I also did some minor modifications to its surroundings to - hopefully - offer some new tactical possibilities. Now I should mention thatin no way you should consider this change to be permanent. We will soon formalize internally a clear plan for a complete re-design of North West Airfield. NWA is one of the few locations on Chernarus that basically still look like it did in Arma 2 version of Chernarus (and it looks completely out of place compared to other areas of Chernarus+). Even after the change within northern tents, we expect this area to be still very active and we will do our best to make sure that the airfield and its surroundings will look and play just as good. We will of course keep you updated as we progress towards this goal in future status report/s.
Kamensk military base
Fairly a new military location, which was however changed quite a lot over time (someone remembers pit of death?). It has received a slight face-lift along with its surroundings (and will receive more once new forests will arrive). This base utilized "tent buffer" and received number of military tents scattered among the ruins. This change along with other (smaller) additions to northern highway should hopefully increase traffic in this part of the map.
Tisy military base
One of the newest additions on Chernarus - concluding the northern expansion - is slowly crawling to be the location of first choice for all survivors, who seek top tier military equipment. Located in North West corner of the map, players need to venture through the whole Chernarus to reach it. To properly reward them for taking risks of doing so, large military camp was added into the perimeter of the base. This camp should give you an idea that it has been built in there to stay for a longer period of time - assuming its inhabitants would survive long enough. I should mention (the usual) disclaimer - Tisy military base is still not yet considered to be done and this military will change in the future.
The new stuff!
9 military locations were added (with one already present on .61 experimental) on Chernarus. They are represented either through a military roadblocks of different sizes or through a smaller military camps (similar to the one in Stary Sobor). If you are looking for a list of new locations along with pictures, you wont find them here. I think we need to keep some things as a surprise, so I will let you figure it out once this hits public (experimental) branches.
As you can see, Chernarus just got even more interesting to explore. And we are definitely not stopping there. Our aim is to have more locations that would resemble humanity's struggle to tackle day zero situation. But again, more on that in later status reports.
We understand, that this particular change could easily be one of the most significant changes on Chernarus during its development and so - once it will hit consumer branches - we will be actively looking into our data and feedback from you to see how this change performs in the live environment and implemented tweaks if necessary. But of course feel free to discuss this already and let us know what you think!
And given the progress that has been made in this particular task for the past few weeks, we are actively discussing the possibilities of testing these changes within .61 update (if not, then .62). So stay tuned!
- Adam Franců / Map Designer -
Wolves are the new thing for the 0.61 update, and we had amazing feedback from your side on our social networks and forums. You have sent us a lot of amazing screenshots and videos from your first contact with wolves. We are as excited as you are because we love to watch your reactions when you meet them for the first time.
For the first time you are scared, you are running for your life, someone fights, someone dies. It is not easy to survive encounters with wolves. Look at this great reaction by John Connor who met these predators face-to-face.
Check out this amazing performance with wolves by CamCANTRUN. His touchingly sad story should affect everyone. In my case, he's definitely succeeded.
When Man Becomes Prey
When Man Becomes Prey II
Player jakon72 dealt with the wolf in his own way, He killed it and made a dinner from it when the wolf attacked him.
If you did not meet any wolves yet, you can try to find them on our Experimental/Unstable servers. Check the map of wolf locations by DAYZTV here.
I hope you enjoy 0.61, and if you have something you'd like to share, send it to out official Twitter account.
We have an update from Brian, Mirek and Dustin for you. They'll be sharing the latest about the 0.62 presentation at PAX Australia, 0.61 Experimental public testing, and some details about what's going on here at the DayZ offices.
Dev Update / Hicks
It has been a pretty exciting (and potentially stressful at times) two weeks for development on DayZ, both in the .61 development and the discussion on moving forward beyond that. This Status Report I'll go over what we're currently focusing addressing on 0.61 experimental, and then I'm going to summarize the main points from the 0.62 and Beyond talk at PAX Australia.
As many of you may know, we've gone through several iterations on Experimental/Unstable branch for 0.61. With our principle focus being on server stability, and performance. The gameplay programming team has been experimenting with several possible options in improving our server side performance, which you as survivors will directly see as improved infected responsivity and speed, faster user actions, and general overall improved responsivity to your interactions with the world. While we've made some strong improvements in regards to stability, we're not quite where we'd like to be with server performance. As I've mentioned many times before - server performance is and will continue to be an ongoing area of focus for us throughout development and into the beta phase. That said, it is especially important to the 0.61 experience, given that at a gameplay level the dynamic spawning of infected is such a corner stone. I won't spend too much time talking about this, as Mirek is going to elaborate a bit on some of the different changes his team has been working on in this area further in to the SR.
