Project Zomboid - nasKo


Hello everyone. A little bit of a short Mondoid this week. In fact the last one ever. But don’t worry, we’re still keeping up with the weekly updates.

It’s the end of an era. This Mondoid is just an announcement to say that from this point the traditional Mondoid blog will be moving to Thursday – henceforth to be known as ‘Thursdoid’.

There are several reasons for this. We know some people look forward to Mondoids to combat the back to work/school Monday blues, but as our team has grown quite dramatically over the past year, it has become more and more clear how inconvenient Monday updates are, how much harder it is to coordinate the week’s work after a weekend, and how they are ultimately of detriment to the game, player-base and developers. From the game’s side, it means we’ve had an entire weekend just prior to the most important day of the week, where it may have been more difficult to get hold of people, or work has been at its lightest. From the developers side, many of the contractors we’ve taken into the fold have families, and its a bit crappy of us to impose our historic looming Mondoid pressure onto them.

We feel that moving to Thursdays will be better for everyone, as we’ll have had several working days of preparation and week day communication to make sure the Thursdoids are on point, versions have had sufficient time in the incubators during the week, and yet we’ll still have Friday to fix up any problems that crop up before the weekend starts (that’s not to say the workaholic elements within will not continue to poke at the game during the weekend as we always have). It’s also closer to the weekend, so when versions emerge, players have less time to wait to have dedicated time to enjoy them.

Also we ran out of Monday puns a long time ago.

We had hoped to sweeten this final Mondoid with a public release of build 38, but in the last hours discovered a few issues we really need to address. As such we will warm up for a full release as soon as we can this week, and we’ll see you on Thursday!
Sep 11
Project Zomboid - nasKo


Hola gang. Here’s the latest slice of Monday.

BUILD 38
Build 38 is fully baked, but requires two roof-rendering fixes to player-made bases from ChrisW who’s beavering away at them as we speak. We didn’t want to wreck the views of solo savegame and server player bases with a public release, and will be patching in further tweaks to the system (improved peeking, fairer window/zed visibility at NW corners etc) after release.

In the mean-time there’ll be a new public IWBUMS beta release tomorrow with other general/necessary pre-launch bug fixes from RJ and Connall.


VEHICLES
With the current vehicles beta soon to transform into Build 39 this week we’ve had extra hands descend upon it. Yuri will continue to oversee physics issues, car shadows, visible damage and general vehicles performance – meanwhile Steve will be providing optimization support game-wide, and now RJ is in amongst it working on gameplay aspects like realistic vehicle spawning, the Mechanic skill, gas used during journeys and the like.

[In the meanwhile Turbo will continue to work on his devices code, work will begin on the next big map update and Bitbaboon Mark will continue to work with the PZ team with the new animations for integration into the build(s) that follow.]

In terms of Build 39 RJ has begun this work with Vehicle build 19 (directions on how to access here) in which he transferred aspects of Yuri’s work into the overall PZ zoning system, added Mash’s latest textures for burnt-out cars, balanced attributes of particular cars, restarted work on car keys and added various Sandbox options to let players tailor their vehicular PZ experience a little better.

Build 19 also introduced some of Yuri’s fixes to vehicles in co-op and MP, so that will hopefully make for a smoother ride online – with less disappearing cars and loot.

Over to RJ for a brief word on his automobile work:

“Up until Vehicles Build 19 properties like engine condition, maximum speed and how much gas a car had were purely dependent on where the vehicle spawned. So at the moment I’m giving each car some individuality, although spawn area still matters as a vehicle spawning in a beautiful neighbourhood won’t have the same condition as something found in a trailer park.”

“Also now in the vehicles build the amount of gas consumed by a car is no longer static – previously you lost a set amount per-tick, but now it depends on various things: stuff like the total mass of the car and your loot, engine quality and the speeds you’re travelling at. So gas usage will really depend on how you use the car.”

“I’ve also made sure that when driving on non-tarmac surfaces cars will be slowed – and ultimately damaged if you’re driving over bumpy wilderness.”

“In terms of car spawning zones – that should now be improved, although spawn numbers will likely still need balance. Not every zone is done but where I’ve done work then cars should be appearing in more accurate places, burnt out cars should be appearing in junk yards and trailer parks, and ‘special’ vehicles like the Spiffo’s truck should be parked outside the Spiffo’s restaurant. Still to come is work that’ll make the way that they’re parked look a bit more ‘natural’.”

