Project Zomboid - nasKo


How do everyone. Back again for update #5, here’s the highlights of the last few weeks of Project Zomboid Build 41 development – compiled from the Thursday blogs that appear at http://www.projectzomboid.com/blog/ and on the PZ Steam boards.

First off, a quick vid that shows the current state of the internal test build.

We’re not going to tell you what’s changed beyond the general polish we’ve been doing, but please make sure your sound/speakers are turned up.

https://youtu.be/FXjWIUW1g54

Second up, here’s another video showing off some more gameplay – but please make sure you make it to the thrilling/chilling dénouement to see some of the more recently tied-in animations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9OyAF-XgCM

Please note that, even though these vids are direct from gameplay and lookin’ pretty cool, we still have a lot of stuff we want/need to get in before we IWBUMS public beta testing.

There's body masking and rotational anim tech from Zac, Savegame improvements from Yuri, a fair amount of MP-poking to get it all operational, more optimization and a several other things besides.

This is all falling into place at the moment, but right now a playable beta isn’t imminent and we’ll only open it up when the time is right – and when we’re at a point at which we’re able to deal with the flood of new external feedback. Right now there’s nothing that we don’t already know needs fixing/improving – but as soon as it’s ready-enough, we will let folks in.

With that in mind, then, here’s some other stuff that’s being cooked up in Spiffo’s workshop. (And please note that all the following vids were done before the SFX work seen above!)


COMBAT RENOVATIONS
Given as we’re starting from a slightly blanker slate with Build 41 than we usually do, and combat by necessity is changing to match the improved visuals, these past few weeks we've been making some balance changes to the game.

The primary goal of this is to bring Zomboid further into line with the fantasy of living in a zombie apocalypse – and making the zed threat as real and as valid as those you’d see in a Romero movie or The Walking Dead.

So, for example, one of our intentions has been to make sure that combat adheres to the more classic zombie philosophy of threats coming not from the front, but from behind – with zeds more likely to take a nice chunk out of your neck or shoulder.

Here’s a quick video with explanatory subtitles as to what we’re doing.
(We think you'll also agree with us that music man Mister Beever has excelled himself with the new tune here too).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li5xZeImf9c

You can read a more in-depth account of the balance changes here, but the general thrust of it is to make individual zombies relatively easy to takedown – but crowds of two, three or more far more difficult. Likewise targeting the head of downed zombies will be encouraged, and due to feedback from the community on anims vids we've also upped movement and combat speeds a tad to try make things a little less sluggish.


LEGS THAT HURT
We’re currently doing a lot of work on walk speeds, run speeds and movement when you’re injured, over-encumbered and such. You can see a video detailing our first iteration of this work below, although our regular weekly blog readers can likely expect a more detailed look at more recent stuff in coming weeks.

https://youtu.be/qDSc9ySBS0o

First off the video you see a scratch cause a light limp – and a limping run. Burns will also have the same impact, alongside cuts – a new injury type that’s somewhere between our existing scratch and deep wound.

After this: a deep wound that triggers heavy walk limps. You can still try to run, but it'll be slow – on a par with the walk speed with a light limp. Finally in the vid: a fracture. This is currently a heavy limp, but it will forbid a run. This will also be the case if you have glass shards, bad burns or a leg bite.


NEW WEAPONRY
We haven’t shown off many of the new weapons in a while, so here’s a few. Please note this is a far from exhaustive list, there are more in this build and in builds to come.

Also we've not yet balanced speeds and anims for all the weapons, and there’s been a lot of balance since this vid was taken, so please don't take anything as final:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLnbOwVq9Xc


This is the fifth Steam round-up of development news for Project Zomboid, but weekly Thursdoid blogs are posted both on our website and on the Steam discussion boards. 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 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. That’s all for now, keep tabs on our website for more every week!
Project Zomboid - nasKo


Hey all, here’s the highlights of the last few weeks of Project Zomboid development – compiled from the Thursday blogs that appear at http://www.projectzomboid.com/blog/ and on the PZ Steam boards.

Here’s a quick video that shows whereabouts we currently are with the internal anims build, with subtitles to highlight work still to be done – which will also hopefully provide an accurate picture of what it’ll look and feel like to play.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3bLv8Hl_0Y

As you can see there’s a lot of general smoothening of rough edges happening on the build at the moment, and likewise alongside our friends at TEA we still need to plug in work on rotational blending, MP hook-ups and the work on the zoom that led to the sharper-looking models we showed off in past weeks.

With that put up top then, let’s have a look at some of the other stuff that’s being introduced into the next PZ build.


BODIES EVERYWHERE
In Build 41 we will be adapting the lore slightly (hopefully forgivably) by making it so that the zed impulse to bite someone who’s unturned isn’t entirely removed after their death. Idle zeds will be slightly attracted to human corpses, and will crouch to feed – meaning you can sneak by or attack without them noticing you as easily. This can be seen in the vid below:

https://youtu.be/bC5LYYJPI8A

Meanwhile, the same event can be added to our growing roster of interesting scenes we can spawn in random houses, which can be seen in the below screenshot– which is also a good example of how neatly ChrisW’s cutaway system will be improving the game.

(Please also note that since this screenshot and video were taken we’ve added in more poses for feeding zombies – so they won’t all be doing the more human-like crouch, and some will be on their knees and pawing at the corpse.)



In the current build the discovery of survivor bodies can be quite crude, with bleach or alcohol bottles scattered around willy-nilly for example. With our new systems we can also quite easily add in bodies that tell a clearer and neater story. Even if it’s as simple, and tragic, as someone who died from self-inflicted gun wounds.

