Jan 18
Project Zomboid - EnigmaGrey


Happy Thursday one and all.

VEHICLES BUILD

Getting the Spiffospace Test Server up last week has proved really fruitful in terms of both showing us what’s not readily explicable to players about vehicles in the gameplay, and in terms of revealing the MP-related issues that vehicles dev is now turning a little more towards. If you want to help us out with the community bug hunt you can find the server in-game, and report findings here.

Overall vehicles seem to bring a fresh dynamic to the MP experience (should people choose to enable them) as you’re not stuck trying to find your friends on foot, or dependent on lucking out with a choice bag. It’s now a race for a working car to find the rare items and get out of town.

In terms of the community bug harvest, meanwhile, Spiffospace has revealed a seg fault in our PZBullet physics, and let us address most of the item sync issues. There’s still a bunch of stuff to fix up, and some lag to address, but Yuri and RJ’s work towards general server stability in Vehicle Builds 32 and 33 has certainly improved things over the week gone by.

Other issues addressed in these builds include XP changes (with more to come), physics collisions at highest speeds not registering, the erosion system’s saplings no longer causing damage, fire crashes fixed and the spammy game console getting a clear-out.

We’ve also just released 33.1, that sees Connall fiddling around with elements of loot spawn to boost appearances of some items in-game (antibiotics, canning apparatus etc), and RJ introducing some new RNG to give more reliable probability calculations and the like while crafting or dabbling in the Mechanics skill.

Aspects of the vehicles build also being worked on right now (omitting improved fog/snow as irl stuff might knock that into the next version, we’ll see) include:
  • Mash is finishing off her countryside map additions and ‘map gap filling’ work. These will generally be found south of Rosewood, the current wildlands between Rosewood and Riverside, along the banks of the Ohio river East and West of Riverside – and a smidge of land close to West Point. This should be handed over to Connall for zoning quite soon, at which point she can turn her attention to the different Mechanics Skill car overlay images for the various different car types we have.
  • As discussed last week Bitbaboon Steve has taken over on the new vehicle sounds due to his wealth of experience. When he’s done he’ll be looking into potential memory leaks and garbage collection issues that have been reported on the forums, and on the Spiffospace server.
  • Meanwhile: EP continues with his zombie navmesh experiments in terms of zed pathfinding and following that’s intended to reduce performance snarl-ups in high density undead areas.
FUTURE BUILDS

Stas from General Arcade’s work on the new MP chat system continues – this week bringing his existing work that’s brought all the different methods of communications into something that works visually – also thinking about hearing range for whispers/shouts, the ability to ignore/block and making sure it’s all customisable for the different requirements of different servers.

In terms of the animations build, meanwhile, BitBaboon Mark has added in some extra debug info to the code to make both his life of bug-hunting easier, and that of Martin when he goes through to polish visuals. Each character in the world now has its anim state info visible – so it’s clear when things get stuck, and what on.

You can see a video of what this all looks like here.

Since this video was taken some of the major bugs have been worked out – the primary one being zeds who get stuck in a particular anim state having to have it beaten out of them, but there are also ‘slide-along the floor’ zombies for Mark to deal with and for some reason all zombies seem to appear curled up in a little ball when loaded from a savegame.

There’s still some debate as to whether we’ll have to adjust vehicle size too (a fresh image here) but we’ll leave that until everything has been tidied up a bit more – likewise whether or not we keep that t-shirt that has RJ’s face on it. That doesn’t really feel like it’s canon.

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 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. Fanks!
Jan 11
Project Zomboid - nasKo


Ello all. Hope you’re well.

Vehicles Spiffospace Test Server
We’ve reached a point at which we need a place for MP vehicles testers to hang out, drive cars, bash zombies and report bugs. With that in mind, then, the Spiffospace server has been revived – and is accessible from the vehicles beta server list. Please post feedback in the server thread, and bugs in the tracker.

There will almost certainly be crashes and lag issues that we’ll need to sort over the coming weeks, so some patience is required, but initial testers are reporting that they’re having a lot of fun. We’ll keep the server up and running as long as possible, and avoid resets as much as we can, and a little further down the line this is the server that’ll be used for Community Megatests too.