“Until Build 38 is released and I need to get back onto bug fixes I’m also working on engine power, car keys and locked cars, and balancing general vehicle stats. We’re also finalizing the ‘Mechanic’ skill design doc, and should be getting the sign off from the rest of the team this week.”


OPTI-MISSION
Optimization is currently vital as the vehicle build is careering towards a wider audience. As such Bitbaboon Steve’s opti-mission continues – chalking up two more FPS salves that we’ll test out in the Vehicles Build (Build 39) towards the end of the week, and also spotlighting something funky deep in the PZ engine rendering system that’ll require further investigation.

To aid him in his quest we’re investigating an update from lwjgl2 to lwjgl3 – which is no simple task, but has been on the ‘must do’ tasklist for a fair while. We’re at a point with it that should help Steve a fair amount when he dives deep into the rendering code, but when it reaches its full fruition then this will hopefully make for general better running of PZ, remedied display issues and general headache easing.


OTHER STUFF
  • Connall’s work on the ‘small things that make a big difference’ suggestion list continues, with the integration of imperial measurements (pounds, miles, Fahrenheit etc) to make our American audience feel a little less like… they’re in a European zombie apocalypse.
  • We’ve stolen Nasko, our community manager, away from his actual real world workplace for a month or two to work on revamping the PZ Wiki – so it’s more accessible and better structured for community efforts. If anyone has any thoughts, or maybe even would like to help him on his quest when details need to flood the system, then please give him a shout.

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 Mondoids for info. The 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 blogs like this and patch notes direct to your mailbox. We also live on Twitter right hereOur Discord is open for chat and hijinks too.
Sep 4
Project Zomboid - nasKo


Ello, ello, ello – here’s some of the latest.

BUILD 38
The public Build 38 release is feeling increasingly imminent – although there are still a few fixes to the new roof rendering and player view system that are still in the oven. Today we released IWBUMS public beta 38.11 that focuses on transferred optimizations from the vehicles build – so improved garbage collection, optimized lighting, memory leaks plugged and improved map loading.

There’s also a VoiceManager fix gone in, spotted by BitBaboon Steve and remedied by General Arcade, that should provide an FPS improvement in SP – especially on lower spec systems. So if you see/feel/sense any improvements then please let us know.

The build also does various soon-to-launch jobs like updating community translations, alongside several of Connall’s Community Suggested tweaks: first aid kits now spawning with sterilized bandages, suture needles being able to be used for sewing like regular needles and the ability to sterilize bandages in boiling water. He’s also made aspects of tea preparation and drinking less frightful through the addition of a new recipe. Full changelist here.


VEHICLES
This week Yuri is moving onto commonly reported MP issues in the public vehicles beta in preparation for the wider testing audience when Build 39 goes into IWBUMS. As such stuff like vehicles disappearing on exit, precious loot removing itself from the boot (trunk if you’re American) and similar will all come beneath his steely glare.

He’s also, finally hopefully, zapped the ‘trapped in walking animation’ bug that’s been vexing our car testers for several builds now – with a fix due in Vehicle Build 19.

Vehicle Build 18, meanwhile, came out last Friday – and came with the much requested addition of making sure that the number of players that can fit inside each car model is accurate to the number of seats, and hopefully a fix to the strange lights on/off syncing issue that MP players have been reported. It also came with actual visible headlights appearing on vehicles (rather than just having the beams) and red brake lights to boot.

It brings a surprising amount to the vehicles when it’s all seen in-game, as you can hopefully see in this video. [Although Yuri’s coding music is a little… mellow (?) for our taste.]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uAOvTz-DUk

We’ve also updated the Vehicles Build with the latest IWBUMS, so testers can explore the new town of Riverside and the Knox Heights Country Club in relative leisure – as seen below.




39+ PLANS
Once Build 38 releases the current plans are for Build 39 to be a relatively quickfire release, essentially getting the existing experimental vehicles out to the public in as bug-free a state as possible – albeit on the current selection toggle. We anticipate improving on their current zoning/spawning alongside aspects of their optimization, but the meat of their maintenance will come in the following build.

We’re currently firming up the design docs – but the current plan is for vehicle damage, repair and car wreck player injuries to be a focus in Build 40, and then to turn to player-crafted improvements and realistic ‘apocalypse survival’ modifications in later versions.

