Jump to content

Hmm, Upgradez


nasKo

Recommended Posts

lightinglook.png


It’s been a really big week for us, as we merged the second-to-last element of Build 42 into the main codebase across the rest of the team – which is the long awaited tech upgrade which brings a whole host of improvements to the engine.

 

It’s currently being tested and the feedback has been super positive so far. This said, it’s also brought over lots of small bugs, visual glitches, and issues with new depth map clipping items incorrectly. Nothing over-dramatic, but enough stuff to keep testers and coders alike fully occupied.

This is where a lot of our brains have been at recently, so we thought we’d give you an update on the engine as it now stands while testers run around kicking its tires – alongside some videos they have made along the way.

 

Likewise, we also have some examples of some of its new capabilities that we will be able to explore in future – perhaps during the Unstable beta, perhaps beyond.

 

So, a run-down of what this tech upgrade brings into the game:

 

OPTIMIZATION

We’ve made huge optimizations to the rendering of the map that should have a huge impact for most lower-midrange and upwards systems. We are now easily able to get a solid framerate even on 4K, or on furthest zoom. The difference in performance is honestly surprising, and extremely satisfying.

 

For full disclosure, however, we’ve discovered that a few of the absolutely lowest end systems capable of running our game are still adversely affected. This is because the solution for such large FPS optimization comes at the expense of GPU memory usage for the caching textures used. Cards with extremely low dedicated GPU memory may run into problems.

 

We’re investigating and trying to optimize this further to make sure as many systems as possible can benefit, and worst case scenario these optimizations will be disabled on systems where they would do more harm than good.

 

However, it’s still entirely possible that we’ll be able to resolve this completely and provide a large boost to even the most potato systems. More likely, we’ll provide some kind of automatic detection to provide as large a portion of the optimizations as possible for a GPU’s available memory. This will be our next task post visual-bug clear out.

 

Generally we estimate that a huge majority of our playerbase will benefit greatly from the optimizations. Since most of the optimization frustrations we hear come from players who feel their machine should be able to run PZ at a solid framerate, we feel this work will ease the vast majority of performance sadness we see in the community.

 

VIEW CONE

Another improvement born out of necessity is an improved and smoother viewing cone. Due to the optimizations, it was no longer feasible to alter the lighting of tiles frequently enough to allow for the smooth light changes required for our tile based viewing cone.

 

As such we needed to implement a completely separate and newly-coded viewing cone that didn’t rely on tile lighting – which truth be told we were never a huge fan of anyway.

 

Now we have a much more accurate, smooth and fancy viewing cone – and now we have extra hands on it internally feedback is being collated so that we can provide plenty of requested options to allow you to tweak it this way and that. (Making it more or less visible probably being the primary one.)

 

 

 

LIGHT PROPAGATION

The new lighting system is now in full testing, and seems to be working pretty well so far.

 

This new propagation system allows for much prettier and more convincing lighting of the world, especially now we have basements which would have been extremely unsatisfying with our existing 41 lighting.

 

41’s system basically had an ‘ambient light’ level that permeated the entirety of the world depending on the time of the day. Then on top of that indoors would get a reduction in ambient light to make them slightly darker than outside.

 

The new system propagates light from light sources such as bulbs, or the sun, across tiles to simulate reflective light. It’s not something cutting-edge that you’d expect from the Unreal Engine, or something, but for our purposes it’s extremely effective. It allows for light from a window to creep across the room, allows for rooms with no natural lighting to be in complete darkness even during the day, allows more immersive coloured lighting, and all manner of other things not previously possible in PZ.

 

Most importantly of all, it fixes the room lighting issues that plague b41 when room layouts are changed with sledgehammers leaving strange lighting artifacts on the floor, since all lighting is calculated purely based on the geometry of the rooms now.

