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The Weekly Dead 24

Hello Survivors!

It almost felt like an eternity since our last Weekly Dead. Almost like sitting in a queue for a certain game…*ahem* So, let’s jump right into this week and catch you up to speed on things!

Hotfix 15c

Hotfix 15c is underway to correct some remaining issues and will include a massive Dedicated Server update to get dedicated server software that actually works properly the way you need it to run reliable servers. It also gives us a great opportunity to clean up our netcode a bit and streamline that whole system. We’re switching over to Steam’s networking which will greatly improve how players host and join servers, and more reliably tunnel through the various tubes of the internet to join each other’s games. And here it is so far!

Okay, it’s not that exciting to look at, but there it is. The Dead Linger’s dedicated server running completely independently (without the game installed.) Pretty awesome, right?

Build 16

Artists are already well into finalizing 16 and 17 content, so Build 16 is simply awaiting the end of Build 15′s various hotfixes to begin full code development. Bear in mind that Build 15 is laying down some of the core foundation needed for faster build cycles, so these hotfixes are a necessity. Currently and with the latest updates we have been overhauling a ton of major systems that include loot spawns, zombie performance, zone templates, and a whole lot more.

Roadmap Recap

Our Development Roadmap has undergone a HUGE, and I mean ENORMOUS overhaul. (We’ve basically given you all of TDL’s current and future plans all in one place!) You guys wanted transparency, so there it is! There’s also tacos. Not transparent tacos, but tacos nevertheless. There’s some great discussions going on at the forums regarding various aspects of the roadmap already. Take a peek yourself to see the new roadmap and accompanying Design of the Dead video. Have at it!

THEDEADLINGER.COM/ROADMAP

Art Stuff

In an effort to push ahead the concept of survivor’s having stable and self-sustained bases in the game, Parker has been tossing around some concepts for The Dead Linger’s farming system. We’re planning out how it will look and how you’ll plant seeds into the fertile earth.

Jeff seriously surprised us last meeting with the progress on the HM Typical. It’s just about done in every way, and almost ready to toss into the game, after a bunch of accompanying code work, that is. This ordinarily extraordinary vehicle is planned for Build 20 at this time. Check this baby out:

Chaoss has been working on two very cool things. First off, the new terrain is coming along great, which will provide a massive increase in performance, use proper LOD methods that the current one doesn’t use, and it will allow us to paint the terrain in a much more realistic fashion – a feature we’ll be adding to Watertower so that you can paint your own dirt paths and such.

The new terrain also features 1 meter resolution, which is way higher resolution than the previous (current) terrain supports. This means we can do way more detailed things with it, and no more crazy jagged angles on the terrain. Here’s a picture where Chaoss wrote his name in the terrain to show you exactly how detailed it can be.

Chaoss is also working on the new suburban homes. We’re re-creating the Middle Class Suburban Home with 1, 2, and 3-story to better match the current art, quality, and performance. The new houses are also built with modular layouts in mind. This house you see in the picture below can result in about 10,000 different permutations, and that’s not even including color. Oh, and house colors will be returning! You can expect these new houses around Build 16.


Chaoss also spent some time getting the textures ready for all of the houses to use. With this system, we can recolor the walls and wood trim paneling different colors however we please. This means no house is the same as the other, both in appearance and layout.

Some painted drywall with fancy lights on it.

Bug of the Week

Now I get to hand the keyboard over to Kate, our bug sniper!

Welcome to the debut of the Dead Bug of the Week! We’ve decided to start up a weekly issue of the most hilarious (and sometimes ridiculous) bug to add a bit of humor into the development process!

Our first bug comes from Aether245 and FallnMastr; two survivors who discovered that running into each other would launch one or both into the air. They have lovingly named it the Rocket Man Glitch, and they provided a couple hilarious clips.

Aether245′s Clip
FallnMastr’s Clip

Discover a chuckle-worthy bug? Catch it on video or screenshot and submit them to the usual Support and Bug Reports forum and yours may be featured in next week’s blog post!

PAX South


We’re doing that thing where we go outside again! This time you’ll be able to find Geoff, Kate, and myself at PAX South this coming January! You better come find us and say hello, we may just have some neat pins for you.

That’s everything this week.

Linger on, Survivors!

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Design Of The Dead: New Roadmap

Hello Survivors!

We’re bringing you a very special Design of the Dead today! We couldn’t wait till Friday, so here it is: The new development roadmap in its entirety!