As we’ve mentioned before, maintaining your cars will work in much the same way as our current medical system – covering stuff like dead batteries, burst tires and the more common engine issues as well as structural damage. Don’t expect My Summer Car levels of vehicular knowledge requirements [although we certainly hope the modding crowd will think towards this] but do expect the Mechanic profession to be a fun/useful one to have.

Elsewhere Turbo is making good progress with his Devices overhaul (this week reworking radios so it’s easier to find and tune into different player wavelengths), Bitbaboon Mark is fixing up the new skinned renderer in the now integrated model loader in the anims build and his colleague Steve is marking up various targets for optimization to ensure that vehicles run as swimmingly as possible when they’re released. Oh, and Mash is adding more detail to the wilderness areas around Riverside for those who venture into the back of beyond.

Today’s featured massacre from C.P. 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 Mondoids for info. The 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 blogs like this and patch notes direct to your mailbox. We also live on Twitter right hereOur Discord is open for chat and hijinks too.
Aug 28
Project Zomboid - EnigmaGrey



Ello’ all, and happy Bank Holiday for UK-ers and beyond.


RIVERSIDE RELEASE


The town of Riverside and the countryside around it was added to the IWBUMS public beta Build 38 last Thursday in 38.8, and we’re getting plenty of positive reports from the testers exploring its separated rich/poor districts, the Scenic Grove trailer park, the stone angels of its graveyards and the delights of the Knox Heights Country Club.





We’ve also added a lootable map, and have been adding foraging zoning etc to it since release. Here’s a section of it, but there’s plenty more besides.




We’ll be adding the map to the vehicles build imminently, tomorrow hopefully, which will probably help you in your exploration as it’s been constructed to favour drivers a little more than previous map expansions. Initial reports suggest people are digging the different building styles, and there’s still some more to come from Mash in terms of extra buildings and detail. It sounds like zombie numbers need to be topped up a little, though, so if the Country Club tennis courts feel like they need a bit more action then please let us know.





MEGATEST RESULTS


Last Wednesday we ran the IWBUMS Megatest II to try out Bitbaboon Steve’s new effort in the War Against Zombie Lag – and we’re very pleased to report a resounding success.


We opened up the server toward the end of the test and had 141 people playing off/on over the hour, and 87 at its peak – and the usual peril of ghosting zombies, unfair bites and general combat sludginess was hugely improved. Even better, things didn’t seem to degrade the more players got online.


If this summary from Svarog is anything to go by, life for our MP players should be vastly improved when 38 is released: “I’ve gotta say that it’s incredible how much better it is when it comes to zombies. There is almost no lag, combat is much, much more pleasant. I can even use knives as weapons. Awesome job.”


Our thanks to Steve for his eagle eyes and code skills – and also for his ongoing work as there’s still room for improvement. During the test he set up various headache testcases with groups of helpful players, and there’s still plenty of areas he feels he can ratchet MP performance tighter, before moving on to general PZ optimization to aid and abet both vehicles and the animation system that his colleague Mark is helping out with. Hurrah then!


NEXT


Current focus is to tidy up Build 38 and get it out of the door – with IWBUMS 38.9 fairly imminent with Riverside forage zoning, new spawnpoints, Yuri’s recent gamepad work and some work on legacy bugs from Connall.

(Incidentally Connall is now taking ownership of much of the ‘Small but Important Suggestions thread‘ so if there’s any minor thing that you think could make life that little bit more fun or realistic in the game then feel free to holler at him there. From 38.9 if you’re sleeping outside then rain will wake you up, for instance.)


Yuri, meanwhile, continues his work on the public vehicles test – and is currently adding brake lights, and a change in appearance of the physical headlights to accompany the light beams we already have in the game. He’ll most likely be turning to co-op issues later in the week, while we’ll also be internally testing his engine optimizations when they’re integrated into Build 38 so that we can pave the way for the release of the first iteration of vehicles in Build 39.


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 Mondoids for info. The 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 blogs like this and patch notes direct to your mailbox. We also live on Twitter right here! Our Discord is open for chat and hijinks too.


Project Zomboid - nasKo


Plenty on at the moment, and a new Community Megatest with free PZ codes up for grabs coming up on Wednesdoid…

NEW BUILDS
We released a new build of the Vehicles test branch today, in preparation for it becoming Build 39 once Build 38 gets a full release. Vehicle Build 15 fixes bugs with car wrecks spawning in the air and gently floating down, and also goes through and corrects the vehicle shadows and collision boxes of all our car models – meaning that flipped cars can no longer be walked through.