[PLEASE NOTE THIS IMAGE IS WIP - POSES ETC WILL BE MORE VARIED AND IMPROVED]




OTHER NEWLY IMPLEMENTED ANIMATIONS
[Traditional disclaimer: work in progress! Improved/sharper character models seen in previous blogs not yet in main test build!]

Here’s a quick vid that shows off the ability to pour out liquid from a container, the ability to sit on the ground to have a rest, and an idle that shows the survivors warming themselves in front of a heat source.
Crikey, this game's quite dark isn’t it?

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

New animations tied into the new system include: applying bandages and taking pills.

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

Also, digging graves and pouring contents from bottles out onto the ground. Allowing you to pour one out for your homies, if you so choose.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66qBOvl8h0g


MODDING POTENTIAL
We will be releasing our new AnimZed dev tools to the community when we release this version (perhaps even when we are still in IWBUMS testing if the documentation is ready) and just wanted to touch on the sort of thing that could be done quite easily with them once they’re available.

For example, a while ago Martin made us some skeleton models. These are primarily intended for use when exposing bone under character flesh when mortal body damage occurs. Likewise, bodies that have been feasted on may have exposed limb bones where the flesh has been picked clean – and on top of that, there's always the opportunity for crawlers to be dragging skeletal bloody legs across the floor and for more damaged zeds to be appearing in Six Months Later and beyond.

All that’s still to come though, and as a quick mod experiment on his birthday (when he should have been having a day off) RJ decided to have a look what they’d look like if used in-game in their entirety.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS AN EXAMPLE, AND NOT A REAL GAME FEATURE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waiu4dAFEOU

The results are a bit rough still, but we’re sure you’ll agree: Boom, there’s the beginnings of aHarryhausen or fantasy mod. Good times to come hopefully.


SMALLER CARS
We had been waiting for the animations build to resize cars, due to the difference in size between our old and new character models. Yuri has now done some magic, and readjusted the physics – so now the in-game vehicles look like this. Which, we reckon, is a nice improvement.

https://youtu.be/l7_5qWYe_nE

Now Yuri is tweaking his water effects, adjusting the intensity of their outlines and improving the banks of rivers, while also looking to improve the vehicle saving system so (very rare) events of car loss can be eradicated.


WINDOW HOPPING
Something else that might be of worthy of mention, and a quick vid, are some examples of where the new animations system are highlighting ‘in-between’ states that the game could previously get away with – but now either look weird, or have resulted in a show-stopper bug.

A good example of this is when a player either bumped into a zed when escaping through a window, or was very closely pursued by zeds when escaping – this was not only resulting in visual weirdness in the anims build, but also was trapping the player in the window frame for all perpetuity. As such, after a consultation with Animator Martin, we can use this sort of situation for some cool new gameplay considerations.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a WIP animation, and whatever anyone tells you – the big saucepan is a bug that’s already been fixed and won’t be in the final build. (We’re also working on more 'table against window' polish).

https://youtu.be/1hfDXZbZCtU

On top of this we will be improving this further – perhaps with a zed grabbing and pulling you into the window instead of pushing you out.

Anyway, those are the main headlines. If you’d rather read ‘em on a weekly basis, alongside the smaller details we’re ticking off and issues we’re addressing, then check the website or the Steam forum. Thanks all!

This is the fourth Steam round-up of development news for Project Zomboid, but weekly Thursdoid blogs are posted both on our website and on the Steam discussion boards. 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 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. Our thanks to our good friend Xeonyx for creating the header image using the internal anims build. That’s all for now, keep tabs on our website for more every week!
Project Zomboid - nasKo

Hey all, here’s the highlights of the last four weeks of Project Zomboid development – compiled from the Thursday blogs that appear at http://www.projectzomboid.com/blog/ and on the PZ Steam boards.

First off here are a couple of gameplay videos. This first one is a demonstration of ‘zoned zombie outfits’ – which is essentially the system that ensures that firefighter zombies spawn in fire stations, chef zombies spawn in restaurant kitchens and the like. (Please note that there are a few individual animations in this vid we want to speed up, and in most cases already have done)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGdxNR-Rrng&feature=youtu.be

Next up, meanwhile, we’ve had some significant improvements and fixes made by Bitbaboon Mark to the core animation blending system in past weeks. He’s fixing a whole bunch of issues, snaps and glitches that have been vexxing us for a long time – digging deep into the code, and doing a total rewire where necessary.

In prior Thursday vids we cut around these uglinesses as much as possible, but they still reared their heads. Snaps between character animations, jarring moves when turning to certain compass directions while strafing, and various other ugly things that we just couldn’t account for were plaguing us – but have now finally been fixed, leading to a far smoother animation blending system.

Zac’s prepared a video demoing the new blending – although please note he’s running in debug, so this doesn’t represent gameplay.

https://youtu.be/QMYGUWlVyMI


Speaking of, please note, that we’ve decided to put the completion of the high-res model rendering work described in the last Spiffo update on ice for little longer, since there were still numerous issues with it that meant it wasn’t suitable to put into the main line – and also it kept getting further broken by the flurry of additions and changes from the team’s work described above.

We feel it would be best approached toward the end of Build 41 dev just before IWBUMS, at the point we could get extra resources on board to get it working right. As such all videos until then will use the traditional character resolution.


TORN CLOTHES AND BLOOD
Zac’s work on masking out different parts of clothing items has resulted in several extremely useful features. First, it now allows us to wear pieces of geometry clothing on top of other geometry clothing – as opposed to being a texture drawn over the character’s skin. This used to be impossible: the clothing worn underneath would always poke through the geometry of the clothing on top, especially when moving.

So now we can layer clothing appropriately, and also spray blood on individual layers and garments – instead of your survivor’s body as a whole.

