We added the sentry gun, throwable axes (and other weapons and tools), banners, and new signs. There's also building cupboard tweaks, the removal of the often mis-used half-block (and how we'll replace it), and lots more.29 October 2015
We hate the cupboard. We're trying to phase it out over time, to make it less powerful and less required. We've changed it so you can only place a cupboard outside the sphere of influence of another cupboard, even if you own that other cupboard. Here's a diagram.
As you can see, as a builder you can no longer have 15 cupboards in your small 4x4 base. We don't think this is going to affect things as massively as people are acting like it will. At least not nearly as massively as when we completely remove it.
A long standing problem with corpses was that they slide down hills or fall off cliffs, then become unlootable and unharvestable.
This was happening because ragdolls are clientside, but the "corpse" is serverside. So when a ragdoll moves too far away from a corpse, and then you try to loot it, the server says... 'Hang on! You can't loot the corpse from where you are, you're a liar.' This is because the ragdoll was meant to stay near the corpse, but it wasn't, it was ignoring it. This should finally be fixed now, along with a bunch of other ragdoll related bugs.
We're doing something a bit different with Vince's sign items. They work like normal items, you can find and research blueprints in game. But because they're decorative and don't influence gameplay, we also drop them randomly in the Steam inventory. Which means that if you're lucky enough to get one, you'll be able to craft them on any server. We're not selling these in the item store, but if you get a duplicate or need the cash, you can sell yours on the marketplace.
Also Valve has added an item store to Steam, so now you can buy items from us without going into the game. This is a work in progress, so if you find any bugs or have any suggestions, please let them or us know.
We removed the half-height block and the slanted block. You probably want to know why. You probably used them all the time, you probably think they were really really useful. Did you use them as a half height block and slanted block? Or did you use them to 'be creative'?
Well, we appreciate that creating shelves is now impossible. But we can make that possible again by adding, you know, shelves. We appreciate you can't create bunker style windows, but we can fix that by adding bunker style windows. You don't need these blocks, no-one used them for what they were for, so let's just cut the fat and get shit tight as fuck.
We converted the doors to use an animation system on the client and server. Previously doors were only animated on the client, and were animated through some "turn to this angle when open" junk, which worked fine for the doors we had, but obviously wasn't going to work for anything more complicated than that.
We have made them animated on the server too. This fixes a bunch of problems that kept cropping up, like not being able to fire a rocket through the gap in a closing door. Or not being able to use a door as a shield against a turret.
I think we've found the memory leak. It's to do with shadows. It's apparently fixed in Unity 5.2.3, which isn't out yet. So we're going to have to suffer for a week or so longer, sorry guys :(
Our schedule right now is looking like this:
5th November: Update + Forced Wipe
19th November: Update
3rd December: Update + Forced Wipe
This isn't set in stone. This isn't a promise. This is our plan as of this exact moment.
The community got themselves together to make a bunch of Halloween items. Which is cool! So we've selected a few of them and put them on the store, and made them random drops. They'll be available until the day after Halloween, at which point we won't sell or drop them anymore, but if you've got one, you can keep and use it.
This seems like a fun seasonal thing to do, so we'll probably do more of this if the community makes the items.
Phew! Good thing we had a week to test this thing as it was chock full of bugs. It may have a few more due to the fact that it is so rare that it hasn’t been tested fully. Nevertheless it’s in and ready to work for you while you’re offline.
Here’s what you need to know:
The blueprint is very rare, and the item is only craftable from components found at helicopter crash sites and in air drops. This means you can't just build a million of them, you gotta put some work in. They're vulnerable to all damage types but take extra damage from explosives, so use your grenades! One thing to note about the sentry turrets is that they have a short range of 20-30M, and will not engage targets beyond this point. This means you can't just put them on a roof and have them kill everything in sight. Anyone can destroy it from outside that radius. They are meant for being placed indoors.
They also can only cover one 180 degree arc at a time, you can rotate to pick which arc, but they are vulnerable from behind. I hope this encourages people to design their bases a little bit differently than just layers upon layers of doors. It should also provide a little more peace of mind every time you log off. This feature took some doing but I hope you all enjoy it and I can't wait to see what shows up on Youtube.