We’re currently on Vehicles Build 31.2 and 31.3 will follow tomorrow – loot sync issues have improved in these builds, but Yuri has also just committed a fix for loot that could be lost/duplicated when two players were in the same inventory space at the same time. (We’ll be resetting the Spiffospace server once this released, with some player-requested new time settings etc too.)

In terms of the vehicles build itself RJ is now back and working on bugs and XP balance, while resident artist Mash is working on a more final version of the Mechanics Skill vehicle UI overlay. Another issue we’re dealing with is coming up with a way to prevent players locking their own vehicle keys in the trunk – which, while providing some hilarious anecdotes from testers, probably isn’t the optimum situation.


Vehicle SFX
Our optimization guru Bitbaboon Steve recently revealed that he has a bunch of experience in working with vehicle noises over the years. He’s done sound work on vehicles for big games by folks like Atari, Ubisoft and Disney so it seemed wise to pass the audio baton over to him.  The current car sounds have been crappy for too long in the vehicles beta, and this should get them done well and efficiently.

“Right now I’m adding support to the audio code to allow me to pitch shift samples” explained Steve when we nudged him. “This will mean that we can take four steady samples from the vehicle idling through to it going fast – and then let me set the volume / pitch so there’s a seamless blend through the whole RPM range.”



“This will then be hooked up directly to the vehicle simulation to provide a basic vehicle sound. Once it’s complete I’ll add an additional on/off ‘load’ so the vehicles sound different when accelerating and stressing the engine when compared to players easing off the accelerator. After this I’ll then find different sound sets to use for the different varieties of car – sports, truck etc.”


Anims
Our goal is to have anims in a state that’s ready for us to jump straight into once vehicles are wrapped. Right now, in the unified anims build that’ll be used as a base for the releases beyond vehicles, Bitbaboon Mark has fixed up mesh rendering with new system – so we can now see anim models alongside vehicles and judge how they size up against each other. [Screenshot taken before the wheels bug had been worked out though!]



Next up he’s adding some extra anim debug info that’ll let him display anim state info about each character in the world – which will help Animator Martin and himself track down exactly when the system bugs out / gets stuck. AnimZed, the tool that will allow us/modders to edit anim states live to the game is doing its job fine but still needs some functionality issues ironed out – after which the sanity/data pass that we mentioned in previous blogs can get going.


Zed pathfinding
Performance in the vehicles build is currently pretty okay, apart from when the wider sound radius of moving vehicles attracts the attention of a whole bunch of zeds – which then knocks into FPS repercussions.

To address this, then, EP is experimenting with the implementation of a C++ navigation mesh to find paths to replace the Java version we currently have – which will both remove some memory from the heap, and also dispense with the ‘thinking time’ of zombies who’ve lost their way far more quickly than our current set-up.



Other stuff
  • Zomboid won’t have Steam achievements for a while yet, and so PZ modding hero Nolan has stepped in to provide for all those who love the sweet caress of a cheevo notification. Check it out, and make suggestions, here.
  • RingoD has written a guide for map-makers with some simple steps as to how to update maps to handle the roof occlusion system.
  • Our fair RingoD has also provided some guidelines for mappers who want to add car spawn zones to maps in preparation for the release of the vehicles build which can be found here.

Today’s rooftop gunning from Anima Chimère du Chaos [FR[/url]]. A general list of stuff added to PZ, and vids of features being worked on, is kept[url] 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 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.
As previously mentioned, ShylokVakarian’s Great Loot Search study is still ingoing here.Fanks!

Project Zomboid - EnigmaGrey


Hey all, cogs and gears are back whirring after the Christmas and New Year break – so we thought we’d do a quick round-robin of the primary work being done at the moment for the Vehicles build, and the next public builds that follow it.

  • In terms of the vehicles build itself we just released a fix for the roof-rendering bug that had crept back into recent versions, and also some work from Yuri that will hopefully improve some of the MP sync issues that still remain.


    We intend to release Vehicles 32 next week, which will primarily focus on balance and bugs – while Yuri is also looking at the sound issues in MP, trees losing collision at high speeds etc. (Once it’s clear that the more glaring MP issues have been knocked out the build then we’ll also be shifting the test build into the traditional IWBUMS beta slot.)