Our old solution was to to draw underclothing as textures directly on the character model, which unfortunately led to the side effect of them looking like body paint and lacking the bulk of real clothing. Now we can easily turn off areas of the clothing that are covered, so we are provided with many more options.

https://youtu.be/0-DiI2trU7g


This also allows us much more visual indications of damage and clothing wear and tear (quite literally).

As well as putting a player’s newly scavenged/treasured Spiffo shirt at risk of damage, this will allow much more variety with zombies in particular. RJ has been adding code to implement this new system to further randomize zombie’s clothing conditions, and tie potential clothing damage into the various game systems for the player.

https://youtu.be/Y_YEw1zRy7c


SURVIVOR ZEDS
Our primary rule with Build 41 is that we’re updating animations to complement and add foundation to our existing gameplay, rather than get too excited and add in loads of new systems that could otherwise wait till a later version.

A good example of this is something that’s been in the game for a while, but have always been hidden slightly: our annotated survivor maps that show you the way to various hidden stashes.

Now though, to create a bit of a breadcrumb trail for players to follow, we have introduced ‘uniformed’ survivor zeds. They are the walking corpse of a survivor like yourself, who will not only carry some handy loot, but also potentially lead you to a place of interest.

They will always be rare and spawned in a big crowd of zombies, but also appear bloodied and messed up and wear a neat backpack. One of our prototype Survivor Zeds looks a little like this:

https://youtu.be/ukLzLSER28w


OTHER FUN STUFF
Over with General Arcade Yuri has been continuing his visual effect work – and has fine-tuned his water so that waves and ripples aren’t as small. When it was windy in-game this was fairly uncomfortable on the eyes of our internal testers, so they now look like this.

Right now he’s also addressing something that’s been an issue with cars since their introduction, but that we were waiting to address once the differently proportioned new character models were in-game. As such, say hello to the more sensibly-sized cars that Yuri’s currently updating the physics for:





GENERAL GAMEPLAY ADDITIONS
Here’s a quick run-down of other items of interest that have gone into the internal branch of Build 41 over the past month.

  • Extended idle animations. Depending on your character moodles, pain or other variable, you’ll sometimes see you character scratching an arm, shivering, checking his weapon, wipe his legs to check for blood etc.

  • New timed action animations, alongside fixes for the current timed actions: digging graves with a shovel, looting on the ground or in shelves, cleaning blood etc.

  • New outfits are also being added along with their own zone - Gigamart employee for example, and branded logo-ed shirts for various locations.

  • New animation variants for the player defending against zombie bites. Three new variations of zombies thumping on objects.

  • We’ve gotten ChrisW’s Sims-style wall cutaway system into the main line, but there are still a few issues to work out before its 100% operational.

  • Garage doors can now be opened. – huzzah. We will also be addressing the size of garages on the main map, and at the same time adding some more signage to the Exclusion Zone road network

  • Support for characters to lower and raise hoods on hooded clothing, for example hoodies and certain coats, have been added alongside several new idle animations used when the character has injuries.

  • Zach continues his great work adding more tools and features, this time to allow Martin and the other devs to quickly add and test new costume pieces through the AnimZed editor and preview them in game.

  • We have added many clothing items such as a poncho, hoodies, scarfs, aprons and swimming outfits. RJ also now has hair and beard styles being associated with zone costumes (for e.g. so you don’t tend to get military zombies or cops with hippy hairstyles and big beards).

    Oh, and just today we found a way to make PZ feel a little more American.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ow1qUukvjK4

    This is the third monthly Steam round-up of development news for Project Zomboid, but weekly Thursdoid blogs are posted both on our website and on the Steam discussion boards. 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 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. Our thanks to our good friend Xeonyx for creating the header image using the internal anims build. That’s all for now, keep tabs on our website for more every week!
Project Zomboid - incogme


Hey all, here’s the highlights of the last four weeks of Project Zomboid development – compiled from the Thursday blogs that appear at http://www.projectzomboid.com/blog/ and on the PZ Steam boards.


LATEST IMPLEMENTATION VID
First off, a general ‘recently implemented animations’ video to whet your appetite along with some new Zach Beever musical goodness that will be coming in build 41.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj2NBd8kR6c


MAP ZONING FOR ZED OUTFITS
A key aspect of PZ mapping is zoning – which we primarily use to mark up areas that are (for example) suitable for foraging and car spawns. Now however, with different clothing for zombies, we can flag which parts of the PZ map can spawn which particular zombie – or which group of particular zombies.

This, then, is how we can spawn only guards and orange jumpsuit-wearing prisoners in Rosewood prison.



Likewise, RJ has created a ‘wedding’ spawn zone over one of the churches on the map – which ensures that all zombies inside it, and outside for the selected area, have a very high chance of dressing in smart clothing, with a guaranteed bride, groom and church minister amongst them.

This system will allow us to have many and varied different pockets of particular zeds – police in police stations, lumberjacks at McCoy logging, military in military areas etc. Likewise, we will be examining the best methods to make sure that zeds in bathrobes or not wearing clothes are only found in homes and home bathrooms in particular.

(It should be noted that aspects of this will also involve a very slight rewrite of PZ lore in terms of the outbreak, but we had intended to return to the radio/TV broadcasts soon in any case).


GAMEPLAY CHANGES
We’ve been waiting for some important/complex work on rotational anim movements from TEA for a fair amount of the past few weeks – but there’s still been plenty of other areas for us to work in this time.
A few examples of this includes knife attack animations, and tying survivors and zeds getting bloodied by attacks in general in-game.

This has also involved us adding some additional combat skills, and in the process removing the skill point system. From Build 41 onwards skills will automatically level up when you gain the XP requirements, as we felt the manual skill point system never worked particularly well and would do so even less with many more skills.