 

With this will now come gameplay balance – there’s debate on the team as to whether the player character should have a little more clarity in the darkness, some internal spots are a little more inky-blue than black, and new gameplay elements like not being able to read in the dark will need finetuning to the new visual.

 

Also seen in the following video, for extra immersion, doors are now fully animated – as discussed last time. This makes a huge difference to the feel of interacting with them during gameplay.

 

 

 

 

OVERGROUND UNDERGROUND

We’re still in the process of adding basement spots around the map – whether random or permanent. However, as discussed previously, the new upgraded engine allows support for levels from -32 to +32.

 

This allows for both much more convincingly tall skyscrapers for city locations, as well as for basements and potentially sprawling underground complexes. The mapping and modding is gonna be wild.

 

Part of this is also strapping in engine capabilities to help us in future – and as such please take the following as an EXAMPLE video of what we can now do in PZ.

 

Our coders and mappers have enough on their plates at the moment, and as such this is not a confirmed feature for when 42 goes Unstable.

It will, however, be feasible within the engine which is why we’ve chosen to show it.

 

Essentially, EP has been working on some extra physics engine functionality to allow for the physics to exist on floors other than the ground floor – as well as providing new physics shapes that in future will allow for this. This work was also a necessary foothold for other physics-based features we have brewing for future versions.

 

 

Please note also, just to quell any mapper fears again, these extensive engine and map data structure changes will not make existing map mods invalid. All maps will need to be reexported in the new versions of the tools when we release them, most likely around the time we put out the Unstable beta, but they won’t need to be redone from scratch.

MEANWHILE…

We’re waiting on a big commit to fill in some of the gaps in the crafting system process itself, so in the mean-time lets focus on some of the fun stuff that’ll be coming out the other end: weapons.

 

Clearly we already have the more ‘normal’ and traditional blacksmithed weapons for B42 already, and likewise the more ancient-styled stone axes and such. With these we’re avoiding anything specific to any period or culture, going for real life examples that were common across history and geography, and that could pass as something reasonably iron age, medieval, or post-apocalypse. We have consulted an expert in these matters regarding the designs and selection, and we’re also providing them with further weapon designs as we make them for feedback.

 

But, as we stretch out into our apocalypse we also wanted something a little more… apocalypse-y.

image-93-1024x747.png

As such, currently what’s being wrapped up are post-apocalypse improvised weapons. These include classic examples like the “nail-spiked weapons”, but also weapons that have been constructed with welding and metalshop tools.

 

With these designs a conscious decision has been made to not think about weapons from other games or zombie media, and instead research was conducted regarding real life improvised /crafted weapons. This included stuff like police collections of seized weapons and trench warfare, with additional inspiration from weapons in Max Mad-style post-apocalypse media.

 

We also took on something of a procedural approach, where we looked at the weapons and items that existed (or could exist) in the game, and imagined them being combined like Lego bricks to create weapons. Granted in many cases we just re-invented the wheel, but that helped keep things grounded, realistic, and consistent with the rest of the game.

 

image-94-1024x631.png

Although we tried to make these weapons realistic and believable, we have allowed for a couple of weapons to be slightly (reasonably) zany. We’re allowed to have a little fun, after all, and all those weapons will also have realistic drawbacks when wielded.

 

Simultaneous to this, we are also adding some broken versions of existing Zomboid weapons. Some of these broken weapons and their parts will be used in crafting other weapons, but these fragments also exist for gory consequences when weapons break when bashing a zombie with them.

I don’t quite know why we’re using this strange moustachioed gentleman to demonstrate these today, but lets have a proper look at him in any case. Curious chap.

 

image-92.png

BACK TO ANIMS-LAND

Finally, a big welcome to Nick from our colleagues at TEA Games who has joined us to help us implement something we call PenguinTech – after the time Zac got two million on-screen dancing penguins into a Wii game.

