The Stress Test #1 finally happened yesterday - after years of work, we've finally let some of you play the "new DayZ", the 0.63 update. Of course, this would be the focus topic in today's Status Report, and most likely even for a couple of the upcoming Status Reports, so we have Peter and Eugen reflecting upon yesterday's events, together with Adam teasing a small bit of his work on Chernarus! Let's read.
Dear DayZ players. Some of you had the chance to try the 0.63 Stress Test yesterday. The team is going through the feedback as I write this text, and we will try and push changes over the next couple of Stress Tests. The stability of the build was quite okay, but it still needs to be looked at as we've had 25 server crashes across the 52 servers that were available yesterday. We expected the crashes to be a lot more severe, so we're happy with the first iteration in this case. If you encountered any client crashes, the best thing you can do is to go to our Feedback Tracker and follow our guide on getting the right files and information to us. For those worried that they didn't get in, don't worry, there are more Stress Tests planned and I'll talk about how we want to approach them more today.
The biggest issue yesterday was the BattlEye kicks affecting everybody. We are working to figure out why there were timeouts in the communication with BattlEye, however, this is almost impossible to test internally (needs thousands of players), so we will try and make changes to the current system, and stop the gameplay interruption caused by it.
On the note of the second most common issue, which is the character lockout in a database. Its an anti-dupe system that makes sure that you're not game the system by saving your character with items that you have dropped on a server. There is still tweaking to be done to this system, and we will go through the logs and cases where it just didn't do what it was supposed to do.
Regarding any of the gameplay issues and bugs happening: most of them are known, and we will come up with solutions and test them out in the upcoming Stress Tests that will happen going forward. So how are we going to approach the next few weeks really depends on how quickly we deal with the last stability issues. Whatever the case may be, however, the next big test for us and the DayZ servers is going to be AI (infected and animals). Once we are ready to test the performance with them, you'll be seeing different setups of player items, spawn points etc. to test different parts of the game under high-stress conditions.
the first bunch items on the fixing menu are crashes, and the two biggest issues already mentioned: BattlEye timeouts and character lockouts. We will try to get changes in for the next Stress Test to either get more information and/or lower the impact. The client freezes that you might have experienced are next on the list, and we have fixes in our main Internal branch that we want to port over to the Stress Test branch. Looking forward to the next Stress Test already!
A BIG thanks to all of you participating and helping us with the Stress Test #1. Don't forget to send us your feedback either through the Forums or the Feedback Tracker and let's get this ball rolling in the right direction. The engine is here, now we want to make the game better!
- Eugen Harton / Lead Producer -
Yesterday, with the first Stress Test available for a limited amount of time, you had a chance to finally try out the recent build of the new DayZ - a build that will evolve into 0.63 Stable (aka DayZ BETA) in its final form over the coming months.
We've spent tons of time developing the new DayZ (I personally call it DayZ 2.0 as it’s significantly different) alongside with its predecessor, which was ultimately terminated with the 0.62 version that's now on the Stable branch. It was definitely a long, winding and bumpy road. To be honest, we are still not at its end yet, but I’m glad we were brave enough to take that road!
Versions you are able to test out during the series of Stress Tests have plenty of new stuff and a whole lot of changes made on the granular level. It’s clear, and completely understandable that the new take on DayZ's game design and direction with most mechanics, features, and systems can feel "inappropriate" at first, and can create a lot of drama in the community - possibly even divide it. Especially since with some things, we are certainly far from the usual game industry standards. However, DayZ has never strived to be another ordinary game, and that is not going to change.
Of course, these are not changes made for the sake of changes themselves. As stated many times before, we are focused on making the DayZ gameplay to feel genuine by adding as much of actual physicality to it as possible.
That’s why we've decided to take some unusual design directions, which introduced many new things to the gameplay mix: a dominant hand slot, where all interactions with items now take place. An enhanced usage of quick slots, allowing you to execute combine actions with items in hands. A reactive raising of hands and advanced firearms manipulation. Even loading magazines with bullets, and many other mechanics and features cross the usual/familiar video game boundaries. Only that way we can deliver an authentic, strong, and unmistakable user experience of playing DayZ.
I’m very proud and happy to see such positive feedback from you, our players, on the design we have been sitting on for ages. Over the time, it’s very easy to start breaking apart from the reality and to be honest, I was getting pretty nervous before the release of Stress Test, thinking about how it will be accepted. It turned out to be a stunning sanity check. I want to emphasize that a lot of the stuff in Stress Tests is still in a placeholder stage, largely just being unfinished or unbalanced. We are in the process of getting everything together. The great foundation is there, and we can build upon it.
