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Mardi 30 mai 2017  
 
Status Report - 30 May 2017

This week, we're looking back at the release of 0.62 on Exerimental, outlining some of the issues that we'd like to see resolved before going to Stable (both visual and audio oriented). Peter and Eugen are sharing some of the work being currently done for BETA, and Baty is sharing her top picks of all the amazing content you created since 0.62 released last week.

Dev Update/Hicks

Greetings Survivors,

This Status Report, I don't have a whole ton for you. Obviously, 95% of the team is focused on 0.63 and getting it to a point in which we can begin testing on Experimental branch for that build. As some of you may not be aware, 0.62 recently hit Experimental, and the team has pulled a lot of good and actionable bug data from that build, as well as some strong feedback in regards to the first iteration of the new ambient audio.

You'll all be pleased to know that every bit of feedback regarding said new ambient audio is being investigated, and the audio team will be able to iterate upon some of that feedback. Any up to date progress we make will always be posted by Baty in the Experimental Patch Discussion section of the forums.

The team is currently tracking feedback in regards to the following on 0.62 Experimental:

    Misc feedback in regards to audio volume, general audio system behavior
    Behavior of some trees in the wind

There are also some attempted fixes included in today's Experimental update regardin:

    Collisions with some tree models
    Ironsights sometimes backing off after a few seconds
    Issues binding some mouse keys 

I'm sure Eugen will have some more meat on the bone when it comes to the progress on 0.63 itself. I for one am really, really anticipating being able to share the functionality of 0.63.

Stay safe out there!

- Brian Hicks / Creative Director -

Dev Update/Eugen

Hey guys!

So 0.62 Experimental happened and I can't thank you enough for the amazing content that you created with the new visuals for forests. There are many improvements that will still be coming to visuals over time - like reworking old low-quality assets and adding new features to the map as mentioned in Adam's Q&A video. It is a good showcase of the quality we aim for in both the visuals and gameplay for the 0.63/BETA release.

I mentioned a couple of things here previously that have now come in motion, full force. We have progressed and started working on smaller feature sets that will define gameplay of the BETA. One of the largest topics of discussion in the offices have been weapons and their handling for the new player. To understand what that means I have to sadly hit you with a large wall of text.

When you look at the live game, and what is happening on stable/experimental, you still see (for the most part) a content that is running on old technology. Since for BETA release, we have expanded the gunplay beyond what was possible previously, it means many things will be changing, and many have been mentioned here. However, to give you a sense of scale.

The work on the new animation system and all of its features took almost a year and a half of work. Animations for all of your weapons, with variations from continuous reloading, chambering, magazine manipulation, jamming, and more, took probably over a year in itself. All that culminating with implementation of aiming model that will support better implementation of recoil, sway, player turns, and even heavily improved manipulation of weapons in different stances.

A whole lot of our content is starting to get implemented - as I said before, we're finally making a game, instead of fully focusing on the technology. In the list below, I mention FNX and IZH18 - two weapons that are the first to be handled using these new systems. And I can't wait to have a shootout here with the guys once these are fully working internally.

For all these things:

    User actions that enable player to interact with items and objects, weapons included
    Synchronization setup that is largely inspired by what Overwatch did for their networking 
    Animation system that will make your avatar a living breathing human 
    Damage system that is easily tweakable and supports all sorts of hitzones, impact animations 
    New particle effects and sounds
    New character representation with all the things actually creating a survival experience

It's not that we don't expect bugs from their first iterations, but the reality for us is, that we have been working for 4 years now on things that you couldn't get your hands on in-game as of yet. And as the list of features above shows, all these systems can't really work without each other.

Even the new network synchronization is optimized for the new player and new physics. It makes me sad that it couldn't happen sooner, but I believe we will have a great game for you with 0.63/BETA.

To give a glance at the currently open development items in our teams:

Programmers

    UI Inputs
    Communication systems (megaphone, static radio, public address system)
    Weapon handling and aiming
    Vehicle physics refactor
    Vehicle controller refactor
    3rd person camera collision changes
    FNX basic state machine and script class
    IZH18 basic state machine and script class
    Animation events for player
    Performance optimizations for item spawning
    Physics collision system refactor and optimization
    Tons of crash fixing
    Tons of bug fixes

Animators

    Weapon mechanics animations polishing (unjamming, reloads)
    Inverse Kinematics poses
    Hit reactions on player
    Ranged combat prototype
    Player turns tweaking

Designers

    User actions in multiplayer
    Player representation
    New player and item spawn definition
    Player action targeting and floating cursor
    Communication systems
    Tree collisions fixes
    Advanced placing system
    Construction watchtower
    Diseases refactor for new player representation
    Animation events for player
    New zombie models
    New player models
    Animation events for player

Audio

    Positional environment audio tweaks
    Infected audio recording preparation
    Player and weapon animation events setup

QA

    Playtesting the 0.62 update
    0.62 feature testing
    Internal client stabilization
    User actions for 0.63 testing

Art

    Old assets rework
    Buildings optimization
    Doors unification

These are thousands of hours spent on our side to bring a dream that is yet to be fully realized. Curiosity, Creativity, Community. Three pillars of Bohemia Interactive that we want to uphold.