THEDEADLINGER.COM/ROADMAP

Linger on, Survivors!

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Hotfix 15b – Huge Performance Patch

Hey Survivors!

Please welcome Hotfix 15b! We took another pass at improving performance by updating a bunch of LODs and now the world will load in a much smarter fashion while the survivor is traveling about! We also made some quality of life changes; campfire and cooking improvements, greatly increased zombie density, and a ton of other bug fixes!

If your game does not update automatically, we recommend verifying your game cache or restarting your Steam client.

Patch Notes for Hotfix 15b – Huge Performance Patch

Performance Changes and Details: 

  • Sweeping changes to our dynamic world LOD (iLOD) system yielding in a 50% or greater increase in framerate. You should now be getting substantially better framerate in all circumstances.
  • Made a minor grass performance improvement fix.
  • Added an additional tier of LOD to our system.
  • The iLOD for smaller office props was greatly reduced and tightened up. Should fix both performance in office buildings and prevent monitors from appearing under desks instead of on them.
  • Tweaked the LOD for the water tower making it appear higher detailed from farther away.
  • Object LODs now dissolve/fade in, so there’s a LOT less popping, especially inside buildings.
  • The office buildings now have LOD models so the game is no longer trying to render full detail office architecture from a distance.
  • Fixed an issue where cut down trees would still show their LOD when you move away from the area.

Zombie Changes and Details:

  • Slightly increased the chance for Strays to spawn.
  • Changed the pack-spawning amounts for Strays to 1-2 down from 1-3.
  • Fixed an issue that was causing the general population of zombies to be quite low in all zones. The hordes have returned!
  • Made improvements to the convenience store navigation mesh.
  • Navigation mesh added to parking lots to help zombie pathing around Leland’s and office buildings.
  • If a zombie is on terrain but vertically clipping another navigation mesh but not using it, they should be moved on to that navigation mesh. This should fix 99% of issues with zombies clipping through floors and ignoring navigation meshes.
  • Fixed an issue that would cause zombies to float after a world refresh until they were active.
  • Fixed an issue where zombies were not using their correct walk speed when ‘idle wandering’.
  • Fixed an issue where zombies would sometimes turn to the side or turn around entirely when you ran towards them. This was due to a bug in the anticipation system for zombies.

Campfire Changes and Details:

  • There are now three different types of campfires; small, medium, and large.
  • Fixed an issue where the small campfire was using the large campfire mesh. All campfires now use the correct art.
  • Changed the “No Matches” message to say “You require matches to light a fire.”
  • Campfires are no longer over saturated and too bright.
  • All campfires now have a proper inventory icon for the crafting result screen.
  • Fires now die out over time.
  • When standing near (within 2.5 meters radius of) a campfire of any sort, the player can go into their inventory and right click on a log. The radial menu will come up with a new option “Add to Fire” which will add another log to the burning woodpile, resetting the die-out time for the fire every time a log is added.
    Small Campfire: Provides light and allows for cooking. Created by crafting 3 Logs.
    Duration: 30 minutes (real-time)
    Cooking Speed: Slow
    Medium Campfire: Provides light and allows for cooking. Created by crafting 6 Logs.
    Duration: 1 hour (real-time)
    Cooking Speed: Fast
    Large Campfire: Provides light and allows for cooking. Created by crafting 10 Logs.
    Duration: 2 hours (real-time)
    Cooking Speed: Very Fast

Other Miscellaneous Changes and Details:

  • The in-game escape menu now has a new background!
  • Escape menu buttons have been changed to white.
  • Fixed an issue that was causing collision on certain steps in the prison guard tower.
  • Made it so that it was harder to fall off the prison guard tower stairs while ascending or descending.
  • Lots of redundant math from the tree bark shader has been removed.
  • Tree bark is now darker on the underside and is affected by the normal map, producing a really sweet effect.
  • Some tree billboards no longer look weird, especially the aspen.
  • Fixed an issue where there were no stairs to the roof in the office building.
  • Temporarily removed the audio of the Survivor’s footsteps. It will be returning with the new sound update in Build 16.
  • Fixed an issue that were causing impassible windows in the office buildings.
  • Added doors to the office roof module.
  • Added ceiling lights to all office building modules (instead of those funky pseudo skylights).
  • Fixed some lighting issues with the reception desk in office buildings.
  • Improved visibility of props on white/grey desks in office buildings.
  • Fixed the glowing bathroom stalls.
  • Re-added normal maps to desks, chairs, and props in office buildings.
  • Fixed an issue that was causing the Mastodon revolver to not have reload animations.
  • Fixed an issue with shields (both riot and ballistic) that was causing them to not have idle, sprint, or attack animations.
  • Fixed an issue causing the pumpkin and witch hats to float out in front of the survivor in third person mode. They now sit on your head properly. Happy Hat-oween!
  • Fixed an issue that was causing an alarm clock, a microwave, and Zed candy box to only be visible from about one meter out.
  • Fixed an issue that was making it so that you were not able to ride bikes found in garages.
  • Changed the FP arms commands to hidearms and showarms. Pretty much self explanatory.
  • Fixed a bug with the inventory icons for the rabbit meat bits.
  • If you open your backpack while holding (grabbing) an item, the item will now be dropped.
  • Fixed a bug where the mouse cursor would sometimes disappear when opening the radial menu in the inventory.
  • Missing item icon is now a rag and says “Image Not Found”. Let us know if you see any of these missing icons.
  • Some items no longer glow in the dark.
  • Changed the “Infection” bar to now properly say “Infection Risk”.
  • Fixed an issue preventing belts to auto-equip.
  • Cleaned up the logos on the main menu.
  • Fixed an issue where death/corpse markers and names over the heads of players now follow the FOV properly.

Please be sure to report issues encountered to the Support & Bugs Forum to help us improve the experience.
We’re now diving into the task of getting a really functional and awesome dedicated server available for you guys to use! We have that coming in hotfix (probably 15c) and have a couple more fixes we’d like to plug in before we begin work on Build 16 code. We also have some big announcements coming up next week involving a new roadmap and Steam Workshop. There will NOT be a Weekly Dead tomorrow as we are working on some very intensive stuff to get these announcements ready for you.

Until next time,

Linger on, Survivors!

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Build 15 – New Blood


*NEW* UPDATE: Hotfix 15b is live! – Huge Performance Patch!
UPDATE: Hotfix 15a is live!

Hello Survivors!
It’s time for a new build in this little town of Halloween. Many horrors, both undead and buggy await you. Build 15 is alive on Steam, and it’s a crazy one. We’ve overhauled more systems than we can count, but we’ll try our best here! Read the patch notes to get the full scoop on what to watch out and what to enjoy. Click here to view the Build Page and Dev Vlog!

Check below for the detailed patch notes! You can also go download the update on Steam and play it right now!

Patch Notes for Build 15

“New Blood”

Notes:
- As with most updates, you will definitely need to create a fresh, new world when you play this update to ensure you receive all the new world changes. Do not play your old worlds with the new version, though it shouldn’t let you anyway.
- This build focuses on performance, completely new zombies, the first steps into a new sound system, and a whole ton more.
- We have just overhauled numerous systems from the ground up and we expect at least 3 hotfixes will be in store. In order to meet our Halloween anniversary, we were forced to cut a couple pumpkin-shaped corners. We’ll be gluing those corners back on very soon.

HUGE: Brand New Zombies!

  • Zombies have been completely overhauled both in visuals and some behavioral changes.
  • Zombies now spawn with randomized clothing and clothing sets (i.e. riot gear zombie)
  • Zombie skin textures have been completely overhauled.
  • Zombie pathing and physics load has been decreased by an insane amount. Buidlings now support a new ‘navigation mesh’ that the zombies use to compute their pathing and vaulting, meaning they move more realistically and easily through structures. We will be adding even more refined pathing in Build 16.
  • Fixed an issue where zombies would sometimes glow indoors.
  • Zombies are still in progress and do have some animation and rigging issues. Please report them!
  • Fixed a bug where a zombie would sometimes drop an “unknown cube.” It was a typo on a banana, folks. Nothing to see here.
  • This is a massive change to the underlying systems in TDL and there will be bugs. Please report them.
  • Again, this is a massive change to the underlying systems in TDL and there will be bugs. Please report them!

HUGE: Brand New Main Menu!