Yuri also finished off his gamepad integration work, adding gamepad control to our lootable map interface, which he will be transferring to Build 38 alongside the rest of his controller work.

The original plan was to release our new map expansion featuring the town of Riverside and the Knox Heights Country Club into the vehicles build, but as the week has gone by it’s seemed increasingly daft to sit on something that’s finished for longer than is necessary. As such we’re currently working on the zombie spawn maps and player spawn points necessary for it to be released earlier with Build 38.


Our intention is to get this out, alongside rooftop rendering and general RJ fixes, in time for a Community MP Megatest we’ll be holding on Wednesday evening. This is as a result of the…


WAR ON ZOMBIE LAG
We currently have two technical director chaps working on Zomboid. There’s Mark who’s setting up animations and currently getting a character skinned renderer active on a toggle (so we can turn on the new anims on the dev-side one-by-one as we go), and Steve who we’ve initially tasked with optimizing MP connectivity.

Steve’s primary aim is to remove zombie lag (teleporting zeds, unfair bites and general server strain) and this past Friday he might have made a bit of a breakthrough – which has now been coded and is due to be released into our IWBUMS public beta for testing tomorrow. Essentially Steve discovered a way to optimize zombie transmission – limiting the amount of zombie placement and zombie movement data that’s shared between players, while still keeping the online gameplay rolling.

This, combined with Stas from General Arcade’s ‘server save pause’ that’s already part of Build 38, could hopefully provide a massive improvement for all our MP players and server owners when released.

Through the power of maths we can tell it’s likely to be a nifty optimization, but we can’t tell how nifty it will be without putting it to the test… and so…


SERVER COMMUNITY MEGATEST II
This Wednesday 23rd August at 8pm BST (GMT+1) we will be opening up a server that’s running the current IWBUMS build, and we’d politely ask those interested in helping out to attend. Full details in this thread.

As with our previous Build 38 Megatest, participants will all receive a free Project Zomboid code to give to a friend/enemy/close family relation. All we need is for you to be running around on the server for an hour or so, and it’ll probably be quite a fun escapade.

The only difference between this time and the last Megatest is that, to properly emulate a normal live PZ server, we will be capping the number of participants at 50. When the test is over, however, we will open the server a little wider. This does mean, however, that there will only be 50 Steam codes up for grabs.


AND FINALLY
Massive props to SoulFilcher for recreating this little scene in LEGO. Terrifying indeed.



Today’s featured image from SAS 6007. 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 Mondoids for info. The 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 blogs like this and patch notes direct to your mailbox. We also live on Twitter right hereOur Discord is open for chat and hijinks too.
Aug 14
Project Zomboid - nasKo
[Notice: Last Weeks Mondoid can be found here]
https://projectzomboid.com/blog/2017/08/skull-face/



Current focus is getting 38 out of the door, while putting roots down for the initial vehicles release in Build 39 and beyond. And so…


BUILD 38
We’re fixing up and polish Build 38 for release, and want it to be as clean as possible so we can drop the vehicles build straight into IWBUMS beta testing afterwards as Build 39 – with the new map expansion that includes the new town of Riverside and the Knox Heights Country Club.

This includes ironing the final kinks out of ChrisW’s rooftop rendering and peeking changes – as right now in the beta we’ve still got a few irritations like occasional see-through roof slants, canopies around the edges of buildings that never disappear and wonky player-built second floors. It’s ‘tidy up’ work more than anything, but we want it all to be as seamless as we can make it once it hits public.

As such, while this is done and in the build-up to release, we’ll continue to fix and polish RJ’s existing 38 work with graves, sandbox options and other stuff – alongside turning as much of the Bug Tracker from red to green as possible.

Yuri meanwhile, he of Vehicles Build fame, is going to transfer as many of his branch’s optimizations as we can into the IWBUMS version – so they’re not stuck in a holding pattern. He’ll also transfer his current work on improving gamepad controls and making sure that screens like in-game maps, foraging and sandbox game creation can all be navigated without a keyboard.


BITBABOON GANG
As regular readers will know we’ve now got Mark and Steve from Bitbaboon, both established Technical Directors from the land of AAA, bedded down with the team to help with animations (Mark) and MP/general optimization (Steve).

Steve’s first task is to optimize MP connectivity – and so we’ve set him up with a build so he can get some detailed stats back on bandwidth, cpu and memory for servers, and track what happens when latency rises. While he does so he’s also marking targets for when his role turns to more general FPS optimization.