 

Originally slated for B41 this will, in essence, be a clever way of optimizing our zombie hordes – pooling what states they are in, and then sharing a smaller pool of zombie skeletons for the same anims. With this, fingers crossed, we’ll get better performance when there’s a horde on-screen and in turn we can be less dainty with their application in your survival.

 

A full round-up of everything confirmed for Build 42 can be found here. A changelist of all our pre-release and post-release patches since the 41 beta began can be found here. 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. Experienced games industry gameplay coder and want to join Team Awesome? Jobs page here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"there’s debate on the team as to whether the player character should have a little more clarity in the darkness"

 

I suppose no light=dark; Cat's eyes trait should maybe give a little more light blue clarity exactly like in the "doors and lightning" video?

Also filters while wearing glasses/sunglasses would be a plus in my opinion 8-)

 

Please, no Bethesd* bright nights and indoors !:cry:

 

I'm also very exited to try the new lightning system !

 

Cone is a little light, hope it will be possible to make it a little darker in options, that would be great; (I might be wrong tho, probably because i didn't try it myself).

Keep up the good work guys !

Edited by NagashUD
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very nice blog post for this month and lighting looks exciting and making indoor scavenging after power outages feel more intense and adds some good use to flashlights since I never used them before since indoors are too easy to see inside and not dark enough.  Build 42 is going to be a fun  build.

 

Driving a car underground parking lot looks interesting.

 

Also cant wait to check out these new weapons and kill many zombies with them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks to the developers for the interesting information.

It's cool that the bit fragment can also be used as a weapon.

The underground parking was especially pleased.

In the last picture, the gentleman is strange not so much with a mustache as with leopard underpants.

I really ask the developers not to overdo it with a slightly zany weapon. Leave it to the modders.

Edited by vek
Link to comment
Share on other sites

is there any way to make it so that the new vision cone at least looks like the one which is in the game now , although the new cone looks nice ,(IMO) it looks a little too modern for the retro vibe that the game has, it could be like an option to make it look like the old one .(the main parts that I think would be nice to have are the blocky look of the cone and the little delay that it has).at least for me , the new cone having such sharp and straight lines really breaks the immersion from the 1990s vibe the game has.

Edited by Yummiiii
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Yummiiii said:

is there any way to make it so that the new vision cone at least looks like the one which is in the game now , although the new cone looks nice ,(IMO) it looks a little too modern for the retro vibe that the game has, it could be like an option to make it look like the old one .(the main parts that I think would be nice to have are the blocky look of the cone and the little delay that it has).at least for me , the new cone having such sharp and straight lines really breaks the immersion from the 1990s vibe the game has.


As I understand it, it’s not possible. To get higher performance, we’ve moved from crawling individual tiles to having one large image stitched together. To get an effect like the old builds would require regenerating that larger image any time the player’s view changes, negating the performance increase. 
 

PZ, as its grown, has kind-of ended up as a case study for why the older 2D approaches died off at the turn of the millennium. They just don’t play well with modern 3-D graphics cards, and it gets worse the more complex the world gets..

 

Tinting options should be doable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, NagashUD said:

"there’s debate on the team as to whether the player character should have a little more clarity in the darkness"

 

I suppose no light=dark; Cat's eyes trait should maybe give a little more light blue clarity exactly like in the "doors and lightning" video?

Also filters while wearing glasses/sunglasses would be a plus in my opinion 8-)

 

Please, no Bethesd* bright nights and indoors !:cry:

 

I'm also very exited to try the new lightning system !

 

Cone is a little light, hope it will be possible to make it a little darker in options, that would be great; (I might be wrong tho, probably because i didn't try it myself).

Keep up the good work guys !

I second this, the new lighting system is a big improvement but the demonstration clearly showed there was no need for the player to use a lighter for light. You could perfectly navigate the dark building without. I'm in for hardcore darkness if it's a sealed room without any light.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

28 minutes ago, Headshotkill said:

I second this, the new lighting system is a big improvement but the demonstration clearly showed there was no need for the player to use a lighter for light. You could perfectly navigate the dark building without. I'm in for hardcore darkness if it's a sealed room without any light.

