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Build 15 – New Blood

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 send you all into a craze thinking Build 15 will be releasing today 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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Build 15 “New Blood” Sneak-Peek

Hey Survivors!

Just a quick blog post to bring you Geoff’s Build 15 sneak peek stream! We’ve uploaded it to YouTube this time, so no need to panic!

Big thanks to those who joined us in chat and kept us company with questions and silliness!

Linger on, Survivors!

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The Weekly Dead 22

Hello Survivors!

Here’s a rundown of what’s going on this week:

Ryan is creating new physics meshes for objects and buildings. These allow for improved collision detection and will greatly improve in-game physics performance.

You know what that means? DESTRUCTION AND CHAOS! Oh.. where was I?….Right.

Chaoss is currently in the process of optimizing new props and repopulating loot in all the buildings. That means filing cabinets, desks, chairs, tables, the works! The Farmhouse, LeLand’s, and Swerts will be the first to receive props and loot changes. This is a mere drop in the oncoming flood of indoor furnishing content.

Hey, is that cabinet door open?

Spooky.

Chaoss is also working on a new system to allow all of the ‘smaller’ world props to be stashed or stored in your inventory. This means transporting items (even “junk” items) will be easier than ever!

Richard is working on Build 15 cleanup, as well as tweaking dynamic lighting and zombie ambient occlusion lighting. Pretty much all the remaining bugs, fixes, and polish for Build 15 falls on his shoulders.

Dec is working on the new TDL Workshop Uploader tool, which will herald the release of Steam Workshop for The Dead Linger. Again, if you are interested in creating content for TDL and want to get started in advance, you can read our TDL Workshop Guide here!

Jeff is finishing up that lovely pixelated car you all may have seen us tease on Twitter. We’ll show the final result once it’s fully done! And it won’t be pixelated!

Watertower is fully functional for our internal purposes in Build 15. Geoff is off creating scenes and zones. The possibilities are going to be endless! Michael is starting some work on the 3D aspect of Watertower, so that we can get it ready and releasable, and dropped into the tender hands of the community (you!) as soon as possible. We’re looking forward to a future where thousands of zone layouts are added to the game, crafted by survivors themselves. Pick up a pencil and paper (or tool of your choice) and start planning future zones! We’ll let you know when Watertower gets closer to a public release.

Geoff is also working on a new inventory layout. We have hidden some elements that will remain secret until they are announced in full, hence some of the blank space. We welcome feedback on this design and will be reading any suggestions regarding this new layout. Before or alongside this design will be inventory Item Weight, and a few other handy changes.

You’ll notice the stat icons are planned to be radials for easier readability in tight situations, and a bit more room for the additional stats we’re adding. Geoff is currently contemplating nerfing backpack sizes (from 40×10 to 20×10) and adding an additional “Huge” Backpack size for 4 slots instead of 3. You should also take a glance at the pockets area, which will feature extra clothing-granted pockets of various sizes. We have no plans to allow clothing to create large pockets (i.e. where you can fit a large melee weapon.) And with this, there’s some other changes to the layout of the equipment slots. Drop your feedback for Geoff on the forums so we can narrow our scope on the best inventory design for everyone.

I too am working on some TDL things! A Build 15 page perhaps? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Unfortunately most of our work this past week is not visual since we’re all crazy busy and Build 15 is only a short distance away!

I hate when we’re so close to release and there’s not much to say since, well, we’re close to release.

Back to playing The Evil Within! I mean… working on build page things!

Till next time.

Linger on, Survivors!

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The Weekly Dead 21

Hello Survivors!

Geoff has a bunch of things to talk about this week, so I’m handing the keyboard over to him.

Here’s what’s coming up;

1) Watertower is basically done. We’re taking today to get some bugs tidied up and then it’s pretty good for me to use and create a bunch of new zones (mainly farms) for Build 15. You will see a lot more zone variety in Build 15.

Where do we plan to go with Watertower? Everywhere!

Well, more specifically — Steam Workshop. While Watertower is ready enough for me to use on Build 15, it’s a little bit harsh at times and you have no way to test your scenes you create without our internal tools. One of our goals over the next few months (taking a side-seat to furthering build development and the like) is to get Watertower working better and more user-friendly, getting a 3D view available for it so you can fly around your scene as you build it, and finally, get it so we can upload scenes to Steam Workshop from within the tool. Once we have that ready, we want to throw it at you.

We took someone (resident 3D artist Chaoss) who had never used the Watertower tool before and he created a zone. This is the result. This took him exactly 60 seconds to create in Watertower.

WOW.

2) Steam Workshop support is just about ready.

