Devblog 68

We powered up melee with a sword and machete, made gunfights less laggy, and optimised shaders. And what's that satellite for?

9 July 2015

Over the past week I’ve been working very hard on trying to finish a new gameplay mechanic for the game. Unfortunately it’s not ready for this week's patch. Sorry if my change notes seem a little light due to this! I’ll make up for it next week. Promise!

New Melee Weapons

I’ve added the Machete and the Salvaged Sword to the game! They aren’t default blueprints, but should be pretty easy to find and they are by far the most powerful melee weapons in the game. Happy Chopping!

Landmine Fun

I made some changes to landmines that didn’t make it in last week:

  • Landmines only detonate after you step off the pressure plate.
  • Once triggered, can be disarmed & picked up by another player.
  • Landmines & Snap Traps now appear in supply drops.
  • Landmine stacksize increased to five so you can make minefields easier.

Everything Else

  • Fixed Spear repair exploit (now uses wood spear ingredients instead of wood spear).
  • Updated Survey Charge with proper model and icon.
  • Can throw survey charge farther & it won’t slide as much.
  • Bone Knife takes less cloth to craft.
  • Bone Club deals more damage.
  • Lowered cost of Salvaged Icepick.

Next Week

I’ll finish everything I was working on that didn’t make it into the patch this week, and then I’m going to do a pass at mining and implement the pump jack & refinery, this is going to be a game changer as I’m going to make some resources only available from mining quarries.

Gunfight Performance

I started by refactoring the way we trace projectiles in order to reduce the number of dynamic memory allocations during gunfights and lessen the frequency of framerate hiccups. It’s difficult to say how much this improved exactly because it’s something that makes everything a tiny bit better instead of massively improving a certain thing you can point at and jerk off to.

In other vaguely gun related news, I replaced our decal system. The old system has been using Unity projectors, which in turn are using a very outdated way to project textures onto meshes and are extremely heavy on performance. We had a bunch of bullshit in place to try to work around this as good as possible, but what it ultimately did was force us to use decals very rarely and clean them up as quickly as possible, especially during intense firefights.

I replaced all of that with a concept called deferred (or screen space) decals. We can now render hundreds of decals in less than 0.1ms, which is great news for performance during gunfights. The new system also provides ways to adjust all parts of our physically based rendering pipeline individually to achieve things like pseudo-surface-deformation or wetness effects and Vince is already looking forward to using the new tools in his environment art. As a start I only converted the bullet impact decals to the new system to verify that everything works as it should. Once I’m sure of that I’ll convert all the other stuff and hand the tool over to the artists.

There’s still a bunch of stuff that needs to be done to make gunfights as smooth as they should be - mainly some fixes to the way we dynamically load assets the first time they are instantiated - but overall you should see some good improvements after this week’s update, especially during prolonged firefights.

Vegetation Woes

There was some weirdness that caused certain bushes, trees and other resources to disappear whenever a savegame was loaded - which sucked if you happened to place your sleeping bag inside one of those bushes or tried to hide your house between those trees. This is now fixed. I also went over all tree colliders and made sure they fit the shape of the tree they are attached to and server owners will like to hear that the spawn handler report now contains some more information that can be used to verify that all resources are spawning as they should.

Object Placement Fixes

Construction and deployable placement in caves and on terrain blended rocks finally works as it should again. I also fixed a bunch of exploits that involved placing deployables partially inside players to push them through other colliders or into rocks. There might still be some of those around, but we now have a solid system in place to fix them as soon as they come to our attention. As a side effect of this I changed building blocks to no longer ignore collisions right after placement - instead they also verify their placement position using the same logic as the deployables. And finally the research table and tool cupboard placement guides now actually represent the exact position and rotation of the objects they place.

