We’ve gone for a reasonably quick and dirty video blog this week, mainly because things have been very busy for us.
One of the biggest improvement areas has been the inventory system, now almost ready for a public display. This new inventory system supports crafting, interchangeable clothing, degradation, tracking, weapon customization, and much more. It’s really a revolutionary system for us and we’re extremely proud of the results that Jirka (our programmer assigned to this) has achieved.
Not touched on in the video, but what we will be showing soon is the basics of how users can interact with items in the world - this is the next step in development of our inventory system beyond where it is now. This is not a traditional crafting system, but one that encourages layers to explore the ways in which items can be crafted.
In the video, towards the end, some before and after footage of work on the zombie AI pathfinding. Not only has this changed the role, threat, and speed of the zombies - but it has also yielded performance improvements. The increased accuracy of the zombies movement allows their movement to be slowed down to more sensible values, in line with those of the players themselves. We still have some other avenues to explore in this regard, but we’re very pleased with the results so far.
Mass zombie spawning server side
Now all zombies are spawned directly on the server and their movement is governed directly on the server itself. This has allowed us to provide increased security and hack prevention mechanisms by disabling functionality at the client level. It also means that zombies no longer “pop” in and out of the world, previously used as a mechanism to tell if someone was in the area. It also paves the way for us to allow migrating zombies and zombies traversing open areas in search for their next meal.
We still have some way to go in performance, the initial tests of 4000 zombies spawned reduced the server FPS to 4. After performance optimizations this increased up to 21. We’re now confident we can have the server FPS back up to 30+ with maximum numbers of zombies in the near future.
Expanding health system
Health is extending far beyond just blood, into a system that incorporates health, blood, and consciousness level. How these are all interrelating will be touched on in its own devblog in future. Some of the exciting developments coming include longterm play effects such as poor diet affecting your long term health levels. All this translates into the importance of a longterm plan for survival of your character, and we’re sure the role of medical specialists will become very important - hopefully emphasizing social interaction opportunities.
This continues at a huge pace. The two new villages in expand Cherno and provide it a true city feeling. Also expanding is the top (north) map area and the continued development of our large-scale features being added to the map. More to follow on this! (we can’t wait to show some more of this!)
Finding loot now involves scavenging inside of vehicles, looking for items stuck between furniture, prying open car boots, or strewn in the wasteland itself. Consuming your bounty now results in rubbish, such as empty cans after consuming your beans. This is no mere gimick, because your trash can be used to track you.
There is a great deal more that can be covered, but we’re really deeply in the thick of development at the moment and we just wanted to get something quick and dirty to all those waiting for standalone. We know that you want it released, and we know you want to know when this will be - but we’re 100% committed to making this a great game, and that means we are making sure to do things properly. We’re happy and confident about the progress, so it’s one foot after another and soon we’ll be at the finish line.