- Eugen Harton / Lead Producer -

Dev Update/Peter

Among plenty of other issues we face, picking items from the world is another one which is far from ideal in its current state. Aiming precisely with cursor on items could be fine, unless you run into some annoyances. Some items are rendered too small on the screen because of their close-to-real-life dimensions, and they are often being obstructed with other objects in world like dense grass, and tend to mimic underlying surface textures.

You know the drill, many times it's difficult to find a pistol, or even a rifle in some cases, and pick it up (I don't even want to mention special cases like ammo piles). At the end, such frustration leads to the use of the vicinity part of inventory screen as the path of the least resistance. Each open of the inventory screen disrupts the immersion of being right there for you as a player, and if I count in movement during opening the inventory (leading to jogging in chaotic patterns to find that damn ammo pile), it's breaking immersion also for all observers who had to look at your misery.

Along with restriction of character movement while in inventory, we added dynamic selection of target, which evaluates conditions such as distance from player, screen center and angle. Selected target is then visually marked by snapping interaction icon to it in screen space. We went beyond items and similarly, we applied this system also to interaction with vehicles and static objects in world like doors or ladders. I like fluid interconnection of a gven item and the action which it brings to the table. It feels natural and adds to the physicality of the world - it even feels closer to hand to use your eyes for coordination, instead of rigorous movement with whole head around. You can see it in action on examples below.

Maybe you are wondering now, why we just simply didn't apply highlighting to items and objects? Apart from highlights being quite artificial and also immersion breaking, they are not solving one of the problems mentioned above - frequent necessity to pixel hunt with your center of the screen. But never say never, maybe there will be some very decent version of highlighting in future to make it more seamless and to pop up items a bit, even when I'm not kinda fan of it.

Dynamic target selection is still in progress and there are some small issues we need to solve, for example icon positioning, or the shaking caused currently by insufficient frequency of UI updates on client side. However, from first tests of its current iteration, it feels really good, and what matters the most - it's very helpful!

They will not hide anymore... see you in Chernarus folks!

- Peter Nespesny / Lead Designer

Dev Update/Adam

Almost a week since 0.62 update release on Experimental branch - I hope that you are having a good time exploring the new Chernarus! First, I would like to give you a small insight into what is happening in our department, mainly what are our plans towards the Stable release of update 0.62.

    Additional improvements and fixes to the surface mask - to resolve issues such as forest clutter appearance in the middle of industrial area in Solnichniy
    Satellite texture and ground clutter changes - decreasing overall brightness along with other tweaks (aimed at improving visuals of short and tall grass)
    Lighting config tweaks
    Map improvements and fixes

Now I would like to talk a bit about client performance on the new Chernarus. So far, we have observed quite positive reception from the experimental branch testing - everyone is welcomed there, please report if you encounter any issues on feedback tracker.

As I already mentioned in previous Status Reports, the introduction of Enfusion renderer back in update 0.60 gave us quite a big room for possible landscape improvements in many parts of Chernarus. Goal of update .62 was to use this room (where possible) to improve visual fidelity of Chernarus.

Many of the existing locations on Chernarus increased in detail drastically and while the new vegetation assets are much better optimized than the old ones, it will still most likely end up with the same or slightly decreased performance. Now I would like to say that nothing is settled at this point.

From the data point of view, we are still using some legacy vegetation assets (such as bushes and few selected solitary trees). This is however just a temporary arrangement, as replacements will be coming in future updates and will of course result in performance increase in almost all areas (old bushes are used around the whole map even in update 0.62).

There are more optimizations on data side planned (mainly related to buildings and the use of textures). For update 0.63, we have changed completely the whole structure for environment assets, which mainly makes loading faster, but it also makes data more readable, and this will ultimately make the lives of future community modders simpler.

On the programming side, there are optimizations on their way (starting with update 0.63), from which both PC and console versions will benefit greatly. Unfortunately, given the current differences between internal and public branches, it is not feasible to merge any complicated code in short time, and while we are already observing a better performance on internal branch, none of those improvements can be merged back into 0.62 branch.

- Adam Franců / Senior Map Designer -

Dev Update/Andrej

We're happy to say our new ambient audio is finally out on experimental. We have rebuilt all ambient sounds and added positional sound effects on the vegetation. We are now testing the mix, repetition cycles and we're listening to feedback from you and the QA department, so expect a lot of tweaks before the stable release. We are also preparing positional SFX for the buildings but that will have to wait till 0.63 because of some subtle changes to building models.

