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The Weekly Dead 57

Hello survivors and welcome to another edition of The Weekly Dead! A spindly update this week but it’s important that everyone knows we are still at work every week. These kinds of weeks happen because game dev.

Code

Once again, code and under-the-hood tech is where the meat of the week has been sizzling.

A lot of the work that went on this week was once again on multiplayer and how we store data in the world, and there really isn’t much to say about it. At least not from me. Here’s what Geoff has to say about it.

Hello Survivors! Geoff here.

Right now Richard and myself are are deep in the muddy multiplayer trenches. There isn’t a whole lot to show visually, but I can talk about it a bit. One of the major improvements we’re working on right now is focusing on load times and getting you into the world and playing as rapidly as possible. As we continued to build and improve the Pepper Valley region, we found the loading times were getting increasingly longer, when they really didn’t have to be. So, what we’ve gone and done is move a lot of content (interior stuff, mostly) onto little sub-levels for really fast loading, and better general management of how your PC loads, stores, and processes all the content in the world. Better framerates, much faster load times. We’ve seen a couple examples of 2 to 5 minute load times shortening down to about 15 to 30 seconds. So that’s nice. Hopefully everyone will experience that sort of load time so you can jump right in and go.

Some other stuff we’re doing involves tying up everything that needs to be tied up in multiplayer. Vague? Sort of. There’s a lot of small stuff, from inventory to the way zombies are handled around the world as you move about. If players split up, it requires even more computation on the server side to run all the AI they might encounter in the world. We have been doing some really good crowd optimization, and have up to about 100 zombies actively doing something without having too much effect on your framerate. Framerate and consistency are the name of the game. We want every player in the game to be seeing (mostly) the same thing as the other players. This is how adventurous coop play and tight, fun PvP play can take place.

Richard’s been heads-down on the level loading and storing code, both so the game keeps track of details like door states, furniture, and loot being moved, saved, and spawned. That’s easily one of the most important systems in the game, and also takes into account the next update after this one, which will contain the most-wanted free-form barricading.

In my “free time,” I’ve also been getting the vlog ready, which requires a lot of audio and footage to get, all while still coding and testing in order to wrap up this build. We’ll launch it the very moment it’s ready.

Back to you, Howell.

Something Out There

Out there, somewhere, or multiple somewheres, some places have been set up in Pepper Valley. Not finished, some new areas to explore have been created. As of this Weekly Dead, we aren’t going to show it for now (Geoff wouldn’t let me), and we will let you check it out when you get your hands on the update. We hope you enjoy it.

Things Grant Did Done

Comitting…
-Survivor animation changes
-New fist idle animation
-Sandstone Rifle pose and socket in survivor skeleton
-New right arm basic punch

Grant’s been creating some new first person animations and idles for the survivor, to better work with our new UE4 rig, and in general, to make things look right. Here’s a quick glance at those improvements.

Ignore the fingers, we’re still tidying up weights from the Unity-to-UE4 rig transfer.

That’s all we’ve got to talk about this week.

As always, be sure to follow us on twitter @TheDeadLinger for more development news!

Linger on, Survivors!

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The Weekly Dead 56

Hello Survivors! This week we are finally in the clean up phase of this update, tidying up code so that everyone can play together with all the new goodies and properly working inventory and network code. Aside from that though, we’ll take a look at a a few other things that were made this week.

XP Bar

We’ve implemented an XP bar for our experience and leveling systems. Don’t worry, it’s not invasive as you can see here.

Right now it’s very rudimentary and has no true benefit, nor does it save, persisting only for a single session. Currently the level cap is 30, but good luck getting there. In fact, we’d love to see a screenshot of you reaching level 30 legitimately after update 3 is released. So far, zombies and animals give XP, but other players don’t.

Good luck!

The Menu

One evening recently, while Geoff was bored, he completely remade the main menu screen. Now it’s amazing. Your survivor will be visible on the main screen, and it… Well, you might as well just see for yourself.

Video games got boring, so I decided to make the menu move around some. @thedeadlinger

A video posted by Geoff Keene (@geoffkeene) on

Like I said, that menu looks amazing now.

The final bit of work that wasn’t finishing up the network code, was Geoff, Kate, and Mike doing a lot pass on Pepper Valley, planning out where more buildings will go.

As always, be sure to follow us on twitter @TheDeadLinger for more development news!

