Yet another week is checked off the calendar as the team moves forward with development of DayZ. In this week's Status Report, Lead Producer Brian Hicks will be filling us in on the challenges the team faces while on the road towards the next Stable branch update. Additionally, Brian will hand out a bit more info/updates in regards to the current state of persistence on 0.58 over on the Experimental branch.
Contents This Week
Development Board Spotlight
Community Spotlight: Carrot Survivor
Development Board Spotlight
As we're in crunch to resolve the last few blocking issues for 0.58 we don't have too much *new news*. That said, we'll use this weeks Status Report to fill you in on the issues we're currently focused on resolving for 0.58, as well as some small changes to Experimental Branch over the last week.
Player Position Desync:
This issue has been present in a pretty bad state on 0.57, so obviously we want to do what we can to improve the situation for 0.58. No one enjoys having their character get stuck in one spot, or have someone they're in conflict with bounce all over their screen. While we'll probably not get this issue 100% resolved for this update, our aim is to mitigate it as much as possible and present as enjoyable an experience on stable branch as is possible within a reasonable amount of time for bugfixing. We'll be pushing test updates to experimental branch as work on this moves forward.
Degrading Server Performance:
Internally we have noticed severe performance drops on 0.58 experimental, below what we consider to be the acceptable line for a playable dev build. The team has focused on investigating the cause of this issue, and resolving it so as to return the build to a playable state. This, like the issue with player position desync is marked as a blocker for 0.58 stable release.
As well, we discussed last week the goal of having the gameplay programmers resolve the issue of animation glitching for 0.58. With the issues listed above, specifically player position desynchronization being a much more critical issue - priority on the animation glitching (weapon swapping, holding an invisible weapon) has been rescheduled for 0.59, in order to give the proper resources to resolving the issues listed above.
That said - with 0.58 large strides have been made on the loot respawning, and cleanup issues. Allowing us to look forward to the reintroduction of persistent objects frequently used with the building of player camps.
The following functionality is currently present on 0.58 persistence:
Attached Vehicle Parts (W/ Exception to Tires & Fuel Levels)
And of course - the base item persistence is functioning as well. Item cleanup & respawn should ensure that the economy functions at a base enjoyable level. If you encounter or spawn near a small village that seems to be barren, just continue on to the next town. Mapping the concentration of loot over the span of a week on experimental has shown proper saturation across the map, so there is a high chance that the next town will have everything you need!
As well, Lead Designer Peter Nespesny will be discussing our goals for vehicle maintenance (tools, parts, etc) on the Official DayZ forums[forums.dayzgame.com] later today. Make sure to head over, and let your voice be heard!
Lastly, as we look to pushing 0.58 to Stable Branch - We'll be issuing a full reset of the hive (private shard and public shard characters) as well as a full wipe of existing persistence.
We still have a long way to go, but 0.58 should be a fun build to play on - and 0.59 looks to be even better!
- Brian Hicks / Lead Producer
Community Spotlight: Carrot Survivor
So, for this week it is time yet again for one of the DayZ content creators that have a mixed bag of goodies in his library. Without too much fuss; for this week we'll present you a couple of the videos created by: Carrot Survivor
Ahhh, the sweet sweet randomness when players take off into Chernarus to meet and engage other players sometimes in dialogue, sometimes in firefights. Our small selection of Carrot Survivor's videos depict the following settings:
1. An encounter where Carrot Survivor hooks up with two other random players. Eventually the group takes fire, and the guys subsequently have to figure out a way to deal with a pair of less than friendly players situated by the docks in Cherno.
2. An unusual encouter where Carrot and a friend engage in a firefight with another player by Veresnik military base. They end up taking the player hostage, yet the encounter ends in a way you might not necessarily expect:
3. Yet another hostile encounter where things do not go entirely quite as planned, neither for Carrot Survivor nor for his aggressor (dear god, Carrot's screaming is used liberally in several videos and it cracks me up every single time):
As always, if interested in more, please feel free to follow Carrot Survivor via his Twitter and Youtube accounts:
Also, for this month we have an update on the bugfiler(s) for the month of june. As always, Darcion contributed with a load of issues for June, but we'd also like to recognize the efforts of Zyryanoff (again) as well as Impulz. A huge thanks goes out to all of you who took the time to file the bugs you came across in DayZ!
