February162013

dayzdev:

Ivan is back!

The last two weeks have gone extremely fast for us. As many will have noticed, we didn’t do a devblog last week. While the aim is produce an update every week (scheduled for Friday), the reality is that development will always have priority over our devblogs - and there has been a huge amount of real work to do on the project!

To celebrate Ivan returning to assist with the tean; Ivan, Matt, and myself held a design meeting in a rather unusual setting - we went from a hike around a lake area in the Czech Republic. We got some excellent idea’s - and we’re all thrilled with the great concepts Ivan has been bringing. We look forward to including Ivan on our next video blog.

Project Team Expansion

One of the biggest changes in the last week has been the expansion of the project, both in scale and scope as well as with personnel. We’ve been getting more and more people involved, both locally and externally. Many of these people are from within the community. We hope that these people will be able to assist us in really pushing the game to its limits.

Multiplayer Testing

Our internal closed testing has been continuing, and then pausing, as we identify and fix crashes and other issues. The vast amount of changes we have made require meticulous testing. We’re hoping to begin our first large-scale capacity testing next week (assuming we have a stable enough build). This will involve us working the server over with around 50 people initially, then working up to 150 and beyond to obtain metrics as to what limitations we will have.

Architecture Developments

Our lead programmer has been continuing the revision of the entire engine multiplayer to operate under the server-client MMO model. The results have been outstanding, and it is going to radically change the product. As these changes are made we are filter them onto the approach taken at other levels, ensuring everything is moved from being done at a client level to being done at a server level.

We have been experimenting with some novel approaches  such as not having loot spawned at the server level, but having it spawned at the database level - therefore negating the ease with which loot tables could be produced and allowing us to conduct a form of economic regulation to item spawns dynamically. I think the end result, however, will be a mixture of the two approaches due to performance requirements.

Character Development

This is the absolute core of our current design efforts. As such, you can see some new screen shots of the new ethnic heads available for female characters. We want to allow characters to be fully customized and reflect the players story as they are going along. This has included some fantastic ideas inspired by the community. Until initial release, the vast majority of our efforts will be with expanding options for developing and customizing your character.

Inventory system

Based on feedback and development, changes continue with this area. It’s starting to operate really well. Our programmer here, Jirka, will eventually move onto the crafting system. He has been wanting to move onto this for some time, as it is a personal area of interest for him.

As part of the inventory system, we have started detailed work on the attachment system. Like the customization of characters, we want to allow maximum ability for the customization and development of a players weapons. As part of this, all weapons being introduced into DayZ are being redeveloped from scratch at extremely high detail. The work being produced so far is outstanding! This means that, on release, there will be less weapons in the standalone - but it allows us the ability to continue each week to release content updates with new weapons and items.

World development

Massive areas are changing here. Ivan Buchta having returned from his time in the Greek Prison has been a huge asset to the team, working with our world designer SenChi (designer of the Ironfront worlds) to redevelop Chernarus. I have included some low-detail screenshots taken by SenChi showing some of his developments.

Art development

New clothing, items, weapons, buildings, “special areas” are all the foci of art development. We are greatly expanding our team of artists, as we have hundreds of new items we want to include in the world.

This week’s blog is pretty light on detail and excitement, but the pace is such that pausing to write about it is taking too much time! Overall, each week is proving to be more exciting for us than the last.

#AskDayZ

Part of a regular feature we will be doing is to take peoples questions on twitter (hastag: #AskDayZ) and facebook - Matt will select a few and we will answer them.

Will we be able to host private (hive) servers? (Christian Haschek)

Private servers will be supported. The issue of private hives (central servers) is still an open question. Initially the answer is definitely no, as we need to concentrate the database centrally so we can continue development and change it regularly. There is a wider issue of regulating both the economy of DayZ, in terms of controlling item spawn, and ensuring a balanced approach. I think it comes down to a question of timing, much like with the mod.

There be any new features in the first version of the standalone or it will be the classic DayZ (Martin Rangelovwill)

The experience will be entirely new. There is virtually nothing that has been directly ported from the mod, everything has been redone. This wasn’t our original intention (hence the December deadline) - but it has evolved this way. We’re all glad it has!

End Game content - Other than the mad max mods to cars, what other endgame solution is there other than everyone becoming bandits, the forums have made mentions and suggestions of random events like raiding a c130 crash site or setting ambush to NPC convoys, What do the dev’s have in store for us? (Rhys Fiander )

Endgame is an open question, and is something we will look at later once we have got the basics where we want them (player customization, controls, animations, zombies, loot spawn, attachments, disease, hacking, etc…). I’m personally not a fan of NPC’s but we have been keeping this available as an option for development. I kind of think  using NPC’s is cheating in this context. I am sure we can come up with a more creative way of doing these kinds of events, working directly with the community.