  • Something that we haven’t mentioned previously is that since he finished his jwjgl3 work (stability/operational improvements due for integration after vehicles are out) we’ve had Stas from General Arcade working on an improved MP chat window. The basic aim will be to give players a more familiar, intuitive and functional chat experience that’s expected from modern games and… looks a lot nicer, and doesn’t get into trouble when it snows.


    We intend to have optional tabs that are defined through Server Admin options for radios, safehouse, faction etc. and are also building on the existing (unreleased) General Arcade work on Discord implementation. It won’t be part of the vehicles build, but can be expected in the next one or two builds beyond it. Our thanks to Rathlord and EG for their help with the research and planning doc on this.


  • Mash continues to work on fleshing out the map – and making the farmland, river banks and country tracks in the ‘loop’ north from Rosewood and up to Riverside, then over to West Point and back down round through Muldraugh feel more real and lived-in. If we encourage players outside of towns with the vehicles, then we’d like those exploring the spaces between our major hubs to find a little less scrubland on their travels.


  • Bitbaboon Steve is back to do some more optimization work alongside us this week, while his colleague Mark down under is fixing up kinks in the unified animation build so that everything is in working order when the wider team’s primary focus turns away from vehicles. His immediate task is the one from the vid we showed in the blog before Christmas – that of a math issue from the model import changes that’s made cars invisible.


    He has a unified math wrapper to put around the whole shebang now, after which the focus will turn to getting the AnimZed tools to Animator Martin and the wider team and then checking through all the data to make sure it looks right when played out in-game. All the while he’ll also be taking note of performance issues as/when they appear and the best way for the game to handle them.


  • Also as mentioned before Christmas: optimization of zombie cognition, path finding and path following will be our next focus as we seek to reduce the impact of the widened net of zombie attraction that our noisy/speedy vehicles now provide.


    With this in mind, at the same time as Yuri considering a new ‘walkaroundbuilding’ state mentioned before Xmas, EasyPickins is also experimenting with a new general pathfinding library that uses a navigation mesh to find paths that could save on memory and optimize the current set-up significantly.


  • In more general news that doesn’t befit an entire bullet point on its own: Turbo is working towards getting his fog/snow into an upcoming vehicles build, Connall is working on a way to allow modders to easily add settings for their mods in the Options menu and ChrisW is looking into visual issues on tiles where players are building/destroying stuff.

Today’s Spiffo parking lot escape from Hellaries. 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 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. As previously mentioned, ShylokVakarian’s Great Loot Search study is still ingoing here. And check out Willm93’s ‘How to live forever without being undead’ guide if you fancy a few PZ tips, while you’re at it.
Dec 21, 2017
Project Zomboid - EnigmaGrey



Merry Christmas survivors, joy to the world and all that business. With opening sentence festiveness over then, let’s see where we’re at with a few things.


VEHICLES BUILD 31


Vehicles Build 31 is out now, and is primarily one of bug-fixing – with corrections, balancing and optimizations being the primary focus as work towards pushing vehicles toward stability and their public release.


We’ve still got some work to do with remaining MP sync issues, which Yuri is currently addressing, and there’s an annoying rooftop rendering regression bug to address still – but general issues covered in this latest public test build include: disappearing skill books, lock syncs, giganto cars on 1x tiles, everlasting street lights and various issues related to vehicle loot.


In Build 30 zombies were also given the ability to set off house alarms when swarming a house and breaking windows – but we’ve turned this off until we’ve looked ‘zombie awareness’ optimization in the new year. People did seem to be enjoying the added chaos to the first few hours of the game, however, so it’s been made available as a sandbox option.


ZED OPTIMIZATION


The combination of BitBaboon Steve’s map streaming smoothening and ChrisW’s work with the non-rendering unseen tiles has resulted in a far more playable games when it comes to the vehicle build – with the biggest strain on performance now being the zombies themselves.


In towns and densely populated scenarios the combination of players covering large distances more quickly and their vehicles having wide radius of zombie attraction means that more zombies are being stirred up than ever before.