ZED BUMPIN’
RJ also adds a note on how running through crowds of zeds will now be a little more fraught with danger.
“One thing that’s new and that people might be interested to see in action, is an effort to make sure players can’t dash through hordes without getting slowed down.”

“As seen in the video below, we’ve now added bumping against zeds. Colliding with one or two while you’re running isn’t dangerous, you’ll just get slowed down, but try running through a horde and you’ll stumble and fall – leaving you temporarily exposed to the encroaching zeds. We might add in a few more different sorts of animations for nudges/pushes, but right now it looks like this:”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQB4ewT412s

MODEL CLARITY
Next up, the issue of character and zed model visual fidelity.

An area that was proving strange in terms of 41 development was that somewhere along the way some of the visual fidelity of characters had been lost – and simultaneously, somehow, models looked far more buff/hunky than intended. Feet, also, seemed a little on the large side. After a bit of a dig, we finally located a bug in the exported model data that explained it.

Due to this bug, the lighting of the characters was broken, which resulted in very washed out characters with little lighting shading – which in turn removed definition that made muscles look bulkier. This has now been fixed and, after re-exporting all the clothing, has allowed us to achieve much better character model rendering and lighting than we’ve shown off previously during this recent leg of anim development.

As ever, please keep in mind that we’ll continue to balance/tweak to make sure characters fit their surrounds as well as possible – as well as adjust the models themselves seeing as you can now see individual facial features much more clearly. These caveats notwithstanding, however, we’re pretty happy how they’re looking.



During this process we also focused on another prominent issue: that the character pixel resolution when zoomed in was extremely blocky and lacking in detail. Due to the ways that our initial zoom system handled things, characters were too harshly pixellated. This caused them to be extremely jaggied compared to what it was in the old days, when we were rendering characters to an off-screen sprite before placing them into the world.

So over the past few weeks we’ve been doing some significant work on changing how the game handles the zoom, which in addition to fixing this issue should ultimately lead to slightly more optimized rendering of the game – as well as providing the character models much more detail to play with.



The branch with this system on it isn’t complete – navigating indoors presents issues, mouse input hit-testing isn’t fixed up yet, and we’re having issues with seams between tiles when zoomed out – so it’s not quite ready for integration into the main test build. Here’s a quick video of us running aimlessly around zombies under lights to show it off though.

(Along with some new Zach Beever musical accompaniments!)

https://youtu.be/cul1ykzHBJo

DEV AND MOD TOOL IMPROVEMENTS
Zac and Mark from TEA have continued their work on the tech, ironing out the last few issues with the animation blending, as well as providing some extra cool tools to help us implement and debug the animations (as well as the modders once it releases!)

https://youtu.be/ZspLm_D0JFM

https://youtu.be/HJC5bUTltfI

https://youtu.be/hy9wWeTkLQ4


OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE
  • Zac has been doing a whole bunch of optimization work, with fun example vids of his wares seen here with his zombie spawning, and here with multi-threaded rendering.
  • RJ has implemented his previous work on looting improvements – giving us more control over general clutter, and more realistically placed items in houses.
  • Mash has begun creating icons for new clothing and weapons, Will had begun setting naming conventions for them.
  • Connall and Turbo have continued to implement new timed actions.
  • Yuri has finished adapting his water/puddles into Zac’s revamped shader system, and is now experimenting with a particle system that will provide the bedrock for his fire improvements.
  • The other Zac meanwhile, Young Zach, continues to deliver the new South-tinged PZ score that can be heard at playing over the initial video in this blog.
  • Xeonyx is chasing/fixing map bugs in his now complete Kingsmouth Island challenge map.  

This is the second monthly Steam round-up of development news for Project Zomboid, but weekly Thursdoid blogs are posted both on our website and on the Steam discussion boards. 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 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


Hey all, here’s a round-up of recent Zomboid dev. To start with a quick video compilation of stuff the team has been wiring up into our friends at TEA’s animation systems.

https://youtu.be/HhM6eIrxNYA

Please note that there are still numerous bugs and issues as long as all our combined arms, and it’s hard to get a sustained video without issues and glitches popping up, so this vid is fairly carefully curated – but it does give you an idea of the where we are. (Likewise, if you see something that looks wrong or glitchy, or think ‘hmm, there should be more variation anims in that…’, then we’re probably already on it).


Essentially, TIS coders are currently implementing the game code-side, tying in the new animation system to all the game systems. RJ, for example, has been handling the combat system, tying up all the weapon swing, zombie reactions and various other related anims, and the system is getting close to the quality of the earlier videos of animations you’ve seen, though now tied 100% into the PZ combat, character and simulation systems.

Connall and Turbo, meanwhile, have been concentrating on non-combat related animations, such as reading, chopping wood, painting, eating, crafting, and the countless other in-game actions characters can do in-game that were previously performed like a stock-still robot with a progress bar.

EP has been doing his usual precision striking all across the code base, wiring up the character creation system, connecting model clothing to inventory items in the world, and fixing issues and integrating the codebase across the board.

In the mean-time TEA are optimizing and improving the AnimZed toolset with our requests the more we use it, and alongside general animation requests and polish Martin is experimenting with the gore potential of the system with visible guts hanging out of the front of zombies and such.

Here’s another vid from Zac from a two weeks ago: a walk through downtown West Point to test some of the latest optimization work, and the improved shaders that remove a lot of the bleached-out-ness from proceedings. At the moment Zac is also, still, looking into some further threading optimization as, bizarrely, better machines were having some stutters

https://youtu.be/Ge3IZlzOzRE

This past week we’ve also reimplemented zombies that spawn covered in blood (when the Version 41 is complete blood will gradually appear on most zeds during combat, however), which can be seen below – alongside a few items ticked off the list from Connall and Turbo’s vast timed action spreadsheet.