Apart form ambient sounds, we're actively working on BETA preparation where we have thousands of new sounds for the new player and user actions. There is an audio recording session planned for next month where we're gonna record new sounds for players, as well as infected.

We're also working closely with animation department, so you can expect many new SFX for every new animation that will come with the 0.63 update.

- Andrej Sinkević / Sound Designer -

Community Spotlight

Hello guys!

We released the update 0.62 to Experimental branch in the night hours last week and we were holding our breath waiting for your first reactions.

When we checked first streams to see your impressions, we were very happy and relieved. You were excited by this new update! New trees, ambient sound, wind - you loved it and you were sharing your experience with us on social networks, which we really appreciate. When you work on something like this for a long time, you are happy when people like your hard work.

We really appreciated your feedback. It is helping us to move closer to the release of the 0.62 to Stable branch. We are still looking for issues, if you find any bugs or if your game crashes, please report it to our Feedback Tracker, our QA guys will take care of you.

If you never tried an Experimental branch and you want to play on unstable servers, we have instructions for you on our official forums:

If you never heard about new 0.62 update and If you want to know what is new, here is the list of the most important things:

    New tree models
    Denser forests
    New clutter (grass, small plants)
    New surface textures - plains and such
    Improved wind behavior
    New shader for the wind, affecting trees and grass
    Tweaked and changed lighting for the world
    Small improvements to satellite textures
    Rain affected by wind and refinement of its behavior in general
    Many reworked locations on Chernarus
    Reworked ghillie (to be consistent with new tech)
    Small bugfixes to some issues from 0.61
    New ambient sounds

We are talking about the new update in depth on our forums, join us and tell us your feedback, positive or negative, it's up to you:

With the arrival of 0.62, a lot of videos started appearing on YouTube, introducing the new update. I admit that so many of them were so good, I was having a hard time choosing the ones to show you today. Finally, I picked a great story by Rene a.k.a. Barely Infected, which contains exploration of new locations in the west, telling of scary stories at dark night as well as creating new friendships. It is a bit longer, but believe me that it is worth it.



Another video I wanted to show you is a snapshot movie from a smaller, but very skilled YouTuber called uncuepagamer, that shows the beauty of the small village Nizhnoye and its surroundings. Those few shots are enough to capture the great looks of the new update.



If you like events, do note that there will be one taking place on the 7th June 2017 on French server Team ONU. You can find more info about it here.

At the end, I would like to remind you about the video from last week which some of you may have missed due to the hustle around the new update release. It is the first part of Q&A video with our senior map designer Adam Franců. Make sure to check it out, you will learn a lot of interesting information and you will find the promised scenes from "real Chernarus" I mentioned in the last Status Report.



That is all from me for today, if you are preparing an event on your server, or if you have any interesting content for the next Status Report, send me a Tweet on our official Twitter and you may find it here the next time.

Header image provided by Gordon Freeman.

- Baty / Community Manager -

 
 


Mardi 16 mai 2017  
 
Status Report - 16 May 2017

This week, Brian is addressing how walkie talkies in DayZ are the new server-wide chat. Eugen is touching upon the complexity of DayZ, as well as some of the recent tasks of the entire team. We also feature Peter who shares exciting news about changing the inner workings of loot spawns (this will be an extra crunchy topic for any future DayZ modders out there!) Next up are our map designers Mark and Adam, and yes, they have some screenshots for you this time! 

To finish it all in style, Baty is sharing a couple of photos from our trip to the real Chernarus, where we were filming the upcoming Q&A video last week. Let's get to it, it's a long one folks, but full of great development news! 

Dev Update / Hicks

The last time we spoke I mentioned discussing the impact of sway, and the implications on gameplay. I think one of the overlooked aspects of replacing the animation system, and legacy player is the fact that this isn't just a "change" in how sway / hold breath, and the likes behave. With the legacy setup, early on Peter and I both supported adjustments to try and refine where it was sitting as an experience in game. Pretty rapidly we realized that where we wanted it to be, and what the technology would allow us to do were two things very much apart. Rather than wasting development time trying to iterate and iterate upon a system that was slated to be replaced, the focus was placed on functionally where we wanted to be with the final product.

Its important to understand that as I said earlier - this isn't just a change. This is a replacement of the technology and player - so the old methods for sway, stamina, and such are gone. As we move towards beta, and start getting those builds into the hands of players - then we can refine the new methods of sway, and get it to a point in which you still need to be aware of your stance, weight (hopefully!), and the amount of sprinting you are doing - but that it is entirely manageable and does not feel like this daunting and overwhelming rigid inflexibility it can become in some situations with the current legacy Steam builds.