Enough rambling, lets take a look at what critical issues we have on 0.61 Exp/Unstable.
VOIP Icon missing when using VOIP
Server Performance can dip below acceptable line
Character deformation when entering structure under high ping
Character model twitching when standing on bodies
Client side crashes (Several)
VOIP Volume balancing
Character sounds balancing
Characters hands stuck raised in some situations
Server side crashes tied to specific item
Character roll backs during some server crashes
Reconnecting / Manipulating weapon magazine can prevent magazine use
Keep in mind this is just a list of critical fixes for 0.61 Stable - and is fluid based on the feedback and data we get back from 0.61 Experimental/Unstable builds. If you've encountered other critical issues, please let us know about it via our feedback tracker or on our official forums.
As mentioned earlier, I was at PAX Australia in Melbourne this last weekend and had the opportunity to talk about where we are headed after 0.61 hits stable with the Australian and New Zealand community. For those that would rather not read my rambling wall of texts, I will be re-recording the audio along with the presentation slides. However, for those that don't mind reading - I'm going to summarize the presentation in this Status Report. (We'll jump past the start of the presentation that talks about .61, as if you are reading a Status Report this is probably redundant information)
Now that .61 is on Experimental/Unstable - lets take a look at what our plans internally are for development beyond .61 hitting Stable branch on Steam. Once this occurs, the primary bulk of the DayZ development team will be switching their focus to the "Beta" milestone for DayZ. Beta for us is a major point in our development, and it goes without saying that it has its own challenge and hurdles. This milestone is focused on the following areas:
New Animation System
New Player Controller
New User Actions
Improved Vehicle Physical Simulation
And that big ol' feature/content backlog (that is dependant on these technologies)
Now what do I mean when I say "Backlog"? Well, as many of you may be aware - there are a good deal of gameplay systems, mechanics, items, and more that we have talked about in previous Status Reports, presentations, and are sitting in the "In Progress" column on our Trello. Nearly every single one of them are dependant upon the technologies listed above, either through technical limitation, or having just been written from the ground up on Enforce script and designed with the new tech specifically in mind. At the presentation in Australia I gave the following examples:
Now, one of the key points I tried to point out during this presentation was how critical this milestone is to the progress towards the final version of DayZ. Work on not only the technologies that power this milestone, but all the content and mechanics that we hope to hit with it, has been an ongoing task throughout DayZ's development. Artists, Designers, Animators, and Programmers have been working for quite some time on changes to DayZ that can't hit the Early Access userbase until these changes to DayZ's engine are ready to be merged into the main trunk of our development. This won't be a simple task, either. The work described is very similar to the change to DayZ's rendering technology in its risk and complexity. I've likened these milestone goals to a changing of the spine of DayZ, at least at a gameplay level. So, as mentioned before - once we get 0.61 to Stable branch - the primary bulk of DayZ's development team shifts all its focus on this goal. Exactly how much of that feature backlog we will be able to get into this milestone will be discussed in more detail in future Status Reports, once we can properly gauge any potential risk - but make no mistake, this is both an exciting time for us on the development team, but also a major task.
While the primary bulk of the team is focused on this, our beta milestone - a small 5 man team (Comprised mostly of artists, environment designers, and support from one programmer) will be branching off to work on a 0.62 update to DayZ Early Access focused on a much needed overhaul of Chernarus's visual fidelity. What exactly do we mean by that? Well - lets take a look.
Forest Density & Fidelity
Forest Undergrowth and Clutter
Now, in addition to to the obvious goal of bringing the visual of appearance of Chernarus + to a more modern level, the massive improvement in making our forests not only look more *real*, but to allow users to more believably create hidden camps and stashes in forests that more closely resemble the forests you might find in the Czech Republic is obvious. It merits mentioning that these images we are sharing with you here are initial tests. There is still a good deal of work, and analysis required to see how dense and believable we can make these forests, fields, and so on without compromising client side performance. However, we're all excited by what we've achieved so far - and as we get closer to this interim 0.62 milestone that the small team dedicated to it is working on, we'll be sharing more - both visually, and input on where we are with these goals.