The new era of DayZ has finally begun... see you in Chernarus, folks!
- Peter Nespesny / Lead Designer -
If you manage to venture into the city of Chernogorsk in the upcoming Stress Tests or when 0.63 hits Experimental, please do not panic. As teased on the 0.63 live stream a few weeks back - yes you saw it right - we are re-designing Chernogorsk, yet again.
While the current version of Chernogorsk (v2.5) definitely brings the area of Chernogorsk to DayZ standards (in terms of overall visual quality), we felt that it really lacks on the design side of things. Increased size with additional details contributed to some major performance issues, and the current version is also unnecessarily constrained to the old Arma 2 layout (basically no major landscape changes were done).
The plan for version 3 is to figure out broader changes to the area to ensure better performance while keeping the town itself still big enough, and the industrial part still making sense and being dominant like in the days of old Chernogorsk. Additional goals of the version 3 are design and performance related improvements to all three tenement cities and also making sure that this re-design is also seamlessly connected to the other parts of the map (in other words, changes do not end at the border houses, but also affect surrounding areas such as Balota, Nadezhdino, Prigorodki, Elektrozavodsk and the iconic Pik Kozlova).
Please keep in mind that this is a crazy big task and as of writing this, it is still ongoing. All that you see in and around Chernogorsk is and will be work-in-progress for some time throughout the 0.63 Experimental period. I will not be going into details on what exactly has happened with the area (I will leave that up to you to figure out), but allow me a small teaser.
That's not everything though, I also have an update on the watercourses we previewed in January 16th status report. Some great progress has been made on the visual side of things and we are currently applying this latest iteration on brand new locations (valleys going from central Chernarus to South, South East, and East). We are not quite ready to show anything yet (this iteration won't be available in the first releases of 0.63 on Experimental), but it looks and sounds really good! If you are interested to see a flowing water in the upcoming experimental releases, the version we have previewed at the beginning of this year will be available for you to check out on a number of locations on Chernarus already.
- Adam Franců / Map Designer -
Hey guys! You tried the first version of 0.63 with your own hands yesterday (or at least saw the main menu in some cases, sorry for the crashes! :)). We've had 3120 slots on servers and 4209 of you joined the Stress Test branch altogether - just wow!
I am processing the feedback from you guys at the moment and the dev team will be taking a closer look at it. Thank you for that, your feedback is really important to us!
I can't promise you how often the Stress Tests will be happening, but it should get better and better every time. Remember, you usually have to wait for that which is worth waiting for! :)
Btw. I love this gif :D
I just want to remind you of one thing. I know that waiting in queues is frustrating for streamers. For the next Stress Test, we will have one server open for Content Creators. Contact me if you think you should be there, but remember - I will scan through your channels and I want to see DayZ on them! :P
I want to thank you for the amazing content we are getting from you. You sent me so many awesome things this week.
This first video is incredible. It is a live-action story about two survivors who don't trust each other. Just wow, I have no words. When I sent it to the dev-team, they were amazed too. You NEED to check it out!
Another video is made by gekofish and he is showing a special power of his Sedan - hyperdrive! Good job!
Did I say how I love your artworks? I believe I already did because you've sent me plenty of them. Either way, let's check some of those that I picked.
This is an edited screenshot by Matthias and it looks really cool.
This one is from SwatTheWolf who is hyped for the BETA. Yeah, we are hyped too!
Liquidcactus from our official forum shows off a few of his artworks and they are really nice. Look at this one.
My favorite mass murdererDanny Boyy wants to have lightsabers in the game. So he did some Photoshop magic and created this:
Guys, did you ever see a better Twitch overlay than the one Joito has?
And look, someone is in DayZ mood! AmishGangsta404 is ready for an apocalypse!
And one last thing - someone had a birthday and got an amazing cake! Happy Birthday, Reece!
Pitstop Head prided himself on how many screenshots he took in-game on Twitter and other players started to show their number of screenshots too. So, how many DayZ screenshots do you have? Send it to us via our official Twitter account, I am really curious.
And I promised a riddle last time, so here is the list of winners:
And here is a picture of a location to guess. It is from Adam again, so it is hard as usual. Can you figure it out? Our Twitter is ready for your answers!
I will dig into more of your 0.63 content next time because I prepared this Status Report before the Stress Test and I didn't have time to check it all out.
And thank you for your feedback again, we really appreciate that!
