Following the 0.63 Experimental release last week we are back with our Status Report. Today, Eugen gives us an update on the state of development, while Viktor and Adam from the animation team show us what they've been up to for the past couple of weeks. Our Map Designer Adam demonstrates changes to the weather system and we get some insights into the audio progress by our Sound Designer Filip. And of course we close with our community highlights, let's dive into it!
the Experimental release is behind us, but the work does not stop here. So I would like to look at the issues present, troubling the community playing this version and also talk about the internal development that has happened and features you'll be seeing very soon on the Stress Test and Experimental branch. We kept both of the branches active to make sure we don't break Experimental too often and have features coming into it with more polish. While 0.63 is heavy on new technology, we know it's quite light on content. But you will be able to enjoy a lot of the new stuff in the upcoming weeks.
The issues that take longest to iron out are related to the stability of client and server, and problems that would end up interrupting your play sessions for various reasons. From locked characters, to server kicks or just unexpected crashes to desktop. Things are getting better, but there is more to be done in this regard and we continue to monitor the situation and apply fixes to make sure we eliminate this as soon as possible. We know its not there yet and its our top priority.
We should also talk about our plan to make the Experimental servers available to server owners currently running their communities. Sadly this had to be slightly postponed due to changes necessary for GDPR and memory leaks wreaking havoc on stability and performance. These seem to be fixed as of today, so very soon you will be able to switch over and enjoy the updated version with your fellow community members on your own terms.
In terms of development, we are currently moving along quite nicely with only small delays in features planned out internally. The benefits of the new technology are already showing themselves in the pace of implementation. We are also looking into possible solutions to issues that currently cause these delays and make sure we deliver. Let's go over the current state of development and features themselves.
We can consider finished for Experimental phase:
UI Main Menu
Goat - Animal
Last week we have moved/continue to the review/bug fixing of:
UI Server Browser
Weapon/Item Swap Action/Animation
Gathering Ambient Loot
Vehicles - Open/Close doors
Vehicles - Attach/Detach vehicle parts
This week is dedicated to the internal implementation of:
Weapons - Double Barrel
New Input System
Collisions during melee
So you might be asking yourself when these things hit Stress Test and Experimental branches. We plan to switch over a bunch of these very soon, and you can expect to have these available in batches over the coming weeks. However, we want to aim for at least unconscious state to be finished in different edge cases. As of now, there are still small issues with ladder/water unconscious state interactions that are not ready for the Stress Test, but this week we should see them fixed and as such moved to the Stress Test branch alongside many other new features and content.
- Eugen Harton / Lead Producer -
Hello everyone, today I would like to share with you in this short update what the animation team has been working on for the past weeks and what is going on at the moment. Obviously, the player character is important to us, so we continue improving its behaviour and what it can do.
At the moment, we are revisiting some of the animations and improving them, or replacing them with better ones. This includes melee combat and its attacks. There have been some animation changes to better represent which item is the player attacking with, like a new sprint-attack with the baseball bat. Also, a lot of work has been put into finger poses so that the character is holding various items the best way it can. Some of the recent animation additions include the new IZH43 animation set, and some gestures like nodding head, shrug, and "OK".
One of the more significant improvements to player locomotion is the ability to jump over obstacles. The feature is still work-in-progress, as well as the animations, but the character is now able to overcome small objects that are in his way by jumping over them. We are now in the process of adding all the animation variations for different directions and items in hands. At the same time, our programmer is working on the climbing for players and soon, we will start implementing animations for it.
As we also started tidying up some animations and features, there is an ongoing work on player actions. This includes polishing of existing animations, some graph tweaks, but also some new animations to better visualize what the character is doing. Our Technical Animator Adam will share more details on what was happening over the past weeks regarding various animation improvements related to these actions.
Make sure to check out the gifs for the baseball bat attack and cutting down bushes.
- Viktor Kostík / Lead Animator -
Dev Update/Adam Oresten
For the past couple of weeks, I have been hard at work revamping, tweaking, and creating animations for many various actions. User actions are the backbone of the game, and as such, they require thought out implementation; what items can they be done with? What stances are they realistic in? Should the character be able to move during the action? All of these play a huge role in their realization, concept, and execution.