This week I'd like to recap some of the upcoming changes to stable (when 0.58 goes live) for those that are not up to date with Experimental Branch. Once 0.58 goes live, we can start discussing 0.59 plans and intent.
As work is underway on regional control over the central loot economy, in the interim the guardhouse structures spread across the entirety of the map will not be spawning any loot. This is done to preserve the restriction of high end military loot to the military bases and camps inland in Chernarus. The structures themselves remain enter-able, but until regional control is implemented on stable branch - they will remain without spawning loot.
The structure some folks have referred to as the "Camo Building" or the "Jail House" has been problematic for some time. We've issued hotfixes, and addressed several bugs related to it - but the core issue that needs to be addressed is on the player controller. Rather than continue to issue small hotfixes (otherwise known as bandages on a broken leg) the issue needs to be resolved at the cause. To that end, the loot that would normally be spawning within these structures will be redistributed to other military buildings (tents, camps, barracks, etc)
Those who have played DayZ throughout its Early Access development are probably no stranger to the notorious "ghost sounds" bug. Splitting ammo, bandaging, opening soda cans, etc being partially played, and well outside of the range of the actual sound effect. Fortunately, during 0.58 development we were able to get some of the gameplay programmers time to look into this issue, and we are now confident that on 0.58 the issue has been finally slain. So be very aware after the next stable update, if you *hear* a sound effect playing - it IS near you. Be careful out there!
Wrecks (Non interactive)
With work on the central loot economy continuing, and the functionality of how it operates being iterated upon - Non interactive wrecks (tanks, destroyed UAZ's, etc) have been removed from the loot spawning tables, and the environment team will begin using them in their "devastation passes" across Chernarus. As with other structures, items that would normally spawn there will be redistributed across Chernarus. Note: This does NOT include interactive wrecks, such as vehicles you can open the trunks/doors/etc on.
The gameplay programming team is currently investigating the cause and symptom behind the notorious animation glitching bug. (Weapon swapping constantly) As well as the issues with dropping your weapon when vaulting. The weapon vaulting fix should be coming to experimental soon, and it is the aim of the team internally to also include a fix toward the weapon swapping animation bug.
Loot Respawning / Persistence Enabling
Persistence itself has been functioning for some time, the cause behind it being manually disabled on 0.57 stable servers is tied to an issue with loot respawning. We're aiming to have this issue resolved before we push 0.58 to stable branch, once we've tested this on experimental and are confident in the fix - players will be able to resume making camps, storing gear, and so on.
Similar issues with dynamic event cleanup and respawn were the cause of static dynamic events - and these issues are currently being investigated, and are marked critical for the 0.58 launch.
In addition to these issues, bugs related to severe player position desyncronization are currently being investigated, and flagged as a must fix for 0.59.
I hope this brief list of information pertaining to 0.58 helps update those who may have not kept a close eye on the experimental branch updates.
- Brian Hicks / Lead Producer
Read the full Status Report on the DayZ Devhub[dayz.com]
While development keeps moving along as usual, a lot of you have patiently been waiting for info on the new renderer, and for this week's Status Report Lead Producer Brian Hicks touches upon that very subject. Also, Senior Designer Jan Tomasik gives us some input on the ingame FOV; the theory and thought process behind the design solutions as well as decisions for the current iteration of FOV.
For this week we also present you with a link to the DayZ Trello board where Lead Artist Chris Torchia provides us with a small peek at environment updates, and lastly, we have a small feature on one of DayZ's content creators - Super Dan.
This week we'll touch on two topics. We'll start off discussing the work ongoing with the new renderer for Enfusion, and then wrap up discussing the current behaviour and mechanics behind sprinting, holding breath, and so on.
