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The Weekly Dead 18

Hello Survivors!

We’re in for the final stretch on zombies this week.

Level of detail, animations, and shaders are in place.

The team is now working to tidy up all the loose ends.

Clothing Shaders
Chaoss’ clothing shaders will allow us to color most clothing, meaning more variety, and the possibility for dying clothes later on.

Shaders will also include different levels of blood stain details on clothing. Logo is placeholder, but just an example of “logo” mapping on our shirts and clothing. We may allow survivors to submit their own (non-copyrighted) t-shirt logos in the future.

Art Stuff
The holster on the Harbinger uniform are now textured and ready. It’s currently cosmetic, but we’ll see if that remains to be the case.

Dane is also getting started on this scary looking Harbinger gear.

Jeff thought we needed two cup holders. So there it is! Oh, and a bunch of other tweaks and additions to the interior detail. The car is officially ready for UV and texturing. Next time you see it, it won’t look gray.

Parker has some ‘quarantine wall’ concepts for us. These are one of many types of boundaries you may encounter in the future. We’ll have more on that later.

He also drew some accessories for the launcher, such as the ammo pickup and the HEAT projectile it fires.

We have some new loading screen art in the works by an artist named Jonas! He’s responsible for the grasslands and forest loading screens, with more on the way. Here’s the new picture you’ll see when loading into a farmland zone in Build 15.

Between all the crazy shader and texture work he’s been doing, Chaoss made a couple quick improvements to the farmhouse, including a couple more rooms on the lower levels and a creepy attic.

Sandswept 2.0
As mentioned last week, we’re overhauling all of our Sandswept and game-related sites, both for better cleanliness but also in anticipation of some upcoming Sandswept IPs.

Here’s a little preview of our forum changes.

The current plan is to preserve all existing forum usernames, emails, and passwords. We are not sure about posts yet, but we’ll let you know as that gets closer.

The Dead Linger’s site is getting a new look too. Here’s a small tease.

Let us know what you think of these changes and be sure to drop us any website feedback or suggestions you have in this thread here!

That’s it for this week.

Linger on, Survivors!

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The Weekly Dead 17

Hello Survivors!

This week starts off with a message from TDL Design Director, Geoff Keene:

I’m just dropping in to give you a note about some changes coming to our build schedule. Have no fear! All these change mean you’ll be seeing some content much sooner than we had planned instead of leaving you waiting for so long. In our on-going efforts to condense builds down into smaller, more rapid cycles, we’ve split Build 15 into two parts in order to get the new zombie models and some other features out and in front of your faces sooner. Here’s the new schedule for the next three builds;

- Build 15 – New Blood [Coming Soon!]

  • New Zombies with clothing and variety (see the last Weekly Dead for more information!)
  • New Main Menu System
  • New Wildlife: Rabbit
  • Leaning/Peeking around corners
  • Lots of bug fixes and tweaks
  • A few other small features!

- Build 16 – Sirens of the City

  • Siren NPCs
  • Cities
  • Modular Buildings
  • A bunch of world props (street signs, yard objects, hobo dens, etc.)
  • Some other tiny stuff

- Build 17 – The Storm

  • New Survivor Model
  • Harbinger NPCs
  • Weather
  • And a whole bunch more!

Okay, I’ll give the microphone back to Jenny now.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about this week’s other happenings!

The team is setting the stage (and by stage I mean Level of Detail) for our zombie variations. They’re working on getting all clothing entirely lined up and completed with the zombie models. Meaning smooth animations, no choppy bits and our zombies looking fresh.

Like this poor soul.

Art Stuff
Dane made some more details on the new Harbinger uniforms.

Ryan is working on traffic lights!

Jeff has the HM Typical ready for texturing!

And here’s a concept of the Harbinger AT Launcher that Parker made.

Website and Sandswept Forum Changes
We have major plans to re-design both website and forums soon. Our plan is to make navigation functionally and aesthetically better and we’d like your suggestions on changes you’d like to see.

Let us know in this thread!

A lot of changes this week. I know it may be a lot to take in, but as they say: “nothing ventured, nothing gained!”

Linger on, Survivors!

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The Weekly Dead 16

Hello Survivors!

Let’s zombie crawl right into what’s happening this week.

This is a work in progress of our zombies with clothing, varying skin colors, and some other nuances you may notice. The lighting is not final and these pictures don’t include all of the specular and normal maps, but it’s getting much closer to what you’ll see in Build 15. We’re predicted to have zombies finished by next week so we can move on to the final features for Build 15 and get it out the door to you guys!

Skin Tone
This image shows some of the skin tone variety you may find, as well as a nice close up of the new detail on the zombies skin.

The clothing these guys are wearing will have significantly more variation and look dirtier with matching shading, the current clothes you see are still being worked on.

The Big Picture
Over the last month (and many months of preparation and artwork before that) we’ve been building a system that supports the following features on our zombies AND survivors:
- Clothing, helmets, backpacks, everything showing on the characters
- Realistic skin tones
- Randomized blood spatter
- Randomized wounds (infected holes and the like)
- Different face textures
- Different facial structures, such as nose sizes, cheek bones, and so on
- Thinness and fatness
- Clothing colors, such as t-shirts coming in a wide range of color instead of all being black
- Underwear and sock color (I’m serious.)

