Devblog 189

Major changes incoming: Building 3.0, base upkeep, two new radtowns, procgen improvements, Hapis Island updates, and more. This patch wipes servers and blueprints. Enjoy!

7 December 2017
Video Update
Building 3.0

The new building system is in! Here's what you need to know:

  • Foundations can now be placed at a half height offset
  • Added half height walls
  • Fixed various wall stacking exploits
  • Roofs occupy wall sockets and can no longer be used as honeycombs
  • Building privilege is emitted by the entire building
  • There can only be one tool cupboard per building

The team over at Rustafied have made a pretty nice introduction video about it all.

Building Upkeep

Alright, I finished it. We used to have it so that as long as a door was opened, your base would not decay for days. This had a few problems associated with it.

First, nothing ever decayed, because even if you lived somewhere near someone else and they opened their door, your base would never decay even after you had left the server with no intention to come back. This led to servers leaking entities like crazy and killing their performance.

The second problem was that there was no real cost to building absolutely enormous buildings that were almost unraidable. You could just farm a million stone, spend it, and that was it; no repair costs, no nothing. It stayed pristine as long as a door was opened once every few days.

This all changes today.

First, the tool cupboard can now store resources, and these resources will be used to keep your base from decaying. You can think of this like a tax system, where the first section of blocks are 'taxed' at a certain rate to maintain their health, and the more and more blocks you add to your base the more expensive it gets. These values are all configurable via a convar and will need tweaking, but right now it’s set up like this:

  • 1-15 blocks = 10%
  • 15-40 blocks = 15%
  • 40-75 blocks = 20%
  • 75+ blocks = 33%

This means if you have a two by one you'll have to pay 10% the cost of the base per 24 hours to maintain upkeep, which is peanuts. However, giant clan bases will need a very significant amount of resources to prevent them from decaying. The idea here is that you'll need to be smart with your builds, because it's not free forever. The entire concept of honeycombing is pretty ridiculous, but it made perfect sense with the old meta of the game. As I've said in many devblogs, we would like to move towards more intelligently designed bases, with traps and triggers as your defences, instead of simply blocking raiders with 50,000 HPs worth of stone.

Secondly, your base will decay from the outside in, so the very center of your base will be safest for longer. All the decay times are configured via convars in the console, but the defaults are like this:

  • Twig = 1hr
  • Wood = 2hr
  • Stone = 3hr
  • Metal = 5hr
  • Armored = 12hr

This means that if you have an entire base of stone and are not maintaining its upkeep, every 3 hours you'll lose a 'layer'.

Thirdly, if you are maintaining upkeep, your base will repair itself, very slowly, at the same rate that it would have decayed at. So if you do screw up, as long as you put the resources back in the TC, the hard to reach walls and sectioned off areas of your base will repair themselves.

Everyone is going to freak the hell out and downvote us on Steam, and I'll say the same thing I always say when we make a big change: it's not final, we're going to balance it based on feedback, and the goal here is to make the game better, not worse.

Some people have already said they wanted a 'grace' period before decay, but I can't see how that would happen. It seems like people would just put the resources in for a single tick, and then take them out to reset the grace period.

I'm going to have to add some help and pop-ups for this next week, so it's a lot more obvious what is happening, as well as do some things like visualize the building privilege zone when you have the hammer out.

Oh, and all of this is totally configurable via console commands. Server owners can do: decay.upkeep false

And everything will go back to what it was before, but besides that, hopefully we'll be able to get a fine-tuned balance by next week if people experiment with these values.

At least for once people can't bitch that we are hurting solo players instead of zergs, eh?

Workbench Changes

The cost of experimenting at the Tier 1 workbench has been reduced from 100 scrap to 75 scrap. I figured it was a little too steep, so let's see how this plays out.

You'll also notice that the Stone Spear no longer requires a workbench, and the Dropbox now requires Tier 1 instead of Tier 2.

Armored Tier Balance

This tier of building was rarely, if ever, used. Probably because of the bonkers cost. I've changed the Armored tier pricing from 50 HQM, 400 Stone, 300 Wood to a more reasonable 25 HQM. In addition, the price of the doors has been slightly reduced down to 20 HQM.

I believe this was important to address, as making budget bases will be more of a thing with the upkeep changes.