Yuri, then, has been investigating the best ways to optimize their heightened enervation – to give us some wiggle room when it comes to difficulty and zed population without sacrificing FPS. He’s even done some graphs like this or that seen below:





Right now zombies will ‘walk towards’ sounds they hear in a straight line, until they hit a fence, wall or building. At this point they enter a more costly ‘PathFindState’ that will direct them towards the player, which in all honesty isn’t very zombie-like in any case. As the above graph shows, with hundreds of zombies responding to car sounds at long range this is causing major lag in areas like West Point.


To improve this over Christmas Yuri will be creating a ‘WalkAroundBuildingState’ which will be used for any zombies outside of close range of the player (off-screen to a SP player). This will be a simplified version of the traditional zed pathfinding that funnels them along a building’s wall in a direction that brings them closest to the player, going back into ‘walk toward’ when they have circled the building.


As such zombies will be able to navigate past buildings without dragging processor power, while still displaying suitable dumb zombie behaviours to MP onlookers, or the player themselves if they are watching a horde following a distraction or a house alarm.


ANIMS


As of the public release of the vehicles build we’ll have the full animation system lying dormant in the released code, waiting to be turned on bit-by-bit in the test versions that follow.


Right now it’s all behaving better than expected – but has a sweep of bug-fixes required that’ve either appeared during the grand unification process and the introduction of Bitbaboon Mark’s tool-based ‘AnimZed’ editing and implementation.


As you can see in this vid, for example, for some reason vehicles (despite being drivable and tinkerable) aren’t visible – and elsewhere the player character turns into a squiggly nightmare when climbing through windows, and can often snap a full 360 which looks decidedly strange.


Once these kinks are ironed out Mark will be moving onto optimizing these processes (the focus has been on getting stuff working, with the tightening of loose nuts and bolts to come later) while Martin can concentrate on improving visuals – and maybe have a model for a trouser-wearing male that doesn’t look quite so… tight-fit and 1980s.


A full sanity data pass of the entire data set will also be required soon, so Mark will no doubt be calling on his Technical Director management skill-set to get a full export/validate system going with Martin to get it done quickly and easily.


Today’s supermarket sweep from persol. 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 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.
Dec 15, 2017
Project Zomboid - EnigmaGrey


Hey all. Current PZ thinking is to get final features into Build 39 (current Vehicles beta) as soon as we can – then concentrate on bug fixing, polish and further optimization in the new year. Outstanding features include injuries to player in car crashes, a few more Mechanics components/repairs, better SFX and Turbo’s new fog/snow effects seen below. There are a few threads popping up now detailing how cars are changing people’s play-styles and mixing in some new fun elements, so it would appear that we are on the right track.


VEHICLES BETA
Vehicles Test Build 30 has been released – and its full patch notes can be found here. The biggest change in this is probably the addition of BitBaboon Steve’s optimization to map streaming – which removes locks between game threads when it comes to chunk loading. This should make for a smoother ride for our testers.


This said, there’s still work to do – our internal build was running with a better FPS in West Point so we need to do a smidge of digging today, while Steve needs to figure out a few remaining locks. After which the next optimization improvement will likely be in the zombies themselves. Zed attention is currently called in to cars over a wide radius which (while difficulty still needs balancing) still has too big an impact on performance in high population scenarios than we’d like.


Elsewhere, Vehicles 30 also introduces WIP collision detection for road furniture, and damaged sprites from Mash to accompany them. This work isn’t complete, and we’d like any weird behaviour reported. Mail boxes, stop signs, garbage bins etc will now appear as damaged when hit at the correct speed.




In terms of other new content (generally Thursdoided last week) there’s a bunch of new stuff for the Mechanic skill – from which we’d like to get some more feedback if possible. There are now Mechanic skill books, a lug wrench for removing tires, Mufflers to impact on vehicle noise and an update to the key system that gives the key-bearing driver an icon above their head when close to the vehicle. Likewise keys are now visible in the ignition, and to more clearly demark which car they belong to are coloured the same as the car’s paint job.


Annoying bugs fixed include railings now rendering properly, shoved zeds no longer being drawn behind walls, furniture being rotate-able again and walls no longer obscuring the player on staircases. In general game-wide fixes, meanwhile, trapping has now been fixed – alongside a bunch of longstanding recipe and crafting oddities.