Dean: will you being adding other food and drink types (Ross J MacGregor)

The list of planned items is huge. A reasonably small functional set will be available initially, then new items and weapons during weekly updates.

Are you working on other ways to indicate hunger, thirst, temperature to achieve a more minimalistic HUD or getting rid of it completely and instead use sounds and such ? (Jesper von Hundhufvud)

The current situation is “no HUD” and we hope to keep it this way, demonstrating through the use of sounds and animations. We do need to add options for those with hearing impairments and we will look at those options too.

Did Dean get a date in the end or was it a romantic evening for one? WHY DID HE NOT TELL HER HOW MANY LAMBORGHINIS HE WILL HAVE?! (Regan Bamfield)

It was a very romantic evening for me cleaning my sneaker collection (I’m a total sneakerhead), so no - I did not get my date in the end! No matter how many Lamborghini’s I promised!

What will be the pricing on standalone? (Dylan Panda Belisle)

It is still to-be-confirmed. However, to put it in perspective, I want a higher price than nearly everyone else in the company. So we’re not talking an expensive product. Released now, I am confident people are getting more than required value from the product.

Will you continue pursuing/developing the humanity system? have you made/felt the need to make any changes? (Daniel Yacoubian)

I think this will continue to be developed throughout the life of the product, it will be a very subtle art to get it right.

Will the number of zombies be increased, or should we expect a similar amount? (Kyle O’Dowd)

Yes, expect the numbers to increase as they are controlled directly on the server independent of player locations.

@Lirik - Will there be character slots or will it be limited to one survivor?

Initially, just one live character for each player account. We store a huge amount of data for each character, so we need to limit it.

@Biddaman - From what we know about next gen consoles so far, would Dayz be possible to run on those machines?

Personally, yes I believe it would be technically possible. Some of the consoles will be easier than others. There are some issues with requirements for publishers which are really annoying, and I have been frustrated in the past with some of the rules required that force some weird design changes in games (I don’t like tutorials!).

@zSc0pe - Will there be changes with the chat? I would like to be able to type or talk to friends in game without the whole server knowing

We’ve started development of a basic radio system. If you’ve played Space Station 13, you’ll recognize this system. More to follow on that. And love the songs by the way!

@jerry_hopper - Will the squadXML be overhauled,2 achieve more interaction ‘outside’ the gameserver? or will there be some API which taps in dayz?

API is something we, longterm, want to look at for nearly everything - considering the outstanding creativity within the community. In particular I think it is best to allow the community to develop its own player profile statistic sites. But this is something that will come much later in the year.

@Ray23estRay - If there will be any further map releases for DayZ in the future,will they be released as DLC content for money? 

We are starting our planning process for this, but we don’t have any idea how we would monetize it. There are issues with the DLC model we would want to avoid. We’re hoping we will be so successful in sales, that we can just release as a free content update.

@TheBeehawk - What kind of vehicle customisation [sic] is planned?

I have only basic ideas on this currently, essentially functioning similar to the weapon attachment system we have designed. If your car has a missing or damaged door, take the door off another car. But of course, if they are different colors, you’ll see that. Each part also has various damage states, so we end up with GTA-esque damage visuals.

@Chernoeb Will there be different servers with different weapons. Example: One server has DMR’s while another server has no DMR’s

Not initially. Either loot will be entirely controlled centrally by the central server, or it will spawn based on loot probability tables, or (most likely) a combination of the two.

@poopthought - Do you have any malls, hotels, prisons or bigger hospitals planned for the standalone?

Yes!

@EvanLutes1999 -   Will there be the old weapons from the mod, new weapons, or a mix of both?

New weapons, based on the old weapons.

IAsh - How many clothing varieties should we expect?

Once released, expect new content every week. We are planning hundreds and hundreds of clothing varieties.

January252013

dayzdev:

This is the first update when I have sat down and thought “where do I start?” There has been so much going on with the development this month that it is hard to fit it all in a post here. Through the month we have steadily moved from working on our architectural changes, through to preparing for our first public test. The risks and gambles we took last year, are now beginning to pay serious dividends for us.

I’ll be covering the following in this update:

  • Lighting and material improvements
  • Volumetric Cloud system
  • New Server Architecture
  • Clothing/Inventory status
  • Closed Test Status
  • Art/World updates
  • Customizing your character
  • Customizing your weapon

Lighting and material improvements

One of our Lead Artists, Mario Kurty, has been working with some of the ArmA3 artists to ensure that DayZ Standalone has the best visuals possible. The result is pretty striking when combined with some of the other improvements we have made in the engine. These improvements make the world really come to life, improving the visuals overall. A comparison screenshot is included and demonstrates the effect of this.