I took a look at grenades because no one was using them. Why? Because they sucked. They were totally unreliable, and you basically had to get lucky to do any damage or kill anyone with one. I fixed this by reducing the bounce substantially as well as modifying the friction values and throw velocities. The end result should be far, far more predictable grenade throws. I realized this while doing a balance pass for the sentry and trying to land grenades next to them. It was nearly impossible! In addition, I increased the stack size from 1 to 2, so you can have more ready to go on your belt. Enjoy!
As I said in my last devblog this is the last thing I was doing for the endgamers, and now my focus is purely on the early/mid game. I've heard a lot about how people have the most fun right after the wipe and everyone is just starting out and I tend to agree with that assessment. There are a few reasons for this: things like the progression curve being all out of whack, and a rich-get-richer problem. I'll be addressing all of this in the coming weeks, and adding some new toys and mechanics specifically for those starting out. No, I won't be making the bow insta-headshot anyone again. I'm thinking more along the lines of upkeep and non craftable gun components, things that make being at the top of the top take real work and not just bathing in resources and newspawn blood. I'm also going to take a look at reducing the quality of Radtown-found weapons to 0 or near 0, so you have to repair/craft your own rather than just get lucky and have the best weapon in the game when everyone else has nothing. Also, I know the turret is for endgamers, and we've had some internal discussions about traps. I have a few ideas for some that work in a similar (albeit not as effective) fashion for early/midgame players. More on all this next week!
Footprints, Part 2
I finished up the footprint system for the most part. Players now leave bare or boot footprints depending on whether or not they’re wearing boots. They also leave footprints even when crouching, and I allowed artists to set up separate, less noticeable footstep effects when crouching, which Scott wanted to utilize for water impacts.
I added some new functionality to projectiles that was required for the sentry. Nothing too exciting to see there.
Tool Cupboard Exploit
The tool cupboard was not checking for a clear line of sight when someone tried to authorize or clear it, only the distance between the cupboard and the player. This is now fixed.
There are some fairly major issues with our current building system, and I started prototyping some potential solutions this week. The problems are the following:
- Queries to get nearby entities utilize the physics system, which is slow and turned out to be a problem for more than just buildings.
- Building blocks do not know which sockets of other building blocks they’re connected to after placement and therefore cannot use this information for conditional models or stability.
- Building blocks do not know which of their own sockets are occupied and therefore cannot reject placement of additional building blocks on the same socket other than by checking the physics system.
- Conditional building models do physics checks to determine their state, which is slow and unreliable and is therefore only done on the client.
- Conditional building models are slow to render and therefore only spawn very close to the camera.
- Conditional building models cannot change building colliders.
- Building stability uses the physics system to determine the stability of a building block, which is slow and unreliable.
- Building stability is quite basic and doesn’t take the weight of objects that are placed on top of building blocks into account.
All of those issues are more or less related to each other, so they can’t really be solved individually and many of them require some pretty significant changes. I also can’t say for sure that the stuff I’m prototyping will actually work out and solve those problems in a solid, maintainable way. Expect more on this over the coming weeks.
Since we’ll wipe next week I’m going to check off some wiping changes from my TODO list, then get back to my building experiments.
I finished the banners and implemented them earlier this week. With all the new signs I have added a total of 13 items. Some issues might be left at this stage on some models, but otherwise it’s ready to use. The banners still require some shader love in order to give them the final look: at the moment they're static, and I’m not entirely sure about the gap I left between the hanging banner type and the walls. It might be less awkward moving about if it sticks closer to walls.
I also improved our barricade deployables, making them more competitive against high walls. Some changes to sockets made them easier to place on terrain. The cover is also raised to 1.4-1.5m, a cover height that fully encompasses your crouched pose and lets you fire over the barricade when standing up. The sandbags and concrete ones have more life now too. I believe all these changes should give those items a little more interest.
Thanks to Rustafied for the pic.
I started working on some shutter items that will let you hook on your windows just like you attach your window frames. I’m thinking of having three different versions coming to you in next week’s update: a vertical and horizontal ‘arrow slit’ that will aim to replace the hacky bunker windows that the half-blocks were allowing. I'll also add a simpler wood shutter that fully opens and closes.
I’m looking at finishing the high exterior wall gates implementation and the stone gate should be available for next patch from me. I'll also work on a shelf item that'll replace your beloved half-block hack.