And a whole bunch more! These are things you’ll get to see on zombies both in 15 and shortly thereafter, as well as things you’ll be able to customize on your own survivor. There’s currently no reason you shouldn’t expect to be able to customize your survivors weight, height, skin color, eye color, underwear and sock color (still not kidding) and facial features. We predict you’ll start seeing some of that pouring into TDL over the next 2-3 builds.

New Animations
To answer a common question, the new zombies also have brand new animations. You’ll notice that some of the zombies raise their arms as they near their prey. That’s a thing.

Dev Quotes

Sneaky Skeleton: Nice, so this means they’ll be spawning with random in-game clothes? Will they be in any way influenced by location?

Geoff: Yes, we have them set up so we can do location-based stuff, like uniforms, but we won’t have any examples of it in Build 15. It will just be very random and varied.

We’re also now set up (in the future) for thin/fatness of a zombie, hair, randomized gore, and a whole bunch more. Really, really massive leaps in terms of zombie (and future survivor) customization just happened over the last month. (Original Post)

Studio Growth
We’re very excited to announce that in the last month the Sandswept team has grown by 33.33334%; two new programmers, a new 3D artist, (RIGGER WARNING!) and a character rigger have joined the team. We’ll share who these fine individuals are in a future blog post.

We also have an upcoming announcement regarding some additional Sandswept endeavors that we’re undertaking, but we’re going to keep a lid on that for just awhile longer. That will probably be mentioned briefly here, but primarily over on our main blog and Sandswept twitter page, so be sure to follow those as well!

Linger on, Survivors!

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The Weekly Dead 15

Hello Survivors!

Say it with me: Optimization!

There’s a lot happening with the inner workings of The Dead Linger this week. Just about everything is undergoing some pretty heavy optimization. (Still!)

Chaoss has been tweaking away at everything he can get his hands on.

SpeedTree shaders are now fully optimized. Trees now include their own ambient occlusion, making terrain occlusion obsolete. This means faster loading and less generation.

Suburban houses are getting some serious optimi-awesome. Level of detail is being re-done, AO maps are being reduced, and exterior textures are being compressed.

Prisons are also undergoing the same optimization methods.


Out Of The Blue

Chaoss is giving our skies are getting a huge face-lift. That includes: the moon, sun, clouds and stars. Geoff will be working on a star map to give the TDL skies accurate constellations.

Zombie Wardrobe Variations – WIP

Currently, Richard, Grant and Chaoss are working together to have our first set of zombie clothing variants spawning in game. This is heavily a work in progress of the wardrobe system, and as you can see, we’ve got some missing/odd textures on the current set of testing assets.

Should be completed around next week, so we’ll show off more of this in that blog closer to it, and probably some very nice close ups of the new zombie variation as you’ll see it when Build 15 is released.

Dane and Jeff are up to cool things as usual.

A very specific set of military gear is just about completed. We’ll reveal more about that in… Well, in a bit. You may recognize this from some soldier concepts we dropped awhile back. A bunch of the military helmet variations are coming next.

Jeff’s sedan received some dashboard and engine work! There’s a few more modifications to make before it’s ready to final mesh polish and texturing.

You may want to shield your eyes for this next image. Here’s a sneak peek of our new survivor model.

(I warned you.)

The new male survivor is coming probably around Build 16, along with tons of new visible survivor clothing, an overhaul in the first person arms and some other stuff of that nature. Big, big stuff in the works that’ll you’ll see more and more of over the next few weeks.

We’re currently aiming to release Build 15 around the middle of September, and you know that’s definitely what will happen because we’ve never missed a deadline in our lives.

Linger on, Survivors!

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The Weekly Dead 14

Hello Survivors!

I’ve managed to escape on a mini vacation and it’s probably the only vacation time Geoff will ever give me! So I’ll be keeping this one short!

This week, more optimization!

They’ve all gone crazy with power.

Richard, Chaoss, Atle and Grant are collaborating to optimize all the things! They are taking a 3 prong approach to reducing memory use. That means all textures, zombie level of detail and animations and all sound clips are being reduced and resized.

Tree popping (or lack there of) has been greatly improved. In this video demonstration of the effect, each tree level of detail has been rotated at different angles to emphasize fading. In game, it will appear smoother and even less noticeable, if you even notice it at all.

Grass now uses unified normal shading and has 2 distance settings, giving us a giant performance boost on the system.

Grass quality in the settings menu causes an immediate refresh so restart is no longer required.

We’ve also got leaning implemented. The ‘Q’ and ‘E’ keys let you lean around corners and peak out slightly. A much more improved version of leaning will be coming in a later build.

Bunny rabbits are also getting placed in game. Rabbit Season is a go!

Dane is getting started on the Flakvest texture.

And just in case you missed this:

That’s everything for this week!

Linger on, Survivors!

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