We’re also in the process of working out exactly which animations will be included in the first release, and what won’t – the Cover System; i.e. ducking behind walls and wall-hugging for example, is a confirmed ‘not 41’ at this point as we want to get the fundamentals right first. (edited)


SIMS-STYLE CUTAWAYS
ChrisW is back with us currently, and working on better internal visuals for buildings. Screenshots probably speak louder than words in this instance, so here we go:






GROUND WATER
Yuri has been putting the finishing touches on the puddle system, as well as tying it into the 40’s climate stuff, and we’re super happy with how he’s been able to add that visual spark to the water effects in the game. Here’s a video of where he’s up to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6w5PAhh-pGE

And here also is an earlier video, showing the more WIP shader effects appearing on roads.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_n_HxL0eh1E

Our next plans for Yuri’s visual effects overhaul couldn’t be more opposite, as we want him to give some visual love and attention to fire: one of our most ancient and jankiest looking systems. We’re excited to see what he does with it, and at the same time as a visual boost, we’re planning on rebalancing the way fire works to make it behave more sensibly and better simulate its spread over different materials and tiles.


CONTROLLER BETA
Stas from General Arcade has been going great guns with our public controller beta, and we’re now well into the bug fixing and polish stage. If you want to check out the latest version, number 14, details on how to join can be found here.


MAP EXPANSION
While the rest of the team works on Build 41, we currently have three people on map content. Mash is developing our take on Louisville, while RingoD is providing her with variations on our current housing models so that its suburbs don’t feel too cookie-cutter.
Here’s a rare glimpse of a WIP urban location that’s been prised from Mash’s iron grip, shown with the understanding that the release will be a fair few builds into the future.



Seeing as the main map expansion is still so far away, however, we now also have the New Denver creator Xeonyx working on new locations that will come as a part of new challenges in the main game. Here, for example, is the main resort building on the fictional paradise island of Kingsmouth.



This is the first monthly Steam round-up of development news for Project Zomboid, but weekly Thursdoid blogs are posted both on our website and on the Steam discussion boards. 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 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


Hey all, quick run around the houses talking about who’s on what this week.

In anims-land for Build 41 Zac’s been looking at optimization, which we’ll be coming back to pretty routinely from this point – as we want to make sure everything is nice and smooth. Here he’s sorted out some locks in the render thread, and from the Before and After you can see a marked improvement in quality.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fZ03VjhJr0

He’s also working on getting the shiny helmet / coats / leggings shader effect going for different clothing items, and also investigating with Mark as to why over the course of development with the animations system we’ve lost some of the earthy colours and harsher lighting that tended towards a slight over-saturation and bleached effect that doesn’t quite make the new character models fit the scene.



Animator Martin, meanwhile, is looking at all the different locations we’ve got on the map (and those still to come) and creating new outfits to discover in their cupboards and lockers – and likewise to find the local zeds dressed up in.




In other news:
Xeonyx, the creator of the much-loved New Denver / Slocan Lake map, is now working on Challenge Maps for the main game. These, including the Film Studio map we’ve discussed previously, will most likely be a part of Build 41. His current mission is a fictional map called Kingsmouth – a ‘paradise island’ vacation resort in the Caribbean. The map will feature vast hotels, seaside locales, a military installation and much more – but we’ll go quiet on it for now while Jamie gets on with his work. Here’s a quick screen from the map editor though.



Chris W continues his work on improving visuals within buildings – aiming for more Sims-style cutaways and the removal of the circle stencil we currently use. Here’s a quick before and after of the start of this work – the second image showing walls in the foreground cutting away to skirting height – with smooth transitions curving up to full height.

NOTE: Very much WIP and not a finished system, of course. The other room currently isn't cut but will be in the final version. This is just a sneak peak for the WIP system and showing off how the rounded corners look; the goal for the final version is improving vision, not limiting it.



 
Meanwhile:
  • Yuri is working on improvements to the way we render the ground surfaces, especially road textures that have been rained on, to complement his recent improvements to how water appears in-game. (This said, right now, he’s shackling a hilarious car physics demon that’s sprung up on an internal server.) 
  • Stas just released an updated Controller Test beta for those helping out with our gamepad improvement scheme. If you are interested in getting a free PZ code for your troubles, then join our band of testers
  • While BitbaboonMark does some TEA-side code repository movements and merging: RJ is doing some improvements to food crafting and prepping a (non-anims) forum test for his new loot table improvements, EP is doing some very exciting experimental work with a new player map system and Turbo is plotting his next move after the successful integration of his weather/shaders in Build 40. (Most likely picking up on his work on in-game devices, or maybe those seasonal sound effects we discussed before).


Community stuff:
We’d like to direct your attention to the new Hashima Island map by Woldren, a map based on an IRL location you might recognise as the place where James Bond shot a woman who had whiskey on her head in Skyfall. It’s pretty damn cool.



We’d also like to direct your attention to the Redboid server, which had a season refresh/reboot/restart yesterday and is a grand place to start your PZ MP adventures if you haven’t done so yet.

If you run a PZ server and would like a shout-out in a future blog, then please get in touch. And while you’re at it -please use these values in Bitbaboon Steve’s recent networking optimization options, as they certainly seem to be helping those currently using ’em.

ZombieUpdateMaxHighPriority=50

ZombieUpdateDelta=0.5

ZombieUpdateRadiusLowPriority=45.0

ZombieUpdateRadiusHighPriority=10.0

This week’s infested neighborhood from Dark Oracle. 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 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 MailingList 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.
Dec 20, 2018
Project Zomboid - nasKo


Hello! Merry impending Chrimble.

On Tuesday we ran a pretty successful Community Megatest using our new MP networking system that Bitbaboon Steve has concocted for us. Users generally reported a much smoother experience in overall play, and had a lot of fun with the storms, snow and admin-created blood moons.