I've been doing a lot of water work again this week, including a small bit of shader work to help Scott pull off his improved water FX improvements.
A lot of important things are still missing, like decent underwater rendering (fog, reflections) which is work-in-progress right now. I'm just wrapping up a completely GPU-based water simulator, to free our CPU and system ram for more important workloads. The improvement is massive, and it'll allow me to finally get a few different levels of simulation blended together and make it easier to pull off a lot of what's left (e.g. deep water foam). Since there's still a lot going on, it's likely that this water simulation perf-jump won't directly translate to an increase in FPS.
Also did some refactoring (incremental) to facilitate deployment across to other games, like Before.
There are still players crashing on Intel HD 3000 hardware so I went ahead and borrowed a 2011 Macbook Air to debug this problem. I should have some news soon.
Get all the work-in-progress done.
I finished sculpting the fine details on the M249. I then created the low poly version in Topogun. It’s taken longer than I expected due to the sheer amount of detail and edge wear, but I’m almost ready to start animating it. The final texture pass should be done by next week and then it’s on to animating it and putting it in game. Here’s what I have so far:
Finish texturing the M249 and start animating it.
Instead of continuing on with the totem pole from last week, I decided to work on some ideas that could be implemented without extra programming. These would all use existing systems and only require art assets. Not all of these ideas are necessarily meant to replace/compare to our existing doors and windows: some I see as purely for aesthetics or to enhance role-playing.
I think there's still a lot more exploration to be done with building parts like this. I’d like to experiment with different shaped windows, bigger doorways that allow for sliding doors, anything that still has utility but also gives the player more creative choices.
I spent some more time on the ambience experiments this week and I think I’ve got a fairly good idea how I’m going to go about fixing my gripes with the current system. It’s going to take quite a bit of kind of repetitive low-level editing work to split some of our ambience up into smaller isolated pieces, so I’m going to do those edits alongside working on other things so it’s not a wood chopping grind. I’ll do a more detailed write-up on this once you guys can actually hear it all in game :). Also:
- Finished up the new autoturret sounds
- Finished up new landmine sounds
- Fixed some issues with door sounds that came from us changing how doors work
- Made sounds to go along with the underwater bubbles and bullet flybys that Scott did last week
- Made gunshots use the same voice limiting system as gib sounds
- Added sloshing water sounds when players move in water. I’d like these sounds to vary based on how fast you’re moving soon too.
- Added a large fire sound so the helicopter napalm and debris fires don’t sound like quaint campfires anymore.
- Added quick distant rocket launcher attack sounds.
- Added a first pass at stone construction sounds. These sound a bit too much like smaller rocks instead of stone blocks right now, but I’m doing some recording to remedy that on Friday.
- Added a flight sound to the thrown hatchets and pickaxe.
Next week I’ll be working on the ambience stuff more, and I want to start making alternate impact sounds for all the melee weapons impacting soft targets so we don’t have goofy bonks and clangs when you’re hitting a pumpkin or a sleeping bag. I’ve got a bunch of smaller things on my list, like sign painting brush strokes and research bench sounds, that I’ll do a few of too.
This week I've been levelling up a bit, dabbling with some 3D (self-taught!) and implementing it into my concepts. Two birds, one stone! I've continued on with more drone concepting, which at the moment this is still a blue-sky concept. Helk has an idea what he's looking for so for the moment, so I'm just trying to provide lots of different options for styles and looks, which we can cherry pick from and come up with a final design.
I've also taken the crafted semi-auto rifle into ¾ and started finalising the design for Tom to work his magic on. It's still WiP as of writing this, but I'll post the press up. I think it's turning out pretty successful and swings the weapons back over to the clunky, unreliable DIY built from nothing style, which I think the most common chunk of guns should be, with the more precise powerful weaponry being super rare and expensive to maintain.
Continuing on with pushing the drone to a final design, and probably finishing touches on the crafted semi-auto.