Dec has begun creating a Steam Workshop Uploader tool for all of your juicy content. It’s mostly a fancy file and file manager uploader that will allow you to create, edit, and update your Workshop creations. This will all be available completey for free once Steam Workshop is released. While Workshop is not officially up, you can start to familiarize yourself with the plan by visiting the TDL Workshop Guide I have spent a few days getting ready. This is a WORK IN PROGRESS and is not final. If you want to get started on creating content, you are more than welcome to. Just keep in mind that Steam Workshop is not actually active yet, so this page is kind of coming at you from the future! Oooooh! Spooky! Because Halloween.

3) Build 15 is kicking my eyeballs in their collective butts.

Chaoss has spent a huge amount of time getting all of our buildings re-processed buildings ready for both Towns in Build 15 and Cities in Build 16. Buildings can now appear in Towns with 3 to 8 floors, and in Build 16, a whole lot more. The new look of office buildings makes them look… Well, like office buildings!

Along with some new HDR effects, some ‘frame interpolation’ (a fancy word for a very subtle motion blur) and a lot more furniture and props inside houses, we’re quite excited to bring you Build 15 in all its glory.

4) Props, Props, Props!

Since I hate paying people to make tiny props like toasters, microwaves, radios, televisions, and all those other “real world props” that you see in every realistic game, we’ve picked up some very large asset packs that we’re processing into the game over time. (We have about ~1000 “boring world stuff” 3D meshes sitting in the queue for processing right now to get dirty and ensure they match the style.) I’d like to take a moment to let 3D artists know that if they plan to create items for The Dead Linger — please create cool stuff. This came up on the forum the other day in a discussion.

If you really want to make a basic couch or a toaster, I won’t stop you, but we’re looking for content that breaks the mold and pushes the gameplay forward. Unique melee weapons, cool guns, fun vehicles, awesome buildings, and sweet clothing! If any 3D artists want to get content into The Dead Linger, please create awesome stuff! We’ll handle the boring ‘filler’ content with our highly efficient systems we have in place.

We are really looking forward to opening the door on Steam Workshop. We have seen some really great survivor creations already, and we’re hoping to provide you with some tools to really get them in front of us and allow others to vote and comment on them in the Workshop. Coming soon!

5) Speaking of coming soon… When is Build 15 coming out? What’s after that?

Build 15 is a very long build. It has been months. Many months. It’s a lot of content, and a lot of preparation. We are setting up every system, every content-creation pipeline, and every performance aspect of The Dead Linger for very rapid build releases. This is taking up the majority of our time. It’s like pressing all the startup buttons and switches for taking off in a helicopter. Gryo-stabilizers, check. Fuel pump, check. Helmet strapped on properly, check. Rotaty things rotating properly, check.

You can tell I’ve never actually flown a helicopter, but The Dead Linger is about to take off. Here’s some new stuff we have tightly scheduled into the next few builds. We aren’t kidding about the preparation we’re doing, and we are very confident in it. Likely all of this will happen before 2015 arrives.

  • New zombies, of course! (Coming in 15)
  • New Survivor player models, completely overhauled first person movement, hands/weapons, and camera system
  • Openable cabinets and drawers to find loot in
  • Improvements all around, especially to framerate and multiplayer.
  • Steam Workshop Support with some tutorials on item-creation and proper tools to upload and manage your creations
  • Watertower tool released to the public for free, so you can create zones in TDL! (or at least very close to ready)
  • A bunch more wildlife (Rabbits coming in 15, Boars and other things coming soon!)
  • Adding a HUD-based Visibility system, along with Zombie AI improvements to make it easier to be sneaky when you rightfully should
  • A big sound overhaul — meatier sounding firearms, more sounds on things that should have them, stamina-based sounds
  • Some new musical tracks
  • Hostile NPCs, both vehicular (Sirens) and on-foot
  • City zones with massive office buildings. Currently working with a modular floor system that will allow buildings to be any height. The ones in 16 will probably be about 30 floors, brimming with the undead and fully furnished interiors.
  • Rain and storm weather
  • New buildings and tons of world stuff, like sheds in yards and more stuff to do in forests
  • Massive overhaul to the way the world is laid out. “Meta-Zones” wil lbe implemented to make populated areas or wilderness areas feel 100 times more realistic. Also a way better implementation of the road system to make sure you can travel the world via roads, like you can in real life.
  • Road signs and town names
  • Weight system for inventory items
  • More weapons!
  • PvP FFA mode (separate and optional from the Coop Survival mode)
  • Quarantine walls (World Borders that the host can set to contain the action in a smaller area, if they so choose)
  • Water & Boats
  • Some secret stuff we don’t want to talk about yet!

You should see the first car added at the very start of 2015. Prepare yourselves.

Artwork time!

Art Stuff

We’re just going to leave Dane’s spooky sniper here.

That about covers everything this week.

Linger on, Survivors!

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