In addition to this, Peter and I have also been spending some time discussing the implication of server wide chat (specifically VOIP). I've noticed aside from strong private shard communities like DayZ Underground - folks don't seem to be utilizing radios in game. While on servers such as that, I find the communication across the map with random players occurs far more often. Personally, I'm a firm supporter of radios being starting gear so that every player can opt-in to server wide communication should they choose it - but I'm still working on converting Peter to this mindset. One of the limiting factors I've noticed the community discussing is the rate at which radios consume batteries, and the hunt for batteries themselves being both unrewarding and difficult.

I know a lot of folks have expressed a desire for the old global chat (which personally I do not miss at all) - and some have also expressed an interest in the old kill feed. A default on global chat is just not something we ever felt had a place in DayZ. That said, it can easily be turned on for mod authors, a kill feed as well shouldn't be difficult to put together.

For Peter and I - the immersion of the radios themselves, paired with the fact that they effectively serve as an opt-in global VOIP, is incredibly attractive. As I'm sure you all recall - we increased their range greatly several builds back. Aside from availability of the radios themselves, and consumption of batteries, I think they represent where we'd like global VOIP to be. So I encourage you all to utilize them more, so I can convince Peter that they should totally be player starting gear.

C'mon - do it. You never know who will be on the other end.

- Brian Hicks / Creative Director -

Dev Update/Eugen

Hey guys! First things first, I want to share the conclusion to the story I mentioned here the last time! We managed to fix the crash - yay! This means that everything seems to be in place for 0.62 on Experimental and I can't wait for you guys to play with the new environment visuals and sounds. There is still space to improve and make things more distinct, but the work does not stop there after we send 0.62 to Experimental/Stable. It's the first step to get visuals and audio where one would expect them in 2017.

To continue with stories from the development front, large part of our daily routine here is planning for BETA, and doing recaps with the aim to refocus the development, structuring our team into smaller feature teams. In the last two weeks, we revisited mind maps of these feature blocks to set up a core functionality of DayZ - starting with larger ones, and working our way down to smaller, more actionable items that we can "close" as development items.

DayZ is a complex game. It's a system sandbox where its gameplay loop starts working only when all the small details are in, and start interacting with each other. It's one of the hardest genres to iterate upon, as you can't structure the features easily, and every single thing can break the gameplay ecosystem. I highly recommend the original Deus Ex postmortem that was featured at GDC 2017 by Warren Spector himself.

If you separate the work we have done over the years, you can simplify it into three layers: engine, data and gameplay. Engine is the core base and modules upon which we want to build this game, data are visual assets (e.g. models) or audio that support the features, and gameplay is represented in both code and script. That’s why we have technical designers writing script, and gameplay programmers doing the same for the DayZ codebase.

Over the course of the last two years, these two groups (programmers and scripters) have been focused on closing core support systems for the architecture of gameplay in the new engine, and haven't had the chance to see their individual parts of the game work together. It's exciting now that what you could previously see only in a debug mode, or under parameters for internal client, is now finally able to support actual gameplay, and can be seen inside the game in a broader context. It’s a start of something much bigger for everybody in here.

Instead of focusing on systems and technology, we are finally making a game. The core gameplay loop is our focus now, split into melee combat, ranged combat, player character and its interaction with the world, and the infected (and their interactions with the world). All these pieces we have been building are slowly getting playable. There are still hurdles along the way and ahead of us - but that’s how development works.

What we're doing now is obviously one of the most critical parts of DayZ development, but all these previous decisions to create tech first, and focus on enjoyable experience later, are going to benefit the game (and gameplay) in the long run.

To give a glance at the currently open development items in our teams :

Programmers

    AI script implementation
    Zombie behavior script representation
    Inventory and item conditions
    Item spawn definition
    User actions in multiplayer
    Network traffic optimization
    Sound event manager
    Performance optimizations and multithreading changes
    Input changes
    Navigation changes
    Hit reactions on player 
    Tons of crash fixing
    Tons of bug fixes

Animators

    Weapon mechanics animations polishing (unjamming, reloads)
    Inverse Kinematics poses
    Hit reactions on player
    Melee combat prototype
    Ranged combat prototype

Designers

    User actions in multiplayer
    Player representation
    New player and item spawn definition
    Inventory UI refactor
    Radial menu for gestures
    Soft Skills
    Player action targeting

Audio

    Positional environment audio
    Infected audio recording preparation
    Player and weapon animation events setup

QA

    Playtesting the 0.62 update
    0.62 feature testing
    Internal client stabilization

Art

    Tree fire geometry
    Buildings optimization
    Doors unification

- Eugen Harton / Lead Producer -

Dev Update/Peter

In regards to Central Economy, there were some changes made in terms of loot spawning and its definition for BETA version that we are working on. Till now, loot placement was defined directly as specific point per one item in .p3d files, grouped in named selections (which are paired with categories and tags in configs and areas in area map later). There has been a need to pay close attention to dimensions of given items against each other, and available space around them to avoid unnecessary clipping between items, or between item and building itself.