Grenade Fixes

Remember how I tried to patch grenades to suck less by having you throw them farther and faster? Remember how that only fixed half of the problem? Well, the other half of the changes are now in, and hopefully you’ll see an improvement. You'll notice that the player’s velocity is inherited by the grenade, like in other first person shooters. This means running forward and jumping will propel the grenade even farther than before. I've also doubled the blast radius of the grenade, so it'll be a lot more lethal. Let me know if this is enough, hopefully we'll see more of them being used now!

New Monument Placement

The algorithm that determines the spawn locations of monuments has been completely reworked. Monuments are now spawned in the best distribution to fit as many of them on the map as possible. This helps with the problem of huge areas of wasteland without anything interesting in sight that some seeds were having.

New Road Generation

Procedural roads now connect to the roads that are part of the monuments. This means all monuments can specify in and out points where the roads can connect to, rather than being completely disconnected from the procedural road network. This not only looks much more realistic, but it also opens the door for future AI to patrol along the road network from monument to monument.

I've also made everything much more solid by fixing a number of small bugs. Roads are no longer split in half by rivers, there are no more gaps between roads and terrain, and it's no longer possible for roads to be partially flooded by water.

New Power Line Generation

The power line generation now uses the same algorithm as the procedural road generation. They are laid out in a much more realistic way which now looks like an actual power grid. One cool side effect of this is that when power lines meet at an intersection point, a power substation monument is spawned in that location.

Biome Tweaks

The arctic biome and the arid biome have gotten slightly bigger with this week's changes to the procedural maps. I've also fixed a bug that caused the arctic biome to rarely have any monuments in it since the ice lakes were blocking all the spawn locations, which should hopefully make it more interesting.

Building Placement Errors

As you might know, when trying to place something in an invalid location its placement guide turns red. But you never really knew why it's invalid. I decided that with the major changes to the building system it was time to print an error message when trying to place something in an invalid location so you know what's going on.

Health Bars

Health bars are no longer always shown on building blocks and deployables. Instead, they are only visible if the entity has less than 95% of its maximum health, or if you have the hammer equipped. We think this feels a lot cleaner, particularly at night.

Junkyard Is In!

The junkyard is ready to go. It's a different beast compared to what I usually produce in terms of monuments: more detail focused, with pockets of action and lots of choke points. We wanted to control the flow throughout the level a bit more as opposed to the wild open spaces and multitude of paths that older monuments offered.

Mining Quarry Is Also In!

The new mining quarry monuments are going live with today's patch. There are now three different quarry variants spawning per map. Old deployable quarries are no longer craftable, and only the ones found at monuments can be used. They will spawn only in Tier 2 parts of the map, in different biomes depending on the world seed. Given their rarity, these areas should be very heavily contested, with different factions fighting for control.

Each Quarry will produce a different resource and will be marked accordingly on the map. You can expect to find HQM, Sulfur, or Stone/Metal Quarries.

New Road Visuals

I had this sorted a long time ago, and we finally got around to applying it with André's help this week. The original plan was to alternate between segments of dirt and asphalt road, but this will likely come later.

Overall, the roads on procedural maps are more flush with the terrain surface, are more visually interesting to look at, and are easier to see throughout the landscape.

Small Furnace

After a lot of community feedback last week, I reworked the small furnace a bit more. It's now packed with nostalgic appeal!

We've added it this week. And it's skinnable.

Hapis Island Update

Hapis Island has needed some love for a long time, so today we are rolling out a bunch of changes. These include:

  • Added Launch Site
  • Added Ice sheets and Icebergs
  • Added "Pumping Station" and "Abandoned Boat" loot areas
  • Added new static quarries
  • Brought back old caves
  • Complete rework of site A
  • Moved Site B to east coast
  • Fixes to loot and ore scarcity
  • Fixes to older radtowns

Here are some shots of the new/improved areas.

I plan to continue working on Hapis for the next force wipe, mainly bringing the older radtowns up to date using all our new assets, and fixing any remaining issues.

I look forward to receiving feedback and suggestions to further improve Hapis.

Occlusion Culling Continued

After detecting quite a few false negative cases last week I decided to review the entire process and detected a few cases where it should have been more conservative. Additionally, I rolled out a workaround for one of the most complicated problems in this system, the frame delay. For this fix I took the opportunity to drastically optimize one of the system's worst bottlenecks, which is now 6x faster.

Besides edge-case fixes, trees are now culled along with other objects and dynamic items like drops are now supported as well. The biggest issue right now are probably shadows. You may notice them popping or even disappearing in some cases. This is not caused by bugs in the culling system, we just need to ensure that objects invisible to the camera might still be visible to the lights and act accordingly.

