BlastZone 2 - EagleEye
Announcing the release of BlastZone 1! This is a completely free game release that is now bundled with both the Demo and Full versions of BlastZone 2. The purpose of this release is to address a frequent question I’ve been asked over the years of how people can play the original BlastZone game. Before now, I’ve directed such questions to the Classic A game mode of BlastZone 2, which is a greatly improved version of BlastZone 1, but that probably isn’t what people have been asking for. Now, everyone can experience the original game in its original form! Keep in mind, the original game was built for the TI-85 and TI-86 graphing calculators back in the 1990’s, so it is very crude by today’s standards. Also, this release is a faithful recreation of BlastZone 1 and not a precise emulation of the original code. There are a few improvements over the original TI-85/86 version, including higher resolution ASCII characters and improved control responsiveness. Also, a few of the menus have been consolidated and combined together to streamline the experience. Despite these changes, it still maintains a very faithful experience to the original to give everyone an idea of what the game was like back then. The final version number for the TI-85/86 is v1.1, so I incremented this release to v1.2 to differentiate it.

To play BlastZone 1, make sure you have the v1.24.0.0 BlastZone 2 update or higher, then start up BlastZone 2 and select the top “BlastZone 1” main menu option. Any questions and feedback are welcome in the forums or via email. Enjoy!


BlastZone 2 - EagleEye
A new update has been released for BlastZone 2. This update is mainly a follow up to the recent big v1.23.0.0 update that had substantial improvements to the engine tech. This update addresses several areas that weren't covered by the multithreading improvements in that update. Overall performance will only get a small bump from this, but this update smooths out hitching in a few areas and improves responsiveness slightly during gameplay. Here are the full release notes:
  • Added multithreading support for several areas left out of the v1.23.0.0 multithreading improvements, including:
    -All menus
    -Loading operations after the initial startup
    -Gamepad input
    -Console input
    -Leaderboard communication
  • Fixed brief discolored border of horizontal screen wipes
  • Fixed an internal error when uploading or downloading leaderboard data
As a side note, I have a big surprise coming for the next update of BlastZone 2! The only hint I'll give is that it's something people have been asking about for a while now. Anyway, enjoy today's update and stay tuned for the next one!
BlastZone 2 - EagleEye
A big new update has been released for BlastZone 2! The most notable new feature in this update is a greatly improved online lobby screen. Now it is at the same level of information and presentation as other ship selection screens in the game.

In addition, there are many technical improvements to the underlying game engine. This includes improved frame pacing and framerate cap selection, which now allows for single frame increments and a much wider range of selection. This is ideal for a wide range of high refresh rate displays and adaptive-sync displays such as g-sync or freesync. To facilitate this, multithreading has been improved to support up to 6 cpu cores, or take better advantage of dual core and quad core cpu’s. This better sustains higher frame rates, which also helps lower end multicore machines to sustain playable framerates. In addition, the net code has been greatly improved to be more robust and tolerate much higher packet loss without causing bugs. For more information about this and the many other improvements and bug fixes, here are the full release notes:
  • Greatly improved the online multiplayer lobby screen
    -Now shows ship previews for each player
    -Reorganized the screen to present ship information better
    -Added stat bars similar to other ship selection screens

  • Updated framerate cap selection to allow for any value of the range 20-240 or unlimited
    -Previously only allowed for 4 fixed values of 20, 30, 60, and unlimited
    -Allows for increments of 1 fps for the highest precision of desired framerates
    -This improves support for high refresh rate and adaptive-sync displays
    -Allows for high refresh rate displays to take advantage of the power saving and heat reducing properties of frame rate caps without resorting to using uncapped framerates
    -This can also be used on standard 60hz displays with vsync off to reduce control response times without increasing heat and power consumption much

  • Multithreading improvements; Split the main game update and rendering operations into separate threads
    -Can now take advantage of up to 6 CPU cores/threads if available
    -Improves parallelism and core usage for dual core and quad core systems
    -Improves performance for multicore systems (up to 10% depending on the system and situation)
    -Doesn't adversely affect performance for single core systems
    -This doesn't increase control latency, which often occurs in other implementations
    -This is ideal for better maintaining high frame rates for high refresh rate displays or maintaining a smooth experience for lower end multicore systems

  • Improved frame pacing consistency to reduce hitching when using framerate caps
    -Can now maintain constant frame times with occasional variance down to 0.02ms or lower

  • Greatly improved robustness of the online multiplayer netcode
    -Improved packet loss tolerance in many areas, including bosses, object spawning, wave progression, and cutscene skipping
    -The netcode can now tolerate up to 75% constant packet loss without causing bugs and can occasionally allow for spikes up to 80% packet loss or higher