I’ve implemented animations for on back actions (mainly important ones; drinking, eating, etc), tweaked some action animations to be faster or slower and cutting out unnecessary parts, depending on which type of action. I’ve also created and implemented animations for placing heavy items (barrels, generators, etc) and smaller items (bear traps, mines, etc), and I’ve also revamped the horticulture action animations, such as cutting down a tree with a two-handed axe, or one-handed hatchet, cutting down bushes, and getting bark from trees with knives or machetes. As a part of these actions, I also implemented some smaller QoL (quality of life) representative action animations for viewing compass and viewing the map to properly convey what the player is currently doing.
We’re in “full steam ahead” mode with the actions and their corresponding animations, and every week we’re working on new actions and polishing the animations for the ones we already have!
- Adam Oresten / Technical Animator -
Dev Update/Adam Franců
In our Status Report from 22 November 2016, we shared our plans to upgrade SimulWeather/TrueSky - a 3rd party library used to render volumetric clouds in DayZ. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, we had to ultimately cancel this plan and rather focus our attention on the current implementation that is present in DayZ since the beginning of Early Access. This has not only allowed us to make necessary performance adjustments but also to take a closer look at the visuals of clouds and what could be improved within the limits of the current implementation. Here is a short summary of what has been changed:
Regarding performance improvements we have reached a point, where we have decided to remove the ability to disable volumetric clouds on the client side - this change will take an effect once revamp of graphical options is finalized. There have been major changes in the cloud configuration, which are mainly aimed to make the clouds more visible and distinct from the skybox background. We improved the interaction of fog (in distance and height) and volumetric clouds, so that clouds should blend better with the horizon when it is foggy.
The silver lining effect of clouds has been greatly boosted during the early to late sunrises and sunsets. The movement speed of clouds during windy conditions has been reduced and we've brought additional improvements to the skybox background textures (overcast-dependent) along with some minor tweaks to the global lighting config to support the changes in the skybox and volumetric clouds.
In addition to the changes of clouds, we have also taken a look again at the visuals of rain. These new changes include:
Closeup raindrops are much more visible now.
Re-added effect that tries to visualize light refraction on raindrops.
Fogginess parameter has been tweaked so the rain blends better with the background.
Closeup rain drops are more visible during the night-time around light sources.
Rain speed has been increased.
Both clouds and rain changes should be available to test once the next major Stress Test branch update happens. We are looking forward to your feedback on these improvements!
- Adam Franců / Map Designer -
Dev Update/Filip Čenžák
The latest sound feature we started to work on are voice sounds for the character. So far we've implemented breathing when the character runs out of stamina, the sounds for holding breath while aiming in iron sight mode. and hit reactions when the character takes damage. We plan to add more sounds to create a more immersive character representation. Some of the sounds will be connected to animations, like grunts while jumping, or picking up heavy items, or sounds to emphasize melee combat. Others should be connected to character states, like the feeling of hunger or representation of disease.
So far, all sounds are placeholders and in some cases, only male sounds are played.
- Filip Čenžák / Sound Designer -
Hello everyone, the last two weeks were both really exciting and busy for us.
The release of Experimental was a big milestone all of us have been looking forward to for a long time. Even though we are aware of some issues on Experimental, we are happy, that you finally can play 0.63 almost whenever you want. If you haven't done it already, check our Highlight page featuring all the good stuff from this update!
Another big event was our Community Live Stream. We knew that just a day after the release of 0.63 Experimental, there were going to be a lot of questions. Unfortunately, after announcing the stream, our beloved Eugen got sick and it was clear, that he wouldn’t be able to attend the stream. We still wanted to hold on to our promise and decided to take it as an opportunity to do our first Community Live Stream. We introduced new members of our Community team, opened Boydy's package (thanks again!) and tried to answer as many questions as possible even without the devs.
As I said before, we had a Community Live Stream. I just want to explain what it means. In future, we want to stream in two formats – a developer and a community stream. On developer streams, you can expect information directly from devs and detailed answers for your questions. The second format is more community-related. Our community team wants to talk with the community about events, content from creators and all the stuff from you because you are really important to us. We tried the first community stream and we had a lot of technical difficulties (as always, it is not fun without it, is it?). Here is the VOD from the stream:
You asked who made the music on the stream. It is a member of our community from the Netherlands called L_K_P1 who makes DayZ inspired music and we love it in the dev team! The song from the stream is named DayZ meme and here it is if you are interested:
Do you need a new wallpaper? I have a cool one for you made by ChernoMerlo from the DrDesync’s screenshot.
And here is another one. I have it on my desktop already!