This process was tedious as it lacked sufficient spatial orientation in object editor, leading to prolonged time needed to populate a building (for example, the school building has tens of thousands of spawn points defined in the old system). Not to mention that packing and exporting proxies was mandatory in order to be able to see new/adjusted spawn points working in game, stretching the time even further. You can see how it was set for the police station on the screenshot below. 

Instead of exact points, the new loot placement uses ranges. Range simply defines a circular area within which item can be spawned. During placement of these ranges, they are checked against each other and building itself in real time. This approach avoids any clipping and collisions of items during spawning. Placement output is stored as XML directly in the mission folder, so it's very convenient for modding, it also can be loaded and edited.

The best part of this new system is that it's completely defined and visualized directly in game, from free-fly camera. Additionally, everything is real time, which (coupled with independence from addons) cuts down the time required for setup dramatically.

After introduction of this new system, we managed to get from more than 1.000.000 spawn points (mind that was after massive reduction for 0.61 version from 4.000.000+ spawn points) to current ~130.000 used, and at the end, what matters the most is the increased server performance.

Don't waste time doing unnecessary things... see you in Chernarus folks!

- Peter Nespesny / Lead Designer -

Dev Update/Mark

Hi everyone, Mark Gill here! I'm one of the map designers who has done many tasks for Chernarus, but more recently I've been focused on developing the new Chernarus forests for this 0.62 visual upgrade. This has been a lengthy, challenging, but also rewarding process. I will try to share some of the thought process behind the changes that were made.

With the new forest overhaul, we hope the survivor experience in DayZ will be greatly enhanced. We tried to make traveling through forests a more immersive experience. Repetition can quickly become boring on a map of our scale, so as you traverse through forests across the map, the visuals will change at a fairly rapid pace. This was a large undertaking, but it was important to keep the visual stimuli changing in unpredictable ways.

We were able to increase the number of tree variations thanks to our talented artists to create types of forest that display different characteristics. The overall shape, size, and canopy development gives sections of forest a sense of age. These sections can vary from close spacing of younger variants. to farther spacing of older variants. There are limits to density due to the performance impact, but hopefully the amount of variables at play will keep you on your toes as you travel across the map.

Broadleaf hedgerows and forest edges now have a lower profile than in the past. This looks more natural and adds more coverage at a lower height. With this change, sections of forest are more self-contained with this "bushier" egde-line. This helps block some sight in and out of deep forest. While much thinner then reality, this balanced result is an important improvement to the visuals as well as gameplay. Moving as an individual or group in and out forest should be a more significant shift as well as hiding. While you may feel safe and hidden within deep forest sections, there is also the opposite of not knowing who may be nearby.


We hope you will enjoy your freshly upgraded playground!

- Mark Gill/ Map Designer -

Dev Update/Adam

Hello everyone, I hope that you enjoyed this SR's contribution from Mark, our map designer, who has showed a great passion for such whopping task as transforming the nature of Chernarus is. He spend countless amount of time designing and configuring how the new forests and individual vegetation looks and we are all excited for the day when you finally be able to experience new Chernarus too.

We are currently really busy with map tweaking to make sure we can deliver the new Chernarus in best possible shape we can in given time. Please keep in mind that update .62 has touched almost every corner of Chernarus and while we do our best to make sure everything will look just like we wanted, there will be some minor map-related issues. Also, keep in mind that update .62 contains initial changes to the whole western border, completely getting rid of old terrain and object layout and replacing it with much more detailed landscape and layout. This work, labelled as western expansion, is however split into several phases and more additions and fixes are planned for later updates.

In addition to many great improvements to the way grass, trees look and behave in wind, our programmers also went and fixed many issues related to lighting and sky. One of the major things was that before 062, shadows were turned off too early / too late and that impacted the quality of scene (mainly interiors) in a very bad way. This issue was fixed along with many more (like smoother sky-fog transition, reduced size of the moon and sun, moon visibility, horizon look, and more...). These changes have enabled us to focus on lighting config for Chernarus, which saw some great changes. While we do not consider it to be final, we hope that it will prove to be a very fitting addition to the visual update coming with 0.62.

Additionally, in January 24th SR I promised you that I will show you the new railway stone bridge, so here it is! Coming in 0.62 along with many additional changes to the railway network of Chernarus!

See you in Chernarus!

