Devblog 86

No patch, but the first look at the M249, a gun so powerful it can only be obtained by destroying a chopper. There's also the first look at the new human NPCs, a torch nerf, exploits crushed, building tweaks, and loads more.

12 November 2015


  • Helicopter napalm will now exist for longer than 0.1s
  • Sentry guns will no longer target each other if one hits the other by accident

Torch Nerf

I completely obliterated the combat effectiveness of the torch. It was a mistake giving it bonus damage when lit and was way overpowered. The days of signaling friendly with the torch are back!

  • Torch bonus damage when lit is +1 instead of +5
  • Torch refire rate increased by 25%
  • Torch hit radius reduced by 50%
  • Torch now sucks and the rock is better in every way


Gooseman deserves most of the credit here, but I finished up the implementation of the M249. The balance might be a little off, but it should be effective when used the same way as its real life counterpart. It has a 100 round magazine, making enemy suppression viable without reloading. It also does 25% more damage than the aK47, but with more aimcone, and a slightly slower fire rate. You can only find it from helicopter crash sites (for now).

Next Week

Another slow week for me, I was sick and ended up playing a bunch of Rust and getting frustrated at some elements of it. I put pen to paper and began compiling a list of issues that are broken and surprise surprise, most of them deal with the early game. Going to sort this sucker out.

FOV Exploit

I fixed a fairly significant exploit that would allow people to set their field of view to ridiculous levels and use that to snipe over extreme distances or to see through walls.

Building System

A number of the recent changes we released like the more detailed building colliders, the new doors and shutters and the pillar changes have made many of the issues with the building system a lot more obvious and we’re continuing to run into the same problems with stability and construction placement week after week. This caused me to change my strategy on the building system overhaul and instead of getting started on the new conditional model system I’m now pushing to get the current set of changes to main as soon as possible in order to fix those issues once and for all. I’m aiming for a release of those more backend oriented building system changes with next week’s update. Here are some of the issues this should address:

  • Fixed various random cases where building placement could fail with a “sphere test failed” message even though the placement guide was shown as valid.
  • Fixed various unintuitive placement rules that prevented building placement around rocks, terrain or deployables.
  • Fixed various building block stacking, orientation and placement exploits.
  • Fixed various exploits that made off-grid building blocks remain stable even though they didn’t connect to any sockets.
  • Fixed various issues that caused building stability to be unreliable.

Other Stuff

  • Fixed a regression that caused batched renderers to be invisible for a short time whenever a mesh was removed.
  • Enabled radial damage line of sight checks on the landmine.
  • Landmine and timed explosives now use the entity center point for line of sight checks, which is more robust than using the pivot point.
  • Added a maxthreads convar - if you’re running multiple server instances on a single machine you might want to reduce this number such that no single instance can block all of the available cores when generating the world.

Next Week

Get the current state of the overhauled building system to the dev branch, then switch over to implementing Vince’s new dungeons.

An optimization week for me. I reduced the triangle count for some of our assets, re-textured our large chest. I also worked on building parts “sort of final” optimization. I’m almost done on this, when fully finished it should help quite a bit with performance in densely built areas.

Next Week

Military/Cave Dungeons greybox.

The past week and a half have been a bit frustrating. I was attempting to make transitions into (and out of) water as seamless as possible by giving it a more volumetric feel. My goal was to be able to see above and below water within the same frame. This is harder than it sounds given our current setup, so I failed a number of times. After taking a step back for re-evaluation, I finally started making strides in the right direction.

I took some time to fix the old specular under water:

Fixed the old volume refraction bug as well:

Added one quick, but constantly postponed, feature called chromatic dispersion for refraction. It's subtle in this screenshot (didn't want to overdo it); it will get a lot more interesting when I get caustics working. Also boosted overall refraction strength (mostly on low frequency waves) while I was at it:

Earlier this week I messed around with some particle lighting for Scott's effects. Please mind the coder art. Also, the shader ended up slightly different. It features lightweight front and back (transmissive) lighting:


This one is meant to be used sparingly, as it's a more expensive than our traditionally vertex lit particles. It should help, however, deliver more interesting FX visuals in some cases.

Next Week

Step by step, taking a final stab at underwater volumetric feel and seamless transitions.