Shane O’Sullivan sent me a really interesting piece of a newspaper. It is named Bohemian Post and he made it by himself. There you can find news about the infection spreading across Chernarus.
Now I want to show you a special project by DayZUnderground called #TwitterPlay. It is an interactive DayZ story within Twitter and it is updated daily. People are making a story through their votes in polls and they can decide what happened with a survivor, about whom the story is. It is a really nice idea and we love it! Join the story and make your own part! You can find the latest part here.
Cage, who we met personally at Pax East, sent us his custom advertisement inspired by our Nota Cola and Pipsi drinks and they are pretty creative.
And the last two pieces of content are videos. The first one is a cinematic trailer about surviving in Chernarus and it is sick. Everyone from the dev team loves it, this is amazing work by HookOak Productions!
The last short clip is made by our loyal member NeuroticEUROtic and he is sharing his feelings when Experimental was near.
Time for a riddle. The riddle from the latest Status Report wasn't so hard, the rock is situated on the North-West of Svetlojarsk above the train yard. Who guessed it right?
This time we prepared this picture with Adam:
If you know where is it, tweet it to our official Twitter account with #DayZriddleTime and you can be on the wall of fame next time. Thank you guys for your content and I hope you will share your creation with us next time!
- Baty / Community Manager -
Mardi 5 juin 2018
Status Report - 5 June 2018
To start off this Status Report, we are going to let Stress Test #18 run over night, so have a good time. Today, Eugen is going to talk about the upcoming weeks as our Stress Test versions gain more and more stability. Peter gives an introduction to the conditions of our new Central Economy system and Adam explains the ongoing changes to the Balota airfield. We close with some of the most memorable highlights of our community. Let's dive into it!
As we are pushing a large amount of fixes into the current Stress Test Branch, our aim is to stabilize the build enough to launch an Experimental Branch that will be available on official Experimental severs, as well as community servers, as server owners will be able to switch over. We expect the 0.62 Stable to be played less often and we will move server resources to Experimental depending on the player interest.
We expect a couple more Stress Tests to be happening this week, aimed at least a couple fixes for crashes and locked character issues. We would like to confirm these fixes over the next couple of days and have the build available during the weekend for an extended Stress Test. This will be the version we will be launching for all the players interested in moving to experimental.
In the meantime, we have planned out the features that will be reviewed and connected to the new engine. This is done on the Internal branch of development and will move over to the Experimental in bundles. Last week we have moved to review/bug fixing of:
Chambering loop (Enabling weapon classes such as the Mosin in-game)
Character - Unconsciousness
UI - Main Menu Polished
Sensors audibility/visibility (Infected)
When these features will hit experimental, soon after the Experimental release we expect to switch over and keep doing Stress Tests for the newer builds before they move on to Experimental. The process itself is focused on connecting these features to the new character as a lot of them have been under development for a long time now. Each week we aim to deliver the implementation and dedicate the second week to bug fixing. Switching these over to Experimental will be done depending on the feature review and the community feedback that might affect priorities.
- Eugen Harton / Lead Producer -
The new Central Economy (CE) is in charge of the spawn and clean up of items, infected, animals, vehicles and dynamic events. It is easier to setup than the old CE and allows us to be more flexible with the categorization and areas of occurrence. A more precise placement can be achieved as well. After a series of internal tests during its implementation, we deployed it to DayZ 0.63. The CE is a complex system, as its behaviour develops over time and reacts to player interaction. Testing on our side was limited in scale and time.
To check how the new Central Economy is behaving on a mass scale in the wild, we gathered data during the 11th Stress Test. From 18.5. to 20.5. we saved the storage files every hour across all servers which were constantly under full load. Loading this data back into the game allowed us to reconstruct how the CE behaved over time.
From all the items spawned by the CE we picked the ones that are crucial for survival - food (beans, spaghetti, peaches, sardines, tuna), drinks (Cola, Pipsi, Spite, Kvass, water bottle) and firearms (Makarov, FNX45, Skorpion, IZH18, MP5, UMP45, AKM). The presented data is from the UK 0-8 server. The overview maps show where these items were spawned over time and similarly, the graphs show their overall quantity on the map over time (note that one dot means at least one item or more). To put things into context there is also a map of character spawn areas.
Areas of character spawns along the coast.
An animated occurrence of food across the map from Friday to Sunday.
Amounts of food across the map from Friday to Sunday.
Positions of food in the map at its lowest, Saturday 11:00.
