Howdy almost-yuletide survivor.
PATCH 40.40 RELEASED
Today we released our final (sort of, read below for more on that) patch for Build 40. Full patchnotes can be found here, but this covers stuff like:
Improved darker nights, and less washed out night-time interiors. Car headlights and flashlights will be more of a necessity now. Sandbox settings also updated, so you can adapt it to a brightness you desire.
Improved appearance of weather effects when in a building.
Moon calculations re-added to game to govern night brightness.
Extended disassemble ability to many more items,including: fridges, ovens, more chairs, washing machines, lockers, fitness equipment, metal barrels and some missing shelves.
Some balanced player actions related to injuries, sleeping, window-breaking and bandages in a saucepan.
Fixed whisper problems in the new chatbox, stair teleports, rain rather than snow in Winter is Coming, community translation font issues, plumbed sinks not working in MP and various other issues.
40 MP NETWORK STUFF
While the rest of the team move into the animations build and version 41, we’re leaving optimization specialist Bitbaboon Steve investigating what easy-win MP networking improvements we could potentially still patch into 40.
The first of his discoveries, the removal large number of empty and unnecessary data packets being sent over the server, has been released in 40.40 and should be a mild salve for current lag issues but his investigations also came up with an idea we thought it’d be wise to test out with a forthcoming IWBUMS beta and Community Megatest.
Essentially, Steve has been working on some server configurable optimizations for zombies in multiplayer. Since vehicles, performance in multiplayer servers has seen added strain (particularly in handling zombie hordes) and we’re hoping this might improve matters.
In essence, we’re about to release a test version in which there are several configurable options to allow server owners to fine-tune how much zombie data is sent to their players.
There will now be two ‘player client zombie awareness’ circles: the first a smaller radius that defines at what tile-range zombie positions are sent to clients with a high precision in every frame, and then a second larger radius in which the zombie location information can be sent to clients less frequently. Server owners will also be able to play with how much time there is between the low frequency updates.
On low population co-op servers these values can be set pretty liberally, so the players are getting all zombies in the visible area smoothly. But on high population servers that experience lag issues, server operators can sacrifice the smoothness of zombie movement in the distance (or even cap zombie visibility completely over a certain distance) in order to VASTLY reduce the amount of internet traffic they produce when lots of players are involved.
We think this will sharply decrease the amount of work the server needs to do and should lead to a much better player experience with a little bit of visual compromise toward the edge of the screen. Distant zombies might pause a bit or appear to teleport slightly between updates, but these movements are also something we’d hope to blend better (and make far less noticeable) with the added functionalities of the animations build. Server operators can decide on their own level of compromise too.
This work is pretty much done, and as such we will add it into the IWBUMS beta as soon as it’s clear there’s nothing from 40.40 that needs hot-fixing. Please keep your eyes on the forum if you want to participate in a special Yuletide Megatest.
This week in TEA-land Grant has improved things dev/modder-side with live texture reload, through upgrading the Filewatcher mechanism. It now watches the media folder instead of polling individual files, and is much more efficient. Upon a texture filechange, the game now reloads it live and in-place. This should make iteration times on textures much easier and faster.
Zac, meanwhile, has fixed up AnimZed for Animator Martin to the extent that he can now get a lot more variation on different individual outfits. Take these cops for example:
Martin has also been creating a better range of skin tones for player characters, to allow for better customisation should people desire it.
Stas has just updated the Gamepad Test beta with a lot of fixes, for our lovely select bunch of gamepad testers. If you fancy helping out with this part of PZ work, and earn yourself a free code, then enquire within.
RJ has been tinkering with in-game loot, and has occasionally been popping into the PZ Discord to look for willing testers. The overall plan is to have more information in the game code in terms of what’s a desirable item, and what’s junk – so we can then fill containers with a lot more realistic junk items even on higher difficulty levels. He’s also experimenting with having more specific containers in homes for more specific items (all the cutlery in one drawer, male clothes in one wardrobe, female in another etc) but the jury is currently out on whether it actually detracts from the looting gameplay.
ChrisW’s work on in-building Sims-style cutaways and the abolition of the dithered circle view stencil continues. As seen here both with, and without.
Today’s warehouse horde from Frank. A general list of stuff added to PZ, and vids of features being worked on, is kept here – so you don’t have to plough through endless dev blogs for info. The Centralized Block of Italicised Text would like to direct your attention to the PZWiki should you feel like editing or amending something, and the PZ Mailing List that can send blogs like this and patch notes direct to your mailbox. We also live on Twitter right here! OurDiscord is open for chat and hijinks too.