Players who have been actively following the development of DayZ are aware of the large task the engine team undertook to separate the legacy RV renderer from the simulation, and replace it with a more modular and updated version. The task itself of creating a new renderer is not huge, the length and weight of the task is related primarily to:
Separating the legacy renderer from the simulation
Ensuring the separation is complete, as the RV engine and its functions tied to it are extensive
Once the above was complete, the new renderer itself was broken into three primary modules. (Bear with us, this can be moderately technical)
Pipeline module (1)
the pipeline of objects rendering is new (defines the "way" how the objects are moving from entity in world to set of rendering commands)
is responsible to prepare meshes to be rendered
filling of pipeline will be also multi-threaded, in phase of testing and debugging
Material system module (2)
objects are rendered using new material system, old one is still present to have the comparison
each mesh has assigned a material (not rvmat) with material class which is responsible for it's rendering
setting of material is editable in workbench editor and you see real-time the changes in render
each material class was written from scratch, visualisation currently as much similar as possible to old render but now we can add simply new features (like PBR)
huge simplification for filling GPU command buffers, can be easily sorted to minimize changes in command buffers
all renderable game objects have now representation in material class
High level rendering API module (3)
GPU API is DX11 for now (With DX 12 supporting coming later)
implementation of GPU API now hidden behind rendering API, no one is allowed to use direct GPU API commands
it allows us to add new GPU API like DX12, XBOX one, PS4...much easier
Initial implementation done, currently in testing and bug fixing phase (optimization still in progress but looks promising)
GUI pipeline and rendering system is completely new and different from the one in original RV engine
GUI layouts will be defined in workbench using graphic editor not by config system (huge improvement for designers)
rendering works, currently debugging and working on the editor
In a future experimental build it'll be possible to try it using command line switch (startup switch)
postprocesses were completely rewritten into new system of effects
more worlds can be renderered in one frame, it allows to create independent scenes
needed for workbench
usable also in game to create e.g. mirrors, cameras...
As work on the new renderer continues and we look at our plans for the eventual push to experimental we have several goals:
- Testing partnerships with Intel, AMD, and nVidia to ensure compatability with market leader and average hardware configurations
- Marked performance for gameplay in large cities (Elektro, Cherno, Novod, Severograd, Berezino, etc)
Next up - There has been a good deal of discussion, and questions on exactly how hold breath, lung capacity, and dispersion when characters are tired. Below we have a few example videos with debug data on screen so you can see the specific values.
In the first video you see the user start out stationary - not tired, and begin to hold his breath. With the inaccuracy value falling sharply upon holding his breath, as the character continues to hold his breath and his lung capacity drains - the inaccuracy slowly starts climbing.
With the second video, we have a character who starts off tired (has been sprinting for an extended duration - 90 to 120 seconds of solid sprinting) who takes a knee (supported firing position) as his tired value decreases, his lung capacity increases - and he begins to hold his breath.
Mind you, this is only how it performs now (on 0.57 stable) and this is prior to the implementation of weight and character stamina. That said, we would love to hear your thoughts on the current behavior of the mechanic. Please make sure to head over to the Official DayZ forums and discuss this in the latest Status Report discussion thread!
Finally - the gameplay programming team has made headway on the annoying issue of sounds playing globally (splitting ammo, bandages, etc) and 0.58 should see the issue resolved! If you happen to still manage to repro, please open a ticket at feedback.dayzgame.com!
- Brian Hicks/ Lead Producer
For the full Status Report, please have a look at our DayZ Devhub[dayz.com]
As the team continues pushing development of DayZ, we have Brian, Chris, and Viktor providing us with a peek at what is on the plate for the team. For this week, Lead Producer Brian Hicks will discuss development going forwards in regards to the DayZ audio module, while Lead Artist Chris Torchia will discuss the decision making behind the firearms design, and Lead Animator Viktor Kostik will discuss the development of transitioning the player character across to the new animation system.
Like always, we have a couple of links to our DayZ Trello board, and towards the end of this weeks' Status Report we showcase a video showing an interesting game session springing forth from a Vybor spawn.
Its been a hectic few weeks, with 0.57 release and E3 - but I'd like to take some time out this week to discuss pending changes to the Audio side of the Enfusion engine, as well as some critical audio bugs plaguing DayZ Early Access players.
We've talked about replacing the existing Audio system in DayZ with a new Audio module better suited to DayZ's needs, but we haven't really outlined what some of that means. As many players may know, the inherited audio technology from the Real Virtuality (TKOH / Arma 2) side of the family has its strengths, but it also has quite a few weaknesses. As we began looking at the time and resources required to update this portion of our base engine, we looked at several key areas we wanted to improve:
- 3D Positional Ambient Sound: Supporting true 3D Positional Ambient sounds is integral to proper immersion within Chernarus. As well, once we support this - the roar of the coast, and the confusing positional ambient noises should be a thing of the past.
- More complex configuration options for vehicles, weapons, etc: Current technology supports a very basic methodology for potential sounds and triggering events for weapons, vehicles and the likes. Moving to the new Audio module will begin to allow the design and audio teams to implement more complex audio configurations for items and vehicles in game.