FOGGY BIZNESS
Turbo reports that his fog and snow effects are almost ready for integration into the vehicles beta and proffers this car-starring video as proof.


https://youtu.be/PpFkEuSnJuc


ANIMS
In terms of Animation work, as we haven’t mentioned it in a while, Bitbaboon Mark currently has the existing anims working with a skinned mesh renderer – which as we’ve mentioned before means that dev-side we can toggle between the two and make progress without breaking anything. This also means that as we bind in the rest of the new anim code, Mark’s Animzed dev/modding tool and start to optimize to cope in densely populated areas then we’ll be able to be a lot more visible in terms of progress.


As ever, we understand the frustration that all this remains out of reach while the rest of the team beaver away on vehicles – but we have the right people doing the right stuff backstage. Likewise we have an ever-growing catalogue of models to flesh out the game world from Martin when general work moves on from vehicles and into the builds beyond.


MODDERING
Connall, alongside being king of the small suggestions thread, is now the overseer of The Modder’s Wishlist – requests from the modding community for documentation and small tweaks to game code that will make their lives easier. The first part of this mission, meanwhile, has been in curating this reference list of lua events. Connall is also regularly available in the modding channel on Discord should anyone need pointing in the right direction for anything.


Today’s hail of bullets from John. 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 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. ShylokVakarian’s Great Loot Search remains open, meanwhile, and oh man: how good is this Wild West map starting to look?
Dec 7, 2017
Project Zomboid - EnigmaGrey


Howdy survivors.


We’re approaching a point at which the Vehicles build (details on how to play here) is feeling increasingly fully-formed. On Monday we released Vehicles 29, which most importantly brought back some FPS lost to towns and around tall buildings – as well as getting our Mac/Linux players back into testing.


Aspects of the build we’d like player feedback on, meanwhile, are the latest updates to where car keys spawn – and also how vehicles will now drift to a halt when the accelerator isn’t down, rather than it acting like an active brake.


We also gave the dashboard’s heater a dual-purpose with air-conditioning – meaning that your character can find relief from the elements in both summer and winter months. Rules on sleep consistent with the rest of the game were also added to the mix – meaning that taking a nap in a car is just as dependent on pain and panic levels as anywhere else.


In non-vehicle affairs, meanwhile, Vehicles 29 also added darkening to levels below player’s z height to help sense of depth between levels – saving many of our future construction enthusiast survivors from smashed-up limbs.


NEXT UP


We have Bitbaboon Steve’s map streaming optimizations running backstage, and they appear to be mixing in fairly nicely with ChrisW’s rendering improvements. We’ll give them a bit more of a test, and then they’ll likely be released alongside the stuff that EP, Connall, RJ and Yuri are beavering away on the upcoming Vehicle Build 30.


Most likely due for release early next week, 30 will introduce new materials for those with Mechanic attributes: Mechanic skill books, different types of muffler to let you tinker with engine noise, new tools like lug wrenches that are required when you remove tires etc.


We’re also doing our best to clear up confusion over car keys – who can get into what, and which car key starts up which car. As such if a player is near a car that they have the key for then from 30 onwards then a key icon will appear above their head – while keys both in inventories and in said icon will be colour coded to the colour of the vehicle itself.


Keys inserted into the ignition will also now be visible on the dashboard – alongside a fancy new temperature gauge to show you whether you need to be wearing your big coat. Here’s a quick vid that covers much of the above.


https://youtu.be/VTtjBRUf8WA


Future vehicle builds (at this point likely to be released as IWBUMS betas rather than in the current Vehicles beta slot) will also include Turbo’s work on mist, fog and snow [latest vid found here], as well as a map update that will fill in many of the more empty slices of countryside between our major towns with fields, tracks and farms that should complement vehicle exploration quite nicely.


Yuri’s current task, meanwhile, is the physics collision work that needs adding to the system so that RJ can implement Artist Mash’s smashed up mailboxes, garbage cans and road signs.


Also due for more immediate release in Build 30, meanwhile, are some fixes to longstanding tidy-up issues like the see-through MP chat window conflicting with snow (and, now, the upcoming fog), weirdness with syncing door locks in MP and pants that never get dirty.


Connall, meanwhile, has also coded in the ability for modders to support 1x and 2x tiles in their mods. Previously, modders would have to choose whether to support 1x or 2x but not both – so hopefully this will be of help.