Other Stuff

  • Fixed light bleeding through terrain on the base of shadowed rocks in the distance.
  • Fixed light going through furnace walls for a second when walking by.
  • Fixed torch still getting lowered into the line of sight if lighting it while already running.
  • Fixed incorrect time zone offset of the ingame world.
  • Fixed barricade LOD changes being somewhat flaky.
  • Fixed arid biome rock terrain texture being way too dark.
  • Fixed various situations that could incorrectly trigger noclip kicks.
  • TerrainPath now keeps a list of all spawned monuments.
  • Added test cave to CraggyIsland.

Next Week

My addiction to Rust resurfaced after last week’s wipe and I’ve been playing a shitload of it over the weekend and whenever I wasn’t busy working on Rust. During those gaming sessions I found a ton of minor and not-so-minor issues and I’ve been quite busy trying to get around to fixing them all. This means next week will be much of the same as this week: fixing, polishing and continuing to integrate and tweak all of the new stuff I added over the last few weeks. A somewhat wider field I’d like to approach in the near future is to look into player movement and see how I can fix some or all of the annoyances it’s currently causing.

I’ve been doing some play-testing in lower quality levels and optimizing some graphical bottlenecks.

The bloom effect is forced always on and was taking way longer than it should, so I did some optimization work on those shaders. They should now be at least 2x faster, maybe more on a bandwidth challenged GPU. I also took the opportunity to apply some of the same optimization tricks to the SSAO shader, which should now be at least 60% faster, and toggled an optimization in tone-mapping that resulted in a 80% boost. During the entire operation, I noticed that some of the PVT stuff was still active in the lowest terrain modes. So now it’s being disabled and only really used when absolutely necessary.

Overall, the new lowest quality mode should be running a bit faster. How much these benefits will translate to an FPS increase unfortunately also depends on other factors and they’ll benefit players running in low end hardware (lowest quality), as well as players running in very high resolutions.

The SSAO is no longer overlaid on top of water so that should be visible immediately. I also fixed a black sky showing up sometimes in plain daylight and SSAO being disabled, both when water reflections were set to 0.

Finally, I made a small improvement to the underwater reflection. It’s now animated and fades out very quickly when the water surface covers the wet terrain surface. This is the first step to bringing the shoreline back to life.

For next week I’m currently investigating crashes affecting users running on Intel HD 3000. After that I’ll be finally returning back to water and finishing what’s left.

I finished all of the crouching turn in place animations for all of the weapons.


I added an animation for when a player gets caught in a bear trap.


I rigged up and animated a couple of the melee weapons that Dan had made last week. The sword and meat cleaver.


This is what they look like in third-person.


I’ll be animating the rest of Dan’s melee weapons next week.

This week I worked on the Spherical Tank monument. It’s getting closer to a playable state now. Here’s a work in progress slice.

I started and finished a first refinery tower, which is going to be another player deployable used to refine the crude oil you extracted using a pump jack.

Next week I'm going to try and finish a good first pass for the sphere tank monument and make it playable, after this there are several other tasks awaiting me, from the tier two furnace to vehicles (when they're ready).

I have a few things in the works at the moment: some modifications to the roadsign armor, and two new armor sets built using modular pieces.

The skirt piece of the roadsign set is complete and will be checked in soon, and I’m removing the cloth shirt under the signs so that equipped shirts are more visible. Moving forward, most armor should be plates that stack on top of what you’re wearing.

The bone and wood armor are going to function similarly to the roadsign armor. These screenshots are of in-progress models/textures, but there are just a few small details that need to be added. Additionally, these are built out of modular pieces, so there should be some variants coming for these that involve different layouts and configurations.

Next week I'll be working on a wooden helmet, and perhaps something made of metal…?

I've been iterating on the headgear concepts I working on from last week. As you can see from the numbers, there have been a few iterations by this point. Most were a bit experimental, so I've only posted up the more recent versions. I've been thinking that enabling player to place various decorations on top of a helmet base might be a decent way to get good armour as well as some team identity. It would allow them to put a few assorted things on top of it or some things like cloth underneath it. It would also work pretty well if/when people are able to add their own community items. They'd just have to use the helmets as a base and do the rest of their design around that.