- Adam Franců / Senior Map Designer -

Community Spotlight

Last week, together with our Brand Manager Martin and our external camera crew, we embarked to the real world model for Chernarus to shoot a new Q&A video with our Map Designer Adam Franců a.k.a Sumrak (a well known Arma 3 modder). The real Chernarus is found in the vicinity of the town of Ústi nad Labem in the Czech Republic and we already talked about it in the March Status Report

As a first thing we aimed for the "Pik Kozlova" (or Kozí vrch in the real world), which offers beautiful view of the outskirts of Ústi nad Labem that you most likely know from the game as Chernogorsk. Even from such distance, you can recognize typical blocks of flats in Chapaevsk, Novoselky and Dubky, where you surely more than once encountered camping snipers. The real Chernarus does not have a sea, because we don’t have any in the Czech Republic, but you can recognize the shore as the curve of the river Labe. I have snapped a couple of photos for you to compare the “real Chernarus” and it's game counterpart as shown in update 0.62.

Comparison of Ústi nad Labem and Chernogorsk:


Later on, we moved to Lipová, which was the original village you know as Starý Sobor. It has the characteristic red barn and two large abandoned cowsheds. I looked behind the buildings, where the military tents are supposed to be, but of course they were not there. There is an area with concrete floor instead, where silage used to be fermented.


Abadoned cowsheds


After Lipová, we travelled to village Javory, which can remind you of ingame Gorka. That is where the church is located, that you can see in many locations in the game. We wanted to have a look inside, but there was a sign saying “gassed, do not enter”, so we decided to not take the risk and after a bit of filming we left the town and headed for the Zub castle.


If you used to run through Moglievka to Vyshnoye in game, you might have noticed ruins of the castle Zub on your left hand side. The castle is really there, at least its remnants, and it is called Blansko. It is slightly smaller than in game, but it provides an amazing view of the surrounding countryside. You can see the small village of Vyshnoye and its vicinity. The name of the real village is the same as of the castle – Blansko. And one point of interest - a community member Ivan tweeted to us that he hid a non-public geocache with DayZ motive nearby the castle. So if you will be around and manage to find it, let us know its content, because we are curious what is inside and we didn’t find it.


It was an absolutely amazing experience for me, because I felt like I was really in the game. We did not need a map, we know Chernarus like the back of our hands, therefore we know exactly which way to choose and where everything is. If you will ever have the opportunity to visit Czech Republic, make sure not to miss this experience. I am definitely planning to go back to real Chernarus, this time on foot, with tent and some beans for couple of days, because it is worth it, will you join me?

I hope you enjoyed my short report and I can not wait to show you the video we filmed there. If you were also on a trip through the real Chernarus, do not hesitate to show off and tweet to us what you liked the most and some of your pictures! Have a great time and see you in Chernarus, this time in game!

Header image: Mark_Knophler

- Baty / Community Manager -

 
 


Mardi 2 mai 2017  
 
Status Report - 02 May 2017

Hello Survivors! We've got another beefy Status Report for you this week! Brian talks about basic vehicle goals for BETA, Eugen shares a story about one of our development decisions, and Peter and Mirek go more in depth about some of their recent work! Got 10 minutes to read? Sure you do, that's why you're here - let's get to it!

Dev Update / Hicks

Greetings Survivors! 

As Eugen is covering what the current tasks are, that frees me up to talk about some of the mechanics and systems that we (Peter, myself, the development team as a whole) are looking forward to improving upon in beta and the milestones past that. Given that after checking the various communities centered around DayZ, I noticed a group of posts doing their best impression of the World War 3 style courtroom audience summoned by the Q entity in Star Trek's Encounter at Farpoint when discussing the current state of vehicles, I figured now is as good a time as any to clear up some things when it comes to them, in DayZ. (The vehicles, not Q's apparitions)  

While I personally love the work Peter and the design team did on manual transmissions in DayZ, vehicle handling and mechanics as a whole are far from where we want them to be. The biggest culprit of this, obviously, is physics, and their handling on terrain. We did show some of the changes being worked on for that area of the vehicles, but many may have missed it.

It's fair to say that vehicles in DayZ's Alpha phase of Early Access have received the least amount of user visible love. Part of that is due to the complex physics situation in DayZ, as we still currently operate two completely separate physics systems. Another part of that is due to so much of the focus being on technology, and getting it in place to support DayZ as we want it to be. I'm looking forward to that, as from my perspective, vehicles are a critical component of mid-to-late game DayZ gameplay - and quite honestly, without them in a satisfying state, you tend to just end up with a walking simulator ;). 

Let me give you guys a look at some of the areas we will be looking at improving into and throughout BETA. 