More throwable weapons this week, namely both hatchets & the stone pickaxe. There's still bugs to resolve & improvements I'd like to make (including being able to make them spin through the air), but they're in and functional. They also become physics objects on impact now and rocks no longer stick to you (thanks to Garry). Here's them in action:
More of the same
Yep you guessed it, more naked dudes this week. I spent some time finishing the low poly and getting a nice clean workflow for transferring the high detail sculpt onto a real-time mesh. This means that changes to the head are now really simple which opens up a lot of possibilities to implement some cool stuff, namely proper variations in ethnicity (not just tinting the skin tone which looks weird), blend shapes with wrinkle maps, decayed corpses and radiation poisoning in the future maybe. I'll also be using separate textures for the head and body which should increase the detail you see in the face pretty considerably.
You can see the real-time meshes below. There are still some rough areas on the body but they should be fixed next week. Also ignore the rampant seams everywhere. They’ll take some manual work to fix, which I’ll just do at a later stage.
Actually finish the body. Finish the detail pass on the head (smaller wrinkles and pores, that kind of stuff). I'll also take a look at the rig and see what the implications of some of the changes are.
I made some more headway on the grip and magazine. Here is what they look like so far (textures at low resolution).
I’ve still to add some rust to the magazine to match more closely to Paul's concept. Though, I’m really liking the non-rust version, and I'm tempted to keep it, but I want to stick to the concept because it’s awesome. I’ve also started on building the main body of the gun, recycling the high poly from the original model to save time and effort - which is proving quite useful as most of it is reusable. Hopefully, I’ll have more to show on that front next week!
I made the grip a bit glossy, so it appears to have some lacquer on it to make it look more “durable” and bringing out more detail. Which is always awesome.
I decided not to do LODs for these items just yet until I have the main body and the barrel finished. and then I can just dedicate my time to LOD everything in one go. I think it would be much quicker this way and less tedious for me. I’m hoping to start on Paul's new concepted weapon after this too, unless something crops up before it.
I spent some more time working on water effects this week. Now when you run/walk/jump through water you'll get splashes and foam. There is a more subtle effect for sneaking and you make no sound. There are no effects for swimming yet, as there are no animation hooks for me to hang my effects from. Hopefully that will come in the next couple of weeks so I can then get the full set of surface effects done.
Then I took a look at the rain and ended up adding some additions to the set-up and tweaking some value to make it feel better.
Rocket Launcher Effects
Did a 2nd pass at the launcher effects. The basic rocket smoke trail has been improved and reduced in length as I noticed it caused some framerate issues when looking directly down the sprite trail and got culled when the rocket was off screen. Plus I spent some time watching RPGs and generally they have small trails so it fits.
My goal for explosions is to have each weapon have a very different and identifiable effect, which goes hand-in-hand with Alex having unique sounds. Expect these to improve and evolve over time.
- Create specific landmine explosion effect (currently it just uses a tweaked version of the old grenade effect) It needs to be more vertical
- Going to look at doing some insects with particles. Flies hovering over corpses, moths for around lights at night and maybe some insects that scatter when you gather rocks and wood.
- Work on creating/preparing the remaining surface water effects a set of underwater effects for when the hooks are there.
- Create effect for the other rocket ammo. High Velocity, Incendiary and Smoke.
- Create a smoke effect for the PumpJack, Quarry generators
- Create a specific impact effect/decal for when you shoot the sandbag barricade. (sand escaping styleee)
Jack O Lanterns are researchable and cost 2 pumpkins to craft
Wooden signs higher socket precision
New types of signs: hanging, frame, posts, banners
Rock, hatchet, stone hatchet & stone pickaxe are throwable
New autoturret sounds
New landmine sounds
Door sound fixes
Helicopter sound tweaks
Player water movement sounds
New large fire sound for helicopter napalm and debris
Distant rocket launcher attack sounds
First pass at stone construction sounds
Hatchet/Pickaxe thrown flight sound
Cupboards cannot be placed near other cupboards
Doors use animations internally
Server deletes entities on shutdown
Fixed server.cfg and serverauto.cfg being read from the wrong folder
Fixed fallen corpses being unlootable/unharvestable
Removed slanted half-block
Filestorage is now cached
Fixed uiscale not working
Fixed numpad keys changing graphics setting in chat etc
Tweaked ak47 recoil
Tweaked bolt rifle recoil
Fixed ironsighted weapons not getting fov effects
Improved guide meshes for pumpjack/quarry/autoturret
Thrown weapons become physics objects on impact
Added halloween items
Holosight doesn't lose condition
High external walls cost 2x more
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