Once again happy Friday. Monday was a holiday here, so we have a progress snapshot for a shorter week.
WHAT’S THE TEAM BEEN UP TO?
Without beating a dead horse, the team has been hard at work on all fronts prepping for the 0.7.0 update. The new rendition of DM_Alberta is coming along smoothly and our programming team is on-track to hit all targets for 0.7.0 release. Our in-house QA has reported that the hitching issues that were present in 0.6.0 are currently absent on the new map which is one of the biggest reasons why we decided to ultimately scrap the old map.
While it’s not an easy to choice to make as taking a map from literally nothing into something that’s believable is a long process. We felt the previous map was plagued with many issues that would ultimately take more time to fix than to simply re-approach the map with a much larger team of Level Designers and with much better task management in place for them.
We also did not use any real-life heightmap data in the previous iteration of the map which while there were good intentions behind the reasoning, it ultimately did not feel like Alberta when you looked at the landscape and this is something we felt a strong need to correct.
We sent a field agent to the Seebe Dam for some reference photos. We finally had a clear (almost) smokeless day for some aerial photography. Smoke from the B.C. wildfires has made life a little extra… apocalyptic around the Calgary area. These photos are currently being converted into a true to life area in game that we can’t wait to have survivors interacting in.
As promised last week we have some sneak peaks of the new infected AI. This is by no means a finished product as our Programming Lead has not had the time he’d like to spend on them due to the Level Design being in need of some assistance with engine-level bugs they were encountering.
STEALTH AND COMBAT
Currently the infected combat isn’t fully finished as we have plans to make it a lot more difficult to dispatch the infected with melee weapons than in the current 0.6.0 build of the game. Think knocking the infected to the ground to get a clean shot of their head or targeting specific limbs to reduce their mobility. Infected can also get back up after being knocked down in combat after several seconds of lying on the ground. Rule number two.
Stealth is far more viable in 0.7.0 as infected no longer instantly detect the player, this allows you to effectively sneak around the infected. Though if you get spotted, the noise of the infected starting to chase after you might be enough to lure some of his friends that are nearby.
Infected are no longer forced to walk around fences and other obstacles and will instead now climb onto or climb over the obstacles. While the system is not yet complete and we’d love to add more to it we believe that it is a strong starting point.
Infected have had some changes to their pathfinding, infected will now try to flank players that they have lost line of sight of and will also split apart when running in a large group so that they don’t form a congo-line of infected. This system still needs some tweaking to prevent the infected from “shuffling” around their target but we feel this is a massive improvement versus standard recast pathfinding.
They need work but they we feel they’re a step in the right direction. We’ve still yet to add features such an investigation behaviours, triggers for said behaviours, gore/impact decals, making them properly swing their fists, etc. We want our infected to be challenging in larger groups especially if you’re relying on a melee weapon on a civ-tier firearm and currently fighting them with melee weapons can feel like a bit of a struggle. Our next steps will be focused on stealth behaviours and doing another pass on the infected combat systems.
MISSIONS, DIALOGUE, AND FURNITURE
Joseph has been working on implementing a new furniture system for any Survivor (NPC and Player) to interact with. While we’ve teased the Mission system and the Dialogue system to our backers in the past, we wanted to wait until the furniture system was in a better place before demonstrating the different systems to show how they can interact with each other.
While there are significant changes to the Mission system under-the-hood most players will only really notice the updated UI but on our end we’ve simplified the process of creating a Mission significantly so that minimal setup is required. This was so our Level Designers can easily create compelling Quests without any Blueprint knowledge.
Lastly the Dialogue system has not been mentioned very much if at all since we started work on 0.7.0. It comes with important changes as we plan on adding Human NPCs to the game before the end of the year after 0.7.0 has been shipped. Our new Dialogue system is extremely flexible and allows for Survivors to communicate with NPCs via their handheld radio which can be used during a mission to bypass having to physically visit an NPC.
A little follow up to our showcased Canadian armed forces G-wagon – Light Utility Vehicle Wheeled (LUVW). We now have 3 different variants and have begun painting textures.
Most games tend to feature the Humvee, a cult classic that everyone recognizes. However, the Canadian military never adopted it. Falling in line with the Canadian location we felt the accurate representation of Canadian armed forces was integral in storytelling and immersion. Our artist Victor has absolutely nailed it out of the park on this one!
Other members of the 3D Art team have also been working on some new vehicles as you cannot have a game that takes place in Alberta without a relatively modern truck in the game. These vehicles really add to the feel of a location with all of the different variations that can be found in the world.
Making the most out of a shorter week, we were happy to show off a few progress shots. Nightly build testing of the new map has come up with minimal hitching issues due to level streaming and we plan to keep playing that game of whack a mole. We feel that the overall game has heavily improved in the last few months and we cannot wait to get this patch into your hands.
Our Level Designers have assured us that the next update will be worth visiting as there will be some results to see from the drone shots that Mike got for us earlier in the week.
As always, feel free to come say hey in the Discord and remember to stay safe out there Survivors!