Mark, meanwhile, is approaching the point at which the new animation system is merged into the main game code, but on a (development side debug) toggle. This means that it will always be integrated into the PZ build, allowing our coders to flick its various visual/gameplay switches ‘on’ as we go and start releasing test versions – keeping it in date with the main game


VEHICLES
We released Vehicle Test Build 16 on Friday, which was something of a ‘wider IWBUMS testing’ preparation build as it put vehicles on a toggle accessed from the Game Select screen. It also corrected and darkened shadow positioning as well as, hopefully, prevented unrealistic car-climbing and bouncing on zombie corpses.

Next up Yuri will be integrating Mash’s redone burnt car models, an example of which is below, before moving onto a spot of optimization. This said, in amongst it all, there are a few other aspects we’d like to see integrated before/during the 39 IWBUMS: specifically clearer headlights, red brakelights, car horns, sirens and accurate numbers of seats for each car model. We’ll see how much we can fit in, basically.






WOLDREN MAPS
If you fancy holding out somewhere new and different than can we also suggest you check out the wide range of awesome maps that Woldren has created? Over the River, especially, is pretty awesome – as it creates a huge bridge over from West Point, with its own docked ship nearby, and a range of interesting locations for you to explore on the opposite bank. Definitely one to check out.


NOLAN GATES
Something we’ll need to be adding to the main game in build 39+ are player-built gates that’ll allow vehicles inside. In the meantime the lovely Mister Nolan has you covered with his new Log Wall Gate mod. Vid here.


Today’s featured image from Boop. 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 Mondoids for info. The 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 blogs like this and patch notes direct to your mailbox. We also live on Twitter right hereOur Discord is open for chat and hijinks too.
Project Zomboid - nasKo


In ‘general beta updates’ news we’re continuing to chase bugs in both our IWBUMS public beta and the public vehicles beta. The IWBUMS beta needs to be polished and bug-crunched until it’s ready for release, and the vehicles beta needs to be fixed up until the cars are in a good enough state to be released as an ‘experimental vehicle’ toggle in the Build 39 IWBUMS beta very shortly afterward – alongside the new map extension.


We’ll be releasing a new IWBUMS version once Chris W has finished off his rooftops/building rendering fixes (primarily the issues surrounding player-built constructions) later this week, while a new vehicles build will probably appear beforehand – which will make cars climbing on top of other cars and burnt-out wrecks impossible and make cars ‘jump’ less when striking zeds.

Vehicle Build 15 also came out last Thursday which, among other bugs, improved fluidity should cars come to a stop and need to start moving again.

Work has also continued to improve the sounds that vehicles make and, while still a work in progress, we hope that you agree that they are far improved on what we had last week.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OL6xNH1JHDs

As you may know from previous Mondoids, we now have Mark Rowley working alongside us to integrate the long-awaited animations system we’ve constructed – which will in turn open the door to all manner of improvement and features that’ve been cooking backstage. Now his work is becoming a part of our internal animations build we thought it high time to drop the curtain on him, and have a Mondoid chat.

Before we begin it’s probably also worth mentioning that Mark’s colleague at Bitbaboon, Steve, will also be joining us for a little while each week to help out with MP issues – primarily looking at a fix for zombie lag and its resultant unfair injuries. [General Arcade’s Stas was initially being set on this, but was called away elsewhere and will hopefully return to PZ a little further down the line].

Hello Mark! First off, can you give a bit of background about who you are and the sort of stuff you’ve worked on previously?
Well I taught myself how to program way back on the C64, then progressed onto the Amiga and the demo/cracking scene. Then later on I studied electronics and decided to get a ‘real job’. I worked in fire detection, weights and measures and almost made a career at the Ministry of Defence before I was lucky enough to get offered a position at my first games company… that was 17 years ago and I haven’t looked back since.

Since then I have worked at many companies all over the world, on many titles. In terms of animation systems specifically I’ve worked on multiple games engines, but the largest would be the Assassins Creed Engine, Don King’s Prizefighter for Take2, procedural animations for Prince of Persia while at Ubisoft and then London 2012 Official Olympics game at SEGA.

There have been many others in between though. A good data-driven animation system can really allow content creators to bring a game to life. There’s a video of my GDC talk that covered animation issues and the Olympics game here, if anyone’s interested.