    Terrain handling / acceleration
    SFX (Engines / Transmission)
    UI (Specifically in the toggle-able HUD that we have shown before - so that 3PP players can see the same critical info 1PP can)
    Feedback on vehicle damage state (Aside from damage materials, and doors falling off - think smoke from a damaged engine, engine stumble/diesel when running out of fuel)
    Proper destruction of vehicle when it has been destroyed (rather than the current state of the vehicle just not turning on)

Don't think for a moment anyone on the dev team looks at vehicles the way they are now and says "Y'know what - that's perfect, ship it" - far from it. All of us are just as antsy and eager to see DayZ's systems start to flesh out and polish as we all want them to be - we just have to knuckle down and understand that the technology to support our vision needs to be ready for us to start implementing this.  

This exact reason, and so much more is why all of us are so focused on, and excited to enter the BETA phase of DayZ's Early Access. I'll leave you all with that, as I'd like to put together Peter and I's thoughts on stamina, and weapon sway for the next Status Report. For now, just promise not to kill me on sight when you see me in Severograd.

- Brian Hicks / Creative Director -

Dev Update / Eugen

Hey guys, as some of you have noticed, I have omitted listing audio changes as part of 0.62 update in the last Status Report. That was an honest mistake, but it also highlights what a dynamic place game development is. I'll try and have my contribution structured as a goal for the future Status Updates. Usually, I'll begin with a "story from development", just so you can see what kind of decision making is happening everyday, as well as going through the things we have been working on in the respective departments for each patch separately.

0.62 Strike Team Update & Development Story

This time, it’s a story AND a progress update - yay!

0.62 patch was originally planned for delivery (on Experimental branch) during the second week of April, but due to complications and cooperation on engine milestones, it became apparent that we needed to close them sequentially, rather than working on both at once. Remember that only small team is working on 0.62 at the moment, as almost all of us are focusing on BETA/0.63 delivery.

However, back to the topic at hand. Originally, that shouldn't have been that much of a problem. As we started testing the 0.62 update, we quickly found out that when we enable the new positional environmental sounds (basically the reworked Arma 3 tech introduced with the Eden Update that is becoming a part of Enfusion Engine platform), we encountered a crash.

The crash itself manifests when you switch window focus fast enough during startup, but it can manifest at any point, this is just the easiest way to get it. The crash is based around file system and resource management of our engine - one of the last remaining parts that are not rewritten for DayZ yet.

We have a couple of options now: We can either rework the content to work with the old system to make the new sounds function, but lose the ability for positional audio in environments, or fix the bug in the resource management and make the old system work with the new content and data.

We can also rewrite the system completely to get the pattern of these crashes fixed on the platform as a whole.

It might look like a small thing, but the positional environment audio makes the game much more immersive. And the issues go much deeper than that, as the same system might be causing some console performance issues (and more). To get an overview and make a right decision requires fast, but actionable intel. These things happen often when working with older technology, especially when you are in a process of refactoring it as well.

This resource management has been the culprit of many issues in the past, but so far it held the test of time. That might not be the case going forward, and might need some serious looking into.


Our team of designers in the middle of some deep thinking :)

0.63 BETA Strike Team Update

As for the work with BETA Strike Team, I list them below. One line of text / bullet point usually means it's in the hands of a single person working on the feature and handling the ownership. However, be aware that I need to simplify it to make things at least a little bit digestible, so it's hard to strike the right amount of detail without basically reworking JIRA tasks to show them here:

Programmers

    AI script implementation
    Zombie behavior script representation
    Wind rework and debugs
    Inventory and item conditions
    Item spawn definition
    User actions in multiplayer
    Exhausted and hurt player animation support
    Network traffic optimization
    New version check (to prevent edge cases of connecting to a different build of a game)
    Lightning fixes (new lightning setup)
    Sound event manager
    Tons of crash fixing
    Tons of bug fixes

Animators

    Weapon mechanics animations polishing (unjamming, reloads)
    Inverse Kinematics poses
    Mocap (Player turns and more)
    Hit reactions on player
    Animation plugins
    Cow and Bull refactor for the new animation system

Designers

    User actions in multiplayer
    Player representation
    New item hierarchy definition
    New player and item spawn definition
    Inventory UI refactor
    Lifespan
    Tree fire geometry
    Tons of bug fixes

Audio

    Positional environment audio

QA

    Playtest 0.62
    Door rework priority assignment (standardized door sizes)
    Performance profiling in 0.62
    Client performance benchmarks in 0.62


0.62 Strike Team meeting

I know that a list is not the best way to present the progress, but might be interesting for the development folks out there. However, I would also like to make it much more representative. There are tons of things happening at the same time, and we are in process of visualizing the sprint in very near future and I`ll try and share our overview of BETA progress when things settle down.

- Eugen Harton / Lead Producer -

Dev Update / Peter

Along with upcoming changes to doors behavior I wrote about in the past, another issue which we definitely need to address and solve is the wide variety of different widths and heights of door openings. It may sound like a marginal issue, but I encourage you to continue reading, and discover how it affects gameplay.