I suppose they will still add the option for darker nights as it is already actually, i hope so !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Note that the hallway has windows and glass doors at its entrance, even if it’s not necessarily realistic that light would make it around the 90 degree corner and to the end of the hall.

 

You can see how much darker it is in the starting room, so I don’t really get why the empty hallway is the focus. Either way, toning down the color filter will result in a darker hallway as there’d less luminescence over all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love all of this and I'm glad to see some new videos of the progress! I hope you all had a great vacation as well!

 

Light propagation was one I was most curious about and I have a feeling it'll be an area that'll get tweaked a fair bit over the course of the beta and beyond. Some are saying it should be darker but I agree with EngimaGrey that the lighting in the room the video started in is should give you an idea of how dark it can be. I also noticed two windows in that room; one looking out into the hall that is covered with a sheet, and one that sits between the outside world and the interior room that I assume is also covered. With the bright lights just outside, there is going to be some light coming through unless you have really thick sheets covering the windows and it's not going to make the room pitch black. I feel it should only ever be pitch black if there is no possible light source to interact with the area you're in. All that to say; I think it looks perfectly natural as is.

 

My only suggestion is the propagation of the street lights at the tail end of the video. I feel it is acting more like a spotlight with a circular area clearly defined and then suddenly back to dark as soon as you leave the circle. It'd be cool to see a gradual falloff of light intensity as you move out from the center instead of just a sharp cutoff.

 

I love this game as is but this update has me beyond excited. Not that you need some stranger to say it but, keep up the great work!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, EnigmaGrey said:

Observe que o corredor tem janelas e portas de vidro em sua entrada, mesmo que não seja necessariamente realista que a luz chegue ao canto de 90 graus e chegue ao final do corredor.

 

Você pode ver o quanto está mais escuro na sala inicial, então eu realmente não entendo por que o corredor vazio é o foco. De qualquer forma, diminuir o tom do filtro de cores resultará em um corredor mais escuro, pois haverá menos luminescência geral.

Question.

 

Can a ask a think 2 questions about Two radom Little Thigs?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 things i never thought i would read, "potential vast underground complexes" & not just 7 stories, but as many as 32 stories...above ground.

basements always seemed like a dream, like something we would discover in the Community Workshop

 

now it makes me wonder about tunneling, and the hazards that can happen from that (gas, collapse, getting all the dirt out)

 

i wanna push a zombie off a 32 story building and time how long it takes to hit ground, in the name of science and curiosity

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

36 minutes ago, syfy said:

2 things i never thought i would read, "potential vast underground complexes" & not just 7 stories, but as many as 32 stories...above ground.

basements always seemed like a dream, like something we would discover in the Community Workshop

 

now it makes me wonder about tunneling, and the hazards that can happen from that (gas, collapse, getting all the dirt out)

 

i wanna push a zombie off a 32 story building and time how long it takes to hit ground, in the name of science and curiosity

 

I imagine a picture when a character jumps from the roof of a skyscraper and how the heroine of the Matrix flies backwards down and shoots up, followed by an endless stream of zombies pouring from the roof and windows.))

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/26/2024 at 6:42 PM, EnigmaGrey said:

Note that the hallway has windows and glass doors at its entrance, even if it’s not necessarily realistic that light would make it around the 90 degree corner and to the end of the hall.

 

You can see how much darker it is in the starting room, so I don’t really get why the empty hallway is the focus. Either way, toning down the color filter will result in a darker hallway as there’d less luminescence over all.

I have full trust in you guys !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A new question that becomes even more relevant with the introduction of a new global lighting system: if a character in a dark corridor does not see, but hears a zombie that already exists, but has not yet been drawn by the game, he can shoot into the darkness, but this will not do anything, because the zombie is disembodied until the game draws it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...