So lets recap what we've covered in this:
0.61 hits Stable branch
Principle DayZ team starts work on our Beta milestone
This is a massive overhaul of our core gameplay
Focus on New Animation Sys, Player Controller, Enforce Script transition, New User Actions
We start hitting that content/feature backlog we have
This is a massive task for us, both technically and gameplay wise
While this is ongoing, a splinter team of 5 developers approx will start work on an interim 0.62 Visual Overhaul of Chernarus
Thanks for making it through that wall of text, and for those that would prefer the audio/visual narration, I'll have that on our Youtube as soon as possible! I hope you're all excited as I am for the dayz/days ahead (heh heh heh) and now that we've got this Status Report out and I'm back in the office - I'm going to get some time in on the latest 0.61 Experimental Update.
- Brian Hicks / Creative Director -
Dev Update / Mirek
I will split this status report on two parts - work related to 0.61 and work related to later versions.
Starting with 0.61. The last two weeks we were dealing mostly with issues blocking experimental release and after that with stability of servers. We found and fixed that ugly crash, which was related to shooting and damaging world entities, disabled infected's loot was a side effect of commit related to networking optimizations - we have a fix for this, so infected's loot will be back today or tomorrow. Also, the new server browser has gotten some fixes (there was a client crash related to server browser) and improvements (you can see slot counts and also server browser will show you how many player's are waiting in login queue).
Now we have to deal with other client/server crashes (there are still too much of them), some synchronization issues (we have reports that client side correction doesn't work well sometimes) and we also prepared some server side performance optimizations, which are not merged to experimental branch yet.
A lot of people were also complaining about low FPS/movement jittering. This issue is not connected to renderer, it's a game side issue and it's related to new player's synchronization logic. Player is now simulated by fixed time step, before it was every render frame. That means player is simulated by the same number of steps on every computer, no one has an advantage with better hardware and every computer is sending the same amount of input messages to the server. The issue there is that interpolation between these simulation steps isn't done, currently we're working on fixing this.
Another big issue, character saving when server performance is low. This fix is ready for release.
And another improvement is ready for release, as we disabled AI freezing when the nearest player is farther than 500 meters. But first, we have to test this on experimental servers to see if it negatively affects server performance.
The rest of the gameplay programmers are still working on new features for the damage system, infected's AI, vehicle physics and central loot economy. We're not still sure if we will merge something into 0.61 or if it will be available in later version, but here is a short list of what has been done so far.
infected AI - improved target selection
vehicled physics - improved wheels friction
vehicles physics - collisions with small items (bow arrows too :) )
infected spawning together with dynamic events (like helicrash)
- Miroslav Maněna / Lead Gameplay Progammer -
Dev Update / Dustin
I don't do too many updates (that would be zero until today), but we have some stuff going on here at the BI offices I wanted to share. First, if you've not gotten an opportunity to check out our latest DayZ Q&A with Enfusion Engine architect Filip Doksanský, check out Part I and Part II by clicking the red links. It's a great interview and solid insight into just how hard this development team has worked over the last year to fully realize the vision of DayZ. We have also opened up the latest round of question submissions for our next Q&A with Lead Gameplay Programmer Miroslav Maněna. We're accepting questions on Twitter (hashtag them with #GameProgZ so we can easily find 'em) and the official DayZ forums until the 14th of November.
And on that, you might have noticed a significant uptick in quality in our in-house DayZ-related videos. We're stoked to have a solid videographer and editor named Filip working with us now to produce high quality video content at a much swifter pace than we were able to accomplish before he came to us. With his help, you should get a much clearer picture of what development of DayZ is really like, and what it takes to build every aspect of DayZ's world. I'm quite excited about what's coming down the pipe related to video content, and I think you will be too.
And remember, the best way to learn even more about what we do is to participate in the official forums. It's a direct conduit from you to us to engage in conversation about your questions, concerns and general inquiries. We hope to see more of you make accounts and join in the discussion.
Finally, we've been getting asked for new BI Store apparel for a long while, and I'm happy to announce we've added faction t-shirts that are available now. You can represent the 27th MEU, ChDKZ and CDF factions, with a slight delay on the NAPA faction t-shirt. We'll drop a mention on Twitter as soon as it's in the store as well. And if you haven't visited in a while, our faction patches are available in the store too. Click here to give the store a visit.
There is a lot coming up in the coming months I'm excited to share with you all as DayZ gets closer and closer to beta and beyond.
Until then, stay hydrated, and try not to get chewed on by an Infected. They have super gross oral hygiene.
- Dustin, PR & Brand Manager -
I want to dedicate this portion of the Status Report to the most beautiful daytime periods in Chernarus - sunset and sunrise. Everyone who plays DayZ should stop and watch a stunning sunrise or sunset over a city, the sea or forest. It is beautiful moment of peace and lots of players share these moments with the DayZ community on Steam. Here are some of our favorite captures from the game from our players.