  • There is a massive new main menu system!
  • Brand new Create World screen and World Select screen to help you better manage your worlds and provide some statistics on your world saves
  • The menu has a cleaner look in general
  • Survivor card in top right in preparation for character creation and multiple character saves
  • News, Twitter, and a link to the latest Build Page can be found in the main menu.
  • New splash art when loading the initial game that transitions to a start screen.
  • Fixed a bug where the main menu would allow the GPU to run really hot. Main Menu has now been capped at 60 frames per second. In game you can also set your desired framerate cap in the Graphics Settings menu.
  • Fixed a couple issues where the default graphics settings were really low, causing some Survivors to think our game had very bad graphics. (Hey, be nice!)
  • Fixed a bug where the music slider would reset to 100% volume when the music looped.
  • A lot cleaner navigation in the Settings menus
  • Graphics settings screen now has a proper scrollbar
  • Back buttons everywhere!
  • And a whole lot more!

Performance Changes:

  • Large improvements to the spiral world generator. In general, loading is a bit quicker.
  • Better optimization of the far, very distant trees.
  • Massive reduction to sounds and general RAM stored during gameplay. The new sound overhaul may cause some things to sound weird or broken for a bit, including some sound sliders. It should all snap back into place during the hotfixes and even more so in Build 16. Please be patient, but report any and all sound bugs you find!
  • Fixed at least one periodic “lag tick.”
  • Removed a TON of legacy (old) content, roughly 500 MB worth, possibly more.

Gameplay Changes:

  • NEW WILDLIFE – Rabbit: You can kill, skin, and cook this NPC for food, if you can catch it!
  • New Feature: Skinning inside the inventory. Small wildlife must be skinned while in your inventory, as long as you have a knife. Right click to open the menu to skin a rabbit.
  • New Feature: You can now lean around corners (and still shoot) with Q and E keys, but this does not show up in third person yet.
  • New Feature: Corn fields (and certain other foliage) now blocks line of sight of enemies.
  • Keybindings will be reset. If you had custom keybindings, you will have to rebind them. If you have issues picking up items or other controls are not working, go press Reset in the key bindings settings menu and that should correct the issue.
  • Zombie Bob’s size has been changed a tiny bit and he has new animations and has been brought up to the visual level of the new zombies.
  • Buck spawning rates have been increased and tweaked some, depending on the area.
  • There are 3 new Halloween-themed head items in the game. They will be permanent items and will not be seasonal.
  • Really cool Aviator sunglasses are now in the game and can be picked up and worn.
  • The Riot Gear set now has gloves and a belt to go along with it.
  • Hiking Boots are now actually boots with a tall ankle, different from Hiking Shoes.
  • Doors got a good kick in the pants. They should work a lot better for you now and doors should no longer go backwards.
  • Fixed a case where the ‘grab hand’ would show up when you couldn’t actually grab an object.
  • Fixed a bug where Survivors would sometimes get stuck in the death screen.
  • Some guns now have new or slightly tweaked sounds when fired.

World Changes:

  • Large improvements to the way roads sit on the terrain, making the dirt edges blend better
  • Trees now have proper collision meshes, so you can interact with them in a more detailed manner
  • Fixed an issue where some toilets or sinks would not have a texture.
  • Fixed an issue where campfires would not continue burning or relight when you reload a world.
  • Corn fields look a bit better than they did before
  • Someone’s been carving pumpkins!
  • Zombies are a bit more common on farms now.
  • Trees and other foliage now fades between its “level of detail” models, for a much smoother look and less popping objects.
  • Large improvements to the general sky system, yielding in better performance, better lighting, and a WAY better look. The new sunsets will blow your eyeballs right out through your brain socket.
  • Buildings now have a bunch of new props inside them. The farmhouse, for example, has a lot more detail on the interior, including multiple new rooms and… Ahem, secrets to be found.
  • Loot in general has been reworked in all the buildings and should be a little more balanced. Rotten food is a little more common and good food is a bit more rare.
  • Reloading a world should, at least in many cases, not try to generate a new world on top of the existing one.
  • There’s something out in the fields.

Misc Visual Changes:

  • Sweeping improvements to the lighting and ambient occlusion in all structures and buildings for better appearance and better performance
  • Fixed an issue where football helmet and other headgear would show purple or broken textures.
  • Fixed an issue where a lot of items and furniture would glow in doors.
  • Fires now have a completely new look, and they look rather awesome!
  • Sniper rifle scopes now have some refraction and a more detailed scope view. This is a placeholder until we get our dynamic scope system in place.
  • Small adjustment to the contrast on the Riot Boots inventory icon so it’s easier to see against the dark inventory.
  • There is a new HDR effect when entering and exiting buildings. You will need to adapt to the light over a short period of time.
  • There is a slight ‘frame interpolation’ or ‘motion blur’ now. We will add an option to disable this soon as we are aware some survivors are bothered by the effect.
  • The entire screen has some new filters, including anti-aliasing. The scene in general looks much smoother and more realistic.
  • Shadows are a bit sharper than they were previously.
  • Prison has new loading screen art.
  • Farmland has new loading screen art.
  • The chat box no longer has a black background unless you are actively typing into it.