I rigged up and animated the M249 viewmodel, as well as created some sounds and special FX for it. The sounds are placeholder and will most likely be improved by Alex Rehberg.

I also created the model that will be seen from the 3rd person (worldmodel + LODs). It’s all ready to be coded and fine tuned by Helk/Garry. From my previous convos with Helk, I’m under the impression it will be retrievable from a downed helicopter.


Next Week

I’ll take a look at some player animation stuff, such as improving the walking/run animations. I’ll be experimenting with a way to make the animations look more natural when the player starts/stops his run.

I’ve been having so much fun working on ambience that I haven’t even touched the weapon impacts yet this week.

I’ve been polishing up and fleshing out the new pieces of the system. Expanding on the localized ambient loops from last week, stings (creaking trees, individual bird sounds, etc.) can be triggered from any game object now. Stings can play with a randomized offset from the object that’s triggering them, so bird chirps can come from any part of a tree’s canopy instead of just from the trunk.

We can also set specific times that different ambient sounds play now (previously we only had a night/day switch.) This is a pretty minor addition, but it’s allowed me to add more small details like making ambient bird chirps a lot thicker and more active at dawn.

I’m really happy with how much more directionality we’re getting from the ambience now. It’s making the world feel a lot more cohesive and the ambience feels a lot less like a background layer that’s just been slapped over everything now. Hearing a tree creak at night as pass it is awesome.

I’ve been creating and editing a lot of ambient sounds this week too, of course. I’ve been able to reuse a lot of the source material for our previous ambience, but I’ve been polishing them up as I’m pulling pieces out too. We’ve got lots of wind blowing through plants sounds, new bird sounds, buzzing bees, more tree creaks, more varied cricket/insect noises and things like that too. I’m trying to reduce the amount of sound reuse between different biomes so we can make each area feel more distinct.

This should all be ready to go next week! :)

Next Week

Ambience work continues!

The bone club is now throwable, here's a video:


I've also been updating the AK with Tom's new meshes, in-line with customisation plans for weapons in the future. This includes being ready for Tom's alternative models currently in progress & handing more creativity to the community.

Worked on a system to have directionally lit particles this week. Diogo wrote me a sweet shader, and with a whole bunch of experiments I managed to create the right type of texture set.


Once I can get it to be super efficient, the system can be used for explosions, fog, lightning clouds and probably a bunch of other things. A lot of complex particle effects tend to use large anim sprites which don’t allow for much control, are expensive, and don’t look very good. Instead I’m going to start using smaller textures and multiple particles systems working together.

Next Week

Continue with the work I did this week and probably spend some time fixing all the tree collision as they are broke.

The AK47 has been updated! This opens us up to having new alternative components--like a new stock or a new grip or magazine--just like how the SMG is set up. Speaking of new components: here’s the complete alternative.

I’m still playing around with the paint on the gun: what colour should it be or whether it should be random. What do you lot think?

Next Week

I’ll be moving onto the LODs once the materials are done - in fact, LODs are probably needed more as I can just tweak the textures afterwards. Peace out, hope ya’ll have fun this week!

I've been working on the body of the character this week, finalising proportions and going into some of the details. I think I'm pretty close to getting him into game now, with only a few areas left that need some attention. You’ll also notice a new set of eyes which use parallax occlusion to simulate a real eyeball. I’ll show some close ups when they’re finished next week!


Next Week

Some of the shape has been lost in transferring the details, so areas like the kneecaps and hands will need a bit of back and forth to make sure there's a good level of clarity on the smaller features like fingernails.

Other than that next week will just be a case of ticking off a lot of the smaller tasks which add that extra level of realism. Body hair, eyelashes, finishing off the eyes, stuff like that. It's the kind of stuff that normally takes longer than you think, but I'd like to be in a situation where the model is completely finished and ready to start getting into game by the end of next week.

Worked on a few things this week. First some rough idea sketches for a scientist NPC that you might encounter out in the world. I think these guys should be a bit of a mystery, what exactly their motives are for being on the island is unclear but they will seem to be interested in certain things on the island in particular, even their faces will be obscured and behind their dirty visors. Are they even human?

I've also revisited some of the armors, like the bone and wood. Now that Taylor's reworking the character models it's worth seeing if they could both be reworked around the new model to look a bit more awesome.

Next Week

Carrying on with the scientist NPCs and finalising the drone concept.

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