Where’ve you encountered PZ before and what brought you into its orbit?
PZ has always been a game I have enjoyed and followed, so when I heard they were looking for some help, I jumped at the chance. I know Lemmy from long ago, during our mutual time at Reflections on Driv3r, and I have heard a lot about Will from colleagues at SEGA. It’s a very small industry!
While we had crossed paths a couple of years ago during my time at SEGA, it’s only been recently that I have been in a position to help out.


Just to get everyone up to speed – where was the new animation system when you joined us, and what have you added/improved in the past month or so?
It’s pretty impressive, lots of features and efficient, so my focus has been to make it easier to maintain and extend, and get it delivered to the players.

Over my career I have found the enormous value in data driven systems, and we have now implemented the foundation systems into PZ to allow data driven animation and character states that should mean its robust, easy to extend and more importantly easy to maintain.


You’re currently merging your work in, so what’s next? What plans have you and the team concocted?
The animation system is being merged system by system, and then we will hook each of them up. Each character ‘state’ will be implemented and updated to use the animation system as much as possible so in the future it becomes really easy to extend.
My work is also a drive to reduce code and eliminate bugs before they happen. As an example, let’s take ‘climbing over an object’ which in the initial anims build required code to pick a new animation for each and every type of object. This meant that whenever we wanted to add a new type of object and a new climb animation it would mean diving into the code and manually hooking up all the data.

Now we’re driving this logic through the animation system with much simpler queries to the player’s state and world which makes the change through pure data, and to help manage it we have a nice simple editor to go with the changes called AnimZed.


As a PZ player, during your work with the animation system so far and having access to Martin’s model and movement databanks, what aspects of the new animation system have you spotted that you reckon will bring cool stuff to the game? Will it be worth the (lengthy) (very lengthy) wait?
Firstly it will just be the way animation seems much smoother, but over time as we evolve the systems we can start to add more depth and subtlety. We have also looked at extracting the velocity and motion of character from the Animation data, so changing the pace can be controlled by Martin a lot more precisely.

Couple this extracted motion with the ability to blend between states of animation, and we will start to see more than just simple switches in animation. Imagine instead of walking and then suddenly limping when you get an injury, seeing that limp get progressively worse and really slowing you down the worse it gets… which will be even more fun when you’re slowing down those Z’s and watching them limp mindlessly after you.

It’s pretty evident that the wait has been a really long one, but I think it will be worth it when players start to see much more depth to the way things move, but also for the developers with the ability it creates to add more dynamic content – adding greater variations of players and zombie movement without the massive amounts of work it would previously involve.

It’s also making it much easier to bring other things, like animals, to the world without writing lots of complex code. I know the whole team is looking forward to unleashing this guy on the world.


 
This week we’ve also been getting your colleague Steve wired up to the PZ coding mainframe. I’m sure we’ll talk to him at a later date blog-wise, but in the meantime would you mind introducing him and the sort of work he’ll be doing?
Sure, I have worked with Steve for over 10 years now at various studios around the world, and around 4 years ago we started our own company specializing in helping out other studios and developers with their projects. I won’t steal his thunder, but Steve is one of the most thorough and skilled engineers I have ever worked with … for us both to working on PZ is awesome.

I believe he’s going to be looking at a backlog of network features and fixes, but we’ll let him explain his plans himself later.

Thanks Mark! We genuinely love you.



Today’s featured image from Jim. 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 Mondoids for info. The Block of Non-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 blogs like this and patch notes direct to your mailbox. We also live on Twitter right hereOur Discord is open for chat and hijinks too.
Project Zomboid - EnigmaGrey


It should go without saying that without George Romero there would be no Project Zomboid. In fact, the entire face of video-gaming would have been very different without his vision. Since its genesis PZ has been about trying to recreate the feeling of Romero’s movies, and there’s no doubt that alongside legions of other video-games, books and movies we owe the man a great debt.

We were greatly saddened to hear of his death at the age of 77, and our thoughts are with his family and friends. The legacy he leaves behind is a brilliant and astonishing one.

VEHICLES
As mentioned last week the public vehicles build is going to keep on getting updates until the point it’s ready to have its stream crossed with an IWBUMS beta – so we can get an ‘experimental vehicles’ option into the main beta channel, get its optimizations into the main game and make tester life easier.

Tomorrow Yuri will be updating the public build with a few cool changes. Firstly while playing around with sound implementation we realised that the noise of gear shifts was fairly vital, but also that the behaviour of the cars themselves didn’t leave much room for this – and the inclusion of actual player-controlled gear shifts seemed a little too hardcore.