- Baty / Community Manager -
Vendredi 13 avril 2018
Status Report - April 13, 2018
Latest Development news from Eugen, small teasers of the upcoming changes to radios and other VoIP devices, as well as the final particle effects for gunshots, and also a nice summary of our trip to PAX East! It's not Tuesday, but it's still Status Report time, so let's read!
Dear DayZ players.
All of us here are both playing and tweaking the version for the first Stress Test. You might be asking why it's not out yet, and how on Earth we are enjoying it and not sharing that with you? :). The current state of the build, although fun and quite consistent, is still a bit unstable. And what I mean by unstable? In the worst gunfights with large numbers of players and looting, we can still see at least up to 10 different crashes averaging in up time of less than an hour. We fixed about 500 bugs so far for this Stress Test alone, and there is about 50 left. About 10 of those are crashes that have been plaguing our most recent internal playtests. The good news is that we were finally able to debug the reasons behind these, and are working on fixes as you read this.
Quick look at the issues that need fixing for 0.63 Experimental as of this afternoon (not including features that still need to be implemented). Click to Enlarge
Once these fixes are confirmed, and if nothing else pops up (usually does, but fingers crossed!), we will evaluate the state of the build again and start with Stress Testing. We are as anxious as you to get this ball rolling :).
Now for the work invested into things that are not launching with either Stress Tests or with the first Experimental build: there are about 1000 bugs fixed so far for Experimental and we are doing some heavy work on UI visuals and functionality to go beyond the basics needed to develop on the new engine. Jumping has got into the game with its first iteration and will be followed by climbing later as we polish animations and possible edge cases where players get stuck.
On the notion of having other means of movement rather than walking and running, we are still working on 0.63 vehicles, and also the first helicopter iterations for internal testing. These are still heavy work in progress as vehicles, base building, and several other features are still waiting for a commit (= implementation to the main game code) of technology that we have mentioned a couple of times: enabling hierarchy between entities in the game. We will move on to that commit once we confirm that there are no larger issues during Stress Tests.
Just to give you some scope (since I started using numbers) over the years, we have tracked around 30 000 issues and resolved about 25 000 of them, where resolving means that some have become irrelevant on their own either due to change of tech or design (Expired, Won't fix, Duplicate, As Designed and other resolution types in the chart below except for Done or Fixed). Part of the remaining unresolved issues is also related to post 1.0 content and features:
A quick look at the issues that need fixing for 0.63 Experimental as of this afternoon (not including features that still need to be implemented).
I'm excited about what's to come with the first stress test and feedback that we can work with. I'll be there trying to survive there with you! :)
Eugen Harton / Lead Producer
Voice communication is something we haven't really talked about for some time. So I'm here to introduce you to the changes we've done on the gameplay side. But since this is my first Status Report, I'll start with a small introduction. My name is Jan Huňka (on the internets, I go by the nickname Zoidy) and I work on DayZ as a Gameplay Programmer specializing on networking - but I also worked on the new damage system, login/logout process and a bunch of other things.
The main goal of these changes was to make the communication as seamless as possible. As soon as your radio has a battery in, you can talk on the selected frequency. If you turn it off, you're automatically using direct communication again.
Currently, we have three types of communication devices in the game. Megaphone, personal radio and also a Public Address System.
Personal radios are very easy to use. You don't need to hold the radio in your hand, it can be anywhere nearby like in the inventory or just on the ground and you can still use it. Other survivors nearby can also use your radio if they're close enough. To transmit on larger distances, you can use big radio stations. Signal strength is based on the maximum distance. The closer you're to the maximum distance, the more noise you're gonna hear. The same goes for the text chat. The closer you're to the max distance, the more can your text message be corrupted.
Public address system (PAS)
We placed quite a few PAS loud-speakers across the cities of Chernarus and now you'll finally be able to use them. PAS broadcaster can broadcast your voice to all loud-speakers in range. You just have to stand close to the broadcaster. It is also possible for multiple players to use the broadcaster at the same time. Listening players are hearing voices of the speakers from the loud-speakers based on its distance and direction.
Megaphone needs to be held in hands to use and it basically allows your voice to be heard on larger distances than just talking.
Server keeps information about nearby communication devices that every player is currently able to use. This information is then cross-referenced against other players and the result is a "list" of players that you can communicate with. All voice messages and also text chat messages are routed to appropriate clients using this information. Thanks to this, you can transmit your voice to multiple devices at the same time. For example, if you want to set up some radios on different frequencies nearby your PAS broadcaster and then broadcast your amazing speech on all possible channels and PAS at the same time, it is completely possible.
