Evening all, here’s a quick rundown on a lot of the things we’ve been up to in the past week. As mentioned last time round there’s been a degree of getting the Noiseworks team onboard so they can get their teeth into the PZ soundscape – but clearly getting MP fixed, improved, done and out is our current main priority.
The stage we’re at is that increasingly a server of 20 people is stable and fun, but peppered with some moments in which it very much is not.
Yuri has been strapping various recording instruments to the server to learn more about what’s causing the server to occasionally wobble – and then spelunking the data caught in these nets from our internal tests. It’s currently thought that players joining the server are giving it headaches that can get increasingly severe.
Andrei meanwhile continues to fix up issues of zed teleportation, and RJ adds in stuff to fix/improve gameplay and PvP. We’ve also had a new bundle of QoL improvements come over from our part-time graduate coders in Team Tanglewood, details below, while Zac’s optimization mission has continued unabated.
Here’s an abbreviated changelist of what was being tested last night. (Shorter than normal as we also had a test on Friday night and over the weekend)
“We’re all enjoying an improved experience as one test moves to another, but definitely still do experience bugs and issues that lead the dev team deeper into the code. The play testing for our group is getting more fun as more of these issues get ironed out.“
“We had a couple loot runs worthy of zombie movies: decision making moments, everything going wrong, loads of supplies, loads of brain matter splattered around… it really was this game at it’s best. That said I now understand why it hasn’t had a wider release yet, we had quite a few major bugs that were to be expected but wouldn’t really work for anything beyond a limited test.”
“From unplayable to mystical. Last night’s test, from my personal experience, was an unbelievable improvement. Last weekend, playing on a French server from Canada, I couldn’t play. It was too rough, I would get surprised by invisible zombies and it was overall quite a painful experience.
Last night however, was a comparison I can’t really express: it was so smooth for me that even dancing to the same beat with another player was spot on. There was no difference in movement, and zombies were SP-level good to fight one on one as well. Problems arose when two players fought zombies at the same time, but nowhere even close to the last test I was part of. Last night provided me with a joy of video games that I haven’t had since first discovered them.“
So what’s next? Well, first of all we probably have to underline that we didn’t pay that third tester any money to say nice things. He appeared to say it of his own free will.
There are however server issues and zed teleportation issues still to address that mean that not everyone is getting the same service he clearly did last night. To fix these up is the current mission.
Once said mission is feeling a little more complete we will be widening the test pool to 40, and then this dance of terrifying bugs coming out of the woodwork and then being squashed over the course of a few weeks will begin again. After which we’ll try to go higher still, and so it goes… and so it goes…
Clearly the bigger numbers we’re talking, the more likely it is that keen Zomboid players will get a slot via Community Megatests – but we’re not there just yet.
Again, as ever, we’re sorry for tantalising folks with these weekly reports – but it’s better to write these each week rather than adopt a radio silence.
We had a few other neat things drop into the build this week, with a few neat things from our graduate coders over at Team Tanglewood that are quite fun.
A new clock! As well as having a handy button that will allow you to turn off a beeping alarm, the clock now shows the date more clearly, different colour options and appear bigger on your screen. Thanks for this one Fox.
A new ‘saliva only transmission’ sandbox option – meaning that scratches won’t zombify.
Clearer condition icons (stars) for weapons so you can tell their quality more accurately.
Optimized fog that should be much kinder to your frame-rate. It will also look better when it comes into proximity with walls. Generally looks the same, with less of a drag on your system though.
Finally, there was also some clever performance stuff from Zac that will help us track down the performance wobbles that you send into us that we can’t track down ourselves. Here’s Zac explaining it. (When he says ‘the engineers’ it’s a posh way of him saying ‘me’.)
“The new upgrade to AnimZed will allow testers and players to package up a performance recording and send it as a single file. This will allow the data to be gathered on all kinds of different hardware, and the engineers can then pore over the key details and find out where the performance bottlenecks are. This should make it much easier to optimize Project Zomboid to run smoothly on all different kinds of hardware, and not just the ones that the team codes and tests on.”
That’s all for this week in terms of Build 41 stuff. Thanks so much for reading, and sorry I posted it a bit later than normal today.
A changelist of all IWBUMS patches since the 41 beta was released can be found here. 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 PZ Wiki should you feel like editing or amending something, and the PZ Mailing List that can send you update notifications once builds get released. We also live on Twitter right here! Our Discord is open for chat and hijinks too!