This said, we did see a few potential issues around mega-hordes and vehicles that we need to investigate deeper – so didn’t want to inflict our Megatest settings as default ones on players over the Xmas break until we’re sure they’re the right ones.

To this end we’ll be running more Community Megatests in the near future, with different system settings – and some handy network debug tools that Steve is currently coding into the system.

We have, however, also released it into the public build today in Build 40.43 for server owners to play around with – and have already heard some positive feedback. In essence, and with a video deliberately set to explain it best, it looks a bit like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhm521K5gv8

In this video there are the two visible circles around the MP player, and then the mini-circles which appear around the zombies. Essentially: every time a circle appears around a zombie it means it’s getting a position update over the network from the server and then wired into your game. The client’s zed placement signals are received – and then the game knows where to show the zed.

The essence of the system is that server operators can now adjust the circle of ‘close dangerous zeds’ and the circle of distant ‘no trouble zeds’ – and the update times. This will cut down on the network traffic taken up by faraway zombies on your screen, and reduce strain on servers as a whole.

[Please note that this vid is an example only and made to explain the system – we haven’t judged what the best radius for these circles are yet and will be running a series of Community Megatests to help us judge what works best.]

So… here comes the science!

In the vid the low priority (larger radius) dictates the zombies which are going to update on the update delta. So every x seconds they will get an update, and in the video you can see these as the pulses. [It’s set purposefully long on the video to highlight it].

Meanwhile the high priority zombies get updated every server frame, and it will send out the closest Y zombies within the smaller circle around the player.
  • ZombieUpdateHighPriorty is the radius around the player for sending the high priority zombies.
  • ZombieUpdateMaxHighPriority is a cap on the number of high detail ones to send, and it will send the closest zombies to the player up to this limit.
  • ZombieUpdateRadiusLowPriority is the maximum radius to send the lower frequency updates to – at 45 this is essentially the entire screen at 1440p fully zoomed out.
  • ZombieUpdateDelta is the time between sending these lower frequency larger blobs of zombies
In the Megatest the values we used were, so if you run a server give it a spin with these and see how it goes:

ZombieUpdateMaxHighPriority 6
ZombieUpdateDelta 0.7
ZombieUpdateRadiusLowPriority 45
ZombieUpdateRadiusHighPriority 20

The next Megatest, meanwhile, will use a smaller high priority radius but a larger cap – to see how it all responds to hordes. It’s all a balancing act, really, so let us know how you get on if you have a play with it yourself.

Sorry for the technical stuff! Here’s some Build 41 stuff to compensate, along with something seasonal that will be one day be stashed in a cupboard in the mall awaiting the Xmas season.



Grant and Zac have been finetuning the clothing and animation modules. Clothes are now shader-driven and individual Clothing items can have custom shaders for special fx. Animations now auto-reload when modified from the Editor, and Martin has also been hard at work adding new clothing outfits, and adding more variety to existing outfits. Here’s a quick vid.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZt_MOIM5TM
That’s about it for today but Russian holidays mean that Yuri and Stas will continue their 41 work over the Western Xmas on current issues with upturned vehicles and the gamepad bindings screen, respectively, while there’s plenty of other stuff bubbling under too.

There will be a Thursdoid next week, but it’ll be a brief one featuring anything people have done over the holidays, and then back properly in the New Year. Have a great one if you’re celebrating!

This week’s Walking Dead-style not belonging here from non_curo. 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 MailingList 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. Merry Xmas etc hohoho
Dec 13, 2018
Project Zomboid - nasKo



Howdy almost-yuletide survivor.

PATCH 40.40 RELEASED
Today we released our final (sort of, read below for more on that) patch for Build 40. Full patchnotes can be found here, but this covers stuff like:
  • Improved darker nights, and less washed out night-time interiors. Car headlights and flashlights will be more of a necessity now. Sandbox settings also updated, so you can adapt it to a brightness you desire.
  • Improved appearance of weather effects when in a building.
  • Moon calculations re-added to game to govern night brightness.
  • Extended disassemble ability to many more items,including: fridges, ovens, more chairs, washing machines, lockers, fitness equipment, metal barrels and some missing shelves.
  • Some balanced player actions related to injuries, sleeping, window-breaking and bandages in a saucepan.
  • Fixed whisper problems in the new chatbox, stair teleports, rain rather than snow in Winter is Coming, community translation font issues, plumbed sinks not working in MP and various other issues.


40 MP NETWORK STUFF
While the rest of the team move into the animations build and version 41, we’re leaving optimization specialist Bitbaboon Steve investigating what easy-win MP networking improvements we could potentially still patch into 40.

The first of his discoveries, the removal large number of empty and unnecessary data packets being sent over the server, has been released in 40.40 and should be a mild salve for current lag issues but his investigations also came up with an idea we thought it’d be wise to test out with a forthcoming IWBUMS beta and Community Megatest.

Essentially, Steve has been working on some server configurable optimizations for zombies in multiplayer. Since vehicles, performance in multiplayer servers has seen added strain (particularly in handling zombie hordes) and we’re hoping this might improve matters.

In essence, we’re about to release a test version in which there are several configurable options to allow server owners to fine-tune how much zombie data is sent to their players.

There will now be two ‘player client zombie awareness’ circles: the first a smaller radius that defines at what tile-range zombie positions are sent to clients with a high precision in every frame, and then a second larger radius in which the zombie location information can be sent to clients less frequently. Server owners will also be able to play with how much time there is between the low frequency updates.

On low population co-op servers these values can be set pretty liberally, so the players are getting all zombies in the visible area smoothly. But on high population servers that experience lag issues, server operators can sacrifice the smoothness of zombie movement in the distance (or even cap zombie visibility completely over a certain distance) in order to VASTLY reduce the amount of internet traffic they produce when lots of players are involved.