  • Added the ability for gamepads to hold the left or right direction in menus to quickly scroll left or right (previously only had this behavior for up and down)
  • Fixed a bug when pressing Escape to leave the online multiplayer lobby screen that would internally keep the game in online mode, causing a number of other bugs
  • Fixed occasional model corruption after applying new video settings in game or pressing Alt+Enter
  • Adjusted positioning of leaderboard submission text in the game over screen
  • Updated the mouse cursor draw order so it doesn't appear on top of text messages or dialog boxes
  • Screen wipes now render behind dialog boxes so they aren't obscured during cutscenes
  • Fixed slight player booster misalignment during wave/area intros and outros
  • Eliminated all Classic A/B weapon firing during wave intermissions to prevent accidental chain resets or wasting ammo
  • Updated the config program to be compatible with the new Framerate options and disabled manual value entry for most options to limit them to dropdown values
  • Upgraded to the latest Steam SDK (v1.40)
To make sure you have this update, start the game and check the lower left corner of the title screen for “v1.23.0.0” or above. Since this is a pretty big update, I would greatly appreciate any feedback including bug reports in the forums. Thanks and enjoy!
BlastZone 2 - EagleEye
A new update has been released for BlastZone 2 to address a number of bugs and apply a few small improvements. Here is the full list of changes:

v1.22.6.1:
  • Fixed broken HUD when pressing Alt+Enter during gameplay
v1.22.6.2:
  • Fixed greyed out back arrow when it is available for leaderboard score listings
  • Page flipping improvements to the Steam friends list and addon pack list
  • Added new "Press 'T' to chat" note in the online multiplayer lobby
  • Online multiplayer chat messages now use the leaderboard name unless unspecified
  • Adjusted description text positioning for a few menus
  • Fixed a crash when attempting to start a Steamworks multiplayer game when in offline mode
  • Improved Steamworks friends list handling when the list is blank
To make sure you have the update, start the game and check the lower left corner of the title screen for "v1.22.6.2" or above. Be sure to give feedback and questions in the forums. Enjoy!
BlastZone 2 - EagleEye
Two new updates have been released for BlastZone 2! These address a few critical issues, including some antivirus software falsely detecting BlastZone 2 as a virus. I can assure everyone that these were false positives and they were caused by BlastZone 2 using a hidden cmd window to execute cURL commands to upload and download leaderboard data. This was addressed by migrating to a completely internal solution that uploads and downloads leaderboard data directly within the game without the use of a hidden command prompt window. This will prevent any antivirus software from flagging BlastZone 2 in the future. For anyone who has already experienced this issue, it is completely safe to remove BlastZone 2 from your antivirus blacklist and play as normal. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Other fixes in these updates include a critical online multiplayer bug and improvements include a new enemy definition property for level editing among other improvements and fixes. Here are the full release notes:

v1.22.5.1
  • Fixed a critical wave progression bug for the client in online survival multiplayer games
  • Improved packet loss tolerance for a few key events for online multiplayer
  • Added the ability to show extra timing debug info
    -Press F1 multiple times to cycle between:
    -No debug info
    -Only framerate
    -Framerate with update/render/particle/framePrep/frameFlip timings
    -Framerate with update/render/particle/framePrep/frameFlip and sound/steam/directIp timings
V1.22.6.0
  • Changed the way leaderboard communication works to prevent issues with some antivirus software
    -Now communicates natively with the leaderboard server without the need for external executables
    -The old behavior launched a hidden CMD window to execute a cURL command to upload/download data to the leaderboard. This was deemed suspicious behavior by some antivirus software and would blacklist BlastZone 2
  • Enemy definitions now can define item drops
    **NOTE: This update breaks compatibility with enemy definitions made for older versions of BlastZone 2
    -All officially released missions and addon packs have been updated to work with the new spec
    -A new property has been added to the end of all enemy definitions in the "enemydefs.dat" files
    *Item drop values include:
    -Forcing no drop
    -The old random drop chance behavior
    -Specifying which item drops from this enemy, including points, health, and stat upgrades
  • Explosion particle counts have now been capped to improve performance in extreme situations
    -This cap limits the total amount of particles that can be displayed on screen and doesn't affect individual explosions when this cap isn't reached
    -The cap value is proportional to the particle detail level specified in the game options
    -The "very high" particle detail level maintains the old uncapped behavior if no cap is desired
  • Added "Press Pause/Escape to skip" text to all cutscenes; This functionality has always existed, but was not obvious to the player
  • When first starting the game and viewing highscores, the gamemode category now defaults to Mission mode
  • Fixed items not being dropped from enemies while one player is respawning in multiplayer
As usual, to make sure you have the latest updates, launch the game and check the lower left corner of the title screen for “v1.22.6.0” or higher. Please leave any feedback or questions in the forums. Enjoy!
BlastZone 2 - EagleEye
A new update has been released for BlastZone 2! The focus of this update is to greatly improve particle multithreading and fix the broken client side communication for Direct IP online multiplayer games. There are a number of other bug fixes and improvements included in this update, here is the full change list:
  • Numerous general code improvements across many areas of the game; prevents many potential issues
  • Greatly improved thread timing and synchronization for multithreaded particles
    -Improves overall parallelism and performance when many particles are onscreen
    -Reduces overall cpu usage by up to 25%
    -Improves visual smoothness of particle animations
    -Allows particle updates to scale beyond 60hz for high refresh rate displays
    -Improves efficiency even more when running on a slow machine that is unable to maintain 60fps
  • Fixed broken client side communication for Direct IP online multiplayer games
  • Fixed incorrect rendering for client side powerup items for online multiplayer games
  • Small tweaks to the frame pacing algorithm
  • Adjusted description text positioning for game mode and difficulty selection screens to have less overlap with menus
  • Tweaked the enemy explosion start frame to transition from an unexploded ship better
To make sure you have this update, launch the game and check the lower left corner of the title screen for “v1.22.5.0” or higher. Enjoy!