Finally we’d also like to flag ShylokVakarian’s latest scientific study of PZ and loot house halls. Enquire within for details.


Today’s rooftop skirmish from Savv. 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 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.
Nov 23, 2017
Project Zomboid - EnigmaGrey


How do all. Happy Thanksgiving to our American survivors, and indeed to those of us who choose to give thanks at alternate times of year.

38 Patch Bizness

First off, just a quick note to say that in the past week we’ve updated Build 38 with a couple of extra patches, as there were still a few MP bumps and issues that were niggling at us. Details for both can be found behind the links: 38.29 and 38.30. Highlights include generator fixes, outdoor lighting oddities and hopefully some stuff helpful for servers. We’ve had a few hiccups with Mac builds the last few days, which should be resolved now and hopefully GOG builds will be updated with these today.

Vehicles Build 27 (aka 39.27)

We released Build 27 of the Vehicles alpha today (access details here), and it contains a few performance improving aspects – although, as detailed below, the bigger-hit work on this is still to be integrated.

Elsewhere the build contains a few other system tweaks. First off there are updates to the naming, spawning and operation of car keys – and also the addition of the game having your character walk to the relevant part of the car when installing/removing. It also syncs up lots of aspects of the Mechanic and vehicles system between co-op and MP players – from engine temperature, to tire inflation. The full changelist can be found here.

Next up we’ll be adding in crafting/repairing level requirements for the Mechanic Skill, alongside dripfeeding in the optimizations we’ve been brewing with ChrisW, Steve et al. More on which below.

Optimization fun

Regular viewers will know that we have not one but two mega-experts helping out with the game these days – both established Technical Directors within the world of gaming. Mark is tasked with getting animations in order for the builds beyond 39, while Steve is addressing optimization for vehicles.

This past Friday, with the help of copious tea and loud metal, he made some huge strides in improving our map streaming – which will pay dividends once integrated into Build 39. There’s still a fair amount of work to be done: playing coder ‘whack-a-mole’ with issues that crop up due to the changes, and trying to eliminate nasty locks between the code’s loader thread and the main thread. With that balancing act still to come, then, the improvements let him run the game so it ran like this:

https://youtu.be/clZrKB7FfVk

We can’t guarantee this level of perfection when it comes to the main game, especially at the highest resolutions, but it does seem that we’re making good progress towards nullifying stutters and pauses – as well as allowing for speedier/smoother vehicle movement around the map.

Weather upgrade

With vehicles, meanwhile, come required vehicle hazards. As such, returning from a spell on the sidelines, Turbo is back and bringing a few additions to his existing weather system.

We’ve always needed stronger indications of seasonal change, and likewise new weather effects. Although we’ve always had snow appear on the ground – we’ve never actually shown it fall.

https://youtu.be/oKT8LZ9t3mg

Likewise, we’ve always wanted players to wake up to mists and fogs that’ll dissipate as the day goes on – that’ll hopefully add an extra level of fear to your daily chores exploration on the days it descends.

youtu.be/p4LkjPi2dBM

In the video it is at its more extreme levels, however we can also add more subtle mists and fogs to add additional ambiences to the game.

We’ve always been quite rigorous when it comes to having weather authentic to the area that the PZ map covers (in 1993, which is close to our start year, Muld had 11 days of fog) and currently there’s an internal debate as to how much poetic license we can take with this to bolster gameplay. In any eventuality we intend to add a dose of it to the vehicles build in the near future, and it may also make for engaging new Challenge modes in times to come.

Today’s featured image from Biker. 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 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. Ooh, and could PZ user maps make the leap to la belle France?
Nov 16, 2017
Project Zomboid - nasKo

Ello survivor. Come in, take a seat.


Public Build 38.28
We just released a huge patch for the public build – bringing Build 38 up to 38.28. This not only marks the entrance of our new internal automated build process, but is also an extensive clear-out of nagging issues that have crept into the game in recent times.

You can find the full changelist here. Much of it is necessary ‘tidy up’ work – but you might also notice improvements with alarms and clocks, fixed stash map issues, a volume option for fly buzz, that annoying ‘add spice’ recipe bug gone, corpses no longer remaining highlighted and the sad end of the ‘infinite ice cream bug’.