Amounts of drinks across the map from Friday to Sunday.
Positions of drinks on the map at their lowest, Saturday 09:00.
Amounts of firearms across the map from Friday to Sunday.
Positions of firearms on their map at their lowest, Saturday 15:00.
From available data granularity, it can be seen that in general, there have been enough food and drinks across the map to survive, as well as firearms to provide empowerment of survivors. Interestingly, the sum of all initially spawned food in 0.62 is lower than the sum of all spawned food at their minimal quantity in 0.63 (when an item hits its minimum threshold it will start to respawn back to its initial value). It would be nice to see players adapting to a new mindset of getting prepared before starting their next trip by checking more houses and structures at their location.
However, there are things which will be addressed down the road to improve the CE behaviour and its balance. It’s clear that some parts of the map are rather empty, especially in the bottom right corner. In such cases, areas for character spawns will be tweaked and more structures will be added where it makes sense. That goes hand in hand with lowering the safe radius around characters which prevents items to pop up, as in high traffic areas this can cause the lockout of entire cities.
Next, it’s the settings of the CE itself playing the decisive role. The randomisation of the lifetime of more common items has to be set in a greater range, as we noticed there were cleanups of large amounts at once causing noticeable dips. Moreover, the difference between nominal and minimal values of an item makes items spread across map even more unevenly. Most importantly, the short time frame we had to ‘boot up’ the new Central Economy and the truncated list of given items to spawn, led to a sub-optimal items categorization and defined tier zones. This is the area of the CE which will become crucial when more items start to flow back into the game and we really need to nail it.
With the new Central Economy we definitely have a great toolset to tune loot and its distribution as good as possible, but given the nature and complexity of it, it will take some time.
Let the looting begin... see you in Chernarus folks!
- Peter Nespesny / Lead Designer -
As mentioned in our Status Report from April 25, we are re-designing Chernogorsk and its surroundings. If you have played on the 0.63 Stress Test Branch and visited this area, you may have seen where we are heading with this re-design. I should remind you that map changes, unlike other parts of the game, are something that is not receiving updates on the Stress Test Branch that often, because of the difficulties with the branching of map data. Anyway, I am happy to say that quite a lot of progress has been made over the past few weeks and we are nearing the final stages of polishing and optimizing the overall area.
If you have played the more recent versions of the 0.63 Stress Test Branch, you may have also noticed that we have decided to re-design the Balota airfield. This change was planned for a long time and originally set to be made at a later stage of development, but since the re-design of Chernogorsk is covering the area from Balota to Elektro, we have decided to include the Balota airfield re-design in it too. Balota is such an odd spot for any type of airfield to begin with, but we feel the need for a number of airfields across the Chernarus.
Now with the NWAF re-design close to being done, we have got a proper military airbase on the map and we feel like there is no need to have other military air bases. And so the airfield was completely de-militarised, the concrete runway was removed and the whole airfield was rotated a bit more facing inland (so the corridor is pointing away from inhabited areas). Given the relatively small and odd place, we have decided to transform this airfield into a local airstrip, maintained by a local flying club and have re-used NEAF buildings to support this idea (and if you ask, yes, we do have further plans for NEAF too, but not for 0.63). To give this newly re-designed airfield a backstory, it has been captured by the military forces, with most of its entrances sealed off by mostly improvised structures.
- Adam Franců / Map Designer -
Let's check out what the community has for us after two weeks.
I need to start with something really sad. Our community lost one of its members and a great streamer. Jen, known as Poisonantler, died under unfortunate circumstances on 8th March. We decided among the dev team to commemorate her by placing a small cross and a bench in the place where she disconnected for the last time.
Our Brand Manager Martin Čulák accepted an invitation from our favourite Australian content creator Boydy and joined him in his podcast. Check it out, you can find interesting info in the video:
I didn't expect much from a video with just walkie-talkie recording. But I was really surprised by how entertaining the video is. This is a recording of a few people's conversations from The Village server which has a very interesting ending. I really recommend to check it out.
It is good to see that hand painting is not dead. This DayZ logo on a canvas made by danyuls0n's girlfriend makes us happy. We hope it is already hanging on the wall somewhere near a PC.
I know we didn't have a location riddle for a long time. Our Twitter is now overwhelmed, because of Stress Tests, so we need to identify the riddle tweets. Just tweet the location with #DayZriddleTime hashtag and I will find it!