Volumetric Cloud system

This has now been fully configured for use within DayZ, used to great effect in Bohemia’s previous product Take on Helicopters (and coming in ArmA3 also). There are several pictures of this included in the screenshots for this blog update. Running around the world taking pictures, it was hard to resist really. It adds a real sense of realism when compared with the previous result.

New Server Architecture

Our lead programmer, Ondřej Španěl, continues his work on redeveloping our server architecture. Contrary to some who say DayZ will be releasing with no anti-hack mechanisms, one of the key things we are doing with development is entirely redeveloping how the engine works. I can’t stress enough just how fundamental this change is. DayZ’s game servers will function like servers in other MMO style games, that is the server will control the behavior and the sending of updates. No longer will your machine receive all the updates allowing their analysis by various cheats.

We are exploring spawning all zombies and loot at the start of server initialization, again a huge departure from the previous mechanism. This solves many design and technical issues with the spawning and respawning of equipment, such as being able to metagame by telling whether players are in a village by seeing zombie’s have spawned.

Clothing/Inventory status

This has now been completed to a basic level, you can put on and drop various items of clothing. These items can have diseases on them, and they have durability and other attributes. We need to make some models that represent the clothes when they are on the ground (currently they look as they are when on the ground!) Once this is done, we will be releasing some video outlining what it looks like to change your clothes.

Closed Test Status

We have begun our internal closed testing (yes!) and have been working with Valve to ensure our new server browser system is working (we utilize Steam for this purpose rather than Gamespy as for ArmA2). The Server/Client architecture needs to be fully implemented before we will begin our public testing.

We have not initiated our closed test that includes external people yet (such as streamers).

Art/World updates

A huge quantity of changes are flowing into the world. New areas, a mass of new objects (such as wrecked vehicles, buses, etc…) that are all designed with DayZ in mind - such as having good areas for loot to spawn. It is really impossible to list all the changes here, from bug fixing to redesigning of buildings such as the general store, and onto entirely new buildings and areas. One of our texture artists has been going through existing work and making them look more damaged and used.

Customizing your Character

The design has now really ramped up. This is really the entire focus of our efforts for the next few months, prior to starting on vehicle customization and finally on base building at the end of the year. The obvious starting point for us is to allow players to select the gender and race of their character. Beyond this, allowing ways for your character to become your own are key for us; from getting tattoo’s to finding unique clothing items, trying to deal with your own health aliments, etc…

This is an area of very active development, we’re exploring all sorts of ways to make your character change in the world as you play. When you first create your character, the options will be simple. As you go along in the world, your character will change as a result of their interactions with the environment and the decisions you make, through items such as clothing choices.

Social aspects are extremely important to us, and we’ve taken a number of idea’s and participated in the discussions on reddit and the forums about what we can do in this area. Expect more on these area’s in the next tumblr update. We want to support the organic development and operation of groups within the game, through the development of their own symbology in game (tattoo’s, markings on the world, on weapons, etc…). We feel that these redeveloped social experiences told through the game will be a compelling part of the standalone.

Customizing your weapon

Weapon attachments are a great bi-product of our entire redesign of every aspect of the inventory system. Nothing is available to show on this yet, currently the only attachment we have fully configured in the game is the magazine. You must load the magazine with ammunition and then it is considered an attachment to the weapon. The quantity and condition of your magazines will be particularly important in the standalone. Look after them!

When is it releasing?

We don’t know. We’re going to take our time. I feel fantastic about the situation, more than ever I feel like we’re doing something really interesting with this development. Now is not the time to rush things, but we do need to ensure our pace is kept up. Our development blog and getting players in and testing as soon as possible will be key in ensuring we succeed in making this a great game.

Concluding words

At no point in development, have I been as excited as I am right now. The risks we took with the direction have paid off. The engine and approach of the game is now entirely DayZ’s own, it is striking out into it’s own territory as a project. This is very exciting for all the team.

I do need to caution though, it is a bad idea to overhype the project. We know that there are many challenges that we will face from deciding to effectively write a new engine tailored to DayZ. But we are now entirely confident, that this decision will prove to have been the best decision we could make. Now we will be able to make the game that we’ve all always wanted.

October282012
July22011

I came here in a bubble…

The world filtered through a prism

in sunlight and dark

This true soul trapped

These confines wobble and weave

The walls expand

Then again contract

A slippery, sticky comfort

My quest?

A pin.

June232011
The most beautiful girl in the world…

The most beautiful girl in the world…

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