There’s a lot more than that though, so check out the patch notes if you’re a PZ regular. Many thanks to Tim for all his hard work on this.


Vehicle Test Build 26
This morning we booted Vehicle Build 26 out onto our public vehicles beta (details on how to access found here). There are two primary aspects of this version – the first being some general optimization improvement. Following on from this, most likely in the next build, we will also have ChrisW’s work on increasing FPS (quite dramatically, when compared to current versions) when in towns and around tall buildings – and likely some java garbage collection optimization too that’ll further limit occasional stuttering.

The other main addition, meanwhile, is a more authentic and aesthetic dashboard constructed by RJ and our artist Mash. Up until now the vehicle read-outs have looked like this:


https://projectzomboid.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/old-dash-300x48.jpg

And with Vehicles Build 26 they now live in a dashboard that looks like this:


https://projectzomboid.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/dash-solo-300x76.png

We’ve also done this to fit in with the general ‘the player sees what the character’ sees mantra of PZ – so if there’s a general issue with the engine you’ll see it through a dashboard warning light, just as you would in real life. You’ll only be able to truly get to grips with it however, and analyse the issue, if you have the necessary Mechanic skills. Here’s a general vid showing how it all works:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzpGqFN4kac

Elsewhere Yuri is doing a large-ish chunk of work on how we synchronise objects over the PZ map, which will also hopefully provide some performance benefits for vehicles, and we also have Bitbaboon Steve on-hand to hopefully chase down the map streaming optimization/fix we mentioned last week.

The plan is, once the newly patched Build 38 is clearly stable, to officially make our vehicles beta known as Build 39 and move it into our traditional ‘unstable version’ IWBUMS position.

Amidst all the general vehicles work we also anticipate some new rural map areas to be added to this, the (boring but essential) lwjgl3 java upgrade currently being implemented by Stas from General Arcade and many/varied gameplay nips and tucks from Connall the curator of the community suggestion list.

Beyond that Martin, Bitbaboon Mark and others continue to work on stuff for Build 40+: our larger workforce these days allowing for a far greater degree of rolling development.


New New Denver
We love so many of the mods and maps created for Project Zomboid, but the moving story behind New Denver and its creator XeonyX (told here) has always made the New Denver mapstand out for us – just as much as its size and authenticity to a real world location.

As such, we’re super-pleased to direct you towards its latest (and final) big town expansion – that of Silverton which lies to the south of New Denver itself. Thank you very much Jamie, and we do hope that you’re doing well.


https://projectzomboid.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/silverton.png

This week’s imperilled survivor from FACAG@MES on your Steam service. 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 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.
Nov 9, 2017
Project Zomboid - nasKo


Vehicle Build 25 (aka 39.25) got a release yesterday. Added in Build 25 were the new Mechanic profession and related traits, random highway wreck collisions, Mechanic XP gains through car tinkering and a lot of general optimization in terms of UI, net code and traffic congestion spawns. Today RJ also released a hotfix to reduce zed attraction to car noise, tie engine sound to RPM rather than speed and remove collisions with small items.

It’s all shaping up quite nicely in terms of the general handling/feel of what we want – but also highlights that we need to get back on top of the performance and garbage collection issues that have crept back in over recent builds. So, next up, Yuri will be optimizing the java garbage collection to address the stutter that some people are reporting – while resident artist Mash is also hard at work creating ‘damaged’ sprites for some aspects of road furniture for the next coder task.

Right now static object collisions are improved in that you can’t drive through solid street furniture – which perhaps makes sense for street lights and concrete walls, but less so for household mail boxes and traffic cones. As such we’ve gone through the various things that players are likely to collide with while driving – and working out what should remain impervious, what should look damaged but remain impassable after a collision (as below with the unhappy post boxes) and what should be smashed/crushed when hit at speed (as below with the even more unhappy household mail boxes).

In this way driving will feel that little bit more realistic, and an extra feeling of lasting change to the map will also be added to your survival run.





Meanwhile, Mission: Optimization continues. As discussed last week ChrisW is playing around with what PZ draws – hiding all squares behind solid walls from the game’s rendering system, and thereby freeing up your processor. Our chosen FPS hot spot was the four level flats in March Ridge which pre-optimization was coming in at 26 fps on ChrisW’s system, but is now coming in at 41 fps on an internal test build– which is a significant improvement.