Linger on, Survivors!

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The Weekly Dead 55

Hello survivors and welcome to another edition of The Weekly Dead. There is not too much to show this week, but that just means a lot of back end work.

Multiplayer and Networking

Multiplayer has been a major issue in the game, as it is a major feature of the game and it isn’t working properly. Over the past weeks we’ve been working hard at it, even working over the 3 day weekend to try different blueprints to get the client and the server to match up perfectly, so that playing on someone else’s server online feels just like playing singleplayer.

We’ve made good progress here, such as the various states of zombies matching between client and server. In the case below, death state. Dead zombies stay dead, for everybody. Always.

And getting the client and the server to see each other wearing clothes accurately along with some work on getting clothing to not clip with other clothing and the survivor.

Along with tooltips working properly for clients, and loads of other client-side stuff.

Really, so much work this week went into the networking and multiplayer code that there is pretty much nothing else to talk about. But that’s the point of this update after all, getting multiplayer working as smooth and perfectly as possible, and we’re getting closer to that goal.

That wraps up this week’s Weekly Dead. As always, be sure to follow us on twitter @TheDeadLinger for more development news!

Linger on, Survivors!

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The Weekly Dead 54

Hello survivors, this week has so much…stuff, I can’t really put it all into categories. This Weekly Dead will probably be a little messy, but we have TONS to show.

Video

Let’s start with the mini-mini-devlog Geoff posted recently.

As you probably noticed in the video, we’ve implemented a particular feature.

Zombie Randomized Clothing

That’s right, zombies now have randomized clothing.

Zombies will no longer be naked…well in most cases. The major point of this is the basic system for randomizing clothing on zombies is now in place.

In obvious news, riot helmets are good at protecting the head. They can even stop lower caliber bullets.

Oh, is that zombie wearing a riot helmet? Good luck!

Survivor Clothing

Here are some nice shots of survivors in clothing! Well, it isn’t just that. Geoff has been going through all of the items and getting their meshes and on-survivor appearances sorted out after the move from unity.

Here we have a cowboy bandit police officer, or this image is just showing all the head slots being used by each of the items.

Here is a stylish wizard riot officer wearing a gas mask. Now this is showing full masks working on the survivor.

This is a glorious shot of a man ready for anything the apocalypse may throw at him. Truly inspiring, I might just make this my desktop background.

Since we are talking about clothing, we might as well bring this up.

Due to extensive loot work, a lot of items now look like the item they are meant to be, and you can no longer get tripped up on them due to a new collision layer being made for loot like the clothing in the picture.

Tool Tips

The team has been working on tool tips and the action menu for the inventory.

The action menu looks as follows.

Onto the tool tips, they show now when you look at items on the floor. There are 2 flavors for this as well.

The simple tool tips which are on by default. If that is not enough information for you, you can turn on complex tool tips (pictured below) in the options menu.

And if all of that is too much, you can always turn off tool tips entirely.

Ragdoll Physics

We’ve started to include something people have always wanted. Ragdoll on zombies.

I can't not laugh at this every single time. @thedeadlinger #ragdoll

A video posted by Geoff Keene (@geoffkeene) on

The zombie’s death animation blends into this ragdoll to produce an effect similar to this…

That shooting is courtesy of Geoff’s jittery hands.

It’s also good to note that now zombies react to where you hit them. Shoot them in the shoulder and their shoulder will fly back, then you will curse your terrible aim and take another shot.

Non Zombie AI

What does that mean? Well there are plenty of things in (or will be in) The Dead Linger with AI that aren’t zombies.

Like animals.

It is interesting to note that this time around, rabbits will have different AI than Deer. This was not true in the Unity version.

Oh, and there is also this chap, following a simple “Move To” command.

This is very basic, and probably won’t be in update 3, but it lays the foundation for AI survivors. AI survivors will come in 3 flavors. “Friendly” “Neutral” and “Fuck you and everything you stand for”.

That almost wraps up this week’s weekly dead, except for this part about pain effects.

The screen flashes red when hit, but only for a second, unless you are being hit repeatedly.

The above image is what your screen looks like when your health is low.

As always, be sure to follow us on twitter @TheDeadLinger for more development news!

Linger on, Survivors!

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UE4 Update 3 – Zombie Killing Test [Minivlog]

Hey guys,
Geoff shot some zombies and recorded it. Enjoy!

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