** Update ** Two additional updates have been released since this announcement was made. The version number is still v1.22.5.0. Updates include:
  • Additional multithreaded concurrency improvements to further improve performance when many particles are onscreen for multicore cpu's
  • Fixed a menu sequence break bug when pressing Fire2 or Escape during the level addon pack selection screen
BlastZone 2 - EagleEye
A new update has been released for BlastZone 2! This update focuses on a convenience update for level addon packs and preventing data loss when BlastZone 2 is closed improperly. Here is the full release notes:
  • Removed level addon pack dependency on PackRegistry.dat; addon packs are now automatically detected
  • Settings, unlocks, and highscores are now saved to disk at a few key points in game instead of only saving on shutdown, prevents data loss if the game closes improperly
To make sure you have this update, launch the game and check the lower left corner of the title screen for “v1.22.4.8” or higher. Enjoy!

P.S. - I am continuing to prepare for the big content creation release for BlastZone 2. This update brings the game one step closer to this release and I hope everyone is looking forward to it!

**Update: A small update has been released for v1.22.4.8 to cover additional cases to prevent data loss and slight tweaks to the config screen.
BlastZone 2 - EagleEye
A new update has recently been released for BlastZone 2! This one focuses on updating a number of third party libraries that BlastZone 2 makes use of. A few of these were years old before this update, so it was long overdue. These updates include a number of optimizations, bug fixes, security fixes, and general improvements. Here is the complete list:
  • Migrated to libPng v1.5.28; Used for loading textures
  • Migrated to FreeType v2.7.1; Used for generating fonts
  • Migrated to zLib v1.2.11; Used for compression/decompression
  • Updated to cURL v7.53.1; Used for leaderboard uploading/downloading
To make sure you have this update, launch the game and check the lower left corner of the title screen for "v1.22.4.7" or higher. Enjoy!
BlastZone 2 - EagleEye
A new update has been released for BlastZone 2! This one focuses on level addon pack bugfixes and includes 2 new addon packs. This is to prepare for level editing info that will be released soon. The full change list is below:
  • Fixed a crash when attempting to spawn a scripted enemy that isn't defined
  • Fixed fallback wave intro animation when one isn't defined for level addon packs
  • Fixed quick charge not activating for the A1 ship for level 1 and 2 of addon level packs if specified to be unlocked
  • Fixed quick charge downgrade not working for addon level packs if specified to do so
  • Added 2 new level packs to stress test the BZ2 game engine and PC hardware
    -Press F1 to bring up framerate display
    -"stress_test" is a moderate stress test
    -"stress_test_2" is an extreme stress test
  • Small modifications to the existing "test_pack_1"
    -Makes use of an additional enemy type to demonstrate behavior
To make sure you have the latest update, start the game and check the lower left corner of the title screen for "v1.22.4.6" or above. Enjoy!
Community Announcements - EagleEye
A new update has been released for BlastZone 2! The main fix is for an intermittent startup crash issue which has been reported in the discussion board. Thanks a lot to those who also confirmed the issue and gave feedback on it to help me out. This was tough to track down because of the unpredictable nature of it, but I am happy to say the issue is now completely fixed! Included in this update are a number of other bugfixes and improvements, here is the complete list:
  • Fixed veteran difficulty being locked out for addon packs if veteran difficulty hasn't been unlocked for regular mission mode
  • Fixed an occasional startup crash
  • Fixed a small startup memory leak
  • Optimized startup loading screen rendering
To make sure you have this update, startup the game and check the lower left corner of the title screen for "1.22.4.4" or above, enjoy!

**UPDATE** A new update has been released to fix a bug introduced in 1.22.4.4. This prevented some ships from being selectable in local multiplayer. To make sure you have this fix, check for "v1.22.4.5" or above. Sorry for the inconvenience!
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