We think this will sharply decrease the amount of work the server needs to do and should lead to a much better player experience with a little bit of visual compromise toward the edge of the screen. Distant zombies might pause a bit or appear to teleport slightly between updates, but these movements are also something we’d hope to blend better (and make far less noticeable) with the added functionalities of the animations build. Server operators can decide on their own level of compromise too.

This work is pretty much done, and as such we will add it into the IWBUMS beta as soon as it’s clear there’s nothing from 40.40 that needs hot-fixing. Please keep your eyes on the forum if you want to participate in a special Yuletide Megatest.


41 ANIMS
This week in TEA-land Grant has improved things dev/modder-side with live texture reload, through upgrading the Filewatcher mechanism. It now watches the media folder instead of polling individual files, and is much more efficient. Upon a texture filechange, the game now reloads it live and in-place. This should make iteration times on textures much easier and faster.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXtz_Owm_V8

Zac, meanwhile, has fixed up AnimZed for Animator Martin to the extent that he can now get a lot more variation on different individual outfits. Take these cops for example:



Martin has also been creating a better range of skin tones for player characters, to allow for better customisation should people desire it.


OTHER STUFF
  • Stas has just updated the Gamepad Test beta with a lot of fixes, for our lovely select bunch of gamepad testers. If you fancy helping out with this part of PZ work, and earn yourself a free code, then enquire within.
  • RJ has been tinkering with in-game loot, and has occasionally been popping into the PZ Discord to look for willing testers. The overall plan is to have more information in the game code in terms of what’s a desirable item, and what’s junk – so we can then fill containers with a lot more realistic junk items even on higher difficulty levels. He’s also experimenting with having more specific containers in homes for more specific items (all the cutlery in one drawer, male clothes in one wardrobe, female in another etc) but the jury is currently out on whether it actually detracts from the looting gameplay.
  • ChrisW’s work on in-building Sims-style cutaways and the abolition of the dithered circle view stencil continues. As seen here both with, and without.






Today’s warehouse horde from Frank. 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 PZWiki 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 hereOurDiscord is open for chat and hijinks too.
Dec 6, 2018
Project Zomboid - nasKo


Hey all, Thursday greetings.

40 PATCHING
We’ve currently got the final Build 40 patch in a public IWBUMS beta, and since last week have released 40.37 and 40.38  into it. This includes Turbo’s new night shaders and more colourful/useful interior lights, flashlights and headlights as we felt that Build 40 had moved away from what we wanted in this respect. You can see the video of this from a previous Thursdoid here.

So far IWBUMS testers have reacted really positively the new nights, which is heartening to see. We’ve had quite a few comments like “Night-time looks like the old PZ nights and flashlights finally have a function, this is amazing!” and similar, which is exactly what we were hoping for.

IWBUMS beta 40.39 was due for release today ready for the public patch, but Stas is still hitting a chatbox whisper bug with a code hammer. It will also add in, upon arrival, a fix for players getting wet in some player constructions and add back in the system we have that governs on how dark nights are depending on how bright the moon is.

Turbo has also added the dither circle stencil to the weathermask system (the ring of visibility around the player) when it comes to being inside buildings, which really improves the look of it all. Here’s a video of it without, and here’s a video of it with.


41 ANIMS AND MODELS
Work continues with the AnimZed tool, clothing, layering, spawned zed outfits and similar. There’s still loads of stuff to do under the hood for 41, but we’re now in a position to hopefully provide more visual updates in blogs each week.

This first video touches on what we discussed last week – the ability to layer clothing in whatever order we/you please for added player/zombie variety.

This allows for full length clothing items like dresses, different sorts of shoes, the ability to wear an apron under a jacket, different underwear etc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mfKRC1c258

This week Zac has also added a zombie spawn test function that creates zeds wearing different outfits from our assigned collection – or all dress the same. This is so we have a convenient way of testing all the different randomized and non-randomized clothing items at once.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eD-2fUw69Mg

Finally for this section, here are some of the dev-defined Career Zed outfits that the system’s easily conjuring up for Martin. 



WATERZED
Yuri this week has continued working on the code for calculating the direction of water movement that we discussed last week – meaning that the game now knows where water should be still and where it should flow.

He’s also fixed some model issues he was having with the anims build, and improved the way banks look. As we’ve said before, it might look too realistic in some aspects of it – but the different quality options give us room to play here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRl2Z1wlC1w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZLwe8OHAwU

SIMS-STYLE CUTAWAYS
Chris W is back with us and back in the code, picking up where he left off with improving the way that building interiors are displayed – to the extent that one day our aforementioned friend the dithered visibility circle stencil will no longer be a requirement.

“I’m replacing the old method of stencilling out walls that obscure the interiors” he explains.  “The new method will cut the walls down to ankle height, so you can still see where they should be.”

“The system uses shaders to combine multiple texture samplers, while the old method used multiple passes. When it’s finished, it’ll include curved transitions between the full walls and the cutaway walls. You can see my first work on this in the screen below, but there’s still a lot to change and fix.”




OTHER STUFF
  • Stas continues his work on the ControllerTest Build, with a fixes version released to testers today. If you would like to join in the test beta and earn yourself a free PZ code, enquire within.
  • Bitbaboon Steve is back with us and investigating ways to optimize MP.
  • RJ is looking into ways to allow us better control over our loot spawn system and difficulty levels, given the many new items that future builds will bring.
  • Mash continues with her work/marathon in the creation of our take on Louisville, and is currently creating the crumbier/seedier end of town.