To give a feeling of gears then, to accompany the sounds we have brewing in an FMOD studio, Yuri has changed the way vehicles accelerate. Top speeds are now on a curve: acceleration slows in the last 25% of your potential full speed. This will likely need further tweaking, so feedback is welcome, but should allow us to space out RPM increase in sounds and implement the gear shift noises. It will also, hopefully, make high speed driving more rewarding.

To accompany this Yuri has also added a speedometer (kmh) and engine gauge (revs) to the UI – although it should be noted that the visuals and read-outs for these are placeholder, and we’ll be converting to mph with an options toggle in due course. Yuri has also fixed a few bugs, so the people of Muldraugh have now stopped occasionally parking their cars on top of other cars.


IWBUMS BETA
RJ released Build 38.5 into the IWBUMS public beta with a rewrite of his ‘zombie corpse build-up’ code that tracks decaying bodies in a much more localized area than previously. Feedback appreciated as we can certainly tweak this system further.

We should be also be getting some ChrisW fixes to the new ‘rooftop exteriors’ engine code later this week – making players beneath supported roofs and overhangs look less broken – before moving onto player-built structure issues and any other issues the system raises in general gameplay.


OTHER STUFF
  • Mark R will be doing a big check-in of his anims code rewire and layers system (explained here) this week, bringing it all together and providing a new and improved base from which to get ‘em out to you. In the mean-time Martin the animator and model guy has been working on more military clothing, military vehicle wrecks and other stuff so we’re ready when the time comes.
  • Mash’s map work continues, and will likely land in Build 39. It’s a spread out area that should be fun to explore with vehicles. There’s a bit of it that looks like this:

  • Our composer Zach Beever is back (and graduated! Congrats Zach!) and will be experimenting with layered music that can be heard during play actively fits what’s happening on-screen – build-ups during lulls of non-zombies, more intense during confrontations etc. It’s all quite experimental currently, but its fab to have Zach back in the saddle.

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 Mondoids for info. The 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 blogs like this and patch notes direct to your mailbox. We also live on Twitter right here! Our Discord is open for chat and hijinks too.
Jul 10
Project Zomboid - nasKo


Ello, here’s the latest on matters both zomb and oid.

VEHICLES
We just pushed a new version of the public vehicles beta (access details here) in which the headline improvement is probably the improved zombie collision. Formerly piling headlong into zombies without acceleration seemed to have more impact on zeds, so hopefully things will feel a little more realistic now. Likewise collisions with car wrecks would previously slide along like ice hockey pucks, and they now should hopefully feel as if they have more weight and presence in the world.

Yuri has also cleared a bunch of bugs from our plate that our awesome testers have been reporting – including fire errors, persistent engine noise, radial menu problems and the somewhat dangerous ability to read a book while driving.

Our general plan with vehicles will likely be to merge them into the next round of IWBUMS testing as an optional ‘experimental’ sandbox feature (unless the existing one stays in testing for more than a couple of weeks). The thought is that this will allow us to get the vehicle branch’s many engine optimizations into the main game, widen player feedback and also remove the irritation of constant swapping between test builds for our merry band of community bug reporters.


NOISES
As a part of this we’re also now looking into integrating proper sounds for vehicles that reflect their type and condition, and while we’re back in the FMOD studio we’re also taking the opportunity to polish a few other areas of the PZ soundscape.

We’re looking at stuff like different footstep noises on grass, concrete, snow, wood, from a higher floor etc and also more varied seasonal sounds. Right now we have a lot of birdsong in winter, for example, which could be easily removed and replaced to give a better feeling of seasonal change.


CHRISW ENGINE WORK
Feedback on the more visible upper storeys and window peeking that are currently part of the IWBUMS public beta seems pretty positive – but there are two primary issues that need to be ironed out before we can release.

The first are visibility issues with porches, overhangs and buildings like garage forecourts with supported roofs – as is shown here by Captain Dringo. The best way to sort this is to have the data marked up so that canopies and porches and similar structures can be hidden cleanly – to which end Mash has been marking up impacted locations on the map. This week ChrisW will be adding the code fix and remedying cases where small overhangs are attached to buildings. This procedure will give us an effective way to hide anything that blocks the view.

Currently the system never hides the player or the nearest zombie, but we also need to expand this to other survivors for MP. Likewise to finalise his fixes Chris will be making sure that player built structures and additions respond to the same rules as the game’s pre-existing buildings.