As development on this portion of the engine continues, we'll be looking at other features existing internal projects offer (such as Arma 3's tech) to ensure that the support the Enfusion engine offers is as comprehensive as we can allow.
In addition to this, work has continued internally on slaying the ever illusive audio bug beast known as "Ghost sounds" - Potential headway was revealed during a conference between key members of the Arma, and DayZ teams. Potential related causes of the issue, as well as fixes implemented on the Arma side of the company are hopefully going to be implemented. We'll be testing this out on experimental hopefully with 0.59 - I'll be speaking with people about this on the official DayZ forums when we begin testing, and anyone encountering the issue at that point is strongly encouraged to utilize the Feedback Tracker.
See you all in Chernarus!
- Brian Hicks / Lead Producer
E3 - DayZ PC Gaming Show 2015
Also, we have a little bit of info in regards to modding and the singleplayer part of DayZ in the following video featuring Brian Hicks at this year's E3 convention. Thanks and props go out to the fine people of DayZ Underground for providing the video!
Work continues on experimental branch as the team keeps hammering away at the next Stable build candidate. It's been a tough wait, we understand, but major issues encountered during development required fixing before the push to Stable branch. This week, Lead Producer Brian Hicks will be dishing out some handy information regarding the Central Loot Economy - what it is, how it's supposed to work, as well as the thought process behind the design choices for the CLE. Also, Lead Designer Peter Nespesny will be telling us about future updates to the vehicles found throughout Chernarus. Peter will go over subjects such as operation, maintenance, as well as the design choices behind these upcoming updates.
Lastly, we have a couple of links[forums.dayzgame.com] to the DayZ Trello board and DayZ forums discussion thread related to the new bus animations, and at the end of our Status Report, we have a small feature on one of DayZ's content creators - Barely Infected.
With 0.57 on the horizon, this week I'd like to take time to talk a bit about player progression across Chernarus, the Central Loot Economy (and its impact on this), and the challenges DayZ faces compared to the Arma 2 Mod experience.
First lets go over exactly what the Central Loot Economy is, and what it offers DayZ.
- Migration of control over what items spawn from legacy method (script) into a more easily and rapidly updated system
- This means the dev team can rapidly (and without requiring an update to the game) completely change / update the amount of items that spawn
- This is done on both a global, and a per server level - in the future allowing custom server operators fine control over their server and its item spawn quantities without requiring any base modification to the game
- Control over item lifetimes (speed of decay / time to item cleanup)
- Control over how many of each item time is supposed to be present in the world (Min / Max / Nominal)
- Control over item cost (rarity vs spawning methods)
Why is the Central Loot Economy critical to DayZ's design - versus the original prototype placeholder loot spawning script? Simply put - the original method was a very rough prototype, designed to start populating the initial memory points for each structure. In order for the design and environment teams to be fully free to create a comprehensive, living breathing world - we first needed to begin to have fine and robust control that can be rapidly pushed to all servers. The original prototype method was very time resource heavy for updating, limited our options to traditional DayZ Mod style building definitions only, and in short pidgeon-holed the team into very limited control.
One of the images that has been circulating the DayZ Community over the last week is a map covering player progression across Arma 2's original Chernarus map. The layout of the original Chernarus, as well as the very limited amount of enterable structures, and thus very limited amount of potential spawn points for items meant an inherent flow of player movement across the map. It required very little work on the design side - High end military loot spawned mostly entirely at Barracks structures, Basic Supplies / Weapons at Firestations, Grocery Stores, Barns, and so on, and Medical supplies at Hospitals. The structure of *how* items spawned within the original Chernarus just -fit- the limited scope of that map perfectly.
Moving into DayZ as a standalone project, one of the first tasks undertaken was the decentralization of core resource (points of interest) buildings - and the expansion of Chernarus into a more robust and living world. Nearly every structure was made enter-able, and thus nearly every single building on the map was a potential (or group of potential) points for items to spawn. At first this might not seem like it should have a major impact on the design, and flow of player progression across the map - but when you look at the statistics, it is rather telling.
- In DayZ Mod, with vanilla Chernarus - Potential item spawn points number in the thousands (Sub 10k)
- In DayZ Chernarus + the potential locations for items to spawn exceeds 1 Million.
For a look at the full Status Report, please feel free to have a look at the DayZ Devhub[dayz.com]