I was also able to spend some more time on a cool thing I mentioned a while ago. [I wrote a long explanation of how I thought it would fit into the game here, but I forgot to check to see how much we were revealing so this is the only text you get. Sorry!]. I'm working on making it look a bit more bashed up: right now the idea is a tad too polished for something that's just re-entered Earth's atmosphere and smashed into the ground.

This week I wrote a short joke about there being no icons for me to do, then I was given some icons at the last minute. True story.

Next week I should be refining the headgear idea, provided people like it, and working on some more smashed satellites. And maybe more icons.

We’ve had a temporary art in for the survey charge, which was just the bean-can resized, and it obviously looked pretty wack. So I made one and here it is.

And I’ve been working on a new weapon: the crossbow! Here’s what the high-poly looks like so far.

Next week I'll hopefully finish off the crossbow!

I started working on designs for a small and large fractioning tower that will allow players to turn crude oil into different types of fuel. The fuel will eventually be used to power different types of engines and vehicles, which will in turn give the pump jack more of a purpose.

I finished up the small one, which has already been modelled by Vince (that was fast!), and I’m about mid-way through with the larger tower. I should have it finished next week.

Next week: I'll finish the larger tower, and I want to move back to vehicles so we have something to put all this fuel into.

I started the high-poly pass on the monster of a turret this week. I began by modeling most of the real world 50 cal MG.

Then I moved onto making it look more like the concept.

Next Week: I'll move onto the low-poly work for the turret then onto textures.

Been working on some heavy armor sets this week, trying some various ideas and seeing what works for Rust. I've looking at older armors and bringing in more modern texture and elements, like car tyre tread and metal flooring.

More of the same next week.

This week I got the first pass at a 'rain hitting different surfaces' sound system in, and worked on sounds for rain hitting wood and metal. This will work with buildings and should also work with things like the little bus stops along the roads. I’ve also made ambience volume go down a bit when you’re inside, to help make the roof sounds stand out. It makes it feel like your house is sheltering you from the elements a bit more.

I spent some time working on the new weather-aware ambience sounds, and was hoping to get those in this week, but wasn’t able to totally finish those because I’ve been working on top secret things ;). Or should it be ███ ██████ ██████?

Next week I’ll finally be finishing up the ambience updates, and working on sounds for the new weapons.


  • Improved projectile tracing performance.
  • Added a deferred decal system.
  • Fixed disappearing vegetation on savegame load.
  • Made tree colliders more accurate.
  • Added some more information to the spawn handler section of the admin server report.
  • Fixed construction and deployable placement in caves and on terrain blended rocks.
  • Fixed a number of exploits that would allow players to get inside rocks.
  • Building blocks no longer ignore collisions right after placement.
  • Fixed research table and tool cupboard placement guides being off.
  • Fixed light bleeding through terrain on the base of shadowed rocks in the distance.
  • Fixed light going through furnace walls for a second when walking by.
  • Fixed torch still getting lowered into the line of sight if lighting it while already running.
  • Fixed incorrect time zone offset of the ingame world.
  • Fixed barricade LOD changes being somewhat flaky.
  • Fixed arid biome rock terrain texture being way too dark.
  • Fixed various situations that could incorrectly trigger noclip kicks.
  • TerrainPath now keeps a list of all spawned monuments.
  • Added test cave to CraggyIsland.
  • Stone spear ingredients instead of wood spear
  • Lowered cost of icepick
  • Added machete
  • Added sword
  • None club does more damage
  • Bone knife cheaper (cloth)
  • Fixed bug with wickspark showing up as a white cube at distance, increased HDR value
  • Survey charges less likely to slide down hills
  • Updated survey charge visuals
  • Updated survey charge icon
  • Can throw survey charge farther
  • Landmine only activates after you walk off it
  • Triggered landmine can be disabled & picked upby someone other than who triggered
  • Landmines and snap traps appear in supply drops
  • Landmine stack increased to 5

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