This week’s plea from the forum from Sick Boy. 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. TheCentralized 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 22, 2018
Project Zomboid - nasKo



Hey everyone, lots to get through today soooo…


PUBLIC BUILD 40 PATCHED
We’ve just patched Build 40, which is now up to version 40.36. Primary improvements you’ll notice are:
  • Local text chat now audible/legible from a distance, and no longer obscured.
  • Weather period frequency throughout the whole year increased, and more heavy weather.
  • Car alarms now attract zeds again.
  • Chat now logged on server (format will be improved later)
  • Less getting wet in inappropriate places

There’s a fair amount of other stuff too though, details on which can be found here on the forum.


NEXT 40 PATCH: BETTER NIGHTS
One of the biggest problems with Build 40 on release was that the new time of day, and time of year, shaders didn’t play very nicely with the lighting system. Flashlights, internal lighting and vehicle headlights all suddenly look very washed out. Players who venture out in the dark weren’t having as much fun as usual.

As such, Turbo has been working on an improvement that we want to get into the current public version before he moves fully into Build 41. Vids of this can be seen below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m64s12l00yY

We hope you agree that it looks far, far better – and more than a little scarier to boot.

“In the above videos the ambient values have been changed along with the colours during dark periods (night/storms)” Turbo explains. “This fixes the headlights, flashlights etc and makes darkness look better in general.”

“Also seen below is some improved and indoor lighting during dark times. In the initial Build 40 release my shader overlay coloring messed it all up – so now the shader coloring is disabled when you’re indoors. This did come with the problem that when you’re looking outside you wouldn’t see darkness or weather effects, however, so I’m now using the mask cut-out I created for rain to overlay an external colored texture too.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27jT7cTmbV0

“Before we patch I will probably adjust storms a bit too though, as currently they lose a bit too much of their storm tint.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WP_WnlsiM9I


BUILD 41
We’re transitioning the PZ coders over to the work that TEA have done on animations for Build 41, but in the mean-time guys like Zac and Grant are continuing to improve tools and, in the case of Grant, do some optimization of the anims codebase.

“I’m doing a lot of work on the new clothing tech at the moment” explains Zac. “Using AnimZed wearable bags like backpacks are now visible on the character, and characters can equip custom clothing meshes on top of the base rig.”

“This allows outfits such as baggy jeans, coats, dresses, hoodies, jump-suits, and so on and parts of the base mesh can be now be masked out to prevent clipping and/or overdraw. When this gets to the modders then it’d be fairly simple to even do something like replace a character’s hand with a pirate’s hook or something.”

“It’s all customized for each clothing item, using the paper-doll UI inside the new ClothingItem Editor. There’s also random tints for more variety in the clothing too.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7F1Yqi9dTOA

(please note: on the spot turning animations are not in the build yet but will be before release!)


WATER STUFF
Regular Thursdoiders will know that Yuri is currently working on the improved appearance of water for Build 41. Below you’ll find what it looks like currently, but here’s a note on what to look out for:
  • A ripple effect has been added to the water, that will let players to see the direction and speed of the wind added to the game in Build 40 on the water’s surface.
  • The water shader now accepts data for flow direction and speed for each tile in the map, so rivers are now more realistic. In the video you can see how the water flows more slowly near the bank, and also how the flow of water smoothly changes its direction along the river.
  • Three water ‘visual quality’ options have been added. There is now a high and low quality option for both dynamic water and static water. Low quality dynamic water puts a very small load on the GPU, so it should be okay on most PCs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruRCJxvRJ64

You can also see Yuri playing around with the different debug values for this system here.


PUBLIC CONTROLLER BUILD TEST



We’re currently running a beta for the work that Stas has recently been doing on gamepad controller improvements, and folk have been contributing some absolutely brilliant feedback.

If you enjoy playing PZ with a pad want to join in, and earn yourself a FREE PZ CODE, then simply visit this thread[/b], install the controllers beta, play for a few hours and answer the ten questions we’ve provided.

This morning we released a new version of the Controllers build using your feedback, and Stas has quashed many of the bugs that were irking people. So now is a great time to join in.

Please note that currently only PC players can run the build, and also that the joypad back-end system, configuration and bindings have been completely rewritten from the ground up. In the process some aspects of the controls and default bindings have been changed in the rewriting process – if you have any issues with the default bindings and behaviours of the controls we’d like to hear about it.


NEW DENVER UPDATED – NOW SLOCAN LAKE
A quick shout out for Xeonyx, the creator of the wonderful map mod New Denver – which has recently been renamed as Slocan Lake. Jamie is now making Challenge maps for the main game, the first of which will likely appear in Build 41 at this point, but wanted to bring his most famous mod creation up to date.

The new version of Slocan Lake now has vehicle spawns and lootable maps, and no longer covers up areas of the vanilla zomboid map. You can find it here.



“With the additions of the towns of Silverton and Rosebery,” explains Xeonyx, “I felt it necessary to change the name of the map mod to Slocan Lake BC to better reflect the region the map takes place in, and not just the first town that was completed.”

“Players can now choose to start in one of the three towns as opposed to just New Denver, and with vehicles being added it makes for easier travel between places. I’ve also added forage zones to let players to gather supplies, even when they’re kilometers deep in the bush.”

“Traveling players will find the map no longer covers parts of the vanilla map (Farmlands, Rosewood Prison etc) and has been pushed South. So if you find a road going South off the highway here, this will take you to New Denver.”

“I’ve also added lootable maps to the mod, so you have maps of Silverton, New Denver, Rosebery, Full Region Map and Golf Course Cards out there to find. I also added in the real world street names on the town maps for players wanting to better navigate, and clearly to underline how the map mod is a 1:1 scale recreation of the real life region where I live.”



This week’s pile-up from Maris. 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. Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving to all our American survivors!
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