Contrary to the original plan, you cannot use one device to transmit to another device. Like leave your personal radio nearby PAS broadcaster. The chains of devices that could be created using this feature could become very complex really fast. We would also need to constantly check all communication devices on the whole map to update these chains, which could get costly in terms of resources. But we'll try to keep this in mind and maybe this feature could make it to the game on some smaller scale.
We added and tweaked the sound filters for different types of devices. Radios still have their typical noise, but megaphones and public address system received some nice echo effects, so you should be able to tell what device is the source of the sound.
If, for example, there are three radios around you on the same frequency, you're gonna hear the same voice with a little echo, so you can recognise the same voice is coming from multiple sources. The echo is calculated based on the number of devices and their distance from the player.
Thanks for reading and I hope you're gonna have a lot of fun with the new communication system in Chernarus!
Jan Huňka / Gameplay Programmer
Survivors! I have some news from our scripting team - I'm happy to say that the system for weapon particle effects has been finished for some time now, so here is a small sample of the quality of muzzle flashes you can expect to see in the 0.63 Stress Test:
Note that rapidly firing for a prolonged amount of time will heat up the barrel, causing a continuous stream of smoke until it cools down. In later experimental updates, badly worn out weapons will tend to smoke more as build-up collects in them, which prompts players to use the weapon cleaning kit to avoid malfunctions.
The next task related to gunfights is the improvement of bullet impact effects (including blood splats), which are meant to better visualise our advanced ballistic system. Currently, we have a simplified placeholder system implemented until the final solution is fully prepared.
Fire away, survivors, but mind the heat of your gun barrels!
Boris Vacula / Scripter
I don't know if you noticed, but me and my colleague Martin were invited by Microsoft to show you the Xbox One DayZ DEMO at PAX East in Boston. Yes, we already have a playable single player 0.63 demo that runs really smooth, and this was the first time we presented the Xbox version to public!
We were a bit nervous about the reactions, but your enthusiasm about the demo calmed us down and we were really happy that you liked it. Xbox players had a chance to try the demo for the first time, running around and exploring what DayZ is all about. Meanwhile, experienced PC players were testing new features, because it was also the first opportunity for the to get their hands on 0.63.
If you want to see a personal experience of one of our players, here is a video from Jake:
And of course, we've met so many nice people who we know only from online communication. For me, that was the highlight of the show. Thanks everyone who stopped by and talked to us or just tried the demo!
Our little station was right there. Massive thanks to Microsoft for inviting us to their booth!
Pax East was so crowded!
We've met a couple of survivors in DayZ cosplay!
Some streamers like MarkstromTV, TheLoyalPatriot, LtDanOfficial, Mr. Moon, Deadly Slob, GamerDad, Johny Rotten, Puhdado, Acesfury and Jakon tried our demo too.
So many amazing people came to Pax to meet us. We love you guys.
Let's check out some events on private servers.
The first one is organized by DayZ Underground server and it is called "king of Severograd". Be ready tomorrow at 4PM EST. Don't forget to register!
Another one will be on Saturday at 7pm CST on the DayZ Noob server and it is melee weapons only. You can win a fully decked M4A1, AK101, AK74, FAL and AKM. Nice prizes!
And the third one is today, so run and join other survivors on TopeRec&Spaggie's server (188.8.131.52:2602) at 20:00GMT as soon as possible.
The last thing for today are some of your questions (we'll do the riddle next time):
Is PC your primary platform?
Yes, it absolutely is our primary platform. Every piece of new content, every feature, every new bit of technology always gets into the PC version first. Both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 run only what already exists on PC. Ultimately any development progress made now is always implemented on PC first.
Should we be worried about DayZ being on consoles?
No! Quite the contrary: we need to squeeze every frame, and every possible line of code optimization out of DayZ in order to make it run well on consoles. This massively contributes to the overall improvements of the PC build. Exploring new platforms with DayZ also opens more possibilities to cooperate with different partners - if we did not make DayZ on Xbox, it would be harder for us to visit you in person or events, for example.
Is it going to slow down PC development?
No! Remember, PC development is console development. It's not two different things. There is, of course, some amount of work associated with specific platform support and bug fixing, mostly in programming and QA, but we're not taking the time of any developers that are critical for reaching our Experimental, Stable and 1.0 goals for PC.
And that is all from me today. Don't forget to send us your videos, pictures and everything DayZ related you've made, because we love it!