TURBO DEVICES
It’s been off the boil for a while, but Turbo is back on his upgrade to how in-game devices operate and is chasing down bugs and networking issues in a newly operational build. This is an under-the-bonnet feature, but it’ll allows us to make the use of radios, TVs, VHS, computers, military equipment etc a lot more engaging – and will also open the door to a lot of modding.

Turbo’s modular system essentially standardises the code that runs the various different in-game gadgets, and will have repercussions (whether from us or from the community) on how easy it is to introduce/improve a wide variety of in-game and in-building systems. The sort of stuff that’ll now be far easier to create, either officially or from modders, would be: recording/playback of messages, device deconstruction and upgrading, player-created electric wiring and waterpipe systems in safehouses, security systems places like Rosewood Prison and banks, various items of discovered military equipment etc.


OTHER STUFF
First off: everyone keep an eye on what Rekkie’s up to in this thread – as we certainly will be. In terms of ‘us’ stuff though well we’ll have another IWBUMS public beta update later this week from RJ, while Mash’s map work on the next main game area continues. In the long wait for animations, meanwhile, Martin’s still churning out new clothing and models backstage so we’re sitting on something of a stockpile back here while Mark does his stuff. We’ve refrained from showing much during the lengthy delay, but this one that popped into our inboxes this morning made us do a ‘squee’ as it really nails the 90s ‘Outbreak’ movie vibe that we generally go for. And also we don’t give Martin enough love for what he’s doing so well for us behind the scenes.

 


 
This week’s engaging water closet from Hootie. 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 Mondoids for info. The 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 blogs like this and patch notes direct to your mailbox. We also live on Twitter right hereOur Discord is open for chat and hijinks too.
Project Zomboid - nasKo


We’re really struggling with those puns at this point. Hello all and welcome to this week’s Mondoid. Due to some unforeseen absences this may be a brief one, but still a few newslets to convey.


Vehicles and optimisation
Vehicle and main game optimisations continue apace, we had an extremely fruitful public test event we held last week, thanks to EnigmaGrey and a lot of awesome people who took the time to help us brute force the system, we managed to get over a hundred people to join, and gathered some valuable telemetry that will allow us to optimise the game further. In addition we were able to put Stas’ new saving system to the test. In short, the saving has been optimised heavily, to cut down on server save times and in addition to pause the game on clients to avoid the players getting themselves into lethal situations amongst paused and laggy zombies. We’re confident the multiplayer experience will be much better once this is merged into the main codebase. Whether this will be in the IWBUMS, or only in the vehicle build will depend on how things go.


Animations
Work on animations continues to tick away nicely. Mark has implemented an awesome layers system that should attack the remaining animation work in various ways. Layers basically add another dimension to the animation state system implemented by us mere mortals, and allows on the one hand much more genericised states, allowing us to add ‘sub states’ that will make it much easier to allow us to tie the animation system into the existing game logic in areas it still needs doing so. An example would be say in injuries, a character will not only have a ‘walk’ state, but also that walk state will contain all the logic for ‘walking with a limp’ or ‘walking with a crutch’ or ‘walking with a vengeance’ or whatever kind of walking we might have or implement later, further allow us to blend granularity between these sub states. This, while still not 100% complete, will cut down on the amount of code required for such things dramatically, and allow us to slip the system in to hug existing code much easier, while at the same time essentially giving us thousands of ‘half way house’ animations between actual animations we create (character is walking with 20% limp in left leg) etc to give the game an even more dynamic and animation rich feel.


Zomboid Dollhouse
Chris continues his work on making the isometric game world look oh so more pretty, ironing out the remaining bugs on the ‘single building cutaway’ system, while we talk about the new cutaway system that will render the interiors of the houses much more pleasant and navigable, and finally do away with the transparent blob effect we currently have in the game. Mash has started work on the necessary cutaway tiles and things are steaming along.


Other Stuff
  • RJ is currently in the process of re-balancing the corpse disease system, to make sure it’s less brutal and instantly lethal, stacks properly with multiple bodies, and more in line with what you’d expect from hanging around corpses.
  • Connall’s taking some time to go out on a bug hunt, and will be helping out in the main PZ branch, zapping a few of the longer standing bugs knocking around the codebase and bug tracker.
 

This week’s vehicular calamity is from Injen_team. 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 Mondoids for info. The 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 blogs like this and patch notes direct to your mailbox. We also live on Twitter right hereOur Discord is open for chat and hijinks too. 
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