Nearly every opening in DayZ is unique, which is caused by historical reasons and non-existing metrics back then (we are using a mixture of different structures collected from Operation Flashpoint, Arma 1, Arma 2, and some new ones made exclusively for DayZ). Apart from the fact that doors with dimensions below ideal standard just look bad and out of place (not to mention handles placed in above knees height) and feel odd (especially from the first person camera), they are also hindering the "fluency" of player movement.

Character collisions coupled with old clunky locomotion are introducing unwanted challenge in such simple action as going through the door, turning doors into an obstacle. Internal tests made with both old and new characters show us that a minimum clear opening of doors in DayZ should have clear width of 120cm and clear height of 220cm, and these dimensions were established as required metrics.

Everything below causes issues with character navigation, and feels odd especially in first person camera, where opening seems very narrow and low due to camera FOV and perspective. Also the third person camera then shows unnecessary jumping down while going through the door (if their opening height is under 220cm). New doors metrics with their new behavior will add a lot to responsiveness and smooth movement through the environment and its obstacles.

As we are continuing to work on 0.63 version AKA BETA, programmers are getting rid of old systems down the road. Lastly, old player has been completely removed internally, and with it also firearms handling (that includes firearms action like chambering, reloading, shooting… etc.) and aiming model (which means sway, recoil, dexterity, aiming, holding breath…), together with melee fighting (traced swings…) are gone forever as these were integral parts of the old player.

This untied our hands as now is the time when prototypes based on design I mentioned in past Status Reports (8 March 2017 and 28 September 2016) start being implemented in close cooperation between programmers, animators and us managing the design and script side of things.

Rewrite of firearms also allows us to introduce mechanics like changeable gun barrels (we have 2 more barrels for AUG ready to experiment with), different muzzle speeds for the same ammunition type depending on barrel length (which helps balancing firearms between each other, or vice versa), different muzzle speeds for different ammunition type used in same firearm (pellets vs slugs anyone?), switching between scope and sights if possible (like AK family, AUG…) and refinement of, and more importantly, connecting already introduced firearms mechanics like unjamming, mechanism manipulation, chambering and others to the new animation system.

I just can't wait for the moment these systems will be fully re-implemented, as it will change the combat experience a lot in general.

- Peter Nespesny / Lead Designer -

Dev Update / Mirek

We have finished network part of user action system as I described in my last Status Report contribution. It's worth to mention that this change has decreased network traffic from clients significantly and now our client on 0.63 sends (with some small exceptions) only input packets. This change will help a lot to resolve issues like late hits registration and it also should help to overall game responsibility.

Weapon system has received some new features, like changeable barrels and muzzles and support for attached grenade launchers. Basic implementation for weapon jamming is ready since last week.

And another small new feature - we're working on a system that will select communication channel for chat and voice automatically, so players won't have to change channel using keyboard cursor keys.

Apart from that, most of our time is still being spend on the new player implementation - tweaking movement and collisions, creating new weapon aiming system and connecting it all to other gameplay systems - we'll talk about these later on, when they are ready.

- Miroslav Maněna / Lead Gameplay Progammer -

Community Spotlight

Greetings Survivors, It is getting warmer outside in Europe, but not even the nice weather can stop you from playing your favorite game. With every day, we are getting closer to release of the 0.62 Update and the community is trembling with impatience and nervousness. But don’t worry, I am also looking forward to the release of the new update, same as you.

As you surely know from previous Status Reports, update 0.62 will also contain map updates, which are being taken care of by our map designer Adam Franců a.k.a. Sumrak. We will be shooting new Q&A video with him in the next couple of days. If you have any questions regarding his work and the DayZ map, feel free to ask him. 

And now for the things that landed on our Twitter, official forum or Reddit over the last two weeks. 
 
When I opened Twitter today, the first thing that caught my eye was an elaborate figurine made by Bragawn. It’s almost unbelievable that it is made entirely of paper! Great job! 

 

Next, I would like to share with you two videos that I found interesting. First one is for fans of role-play gameplay style. It is a ritual of Cult of Papa filmed by three different people and edited into one video by Ron Fox. Can you guess the place where it was filmed? Hail Papa!



The other video is for PvP lovers. Absolutely brilliant singing opening and ending by IsSy is followed by exciting action with a lot of victims. Good aim Inherwake!  



For the end, I would like to introduce a smaller streamer from Australia who I like for his enthusiasm, optimism and being always cheerful. Make sure to check out his Twitch channel, you will surely be infected with his positivity! 

If you have any DayZ creations of your own that you'd like to share, tweet them to us on our official Twitter channel. You might just honor the next status report with your talent! 

Awesome header image submitted by: [O.N.U] Damigo 

- Baty / Community Manager -

 
 

 

 


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