Please note that we renamed the convar until culling is stable again. If you wish to see how much you can gain from enabling culling, just type "culling.env 1" on the console. Please note that there might still be pending issues. We're doing one more week for another round testing and fixing before enabling it by default. If you find too many problems, just type "culling.env 0" on the console to disable it.

Steamworks Update

I updated our Steamworks implementation this week. We're now on 0.7. It fixes a bunch of stuff (which you can see here).

Removed P2P Voice

Our voice chat went through Steam's P2P network. This was a win for us because it meant that players could send voice data straight to each other, instead of routing via the server. But apparently people were using this system to discover each other's IP addresses and DDOS them. So now we do it the old fashioned way.

This has benefits, though. It kind of opens up the way for things like loudspeaker systems, phones, tape recorders, etc. All that good feature leak stuff that does nothing to get the game out of early access, but gives us a warm fuzzy feeling in our tummies.

Water Effects

I've been working on water based special effects for various events, like bullets hitting the water and explosions underwater. This video shows what I've come up with so far. There's still room for improvement with regards to the harsh clipping plane when the sprites intersect with the water. I'll have to talk to Diogo about ways to alleviate that issue.

I also tweaked the water effects for when vehicles move through water. This can be used for boats in the future.

Deployable Sounds

I've been focused on adding and improving sounds for deployable objects this week. There are new on/off and ignite/extinguish sounds for pretty much everything, and the searchlight has a new sound when you aim it around. Any objects that didn't have their own active loop yet (refinery, searchlight, etc.) all have unique loops that play while they're turned on, and some existing ones have been polished and updated.

I'm working on adding open/close sounds to everything you can loot now. Only the two wooden boxes and the small furnace will have those added this week, but the rest should be done very soon.

I've also continued working on the placement sounds for deployables that still need them.

189 December 07 2017
  • new

    Bases repair themselves if upkeep resources are in TC

  • new

    Bases require upkeep resources to be kept in TC

  • new

    New on/off sounds for a bunch of deployables

  • new

    New active/burning loops for a bunch of deployables

  • new

    New searchlight movement sounds

  • new

    New open/close sounds for a few deployables

  • new

    New Junkyard monument

  • new

    New procedural roads art

  • new

    Brought back old caves (Hapis)

  • new

    Added "Pumping station" and "Abandoned Boat" loot areas (Hapis)

  • new

    Added Launch Site (Hapis)

  • new

    Added Ice sheets and Icebergs (Hapis)

  • new

    Added new static quarrys (Hapis)

  • new

    Foundations can now be placed at a half height offset

  • new

    Added half height walls

  • new

    Fixed various wall stacking exploits

  • new

    Roofs occupy wall sockets and can no longer be used as honeycombs

  • new

    Building privilege is emitted by the entire building

  • new

    There can only be one tool cupboard per building

  • new

    New monument placement algorithm

  • new

    Procedural roads now connect to monument roads

  • new

    Print last placement error in chat when pressing LMB while placement guide is red

  • new

    New power line placement algorithm

  • new

    Tool cupboard can store upkeep resources

  • fixed

    Fixes to older radtowns (Hapis)

  • fixed

    Fixes to loot and ore scarcity (Hapis)

  • fixed

    Monument chainlink fences can be shot through

  • fixed

    Roads are no longer split in half by rivers

  • fixed

    Fixed gaps between roads and terrain

  • fixed

    Fixed roads sometimes being partially flooded

  • fixed

    Fixed hammer highlight on wooden triangle foundations

  • fixed

    Fixed weird camera movement when jumping introduced last patch

  • updated

    Small Furnace Art Updated

  • updated

    Complete rework of site A (Hapis)

  • updated

    Moved Site B to east coast (Hapis)

  • updated

    Reduced size of arctic biome slightly

  • updated

    Increased size of arid biome slightly

  • updated

    Health bars are only visible when damaged or holding a hammer

  • updated

    Grenades inherit player movement velocity

  • updated

    F1 grenade has larger blast radius

  • updated

    Dropbox is now Tier 1 WB

  • updated

    Stone Spear no longer requires WB

  • updated

    Experimentation at WB1 costs 75 scrap instead of 100

  • updated

    Armored building tier costs 25 hqm and no wood/stone

  • updated

    Armored doors have had their costs reduced accordingly

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