Console Changes:

  • There is a new console command called “time” which allows you to set the time of day. Simply type “time #” into the console to set the time of day using a 24 hour clock (0 to 23)
  • Words like “time day” “time evening” “time dawn” “time dusk” “time noon” and “time midnight” also work.

KNOWN ISSUES:
[These are not necessarily issues we plan to fix next, but they are issues that we don't need reported in duplicate, so if you encounter something on this list, just know that we know about it!]

  • Multiplayer is buggy, but we’re on it. It’s switching over to one of our main focuses in the next 2 builds, and the immediate hotfixes to follow 15. Please report ALL multiplayer bugs and help us get the experience better for you online.
  • Multiplayer animations are currently not working – we will hotfix this very soon.
  • Ironsights are currently disabled (replaced with a zoom) while we gut some of our first person stuff to prepare for the new survivor model. Scopes are still fully functional (and better than ever!)
  • Some head items do not sit on the Survivor properly, or may even float in third person. As this system is getting phased out rather soon, we have these fixes on a lower priority queue.
  • Arrows can not be retrieved yet, and will not stick into targets — yet.
  • Many animations are currently missing.
  • Bike pedalling and turning animations are broken. They’ll come back soon!
  • The third person camera currently does not collide with walls.
  • Some items will look a bit strange indoors as we phase in our new lighting system. These issues should be fixed over time.
  • Zombie hands and legs may appear black.
  • One of the prison hexes (armory etc.) does not have a zombie navigation mesh yet, so zombies may act funny around it. (i.e. walking through floors and walls)
  • There are no tacos in this build.
  • Clients may not see the exact same looking zombies as the host. This will be fixed soon.
  • Ammo in boxes and guns do not keep correct ammo count when trading between survivors in multiplayer.
  • Animations will sometimes loop or get ‘stuck’ from time to time.
  • Some survivors experience black screen with hands and nothing else. We have added a fix for this, but if you still experience this issue, run in Fullscreen instead of Windowed Mode. You can also try moving the window frame, which may correct the issue as well. We will be looking at a more permanent fix for this issue.
  • There is a bug where you will sometimes plummet to the ground very quickly when dropping from a ledge. Holding Left CTRL right before impact will mitigate some fall damage. Watch your step! This will be getting overhauled soon with the new survivor model.
  • The game and framerate will sometimes stutter for a short duration, especially when coming up on a town or new area. Your PC is most likely fine. It’s not you, it’s us.
  • Lots of other very obvious issues that we’re going to be working on. (Welcome to Alpha!)

As usual, please report bugs on our Support & Bug Reporting forum.

Our plans for Build 16 (“Sirens of the City”) will be a new city zone complete with numerous tall buildings, Siren NPCs, Meta-Zone Regions, and a whole bunch more! We’ll elaborate on that as we progress. Stay tuned to our twitter for more information on that!

Linger on, Survivors!

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The Weekly Dead 23

Hello Survivors!

I had been debating on whether or not I should post a blog today, but that might have sent you all into a craze thinking Build 15 will be releasing if I didn’t.

I know, I know…/cry

It’s been an incredibly busy last couple of weeks for all of us here at Sandswept. We’re fully submerged in this build and we’re not coming up for air until everything is fully ready! (Deep Blue Sea is playing in the background as I type this.) Now while I can’t promise exact dates, we’re aiming to release Build 15 by Halloween, no ifs or buts! We’re also predicting two major hot fixes post build at the very least. So that means Build 15 will be in your hands first and the hotfixes shortly following after.

Here’s a bit of a peek at our internal timeline of things to come:
(Hopefully Zag doesn’t feed me to the zombies for this.)

  • Steam Uploader Tool (This thing is looking awesome!)
  • Build 15: New Blood
  • Hotfix15a: High Priority
  • Hotfix15b: Medium/Low Priority
  • 3D Watertower Tool. (Yes, I said 3D!)

That’s all I can say for now. I need to get back to making you guys an awesome build page!

And just in case you missed our Build 15 Sneak Peek stream:

Linger on, Survivors!

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