Next on the list for Chris, then, is in optimizing the code so that it also brings benefits to general play – ensuring that the new background calculations themselves don’t clog up any performance gains. Bitbaboon Steve, meanwhile, continues to spotlight other areas for improvement.

In other technical areas of the game, meanwhile, we’re happy to have beckoned General Arcade’s Stas back into the fold – who will initially be finishing off our java upgrade from lwjgl2 to lwjgl3. This will open up a bunch of necessary day-to-day improvements for the game – better support for different resolutions, dpi awareness, neater alt-tabbing and general smoother operation.

Finally, last night’s Community Megatest for the IWBUMS Build 38 patch had to be put back a bit due to various serverside issues we’re still trying to get to the bottom of. Keep an eye out on the forums for more information on when the test will be once we’ve gotten to the bottom of it. We’ll be handing out PZ Steam codes for family and friends to some of the people who help out, so please do pop along. Thanks!

Today’s featured image from Jodidosciervos of Steam parish. 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 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. Ooh and check out Texas956’s AWESOME TileZed buildings!
Nov 2, 2017
Project Zomboid - nasKo


 

Thursday: it’s back. Back from the dead. Back with the zeds.

VEHICLES
RJ and Yuri have been hard at work on Vehicles Build 25 – much of which has involved scrubbing up and polishing features added over the past few iterations. So you can expect optimization, UI improvements and general groundwork for the final ‘top down diagram’ vehicle UI screen – while Yuri is currently cracking down on a rogue memory leak and various aspects of non-syncing on MP servers.

Also in Vehicles Build 39.25 will come the end of drive-through streetlights and road furniture…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20Y6blvqeDc

We’ve also added in the ‘random spawn’ car/wreck collisions on the Exclusion Zone’s roads to accompany the ‘lore’ wreck congestion , some new wreck models and map fixes – and have balanced a lot of aspects of the new Mechanic skills/profession and related car parts. We anticipate starting work on a better ‘dashboard’ UI once vehicles build 25 is out.


OPTIMIZATION
One of the biggest issues with the current Vehicles build is that driving through built-up areas results in performance hiccups – the game is being forced to draw too many tiles, too quickly. Currently, however, PZ draws *everything* – even when the player character can’t see it.

Stuff on higher floors, stuff in buildings you have no line of sight into and everywhere with doors and windows shut – it’s all being conjured up needlessly and chewing up unnecessary processor power. Enter stage left, then, our good friend Chris Wood.

“I’m culling squares inside the levels of buildings that are covered by the floors and walls so we don’t draw them”, he explains. “This is being done very simply, using building bounding rectangles that can hide about 20% of the scene in busy areas with lots of buildings, and thereby reducing what’s rendered by 20%. This does, however, leave window interiors looking a bit strange – as in these screenshots ”





“My current task is to make this work more intelligently: by hiding all squares behind solid walls and floors by projecting back onto them. This will hopefully draw even less, as it won’t draw anything when a square is totally hidden – including the ground behind buildings. It won’t have the same visual artefacts and it’ll hide more squares.”

“The idea is that by the time I’ll have finished it will all look identical to the current public build – but behind the scenes it’ll be drawing a lot fewer tiles which will make a huge difference to performance since tile drawing is the biggest bottleneck in the game.”

On top of this we’re talking to General Arcade about picking up the reins on our LWJGL upgrade, which will also have optimization benefits, and have best friend genius BitBaboon Steve prodding a vehicles memory issue that will hopefully help out people with slower systems. So, all in all, performance improvement should be on the way.


COMMUNITY MEGATEST
Everything seems in place for a public release of the Build 38 megapatch that we’ve been building up over the last few weeks, but we want to be sure it’s run through enough of your machines – and specifically on online servers – before release.

As such we’ll be running a Community Megatest in the coming days on a fresh server, and as ever there’ll be free PZ codes for a bunch of the people who turn up to help out.

We’ve just released IWBUMS 38.26  which is the build the server will be running on. Details on how to access the IWBUMS public beta can be found here, and info on the event itself will appear on the TIS forum over the next few days.

This week’s well-kept safehouse from RyuVladimir over on Steam. 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 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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